CHARLES ALMA MOULTON
Our father Charles Alma Moulton was born May 6, 1856 shortly after his parents left England to come to the United States. He often mentioned that he was a man who had no country as a birthplace because he was born aboard ship. The family crossed the plains to get to Utah with a Mormon Pioneer Handcart Company. They suffered great hardship on the way and Dad was a little baby so thin he was hardly expected to survive. Kind people in Salt Lake helped the family and they all recovered alter a while from the effects of the cold weary journey.
He spent his childhood in Heber City, Utah. His father sent him to school and he had a fairly good education for those times. His mother, who was active in the Church, gave him good training and he always remembered her with great love and respect. William, his oldest brother, gave Dad a job on his ranch and he worked there as a young man and enjoyed the life working with cattle. William was a fine, kind man and Dad was proud of him and remembered him with love all his life. Our mother, Rhoda Francis Duke, worked for William's wife as a young girl and while there she and Dad went out together and later married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
Mother was the daughter of John and Martha Duke of Heber City, Utah. Her father was a patriarch of the L.D.S. Church. Her mother was a lovable woman who was often called to nurse the sick. Her neighbors spoke of her as “Aunt Martha Duke.”
The first child born to Mother and Dad was a son on June 1,1880. He lived only a few days. He was named Brigham Duke. The other children and their birth dates are:
Charles Denton Moulton April 15, 1881
Thomas Alma Moulton May 10, 1883
Martha Maud Moulton January 27, 1885
John Alfred Moulton February 22, 1887
Joseph Wallace Moulton December 5, 1888
Rhoda Minerva Moulton May 15, 1891
Anna Lapreal Moulton April 27, 1894
Letty Manila Moulton August 16, 1898
Floyd William Moulton March 29, 1901
Ernest Reed Moulton June 12, 1903
The first eight children were born in Heber City, Utah where Dad and his family made their home until 1897 when they moved to Chapin in Teton Valley, Idaho. Their reason for moving was to give the boys a chance to get land so that they would not have to work in the Park City mines. In later years the six sons were able to have their own farms. Alma, John and Wallace homesteaded in Wyoming and made a success there. Denton was a successful sheepman and lived on a farm at Cedar Point, Idaho. Floyd bought a good ranch home in Chapin, Idaho and Ernest owned the old homestead. Our parents felt that they had shown wisdom in making the move.
They made the trip from Utah to Idaho in a covered wagon after bidding goodbye to their friends and relatives, feeling as though they were leaving to go to “the ends of the earth,” as Mother expressed it. At last they reached the homestead Dad had filed on with Fox Creek running through it. Uncle George Moulton and his family welcomed them. They moved into a house owned by a man named Dewey. Soon they were able to live in the new frame house built by a carpenter named Charlie Carr. Dad and the boys worked hard to get the shingles for it. It was comfortable and Mother and Dad lived there the rest of their lives, improving the place whenever they could.
When Dad first came he worked with his brother George who had a homestead just west of him and somehow they were able to make out in spite of the fact that there was not much market for farm produce. Mother and all of them grieved for the dear ones left behind in Utah and it was years before they felt that Idaho was home. They made good friends, among them John and Emma Penfold and the Elliots who lived close, and with visits and parties they began to feel more at home. The boys fished with their friends and huckleberry trips helped to give recreation and food.
Three more children were born to them after coming to Chapin. The older children remember Grandma Duke’s two visits when Dad had to go by team to meet her at Saint Anthony, the end of the railroad then. They remember how happy they were to see her and to show her the new baby.
Dad and Mother were anxious for the children to get schooling and Dad served as trustee on the school board at one time. He was a counselor to Harry Stone in the Sunday School and presiding elder in Chapin Ward for awhile. Mother was president of the Relief Society. Alma filled a two year mission to the Eastern States.
We all remember our father singing in the evenings. Among his favorite songs were “Uncle Ned” and “Frog Went A Courting.” Rhoda remembers Mother and Dad singing together from the hymn book when they first lived on Fox Creek to brighten the evenings and take the children's minds off their homesickness.
Incidents happened which were very discouraging to our parents. At one time Dad and his neighbors went on an elk hunt. They had meat in their possession and although they needed the meat for their families, men of Jackson Hole took it and treated them very unfairly. Dad came home with frozen feet and Rhoda remembers Mother doctoring them.
At that time the winters were severe in Teton Basin and men had to stand a great deal to get wood from the canyons and break roads with horses through the deep drifts. Dad was always ready to tackle any task and had a determination and courage which never failed. He never held a grudge against another person long.
He was ready to help when he could. When he was a young man at William's ranch a man had somehow become exposed to the cold and was lying in the snowy road nearly frozen to death when Dad came along. Dad took him to a house and succeeded in reviving him. The man was grateful and blessed him saying, “Charlie, I give you this blessing that you will live as long as life is sweet.” At his death Wallie remarked that the blessing had been fulfilled for Dad had lived as long as he wanted to and was ready to go on.
Our mother passed away in 1928 at the age of sixty-six. Dad and all the family missed her for she was a wonderful wife and mother. She was fun loving and could always see the funny side of things, but she had good judgment and usually knew what to do for the best in sickness or any emergency. Dad lived three more years after her death. He was buried on May 7, 1931, one day after his seventy-fifth birthday, beside our mother in the Victor cemetery. Their children were left a good example by these two pioneers of Teton Valley. Both had sincere faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nine of the children have married and there are now sixty-three grandchildren, all of whom are interested in the same church.
written by Manila Moulton and Rhoda Furniss.