|Park Romney ‡|
|Birth:||25 March 1882 St. Johns, Arizona, United States|
|Death:||13 February 1943 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Remains:||16 February 1943 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Father:||Miles Park Romney (1843-1904)|
|Mother:||Catharine Jane Cottam (1855-1918)|
|Wedding:||8 October 1908 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Familysearch afn:||2G4P-6C, 2JDH-QZ8, 2KH9-MF0, 3TCT-KKT, 3V5N-2ZH, 5R57-BP9|
BiographyPark Romney was born 25 March 1882 in St. Johns, Arizona, United States to Miles Park Romney (1843-1904) and Catharine Jane Cottam (1855-1918) and died 13 February 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Mary Vilate Lee (1887-1979) 8 October 1908 at Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.
Park Romney was the fourth son and the fifth child of a family of ten, born to Miles Park Romney and Catherine Jane Cottam Romney. He was born in a small town, St. Johns, Arizona, March 25, 1882. At the time of his birth his mother was among those unfortunate plural wives who were being tracked and hounded by the U.S. Marshals during their crusade against polygamy.
Later Park's father decided to find refuge in Old Mexico, and took part of his family and located there, later sending for all of his family.
Park grew to young manhood in Colonia Dublan, Mexico, attending grade school and helping on the Romney farm which they purchased after leaving the old Casa Grande Farm.
In spite of pioneering hardships and lack of finances compared with what we enjoy today, still Park's home life was remarkable in the wonderful character training he received. His father was a very stern disciplinarian, but he had a very kind heart. He loved his children, but demanded obedience, punctuality and honor. His mother was the essence of kindness, humility and faith and had an unusually understanding heart. She was loved and adored by the children of all the wives and was a peacemaker for the family. Under the influence of this combination of personalities and character in his parents, Park developed into the stalwart youth he became. He had an abiding faith and sincere religious conviction and integrity of heart seldom equalled. He dearly loved and honored his parents.
Park's first choice in the line of vocations was his love of the good earth. He loved to farm. He said it seemed to bring him closer to his Maker. He also learned the carpenter trade and was an apprentice under his brother, Gaskel Romney. He worked at this trade for years with him. After learning the carpenter trade he had several opportunities to go off to the mining camps and work where he could make excellent wages, but this idea was discouraged by his father, who felt that the influence of home and church environment was very vital until he became 21 years of age. He worked with a survey outfit one summer as a lineman.
His first real venture into the outside world and influence as a tradesman (or carpenter) was at the Dos Cabesos Mine where he earned $4.00 in gold a day, which was equal to $8.00 in Mexican currency.
His opportunity for higher education was very meager, having only one year at the Juarez Stake Academy where he lived with his brother Junius and family, and slept nights as guard at the Juarez Mercantile Store to help out his finances.
On February 26, 1904, his father suddenly passed away with a heart attack. Most of his older brothers had married and had found other lines of vocation to follow. This left the responsibility of the farm to Park, particularly because he liked farming and was adapted to it. A few years later the families decided to sell the farm to their brother Gaskel, Aunt Hannah's son, and the wives all left the farm, and Gaskel built homes for them in Colonia Dublan and Juarez.
In 1907 Park's brother, Thomas, was at Nacozari Sonora, Mexico, working at carpenter work and he urged Park to join him there as the Smelting Company was putting in a large concentrator and work was plentiful. So Park left the old Romney farm and home and found employment with his brother at Nacozari. He was very successful and was soon made foreman of a group of men. He seemed young to be in charge of these men who were so much older than himself, so he decided to grow a mustache, thinking perhaps it would lend dignity and give him prestige. It really seemed to work, the men began addressing him as Mr. Romney and his older brother, Thomas, as Tom, which caused considerable amusement between the brothers.
While working at Nacozari, he met George Bunker, who later introduced him to his niece, Vilate Lee, whom he courted mostly by letters and finally married October 8, 1908, in the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had a month long honeymoon trip to Salt Lake and back to Colonia Dublan to the old Romney farm, where they started their married life.
While they were living in Colonia Dublan, Chihauhua, Mexico, their first child, a lovely baby girl was born, July 12, 1909. They named her Lettie after Vilate's mother whose nickname was Lettie.
In July 1912, the Madero Revolution broke out in Mexico and all Mormon Colonists were driven from their homes. The United States Goavernment came to their rescue and provided food for them in El Paso, Texas, where they were temporarily sheltered and found employment.
It was while temporarily residing in El Paso, Texas, after the exodus from Mexico that their second child, Beatrice, was born, October 8, 1912, on the eve of their fourth wedding anniversary.
