Edward Christian Eyring was bom in St. George, Utah, May 37,1868 to Henry and Mary Bommeli Eyring. While Edward was attending Brigham Young Academy, the family moved to Colonia Juarez in 1887. He joined the family in Mexico in 1889. Excerpts from his life story written in 1939.
This article originally appeared in Vol.65 No.1 of Pioneer Magazine (2018)
I was twenty-one years old in 1889, and the colonies had begun to be quite prosperous… It was splendid grass country, in which cattle and horses did well. While I helped my father [Henry, born 1832] in the store I found time to use the money I had saved while working in Colorado to buy up a few ponies and to trade for horses, which I enjoyed. I grew up with a natural love for horses and cattle and dearly loved to work with them.
In 1893,1 bought a lot and made preparations for building a home near Colonia Juarez. On October 11,1893, Caroline Romney and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. I had proposed to her prior to this time, but it took me two years to convert her father to the idea. However, he finally approved and later paid me a very fine compliment, saying, he thought I was an ideal husband. Caroline and I commenced housekeeping under many obstacles. We had only a straw tick and very little furniture, but we were extremely happy. Our own home was being built and was soon ready for us. Before long we were quite comfortable, considering the times and country.
My first daughter, Camilla, was born December 7, 1894. We then learned what childbearing meant. I wondered many times that night if I would have a wife or child by morning, but, oh, the joy when we finally succeeded. I started on my mission [to Germany] the first of October 1897 going with my father and mother to Salt Lake City.
When I went out to get in the carriage, I threw my tobacco away and have never tasted it since. If my mission did nothing more for me than that, that alone would be worth it. I have often wondered if I should ever have been able to discontinue its use, had I not gone on my mission. My wife was very brave, never making a complaint while I was away and was able to earn enough to keep me on my mission, but she worked very hard.
When I arrived home I found my wife better. She was just recovering from a very severe illness. Camilla was then a big girl of five years, and Mary, whom I had never seen, was two years old. I had not known that Mary had been born deaf. I think I never felt so badly in my life over anything. Nevertheless, I felt to praise the Lord that everything was as well as it was. I went back into the store to work, but decided it was too slow and that the cattle business might be better.
Accordingly, I secured the job of tending the company pasture and commenced to buy stock in it. I succeeded in getting considerable stock and later, when we decided to separate, I got still more. I traded for the Palo Quemado Ranch of six thousand acres, which we used for our cattle in the summer, moving them back to the Tinaja for the winter.
When Father died in 1902, Andrew [a half-brother] and I continued to run our cattle together. I think the happiest time of my life was when we ran the dairy on theTinaja, breaking broncos and caring for fat cattle on those green grassy hills. At that time the colonies were in their best days, everyone was prospering and there were good schools and good times for all.
In 1903, I decided to enter the holy order of plural marriage, so with the help of my wife, I was able to woo my wife’s sister, Emma, and after considerable persuasion, I married her in November of 1903. We then built her a home on the lot joining ours. My idea of plural marriage was strict equality, which I have tried to practice all these years.
In 1905 we moved across the river to be closer to the Juarez Stake Academy, so I bought a number of lots from James C Peterson and one hundred acres of pasture and land adjoining. There we built two very comfortable homes (brick) and were living very happily together—too much so—for the best good of mortals. I feel now that the twenty-five years of my life spent in Mexico were wonderful indeed.
In July 1912, owing to Revolutionary conditions in Mexico, we were forced to move into the United States. At the time of leaving we had not the slightest idea we were making a permanent move. The families going out on the train took only a few necessary articles to last for a couple of weeks when we expected we would return. Most of the men remained in the country to guard the property, but conditions became so unbearable, that we knew sooner or later something terrible would happen. Accordingly, we decided to pack up, just leave everything, and move for the border. This we did, arriving at Hachita [New Mexico] and leaving our horses there.
From there we went to El Paso where we had sent our families. Even then we could not realize we were not going back. We remained in El Paso hoping for encouraging signs that we might return. We waited to see how it went with some of the brethren who went in to see how things were. When they were forced to come out again, our hopes wavered. Finally seeing the futility of going back there now, we decided to move to Arizona. We had lived in El Paso ten months.
I moved to Safford, Arizona, and bought the Carder place, going in partnership with Miles A. Romney. This deal soon proved unsatisfactory so I sold out to Miles. By this time I had decided there was no possible chance of returning to Mexico, now or ever, to operate my prosperous business there, and that I had just as well abandon the idea. I tried the livery business as a substitute for a few months but soon saw there was no future in that. So I traded it for the Rogers farm in Pima [Arizona] and moved my family there. As part of the farm was still brush, it was uphill business getting settled.
The dividends from the Tinaja property in Mexico proved our salvation. I had traded it off in 1916 for a store in Safford, Arizona which Andrew took part interest in and ran for me. But by trading it for land in Mexico and selling Andrew’s property in Mexico to Miles Romney, we began to see daylight. Eddie [son] had done well with the Pima farm. We still have the farm, the comfortable duplex we built on it and are thankful for getting the mortgage gradually paid off while still keeping all the children in school.
In 1931 all of my mother’s family met in Mesa and spent three months together doing temple work. Besides our good times together, we were able to do many names, most of them for our own progenitors. Had it not been for the pleadings and encouragement of my brother Henry, who is blind, this gathering would not have taken place, nor this history written.
I will close this history by giving my testimony concerning the principle of plural marriage.This will no doubt be obnoxious to some who may read it. Even some of our descendants may wish it had been otherwise. I wish to impress this fact upon the minds of my children: that to discredit the principle of plural marriage is the same as discrediting any other principle of the Mormon doctrine as they all come from the same source. Joseph Smith the Prophet was commanded to establish this principle in the Church.
I testify to you myself after twenty-eight years’ experience in trying to live it that I know the principle is divine. Although it is at the present time unlawful both from the Church’s view as well as from the standpoint of the state, I know it was established by God. Those who have lived it faithfully and well will receive a very enviable reward in the world to come. We are very thankful that the great government of the United States has granted amnesty to our people, and it is up to us to submit to the laws and to uphold the same.
Source: Nelle Spilsbury Hatch and B. Carmon Hardy, Stalwarts South of the Border (1985), 146-151.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in