Friday, May 9, 2014

Grow Family History as told by Ellen Ferris

The name “Grow” is very prominent in the history of the West. Our records show that the first known Grow was born in Germany. Frederick was his name. The year of his birth is not known. After he was married and had some children, he came to America, sometime before the Revolution. One of his sons, Henry Grow Sr., was born in the year of 1780. His wife was Mary Riter and she was born in 1785 but we don’t know where. The following report was taken from a book written by Edward W. Tullidge entitled “The History of Salt Lake City and its founders”. Henry Grow, the superintendent of the Temple Block was born October 1, 1817 at Norristown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father’s name was Henry Grow and his mother’s name was Mary Riter. His grandfather came from Germany and took up a large tract of land and made it into five farms of sixty acres each and divided them among his four sons and one daughter. The estate still remains in the family. His grandfather fought in the Revolution. The British army camped within a mile of his farmhouse. Henry was the youngest of 7 children. Henry served his apprenticeship as a carpenter and jointer in his native sate, after which he superintended all the bridges, culverts etc. on the Norristown and Germantown railroads both in constructing and repairing. He worked under the direction of George G. Whitmore an ex mayor of Philadelphia. Henry was baptized in the Delaware River, Philadelphia, in May 1842 by William Morton. He immigrated to Nauvoo in March of 1843, arriving May 15th. His first work at that place was in building a barn for Patriarch Hyrum Smith. He also worked on the Nauvoo Temple until it was completed. He passed through all the trials of those days and was one of the members of the Nauvoo Legion. He remained with others in Nauvoo after the departure of the Twelve with the advance companies of the Saints for the Rocky Mountains. It had been agreed that the Mormons were to be given ample time to leave Illinois, but before the vanguard of the Pioneers left on their journey west, the anti Mormons began to rise and the mob performed outrages on the remaining Saints. The mob marched on the doomed city on the 19th of September 1864, and what was to be known as the Farmers Battle began and lasted three days. Henry Grow fought in this battle. The mob had 2000 well-armed men with 13 pieces of artillery camped in front of his house about a block distant. The first night they were camped there, while lying in his bed, he heard a voice distinctly say, “Get up and get out of here in the morning”. He arose, hitched a yoke of cattle to his wagon, put in utensils, bedding, and tent, leaving every other thing he owned in the house. He got his wife and three children into the wagon and had moved about fifty yards from the house when the mob fired a ball into the house, which was of frame structure. He crossed over the river to Montrose, Iowa. His family lived in the tent while he went back and fought the mob throughout the battle. From here he traveled across the prairies to Winter Quarters, where they arrived late in the month of October 1846. Here he built a log cabin and then went to Kimballs, six miles above, where he built himself a house and settled for the year. In the fall of 1847, after the departure of the Pioneer Companies, he moved with his family down into Missouri on the Little Platte, twenty miles above Weston, where many of the old mobocrats lived. While there, he kept the saw and grist mill in repair and did other carpenter work for two years for Co. Estel, who later sold out to Holladay and Warner, Merchants well known in the early history of Salt Lake City. Mr. Grow worked for Holladay and Warner till the spring of 1851. He and his family then again came up to the Missouri River, bound for the valleys of the mountains. He was organized in Captain James Cummings hundred, in Alfred Gordens fifty and Bishop Keslers ten. Orson Pratt commanded the other fifty. The Mormons still traveled across the plains at this date in the old Pioneer plan of organization of hundreds, fifties and tens. On account of high water, the companies headed the Horn River and came on to the Platte below Laramie on the Sweetwater below Independence Rock. The company was surrounded by war parties of Cheyenne’s. Keslers ten got separated from the other tens, but they succeeded in sending a message to Captain Gordon who was camped with the remainder of his fifty at Independence Rock and he sent relief and they went up and camped with their company. Next day they met a thousand Snake Warriors waiting for the Cheyenne’s. Henry Grow arrived in Salt Lake City on his birthday, October 1, 1851. He immediately went to work and worked for a year on the Public Works under Miles Romney, the first superintendent of the carpenter shop. In the winter of 1851, he worked on the old Tabernacle, which occupied the spot where the Assembly Hall now stands, and he worked also on building the Social Hall, the weather being mild that winter. In 1853 he built the first suspension bridge in Utah across the Ogden River for Jonathan Browning. In 1854 he went to work at Sugarhouse to build the sugar works under the direction of Bishop Kesler, and in 1855, he worked in the building of the two saw mills in Big Cottonwood known as A and B. In 1856 he moved a saw mill from Chases Mill in the big field up City Creek seven miles for President Young, and the same fall he went up to Big Cottonwood again and farmed and put up Mill D, sawed some logs and left on the 17th of December in company with five other men on seven foot of snow on snow shoes. It took them two days to get through the snow. It was a very dangerous trip and they had many narrow escapes on the trip. In 1857 he went up and built Mill E at the head of the canyon near Silver Lake. In 1858 he went to Provo and put up all the temporary buildings of the “Nove” and he also built the suspension bridge over the Provo River. In 1859 he tore the works out of the old gristmill at the mouth of Canyon Creek and placed the cotton and woolen machinery in its place. This was not used much and later it was taken to St. George, Utah, and used there where the growing of cotton was more successful. In 1861 he built suspension bridges across the Weber and Jordan Rivers. These bridges were still in use after 35 or 40 years. When he built the Old Salt Lake