Albert Henry Truman (1867-1939)

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Albert Henry Truman
Truman, Bert & Florie.jpg
Bert & Florrie
Born: 20 Oct 1867 St. George, Utah
Died: 1 Apr 1939 Provo, Utah
Father: Jacob Mica Truman
Mother: Elizabeth Boyes
Siblings: Martha Ann Truman
John Franklin Truman
Emma Maria Truman
Jacob Boyce Truman
George Almus Truman
William Thomas Truman
Lucius Truman
Lucy Elizabeth Truman
Albert Henry Truman
Mary Lois Truman
Lacina Almena Truman
Esther Priscilla Truman
Spouse: Florence Matilda Bowler
Married: 26 Mar 1891 St. George, Utah
ALBERT HENRY TRUMAN SR.

(written by his daughter, Viola Truman Nichols)

Edited by Paul Price

The Fall of 1867 was a busy and happy time for the Jacob Mica family for, although there were eight boys and girls, the arrival of the expected baby was eagerly awaited. On October 20, this small adobe house was the scene of the new arrival. A baby boy, to be named Albert Henry.

By the time he was a year old, his mother realized there was something wrong with his feet. They were both turned in so badly he couldn't stand alone or walk. Before Bert was three years old, they all moved to Mountain Meadows. There he learned to walk. Although he was always bothered with his feet, he was never handicapped.

In the northern end of Mountain Meadows there was a settlement that was made into the town of Hamblin in 1873. Jacob Mica was the second presiding Elder and served many years. Jacob and Elizabeth were deeply religious and raised their children to not only believe, but try to live the lives their Mormon faith taught them.

In about 1875, the family moved to the "Truman Field" south of Gunlock where they farmed and had a few cattle. It was such a short distance to town they could all go to Church services, so on February 16, 1879, the Gunlock Ward of the LDS Church was first organized. Elizabeth B. Truman was First Counselor and daughter Emma M. Truman, Second Counselor to the Relief Society,

The Family Group Sheet has Bert being baptized October 20, 1876, but the records show he was baptized October 20, 1879 by Jacob M. Truman, eight months after the Ward was organized. In 1883, two years after his father's death, Bert was ordained an Elder of the Church by Joseph S. Huntsman.

"Aunt Katie" (Catherine), Jacob's second wife, had a daughter, Ellen (Nell), about Bert's age and they had such good times together while growing up. Each thought the other was the greatest. My, how they loved to dance. They made a striking couple, he was so big, well-built, and good looking, and she was a beautiful girl. The love they had for each other was with them all their lives.

Bert only went through the Fifth grade, but he was an excellent reader and an absolute whiz at figures. His father died when he was fourteen years old and he helped with the work and farming to help his mother.

The recreation of that day was horse racing, bronco busting, and dancing. The men would get a jug of home made wine and off to the dance. Bert was a wonderful dancer and another of his dancing partners was his niece, Annie Holt.

In 1889, when he was twenty-two years of age, he rode horseback to "Little Pine Valley" (where the Enterprise Resevoir is now) to visit his brother, Billie, and family. There he met Florence Matilda Bowler and fell in love with her. He thought she was one of the prettiest girls he had ever seen and she thought he was the strongest and best looking man. For a year he would visit Billy, just so he could see the girl of his dreams, even though he didn't try to court her.

When he was twenty-three and Florence fifteen, he asked for her hand in marriage, but Mr. Bowler thought she was too young. They did court that winter, and Bert decided she was his favorite dancing partner. He was so big and strong and she so tiny, he could swing her off her feet, whirl her around and on with the dance.

Florence Bowler's sixteenth birthday was the seventeenth of March, and they were married the twenty-sixth of March, 1891, in the St. George temple. Elizabeth Truman and Matilda Bowler, mothers of the couple, went with them in a covered wagon. It took from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. to make the trip from Gunlock to St. George.

The first home of Bert and Florrie (nickname) was a wagon box and lean-to shed of cottonwood limbs on the "Truman Field". The wagon box was used for storage for their good stuff. Farming was their livelihood and they raised beans and cane for molasses to sell and their vegetables to eat. In the fall, they would take their produce to the factory at Washington to trade for cloth, fruit jars, and other supplies. The couple worked hard and had many hardships, but were happy. They would go to Gunlock for church, visiting, and to dances. After the fall crops were taken care of, they moved to town for the winter. On January 27, 1892, their first child, Elizabeth Matilda. was born.

In the spring, it was back to the field, and a log room was built for them to live in. This routine went on the two years, and during this time Bert made friends with the many Indians that passed through. They always frightened his wife, but never offered to harm her. Bert was a good horseman and a great sport. He could break any horse in the country and loved horse racing.

On February 2, 1894, Esther Marie was born at Grandmother Truman's home in Gunlock. A short while later, Bert and family moved to Hebron. The family lived there and Bert went to Pioche and Delamar to work off and on for the next four years. On May 12, 1896, Mary Jane was born and Bert about gave up hopes of having a son. However, on December 30, 1898, a son was born and of course, they named him Albert Henry, Jr. All his life he was to go by "Little Bert". When he was eight months old, the family moved back to Gunlock.

