LOTT RUSSON KIRKHAM
I was a little more than surprised to find that I had not included the following history on this site, since the site is named after my grandfather. I believe this history was written by Lott's wife and some of his family. However, the authorship remains unknown to me. This is a long history, so I have diveded it with titles. I dearly loved my grandfather, and lived with him and Grandma Sarah when I was an tiny child. Sometimes I can still feel his hands. I would be grateful to ANYONE who could send me additions to this history and/or historical information concerning any of the Kirkham Family. Carolyn Christensen
LOTT RUSSON KIRKHAM
Lott Russon Kirkham was born November 26, 1884 in Lehi, Utah. He was the fifth child of George Kirkham and Sara Russon. Lott was blessed by his father February 5, 1885.
Lott's father George had fallen in love with Sara and he went to her father, Lott Russon, to ask for her hand in marriage. Lott replied by telling George that if he could marry her sister Mary first, in one year he could have the hand of Sara in marriage. George consented and he and the two sisters entered into the sacred covenant of eternal marriage.
(Note: In George's journal, it tells of the reluctance of Sara’s father to give her in marriage after the year was up. Mary, Sara, and George decided to take matters in their own hands. Mary helped George and Sara to elope to the temple so the three could finally be united in marriage.) George and Sara had eleven children, eight boys and three girls; and George and Mary had ten children, three boys and seven girls. So young Lott was raised with a family of twenty‑one children.
It was reported by Lott Kirkham and his wife, Lott's brother Tom, Eterick Millar (a neighbor), as well as others, that George lived a perfect polygamous life. He was a carpenter by trade and built a separate home (a short distance from each other) for each family. He would live with one family for a day then with the second family the next day, faithfully rotating without exception. If a family member was ill in the other home, he would send soup or medicine to them but he would remain in the home‑of‑the‑day. He was not partial, showing no favoritism toward either wife. He was a loving and devoted husband and father.
Though polygamy was legal at the time of their marriages, it became necessary for George to send Sara and their children into hiding when the United States Government officers decided to try to arrest, convict and imprison husbands of multiple marriages. For several years, when Lott was just a boy, the members of the Church hid his mother and her large family in various and sometimes odd places. They stayed in barns, chicken coops, in tunnels in straw stacks, in sheds and even in ditches. On some occasions the children stayed with their Aunt Mary, their mother's sister, who was very good to them and tried with all her heart to be like a mother to the family. One time Lott's mother was taken to Salt Lake to hide with her children who were sick with measles. They were left in the old Match Factory in a dirty little room with a small table, a stove, and a lamp, with not even a match to light a fire. The children caught cold and one of them had running ears for months. Lott developed typhoid fever from their stay there and was sick for one long year. He remembered his mother scrubbing the floor to try to make it a little more like home. Lott never spoke of those times as an ordeal or a sacrifice, yet it was most difficult for Sara and her children. However, their faith in the Lord and in the Church was strong and they survived.
A special bond of love developed between Lott and his father George. This is verified by the following incident which occurred when Lott was about seven or eight years of age. As mentioned, the family had been in hiding for a few years and George could go and visit them, but he could never be seen with them in public. The Church decided to allow a few test cases to see if the government would try people for something they had done before a law was passed forbidding it. So they leaked information that George Kirkham might be engaged in polygamy. This was done with the permission of the families. They agreed because they wanted to get it out in the open so they could be with each other, or at least to relieve the situation. The conditions were hard on the families, tough there was little complaining. (The book Essentials in Church History confirms such test cases but does not mention George by name)
George shed many tears over the fact that his wife and their family had to be in hiding. So they (the government officials) arrested George and took him to court to try his case. Lott, being a small boy at the time, didn't remember much about the trial but got involved as it came to its conclusion. He related, "They came over home and got me and my mother and brought us over to court." Since it was unlawful for a spouse or child to testify against one another, "my mother knew I couldn't testify against him (my Dad) because he (it was believed) was my father. My father also knew this so he didn't think they would bring me in."
