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The Life Story of David Ririe
By Elizabeth Ririe Hoggan

The town of Ririe is located about eighteen miles northeast of Idaho Falls, within a few miles of the great feeder headgates where the water, the life-giving blood of southeastern Idaho is meted out to a thirsty and rocky land. Close by on the higher ground grow some of Idaho's choice crops, dry-land wheat being one of them. Because of this fertile and vast expanse, the town of Ririe was at one time credited with being the largest wheat shipping center in Idaho. It was here that my father many years ago chose to make a home, to rear his family, and to establish a community where his sons and daughters could live, worship, love and play and die in comparative peace and contentment.

David Ririe was born November 21, 1860, the son of James Ririe and Ann Boyack Ririe at West Weber, Weber County, Utah. He was blessed January 3, 1861 by W. McFarland Sr., and given the name of David after his grandfather Ririe. He was baptized on May 4, 1870 by his father, James Ririe, and confirmed a member of the L.D.S. Church the same day by John Martin.

He lived with his parents at West Weber and later they moved to a farm in Eden, Utah. When a young man, he left his father's home to engage in sheep raising with his brother, James, and continued in that occupation until coming to Idaho and locating in that part of Bingham, then Fremont County, which was later included in Jefferson County. In fact, in reading some of the letters he wrote to his parents, one would wonder if he knew where he did live, as the name of the location of the county and church boundaries would change so often. The first letters were postmarked Birch Creek, later Prospect, Bingham County and still later Rudy, Fremont County. After that they were changed to Lorenzo, Fremont County, and then to Rigby, Route #2, Jefferson County and finally to Ririe, Idaho.

David filed on 120 acres and said in a letter to his father that he could irrigate about seventy-five acres of it. Later he bought the old home place from a George Goodwin of Pocatello for $880.00. In those days this country presented a far different appearance from what it does today for it was almost covered with sagebrush. He set to work, however, with his limited equipment to clear his land, which after years of toil, developed into one of the best improved farms in this part of the state.

The winters were very hard and many times his children remembered taking a direct route to Idaho Falls in a sleigh by going over fences and brush on the hard-packed snowdrifts. There were very few days when sometime during the course of the day, from sunrise until nine or ten o'clock in the forenoon, the canyon wind didn't blow. Sometimes it was so cold one would think it had come from a snowbank as it swept down the cool canyon of Snake River. Other times it proved very refreshing to the tired and thirsty crops.

While homesteading the land, a Joseph H. Lovell and his wife Ellen Radford and their big family settled to the south of young David's place. He was ever ready to lend a helping hand or give a word of advice to the despairing couple. After a winter there Grandfather Lovell took ill and died in 1892 and left the family in dire circumstances. David assisted the young boys and their mother in "keeping the wolf from the door," and in establishing themselves during this pioneer life. He later married one of the girls, Leah Ann Lovell. They were married in the Logan Temple, September 14, 1893 by N.C. Edlefesen.

No couple could have been more congenial and strive harder than this couple, although he was sixteen years her senior. They raised a large family. Their oldest child, David, died at the age of six months. Seven of the children grew to maturity. They were Joseph, Lizzie, James, George, Parley, Eldon, and Sylvia.

Before his marriage, he was first counselor four years in the presidency of the second Elder's quorum in the Bingham stake. During this time he served as a home missionary traveling throughout Bingham Stake which comprised the territory from Blackfoot to Rexburg. He was ordained a seventy October 25, 1900 by Anthon H. Lund at Salt Lake City.

He left for a mission for his church to Great Britain October 26, 1900. He labored in the Newcastle, Edinburg, and Middlesborough areas. A Brother Andreasen, who was in his company, has since told me that father was the sickest man he had ever seen while crossing the ocean. He was presented with a beautiful cut glass "castor" set by the Middlesborough saints as a farewell present. He also received many individual presents from converted saints who said they had learned to love him because he was so common, showed no partiality, and taught the gospel by love and example as well as by precept.

His brother Joseph and his brother-in-law, David Burnett were also in England and Scotland on missions while he was there.

He returned home to his wife and family and resumed his work as a farmer and stock raiser, the occupation he had followed all his life. I was too young to remember much about our experiences while father was away on his mission, only that there were three of us children. Jim was the baby and mother's brother, Uncle Ed. Lovell, managed the farm and stock.
Father was ordained a High Priest March 4th, 1904, by Robert L. Bybee and set apart to preside over the High Priests Quorum in the Stake. The Stake was later divided and he was chosen and ordained Bishop of the Perry Ward by Francis M. Lyman in 1910. When the Ririe Ward was established in February 1918, he was made Bishop of that ward and served as such until his death the following year.

