History of Caleb Davis Bleazard
March 1, 1865 – December 15, 1940
Written by Cynthia Simmons Andrews
and Diana Merritt Bleazard
Bleazard, was born on March 1, 1865 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He died
in Afton, Lincoln, Wyoming on December 15, 1940. His parents were
John Hopwood and Lydia Davis Bleazard who both immigrated from
England and were Utah pioneers. He was raised in a family of four
children and a polygamist family of numerous brothers and sisters.
continue back for more than 10 generations in England. They were
from Lancashire which is a county in northwest England. The
Bleazard, Davis, Hopwood, Parsons, Smith, Brennand, Dodshon, Webber,
Fowler, Seal, and others lived in England. It is interesting that
Isabelle Jane Corbridge’s ancestors were also from Lancashire,
England. The two non-related families lived within miles of each
other. Caleb’s ancestors were very much English.
John Hopwood Bleazard, was an early convert to the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized in 1836 in England. The
Missionary Elders were preaching in Lancashire, England and converted
many members. John Hopwood Bleazard immigrated to America on October
12, 1840. He sailed from Liverpool, England and went to Nauvoo,
Illinois. He received a Patriarchal Blessing on September 8, 1841 by
Hyrum Smith at Nauvoo, Illinois. The Bleazard family were in Winter
Quarters on September 20, 1850 and finally reached Utah Valley and
settled in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Caleb’s mother, Lydia Davis Bleazard, was born 23 June 1825 at
Bowood, Netherbury, Dorsetshire, England. Her parent's, William and
Lucy Davis, and ten of their children were early converts to the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were baptized in 1847
in England. Their son, George Davis, immigrated to America and
crossed the plains in 1853. He arrived in Bountiful, Utah in 1853
where he purchased land and built a home.
William and Lucy Davis and nine of their fourteen children left
Liverpool, England on 31 March 1855. Four of William and Lucy's
children had died in England. The youngest child, Billy, was six
years old at this time. William Davis (the father), and one married
daughter, Elizabeth, died while crossing the plains. Lucy Davis (the
Widow) and the eight children arrived in Utah on the 24 October 1855,
and the family moved to her son's (George Davis) home in Bountiful,
LIFE IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Bleazard was a polygamist and had nine wives. Caleb’s mother,
Lydia Davis Bleazard, was the 7th wife of John Bleazard.
They were married February 7, 1859 in the Endowment House in Salt
Lake City, Utah. John Bleazard was 56 years old and Lydia Davis was
34 years old. Lydia Davis Bleazard lived with her husband in the
14th Ward in downtown Salt Lake for some time. She moved to the 7th
Ward property on West Temple and 5th South when John married his 9th
wife, Mary Ison Worthington. Lydia lived in this house in the 7th
Ward until her death.
John Hopwood and
Lydia Davis Bleazard had the following five children:
Mary Ann Bleazard –
born March 30, 1857 in Salt Lake City, Utah – died January 27, 1858
Bleazard – born April 17, 1860 in Salt Lake City, Utah – died
August 28, 1865
Bleazard – born March 21, 1861 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Lucy Davis Bleazard
– born March 30, 1863 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Caleb Davis Bleazard
– born March 1, 1865 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Orson Davis Bleazard
– born January 1, 1867 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Caleb Bleazard was
born 1 March 1865 in his mother’s home on 5th South West Temple in
Salt Lake City, Utah. The home was an adobe house consisting of
about four rooms.
Caleb’s life was
centered around the Church and school, and he knew all of the people
in the area very well. They were some of his "nearest and
dearest" friends forever.
Caleb was 5 years
old when his father, John Hopwood Bleazard, died on January 12, 1871
at the age of 67. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt
Lake City, Utah. Caleb’s older brother, Joseph Davis Bleazard died
6 months after Caleb was born at the age of 5. So Caleb did not know
Lucy Davis Bleazard and Caleb
Bleazard (brother and sister) Caleb
In John Hopwood Bleazard's Last Will and Testament dated 24 January
1871, he named his 9th wife, Mary Ison Worthington Bleazard, as
Executrix. No reference is made to wives other than Lydia Davis and
her children, and Mary Ison Worthington Bleazard. Mary deeded the 7th
Ward property on 5th South and West Temple to Lydia Davis and John's
four children - Mark Hopwood, Caleb Davis, Lucy Davis, and Orson
Davis Bleazard. The property was divided into eight lots and
each child got two lots. Mark Hopwood got the two lots to the East.
Lucy got the two lots to the West. Orson got the two lots on the
corner of 5th South and West Temple. Caleb got two lots
to the South.
