Pioneer Schoolhouse

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Schoolhouse 1973 W 200 N built 1875


This home is located at 1973 West 200 North in West Kaysville, Utah.  (called the Swallow home). It was built in 1875 and was one of the first brick school houses built in Kaysville.  It was constructed with the first brick to come out of the Kaysville Brick Yard.  The brick work on the exterior was done by local architect William Allen.  The round opening where the school bell once hung has been cemented over above the former door.  It had two rooms and was also used for church meetings until the church across the street at 1772 West was completed.  The two rooms were heated with a pot belly stove.  The slate blackboards used in the school were attached permanently to the walls in both rooms and are still in place but have been painted over to match the rest of the walls.  Indians’ used to sit out along the bluff near this structure and sell things to those traveling through.  Two perfect grinding stones, arrowheads and other items have been discovered on the property. Note: Natalie Thompson Monson posted: “This is David Robin’s old home.  He is the one who converted it into a private home.  My grandpa Neil Robins was born there.  His sister Norma Robins Swallow inherited the house.”

Photo of the original door, and area where school bell was above the door,. This is on the west side of the home, photo courtesy of Paulette Bennett.

Original door of school house on the west side
      Original door of school house, west side, above window is where school bell was.  

Schoolhouse 1910 1973 W 200 N

Paulette Bennett writes: “this is a picture in front of the house taken of our Robin’s family May 2016.  My father Neil Robins born in this home, is in the middle front row of this photo. ”

Kevin Swallow: “this is the house my mother Norma Robins Swallow was born in.  My grandpa Robins purchased the home and property from a Mr. Gailey.  He raised his family there and supported himself by growing and selling produce, primarily asparagus.  My wife Tammy and I lived in this home for 3 years when we were first married.”

Robins Family May 2016
                 Robins Family May 2016

The Snow Horse

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As you look towards the mountains in the spring, the shape of a horse appears as the snow melts.  The Snow Horse can be seen from both Kaysville and Layton.  Early farmers in this area used this as an indication of how much water they would have during the summer.  If the Snow Horse is still visible on June 1st, pioneers knew there would be enough water for their crops.  Farmers also used this as a guide to determine when it would be safe to plant crops.  They would not plant until the Snow Horse appeared on the mountain.  Some of the farmers said if the shape was still visible by June 1st, it meant there would be enough water crossing Main Street in Kaysville in the summer to mature a crop of grain.

The Snow Horse
                                         The Snow Horse 

The Snow Horse is located on the upper reaches of Snow Horse Ridge, just north of Webb Canyon at the Kaysville-Layton border. Elevation is about 8,500 feet.  The horse is about 200 feet wide, legs 50 feet in length.  The hiking trail from Francis Peak, north of Weber Canyon passes just above the Snow Horse area.  The Snow Horse’s legs usually fade away first and low long it lasts depends on temperatures.  Memorial Day to early June is usually prime viewing for the shape.



The Snow Horse hides under a blanket of snow all winter.  He waits on the mountain while the nights are long.  On the first day of spring, the Snow Horse stirs.  The sun reminds him of his important job.  His head peeks out “It’s too early”.  The Snow Horse disappears once more beneath the snow.

In April the Snow Horse lifts his head and then he straightens his back.  He sniffs the warming air.  “It’s almost time” he whispers.  Children in their back yards look up, hoping to see the horse on the mountain.  The Snow Horse lies back, allowing the sun to slowly melt the snow and his body.  He glances down into the valley below.  “Not Yet” he thinks, it’s not quite “time”.

By May the Snow Horse can feel the sun’s energy waking him up – helping him remember what he has to do.  Farmers in the valley look up expectantly.  They are waiting for the signal of the Snow Horse.  Finally on a warm evening, the Snow Horse shakes his feet loose, and gallops up the mountainside.  At first no one notices but then, throughout the valley, awareness spreads.  The Snow Horse has returned. A child shouts “Mom ! the Snow Horse, the Snow Horse!” Now we can go barefoot.  A farmer quietly prepares to plant tomato seedlings. A family plans an overnight camping trip.  The Snow Horse has done his job.


In 2007, the Davis Board of Education named the District’s 55th elementary school in West Kaysville, Snow Horse Elementary.


Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane Home of the "Colts"
Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane, Kaysville, Utah. Home of the                                                   “Colts”   


My Friend Rena Bowring – Summer Fun

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When school let out for the summer, Rena and I always vowed we would still keep in touch and do things together.  The fun times with Rena during those hot summer days are unforgettable.

