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Full text of "William Jex, pioneer and patriarch"

EUROPEAN MISSION LIBRARY No. ^3^ , ^^. 



?8 



WILLIAM JEX 

Pioneer and Patriarch 



PREFACE 

The life stories of our pioneers should be pre- 
served. Many times during the long evenings 
of winter and on sundry occasions the children 
of William and Eliza Goodson Jex have listened 
with interest and inspiration to the teachings 
and pioneer experiences of their parents, until 
these things have become a part of their lives 
and they have felt it one of their greatest obliga- 
tions to preserve for their family records written 
accounts of the same. 

It is with this thought that this little volume 
was prepared for publication by their son and 
issued by the family. A similar booklet was pre- 
viously published for their mother, and it is 
hoped that these brief booklets will express in a 
limited way the appreciation of the children for 
their worthy parents. 



Published by 

THE SPANISH FORK PRESS 

Spanish Fork, Utah 



rs a LEE Hef^^'^'' 




WILLIAM AND ELIZA GOODSON JEX 




h 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



INTRODUCTION 

''Take my yoke upon yon and learn of me, for I am 
meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest for yonr 
souls." 

Few men have observed more faithfully this divine 
injunction of the Master's than the subject of this sketch. 

William Jex has always been known and recognized 
by his numerous friends and associates as a humble and 
meek man and a sincere follower of the Christ. This does 
not imply that he was in any degree a weak or effemi- 
nate character, but rather that he could exercise, under 
all circumstances, self-control and steadfastly uphold the 
right. He fittingly ranks among the noble men of the 
earth by virtue of his honesty and sterling integrity. 
His numerous posterity through all generations of time 
will have cause to call him blessed. His voice has not been 
heard in legislative halls; he has seldom appeared on the 
rostrum; he has never posed as an author or poet, but in 
the humbler walks of life, he will rank with the "Abou 
Ben Adhems'' of all time. 

He may be classed with those of whom the Master 
said: 

''Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the 
earth. 

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God.. 

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be 
called the children of God." 

oOo 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patnarch 



William Jex, son of William and Ann Ward Jex, 
was born in the parish of Crostwick, County of Norfolk, 
England, September 5th, 1831. Besides William, there 
were four other children in the Jex family, namely: 
Eichard, born August 7th, 1823; Ann, born August 6th, 
1826; John, born November 9th, 1832, and a twin brother 
of John, who died at birth. 

The death of William Jex, Senior occurred when 
William, Junior, was but seven years of age. This was 
on November 9th, 1839. The death occurred suddenly, 
he being ill but a few hours. A profound impression was 
left upon the mind of young William by the sudden de- 
parture of his father. In speaking of the matter he says: 

"The first thing of importance that happened in our 
family that I well remember was the death of my father. 
I recall having seen his body borne from the house upon 
the shoulders of four men." 

But often the things we regard as our greatest cal- 
amities in life, without our knowing it, prove our great- 
est blessings. Whether the death of the elder Jex had 
anything to do with shaping the character of the young- 
er William must forever remain a speculation. But the 
father's untimely death left the family with little to de- 
pend upon in the way of support. The grief of the moth- 
er was great. Often she gathered the children about her 
in tender solicitude and prayed to the Lord for the help 
she so much needed, and for His blessings to attend her 
fatherless children. 

These lessons of devotion made a lasting impression 
on young William. Somehow, too, the help came for 
which the mother prayed, and so, almost unconsciously, 
the children learned to rely upon God in their hour of 
need. Kind neighbors came to the aid of the little fam- 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



ily, while from the parish came "one stone of flour," 
(14 pounds) and two shillings six pence (60c) per week. 
But it was the good mother, who, by taking in washings, 
supplied the greater part of the financial support needed. 
Eichard, the oldest boy, was able to earn 1 shilling 2 
pence (28c) per week, and soon, also, the other children 
found employment and so added their mite to the fam- 
ily income. In this way, by the strictest economy, the 
family was able to maintain itself. 

Placing the children at work at such an early age 
was by no means the greatest calamity that could have 
befallen them, notwithstanding all that is said now-a- 
days to the contrary. Work makes children independent, 
it gives them resjjonsibility, places them on their mettle, 
teaches them the value of labor and the value of money, 
and helps to keep them out of mischief. 

In one of the paragraphs in Mr. Jex's autobiography 
he says: 

•'At that time we had no lamps, cooking stoves, or 
matches; we had to make a fire by means of a piece of 
steel, a flint and burnt rags, which we called a tinder 
box. It often took a long time to get a spark, or to light 
a candle with a chip which had been dipped in brim- 
stone." 

By way of comparison, one may conclude that not 
least among the influences that has marked the life of 
William Jex is the ''light'' that came to him through 
the difficulties and experiences gained thus early in life 
by having to "earn his bread by the sweat of his face." 

"When I was eight years of age," he wrote, ''I went 
to work, or was 'hired out' to a farmer of the town to 
scare crows off the field. My wage, or salary, was one 
shilling, (24c) per week, and I had to board myself. 

Two years after the death of William's father, his 

10 



1 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

mother married again, this time to a man by the name of 
William Osborne. He proved to be a kind husband, and 
was an industrious man. Through his help, the financial 
conditions of the home were somewhat improved, and it 
was arranged that William should get a few weeks' 
schooling. As it turned out, the word ''few" was well 
chosen, since the arrangement lasted but six weeks in 
all. In that time he learned the combination sounds of 
the letters ''ab" and "eb" and a few others. He was 
also introduced to the mysteries of the alphabet. That 
was all. 

Having thus finished his education, he was again 
put out to service, this time to a man named Howlett, 
from whom he drew I shilling 6 pence (36c) per week, 
with an increase in a few weeks to 48c per week. Anoth- 
er increase brought the amount up to 72 cents per week. 
Later, he earned from this gentleman a yearly wage of 
$12.50 and board, which after the expiration of the first 
year, was increased to $15.00 and board. In October, 
1849, he entered the employ of a Mr. Bowen for one year, 
at a salary of five pounds sterling ($25.) Two years later 
he returned to the employ of his old master, Mr. Howlett, 
as "first man" and received as compensation 8 pounds 
sterling ($40) per year. This position he retained for 
two years. 

It was during the last employment that he first came 
in contact with the Latter-day Saints, or "Mormons" as 
they were called. His mother, brother, and sister had 
previously heard and accepted the faith of the Mormon 
Church. Soon after his brother Richard was ordained 
an elder in the Church and was called to preside over the 
Crostwick Branch. He filled the position with signal 
honor, and was greatly beloved by the mefmbers of the 
church. Many accepted the new faith and the Crostwick 

11 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



branch became a strong organization under the leader- 
ship of Kichard Jex, who continued to hold his position 
until the time of his death, which occurred in the fall of 

1850. 

The first Mormon meeting that William attended 
was at Norwich, where he went accompanied by his 
young friend and master, Mr. Howlett, Jr. This was on 
the 10th of March, 1853. These two young men were de- 
termined to see and hear for themselves, 'Ho know of 
the doctrine," as Christ taught. They were profound- 
ly impressed with this first meeting. A young woman 
spoke in tongues and many of the members bore testi- 
mony of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet 
and to the restoration of the Gospel. All of this was both 
new and strange to the two friends, but it appealed to 
them as being in keeping with the teachings of Holy 
Writ. After the meeting they talked the matter over 
further, and concluded to apply for baptism, ''but not 
until we were fully convinced it was right,'' writes Mr. 
Jex in his autobiography. They felt that they had suf" 
ficiently investigated the teachings of the church to be 
convinced of its truth. They were accordingly baptized 
by Elder James Woods, in the baptismal fount in the 
chapel yard, and were confirmed members of the Church 
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Shortly afterward William was ordained a Priest in 
the Church by Elder John Hyde, president of the Nor- 
wich conference. He and his young friend attended the 
meetings as often as circumstances would permit. Their 
minds soon began to expand and to be enlightened by the 
Spirit of Truth. They were very happy and greatly ap- 
preciated their new found faith. 

One of the peculiarities of Mormonism is the prin- 
ciple of "gathering," the spirit of which seems to come 

12 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

upon its converts as soon as they have accepted the faith. 
This spirit now began to influence William and his friend, 
and they were soon making plans to join the Saints 
in the New World. Their means were limited, however, 
but their faith was strong and they prayed earnestly to 
the Lord that He would make it possible for them to 
emigrate to Zion. 

The young man, Horace Howlett, friend of William, 
and youngest son of a family of fourteen children, de- 
termined to ask his father, who was wealthy, for aid to 
finance his emigration to America. When his father 
learned that his son had become a convert to Mormonism, 
he became very angry and vowed that he would not give 
him a shilling, and said he would rather have had him 
join any church but those '* wicked Mormons." Horace 
was ridiculed by his brothers and sisters for joining the 
unpopular sect, but nothing daunted, continued to bear 
his testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel he had 
received, and vigorously to maintain the righteousness 
of his cause. 

