Casper, Anna Katherina, Magdalena, Johannes (John) & Mary Ursula Muller, Mary Gubler Wittwer, Herman, John, Louisa, & Anna Meler
Click the sections below to read about each person.
Compiled from life stories by himself, his daughter, rose Ann G. Hafen and Nellie M. Gubler and taken From the book “The Gubler Family of Utah”
Casper Gubler was one of the handcart Pioneers of 1857. He was born 1 August 1835, and 14th of 15 children born to Hans Heinrich and Anna Margaretha Dinckel Gubler of Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland.
The mortality rate in the family was very high. The parents died just a few months apart in 1851; the mother being only 58 years old and the father 68, and seven of their children had preceded them in death, their ages ranging from six to twenty-five years. Casper was only fifteen years old when he was orphaned and he said, “I felt that my birthplace was no longer a home so I traveled 50 miles on foot to Zurich where I had brothers and sisters.”
He lived with a sister and found work in a silk and wool factory. One day as he was walking, he saw a sign in a bakery which read, “Boy wanted to deliver bread,” so he applied and got the job.
He worked there for two years, carrying the bread in huge trays on his head. One day as he made a delivery to a bar and café establishment, a group of men, sitting drinking beer, saw him receive the payment and called him over to have a drink with them. As he started to leave his host said, “You don’t mean to leave without treating us do you?” Casper told them he had no money, but they insisted that they had seen him collect for the bread. The proprietor, seeing his difficulty, stepped up and said, “You let this boy go. That money does not belong to him, and he is an honest boy!” Casper always felt that the Lord was watching over him and helping him at such times.
Another day he was delivering bread, and he saw a sign over the door of a carpenter’s shop, “Apprentice Wanted.” He went in and talked to the manager and decided to give notice to his former employer and become a carpenter. After completing his training, he drifted into Germany where he plied his trade for a while, but when German officials told him he would have to join the army and have a year of military training if he remained he went back to Zurich. He tells of one of his experiences. He had begun earning a little money and decided to take a ride on the train. He bought himself a new suit, a couple of cigars and a train ticket to no where in particular, and enjoyed his first train ride. As he was smoking, some ashes fell on the shoulder of his new suit, burning quite a hole in it. This brought him down to earth and he resolved never to smoke again. He said that this was the only money he ever wasted in his life.
His parents had belonged to the Reformed Church of Switzerland, and he remembered they had told him to “always keep good company,” so when he met the Mormon Elders, he felt he could keep no better company. He accepted the Gospel and was baptized on 28 July 1854 at age 19. Three years later he “bid good-bye to his homeland,” went to Liverpool, England, and embarked for America.
After the sad experience of the Martin Handcart Company late in the season the Elders presiding over the British Mission announced to all the Saints intending to emigrate to Utah to get ready early enough to sail from Liverpool by 25 March so as to land in the States by the first of May. There were only two vessels chartered for emigration going straight through to Utah, the George Washington and the Westmoreland. Casper was booked on the George Washington as a carpenter, age 21; his passage was listed as three pounds, and he was one of 127 named to go on to Utah by handcart. There were 817 passengers, mostly British, but there were several from the Swiss Mission with Orson Pratt listed as agent. Elder James L. Parks was chosen President of the Company, and there were several other returning Elders in the group. At the end of the voyage, Captain Cummings wrote a compliment letter to )President Parks saying, “I am free to acknowledge that on no previous voyage have my passengers conducted themselves so orderly and peaceably as those in your charge; cleanliness morality, sobriety, reciprocating of favors and general good behavior were pre-eminently conspicuous in the conduct and character.”
They sailed from Liverpool on 28 March 1857 and after a “speedy and prosperous” voyage of 23 days, they landed in Boston on 20 April 1857. There had been four deaths and one birth during that time. Those intending to go st4raight through to Utah left by rail that same afternoon going by way of Albany and Buffalo. They reached Iowa City on the 30th where they were met by James A. Little, the emigration agent. He had provided tents, wagon covers, and commodities to make them comfortable for the night, and the next day a supply of provisions arrived and everyone set busily to work preparing for the journey across the plains.
There were two handcart companies that crossed the plains that summer: the Sixth or Evans Company, and the Seventh or Christensen Company which consisted mostly of Scandinavian Saints who had come on the Westmoreland. The Evans Company left Florence, Nebraska on 13 June 1857 and arrived in the Valley on 11-12 September 1857. There has been no roster found of either of these parties but the Evans Company consisted of 149 souls, 80 of whom were women and 28 children under six years of age. There were 28 handcarts and a four mule team to pull extra provisions. The Journal History states also that “they all arrived in good spirits.” The Christensen Company arrived a few days later, but as Casper describes his journey he apparently was in the Evans Company.
A crude and lifeless thing of wood–
Two wheels, two shafts, and a box.
Yet it rolled the road to a Zion home
With never a mule or ox.
Propelled by blood of the human heart.
Creeping thirteen hundred miles
It squeaked and groaned and whined
Through dust, and rivers of mud and sweat,
Greased with a bacon rind.
At night, as silent as the graves
New-hidden under grassy waves
Hand-fashioned, this rude family cart
Of Iowa hickory, oak,
No iron strength in the rustic art
Of axle, shaft, or spoke
Creaking along while the pioneers plod,
Choraling anthems to their God.
But the lowly cart, with its miracle wheel
As timeless as the poor,
Was a circle of faith that eased the way
To an inland Salt-sea shore.
A man and wife, its walking team,
Trundling a baby and a dream!
He walked the entire distance of 1300 miles, and when crossing rivers, he waded through mushy ice up to his waist, sometimes carrying women and children across on his back. He told his children that they often sang as they went; such songs as “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull, as we go marching up the hill, as merrily on the way, we go, until we reach the valley, oh.”
They often went hungry as the food was rationed out to them. They were given ½ pint of flour each day which they could prepare as they wished. As Casper was a strong, healthy lad, he often gave part of his rations to others whom he felt needed it more than he. However, the long tedious journey, the exposure to cold, and the lack of food broke down his health. He developed a very bad cough which remained with him the rest of his life. He says only, “A tedious journey it was. I arrived in Utah in September 1857, well worn out from the hardships of the plains.” He never was heard to complain about the hardships endured for the Gospel’s sake.
The year 1857 brought troublesome times to the Saints; Johnston’s army was on its way to “subdue the Saints” and the Indians were giving trouble tin the outlying settlements. As Casper says, “There was trouble in every way and to get work was hard,” but he found employment under John D. Lee as a carpenter. They were fed potatoes and black coffee made from roasted grain, without any sugar. They had no bread for six weeks. He said that John D. Lee was an honest man and treated his employees as he himself would want to be treated.
When Johnston’s army finally established themselves at Camp Floyd, Casper was employed to help build the barracks there. It was at this time that he met a good looking French girl and her mother. They probably thought that as he was making good wages, he would be a “good catch.” He and this french lass were married and he moved in with them. Apparently she was a “high flyer” and wanted to go dancing and sporting each night. Casper worked hard and was in no mood to go out every night to celebrate.
The girl and her mother continued to “hang around” Camp Floyd. When Casper came home after work expecting to find a wife and supper waiting for him, he usually found only dirty dishes. After only two weeks of this type of life, he returned home from work one evening and his wife’s dog ran at him, grabbed his pants, and tore a strip of cloth from them the full length of his new pants.
His wife and her mother stood by laughing so as Casper says, “This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” He went to a lawyer and asked what he could do about the situation. The lawyer made out a bill of divorcement and told him to have the girl and her mother sign it. When he took it to them for signatures, the girl turned to her mother and said, “Shall we sign it?” Her mother said, “Sure.” Thus the short marriage was terminated with no alimony to pay,.
When President Young called a group of people to settle Dixie in October Conference 1861, Casper had a good job making counters and doing cabinet work for stores. He had been earning six or seven dollars a day and accumulated quite a little property, but he answered the call to go south. They were advised to consider marriage before they left Salt Lake City, so on 9 November 1861 Casper married Anna Katherina Gubler, who was one of the recently arrived Swiss converts to the Church.
They traveled to Dixie with the Swiss company of 85 persons. George A. Smith said of them, “We met a company of 14 wagons led by Daniel Bonneli. They excited much curiosity through the country by their singing and good cheer. They expect to settle at Santa Clara village, where there is a reservation of land selected for them that is considered highly adaptable to grape culture. Six of the wagons were furnished by the Church.” (Millennial Star 24:41-42)
They arrived in Santa Clara on 28 November 1861, Casper and Katherina had their own ox team, covered wagon, plow, shovel, hoe and other farming implements and a few of the comforts of life many of the company did not have. Some had nothing with which to start their new life there. They drove to the Fort where they camped around the adobe meeting house. Those who had covered wagons used them, and the others built willow wigwams for their shelter. After three weeks, it was decided to make a permanent townsite below the point of the hill, on the bend of the creek where they would be safer from flood water and the land appeared to be fertile.
A survey of the new townsite was made, the land dedicated by Elder Bonneli; their lots were numbered and drawn from a hat. Each family was given three different pieces of land. They immediately set to work to prepare for winter.
