Tribute to Henry Morgan Perry
by Some of his Children
Arranged by Velda Lovell
Transcribed from tape in
possession of John H. and Velda A. Lovell.
L. Tom: Father was a conservative.
He never went into debt. If we didn't have it we
went without. He never mortgaged the farm. He was very reluctant to impose
anything on his homestead.
I've often heard him say that the only people who had their financial
heads above water were the ones that hadn't mortgaged their farms.
He was a public spirited man. I remember three important positions that
he held, - four important positions that he held. First, was the Justice
of the Peace, second, School Trustee, third, a Councilor or Bishop in
the Bishopric, and fourth, his work in the Great Feeder Canal.
The Great Feeder Canal was conceived by a group of farmers who wanted
the water turned down into their private canals that had gotten away
from them when the Snake River turned towards Heise Hot Springs. Father
was selected Secretary of the company. I remember when the last bond
was paid. We sat beside the table and had $20 gold pieces stacked up
all over the table when he paid the last bonds off. I also remember him
coming home wet and tired. He told mother that he stood all night in
the Snake River holding a rope to keep the riprap together so that the
river water would not wash the canal bank away. He took me up to see
the Great Feeder Canal. The excavation seemed larger than Kennecott Copper's
great hole southwest of Salt Lake City and men were in the canal bed
with little slip scrapers removing the dirt whereas Kennecott has all
At the time of the dedication of the canal, they turned the water of
Snake River down to their thirsty farms, and they had arranged a program.
It was a hot day, people came there with their children and quite a number
were crying. In the morning they dynamited the coffer dam in front of
the canal headgate. It threw the dirt high. Then in the afternoon they
had a program. Father was the last one on the program. After long speeches
by a number of men, on the value of the canal, the people were growing
uneasy then they called on H. M Perry to speak. Father got up and recited
A Hindu died, a happy thing to do.
With twenty years united with us through.
Released, he joyfully for entrance cried,
Before the gates of Bramah's paradise.
Hast thou been through purgatory? Bramah said.
I've been married, he meekly hung his head.
Welcome and come to my son,
Marriage and purgatory are but one.
Another Hindu died, and to gates he sped and did not tarry.
The same quiz.
Hast thou been through purgatory, or did thou marry?
Marry? I married twice!
Be gone! We'll have no fools in paradise.
Then father sat down. The applause was almost as great as the blowing
up of the dam in front of the headgate.
As I said he was a public spirited man. He did much for the Upper Snake
River Valley and he did much for our ward. He was the brains of the bishopric
but Jesse T. Clark was the doer. I know why they kept Brother Clark in
the bishopric, even though he took tobacco out of his mouth before he
partook of the sacrament. It was because he was a great doer and organized
a splendid ward.
We should always be proud of our father. I loved my mother, and had
great appreciation for her. But, my deep personal admiration was for
father and his work.
Melba: Father was the outstanding man in our small community. His advice
was sought and freely given to every project, rather large or small,
among his friends. His sermons in church were timely and seldom did he
have to refer to notes on paper.
The family respected his words and actions as
law and we respected him. How he ever disciplined a family of ten children
without the rod has
always been a mystery to me. Only once did I see him angry enough to
strike one of us. But he had given Heber a specific job to do before
dark, and it wasn't finished when he came home. He picked up a stick
and said: “I'll thrash you good”. Heb jumped on a horse and
started through field. Unknowing to Heb father got on the workhorse and
soon overtook him, and wacked him on the back. Heb was so startled that
he fell off the horse. When father got back to the house he said: “golly
Fanny I didn't mean to hit him that hard”.
I remember father sitting at the kitchen table in the evening with the
lamp placed in the right position to shine over his shoulder reading
the semi-weekly Desert News. Sometimes he would read aloud to mother
as she knitted stockings and tried to keep us quite. Since I have wondered
if that's when the Family Home Evening Program had its beginning.
Eurene: Whenever I hear anyone described as a
strong silent man, I think of my father. No one could ever accuse him
of wasting words. I have often
wondered what he was thinking during those long rides from the valley
farm to the dry farm. The only thing he would say was ”get up Kate".
Mother dedicated her life in keeping him in good health. She originated
the coffee break. In the summertime when he was working in the field
every morning and afternoon she would say “one of you girls take
this bucket of lemonade to your pa”. She always added a whipped
egg for extra strength, and if it looked like rain she would say “here
run quick and take him his coat”.
In the evening when he came home from work she always saw to it that
one of us were there to take care of the team so he could come in for
supper. At first she bore him his children just to suit. Four husky
boys and just two girls, what more could a farmer ask. Then came disaster,
the girls started coming two at a time. I've often heard him tell the
one about young Charlie Ross when his wife Mary Ann presented him with
two set of twins in a row, Charlie said “now I'm as bad off as
Eunice: I have very little to say. I always compare my father to with
the Old Rugged Cross. I shall cherish the Old Rugged Cross and exchange
it someday for a Crown.
Velda: The things I remember best about dad was
his honesty. He always prided himself on his word being as good as
his bond. I don't think anyone
felt he had to have dad's name on the dotted line to be sure he would
live up to his agreements. I think this one instance I am going to tell
will best illustrate the point I am trying to make. Howard Streeper told
mother about it a few years after dad's death. To understand what happened
you would need to know the parsimony of this man who held dad to his
word. A high pressured salesman called at our house and persuaded dad
to take him around to talk to the farmers in our neighborhood. Dad bought
some shares in the stock the salesman was selling. It was shares in a
banana plantation in Panama. When they went to this one man's house,
the man bought $350 worth of stock. As he signed the agreement and made
out the check dad very jokingly said "if this stock is fake I'll
buy your shares from you". Mr. Harris left on a mission soon after
and by the time he returned home it was known that the shares were not
worth the paper they were written on. Mr. Harris came to dad and asked
for the $350. Dad payed it even though the promise was made in lest.
I'm .sure Mr. Harris knew dad was joking, but that didn't keep him from
asking and dad giving.
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