Horace's action in joining the Mormon faith con- 
tinued to be a source of displeasure to the members of 
the Howlett family, but his persistence and his 
prayers at last brought his father to the promise that if 
he was determined to go to Utah, he, the father, would 
give him forty pounds, ($200,) and disinherit him. On 
the other hand, if he would disavow the ''foolish faith" 
he had accepted, he should share equally with his broth- 
ers and sisters. The son chose the smaller, but better 
part. He accepted the forty pounds. 

William Jex continued in the service of Mr. Howlett 
until October, 1853, when his job expired, after which 
he found employment at odd jobs, earning 1 shilling 6 
pence (36c) per day, and boarding with his mother. 

13 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarcli 



Among others he worked for John Goodson, who was a 
game keeper, and the father of a young woman, Eliza 
Goodson, whom he afterward Inarried. 

By strict economy he managed to save a little money, 
and with the aid of a loan from young Howlett, who had 
secured the forty pounds from his father, he found him- 
self in possession of enough means to emigrate to Utah 
the following spring. Arrangements were made accord- 
ingly, and the two friends booked passage on the first 
vessel sailing for America the following year. 

oOo 



14 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



-IL 



On February 8th, 1854, William took leave of his 
friends and relatives, and in company with his friend, 
Horace Howlett, John Lambert and wife, Eliza Goodson 
Jex, his brother Richard's widow and her child, and other 
members of the Mormon Church, left Crostwick on the 
first lap of that journey which was to prove so memorable 
an epoch in their lives. 

Many Saints joined them at Norwich where they 
took train for Yarmouth, and from there by vessel to 
Hull and thence to Liverpool. On their arrival at the 
latter place they learned that the vessel on which they 
were to sail for America could not leave for two weeks, 
so William and young Howlett found accomodations at a 
boarding house until they could get their berths on the 
vessel, which was not until the 21st day of February. 
They were booked to sail on the following day, February 
22nd, which singularly enough was the anniversary of 
the birth of George Washington, the Father of the Coun- 
try w^hich was to be their future home. What was of 
more importance, so far as the future of William Jex 
was concerned, was the fact that he was that day mar- 
ried to Eliza Goodson Jex, his brother's widow, who 
was to be his companion and helpmate for the next sixty- 
four years; years of trial and hardship; years of joy and 
adversity. 

Eliza Goodson Jex was born in Beeston, Norfolk, Eng- 
land, on the 1st day of January, 1826. She was the daugh- 
ter of John Goodson and Sarah Traxon Smith Goodson. 
Her father was a game-keeper and overseer of an English 
estate. His education was limited to the extent that he 
was hardly able to read or write, yet his position was 
considered, in his day, one of importance and command- 

17 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



ed a good salary. Eliza's mother was a woman of intell- 
igence, and although she, too, had been limited in her 
opportunities of receiving an education, was nevertheless 
very talented and kept an attractive home. In matters 
of religion, the family followed the Church of England, 
in which Eliza was brought up. 

At the age of eleven years, Eliza was left motherless, 
and she had to assume the duties of housekeeper and 
homemaker, since she was the only daughter in the 
family. As a consequence, her education was neglected 
for she "went to school but little," to use her own ex- 
pression. But if her schooling was limited, she developed 
splendidly in her work as a housekeeper which did much 
to fit her for the greater responsibilities of life. 

Among the influences that affected and helped to lay 
the foundation for the qualities of greatness that charac- 
terized the life of Mr. Jex, not the least among them 
were the circumstances that placed upon him, early in 
life, the responsibilities of making his own way in the 
world. A similar cause made Eliza Goodson Jex a great 
and remarkable woman, a fit companion for such a great 
and remarkable man. 

AVhile still conducting her father's home, Eliza be- 
came acquainted with Richard Jex, whom, after a short 
courtship, she married. But their lives together were of 
short duration, for within a year her husband died, and 
she was left a widow. 

She had already become acquainted with a new re- 
ligion being preached in the vicinity of her home, and 
had become sufficiently interested in it to make an in- 
vestigation of this new faith, and having once heard the 
doctrine she saw the "light" revealed, a new vision of 
life, which then took on another aspect. The message 
made a special appeal to her, and she accepted the new 

18 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

faith and became a convert to the doctrines of Mormon- 
ism. 

But, as has so often happened in other cases, both 
before and since, joining the new faith resulted in her 
being ostracised by her family, who refused thereafter 
to have anything to do with her, much to her sorrow. 

As already stated, an acceptance of Mormonism us- 
ually brings with it a desire to gather with the Saints. 
So now, it came into the heart of Eliza Goodson Jex to 
join a party of Saints who were determined to emigrate 
to Zion. The sorrow occasioned by the separation from 
her family and kinsfolks under the circumstances was 
compensated in some measure by the joy she found in 
her new faith. But in matters of religion, as well as in 
other developing processes, there are hardships to be en- 
dured, obstacles to overcome, and trials to be encounter- 
ed. Nothing daunted, however, the saints composing the 
little company faced the difficulties of migration to the 
New World, glad only for the opportunity to make the 
journey. 

As to the details of the voyage and journey, Mrs. Jex 
may tell her own story. First, permit a step backward 
to make the family association a little clearer and then a 
brief account of the voyage and trip to Zion: 

'* Father was very kind to me after my mother's 
death, as were my brothers also. We attended the ser- 
vices of the Church of England. When I was fifteen years 
of age I went to Norwich, and was confirmed a member of 
the church. I had no idea of affiliating myself with any 
other denomination until I heard the Gospel as taught by 
the Mormons, then the desire came to join the people of 
the new faith. 

''When I spoke to my father about the new religion 

19 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



and told him my wish, he became very angry. So, also, 
did my brothers, and where there had heretofore been 
love and sympathy, there now grew a spirit of coldness 
and indifference. Often I heard the remark : ' ' Your death 
would have been preferable to your having been deceived 
by that 'wicked people.' 

''It was not easy to choose between a kind father and 
loving brothers and a new religion, but God showed me 
the way, and His spirit whispered to me that I had found 
the truth. When at last I had made up my mind that it 
was my duty to leave all "for the Gospel's sake,'' as the 
Savior said, my friends advised me not to approach my 
father upon the subject for fear he would not let me go. 
I prayed to the Lord to soften his heart, and I went to him 
and l)ade him good-bye and at the same time bore a 
strong testimony to him that I had found the truth. 

"Shortly afterward a company was formed to emi- 
grate to Zion. After reaching Liverpool we were com- 
pelled to remain there for three weeks for favorable wea- 
ther. It was during this time that I became better ac- 
quainted with my fellow church member, William Jex, 
and we decided to marry. The ceremony was performed 
by Elder Daniel Karns, February 22, 1854, the day the 
"Windemere" began its eventful voyage. 

"Our voyage began on a very rough sea, and so it 
continued throughout the entire journey. We had to be 
shut down in the hatchway and we had an awful time 
before we reached New Orleans, being put on half rations 
and having much sickness and many deaths on the way. 
"Our trip across the plains to Salt Lake Valley was 
also marked by very hard times. Many died of cholera. 
Some children were left fatherless and motherless and 
were dependent on the care of strangers. I was sick most 
of the way, owing no doubt to the severity of the journey. 

20 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



We put our trust in our Heavenly Father, and finally ar- 
rived in the valley of Salt Lake in the latter part of Sep- 
tember, 1854. We had neither food nor money, but we 
found kind friends who furnished us flour upon which to 
live. We experienced many hardships which it is im- 
possible for our children to know. ' ' 

Returning to the autobiography of Mr. Jex, we learn 
that he too has a story of the voyage and journey across 
the plains. His account is as follows: 

*'We set sail with light hearts, singing the songs of 
Zion, happy to begin our journey. But our expressions of 
joy soon ceased, since most of us became affected by the 
rolling of the vessel as it moved out upon the ocean. In 
a word, we became awfully sea sick. On being assigned 
our berts, all passengers were examined for a clean bill 
of health. I was very sick at the time, but mustered suf- 
ficient strength to line up for the doctor, who passed me 
with many others as 0. K. Hardly had we gotten a good 
start on our voyage before it became apparent that I had 
small pox. I was sick, indeed. Soon afterward many of 
the passengers came down with the dread disease and 
before our long voyage was over, eleven of them died and 
were buried at sea. 

' ' The voyage was a difficult one. The sea become so 
rough and the waves so high at times as to roll entirely 
over the vessel. The hatches were closed and all of the 
passengers were compelled to remain below. The captain 
became alarmed and told Elder Karns that we had better 
pray to God to save the ship, for if God did not intervene, 
we would all go to the bottom. There were times, in- 
deed, when there seemed little hope of reaching land. In 
the midst of this terrible storm, at the earnest solicitation 
of the captain, the Saints assembled in fasting and prayer 
and asked God for deliverance. In answer to our prayer 

21 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



the sea was calmed and after a trying voyage of eight 
weeks and five days, the latter part of which we were re- 
duced to half rations, we arrived safely in New Orleans. 
*'At the American port we were held on an island for 
three days under quarantine in consequence of our small 
pox siege. As no new cases developed, we were permit- 
ted to proceed up the Mississippi-Missouri Elvers to 
Atchison, Kansas, a distance of 1200 miles. 