This ground was leased to a builder who built eight 5-room frame
homes on it. This was a very nice row of homes as Bertha remembered
them. They were painted white with green trim and green shutters and
with picket fences all around each lot. The paths were boards from
the front gate to the coal and wood sheds in the back. There was
still an open lot back of the coal houses and east of the old house
where Mark Hopwood would keep horses when he came to town.
1872 – Caleb and
his brother Mark are known to have attended a school operated by
William Harrison Homer in 1872.
1873 – Caleb was
baptized on May 1, 1873 and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 8 years old.
1877 - Caleb’s
niece, Bertha, remembers hearing that the three boys Mark, Caleb and
Orson were trying to find work when they were 16, 12 and 10 but could
not often find work and could not make much money. His older brother,
Mark, began doing construction work and became skilled at building
and repairing things but he was young and never got much money for
his work. He would either take pay for his work or he would often
exchange his work for items his family needed. Mark was doing
carpenter work for $1.00 a day.
1878 – Caleb was
13 years old when his mother, Lydia Davis Bleazard, died on November
3, 1878 at the age of 53. She was buried in the Salt Lake City
Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah.
brother, Mark Hopwood Bleazard, was 17 years old and assumed the role
of taking care of his siblings. His older sister, Lucy Davis
Bleazard, was 15 years old and his younger brother, Orson Bleazard
was 11 years old.
Since John Hopwood
had many wives he was not around as much as most fathers, and his
son, Mark Hopwood, tried to be head of the family. They had a hard
time as all the children were young and the boys were head strong and
wanted to do as they pleased. The boys, Mark Hopwood, Caleb
Davis and Orson Davis worked whenever they could get work. Caleb
said, “That he and Mark had lots of trouble finding work but that
Orson could get a job anytime.” They worked around town when they
could find work, and Mark Hopwood went to work in Colorado one
summer. Another summer he found work logging in Weber Canyon where
they floated logs down the river to Wanship. Caleb would sometimes
visit at his Uncle George Davis and Uncle Bill Davis’ homes in
The homes on West
Temple and 5th South (the 7th Ward property)
was home for all of the children. They probably lived alone together
in this home from November 1878 until May 1881 when Caleb’s sister,
Lucy, married Alford Watts and moved away from home. Then in May
1882, Mark married Annie Ison Danks. Mark and Annie’s first child,
John William Bleazard, was born on March 3, 1883 at the West Temple
and 5th South home. Caleb and Orson came and went as they
self-reliance and to be prudent and economical. He had a valiant
spirit and noble character. He pursued and conquered, reaching
maturity with honor, having kept himself clean in body and mind and
being prepared financially to support a wife and family.
Caleb’s grandmother, Lucy Davis, was the mother of Lydia Davis, and
at that time lived with her youngest son, Billy, in Wilford, Fremont,
Idaho. They were all rural farm people and were free and easy and a
big hearted lot and they did everything to help the family have a
good time when they visited. Every time the families would visit
they would bring lots of pies, bread, roasts etc.
Caleb possessed a
great love for the artistic side of life. Classical music and good
dramatic productions were his favorite entertainment. He would work
all week for twenty-five cents, spending it on Saturday night for a
seat in the old Salt Lake Theatre, to see a fine drama presented by
Salt Lake's best talent.
1886 – Caleb’s
brother, Mark Hopwood Bleazard, got work building a home for the
Fowlks who lived in Butlerville/Cottonwood. Mark purchased a house
and a ten-acre piece of ground that was north of Butlerville Hill and
East of the highway that belonged to Fred Fowlks. It was also near
the Church. The family moved to this location in 1886.
Mark hired men to
work on the farm and paid $10 a month. His brothers, Caleb and
Orson, would often come to help with work on the farm.
Caleb liked good clothes and when he bought clothes he bought the
best possible. There never were very many good clothes but they were
always clean and warm. Caleb always insisted that shoes were cleaned
and best clothes readied on Saturday so he would be ready for Sunday
School. Caleb always went to Church. He was very musically talented
and had an excellent voice and sang in several choirs. He was also a
member of the Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City.
It was while Mark Hopwood and Annie were living in Cottonwood that
raids occurred and Mormon men with more than one wife were caught and
put in jail. The men had to hide anywhere they could to keep from
being put in jail. Annie said that they very often had one or more of
these men staying at their place because they all knew that Mark
Hopwood would protect them.
There was an awful drought in 1888 and 1889 and everything burned up,
there was no work and times were very difficult.
THE MOVE TO PEOA, UTAH 1889
Caleb had gone to Peoa, Utah and he and Herbert Best were attempting
to buy a place. Herbert Best quickly wanted to get out of the deal
and Caleb couldn't handle it by himself so he persuaded Mark Hopwood
to come out and look it over, with the idea of going in with him.
