Death of My Grandfather Heber Murdock 1930

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Wasatch Wave Newspaper Friday April 11, 1930

Heber Murdock Killed By Jersey Bull

On Tuesday morning of this week happened one of the saddest accidents in the history of Heber City when Mr. Heber Murdock, 40, was attacked by a Jersey Block Association bull and killed.  No one knows just how Mr. Murdock met his death as he was alone and nothing was known of it until it was all over.  Mr. Murdock arose quite early and went to the barn to do his chores, preparatory to helping his nephew with some work following the family breakfast.  In the meantime there was no apparent cause for worry and Mrs. Murdock went about her morning work and when breakfast was ready called her husband to come.  When there was no response it was thought he had crossed the street to his sister’s home, but not finding him there a search was begun.  The animal was found loose in the corral and the body of Mr. Murdock, trampled and broken lay near a large log against which the life had been crushed out of him.  It is believed that the animal made the attack as he was being led to water.

Dr. Wherritt was summoned at once but the unfortunate man died, no aid being possible.  He is survived by his wife; Mrs. Effie Morton Murdock, four children: Heber, Dan, Mary and John H.  His father John H. Murdock, two half brothers, Paul of Provo and Thomas of Heber, five sisters Millie Witt, Eunice Hicken, and Sadie Thurman of Heber and Mrs. Eliza Sellers and Mrs. Pearl Buckley of Provo, four half sisters, Marella Stanley of Heber, Leah Kay of Charleston, Ellen Patten and Miss Emily Murdock of Provo.

Funeral services in honor of Mr. Murdock were held in the Stake Tabernacle Thursday afternoon with Bishop Fredrick Crook conducting.  A quartet composed of Mrs. Dona Montgomery, Mrs. Nettie Bonner, and F. W. Hardy and Earl Smith accompanied by Mrs. Loraine Lefler sang “Author of Faith” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” and “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.”  The speakers were Bishop Fredrick Crook, Ralph F. Nielson and Charles N. Broadbent.  The congregation was unusually large and the flowers were many.  Interment was in the Heber City Cemetery.  The opening prayer in the funeral service was offered by A. Y. Duke and the benediction by David W. Hicken.

The entire community sympathizes with this family in their sad bereavement.

Son Mort Murdock’s Memories of his father Heber’s Death, taken from video taped interview May 9, 1988

“I was working up in the mine when my father was killed accidentely.  I remember they called me out of the mine.  Tom Marsh brought me down to the house, down to Aunt Millie’s and I seen everybody gathered down there and he stopped there and they told me that my father had been killed.  Well that was an awful shock to my mother of course.  He was killed, he died on the 8th day of April and my mother’s birthday was on the 11th and I said “no we’re not going to have his funeral on the 11th, that’s your birthday and we aren’t gonna have it on your birthday, so we hurried up and had his funeral on the 10th, it was quite a hurry up thing.

Now there’s another thing that made me a little bit sore about my Grandfather Murdock.  We went down to the mortuary to pick out a casket, and he had to be there, well he picked out a casket that I wouldn’t have buried anybody in, in fact I wouldn’t bury anything in it.  Grandfather said as far as he was concerned it was good enough for my father, and I said “nothing doing” and he said “you’re just going to put it in the ground why would you get anything expensive to put in the ground” and I said “well we’re gonna have this one over here” and he said “well that’s putting money  too much money to waste.”  Well I won out and we got that one and my mother would not say anything, she was afraid of Grandfather Murdock, so he says “how are you going to pay for it?” and I says “we’ll pay for it a little bit at a time if we have to but,” and Mr. Olpin said “yes you can pay on time.”  Anyway we had the funeral and it was quite a large funeral, my father was well liked.  There was a lot of people liked him, he had  a lot of friends.  My mother was in pretty tough shape, she was a young woman and she was left with four children to raise, she had no education and no income.”

A Few Notes About His Father’s Death From Son John H. Murdock

“Grandfather Murdock thought that Heber was careless when it came to the bull.  The bull was notorious for being mean and Grandfather was always saying “Heber that bull will kill you.” My dad loved animals and was too trusting, especially with that bull.