In those days, the people were so very poor. They raised their food and the women knit their socks and stockings and made their clothes. Florrie and four children lived in a house of Brother Harry's in Gunlock and Bert was working in Pioche again. On May 29, 1901, Mable Hill was born, making five children for Bert and Florrie.

In October of that year, Bert moved his family to Mesquite, Nevada, where he had bought a house. There were only three houses there at that time and some tents and sheds. Richard Alma was born September 27, 1903. They moved to Gunlock to Mesquite, to Beaver Dam, to Gunlock in the three years before Rodney Jacob was born October 16, 1906. They made Gunlock their home for a while, then moved to the Bigelow Ranch where Ellen, a stillborn daughter was born.

About this time, the wife of Sill (Marcel) Bracken died, leaving new baby boy (Claude). Through mutual friends of the two families, the agreement was made that the Trumans would take the baby. He was such a tiny bit of humanity. No one thought he would live. Good care and lots of love from the whole family won out. My, but they did love him. When he would go to his father for a visit, no one could eat, and many tears were shed. After he went to Central to start school, Bert and Little Bert rode up horseback to see how he was getting along. When they returned, they had Claude. He had come home. He lived with the Trumans most of the time until the seventh grade, and only occasionally after that.

Bert moved the family again - from the Bigelow Ranch to the Magotsu Ranch, where they lived a good many years. It was there that Phyllis was born on August 22, 1911. When Phyllis was two years old, another baby girl was born, Helen Marie, but she only lived about a week.

The fall Phyllis turned six, the Trumans bought a home in the south part of St. George. That house is where Viola was born on September 22, 1917. They would live in town in the winter so the children could go to school, and move back to the ranch for the summer. It was while they were living in this place that Bert had a cancerous growth removed from behind his right ear.

After living in that house about three years, Bert got itchy feet and traded the place for another in the north end of town. It was a big old barn of a place and none of the family liked it, but that is the only home Bert ever kept, and the family still have it (as of this writing). When Viola was about seven years old, they sold the Ranch and settled in St. George.

Bert had been a hard worker ill of his life, and it was hard for him to not have much to do. Only a city lot to take care of, a few chickens, a cow and a team of horses. He took his team and went to work out on the Colorado River. When he came back, he had the worst bunch of carbuncles on the back of his neck. His health wasn't very good for about a year. Bert, Dick, and Rod tried their hand at ranching again in Mesquite. This lasted about a year.

All of the children were married, but Rod, Phyllis and Viola. Rod and Phyllis worked, so that left less for Dad to do. Dick, Rod, and Dad bought the Evergreen Service Station on the east side of St. George, and had that for several years.

During the Depression years, Dad worked W.P.A. when ever he could. After Phyllis married (to Royal Hunt), he would go up to their ranch and help Royal. When they put the water line in from Pine Valley Mountain to Central and the Hunt Ranch, he helped with that.

After he was about sixty-five or so, he started getting forgetful. As most older people do, he had a wonderful memory of the past but the present was a bit hard to remember. He got progressively worse and he started getting somewhat mean. Just before his seventieth birthday, Dick took him to Las Vegas to Dr. Woodbury. He said he had hardening of the arteries and there wasn't anything that could be done for him. In September, 1937, Phyllis, Royal, and Mother took him to Salt Lake City, where they met Dick. He was examined by specialists there, and they committed him to the hospital in Provo.

We went to see him at Christmas, and after only three months, his hair was snow white, and he was an old, old man at seventy. The next October, Bert, Ruth, Chet, Mary, Mother and I went again to see him. He knew Ruth, and was glad to see us. By this time, he had had a heart attack, and his health was failing. On April 1, 1939, he had another heart attack and passed away. He was buried in Gunlock. It always seems so sad that people have to end their lives in this way. Bert Truman was a good man. Oh, he had his faults, of course, and I'm sure his family wasn't always happy with him.

When he was young he smoked and drank. I've heard him tell about the time he quit smoking. He lit a cigarette, looked at it, and said to himself, "and I'm slave to that". He threw it away and never took another. Uncle Walt Bowler tells about Dad loaning him five dollars so he could get married. He said he and Dad rode for cattle together. He was an honest man and did not believe in swearing. He was a Church-goer, and read the Bible faithfully.

He told his daughters, when they got married, they couldn't come home every time things didn't go to suit them. He didn't believe in, nor did he let us, make light of the afflicted. He loved his wife and family very much, even if he did have a poor way of showing it. I remember when we lived in Mesquite, Dad would ride horseback to Bunkerville to get Mother a can of strawberry jam and me some candy.

When Metta Bowler lived with us, he would run races with her. She was the only person that could tell him he had Indian blood in him and get away with it, and she called him 'Keno".

As far back as I remember, we always had lots of people at our place. At the ranch, people from all over came to get fruit and hauled it off by the wagon load. The Indians would stop as they went to the hills to gather pinenuts, and Dad had many friends among the Indians.

Sources

  • 1870 Federal Census, Utah Territory, Washington County, Mountain Meadows, Page #1 , Dwelling #1, Family #1:
TRUMAN, Jacob
Albert, 3, m, w, Utah