David Davis Brimhall

Taken from “Legacy”, a Brimhall family history by David Jex Brimhall

By his wife, Myrtle Jex Brimhall

David Davis Brimhall
David Davis Brimhall

David Davis Brimhall was born May 23, 1886 in Spanish Fork, Utah. He was one of 13 children born to Emer M. Brimhall and Angeline Davis Brimhall. David was named after his great grandfather David Davis.

Dave was quiet and extremely shy as a youth. He attended school at Spanish Fork during the winter months and worked and lived at the Brimhall Ranch located on Billy’s Mountain in Spanish Fork Canyon during the summer months.

Life was extremely hard and primitive at the ranch. The family had homesteaded the land in 1885 and there was the never ending job of clearing the land, building a home, sheds, barns and fences. They had range stock and raised lucerne seed, wheat, and barley. There were no roads and supplies had to be brought in by wagon over rough hard ground uphill from Spanish Fork.

Dave’s father, Emer, who was also shy, extremely hard-working and a lover of the land, loved the Ranch and it’s wide open spaces. Dave’s mother and father were God-fearing down-to-earth people with love of land, home, family and God in their hearts. His mother was a sweet, lovely shy lady who never complained of the hardships. They instilled religion into the hearts of their children and church principles were followed. The Sabbath was observed even during the threshing season. The children found ranch life too hard and while they have many wonderful memories of the ranch, they were for the most part miserable as it meant leaving their friends, city conveniences and activities from May to late September. They were fortunate enough to. have had one of the first Edison phonographs. Dave recorded his missionary farewell speech on one of the round celluloid cylinders. The family also had one of the first player pianos in Spanish Fork.

Tiring of the ranch and needing some ready cash, Dave came to Salt Lake staying with his brother, Silas, and went to work in the mines at Bingham. He earned enough to buy his first watch of which he was very proud. Deciding that mining was not for him, he returned to Spanish Fork and attended a Missionary Class at the Brigham Young University at the time his uncle, George H. Brimhall, was President. Dave was subsequently called to the Belgium-Netherlands Mission and left June 3,1907 with a dream of touring Europe and the Holy Land after his mission was completed. His dream and his mission almost came to an end when on August 28, 1907 his father was killed by lightning and his brother Glen seriously injured while working near a haystack. It was an extremely sad time for the family as well as for Dave. Through the faith and prayers of his mother, his brothers and sisters, Dave was able to finish his mission.

He attained a real love and appreciation for the Dutch people and their country. Dave had an opportunity to visit a cousin, Dean R. Brimhall, serving a mission in Germany who shared his grief and comforted him in his time of sorrow.

Dave had another friend in the Netherlands Mission, Arthur McKell, also from Spanish Fork, Utah. He also became acquainted with LeGrande Richards in the mission field there. Dave brought back many of the advanced notices printed in Dutch announcing his arrival and time of the meetings. The response was rewarding and he became an eloquent speaker and a successful missionary. Dave never wavered in his love of the Lord and fulfilled a successful mission. As his mission drew to a close, he prayed that his dream of visiting the Holy Land would become a reality. Even though his funds were meager, he never failed to pay his tithing even though it was not required, and put his trust and faith in the Lord. When the other missionaries sailed for home in 1910, Dave set out for the Holy Land. While crossing the Mediterranean, he met Judge Whitney from Toledo, Ohio who agreed to loan him some money, but it. would mean he would have to travel the Holy Land walking most of the way. They visited Palestine, waded in the Dead Sea, and walked by the Sea of Galilee. Dave brought back a vial filled with water from the Dead Sea and flowers from near the Sea of Galilee. He loved the trip through the Holy Land, walking where Jesus walked, and never tired of repeating his experiences or of the wonderful sights and thrilling spiritual feelings he felt while there.

Myrtle Hannah Jex
Myrtle Hannah Jex

Upon returning to Spanish Fork Dave served in the YMMIA as President. He met and married Myrtle Hannah Jex in the Salt Lake Temple May 24, 1911.

Their first home was in Spanish Fork where David Jex was born August 8, 1912. Reed Edwin was also born in Spanish Fork on August 1, 1914. Dave worked for the Salt Lake Hardware Company Branch Office In Spanish Fork as a salesman. He was not at ease with this employment and so the family moved to Salt Lake City. He intended to return to the Bingham mines, however, on the train enroute to Salt Lake someone mentioned that the Street Car Company needed men. As there were already three other fellows from Spanish Fork working there, Dave went to apply. He got a job and went to work in July 1914. He was on the extra board for 11 months. The family at this time lived in Squires Court which was close to the Car Barns.

