Leo Rowland Freshwater, 1891

Essential Information

Born: 29 May 1891
Married: 17 Sep 1913, Susan Catherine Jex
Died: 16 June 1978
Temple Ordinances Performed:
Temple Ordinances Needed:
Father: William Henry Freshwater
Mother: Sarah Ann Davies
Children: , Leola Jex Freshwater,

A Few Events in My Life’s History

by Leo R. Freshwater

For my Book of Remembrance–Commenced July 24th 1962

I, Leo Rowland Freshwater, was born 29th of May 1891, in Provo, Utah County, Utah.

My Father, William Henry Freshwater, was born 23rd of May 1852 in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, a son of William and Martha Gooch Freshwater.

My grandparents, with their two children, my Aunt Valora (King), and my father immigrated to America in 1862, arriving in New York City… (*****locate missing portion here)…

My father married my mother on 23rd of May 1877, in Provo, on his 25th birthday. Her name was Sarah Ann Davies, and she was born the 6th of December 1857, in Milford, Pembroke shire South Wales, a daughter of John “Q” and Ellen Rees Davies.

I was the sixth child in my parents family having two older sisters, and three brothers, and two younger brothers.

My father was an “Old Fashioned” Merchant, starting with General Merchandise, and one of my earliest recollections is begging for a few pieces of candy or crackers, etc, which I took out and shared with my young friends.

Then I remember starting kindergarted upstairs over the Old Post Office. Where the First Security Bank is now located. Next I attended the first four grades of school at the Proctor, (now owned by the Elk’s Club) because it was so near home at 136 West Center.

We lived in two back rooms of my father’s store till I was nine years old, when we bought our home located at 157 West 1st North. Just through the block from Dad’s store. The home “made room” for the Carpenter’s Union Hall after father died and my sister sold it…

After Graduating from the 8th grade (no Junior High School in those days). I attended the Brigham Young University for 4 years of High School. That’s because Provo didn’t have a High School at that time.

Then I met Miss Susan Catherine Jex of Spanish Fork, Utah, and we were married the following year, 17th of September 1913.

She is the daughter of Richard Moses Jex and Louisa Watling. Early converts from Norwich Norfolk England and immigrated to Utah in the fall of 1892. Susan was born the following 7th of March 1893 in Hamilton Fort (near Cedar City) Iron County, Utah. She was the first of her parents’ 12 children to be born in America and they laughingly called her the “Little Stowaway.”

My father-in-law “worked off” the cost of his immigration from England by working on Mr. John Middleton’s farm at Hamilton Fort. And that is why my wife…*****

But I must tell you how I first met Susan. That’s one of the “highlights” of my young life.

While my sister-in-law was “keeping house” for my father, because of my mother’s poor health and three youngest (myself and two younger brothers) she was expecting her baby girl, Beulah (at home, of course). So she inquired of her sister Carrie (Ainge) of Spanish Fork if she could find her a “hired girl,” whom she could recommend to take the job, etc.

Well, thi was all unknown to me till afterwards, but when the time came and my little niece was born 8th of February 1912. Then Susan came and was our “hired girl” and I knew as soon as I saw her that she was for me.

It was nearly supper-time, so in short while after getting acquanted, she had supper ready. Can’t remember what it was, but it was wonderful.

She understood how to cook for three big hungry boys, as well as take care of a mother and a young baby, etc.

Those next couple of weeks or so went by very quickly, while I tried to help out in the kitchen, drying the dishes or mopping the floors. Yes, I’d had experience at that. My sister-in-law Pheve used to tell me, (and others) that nobody could…

could sleep on the way back after, throwing the lines over the dashboard and heading old dobbin in the right direction. He was always anxious to get back to the livery stable and if we were not too later getting back, it would cost only two dollars, or sometimes only a dollar and a half.

The first years after we were married, I worked in the mines in Tintic District, in the fall and winter months, then moved to Spanish Fork each spring to work for the Railroads or Sugar Factory, etc.

