Biography of Riley Garner Clark, Sr.
Written by his daughter, Ada Clark Carter My Father, Riley Garner Clark, Sr., son of Samuel Clark and Rebecca Garner Clark, was born near Cincinnati, Clinton County, Ohio, July 29, 1829, of Quaker parents. His parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Martinsville, Ohio, and immigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the family endured the hardships and persecutions that the Saints were subjected to at that time. When the general exodus of the Church occurred from Illinois, he moved with his parents to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The call was made for five hundred Mormon volunteers to serve their country in the war with Mexico, and Riley Garner and his oldest brother, Joseph, enlisted in Company A, Iowa Mormon Battalion Volunteers, July 16, 1846, under the command of General Kearney. President Brigham Young promised the Mormon boys who enlisted in the army that if they would be faithful to their God, they would not be required to fight, which promise was fulfilled. Thus, the fighting was either ahead of or behind them. White on their march to San Diego, California, they endured many hardships. At one time they marched all day, both men and teams, without water. The last of their provisions gone, beefs were killed and that was their only food. Great suffering was experienced by the Battalion boys through exposure as many were poorly clad and destitute of tents and wagon covers. Sickness was prevalent in the camps and great numbers of them died, but they never wavered in their purpose. A song “The Lonesome Howling Wolves” was composed by one of the members of the group and was sung over the graves of those that had died. The chorus was as follows: “We burnt ashes and coal over the graves to hide them from the savages and the lonesome howling wolves.” Father used to sing this to his children. As he sang the chorus he used the carpenter saw, and by running his fingers up the blade, he demonstrated the howling of the wolves. Father also sang the chorus of another song which went: “How hard to starve and wear us out upon this sandy desert route.” I was only eight years old when my father died, but I can remember well his being a kind and loving father, telling us children stories about his adventures in the Battalion and singing us the songs which were composed while there. After a long and perilous journey they arrived in California January 29, 1847. Their camp was located a mile below the Catholic Mission and some four or five miles from the seaport town of San Diego. They served one year in San Diego, after which they were honorably released. While there, they were permitted to visit many places of interest; among them were the old mission home at San Diego, the old San Gabriel Mission at Los Angeles, and other such places. General Kearney was more than pleased with his Mormon boys. He lifted his hat with martial pride and said, “Over the Alps Napoleon went, but these men crossed the Continent.” It was the greatest mark of infantry in the history of the world. Their return trip was made by way of the Southern route. Here again they endured many hardships. While crossing the desert they suffered so from the heat and lack of water that their tongues would become dry, parched, and swollen. After a rain, which was welcomed happily, they would run to puddles of water, lie down and drink to quench their burning thirst. Their feet became sore and bleeding, which made it very difficult to travel. Riley Garner Clark and his brother Joseph joined their parents who had immigrated to Utah in Heber C. Kimball’s company in Provo on September 24, 1848. In 1849, Grandfather Samuel Clark made the first leather that was made in Utah. His sons, Joseph and Riley, helped him in this business. Joseph and Riley also operated a saw mill, a threshing wheel, and molasses mill. The large water wheel that ran the machinery operating the mill was on the corner of Fifth West and Third North Street. In connection with this mill they owned and operated a salt grinder where they ground the salt brought from Salt Creek Canyon. Grandfather Samuel Clark owned and lived on what is known as Fifth North and Sixth West. Riley and Joseph owned one block of land together between Second and Third, and Fifth and Sixth West. On this land they built and operated a tannery, and it was here that they built their homes. Joseph’s home still stands on the corner of Fourth North, Fifth West. His daughter, Mary Clark Singleton, owns the home and is living in it as present (At the close of the year 1937). Riley owned all of the land from the dugway south of the main highway, east to the river bridge. It was on this land, where Mary Ann Brown’s house now stands, that his oldest son, Riley Garner Clark, Jr., was born. East of Provo River bridge, where the Riverside Tourist Park owned by Glen Weeter now stands, one of the greatest Indian battles took place. Riley Garner Clark, Sr., married Amanda Williams March 20, 1851, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. In 1852 he received a missionary call from President Brigham Young to go to Manti, Utah, to build a tannery and a saw mill. When he accomplished this feat he received his release and was compelled to return to Provo because of trouble with the Indians. In Manti, while he was out cutting trees in the