Since the Indian missionaries had been in Santa Clara several years, they had orchards, vineyards, and farm land already producing along the creek, but the spring and summer was a hard one for all the settlers who by now were in dire circumstance. Dudley Leavitt made a trip north for a load of flour which he divided among the people according to the size and need of the family; a pan full here and a part of a sack there. During the summer he killed several head of beef, giving each family a piece of fresh meat, and the settlers learned to eat sego roots and “pig weeds,” a sort of wild spinach.
The story is told of Samuel Stucki walking to Cedar City to earn money for food, leaving what little there was for his family. When he was about fifty miles from home, he met Casper Gubler, one of his neighbors, who was driving home from a trip north. Samuel was so dizzy from hunger that he could scarcely walk. When Casper saw him reeling along the road, he called out and asked if he were drunk. Samuel replied, “Only hungry, I’ve had nothing to eat for three days.” At that Casper gave him bread and meat to strengthen him for his further journey. (As related by his daughter, Mary Ann Hafen)
Casper’s daughter, Rose Ann, tells this story: “When father was using an ox team, he had to run his oxen out over night on the bench to feed.. One morning when he went out to get them, they were gone,. He found their tracks headed for the Indian farm which plainly showed that they were being driven by an Indian. He went on and finally could see them with a large Indian hurrying them along. Father encircled them and was attempting to drive them back when the angry Indian swung his tomahawk in the air and threatened to kill him if he didn’t let the oxen go. About this time a white man came along on horseback, saw what was going on and said, “You let this man have his oxen.” The Indian gave no more trouble, but slunk off into the bushes. I don’t remember the white man’s name (I think it was Jacob Hamblin), but he had a great influence with the Indians.
Casper stood guard many nights when the Indians were bad. He used his old muzzle loader gun which his son, Emil, still owns.
Casper and Katherina were parents of four children: Selina, Mary, Casper A., who died at 13 months of age, and Jacob J. Gubler.
In 1870 Casper took a plural wife, Magdalena, daughter of his wife Katherina. She died just two weeks after the birth of her first child, Henry.
On 22 November 1877 Casper married Polina Rosby. She lived in a small house one block west of the chapel where the Emil Gubler home now stands. When her first child was 10 days old, she had such a “hankering for green grapes that she got up out of bed, went out into the lot and age some.” She died a few days after. Her baby died also.
On September 1886 Casper married Agnes Florence Horsley, a young convert to the church from England. They were the parents of six children: Casper Ensign, Ida Florence, Rose Ann, Alice Otilla, Samuel Robert and Emil, making a total for Casper of 12 children plus an adopted daughter, Eleanor, daughter of Agnes Florence.
Casper went on a mission to Switzerland and Germany just two years after this last marriage, leaving a young wife with two little children to care for. The damp climate of Switzerland did not agree with him due to his lung trouble, and he became very ill. His landlady wrote to the Mission President and told him if Brother Gubler wasn’t released, they would send him home in a box. He has told the story of being baptized for his health. It was wintertime and the ice had to be broken. He had to be carried into the water, but he said that he was able to walk out and felt that he was almost healed by the power of God.
After eighteen months he received an honorable release from his mission and returned home, but his health was such that many times during his life he was lying ill when he needed to be at work providing for his family.
The settlers had many problems with stray cattle and irrigation water. No one wanted his grain ruined when it was almost ready to be harvested, but that is what happened to Casper. One season he came in pale, tired and heartsick for his grain that he had been counting on for bread for the winter had been trampled and partly eaten off. He tried stray penning the animals but their owners would let them out of the pen at nights and the next day the cattle were back again.
One day he put these cattle into the stray pen and stood guard all night long. As a weapon, he took his old single barreled shotgun which wouldn’t shoot. After a while the neighbor came to get his cattle and was determined to do so. Casper said, “If you come any closer I’ll bang this gun over your head.” The man left but had Casper arrested for carrying a deadly weapon. He was tried in Bishop’s Court in St. George and won, receiving money for the straypen bill.
The water was the life blood of the community and was always very scarce. Some of the people often tried to “borrow” a little from their neighbor’s turn. This was a source of many arguments and fights. Casper often not well and could not stand up for his rights, so there were some who took advantage of him. After his son, Jacob (Jake) grew up, offenders were more careful of their water turns. Jake was a large, powerful young man who stood up for his rights and saw that justice was done.
However, Jake moved to Lund, Nevada in 1899 and Casper’s son, Henry, died, so the water problems began again. Jake was still able to help his father out occasionally. When Casper’s house began to leak and needed a new covering, it was Jake who sent money to buy the shingles and Ensign put them on the house. He also helped out when tax time rolled around.
Casper continued to work on his farm with the help of his sons, Ensign, Sam, and Emil, until his death at age 82 years.
Only a short time before his death, he walked out to the vineyard to turn the water. It was November and the weather was cool. His foot slipped and he fell into the ditch. He dragged himself out and walked the mile home but was chilled to the bone and contracted bronchitis from which he never recovered. He died on 8 December 1917.
Biography of Casper Gubler
Written by Lula Stucki, for the English Department of the Dixie Normal College during the winter of 1916-17. This project was sponsored by the Genealogical Committee of the St. George Stake Relief Society with Josephine J. Miles as Chairman. Copied by Ella J. Seegmiller, County Historian of DUP in April 1943.
Casper Gubler, one of the early, sturdy pioneers, who helped to build up the Dixie Country, was born August 1, 1835 in the little farming village of Mulheim, Thurgau Canton, Switzerland.
His parents were Margerite Dinkel Gubler and Heinrich Gubler, both natives of Switzerland, who lived and died in their native land. They were both staunch and devoted members of the Reform Church of Switzerland. They had a large family which they often found difficult to feed and clothe. His father owned a small farm, and did a little carpentry work on the side, which helped along considerably in making a living.
Although Casper’s parents were poor, he gained a very good education in the public schools of Switzerland, which ran the whole year, except for two or three weeks during the busiest harvest time. All children were compelled to attend these schools, and if a father kept his son out he was heavily fined.
Casper entered the public school at the age of five, and remained there until he was fifteen years old, at which time he had completed the schooling given in the public schools. It was during this fifteenth year of his life, that he suffered a very great loss, for during this year both his father and mother died. His mother died in the spring, and his father in the fall of the same year. This great crisis came into his young life just at the time when he most needed parental guidance and instruction. However, he ever forgot their splendid teachings and instructions. These he always tried to put into practice.
Casper stayed out of school one year, during which time he worked in the city of Zurich. The next year he entered a trade school or was apprenticed out three years to learn the “goiness” Trade, as it was called in German, but means practically the same as the Carpenter’s Trade.
He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in August 1854, having been converted and baptized by Elder Myers, one of the first Elders that came to Switzerland. He was the first member of the family to join the Church, his father and mother having died several years before this time. All the rest of the family except two, joined the Church and later emigrated to Utah. Before joining the Mormon Church, Casper belonged to the same church as his parents, the Reform Church.
In 1857, he left his home, friends, and relatives, and his dear native land, to journey to that far off land in the valleys of the mountains, and arrived in Utah that same dear. He started on his journey across the plains in Israel Evans handcart company, from Iowa City in May, and was on the way fourteen long, weary weeks before finally reaching Utah. The company arrived at Salt Lake City in September, 1857.
On the journey, nothing unusual happened. They held their regular meetings, had singing and prayer every morning and night. Only two deaths occurred in the company on the journey, those being a Mrs. White and a young child. In crossing the plains, Mr. Gubler had nearly all of the pulling of a loaded hardcart to do alone, and often had to let the aged man of seventy-five and the aged woman of seventy, ride in the cart.
On arriving at Salt Lake City, he was completely exhausted and worn out. Though he was a young man this strain had been too great on him, for after staying in Salt Lake City only a week, he went to Lehi with a Bryner family, where immediately after arriving, he took sick. It was thought that the disease he had was consumption, and all winter long he had to keep to his bed. Many times he was so bad that he was not expected to live, but in the spring he began to improve gradually, and after some months, was well and quite strong again.
He stayed in Lehi about nine months, then went to Provo, where he got a job in a machine shop. He stayed with this job about a year, then went to Salt Lake City where he worked in a furniture shop for a few months. From there he went to Ogden, where he took up a small farm. He stayed here bout a year, when he was called by Brigham Young to settle and build up the Dixie Country.
In November 1861, he left Ogden with four span of oxen, and joined the main company of pioneers who came to Dixie in 1861. They were on the way about a month, their progress being slow on account of the large company, the great number of cattle, and in many places they had to make their own road.
On arriving in Dixie, Mr. Gubler with many other pioneers, settled on the Santa Clara, a little settlement just five miles west of St. George. Here there were just a few old settlers who had been there for a few years, acting more as Indian Missionaries than settlers. Two of these were Brother Samuel Knight an Jacob Hamblin, who were always called upon to settle disputes with the Indians.
Six months before starting for the Dixie Mission, Mr. Gubler was married at Salt Lake City, May 1861, to Catherine Gubler. He took his bride with him to Dixie, and on reaching there, a hard life stared them in the face, but bravely they fought side by side. They could scarcely make a living, and many times they scarcely had enough to eat. However, they were as well off as the other settlers if not better than quite a number. Foodstuffs were very expensive, flour at one time cost twenty-five dollars a hundred. Mrs. Gubler was young and strong, however, and often went to the neighboring settlements where he could get jobs doing carpenter work. In this way he was able to get along fairly well, and soon had him a comfortable home and a small farm.