The bull was a Jersey, with a big gold ring in his nose.  He belonged to the Block Association and was taken from farm to farm and used as stud service for the cows.

My mother had made breakfast and kept calling for dad to come.  When he didn’t show up, she sent Dan out looking for him.  Dan found dad pinned up next to a log.  He grabbed the chain on the bull and tied him back up to the fence.

Mort was working in the mine, Mary and I were still asleep.  They brought him into the house and Dr. Wherritt was called, but there was nothing he could do.  He said it looked like every bone in his body had been crushed and broken.

I remember after everybody left, my mother started scrubbing the floor with a vengeance, she scrubbed that floor for hours, way into the night.”

Heber City Cemetery Location B-1-5
       Heber City Cemetery Location B-1-5
   Heber Murdock my Grandfather
      Heber Murdock my Grandfather

Heber & Effie Murdock “Tie The Knot”

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Heber and Effie Murdock, my grandparents.  Taken from A Life Story of Heber Murdock by Kristine Murdock.

“As Heber grew older he began to notice girls.  He was especially interested in one beautiful young lady by the name of Effie Ophelia Morton.  She lived in nearby Midway.  They began to date.  Effie thought he was a fine looking young man.  She thought he was a great boyfriend because he brought her chocolates.  They went to many social events and dances and eventually decided they would marry.

On June 23, 1909 Heber and Effie were married in the Salt Lake Temple.  They went to Lagoon for their honeymoon.  At that time Effie’s parents lived in nearby Kaysville.”


1909 H and E Wedding

                         Heber & Effie’s Wedding Day June 23, 1909


Davis County Clipper Newspaper dated July 2, 1909

Mrs. Dr. Edwin Morton gave a reception at her home Friday evening in Kaysville, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Heber Murdock of Heber who were married in the Salt Lake Temple the Wednesday before.  Mrs. Murdock is Dr. Morton’s sister.

Lagoon postcard circa 1910


                                   Lagoon Postcard Circa 1909

Heber Murdock Injured At Mountain Lake Mine 1909

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Wasatch Wave Newspaper Friday September 17, 1909

Seriously Injured At Mountain Lake Mine

One of those unavoidable accidents which occurs so often in mines, happened in the main tunnel of the Mountain Lake Mine last Saturday night about 10:30 in which Heber Murdock of this place, son of John H. Murdock sustained serious injuries, his lower jaw being broken and his eyes so seriously injured that it is yet uncertain as to the result.

He was working in the main tunnel clearing away the “muck pile”, the loose rock and earth after a round of shots had been fired.  He was raking down a pile of stuff with his pick when an explosion occurred, throwing rock and gravel directly into his face.  Three other men were working with him at the time but neither of them was seriously injured.  One of them Peter Sims was slightly injured about the head by flying rock.  The unfortunate young man was brought to Heber at once, reaching here about 1:30 Sunday morning.  Dr. Wherritt did what he could to make the sufferer’s ride to Provo as easy as possible, and his father and William Witt started to Provo with him at 4 o’ clock.  He was taken to the general hospital where the rocks were dug out of his face and throat and his jawbone which was fractured at the chin and part of the chin bone gone, was drawn together and fastened with silver wire.  At last accounts he was resting well and the doctors have hopes of saving both eyes.


“they had only been in the mine a short time when your father picked into part of a missed hole.  The dynamite exploded and blew dirt, rock and gravel in your father’s face and hands.  They telephoned the livery stable to send up a white top with a bed in to come up the canyon as far as they could and they would meet them.  After they put him on the bed he had to lie on his stomach with his arms under his head.  He had a big sharp granite rock against his wind pipe that choked him when he turned on his back.

They took him to Provo to the Aird Hospital. When they started to clean him up and took the rock away from his throat, Dr. Aird said if it had gone a sixteenth of an inch farther it would have cut his windpipe and killed him.

