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David O. McKay Diaries – “Huntsville”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Huntsville.” You can view other subjects here.

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Sat., 22 Apr., 1950:

“It being a beautiful Spring day, decided to take Llewellyn with me to the far so that he could assist me in removing some trees that had been blown down during the terrific wind storm several days ago.  Immediately upon our arrival up there, we started to work on this project, using a team of horses to help pull the stumps up.  I was working with vigor, not feeling in the least exhausted from all the physical exertion I was putting forth. There was an unusually large stump that we had to get out.  We attached the chains around it, and then Llewellyn went to work just a few rods away.  As I was trying to swing the team around into position, somehow, as the horses were pulling, my heel got caught in the stump, and I was knocked to the ground.  Before I knew it, the horses had pulled the stump, weighing between 900 and 1000 pounds, over on my legs.  Llewellyn looked up from his work could not see me and came running over to the spot only to find me pinned beneath the stump.  Llewellyn said the first thought that came to him was–‘I can’t lift him–how will I ever get him into the car with his legs broken.’  Then I spoke up and said: ‘Get this thing off me!’  Llewellyn ran over to the team of horses and guided them in pulling the stump from off my legs.  I was able to get up on my feet, so we were pretty sure my bones were not broken.  I think the fact that I had high leather boots on saved my legs from being broken.  Llewellyn assisted me to the car and drove me to Salt Lake and home as soon as possible.  Luckily Dr. Edward was at the house, and administered first aid.  When Edward applied hot water to my leg and disinfected the broken flesh, I gave out a yell, and little Cheryl, who was standing nearby, ran out of the room, saying ‘I must get away from here.’

After fixing me up for the night Edward gave me a sedative and said that he would be back first thing in the morning to take me to the hospital for examination.”

Fri., 21 Jul, 1950:

“Met Mr. and Mrs. Parley A. Dansie who came in regarding their son Robert Dansie, a former missionary in the Texas-Louisiana Mission, who is now living in the mission field in Texas with his wife.  He has been influenced by one Samuel H. McCracken, 2nd Coun. to President Benjamin L. Bowring of the Texas-Louisiana Mission, who is preaching a pernicious doctrine and following after a Mr. Cunningham, a non-member of the Church, who claims to be a ‘Seer’. The First Presidency has already written to Pres. Bowring, in answer to a letter they received from him giving an account of the disturbance that is being caused by the above named men, telling him that he should call Brother McCracken and Robert Dansie in and impress upon them the seriousness of the path they are following, and if they do not desist they will be summoned to show cause why they should not be excommunicated from the Chruch.

I told Brother and Sister Dansie to write to Brother Spencer Kimball who knows Robert Dansie and ask him if he will work with him and see if he can do anything with him.”

Tues., 19 May, 1953:

Following this conference, I went home with the intention of taking the afternoon off.  I had planned to go to Huntsville for a breath of fresh air after the strenuous morning of consultations and worries, but a heavy rain storm prevented my going.  I therefore took a much-needed rest and slept soundly until 4:30 p.m.—it was one of the best rests I have had for a long time.

Fri., 3 July, 1953:

Following the funeral services I drove out to 4950 South 13th East to Robert’s rented farm to answer the boys’ cries for help in getting their high-spirited horses (thorough-breds) on to the trailer so that they could take them to Huntsville.  One of the horses stubbornly refused to go up the plank and into the trailer, and it took me until 6:30 p.m. to finally convince her that I did not give up easily.  I was out in the hot sun all this time.  Lawrence who was watching became very ill because of the heat and had to find a place in the shade.  Robert had to leave to keep an appointment.  Finally, after much struggling, I succeeded in getting the horse into the trailer and Lawrence and Mildred then drove her to Huntsville and I returned home.”

Mon., 20 June, 1955:

This afternoon I went up to Huntsville.  It was a glorious day, and I enjoyed myself immensely.  It was good to get away from the strain and stress of the office.

