George Almus Truman (1857-1919)
|George Almus Truman|
|Born:||2 Mar 1857, Cottonwood, Utah|
|Died:||22 Mar 1919, Enterprise, Utah|
|Father:||Jacob Mica Truman|
Martha Ann Truman|
John Franklin Truman
Emma Maria Truman
Jacob Boyce Truman
George Almus Truman
William Thomas Truman
Lucy Elizabeth Truman
Albert Henry Truman
Mary Lois Truman
Lacina Almena Truman
Esther Priscilla Truman
|Married:||22 Nov 1877, St. George, Utah|
George Almus Truman|
Emma Lasina Truman
Esther Laretta Truman
Jacob Boyce Truman
Lucy Ellen Truman
Thorold Howard Truman
Thomas Harrover Truman
Arthur Phinis Truman
By Patrick Huntsman
George Almus Truman was born to Mormon Battalion veteran Jacob Mica Truman and Elizabeth Boyce Truman on the second day of March 1857. At the time of his birth the family was residing on a farm in South Cottonwood, near Salt Lake City. It is quite likely the lad was named for his mother’s father, George Boyes, and his father’s younger brother, Almus, who died in January 1830.
According to a history of Jacob Mica Truman written by Robert Goodwin, Jacob’s family, which also consisted of his second wife Catherine and her children, moved south to St. George in 1862. It was during this trip that George Almus, then five, fell from a wagon and broke his leg. This accident forced the family to briefly suspend their journey while the boy’s leg was set and he was rendered fit to continue. They then went on to St. George where they eked out a slender living for eight hard years before being called by church authorities to settle in Fort Hamblin, about 30 miles to the north.
In about 1877 Jacob, an enterprising man, purchased land just south of Gunlock, Utah and began building up another ranch. He did not sell out in Hamblin, however, choosing instead to maintain Catherine’s family there while moving Elizabeth and her children to Gunlock.
It was perhaps sometime after the family’s move to Gunlock that George Almus Truman, at the ripe old age of 20, met Emma Leavitt, a niece of the branch’s presiding elder, Dudley Leavitt. Emma was born in the nearby town of Santa Clara on October 10, 1857. She very likely had grown up in and around this general area. In any event, the two met by some means and became acquainted. They married on November 22, 1877.
Regrettably, little historical data exists regarding the couple’s life together except what can be gleaned from marginal sources or deduced from the places of birth of their children. To begin with, I can say with some authority that George Almus Truman was known to family and friends as “Am,” which no doubt was an abbreviated form of the name Almus. This commonly used moniker was well known to my father and was often used by my Great-grandfather Huntsman in his journal.
One suspects that Am Truman was a bit of a wanderer. Perhaps he was only looking for honest-to-goodness opportunities, but all the same, he seemed to be on the go a good deal. We see evidence of this propensity reflected in the varied birthplaces of his children. Something else we know about Am Truman is that he abused alcohol. This destructive habit afflicted him all his life and was no doubt a substantial impediment in his pursuit of a better life for himself and his family.
What follows is a summary of the family’s travels through 1890 as revealed by their children’s birthplaces. The couple’s first child, George Almus, was born in 1878 in Gunlock. However, the next child, Elizabeth, born in 1880, is indicated as having been born in Eagle Valley, Lincoln County, Nevada. The next four children, which include my grandmother Lois, the twins Eliza and Louisa, and Jacob, are all shown to have been born in various parts of Apache County, Arizona from 1881 through 1883. By 1884 the couple was back in Gunlock, where Thorold was born. Then it was on to Annabella, Utah, the birthplace of Elwood, in 1886. Next came Tom, born in Emery, Utah in 1888. Followed by Art, born in Clover Valley, Tooele, Utah, 1890. What brought Am and his growing family to each of these places is unknown to this writer. It is apparent, however, that whatever he was looking for was proving to be elusive.