Our first Five children were born in Spanish Fork, their names and dates of birth is as follows:

1. Leola Jex Freshwater, 1st of October 1914. In that year, thought lots of fuss, our fist baby came to us; Leola was named after me. We were as proud of her as can be.

2. Next, Ruby Freshwater 27th of February 1917. Ruby came into our nest, we thanked the Lord, we were twice blessed, and as our little family grew, I found I had lots more to do.

3. Sarah Louisa Freshwater 6th of September 1918. Sara Louisa, our third child, came to us in September, mild. Named after her Grandmother, both, kept me out of war, and that I loathe.

4. David Irving Freshwater 7th of May 1921. David Irving our only son, they made us happy every one. God called him home, one winter day, while coasting on his Christmas…*****

When the “Depression” came in 1930, I was glad to work for the farmers “hard time” that our youngest daughter Gladys Alice Freshwater was born–23rd of November 1931. When Gladys Alice came to stay, just before Thanksgiving Day, we were as glad as we could be.

While the drpression was on, our oldest daughter Leola was married in Salt Lake Temple, 17th of August 1932 to Merrill W. Curtis–a son of William Ezra and Grace Chloe Lake Curtis. He was working in Salt Lake and he was one of the lucky young men who had a steady job during this time of the Depression.

As he was working in Salt Lake City, they went there to live, and have lived there since that time. They now have ten children of their own.

While the Depression was “still on,” though I was back at work at the brick yard, our second daughter Ruby was married in the Salt Lake Temple  17th of December 1934 to Laren Warren Dalley, who is a son of Uriah J. and Clara Hugentobbler Dalley of Springville Utah. Ruby and Lren lived in Springville for a few mom=nths, then they moved to Provo, where my son-in-law worked for several years for Provo Foundry and Machine Co. and later for Geneva Slab Co. They are parents of 4 children 3 girls and one son. My daughter Ruby died December 9th 1960.

***** of December 1948, to Clarence Lewis Rollow, who is the son of Lewis De Archy and Edith B. Chandler Rollow, of Provo.

Clarence was “fresh out of the Navy” soon after we bought our home on East Center, and next door to his mother. He joined our church and started working for Geneva Steel Plant soon after arriving home, and graduating from Provo High School. Gladys and Clarence are parents of five lovely girls.

Since my wife’s “passing on” -fifth of October 1961, I have sold our home on 686 East Center, on 17th of January 1962 and have been living in my daughter Gladys’s basement apt. where my son-in-law Clarence’s Mother used to live till she died. The 1st of January 1961.

I retired from Geneva Steel February 28, 1957, after working continuously for over 13 years in Maintenance Department. I also worked on construction of the Street Plant over two years and did not lose any time while they were closed down. Before U.S. Steel Co. purchased the property from our Government.

I have had wonderful health all my life and except for having the “flu” while the epidemic was on during World War 1, I have very seldom had to lay off work on account of being sick, but I have had a few accidents that “put me down” several times, the most serious and also the most recent…*****

I have been warned many times, while working in the mines, when I could have been killed or badly hurt if I had not heeded the warnings.

At the present time, Christmas Day 1962, I feel and act younger than many men who are ten or more years younger than I am. And I know that by living the word of Wisdom, my health is better than most men my age.

Naturally, I have “slowed down” some during the past few years and don’t try to fool myself (brothers) that I am as strong as I ever was.

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot of work I can do, and I enjoy doing it. Not just for the sake of working, such as digging a hole and then filling it up, but for the sake of accomplishing something worthwhile and useful, like building something, or improving of, or fixing of a home or its surroundings, etc.

…***** to be, when he sent them out as Missionaries to the Gentiles and the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As recorded in the 10th chapter of Matthew. I especially like the 16th verse where he says, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

And when it comes my time to “pass on” from this mortal life, I hope I can truly say as Apostle Paul said in the Second Epistle to Timothy, chapter 4 verse 7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, what more can any one do?”