''After our vessel had been towed up the river to 
New Orleans, we experienced a strange and bewildering 
event, namely, the buying and selling of human slaves 
in the market place. 

"When well up the river another misfortune over- 
took us; this time in the breaking out of cholera, and we 
had to record forty-two more deaths. In some instances 
strong, robust men and women would be attacked by the 
disease, suffer intense pain for a short time and then suc- 
cumb. I was often called upon to help bury the dead. 
As soon as a death occurred, a rude coffin was construct- 
ed in which the body was placed, we were then towed to 
the shore, a grave was hurriedly dug, and the coffin de- 
posited. Oft times it was difficult to find enough dirt 
among the roots and sod to cover the bodies. We had to 
work fast, for hardly were the graves dug, and the bodies 
covered before the bell rang and the ''all aboard" call 
Vv^cnt out and we had little time to make our way back to 
the boat. On one occasion, I remember, we buried two 
bodies in one grave. It was unlawful to consign the bod- 
ies to the river bottom, hence it was that the shallow 
graves on the shore marked the resting places of our 
more than two score dead. 

"I call to mind an instance which illustrates the 
tragic results of the scourge. We had in our company a 
family by the name of Snowball which consisted of the 

22 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

father, mother, and four chiklren. The father, mother, 
and oldest girl died, all of whom I helped bury on the 
river banks. The other children came on to the valleys 
and lived to marry and become fathers and mothers of 
families. 

*^I was often called upon to administer to the sick, 
some of w^hom recovered. I remember one instance of 
note: Brother John Lambert was seized with the malady, 
and appeared to be dying. He writhed in pain, his finger 
nails turned black, and there was every evidence that 
death was near, but we had faith to rebuke the power of 
the destroyer, and he recovered and accompanied us to 
Zion, and lived to the age of four score years. 

''Upon our arrival at Atchison, Kansas, we proceed- 
ed to secure equipment for crossing the plains. Cattle, 
wagons, tents, and other necessary supplies were pur- 
chased, and an organization effected for the journey. 
William Phelps was made president, and Dr. Devin Rich- 
ards, captain. A company of fifteen was assigned to a 
wagon and tent, and our company was grouped so as to 
expedite the work and travel with system and safety. 
We were delayed in camp for five weeks. The time was 
spent in ''breaking the cattle" for service, some of which 
were wild range steers, and others cows, which did dou- 
ble service. Our provisions and tents filled our wagons 
to capacity, so there was little room for passeng-ers to 
ride, even for the women folks, but none complained, for 
they all longed to get to "the land of Zion.'' In case of 
sickness, places were provided on the wagons. When 
streams were reached, mothers would carry their child- 
ren on their backs, as the men were usually taxed to dir- 
ect the half -broken cattle. 

"We traveled from ten to fifteen miles a day, or until 
a suitable stream of water or a good plat of feeding 

23 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



ground was reached. Camp was formed by placmg our 
wagons one against the other in a circle so as to form a 
corral to hold the cattle. Tents were pitched on the 
outside. The cattle were placed under guard when let 
out to graze in order to prevent stampede or attack by 
Indian bands, whom we occasionaly encountered roaming 
the plains. Guards were changed at midnight and the 
cattle were brought in in the early morning. 

''As soon as camp was formed in the evening the 
women proceeded to cook supper, and when the meal was 
over, a bugle call announced the time for prayers which 
was conducted by the respective companies assembling 
in their tents. After a short interval a second bugle call 
announced that it was time to "turn in" or retire. All 
lights and fires Avere then put out. 

"Similarly, a call from the bugle announced the time 
for rising in the morning, for the gathering of cattle, 
for prayers, for breakfast, and for another "start." It 
was an important matter to get the cattle yoked and 
ready to travel. 

"We often encountered bands of Indians, whom we 
usually found friendly, since it had been the practice of 
the Mormons from the first to treat the rad man kindly, 
and whenever possible, to make gifts. Sometimes, too, 
we encountered large herds of buffalo. So numerous 
were these animals at times that we were compelled to 
stop our trains until they had time to move from the river 
to their range. Our hunters would sometimes try to kill 
game for meat, but usually with poor success. If, as in 
the case of the buffalo, one was disabled, it was generally 
one that was too poor or old to keep up with the herd. 

"I had many happy hours with my good friend, Mr. 
Hewlett. Often we would seek a place of seclusion and 
offer up prayers of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father 

24 




^ 



I 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



for His goodness in opening the way for us to gather with 
His Saints in the valleys. But while my brother rejoiced 
in spirit, I could see that the hardships of the sea voyage 
and the journey were telling on him, and soon he was tak- 
en ill with mountain fever. One night he laid down to 
rest from the burdens of the day to awake no more. I 
laid my hand upon his cheek in the morning and found 
it cold in death. That was a sad day for me. We made 
a rude coffin for him and buried him in an unmarked 
grave. He had given his life for this "new faith" and 
he had divided his inheritance with me, that I, too, might 
enjoy the blessings of the new world and the new faith. 
I have no doubt but that if I am faithful as he was to the 
end of life's journey, the hereafter will bring the happy 
day when I shall meet him ' * face to face. ' ' 

''As we journeyed from day to day,we were many times 
tired and weary, and sometimes hungry as well, for our 
food was limited, but we were happy in the thought that 
we were engaged in the service of the Master in that it 
was to be our lot to help to "establish Zion in the tops 
of the mountains in the last days, that all nations might 
flow unto it," as was spoken by the prophet Isaiah. 

"It was on September 30tli, 1854, that we first view- 
ed the promised land. As we neared the valley, we were 
met by some of the Saints who had preceded us. They 
extended to us the hand of fellowship ,gave us food to 
eat and otherwise administered to our needs, which made 
us feel that we had indeed landed in Zion among the 
people of God." 

oOo 



27 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarcll 



-III- 



Thus ends an interesting chapter of the journey of 
Mr. and Mrs. Jex, and tlie others who came with them on 
that eventful voyage and exodus that brought them to 
the ''City of the Saints" in the valleys of the mountains. 
And let it be remarked that this is but one of many sim- 
ilar experiences that could be told by those who passed 
over the same trail and encountered like hardships. 

Soon after their arrival in Salt Lake, Mr. and Mrs. 
Jex rented a small adobe house in the Second ward, but 
later they moved into the Tenth ward. Almost immediat- 
ly upon their arrival, Mr. Jex went out in search of work 
which he found at the Temple, the foundation of which 
had been started the previous year. The remuneration 
for his work was $1.75 per day which he drew in produce 
at the tithing office. 

"I cultivated and planted the lot on which I lived," 
he says, "with the expectation of having vegetables to 
eat. The seeds got a fine start, but soon the grasshoppers 
came by the thousands and fed upon the vegetables, and 
it was not long until our hopes were blighted, for our 
garden was destroyed. I had a fine patch of onions, and 
I said to myself, 'Surely the onions are safe, and «iat 
will be some satisfaction for my efforts,' but one morning 
when I arose to till the patch, I found that they too, had 
been completely eaten up.' ' 

The grasshoppers made their appearance in all parts 
of the territory that year, and the people having provi- 
sions on hand from the previous year began to raise the 
price. President Young counseled them not to do so, but 
to divide with those who had none. His advice was gen- 
erally adhered to, but many families, notwithstanding, 
were on half rations. 

Mrs. Jex, who came from a rather well-to-do family, 

28 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

had brought with her considerable wearing apparel which 
she gladly parted with to supply her family with flour, 
and Mr. Jex, by accepting any kind of work offered, was 
able to secure some employment by taking produce in 
exchange, and so managed to get along for the time being. 
Even under these circumstances it must have been at- 
tended with great difficulty, for Mr. Jex in speaking of 
the matter, says : 

**By resorting to the use of weeds and roots at times, 
we managed to eke out until relief came with the next 
harvest. ' ' 

The people were often supplied with food in mir- 
aculous ways. In the fall of 1855 Mr. Jex with others was 
selected to take the church cattle to Cache Valley to win- 
ter. At that time there was but one cabin in the entire 
valley. The Indians were very friendly and at times 
supplied them with fish and game. 

In the spring of 1856 Mr. and Mrs. Jex rented a house 
in the Eleventh ward, where Mrs. Jex was engaged to 
teach school, taking her pay in provisions. Mr. Jex work- 
ed on the "Church Farm' under the direction of a Mr. 
Dalton, who had married Mrs. Lydia Knight, mother of 
the Knight family of Provo, well known pioneers of Utah. 

It was during this year that the Endowment House 
was completed,which building Mr.Jex helped to erect,and 
in the ordinances of which he participated. About this 
time, too, he was ordained a Seventy under the hands of 
Benjamin L. Clapp, and became a member of the twenty- 
fourth quorum. 

As an illustration of business transactions at that 
time, Mr. Jex bought a house and lot for $160, and when 
called with others to meet Johnston's army, he traded the 
house and lot for a Kentucky rifle. It was on July 24th, 
1857, just ten years after the settlement of the pioneers in 

29 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



the valley of the .Great Salt Lake, while the people were 
celebrating the tenth anniversary of that event at the 
head of Big Cottonwood Canyon, that a message was de- 
livered to President Brigham Young by A. 0. Smoot and 
Judson L. Stoddard to the effect that the President of the 
United States had ordered troops to Utah to drive out, 
or destroy the Mormons. The reason given was the al- 
leged disloyalty of the Mormon people. 

