Sunday, December 20, 2015

William Anciel Twitchell and Ruth Ann Greenwood

William Anciel Twitchell

William Anciel Twitchell Sr. was born November 17, 1859, in Beaver, Utah. He was the son of Anciel Twitchell and Louisa Samantha Hitchcock. He married Ruth Greenwood on Christmas Day, 1883, in Beaver. At this time he was working for the railroad. Their first "home" was in a dugout. Their first child, Edith Sylvia, was born there in Beaver, then they moved to Manderfield where Rachael Ann was born. They then moved to North Creek where William Anciel Jr. and a stillborn daughter were born. Alvin Greenwood was born at Beaver, Edward Shirley at Manderfield, and then the last two, Raymond and Ethel Evelyn, were born at North Creek, so it appears that the family moved around a bit before they settled in North Creek.

William was a prosperous farmer, and owned a large amount of ground and cattle. His favorite pastimes were hunting deer and going fishing. He very seldom missed a shot. He and his sons and grandsons would always get together for an annual deer hunt, and it was William's job to teach each grandson how to hunt, as they each got old enough. He was a good hiker, very sure on his feet. He had another tradition, though, that was not so good. At this annual hunt, William was famous for drinking plenty of whiskey. He would be so drunk before they got to camp that he couldn't ride his horse. He would get into the camp wagon. His grandson Shirley once spent the night in the wagon with him, and he remembered that his grandfather even woke up in the middle of the night and took another swig of the whiskey. Most of the men drank some. It would take William several days after this hunt before he could get back to normal.

William gave each grandson a colt when he was old enough to take care of it. Vyron Baker remembered that the year he got his colt, hay was in very short supply. They had to turn his colt and another horse, Old Brit, out to fend for themselves for the winter. In the early spring, the two horses came home looking very thin and hungry. Vyron felt sorry for them and gave them some hay. The next morning he found them both lying on the ground. His colt was dead and Old Brit was nearly so. Vyron had not realized that it would not be good to give them so much hay when they were not used to it. Sometime later, William gave Vyron another colt.

William was a good provider for his family, but very stern and strict with them. He did not go to church with his wife and children. He evidently favored some of his children more than others. For one reason or another, his first daughter Edith was not one of his favorites. He had wanted her to marry a man named Glen Merchant, but she fell in love with Ray Baker and married him against her father's wishes. He never quite forgave her for that and was not as helpful to her little family when they needed him as he could have been.
Note:  Edith Sylvia is my husband, Glen's great-grandma on his Baker side.

William was a healthy man, both in body and mind. He never had severe sickness nor bad teeth. He could mix well in a crowd and loved to hear music. When the people of North Creek would get together for a dance, as they did for special occasion such as Christmas, William and Jim Valentine would do a step dance to entertain the people. Oh, how they could dance! Also, at Christmas time the grandchildren would all come to the Twitchell home. William would bring out a big sack of candy and nuts. The children would all sit on the floor in a big circle, and William would dump out the candy and nuts on the floor. The children could have all they could pick up.


While he lived in North Creek, there were still occasional troubles with the Indians. Whenever he went irrigating, he always took three things: his horse, his shovel, and his gun, to protect himself against Indians. He was quite friendly with most of the Indians, however. He could speak some of their language, and he knew their Chief. Sad to say, William was often remembered for his stubbornness, being set in his ways, and for his difficult mannerisms. He must have done the best he could. He was a tough man in a tough area during a tough period of time. A tribute was written to him after he passed away. It was written by his good friend and neighbor, J.G. McQuarrie:

"William Twitchell was, in his person, a real type. He was distinctly a product of the times. His character, or probably his characteristics, were wrought of his own head, rough experiences without any polish from artificial sources. Neither the Church nor the school touched his life in any direct way. He could not stand the restraint of either. It would be foolish, in attempting to sketch his life, to call him a polished gentleman, but he did possess many of the virtues, without which even kings are but puppets. If our state should be invaded, William Twitchell with his deer gun would respond as quickly as did the Minutemen of Lexington. . . . If it so happened that he with his family were driven either into the desert or the mountains, he would survive, where more technically trained men might perish. 

This man had no use for wealth, he made no struggle to attain it. But out of his North Creek farm he managed not only to provide well for his family, but to establish his boys in a home or a profession. He interests never relaxed until his boys were at least making a living. 

