History of Francis Moulton

As told to Relva and Vern Price
Tape recorded in 1975



I was born in Heber City on the 17th of August in the year 1887. My 88th birthday was last August. I was raised here until I was about three and a half years old and at that time my father was a polygamist and had three wives and he had to go to the penitentiary or do away with his wives. He was forbidden to live with them so when I was about three and a half years old we went down into Old Mexico. One of mother's sisters, who was one of Dad's wives, got sick before we left so she couldn't go with us on the way down to Mexico we had her children and her baby died down in Dies and was buried the night time down there. Aunt Annie hadn't seen that baby since just after it was born.

Old Mexico

We built a home down in Old Mexico. Dad's first wife decided she wasn't going to stay down there so she had father bring her back and he brought some of Aunt Annie's children back with him. Mother and her family stayed down there and after a few months the bishop sent for father to come back down there. He said mother was going to have a baby and she wasn't well, so dad came down. My youngest brother, Tom, was born down in Old Mexico. Dad tried to get mother and the rest of the family to come back but she said no, she couldn't live with him in Heber so she wasn't going to come back to Heber. Dad came back without us, but when he came back he this time he brought one of mother' s daughters, Millie, and one of her sons, Chase, Aunt Annie's daughter, Violet, and her son, Lyman who had been living with mother down there. Will drove them over to Deming, New Mexico, and he was only ten and a half years old at that time. The horses were poor and starving. Before they got into Deming, one horse had given out and Dad would take hold of the single tree and help pull the weight of the wagon along and walk along the side. All the children had to walk. Millie stepped on the cactus thorn and it went clear through her foot so they had to put her in the wagon to ride. When they got into Deming, the one horse just laid down and dad couldn't get it up so he just left it there and hurried and got the children over to the train and a few of the things that he had to take. Will said when the train was ready to leave he was standing there watching and the tears were running down his cheeks and dad threw him a dollar. That's the way they left him in Deming. The old blacksmith came along and he told Bill that he would try and help him take care of that horse. He fed and watered the horse and finally got it up on its feet. He wouldn't let Will leave and come back to Dublan where mother was until someone else could come with him because the coyotes were thick on the desert and the prairie and they became rabid and several people had been bitten by them and killed. Bill had to stay there for a while and finally a man found a family that was going over the same way, within about fifty miles of where mother lived, so he went with them. Coming home late at night mother had kept a lantern burning in the window ever since he left so he would find his way back.

About six months later, we finally disposed of what property we had down there and came back to Utah. Father said he didn't have a place for us to stay. Aunt Annie had gotten well and mother's Aunt Annie's mother lived down in Salem so we came to Payson on the train and was met by one of mother's sister's husband and taken over to Salem and we lived there for about a year while dad built a home for us up here. I was still a boy when I got back to Heber City. I was about six years old then. I can remember when I was 3 or 3 years old when we headed for Old Mexico that going clown Provo Canyon there were four or five wagons heading for Provo to get loaded on the train. Some of dad's first family had their teams, one of his sons-in-law, one of her brothers and his wives going Provo Canyon. There was just a trail going down through the canyon and you had to drive right down the river bottom part of the way and I remember I was on my knees in the front of the wagon going down to the water. The horses were pulling the wagon and a big boulder came down off the hillside and they had to stop and unhitch the horses and hook onto that rock and pull it out of the way so we could get through. You would travel on the hill side-a-ways and then back into the water.

Two or three wagons they took down to Old Mexico on the train and some of them they left in Provo because some of the fellows were coming back; Charlie Giles, Douglas Giles, and Will Smith or Black Smith. Will Smith - that was the man that married my half sister, the oldest one of dad's first wives' children. They all three came back after they helped us move down there.


I was just a boy during the time of polygamy, but lots of nights we would wake up probably clear up in Andrew William Lindsay's home up in the east of Heber, or Jim Lindsay's home. Polygamists were coming out to look after and pick up father and some of the children and catch us. They would bundle us up at night and put us in the wagon and take us out to some of their friends and we would be put In the potato cellar with two or three quilts and we would sleep Jo there for a day or two.

There used to be a fellow live up there named Brent Peterson in the old Scotty Dawson home. Brent Peterson owned that. They were good friends of mothers and we would go up there lots of times and stay for days at a time after these officers would come up here and go back to Salt Lake.

I really don't remember too much about going out to those places only we have talked to my brothers and sisters since then about it. I do remember this Brent Peterson family though, when we came back from Mexico we still used to go up there and visit them. Their kids would come down and stay with us. Every morning just before we had breakfast we would all kneel down around the table and the old gentleman would start to praying and the boys would listen for a little while and pretty soon you would see one of them crawling out the door on his hands and knees. Pretty soon another one would go out and another one out, I wasn't too big and I was afraid to go out. Pretty soon I decided I was going to find out what they were doing out there so I crawled over to the door and went out and they had a ring out there and they were playing marbles. Every once in awhile one of them would come bact and look through the door and listen where his dad had gotten to in the prayer. It is was late, he would give the signal and they would all come in and they would all be there when he got through praying and he would never miss them.


My mother and dad finally separated (divorced) but mother was only sixteen when mother and dad got married. My mother and Aunt Annie was brought here from Denmark when they were just girls. When mother was a little girl and lived in Denmark there was a missionary come over there by the name of Jensen and he finally got grandma Jensen to leave and the youngest daughter with her husband and come to Utah with him. Then a few months later, mother and Aunt Annie came over to the United States. My mother, Mary, came later.

Father had livestock from Grandpa Jensen and Dad would give him quite a lot of meat and he wanted these two girls to marry, mother and Aunt Annie, so they were turned over to dad to marry. They left her one morning to go to Salt Lake in sleds. Mother thought, "Oh, golly I can't marry that man; I don't know him." He had a long whiskers on his face and was running along behind the sled and the frost and stuff on his whiskers made then look white, he looked like an old man, but she said she finally did learn to love dad and raised a family by him. She had eight children, but one died when it was a baby. As years rolled by, she couldn't live with him so mother and father separated.

The first family seemed to get everything and we didn't get anything, never had a dime of dad's property and we were quite bitter for a long time. The fact is my oldest brother came almost apostatizing from the church he got so bitter at dad. As years went by, he finally outgrew it and became quite a religious man and became the biggest tithe payer in his Ward in Prove for years. Dad would go down and stay with him once in awhile after that. Mother told us long before she died not to hold any grudges against father on account of what happened because it was a time of the land at that time and maybe they were both to blame some, to try and treat him nice. But I had all the polygamy I wanted at that time. Father had a total of twenty three children.

When father came back from Mexico he still had all his wives. He and mother were the only ones that separated. But dad never lived with the three wives after they came back from Mexico, except the first wife or wasn't supposed to have, anyway. Father did build all of these women homes here in Heber to move into after they came back from Mexico. The last street over where Joe Moulton lived, that white frame house right next to it west, is the one he built for mother and Aunt Annie.

Mother's Businesses

Dad had a big farm ground. Mother became a dressmaker. Her and the two oldest sisters done sewing for years for everyone in the valley. The rest of us, as soon as we became old enough to get a job of any type, we went to work. I remember the first job I had I was probably 8 or 9 years old and I walked out on the prairie to the place Doctor Palmer bought. There used to be a little grainery place over there years ago. I walked over there every morning and night, and tromped hat and rode the horse for 5 cents a day for two or three years when I was growing up as a boy. There was only two children younger than me, Lyle and Tom, the rest were all older. Will always had a good job working around here for Dad's brothers, they always hired men. Father had a big piece of land he homesteaded a quarter of a section of ground and it went from Fred Clegg's corner out there, on Main Street out to that fence that went west nut there, right to the side of Bill Mangum's Service station. The homestead was a mile north and south and three blocks west that takes you down to where that machine shop is down there and some more ground down below that.

Before we went to Old Mexico, dad had kind give so much land to each of his wives and he give Aunt Annie some of that out there. And his first wife had the ground from Fred Clegg's corner out to where Linden Moulton has his machine shop now. From there out to where Bill Mangum's Service Station was and west three blocks were mother's share of the property. He built a home and a big barn out there on the place where mother lived for him and Aunt Lizzie to live in.