His life’s work, as one can plainly see, has been pioneering mostly, and trying to live up to the requirements of the gospel. It has satisfied the ideal of his childhood fairly well.
Some of the things that have most influenced his life, he says, were his father’s early teachings, one of which was “to always choose good company.” “This always had a great influence on me, and I always try to seek good company.. This is one reason why I joined the Mormons, for I knew if I did, I would be in good company.” “My religion, too, was the greatest factor in influencing my life, for I knew if I would but live up to its requirements, I would be on the right track.”
In 1888, he was called to go on a mission to Switzerland, but he only stayed one year, having to be released on account of ill health. After being home a while, he was appointed Counselor to the President of the Quorum of Elders, which position he held until he was put in President. This position he held for twelve years. For thirty years he labored faithfully as a Ward Teacher. He was also a school trustee for many years.
His occupations have been mostly farming and carpentry work. At present, he is too aged to do very much work, but he is still quite hale and hearty, cheerful, and full of humor. Although he is now eighty-one years old, he generally walks out to his little farm, only a short distance from town, once a day. He does not appear to be so old as he really is, and he has good prospects of living several more years.
He has raised two large families which are a credit to their community. He has always been a prominent citizen in his church and community, and still attends the Sabbath Meetings. He loves especially to go visit and chat with his children, friends, and relatives, now that he is too old to work.
He has always been a thrifty industrious person, who has a strong sense of justice, and tried to treat everyone else justly. He has done very much in helping to build up the Dixie Country.
Anna Katherina Gubler Gubler
Anna Katherina Gubler was born in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland on 25 November 1825. She was the second of six children born to Joseph and Katherina Jack Gubler. She was baptized by the Mormon Elders on 12 June 1859 (according to Swiss Mission records), and that same fall she , with her six year old daughter Magdalena, her brother Heinrich and sister Magdalena, left for America. They left Liverpool, England on Saturday, 20 August 1859 on the ship “Emerald Isle” in a company of 54 s\Saints, 50 of whom were from the Swiss-Italian Mission, and four from England. Captain Cornish brought them safely to New York after six weeks on the water. Johannes Gubler with his wife and four children, Anna Marie, Louise, Johannes (John) and Herman were also on this ship.
In Florence, Nebraska, they prepared for their western trek,. Katherina, her daughter and sister came in their brother Heinrich’s wagon, with a total of nine persons, four oxen, three cows and one heifer. Captain Jesse Murphy was in charge of their wagon train of 279 persons, 38 wagons, 164 oxen, and 39 cows. They left Florence on 19 June 1860 and, after a successful journey, arrived at the public square in Salt Lake City about noon of Thursday, 30 August 1860. There had been no deaths in the company but two children were born en route.
Kathrina married Casper Gubler in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 9 November 1861. Casper had sent money to Switzerland to help bring the Saints to Utah, and she was one of the recipients. Though they had the same surname, they didn’t know they were related, but through our genealogical research, we have found that they both were descendants of Hans Adam Gubler (about 1610). Katherina came down through his first wife, Klara Schmidt, and Casper through his second wife, Margaretha Wurt.
Casper had previously married a French girl from whom he was separated after about two weeks of marriage. He and Katherina had four children: Selina, Mary, Casper A., who died at age 13 months, and Jacob J. Gubler.
When Katherina’s daughter, Magdalena was 15 years of age, she became the plural wife of Casper, her mother’s husband. Two years later she died when her first child Henry was born. Katherina took him to her breast, weaning five month old Jacob, and reared him as her own son.
Katherina worked hard, helping her husband in the field and with the fruit. She was a very devout Latter-day Saint. Her son, Jacob said that he often found her in the vineyard on her knees, praying vocally to our Heavenly Father.
Anna Katherina was left with her boys in later years; Casper had married Polena Rosby who also had died with the birth of her first child, the child dying also. Then on 16 September 1886 he married Agnes Florence Horsley, and they were the parents of six children.
Her daughter Selina had married, 11 December 1879, Herman Gubler, and Mary had married, 31 May 1883, Christian Stucki, and they now had families of their own. Jacob took care of the garden, farm and peddling while Henry served a mission to Switzerland. He married on 29 January 1896 Agnes Mary Horsley, and they lived with his mother until she passed away, the following year, 26 May 1897. Henry had only been married a few weeks at this time.
Anna Katherina told my mother, Agnes, that she spoke to her boys in Swiss but they answered her in English. So they seemed to be able to communicate by using both languages. The boys had spoken only Swiss until they entered the first grade of school.
My mother taught us all how to make excellent noodles – a favorite dish of the whole family. She said that it was our grandmother, Katherina Gubler, who had shown her how to make them. The Swiss people are noted for their noodles, bread, et5c., and I think of Grandma when I am cutting my noodles very fine and thread-like.
Magdalena Gubler was born in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland to Katherina Gubler. The only account we read says she came to Utah with her mother, Katherina Gubler and her mother’s sister Magdalena and her husband Heinrich when she was only six years old. Her mother married Casper Gubler in Salt Lake City when they reached Utah. Casper had sent money to Switzerland to help saints come over and they had been recipients. They came to Santa Clara in 1861.
When Magdalena was fifteen years old she married Casper Gubler, her mother’s husband, as a plural wife. Two years later she died when her first child, Henry was born. Her mother raised him as her own.
Johannes (John) & Mary Ursula Muller Gubler
Johannes (John) Gubler was born in Mullheim, Switzerland, 29 November 1818, the third son born to Hans Heinrich and Anna Margaretha Dinckel Gubler. Maria Mary Ursulla Muller was born at Eilhart, Switzerland , 10 January 1823. They were married 29 March 1849 at Mullheim, Switzerland where they were living when they were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were parents of seven children, three of whom died in infancy. The four who grew to maturity were Anna Mary, Louisa, John and Herman.
In Switzerland they had a comfortable home and a small piece of land and a small store. Johannes was a salesman. He would take the goods and go to different towns nearby and sell them while Maria, his wife, took care of the vegetable garden and her family. The family had heard rumors about the Mormon missionaries but hadn’t met any of them. As Grandmother was greatly opposed to the missionaries from the stories she had heard, Grandfather, after meeting them, attended some of their meetings without her knowing about it. He took a liking to them and believed what they preached. One day, he told her that some missionaries were going to hold a meeting at a nearby town and asked if she and the children would like to go with him and hear them. She consented to go and take the children, not knowing what church the missionaries represented. Grandmother liked the meeting and the doctrine taught very much so they went often and it wasn’t long until she and Grandfather were converted and baptized.
They were anxious to emigrate to America so they could live their religion and worship as they wanted to without being persecuted and shunned by their friends. They sold everything they had for what they could get and left Switzerland in August 1859. They were six weeks crossing the Atlantic ocean from Liverpool to New York. Anna Mary was eight years old and she became very ill while crossing the ocean so they had to remain at Williamsburg, a small town near New York, for two months until she was well enough to go on their journey by train to Florence, Nebraska where the rest of the company were.
That was as far as the train went. The company stopped there and got their outfits ready to go on to Salt Lake City. They still had 1,000 miles to go with wagons pulled by oxen. The men worked day and night making wagons and getting their outfits ready for their long journey. It was a long, tiresome trip across the plains. When they finally reached Ogden, they were getting low on food so they stopped there and got work of different kinds to earn money for food.
Grandfather was given a piece of land on which to raise some crops. The family lived there one year and were getting along quite nicely when, at the general conference of the Church in October 1861, President Brigham Young called a company of 309 missionaries to go to Southern Utah. Included in the number was what was designated as the Swiss Company. They all joined and formed a company with Daniel Bonelli of Salt Lake City as their leader.
He could speak both the Swiss and English language. Teams were provided by the Church to take them south. The route they followed was practically that of the state highway of today. As they had had experience in grape culture, they were told to go to Santa Clara and raise grapes and cotton, both of which had been grown there successfully prior to that time. An Indian mission had been established at Santa Clara a few years previously and approximately twenty families were living at the fort called Fort Clara. The company arrived November 28, 1861. They drove to the fort where they camped for about three weeks. Then it was decided to make a permanent townsite below the point of the hill on the bend of the river where homes would be safer from the flood waters of the creek. Preliminary arrangements had been made with the original settlers to relinquish their claims in favor of those recently arrived. This was carried out and Santa Clara had a new beginning.
A survey of the new townsite was made in December. The people assembled on December 22 for the dedication at which Elder Daniel Bonelli offered the dedicatory prayer. Lots and vineyards were laid out and the settlers drew for their plots of ground. During the month a dam in the creek and a ditch to the new townsite had been built. This was completed by December 25 at a cost of one thousand and thirty dollars. Men were given two dollars credit per day for their labor. The very day this dam was completed rain began falling and it continued to rain for a prolonged period of time. On New Year’s day a terrific flood swept away the Fort and other buildings of the original townsite and destroyed the dam and canal just completed. They then had to begin anew to build the town and all pertaining to it. They set to their task with vigor so that by March 16 they had again completed the construction of the dam and a canal to the townsite.