Mr. Twitchell was a good neighbor. He built good fences. Neither he nor his animals trespassed upon others. He knew the world. . . as God made it. It is a question whether the trained botanist or the biologist knew the wild life or plant life of this section better than he. The workings of his mind and his general characteristics were revealed most clearly in the annual deer hunt. Although he would get with ease his own limit, he was always willing to share spoils and pleasures with the young men who wanted to join his camp. Doctors, teachers, and businessmen followed his suggestions with appreciation and pleasure. 

He loved the mountains as he loved his fields. Both were a part of and essential to his life. He would not tolerate destruction of either the timber, the flowers, or the wild life. Even at the advanced age of 80 years, his zest for the hunt was unbelievable. His sympathy and understanding were such with the boys that they enjoyed being with him. There were no restrictions, neither were there any excuses. We all had to be there. 

In my varied experiences, I have not met another such example of what nature can do in molding a man in his environment, and leave the picture, though dull and unpolished, so striking that all who really see it can say, 'He was a noble man.' William Twitchell was my neighbor at a time when I needed helpful suggestions. I submit this sketch of his life as a tribute of my respect and gratitude."

 Elwood Erickson with baby son, Baker, and great-grandparents, Ruth Ann and William Twitchell in 1935.  William would die in 1940 and Ruth Ann in 1952.

Typed by Edith Baker, Feb., 1990
Sources: 1) Short history by Johanna Baker, 1955 2) History of Shirley Baker, typed by Elda 3) Tape recording made by Shirley Baker, 1989 4) Tape recording made by Nola Baker, 1990 5) Tape recording made by Vyron Baker, 1990 

 Ruth Ann Greenwood

Ruth Greenwood was born August 8, 1865 in Beaver, Utah. She was the eleventh child of William Greenwood Jr. and Ann Hartley. When she was very young, her older brother Barney returned from a trip across the plains, bringing a harmonica with him. It so delighted Ruth that she started playing it and dancing to her own music, much to the amusement of the family. While she was still a little girl, her family had one particular cow that only Ruth could milk. Even if she was sick, they would bring the cow up to the door of the house and she would sit there and milk it. She was baptized when she was 12 years old and was married to William Anciel Twitchell Sr. when she was 18. They had their first home on Indian Creek (later called Manderfield), and then later settled on North Creek, where they had a nice, light, native pink rock home, which was unusual in that vicinity. Six children, three boys and three girls, were born to this union.

Once, not too long after she and William had been married, William hurt Ruth's feelings somehow, and they had a bit of a disagreement. She ran out of the house and up into the hills, thinking that he would surely follow her and make up with her. It was getting pretty dark, and he didn't come. He was home pacing the floor and thinking, "If I go after her this time, I'll be going after her all the time, so I won't do it." He was a little worried about her, but he didn't go after her. She could hear the coyotes howling and she got pretty scared, so she finally went home. She had learned a lesson. She didn't run away any more after that.

Ruth was a very good woman and a peacemaker. She would always do more than her share to make others happy. One person said of her that she was quiet and reserved but easy to get along with. Because of this, she was imposed on all her life. She led a hard physical life and was a true pioneer. Her home was always open to everyone. All the relatives enjoyed a picnic at "Aunt Ruth's". There was usually a band of Indians camped further north on the creek. Watching them and sometimes teasing always made such experiences exciting for the children. Ruth usually had garden products to share with her relatives, as it seemed they could raise nice gardens on the creek.

She liked to dance and go to movies. She worked in the Sunday School and was President of the Primary. She was a very religious woman and always went to church, although her husband didn't go with her. She always had a little bottle of whiskey in the house which she used for medicine and disinfectant. She had to keep it hidden from her husband, for if he would find it, he would drink it. In her later years, she kept the whiskey in her purse wherever she went.

Ruth was an excellent seamstress and made all the quilts and other "luxury" items in her home. She often gave her grandchildren little remembrances such as a pin cushion with a crocheted kitten on it. Everyone loved her. She and William took her brother, William Greenwood III, into their home for five years when he was old and feeble. She raised three families: her own eight children; her daughter Rachael's daughter (Susan Merchant) after Rachael passed away at the age of 29; and her son Edward's family after his wife Jenny Puffer died. An interesting note: Evidently Rachael married Glen Merchant, the fellow that William (Ruth's husband) had picked out for their first daughter, Edith, to marry. Since Edith married someone else, Glen evidently took the next available daughter.

