The history of Ephraim Marett

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Ephraim Marett

Note: This article, written by Agnes Mitchell, daughter of Ephraim Marett, in 1965, was sent to us together with a family tree, produced some years later, and there are several discrepancies between the two in the family history. Checking with Jersey baptism records shows that the tree appears to be more accurate.
The Philippe Marett born on 18 October 1820 was baptised three days later in St Clement, and his parents are shown as Jedidga (Jedediah) and Anne Marie Ahier, of St Clement. There is no record of a Philippe Marett of St Ouen.
The family tree suggests that Ephraim’s brother George was the son of his father’s first wife, not of Mary Le Gresley. It is possible that Philippe was married three times, because the first of his children shown in the family tree, Philippe, baptised in St Clement in September 1838, was the son of Philippe and Marie Le Templier, who married the year before in St Helier.
The tree shows seven more children of Philippe snr, born between 1842 and 1850, including George, (we do not have access to records which would confirm who was the mother of these children) and four born after Philip and Mary were married – Lydia, Mary Ann, Amelia and Ephraim.]

My father was the son of Philip Marett, who was the son of Sir Philip Marett of St Ouen, Jersey. My father’s father first heard the Gospel in his native land. He was born on 18 October 1820, at St Helier. He married Esther Volway, who passed away and was buried in Jersey. He then came to America.

Romance on ship

While sailing on the ship, he met and fell in love with Mary Gresley, who was also sailing to America with her two children, John and Julia Duhamel. She was born on 1 October 1820. They were married on the ship while sailing to America. She had four children by Philip Marett: Mary Ann, Millie, Ephraim and George.

My father never knew he had a brother, George, until one night he appeared to him and told him he was his brother and wanted him to have him sealed to his parents. Father was getting ready to go to the Temple to be sealed to his parents. When he got to Kamas, he hunted up the records and found that he did have a brother, George.


After joining the Church and coming to America, he faced many hardships, as did all pioneers at that time. He did not know any trade, as his father was very wealthy and he cut him off without a shilling because he joined the Mormon Church. This made it double hard on him. He learned the carpenter trade and did very beautiful carving. I often wonder when I go to the Temple and see the beautiful carving, if he didn’t help to do it. I have seen some of his carving and it was very beautiful. He helped to build one of the houses that still stand at Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City.

Our father was born at Pleasant Grove, on 27 June 1858. His father moved to Kamas. He died soon after he moved there leaving our father an orphan at an early age. His mother also passed away, so he was left an orphan at a very young and tender age. [Note: The family tree indicates that Ephraim was 14 when his father died and 19 when his mother died.]

He was soon to know what it was to go hungry and cold. Not having shoes, he would wrap up his feet in gunny sacks to keep out the cold and wore them in summer as he was so tender-footed, he could not go without shoes.

We know nothing of his life before coming to Kamas. All the things he ever talked about happened while he was in Kamas. We know nothing much of his boyhood days, only that he never went to school a day in his life. He had to work here and there to help support his sister Mary Ann. His sister Millie passed away, leaving only the two of them.


My mother’s half-sister married Billie Gipson and moved to Vernal. Father went with them and worked for Billie Gipson for a long time. He then went back to Kamas and met and married Rebecca Cornelia Lambert, 26 January 1885, at Peoa, Utah. As her parents would not give their consent to marriage, they ran away and got married.

He built them a little home near the foothills of Kamas. The house still stands after 80 years of service and people are still living in it.

After father was married, he worked in the timbers, chopping and hauling props for the Park City mines. He was not a very large man, but very strong for his size. He could cut more timber in a day, lift more (he also worked in the saw mill off bearing). All these he could do more in a day than any other man. In wrestling, he could throw any man in Kamas.


They had their good times along with their work, always taking time to go to dances. My father played the violin. Sometimes they would go to each other’s houses and dance, and sometimes to the dance hall. They always took their children with them, making beds on the floor for them to sleep in. They took potatoes and all kind of vegetables, butter, eggs or anything one could use to pay for their dance tickets. They always served refreshments and nearly always took along a keg of homemade beer. They never got drunk, but drank it with their refreshments. Nothing daunted them. In the winter the snow would be so deep that you could go over fences. They would hook up the horses and go straight through, fences and all.