After the lots and vineyards had been plotted, corresponding numbers were written on sheets of paper and placed in a hat. Brother Bonelli drew the numbers from the hat and allotted them to the various families. The land was nothing but sagebrush and grease woods so they set to work to clear it and make ditches.
By spring their food supply was so low they had to gather pig weeds to cook, which served as their food with a scanty bit of bread for many weeks. They were three weeks without any white bread and had just a bit of cornbread. In those days they would save a small dab of dough to start the next batch of bread. One day father (Herman) found a piece of this sour dough which Grandmother had saved. It was dried and hard as a rock but he ate it eagerly. When Grandmother saw him, it made her cry to think her young boy had to go so hungry.
The first year their main crop was corn. Since better bread could be made with part wheat to go with the corn, Grandmother and all the children except Louisa went north with many other people to glean wheat for their winter bread. Grandfather stayed home to run the farm and Louisa stayed to cook and help him. This went on for several years. The last year they went north to glean wheat, John, the oldest son, became very sick with malaria. Then Mary and Herman contacted it so they had to return home.
At about this time they received a $150 they still had coming from the sale of their home in Switzerland. With this they bought some land across the creek, known as the south fields. There were three rows of peach trees on the land just beginning to bear. The land was purchased from some English people who lived at the old fort. They dried the peaches and raised cane which they made into molasses. In the fall Grandfather went up north with the dried peaches and molasses and traded them for flour and potatoes. In this way they got along much better during the winters. Grandfather couldn’t speak English very well so he took one of the boys along with him to interpret, and they made many life-long friends with whom they were able to stop overnight while on these trips.
In those first years there weren’t any doctors or nurses so the women cared for each other when they had their babies. Grandmother acted as nurse to many women during their confinement.
After things were a little better, Grandfather bought a team of mules. Father told of the trip his mother and father took to Salt Lake City with a load of dried peaches. They took him along to help drive as Grandfather didn’t know much about driving or handling a team. In fact, he never had had any experience with horses or mules, and he was quite nervous.
When they got to Cove Fort, one of their wheels was about to give way so the man living there told them if they would stop over a day, he would make them a new wheel. In those days they made the wheels from all wood. After the wheel was made, they went on their way and got along nicely until they were driving down main street in Salt Lake City. The Pony Express that carried the mail came along and frightened the mules. It caused them to run and tip the wagon over, and the dried peaches were scattered all over the streets. People came from every direction to help gather up the peaches. Grandfather was so excited about his load he hadn’t noticed Grandmother was hurt. He was told that she had been taken to the hospital. He was very excited and found she was badly injured, but the doctor told him she would be all right. She was in the hospital for three weeks before she could go home.
In those days grass grew along the sides of the roads. As there wasn’t much hay, people turned their animals out at night to eat the grass. Sometimes they would stray off and the men would have to hunt them next morning. This happened on their way home, and they spent all day looking for the mules but couldn’t find them. That night they prayed to our Father in Heaven that they might find them. The next morning the mules were found next to where they were camped, and they went on their way rejoicing and thanking their Heavenly Father for helping them.
They lived in their dugouts until they could make a house of adobes. This they lived in for many years. Then Grandfather and the boys went up on the Pine Valley Mountain and worked to earn lumber to build a two-room frame house. Later they built a larger home which consisted of three large rooms and two porches.
Grandfather and Grandmother were always ready and willing to help do their part in building up the town and community. Grandfather helped build the first public building on the square which was made of adobes. This served as church house, school house, and amusement hall for many years. Grandfather also assisted in the construction of the St. George Temple. He and the boys hauled lumber from the Pine Valley Mountain and Mount Trumble. In all their hardships and struggles they both stayed true and firm in their belief.
Grandfather’s health was quite poor in his later years, but he was only bedfast a few days before his death. He died 2 January 1897, being 79 years old. Grandmother only lived four years after Grandfather’s death.
Mary Gubler Wittwer
Information from history written by daughter, Josephine Wittwer Hughes.
Anna Mary Gubler was born 17 December 1850 in Mullheim, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. Her father was John Gubler born 29 November 1818 in Mulheim, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. Her mother was Maria Ursula Muller Gubler born 10 January 1823 at Eichard, Urgoldingen, Switzerland.
She had one sister Louis and two brothers John and Harmon. Three other children died in infancy.
They lived in a comfortable two-story home in Mullheim until she was eight years of age.
About this time Mormon missionaries came to nearby towns and there they held meetings and preached the new religion and explained their doctrines. Grandfather often attended these meetings and appreciated the message he heard, but grandmother just heard rumors about the Mormons and at first was opposed.
One Saturday grandfather said to grandmother, “There are going to be some men preachers Sunday at a nearby town. Let’s go hear them.” So Sunday morning grandfather and grandmother and the children all went. They liked the message of the missionaries very much so they went more and more and then they accepted this new religion and were baptized in 1859. Mother was also baptized at this time, but the other children weren’t old enough.
After being baptized, they were persecuted by their former friends as they were anxious to be with the Saints in Utah. They sold their comfortable home and land for what they could get and left on the train for the sea coast in August 1859.
At Liverpool, England, they, with many other Swiss Saints, prepared to set sail across the Atlantic Ocean to America. They were six weeks crossing. While sailing mother and others were very seasick. She often heard folks say, “Mary can’t live until morning.” But through faith and prayers, she became much better.
Finally they reached America and for some time they remained in Williamsburg near New York City until mother got some stronger and then they left by train for Florence, Nebraska to meet the Swiss Company. There they got their outfits ready to cross the 2,000 miles of plains to Salt Lake City. These outfits consisted of an ox team, a wagon, and two cows.
They arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall of 1859 and moved to Ogden where they, with others of the Swiss Company, stayed for about two years.
In November 1861 Brigham Young called them and others of the Swiss Company to settle and build the southern part of Utah. Grandfather and family settled with the others of the company in Santa Clara, Utah.
All needed to help in different ways to get food. Mother, with her mother and brothers, gleaned wheat in New Harmony and Cedar City while her father and her sister took care of things at home. Later on, they dried peaches to take to Beaver, along with other things, which they peddled. Mother, being the oldest child, first went with grandfather for company and to interpret the English language, for grandfather could not speak English. Very often on their return trips they saw Indians; and when meeting these wild savages, grandfather had mother go inside the covered wagon, and he would silently pray that the Indians would not harm them. His prayers were answered, for they returned home unmolested.
Grandfather bought a loom while he peddled in Beaver. Mother and her sister and two brothers gathered wool from the bushes after sheep had passed by and used the wool to make thread. They raised cotton, picked it and pulled it from the seed and then made it up into cloth.
When mother was older she learned from grandmother how to card, spin, and weave and made cloth for clothes, sheets, and blankets. She knit stockings and later on taught her children how to knit.
Mother married Samuel Wittwer in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 22 November 1869 and soon afterwards she wove and made a suit for him.
To this couple were born twelve children: John Samuel, Harmon, Mary Magdalina, Joseph, Anna Rosella, John Hyrum, Henry, George, Theodore, Josephine, Allen, and Julius Clarence. Two of the children died in infancy but the other ten all married in the Temple and raised nice families.
Mother worked in the Relief Society for several years. Eliza Ann Ensign was president, Susetta Hafen was first counselor and Mother was second counselor. She helped in taking care of the silk worms and fed them mulberry leaves. She enjoyed cleaning and fixing up the Relief Society room in which they met for their meetings.
Mother and the boys helped to gather grain for the Relief Society, and it was stored away so they had grain in case of an emergency.
For several years she was president of the Primary Association. Her helpers enjoyed working with her and the boys liked to attend. They learned the “Articles of Faith” and had other things to memorize. The Stake Officers attended Primary frequently and mother usually treated them to chicken dinner.
Mother was kind and sociable and considerate of everyone she saw. She noticed the good qualities each one had and mentioned them. This, people appreciated very much. She taught her children, when they were married, to find out how to get along with each other. If one way didn’t work, they were to try another way.
She taught us to take advantage of our opportunities to sing and learn music. She encouraged us to play the organ and later on the piano and guitar and mandolin.
Mother gave our oldest sister, Mary, the advantage of drafting patterns for dresses, so Mary an Rosella made clothes for the family. She also made nice woolen flowers.
Mother sacrificed things herself in order that her children could attend school regularly. And when they had finished school in Santa Clara, they could go to the high school and some went on to college.
She loved flowers and was quite a hand to have a nice flower garden. She loved making bouquets with them and let us smaller children carry them to the sick as well as to others.
Mother was a good tithe payer and kept the Word of Wisdom.
Brigham Young advised plural marriage and mother and father believed that they should take the advice of the leaders. They were prayerful about it and so father married Bertha Tobler. She lived in our home with us until she had two children of her own.
While father was on his nearly two-year mission, mother helped Samuel and Harmon take care of the lots and fields while Aunt Bertha helped take care of things in the house. In the fall they began to gather crops. With the team and wagon they brought the beets and carrots they had harvested from across the creek and brought them home to put in a pit. One of the menfolks in town say them, and he said to mother: “The menfolks will gather the rest and pit them.” They did.
