Eli A. Day Sr., my father, was born September 23, 1856 in Springville, Utah, to Abraham E. and Charlotte Katherine Melland Day, a second wife. In 1860, when he was 4 years old, the family moved to Mt. Pleasant where they were among the early pioneers. His father was a Farmer who provided well for his family but never accumulated much wealth.

 

Father grew up much as other boys of the time, His mother encouraged him to get all the schooling he could, which was not very much, and also to learn and live up to all the principles of the church.

 

A detailed history of his youth is in another history I have written.

 

His mother died when he was 16 years old and he and his sister, Flavilla went to live with the family of the first wife. They lived here for about two years when she had trouble with some of the boys and she and Eli left to live with their older sister Dora Johnson. His brother in law Gustaff Johnson was always very good to him and helped him out all he could.

 

In the summer of 1875 his bishop asked him if he would like to go to the University of Deseret for one year to prepare to teach in the school at Mt. Pleasant, and said the ward would help him out financially. His father also promised to help him out and he eagerly accepted the offer, but the only help he ever got from either source, was being taken to Salt Lake City by Bishop Seeley, along with his own son, and securing a place for him to live where he could work for his board.

 

At this time the University was back in the middle of the block, south of the temple block, and the faculty consisted of Dr. John R. Park Pres. With J. B. Toronto, F.M. Bishop, and Karl G. Maeser making up the faculty. He overcame many difficulties and only by strong determination was he able to finish out the year, but on the 9th of June,1876, he was graduated and given a diploma from the Norma Dept. and also one from the English Language and Literature Dept.

 

That fall he was wade principal of the Mt. Pleasant school where he instituted several new ideas in teaching. His pay was to be $3 per pupil, per quarter, but he had to collect it himself, if he could.

 

In the mean time he fell in love with a popular young lady, Eliza Jane Staker, daughter of Nathan and Eliza Staker, hardy Utah pioneers. They were married in the St. George Temple June 19th, 1878 soon after the temple was dedicated and they lived in Mt. Pleasant till 1883.

 

That spring the church called him to go to Indianola, an Indian rown 12 miles north of Fairview. to teach the Indians, but after a few months the venture was abandoned.

 

When he go back to Mt. Pleasant he found they had hired another man as principal of the school and he accepted a Position as principal at Fairview, 6 miles to the north. He bought a lot with a two room log house on it, and moved his wife and three little girls into it.

 

This was the only permanent home he had for the rest of his life.

 

At this time polygamy was being practiced by members of the church and father and one of his teachers, Elvira Euphrasia Cox, fell in love and decided to marry. Father built an addition of three rooms on to the house and with the consent of his first wife they were married in the Logan Temple on July 2, 1884 and she moved in the home with the first wife. Where they lived for some time.

 

As the government had passed a law against polygamy, the U.S. Marshals began hounding him and all other men living thus, and it made it impossible for father to hold his position in the Fairview school. and for several years he had to make a living as best, he could while eluding the marshals.

 

His father had sold out in Mt. Pleasant and moved to Emery County where he located in Lawrence. Father went over there and worked with him sending what money he could and keeping in touch with his families by messengers crossing the mountains, and at times going secretly himself on horse back to see them, but it was a very unhappy time for all of them. Finally he decided to give himself up and about November 1, 1888. He was taken to the state penitentiary at Salt Lake City, where he served for five months.

 

After he returned home the marshals continued to hound him so he moved to Emery Co. and took the position as principal of the Emery Stake Academy at Castle Dale for the year 90 and 91. His first wife now had four girls and one boy, Estella 11, Ellis 7, Geneva 5. Dora 3 and Eli Jr 1. The second wife had Orville 5, Earl 3, and Elva 1. Elva died during the year at Castle Dale. The 2nd wife moved to Cleveland where she taught school.

