History of James Lythgoe
by Mary P. Bingham. Also mentioned: Martha Heelis, Thomas Lythgoe (father), Esther Wilcock.
[Note: some of the facts in this account are not congruent with those in the previous renditions]
Written by Mary P. Bingham
James Lythgoe was born March 15, 1842, at Pendleburg, England. His father’s name was Thomas Lythgoe, and his mother’s name was Esther Willcox Lythgoe. While in England he came in contact with some Latter-day Saint missionaries and joined the church before coming to America. He married Martha Heelis in England. Soon after arriving in America they went to the endowment house in Salt Lake City. They arrived in Henefer, Summit County, Utah, about the year of 1864. He built a home on the west side of Henefer by the foot of the hills. His mother and sister came over here also and lived with him because his father did not come.
James Lythgoe and his wife raised a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. He had a small farm, and they worked very hard getting the land cleared and irrigated. When my mother was eight years old, her mother died and left her father with seven children. He then married a lady by the name of Esther. Although they had no children themselves, she was a wonderful step-mother. About nine years later she died and he was left alone again. This time he married Hannah Johnson. She had four children, three boys and a girl. She was grand person, the only grandma I had known on my mother’s side. They had a family of nine children and lost one boy. They had a girl about my age, so we had wonderful times when we went up there. There was no work for young people up there, so my mother came down to Kaysville, Utah, where she met my father. After marrying him they settled down in Kaysville to live.
My grandfather was a great lover of music. He would take his violin and walk two or three miles to play for dances or programs. He taught himself to read music notes. He had an organ and later bought a piano. He was a very religious man who always tried to teach everyone who would listen to him about living a good life. On Sundays he would get in his buggy and gather up children along the road and take them to church. In the summer he would take a covered wagon and drive down to Kaysville where my folks lived tog et fruit. It would take two days to come down, a day to get his load of fruit, and two days to go back. They could not raise much fruit up there because of such early frosts. My mother would take us up there with one horse hitched to a buggy. The horse was so frightened of trains that mother would be compelled to get out and hold it by the bridle while the train was passing. We had an aunt that lived in Peterson, so we would stay there all night. It was a distance of forty miles. I remember my grandfather always having family prayers and calling on each one of us to take our turn.
While my grandfather was living by the hills, his mother who lived with him went to church one Sunday and stopped to see her daughter on the way home. When it became dark, and she had not returned home, they all began looking for her. It seems she had lost her directions and wandered off into the hills. When they found her a day or two later, she was dead from exposure. A few years later, he moved about half a mile east of town by the railroad. He delivered mail for the post office for some time. He was a very active man and always had the best of health. He always attributed his good health to the way he lived and the way he took care of himself. He was the father of nineteen children. He died March 17, 1929, in Henefer, Summit County, Utah, at the age of 87.
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