Memories of Samuel and Nancy Steele


Samuel F. Elton, a grandson

When I first went to school I went by the name of Sammy Steele, and I lived with my grandparents. I remember the big two-story, adobe house and the dark room upstairs which we children were not to enter. Grandmother told us there were spooks in there. Later we learned that is where they kept their money and valuables. Grandmother had four of us grandchildren living with her: Florence & Minerva Rice, and my brother Earl and I. We often sneaked into the little dark room with a candle to look for the money and valuables, but we never found anything.

Grandmother raised 21 children, 16 of her own, and one little Indian boy. He lived with them and went to school with the Steele children. One night, when he was 14 years old, he took one of grandfather's best horses and rode away. Many years later he returned with two squaws and many papooses, and camped below the corral. I remember them very well. Grandfather gave them flour, potatoes, meat and dried apples and vegetables.

I remember too, the little old log house. In the log house we stored many things that were a part of by-gone days. I remember seeing oxen yokes, oxen shoes, a mold for making candles, an old muzzle-loading shotgun, two big bear traps, a coffee mill used to grind parched corn, two large oxen bells, and many other items too numerous to mention. Grandfather told me his last team of oxen were named Fit and Fought.

Here I would like to mention Dan Atherly, he molded the adobe that built the tithing office, church, school house, and most of the adobe that was used to build the homes in Goshen. In the early days in Goshen, there was no doctor or dentist, grandfather Steele filled in for both. I remember the many little bags of herbs hanging on the wall and the one pair of forceps he used for pulling teeth. I watched him pull teeth many times.

About 1893, the railroad came to Goshen. I made many trips with grandfather to gather the swill for the pigs. The work train was stationed at Goshen.

I remember at conference time helping grandfather get the white topped buggy ready for the trip to Salt Lake City. I helped him line the inside of the top of the buggy with beautiful colored cloth. I pried up the fellows, while grandfather put little rings of leather between the fellows and the spokes. It took two days to make a trip to Salt Lake City. The half-way house was about 10 miles south of Murray, where the saints gathered for the night. The teams were stabled in a big barn for the night and were fed hay and grain free of charge. The evening was spent singing and telling experiences of the trek across the plains.

My boyhood spent with my grandparents were the happiest times of my young life. I learned many things from them. Grandfather Steele had a hard life. He was on his own when just a boy. I remember him well, stoop shouldered with hands clasped behind his back, or as he went about his work humming the song, "Hard Times Come Again No More."

I remember the four poster bed upstairs; they were called carded beds. Small rope run through holes back and forth; straw ticks were used on the beds. At threshing time the ticks were emptied and filled with new straw. With the help of my mother and Aunt Martha Burraston and the help of us grandchildren, we soon had them filled. Then we (the kids) had the job of getting them upstairs. In later years the straw ticks were replaced with feather beds. One by one, as the boys got married, they took their feather bed with them.

I am the only living one left of the four grandchildren that spent our child-hood days with our dear old Grandfather And Grandmother.

My brother Earl, Florence and Minerva Rice have been dead many years. Lizzie Gardner was the last child raised by Grandmother Steele. How I cherished the memory of these two kind and loving grandparents, who, while they were overburdened with toil, sorrow, and tribulations, allowed a little boy to spend the happiest hours of his childhood with them.


"Beloved pioneers,

we cannot trace your pilgrimage with either tongue or pen.

Your deed of love are written deeper in the hearts of men.

Through the years I have blessed the memory of this kind and gentle pair.

And if there is a heaven I hope to meet them there."