|THOMAS WRIGHT SAXTON & EMMA GRACE ASHTON
|Contributed By Camille Gerritsen · Dec 21, 2014
Information from Glen and Lorna Saxton
copied by Tyler Gerritsen
|Thomas Wright Saxton was born November 19, 1884 at the Tithing Office in Garden City, Utah. He was the first born to
Eli and Martha Helen Moore Saxton. When Thomas was only ten days old, his folks moved to Almy where his father
worked in the coal mines. First they lived in a coal shack, then fourteen to fifteen years later, they bought a ranch in
Alma. The ranch is now owned by Harold and Edna Saxton. Eli Saxton worked in the coal mines and worked his ranch
until his death in October of 1900. He died of yellow jaundice. At the time of Eli’s death, he had made only one payment
on the ranch. His family had to take out a second mortgage to pay for Eli’s funeral. On Eli’s death bed, he called his
young son, Thomas, to his side and asked him to take care of his mother and the other four younger brothers. Thomas
was fifteen years old at the time and his mother was expecting a baby in a month or so. Thomas promised his father he
would take care of the family and provide for them, which he did.
Martha Helen Moore was the second wife of Eli Saxton. Eli and his first wife had six children. Ten children were born to
Eli and Martha in sixteen years. Thomas was born in 1884; Violet was born in 1886 and died in 1886; Elizabeth was born
in 1888 and died in 1888; Eli Brigham was born in 1889 and died in 1889; Elijah was born in 1890; Phillip was born in
1892; Angelo was born in 1894; Eli Moore was born in 1896; Wright Thomas was born in 1891; and Helen was born in
November 1900 and died in 1901.
Thomas worked in the coal mines before his father’s death and he continued to do so for a while longer. His mother told
him to go to the store and charge a sack of flour for overnight. The store owner refused Thomas the sack of flour because
other folks had charged so much and not paid their debts. Both Thomas and his mother were very upset about the
action of the store owner. He was determined to get his family out of debt and never have to charge again. Thomas went
to Idaho to work in a slaughter house and worked on a survey crew and drilling rigs. He also worked on the Evanston Ice
Ponds cutting ice to store for the railroad. Thomas and his mom finally got the ranch out of debt ten years after the
death of his father. When Thomas was twenty-six years old, he left the ranch in Almy leaving all the grain bins full,
horses and machinery to operate the ranch with, a small herd of cows and six hundred dollars in the bank.
Thomas went into the partnership on a ranch in Woodruff Creek, Utah with Dr. Charles Soliers and Dr. Bert Winslow. He
took a horse and eighty-nine head of cattle. The doctors asked Thomas to be the manager. They decided to call the
ranch the Wyuta Cattle Company. The ranch was located in Utah and the owners lived in Wyoming, so they combined
the two states, making it Wyuta. Thomas purchased hay for the ranch from a rancher in Woodruff, Utah, George
Ashton. George had a beautiful young daughter, Emma Grace. She was sittings on dad’s lap and he asked her to get Tom
some lunch. Her reply was, “He can get his own lunch!” Thomas was impressed by this spunky little gal and
immediately took a liking to her. Several years later, he married her in Woodruff, Utah on June 2, 1914. She was
fourteen years his younger. Grace was born April 11, 1898, to George and Idella Eastman Aston.
Tom and Grace made their home in Woodruff Creek, Utah, on the Wyuta Ranch for six years. Their first three children
were born there. Eli, the first, was born January 1916 and died in June of the same year from whooping cough. He is
buried in the Eastman Cemetery. Ernest was born on December 7, 1916, and Ethel was born August 19, 1918.
On May 8, 1921, Tom and Grace left Woodruff and moved to a ranch on Bear Riber (known as the Tom Phipps ranch).
The Wyuta Cattle Company sold out in Woodruff and both this ranch in Wyoming about fifteen miles south of Evanston.
The Company also purchased three additional homesteads that joined the ranch: Dan Hager’s, Burt Winslow’s and Tom’
s brother, Wright Thomas Saxton’s. In the early 30’s ,the Wyuta Cattle Company bought a ranch on upper Bear River
known as the Stewart Ranch. Glen and Lorna now live on the Stewart ranch and the ranch is still called the Wyuta
Four additional children were born to the Saxtons after they moved. Earl was born August 9, 1921; Elmer was born
December 24, 1924; Glen was born September 17, 1926; and Helen was born March 23, 1930.
Grace belongs to a ladies’ club, the Sunshine Club, which was for the local ranch women. They would meet once a month
at the different homes of the women. They would all take their pre-school children with them and spend the whole day.
They enjoyed the close association with each other and making quilts and sharing recipes. Grace spent most of her time
at the ranch, cooking and washing for the hired men and her young family. She was an excellent cook and loved to
crochet and embroidery and paint. Grace loved to make lovely articles to give away as gifts for weddings, birthdays, and
just because she enjoyed giving. Many of her family received her beautiful handiwork. Grace also had a green thumb,
and she filled her home with potted plants in the winter and had beautiful flower beds outside in the summer.
Thomas raised Hereford cattle, which he was very proud of. For eight to ten years he owned seven-hundred head of
sheep. Thomas served numerous terms on the school board and he was on the election polls for many years. He was a
very intelligent man.
The trips to Evanston, or anywhere else, were limited because the ranch house was not located on the county road. The
eight mile dirt road was up Coyote Creek, so they had to ride a horse or hitch up a team to go over to the county road two
miles away. Their mailman was very good to bring groceries, parts, other necessities along with the mail. Sometimes,
some of the family would go to town, a two-day trip, with the single team and sleigh or wagon and stable the horses at
Mr. Dean’s barn for a fee.