A lawyer, or some court official, went out and got little Lott and brought him into the courtroom. He said he was standing toward the back of the room. The lawyer approached him and bent down, putting his arm around his small shoulders, and said to him, "Lotty, who's that man up there on the stand?" as he pointed to George. Lott related "I was so proud of him and I said, 'That's my dad!'" The prosecuting attorney took him over by his mother and she started to cry. Lott said, "That convicted him right there," because this proved George had another family. What the young boy had said with loving pride had convicted his father. They took George right out and put him on a wagon to take him from Lehi to prison. Lott ran for his father and followed the wagon until he couldn't run any further, and he fell to the ground crying and exhausted. Lott said he remembered his dad reaching for him and crying also.
During his incarceration, George thought much about that experience in the courtroom and felt sorry for his son because of what he must be feeling for what he thought he had done; convicting his father, causing him to be taken from them and sent to prison. Lott said it broke his dad's heart. So in order to make Lott feel better, while in prison, George carved a peach stone into a watch fob and sent it to his son. The peach stone was small, with a little hole carved in the top for a chain. One side is carved an anchor and on the other side are the initials "LK" signifying Lott Kirkham. (This peach stone is pictures in this blog.) This incident caused a special bond between Lott and his dad which he never forgot. The peach stone has remained in the family to the present day.
Lott said his dad told him that the officers that took him away and the ones at the jail treated him good and sympathized with him. They said they didn't think that having the trial was fair or right and thought George should have been left alone to be with his families. Polygamy had not been illegal when George married Mary and Sara. He also told Lott the government officials must not have felt it was fair either because even though he went to prison, he did not lose his citizenship and was allowed to vote when released. (George only served a short time in prison.)
As mentioned, Lott's father George was a carpenter and as such spent much time working in Salt Lake City. On occasion he would take his family with him. Lott carried his lunch to him many times while he was working on the Salt Lake Temple. He remembers his father taking him on an adventurous climb to the top of the scaffold which surrounded the building. There he actually touched the feet of the golden plated Angel Moroni monument on the top pinnacle. Lott always remembered that wondrous experience
Lot was baptized a member of the L.D.S. Church by his uncle Enoch Russon, November 28, 1892, and confirmed the same day by his grandfather Lott Russon.
LOTT HEADS TO ADULTHOOD
When Lott was about fourteen years of age, the Utah Idaho Sugar Company sent him, with a number of others boys and overseer, to Colorado to show the farmers how to thin sugar beets. The people there were very curious about these young L.D.S. boys because they had been told that Mormons had horns on their forehead. They crowded around asking them to show their "horns." Lott made two such trips to Colorado.
When he was sixteen years old he went to Canada with a group of people whom the Church had "called" to colonize Alberta. He and Henry Day were sealed in a box car with the livestock. There they rode until they reached Great Falls, Montana, where everything was reloaded into narrow gauge rail cars. They rode in one of the train's passenger cars the rest of the way. When they reached their destination they worked on farms for a while, then Lott was employed by Charley McCarthy, a store owner. He drove the delivery wagon for him. He stayed in Canada for one year then returned to the family home in Lehi.
When the Utah Idaho Sugar Company built a factory in Garland, Utah, Lott went there to work on the company’s farm. Later they built the Lincoln Sugar Factory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and once again Lott went there to work on their beet farm. Lott returned to Lehi and acquired a job in Toplift working in the quarry removing rock for the American Smelting Company. After a year there he returned home and became permanently employed by the Utah Idaho Sugar Company and began working for them in Lehi.
MARRIAGE & CHILDREN
Lott married Verlillian Taylor on 17 January 1906. They were eventually divorced, having had no children.
Lott began dating Sarah Adelaide Wrigley, a young lady with whom he had attended school. They courted for two years, then on December 1, 1909, he and Sarah were married in the Salt Lake City and County Building, with Nathan H. Tanner performing the ceremony. Following their marriage, Lott and Sarah lived in Lehi where Lott worked in the sugar factory during the sugar campaigns. During the summer he worked repairing the pipe line which extended between Provo and Lehi.