Because of his superior business ability and good judgment, Father was frequently called upon to lend his assistance in the erection of the meeting houses of the Shelton and Perry ward. He also served on the Stake Finance committee in the erection of the Stake Tabernacle at Rigby.

In the course of time, that part of Jefferson County where we lived had developed to such an extent as to warrant the building of a commercial center. The railroad officials foresaw the wisdom of building a loop road from Idaho Falls around the valley to transport the vast amount of farm crops that were being produced. Father and several neighbors worked unceasingly in their efforts to establish a center nearby. When the mighty steam engine came rolling by we all stood in amazement and wondered what our previously quiet domain was going to develop into. The railroad track just missed the corner of our place and invaded the land adjoining which belonged to a Mr. Hewitt of Pocatello, Idaho, so Mr. Hewitt had a large portion of his ground platted into the townsite which was soon to be known as the village of Ririe. Father soon added to the dimensions of the city by opening up two rows of city lots to be annexed and known as the "Ririe Addition.” He had sold a piece of ground just east of the house on the southeast corner of the quarter section to the Quality Store Corporation, to erect a branch of their Rigby store. This transaction took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1915.

During the construction of the railroad, the need was also felt for an eating house for the workers on the railroad, so mother decided that with her big house and me staying home from school, one winter we could serve these people. We often had as many as twenty-two to cook for and many of them slept there as well.

When the question arose as to what the name of this new prospective metropolis should be called, one name and another was suggested. Some agreed that it should have the name of the original owner of the property upon which the railroad was built, but the general manager of arrangements said, "It should be called 'Ririe,' out of respect for Mr. Ririe's efforts in helping us gain rights-of-way and permits to cross canals and roads and farms so that this part of the country could be developed.” Whatever distinction this village acquires in the future will in the last analysis be traceable to the foresight of sturdy pioneers such as Father.

Aside from agriculture, Father had extensive business interests. For years he was water master and director of the Farmer's Friend Canal Company and at the time of his death was President of the same. Many times it became necessary to risk one's life in battling the elements to obtain the best results for the community. One of these events took place one day as a group of men were desperately struggling to clear the headgates of the great feeder canal of a vast accumulation of brush and debris. Father was riding one of our sturdiest horses, old Blaze, out into the stream attempting to loosen some of the waste. When he reached too far, his rubber hip boots began to fill with water. The undercurrent was strong and the horse was floundering. Father lost his hold and went under. The other men, knowing that he would be pulled under the headgate by the suction of the undercurrent, ran down below the gate to watch for his body. They suddenly looked back upstream and, to their amazement, there he was climbing up the lower side of the headgate with his hat in his hand. We, who believe in the protecting hand of the Almighty, said "The Lord was certainly watching over him."

In later years, Father was a stockholder in and vice-president of the First National Bank of Ririe. He also owned stock in the Ririe Mill and Elevator Company, the Ririe Garage, the Ucon Flour Mill, and the Farmers Equity and Elevator Company. He had acquired considerable dry farm land around Ririe and on Antelope, a dry-farming section located on Antelope Creek which is about ten miles from Ririe. All farming then was done with horses. Little did anyone dream of the power-propelled machinery that would soon replace "Ol Dobbin."

In politics, Father took his stand with the Democratic Party, but never sought political honors. I remember his party leaders soliciting him to run for senator from our county, but he refused. He never chose pomp or show in any way. He did serve as justice of the peace for many years.

Father helped promote the platting of the Ririe-Shelton cemetery. A peculiar incident in this connection stands out foremost in my mind. At one time after the death of a relative, a victim of a serious epidemic at that time, the folks were preparing for his burial. No funeral was held, except a short service at the graveside. During this service, they suddenly heard voices singing praises. They inquired throughout the settlement but never did find where the beautiful singing came from. This was a testimony to them of the closeness between here and the hereafter. The Lord was surely with those early pioneers in Idaho in helping to lay a foundation for future growth of His work.

When Parley was the baby, probably the summer of 1906, Father finished the big rock house, that still stands as a monument to his industry and ambition to see that his family had the best. Originally it had fourteen rooms, but since has been made into apartments.

No children ever loved and respected their father more than we did. He had the affection and tenderness of a woman for us at all times. He helped build schools, churches, roads, and canals that his children might enjoy and continue to build on the foundations he so nobly started. When the church was soliciting for help to build a church school, later known as Ricks Academy, father said, "Yes, it will be a fine thing for all of us with children." He had had very meager opportunities for an education, and so was willing to sacrifice for our benefit.