Trouble as a Youth

Leo Freshwater seems to have gotten himself into a bit of trouble as a 13 year old youth:


Three small boys, Leo Freshwater, aged 13, Irving Freshwater, aged 11, and Elmer Archbold, aged 9, were committed to the Industrial school yesterday, by Judge Booth. The boys were sent up from Justice Noon’s court, where they had entered a plea of guilty to stealing some school supplies from the Procter academy. The court heard statements from Rev. S. .H. Goodwin, principal of the academy, and from Messrs. Freshwater and Archbold, parents of the boys, which were to the effect that the children were incorrigible, and unavailing efforts had been made by the parents to control them. Mr. Freshwater, however, was of the opinion that the Industrial school was not a good place to send small boys, as he believed, from report and from observation, they learned much additional evil from their association with other bad boys in the school. He did not, however, want to resist the commitment of his boys, but was willing that the law should take its course.
Mr. Archbold coincided with Mr. Freshwater’s views as to the effect of the association with other boys, whose conduct had been such as to make them inmates of the school, but he felt that, so far as his boy was concerned, it was about the only chance for reforming him.
Judge Booth admitted the correctness of Mr. Freshwater’s statement, and that as it was impossible to keep the boys in the school from associating with one another, it was impossible to prevent them from influencing one another, but he knew of several cases where reformation had been effected, and boys who had been sent to the school had become good men after their release.

Deseret evening news., October 28, 1904, Last Edition, Page 9


Another newspaper account records:

Provo News Notes
Leo Freshwater, aged 13, Irving Freshwater, aged 11, and Elmer Archibald, aged 9, were before Judge Booth today on a commitment from Justice Noon’s court, where they had pleaded guilty to petit larceny, stealing some articles from the Proctor academy, for the purpose of considering whether they should be sent to the Industrial school. After hearing statements from Rev. S. H. Goodwin, principal of the Proctor academy, and the fathers of the children, they were ordered committed.

The Salt Lake herald, October 29, 1904

Leo was granted parole one year later.


The board of trustees of the State Industrial school met last night and paroled Bert Christensen, E. and A. Freshwater, Eastman, Graham, Harbertson, Kelly, Knox, Nielson, Tietjen and Kripp: also four girls named Chatterton, Goodfellow, Wheeler and Swenson. All had nearly the requisite number of credit marks for the parole, and those lacking the board furnished. Roy Stone was pardoned at the request of his mother, who stated that she desired to send him to St. Joseph, Mo.

Trustee Evans reported the icehouse and vegetable cellar completed: also other improvements well under way.

Deseret evening news. November 11, 1905

Leo received a diploma from public school in May, 1908.

Parents (possibly) divorce

Leo’s parents divorced shortly after Leo turned 17 years old, but they remarried again two years later.

The Salt Lake herald, June 27, 1908


Sarah A. Freshwater has been divorced from William Freshwater, a Provo merchant, on the ground of cruelty. The parties were married in this city thirty-one years ago. Three minor children were given to Mrs. Freshwater. There are seven children the fruits of the union. The property rights were settled out of court.

Freshwater Remarriage






High School Graduation

In 1912, Leo Freshwater was a student at Brigham Young University. In a
‘tributes’ section of the BYU 1912 yearbook, he has the nickname, “H-2-O,” and the tribute says: “Fresh H-2-O always. Coming up with a smile. Good Class member. Motto: Never be late for class. The most punctual student in school?”

The photo at the top of this page is Leo R. Freshwater’s Yearbook photo, 1912.


Though there is little in family records about the incident, according to local newspapers, Leo was involved in an embezzlement case while working as postmaster in Robinson, Utah (near Mammoth, Utah).

According to the Iron County Record (Cedar City, Utah), April 30, 1915:

Leo R. Freshwater, former postmaster of Robinson, was found guilty in the United States district court at Salt Lake for embezzlement of $2,403.91 of government money during his incumbency between the dates of May 21, 1913, and May 11, 1914. The verdict included a recommendation of mercy.


It appears that Leo was also sentenced to seven months imprisonment for it.:

Thoughts on the United States Attorney’s Office:

Defendant Leo R. Freshwater receiv
ed a guilty verdict on two counts and was sent to County Jail for seven months.