At that time the Sugar Company had a cutting station in Provo, Utah, where they cut sugar beets, extracted the juice, and them pumped it to Lehi for processing and refining. Their first child, Edward Douglas, was born 1 January 1911. Adah and Orla George, twins, were born 3 September 1912. Many a time Lott would come home from work to find Sarah in the rocking chair with all three babies asleep on her lap, unable to get up to lay them down. He was indeed a welcome sight. Lott was ordained an Elder by James H. Garner on August 21,1912. He and Sarah received their endowments in the Salt Lake Temple, January 29, 1913, and were sealed to each other for time and all eternity, and at that time they had their three small children sealed to them. It was a special day.
When the twins, Orla and Adah, were eight months old, the Sugar Company finished a sugar factory in Payson, Utah, and Lott was sent there as beet foreman. The sugar campaigns were not very long in Payson so as each one was completed, Lott would then go to other mills to assist them until the end of the season. During one campaign, he went to Spanish Fork, Utah, and the next year, when there was an influenza epidemic, he went to Elsinore, Utah When the family arrived there, nearly all the local men were ill with the flu and the few men who were sent from other mills had to complete the campaign. Sherman Dale was born in Payson, July 28, 1914. In 1919, Lott was transferred to Monroe, Utah, where he moved his family. After the campaign that fall, Lott was loaned to the Layton (Utah) Sugar Company where he worked until February.
Eight years after Sherman was born, Stanford Wrigley was born October 30, 1921, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the family had gone to live for a month because of earth quakes which were taking place in Sevier County. The last three children were born in Monroe, Utah. Doris was born October 19, 1923, William Gaylor was born November 23, 1926, and Donald Robinson was born January 19, 1928. The five older children attended school in Monroe.
While Lott was working in Utah assisting in the tearing down of a sugar mill, he and a co‑worker, Frank Painter, were helping disassemble some equipment and were putting it on some open rail cars The car in which they were working was on a track by a huge tank. Lott related that he and Frank had an interesting conversation during which Lott asked Frank what he would do if the tank were to tip over onto the car they were in. He asked, "Would you jump out of the car or would you fall to the floor?" Frank responded that he would fall to the floor since he felt the tank would probably hit them before they could have time to get out. Lott expressed to Frank that because he had claustrophobia, he would jump out of the car as fast as possible if it tipped.
Within a very short time, even before their conversation was concluded, the tank began to tip and fall across the open rail car. Lot shouted, "She's tipping Frank!" Immediately Frank attempted to jump over the side. Lott, however, was impressed that he should fall to the floor This he did and was pinned there by the metal from the tank to the extent that he said he was not able to move his arms or legs, or even his fingers.(Both men did just the opposite of what they had intended to do.) Unfortunately Frank, who had said he would fall to the floor, had jumped and was severed in half as he lay across the rim of the car beneath the metal tank. Rescuers had to cut the tank and car with torches to free Lott and get him from under the massive metal.
Sarah was notified that there had been an accident at the mill where Lott and another man were working, and one of the two had been killed. She was not told as to whether it was Lott of the other employee. From her window she could see the commotion and excitement at the factory but did not know of Lott's status. Adah relates she, Douglas, Orla and Sherman were in school at the time, and a boy came running in and told them their dad had been killed in an accident. She said the four of them cried as they ran the three miles to their home. By the time they arrived, Mother Kirkham was aware Lott was still alive but pinned beneath the metal. They could see the tank across the rail car from their window, and it was agonizing as they watching the crew free their husband and dad.
Lott never forgot this incident and considered it a highly spiritual experience in that he expressed, "Someone from the unseen world told me to fall to the floor, which was against my judgment because I feared tight enclosures." He added, "I know the Lord sent a guardian angel that day to spare my life."
In 1929, the Sevier Sugar Factory closed and Lott was transferred to Shelley, Idaho. At that time the Shelley factory was considered the Utah Idaho Sugar Company's most modern mill. The Kirkham's first home in Shelley was the second house on the south end of the "sugar row," in the southeast part of Shelley. (The sugar row was a series of homes which the Company had constructed for their full‑time employees.) This home had an extra large garden spot and Lott raised a beautiful garden to help feed the family. He purchased a cow to provide milk for their needs. Sarah would put big pans full of milk in the milk cupboard. Cream would soon rise to the top. The children thought it was great to dip into it with a slice of homemade bread, sprinkle it with sugar, and then enjoy its deliciousness. The children would often watch for their father to come walking home from the factory carrying his lunch bucket in which he often put chucks of (discarded) "burned" sugar. After many years they claim they can still taste it and no candy has ever tasted better.