Mark and Caleb went out in the early summer of 1889 when everything
was at its best in Peoa. There were so many springs and streams of
running water everywhere. It was such a contrast to the drought in
Butlerville/Cottonwood. Mark and Caleb were favorably impressed and
decided to each take a half interest and move to Peoa.
1889 - Mark Hopwood and Annie put all of their possessions in a wagon
and they and Annie's mother, Rhoda, and four little children moved to
Peoa on 19 October 1889. They had some cattle. Caleb and Orson helped
them with the move to Peoa.
It began to rain before they got to Peoa and Annie always said, "It
never stopped raining for six weeks!" There was
only the old house and it was a big one-room log cabin. This one
room cabin and two low log stables were on the property. All the
stables at that time had straw stacked on the top for a roof and they
often leaked. Annie always said the one room house was the only
place that did not leak! Everything possible was stuffed in the room
including furniture, food, clothes, seed grain, dishes ..., and four
adults (Mark, Annie, Rhoda and Caleb) and four kids! Anything that
was put in the stables got wet and dirty. It was a terrible time for
them and before spring Annie and Rhoda were sorry that they had ever
1890 - It was a very hard winter for them and Annie was pregnant and
she was sick all the time.
By late winter Annie had gotten so bad that Bishop Stephen Walker
came and he got after Caleb and made him move his bed out into the
shed and he made him also take the grain out of the house. This gave
a little more room and took some of the smell out of the room so life
was a little better for Annie and the children. Annie was always
grateful to Bishop Walker for that. Caleb wouldn't move out when Mark
had asked him to. That and other things didn't make for good feelings
between Mark and Caleb and they began to see that the place wasn't
big enough for him and Mark’s family.
That spring of 1890 was also very difficult. Mark was working hard to
improve the farm and to get crops planted and to build onto the
Caleb’s brother, Mark, developed asthma early in his life. They
didn’t know what it was and they called it catarrh. Everyone
remembers how much he suffered and how hard he struggled to breathe.
He often had such terrible headaches and difficulty breathing. Annie
used to tell how bad he would be when they lived in Cottonwood. Mark
took his hay and other things he had to sell to Salt Lake City and it
was a big day to take a load and get back home. Annie's mother,
Rhoda, lived with them a lot of the time and Rhoda would have Annie
feed the horses and do all the chores she could and she would
say, "You know how that poor lad will be."
Mark Hopwood had such terrible spells and he could get no help.
Everyone would suggest something that might help and he was so
desperate that he would try most anything.
Often it would only be a day after such a spell that Mark Hopwood
would be working as usual. The longer the spell had lasted the longer
it took him to get over it. When he got so he couldn't go back to
work then he was depressed and bad off. Annie would get out and work
on the place and Mark would just sit and cry watching her do the
things he thought he should be doing.
There were no fences that would keep his cattle in and other people's
cattle out of his crops. There was no money to buy fencing and he was
always trying to fix old fences. The place had been open for years
and the town people had used it for a calf pasture and some of them
didn't take it very kindly or well when he fenced them out.
Caleb and Orson, Mark and his son's, spent days trying to fix fences.
Then there was work
in the Rock Quarry. There was no cement in those days so every spare
hour Mark could find he would work in the rocks, and it was all hand
labor. Mark could sell all the rocks he could get to Salt Lake City
for sidewalks. It was long hard work to get the rocks out with a
chisel and hammer. When Mark found he could sell it he got a crew of
men and they worked the hill all one summer. There were some men who
had been miners in Park City and they put in dynamite and blasted out
a lot of rock. At one time a big rock landed right on the Bleazard
Mark had very little farm machinery just old wagons, a sleigh and
everything they had was second hand. Mark wrote in his diary that
Caleb bought a sleigh that had the tongue broken out for $1.50 from
someone in Peoa, so he took the horse, Old Dick, and tied the sleigh
to the horn of the saddle and took it home and fixed it up. He was
always fixing machinery, harnesses and everything.
The cemetery was just south of the quarry hill and straight across
the road from the Bleazard home and the cattle fought, tramped and
bedded over the graves as there were no fences. Mark started to work
on the town people to get a fence around the graveyard. He recorded
in his journal that he and Bishop Stephen Walker and Oscar Wilkins
canvassed the town for money for fencing the Peoa Cemetery on 24
March 1890. After some time they got a good picket fence around it.
From that time and for as long as they lived in Peoa it was Mark or
his son's job to keep the cemetery and its fence in repair. They were
always nailing on a picket to keep the calves and sheep out. Mark
Hopwood donated the ground for the Peoa Cemetery.