 

Near the end of the school year a U.S. Marshal appeared on the scene again and served papers on father, but there was something wrong with the way they had his name and father refused to go with him. They went to the bishop of the town and he agreed with father that the name was wrong and the marshal left on horse back to go back to Provo to get things straightened out. Father immediately, took his team and wagon and picked up his 2nd wife and the two boys, what provisions they could take, and started off for Moab across the desolate eastern Utah desert. Orville by this time was 6 yrs. old and he told me he remembered some things about the trip very well. Twice they got stalled pulling out of the Price river which they had to ford of course, and only after unloading the wagon did they manage to pull out. They went to Moab and on to Mancos Colorado where he worked at a lumber mill for about a year.

 

The first wife was left to look after herself and children at Castledale but she managed to get to Mt. Pleasant and then to her home at Fairview. I have no idea how she managed to care for herself and family but I suppose father sent some money home to her.

 

Again things were so very unhappy for all of them that in Dec. 1892 father again decided to face it and came home. He was again arrested and taken back to the pen for another 3 months.

 

After he got home this time, they took over a lot where grandma Cox was living in a small log house, and father built a frame house on it for the second wife to live in, and it seems that there was no more trouble from the law.

 

He secured 60 acres of land southeast of Fairview and near the foot hills which he developed and got irrigation water to it, so he could farm it successfully, and here he raised mostly alfalfa to feed dairy cows and in this way helped a lot with the living costs of his large family. He also managed to get a teaching position each year, although not very often at home, and all the boys and girl had to do a lot of work milking cows etc., to keep things going while he was away or when he had leave very early each morning to get to his school several miles from home.

 

Some disagreements developed between the families and at times some bad feelings, but nothing serious. We boys worked together on the farm and got along very well.

 

About this time dry farming became popular and father purchased 160 acres of land on the hills north west of Fairview and homesteaded another 160 adjoining, which he developed as fast as he could, and here he raised grain which helped in the feeding of all kinds of stock.

 

About 1897 or 98 a man from Springville, by the name of James Hall, started traveling around the state holding secret prayer circles. He seems to have had much success in the healing of the sick and it evidently went to his head, so against the advice of the church authorities he was holding these meetings.

 

He came to Fairview and aunt Euphrasia was one rho fell for his line, and against father's wishes attended his meetings. She told father at this time that she was very disappointed in him. She was very sure at the time of their marriage that he would soon become an apostle and now she was going to kill her love for him just as fast as she could. Father told me this himself. I do not know whether he told it to anyone else or not.

 

One night she came very late from one of these meetings and told Father that Brother Hall had walked home with her and before telling her goodnight, put his arms around her and wanted to kiss her, and said surely there could be nothing wrong in kissing such a good man. Of course at this father blew up and forbade her to ever see this man again or attend any of his meetings. She replied that it was none of his business and she would do as she pleased. This resulted in her leaving him and it happened on the first day of January 1900.

 

A fair division of all property was made. Part of the dairy cows had been kept at each home and they remained this way. Twenty acres of the land east of Fairview was offered to her, but she did not want it, so he paid her for it.

 

At this time she had three boys and one girl. Orville was 15, Earl 13, Eriel I think 9, and Heloise about 7. She moved to Provo and made this their home for a number of years. I do not know how they made their living but I suppose they had a pretty hard time.

 

Orville and Eriel both worked their way thru school and graduated from the B.Y.A. (it was at that time). Earl went out into the Uinta country. He never married and died quite young. I do not know where he is buried. Eriel moved up into Oregon and married but I do not know that he ever had any children. He was an invalid for several years before his death. Heloise, the only living member of the family, lives in Mesa, Ariz. She is a very fine and talented woman but I do not know too much about her.

 

We all know what a fine man Orville was and of the wonderful and of the wonderful, large family he has raised. Also about his being one of the greatest genealogists of the church. He did a great work in building up the community where he raised his family and will long be remembered, not only for the work he did, but for the stamp his family will make in this community.

 

I have written this giving the facts as best I can and I hope it will possibly add to the knowledge of the members of my family, and an appreciation of some of the hardships father and his families had to go thru.

 

Eli A. Day Jr.

 

Day, Eli Azariah. History of Eli A. Day, Sr. Courtesy of www.olson.net