As father did not know how to read and write, mother taught him. He was a very apt pupil and soon learned to read as good as anyone. His educations being started, he learned very fast. He never learned to write very well. Mother did most of his writing for him.

Seven lovely children were born to them while living in Kamas: Amelia Jane (Millie), Laura Amanda, George Ephraim (who died when he was 6 months old), Mary Elena (who died when she was 2 weeks old), Vernetta, Agnes Cornelia and Parley Marvell.

A family tree of photographs of the Marett family

Tobacco, tea and coffee

My father always said a son of his would never see him use tobacco, so he quit. It nearly cost him his life. His tongue swelled up and each time it broke a big core of pus came out of it nearly as large as your little finger. The doctor said it was so much poison from tobacco that caused it. This did not end it for over a year. He felt that he could not talk to anyone who was smoking because he wanted to ask them for a smoke so bad. He was a man that when he knew he was right, nothing could sway him, no matter how much he suffered. He never gave in and took another smoke.

About this time, the Church put word out that all who were drinking tea or coffee to quit or they would get poisoned. Mother never drank tea or coffee until she was married. Father used to coax her to drink it with him, so she did. They didn’t quit soon enough and both got poisoned, but got over it. Mother never did drink tea or coffee again. Father kept drinking coffee and did not quit until later years.

Family moves

In the spring of 1897 father sold his place in Kamas and moved to Ashley Valley (now Vernal). He bought a place in what was called the Silver Gate Canyon. We lived in the mouth of it. On the 28th of May found us on our way. George Warr, a nephew of Father’s, drove the cattle for us. We arrived there the third of June after five days of hard travel.

Greater hardships and privation awaited them there. The next morning he turned the cows out to feed and that night when he went to get them, they were dead. They had eaten poisoned Larkspur, which he did not know existed until it killed the cattle.

There we were, in a strange place, and among strangers with our only way of existing gone. In those days, milk was set and the cream was churned and made into butter. This was taken to the stores and traded for groceries. What were we going to do? We all prayed and wept. I remember how we all cried. I was too young to fully understand, but I realized it was something very serious if mother and father cried. The Lord never closes one door, but what he opens another. Father got a chance to get another cow. He worked 30 days for one cow. How happy we were that we could have bread and milk, and that the wolf had been driven from our door.

Vernal was still in its infancy. There was very little land that was cleared. Sagebrush and trees grew abundantly and had to be grubbed out to clear the land so crops could be planted. The soil was very rich and crops grew abundantly. My Father grew potatoes that it only took three to fill a five gallon can, tomato vines that grew seven feet long, cabbage that was too large to set in a large express wagon. Father was very efficient in everything he did. It had to be done just so. Every seed had to be put just so far apart and if we didn’t do it right we had to do it over again. Father was like that in every thing he did. It had to be right or it was done over and over again until it was right.

Family illnesses and deaths

The next year was a harrowing one for all of us, especially mother. Autumn was drawing nigh and it was time for school. It was five miles to the nearest school, so Millie was sent back to Kamas to attend school. It was well, as she escaped all the terrible sickness we went through that year. Father took terrible sick, then Laura, then Vernetta and I, five of us down with typhoid fever.

How patiently, how kind and lovingly Mother cared for us all. Mother did not take it, but was pregnant and was not feeling so good. Day and night she sat beside our beds and administered to our every need. She had to go in the brush nearby and chop down dead trees and drag them in and chop them up for fire wood. We had a stove and fireplace that had to be supplied. She had all the chores to do besides that. All through the winter she did this. Laura passed away. This was a terrible blow to all for Laura was one of the sweetest girls that God ever put on earth.

After we got over the typhoid fever, we took scarlet fever, then we took whooping cough. It was indeed a terrible winter. The first of June brought tiny Lillian to our home only to stay a short time. She, too, was laid beside her sister Laura.

