In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, with the practice of polygamy, the U.S. marshals kept busy looking for and hoping to catch any of the men they could find who were in unlawful cohabitation with their wives.
Phineas W. Cook from the Bear Lake area, had heard of the newly developing town of Clarkston, Cache, Utah. Peg-Leg (Samual) Whitney had found this fertile valley while a young man employed by the Church to herd the Church horses. While searching for stray horses he discovered a volcanic bowl-shaped rock well on the foothills filled with water. Then going on over the hill he saw the beautiful valley of what is now Clarkston. He forded back across the Bear River and reported his find to the church authorities, of which one was Apostle Ezra Tart Benson. They organized a few families of which Sam was one, to settle this new land.
Phineas W. Cook needed a place to hide out from the marshals as he was married to more than one wife. Going West of the town of Clarkston clear up to the foothills, he made a small hide-out cabin in a stand of Maple trees, Chokecherry trees, and willows. There are clear water springs in many places up there also. This is about 3-4 miles West of the town. When his family or someone he knew came to visit, they would mention of going to Logan or to Smithfield, so as to keep his whereabouts a secret from the Marshals.
It was the practice at this time to "dub" a nickname on anyone over the silliest reasons. It may be over a habit or incident that had caused the recipient to receive such. Because Phineas had a curly head of hair and a curly beard, along with the fact that he was a short, small man, he was given the handle of "Poodle Cook".
When he needed supplies from the town he would harness up the horses to the wagon and head down through the sagebrush, over the rocks, and through the willows on the poor wagon track he had begun to follow. One day while coming to town for supplies or to meet someone, something spooked the horses, perhaps a snake in the path or birds flying from a bush, or some other distraction that caused the horses to run away from Phineas. He had no control over the horses and being bounced all over the wagon, he let go of the reins and climbed in the wagon bed and lay down, praying for "dear life" for his safety. The horses finished the journey into town, turned in the town square, and stopped in front of the town store, headed in the direction they would go for the return trip home. The men watching the event said, "Mr. Cook climbed shakily out of the wagon, laid his head against the wheel and said, 'That's a heck of a place for a chariot ride.'"
Harold Buttars was dating a girl in Trenton just six miles East of Clarkston, who had moved from Garden City to Trenton. When asked if he was related to the old gentleman hiding in the foothills, he said he didn' t believe so. When he married Sara Dickson, he was to find out later that Phineas W. Cook was her great, great grandfather, through WIlliam Cook and Sarah Bryson Cook, Sara's Great grandparents.
I visited the grove last week, and was not able to get as close as I liked to get pictures, because the road was still blocked with snow and run-off. It is now farmed and the cabin is totally gone, but it is still a very beautiful, calm and peaceful place. The place is still called "Poodle Cook's Orchard", by the town folks in the valley.
I love these old stories. I wish more were written down.Venna Spackman Buttars