Almer Bingley Cox

Almer crossed the plains with his parents in 1847 with the Charles C. Rich Company. Orville and Elvira each drove a team. One day each thought the other had the baby, but at noon they discovered he was not around. Almer wanted to walk, became interested in some ants, and fell way behind. The men driving the sheep saw something in the tall grass, investigated, and found him tired, cried out, and stumbling along. His parents were glad to get him back.

Almer remembered the crickets in Sessionsville (Bountiful), and the seagulls that saved the crops. The gulls did not leave enough crickets to feed to the chickens. Homer Duncan watered a field left bare by the crickets, and harvested 18 bushels, watered again and it grew 12 bushels on stalks half as tall, then again 8 bushels on stalks just above the ground harvested by hand-picking off the heads. They used as greens, redroot, pigweed, saltweed, pusley, wild onion and garlic. Orville was bishop while there.

Almer helped around the farm as all children did, and also served in the militia when he was 14. In Fairview, then North Bend, he herded sheep. The summer he was 17, a grizzly bear took the best ewe out of the herd, but Almer was glad to let it go. He moved the sheep as far as he could from that area.

When the Orville Cox family went to the Muddy Mission, Almer drove an outfit. He went to St. Thomas, and on occasion he was called to take messages to St. George at night when the indians were troublesome. He was one of many called to take teams to the Missouri River to bring back immigrants. On one occasion the tire ran off one of his wheels and delayed him for some time. The rest of the company was quite provoked as he had the grub wagon.

While living at the Muddy he made several trips to Fairview. On one of these trips he became acquainted and engaged to Martha Black, and the next trip out they were married. Her father performed the ceremony. She went with him to the Muddy where they lived 8 months, when she wanted to go to her folks who lived in Beaver. While there she gave birth to a pair of twins. As soon as Almer heard, he went to Beaver, but the twins were one month old and one of them had died by this time. She refused to live with him any more. He blamed himself and begged her to forgive him and give him another chance and he would treat her better, but she would not. He was heartbroken as they had been married in the Endowment House. He always said it was all his fault.

When he was 24, Almer married Sarah Ellen Jones. She lived with him at the Muddy and their first baby, a lovely little girl, was born there and died. When Muddy Mission was discontinued, they moved up to Dixie. They learned to cut stone and worked on the St. George and later the Manti temples. While in Dixie their second child was born with club feet. Doctors did not know what to do, and all his life Almer suffered from them.

Almer and Sarah Ellen moved to Fairview and soon had 6 children with 2 others that died in infancy. At this time Almerís sister- in-law (Orville's wife) died, and Orvilleís 5 children came to live with Almer. (Orville's wife was Sarah Ellenís sister). The two families lived together for three years, during which time Sarah Ellen lost 2 more babies and died of child bed fever. The doctors and midwives helped spread infection because no one knew about sterilization.

The brothers separated and Almer decided to move to warmer country because of trouble with rheumatics. His 2 oldest sons got jobs, a woman was hired to take care of the 2 youngest, one was left with relatives, and 2 went with Almer to Old Mexico. He bought a lot in the town of Colonia Dublan, and a farm across the river. He built a one-room adobe house without windows, door, or roof and worked on the railroad to get money to go back to Fairview to get his family and sell out his property. It was late in the fall when he went back.

In 1894 Almer married Mrs. Belinda Rowley, a high-strung widow with 2 children. She bore him 2 children, but they could not live together peacefully. He sent Rulon to live with his oldest daughter, now married, left his Mexico property to his wife, and went to New Mexico on a homestead. His youngest daughter was driven out of Mexico with the rest of the Saints, and came to live with him. Her husband died soon after, and Almer kept the family. One of the boys, Ivin Leroy Gardner, accidentally sucked a small piece of tin in his lungs. He had to be taken to Salt lake for treatment. Almer sold out again and lost most of his property as he had developed oil, but the boy's life must be saved. The doctors finally got the piece of tin but it had gone all the way to the bottom of his lung and left a sore which did not heal. Later he took measles and died. By this time Almer was too old and feeble to help any more and his property was all gone. He was put in a rest home and on the morning of May 6, 1929, while walking in the yard, he passed away.

Almer was 6 feet tall and weighed about 180 pounds. He had always been a hard worker, getting up at 4 A.M. He kept his tools in good order (a place for everything and everything in its place). He had helped make the first ditches in 13 places. He was a Seventy and worked in the Latter Day Saints Church in different ways. He was a very good speller--his children often tried to find words he could not spell but they could not--and wrote a beautiful hand.

Miriam Riding