My Father Richard Hall Sedgwick

By Philo Dibble Sedgwick

My father was a very special and a very exceptional person. I find it impossible to compare him with any other person. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 1st 1869 to Richard Sedgwick and Mary Emma Hall. He was the oldest of eight children, six of whom were born in Brooklyn. The other two were born in Bountiful, Utah. His father had emigrated from England but lacked the money to continue on to Utah so he stopped in Brooklyn to earn enough to take the family to Utah. He worked as a painter and paperhanger and brought the family to Utah on the train arriving on the 10th of November 1882. They settled in Bountiful and had a small farm mostly raising fruits and vegetables for the Salt Lake market.

My father learned to be a painter and paperhanger and worked with his father in the business. He married Dora Belle Garrett on the 14th of November 1900. They were blessed with four children:

Richard Garrett—30 Aug 1901

Joel Garrett—5 May 1903

Howard Henry—20 Jan 1905

Emily Dora—in 1907

Emily Dora lived only a few months. His wife Dora Belle died from complications of childbirth in 1907.

On 27th October 1909 he married his second wife Emma Almyra Dibble, my mother. They had two sons born to them in the old house in Bountiful. David Dibble—28 Oct 1910 and Philo Dibble—1 Jan 1912. The old house was originally a one-room log cabin and had three additional rooms built on to it. The log house is now at a public park in Bountiful.

In 1917 the family moved to Layton, Utah and lived with my grandmother Dibble on a 20-acre farm that my mother owned as an inheritance. Grandmother died in 1919.

A daughter was born Marie Antoinette—30 July 1919. We raised sugar beets, hay, grain, potatoes, and other crops. Father always raised a good garden that helped feed our family.

All us kids went to school at the Layton Elementary and graduated from Davis High School. Father had a hard time keeping all us kids and had to take all the other pay jobs he could find. He was the janitor of the West Layton Ward church house, a one-room chapel and that was a lot of work. We helped him when we could. He was paid only $10 a month for this work. He also would work at the Woods Cross Cannery in Layton during the tomato and pea campaigns.

Father loved music and had a beautiful tenor voice. He was the ward chorister and led the music in most all the ward meetings. He was also the choir leader for years. I can't remember when he would sit with his family in church. He was always on the stand leading the singing. He also had to prepare and take care of the Sacrament. We had no water in the church but he would go across the street to a flowing well to get the water for the Sacrament. In cold weather, the chapel was heated by a hot air furnace in the basement. He would have to go there early Sunday morning about 6 o'clock to start the fire to get the place warmed up for Sunday School at 10 am. He was always the last one to leave after meetings so he could see that everything was ok and to lock the doors.

The church was about a mile from home. He would most the time walk or go by horse and buggy. I would go with him and help. David was always too busy studying about radio and experimenting. In 1928 the ward built a cultural hall and classrooms on to the chapel which about doubled the work. They raised his pay to $15 a month thereafter.

My oldest brother Richard, we called him Dick, was a carpenter helper on the new addition to the church. He did a lot of the work on the building and he learned to be a good carpenter. Joel, after he finished high school, went to Nevada and worked for the Ellison Ranching Company doing all around ranch work helping in the hay harvest and feeding the cattle, etc. Howard stayed home and ran our own place for a couple of years, then he left and went to California in the Los Angeles area working odd jobs. He even drove a taxi cab for awhile.

Joel finally ended up in California on a ranch in Maricopa Valley and then moved to the Los Angeles area where Howard was working as office boy for the Santa Fe Railroad. He (Joel) became active in the church and met his wife and married her. He then went in the oil business, having some service stations, and would sell fuel oil for the farmers' smudge pots. He was in Riverside for his business. Dick went to Los Angeles and worked as a carpenter for a few years.

Father and I would do our farm work and traded work with our neighbor Edwin Williams who lived cross the street. During the hay and grain hauling season we would help our neighbor and then he would come and help us.

One time we were hauling our neighbor's hay to his haystack. We had a pole type derrick with a Jackson fork. We hauled the loose hay on a flat rack with a team of horses. One day while unloading the wagon onto the stack, Father was on the load running the Jackson fork. I was driving the horse that would pull the fork full of hay by a cable attached to the fork and Father would trip the fork with a rope when it was over the stack. Edwin was the stacker on the stack. This one time Father said he was ready and I drove the horse. The fork full of hay lifted off the load and somehow the trip rope entangled around Father's leg and pulled him off the load. He fell about 12 or 15 feet to the ground, landing on his head and neck. He was hurt pretty bad and we helped him home where he could lie down.

The doctors said he broke a vertebra and came within a small chance of severing his spinal cord. This accident of course injured him so he couldn't do any strenuous work for quite awhile. He finally got well enough that he could do most all of his work at the church house.

We did not have a car and had to use the horse and buggy to get where we had to go. Finally in 1929 on one of Howard's visits home he went to Salt Lake and bought us a 1927 Chevrolet. It was an open car with side curtains for stormy weather. It cost us $125. Father never did learn how to drive it and David and I had to take him where he wanted to go. Besides going around town and to the church, we sometimes would take him and Mother to the Salt Lake temple where they would spend the day and return at evening.

David and I graduated from high school in 1930. David took a correspondence course in Radio and I ran the farm for a couple of years on a 50/50 basis for Father and ended up after the 2 years with $75 which I spent on a 3 months course at Henigers Business College in Salt Lake.

For about five years after high school, I worked quite a bit for farmers doing all kinds of work from thinning beets in the spring to topping and hauling beets in the fall. Father got so he could do his janitor duties at the church and work at the cannery during the season.

David drove Father, Mother and Marie to Southern California one time. They arrived there just after there had been an earthquake. They were gone about a week. Father seemed happy to get back home safely.

David and I enlisted in the Bountiful battery of the National Guard. He was the radio head man for the battery while I was gun section chief. I served my three years and got out to go to Logan for work. David stayed with the guard and was in the service until after the war.

Dick had married and was living in Logan working in construction. He called and said if I would come there, he had me a job in an office. I left and came to Logan in January 1936. I went to work at the Lundberg Buick Company as office boy helping with the bookkeeping for $40 per month.

Father was getting old then and got so he couldn't work like he used to. David helped him when he could but finally Father had to go to a place where he could get the help he needed. A lady in Ogden took him in and cared for him until the end came in 1952.


Richard Hall Sedgwick's Funeral

Richard Sedgwick Family Site