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A History of the Life of Herman Gubler

A History of the Life of Herman Gubler

by his daughter Selina G. Hafen


A History of the Life of Herman Gubler

by his daughter Selina G. Hafen

Herman Gubler was born 11 December 1856 at Müllheim, Thurgau, Switzerland. His parents were Mary Ursula Muller and John Gubler. They were converted to the L.D.S. Church and emigrated to Utah in the fall of 1860. Herman was four and one-half years old when they left Switzerland. The only thing he could remember was one day his mother took him out on the deck of the ship to watch the fish and the wind blew off his little red cap into the ocean. He felt very badly to lose it.

They settled in Ogden but were there only one year. His parents along with other of the Swiss Company, were called by President Brigham Young to come to Southern Utah as a mission to build up the country. He remembered how hard they had to work to clear off the land, built ditches and canals to get the water on their land. They also had a lot of trouble with the Indians who would come into their homes and help themselves to anything they could fin, even to the last bit of bread, if the menfolk were not there. In those days they used to save a little piece of dough to sour and this was used in the place of yeast to raise the next batch of bread. One time they didn't have any bread for three weeks. Herman, a little boy of six years, happened to find this piece of sour dough one day and was eating it when his mother saw him. She cried to think her little boy was so hungry that he was eating it, for it was as hard as rock.

At first they couldn't raise wheat but raise quite a lot of corn which they used to make bread. After the harvest the children would go around the fields and glean what corn was left and sell it to travelers going through to California to feed their teams.

For several years after they arrived in Santa Clara, they lived in dugouts. These were made by digging a large hole in the ground and then placing poles and limbs across the top and covering it with dirt. One spring it had been raining and there was much grass all around. They had their milk cow staked out and she got loose and walked on top of this roof to eat the grass growing there. It was so soaked that her front feet went through the roof and the family all ran out to see what had happened. They found their cow stuck in the roof and weren't long getting her out.

As a boy, Herman would go with his mother, his brother John and sister, Mary to glean wheat up to New Harmony, Cedar City and Parowan while his father and sister, Louisa would say at home and take care of the crops. Other members of the Swiss Company went along too. This lasted for several years and then his father received $150. he still had coming on their home in Switzerland and with this money he bought a piece of land across the creek. He purchased it from some English people and they already had planted three rows of peach trees which were just starting to bear. In those days they dried peaches and then in the fall would take them North and trade them for wheat, flour and potatoes. They also raised sugar cane and made it into molasses and traded it for foodstuff. Herman's father couldn't speak English very well so he always took one of the boys with him to interpret so he could sell his load.

When Herman was fifteen years old he and his brother, John, went on the Pine Valley mountain and helped their father get lumber out to build the St. George Temple. They also hauled rock for the foundation. When sixteen, Herman worked for Fred Blake on the Pine Valley Mountain and for his pay he received a shirt, pants, hat and trousers. He thought he really had something. While building dams on the virgin river they called for volunteers so Herman with several other young boys his age joined to help. They got thirty -five cents a day and payed their own board. This didn't last long.

Herman's school was very limited. He only got through the third grade but he was very good in arithmetic. He said one thin he did learn well was the times tables which helped him all through his life.

Herman worked for several summers for Fred Blake on his ranch, then when he was 25 years old he married Selina Gubler in the St. George Temple, on 11 December 1879. By this time he had earned a team and wagon and had bought the lot he always lived on in Santa Clara. His youngest son, June, now lives there. There was a two roomed adobe house on it which they lived in until their first boy, Harmon was three weeks old. Herman peddled for a living and was on a trip at the time when their home burned down. Selina had taken the baby and gone down town to see her girlfriend, Rosette Stucki Atkin, who had just had her first baby. While she was gone their home burned to the ground. We can imagine how sad and hard it must have been for just a young married couple, to lose everything and to have to start all over again.

Herman was always a hard worker and was away from home so much, peddling in the summer and freighting in the winter......and Pioche by team and wagon.

Herman was also very athletic. He was one of the main baseball players with the St. George teams and many times were victorious. He always took much pride in a beautiful team and always kept them fat and shining. he owned some of the best horses ever owned, both work and saddle horses. In 1893 he homesteaded a cattle ranch south of the Pine Valley Mountain. He had always longed for a cattle ranch where he could raise cattle and horses so his dream had really come true. It was a beautiful place. At the ranch he raised lots of vegetables and the most delicious winter apples; although his main crops were wheat and potatoes. There were two other families who owned ranches nearby. They were Brother Benjamin Blake and Carter's over the hill. As hard workers as Herman and brother Blake were, they always took Sundays off and rested. The three families usually met at one place of the other on Sunday afternoons and spent the time visiting and talking over old times. The children would sometimes just sit and listen or at other times would stroll up into the canyons or over the hills and gather flowers or pine gum. For many years Herman and the boys would haul the vegetables and fruit from the farm I Pine Valley to the mining camps out in Nevada. They also supplied the stores and markets in St. George with vegetables every fall for many years. Selina always dried a lot of sweet corn, peas, and string beans for winter use.

While living at the ranch Herman decided to store ice to sell. He with the help of his boys built an ice house and each fall late when the weather was cold enough for the ponds to freeze up they would cut the ice up in blocks about one hundred pounds to the block and in the ice house they would store it until the next summer. Then they would haul it down to St. George to sell. They supplied the city of St. George with ice for many years.

Herman and Selina enjoyed their ranch life together with their family. He was a very successful farmer and cattle raiser there. Herman was the first man in Santa Clara to own a white top buggy and later the first to own a car. With the help of their boys and girls they all worked hard and prospered.

After the boys all grew up and got married Herman couldn't manage the ranch alone any more and was compelled to sell it. He sold it to his sons, Edmund, in 1918. After that they could hardly endure the warm summers in Santa Clara after having been used to the nice cool mountain weather.

Herman was a lover of little children and always noticed them wherever he went. He was a man of deep sympathies and genuine humor. He always enjoyed a good clean joke. He always noticed the older people and was very charitable to the poor. He was always active in his church duties, always payed an honest tithing and all his obligations. He was President of the Elder's quorum, a teacher in Sunday School, and a Ward Teacher.

Herman and Selina lived a full life together. They taught their children to pray and to be honest. They were an example to them and always had family prayers morning and evening. They encouraged their children always to obey those in authority who were placed over them and to take part in their church duties whenever asked.

They both worked hard together and helped built up their community. They sent their two oldest boys, Harmon and John, on missions. Harmon went to Switzerland and John to the eastern states mission.

They have a posterity of eleven children, six boys and five girls, who are still living, sixty-nine grandchildren, one hundred and three great-grand children.

Selina had two serious operations and during her later life was poorly. She had diabetes in a very bad form the last year of her life. She died 26 Oct 1929. This was very hard on Herman and he was very lonely. After three years he married Mrs. Maria Ray. They lived happily together for eight years.

Herman was very active and worked till he was eighty one years old. About that time his health gave away. Maria was also real poorly and wasn't able to do her work besides taking care of Herman. Her children wanted her to come and live with them so they could take care of her. She had been a good wife to Herman and didn't want to leave him, and he felt very badly about her leaving but as conditions were they felt that it was the best thing to do. So she left and Herman stayed with his children who took care of him.

When Herman was 81 years old he was still enjoying his favorite sport riding horses, and was very active. While roping a calf at this age he got his thumb caught in the rope and it was cut off.

Herman failed very fast after Maria left and he was very lonely. He only lived two years. In the fall of 1940 he had a really bad fall from which he never recovered. He was bedfast seven days and died 7 Mar 1941. He was buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery.

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