The Saxton children attended school at the Myers School House through the eighth grade. They would ride their horses
over and take their lunches. The older boys were responsible to chop wood and keep the fire going in the winter for the
teacher. The would be boarded out in Evanston to finish their high school. Usually, Tom would go get them on Friday
afternoon and return them on Sunday, as he always needed their help on the weekends. Thomas felt that school was
very important as he was only able to attend school through the third reader and had to quit to help support the family.
Math was Tom's favorite subject.
The cattle were sold in the fall as two and three-year old steers. When they had sheep, the lambs were also sold in the
fall. It was always a big event in June when the shearers were come to the valley and shear everyone's sheep. This took
place at the Sheep Shearing Corral in Coyote Creek. Usually there were twelve to fifteen men shearing and they sheared
everyones at the same time. A lot of sheep were sheared there over the years. The corrals are still standing and are still
Thomas and Grace had their own root cellar which they built and filled every fall with produce from Utah. They stored
potatoes, onions, squash, Rutabagas, carrots, cabbage, turnips, apples and bottled fruit. The food would stay fresh for
about 9 to 10 months. They also preserved their own meat in their smokehouse. In the corner of the yard was an ice
house which they used to keep their food cold.
In the wintertime, the ice would get really thick on the Bear River and Thomas and the boys would cut it in large chunks
with an ice saw the store it in the ice House. It would last all summer acting a s a freezer/refrigerator. They would
butcher a beef, or pork or lamb and hand it inside a separate room in the ice house. Grace would go to the ice house and
cut the meat that she needed to prepare for her family’s meal.
In 1938, Thomas and Grace were able to get electricity right to the ranch House. Before this time, they used coal oil
lamps and gas lanterns for lights. Always had a wood burning stove for cooking and warmth. All the water had to be
carried from the Bear River, until years later they also got a water pump.
One year, while the men folds were out cowboying on the hills, they ran across a fawn deer with a broken leg. they
brought the deer home and Grace mended his leg and fed it on a bottle. She named him “Bambi”, and became very good
friends with him. They never locked him up, but in the fall, Grace painted his horns red and tied a red flag on his
antlers. Bambi would leave for a time, but would always return home. About five years later, a family came to visit the
Saxton’s, and their boy teased and tormented Bambi until he became really ornery and mean. To prevent anyone from
getting hurt, the family had Bambi killed and gave the meat to a needy family. Bambi was five years old and the whole
family was saddened. He had been the family pet from 1952 to 1957.
A favorite time of the year for Tom and Grace was Memorial Day. Grace loved to order tubs to fresh peonies to decorate
their family and friend’s graves. Tom would drive Grave to the Evanston Cemetery, Almy Cemetery, Woodruff Cemetery
and the Eastman Cemetery to they could remember their loved ones. They always took along their picnic lunch.
Thomas and Grace taught their children how to work by their good example and each child was a very hard worker.
Ernest was seventeen years old and fresh out of high school in 1933 when he joined the U.S Navy. He married Vanetta
Durrant on December 24, 1938, and later divorced. He then married Sylvia Myers, January 3, 1941, and they had three
daughters born to them: Audrey who died at birth, Karen and Kathy. Ernest and Sylvia were later divorced and Ernest
passed away June 10, 1985.
Ethel married William Henry Marsh on August 26, 1935, and they had four sons and one daughter born to them: Keith,
Leslie, James, Robert and Barbara. After Bill died, Ethel married Myron Cardinal in 1992.
Earl married Bernita Smith September 9, 1942, and they had one daughter, Sherrie, and later divorced. Earl enlisted in
the Air Force in 1943. He married Laura Wall June 2, 1962 and had two sons, Thomas and William, then they divorced.
He married Charlotte (Boots) Barton on October 5, 1967 and she has one son, Brent.
Elmer went into the Army in 1944. He married Lorraine Gale on October 2, 1946. They had two children born to them:
Lila Jean and Ricky.
Glen stayed on the ranch to help his dad and at 21 years old married Lorna D. Hirschi on December 10, 1947. They had
seven children born to them: Shanna, Michael, Kyle (stillborn), Diana, Arlene, Gregory and Tanya.
Helen married James Egbert on June 15, 1948 and soon divorced. She married Raymond P. Morgan on September 30,
1952 and had one son, Glenn Ray. Helen passed away in March 1974, after a lifetime of diabetes.
All of Grace’s life she dreamed for the day she would have a new home. She made things for her new home and saved for
her new home. Thomas and Grace did finally build a new home four miles south of Evanston on Highway 150. She
helped choose carpets, rooms colors, furnishings and helped move things down to her dream home. Just before they
made the final move to the new homes, Grace had a stroke at the old ranch house and it paralyzed her left side. She
spend the next six and a half years in hospitals and rest home, never recovering from this stroke. Her lifetime dream of
living in her new home close to town never came true. She passed away in Ogden, Utah in a nursing home, February 10,
1969. Thomas and Grace had been married fifty-five years. Later, their marriage was solemnized in the Salt Lake
Thomas lived in the house and always said it was just a house not a home, because the one who could make it that way
was not there. He lived by himself until he was ninety-two years old, taking care of his needs with a little help from his
daughter-in-law, Lorna. She cleaned, washed and did his grocery shopping. Thomas died in Evanston, March 23, 1976.
One of his last requests was to spend a last night at his new house in front of the big window that he so enjoyed sitting by
watching the traffic go by and listening for the train. After his death, his last wish was fulfilled by Lorna. He laid in his
home for the last time in his coffin.