When the nature of the message became known, it 
naturally caused a great deal of excitement. President 
Young proved himself equal to the emergency upon this 
occasion as he had upon others. He called the people to- 
gether and made known to them the nature of the mes- 
sage he had received. He reviewed briefly the history 
of the mobbings and drivings of the Saints by their ene- 
mies who had been envious of their prosperity and pro- 
gress. He pointed out how, during their ten years of set- 
tlement here, they had by their industry developed the 
agricultural resources of their new found land. He re- 
ferred to the loyalty of the Saints to the government of 
the United States and added that the soldiers sent out by 
the government should not be allowed to enter the valley 
nor accomplish the mission for which they were sent; to 
which the people shouted ''Amen." 

Brigham Young was governor of Utah at the time 
and declared the territory under martial law. Many of 
the able bodied men were called into military service. 
William Jex had already joined the militia, and had been 
assigned to John Sharp's battalion and was a member of 
Andrew Burt 's company. 

Late in the fall the company was ordered to the front. 
Mr. Jex took his rifle, left his wife and three small child- 
ren very poorly provisioned, and went, as he felt, to de- 
fend his home and family against an unwarranted threat- 

30 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



ened attack by the approaching army. So much snow 
had fallen in the mountains that the troops had been re- 
tarded in their progress. It became necessary for them 
to camp for the winter at Ham's Fork, and wait until 
spring to enter the valley. 

This delay gave the settlers time to prepare for a de- 
fense. In Echo Canyon they built rifle pits, dug ditches 
across the canyon, put dams in the creek and prepared 
for such defense as they could to delay the progress of 
the army until some understanding could be had with the 
government, in order to prevent, if possible, the threaten- 
ed annihilation of the people. After these preliminary 
preparations had been made, the militia returned to the 
valley for the winter. 

By the time spring came, plans had been made to 
meet the situation. The people were to leave their homes 
if necessary, but in such a condition that in case the sol- 
diers entered the valley, the torch could be applied. The 
women and children would go to the mountains for saf- 
ety. The men were to oppose the progress of the army 
by all possible means and in no event would the soldiers 
be allowed to occupy the homes that the people had built 
for themselves, since the sending of the troops was wholly 
unjustifiable. The people as a whole were loyal to Presi- 
dent Young and ready to support the plan as outlined. 

The events that followed have been told so often that 
they need not be repeated here. But owing to the threat- 
ened drive, Mr. Jex and others prepared to move south. 
He rented a yoke of oxen and a wagon from Mr. Dalton 
and agreed to pay for the use of them at the rate of $1.75 
per day. On Mr. Jex's return from the army, the south- 
ern move was made, with the result that the family land- 
ed in Spanish Fork, where Mr. Jex has ever since resided. 

31 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



Here he and his family soon found good friends who as- 
sisted him in getting located. Among those who were 
especially kind to him were George Sevy and wife, who 
extended to his family hospitality to a marked degree. 
These good people provided a place for the family of Mr. 
Jex, who after seeing his wife and children housed, re- 
turned to Salt Lake to perform the promised service for 
Mr. Dalton in payment for the oxen and wagon. 

On his return to Spanish Fork, he rented what was 
called an '' apartment" in the old adobe fort until he 
could prepare a ''dugout" in the side of a hill as a tem- 
porary residence. This loved spot still belongs to the 
family, it being the site of the residence of Mrs. Lars 0. 
Lawrence, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jex, and located just 
east of the ''old grist mill" of which later mention is to 
be made. 

Mr. Jex found employment with Bishop John L. But- 
ler, taking care of the tithing hay and performing other 
odd jobs about the tithing yard. Later he rented Mr. 
Sevy's farm, and so became a full-fledged farmer. About 
this time, too, he located a homestead on the banks of the 
river south of Spanish Fork, which is known today as 
the "Jex Farm." His right to the farm was contested by 
a neighbor and a complaint was lodged against Mr. Jex 
with Bishop A. K. Thurber. This was customary in those 
days when difficulties arose between settlers. The de- 
cision was against Mr. Jex, but on the advice of his 
friends, who were acquainted with the circumstances, an 
appeal was taken to the High Council, at that time pre- 
sided over by A. 0. Smoot, father of Utah's present sen- 
ior senator. Reed Smoot. Here the decision was reversed 
and Mr. Jex was vindicated. After the case had thus 
been settled, Mr. Jex started to clear the farm, which 
was overgrown with brush and willows. He hired a man 

32 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



and three yoke of oxen to help him with the plowing, his 
agreement being that for each day's work performed by 
the man, he was to return a day's work and a like am- 
ount of service for each yoke of oxen. 

The year 1861 saw the beginning of the Civil War, 
and Johnston's Army, which had been located at Camp 
Floyd, was called East, where nearly all of them joined 
the Southern Confederacy and fought against the United 
States. By this time the blunder of sending the army to 
Utah had become apparent, for the Mormon people were 
found to be genuinely loyal and the hue and cry that had 
been raised against them was seen to have been without 
foundation. 

Mr. Jex had gotten out logs and had them sawed at 
Gardner's Mill in Spanish Fork canyon, and had built 
him a two room house on the newly acquired ranch. This 
was in 1862, a year of high water, and since Mr. Jex's 
farm was mostly bottom land, it became inundated from 
one to four feet in depth, and they had to move back to 
town. Many of the crops were destroyed. The water was 
so deep that the farmers were able to row in boats from 
one place to another on what was known as the "bot- 
toms, ' ' that is the low lands along the river. 

What may seem a rather curious part of the early 
history of Utah to those who are unfamiliar with condi- 
tions as they then existed is the fact that members of the 
Mormon Church were always subject to call; that is, they 
might be called upon at any time to help make a new set- 
tlement, to go on missions, to furnish labor, or supplies 
for the poor, to supply teams or cattle to bring in emi- 
grants, etc. They never thought of refusing such calls 
if it were at all possible to comply. Indeed, they felt that 
whatever sacrifices they were called upon to make would 

33 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



be rewarded accordingly. About this time Mr. Jex was 
called upon to send his only ox back to Florence, Neb- 
raska to help bring emigrants across the plains. 

At this time, in the year 1861, the settlers found it 
difficult to obtain clothing. The railroad had not yet 
reached Utah, and merchandise had to be brought all the 
way from Florence, Nebraska, by ox teams across the 
plains. Mr. Jex had bought a few sheep, and it fell to the 
lot of Mrs. Jex to card, spin, and weave the wool of these 
sheep into clothing. Indeed, that was the lot of many of 
the good housewives of the time. 

One wonders as he looks back over those pioneer 
days, how our mothers ever got through all the work they 
had to do. There were no sewing machines, no washers, 
or other helpful household devices. All the work had to 
be done by hand without the aid of modern inventions, 
but somehow these pioneer mothers sang their way thru 
the work, and were happier, I fancy, than many are to- 
day. They were women of faith, women of courage, noble 
women; great characters because conditions made them 
great. Hardships enlarged their latent powers, develop- 
ed their native forces, and made them heroines in spite 
of themselves. 

Mrs. Jex was a woman of many accomplishments, a 
woman of exceeding strong faith. As an illustration of 
the latter quality, during the early settlement, and while 
the family was passing through that ''starving time" al- 
ready noted, Mrs. Jex in recounting her experience, said: 

*'The second year in the city (that is, Salt Lake) the 
Bishop asked me to teach school, and it was quite a 
help. My husband worked on the Church farm, but food 
was scarce and we got little to live on. I took work of all 
kinds and we got along pretty well. I had a membership 

34 



M.BX J. JEX 
LEONARD McKELL 
LEO BANKS 



BIRD JEX 

WILLIAM JEX 

AMMON FERGUSON 



GARVIN McKELL 

DR. H. D. BROCKBANK 

HOWARD HALES 




WILLIAM JEX, UTAH INDIAN WAR VETERAN AND THE 



HORACE JEX 
J. VERE KESSLER BRYAN BECK 

J. VICTOR LEIFSON ROBERT THOMAS 

DR. RODNEY W. McKELL WILLIAM MONEY 



MERRILL G. McKELL 

H. MILTON HALES 

ACHEL ROTHWELL 




ERS OF HIS FAMILY WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



in the Relief Society and had much pleasure in the meet- 
ings.. 

''Then came the famine, when we had to live on roots 
and nettles to keep from starving. I must say that though 
very faint at times, I never felt better. The spirit of God 
was with us, and we were thankful for what we had. One 
morning my eldest child, Sarah Ann, said: 'Mother, why 
don't you ask the Lord to give us some bread. He will 
give us some if you will ask Him. We will die if we don't 
have something to eat soon. ' We knelt down by our little 
bare table and I asked God to please give us some bread. 
AVe had been three weeks with nothing but roots and 
nettles cooked as greens and my daughter said she could 
stand it no longer. 

