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Lorenzo H. Bailey

Lorenzo H. Bailey

Lorenzo Hawkins Bailey born 12 December 1880 in Wellsville, Cache, Utah.  He was the nine child and fifth son of Charles Ramsden Bailey and Susannah Hawkins Bailey. Both Charles and Susannah were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and immigrants from England. Lorenzo’s father practiced polygamy, and Susannah was his 2nd (or 3rd) wife. Charles Ramsden Bailey was the father of a total of thirty-two children, so Lorenzo had many full and half-siblings.

Lorenzo’s two older brothers James and John, and older half-brother Charles Adamson Bailey, were the first to come to the Bannock Valley.  Lorenzo joined them at the age of sixteen in 1895, too young to homestead himself, but old enough to help out his brothers with the hard job of clearing land. He later filed on his own homestead and also filed on a quarter section of “desert claim” as soon as he was old enough.  

Twenty-two-year old “Ren” married sixteen-year old Agnes “Chloa” Facer on 27 February 1903 in Logan, Cache, Utah.  She was born 8 March 1886 in Willard, Box Elder, Utah, the daughter of William John Facer and Caroline Williams Facer.  As soon as the spring roads were navigable in the valley, in April, Ren brought his new bride to Arbon Valley by horse and buggy.

Over time, Lorenzo and Chloa were able to acquire more land, until they had a square mile (640 acres). Like all their neighbors, they lived in a two-room log cabin at first, to which they added two more rooms as their family grew.  Like many of the older cabins in Arbon still standing today, the logs were “modernized” with siding until the original cabin could not be recognized.

They used a windmill to pump their water, and they had no electricity or plumbing.  The “outhouse” out back was one of the most-used “rooms” on the farm. In this two-to- four room sided cabin, Lorenzo and Chloa welcomed eight children. Before their ninth child was born, they moved to what was known as the Dalton place. The house on the Dalton place was larger and fit their family better. In addition they were able to raise a large garden that was irrigated in good years from the waters coming out of Knox Canyon. Here their last two children were born, the family now consisting of Lorenzo “Bard,” (1904); Leland Facer (1906); Melba Facer (1907); Reta Facer (1910); Vernal Facer (1912); Sylvia Fay (1916); Thelma (1919); Wilma (1920); Mildred Facer (1925); and Deo Facer (1928).  Extremely unusual for the times, each one of these ten children lived into adulthood.

Along with her extensive garden, Chloa planted flowers and fruit trees.  Yellow rose bushes were a favorite of the homesteading women because of their hardiness – in many places in the valley you can tell the old homesteads from the existence of these wild rose bushes where they haven’t been farmed out.

The Baileys raised sheep and cattle, and Chloa raised chickens, turkeys, and pigs. The family also milked from ten to thirty-five cows.  They separated the cream from the raw milk, and used the cream to make butter that they sold to a grocery store in Pocatello.  They were able to make and sell seventy-five to a hundred-fifty pounds of butter a week, an amazing amount. Arbon was so remote that neighbors helped to get the butter to town, and then brought groceries back for everyone, like a modern co-op. In the earliest days, the trip could take three to four days going and returning, depending on the weather.

The fortitude of the Arbon wives cannot be overstated.  Along with creating three meals a day, seven days a week (most, in the earliest days, without electricity, refrigeration, or running water) for family, unexpected guests, and large harvest crews (depending on the season), one can see the hard work each wife put in with all the extra animals the wives raised. Chickens in the yard were the modern equivalent of the grocery store – chicken dinner on the “hoof.” Unexpected company? The chopping block in the yard was always ready (and red) due to the first step in preparing fresh fried chicken.

In addition, most farm wives made most of their family’s clothes and bedding.  Chloa and her older daughters Melba and Reta purchased fabric in Pocatello (or had it picked out by the men and brought out to them, making the fabric’s pattern always a fun surprise) and sewed all the family’s clothing on the old Singer treadle sewing machine.  Most of the early Singer models did not need electricity – the one Chloa used was one that she and Lorenzo had purchased in 1903 when they were first married, and brought out from Cache Valley in the back of the buddy. Countless yards of fabric were sewn up into useful clothing, and many dresses were altered to fit younger siblings. The most worn-out clothing would be turned into quilts or kitchen towels.

At first, meetings for the LDS Church were held in private homes. In 1901-1902 the community got together to haul logs from the canyons and build a 20 x 36 foot building. This building was built “by everyone, regardless of church affiliation” (Bannock Valley, p. 57). The land was donated by Ren and Chloa. This building was used for all community events, including dances, church, school, and other public gatherings. Around 1904, the logs were covered with flat lumber to disguise the logs.

Daughters Reta, Wilma, and Mildred remembered that their father would buy enough supplies to last the family all winter, as they were often snowed in. “West winds would blow and pile snow clear to the top of the house. We would have to shovel our way out the front door. Our family was very fortunate not to have many serious illnesses in the winter as it was almost impossible to travel out of the valley – all transportation being by horse and sleigh” (Bannock Valley, page 53).

These same daughters remembered that along with the hard time that come from living in an isolated community, there were also many good times. Their brother Leland was in charge of many of the dances held in the Green Top school (located on what was later known as Newport Lane). The valley people had to make their own fun, and even had the “Jensen Orchestra” that was well-known and always welcomed. “Some other fun times we remember were ice skating on the ice-covered meadow, [and] skiing on home-made skis made from special lumber that was soaked and boiled in water to make the ends turn up” (Bannock Valley, p. 53). 

The sisters also remembered that their home seemed to be “the place to be” for young people in the valley. “Young people were always welcome at the Bailey home – and it seemed to be the gathering place for many on weekends. [Our brother] Leland was the valley barber for quite a few years. We remember our home as a very happy place and pay tribute to our parents for their love and the good things they taught us” (Bannock Valley, p. 53).

All the hard work of being a homesteader must have had no debilitating effects on Lorenzo and Chloa. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1963 with all ten of their children. Lorenzo died a year later on 8 May 1967, at the age of eighty-seven in Pocatello.  He was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery. Chloa died 26 January 1980 at age ninety-three in Pocatello, and was buried alongside Ren.

Sources:

Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).

https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/KWC5-B86

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/43057245

These links lead to links for other family members.