When I saw your father I nearly fainted.  His head and hands were swathed in bandages, his head was completely covered.  The Dr. told us he was sure that he would loose his eyesight.  He thought we had better know what to expect.  He said as badly as he was hurt, with the rocks and gravel and concussion he could not give us any hope that he would ever see again.

I stayed with him while he was at the hospital, it seemed like quite a while.  I went in the morning and stayed until night.  He had a private room.  The mine paid the doctors and hospital.

I was pretty sick, I was afraid to have the bandages taken off, I was afraid not to have them off.  The morning when the Dr. darkened the room and took the bandages off and your father told him he could see I could hardly believe it.  The doctor said it was a miracle.

His jaw was wired together with a silver wire.  He had a deep scar on his chin for the rest of his life.

1910 mtn lake mine Heber with horn

Mtn. Lake Mine, located above Midway in Snake Creek Canyon 1909 Left Rear: Hugh Jacobs, Will Witt, Clark Bronson, ?, Front Left: Archie Sellers, Heber Murdock, Fred Sondregger

Life On The Farm – The Animals

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Heber & Effie Murdock my grandparents – Taken from Memories of the Farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930. My dad John H. Murdock remembers:

“Dad had his two big horses for pulling the plow and the wagon. Kate and Nell were their names. He loved all of the animals he had, had a name for all of them. Pal was the little riding horse.  There were other horses that came and went, Pal is the one I remember the most.

1914 Grandpa Heber on horse copy1

Heber on “Old Pal”

Kate and Nell, they were really good natured horses.  I guess they were Dad’s pets. I don’t think he ever whipped them or anything. Dad would just holler and say “hey get here’, he’d call them by name, hell you could see them pull just like they’d been whipped with something.  Dad figured he talked the language of the animals I guess but that damn bull, he didn’t talke the same language, he was an ornery son of a bitch.  I remember hearing Grandfather Murdock plain as day telling my dad, “you get rid of that damn bull, he’ll kill ya.”  It was a prediction that came true.


We had cows, I don’t remember how many there were, but it seemed like quite a few. Dad milked them everyday by hand. We had pigs, chickens, sheep and goats.


One of the dog’s we had was named Laddie.  He was a little black and white Boston Terrier.  Aunt Sadie got him for her kids, Glenna and Elmo Thurman.  Old Laddie just fell in love with my dad and wouldn’t have anything to do with anybody else. He stuck to dad like glue.


We had this little colt and Mary and Dan thought it would be fun to bring it into the house.  They coaxed it in with honey in a comb and the colt got into that and Mother came home and here was the colt with the plate of honey stuck to it’s nose.  That didn’t please her, I’ll tell you she had quite a time getting that colt out of the house.”

Life On The Farm Christmas at the Murdock’s

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Heber & Effie Murdock, my grandparents farm in Heber, Utah Taken from Memories on The Farm 1916-1930 Uncle Mort Mudock rememers Christmas:

“Dad never could put a Christmas tree up that didn’t fall down. We knew the tree was going to fall down so we’d be ready to grab our toys and run.

We had candles on the tree, then we graduated, they sent away to Sears and Roebuck for some lights that were like Santy Claus and bears and birds. You’d turn them on and they’d get real hot and smell, the paint would smell and we thought that was a part of the smells of Christmas.


One year our Grandfather Murdock said there was a war on (WWI) and there will be no Christmas, no presents for anybody that meant everybody.  And so Mother thought that was the law so we didn’t get any Christmas presents that year. When we went over to Grandfather Murdock’s, they all used to go over there to fight each Sunday, they’d fight all the time, anyway Edith and Marilyn and all the other grandchildren had toys. My mother just cried and said “boy I didn’t know a thing about it, but now you’ve got me all upset.”