During his time with the Company, he served as a Conductor, Supervisor and Training Instructor. Dave wrote many articles for the Street Car Men’s Magazine. He was sent by the company to Cincinnati for special training classes and conducted training classes for the men in Salt Lake. He also conducted educational classes for the men as well as public relations and even went so far as to dress like a hobo for a whole week to impress the importance of outward appearances. Dave was never idle and was ever improving his mind through study and reading.

He was an excellent speaker and spoke in nearly every ward in the Salt Lake Valley. He was always assured a full audience and was known to give a new speech each and every time, constantly improving the context and delivery. He was in great demand as a speaker at funerals and spoke at almost all of the fellow street car men’s funerals. He was respected and loved by all who knew him, always pleasant and constant in his relationships. He was chosen by the company along with H. A. Gardner to conduct a safety program throughout the Salt Lake City Schools which included the showing of safety films. The films or the equipment, being in constant use, were forever breaking, necessitating a fast trip home to repair the film or extemporaneous speaking while the equipment was being repaired. It was a delight for his own children attending the schools to watch their father in action.

He was a member of the Street Car Men’s Union and served as Financial Secretary for two years. He represented the Union at many State Conventions and as a representative at one national convention in Atlantic City ,was safety minded and received a Safety Award for all but one year of his 38 years ol service. He made the change from street cars to the big busses and the changing of the company from The Traction Company to Utah Light and Traction and later to the Salt Lake City Lines. In his spare time he repaired and serviced the coin changers which were the individual’s responsibility and a necessity to their work. He preferred working the early shift in order to give him time for his church work and his garden. He made many friends of the people on his route as he was always friendly and courteous. The big busses were strenuous to drive and to manipulate in traffic.

While the family lived on Eggli Court, Lucille was born April 8, 1916 and Beryl on December 28,1917. The family subsequently moved to a house directly across the street in Eggli Court as it was a bigger house and they were expecting another baby. The winter of 1919-1920 was hard on the Brimhalls, as the children all came down with measles, whooping cough, chicken pox and influenza. The children were extremely sick and Claude, a tiny baby born January 9, 1920, was also taken ill. I well remember being unable to even undress for several days as all 5 of the children were sick at one time. The house we were living in was sold and our family was forced to move. The children had been so well trained and reared that the family was given a month’s rent free for leaving the house in such good condition. This was also due to the repairs and improvements made by Dave and me.

1798 S 600 E
1798 S 600 E

Dave did the house hunting, buying a house in 1920 at 1798 South 6th East with a creek just a few doors on the north. The house was infested with bedbugs which were more common in those days. I had not seen the house until moving day and was ready to keep right on moving. The house had to be completely fumigated throughout including removing all of the baseboards and wall paper. Norma was born here December 23,1923. The yard was big and we had a large vegetable garden of which we were very proud. We also raised baby chicks to the fryer stage and then culled the roosters from the hens. The roosters were sold as fryers and the hens were kept for laying eggs to sell. I well remember receiving up to 90 cents per dozen. We will also never forget receiving 500 baby chicks April 16 when four inches of snow fell on the ground and the struggle the family had to keep the brooders warm and the baby chicks alive. The coop was well built and the pride of the family. The creek close by was home for rats and the rats were constantly getting into the feed barrels to the delight of the children who wouldn’t let them out. Hamsters were kept in with the chicks to keep the rats away. There was also room for growing roses, Dave’s favorite flower. While living on 6m East, Dave served as a Stake Missionary and Elders Quorum Class Instructor.

1434 McClelland Street
1434 McClelland Street

As the family was growing, they bought a lot across the street next to the Belevedere Ward, but were advised by the Stake President against building on it, so a lot was purchased at 1434 McClelland Street where they had a house built. The family moved into their new home, Sept 1926 living there for 40 years. There Dave had an enviable rose garden of over 100 roses.