Three of mother’s sons, Harmon, Joseph and John went on missions to Switzerland for 2 ½ years each.
Our brothers and sisters helped in the fields, shocking grain, etc.. Mother advised each of us to keep straight and not to do anything that we should not do. Before we left home for school or work, she advised us to be “clean.” This was valuable advice and when we were married, we were all worthy to get married in the temple.
Mother had some beautiful thoughts and she wrote: “We should teach our children so they will be useful. They can learn to help in God’s work. They must make an effort so that they will make the world more good and beautiful.”
As the United Order discontinued in Santa Clara, some thought they should be more humble, so some joined in the United Order in Price, a few miles south of St. George. Father, mother and two children Samuel and Harmon and father’s parents, and a few others from Santa Clara, went to Price. Mother was appointed manager for the cooking of the meals. All had meals in a large room at long tables. The women worked together nicely and took turns doing the work assigned. They were nice and sociable with each other. The men took care of the land. Later on, they became selfish and the Order was broken up.
Mother stayed with her oldest daughter, Mary, at Washington for some time because Mary had bad health at that time. She had the bad disease of dropsy. William Tobler (Mary’s husband) and mother decided to have a day of fasting and prayer in her behalf. They asked the Relief Society president, Rosie Hafen, of Santa Clara and the members to fast that day. The sisters had a prayer circle and William and Brother Sorensen administered to her. The bad swelling left. Mary was healed and that disease never bothered her again.
Grandfather Gubler died January 2, 1897.
Our grandparents home was close by ours and after grandfather died, grandmother was with us much of the time.
Once mother’s second oldest daughter, Rosella, went into grandmother’s front room while grandmother was in our house, and a voice spoke to her. It was grandfather’s voice, and he repeated the same word three times – speaking to her in Swiss. Rosella went directly to grandmother, mother and the rest of us and repeated exactly what was said to her. Rosella said, “There is one word that he said which I don’t understand.” Grandfather had said to her: The sealings are to be done here. He said it in Swiss, and she did not understand the word “sealings.” Grandfather and grandmother had been sealed to each other and had their endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, but they had not yet, at that time, had their children sealed to them. They were very anxious to have that done. In May 1900 the sealings were done in the St. George Temple.
Mother and her daughters took care of grandmother most of the time during the 1 ½ years of her sickness. During that sickness, mother was thoughtful, and one time gave a surprise party for grandmother in which she invited many of Grandmother’s life-long friends. They all enjoyed the time they spent with each other that day.
Mother and father planned to prepare on Saturday so that we could observe Sunday in the way that we should. Mother and we girls cleaned the house and polished the shoes. We had our baths and fixed things for Sunday dinner on Saturday.
The latter part of November in 1927 mother was sick with a bad stroke. She was then helpless for over eight months. Julius was there with her. Father and Aunt Bertha were with her also. The four sisters and grand-daughters took care of her. Mother always did like to see and visit with people, and during her illness, people were very kind to come and see her. She died 16 June 1928 and was buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery.
Herman was born on 11 December 1857 in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland. His parents were Johannes (John) and Mary Ursula Muller Gubler. They were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emigrated to America sailing from Liverpool, England on 20 August 1859 on the Emerald Isle and arriving in Utah in the fall of 1860. Herman wasn’t quite three when they left Switzerland. The only thing he could remember about the voyage was when his mother took him out on the deck of the ship to watch the fish, and the wind blew off his little red cap into the ocean. He felt very badly about losing his cap.
Their first year was spent in Ogden. The, his parents along with other Swiss Emigrants were called by President Young to go to Southern Utah to build up that country and raise cotton and grapes; this was in 1861.
Herman grew up experiencing the hardships of his parents and the Swiss Company as they pioneered in building up the country. He remembered how hard they had to work clearing the land and digging canals and ditches to get the water on to the land. They also had trouble with the Indians, who came into their homes and helped themselves to anything they could find even to the last bit of bread if the menfolk were not there.
At first they couldn’t raise wheat but raised quite a bit of corn which they used to make bread. The children went around after the harvest and gleaned what corn was left and sold it to travelers going to California to feed their teams. For several years they lived in dugouts. These were made by digging a large hole in the ground, then placing poles and limbs across the top and covering it with dirt. One spring it had been raining and there was grass all around. They had staked out their milk cow and she got loose and walked on top of the roof to eat the grass growing there. The family all ran out to see what had happened; there was their cow with her foot stuck in the roof; and they had to help her out.
As a boy, Herman would go with his mother, brother John, sister Mary, and other Swiss neighbors to glean wheat at New Harmony, Cedar City, and Parowan while his father and sister Louisa stayed home to care for the crops. This lasted for several years. Then, his father received $150 from Switzerland for some of his property there and bought a piece of land across the creek from an English family. They had already planted three rows of peach trees which had just started to bear fruit. They dried the fruit in those days and took it north where they traded it for potatoes, wheat and flour. They raised sugar cane and made it into molasses which they also traded for foodstuffs. Herman’s father couldn’t speak English very well so he took one of his boys along to interpret for him.
When Herman was fifteen, he and his brother John went on the Pine Valley Mountain to help his father, Johannes, get out lumber to build the St. George Temple. They also helped haul rock for the foundation. At age sixteen Herman worked on the Pine Valley Mountain for Fred Blake. For his pay he received a shirt, a pair of trousers and a hat and felt that he really had something. While helping to build a dam on the Virgin River, he and his companions received thirty-five cents a day and paid their own board. This job didn’t last long however.
Herman’s schooling was very limited going only through the third grade, but he was very good in arithmetic. He said that one thing he did learn was the times tables which helped him throughout his life. When he was twenty-five years old, he married Selina Gubler in the St. George Temple on 11 December 1879. By this time he had earned a team and wagon and the lot he was to live on. His youngest son, June, now lives in the family home. There was a two-room adobe house on it which they lived in until their first baby was three weeks old. Herman peddled for a living and was away from home when this home burned down. Selina had taken the baby to see her friend who also just had a baby. While she was gone their home burned to the ground. We can imagine how sad and hard it was for the young couple to lose everything they had and have to start over.
Herman was a hard worker and was away from home a great deal, peddling in the summer and freighting in the winter. He always remembered the children, and when he came home from a trip, he always had a bag of candy or sweet crackers which were really a treat in those days. It took eight or nine days to make the trip out to Delamar and Pioche by team and wagon.
Herman was also athletic, being one of the main baseball players on the team playing St. George, and his team was often victorious. He took a great deal of pride in a beautiful team of horses and owned some of the best saddle and work horses. He homesteaded a cattle ranch south of the Pine Valley Mountain. He had always longed for a place where he could raise cattle and horses; now his dream had come true. It was a beautiful place where he also raised vegetables, wheat, potatoes, and the most delicious winter apples. Two other families owned ranches near by – Benjamin Blake and a Carter family. As busy as they were, the three families took Sundays off and got together at one of the ranches and visited and talked over old times. The children would sit and listen or stroll over the hills to gather flowers or pine gum.
Herman loved little children and always noticed them where ever he went. He was man of deep sympathy and had a sense of humor, always enjoying a good joke. He noticed older people and was charitable to ward the poor. He was active in his Church duties, paid an honest tithe and kept other obligations. He served as President of the Elder’s Quorum, as Ward Teacher and Sunday School teacher. Herman and Selina taught their children to be honest and set a good example for them. They had family prayer both morning and evening, encouraged their children to obey the counsel of those in authority and to serve in the Church whenever they were called to positions. They sent their two oldest sons on missions for the Church: Harmon went to Switzerland and John to the Eastern States Mission.
Herman and Selina were the parents of eleven children: Harmon, John, Selina Rosena, George Henry, Jacob Martin, Eunice, Edmund, Mata, Jetta, Dora and June so they have left a great posterity. Selina died on 26 October 1929. This was very hard for Herman and he was lonely, but three years later he married Mrs. Maria Ray. They were happy together for eight years and she was a good kind wife to him. Herman was very active and worked until he was eighty-one years old. Then, his health broke and Maria was unable to care for him. Her children wanted her to come and live with them, and it was decided that he should live with his children so that they could care for him. Herman was very lonely and failed very fast after Maria left. He had several falls from which he never recovered. He was bedfast only seven days and died on 7 March 1941 at age 85.
Interview between Mrs. Webb and Harmon Gubler of Santa Clara, Utah June 30, 1935
I was born December 11, 1856 in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland. My parents were John and Mary Ursula Muller Gubler. They had a family of four children living at the time they migrated to this country: Mary, age 10; Louisa, 8; John, 6; and myself, 4. They owned a little land and a small store. They raised their own vegetables. Mother took care of the garden and store, while father would go as a salesman and sell his goods.
They were religiously inclined and they met the Mormon Elders and embraced the Gospel. After joining the Mormon Church, they, like many others lost their best friends, and were scorned. My parents were of that sturdy Swiss stock. They were very honest and hard-working people. They, with others of the Swiss Company, migrated to America in the fall of 1859.
It took us forty days and nights to cross the ocean. About the only experience that I can remember on the ship, was losing my cap. I went up on deck with some people and the wind blew it off my head into the ocean.