The meadow larks, canaries, and various other birds were singing – the horses following me wherever I went — all in all it was a glorious experience.”

Mon., 25 June, 1956:

“Trip to Huntsville

This morning I awoke as usual at 5 o’clock.  I dressed and came down to the office.  Finding that there were no appointments awaiting me, I decided to go to Huntsville again.  This time I went alone, breaking my promise to Ray and to myself.

I hitched up the team, harnessed them, and finished cutting the hay with the mower.  Dale Newey helped me hitch the horses to the rake.  I worked alone — the boys had said that the knife wouldn’t cut the hay, which was so thick that the horses had to run in order to make the mower go fast enough to cut.  I worked all day at this hardest of all work on the farm until late afternoon, but completed the task I had set out to do.

Returned home at 5 p.m., tired out.  However, I had a hot bath and then had something to eat, as I hadn’t had a morsel of food since morning.  Had a good night’s rest. 

Mon., 11 Feb., 1957:

9 a.m.  Brothers Gordon Affleck and Allan Acomb came in to report that they had located some bob sleighs in Cache Valley.

10 a.m.  Had Brother Acomb drive me up to Cache Valley to look over the bob sleigh they are holding for my approval.

Upon our arrival at Hyrum we were met by President Casper W. Merrill of the Cache Stake, Brother Ray S. Hansen, Stake Clerk, and a member of the 66th Quorum of Elders.  President Merrill said:  ‘If you will let us, the 66th Quorum of Elders decided yesterday that we should like to make a present of these ‘bobs’ to you.’  I answered ‘Oh, No, I want to pay for them — I have my check book with me.’  President Merrill answered, ‘We have already decided to do this, and we wish you would accept as it will make us very happy; in fact, President McKay, it is already taken care of.’

Of course, I was thrilled to get the bobsleigh as it is just what I want on the farm so that my grandchildren can experience the thrill of a bobsleigh ride, with horses and jingle bells.  The bobsleigh I have up on the farm is now worn out, and no longer useable.

I was touched and grateful by the spirit that prompted the presenting of this gift to me, and expressed to these brethren my deep appreciation.  Following my conversation with them, we drove back to Salt Lake.

Returned to the office at 2 p.m.  A little later, I decided to drive up to Huntsville.  The bob sleigh is being delivered by truck to the farm this afternoon, and I wished to be there to see that everything is properly taken care of.

Thus ended a happy and satisfactory day!”

Sat., 18 May, 1957:

Following a morning of consultations, and work at the office, I returned home where I had lunch and then left for Huntsville.

Had quite a time all afternoon working on the farm — ran the mowing machine, cutting the grass which had grown very high during the rains of the past few days.  One thing, I found that I am not as young as I used to be — work on the farm is more tiring to me than it formerly was, so I suppose I shall have to admit that ‘old age’ is taking over.

It was 7 p.m. before I returned to Salt Lake.

Mon., 23 Mar., 1959:

“7 a.m.  Came to the office – dictated a letter to the dictaphone to a woman in Logan who inquried about genealogical work in the Church.  See following copy.

I then made the assignment of speakers for the coming April Conference.

At 9 o’clock left for home.  Later decided to drive up to Huntsville, hoping that the clear, fresh air up there would help to get rid of this cold which has been afflicting me the past few days.

Sat., 2 Jan. 1960:

“Fifty-Ninth Wedding Anniversary

Spent the morning hours at home.  At 11 o’clock Sister McKay and I met by appointment a photographer from the Deseret News.  He took pictures of us to be used in connection with a story about our 59th wedding anniversary.  (see newspaper clipping following)

At 12 o’clock, I decided to go to Huntsville to check on farm matters.  Sister McKay, not feeling well, decided not to go with me, so she stayed at home and rested.

Huntsville was beautiful — the air was crisp and fresh, and there was a lot of snow on the ground.  It was an ideal day for a sleigh-riding party.  As I have been very busy during the holiday season, and not feeling quite up to par, I did not arrange for the regular McKay Family bob-sleigh party.  So, today, I missed very much not having the children and grandchildren with me.