In 1930, radio was coming onto the market and the Kirkham family certainly enjoyed theirs. They listened to Amos and Andy, Baron Munchausen, Jimmy Durante, and Mother Kirkham and the youngest son especially enjoyed listening to the operas on Saturdays. Douglas was immensely intrigued by the new invention and would lay by the radio set late into the night, listening, dialing for distant stations, but turning the volume down lest he disturb mother and dad in the next room. The family was usually only allowed to listen to the radio at night to conserve electricity.
One night Orla was going out on a date and went into the closet to put on his new suit. He was not always fussy about dressing up. Out her came in full dress; pants, coat and vest, with the extra pair of pants that he had purchased with the suit dragging behind The family stopped him just as he was going out the door.
Just prior to the great depression of the 1930's, Lott's brother, who was a bank manager in Lehi, called the Kirkham home in Shelley and told Sarah to get word to Lott to go to the bank immediately and draw out all of his money. He said he would call again in a short time and tell him what to do with the money and that he should just hang on to it until then. Mother Kirkham sent Stanford to the factory to tell Lott. When he got the message, he left work and went directly to the bank and drew out what was there, which was approximately six or seven hundred dollars.
Several days later, Lott's brother called again and suggested that he might put the money into something such as purchasing a farm, but by all means, he should not put it back in the bank. Soon thereafter, the depression hit, and about that same time the Shelley mill closed. Lott took the money and leased from N.S. Sage a forty acre farm about four miles west and a mile south of Shelley. The family crowded into a four room frame house. It had an out‑house and an outdoor water pump that had to be primed and pumped vigorously each time they drew water. The four older boys slept in one bedroom, and Doris, Adah, and the two youngest boys slept on the davenport in the living room.
Lott bought a team of horses name Bill and Nell. As he harnessed them, you could feel the loving care he extended to each. He loved the earth and that which it produced. He labored hard on the farm, taking care of it as carefully as he had his yards and gardens through the years; keeping weeds down, rows straight, and everything in order. He also bought some cows, pigs, and chickens, and the family became quite self sufficient.
Lott had a dog named Jiggs which was very faithful and loving to him. The family got it as a pup from Cliff Crooks who lived a quarter mile to the west of the farm house. Every working day Jiggs would be found on a ditch bank near the bridge, waiting for Lott to come home from his day's labor. The dog was good with cows and was very patient with little Billie and Bobbie. They especially loved the dog and treated him as a member of the family. Jiggs was a good and playful dog. However, she surely had an awful lot of pups through the years!
Sarah made their home cozy and comfortable, baking bread every day, along with cakes and pies. She canned everything she could get her hands on. One year she canned a whole beef using a pressure cooker. Lott and his children produced some fine crops of sugar beets, potatoes, hay and grain. The whole farm could be seen from the house and Sarah would signal with a white cloth for dinner and Lott would wave his hat in answer.
The children did a lot of jigsaw puzzles, read Big Little Books, played in the willow patch and climbed in the trees which lined the road north of the farm, picked wild flowers, watched the stars on beautiful clear evenings, and sang songs together. Doris, Bill and Bob played Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah in the trees and willows for hours and hours as children. (Being the youngest, Bobbie was always stuck in the role play as Cheetah.) The two young boys often played cowboys; Bill being Hoot Gibson, and Bob, Tim McCoy.
One of the highlights of the farm life was when the threshing crew would move from farm to farm harvesting the grain. When the tractor pulled the huge thrasher into the Kirkham lot, all the children were watching and helping with great enthusiasm. The girls and Mother would prepare a hot meal for the crew, which ranged from fifteen to twenty hungry hands. When the crop was finished the crew would move to the next farm. Those were happy times on the farm and the children all have happy memories of those years.