We stayed in Florence a few months, and early in the spring we started with ox team across the plains for Utah. We reached Ogden in the fall of 1860. The oxen were all worn out from the trip, so we decided to stay there for a while. We were there a year when President Young called us to come on a mission to Dixie.
While we were in Ogden we raised all of our own vegetables. When we started for Dixie we had two oxen and two cows to carry our luggage. Father had a hired man to help drive the oxen and cows. As the oxen were still quite wild, father would have to stand on one side of the wagon and the hired man on the other side in order to keep them guided. In order to hold them in the path, ropes were tied around them and then held by father and the hired man. It took us a month to make the trip from Ogden to Dixie. There was much feed in the line of tall grass for the cattle, and our cattle were quite fat. By the time we reached Dixie, however, the cattle were quite poor. As we did not make many stops on the way down we were able to cover about ten or twelve miles a day. The main thing we had to look for was water. We would have to try to arrange to camp somewhere that there was water.
The worst part of the road we had to travel over was from Kanarra to Dixie. The sand was up to the wagon hub. The main traveled road from Washington followed the Virgin river. There was one place where you would have to keep crossing the river in order to make any headway. They built a road over the Black Ridge. We had to travel up through St. George fields and up towards the Santa Clara Creek in order to reach Santa Clara. We settled in Santa Clara as soon as we arrived in this country. There was nothing but sage brush and greasewood. One part of the valley was covered with timber. The first thing we thought about was a home. My father and others started to build cellars, but in those days we called them dugouts. We lived in these for two or three years. We would cut timber and cover the dugouts over the top in the shape of roofs so that the rain could not get in so easily, but many is the time we have had to dip water out of our homes by the bucketfuls because the roofs did not keep the rain out.
After about twelve or fifteen years father was able to get some lumber from Pine Valley. The first time he got it, he got about five hundred feet. That was considered a lot of lumber. He paid for the load with food stuff. We had to bring the lumber down by way of the Santa Clara Canyon. The roads were very rough. Father made a few more trips to Pine Valley for lumber and then we had enough to build a two-room frame house. Father thought that we were pretty well off after he built this house. After about the second summer we got so we could raise pretty good crops. We had plenty of vegetables, but we were always short on flour. They raised plenty of wheat up around Kanarra, New Harmony, Cedar City, but we could not raise much here. We rigged up the old ox team and left for New Harmony where we were allowed to glean the wheat. Father and Louisa would stay home and take care of things while Mother, sister Mary, and my brother John and I would go to glean. Other members of the group that went to glean at that time were : Mary Hafen, John Hafen, Barbara Graff Pollock, and Jake Pollock.
Father secured a job from John Lee about this time and it lasted about two weeks. We gleaned wheat in New Harmony for about two weeks and then we got an offer to come over to Cedar. It took us two days to go from New Harmony to Cedar City. Here in Cedar we gleaned about ten or twelve bushels of wheat, which was very welcome. By this time Mother was getting anxious to come home and so we came. We did not have any wheat sacks to put the wheat in so mother took the old linen tick, put the wheat inside of it and sewed it together. This made a very good sack. We had the flour milled in the old factory at Washington. We had lived in Santa Clara for several years and this was the first flour we had ever had that we hadn’t had to work very hard for.
The following spring we ran short of flour, and we were out of bread for about three weeks. We used to have sour dough bread. Mother had put some of the sour dough away for a start; one day I ran across it, and even though it was as hard as a rock it tasted good. We used to cook pig weeds and lucern. We would walk for miles to find some of the weeds and lucern so we could cook them to eat. We finally got so that we raised corn and that helped us out a lot.
The second year after we gleaned wheat in New Harmony, we again ran short of flour. We were late in arriving and the fields were quite well-gleaned so we went on the Parowan. Here we found quite a bit of wheat. At this time I took the “Dixie Chills”. I had them very bad at first, then they got so that they came just every other day. My brother, John took down with them also and mother was left without any help. Mother had to work so hard that she also became ill. We had to stay over in Parowan another week until we got over the chills. Then we came home. Mother got so bad on the way that by the time we reached Washington we didn’t know whether we would get her home alive or not.
Everyone talked in the Swiss language at this time. If any Americans came and began talking to our parents or any of the older people, we would have to translate it to them. We children could talk the English language pretty good, but out parents could not talk it at all, when they first came to this country. Several years later when father got things straightened up around home he went to peddling. We raised peaches and vegetables and had some molasses. We sweetened everything with molasses because we didn’t have sugar. Mother used to make preserves with musk melons and molasses. We would string the musk melons u0p on a long string and let them dry for winter use. Some people used to dry watermelons, but we never did because they would dry up to almost nothing.
After he had followed the trade of peddling for some time things began to look pretty good. Father bought a loom while in Beaver on one of his peddling trips and then Mother went to weaving. She made her own thread and yarn. At this time people raised sheep around here. Mother used to send us children out to gather the pieces of wool from the bushes, where it had caught when the sheep passed through them. She would use this wool to make thread and cloth. We also raised our own cotton and we children would have to pull the cotton from the seed with our fingers. She would make it into yarn and then we children would wind it up into certain sized balls.
All our furniture was made by father. We brought our stove over with us from the old country, but other than that everything was homemade. While we were in the old country, father had quite a lot of belongings but everything had to be sold at the lowest possible price. The first land we bought in Santa Clara was a little piece about one and one-half acres which had three rows of peach trees on it. We paid one hundred fifty dollars for it. This money was what father received from his old home in Switzerland about eight years after leaving. The peaches gave us a good start. We used to dry peaches by the tons and take them to Salt Lake City to sell.
Father and mother were married in the old country and they had never received their endowments. They were talking of taking a trip to Salt Lake City with a load of peaches to get their endowments also. A man from Pine Valley offered to let them use his team if they would wait a few days until they returned from a trip back East where they had been taken to bring back some of the settlers. Father and mother decided this was a good idea, so they waited. We had a lot of peaches and thought we could sell them so we took them up with us. Father couldn’t talk English very well so he took me along to interpret it for him. We left with a full load of peaches, father, mother and I. Father had never driven horses before and we had quite a good time laughing at him. Father was nearsighted so I was allowed to drive the team. I was but ten years old, but soon caught on to driving, and could drive quite well before the trip was over. We stopped at Beaver for a couple of days and at Cove Fort for one night. The man at Cove Fort sized it up and said it didn’t look as though the wagon would stand the trip. He said it looked pretty weak. He told us to keep it soaked up more or it would fall apart. We left early the next morning and had gone but a few miles when one of the wheels came off. Mother and I walked back to Cove Fort while Father stayed with the team and wagon. The man at Cove Fort made us a wheel out of some red pine wood. Every bit of the work was done by hand. We went on into Salt Lake and did not have any more wagon trouble at all. We stopped in front of the Z.C.M.I. store. Father went in to see if he could seel his fruit. The owner was very glad to get the peaches, and so father commenced to unload them. He had them about one half unloaded when a runaway team and wagon came down the street. The peaches were scattered everywhere. People were all about gathering up the peaches and returning them. Almost every peach was saved and sacked up again. When father came out of the store again he asked where mother was and they told him they had taken her to the hospital because she had been quite badly hurt. Father was very worried, but they would not allow him to leave the scene of the wreck until they had straightened things out. The case was turned over to the county. The county paid all the expenses, mended father’s wagon for him, and paid him seventy five dollars in cash for his damages. Mother had to stay in the hospital for two weeks and then we made the return trip home in safety although Mother had some trouble and pain on the return trip.
On another trip father and I camped in a little house one night and then we were intending to go on to Beaver the next morning. When we awoke we found our oxen were gone. Father was of the opinion that they had gone back home and so we started for Paragonah. When we arrived there they told us that no oxen had passed through there, but father was not satisfied as to this and so he went on as far as Parowan. They told him that no oxen had passed there. Father decided that he should go back to where our wagon was and camp there for the night and then go on into Beaver and borrow a team. We borrowed a team and cart in Beaver and came back and got our wagon and load of fruit and took it into Beaver. We then left Beaver on foot and started for home. When we got down below Beaver Ridge three wagons and teams passed us. They offered to let us ride but Father refused. He said he would rather walk, but I rode as far as Parowan and then waited for Father to come. He was not long behind us. A friend of my father’s in Parowan told his son to go with me and look around through the fields around there and see if we could find the oxen. My father was so nearsighted that he could not have seen them if he had of gone, and so it was not long before we found them just as fat as they could be. When they had wandered away they were very lean, but now they had put on very much fat. We left for Beaver that night to get our wagon which we had left there, so all in all we traveled those roads a good many times during that trip.
We used to have an awful lot of trouble with the Indians. They would come right into the home and take anything they wished. When we got so we had more food the Indians would bother us all the more.
We had the United Order here in Santa Clara during one summer. It began in the spring of 1874. The United Order was headed in Santa Clara by Bishop Bunker and Brothers Tobler and Hafen. Price City down in Nevada was one of the first places where they started the United Order. They called for volunteers to go down there. They especially wanted young fellows who could work hard. Brother Ensign was a Counselor at that time, later he took Brother bunker’s place as Bishop. The young people who joined were: Mr. And Mrs. Wittwer, Mrs. Ensign, Harmon Gubler (myself), John Gubler (my brother), Mr. Frei, and Trog Graff. When we worked in Price at this time we earned thirty-five cents per day and boarded ourselves.