"As we rose from our knees, a knock came to the 
door and when I opened it a sister handed me a pint of 
milk and two slices of bread. She said, 'I could not eat 
my breakfast this morning until I came to see if you were 
in need. ' I told her I could not tell when we last tasted 
bread, and with tears of joy I thanked her and the Lord 
for their goodness. ' ' 

As an interesting bit of information that adds local 
color to the period of the time, note the following from 
the record of Mr. Jex: "Along about this period of our 
lives, I often resorted to catching fish by means of a wil- 
low trap and dip net which was operated below a dam. 
The trout in running up stream in the spring would jump 
to get above the dam and many of them would fall back 
into the trap. This scheme I learned from the Indians. 

"It was about this time also, that we disposed of all 
our holdings in Salt Lake and decided to locate perman- 
ently in Spanish Fork. Perhaps the supply of fish in- 
fluenced our feelings somewhat in this matter. ' ' 

39 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



As already noted, tlie Indians became troublesome 
about this time. Led by Chief Black Hawk, many raids 
were carried out. Horses and cattle were frequently stol- 
en, and sometimes more serious difficulties arose, in 
which some of the settlers lost their lives. An account of 
these difficulties and the part Mr. Jex took in them is 
best told by himself: 

It was in 1866 that the Indians became exceedingly 
troublesome. In May, while the town cattle were being 
herded in the "upper bottoms" along the river by a few 
of the brethren who had that work in hand, a brother by 
the name of Givens was killed, as were also his wife and 
four children. Two young men, Charles W. Leah and 
Charles Browne, who w^ere living with the Givens family 
at the time, saved their lives by hiding in the thick wil- 
lows along the creek. The Givens family had that spring 
moved onto their homestead in Thistle Valley. 

June 25, 1866, was a day of note in our pioneer life. 
On that date, I, with others, was called upon to keep 
guard in the district over the hill south of the river, but 
notwithstanding our vigilance, a band of Indians during 
the night sneaked down in the valley to the west, called 
the ''West Field" district near the settlement, where 
they took some horses and cattle, also stealing some from 
the William Berry pasture. At daylight we discovered 
the theft and finding that their tracks led in the direction 
of Springville Canyon, we returned to town and organiz- 
ed a squad to follow the trail and if possible to recover 
the stolen animals. 

"The company thus hurriedly formed was placed 
under the command of William Creer, who was then ac- 
tive in civic affairs. We were somewhat poorly supplied 
with arms, since two of our number were without guns. 

40 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



We followed the trail of the Indians up Springville Can- 
yon, or Maple Canyon, as it was called at that time. 
Here we discovered the smouldering fire of the Indians' 
camp. We now took council as to our next movement 
and decided that we must guard against being taken by 
surprise through the cunning of the red man. 

''We followed the trail over what is known as Dia- 
mond Eidge, and down into the canyon on the south, 
known as Diamond Fork canyon. When half way down 
the canyon we came in sight of the Indians. We decided 
to take one side of the canyon, get in front of the herd oi" 
cattle and horses, and stop the Indians.. We found that 
they had not anticipated being followed, and scented no 
trouble. They had unsaddled their horses and turned 
them out to graze, and were themselves busily engaged 
in preparing another "feed." They had roped a young- 
steer and were in the act of butchering it when we gave 

the alarm of attack. 

''Colonel Creer aimed to impress the Indians with 
the fact that we meant business; in other words, we were 
to run as big a bluff as possible, since our company was 
small, and we were poorly prepared to put up much of a 
fight. The Indians immediately made for the brush on 
the creek, while we moved southward to get below them. 
While we were crossing the hollow, they opened fire. One 
bullet lodged in the shoulder of George Ainge's horse, so 
we knew that we were within range and that their shots 
might prove effective. We took our stand on a prominent 
point, and firing became general on both sides. 

"A brother, Albert Dimmick, walked to the brow of 
the hill to make a survey of the field when one of the In- 
dians who had crawled nearer our position, fired and 
struck Dimmick in the stomach and he fell to the ground. 

41 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



John Koyle soon reached him and raised him up. I join- 
ed Koyle and raised Dimmick's clothes to see where the 
wound was located, and discovered blood flowing from 
the lower part of his body. I knew then that he was bad- 
ly wounded. Others of the brethren came and we did 
Avhat we could to relieve his pain, for he was suffering 
greatly. He begged us not to leave him, for he feared 
that the Indian who had shot him desired nothing so 
much as his scalp. We assured him that we would stay 
by him in all events. 

"It was not long before he began to beg for water, 
but we had none to give, and it was not possible to get to 
the creek, for the Indians occupied that position. Dim- 
mick became hot and feverish. The firing continued for 
three or four hours, when to our great relief, we discover- 
ed help coming. The men who came to our assistance 
rode down the canyon and were soon near the Indians, 
who now turned their attention in that direction. The 
fight now became more pronounced. The horse that John 
Groesbeck, one of the new party, was riding became 
frightened at the firing and jumped aside. The saddle 
turned and the rider fell to the ground, while the horse 
ran into the brush and a new pistol that hung to the horn 
of the saddle was lost. A brother Edmundson who was 
close behind Groesbeck, was shot and fell from his horse 
which ran up the hill behind some brush. I saw an In- 
dian on the trail of Edmundson, but concluded that he 
had gotten away like Groesbeck had. When he did not 
make his ax^pearance, however, we directed our efforts to 
locate him, but did not find him until the next morning 
when we discovered his body. He had been shot and 
killed, most likely when he fell from his horse and had 

42 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

been scalped and one hand had been cut off at the wrist. 

''After the arrival of reinforcements, the Indians be- 
gan to move off. We saw them crossing the divide to- 
ward Soldier Fork on the south. Our first concern, after 
the firing ceased, was to get our wounded comrade to 
water. Two others and myself were appointed to stand 
guard to give the alarm should the Indians renew the 
attack. The wounded man was then carried to the creek 
where water was to be had. As soon as we felt that the 
skirmish was over and the Indians were in retreat, we set 
to work to provide a litter, which was made of ropes 
stretched between two poles running parallel, so that four 
men could carry him. 

"Dimmick suffered intensely and begged us to lay 
him down to rest and die, but of course we could not do 
that. Before leaving, some of the boys gathered up the 
cattle that had been stolen by the Indians, which num- 
bered about forty in all. The Indians had gotten away 
with some horses. It was about dusk of the day of the 
fight when we reached the divide and when about half 
way down the mountain we were met by parties coming 
up from the valley to give us assistance. One of our num- 
ber had been sent back for reinforcements as soon as we 
learned of the gravity of the situation, and these new 
comers had responded to the call. They assisted in get- 
ting our wounded man back to town, where a doctor was 
in readiness to give aid. It was found that the bullet had 
passed through Dimmick's bowels and lodged in his back. 
After three days of terrible suffering he died, and thus 
was among those who gave their lives to assist in the on- 
ward progress of western civilization and development. 

''The citizens engaged in the Diamond Creek en- 
counter were: William Greer (in command), Albert Dim- 
mick (killed), Warren E. Davis, John H. Koyle, William 

43 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



Jex, George Ainge, Alma C. Davis, Llewellyn Jones, Wm. 
J. Thomas, Morgan Hughes, Joshua Brockbank, Leven 
Simmons, Ephraim Caffel, John Eobertson, Adamson 
Shepherd (sent back to the settlement for help) and Jas. 
AV. Thomas, all of Spanish Fork. 

''The men who came up from Springville on call 
were: Thomas Mendenhall, John Groesbeck, Don C. John- 
son, Abe Shepherd, John Edmundson (killed and scalp- 
ed), H. 0. Crandall, and J. Gillispie." 

Thus ends the tragic but interesting story of the In- 
dian trouble in so far as it relates to the part Mr. Jex 
played in the affair. 

oOo 



U 



AVILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



-IV- 



The year 1865 witnessed another important epoch in 
the life of Mr. Jex. At that time the principle and prac- 
tise of plural marriage was recognized in the Church. In 
view of their faith in this practice and the increased 
blessings which both William Jex and his good wife fer- 
vently believed would accrue to them, serious and pray- 
erful consideration was given to this subject. 

At this time they had been blessed with a splendid 
family of children. With no other thought than to com- 
ply with what they regarded as the law of the Lord, 
William Jex, with the full consent and blessing of his 
noble wife, Eliza, entered into an eternal compact with a 
most worthy and deserving young woman named Jemima 
Cox. In this polygamous marriage he had the consent of 
the Church officials as well as that of Mrs. Jex. This new 
contract entailed new duties and responsibilities, but as 
Mr. Jex expressed it: "If I discharge them in honor I 
shall receive the blessings that attach to them." 

