Orlan Cox

In his diary, kept while on his mission, dad made this entry: “Diary of Orlan Cox, son of Orville S. Cox and Eliza J. Cox, born Jan. 2, 1875, in Mt Carmel, Kane Co., Utah. Was baptized in 1883 by Thom. Robinson. Moved to Orderville in 1876. Left there and moved to Clifton, Garfield Co. in 1886. My father died July 4, 1888. My mother died Dec. 1, 1889. Since then I have been left (with three sisters) to take care of myself.“

Dad often talked of life in Orderville and it seemed his boyhood there was a happy one. Aunt Almira said that he proved an awful worry to their mother, however, when he would sneak away every chance he got and go swimming in the Orderville pond. Grandmother was afraid he would drown. It must not have been all play for him there, though, for by the time he moved away from Orderville at the age of eleven, he had a fair working knowledge of the blacksmithing trade which he used at various times in his later life.

After Grandmother died the four orphaned children lived with their grandparents, Isaac and Sarah Losee. It was not long until tragedy Struck again, and Grandfather Losee died and not long after this. Grandmother Losee stepped beyond the veil. This left Aunt Almira in charge of the family. It was during this time that the following took place as related by M David Harris. "It was Orlan's chore to keep the wood box provided. Like other boys it was easy for him to forget his chores, and ‘Mirie' was consistently after him. One day he came in tired and hungry from work and play to get his dinner. He was startled and a bit embarrassed to find on the table a neat pile of raw peeled potatoes with the axe lying beside them. He got the message and learned the lesson and thereafter the woodbox had some difficulty getting empty. I think Aunt Mirie must have been a good teacher.

Orlan worked at odd jobs, and became quite a horseman. When I attended the Tropic homecoming in the early 1930’s with dad and met the people who knew him in his youth it seemed they remembered him more for his bronc bustin’ than anything else.

For sometime he lived with and worked for John Hatch whose home must have been in the lower part of the valley. Amelia Hatch Losee related this story a few years ago. “One day while your dad was living with us it began to rain quite hard. He tied his horse in the shed and came in the house. Our corral was built along the side of the gully and whenever we would have a hard rain there would always come a flash flood down the gully. This day was no different and soon the raging flood came with trees, old logs and brush and mud. It began to lick away at the sandy banks; then to our horror we saw part of the corral cave in, hurling our best milk cow into the raging torrent. Then to our surprise, Orlan raced out and jumped on his horse and forced it into that ugly stream to swim after the cow. My sister and I watched in terror knowing he would never come out of that stream alive. He guided the horse up beside the cow, put a rope on her neck, went down until he found a place where the horse could climb out on the opposite bank and pulled the cow out unhurt. I never was so scared in all my life.”

In his diary, Orlan said he moved to Tropic in 1894. During the winter of 1898-99 he went to Beaver where he attended a branch of the Brigham Young Academy. July 11, 1899, he received a call to the south western states mission, with headquarters at St John, Kansas. For a few months he labored in Kansas and then spent the remainder of his mission in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Here his musical ability stood him in good for he often was able to make friends as he played the organ, violin or guitar, whatever the people might have. In December of 1900, he was assigned to go to Massey, Oklahoma and teach school. On his birthday in 1901 he had his first experience at teaching school as 22 students gathered in the one room. In March school broke up because of sickness which seemed to be an epidemic, and he returned to regular missionary activities until his release March 14, 1902.

Soon after his return home he moved to Lovell, Wyoming where he met and married Ada Emeline Asay. Not long after moving to Lovell, he purchased the sawmill he had helped Johnsons move to the Big Horn and operated it for a few years. Later he ran the blacksmith shop in Lovell.

As his boys got older he felt it would be better to get them out on a farm, so the little frame house which he had built soon after his marriage, and was one of the first frame houses to be built in Lovell, was sold and the family moved into the country southwest of Lovell.

However, dad never seemed to like farming himself, so he continued to operate a blacksmith shop on the farm. When he was not busy at this he also followed the carpenter trade.

Through all his life dad loved horses and a mean horse was a challenge to him. At one time he was doing some blacksmith work for Grover Threet on the Little Valley Ranch. The Threet brothers, road contractors in the horse and buggy days, had many horses. The ranch hands were having considerable trouble with one horse they considered an outlaw. Grover said, “Orlan, I will give you $10.00 if you can ride that horse.” Dad rode the horse and took the ten. He was about 62 years old at the time.

After suffering three years with cancer, mother died 3 June 1941. Dad married Mary Sophronia Asay, mother’s older sister and they were sealed in the Logan Temple. He traded his home in the country for a small place in town where they lived until he died in 1945 of a heart attack.

By Orlan Cox