Mark Hopwood and his brother, Caleb Davis, both had interest in the
property, but they didn't work together in peace. Caleb, who did not
have a family didn't feel that he should work as hard as Mark, and he
wouldn't help with the building of the new house. Annie used to say
that he would sit in the sun and watch Mark lift the heavy logs.
Annie always remembered the long log that went above the door and
windows, the full length of the South side of the house. Mark got the
walls up, the roof on and they moved in. Charley Wright came to
plaster after they were living in the house.
1892 - Caleb was getting ready to get married so after the new house
was built, the Old House was moved to the north end of the field and
set back from the Gates.
Elizabeth Diana Merritt on March 20, 1892 by Bishop Walker in Peoa,
Utah. Caleb was age 26 years old and Diana was 23 years old.
1893 – Caleb and
Diana Bleazard received their endowments on August 9, 1893 in the
newly dedicated Salt Lake Temple. They were sealed on August 9, 1893
in the Salt Lake Temple.
1895 – Caleb’s early married life was spent in Peoa, Utah, where
he owned a small farm. Caleb and his wife, Diana Elizabeth Merritt,
lived in the Old House until about 1895 and Caleb then sold his
interest in the place and moved to Star Valley, Wyoming.
THE MOVE TO STAR VALLEY, WYOMING June 1896
Having heard about
the undeveloped opportunities in the great open spaces of Star
Valley, he came with his wife and baby daughter to Thayne,
Wyoming, taking up a homestead there for a number of years. He
specialized in cattle raising and farming on a large scale. His farm
in Thayne was one of the best managed and scientifically worked
places in Star Valley.
Caleb and Diana
Bleazard had the following five children:
Daughter Bleazard –
born and died 7 December 1893 in Peoa, Summit, Utah
Daughter Bleazard –
born 5 December 1894 in Peoa, Summit, Utah – died 1894 in Peoa,
Lucy Diana Bleazard
– born 18 Sept 1895 in Peoa, Summit, UT – died 11 Jan 1966 in
Salt Lake City, Utah
Emma Bleazard –
born 16 July 1897 in Thayne, Lincoln, WY – died 25 January 1896 in
Brigham City, Utah
John Bleazard –
born 19 December 1898 in Thayne, Lincoln, WY – died 12 Jan 1930 in
Afton, Lincoln, WY
Lydia Bleazard –
born 9 Jan 1904 in Thayne, Lincoln, WY – died 7 December 1972 in
Salt Lake City, UT
1902 – Caleb and
Diana Bleazard had three children at this time; Lucy, Emma and John.
John and Emma Bleazard
1904 – Their last
child Lydia was born in 1904. It is interesting to note that Lucy
was named after Caleb’s sister and given the middle name of her
mother. John was named after Caleb’s father. Lydia was named
after Caleb’s mother and Emma was named after Diana’s mother.
THE MOVE TO
In 1908, Caleb and
the family moved to Bedford, Wyoming and Caleb purchased the
store. He called it the “Bedford Mercantile”. It was adjacent
to their house. He also received the appointment of postmaster and
served in that capacity for twenty years.
– Caleb was an early riser and in his good days he was always up
early. He would make the fire so the home would be warm when the
family got up. He would put the tea kettle on so the water would be
hot for the Mush (which the family always ate). Then he would go out
and feed the horses and cows or go to the fields to fix a fence,
irrigate, and pull a few weeds etc for an hour or two until breakfast
He was clean. Clean in thought, work and deed. He never told or
listened to smutty stories and wouldn't allow any of it in his home.
Caleb was an honest man. He never made a dishonest dollar. He
never wanted a penny that was not rightfully his. Caleb was just as
honest in things he said as in money matters. If he ever said
anything you could depend on it. It was the truth as he understood
it. If he promised to do anything, it would be done. “A man's word
should be as good as his bond.”
On September 19,
1912, Caleb and Diana Bleazard’s daughter, Lucy, got married to
On June 30, 1913,
Caleb and Diana Bleazard became grandparents when Russ and Lucy
Sessions had their first baby – Hazel June Sessions born in
On May 24, 1915,
Russ and Lucy Sessions had their second baby – Dorothy Irene
Sessions born in Bedford, WY.
On May 20, 1917,
Russ and Lucy Sessions had their third baby – Belle Sessions born
in Bedford, WY.
1917 – Caleb
purchased the family their first automobile which was a 1917 Ford
Model T Touring Car.
Bleazard is sitting in the 2nd
car and Diana Bleazard is sitting in the back seat with Russ
and Diana Bleazard - First two people on left side with white shirts.