Rena and I did not exactly live next door to each other.  I lived on 4th West and she lived on 4th East in Kaysville.  The half way mark was Main Street.  Most of the time we rode our faithful bicycles and met each other at Frost Drug.  We parked our bikes in the old iron bike rack located between the drug store and Kaysville Theatre.  We went inside for a “nickel” coke.  It was there on those old silver bar stools with the red leather tops that we would twirl around, drink our coke and plan out our “adventure of the day”.

At one of our planning sessions, Rena decided we would buy some candy.  Back then we had an entire array of “penny candy” we could choose from,located right behind the bar stools.  We decided on Cinnamon Bears.  We each bought about 20 cents worth.  Rena got the idea to line them up on the counter and give them all a name.  We laughed and made up all these stupid names for our bears.  Then Rena said “Hey I’m going to eat Clyde’s ear off” and she did.  It took us a while, but we managed to devour each Cinnamon Bear part one by one – first a bite of ear, leg, or an occasional head.  We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.  The only one not finding amusement was Mrs. Frost scowling at us from behind the long counter.  Did we care? No, we were paying customers.

A favorite adventure spot was Sander’s Hollow.  It was located a few blocks north of the Clover Club Potato Chip factory.  There were all kinds of trees, plants, flowers and a nice little stream at the bottom.  We usually packed a picnic lunch and spent the entire day, enjoying nature and the sounds of the water running over the rocks.  Nearby in a large field lived a bull with a gold ring in it’s nose.  We liked to tease him, but I don’t know what we would have done if he ever took us up on our offer.  As it was we managed to step in his poop piles and get scratched by the barbed wire fence.  This was all part of the fun.

Bike riding in West Kaysville was another fun past time.  We would head down 2nd North, past the railroad tracks, then past Linda Galbraith’s house.  After that it was mostly fields, the houses being few and far between.  I remember we peddled our bikes as fast as we could until it would be time to stop along the roadside to take a short break. The hot sun beat down on our backs. It was total peace and quiet all around.  We could hear the faint sound of the wind blowing, lots of meadow larks churping and occasionally a cow mooing in the distance.  It was a wonderous place.  There was a feeling, a calmness that always came over me.  It was a peacefulness I have not since experienced.  I have no words to describe the closeness Rena and I had when we were down in that little part of our world.

Sleepovers were so fun at Rena’s house.  She had the most awesome antique furniture in her bedroom.  She had a huge dark wooden bed.  the headboard was very tall and ornate.  The Bowring’s loved cats, they owned lots of cats.  One in particular was called Millicent.  We loved to dress her in doll clothes while she hissed and scratched at us.

When it was good weather we liked to sleep out in her backyard.  Even though we were true boy haters, we always made a big production so her neighbor Scott Flint and his friend Zack Thorderson would know we would be available to goof around all night.  There were several incidents that involved throwing dirt clods. Even though we claimed to hate it, we secretly loved all the attention.

Nights spent at Rena’s grandma Bonnemort’s were always special.  Her grandma’s house looked like an old Victorian castle.  On the 2nd floor was a round screened room.  I loved to pretend to be a damsel in distress waiting for my knight in shining armor to come and rescue me.  Rena wanted no part of that.  She thought it was absolute nonsense to ever want a boy to get anywhere near her.

Bonnemort home

                                                                Bonnemort Home, Kaysville 

Rena’s grandma Bonnemort had a huge bathroom.  I remember the toilet had this really neat railing around it and it was up high off the ground.  I was so into this fantasy of this house being a castle, it was only natural I thought this was one of the royal “thrones”.

Her grandma was a delightful lady.  We liked to sit next to her at night while she told us stories. She was crippled and couldn’t walk, so Rena and I helped her a lot.

$$$$$$$$ Barnes Bank – My Memories $$$$$$$$$

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Need  $$$ money? As a kid in the 1950’s to me getting cash was simple.  All  I had to do was stand in line at Barnes Bank with my  mom, and chat and gossip with all the other ladies standing around.When it was mom’s turn at the check out place, they handed her money.  I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could stand in line with my friends and have cash handed to me. Then it happened.  When I was about eleven years old mom told me we were going to the bank so I could open my own “account”.  I couldn’t wait for our next visit to Barnes Bank. The moment finally arrived when I  found myself at the check out place.  No money here, all I got back was a book with disappointing amounts of handwritten mumbo jumbo and rubber stamping.  When I ask mom what the deal was I got a lengthy lecture about “responsibility”.


Barnes Bank 1950's-60's
                       Barnes Bank 1950’s -60’s


My trips to Barnes Bank definitely took a turn for the worst after that.  Disillusioned, I began scouring all of Kaysville searching for my own money tree.  No, I never found it and now when I go to America First Credit Union, I always take the free lollipop.  That’s about as good as it’s going to get.



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.”

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