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THE BEAR LAKE PERIOD
From the writings of Carl Cook,* Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples and Mary Rosaliz Cook McCann.
The trip from the Goshen area to Bear Lake took some time. The part of the family's trip from Logan to Paris, Idaho took ten days. They arrived in Paris, December 7, 1863. Their cattle wintered out on the hills near Bear Lake that first winter.
This trip is so beautifully described by Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples. She and her husband were also called to settle Bear Lake Valley. This is her beautiful description of the trip.
"In the fall of 1861 we moved to Salem, Utah where we lived one year and then moved to Provo and bought a nice little home. But in the fall of 1863 we were called to go to Bear Lake Valley to help settle that place. So we sold our home and started on a two-hundred mile journey with an ox team late in the fall and traveled over rough roads northward through Utah, passing through Salt Lake City, Ogden and Cache Valley, which was a newly settled district. We stayed at Logan for two or three days with some friends, and to get some flour to take with us for our winter use. Then to Franklin, Idaho, where we stayed overnight and left on the 27th day of November for Paris over very rough roads through the mountains, over a three-mile dugway that was very steep and rough. Here everyone had to walk and use all the teams to take a wagon over. Half of the company camped at the top and half at the bottom until we were all over. The snow was one foot deep. We were with my father and family and had six wagons, so it took us six days to get over that three-mile dugway. One of the wagons broke aown, it had to be unloaded and a new bolster made, which hindered some and the same wagon tipped over the next day, going down the canyon We had to send into Paris for help. Two or three of the men in the few families who were ahead of us came with wagons and hay for our horses that night. Although the distance between Franklin and Paris was only forty-five miles, we were on the road ten days, reaching Paris on December 7, 1863. The people who had moved in from the near valleys had made wigwams like Indian teepees, to camp in until they could build log houses, and had now moved into their houses and left the teepees, so we moved into sane of them until we could do better. The people who were there were very kind to us, and helped us out by letting us have sortie logs which were already there, and my father being a carpenter and builder, he with the help of others soon had a log house of two large rooms ready to move into. They moved in before Christmas day and we all had a nice Christmas dinner in the new house, including some of the people who had come in later than we did.
My husband soon had a nice little house built after the same style as the others, although we had no lumber for floors or roofs. We got along with thatched roofs covered with dirt, and ground floors, covered with wild hay for carpets. My husband took his wagon box to pieces and made a floor part way across one room so we were real comfortable for the winter. This winter was very mild, and our stock lived well on the meadow grass and rushes as the snow was not very deep."
*The majority of the material presented is from the writings of Carl Cook, oldest son of Phineas and Johanna Christine Poulson. The writings of Harriet Betsy Cook Teeples and Mary Rosaliz (Zee) Cook MoCann are referred to by their specific names. Harriet Betsy is the oldest daughter of Phineas and Ann Eliza Rowland Cook. (Two children had been born to them previously, but both had died in infancy.) Mary Rosaliz (Zee) is the oldest daughter of Phineas and Amanda Polly Savage, but the second child of theirs to live past infancy/ David Savage Cook being the oldest. Her twin sister, Rosalia died as an infant.
THE BEAR LAKE PERIOD
Frcm The Writings Of Carl Cook
The trip from the Goshen area to Bear Lake took sane time. The part of their trip from Logan to Paris, Idaho took ten days. They arrived at Paris, December 7, 1864.* Their cattle wintered out on the hills near Bear Lake that first winter. *This date must be December 7, 1863 since Aurelia was born March 10, 1864 at Paris, Idaho.
Early in the spring they moved to Swan Creek which was so named from the fact that a flock of wild swans were seen in the open water of the lake, as some pioneers approached the place. The lake was mostly covered with ice, but where the waters of the stream emptied into the lake, there was an open area. The land in this vicinity was considered unimportant, it is said, and therefore was alloted by the Authorities to Father Cook. Whether it was so or not does not matter now, but because of the abundant steam of water, it might be and might have been the best place in the valley, because of the water-power that was later developed and produced a site for father's mills.