This second marriage, like the first, proved a happy 
one. The two wives lived in peace and true friendship in 
their home life. As a result of this second union there 
were born four children, but shortly after the birth of the 
last one, the mother died, and the responsibility of rais- 
ing this new family was left to the first Mrs. Jex. In 
speaking of this, Mr. Jex says, ''Be it said to her everlast- 
ing credit that she cared for them with as much love and 
devotion as their own mother could have done. I some- 
times thought if any preference was shown between the 
two families, it was to the motherless children of my sec- 
ond wife. ' ' 

In the course of the ten years that followed, one after 
another of the four children of the second Mrs. Jex died, 
and thus ended this chapter in the life of Mr. Jex. In 
speaking of this incident, he has 'this to say: "I am con- 

45 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

vinced that in this action with our combined approval we 
did not err. ' ' 

Following the Indian war as recorded above, Mr. Jex 
was appointed by Bishop A. K. Thurber, in 1866, to take 
charge of opening up a road in Lake Fork in Spanish 
Fork canyon, the purpose being to get wood, poles, tim- 
ber, and posts from this branch of the canyon. To give 
an idea of the manner in which men were paid for their 
work in those days, it may be of interest to the reader to 
note that ever}" man who expected to use the road, and 
who had a team, was assessed three days' work, and ev- 
ery man who had no team, one day's work. Following 
the completion of the road, large quantities of cedar posts 
and poles were hauled from this canyon. 

Mr. Jex also helped to make explorations of other 
branches of the main canyon, among them Mill Fork, 
where a saw mill was placed and given into his charge 
some time later. 

The year 1867 saw the organization of the Zion's Co- 
operative Mercantile Institution, in which Mr. Jex with 
many others took stock, but he was afterward compelled 
to sell his stock, as it took all his surplus means to care 
for his growing faimh\ The Union Pacific Eailroad was 
also in course of construction at that time and Mr. Jex 
was able to sell some of his corn for $5.00 per hundred 
on the cob. Flour sold for $8.00 and $10.00 per hundred. 
It was about this time, too, that the Spanish Fork East 
Bench was settled and Mr. Jex secured forty acres of land 
and worked out his water assessments by helping to con- 
struct the canal at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon. 
His land was improved by clearing off the sage brush and 
fencing. 

In the year 1873 Bishop A. K. Thurber and George 
W. Bean w^ere authorized to appoint a small company to 
explore Kabbit Valley and visit and make treaty with 

46 




THE OLD HOMES AND THE DESCENDANTS 
PICTURE TAKEN OF AN EARLY FAMILY REUNION 




GRANDPA' JEX WITH HIS GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDCHILDR 
AT HIS BIRTHDAY GATHERING 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

the Indians inhabiting that region. William Robertson 
and William Jex were appointed to serve in this capacity 
with Bishop Thnrber and Mr. Bean. They left m June 
of that year to fill their appointment, being equipped 
with riding horses and pack animals. They had with 
them as their guide and interpreter an Indian chief by the 
name of Tabiona. They went by way of Nephi, Warm 
Creek through Salina, and thence to Glenwood. From 
here they made their way through King's Meadows and 
on to Fish Lake. At the latter point they found a band 
of Indians with Poganeab as their chief, better known, 
perhaps, as ' ' Fish Lake Chief. ' ' 

After supper on the evening of the first day they had 
a long talk with the Indians. Both Thurber and Bean 
understood the Indian language and they acted as inter- 
preters. The Indians were told briefly the history of 
their forefathers as contained in the Book of Mormon, 
and were presented with a volume of this record. They 
were intensely interested and related many of the hap- 
pnings of their tribe. Chief Tabiona, the Indian guide, 
related a circumstance that happened when he and other 
Indian chiefs went to Washington, D. C, to talk with the 
'^Big Chief." He said that while they were talking to 
the President of the United States and some of the offi- 
cials, that they, the Indians, say three persons of fine ap- 
pearance, dressed in white robes, enter the room. The 
''white men" did not see them, but the Indians saw 
them and were convinced that the heavenly messengers 
were friends of the Indians. 

This circumstance made a great impression on the 
Indians, and led them to believe that the ''Great Chief" 
was their friend and was looking after their interests. 
Mr. Jex and the other visitors surmised that these three 
personages were the three Nephites spoken of in the Book 
of Mormon, who were to remain on earth until the second 

49 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

advent of the Savior. 

The journey continued to the lower end of Eabbit 
Valley, and explorations were made of the mountains and 
district to the south. Having completed the work assign- 
ed them, the party started on the homeward journey, 
going by way of the east fork of the Sevier River. It had 
been arranged to have all the settlers of Grass Valley 
district, as well as the Indians in the vicinity, meet in a 
''Peace Talk" at Cedar Grove. 

A large number of Indians gathered from the sur- 
rounding country. To them were distributed gifts, and 
explanation was made of the friendly attitude of the 
white man and his purpose in making settlements in the 
country. From all appearances a good impression was 
made on the Indians and the exploring party felt that it 
had accomplished its mission. Return was made by way 
of San Pete County and Thistle Valley. Here Chief Tab- 
iona met his squaw awaiting his return. 

In 1878 Mr. Jex was appointed to have oversight of 
the Co-op. Saw Mill and the United Order Dairy to be 
operated at Spanish Fork. These organizations were ef- 
fected by order of President Brigham Young. The order 
requested that the people unite their interests and resour- 
ces for the development and good of the country and for 
the prosperity of the settlers. Mr. Jex had previously 
been appointed a member of the Board of Control and 
was now asked to take the management. He made a care- 
ful inventory of all the property taken or turned over to 
the United Order. The plan, however, was not fully con- 
summated, and was discontinued for the time being. 
Mr. Jex, however, continued the operation of the saw 
mill and the dairy as a business enterprise, and was more 
than ordinarily successful. It was during the operation 
of these enterprises that Mr. Jex acquired the familiar 
title of ''Billy" Jex. 

50 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



-V- 



Just ten years after the Indian mission recorded in 
the last chapter, Mr. Jex was called on a mission to his 
native country. Up to this time he had devoted his labors 
to help build the temporal affairs of the Church. He had 
been a true pioneer in a material sense, building up Zion 
<'by the sweat of his face,'' as God ordained, always de- 
voting the Sabbath Day to church service, it is true, but 
in the main serving out-doors, building, pioneering, and 
toiling to make the valleys blossom as the rose. 

But now the call came to take the message of the 
Gospel to his native land. The date of his departure was 
fixed for April 10, 1883. After making ready and re- 
porting at Salt Lake City he was set apart under the 
hands of Apostles Moses Thatcher and John W. Taylor, 
and left the following day, April 11th, in company with 
twenty-nine other elders for the European Mission. They 
traveled via Niagra Falls to New York, where they spent 
three days visiting and sight seeing, and then set sail for 
Liverpool. 

After eleven days ' voyage, the party arrived in Liv- 
erpool and Mr. Jex was assigned to labor in Norwich 
Conference under President William Hunter, and was 
appointed to take the presidency of the conferencce. 

Of his missionary experience Mr. Jex writes : 
''During my labors in the mission field, I distributed 
three thousand tracts, traveled more than three thousand 
miles on foot and four hundred miles by rail. I visited 
my old home and the places of my childhood, and the 
house where I was born. But there were great changes in 
conditions. I found but one of my blood relatives living, 
a daughter of my sister, Ann. She was decidedly pre- 
udiced against the Mormons. She received me kindly, 
however, but would have nothing to do with my 'foolish 

51 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

notions and perverted religion. ' Soon after my return to 
Utah I received word of her death. 

"I found more distant relatives more interested in 
my message. I baptized two daughters of my cousin, 
Moses Jex, who himself afterward accepted the Gospel 
and came to Utah with his family. He proved a faithful 
and devout member of the Church and performed con- 
siderable temple work for his dead relatives. 

'*My missionary labors proved both enjoyable and 
profitable. I had many things revealed to me in dreams 
and visions. I was active at all times and whenever pos- 
sible I labored in the interest of my relatives, both living 
and dead. I visited many churches to secure genealogy 
of my family and the families of my wives. On the whole, 
however, the information I received about my kinsfolk 
was not very satisfactory. Of course, the idea behind the 
attempt to secure the record of my progenitors was to do, 
or have done, the necessary work for them in the temple. 

*'I really felt that my efforts in this regard had not 
been a success. I meditated on the condition of my kins- 
folk and prayed for some light that might enable me to 
know of their condition. After retiring for the night on 
one occasion I had the following dream: 

*'I found myself in a large field of grain. It occurred 
to me that it was my duty to harvest the crop. On ex- 
amining the field I found the grain fully ripe, and the 
thought came to me that I should have attended to it be- 
fore, and I was somewhat worried over this neglect and 
delay, thinking that some of the kernels might already 
have fallen to the ground. Upon closer examination I 
was surprised and pleased to find that none of the grain 
had been lost. I was puzzled to know how I was to har- 
vest the crop, as I was alone and thought it would be im- 
possible for me to do the work by myself. Then suddenly 

52 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



it occurred to me that I could get my children to help 
me and that they would gladly give the necessary assist- 
ance. The dream made clear to me what action ought to 
be taken in the matter, and after my return from my 
mission, my wife and myself and some of the children did 
work in the Logan Temple for ourselves and many of 
our dead relatives and friends. ' ' 

In May of 1888 Mr. and Mrs. Jex and other members 
of the family had the privilege of attending the dedica- 
tory services of the Manti Temple. Of this incident Mr. 
Jex speaks as follows: 

*'We had a very happy and joyous time and a mani- 
festation from the Lord which I desire to relate. AVhile 
seated in the auditorium of the Temple with many other 
people preparatory to the beginning of the service, I 
heard the most beautiful singing that I had ever given 
ear to. It was indeed heavenly. I looked around too see 
where it came from. I soon became convinced that the 
singing was not done by any of the people occupying or 
visiting the building that day, but that it was a manifest- 
ation from the Unseen World; that we had been given a 
greeting from the Spirit World. It was heavenly music 
given by invisible beings from the world of spirits, re- 
joicing with us on the completion of the Holy Temple. 
My wife also spoke of hearing sweet singing as did others 
with whom I afterward talked." 