Our First Home

Our first home was up here on Center Street and second block east, it used to be a little log house. That was father's first home. Then when he married Aunt Annie and mother they moved in a grainiery up on that same block, then later he built a house on the corner south that was the house John Barnes lived in when he died. Afton lived there and caught on fire and burned up. That was mother's first real home that she had in town. Then father sold his home on that corner to his wife's brother, Tom Giles. Dad went out on the south piece of the ground, the piece Charlie Bronson got from Jim Murdock and built a nice little three room house for his family and a big barn and moved out there. Then he decided to build close down where June Tuft is out there and that was dad's next home. He built that and moved mother out on the farm out there and his first family out there were moved where June Tuft lives. This was all before we went to Old Mexico. Dad had a lot of property there and he had some North Field ground and did lots of farming. He was a hard worker. He tried to raise his family as best he could to the best of all of us, but he was just handicapped for at that time the first thing you knew the officers would be in here hunting for him and every other polygamist in the valley and they would pick them up and take them down to the penitentiary when they found them, and that was one of the things they had to contend with.

The Mountain Lion

I think when they first got married in polygamy they expected it to be okay and I imagine it would have been if they would have been left alone, but the government changed that. I remember we didn't have much schooling, we couldn't start early in the spring because anytime you could get a job we had to work and go to school in the meantime, the same in the fall of the year. One time as we were going up to school, Walt Wicker lived down below us about a quarter of a mile, they used to come up to our place and we would meet in the street and all go up together. There was Zella Giles, Alvie Giles, Vera Wicker and Montel, there would be Violet, Lyle and I and we all went up to school. We got up to where we were up on the last block about part way up that block and I stopped the kids. I seen a mountain lion come around the building there and I said, "Start filling your pockets with rocks, we might need them." This mountain lion came on around the building and down across and jumped up on the fence with his feet and right over on the sidewalk right in front of us. Of course the sidewalk was only a trail that you had built up there because there wasn't any sidewalks. It stood there and looked at us. I said, "`Now, start throwing rocks." We all started throwing rocks at that lion and it went across the street and jumped over the fence into the place that used to be Ike Baum's best field. It went out into it a ways then turned and went east, jumped over the fence and went across the highway and went up and there was a big row of trees all around that corner there where Jim Clydd's property was. They had a big barn at that time and they had corrals where they branded the cattle. This lion jumped the fence and up into the trees. I got the kids up into Fred Clegg's house and got Fred Clegg to come out and he wouldn't believe there was a lion out there.. Finally he came out and I showed him laying up on that limb, his tail was just going back and forth and he was opening and closing his mouth. "My golly" he said, "I'll go down and get Elisha Cummings". Elisha Cummings was always riding and he always had a good saddle horse and carried a gun on his horse. Fred Clegg jumped on one of his old work horses and went down and got Elisha Cummings. Elisha came back. I wouldn't go in the house. I stayed in the shed where I could look out a big knothole so I could watch that lion. When Elisha came up he wanted to know where it was and I showed him it was up there on that limb. He said,"It sure was a mountain lion" and so he just walked across the road a little ways where he got in good shooting range and shot that lion and he came right down off that limb and across the fence. We went over and drug it over on the sidewalk over by Fred Clegg's house. Some of us went down to school and started to tell the kids what we had done down there and pretty soon everyone in the school house was out there so they had to let out school until noon.

I remember when most of the streets in this town and the city blocks you could start on one corner of the block and go kitty corner up through the block and about all you could find were maybe two or three homes. A few years ago I took a fellow with me that used to live here. We were looking at the homes and saying who lived there and who lives here and its all built up now so it doesn't look like the same town at all.

First Train

I remember when the train first came into Heber City. The hack used to run from the livery stable down to the train and bring people back up to the hotel and the step on the back of the truck that you stepped up onto get into the hack used to drag in the muck down the street. The mud was just that deep, there wasn't any bottom to it. Out north of town and up to where the creamery was out there that whole lane is built of cobble rocks. I've worked pole tacks time and time again for my brothers and different people in the valley just to have a job and all the south side of Heber was cobble rock you know and there is still plenty of them out there. They would have them piled up in great big piles and we would haul cobble rocks up and down these streets until they would sink in. You can go out here and dig down the side of the road and the same on Main Street and find cobble rock if you go down a little ways.

Mark Jeffs had a lumber yard down here where Mark Fortie has some thing now. Mark Jeffs had the Mercantile Store up on Main Street. The Second Ward Meeting house is right there on Main Street between Mark Jeffs' store and Fred Buell's store. Fred and Mark were always building something on the Main Street. They helped to build the first building something on the Main Street. They helped to build the first mercantile store here. Jim Clyde was one of the big builders on that.

When we came back from Old Mexico, mother and Aunt Annie both worked when they could get a job for 50 cents a day for President Hatch, Joe Hatch, and Jim Murdock to help make enough money to make it on.