He and his boys got out timber from the mountains to build houses and barns. They cleared off the sage-brush and planted crops. They dug ditches for the mills and for irrigation, and soon became well provided for and later were considered well-to-do. The land was a little haven fringed on the west by the mountains and on the east by the lake. The wonderful stream of spring water gushing out of a crevice in the solid rocks, a little more than a mile up the canyon tumbled down into the valley and across the little farmland into the lake. This stream and the lake did much to provide for the comfort and wealth of the family, as well as to afford them pleasure and consolation.
Here in this lovely nook, father with the help of his good wives and their hardy, industrious sons and daughters built a little empire and became in a short time almost independent of the rest of the world. Here they repeated the processes followed in other settlements, planted crops for food and feed for their livestock, built comfortable hones and other necessary improvements as well as the mills.
One of the first and most important developments undertaken was the building of a mill to grind their wheat into flour and meal. It was important for themselves and for the other settlers in the valley. The work on the mill, once it was in. process of building, had to be rushed along as rapidly as possible. They employed the assistance of their neighbors from near or far away, who would be paid later in mill products or service, or by barter of such things as they had on hand or as they could spare. Under these conditions with harvest at hand and all the people in need of flour, father promised the men working for him that he would be responsible for Sabbath Day working.
The mill-race was nearly finished. One more day with the crew of men on the job would complete it. It was Saturday afternoon. The men were prepared and planning after the day's work was done, or earlier in the afternoon, to go to their hones miles away. They would not return until the following Monday, and probably some of them would find work at hone to detain them, so that they would not come back at all, and the race would not be finished until the middle of the next week or later. The people needed milling work, and in his anxiety to hasten the completion of the work, he felt there was some justification in his request that the men all stay and work most of the day Sunday, until the job was finished and then they could go to their homes and need not return.
These Mormon pioneers had been taught to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and not work on Sunday and the suggestion was not approved by the men. His ambition and anxiety urged him to continue nis solicitations and after some further discussion, father proposed that if the men would stay and work, he would bear the sin of it and be responsible for their misdeeds in regard to it. To this they finally agreed, worked on Sunday and finished the mill-race. Then they went home.
Within a day or two afterwards, father became so ill he could not work despite his desire and efforts to continue. He went to bed and was confined for six weeks. The mill had to wait for his recovery. No one else was found or available who could go ahead with the finishing, preparing the burrs, the bolting bins and selves, the shafts, wheels and other machinery; so that not only he, but the whole cormunity were caused to suffer because no wheat could be ground to flour. It seemed apparent that this delay was the result of a Sabbath Day violation. Whether so or not, it was taken as just punishment for the willful disobedience of the commandment, and the counsel of the Church Authorities who had so often cautioned the people to not become so busy in their subduing the world, that they had not time to serve the Lord.
Father always afterward, as well as before, placed much stress upon obedience to those in authority over him. He generally accepted their counsel and considered it a sacred duty to do so. He also tried to keep the commandments of the Lord.
There, under the vigilant eye and the industrious hands of the master builder, mechanic, farmer, miller, fisherman, etc., the plantation grew and thrived. He finished the grist-mill and made flour and meal for all the people in the valley. With the able assistance of his sons, they raised grain and hay crops, cattle, sheep and swine, also geese and other poultry. His wonderful wives spun wool into yarns from which they wove cloth or knitted stockings, mittens and other clothing including dresses, coats, pants, etc.
They added to the grist-mill, a saw-mill to make lumber, and a carding machine to comb the wool, all of which helped to build their own plantation and the neighborhood. They occasionally, but seldom, had some trouble with Indians, but fortunately ncne very serious. They fed and pampered the Indians and managed to get along with them. Once they had a company of Indians binding the grain at harvest time. The grain had been cut by hand with the old style "cradle." The Indians after receiving their pay, for some reason were not satisfied so they rode their horses into the field they had just finished binding and trod down the shocks of grain, doing as much damage as they conveniently could and departed — until the next time they might want some favor.