Russ Sessions wearing
is behind Diana Bleazard. This picture was taken the same day as the
picture with the four cars.
with Bleazards, Sessions, C. G. Heiner, Charles Heiner, Studmeuller,
Mallor and Wilkes Families.
Bleazard, Dorothy Sessions, June Sessions and Lucy Bleazard Sessions
to right: Caleb Bleazard and John Bleazard (white shirts)
to right: Caleb Bleazard and John Bleazard
1918 – In
February, 1918, Caleb and Diana Bleazard and the family were very
excited to hear that John Bleazard had received and accepted a
mission call from President Joseph F. Smith to serve a two year
mission in West Texas for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. John Bleazard received his Endowment on May 7, 1918 and
departed on his mission shortly thereafter. 1918-1920
to right: Lucy Sessions holding baby Belle Sessions (cutoff), Russ
Sessions, Caleb Bleazard,
Bleazard, Theron Merritt, Ace Merritt, George Merritt, Martha
row: Lydia Bleazard, Emma Bleazard
row children: Dorothy Sessions, June Sessions and Nora Merritt
George Merritt is Diana Bleazard’s brother. Theron, Ace & Nora
are George & Martha Merritt's kids
1919 – On May 29,
1919, Caleb and Diana Bleazard’s daughter, Emma, got married to
to right: Little girls, Belle Sessions, June Sessions and Dorothy
to right: Lucy Bleazard Sessions, Russ Sessions, Diana Bleazard,
Caleb Bleazard and Russel Tittensor
row: Lydia Bleazard and Emma Bleazard Tittensor. (John Bleazard
serving a mission)
Skinner, ?, Joe Skinner, ?, Buck Skinner, Caleb Bleazard, ?
Caleb Bleazard and
the Skinners were close friends, but they were not related. Caleb
Bleazard went Elk Hunting with Joseph Alma Skinner, Sr. (born 1869)
and his sons; George Skinner (born 1891), Edward (Ted) Skinner (born
1894) and Oswald (Buck) Harold Skinner (born 1900).
In 1920, Caleb and
Diana Bleazard’s son, John, returned from his two year mission in
1920 – Caleb and
Diana Bleazard’s son, John Bleazard got married to Lorna Louise
There were several
family deaths in a short amount of time:
On February 21,
1918, Samuel Swift Merritt died and was buried in Bedford Cemetery,
Bedford, Wyoming. He was Diana Bleazard’s Father.
In 1920, Martha Nora
Merritt died and was buried in Bedford Cemetery, Bedford, Wyoming.
Martha was the wife of George Merritt who was Diana Bleazard’s
On August 15, 1921,
Mark Hopwood Bleazard died and was buried in Peoa Cemetery, Peoa,
Utah. He was Caleb’s brother.
Mark Hopwood Bleazard, suffered from Asthma for 20 years of his life.
He sold his home in Peoa, UT and his two lots on West Temple and 500
South. His family thought he would die from choking, but he died
from a heart attack at his home on 33rd South 550 East,
Salt Lake City, Utah. When Caleb heard of his brother’s death, he
and Diana immediately drove to Salt Lake City. Mark Hopwood Bleazard
was 60 years old and was buried in the Peoa Cemetery on the same day.
On January 4, 1922,
Samuel Alonzo Merritt died and was buried in Bedford Cemetery,
Bedford, Wyoming. He was Diana Bleazard’s brother.
On July 30, 1922,
Emma Naylor Merritt died and was buried in Bedford Cemetery, Bedford,
Wyoming. She was Diana Bleazard’s Mother.
THE MOVE TO
In 1922 – Caleb’s
health was failing and like his brother, Mark, he suffered from
Asthma. He sold his home and turned the Bedford Mercantile business
over to his son, John Bleazard and his wife Lorna. He retired from
active life at the age of 57. He purchased a home in Afton,
Wyoming and "carried on" as long as his infirm body
1924 – His friend,
Chester Sessions, died on September 14, 1924 in Montpelier, Bear
Lake, Idaho and was buried in the Bountiful Memorial Park Cemetery,
1926 – Caleb’s
health grew steadily worse and they were forced to go to Mesa,
Arizona for the winters.
THEIR ONLY SON,
JOHN BLEAZARD, DIED
1930 – While in
Mesa, his beloved son, John Bleazard, died suddenly on January 12,
1930 in Afton, Lincoln, Wyoming. He was buried in the Afton
Cemetery, Afton, Wyoming. This was a shock and grief from which
Caleb never fully recovered from. Caleb was ill and they could not
attend the funeral or see him laid away. John, their only son, was
their main-stay in life. He was Diana’s best loved child.