Christmas in Heber 1924
The Murdock’s Christmas 1924

Aunt Mary Murdock Stroud: “Mother was never able to get anything for us until Christmas Eve and then Dad would take the wheat and go into town. This one Christmas all the dolls were gone except this one doll. It was put out by the Sewing Hut Doll Company. It was wooden and had a real hair wig but the wig was just nailed on it’s head and it wasn’t very pretty but he brought that home.  It didn’t have any clothes on. Mother stayed up all night making it’s little dress and it had a little high chair that it sat in.  She was real upset, she worried and worried about that doll, but I thought it was kinda pretty when I woke up Christmas morning.  Dad brought a box of Chocolates that had been in the store window. They had all turned white. We still wanted to eat them, but Mother didn’t think it was safe. Mother never liked Christmas, she thought it was a miserable time.”


Mort says: “One time I got a pair of skates. Now in those days you got the skates that clamped on and those things were the worst dog goned things.  They’d pull your heels off the sides of your shoes and everything else.  Mother thought she would get me a pair of skates that stayed on and she got this pair of skates that stayed on and all the guys all teased me and said they were girl skates but I didn’t care what they were, they stayed on and I thought boy I got these skates now I’m gonna have more fun that a picnic that day.  It was my mother, she took the skates and skated all day long. The ditch was frozen over and I watched her till she gave out, and then I finally got to skate.


Christmas would have been a little poorer if it wasn’t for our Grandmother Morton who lived down in Kaysville. She ran some sort of little confectionery and hamburger stand and she used to send us a Christmas box, we’d all get candy and toys and Mary got a doll, I think she was the only girl in Heber that got a Negro baby doll for Christmas.”

Life On The Farm Water & Electricity

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My grandparents Heber & Effie Murdock, aken from Memories Of The Farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930. Uncle Mort Murdock says:

“I’ll tell you when we first moved out there I can remember there was no water. We had to get the water out of the irrigation ditch and my poor mother had to get it and heat it up on the stove, and scrub the clothes by hand on an old scrubbing board.  The kitchen was the bathroom too.  Mother used to put the tub up on two chairs up out of the draft of the floor because there was plenty of draft on the floor, and she’d get us up on there and give us a good scrubbin’ boy oh boy.


Oh we can’t forget the washstand. It had a comb case and a mirror hanging there above the washstand so you could see how you looked. It served as the bathroom.

I’ll tell you one of the main things that happened to us was getting electric lights.  All it was was one wire hanging down in the middle of the room with a little bulb in it. Boy oh boy we sure thought that was something great.

 Inside the farm house
Inside the old farm house

Oh I wanted to say something about the ceiling. I don’t know what it was made of, but it fell down, it didn’t break off, so dad got a pole with a board on it to prop it up and so we had a pole in the middle of the floor, it was kinda fun.  Mother didn’t like it one little bit, but us kids thought it was pretty good because we could swing around the pole, run around the pole and have a good time.


Mother would scrub those clothes on the washboard and I remember there was no place to hang them but in the kitchen. I remember how cold the house was. The water bucket would freeze, that was some old house. Father would get up and build a fire and you’d think he was tearing the stove clear apart, you’d think he was beating the stove instead of building a fire. I think he was just trying to wake us all up.”

Life On The Farm Effie’s New Stove

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My grandparents Heber & Effie Murdock’s Taken from Memories of the Farm Heber, Utah 1916-1930 Uncle Mort Murdock tells this story:

“I knew Mother threw the dishes out in the yard, she was mad over something. She was probably as mad as when Dad kicked the door off the stove. Well you know Dad’s father, John Heber Murdock, he always could put everything back together with bailing wire, gosh dang he used more bailing wire than the bailer’s on the bailing machines.  One day this old stove my Grandfather must have got it out of the trash pile, anyway it was an old stove an old busted down thing and the grate would fall down inside of it and one day the grate fell down and Mother was baking bread and the grate fell down and that knocked the oven down and the oven fell and my father was there trying to get the grate up to the oven and the door fell down, burning himself, he kicked the oven door off and my mother picked it up and threw it out in the middle of the yard.  “Well” she said “OK there you go” and Grandfather Murdock came along and said “don’t worry Effie, I can fix that, I can wire it back on and it will work just as good as it ever did.”  And Mother said “you’re not gonna wire nothing on”, and that was the first time my mother took a stand against Grandfather Murdock, but she took a full stand on that one.  She said “I’m gonna get another stove” and he said “there’s a war going on (WWI) and you can’t get one.” But she got one anyway.  She got this nice stove and boy were we proud of that stove and so was she.  I’ll tell you some nice meals came off that stove, awful good meals, my father he planted these potatoes and she’d get them while they were still young and scrub the skins off and cook them with peas and boy were they good.  And she could bake the best scones you ever ate in your life, and her sour cream cakes all decorated with whipped cream and coconut, cookies and parkerhouse rolls, boy was she a good cook, and bread, when I come home from school there would always be bread, jam and milk, always something to eat.”

