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Lemuel Hardison Redd Jr.
Born: October 25, 1856, in Spanish Fork, Utah County, Utah
Died: June 1, 1923, in San Juan County, Utah
Married: Eliza A. Westover (April 11, 1878)
Lucy Lyman (October 31, 1883)
Father: Lemuel Hardison Redd
Mother: Keziah Jane Butler
Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. or “Lem,” as he was commonly referred to, was born in Spanish Fork, Utah on October 25, 1856. When he was 6 years old, his parents, Lemuel and Keziah, were called to settle “Dixie” and they moved south to New Harmony. He spent his childhood on a small farm there with his nine brothers and sisters. Life was certainly not easy for these pioneers, and the trials were even more acute for those like the Redds, living on the edge of the frontier. From a young age, Lem was expected to do much more than was typical for someone so young. He worked side by side with his brothers and sisters to build their home. His job was to carry mud and help fill in the holes in the log house. As a family, they raised everything they ate. The Redd family traded what they made and grew with others and thus made their way on the frontier. Lem helped harvest the wheat, potatoes, corn and vegetables. He was counted on to help with the animals, particularly the cows. Milking, making cheese, and churning the butter were solely his responsibilities. Large tasks fell upon his small shoulders, but he never shirked his duty. Lem “was a quiet, sober boy, and took life and his tasks seriously.”i
Time as a schoolboy was short for young Lem. He had to do what so many only claim to have endured: he walked a mile and half through the snow each morning to the schoolhouse, then walked a mile and half home in the afternoon! Because he was so heavily needed on the farm, he only attended one winter quarter of formal schooling. Reading came naturally to him, and though not formally educated, he read everything he could get his hands on.
Becoming a Teacher and Getting Married
When he was about twenty years old, Lem was selected to attend the University of Deseret (present-day University of Utah) to study to be a teacher. Not many people were selected and this was a tremendous honor for the whole family. It was while studying there that Lem met his sweetheart, Eliza Westover. They became friends and dated, but they were both busy studying and did not have the time together they would have liked. Lem soared through his classes and finished the course of study in just one year. He then returned to New Harmony and took over the role of teacher at the only school in town. He literally became everyone’s teacher. Young and old met together in the small classroom and he did his best to keep everyone interested and on task. With that kind of responsibility, he did not have time to entertain the class clowns. His older sister Jane was one of his students and she recalled what kind of teacher he was: “Well do I remember when a group of them [town rowdies] ganged up on him and defied his authority. They were going to run the teacher out, so they said. How surprised and relieved I was, and how frightened too, to see him pitch the ringleader out of the door, down the steps and on his head into the snow! . . . There was no further trouble from [that] source.”ii
Lem’s sweetheart Eliza had also graduated and was teaching a class of her own in Pinto, Utah. He would visit her as often as he could, and always brought his sister Jane along. They had an Aunt Charity who lived nearby and claimed they were going to check on her as an excuse to go see Eliza. Growing weary of living so far apart, Lem and Eliza eventually married in the St. George temple on April 11, 1878. Shortly thereafter, Lemuel gave up teaching and became a butcher. He and his friend Charley Westover started a butcher shop and sold their slaughtered hogs at the Silver Reef Mining Camp in Nevada. Lem and Eliza lived in Nevada for a few years and it was there that sweet Lulu, their first child, was born.
In 1878, John Taylor, president of the LDS Church, felt it was time to settle the unclaimed land surrounding the San Juan River. Church membership was growing, and more land was needed for families to establish farms and home sites. Also, it was felt that a “buffer” settlement was needed to protect growing communities from the threat of Indian invasion and from being overtaken by stockmen from Colorado. The San Juan area was so far out and so desolate that it was considered “no-man’s land.” The leaders of the LDS Church wanted to change that. And, they saw a great opportunity for missionary work among the Indians. Erastus Snow, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was put in charge of the project to claim the San Juan. He held a meeting in St. George, Utah in the fall of 1878 to announce his plans. On April 14, 1879, a scouting party left Cedar City to find the shortest route to San Juan. After encountering many setbacks, they scouted a path, and returned home in the middle of September, after traveling nearly one thousand miles roundtrip. The leader of the expedition, Silas Smith, reported to Church leaders that the area around the San Juan could sustain a few settlements, but that a more direct route should be found to get there. The distance he had traveled was just too far.