Six weeks later they arrived in Los Angeles, California. Park obtained work with his brothers, Gaskel and George Romney, in the building business. They lived in a duplex with Gertrude and her family while Junius was in Salt Lake working for the Beneficial Life Insurance Company. During the two years they lived in Los Angeles, Vilate's health was very poor, but gradually improved with the aid of the Osteopathic Clinic.
Their next next adventure was buying a sugar beet farm in Cornish, Utah, in partnership with his brother, Junius. They commenced their life in Cornish by pitching a tent in an alfalfa patch a mile from church and school.
The people were very friendly and by December 14, 1914 six months after arriving in Cornish, Park had harvested a crop of beets and built a two room frame house after working hours. He also built most of the furniture in it.
They moved in from the cold tent in December 19, 1914, when their first son and third child, Derald Park was born. This was the year when the first World War was declared, which meant heartache and "Hooverizing". To "Hooverize" meant to cut sugar down to one pound a month, substitute black rice flour for white flour and other similar economies.
Father worked hard to make that farm pay off the indebtedness he had on it with the Thatcher Brothers Bank of Logan. But disaster struck the family in 1922, when beet prices dropped suddenly from $13.50 a ton to $3.50 a ton. We couldn't make our payments as we had mortgaged it and bought out Junius. We lost everything we had put into the farm for eight years and left Cornish penniless; but [he left] with six wonderful children to start a new life in Salt Lake City at the carpenter trade with his brothers, Gaskell and Junius.
We had a lovely home at 2960 South 9th East. We lived there for two years, then bought a home at 2145 South 3rd East. It was in this home that the last three children were born, Milton Clair, Myrlene and Carrol. Derald Park, George Lee, Clyde Stanley and Afton were born at Cornish, and Lettie was born at Colonia, Dublan, Mexico, and Beatrice at El Paso, Texas.
Father fixed the home on Third East quite comfortably, but not elaborate. We were very happty there. It was from this home that four of his children were married and left home. All the sons filled missions for the church and three served in World War II.
It was during the war that father became very ill with stomach trouble. He suffered incredibly with so little complaint. He went to several doctors but finally Dr. Hatch operated and took out all but a sixth of his stomach. He told the family that he had cancer, but they all decided not to tell father as the doctor had said he would be reasonably well for at least six months more; then it would come back.
Father was always devoted and active in serving the Lord in any church capacity to which he was called. He served on the High Council of the Grant Stake under President Joseph J. Daynes. Then when the stake was divided, he was called to serve on the High Council under President Towler of the Wells Stake. Then when the stake was divided again he was one of the Stake High Priests Presidency, and later the first Patriarch of the South Salt Lake Stake.
At the time that the South Salt Lake Stake was organized he was home very ill with the cancer in his stomach and unable to attend the conference, but mother went. When she returned, she reported the changes that had occurred and informed father that he was given a position. He had never been asked or informed of this assignment and was so surprised when mother told him. He has been sustained as the first Stake Patriarch in the new South Salt Lake Stake. Father was overcome with this great calling, and when he was being interviewed by Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve, he told him how inadequate he felt to fill this important calling. Elder Lee said, "Now that tells me that you are worthy and will fill it with honor." He surely did, and blessed many lives during the next year and a half of his life.
Father finally succumbed to cancer February 13, 1943. He left six unmarried cildren for mother to take care of, but she married them off in a hurry, three in eighteen months. At the time of father's passing, Lee and Milton were in the service during World War II, Clyde was on a mission in California. Afton, Mylrlene and Carrol were at home with mother.
Lovely services were held for father in the Wells Ward chapel, that he had contracted and built. Wonderful tributes were paid him by many friends and relatives. Uncle Thomas said to me, of my father, "He was a man without guile."
"The measure of a man is the height of his ideal, the depth of his convictions, and the breadth of his interests and sympathies. Measured by this standard, Patriarch Park Romney was truly a great man. There are no higher ideals than those which directed his life. His deep convictions were sincere and unwavering. His interests ranged from colonizing for his church to farming, then to building for a livelihood."
"He was a builder of fine characters as well as fine buildings. There are many structures that stand as a monument to his skill as a craftsman, but his greatest and most lasting monument is the fine family he leaves and his myriad of friends. The community has lost a loyal, exemplary citizen, the Church a fervent worker and staunch supporter, and his family a loving provider, and an unflinching, though sympathetic exemplar of the lofty ideals for which he stood."
(Excerpts from Biography of Park Romney by Beatrice Berg, Thomas Cottam Caroline Smith Descendants, Volume II, Thomas Cottam Family Organization (1987), researched, compiled, edited and parts written by William Howard Thompson, pp. 453-458)
|Offspring of Park Romney and Mary Vilate Lee (1887-1979)|
|Lettie Vilate Romney (1909-1988)|| |
|Derald Park Romney (1914-1993)|| |
|Clyde Stanley Romney (1919-1986)|| |
|Carrol Romney (1927-1972)|
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