Short History of James Ririe and Ann
By Isabell Ririe Stallings
(written in 1939)
My father, James Ririe, was born January 24, 1827, near Castle Fraser,
Parish of Cluny, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He had six brothers and four
sisters and he was next to the youngest.
His father died August 20, 1830, at the age of 52 years. Father was
only three years old at his father's death. At the age of five he went
to school and at the age of seven he was sent to work during the summer
season but went to school in the winter until he was thirteen. After
that he continued working on the farm until he was eighteen. At this
time he went to work in a mill at the milling of meal.
His mother died May 1, 1845, at the age of fifty six.
Father went to what was called the Free Church of Scotland; he believed
it to be nearest the truth. However he was not satisfied with some of
it's teachings. Therefore, he earnestly prayed for more light as to religion.
His job at the mill closed down, so he and his brother, George Ririe,
went to Edinburgh. They hunted for employment but were unable to find
any. What money they took with them was gone and they had to send home
for more, but were still unable to find work.
Wandering along the street, Father saw a notice
on a wall that a William Gibson was going to lecture on "The Messiah's Personal Reign on
Earth." He said he had never heard of the name Latter Day Saints,
but once a woman he knew said that her brother in Dundee had taken up
with some creatures that called themselves Latter Day Saints. Fortunately
Father said he was not prejudiced, but was seeking after truth. He went
to the meeting and sat, convinced that every word spoken by the Elder
was the truth. The Elder cleared up many passages of scripture that had
troubled Father's mind. He attended more of these meetings, but thought
he was committing a sin by going to hear a man he knew nothing about,
so on Sunday morning he went back to his own church, however he could
get no satisfaction in hearing this preacher.
Therefore, Father went back to hear these new
Elders. During the week placards were posted about stating the Latter
Day Saints would speak
on "The Need of Prophets and Apostles in Our Day." They explained
this so clearly that Father was convinced. At the close of the meeting
Elder Gibson said if anyone wanted to join the new church, which had
been restored to the earth or had any questions to ask, to stay after
the meeting. All rose to leave; Father and his brother George remained.
Elder Gibson answered the questions they asked to their satisfaction.
Then Father had an opportunity of talking alone with him and asked him
such questions as what will become of my father and forefathers, etc.
He answered Father's questions so clearly that he was convinced of the
truthfulness of the gospel. In the confirmation prayer, Father was told
he would go to another portion of the world to roll on the work there.
On the following Friday he got a position in a very marvelous way, and
in a short time he had more convincing proof of the Gospel.
From James Ririe’s autobiography:
“I was so taken up with my new faith that
I thought all I had to do was write to my folks and tell them and they
would be convinced
and happy as I was, but instead they treated it with contempt and I was
bitterly disappointed. My brothers and sisters were greatly disappointed
in me. One sister came seventy miles to see me, and I explained to her
my new religion; but she would not listen. The more they objected and
opposed, the more convinced I was for the truthfulness of the Gospel.
“In conversing with people, the Spirit
of the Lord rested on me and things I had read came to my defense in
defending the Gospel.”
Such men as Orson Spencer, Samuel and Willard
Richards and others, gave Father new encouragement. He made the remark, "I
think I was never happier up to this time in my life."
Father continued going with the Elders, holding meetings, and getting
more people baptized.
Father got a new position and went out as a Traveling Elder. He saved
all the money he could to help pay for places to hold meetings and to
pay bills that others had left unpaid. He paid several of these. He would
work during the day time and go out tracting and preaching the gospel
at nights. He rejoiced greatly as one of the greatest opposers of his
religion was converted and asked for baptism. Father received some persecution
while holding meetings. Some tried to break up their meetings and called
him vile names. A mob assembled and he and another Elder had to be taken
out the back door to prevent being mobbed. Nevertheless, Father continued
traveling and holding meetings and tracting until 1851, then got a position
in a comb factory. He didn't get much pay but saved all he could for
the time when he could immigrate to America. This being his greatest
desire to be with the body of the Saints. He continued working, saving
all he could and holding meetings in the evenings with other Elders.
After working and saving his money, he finally had enough to pay his
way to America. After bidding his friends and relatives farewell, he
sailed on March 23, 1853. Father's relatives and friends said that he
would surely die if he undertook the trip as he had a very bad cough.
Father told them he was going though he did die. However, the cough left
him on the ocean and he was never bothered with it after. Father was
very sick at times and there was a very bad wind storm. It seemed they
would be dashed to pieces. Father prayed earnestly to the Lord for he
did not want to be lost at sea. Through it all Father was very calm and
received a manifestation that they would all land safely. In a day or
two the storm ceased, his sea sickness stopped, and soon they arrived
at New Orleans, and sailed up the river to Keokuck (Iowa). They stayed
there three days throwing away boxes. Father threw away about 100 pounds
of clothing because they could not haul so much across the plains.