Emerson Ward
Emerson Ward

After moving to the new home on McClelland and being in the ward only two weeks, he was called to be Bishop of Emerson Ward. Gilbert Wallace was his 1st Counselor and served full term. Art Arnesen, Stan Mason, and Garn Emery served as 2nd Counselors respectively. Dave was to update the ward house and to reorganize the auxiliaries, a difficult task for a Bishop knowing only one other person in the Ward. Much work was done to improve the ward house and a lovely pipe organ was installed and paid for before his release four and one half years later. The Bishop’s office was in his home and as there were over 2000 people in the ward, he was constantly in demand and the house filled with people. He married many couples, some of them in our home, and was well liked, respected and loved by the Ward members. Upon being released due to the pressure of family life and his work, he became the Gospel Doctrine Teacher and worked hard on his lessons making them interesting and factual as well as scripturally correct. His first love was missionary work. He continued teaching and speaking engagements in an ever loving and humble manner.

After being released from the Bishopric, Dave had time to travel to Spanish Fork and visit with relatives. His mother looked forward to these visits and they would spend Sunday afternoons discussing the religion which they both loved. Dave was concerned over the division of the Brimhall family after the death of his father and often acted as a go-between and peacemaker. The Brimhalls scattered after Emer’s death and only occasionally could four or five members be found together at one time. The life on the ranch left deep scars.

Sunday dinner for the Brimhalls was right after Sunday School and were spent in delightful discussions on religion and also served as an instructional period whereby Dave instructed his children. Dave suffered for over twenty years with stomach problems. He had a wonderful sense of humor and great insight into the problems of growing up. He was a kind and patient father. It will be well remembered by the family members that promptly at 9:00 P.M., he would take ofl his shoes stating “I don’t know what you people are going to do, but I’m going to bed.” even if the house was full of company. He had to arise around 4:00 A.M. each morning so it was understandable.

Dave loved to travel and was always interested in history, people, and places. The trip to Atlantic City with me, Jack Hales and his wife, was a memorable one. We visited New York and Washington, D.C. and laugh about the trouble with the car necessitating taking a bus into Salt Lake from Vernal. We went to the World’s Fair in San Diego and visited with his brother Silas who impressed us with his diet of ice cream and water cress and was about the first man in the United States to own a diesel powered automobile. Silas was a chiropractor practicing in Long Beach, California. We visited the Canyon lands, Yellowstone Park, and San Francisco, and. went to Canada in 1948 the year oi the floods in the northwest. On our way home we visited Jex and his family in Washington State. Dave enjoyed all of the trips and being an avid camera buff, brought back many pictures. He had several of his pictures published in the Streetcar Men’s National magazine of cloud formations taken on a time exposure.

Lucille was the first to marry on April 26, 1940 and Jex and Naomi on Oct. 15, 1940. Within two years all our children except Reed were married. The second World war broke out in December 7, 1941 and Reed was one of the first recruits called so we were alone but only for a short time, as Beryl’s husband was sent overseas and Norma’s husband also shipped out and both Beryl and Norma returned home the summer of 1942. Beryl’s daughter, Barbara, was born January 10,1943 and was to bring much happiness into our life. Beryl’s husband LaVar (Joe) Breeze was killed in a bombing flight over Romania and so Beryl and Barbara made their home permanently with us. The trip to Canada was with Beryl and Barbara in 1948.

Dave spent many exhaustive hours researching and gathering histories for his Book of Remembrance. He and the members of the family served in many of the Emerson Ward organizations. They were stable faithful members and served in many of the organizations and activities, plays, choirs and programs. Dave served the Lord in every way possible, always with a willing and cheerful heart, as a comfort-giving solace to those in trouble and was always known to give wise and righteous counsel. Dave loved and lived his religion.

Saturday evening, April 16 Dave had gone home teaching, and returned home to help Barbara color Easter eggs. Later that evening, after retiring, he suffered a heart attack. He was taken to the hospital where he passed away Monday April 18, 1949.

6 thoughts on “David Davis Brimhall”

  1. Hello. David Jex Brimhall was my grandfather. I loved finding this! My mother and I are curious as to your relationship with David D and Myrtle J Brimhall. Can you let us know please?

    1. Yes, I know you. I am Lucille’s brother Reed’s grandson.
      Remember those Christmas family reunion parties we used to go to as kids? Great to hear from you.

      Justin

  2. Hello. I stumbled across this blog over a year ago and it was a treasure to find! I am not related but I do have an odd connection to David and Myrtle Brimhall. . . I currently live in one of their homes. Actually, my family has owned the home for approximately 70 years. I was in shock when I found a photo of my house that predated any of the photos we own. I also couldn’t believe the amount of detail your ancestors used to describe the house. It was like I was uncovering the lost history of the home. I think a few of your relatives even scratched their initials into the brick near the back door. If you are interested, I would love to ask you a few questions.

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