Douglas was mechanical minded and purchased a Model T Ford car and a motorcycle. The younger boys thought they were miracles and were fascinated by them, even though they were very noisy. Sherman played on the Shelley High School football and basketball teams. Orla kept trying to play the trombone, and was always singing his favorite song, "Rio Rita". The winter of 1932‑33 was a severe one. Snow drifts piled up to the top of the power poles. The family rode over fences and across fields in a sleigh once a week to get groceries. The younger children rode to the Riverview school to the south, all bundled up and on straw in a bob sled. Lott had to dig a tunnel through the snow to get to the barn to milk and care for the animals which consisted of cows and two work horses named Bill and Nell. One day on the farm, Sarah threw a pan of water outside the back door because the home didn't have a sink. She went with the pan and fell. Lott clownishly said he had to get a "block and tackle" to pick her up , and he didn't make much headway since they were both laughing so hard.
It was on the farm that Bill and Bob made a parachute out of a canvas dam. They tied four ropes on the corners and Bill tied them to his arms and trousers and carefully climbed to the top of the chicken coop. He jumped, with Bob waiting to see his brother soar gracefully overhead. The jump was made, but the parachute beat Bill to the ground. Bob even felt it pulled him down at high speed. He got pretty scratched up as he landed into a clump of the tall dried weeds. He cried because his chute had failed and he was injured. Bob cried because Bill wouldn't let him jump first. However, they were lucky since they had tried to climb to the top of the barn previously but couldn't make it. The chicken coop was their second choice. From the top of the barn, Bill would have been buried in the green stuff permanently!
Once a month, on Saturday, the kitchen at the Kirkham home was a circus. Father Kirkham would get out his hand operated hair clippers and the boys would have to line up for a hair cut. It is an understatement to say that no one enjoyed it, except, of course, the girls who would giggle and laugh as they watched their brothers being tortured. It is believed that the Joe Sage Family across the road and the Crooks and Poulsen's a half a mile to the west were alerted it was hair cutting day as the agonizing crying and yelling from Donald, William, and Stanford would echo throughout the valley. The older boys would gripe and struggle to avoid the terrible ordeal. There was blond and brown hair and tears covering the kitchen floor, but the job was always complete. The boys maintained their haircuts were never the same from one month to the next, which probably accounted for their opposition. As one said, "It was probably the fear of the unknown that bothered us!"
The years spent on the farm on the farm were during the depression era; nevertheless, the Kirkham children didn't know if they were rich or poor. They had plenty to eat, had fun with each other and were happy. Times were so tough that one year Lott didn't have enough money to make the mortgage payment for the farm and he and Sarah were afraid they would loose it. The owner, Mr. Sage came out one afternoon to visit. Lott and Sarah were waiting as he drove up. Lott went out and he and Mr. Sage leaned on the pole fence and talked for a few moments Then Mr. Sage said to Lott, "Things are pretty tough aren't they?" Lott could hardly respond. He continued, "If I take the farm back, what will I do with it? I would rather have you here trying to make it work. Just skip this year's payment and make one when you can." He wanted Dad to continue farming the ground. Mr. Sage left and Lott went to the house and he and Sarah broke down and cried with gratitude. (The two youngest boys were standing by Lott, hanging onto his legs while he talked to Mr. Sage. They sensed something of a serious nature was happening.) Bill remembers overhearing Dad talk to Mother about mortgages. He related he made the mistake of asking what a mortgage was and Dad responded by saying that he and Mother were considering mortgaging the kids over to Rowberrys (a family who lived about half a mile east of the farm.) Bill recalled that he never again went near the Rowberry place.
Another tradition in the family was the repairing of shoes. Lott had bought a metal shoe last and stand. He had a box of leather scraps (all thicknesses) and when the children's shoes wore through, he would put the shoes on the last and cut new soles and nail it onto the bottoms. The soles he made outlasted the new shoe soles, and if he trimmed them properly with his pocketknife, which he usually did, they looked great and the shoes were good for another season or so.