I returned home about 5:30 p.m.  The children and grandchildren called during the day in family groups to greet us on our 59th wedding anniversary, but there was no planned family celebration.  On New Year’s Eve a party was held at our daughter Emma Rae’s at which time this event was celebrated.

It does not seem possible that Sister McKay and I have been married for 59 years — 59 years of a ‘little bit of heaven on earth.’  We are truly thankful for the happiness that has been ours.”

Mon., 7 Jan. 1963:

“My secretary called me to report some office matters and President Ernest L. Wilkinson’s request to see me.  I told her to tell President Wilkinson that he may come up to my home Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock.

In answer to her question as to the weather in Huntsville, I told her that we are having beautiful weather — that the air is clear and crisp, and the sun is shining brightly in a clear blue sky.  I reported that I had taken a long walk this morning, and had enjoyed it immensely.”

Mon., 4 Feb. 1963:

1:40 p.m.

With Brother Darcy U. Wright driving the car, left for Huntsville.  Because the television in the new home is not in working order, I had arranged for the technicians from KSL to install a new colored TV.  They were waiting for us when we arrived.  They installed the new TV set, and took the old one, which they repaired, over to the home.  However, we found that the new television was defective and an antenna will have to be installed on roof of old home.

After we had attended to these matters, I took the men — Brother Kimball and Brother Webb of KSL, and Brother Wright — over to the fields where I called the horses.  They responded and came from the distant fields right up to the fence.  I talked to them and fed them lumps of sugar.  We all enjoyed this experience very much.  

Tues., 7 May 1963:

“Went to Huntsville today.  After taking care of some chores, decided to take a ride on ‘Sonny Boy’.  He has been out in the fields all winter and has fattened up.  He looks wonderful, however, is very nervous.  My son Llewelyn was putting the saddle on him, and I was holding the rope which was around his neck, when the saddle blanket slid off his back.  This scared ‘Sonny Boy’, and as he bolted from fright, I was knocked down and pulled along on the ground for about a block.  However, he stopped and I was not hurt.  We finally saddled him, and he was his usual self, and I had a very good ride on his, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

When I returned home in the later afternoon, I said nothing about this incident to Sister McKay as she would have worried a great deal about it.”

Sat., 1 June 1963:

“Was at the new cottage in Huntsville with Sister McKay and members of the family.

Was interrupted several times during the day with busloads of persons touring Huntsville, the old McKay family residence in particular.

At 1:00 p.m. Mrs. Newey called at the home while we were eating dinner and said that there were four buses outside the cottage filled with 156 senior citizens of the Cannon Stake, Salt Lake City, who would like to see me.  I responded to her request and went just outside of the front door as it was raining.  As I waved at them many of them rushed out of the buses and ran across the flood of water running down the street so that they could shake my hand.  I greeted and shook hands with many of them.

Then, I went back to a cold dinner, much to the concern of members of the family who keep telling me that I must stop some of the things I am doing so that I can get a little rest, the purpose for which I came up to Huntsville.  But I was happy and satisfied that I had left my dinner to meet these people.  (see copy of letter of appreciation received from this group.)”

Sat., 29 Feb. 1964:

“Went to Huntsville — Lawrence and Mildred McKay accompanied Sister McKay and me, Lawrence driving the car.

I was thrilled to see so much snow — the only regret I had was that I could not hitch up the team to our old bobsleigh and take the kiddies for our bobsleigh ride.”

Mon., 27 Apr. 1964:

“In Huntsville — recuperating from illness.  Our daughter, Emma Rae, is with Sister McKay and me.

I am feeling much better today.   This Huntsville atmosphere is like a tonic.  Went out alone for a walk this morning, however, I had the aid of an aluminum ‘walker’ which Lawrence secured for me.  I was able to go one half a mile without any difficulty.  It seemed good to be out in the fresh air and sunshine!”