SOME HIGH LIGHTS IN THE LIFE OF VERNON LESTER MURRAY
By Mildred Viola Murray Wilkins
“Get up out of that plowed ground Dane, (Dadane being what Clyde called Vern, since Clyde was only 2 1/2 years old and Vern had been trying to ride a bronco). Come and get up. I could ride that sun of a ---gun”. After Vern got his wind back again he did get up and tried the little mustang again. This time making a stick of it. Vern was the Broncho buster on our ranch, also plow boy, water and wood hauler too. Many a time he routed me out of bed to get him some breakfast and fix a lunch at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. While he got the team ready and would be long gone when other members of the family roused from a sweet sleep to get ready for the day’s activities, Vern got in our winters wood.
The family went to Myton, leaving Vern and myself home to look after things. Well we were such that we let the cows get in the alfalfa and one old darling over ate. We didn’t have time to do much. She fell and Vern hollered and told me to run for the butcher knife. I did and believe me I ran fast, got the knife to him who was trying to get her up. Well, when he stuck her with that big knife, she wasn’t long in getting up. She jumped and green foam shot up from her side like a fountain and that cow was so relieved. So were we. The cow was an inheritance (Old Daisy). She lived and got well.
While Pa and Guy were out working in the ditch, Vern was our main body guard and chore boy, although he was only 14 or 15 years old. We were in the Indian Territory. One time about ten of the natives (Indians) had been to town, (which consisted of one tiny store, a hotel which was a huge boarded up tent with a floor in it and a saloon. The town was one of the first establishments there.) Well, these Indians had been to the saloon, and they stopped off at our place which was a one room log house. By this time we had a corral to house the cows built under the only tree there, but it did furnish some shade for the Indians which kept coming to the house for water to mix with their whiskey.
When they got so loud and quarrelsome, we kids got scared and wanted ma to leave, but there wasn’t any place to go except up the road ( a deep sandy road). Vern had his little blue riding horse. So he took Douglas who was about a year old and took off. So Ma with Della and me clinging to her long skirt (the mothers wore them long in those days) followed, and up the road we went. We soon met some Soldiers from Ft. Duchesne, who told us we could go back home and they would take care of the Indians. And they did.
Vern and Guy attended the Friday night dances, and went in a bobsled they had made. With straw and quilts they were cozy and would pick up all the kids on the way. We lived three miles east of town. (This was after they grew older). He was one of the cowboys of that day and he was a real Casanova with the girls. He and Guy had nice warm gray over-coats, with cap and earflaps, and white or black mufflers around their necks. Oh, they were quite the sheiks.
Vern drove the cows much of the way from Sandy to th e servation, riding them at times. He bought Ma a beautiful gold watch with a chain, gave $40.00 for it, lots of money for that day. As time marched along he met and married Lavon Caldwell (a living doll) and they had three children, Carl, Helen Mar, and Kenneth.
Vernon Lester Murray was born October 10, 1893 at Vernon, Tooele Co., Utah, to Christina Elizabeth Nilsson and Jeremiah Murray. He married Lavon Caldwell at Vernal, Utah on May 25, 1915. She died on December 12, 1972. Since then he has lived by himself. He has suffered several strokes but he is yet a real chipper George Burns.
He has a daughter-in-law, Billie, whom he loves very much. She, along with a niece Donna and their husbands, Kenneth (Vern’s son) and VeNoy Davies. These are the ones the rest of us depend on to be there when he needs help, and they are, and we love them for that along with their natural goodness. Vern is very fortunate to be loved and cared for by these good people. And I must not forget a very dear friend, Lillie Parsons, who has been a friend to the Murray family for years.
Vern, along with Guy made some trips from Price to Roosevelt, hauling freight. This helped to provide for the family and give them a wee bit of spending money. On one of these trips, they picked up a second hand organ Ma had sent for from back east (Chicago). It has come to train to Helper, Utah. Other freight wagons would stop at our house for the night, (for a bed, two free meals and to feed there horses over night). Vern would entertain the travelers and the family be singing and accompanying himself on the organ. One of the songs I remember went like this: “Come take a ride in my air ship and visit the man in the moon. We’ll take a trip around Venice. There’ll be no one to watch while we spoon.”
Then we had a neighbor who was a hypnotist, and Vern would allow him to hypnotize him a few times. That was a riot. They should have gone traveling with that but mom put a stop to that. She said it was evil, but it sure was funny.
Vern worked for Preston Nutter one summer at Nine Mile, Utah, wrangling cattle. At one time, we swam the Weber River at Echo dam and was nearly drowned.
Vern was self educated taking a correspondence course to learn mechanics and electronics. He established his own garage doing most the work himself. Through this effort, he managed to make enough, and as time marched on to own three or four rentals (homes) which kept the wolf from the door and a good home for himself and Lavon. In the meantime, their daughter Helen Mar died leaving three children for them to care for in their declining years.
Vernon Lester Murray died on October 1984 at Bountiful, Utah. His funeral was on November 1, 1984 at Salt Lake City, Utah and was laid to rest the same day at Murray, Utah in the Murray Cemetery.