 Area where the stove used to be
Area where the stove was at the farm

Life On The Farm Mort & The Kittens

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My Grandparents  Heber & Effie Murdock Taken from Memories on the Farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930, Uncle Mort Murdock tells the story:

 Mort (left) and Dan at the farm 1920's
Mort (left) and Dan at the farm

“I was always playing around with ropes and strings and I roped a cat one day. I kinda choked the cat and he got a little excited and went up my face and down over my back two or three times . Mother came and saved me from that, it seems like she was always saving me from some crazy thing or another. There was some little kittens and I kept putting them in the water and wanting them to swim out and she told me to quit it and I didn’t and you know they died.  Then I bawled and cried cause she couldn’t bring them back to life. One time mother had some water in a tub  Mary and Dan were barely sticking their heads in goofing off, I thought they needed a good dunking so I pushed them both underneath the water and they started howling and bawling and mother came out and I took off running.  I had a good lead. Boy I was safe I could beat her.  I was running toward Aunt Millie’s place. There was this big irrigation ditch down there, I heard these footsteps getting closer and mother snatched me up and down I went to the bottom of the ditch about three times. I thought she was gonna drown me for sure.”

Life On The Farm Old Ephraim The Indian

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My grandparents Heber & Effie Murdock’s – farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930. Taken from Memories on the Farm  Aunt Mary Murdock Stroud recalls:

Dad was good at bringing people home to eat. He particularly liked it when the Indians came through in the fall of the year to go to Provo to get the fruit. They always would stop at our place and bring all the ones that was there with them and mother would have to cook.  She used to fill that old boiler full of corn and I remember Old Ephraim, when he came he brought his family with him.  He was sitting by Susan, his wife and he just ate corn and ate corn and ate corn and he would slip his cobs over by Susan and pretty soon Susan had a great big pile of corn cobs in front of her and he’d start to laugh and say “Susan, she heaps like corn.”



He had a big hat. One of us sat on his hat. Old Ephraim he was pretty proud of that hat and he never brought it in the house after that. He had these long braids that hung down in front of him you know and he was straight, he stood up straight. My father told me to get up in the morning and watch him.  He says he will stand there with his arms folded and watch the sun come up every morning. That Old Ephraim, he was something else.


My dad was always coaxing Indians to come around. He was friendly with the Indians, well with everybody, he even brought home tramps sometimes too.”





Life On The Farm – The House

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Heber & Effie  Murdock my Grandparents farm – Taken from Memories on the Farm Heber, Utah 1916-1930 Uncle Mort Murdock remembers the house:

“It wasn’t built, it was thrown together.  They put two pieces together, a granary and a Dr. office. The north part of it was once Benny Norris’ Herb Office. It was two rooms, that’s all it was, we were so dog gone poor, we didn’t know we was poor, but we were sure good eater’s. We had all we wanted to eat.

 North side of farm house
North side of farm house

The walls were papered. My Aunt Millie had a fit when she saw it. Grandad Murdock had taken charge and he put the paper on upside down, big roses and he didn’t have it matched or anything. It was the dog gondest looking sight you ever saw in your life. My mother just cried and Aunt Millie come up and told Grandad they had to take it off, but he wouldn’t take it down so they wore it out.


We had enough room to get in and out and that’s about all. We had the stove and we had a kitchen cabinet.”

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