When the presidents of the church came to Heber, they would come to Park City on the train and then they would come over to Heber on the stage. Your drummers would come out here to call on the business houses. There was little store over in Midway, one over in Wallsburg, and the livery stable here in town. They would come here into town, rent a rig and go to Midway or Wallsburg and get their orders, come back to Heber, take the stage to Park City and take the train to Salt Lake. After the train came here in Heber, they started to go up Provo Canyon the train.

I remember when there was just the East and West Wards. The Stake house up here was finished the year I was born. I used to have a boy friend, his dad was a rock mason, when they were building this Stake house so I heard my folks talk about it. When we were young fellows this boy used to always tell me he used to work with his dad on this Stake House, so we would have a place to go to church. He said he helped to carry the rock and haul in the mud to his dad. The sign right up here now on the Stake House, right up to the top says 1887. I was a little older than this other boy that was telling me he worked on it and it was build the year I was born.

Wild Horse Ride

About once a week all the guys would run cattle around here. There was always somebody riding horses and they would break horses. They come right up here on Main Street in front of the old courthouse and Stake House, that Hatch Block. That east side of Main Street was all Hatch on that one block, just little business houses all the way down that street. There was a restaurant or two and a taylor shop, barber shop, and President Hatch lived on the farther corner at one time before he got his new house built up here. I remember when they added on the north half of the A. Hatch and Company Store. They had big doorways, up there big entrances. People would stand in them and people would come up there and break their horses and ride them up and down that street. Buck them up and down that street. You would see some good riding when I was a kid. I used to figure 1 could ride any horse that was built and my neighbors when we lived up just east of the Central School where LaVern Fisher's home is now. Gale Fisher LaVern's husband, lives just across the street. We were boys together. They had a beg sorrel horse nobody had been able to ride. One Sunday after church they wanted me to go ride this horse. It was winter time. I never even stopped to put on my boots or anything. I just had on a pair of little shoes. I went over and saddled that horse up and got him out in the back yard. There was about two feet of snow. I piled on him and he never even made a buck, he just trotted around the yard. Finally I took a bunch of kids for a sleigh ride. We got two or three kids on sleds and I wrapped the rope around the horn and went out Main Street quite a ways out to Dan Baird's place and up around and back down past the 5th East Road up there east of town and came back down on the last street. I wanted that horse to come down another block, down the way where a kid was sitting on the fence waiting for us. He didn't want to go, it was snow on top of the ice and streets were icy. I didn't even have spurs on but I hooked my heals and gouged that horse in the ribs a couple of times and he started to run sideways, and his feet went out from under him. He fell down, this leg went down through the stirrup and the horse just threw me out full length and my foot held me in the stirrup and the horse started to scramble to get up and finally I got a hold of the horn of the saddle and with one hand and I got my other leg up over him and got practically up on him when he fell again. That time he just slid me out there so far that I couldn't get back to him and he got up and started to run. He run for one block right straight north. We lived down on the corner below and he tried to make that turn and we just build a high board fence around that east half of the lot. That fence was five boards up, a board on the slant on the top of the post. He hit that and run into a grove of trees, went right through that board fence, fell right back across me and was laying right on me, I tried to get my pocket knife out of my pocket and I couldn't use that arm, couldn't get it into my pocket at all, I thought well it wouldn't do me any good because I just remembered I had lent it in school the day before and hadn't got it back. That horse got up and run down through the lot again and they caught him down through the block. They thought I was dead, but I was breathing they said. My brother jacked a gate across the fence and they rolled me on that old gate and carried me to the house and got the doctor. I still got the arm branded. One arm was branded, my lip cut and 14 stitches taken in my eyebrow. He drug me a block and a half. They told me they measured the jumps that horse made and they were twenty foot jumps.

When I was a boy I done any kind of work that was available. After I grew up kinds. I used to work for Uncle Hebe Moulton over here on the corner. He had two or three hundred head of cattle and I took care of his cattle, helped with the farm and He had n bunch of dairy cows. We had to milk them and take care of them, it was just part if life, I guess.