About twenty of the company went across the Mississippi to Nauvoo, saw
the ruins of the Saint's homes, the ruins of the temple, visited the
Nauvoo Mansion, saw Lucy Smith, the prophet's mother and Emma Smith,
the prophet's wife and their four sons. This took place about June 1,
They stopped sixteen days in Missouri getting ready for the final trip.
Their provisions were 100# of flour, 10# of bacon, and one ounce and
a quarter of tea, a pint of sugar, and a small pail of salt, between
twelve persons. One cows milk served thirty six persons, but it died
and the people were left without milk. Cattle were often too poor to
pull the wagons so were killed and divided among the company for food,
this often made them very sick because they were without salt. They each
paid 10 pounds which was about $50.00 and were to be furnished with teams,
a wagon, and provisions for the journey. Isaac Hight was the presiding
agent. The wagon and cattle were to be theirs when they got to Salt Lake
City, but all they got when they arrived was $3.50 in vegetables out
of the tithing office. Mr. Hight had a sack full of gold when he landed
and went to Iron County and built himself a mansion, but he did not live
long to enjoy his ill-gotten gain.
It was a long, trying trip across the plains -- not enough to eat and
barely clothes enough to wear. At Council Bluffs, Father asked Mr. Hight
if he bought 25# of extra flour, if that would be all right. But Mr.
Hight said he would not haul it for him.
Father was very sick on the plains and rode in the wagon one half day.
He walked the rest of the entire distance.
In the company were Mother's oldest brother (James Boyack) and he and
Father became very close friends and lived at Spanish Fork working. It
was in the fall of 1853 that they arrived in Utah.
Ann Boyack was born in Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, on May 1, 1831.
Mother worked as a clerk in a store in Dundee before coining to the west.
So she had quite a bit of good clothing and her company had more food,
thus their journey was not as hard as Father's. Mother's company arrived
two years after Father's in 1855.
Mother walked the entire distance across the
plains with the exception of a swift ride on a pony which was in the
company. The younger folks
took turns riding; when it was mother's turn she got on and someone hit
the pony and scared it so it ran away. When the president of the company
heard of it, he certainly scolded the ones who had done it. Said he, "Don't
you know she may have been killed by the Indians?"
Mother was one of eleven children besides her mother and father who
came together. The brother, James Boyack, was already there. She left
her sweetheart behind because he did not belong to the Church and her
parents did not want to leave her in Scotland. Three weeks after Mother
came here, she and Father were married. Their early married life was
one of hardships, living on greens and very little bread. They lived
in Springville, then came to North Ogden. Later they moved to West Weber
and then to Eden, Utah.
It was through this brother, James Boyack, that Mother met Father. Father
told James Boyack that he would marry the first good girl that he met,
who would have him, as he had been disappointed in his girlfriend.
I have heard Father tell how Mother took some of her clothes to make
a shirt for him to wear.
One time when Mother had three little children, she lived in a little
one room hut, away from neighbors. Father had gone to work on an irrigation
ditch, miles from home, when an Indian came and demanded that she give
him some bread. She baked her bread in a bake kettle hung on an open
fire. She had one whole loaf and about a half loaf. Mother gave him the
half loaf and he wanted more. She told him she needed the rest for her
family. However, he got mad and threatened to kill her if she did not
give it to him. He pointed the gun at her and the two oldest children
ran to her (Brother Jim and Sister Margaret). Mother told them not to
be afraid because their father would soon be there. The Indian swore
and cursed but finally left.
At one time Father owned a lot or two, close to where the Penney Store
now stands in Ogden. He sold it, or rather traded it, for a cow, and
said that he never regretted the trade, as the cow saved us children
from starving in the winter. There were no luxuries then. They ground
the wheat in a coffee mill for one winter to keep from starving. Father
cut his crops with a scythe, then bound it by hand, often going to work
I remember when I was very young, the grasshoppers were ever so thick,
so Father and Brother David dug deep trenches, then got branches of trees
to drive the grasshoppers in. Then he would cover them over with dirt
or sometimes scatter straw and burn them. All this seemed sport to me
but hard work for Father.
Father kept a few head of sheep that were sheared as a source of clothing.
Mother would wash, card, spin, and weave this into cloth to make the
older children suits. All washing and sewing had to be done by hand.
They had no luxuries on their tables as we have today. Greens and a
few potatoes were their main meals. Nor were there any other luxuries.
The floors had no carpets. Their first was a dirt floor, then a board
floor scrubbed clean with sand.
Father spent his last days doing temple work
for his kindred dead. Mother was practically an invalid for a number
of her last years. She was patient
and kind in all her troubles. Her brother said of her, "She never
had a blemish."
Why did they go through all of these trials and tribulations? They did
this for the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make a home and living for
their children. They had twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.
There are only two left, one son and one daughter. In 1939, there were
seventy six grandchildren; 137 great grand children and 29 great great
grandchildren or 359 descendants (in 1939).
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