We enjoyed most of the opportunities that were offered for growing children at that time. Our fare was simple, with plenty of bread in connection with whatever else we were privileged to have. Of course, we often had our cornmeal mush and milk for supper. I also recall eating the traditional lumpy-dick, made from milk and flour with sugar added.

We walked, rode a horse or drove a horse-drawn vehicle everywhere we went until about 1916 when the folks saw their way clear to purchase an automobile. I remember distinctly the first automobile I ever saw. My friend and I saw it coming and hurried to crawl under the fence to safety.

Many times the well would go dry and we had to carry water from the canal. We never had the help of electricity until after father was gone. The telephone was installed in that part of the country in the early part of the century.

Many interesting things can be told depicting the kindness of Father to farm animals. I remember Mother and I driving to Primary one day, Mother being President of the organization. When we arrived home, we decided to unhook the team from the buggy as Father was not feeling well. Somehow in our inexperience we left one tug fastened to the buggy. As we started to lead the team away, Old Dot saw the buggy moving behind her. It frightened her and she ran around the yard, finally breaking the tongue from the buggy with a noise that brought Father running out. As soon as she saw him she ran right to him and stopped with a sudden jerk as if she were a child in the protecting arms of a parent. Several times I remember the horses running away and galloping down the road until they came to the church and stopping at the tie-post where they were accustomed to stopping.

Many times during irrigating season, we would see Father only a few minutes when he came to eat at noon. At one time he and four other men in the neighborhood purchased a threshing machine. They went from place to place doing custom threshing and would do thousands of bushels of grain in one season. The large threshing meals that were prepared for them became monotonous to Father and he was always happy to get home at the end of the week to his more simple fare.

Throughout our lives, we older members of the family had the privilege of being closely associated, as neighbors were few and widely separated. One of the most looked for and happiest days of our life was when Father took us to Eagle Rock, later called Idaho Falls, on a load of grain or other produce to market it for what would seem to us now a paltry sum. Probably one reason he took us with him was to give us a chance to see what other people were doing.

I remember well that whenever a circus came to town, Father would load the entire family in the white-top buggy. Mother would prepare a lunch, and we would set off, with a few neighbors, youngsters, or relatives added.

The buggy was also the only means of getting to our church gatherings. We often sang and recited going to and fro in the white-top. One time the horses became frightened and Mother threw the baby to the ground but he was so wrapped in blankets and quilts, it didn't hurt him.

Father was a big man with broad shoulders, white skin, and brown eyes. I never remember him as being anything but baldheaded, with a little short hair across the back of his head. He had a mouth that was firm, and he always wore a mustache. When he said he wanted a thing done, all knew it would be done. As soon as the boys were old enough to walk and talk, they were allowed to go to the fields to assist in whatever part of the farm work was going on. He always insisted however, that my work should be in the house helping Mother.

In our house whenever Father came in from work or elsewhere, a big armchair stood in readiness for him. He always occupied that same chair whether he was eating or reading or visiting. In the fall of 1917, shortly after Joseph left for his mission, we often noticed him arise from his chair and go to the medicine shelf to get some mentholatum to rub on his left jaw bone. He said he had a hurting sensation there. Little did we think that that was the beginning of the sickness that was to claim his life. This soreness developed into a malignant growth. He acquired the services of a lady doctor who claimed she could cure his trouble with poultices. He was willing to take the chance but all in vain. He continued to suffer until the Fall of 1918 when he decided to go to a specialist in Los Angeles, California. This doctor gave him little hope, but did say he could prolong his life for six months. The fee was enormous, $2,000.00. Mother said where there was life, there was hope. So, accordingly, on Christmas Day, 1918, an operation was performed. He lived until July 3, 1919, but during that six months he suffered untold agony. He came home in April, checked on some business, and proceeded to Denver, Colorado, and it was there that the end came as he was undergoing a treatment with radium.

Uncle John Lovell left immediately to be with Mother. They accompanied the body home. The funeral was held on July 6, 1919 in a large building which had been constructed to be used later as a garage. There were over 800 people in attendance. A feeling of sympathy and goodwill prevailed and a very impressive service was held, under the direction of his counselor in the bishopric. After the service the procession, consisting of seventy-six automobiles and buggies, all loaded with relatives and friends followed the body to the Ririe-Shelton cemetery where he was laid to rest in quietness and peace.

It was rather coincidental that on the night before the funeral a terrible fire of unknown origin broke out, completely destroying a number of businesses in Ririe. The east side of Main Street was burned to the ground and W.J. Chandler, Father's First Counselor in the Bishopric was badly burned.

With Father's passing, the community lost a true and faithful servant, one who was dauntless in all great enterprise, fearless in his devotion to God and endeared to his family. He set an example worthy of emulation. We honor and revere his memory.

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