The family fished in the lake with a homemade seine which was laid out from the homemade boat. They caught loads of suckers, some of which were salted in homemade barrels, and some dried and smoked, but many were hauled away and sold in Salt Lake City, or elsewhere, at a good price. They also caught some fine lake trout by baited hook and line. The trout sold most readily for a very high price.
The family was frugal and industrious had not many fashions or finery to finance. The modern monster of buying on monthly payments was not yet invented. They didn't have exhorbitant taxes to support a multitude of public officials and public buildings. Under these conditions the family became in a few years, independently rich for that day and in that place. They had ample to satisfy their wants and wishes.
Carl says, "There evidently was a real live Bear Lake monster of which I may speak later."
With this prosperity father felt a great enthusiasm I for the "Gathering of Israel". In conversation with one of his patrons, "Father Bunderson", from St. Charles, Idaho, he made the remark that he would willingly advance I the immigration expenses of three persons if one of them would agree to come and work for him to repay it.
This remark was passed by at the time but after he returned to his home, he chanced to mention it to his wife, who immediately said, "That's a chance for Johanna!"! Johanna was a very dear friend of theirs in Sweden, who was a widow or a deserted wife, who had two little girls, and who had joined the Church and was praying for a way to open that she might flee to Zion. They loved her almost like one of their own, and she called them "Father and Mother Bunderson". They got up early the next morning, in haste drove their team and wagon back to Swan Creek to see "Brother Cook" about it. They vouched for the honor and integrity of the widow, and even agreed J themselves to pay back the immigration cost, if she did not or could not repay it. Upon consent and agreement by "Brother Cook", they, by letter, told Johanna of the plan to which she eagerly agreed. Father advanced the money and it was sent across the miles by mail.
Mail and other transportation was slower than now, but in due time Johanna had the money she had prayed so faithfully for, for seven years. All her friends and associates were told about it, and all plans being completed, she joined the first company of saints and came to Bear Lake and the home of the man who had brought her to Zion.
Johanna was met at the railroad station in Ogden, Utah, by arrangement of Phineas with her dear friends, "Father and Mother Bunderson", who took her with her two children in their wagon, overland to the famous, for them, Cook Ranch at Swan Creek. It was a three-day trip over mountain roads, so wild and new and strange — so different from the city life she and her girls had always known. But they enjoyed it all so much, for were they not in Zion? And did not God bring them there in answer to their prayers?
When they came to the ranch, July 22, 1878, all was still more strange. The people they met were western pioneers, who could not understand a word of Swedish, but they did show by their acts and smiles that the newcomers were welcome. There was a feeling of welcome and friendship that needs no language to express or understand. Then too, good Father and Mother Bunderson served as interpreters for a day.
Johanna could spin wool, sew, knit, darn and cook. The little girls could help with the chores, and they would all soon learn the language. A log cabin with dirt roof, that was one of the first homes built at Swan Creek, but not used for some time past, was cleaned up and furnished with simple furniture and an old cook stove. Here, Johanna and her girls lived. And so began the new life for them in America.
"Naturally, the man of means, believing in and already practicing plural marriage, would be attracted by the young widow. Enough language was soon learned that a sufficient courtship began and in less than two months, Phineas took Johanna to Salt Lake City, and there in the Endowment House they were married on September 13, 1878."
This new family unit continued to live at Bear Lake until 1883. Carl Cook's
diary furnishes the link between the main Bear Lake period, that is, while
Phineas lived there, and the Logan period. He writes, "When I was near or about
4 years old, my parents moved from Swan Creek to San Pete County, Utah, where my
father intended to obtain some land and build a new home; but he had the
misfortune to be kicked by a mule so that his leg was broken. He was confined to
bed for a long time on that account and thereby lost the prospect to obtain the
land, so he changed his plans and xvent to Logan instead."
Carl further states, "While we lived at Logan, father helped finish the carpenter work in the Temple, and after it was dedicated, he and my mother did considerable ordinance work for the dead, therein."
