Sunday, July 25, 2010

Remembering Our Pioneer Heritage - Adam Sharp Fife

Adam Sharp Fife, born in Clackmannan, 24 July 1838; died in Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah, 17 November 1922; buried in Brigham City. Adam wrote the following account of his life [D.U.P., Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 13]:

I was born the 24th of July 1838 in the town of Clackmannan, Scotland, to Ellen (Helen) Sharp and Adam Fife, their seventh child. My oldest sister Mary and her husband Alex Patterson were the first to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sailing for America in 1847. Two years later my parents with the remainder of their family boarded a sailing boat for America. One of my sisters died with cholera and was buried at sea. We landed in New Orleans and traveled up to St. Louis where we were met by Mary and Alex. We lived in St. Louis two years, making preparations to continue on to Great Salt Lake. During this time, Janet, the 13th child of my parents, was born. In 1851 the family started with the David Wilkie Company for the Valley. Jane was born in Salt Lake City and Sarah Lewis, the 15th, was born in Cedar City, where my parents had been called to help settle in 1853. I was fifteen years of age and my job was to drive the cows. The wagons were ahead, I lagging behind. I looked down a ravine and was startled to see a big Indian looking at me. I took hold of a cow's tail and away we went to catch the wagons. When we returned to Salt Lake City, my brother and I went to work with the Sharps, quarrying rocks from Red Butte Canyon. We used a large sled pulled by oxen to drag the large rocks down the canyons. I worked there almost continuously until 1868 although I did some freighting and was sent on several trips to meet the Saints. I helped to lay the east cornerstone of the temple; the smaller rocks were used to build the rock wall around the square. This wall was completed Tuesday, July 15, 1854. I met and fell in love with a pretty little girl from England, Comfort Jolly. We were married the 27th of June 1863. Our first baby, Comfort Jolly, was born May 22nd, 1864, and died the day of her birth. We went to the Endowment House February 16th, 1865. Our second baby was born January 26th, 1868. We named her Mary Ellen. We moved to Hooper, Weber County, where two sons were born, Adam Jolly, May 8th, 1872, and William Jolly, October 22nd, 1874. While living there I farmed. Our last four children were born in Clarkston, Cache, Utah, Cecilia Margaret, John Jolly, Joseph Franklin and James Leroy. Comfort's mother, Comfort Halibone Jolly, lived with us. She was quite feeble and we felt we could not take her out to the dry farm; I spent as much time as I could out there but it wasn't enough. Lew Spencer jumped my claim. I began to quarry rock to build the Clarkston meeting house, finishing in 1877. I always tried to go to meeting when I was home. The meeting house faced east and I usually sat on the south side just under the middle window, with my arm up resting my head on my hand. One Sunday, when meeting was out, Bob Nish who had talked, asked me how I liked his talk. I answered, "Lars, man, the talk was all right but you talked too long." "All right," he said, "next time you just hold up one finger." I had been baptized and confirmed by John Sharp July 9th, 1846. I was re-baptized July 9, 1878, by O. A. Jensen and confirmed by John Jardine at Clarkston. I worked grading for the railroad, one contract after another, in northern Utah, through Montana, Glenn's Ferry, Storrs Ferry, up and down the Snake River. One time, the train going through Swan Lake with my equipment and horse, tipped over; my men really had to work fast to break open the boxcar doors to get the horses out before they were seriously injured. Due to my early exposures and successive bouts with the weather, I developed rheumatism; for a number of years I managed to get around with a cane, but finally the pain became so severe I was forced to complete invalidism.

Adam's wife, Comfort, described him thusly: "Adam Fife was tall, dark complexioned, with big brown eyes, a straight bridged nose and large ears which fastened to the jaw without a lobe. He was very distinguished looking with a straight carriage and walk. He was a lovable, kind man, but retiring. He loved children, holding them, singing to them and telling them stories. He was firm and very quick in giving directions."

Adam married Comfort Jolly in Salt Lake City, 27 June 1863. She was born 6 January 1846, daughter of William and Comfort Jolly of Herechester, Northamptonshire, England (pioneers of 30 September 1854, Darwin Richardson company). Their children were: (1) Mary Ellen born 24 January 1869, married William Jardine; (2) Adam J., born 8 May 1872, married Agnes Shumway; (3) William J., born 22 October 1876, married May Jardine; (4) Cecelia, born 11 July 1879, married John Vaughn; (5) John J., born 17 February 1882, married Elizabeth Terry; (6) Joseph J., born 28 November 1884, married Margaret Anderson; (7) LeRoy, born 2 June 1887.

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