In the fall of 1879, a call was issued to blaze a shorter trail to the San Juan and settle the surrounding area. Among those called was Lemuel Redd, Jr. He was 23 years old, had only been married for two years, and had a new baby girl. He had just opened a butcher shop that was gaining customers, and had everything going for him. To walk away from it all and venture into the dangerous, unknown future took a lot of faith. But Lemuel Redd had a lot of faith. He knew he had been called by an apostle of the Lord, and he had every intention of answering that call. His wife Eliza likewise knew how hard it would be to walk away from what they had and start over somewhere new. Yet she also knew they had been called of God. Willingly, she packed up all that would fit in their wagon, and, with baby Lulu on her lap, took her place as driver of their team. Lem’s father and younger brother, Lemuel Redd Sr. and Monroe, respectively, joined them on the adventure though they had not been formally called to the mission.
All those called were to gather at Escalante. When they set out, there were 70 families, about 225 people and 82 wagons. They also brought 400 head of horses and oxen and 1000 head of stock cattle. The pioneers were organized into groups of ten families and someone was assigned to be the leader over the group. As these faithful Saints traveled and worked, each person had a job to do. Eliza and the other women gathered shad scale and other scrub brush for fuel because wood was scarce. They prepared food for the weary travelers, tended to their children and tried to keep spirits up, while the men hauled water up from the river, corralled the livestock on the rocky terrain, and chiseled a hole in the rock wide enough for the wagons to get down. There was no other way to reach the Colorado River from that location, except to go down. “The crevice which was to become the Hole-in-the-Rock was narrow at the top and at the bottom converged so that, viewed from below, the opening between the rocks was but a knife-blade of blue sandwiched between the reddish-white sandstone cliffs. It was this slit which would have to be blasted wider until wagons could squeeze through.”iii
Lem and the other men worked ten hour shifts each day blasting away at the rock. When they ran out of gunpowder, they worked with hammer and chisel to clear a way. During this time spent carving a path down to the Colorado River, Lem’s father and three other men left on a scouting expedition to find a way to cross the river and get to Montezuma, which was their destination on the San Juan. They were gone for 25 days, which was much longer than they had prepared for, but they were successful in finding a safe direction to travel in. Upon returning from his scouting expedition, Lem’s father received news that Lem’s mother Keziah was seriously ill, so Lem Sr. left the company and returned home as quickly as he could.
It took approximately six weeks of painstaking labor to blast a space down the rock face wide enough for the wagons to fit through. This was a major setback, considering the party had anticipated the entire trip to the San Juan would take six weeks and they still had many miles to go. But their spirits stayed high and they carried on.
Hardship became the norm during this mission. Passing through Hole-in-the-Rock was not the only major slope they had to scale. San Juan Hill likewise posed its own dangers. This time, instead of going down, they needed to go up. It was incredibly steep and the sheer sandstone face was jagged at every turn. It required a span of seven horses to pull each wagon. As two or three horses would slip and fall, it was hoped that some of the others would remain standing until the stumbling horses could get back up. The men had to beat the bone-weary horses to keep them going. Some of the horses were so exhausted that they started to spasm and convulse. “By the time most of the outfits were across, the worst stretches could easily be identified by the dried blood and matted hair from the forelegs of the struggling teams. [Lem Redd, Jr.] was a strong man and reluctant to display emotion; but, whenever in later years the full pathos of San Juan Hill was recalled either by himself or by someone else, the memory of such bitter struggles was too much for him and he wept.”iv
On April 6, Lem, Eliza, little Lulu, Lem’s brother Monroe, and most of the original wagon party had reached a place deemed suitable for settlement. Though exhausted and hungry, they looked around at what would be their new home. Hope for the future filled their aching bodies, and they were glad to be at the end of their journey.
Life in Bluff
Not all who traveled through Hole-in-the-rock stayed in Bluff, but Lem and his family did. They built a home and began a new life for themselves. Lem quickly became a prominent member of the civic and church communities. He was called as a counselor in the bishopric to Jens Nielsen, and held that position until he became bishop of Bluff when Jens died twenty years later. He served as superintendent of the Sunday School and secretary of the YMMIA (Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association). He also served as ward clerk. Lem served faithfully as president of the San Juan Stake from 1910 until he died in 1923.
President Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith both spoke of their high regard for Lem. Brother Lem had an “unquestioning faith in the Gospel.”v He knew it was true. He was quick to respond to any call given, and served wholeheartedly. Faith seemed to come naturally to him and when he spoke, he spoke with authority.
Lem also found time to hold prominent positions in the community. He was the first assessor and collector for the city of Bluff, and was elected to represent his district in the Utah State Legislature.
Lem Redd anxiously wanted to see Bluff succeed and put his heart and soul into doing all he could to make it happen. As well as serving in his community and church callings, he was a wise and trusted businessman.
Lemuel Redd had an eye for business and was thoroughly invested in seeing San Juan County grow and prosper. He had a number of business ventures over the years. He raised sheep and cattle and would borrow a great deal of money to finance his endeavors. The secured loans that exist today were not part of business arrangements in the 1890’s when Lem Redd would walk into a bank. He simply assured his lenders he would pay back every penny. They trusted him, and he never betrayed that trust. His son explained:
“Each spring he would drop in to the First National Bank at Durango and ask about a loan. Mr. Camp recalled that Father often asked for money to buy as many as 20,000 head [of sheep], since there was unrestricted grazing in our mountains in those days. Using procedures that would be frowned upon today, Mr. Camp simply handed Father some checkbooks and told him that when he got through buying the sheep he should come in and they would fix up a note for the amount he had drawn. It was often August before Father could get into the bank to sign a note. During these months Mr. Camp had only the checks Father had written as evidence of the indebtedness--and this sometimes went as high as $60,000--a dickens of a lot to money for those days. Mr. Camp concluded by saying, ‘Over a long period of years, I loaned your father a great deal of money. I only wish that today our notes secured by ironclad mortgages were as sure of being repaid as your father’s unsecured ones.’”vi
Mr. Camp was not the only one who loaned Lem a considerable amount of money and never worried about being paid back. There were many others. Among them was Governor John C. Cutler. He said to Lem’s son Charlie:
“‘We regard your father as one of the most honest men the bank has ever dealt with.’ Governor Cutler was a very frugal man--even when it came to paying compliments. I said, ‘Governor, that’s a strong statement, but it pleases me very much.’ He continued, ‘Well, Charlie, I hope so, for it has been an unusual experience to loan a great deal of money to your father. He operates way off down in San Juan, and we don’t know anything more about his operations than what he tells us. He has often been very heavily in debt, but we can always count on his promise to pay.’”vii
Because of his honesty and integrity, Lem was highly regarded and well-respected by many. On one occasion, he and a friend were being hassled by some cowboys because of their humble appearance, lowly sheep herd, and practice of polygamy. Harry Pyle, a good friend of Lem’s, overheard the bantering and stepped in. He asserted the following:
“Here fellows, are Mr. Redd and Mr. Bayles. They are intelligent men, men of character and integrity. They’ve got you all beat, but you don’t really know it. They live in a poor country, and are having a dickens of a time. They may only be running a few cattle and sheep now, but they are thrifty and are making steady progress. What are you fellows doing? You are carousing your lives away, and one of these days the sons of Mr. Redd and Mr. Bayles will own the ranges that you now ride on.”viii
The prediction of Harry Pyle has, to a high-degree, been fulfilled.
Throughout Lem’s career, he played a role in co-operative stores in Bluff, Monticello and Grayson; in the San Juan-Dolores telephone system; the State Bank of San Juan; the Blanding Irrigation Company; and the LaSalle Livestock Company. Lem H. Redd, Jr., was the financial backbone and one of the most prominent founders of San Juan County.