The Deseret News – Dec 23, 1915



In Nuggets from Mammoth, written in 1966 by Bessie Berry Toone, mention is made of both Leo’s embezzlement and his work in the candy factory:

 There were no buildings below the “Lone Tree Cabin” built by John A. Condon, until the Mammoth and Farrell mills were erected at the lower end of the gulch in 1894. At that time a number of homes were built around the mills. As it was more than a mile up the hill to the Mammoth post office, application was made for another office, which was named Robinson, in honor of George H. Robinson, who had put in an 18-mile pipeline to
James H. Coomb started a candy factory and confectionaries were operated by Victor Fitzgerald and Leo Freshwater and John Davis. Freshwater NewsJohn Hansen followed suit with a stage. (pg. 56)Cherry Creek to supply water. The first postmaster in the new town, was John B. Roberts, who had established a drug store. In 1894, W. M. Bristow, a brother of the Postmaster General was appointed. In February 1900, he resigned. . . his sister Nettie took charge. . . [a number of others succeed her, and then] Leo Freshwater succeeded [Victor Fitzgerald as postmaster] and held the office until he was charged with embezzlement, when the office was discontinued and the Mammoth post office was moved to middle town. (Pg. 9)

Leo files for Bankruptcy:

Bankruptcy Petition

Leo R. Freshwater, a laborer of Spanish Fork, Utah, this m

orning filed a petition in voluntary bankruptcy in the United States district court. He gave his liabilities as $1,673.46, with the assets amounting to $435.85, of which he claimed $235 exempt.

Family Life 

Leola Jex Freshwater, speaking of her father, wrote:

My father had a chance to work in the mines in Eureka. . .

I remember how our father would take the three of us for a walk in the hills every day and he’s show us flowers and rocks and talk to us about the wonders of nature. I still remember our joy when he’d come home and we could take our walk with him. He let me look all around while he rested on a rock, holding my baby sister. She loved to go outside. She never cried while Papa had her with him.

Sometimes he would show us some ore samples so we would know what kind of mining he did, and what kind of rocks were under the ground where he went to work each day. I liked to see the sparkle of the silver in it. I loved to look at these ore samples and hear him explain. He told me it was very dark down there, and that is why he had to wear a special light on his cap. I think it was a carbine lamp he used. That was all the light they had, then – just the light that came from each man’s lamp.

After we talked and walked awhile, our baby sister would get sleepy, so he would tell me to take Ruby’s hand, and we would go back to the house. Ruby was only about two, and she never did want to go back home, but I’d coax her. Sometimes I’d give her a flower to carry to Mamma.

There is one thing that happened while he was in the mines. Since then, I too, have had many experiences with ESP (extra sensory perception) but this was the first time I ever knew there was such a thing.

One morning something woke me up. My Mamma and Papa were having an argument in the kitchen and Papa didn’t sound very happy. Mamma didn’t usually scold and I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I slipped out of bed in my nightie, over to the door. I could hear Papa saying he had to get to work in about two minutes or they’d go down without him. Once that whistle blew it would be too late.

Mamma said he couldn’t go. I saw her put the key down her dress. He couldn’t get out the locked door and he couldn’t find the key. She told him she’d had this awful dream where he got killed. She dreamed a big rock rolled down the hill and fell on their house and crushed it and she knew something awful was going to happen. She wouldn’t let him have the key. She had hid it somewhere and she wouldn’t tell him where.

Just then I heard the whistle blow. Papa sat down on the chair and put his head down on the table. I knew he was feeling bad. Mamma took the key from down in front of her dress, and she put the key by him on the table. They both knew it was too late for work now.

She said, “I know that meant something awful was going to happen to the people in this house if I didn’t do something.”

I remember all day I kept looking up at the hill and wondering why no rock came rolling down.
Later that evening, someone knocked on our door. It was father’s foreman.

I heard him talking quietly to my parents. He told them that day a big rock had given loose and fallen on the very spot where my father would have been working. He ended by saying, “Thank God Leo didn’t go today, that’s all I can say. He was working in a place that caved in today, and he would have been crushed.”