No attempt has been made to give anything like a 
detailed account of the life and labors of Mr. and Mrs. 
Jex, but only to record some of the outstanding incidents 
of their work as pioneers and all that it means, or ought 
to mean, to their descendants. Another thing worthy of 
note in the lives of this remarkable man and woman is 
their faithfulness in the cause of God's work which they 
had espoused. Whenever either of them speak of the 

53 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarcli 

spiritual things there is always an enthusiasm and rever- 
ence that seems to strike home. For instance note the fol- 
lowing from Mr. Jex's account of the dedication of the 
Salt Lake Temple : 

''During this year (1893) we were fortunate in being 
permitted to attend the dedication of the Salt Lake Tem- 
ple. I had worked hard and faithfully as a laborer with 
other workmen to complete the building. To me it was 
indeed a holy edifice, being erected to the "Glory of God" 
and when my wife and I were permitted to participate in 
the dedicatory services, I was very, very happy. 

"Three years later we were again privileged to 
perform work for Mrs. Jex's parents as well as for my 
own, which we felt would make them happy and grateful 
to us in the spirit world. ' ' 

On the 5th of September, 1911, a family reunion was 
held in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Jex in the City Pavilion at 
Spanish Fork, in commemoration of Mr. Jex's eightieth 
birthday. There were present on this occasion one hun- 
dred seventy-three members of the family. It was shown 
that out of thirty-six marriages, thirty-four had been sol- 
emnized in the temples. The number of families report- 
ing attending to their family prayers was twenty-seven. 
The number of persons out of those in attendance who 
paid tithing were one hundred and twelve. The total 
number of years spent on missions by members of the 
family were sixty. Three missionaries were in the field 
at that time, and all members of the family held member- 
ship in the Church. It would be difficult to find a family 
of like numbers that could duplicate this record of spirit- 
ual activity in the church. 

On the 1st of January, 1914, another family gather- 
ing took place in the High School Building at Spanish 
Fork, this time to celebrate the eighty-eighth amiiversary 

54 



William JEX - Pioneer and Patriarcli 



of the birth of "Grandma" Jex. On this occasion there 
was an attendance of more than four hundred of the 
family and friends of this note-worthy woman. 

At these family gatherings, the birthday message of 
Grandma Jex to her family was always looked forward 
to as the leading event of the occasion. This is her mes- 
sage to her children on January 1st, 1918: 

"It is with peculiar feelings that I stand before you 
this evening and bid you welcome to our family reunion — 
I would doubly make you welcome. I feel each year that 
I am getting a little older, but I can truthfully say that 
my heart and soul and all is for the accomplishment of 
good for the benefit, upbuilding and exaltation of God's 
children. 

"When I left my home and loved ones in the old 
world and came to this new world, I came for nothing but 
the pure love of the Gospel of Christ ; I embraced it with 
all my soul, and my heart's greatest desire is that our 
children and posterity know the truths of the Gospel. 

"The more I know of the Gosi^el the more I realize 
the great sacrifices that have been made by God's child- 
ren for that Gospel. What great sacrifices the Prophet 
Joseph Smith, a true prophet of God, made to establish 
His work in our day for the good and salvation of the 
children of men in this age. 

"We are all God's children; He loves us all, but He 
loves them most who serve Him best — yet He loves us 
all. We must acknowledge His hand in all things and 
seek to do His will. We must know what His will is — it is 
to keep His commandments. 

"Always seek to know God's will and He will bless 
us in so doing. 

"I remember that He has told us to love one another 



55 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

and seek to do His will and draw near unto Him and we 
will have wisdom and joy. 

*'We came into the world with nothing and we will 
leave all behind us. There are some more accomplished 
than others and some have more children than others, 
but in these things God will bless one as much as another 
if we seek to do His will in all things. 

"My heart's desire is to raise my family to do God's 
will, and I ask God daily to bless them and their children, 
that all may seek to do His will, that when I pass away 
I may leave a righteous lineage on earth. 

''I thank my Heavenly Father every day that I live 
that I have my family. 

"Well, it is asking too much of my children to have 
this reunion each year, but they want to do it, and my 
husband desires it, and so I am willing and grateful to 
them. I love everybody and if anybody has any feelings 
against me I do not know it. 

"I desire in my heart that we may all live the Gospel 
that we have received, for we will receive our reward 
and reign with God's children a thousand years upon the 
earth. May this be our happy lot, I ask in the name of 
Jesus : Amen. ' ' 

This is what she said upon another occasion: 
"We have eleven children and reared them all. They 
each married and had large families. That was a good 
start toward the present number of 218. In all, thirty- 
nine deaths have occurred in the family. Don't think 
that we count numbers everything, but I believe that a 
large family is better than a small one if reared properly. 
All should be educated and should be taught to be indus- 
trious. I have worked hard all my life, and am happier 
for it. So many young couples have small families or no 
children at all these days that I am made to wonder 

56 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



whose descendants the Americans of ninety years hence 
will be. 

*'0f course, father and I are prond of all our child- 
ren. There never has been a cripple among them. They 
invariably have good health to a remarkable degree. Also 
they all show us such respect and care for us in such a 
way that we could not be otherwise than happy." 

Under date of September 5th, 1919, Mr. Jex makes 
the following comment: 

''This is my birthday. I will record what happened 
on this day. My wife and I arose seemingly in good 
health. Eliza suggested that we get our sons and daugh- 
ters who live in town, to come to our house for dinner. 
She asked me to get a roast of beef, which she said she 
would prepare herself. I secured the roast, and having 
the dinner well under way, she sat down to rest. About 
11:30 o'clock a. m. she had a fainting spell, and an hour 
later she passed away without so much as a struggle. I 
had just been to town on some business, and on my return 
with Bishop Wells T. Brockbank, we met a little boy who 
informed us that Grandma was ill. When I reached the 
house she was sitting in a chair with my daughter Ros- 
etta by her side. I asked her to speak, but she could not. 
I administered to her and asked my Heavenly Father to 
restore her that she might live if it was His will; if other- 
wise, and her time of departure had come, that she might 
pass in peace and in accordance with my promise to her 
many years before in a blessing I had pronounced upon 
her head after I had been ordained a Patriarch." 

The family reunions referred to above were contin- 
ued from year to year with increasing interest on the 
part of the family. It was on the occasion of Mr. Jex's 
90th birthday that he made a somewhat extended talk to 

/59 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

his family from which the following excerpts are taken: 
''Dear Family Members: 

"I am very happy to have you come together for om 
annual family reunion. As you probaljly all know, I an 
in my 91st year, enjoying fairly good health and it gives 
me much joy to meet you again in this capacity. Yoi 
have asked me to talk to you and^ I w^ant to talk to yoii 
and tell you some of the things nearest my heart, for 1 
cannot hope to deliver many more annual talks to you 
While mother was living, she was always asked to extenr 
our greeting, as we met on her anniversary, January 1st 
She always had something good to tell you, but as she ha? 
gone on the way, I shall be glad to perform that duty. 

"The olden Prophet said: 'There is a spirit in mar 
and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it understand 
ing' and our great English poet Shakespeare said prac 
tically the same thing in a different way when he wrote 
'There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew then 
how we will.' My father died very suddenly^ leaving 
mother in very poor circumstances with five small child 
ren to support, but she had a sublime faith in God anc 
she knelt by the bedside with us small children and askec 
God to bless and guide us aright, and it was thus thai 
faith in God w^as kindled in my heart, a faith which has 
grown with the years. From that time until this day ] 
have had an unfailing faith in God and I know that Hu 
over-ruling hand has directed my course through all mj 
life. 

"So today I want first to tell you that I know that 
God lives and that He is a rewarder of them that dill 
gently seek Him. Let such a faith then be the guiding 
star of your life, and do not be led astray by those mis- 
taken souls who would tell you that God is a being "with- 
out body, parts or passions" as we were taught in yean 

60 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



gone by in the old creed of the Chnrch of England, and 
do not follow after those who would say that God is some 
unorganized force and a being that none can comprehend, 
for I say to you that God our Father is correctly inter- 
preted in the Bible, wherein we are told that we are cre- 
ated in His image, that the attributes He posseses in His 
glorified form, we inherit, for we are His children. 

''It was this corrected, or true knowledge of God 
that set me right in my early life. It was the message 
of "Mormonism" that found me in my native land and 
gave me the glorious vision of life and its duties and 
responsibilities. The Savior said that if we do His will 
we should know of the doctrine. I did His will in accept- 
ing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Latter- 
day Saints, and I have never had one doubt in the three- 
fourths of a century that has loUoAved. 