Lucy (Lyman) Redd
Family Life in Bluff
Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. faced a difficult scenario as a father. He had to divide his time not only between his ecclesiastic obligations, his vocational pursuits, his community responsibilities and his family, but between two families. On October 31, 1883, Lem was sealed in the St. George temple to his second wife, Lucy Zina Lyman. She was a strong and able pioneer woman. Her father was Apostle Amasa M. Lyman and her mother was Eliza Maria Partridge, daughter of Edward Partridge, the first presiding bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lucy, or “Aunt Lucy” as she was called by most, occupied a room in the house Lem and his first wife Eliza and their children lived in. After Lucy and Lem had their first child, Lucy was forced to flee to Colorado to live in hiding from the U.S. Marshals. The LDS Church had not yet issued the manifesto prohibiting polygamy, but federal law did not allow it and the government would prosecute any and all they could find still living plural marriage. After her second child, L. Frank, was born, Lucy moved back to Bluff and into her own one-room house. In total, Lucy and Lem had four children – Carlie, L. Frank, Amasa Jay, and Annie. She eventually moved to a beautiful home in Blanding where she raised her children.
Lem and his wife Eliza had eight children – Lulu, Hattie, Lemuel H., Herbert, Edith, Charles, Marion and Amy. His children did not have the luxury of knowing if their father would be returning home to them each evening; they would have to wait their turn. Because of this, establishing a sense of familiarity and openness among his children took a more conscious effort. His youngest son Amasa recalled that on the joyous occasion that their father was in their home, “We didn’t feel free to climb on his lap or to hug and kiss him and talk to him . . . .”ix Yet, when it was time for him to go, they often didn’t want him to leave, and would follow him down the street, asking to go with him. Sometimes he would let them accompany him on his errands, depending on where he was going. It was likely a tremendous strain to have stewardship over so many people and be needed in so many places. As his children got older, and began to marry and have families of their own, they began to better understand the heavy demands placed on their father. This improved their relationship with him. Amasa related the following: “The more I became acquainted with him and his life and nature, the greater became my appreciation, love, and respect for him.”x
With a much absent father, and many mouths to feed, all family members did their part to help. The youngest were in charge of herding sheep, plowing the cornfields with a walking plow and planting seeds for harvest. There was not a barber in town, so one of Lem’s sons cut his hair and trimmed his moustache. No butcher shop and no refrigeration meant slaughtering their own sheep every few days so they would have meat on the table come suppertime. They wore their shoes and overalls to thread bare, and learned the true meaning of the pioneer motto of “fix it up, wear it out, make it due, or do without.”
Because of his many responsibilities, Lem’s wives made sure things ran smoothly in the home. Eliza was an excellent housekeeper and cook. Lucy was resourceful and efficient. She would spin the wool from their sheep to make yarn, which she would transform into beautiful quilts and mattresses. She learned to can and preserve fruit from their trees and made laundry soap from grease and tallow she saved. She also was a good cook; her specialties were homemade candy and honey cake.
Lem’s children, grandchildren, and in-laws recall fondly the power of his prayers. He was a deeply spiritual man. He knew his Father in Heaven, and when communicating with Him, Lem spoke with reverence and humility. His prayers were impressive. Through them, he conveyed a tenderness and compassion for others, particularly his family members. If he was not available to them physically and emotionally, he was always available to them spiritually.
Lemuel Redd and his wives Eliza and Lucy lived honorable lives. They paved the way for a brighter future for their vast posterity. Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. passed away on June 1, 1923, after contracting influenza. “Aunt Lucy” passed away in Blanding on January 4, 1930. Eliza Ann Redd lived 15 years after her husband died. She died peacefully in Salt Lake City on March 17, 1938.
Researched and written for the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation by:
C.S.M. Jones LLC, Family Heritage Consulting.
Alter, Cecil J. Utah the Storied Domain: A Documentary History of Utah’s Eventful
Career.Chicago: The American Historical Society Inc., 1932.
Embry, Jesse L. La Sal Reflections: A Redd Family Journal. Provo, Utah: Charles Redd
Jenson, Andrew, ed., Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilations of
Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901. Reprint, Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1971. Available digitally online through Brigham Young University.
Perkins, Cornelia Adams, Marian Gardner Nielson, and Lenora Butt Jones. Saga of San
Juan. Monticello, Utah: San Juan County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1957.
Redd, Amasa Jay. Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. 1856-1923: Pioneer Leader Builder.Salt
Lake City, Utah, 1967.
i Amasa Jay Redd, Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. 1856-1923: Pioneer Leader Builder (Salt Lake City, Utah: 1967), 149.
iii Jesse L. Embry, La Sal Reflections: A Redd Family Journal (Provo, Utah: Charles Redd Foundation, 1984), 69.