Life Story of James Gittins
Colaborador: sandyhamilton Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
LIFE HISTORY OF JAMES GITTINS
Written by Theoda Downs, a grandchild
James Gittins was born February 24, 1844 in Cradley, Herefordshire, England. He received little education.
He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young man. He became interested in another Church member, Ann Marie Summers. They planned to come to Utah together. Their wish came true and they were married at Liverpool, England, on May 19, 1864. Within a few hours, they were aboard the ship “McLenna” and were sailing for America. They were on the ship for eight weeks and did not enter Smithfield, Utah, until November 9, 1864.
They lived with Ann’s brother, George Summers, where Ann Marie took care of his three children. The following spring they moved from there to a small cabin on the lot that later became the Bauman lot and is now Dale Read’s. The cabin stood where the barn yard area is now located. Here on September 15, 1865 their first child was born. This child, Mary Ann, was my Grandmother Downs.
It was not until 1869 that they were endowed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah, and sealed to each other.
The year following the birth of their first child, they moved to a one room cabin located across the street from the George Hind residence. Here, James was born in 1867, Emma in 1869, and Eliza in 1871.
They then moved to Bountiful, Utah, and it was here that John was born on December 22, 1872. They came back to Smithfield in the spring and lived in the stone part of the house just west of the William Richardson home on 1st West and 1st South. Here, Rose was born on December 16, 1874.
For some time after they moved from this place, they lived in a cabin on the farm in the west fields. This house was built on the south side of the spring. After their home was finished, which was a two room log house on the lot just west of our family home, the boys who were older and were working on the farm, often stayed at the old home south of the spring. However, the family home now became established on what is now three and one half blocks west on 1st South Street.
Here, the remainder of the family was born. Joseph in 1877, Sarah in 1879, David in 1882, Benjamin in 1884 and Myra in 1886. They became the parents of 11children, nine of which grew to maturity.
James died at the age of 43 of pneumonia, which was brought on by the effects of chilling while fighting a fire on haystacks west of town. His death occurred September 27, 1887. He put the hay up on shares for William Douglas. William Douglas owned the old rock store, which later became Toolson’s. He had given credit to two men by the name of Carlson, who refused to pay their bill. Mr. Douglas sued for his money and they became his enemies. It was thought to have been them who set the fire. The following are items appearing in Cache Memories, a column published in the Herald Journal and written by Preston Nibley regarding their first Cache County memories.
“Last Thursday morning a fire broke out in a field near Smithfield and four stacks of hay belonging to William Douglas were destroyed. The loss will be very severe on that gentleman, especially so from the fact that he is now away from home for the sake of his religion.”
“Last Wednesday two Smithfield men named P.O. and A.L. Carlson were arrested on a charge of malicious mischief, the crime being setting on fire two haystacks in that town. They were placed under $500 bonds each and are to have a hearing in Logan on Monday next.”
It was even a greater loss to the Gittins family. Their father, still a young man, was taken from them leaving a large family, the youngest being only one year old.
Bishop William L. Winn has often told my father what a good man James Gittins was and what a faithful Church member he was, always attending to his Church duties.