Coal Mining

We didn't have any coal in this valley even after the train started to come in. Just once in awhile we would have a car of coal come in and we would go down there with our sacks and get a sack of coal on a little sled, or wagon, or somebody would take their team and get a few sacks of it. So they got me and some other fellows to go out to Current creek and open a mine. They had prospected it and there was coal out there. Elisha Cummings was the general supervisor of it and he rode a big horse named "Jim." I had a team of horses on the wagon. It was dry here but we knew we would have to have sleds before we got up to the head of Lake Creek, so we had our sleds piles on top of the wagon. George Dernel, he later became Sheriff of Wasatch county, and a man by the name of Ed Perkins were going to do the mining and John Lloyd was going to do the cooking for us. So we left here one morning and went part way up into Lake Creek and spent the night. The next day before night came we were stranded in snow clear up to our horses waist, and had two teams hooked up to sleds. The horses would push that snow until their chests would get so sore they would just quit. Finally we took our bedding and put it around the horses' chests and front legs. We got a little farther that night before it got dark. I killed a briar chicken that flew up off a log. I had my pistol under my seat. I just reached under and grabbed it and took that chicken's head off. Somebody called to Elisha Cummings, "Frans just shot a chicken." He said, "Why didn't he wait for me, I would have killed it for him." they said, "You couldn't have killed it any nicer than he did, he just took his head right off."

We got supper ready. Mr. Lloyd had to go out after dark. The snow was deep out there. He walked out where there was just a crust out over a willow bush and he fell down the side of' it. There was no way for him to get out because it `as just like a big bucket. Inside there frosted over. He finally hollered and hollered until we heard him and went out and cut a big tree and laid over the top of it and put a rope down for him to get on and then we pulled him up and out. If we would have gotten close to the edge of it, we would have all been down in that hole in the snow. So we had to turn around and come back the next morning. We never did go back out that year, but later on they sent me out again. I had four head of horses, but it was so soft and wet the wagon would just get a load on it and sink down to the axle. You couldn't come out with anything. Finally I had to unload it all and come out without anything. So they never did open up the mine after that.

Chase, Tom and I were the first to have the Ford Agency here in Heber City. Ford was built in 1912. We sold quite a few Ford cars around. I done practically the big end of the selling and anytime I sold a car to anybody I had to teach them how to drive it and see that they got home okay. I had to go to their places and start it. That was the Model T. Then they came out with the Model A. Then they came out with the new type cars completely.

I had three brothers and three sisters, in fact, I had four brothers, but one died when he was a baby. I think my wife and I have really been blessed. Vera and I raised a family and all of our children are married and have families. We have never lost a child in our family We have never had any real serious thing happen to any of them. Our children are Jack, Afton, and Helen. My brothers and sisters are Josie Todd, William, Lillie, Chase, myself, Lyle and Ton. My brothers and I, after mother and dad separated we kinda lost interest in the church completely. For a long while I quit going to church entirely. I used to take a very active part in the church when I was younger and I really enjoyed it, but when father and mother separated and we didn't get anything we didn't even get a home to live in. I was quite bitter.


Dad was such a religious man, they figured there was one man in Wasatch County that was more well read in the history of the church than he was, very religious. It just kinda hit us in the wrong way. I used to smoke cigars every day; it has been about 25 years since I had a smoke. I used to drink. I used to go out to John Anderson's and sit in his store and have a drink or two and smoke a cigar. I used to go out and have a party every once in awhile. I quit smoking and I have not had a drink for a number of' years. I was ordained a High Priest and I have kinda been thinking of my life over again and I try to go to my Priesthood meetings every Sunday. Of course, I'm an old man and sometimes it's hard to get up and go, but I don't very often miss any.

I often think of my dad and remember what my mother told me before she died. "Forgive your dad for anything that you are holding against him, don't blame him for things because he couldn't help it. It wasn't his fault because certain things entered into the picture, the law, the officers, and everyone else the first family. We could expect him to give up `his first wife, or his second family or the third or any of them. He had to quit living with all but his first one."

"Just forget things."

I remember what an older fellow used to tell me, "Just forget things. Lots of times you get your feelings hurt thinking somebody has insulted you and done it on purpose, but if you don't go to that man and find out if he had dome it on purpose or not, maybe you are holding a grudge you are not entitled to hold." He said, "Maybe"he didn't intend to hurt you or your feelings, maybe you took something for granted." He said, "You want to go to the other man that hurt your feelings and find out if he meant it. Sometimes they say that life is a one way street that you cannot retread. Even though you can undo some of the things that are said and done, you can' t go back and change the things that are. It's happened and it's there. You could apologize and beg people's forgiveness for what you have done and maybe they will forgive you, but back there in their minds it is still there. A lot of times time is the healer of all things.