Theater, he put up a water wheel on the water ditch to enable the working men to hoist heavy beams and principal rafters out of planks for the works and fitted up the footlights. In 1863 and 1864 he did a great deal of millwork at the request of President Young at different places and in 1865 President Young called on him in regard to the construction of the big Tabernacle. He designed the shape, planned, framed, and put it up, and finished this Tabernacle on the fall of 1867. In 1868 President Young called on him to build the Z.C.M.I. building. The plans were drawn by Obed Taylor and superintended by Grow throughout. From that time on until the spring of 1876, he had charge of the carpenter shop and work on the Temple Block. At this time he was called on to build the warehouse to the Z.C.M.I. building. At the October Conference in 1876, he was called on a mission to preside over the Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland Conferences. He left Salt Lake City on the first day of November 1876, and during his mission he visited all his relatives and the old homestead. He left Pennsylvania for Salt Lake City on June 12, 1877, and on his return he was immediately engaged to tear down the old tabernacle and build the Assembly Hall, superintending the practical work under architect Obed Taylor. It was completed in the fall of 1878. Since that time, Mr. Grow has built two brick houses for President Taylor and superintended all the carpentry of the Church, including the scaffolding and hoisting apparatus for the Temple. In 1880 he was called by President Taylor to go east to look at improvements to paper mills for the purpose of putting up a paper mill at the mouth of Big Cottonwood. Mr. Grow traveled through Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, New Jersey, Springfield, Mass., Albany, Holyoke, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburg and other cities to get all the information he could, relative to the building of the paper mill. This accomplished, he returned to Salt Lake City and drafted plans and commenced the New Deseret Paper mill at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was completed and put in running order in 1883, being the first paper mill in Utah. The foregoing busy record will show how extensively and constantly Henry Grow has been engaged in the building enterprises of Utah, and the making of a state for more than thirty years. He was known as a skillful mechanic and an experienced practical builder, who was well liked by all the hands who have worked under his superintending. Among all his works, the roof of the big tabernacle in Salt Lake City, covering the largest hall in America west of the Chicago, is the most stupendous. The outside dimensions of the Tabernacle are: Length 250 ft., width 150ft. On the inside it measures 232 ft. by 132 feet, Height to ceiling is 65 feet. The roof rests on 44 columns averaging 20 feet high and is self supporting. The seating capacity is 9000 with standing room for fully 3000 more. The inside measurements of the Assembly Hall is 116 by 64 feet. Height of ceiling is 36 feet. Gallery is 18 feet wide and extends around the building. He served as city councilman with mayor Daniel H. Wells from 1870 to 1876 and died November 4, 1891, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The above report bears witness to the important part that Henry Grow played in the building of the Church here in this area. He had five wives, and of the children born to his third wife, my grandmother was one. Her name was Josephine Streeper Grow. She was born November 15, 1852, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The house she was born in was located where the Salt Lake Hardware now stands at North Temple and 3rd West. She lived her whole life in Salt Lake and attended the pioneer schools. Through her childhood she was happy and had a good life although her parents were very strict. The children all got along well with one another and it has been said that it was hard to tell which child belonged to which mother. The children were never allowed to read anything other than Church literature. My grandmother was like the average child and would read novels on nights in her room when the moon was full. Her father wanted her to marry a man in polygamy, but she refused and married a very fine man by the name of George Lawson Scott on May 17, 1870, in the Old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of this marriage 6 sons and 2 daughters were born. My mother was named Grace Leola Scott, and she was born on January 19, 1885, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The house she was born in still stands. It was made from the clay they had in their own yard. It has been remodeled and some of the shrubs are still growing in the yard that were planted when mother was a little girl. My mother was active in the Wilford Ward and attended the old North School on Highland Drive. They always had family prayer and had many good times such as sleigh riding during the winter. One of their neighbors by the name of Leslie Murphy built a sleigh and had a donkey that pulled them around. Mother was baptized in a creek close by her house. All the children in the family had to help around the house. She tells of when she used to have to mix bread when she was so little she had to stand on a chair to reach the table. The family was well provided for until mother’s father died in 1903. From then on things were very hard. Grandmother took in sewing to get money for the family. She also in later years assembled radio headsets manufactured by the Baldwin Radio Works in East Mill creek. She did this in her home and I helped at times when I was young. Mother had her patriarchal blessing from Edward White of the Wilford Ward. Mother’s sister married Dan Brighton, a famous figure in the early 1900’s. His grandfather built the famous Brighton resort up in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Mother married my father, William Sherman Ferris on November 16, 1904, in the Salt Lake Temple. I have written an account of the major events in their married life and will include more in my own biography. At the present time, mother and dad are still living and are enjoying a comfortable life close to where we live in Bountiful. (Compiled by Ellen Ferris Hixson 1960. Re-typed for digitizing by Richard S. Hixson, April 2006.)

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