Taken from “Legacy”, a Brimhall family history by David Jex Brimhall
By David Davis Brimhall
Emer Mayer Brimhall, the second son of a family of ten children and the third child of George W. and Rachel Ann Mayer Brimhall, was born February 15, 1856, at Brigham Fort, now Ogden Utah.
His parents traveled almost continually until he was ten years of age. They left Ogden with the rest of the Saints in 1858, when Johnson’s Army came in, traveling south and stopping on Utah Lake, a spot just west of Spanish Fork. They then moved back to Ogden. Then to Cedar Valley then back to Ogden and then to Salt Lake. While in Salt Lake, his father George W. got a call from President Young to go to Southern Utah and strengthen the Saints. While he was there, he received another call to go on farther south and explore for settlements. He accepted the call and went on with his family of six small children, and they experienced many hardships. Although Emer was only nine years old at that time, memory of this mission to Dixie with its trials and privations never left him for later in life he used to tell of the “pinches” they got in while crossing the Rio Virgin, Muddy, and St. Clara Rivers. All of this traveling was by ox team. It was slow and tedious and a great deal of it over roads they had to make for themselves. All of this had its effects on the growing boys.
The family started back to Salt Lake but were forced to stop in Spanish Fork on account of finances. The family secured a lot with a little adobe house on it just below the hill on which the Central School now stands (1st North and 2nd East). Emer lived here with the rest of the family, working the land they had bought and helping to provide as best he could. He often said how he walked to Salt Lake in search for work. His father’s health had failed and the rest of his brothers and sisters went to school, so Erner’s lot was with the land and cattle which he followed the remainder of his life.
March 17, 1881, he was married to Angeline Davis of Spanish Fork. The wedding ceremony was performed in the Endowment House at Salt lake. They made their home up the river about three miles from town, near where the power plant now stands. On January 2, 1882 their first son Silas Emer was born, and on February 25, 1883 Peter Harris was born. Their first daughter Clara A. was born August 1884.
In the summer of 1885 he filed settler’s claims for a homestead in Spanish Fork Canyon located on Billy’s mountain about fifteen miles from Spanish Fork. The reason for settling in such a far off place as it was at that time: his love for the open, a satisfaction for the pioneer spirit, a desire to raise horses and cattle without infringing on the rights of others, and a desire to build a place where his family might live and work and grow independent together.
May 23, 1886, David Davis was born. During that spring a log house was built and the family moved to what became known later as the Brimhall ranch. In building up this place many hardships were endured. It took two days to make a round trip to Spanish Fork, the roads were new without any bridges and the traveling was slow. But the family managed with the pioneer experiences they had gained. Table salt was made out of the common rock salt. They made their own candles and carded their wool. When they wanted starch for laundry, it was made out ol potatoes. During the first year 1886, fences were built, corrals made and some ground broken up. The following two years they threshed their grain with horses and the flail.
August 31, 1887, Melva was born, and December 26, 1889 Glenn Dee was born ( died August 1st, 1924). Ida was born November 16, 1891 but contracted whooping cough and passed away when about six months old (May 7, 1892). Delbert Claude was born April 27, 1893, Alan June 6, 1895, Tryphena, October 31, 1897, and Ida Jane March 4,1900.
As the family grew, Emer reached out and secured three more homesteads adjoining his. Crops were unusually good, in fact they never failed. When the boys were big enough to help, more land was broken up and larger crops raised to the extent that the threshing machine and the crew it took to run it would be at the Brimhall’s for two weeks. At this time, a cook would be brought from town, a beef killed, and. everybody worked. At night, a large camp fire was built and the threshers and male members of the family would sit around and listen to stories and songs of the pioneer type, until Emer would say “Remember, you fellows have got to get up in the morning”, and he would be up and going before daylight.
He was so wrapped up in the success of this ranch that he seldom left it, even for a day to celebrate. He did leave, however, in the spring of 1900 for about a month to make a trip to Canada, thinking perhaps that he might be able to better conditions, but after taking the trip and a good look he came back saying that “He liked the ranch better than ever.”
September 7, 1902, Grant Rex was born and September 3, 1904, Margaret Ellen, the thirteenth child came to the family.
He was not a public man and never delivered any great speeches, but great in his line, a producer from the soil itself and stock raiser and always on the side of the right. He was religiously inclined and what he gave, he gave freely. He observed the Sabbath Day. One fall while thrashing, to the dismay of all the crew, he held out for the observance of the Sabbath. His work stock was well cared for, in fact, he never ate until they had been fed. He was a Seventy in the L.D.S. Church at the time of his death. Dr. George H. Brimhall, his older brother and President of the Brigham Young University, used to come to the ranch whenever he could get away from his duties. He enjoyed the freedom and good influence of the place. He used to say it was the freest from vermin of any place he had ever found. Dr. Brimhall and Emer were more than brothers, clinging to each other in every joy and adversity.
Three of his sons fulfilled missions, Silas Emer to California in 1903; David Davis to Holland in 1907, for three years; and Glen Dee to the North Western States in 1920. These were happy days for him, with all of his family well and happy. They had lost but one child out of thirteen.
His dreams had come true, dry farming was a success and the crops were good. The crops consisted mostly of Lucerne seed (alfalfa), wheat, oats and hay. Altogether he owned 840 acres, and about 720 of that was fenced and about 350 of it broken up. It took about 25 head of work and saddle horses to do the work and about 100 head of cattle were maintained to consume the hay, Lucerne .chaff and straw, as all of the feed was fed out by him at the ranch every winter. He used to ride back and forth on a riding horse through all kinds of weather but said he enjoyed it, and would always add that when he was at the ranch he lived like a king as no one could tell him what to do, when or how to do it.
Emer had caught up with his debts and had the place he had longed for, but h did not last long. August 28, 1907, while he and two of his sons, Glenn and Dell were finishing a wheat stack, it started to rain, and a bolt of lightning struck him, killing him instantly, it seemed strange that such a death would come to a man so careful and concerned about the safety of others. He had planned and carried oul all kinds of farming and ranching for twenty-two years without an accident worth mentioning. Thus ended the life of a hard working man who was honest to a fault, who took delight in making the barren flats of the mountains produce, and whose only joy was his work and family.