Hyrum Alonzo Walker

Hyrum Alonzo Walker, son of John Walker and Elizabeth Walmsley, was born March 2, 1851, in Pottawattamie County, in the state of Iowa. His father was a native of Vermont, his mother was from England and each embraced the Gospel in their native land. After the death of his mother's first husband named James Corbridge, the mother worked for the Prophet Joseph Smith, assisting in the washing and other duties about the home. He was the fifth child of a family of seven, and the sister and brothers are as follows: William Corbridge, Mary Ann Corbridge Hamblin, Joseph Edwards Walker, Solomon Walker, George Marshall and Ephraim Marshall.
 
His father crossed the plains in the year of 1850 but the mother with her family did not make the journey until 1852. At this time he was only one year of age. He doesn't remember his father. In crossing the plains his brother, William drove loose cattle; later he returned and drove an ox team. His sister Mary Ann also drove an ox team. During the journey she met an accident which no doubt would have proven fatal, if an All Wise Hand had not interceded. A wheel of a loaded wagon ran over her head and breast. Those present thought it was a miracle. No doubt her life was spared for a wise purpose, as she has been a faithful worker among the sick, always ready and willing to do all in her power. She was also an efficient midwife.


Arriving in Salt Lake City, they did not remain but went to Tooele where they built their first home. Father remembered while living at Tooele that in the summer they lived on a large ranch.
 
There was another move to Santa Clara, where. William built a little log cabin and took up a small farm. After living there for some time, a flood came and destroyed the town except one house. A gulch 20 feet deep was washed through the town. Father remembered one incident that occurred then. As all were watching the roaring water, they saw a cow going down the stream tossing about among trees and debris. All that could be seen of her was her head which was caught in the fork of a tree. The cow belonged to a widow. In about a week she was happily surprised to find her only cow had returned. The homes were rebuilt on the bench land. They toiled and struggled on, trying to make a livelihood, but conditions proved unsatisfactory so they moved again, this time to Minersville, in the year of 1862.


When just a small boy, father went to school in a room equipped with benches and the pupils were seated side by side. His first teacher was Mr. Lightner and the next one he remembered was George Roberts. There were private schools in Minersville, but because of the fact that father had a bad ear, which kept him out of school a great deal of the time, he never received a complete education. This ear infection has caused partial deafness.


Food and clothing were very hard to get in the early days so they had to scrimp and manage the best they knew how. Father often laughed and told of a hat his mother made for him. It was made of blue denim. Saturday night the mother would wash, starch and iron it for Sunday morning. By the next week all signs of starch had disappeared leaving it limp and badly in need of another starching. When they began to raise wheat, grandmother would make hats from straw she had braided. Many a time father remembered going to work in the field carrying a lunch of nothing but bread on which had been spread lard and then as much as possible scrapped off. Father stated at one time a man working for them had a slice of bacon with his lunch, and how they envied him.


Time with its toil and struggle passed on, yet there were happy times as well. Most everyone was a like. All were poor, so they felt at home going to dances bare-footed, taking wheat, corn, or potatoes to pay for their admissions!


Father married Mary Jerusha Wood, born March 14, 1853, at San Bernardino, California. The ceremony was performed in the Salt Lake Endowment House, October 17, 1870 by Dan H. Wells. Father told that he had asked the hand of mother in marriage, he bought the brick and other materials for a house and then went to Salt Lake and his brothers built the home in Minersville. On his return after their marriage he shingled it with help of his brother. This little brick house is standing by the home of Alvaretta Robinson. Grandmother sold a cow and bought a stove and a few other necessary articles. From the pieces of lumber that were left from the doors and windows, father made three stools and a bed. He said no one could be more thankful and happier than they were.


At age of 35, in July 1888, mother died and left father with five children, two children having died in infancy. Before her death father had dreams from which he knew she was going to be taken away. The first night she was taken sick, it was shown to him that he was going to be left alone and he went to sleep praying earnestly to the Lord. Though he had been given the assurance in the dream that she would live until July, he couldn't see'how it was possible for her to do so. Then mother had a dream after which she said she believed she was going to get well. She dreamed that the house would be washed away, and that was interpreted to mean that she was the house.


Father immigrated Sarah Ann Jackson from England whom he afterwards married in the Manti Temple, November 13, 1889, with Daniel H. Wells officiating in the second marriage ceremony also. Seven children were born to this union. December 21, 1910, this wife died leaving him alone the second time. All of this family except one (Verna) have passed from this life. Two wives and eight children have departed this life.


Father has always been a man of great faith. At the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, he had been sick with rheumatism for more than two weeks and he felt like he was unable to attend this event. One day some people from St. George stopped at his home on the way to the Temple. He told them they were welcomed and would have to look after their own teams but that his wife would get food for them. One of the ladies, Sister Snow, came in and inquired of father as to what ailed him. When told, she advised him to have the brethren administer to him. This father was glad to have done for he had been very anxious for health which would permit to take the trip to Salt Lake City. The administration was performed and during the prayer it seemed like a flash of fire went over his body and in his prayer the brother said, ''You will go and come as you wish." Then father got up and walked to the other room and the next morning was on the way to the temple.


While seated in the Temple, he had a manifestation. Father changed position so as to rest his weakened body; putting one arm on the back of the seat, throwing back his head. He saw seated above him another congregation. Their attention was on Pres. Woodruff who was offering the dedicatory prayer. Among this large group of heavenly beings was Libby Hamblin, a niece who had been dead for a number of years. She turned and looked at him and smiled. As he glanced around to see if there was anyone else he knew, the vision vanished and he was left to ponder over the wonderful manifestation.


Father was baptized while at Santa Clara and at about the age of eight. He has acted as counselor in the deacon quorum. Has been president of the M.l.A. and has been ordained to the different offices of the priesthood. He held the office of High Priest. He spent one winter at the St. George Temple doing vicarious work for the dead. Father has always observed the Word of Wisdom and never drank tea or coffee and always refrained from the use of tobacco, never using it only on advice of physicians for health's sake. He has always loved children and always taught them to be honest and has also taught extreme cleanliness. His maxim of "Things worth doing at all are worth doing well." He loved music and often sang the songs of the olden days. He has really been a mother and father to his two families. He said: "my children have thought I was strict at times but it was always my ambition for them to grow up to be somebody. With the little chance they had, as I was a poor man and could not offer them much, I was proud of their accomplishments." He had always been a hard worker at farming and still had a garden to busy himself. He has six children living, 39 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.


(Written by his daughter, Amy Baker, April 22, 1929, and rearranged and added to by Historian Pearl Crockett, Hawthorne Camp, on further information furnished by Hyrum Alonzo Walker and his daughter, Carrie Anderson, June 27, 1932. )

From The Ancestry and Descendants of John Walker, 1985