I helped get timber around in these hills for the building of the Temple. I also helped build the foundation. I worked for Brother Blake up on the mountain and for six weeks work I got a pair of trousers, a shirt, shoes and hat.
I have been an active Church worker. At one time I was president of the Elder’s Quorum. I was Ward Teacher for many years and Sunday School Teacher for several years.
I was married in the St. George Temple in the year of 1881 to Selina Gubler. My wife was born June 11, 1862 in Santa Clara, Utah. She was one of the first children born here. Her parents were Casper and Catherine Gubler. They were of that sturdy Swiss stock and came here to Dixie the same time my parents did. My wife was an active worker in the church also. She was a faithful and devoted wife and mother. We had eleven children, all were married and living up until the present date. Their names are: Harmon, John, Selina, Henry, Martin, Eunice, Edmund, Mata, Jetta, Dora, and June. I sent my two oldest sons Harmon and John on foreign missions. We have fifty-six grandchildren and one great grand child.
My first wife died October 26, 1929. I married Maria H. Ray December 23, 1931.
John, son of Johannes (John) and Mary Ursula Gubler, was born on 10 December 1853 in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland. His parents joined the Church in Switzerland in about 1857 and sailed for America on 20 August 1859 on the “Emerald Isle.” John was only six years old at the time, his sisters, Anna Mary and Louisa, were a little older, and brother Herman was younger. As a young man, John worked on both the St. George and Manti temples hauling lumber and rock and doing other work. He worked along with his father to make a living and to help build up the community.
He married Anna Meier, a little Swiss convert, on 19 December 1889, and they were the parents of nine children: Hyrum Paul, Helen Anna, Louis John, Walter Paulus, Emil Richard, who died two weeks after birth, Ernest Vernon, Emma Louise, Laura and Rosella. Before his marriage, he had bought a two room home and two other lots in the center of town. He farmed and accumulated a few cattle, raised and peddled fruits and vegetables, and hauled wood to make a living, also helping to support his father’s family.
John took pride in his appearance, was kind and patient, and had a testimony of the Gospel. He worked in the St. George Temple in his later years. He died of a stroke on 6 June 1935 at age 82.
Life History of John Gubler
Written by a granddaughter, Amber Mae Gubler Terry
My Grandfather, John Gubler died 6 June 1935 at age 82. I was only eight years old and because we lived in Logandale, Nevada and he in Santa Clara, Utah some one hundred plus miled apart I only saw him once or twice a year and my memories of him are limited so most of what I am going to write comes from what my father, Ernest Gubler and two aunts, Laura Gubler and Emma Lockwood have told me.
John was the fourth child of Maria (Mary) Ursula Muller and Johannes Gubler. He was born September 10, 1853 in Muellheim, Switzerland. His parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about 1856. In August 1859, the family who consisted of the parents and four children, Anna Mary, Louisa, John and Harmon sailed for America. Three other children, Ulrich, Elizabeth and Abraham died in infancy before they left Switzerland. Their trip lasted forty days. They landed in the state of New York. The first winter in the United States was spent in Williamsburg, New York. The children picked up lumps of coal along the railroad tracks for fuel that winter. They traveled by train to Florence, Nebraska and after purchasing a big settler’s wagon, some tools, and two oxen they started their westward migration, walking most of the way. The company stopped at Scottsbluff, Nebraska for a while. After an exhausting trip they arrived in Ogden, Utah, people and animals happy to be at last in Zion. They were given approximately one acre of land like all the pioneers, but about a year later, President Brigham Young called them with a company of many others to go to Souther Utah’s Dixie to settle there. They were to raise mostly cotton and grapes. Grapes were used to make wine and was shipped to Salt Lake for Sacrament purposes. Grandpa was a good wine maker and drank some, but he never got drunk. Drinking a small glass of wine was a custom the Swiss and German people did with their meals. He liked to dip his bread in a little wine and eat it that way.
Their first homes were dugouts located at what is known as the Santa Clara Fort, around the point of the hill west of Santa Clara. Later Homes were made of sod and cotton wood logs. They had to work hard to clear the land for cultivation and planted grapevines, fruit trees, cotton and vegetables.
Grandpa was handy with tools and learned carpentry trade from Lyman Hamblin, a son of Jacob Hamblin. He worked on both the St. George and Manti Temples. He was musically talented, learned to play the violin and harmonica and often danced a jig, would sometimes play for dances in some of the surrounding towns.
In 1879 when he was twenty-six year old he bought the family home in Santa Clara from Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hug who were moving to Oregon for $400.00. During this time the Silver Reef Mine was active and he raised and hauled hay on a wagon to Silver Reef. Hay was piled loose and tied onto the wagon with ropes. The trip usually took about three days. This was the way he paid for his home and farm.
He was very good to his parents and provided considerable time and money to help them. It was said he was the favorite of his parents. The story was told that his mother got mad at his father and left and came to live with Grandpa a whole two blocks away for a month.
Grandpa was a batchelor thirty-six years old when he married on December 19, 1889 Anna Meier, a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ who had just arrived in America from Hersieu, Switzerland. She was born October 2, 1862. The only one of her family to come or to join the Church. She was converted to the Church by Elder John S. Stucki in Switzerland. Grandpa’s uncle, Heinrich Gubler, an old batchelor 73 years old made an agreement with Elder Stucki that he would pay the way of this young lady convert of his over to America if she would marry him. What they told Grandma about him we don’t know except he was an old man and she was only a young girl and naturally she was very disappointed and wouldn’t go through with the marriage and ended up marrying Grandpa. Nine children were born to this couple. They are: Hyrum Paul born 24 February 1891, Anna Helen born 18 March 1893, Louis John born 30 November 1894, Paulus Walter born 5 April 1897, Emil Richard born 16 January 1899, Ernest Vernon born 10 Jan 1900, Emma Louise born 9 January 1902, Laura born 10 April 1904 and Rosella born 6 February 1906.
Life was difficult and hard for these pioneers but they made the best of what they had and felt blessed to live in such a special community as Santa Clara. It was the home of a lot of Swiss Immigrants and was nicknamed, “Dutch Town”, because of the Swiss and German people..
The original home only consisted of two rooms downstairs and two upstairs and a one- room cellar. As the family grew Grandpa added a large kitchen with a fireplace in it, which is now the front room, then in 1924 a large kitchen and bathroom was added. He also planted several locust trees in the yard. They had walnut, apple and pear trees and current bushes up the lot as they called it. Peppermint grew along the ditch banks and that fragrance always brings back memories to me of Grandpa and Grandma’s place. Santa Clara seemed to be just the right climate for growing fruit and Grandpa raised a lot of Alberta peaches, plums, pears and grapes and like many others they would go to the surrounding areas and peddle their fruit and vegetables. The children would have to help pick and pack the fruit and load the wagon for these trips. Each peach was wrapped separately in a sheet of sears and roebuck catalog paper to keep it from being bruised. The peddling trips took them to Pioche, Delemar, Nevada and many other mining towns plus surrounding towns in Southern Utah. The trips would take about two weeks and the older boys would take turns going to help. Grandma would always pack a big grub b ox. A lard bucket full of pan cakes was a must.
Hauling wheat over to the Washington Mill, just east of St. George to be ground into flour was a trip that Grandpa always took one of the girls with him. They would stay overnight with a family by the name of Schmutz and visit a cousin, Mary Wittwer Tobler. Eating dinner with them was a highlight of the trip. Weeding the garden, picking peaches, apples, cherries, etc. in the Liston Lot and Santa Clara field orchard and cutting apples and peaches up and putting them on top of the barn to dry and to stomp the hay were jobs all three girls, Emma, Laura and Rosella dreaded. Raising chickens and pigs was something every family did and Grandpa cured and smoked port to perfection. I always remember that my Dad would head for the cellar as soon as we got to Santa Clara and cut off a piece of smoked ham that would be hanging from the ceiling rafters.
Grandpa was a very methodical, particular person and was slow. He was very conscientious and thorough however and always wanted things done right. He was very quiet and didn’t have much to say. He had a habit of twitching the ends of his moustache with his fingers that especially irritated Grandma. He liked clothes and took good care of them. Each Sunday after Church he would change his Sunday suit and put it into a trunk until the next Sunday. After he started peddling out to Pioche, he would take his shirts and have the Chinese laundry out there starch and do them up for him. He was very particular and a good dresser.
The Swiss language was spoken in the home and prayers were always said in Swiss night and morning on their knees with chair backs turned towards the kitchen table and Grandpa always said the prayers except when he and Grandma had words and then he wouldn’t pray, so the children always know when Grandma prayed they better step lightly.
Grandpa was a meat eater and he loved pancakes and noodle soup with nutmeg in it, and would always call for the nutmeg even before there was anything else on the table.
The boys usually got their hair cut by Ernest Reber and Grandpa was disturbed by this as he thought they should learn to cut each others hair.