The Sugar Company reopened the Shelley mill and asked Lott if he would return to work. Lott consented, and this made it necessary to hire someone to do most of the farm work, which didn't prove profitable. So he sold the farm and moved the family into a huge boarding house which the Sugar Company had built on the factory property southeast of Shelley. Just prior to moving, Lott took the children out back of the house and lifted the door near the porch which led to their cellar. They followed him down into the dirt room and he dug up two or three bottles of money which were buried in the dirt floor. He opened them and showed the green bills to the children, telling them to take a look. He said it was more money than they had ever seen. There was approximately seven hundred dollars. He let them handle and play with it, and needless to say, they were fascinated. It was money he had saved, probably the last year on the farm. He later took it and paid cash for a brand new beige Chevrolet.
BACK TO TOWNThe family was saddened because they were leaving the farm, but they loved the big boarding house which had plenty of bedrooms, a bathroom, and even a telephone. They only used one end of the old "hotel" as it was called Sarah took in boarders, preparing many big meals, making lots of lunches, and working very hard. This brought her in some extra money and she loved doing it. The children spent many hours playing and hiding in the many vacant rooms throughout the large two story structure. Their friends were fascinated as they were given a tour down the long hallways and into the many empty rooms. Doris later told her children that it was heaven to have her own room.
In 1935 the family moved back to the sugar row into the last house on the north end. As always, Lott had a beautiful garden, flowers and yard. When he would come home from work, he would enter the front door, say hello, set down his lunch pail, report on the day, go out the back door and pick up a tool and hoe a row or two in the garden. Also, he would get up early in the morning and hoe in the garden before heading for work. After school and on Saturdays, the children would help in the garden and in the yard, and everything always looked neat and trim. The large garden helped feed the family and the neighbors. He taught his children the value and dignity of work. Lott was game to try most things the children urged him to do. An example was when Bill purchased a motor scooter. He and mother persuaded Dad to take a few rides. He was much bigger than the scooter and it was quite a sight.
Lott always loved to fish and Sarah enjoyed going with him just as much. He would take the family on fishing trips regularly in the summer. They would get up and leave at about 4:00 a.m. so they could be at the stream at the crack of dawn. Sarah and Lott loved the Island Park area and for years fished Hotel Creek and Warm River, as well as other areas and streams. The kids were usually anxious and willing to go along but would crawl under quilts in the back of the car and sleep all the way there. After arriving, Lott would take the ones from under the cozy quilts who thought they could stand the early morning frost and dew, and they would bring back a mess of fish for breakfast.
When the Shelley Sugar Factory closed, Lott as sent to Brigham City, Utah to help disassemble that mill. (The remaining mills were being modernized to handle more beets than earlier designed, so many of the factories were closed and disassembled.) He returned to Shelley and worked at the Blackfoot mill for about four years as foreman. As mentioned, Lott instilled the principle of work into the lives of his children and especially an interest in the manufacture of sugar from the sugar beet. All of his sons, Douglas, Orla, Sherman, Stan, Bill, and Bob, worked at times for the Sugar Company. Orla made it a profession for a number of years and became an excellent Master Mechanic. All learned the trade. Each of the boys, and even the girls, could sit and explain the sugar manufacturing process from the time the beet seed was planted to the time the sugar was bagged and stacked and the pulp and molasses were fed to the local farmers' cattle. This they learned from their dad. He loved his work and was well respected for his excellence in management and production. Heber J. Grant was President of the L.D.S. Church during part of the time the Kirkhams lived in Shelley. He was also President of the Utah Idaho Sugar Company, which was owned by the Church.
As mentioned, Lott had a remarkable production record. He would show up early on his shift and go to the bulletin board to see how many tons of beets the previous shift had cut. "His" men would gather around him, and instead of telling the crew they would have to work harder, he would simply say, "Well fellas, what do you think? Can we beat 'em." Or, "How about it fellas, are we going to let them beat us?" This is all he would have to say. Probably without exception, they would out produce the previous shift and even set records. How did he do it? It was with gentleness and love. He earned the respect of those who worked under him. He treated them as equals and understood their feelings. Mother Kirkham once said that Lott never fired a man at work. The closest he came was when he and Don Ells were leaning out a window of the factory on the upper floor. Someone came up behind them and "goosed" Don in the ribs. He was very sensitive to such a gesture. Don jerked forward and Lott grabbed him, preventing him from falling to the ground. Lott simply turned around and said to the man, "I don't believe I would even take the time to pick up my pay check if I were you." He never lost his temper but his gentle attitude was profound. Perhaps few men ever received the respect shown towards Lott by those who worked under him. His kindness reflected the words which his father George had said of him when he was just a boy. He wrote, "Lott is the peacemaker."