John Bleazard left
behind his wife, Lorna Call Bleazard, and his two young children;
Glen Call Bleazard age 8 and Lorna Marie Bleazard age 3.
to right: Boy, girl, Russel Tittensor, Emma Tittensor, Diana
row: Belle Sessions, June Sessions, Lucy Sessions, Lydia Bleazard
and Caleb Bleazard
to right: Boy, girl, Russ Sessions, Emma Tittensor, Diana Bleazard.
row: Belle Sessions, June Sessions, Lucy Sessions, Lydia Bleazard
and Caleb Bleazard, boy and boy
1936 – Caleb was
bedfast the last four years of his life. Diana nursed him. She
never left his side day or night. She knelt by his bed and fed him,
comforted him and sympathized with him.
Caleb was known as
“Grandpap” to his grandchildren. Caleb was not a public man, to
many he was thought to be gruff and to have possessed no religion,
but no father was ever dearer and kinder to his children. His mind
was a storehouse of wisdom. He was a liberal donator, an honest
tithe-payer and throughout the long years of affliction and suffering
he maintained faith, was steadfast and firm in his testimony of the
gospel of Jesus Christ. Passing through the trying ordeal of an
incurable disease, he remained patient and was sympathetic and
sorrowful when others were in trouble.
characteristic, worthy of mention, was his civic pride and interest
in public welfare. To every community enterprise he was liberal with
financial aid and willing to perform his share of manual labor. It
was his privilege to contribute money for the building of the Salt
Lake Temple, the Logan Temple, the St. George Temple, the Canadian
Temple, the Hawaiian Temple and the Mesa Temple, and it was one of
his last wishes that a check be sent to the Idaho Falls Temple fund.
Tears of joy would fill his eyes at the mention of missionaries and
nothing gave him more pleasure than to contribute to this cause. His
only son filled a mission, his two grandsons filled a mission and he
had the desire that his remaining grandson go as soon as his age
Bleazard was an honest, stalwart pioneer who loved truth and right
and lived up to these principles in his everyday affairs of life.
Caleb loved his wife, Diana, his daughters, Lucy, Emma and Lydia and
son-in-laws, Russ Sessions and Russel
Tittensor. His daughter Lydia never married. He had one daughter in
law: Lorna Call Bleazard.
Bleazard died Sunday, December 15, 1940 in Afton, Wyoming. He was
buried December 17, 1940 in Afton Cemetery, Afton, Wyoming. He was
75 years old.
December 17, 1940, in the Afton North Ward church house, funeral
services were held for Caleb D. Bleazard, who passed away at his home
in Afton Sunday morning, after a prolonged illness, extending over a
period of twenty years, of which the last five were spent in intense
suffering and misery. The last five years of his life were spent
sitting in his chair, his mind still keen and active and his spirit
longing to do something more to make his home and surroundings
attractive and beautiful.
was laid to rest beside his son, John Bleazard, in the Afton
Cemetery. The dedicatory prayer was offered by Ed Wilkes of Afton.
Pall bearers were Russ Sessions, Russel Tittensor, Glen Bleazard,
Heber Merritt, Joseph Merritt and Theron Merritt.
survivors are: Mrs. C. D. Bleazard, three daughters, Lucy Sessions,
Emma Tittensor and Lydia Bleazard, seven grandchildren and five great
grandchildren. His only son, John, preceded him in death eleven
History of Elizabeth Diana Merritt Bleazard
December 27, 1869 – July 11, 1968
Written by Cynthia Simmons Andrews
Bleazard was half English because her Mother was born in England.
She was known as “Gammie” to her grandchildren, but to others she
went by the name of “Diana”.
Bleazard, was born on December 27, 1869 in West Jordan, Utah. Her
parents were Samuel Swift and Emma Naylor Merritt. Diana was raised
in a family of 13 children of which she was the oldest daughter. She
had six brothers and six sisters, but two brothers died as infants.
Emma Naylor Merritt, was born December 18, 1846 in Bedford,
Nottinghamshire, England. She was an early convert to the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized on January 7, 1855
in England. Emma’s father, William Naylor was baptized March 26,
1849 and her mother, Diana Ireland Naylor was baptized February 18,
1850 in England. All of their family were converts and emigrated
from England and came to Utah in 1863 with the Rosel Hyde Company.
Samuel Swift Merritt, was born November 18, 1838 in Monroe,
He was an early
convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was
baptized February 25, 1864. Samuel was raised in a family of ten
children, but he was the only convert. This family had traveled from
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia to Indiana to Missouri to Iowa.
His ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
The government gave them free land in Iowa for their service. The
Rouse line came from John Rausch who was born in 1697 in Baumholder,
Saarbrucken, Germany and immigrated to Virginia. His sons also
fought in the Revolutionary War. Most of the other family lines are
in America in the early 1600’s and emigrated from England.
Bleazard’s grandparents were George and Elizabeth Merritt.
Merritt born 1811 in Kentucky and Elizabeth Scott born 1815 in
Tennessee-buried in Iowa
Merritt was disowned by his family for joining the Church and for his
own safety he had to sneak back into the house to get some of his
belongings and hide. Some of his family may have sympathized with
the mobs in Missouri. He traveled with the Saints in 1864 to Utah
and met and married Emma Naylor in Little Cottonwood Canyon. He was
26 years old.
Naylor Merritt and Samuel Swift Merritt
Samuel and Emma
Merritt had the following 13 children:
Levi Edward Merritt
Emma Jane Merritt
Sara Ellen Merritt
Delila May Merritt
front row: Gertie, Eva and Vinnie
LIFE IN WEST
Diana grew up in
the early days in the Territory of Utah. She grew up in a large
family and being the oldest girl, she had much responsibility in
helping her Mother with the babies and the younger children.
1878 – Elizabeth
Diana Merritt was baptized April 4, 1878 by James Glover and
confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on April 4, 1878 by Archibald Gardner.
Her schooling was
limited and the family could not afford to send more than two
children at a time. They had to pay for the books and pay for the
1886 – At the age
of 17, she worked several years in a yarn factory some ten miles from
where they lived. They were living in West Jordan, Utah.
THE MOVE TO
1891 – The
Merritt family moved to Peoa, Utah. Diana found a new job working
for an elderly Swedish couple named Mr. & Mrs. Matson. She
milked the cows, fed the pigs and chickens, and weeding the gardens.
She did the cooking, cleaning, beer making and waited on the old
folks. While she was working here, she met Caleb Bleazard.
Diana was a pretty
petite young woman. She was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 115
lbs. She had long black hair, blue eyes, small even teeth and an
She had a friendly
disposition and loved fluent conversation. She had friends wherever
she went. She was witty and always enjoyed a joke and can see the
funny side of things and laughs heartily. Her mind was alert and
keen and she remembered everything.
1892 – Caleb
Bleazard and Diana Merritt got married in Peoa, Utah. She got
pregnant right away and had a baby girl on December 7, 1893. Diana
had a difficult labor, her body was small and it was a hard delivery
which resulted in the loss of the baby. It was stillborn. She had
another baby daughter born on December 5, 1894 in Peoa and died
December 5, 1894. It was also stillborn.
1895 – Lucy Diana
Bleazard was born on September 18, 1895 in Peoa, Utah. She was
healthy and pretty. She was named “Lucy” after Caleb’s only
sister. She brought much joy to them.
THE MOVE TO STAR
The next spring the
“Star Valley” excitement hit Peoa. News of the abundant free
land in wild Wyoming spread. The Merritt family decided to move to
Star Valley and settled in Bedford, Wyoming which included; her
parents, Samuel and Emma Merritt, and her brothers; Samuel Alonzo,
George, Levi, James, and her sisters; Sara Ellen, Delila May, Vinnie
Caleb wanted to
move, but Diana was a little apprehensive and afraid of the long
journey and life in the primitive. She obeyed her husband, as she
always did, and her happy, peaceful life changed again.
1896 – Caleb and
Diana Bleazard and their baby Lucy moved all of their belongings to
Star Valley, Wyoming. They found a one-room log cabin which was
miles away from neighbors, a store, a post office, a meeting house, a
church and a school. The Indians came by often and begged and
demanded for food. She was afraid of the Indians and gave them too
much sugar and bread because she was afraid not to comply with their
1897 – Emma
Bleazard was born on July 16, 1897 in Thayne, Lincoln, Wyoming.
1898 – John
Bleazard was born on December 19, 1898 in Thayne, Lincoln, Wyoming.
1901 – Caleb
worked long and hard. Plans were started for a new house. The
foundation was laid, and lumber piled, ready to begin the building.
In the spring of 1901, a chance came to trade the prairie land on a
big ranch in Thayne. The place in Thayne had a big lumber house.
There was a store and a post office, a church house where school was
taught, also. Diana was over joyed. Lucy was now old enough to
Diana had to help
milk the big herd of cows. There was milk to separate and much
butter to churn. Butter was traded for groceries at the store. She
also had to cook for the hired hands.
1904 – The last
child, Lydia, was born in 1904. Diana had another “bad time”.
She was bedfast for nine months and her life was often despaired of.