mountains, a tree fell on him, apparently killing him. After regaining consciousness he related the following experience to the men who had been working over him and also to his family. He said that he stood over his body and watched the men working upon him trying to bring him back to life. He then went through a beautiful green valley and met an old man with a long white beard. The man asked him to go back and take up his earthly body as his work on earth was not finished yet. On returning to his body he found the men still working over it. He did not know how he had re-entered his body. In 1853 he returned to Provo and resumed his former work, also working on his farm. In 1855 he was called to Manti again. He started out with twenty pounds of cornmeal, $1.50 worth of sole leather, and one cow, which was sold for five hundred pounds of flour to be delivered in one, five, and ten pound lots as it was milled (this was the grasshopper year), but was forced to return to Provo because of more trouble with the Indians. He served in the Indian War and stood guard at Manti and Provo. On their return to Provo, Amanda Clark (my mother) was seriously ill for three months. One morning before sunrise, three men suddenly appeared to her, standing between her bed and the wall. They asked how long she had been ill and upon receiving her answer said, “May the Lord bless you. You shall live and get well,” and then vanished from the room. At this moment, her husband came into the room and related how three men had appeared before him and asked for something to eat. When he told of the condition of his wife, they said, “May the Lord bless you, and your wife will get well.” Saying this, they vanished. While living in Provo, Riley and his wife buried three children, two girls and a boy, six years old. I heard my mother tell how neighbors used to ask the boy as the family was making preparations to leave, “Well, George, so you are going to leave us.” George would answer, “Nope, I’m not, but my pa and ma is.” Just a short time before they were ready to move away from Provo, George became ill suddenly and died. Mother said that Father, although he had never received any training, was an expert machinist. This accounts for his being called on these different missions to establish this line of work. Father used to laugh and say, “I’m a worker of all trades and master of none,” but his life history reveals that he had mastered many trades. In the fall of 1869, he again received a call by President Brigham Young to go to Dixie to establish a tannery at St. George. On arriving at Kanarrah, because of the scarcity of hides and beefs in St. George, this project was abandoned and a tannery was established in Kanarrah instead. A son, Guy Wilson Clark, was born to them at Kanarrah. He built also a saw mill in Parowan Canyon. The next move was to Panguitch where his oldest son, Riley Garner Clark, Jr., had gone to prepare a home for the family. Here he and his father built a tannery, a saw mill, and a grist mill, all of which were successful. They also owned and ran a large tract of land. The pioneers had great difficulty farming due to the late spring and early frost, which made crops uncertain. Therefore, cattle and lumber were their main occupations. Riley Garner Clark, Jr., made boots and shoes from tanned hides, which were sold through-out the southern part of the state. At that time, the saw mill was located on Mammoth Creek about eighteen miles south of Panguitch. His tannery, grist mill, and house were located on a hill southwest of Panguitch. His home, being a suburban home, was located near his farming land. During the summer, Riley Garner Clark, Sr., spent a great deal of his time at the saw mill on mammoth Creek. He was also a butcher for a few of the people in Panguitch. He had gone out to kill a beef one morning, and after coming home for breakfast, he suffered a paralytic stroke while eating. At his request, he was taken to Mammoth Creek where the saw mill was located. After suffering eighteen days, he died on July 11, 1876, at the age of 47 years. Besides his industrial tasks, he was a faithful work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Sixteen children were born to him and his wife, nine girls and seven boys, four of whom which died in infancy. The Lonesome Roving Wolves The Mormons were camped down by the green grove Where the pure waters flow from the mountains above. The hunters just returned from the chasing the bull, As we listen’d to the howling of the lonesome roving wolves, Our guards they were stationed at their posts all around At the top of the hill where the wild bull is found The wind it blew hard and appoach’d us so cold As we listen’d to the howling of the lonesome, roving wolves. The groans of the dying were heard in our camp And the cold chilly frost it was seen on our tents; For the thoughts of all hearts could never be told As we listen’d to the howling of the lonesome, roving wolves. The grave of the stranger it was left on the plains Down by the green grove there forever to remain, To remember his grave we left ashes and coals To hide him from the savages and lonesome, roving wolves. Early next morning just at the break of day The drums and the fifes they did play the reveille. Our mules were brought in, our baggage for to pull, And now we’ll bid adieu to those lonesome, roving wolves.