Ruth's granddaughter, Luella, remembered an occasion when a thunderstorm was raging in North Creek where Ruth was living. The lightning struck her home and it went all the way around the four walls of her kitchen. They could see it inside the house. That was pretty scary.

Ruth was a large person, as were most of the members of the Greenwood family. She enjoyed good health until the very last part of her life. She was very soft spoken, quiet, and long-suffering throughout her life. She had to wait on her husband during the last part of his life as his health failed, and she did it uncomplainingly.

After the death of her husband, Ruth lived alone or had one of her grandchildren live in with her in her home on North Creek for quite a few years. She spent some time at the home of her grandson Vyron Baker and his wife Agnes. Vyron tells of the time that she got into the tub to have a bath and then couldn't get back out. Agnes couldn't get her out by herself, so they wrapped a big towel around her and Vyron had to come and help get her out of the tub. He was kind of embarrassed and knew that she was embarrassed, so he just tried to make a joke out of it, and they laughed quite a bit about it. Ruth was quite a jolly woman, and just shook all over when she laughed. Vyron also bought her a special rocking chair to sit in while she stayed at his home, and she was so appreciative of his kindness to her. She also loved to have Agnes sing to her. One day she was helping Agnes do the dishes and Agnes started singing a song. Ruth really liked it, so after that, every time they were doing dishes, Agnes had to sing that song for her. The song was called "Wait for Me, Mary."

Another time Vyron and Agnes took Ruth to the zoo. It was the first time she had ever been to such a place and she was so impressed. She especially enjoyed watching the monkeys and laughed and laughed at how the mother would pick the lice out of the baby's hair. She also like the talking parrots. She loved nature.

Ruth was a very modest woman, and wore long skirts all her life. She wore a little bib apron over her skirt all the time. That apron had many uses, including holding all kinds of produce from the garden. Ruth also had a little bag of acifedity which she wore on a string around her neck. That was an herb which was good for coughs and colds, and she wore it so it would always be on hand if anyone needed it.

Ruth had been an assistant and nurse for Dr. Warren Shepherd, and he wrote a very nice letter to her and her husband, which I will quote in part:

"Sister Twitchell, I think of the many times [something missing here] streets as an angel of mercy, helping to aid and comfort the distressed and the sick night or day, mud or sludge made no barrier to you. I think of you as one of the best women in the world, modest and quiet, but genuine to the core. You have been blessed in giving service and, after all, that is the greatest gift."

 Ruth Ann Greenwood Twitchell with her daughter, Edith Sylvia Twitchell Baker's, children.
L to R: Vyron, Sylvia Luella, Nola, and Loretta

In her later years, Ruth also stayed at the home of her granddaughter Nola Morris in Orem, Utah. They loved to have her come, and Nola's four little girls were always crowded around her, wanting to "help Grandma." She would use Nola's broomstick as a sort of a cane to help her get around. Once, Nola took her to a movie, and in it there were quite a few scenes with dancing girls. They were sort of scantily dressed and Nola wondered what Ruth would think of it, but Ruth just laughed and said, "Nola, I really enjoyed it. I would have liked to have been up there dancing with them." She always did love to dance. When she was a young girl, she and her friend Addie would learn every new dance that came to town. They would practice the dance steps out in the street in their bare feet.

Nola had a special feeling for her Grandma Twitchell, for she felt that she had kind of taken the place of her mother Sylvia when she died. All Ruth's grandchildren loved to have her visit them. Raymond's wife June remembered that when she came to visit them, her little children would gather around to hear Grandma's stories. The little girls would bring their dolls and the little boys would bring their trucks, and they would heap them up in Ruth's lap until it was overflowing with their offerings of love. Ruth always liked to save little boxes and bottles she just couldn't throw them away, and she would usually find a use for them.

In her very last years, Ruth lived with her granddaughter, Susan Merchant, who had always loved and appreciated her. They lived in Milford and in Cedar City, where Ruth passed away in January of 1952. She lived long enough to see several great-grandchildren born. All who knew her remembered her fondly.

No comments: