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Monday, 10 December 2018

George & Mary Craner History 1935
Written by Herbert Craner   

History of George Craner and Mary Caroline Adams

by their son Herbert Craner

in 1935    

     After they were married, Oct. 23, 1879, by Daniel H. Wells in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, they went to live with his folks. They lived with his family four or five months or through the winter. The following spring, in February 1880, George's mother passed away.

      George's Mother was a young woman of 38, when her last baby was born. She didn't have any confidence in the Doctor of the town so she secured the services of a Midwife, and did not receive good care. As a result died of Child Bed Fever on Feb. 14, 1880 at Tooele, ·Utah, and was buried in the Tooele cemetery.

      In the spring of 1880, the couple built a two room frame and plaster house. George got a couple of men, George Bunn and Isaac Elington, who were mechanics, to help him with the building of the house. It was decided that a fireplace would be a little too expensive at this time, so instead, a stove was used for both heating and cooking. It was in this house that their first child, a baby girl, Mary was born on Sept. 4, 1850. The following year there was a great influx of emigrants from Grantsville that came to Tooele.  So Francis M. Lyman [who was then the Stake President and had charge of the Tooele District] suggested that the people go out to Oakley, Idaho. New land was being opened up, and that it would be a great opportunity to take up permanent homes in that region. In response to this suggestion, George and Mary decided to sell their place, and go out to Oakley. His wife and child, Mary, went to live with his folks again, and George got ready to go to Oakley to see the new country.

      So George with Moroni Pickett and George Bunn got ready to go. They decided to take a short cut west of Tooele and save fifteen miles by crossing the desert. It was twenty miles around the good road, and five miles to take the short cut through the Desert Flats, across Goose Creek. There had been a rain a few days before. Also, spring weather had thawed out the ground, and after they had traveled four miles across the desert, the last mile was impassable. They got stuck in the mud holes of a small creek bed and couldn't make it through so they decided to turn back home to Tooele, and get rigged up for a better start and go prepared to stay all summer.

      In February 1881,which was an open winter, [or a mild winter. They had not so much snow nor it wasn't as cold as that country sometimes experienced.] George Craner, Moroni Picket, and Tom Morgan, in one wagon, left for Oakley. They carried bedding and food supplies needed on this trip. George Bunn left the day before they did, so he was a days journey in the lead. The three men were eleven days on the road. They took the cut-off through the valley from Tooele to Salt Lake City, and to Brigham City and through Corrine, Kelton, Strevell, Malta, and Albion, to Oakley.

      Upon reaching Oakley, they camped in a large one roomed dwelling house, which was built by Porter W. Miles. Porter W. Miles was a Son-in-law of Bishop John Rowberry of Tooele.

      The next few days were spent in looking over the new country, and locating places to settle. George had talked with Porter Miles and made an agreement to buy his place, which consisted of the house and improvements. The land, 160 acres, was taken up under squatter’s rights, and also pre-emption rights.      The land was adobe white clay. In the spring, after plowing, it was necessary that it be rolled down with a heavy roller to break the clods before planting. Owing to the mild winter, there was a good volunteer crop of barley coming up on the land.

      George decided to sell the house, which he bought from Porter Miles, to his Uncle John Craner, who lived not far away. [Uncle John Craner came to Oakley in 1880.] George also boarded with his Uncle through the summer months. In the fall he harvested a good crop, which he sold at the Thatcher Ranch. [A place about fifteen miles north of Oakley.] There was a store at the Thatcher Ranch, and George got three and four cents a pound for his barley. He bought food supplies, and made preparations to go back to Tooele for his wife and baby. Before leaving, however, he settled with Porter Miles for the mail deliveries in towns near Oakley consisted of a stage, which ran from Albion to the Thatcher Ranch, and to Rock Creek. There was also a daily mail from the Thatcher Ranch to Oakley by horse.

      George left in the latter part of September 1881, to go to Tooele. After reaching Tooele, he soon made preparations for their return to Oakley. Their baby, Mary, was one year old at this time.

      In October, George, wife, and baby left Tooele for Oakley. George had a good team and wagon, so all the household goods that they possessed, including a stove, food, bedding, and grain for the horses. Also, one half dozen chairs which cost a dollar a piece, and a nine by twelve homemade rag rug were loaded into the wagon. They left early in the morning and went around the point of the mountain to Garfield and thence to Salt Lake City.

      When they got to Rattlesnake Valley, [so called because of the many rattlesnakes there] the wagon slipped off the road. [The roads were little more than cow trails, so they couldn't expect a great deal of comfort] They all got out and pushed and tugged and after a time, got the old wagon back on the road. At three miles per hour, they were off to a good start. The family all slept in the wagon, so were free from snakes and insects during the night. At the City Of Rocks, the wagon slipped off the road again, but it was not so bad this time.

      When the Craner Family arrived in Oakley, it was getting chilly. George was busy the next few weeks building a home for his family. He decided to build a small log cabin with one room. The logs were notched at the ends so that they would be hinged together. These logs were chinked up and plastered in. The roof was first made by putting poles across the top and covered them with willows. The willows were then covered with cockle-burr weeds and dirt was thrown over the top. This roof was not very good to keep out the weather, so a wagon cover was hung up under the roof on the inside of the house to keep the dirt from falling on the floor. This roof served for shelter from the weather for about a year. The floor was the good old earth, covered with rugs, sacks, and such to keep out the cold. There were three boards which. were laid across the end of the room. [The boards were a foot wide each] They served to keep the stove and table off the ground. The table was made square, and had leaves put on with hinges. After mealtime the leaves could be dropped and the table pushed back against the wall.

       The next fall, the roof was taken off and a new one took its place. This time poles were placed on the roof and lumber placed on the poles, which served as a better roof to keep out the dirt and water. At this time the floor was put in with rough lumber, which made the house warmer. A home-made-rug, size nine by twelve, which was made at home in Tooele and brought to Oakley, covered the floor. The first piece of furniture made was a cupboard. George got enough boards and planed them smooth and fastened them together. Then he had George Bunn, [Walter Bunn's Father] who was a Carpenter and a Brick Layer put in the back and finish the carpenter work. All the rough edges were made smooth by the use of a file. The cupboard was not painted until a year or so later. They had the half dozen chairs that were brought from Tooele. There was a bed made of lumber, and with the use of a straw tick, it was comfortable. Mary Caroline had brought two feather pillows and bedding with her from Tooele.

       On November 20, 1880, a son, George Edward, was born to George Craner and Mary Caroline Adams in their one room log cabin at Oakley, Idaho.

      The family got along fairly well with the remodeled house but in the fall of 1884 there had to be some place to put the wheat crop of that year to keep it from the wet and cold, so the east end of the room in the house was selected for that purpose.

      On April 6, 1885, Emma was born in this house.

      On June 7, 1885, George Craner was ordained a Seventy in the Seventy Eighth Quorum of the Seventies at Oakley, Idaho, by K.T. Reagland.

      Now that the family was growing larger and also because of the needed room for the wheat and oat crops, it was necessary for George to build a larger house for the family. So a two-room log house was built about seventy-five yards away and nearer to the street.

      About this time, George was building corrals and stables for the future. Fruit trees had to be planted, as well as shade trees. Fences also were built during this time. Mary Caroline was busy making clothes for the family, churning butter, and taking care of the children, chickens, ducks, etc. So---George and Mary were a very busy couple.

       Three months after Emma was born, or in July, the family moved into their new home. It was a Stockade house made of logs like the old house, but had some improvements made. At first both rooms were used, but as the fall months came and the nights and days became colder, only one room was used. This they could keep warmer, so they decided to settle for the winter in the one south room.

      After the family had moved from the old log house, it was used for the grainary, machinery, harnesses, etc.

      About this time, George sold part of the 160 acres, which he had homesteaded for the Oakley town site. [He is one of the farmers mentioned in John Adams record.] He sold it also to raise money to live on.

      On September 27, 1887, John Thomas was born in the new house.      Sunday, March 22, 1898, at the Cassia Stake Conference, a Branch of the Church, which had been previously organized as the Cary Branch, on the Little Wood River, was organized as a Ward. George S. Harris was sustained as the Bishop.

      As early as 1900, there was a Washing Machine in the house. Straw was used in the ticks for the beds, in place of modem mattresses.

      In 1901, George was ordained Second Counselor to Bishop H. Haight.      George made things such as Hay Racks to haul the hay in from the field. He also made many parts for the farm machinery. As well as parts for wagons and buggies.      In 1903, the farm life in Oakley was going fine. George and Mary had almost as many of the modem conveniences as were available at that time. They had orchards, stables, cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, etc. They also had several kinds of grain, potatoes, hay and plenty of water in the canal, which ran through the property to supply East Oakley with water. Nine children had been born and were all living. George bought more land to supplement that which had been sold.


      The first Bishop of Tooele was John Roeberry. Francis M. Lyman of Fillmore, Utah was selected to be the President of the Tooele Stake. Oakley was a Branch of that Stake. The Oakley Branch Presidency was W.C. Martindale --- Presiding Elder. George Whittle --- First Counselor Enock Dailey --- Second Counselor.

      In the fall of 1881, Francis M. Lyman came out to Oakley to hold a Branch Conference. While at this conference, President Lyman met and stayed with John L. Smith at Sublet. [A suburb of Oakley] Later Horton D. Haight of Farmington, Utah, was selected to be Bishop of the Oakley District. Bishop Haight came to Oakley, built a house and made preparations for his family to come in the fall of 1882. His counselors were W.C. Martindale -- First and George Whittle -- Second.

      A year after the new Bishopric was put in, the Oakley District was made a Stake. Horton D. Haight was chosen as the Stake President with Moroni Pickett as First Counselor and Frank Brimm as Second Counselor. President Haight served as Stake President until 1900, at which time he passed away. At this time, William T. Jack was chosen Stake President with John L. Smith as his First Counselor and William T. Harper as his Second Counselor. The Bishopric at this time consisted of Hector C. Haight as Bishop, David P. Thomas as First Counselor and George Craner as Second Counselor.


     May 4, 1904 --- The U.S. Government opened the Burley Project for settlers.  

      This new project was twenty-five miles north of Oakley on the Snake River Plateau, and was a sagebrush desert. The Government planned to take water from the Snake River by Centrifugal pumps, and by means of three canals, water an area of 48,000 acres of land.   

     As stated, in 1904 the Government opened this new project, and George Craner, L.W. Robins, Hector C. Haight and Ed. Guyman, went to Albion, Idaho, County Seat of Cassia County, and filed on land for a homestead. George Craner took up land a mile and a half west of Burley. Edward Craner and David Harding filed on a hundred sixty acres one mile west of Burley. Later Edward took the south eighty and David Harding took the north eighty of the 160 acres. A small house was built on George Edward's place and Mary and David Harding and family moved from Oakley and lived in this house to start homesteading in the spring of 1904.   

     In the year 1905 the Milner Dam was being constructed across the Snake River twelve miles below Burley. This was being built by teams and wagons, so a great deal of hay and oats were needed for the horses. During these next two years, George Craner and his boys, Howard and John, were very busy bailing and hauling hay to Milner. Sometimes two and four wagons would make the trip at once. They could make a trip a day from Oakley to Milner and back, [twenty miles each way]. They traveled the road known as the East Island Road.   

     About this same time, George was building his home in Burley. The house was built of logs, brought from one of the houses in Oakley, and covered with shiplap and shingles. Mary was then living in George Edward's house, and in October 1906, she came to live in George Craner's home while it was being finished. A well had been dug for water, corrals had been constructed, and a small amount of livestock had been taken down to Burley.   

     On August 26,1907, George Craner and family, who were staying at Oakley [except John whom they left to look after the place] moved to Burley. The family included Ruth, Howard, Herbert, Annie, and William. William was now two years old, [the last child born]. The water was not turned in the three canals until the spring of 1909. Since many trees had been planted prior to this time, it was necessary that the water for them be hauled in barrels from the river, in fact, the whole north orchard from Oakley as well as many shade trees had to be watered. Much time was spent, therefore, in hauling water from the river in barrels and tubs to keep them alive. The soil was a sandy loam and only three feet to gravel, so it took a great deal of water for them.   

     Emma Craner married Peter Clark Darrington of Elba, Idaho, October 9, 1907, in the Salt Lake Temple by John R. Winder.   

     In the fall 1908, Emma came to live with her parents in the new house in Burley and on December 5 1908, her first child, a baby girl was born, known as Vera Caroline. She lived here two months longer and then returned to Elba where her husband's people were.   

     The Craner children who were home, [From Ruth to William,] attended the Grade School at Burley and the Church there also, those who had the opportunity, attended the High School there.   

     During these years, [from 1906 to 1910] many corrals and buildings were tom down at Oakley and rebuilt at Burley. One trip a day was all that could be made. On the return trip, George would haul freight from the Burley Station to the stores at Oakley. [David Harding was then the Freight Agent.]   

     During this time, much farm work was being accomplished on the farm at Burley. George Craner had on this new farm many head of Berkshire hogs. These were fattened in the fall for market. He had cattle, horses, chickens and other farm stock.   

     In 1910, the Oakley place was sold to the Oakley Reservoir Company for $13,000. The home and adjacent lot were not sold in this deal. A dam was placed across {Goose Creek, about five miles from Oakley to form the Reservoir. This was for the purpose of furnishing water for the Tiiakley Territory; hence the Oakley Reservoir Company wanted more land.   

     In 1911, George Craner built a yellow brick home northwest of the old frame building.   

     As early as 1912, there was a good herd of dairy cows on the farm and milk and cream was sold to the hotels and restaurants in Burley. Later in 1915 to 1917, George changed his herd of cows from a mixed herd of Durham to Jersey, and in 1917 had a registered herd of 15 to 20 head of registered cattle. Later, in 1920 the herd was changed to Holstein to suit the milk market. George also had from 15 to 20 head of good Precheron and Clydesdale workhorses, as well as driving teams.   

     Each year in the spring there was always plenty of work to be done. First there was the plowing, harrowing, and leveling before the ground was ready to plant. Then the planting. Later the cultivating and watering and the weeds had to be kept down. The crops planted were wheat, barley, oats, corn, potatoes, sugar beets, red clover, alfalfa and peas.   

     A few years after George Craner had settled in Burley, he bought other property ---- forty acres south of his home. fifty acres five miles south of Burley and forty acres one half mile east of Burley. These places were planted to alfalfa and grain. During the summer months, these crops had to be harvested. The hay had to be cut, raked, and bunched, and hauled on slips to be stacked. In the fall all crops were harvested. The fruit trees cared for and fruit gathered in the season there of. Also, during the summer, honey was gathered from 8 to 10 hives of bees. I, Herbert, have seen as many as 50 gallons of honey in the cellar at one time.   

     In the fall was pig-killing time, and meat had to be cut and cured smoked. Veal and beef were also supplied. George had only a few head of sheep at Burley. The chickens were of the white Leghorn variety ----about 200 in number. The eggs were gathered and sent to town in exchange for merchandise or cash.   

     Mary Caroline [Mother] and Annie were very busy about the house, taking care of the milk and cream, washing and cooking, gathering eggs, curing meats, canning fruit and vegetables, and making bread [till later years.] Even yet, 1935, if Mother wants a good batch of bread, she makes it herself.   

     In the spring, young plants were set out in the garden --­tomatoes, cabbage, as well as seeds planted direct from the packages. At home we always had a good garden and lots of good things to eat.

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