Saturday, December 2, 2017
A Biography of Hyrum Isaac Wright
by Donald Wright Written on the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth. The last one hundred years have been marvelous. Historians agree that these years have witnessed the most fabulous changes of any period in history. Every field of learning and knowledge has shown changes that stagger the mind. But among all these changes no one is greater than brought by a baby that was just four days old, one hundred years ago today. He has become a family of two hundred and thirty people. It was one hundred years ago on March 26, 1856, that stalwart English mother, Charlotte Smith, nestled her new born son by her side in a modest home in Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire, England. Near her beside, John Wright, a small Englishman beamed with pride at the new son. He was not the first of their children, two preceded him, William and Anne, but both had died as small children. The joyful couple were full of hope that this son would grow to manhood and perpetuate the name they bore. It was with happy hearts, that they took their baby to the Latter-day Saint Church, which they had joined less than two years before, and there they heard the Elders promise the child a long life, and give him the name of Hyrum Isaac Wright. But even their fondest dreams probably did not foresee the four score years that the son would live, not the large number of descendants he would leave to carry on that name. It was a humble home in which he grew, but there was love present, so he grew strong in body, mind, and spirit. Nor was he lonely, for there were more children. Three years later a little brother. John was born and then two sisters, Hannah and Sarah Anne, but both died in early childhood, one of them on the plains while the family was coming to Utah. John Wright wanted to take his family to Zion in the mountains of Western United States. And so, in 1863, he moved his family from the east to the west of England where he established a temporary home at Liverpool. The joy of this faithful father and mother was unbounded when with their three children, they boarded the ship, Arkwright, bound for America in June 1866. Seven weeks and five days later, they landed in New York, and then traveled by train to Omaha, Nebraska. From here they went by ox team across the plains with Hyrum, then ten years old, walking most of the way.. They traveled in Captain Hall's Company and arrived in Great Salt Lake City on October 8, 1866. This made father a Utah pioneer. They moved on to Pleasant Grove, Utah where Hyrum's grandfather, John Smith, lived. Here they moved into a little log house that was situated on the West Side of the road just south of what is now the City Park. During the winters Hyrum attended school for a short time, but in the summer he took charge of a large herd of cows for the community. He gathered them up in the morning and took them out on the foothills to graze, and then returned with them each evening. While living in Pleasant Grove another brother. James, and two sisters, Harriet (Aunt Hattie) and Letisha (Aunt Tisshy) were born into the family. When Hyrum was fifteen his father moved the family to a farm in Lindon, they called Stringtown. As he grew, father worked about for others. He spent sometime in the canyons cutting timber for sawmills. He worked at Bear Flat where Mutual Dell is now located in American Fork Canyon. Thomas Wooley baptized father into the Church in 1867. He was ordained a priest in the Church in 1874, and a high priest in 1905. His religion always meant much to him, and he was still active as a special missionary to do temple work until three years before his death. He married Annie Elizabeth Harper, a daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Phipps Harper, in 1876. He built a number of houses and farmed to support his wife and their family of ten children. When his wife died he married Mary Jane Bezzant, daughter of Matthew and Maria Ann Cook Bezzant. Their family consisted of six sons and daughter, making a total of sixteen children on this family tree. The old family home, which he built, still stands on the bend of the road one half mile west of the foot of Lindon Hill. His brother John lived at the top of the sand hill some distance away, and brother, Jim, lived at the third corner of a triangle, about the same distance. The brothers used to call one another from their barnyards and fields and talk long distance without the benefit of a telephone. Father always provided a happy home for his family. He loved to have company, although he himself did not care to visit others much. It seemed others liked to come to his home, for company was almost always there. His children felt free to bring their friends and knew that they would always be welcomed. Dad loved to have them around. The only time he would interfere with activities, whether of this family or of the guests, was when they started to argue about a game. He would not tolerate that. While on his farm at Lindon there was always, in season, a barrel of sweet cider, and at both Lindon and Pleasant Grove the apple bins were well filled in the fall for a treat for the visitors during the winter. A brass band was organized in Pleasant Grove while father was still a young man, and he was chosen to play the Bass horn. It was the first band organized in the area and would play for celebrations and programs. He had one of the first phonographs in the community in his home. It played round cylinder records, and had a large horn like the advertisement for Victrola where the dog sits and listens to his master's voice. The neighbors used to come in and listen to it and enjoy an evening in father's home. He also had one of the early cars in the area, a large seven passenger Studebaker. All the children remember it, and the younger ones remember the rides they used to take in it with their friends always welcome to go along. Dads enjoyed seeing others enjoy themselves. He was an active worker and promoter for old folk’s day. His horses and surrey were busy the whole day hauling older folks to the celebration. He liked family reunions. The memory of those reunions held in the old Lindon Hall will always live in the memory of his children and older grandchildren. One of the last times father was out to any type of an activity was the family reunion held at the time of his eightieth birthday, and he was thrilled by it. In his youth and early manhood he was a large man