Years later when I talked to my father and asked if he remembered this incident, he nodded and the tears came to his eyes. He said, “Your mother had a gift for telling when things were going to happen like that, and I never doubted her again.”

Faith and Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Leo’s daughter, Leola (who was named after him), wrote this of her father:

I talked with my dad about Easter. What a special time that was! He just seemed to make it alive for me, and real. I had teachers in Sunday school and primary, and impressed this truth on me, but I think the main thing that made it seem real to me that Jesus really did live was the way my father talked to me about it. I knew that he believed it. He was so sure of it. There was just no flicker of a doubt at all.

It took me quite a while to get this certainty like he had.
When it comes Easter time, we always think of death and life. It’s hard to understand these mysteries, but when you have someone that you have such complete trust in, and you know that they believe, it’s easier to believe.

Dad’s testimony always meant so much to me. It wasn’t so much the words he said as it was the way he lived it.

Letter From Leo Freshwater Jan 25 1948

Dear Leola and family,
We received your letter of Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. And are glad you are feeling better again, after being so miserable with the flu.
That’s the only thing that ever got me down so I wasn’t able to work, except when I got my back hurt falling off the scaffold at Geneva and then a recurrance of it the following june. It was when Sarah was a baby that I got the real “old fashioned flu while working at the Spanish Fork Sugar Factory, and couldn’t even sit up and turn a steam valve to raise the gate to let the beets into the beet washer, or turn it back to stop them when there were enough. That’s how the Lord got me home that time, when I was needed.

Well, not wishing to brag, I guess I been a pretty good old work horse. [after I got
broke in]

The first few years I quit and changed jobs often, till I realized that we weren’t getting ahead very fast. In fact it cost too much to move etc. etc. I started working for Geneva after working for the contractors building the plant. And have been there since.

Well , lately I’ve been thinking maybe I’ve had enough of it. [the steel plant I mean] Then I think, “This is a dirty job and plenty of work too, and laborers wages $1.09 [I was getting $1.16 as helper in garage] Same old thing every day, except some days more dirt to clean up. [especially on Mondays, after being off Saturday and Sunday.]

Same old routine –alarm at 6 a.m., up soon after [if I didn’t turn over again for another few stretches or maybe 40 winks] then hurry to get dressed and a fire made with a extra big lump of coal to last till I got home or maybe Clarence or Warren would come in to make it up again so Mom wouldn’t get too cold. Then grab a bite to eat——-


A short poem by Leo Freshwater to his parting wife, composed Oct 5, 1961 in Utah Valley Hospitality

Farewell, Dear Susan

I know you love me truly,
And you know my love is true.
We’ve been sweethearts together,
And we’ve been happy, too.
Though earth-life has its partings,
We will live on, again,
In the Resurrection morning,
For, our love will have no end.

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5 Responses to Leo Rowland Freshwater, 1891

  1. Sheila Marie Sjostrom Ames says:

    I typed in a search for Merrill William Curtis and found this I would love to Share it with other family members but unsure how to do it but I thank you who put it on I am always searching for any of my Grandparants history thank you

  2. Chas Hathaway says:

    Feel free to share it any way you want, Sheila! You can copy the link and share that, or I think if you drag the mouse over it, and then go to edit>copy you can paste it into a word document. I’m amazed at how much stuff I’ve been able to find. Such amazing stories!

  3. norman curtis says:

    I can remember going down a when I was younger I remember the house and yard and meeting him and the family members I would have been around 10 to 13 range.

  4. Lana Porter says:

    I bought a box of old books at a yard sale a while back.
    One booklet is titled “Song Poems of My Heart”
    By: Leo R Freshwater.
    There are family photos & letters that were published as part of the booklet.
    I am assuming family members probably already own copies however if not, I am happy to mail to a descendant/family member if interested in the booklet.

    Email me with any comments or questions.

  5. Chas Hathaway says:

    That’s awesome, Lana! I’m going to email you about Leo’s book. Thanks so much for commenting!

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