(By) 1892, we observe the Am Truman family living in, or around Hebron, where it is likely they are trying to farm a small plot of land along Shoal Creek. He and his family have recently returned to southern Utah from the Tooele area. Their latest child, Arthur, is but a toddler; George, their eldest, is thirteen; Lois is eleven; Jacob is nine; Thorold, seven; Elwood, five; and Tom, just three.
On 20 March 1893 another daughter is born to them; they name this child Emma Lasina. Her birthplace is given as Gunlock, but whether the family had moved there from Hebron or whether they were there temporarily to be nearer their families during the birth of this child is not known. What we do know is that three years later, almost to the day, another daughter arrived. This one they called (Esther) LaRetta. Her place of birth is listed as Hebron.
As the year (1897) drew to a close, the family was blessed with another child. She was Lucy Ellen, born the 18th of November. She, like LaRetta, was born in Hebron.
It was around this time that Am became restless again. Perhaps he was seeing few opportunities to get ahead in Hebron or Enterprise. In any event, he packed up his family and headed south—to Mesquite, Nevada, to live along the banks of the Virgin River. This is what O.W. Huntsman had to say in his journal on February 21, 1900: “Am Truman and his family move away from Hebron to settle at Mesquite, Nevada, . . . .” In Mesquite Am and Emma had their last child, Winefred, born in 1901.
Returning again to Lamond Huntsman’s book, we learn that these were hard times in Mesquite, causing brothers-in-law Joseph and Am to become disenchanted with the place by 1903 or 1904. It was also during their Mesquite period that Am and Emma lost two more children: Jacob, in 1902, and Winefred, in 1904.
We know these men’s disillusionment with Mesquite peaked around 1904, for both families left and had migrated to St. Clair, Nevada by late 1904 or early 1905. St. Clair is near present-day Fallon, a farming community approximately 60 miles east of Reno.
We do not know what brought Am and his family back to Enterprise after their stay in Fallon, nor do we know if they attempted to establish a residence anywhere in between. All we can be sure of is that by April 16, 1909 they were again in Enterprise, for Am’s name again comes up in Great-grandpa Huntsman’s journal. The entry reads: “I go to Hebron and back with Am Truman to see how Lamond is getting along with plowing. Quite a farmer is he for a kid. It is reported that the lions are killing our cattle at Bull Valley quite bad now days.”
Nothing more is said of Am until the bitter flu outbreak of 1919. It is late winter and early spring. Great-grandpa’s journal is full of sad accounts of friends, neighbors, and family all succumbing to this deadly plague that is sweeping the land. In a journal entry dated March 13th, we find this: “Ky Simpkins died. Wednesday 19th Thurl [Thorold] Truman died, Sunday 23rd his father, Am Truman died, Thursday 25th his [Thorold’s] little boy Kenneth died, all three of one house and family.” Am was 62 years old; Thorold was 34; little Kenneth was about two.
Thus concluded the lives of Am and Emma Truman—strong, daring and determined people who had braved innumerable vicissitudes for over 60 hard years. They had traveled extensively throughout Utah and into Arizona and Nevada seeking a better life for themselves and their children. One suspects, however, that they never really found what they were searching for. Instead they witnessed and suffered many hardships, privations and misfortunes. Six of their fourteen children had died before reaching adulthood or marriage age. And at a point in life when many today look forward to a golden period of ease and leisurely retirement, Am and Emma’s lives abruptly ended. The author fully realizes and regrets that this short biography does not do sufficient justice to their lives, but until more material is brought forth or uncovered, it will have to suffice.
- 1860 Federal Census, Utah Territory, Salt Lake County, Great Salt Lake City Post Office, Page #251, Dwelling #1827, Family #216, Enumerated 9 Aug 1860:
- TRUMAN, Jacob M.
- Almus G., 4, m, Utah, att school
- 1870 Federal Census, Utah Territory, Washington County, Mountain Meadows, Page #1 , Dwelling #1, Family #1:
- TRUMAN, Jacob
- Almysa, 12, f, w, at home, Utah, att school