The Big Ditch

Ditch in a meadow near Hank

Here is the story of the Pig Plow as told by an old settler of Fairview, Utah, Pappas Brady.

When the ditch was first laid out that was afterwards called “City Ditch”, every man and boy was called on to come and work on it every day till it would carry water. This was in the spring, and it had to be finished before the fields were ready to be plowed and planted.

The men turned out with teams and plows, picks and crowbars and shovels. There was a rocky point at the head of the ditch to be cut through, and it was hard pan, about like cement. Couldn’t be touched by plow, no siree; no more than nothing. We was just prying the gravel loose with picks and crowbars and looked like it would take us weeks to do six rods. Yes, six weeks.

(One of the brethren) looked at us working and sweating, and never offered to lift a finger. No sir, never done a tap; just looked and then without saying a word, he turned around and walked off. Yes, sir, walked off! Well of all the mad bunch of men you ever saw I guess we was about the maddest. Of course, we didn’t swear; we was Mormons and the Bishop was there, but we watched him go and one of the men says, “Well, I didn’t think Brother (so and so) was that kind of a feller”.

His going discouraged the rest of us, just took the heart out of us. But of course we plugged away pretendin’ to work the rest of the day, and dragged back the next morning.  We weren’t near all there when here came that Brother again. I don’t just remember whether it was four yoke of oxen or six or eight, for I was just a boy, but it was a long string and they was everyone a good pulling ox. And they was hitched on to a plow, a plumb new kind, yes sir, a new kind of plow.

It was a great big pitch pine log, about fourteen feet long, and may have been eighteen, with a limb stickin’ down like as if my arm and hand was the log and my thumb the limb; he had bored a hole through the log, and put a crow bar down in front of the knob, and crossways long the log back of the limb he bored holes and put stout oak sticks through for spikes. They were the plow handles; and the eight men got ahold of them handles and held the plow level and he loaded a bunch of men along on that log, and then he spoke to his oxen.

Great Scott, ye oter seen the gravel fly, and ye oter heard us fellers laugh and holler! Well, sir, he plowed up and down that ditch line four or five times and that ditch was made, practically made. All that the rest of us had to do was to shovel out the loose stuff; he done more in half a day than all the rest of us could a done in six weeks.

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