**Now I am telling you this to impress you with the 
fact that you should early in life get your feet firmly 
planted upon the rock of a true faith in God and the Gos- 
pel of Jesus Christ, and you will never doubt the Divinity 
that shapes your ends, or the inspiration that guides 
your spirit aright. 

''With your having an established faith in God, you 
must diligently seek to do His will, for I know that God 
is a rewarder of them that diligently seek to serve Him. 
You children all know that the desire to serve God ac- 
ceptably has ever been uppermost in the mind and heart 
of your mother. Grandma Jex who recently passed into 
the spirit world, and myself, and that has been the secret 
of our happiness, and you all know that we have been 
happy in our faith and service. 

"It is true we have not reached the high places of 
life, as the world knows them, but we have been true to 
the common virtues of life and success. We have sought 

61 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

always to leave a good name, which is to be chosen rather 
than great riches, and I feel that we have left a name of 
honor and virture among those with whom we have lived, 
and I am asking today that everyone of you here and the 
members absent will be proud of your heritage and main- 
tain your name in honor and virtue in this goodly land, 
for without that you will never find true happiness. 

"I have just referred to this goodly land. It is a 
goodly land and ours is the one best government in all 
the world, for God inspired the men who laid its founda- 
tion. And how happy I was to acqure citizenship here, 
for I was born in the land of Kings and Queens; but here 
there is no royal ])lood; we are all enjoying equal rights 
and privileges. Let us all live worthy of our citizenship 
and support our country to the last minute of our life. 
Some of the best blood of all ages has paid the price to es- 
tablish this great nation, and let us value its citizenship 
as one of the greatest heritages of life. I was proud to 
have a score of our family boys in the late war; one of 
whom paid the supreme sacrifice with his life; and it was 
a great sacrifice for liberty and peace, for he was as fine 
a specimen of humanity as I have ever known. 

''And now, let mo add, if you inherit the richest 
blessings of time and eternity you will have to pay the 
price. God gave His Only Begotten Son to teach the 
world the virtue of sacrifice and the truth; and so with us, 
if wo shall acquire the greatest gifts of God our Father, 
we must sacrifice our time, our energies, our feelings and 
perchance, our life, to maintain the right and truth. I 
am proud that my name has been placed on the roll of 
honor of my country for service in time of need, and it 
was given without the slightest thought of recognition or 
hope of reward. And so I have doubly appreciated the 

62 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



recognition wliich was given me as an Indian War 
veteran. 

''Take good care of yonr bodies — 'Man is that he 
might have joy. ' There isn't mnch joy if yon are in poor 
health. Be simple in habits and remember that the AVord 
of Wisdom is the key to health. You all know that I have 
been well and active to the last years of my life, which is 
a result of my efforts to take good care of my body; I 
think with another chance I could stretch the life span 
out to a hundred years, and I may do that yet. However, 
I am not worrying about that; I shall be happy to go 
when the summons shall come, happy in the knowledge of 
immortality ahead of me. Our loved ones Avho have gone 
before are busy in the spirit world, and I shall be happy 
to join them in the world of enternal progress. Life from 
the beginning to the end is a glorious privilege from God 
our Father, if we seek to know His will. I would not tell 
you that it is all happiness and sunshine, for I have pass- 
ed through many trying, hard conditions and circum- 
stances, but I have always felt bigger and better when I 
have done my best to meet and solve rightly the problems 
of this life, to get the schooling necessary for immortal- 
ity. And so I leave with you this blessed motto of life: 
"It pays to do right." 

"I have perhaps said enough for today — take with 
you my love and blessing in keeping up the good fight of 
life. As a Patriarch of the Lord I bless you as our pos- 
terity and ask God to bless and direct you along the road 
to Eternal Life." 

oOo 



63 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

CONCLUSION 

This brief sketch of the life of Mr. Jex reveals the 
fact that he was an untiring worker and that he was early 
converted to the doctrine that men grow by doing things. 
In his first job he earned by two-pence a day, but even 
that small amount was of some assistance to his widowed 
mother. 

He tells us that at the death of his father, the child- 
ren knelt by the bedside with their mother, who asked 
God to bless and prosper them. This made a lasting im- 
pression upon him and the experiences of the family 
thereafter established in his heart a living, enduring 
faith in a tangible, personal God and from this fiath he 
never faltered. 

Mr. Jex lived simply and quietly. He always felt 
happy in, and enjoyed doing the work of the day, feeling 
that as each day came the task ahead would be unfolded 
to him. A few hours study each evening schooled him in 
the things of life and better prepared him for the future. 

In every way he fostered the interests of education, 
for he was a student himself and believed that every man 
and woman had a work to do, given them of God, and only 
in the accomplishment of such work could happiness be 
found. 

Most of the life work of Mr. Jex was in and around 
the valley of Utah county, where he acquired a home- 
stead, and like other pioneers, began early its develop- 
ment and continued exploring the adjoining country and 
as fast as possible extended its boundaries. His first task 
was the clearing off and making his homestead produc- 
tive, and so thoroughly was this done that for three score I 
years he and his sons have continued to raise profitable 
crops thereon. 



64 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

Subsequently Mr. Jex turned his attention to the 
manufacture of lumber products, so much needed in the 
building of homes and other improvements. From this 
venture came the Jex Lumber Company, which in the 
small community does nearly a hundred thousand dollar 
business annually. 

Note the simple but successful plan adopted in or- 
ganizing the business. To his four sons he said: ''We 
will each take an equal interest in the business, devoting 
our best efforts to the establishment and growth of the 
same. The boys having school work to complete shall 
continue their efforts in that line, giving what time and 
assistance they can. Each shall draw say $30.00 per 
month, just necessary expense money, putting all earn- 
ings in excess of that into the business." Eegarding the 
farming interests he said: "We will continue to develop 
the same, and will divide equally the profits. During the 
winter months the farm help can be diverted to the man- 
ufacture of brooms or other useful and profitable em- 
ployment. ' ' 

He set an example in accepting any lucrative em- 
ployment. He personally took work in early spring 
shearing sheep which brought in a few hundred dollars 
to be wisely used in the new business. 

Thus the co-operation and companionship of father 
and sons was established and their united efforts have 
built up a business and industry of which he is yet presi- 
dent and which is still carried on by his sons and grand- 
sons. 

CivU Life 

In civil life William Jex has always done his part. 

For three successive terms he served as a school trustee 

and treasurer, during which time the first high school 

building of the district was erected. He gave his almost 

65 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 



gratituous service as water mastir, a very trying position 
of public trust, having to do with the satisfactory dis- 
tribution of waters flowing from the canyon streams. 

He served as City ^Marshall^ or Peace Officer, a posi- 
tion to which the Mayor appointed him. He was thrice 
elected a member of the City Council. The remuneration 
attached to these positions was always small and some- 
times there was no compensation, owing to the financial 
conditions of the people. 

Mr. Jex served in several encounters with the In- 
dians, notably the Diamond Creek battle^ an account of 
which has been given, and for which he was in 1918 pen- 
sioned by the U. S. government. 

Service in the Church. 

He has always been devoted to the work of the 
church. Only a few months after his baptism he was or- 
dained an Elder and did effectual service in the local 
branch of Norwich, England. Emigrating to Utah in 
1854 he immediately began work on the great Temple 
and the following fall was called with others to take the 
church cattle up into Cache Valley for the winter. At 
that time there was but one little log cabin in that valley. 

In 1857 he was ordained a Seventy, which required 
continued service in the missionary work of the Church. 
He served as a missionary to his native country for two 
years at his own personal expense. In all these positions 
and callings he has grown in service step by step until in 
his ripened years of constant service he was called to the 
position of Patriarch. In that position he stands at the 
head of his numerous posterity of children, grandchild- 
ren and great-grandchildren to the number of 401. Dur- 
ing his seven years of service he has given in all' 
328 blessings and has proved exceedingly faithful in 
this responsible position for which he qualified himself 

66 




Q 

< 

X 



WILLIAM JEX - Pioneer and Patriarch 

through service and study, in spite of his limited educa- 
tion. 

His life has been pure, his aims lofty, and his life 
work inspired by the love of God and his fellow man, al- 
ways striving to contribute to the happiness of all and to 
add to the prosperity of the world. 

And now, in conclusion this tribute is paid to his un- 
tiring efforts by those who so bounteously enjoyed the 
fruits of his labors. His name will forever be associated 
with the roads and the canyons, the streams and the 
ditches, the mountains and the forests, the deserts and 
the wheat fields, the schools and the churches, with the 
Red Man and the advanced civilization of this Western 
World. 

Never for a moment has this honored Patriarch aban- 
doned the sublime standard of truth which he accepted 
when he was led by God into the New World by the old- 
new religion. As he has so often said, he heard the truth, 
he studied it, gave it serious thought and consideration; 
became converted and accepted the ^Gospel principles 
and in bending his knees in worship he does so out of the 
fullness of his heart and soul and in gratitude to hi^ 
Heavenly Father. He now stands nearly a century old 
and is today, as ever, firm and unfaltering in his devotion 
to God and man. 



71 



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