NOTE FROM COMPILER: I was so impressed with Bear Lake as a
youth. I loved the place dearly and looked forward to visiting the lake each
summer with my grand^ parents,' Henry Howland Cook and Genett Calder Cook. Mary
Rosaliz Cook McCann, daughter of Phineas Wolcott Cook and Amanda Polly Savage
Cook, expresses my feelings so much better than I could that her expression is
"Father had located at a place called Swan Creek, now known as Lakota. If you have ever heard of paradise on earth, this place, to a child at least, was it. There was wonderful water power to be obtained in the fast rushing creek, and it in turn emptied out into the beautiful Bear Lake. To the north a foothill rose, and further on dropped down into a sheer cliff. To the south lay the green, open meadows where the Indians camped in huge bands in the spring, and the creek itself came out from beneath a miniature cliff.
My father made use of the power at once. He built the first mill that ground flour in the Valley, and as •••.--time passed he added more mills; a sawmill, a carding mill where wool was carded and made into rolls, which in turn was spun into yarn and wool batting and made into quilts.
So here in this pastoral loveliness, rivaling the first home of Evangeline, I spent my childhood and early girlhood.- How I loved the dear old place! The creek, the lake, the hills and every tree was very dear to me.
Swan Creek was beautiful in the early spring. When the snow had melted on the east side of the hill it would be covered with Johnnie Jump-Ups, and buttercups and ox-heads, and what fun we had picking them! When it grew warmer we would build a huge bonfire in the .lane, and play run-sheep-run and hide and go seek, and as it became drier we would play ball; one old cat, rounders and anti-i-over, and how we loved to jump the rope by moonlightI When I grew older I would often stay on the dear old place while the family went to town to Church, and I would spend the whole day roaming up the creek and riding on the lake. I could handle a boat as good as any of the boys and row very swiftly. 0 how I loved it! My full brother was six years older than I, and I always felt a little in awe of him from a distance. But my half-brother Henry and I were real pals. He would take me to dances and parties, for he loved to dance. He was an excellent skater, and I often begged hir to teach me to skate, but in those days it. wasn't considered proper, so I would hold to his coat or sit on a sled, and he would take me spinning over the sparkling ice-covered lake. We would go like the wind!
Then what fun we had coasting! And when the ice on the lake broke up and formed huge "castles" it shelved great pieces one upon the other on the shore! Altogether we were a happy, carefree family. On cold winter nights we children would gather in the big dining roan, lit only by the dancing flames in the huge old fireplace, and play Blind Mans Bluff, Pussy Wants a Corner, Pretty Bird in my cup, and Old Bloody Tom, but when the clock chimed eight and Father called: "Cone, Children," we never waited for a second call, for we knew Father's word was law. Mother would always tuck me in my little trundle bed, hear me say my prayers, and kiss me good night.
Oh yes, my three half-brothers, Henry, Will and Hyrum taught me to fish, shoot, row a boat, play ball and ride horseback, and what a tomboy I was!
One day my brother Dave found an old Indian fish basket in the creek. It was made of long willows tied securely together at the tips with small willows interwoven. It had a large hoop at the top, to which the butt of the willows were fastened with willows about two inches apart. This was placed in the center of the creek just below the spawning bed and fastened by putting rocks on each side just below the hoop. The fish would jump these rocks when they wanted to get up stream to spawn, but would go down stream with the current right into the basket. In the spring Dave would make me three of these baskets, and I would go every morning at sunrise to tend to them. Sometimes there would be only a few fish, and sometimes not any, then again the baskets would be full. I used to sell the fish to our local merchant, Mr. Stock, for twelve and a half cents per pound. They ranged in weight all the way from two to six pounds.
As I grew older, my mother and I spun yarn and sold it. My father had a
carding mill by now, and wanted Mother to pay him fifty cents per pound for
rolls, but she could, get then from the carder for forty so bought them from
him. We would scrub the yarn, double and twist it into what we called ten-knot
skeins, each knot having forty threads and each thread waxed separately. We sold
the yarn for one dollar a pound, and as my father's sister, Eliza Hall, was a
fine weaver, she would weave it into cloth which was very lovely.
When I was eighteen, mother tought a little hone and small farm in Garden City, which was just three and one-half miles south of Swan Creek.. I lived with her until July 12, 1883, when I was married.