THE MOVE TO
1907 – Caleb and
Diana traded the big ranch for a general store in Bedford. Life
changed again for Diana. She helped in the store and was an
assistant postmaster to her husband. She cooked for sheepmen who
came in droves in the summer and she worked in church organizations.
1912 – Lucy and
Russ Sessions were married
1918 – John
Bleazard was called to go on a mission to West Texas.
1919 – Emma and
Russel Tittensor were married
1920 – John
Bleazard and Lorna Call were married
Caleb and Diana
Bleazard had the following grandchildren:
Russ and Lucy
Bleazard Sessions –
Sessions born June 30, 1913 in Bedford, WY
Sessions born May 24, 1915 in Bedford, WY
Sessions born May 20, 1917 in Bedford, WY
John Dale Sessions
born October 11, 1934 in Afton, WY
Russel and Emma
Bleazard Tittensor –
Tittensor born April 13, 1920 in Bedford, WY
Tittensor born April 21, 1922 in Bedford, WY
born October 6, 1924 in Logan, UT
John and Lorna
Glen Call Bleazard
born July 10, 1921 in Bedford, WY
Bleazard born October 3, 1926 in Ogden, UT
never married –
1922 – Caleb
Bleazard decided to retire and turned the business over to his son,
1930 – Caleb and
Diana Bleazard’s son, John Bleazard, died on January 12, 1930.
Kirbridge and Diana Bleazard
Sessions, June Sessions, Belle Sessions, Lucy Sessions, Diana
Bleazard, Lydia Bleazard. This
was taken in front of Gammie’s house in Afton, WY.
1935 – Diana M.
Bleazard had a picture taken with her living brothers and sisters in
Lydia Bleazard and
Diana Bleazard. Downtown Salt Lake
Sessions, Lyd Bleazard, Emma Tittensor, Diana Bleazard
1940 – Caleb
Bleazard died December 15, 1940
married life is included in the History of Caleb Bleazard.
death in 1940, Diana and her daughter, Lydia, lived alone in Afton,
WY. Lydia had never married because she wanted to take care of her
loving parents. She was a pretty woman when she was young and had
every opportunity to get married. Lydia’s health, however, was not
good. Diana found it necessary to leave their home in Afton, Wyoming
and go to Salt Lake City for the winters.
THE MOVE TO SALT
LAKE CITY, UTAH
They returned for
summers until September 1957 when Diana was 87 years old. Diana fell
off the couch and broke her hip. She was sent to the LDS Hospital in
Salt Lake City and was never able to return to Star Valley any more.
She underwent a long operation and her broken bone was pinned. She
recovered soon and was walking as spry as ever in a short while.
1963 – Diana and
Lydia lived in the Sherrill Hotel-Apartments which was located on the
westside of State Street between North and South Temple. The
Sherrill Apartments were torn down by the LDS Church in 1963 to make
room for the Church Office Buildings. Gammie was age 93 and Lyd was
age 59 at the time. They moved to an apartment on South Temple
between State Street and 2nd East.
Simmons, took her daughters, Cindy and Sheree, often to visit Gammie
and Lyd in the Sherrill Hotel-Apartments in downtown Salt Lake.
Cindy was 9 years old and Sheree was 12 years old before the Sherrill
Hotel was torn down. The hotel had a gated elevator that had a gate
on the inside that you closed when you rode it up or down and then
you opened the inside gate and opened the outside gate to walk onto
your floor. Sometimes the elevator didn’t stop on exactly your
floor so you had to watch your step. I found the closest picture of
it as I could.
Hotel-Apartments – Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gated elevator in Sherrill Hotel
love this picture of Gammie because that is how I remembered her.
Gammie was so sweet
and loving. She gave you soft kisses and patted your hands. She had
long gray hair that reached her waist. I don’t think she ever cut
it. She always wore her hair back.
1965 – Finally,
Diana became very ill, Lydia was also sick with Parkinson’s disease
and it became necessary to take Diana to the Steven’s Rest Home in
Salt Lake City. During this time, her daughter, Lucy Sessions,
passed away in 1966 at the age of 70. Emma Tittensor’s health
failed and Lydia had to be taken to a Rest Home too. They were not
happy there. Diana had been ready to go to her rest for several
years. She said she was the “last leaf on the tree”. Only Emma
Tittensor and Lydia Bleazard were surviving at the time in her
family. All of her twelve sisters and brothers had passed on except
After a month’s
illness, death came at 10 o’clock a.m. on July 11, 1968. She was
98 years old. She was buried beside her husband, Caleb Bleazard, and
their son, John Bleazard, in the Afton Cemetery, Afton, Wyoming. At
her death, she had 9 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.