John Hardy Memorial Hike 2015

My Life So Far

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Martin E Anderson

Today (and later also and this has been updated) the challenge was to find out what was true about my grandfather Martin E Anderson and what was not.  It only reiterates the importance of journals. If only more had been written about what he was doing and when, it would not be such a puzzle.


At the end of the day I think we concluded he was not the original builder of the Brigham City Tabernacle as that was in 1879 but he was probably a part of the restoration in 1897--which I have now determined was probably as a carpenter.  He had been farming down in the Beaver area but as I researched our history I found in Benjamin Lillywhite's  history,  who was Martin's father-in-law and who owned 40 acres near Beaver, that they had failed crops in 1895 and 1896 and so in 1897 they moved to Brigham City where his son Joseph was.



Steven found in the Stoneys history that a granddaughter reported going to 'Aunt Jane Anderson's' house in Riverside in 1897.  This is 20 miles from Brigham City and we think Martin was looking for a new work, too and so moved up there and used his skills up there on this job.  It may be where he got his experience for becoming a contractor on later tabernacles.


It appears that the birth of  Arlow in 1898 in Beaver was probably in error as his tombstone does not even list where he was born.   After all this birthplace was determined many years after Arlow passed away and we think he may have reported his birth place in error also on his marriage certificate.  He may not have known he was born in Riverside.  Kind of makes sense.   They are reported to have been in Idaho in summer of 1900 and then in Brigham City where another baby (Lorin) was born and they stayed there until 1918 when they moved to Salt Lake City.



In a newspaper clipping that Steven found it was reported he has received the contractor job for the Blackfoot, Id Tabernacle and Dad tells about the boys all going up to Blackfoot to work on it in 1919 and 1920 and it was completed in 1921.  The family moved to Blackfoot in the summer of 1921. However I read that Hyrum Pope was the architect.  Martin E Anderson's name is listed as the architect and builder of the Malad, Id in 1914-15 and as the contractor of the Garland, Ut Tabernacle in 1913.  Steve thinks this listing him as a architect is also in error as the building so resembles two others done by another architect and we cannot determine how he could have ever gotten training as an architect.  However, in those days there was no licensing needed to be a contractor, it was something you learned through experience.



Steve Thayne also found he built several buildings in Eureka, Ut (now a ghost town).  The BPOE building was the major building there.  See below.  Steve also found clippings showing he built several of the schools in the area, a new home for the family in 1912 and the 3rd Ward building which they moved into in 1911-12.  I have a complete list from all the clippings in Utah.  We do not have all he may have built Idaho.






When he starting building and where he got the education for it, we do not know.  We know he started as a ranch worker when he was 14 and was working on a ranch when he met his wife Mary Jane Lillywhite in 1891.  He could certainly learn how to be a carpenter working on a ranch and they built their own homes.  It all makes sense that he developed his building and contracting skills as a new way to earn a living.  I read that many of the farmers were contracting with the railroad building just to keep their families from starving in Southern Utah.



With all the clippings Steven sent me I was able to do a timeline on all his building and it was quite a lot.  In 1923 his little daughter Mary, age 7 died, and they brought her from Idaho to Brigham City to bury.   Another daughter Maurine married in 1927 in Blackfoot, Id so they were probably in Blackfoot at least until then but we have no information as to what buildings he might have built after 1921.  The census does show them in Blackfoot in 1930.



It should probably be noted here that Mary Jane, Martin's wife, had her first baby at 18 and her last one at age 43!  Her first daughter at age 25 was married the same year Mary Jane had her last baby.  I wish I knew more about what went on in that home.


They lived their last years in southern California at Hawthorne near relatives and Martin died in 1936 at Thanksgiving time.  Dave says he remembers that they (Dad and Dick and Dave) had come home from hunting and Mom told Dad that his father had passed away and Dad went upstairs to pack to go to the funeral in Brigham City.


In 1939 we visited Mary Jane, his wife, who was living with a daughter in Boise, Id.  She had had her legs amputated at the knee because of diabetes.  Her youngest daughter at that time would have only been 21 and had just married the year before in California.  The daughter she was living with (Nettie Dahlstrom) died in 1943, two years before Mary Jane died in 1945!


Marilyn and Jeanne both remember on this 1939 trip that our Dad drove us around in his car and showed them the buildings and houses his father had built in Brigham City and Marilyn thinks he also did the same thing in Blackfoot!

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