with a full sand brown beard, but the years of hard work took their toll on his size and those of us who remember him in his declining years remember hit as a rather small, white haired man with a white mustache. He was a typical "grandfather" type man - small, quiet, reserved, and lovable. He was quiet. He never had a lot to say, but there was an inward peace in his nature that seemed to radiate and take possession of others. Even little children and babies were affected by it. Often when no one else could quiet a crying baby, father would take it and the child would settle right down. Children loved him, and he loved them. As a young man he worked at the Levandahl Nursery in the Jordan Valley in Salt Lake. Later he established a nursery of his own at Lindon. Through his work in the nursery, he imported many varieties of fruits and berries into Utah. Among them were the Alberta and J. M. Hale peaches, the June berry, Cuthbert and Mulburo raspberries, and many varieties of flowers. He developed the strawberry apple, and the "Ike Wright" potato, which he raised from potato seed. He liked to try different things. At one time he raised blue ground cherries and had a hazelnut grove on his farm at Lindon. He raised peanuts on his place at Pleasant Grove. Father was a member of the water board that filed on the hollow water in Lindon, and the source of irrigation's water for that town. He sold his farm in 1919, and moved to a small fruit farm across the road from the Pleasant Grove Central School. He raised choice fruits and flowers. His reputation as a gardener spread and his flowers were widely known. Prizes at flower shows and fairs came to him. Some who later gained fame as florists learned the fundamentals of raising flowers from him. He spent sometime during his last years as custodian of the third ward church I Pleasant Grove. He took special pride in the grounds. He planted all the trees and supervised the planting of the lawns. He kept a special place for the raising of roses. These grounds, under his care became one of the show places of the city. He also raised chickens at Pleasant Grove. The same desire to find new and improved types kept him constantly importing new varieties of the birds. The younger children remember with nostalgia the "Wyndottes," the "Anconas," and the "Monocas." All different varieties of chickens. John, his son, tells of one occasion when this desire for new chickens proved costly. John had traded some trees for a pair of Indian game birds. When he took them home, Dad told him he would keep them. When John asked what he should do with them, Dad told him just to throw them in the pen with some of the choice Rhode Island Reds. John warned that the rooster would fight the fine big rooster that he prized, but he was told to go ahead and put them in. When they came out later, the big red rooster was dead, and John's gamecock was standing on him crowing. All was not pleasure in the life of father. He mourned at the burial of his first wife, his six children, his mother and father, and all his brothers and sisters except two. Early in 1936, father became ill, and had to give up active work. He was then eighty years old, and this was probably the first time that he had not actively engaged in some work during his adult life. By June of that year he was bedfast except for short periods. One January 1, 1937 about fifteen minutes past midnight, his spirit left his body, and he passed into his last earthly sleep. Two days later, January 3, 1937, his funeral services were held in the old Pleasant Grove Stake house. The building was filled with people from the community. Flowers that he had loved in life completely blanketed the speaker's area and the casket. Those who took part in the services were men of respect and repute in Lindon and Pleasant Grove. His body was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Hyrum Isaac Wright, by Emily Wright. Hyrum I. Wright, son of John and Charlotte Smith Wright, was born in Lincolnshire, England, March 26, 1856. When he was four years of age, his parents moved to Lanconshire [Lincolnshire?] and lived there during the cotton famine. In the year 1863, they moved to Liverpool. During the three years they lived in Liverpool, father worked as a brick layer. In June 1866, father left with his parents for America, sailing on the ship Orkwright [Arkwright]. After seven weeks, and five days on the ocean, they landed at New York and traveled by railroad to Omaha, Neb. From Omaha they came by ox team across the plains to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 8, 1866. On Oct. 10th they came to Pleasant Grove where Father's grandparents lived. A log house served as their first home in Zion and it was indeed a happy one. Father attended school a small part of each winter, his different teachers were William Frampton, his mother, and Liza Brown. In1868 until 1871, Father took charge of large herds of cows. Each morning, he would gather up the cows around the town and take them onto the hills to feed during the day. In Oct. 1871, the family moved to a farm in Lindon. His parents made their home here as long as they lived. Father was baptized by Thomas Wooley in1867 and ordained a Priest in 1874. For three years while yet as youth father worked in the United Order. At the age of 20 he married Annie Elizabeth Harper, and to this union there were ten children, eight sons and two daughters. Five sons are living. Father built the home now owned by the William Keetch family and lived there for seven years. He then built a new home at the place he started the Lindon Nursery. It was at this home his wife died May 18, 1895. He was remarried to Mary Bezzant one year later. Six more children were added to his family through this union. He continued with farming and nurserying until he moved to Pleasant Grove in 1919. Father was ordained a High Priest in 1905. He was chairman of the Irrigation Water Co. for 15 years. Through his efforts in the nursery business, he imported many new varieties of fruits among which are the Elberta peach and Cuthbert and Mullburo Raspberry, and many varieties of flowers. He has always been a great lover of flowers and takes much joy in working in them, and in this way he makes the world a more beautiful and happy place for all his associates. Hyrum died January l, 1937 at 12:10 a.m. in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He had reached the age of 80 years and had always enjoyed good health except the last year of his life.