Summer went by, now there was another worry. It was too far to send little children to the Measer School, so father went to the Trustees and asked if a school could be held in his house to accommodate the canyon children. The Trustees gave their consent and school was held in his home. We only had three rooms, but one was converted into a school room in the day time and a bedroom at night. Then he thought, why could we not have church there, also. Consent was given so it was converted into a church house on Sundays. It became too much on mother to care for so much, so we gave an acre of ground and helped to build a school house which was used as a church house, too.

George Ephraim Marett

Land of milk and honey

Father worked for Bart Bartlett in the sawmill and got out enough lumber to build a large house, but even that was not to become true. The Uintah basin was opened at that time and father, like hundreds of others, wanted to go to the land of milk and honey. Here, everyone would become. Besides, he wanted enough ground for his boys as his farm wasn’t large enough.

The ten years that he lived here, the stork had visited him five more times with lovely, tiny Lillian, Martha, Alice, Sterling Linford and William Randolph. So, in 1907, he sold everything for 160 dollars and moved to Lake Fork, now Upalco. Two years after we left Vernal, our place sold for five thousand dollars.

Many hardships and trials met him there. The land that he got was nearly all a solid rock bed. Grubbing brush was hard in Vernal, but hauling rock was harder as the more you hauled off, the more that seem to come to life. There was no water, no fences, no nothing. Father dug the first well that was dug. He went down 42 feet before he got water, then it was not very much, only enough for home use. Water had to be hauled for washing and the cattle had to be driven to water at a distance of two miles. Another school problem arose so he and several others went to the canyon and got out timber to build a school house which was also used for church and an amusement hall.

Father and Mr Stone made the first caskets for the first ones who died. Canals were built of which father did his part. Now, they needed a post office and store. Terry Hallett moved in with a little store and father fixed up a granary that he had for them to live in and the store was put in a tent nearby.

More children

The stork visited them three more times and left Fontella, Anona and Wanda. This made them 15 children of which eleven were still living. Through trials and troubles and hardships, he supported them all. There are seven living to date (June 1965). Marvell is filling a mission with his lovely wife, Ina, in New York. Of this we are very proud. All are good LDS people and working in the church. Father had a rich aunt, who lived in New Zealand, who wanted him to denounce Mormonism and come run her estate, and when she died she would will everything she had to him, but his religion was worth more to him than all the money in the world. How we all love and honor him for choosing the right.

Father built the first post office in the basin after it was thrown open. Myton was settled before that.

One morning, he arose to dress himself and stooped over to tie his shoes and had a stroke which partially paralyzed his right side. He could use his leg by using a cane. His right hand was useless. For eight long years, he suffered untold agony and pain. On the morning of 1 April 1925 he passed quietly away. It was said of him: “No wonder he died as poor as a church mouse as he was too honest and too free-hearted.” He shared everything as he had with everyone who was in need.

Visit to Temple

Here is a part I left out. Perhaps there is a more important events and things I have forgotten or left out. Father and Mother had never been to the Temple and had their endowments or their temple work done. Father worked hard and saved the money to make the trip, so with enough provision, hay for the horses, bedding, for 6 children (baby Alice was only two months old), they started on the long journey to Salt Lake City, a distance of 200 miles. If I remember right, it took six days to make the trip one way.

They found a place to stay with an old lady. We stayed there for three days and she never charged him a cent. She said: “Anyone that wanted to go to the Temple that bad, she did not have the gall to charge them.” On 17 October 1902, they were sealed to each other and had all the children sealed to them. After his work was done, he went back to Kamas and visited old friends and relatives. It was a wonderful time!


As I have said before, we lived in the mouth of Silver Gate canyon and the Ashley River ran down through the center of it. Father loved to fish and very often he went fishing, always bringing home plenty of fish. Father was very strict and very understanding. Not being used to being around small children, it was very hard for him to understand them the first few years. He loved those rocks and rills, those woods and templed hills and very often he would take us children and roam over the hills hunting pretty rocks and Indian arrows. One time, Marvell found a big black ball made of rock. After we had it a few years, it got broken. Sometime Mother would go with us. He always brought the first wild flowers in the spring. The white rose was his favorite. One day he took me out to the white rose bush and said: “Agnes, this is the most beautiful flower that grows. See how pure and white it is? Always live so your life will be as pure and white as that rose.” To this day I have tried.

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