He didn’t like the boys to participate in sports. Thought it was foolishness and a waste of time. Their home was next door to the school house and Dad told me he would watch the boys play basketball and at night would sneak out and go play ball with them. He didn’t like the girls to wear face powder, high heels or cut their hair. Even threaten them about cutting their hair. After Aunt Emma went away to school she had her hair cut and was afraid to come home, but Grandpa told her after she came that she looked pretty.
He liked to see construction and progress. He never learned to read, but could write his name. Grandma was well educated and taught herself to read and write the English language. She often helped at the Temple to spell or pronounce German and Swiss names. Grandpa was very patriotic and always voted. He was a religious, good man. An honest tithe payer. Bishop Frei once said, “If everybody lived as good as Brother Gubler, we would have no need to fear.” He liked people and was especially good to strangers.
His sister, Louisa was mentally retarded and he and Grandma along with his older sister Mary and brother Harmon took turns caring for her after their parents passed away.
All nine children were born in the family home which still stands and Aunt Laura still lives there. Grandpa was a very reserved and quiet man and didn’t talk much and it’s too late to ask many questions we wish we could about him and his life. But hopefully this story can help his posterity to know and appreciate him a little more.
Louisa Gubler was the oldest child of Johannes and Maria Ursula Mueller Gubler. She was born 10 January 1852 in Mullheim, Thurgau, Switzerland. When her parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were ready to come to Utah in the fall of 1860, Louisa was just eight years old. Her brothers John and Herman and sister, Mary came with them. Louisa was mentally retarded and her sister Mary and brothers Harmon and John took turns caring for her after their parents passed away. She did live in Santa Clara all her life and died 14 December 1930 and was buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery.
Anna Meler Gubler
Complied by Laura & Amber Gubler Terry
I, Anna Meier Gubler, was born October 2, 1862 in the beautiful country of Switzerland in the small town of Herisau. I was the second child of John and Anna Schiess Meier. Fourteen children were born to my parents. Five died at birth and six others in childhood and early youth. This left one brother and one sister and myself. A brother, Robert died in 1946 at the age of seventy-five and my sister Christina died in 1955 at the age of seventy-three.
Four days after my birth a minister baptized me by sprinkling a few drops of water on my forehead. When I was six years old my parents moved to the town of Waldstadt. I attended school there ten years, only going half days. Many times walking a mile through cold and deep snow. Along with the regular subjects I learned to read music, sew and knit. A minister came to school each day to teach us the teachings of the Bible.
My parents owned a small farm. While struggling along to make a living they rented in the same house for forty years. At the age of twelve I helped with the family income by working in a factory. While attending school at this factory I was taught to weave cloth and to operate a big twenty ton machine that made beautiful embroideries, that were exported to many foreign countries. Switzerland has long been recognized as an expert in this field. For years after living here in America, my mother still thanked me in her letters for helping with the family income while I was at home.
My parents were deeply spiritual. They always believed in God, and they never worked on Sunday. They believed in the Bible and God and in the mission of His Son, Jesus Christ. We children were taught to pray every day and all through my life I followed my parent’s teachings. Daily secret prayer gave me great comfort and strength in raising my own big family. In times of despair and adversities, which I had when my eyesight was suddenly taken from me at the age of eighty-seven, and for almost eight years I was in complete darkness. It was then I turned to prayer more than ever. My burning testimony was my only source of hope as I knew that “My Redeemer Lives”.
At age eighteen a minister confirmed me. I was then allowed to take the sacrament and attend Sunday School and other meetinfgs in different churches. As far as I could understand they were all right, but none appealed to me like the Latter-Day Sainbts Church which I heard of a few years later. At that time I did not know there was a one and only true Church, until three Mormon missionaries of the new Church of North America cvame to our home in February 1888. One of these Elders, John S. Stucki of Santa Clara, Utah explained the gospel to us. Brother Stucki was also a native of Switzerland. He, and his parents and his wife’s parent’s were converts of this new religion too. His wife was a niece of my mother, so Brother Stucki was always a welcome guest at our home. I later became his convert. The elders invited us to their meetings, so my parent’s and I attended, having to walk through several miles of bitter cold and snow at times. The first time I heard the song, “Oh My Father”, it touch me so, that I was fully converted to this New Church. My next desire was to come to America. Mother was willing that I come, but Father wasn’t fully converted.
The months following my conversion brought many other Santa Clara missionaries to our home. It was always opened to them and my mother served them many meals.
I continued to attend LDS meetings for a year following my baptism on September 8, 1888. I was baptized by Thomas Bessinger after dark one night, two miles from our home. One year later, September 16, 1889, Eliza Groebli, a girl friend about seven years younger than I, came to America with Elder Caspar Gubler who was returning home from his mission to Switzerland. I bid goodbye to my parents, three brothers and four sisters as we left Switzerland for America. It was three o’clock early morning when my parents accompanied me to the train. I heard my mother cry out loud as the train moved away, for she knew this would be the last time she would see me in this life.
We traveled by the North Sea over to Liverpool, London on the S. S. Wyoming. It took eleven days on the ocean from London to New York City. We reached New York on my Twenty Seventh birthday. Very seasick and tired. On the ship we had been traveling with 900 other people of all nationalities, of which one hundred were LDS. From New York our company traveled by train to Provo, Utah, reaching there October 10th. After two days rest we went on to Milford, Utah, which was the end of the railroad, arriving there early in the morning. Here I met quite a number of Santa Clara men who were peddlers and freighters and had camped there over night while selling their produce and picking up freight. I met them all, and came on to Santa Clara with them. I made Santa Clara my home for the rest of my life. My journey from Switzerland to Santa Clara lasted four weeks and four days. Mrs. Groebli married and settled in Logan, Utah. We corresponded until her death in June, 1956. She had raised a large family too.
I lived with my aunt and uncle Martin M. Bauman and their family. As time went on I was courted by John Gubler, whose parents were also Swiss converts of 1861. December 19, 1889 we were married in the St. George Temple by John D. T. McAllister. I had not yet learned the English language so the entire ceremony and endowment was interpreted from the English to the Swiss language.
Several years previous to our marriage, my husband, John had bought the Henry Hug home, as the Hug family had moved to Oregon. Here we started raising a big family. The adjustment for me was tremendous, for it was like starting my life over again. I was used to conveniences of an older civilization in a beautiful country, a steady income, train service practically at our door, fine shops, bakeries, and a lot of friends. I was raised near a big city where I worked daily in the factory.
Here in Dixie I started pioneering along with the rest of the Dixie pioneers who had settled previously. Most of them were Swiss Emigrants. My husband farmed, owned a few cattle, hauled his produce to Pioche, Delmar, Caliente, Panaca and Milford. Freighted and hauled wood. He did anything he could to make a living. He also made wine to sell like many others and supplied wine for the ward sacrament for many years.
We raised eight children. Hyrum, Helen, Louis, Walter, Ernest, Emma, Laura and Rosella. Emil, our ninth child died in infancy. Walter was killed in a mine explosion in Stores, Utah. My husband died June 6, 1935 at the age of eighty-one and nine months of a stroke. We spoke the Swiss language in our home and taught it to our children.
I dearly loved to read so through my own efforts I learned to write, spell and read the English language by studying the Washington County News. Eventually I was able to write to my children when they were grown and went away from home. I was very fortunate to have an excellent memory so I could remember many things which I read.
After my family had grown up I took every opportunity to attend the Temple, going by wagon, buggy and later by car. I did one name each day, which was the custom then. One cold morning, I rode five miles on a load of wood, my husband was selling to the Temple. It took us two hours. Most of the names were done in the St. George Temple and totaled up to 635 names. I have kept a complete and accurate record of my genealogy and have helped others with their records.
I have always been interested in visiting and took time to visit most all the sick and home bound and mothers with new babies, and have always appreciated every visit others have paid me and every kindness they have shown me all through my life. Relief society work has always been a joy and pleasure and served as a visiting teacher for many years. I always tried to attend all the Church gatherings and meetings.
Written by daughter, Laura for her funeral.
Mother had a beautiful philosophy of life and an unshakeable testimony of the Gospel which she was well versed in the Bible and could quote many verses from it. Could give many wise says known as proverbs or some would call them words of wisdom. She had a good sense of humor and was witty. Her sense of humor at times was a blessing as an outlet for her many hours of loneliness and complete darkness when she needed it most. She was peace loving, reserved, unassuming and kind. She loved to do handwork and was an expert in tatting lace. She loved to read and enjoyed children, especially her grandchildren and was so happy to have a great grandchild before she died. She loved flowers and valued work and was a good homemaker. Through all the many years in America she still held many cherished memories of her parents, friends, and homeland and spoke often of her life and experiences below the beautiful alps of Switzerland.
At the age of eighty-seven her eyesight was suddenly taken away and for eight years she sat in darkness waiting patiently to be relieved and reunited with her loved ones and friends again.
On July 16, 1957 the call came. She was called peacefully and quietly at 7:15 p.m. and found the release and long awaited return home.
Now we seven living children, relatives and friends are gathered together to pay our last respects and love to a wonderful Mother who gave us, through her righteous example and teachings, the Plan of Life and Salvation. We give her our love and many thanks. Our prayer is that we might live in Harmony and abide by the Gospel and teachings of Christ.