Lott was proud and never ashamed of the large family they were raising. Some of Lott's fellow workers, two in particular, sometimes inferred that he had too many children and even made light of it. This hurt Lott some, but he could handle it because they loved their family. In later year, just prior to his retirement from the Company, one of the two co‑workers who seemed to enjoy chiding him the most, moved into the house on the south side next to the Kirkham home on sugar row. He and his wife had not had any children. Evidently, as he observed Lott and Sarah's children around the home and some of them going with their grandchildren to visit often, it must have bothered him. One evening as Father Kirkham was working in the garden with one of his sons, the neighbor called him to the fence between them. He had not been very friendly neighbor and the younger Kirkham boys were somewhat nervous in his presence. As Lott approached the fence and leaned on his shovel handle, the neighbor showed some deep emotion as he said, "I'm sure you know, Lott, that I have made fun of you over the years because of your large family. As we see your children come and visit you on Sundays and see how they treat you, I apologize for what I have said. We would give anything if we have to just have one son or daughter like yours to come and visit us. We are alone. We have no one and will leave nothing behind when we die. You have a family and now we see that that is everything." The man shed tears as he talked to Lott. Lott went to the house shortly afterward and shared with Sarah what the man had said. They wept for their neighbor, and for the joy of having such a family themselves. Several years prior, the other co‑worker who had razzed him concerning his family, apologized in like manner. Lott and Sarah appreciated it. However, it wouldn't have made much difference had the two not expressed their regret because Father and Mother Kirkham were happy and thankful for each of their children.
Lott and Sarah loved taking trips and loved just taking a Sunday or evening ride with the family in the car. They covered every road in the Snake River Valley. Sometimes they would stop and pick wild asparagus or watercress which they really enjoyed eating. During the years Adah lived in Beaver, Utah, where she and Karl resided, they would load up the family in their trusty Chevy or Pontiac and take a vacation to southern Utah to visit her and her family. The trip was made at least once a year and was a highlight in those growing up years for the younger children. Mother Kirkham would fix cheese and crackers to eat while traveling, a tradition which has passed on down to their children, grand children, and great grandchildren. Sarah and Lott enjoyed visiting some of their old friends along the way, a practice which was truly agonizing for the two younger boys. The children always wanted to get to Adah's quick! Bob always wanted to sleep in the car when they stayed along the way. This way he avoided hearing the same old stories and discussions over and over again about the happy times Sarah and Lott had when they were young.
Lott had a great sense of humor and enjoyed life. He would arise very early on Saturday mornings and start mowing the lawn with the push mower. He would mow extra long underneath the kids bedroom windows, which usually were open, and he would cough very very loud to irritate them. The children loved it, though they were trying to sleep after important Friday nights out. He would keep it up every time he passed their windows until someone responded, then he would act innocent of his deed. One night Bill and some friends decided to sneak into the garage and push Dad's car past his bedroom window and down the street where they started it and went courting. After they had taken their dates home, they quickly pushed the silent car back into the garage. Bill had such a feeling of satisfaction about not having been caught in the act. The next morning Lott told him he had a guilty conscience for not helping them push the car back into the garage the night before.
Lott believed in the Church and defended it. He never criticized the prophets who led the members. While living in Utah, he was in the Sunday School Superintendency, and for many years he served as a Ward Teacher (Home Teacher). He was an ardent believer in the principle of tithing and he and Sarah paid a full tithing on everything they earned all their life. They made certain their family had a way to get to church meetings and supported them in all their church activities.
The eldest son Douglas, whom Lott often referred to as an electronic genius, got involved in the effort by accepting a position at the Shelley High School teaching electronic classes. Orla likewise contributed to the effort by working double shifts at the sugar factory, which was necessary because of a shortage of men of his ability and qualifications. Sherman was drafted into Civil Service and was sent to Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, Utah where he performed maintenance on military aircraft. He was later sent to the Hawaiian Islands to continue that service. (At that time the military was not drafting men of Douglas, Orla, and Sherman's ages into combat service. They were encouraged, however, to become involved in the war effort in their particular Field, which they did.) When William turned eighteen he enlisted in the Navy V5 Officers Training Program and spent a year in training in Pocatello at the University of Southern Idaho (Which later became the Idaho State University.) Afterward he was sent to St.Mary's College in California to complete his training. The youngest son, Donald, joined the Navy near the end of the war and was trained as a Communication Intelligence Specialist at Bainbridge, Maryland and at Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. From there he was sent to Adak Island in the Aleutians southeast of Alaska. Doris' husband Maurice also served in the Navy. These were proud years for Sarah and Lott and they were most grateful for the safe return of Stan and for the effort each of their family had contributed to their country.
In 1948, Bishop Walter Christensen visited Lott and Sarah in their home one evening and asked how they would feel if the Lord were to call their son Donald into the mission field for two years. He had just returned home from the service and was the last child at home. Lott teared up and said he had looked forward to the return of his last son but if that is what the Lord wanted he would be proud to let him go. Donald was called and served as a missionary in the British Mission.
When the Blackfoot mill closed, Lott was sent to Chinook, Montana, for one campaign. He was then sent to Belle Fourche, South Dakota where he worked his last campaign. He retired December 1, 1949, having spent most of his life working for the Utah Idaho Sugar Company. He and Sarah bought a comfortable home on Milton Avenue in the east part of Shelley and moved off the sugar row. There Lott enjoyed caring for his large garden, flowers, lawn and the yard around the home. He gave that home the same loving care as he had each of the places they had resided over the years. Lott worked part‑time for Douglas at his store and part time at Malcom's Machine Shop in Shelley. He wanted to keep busy.
Lott lived a good life those last years. He was humble, loving and kind to all, as always. He looked forward to visits from his sons and daughters and their families. He taught his children independence. When one of his sons was about to marry, he took him aside to give him what the son thought would be some good fatherly advice He said, "Now son, you're going out on your own. Remember, if you and your wife have any problems...don't come running home to us. You work it out. Now if you want to buy a car and want my advice, I'll give it, but you and she should pick the color you both want. Solve your own problems at home."
On occasion he would tell his sons to never turn down a job if they were out of work, and take any job, even digging post holes, as long as it was dignified and not against their principles. Watch for something better and if you find it, take it. He taught they should never quit a job until they found a better one. If the boss tells you to go into the corner and stand on your head, go to the corner and stand on your head. He is the boss. If you don't like it, don't talk back, just find something better, then quit and move on. He taught that they should give a man an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. When dealing in business, if you buy something from a man, never make a deal unless you feel he is getting as good a deal as you are. You may not get rich this way but at least you can face him when you meet him on the street. This was the kind of sound advice he taught his family. He worked hard for what he got in life and expected others to do the same. He said that receiving "something for nothing' is worth "nothing." He did not believe in the dole system, but rather in the principles of work. He taught his children to make it on their own. He was a man of great wisdom and humor.
In the summer of 1953, Lott had a heart attack at home and the doctor called for an ambulance to transport him to the hospital. In jest, many times Lott had told Lloyd Nalder, the local funeral director, that he never wanted to see the back end of his hearse. When Mr. Nalder arrived and was about to help lift him into the ambulance, Lott said, "Darn you Lloyd, I told you I never wanted to ride in this darn thing!" To which Lloyd replied, "Lott, I don't think you have any choice. "Unfortunately he didn't. This was his last ride. On July 3, 1953, in Idaho Falls, Lott passed from this life. He had requested that the family not be sad or mourn, and during the weeks that followed they were together often, shedding many tears, and reminiscing about the happy times they had with he and Mother Kirkham, and of the joy and humor he brought into their lives. Though they missed him, it was always easy to remember the good times they had with their mother and dad. The relatives, friends, neighbors, and co‑workers attending his large funeral, filled the Shelley Second Ward Chapel and overflow. They paid their respects to Sarah as she recalled the many years they had spent together. His interment was in the Hillcrest Cemetery south of Shelley.