There were many season's in Uncle Ed's life...
___ The season of childhood...
___ of early marriage...
___ of raising the Pearces, the Eastons, the Williams, and the Larsons...
___ of Puffer Lake...
___ of the years on the railroad...
___ of Danny and I and our cousins...
___ and then this last season... the season of my own children and the
impact that Uncle Ed made in their lives...
Each of us has our season of memories of Uncle Ed. Today we pay tribute
to the good times, the struggles, and to a man who made a difference.
Let's begin with Uncle Ed's father, Charles Gustav Larson...
Charles Gustav Larson was born in Stockholm Sweden during the late
1800's. When he was a boy, the Mormon Church was sending missionaries all
over the world to preach the gospal. As a result of their dilligent work,
young Charles' family was baptized into the Mormon church. Father Larson
gathered his three sons, Charles Gustav, Fred, August, and his one
daughter Annie together and migrated to America. They settled in
Grantsvill, Utah where the tall, swedish father and his three strong sons
farmed the land and raised hay and grain. During the years in Grantsville,
Charles Gustav Larson was called to serve a mission for the Mormon Church.
He served his mission in North Carolina. There he met a tall, dark,
beautiful young southern woman, Nancy Louisa "Lu" Perry, and the two young people
fell in love. Charles sent his young sweeetheart, Nancy, back to Grantsville,
Utah to live with his family while he completed his mission. When his work
was finished, Charles Gustav returned home and married Nancy Lu Perry. After
they were married, the entire Larson family moved to Oakly, Idaho.
In Oakley, Father Larson had a farm and his son, the newly wed Charles,
worked as manager of the Oakley Co-op Store. (It was a franchise of
Z. C. M. I.) While Charles worked for the Co-op, he and Nancy began their
family. One of their sons, Charles Edwin Larson (Uncle Ed), was born in
Uncle Ed had fond memories of his years in Idaho. He recalled his
grandfather Larson, the man who had the courage to leave his home in
Sweden and come to America. He remembered that he spoke with a heavy
swedish accent "Buern_de_buern" and that he was a large, tall, hard
There were many responsibilities and various jobs to be done on the farm.
One of the jobs that young Ed would do was to ride the derrick horse for hay
loading. Often times, when Charles Gustav Larson would send his young son
Ed to help with the hay, as he walked the mile and a half to the fields, he
would stop and play along the way. Inevitably, he would be late for work or
he just wouldn't make it to the fields at all. Whenever this happened, the
old swedish grandfather would "chew" on little Ed, saying "Gosh Oh Heck, that
boy of Charles'".
Uncle Ed didn't recall his swedish grandmother, she was not alive when he
was a little boy and he never met her. When Uncle Ed was a little boy,
his Grandmother Perry came all the way from North Carolina to visit her
daughter and her young family. She brought her own feather mattress with
her all the way from the South. In those days, it was a rare privilege to
have such a luxury: Anyone who had a feather mattress was special. On this
long trip, she was accompanied by a young grandson, Arthur Clark, who was
about Uncle Ed's same age. Grandmother Perry had been and still was a loyal
member of her dear Confederacy (even though the war was long over, she
still absolutely hated the Yankees!). She told of the hardships of the Civil
War and told how, after the war, the Yankee soldiers had no regard for
person or property. Often as the soldiers came down the road, she witnessed
them urging their horses to jump walls and fences of the homsteads nearby.
Then they would steal anything they wanted like tools, food, money, or
even clothes right off of the clothes line.
Grandmother Perry was a real character with a heavy southern drawl;
"you_all, we_ins". She smoked a corn cob pipe and chewed snuff on a stick.
( She would take a long stick, rub it in snuff and then would chew on the
stick.) When grandmother Perry came to visit, she brought one of Uncle Ed's
cousins from the south with her. He was about Uncle Ed's age and his name
was Arthur Clark. ( He too spoke with a heavy southern accent.) He was a
real smarty_pants and a teasing pest to Uncle Ed. Finally one day, Uncle
Ed got fed up with Arthur and Ed told him just what he thought of him ...
What an insult to the young boy from the south! Arthur was so mad he could
have killed his cousin Ed ... (The only problem was young Ed was too fast ...
he was running for his life.)
Uncle Ed remembered his mother Nancy Lu Perry as a tall dark and beautiful
woman who was gentle and spoke with a southern drawl. He recalled how she
had a large goiter on her neck and Uncle Ed thought that is what brought on
her death. She died when he was only about 12 or 13 years old. One week
after his Mother's death, another tradgedy struck the Larson home. Uncle
Ed's little seven year old brother was also taken in death.
Uncle Ed was a tall and lanky young boy. His friends were usually alot older
than he was, because Uncle Ed was bigger than the boys his own age and he
fit in better with the older boys. With the onslaught of World War I, all the
eligible young men were enlisting in the armed services to aid their country
in the war effort. Uncle Ed's mother had recently died so when his older
friends traveled to Pocatello, Idaho to "join-up", young Ed decided to enlist
with them. As the boys from Oakley presented themselves, the draft board nodded
their approval. All seemed to be going just fine until the board discovered
that Uncle Ed was on 14 years old. He was 5 years too young to enlist but
his size had fooled them and at the mere age of 14 he was nearly drafted!
Needless to say, Uncle Ed was sent home. Uncle Ed said of himself, "at 14, I
was so tall and skinny I could have been a ram-rod for one of those army
During World War I, most all of the cowboys in Idaho enlisted in
the armed services causing a shortage of able bodied men who
could work the cattle drives. Large cattle companies like,
"Miller and Luxs" and "Sparks and Terrill", were eager to hire
any available man because their cattle drives would run up to
10,000 cattle. The Southern Idaho area was a good summer range and cattle
companies brought cattle from all over the West, (including California and Texas),
to graze on the "open grazing land". Even though Uncle Ed was only 14, because
he was so large in stature and so strong, he was hired by the Miller and Luxs
Cattle Company to work the cattle on the range between Nevada and Oakley. It was
during this work that he recalled seeing a real 20 mule team come out of Nevada and
he recalled how impressed he was with the ability of the 20 animals working
together. "Quite a Sight" he said "Quite a Sight".
As a teen-age boy, he and some friends were "Rodeo Performers". They did fancy
horse riding tricks, roping, and they rode bucking broncos. At one time, he and
his performer friends were part of a Wind-West-Show in Shenendoah, Ohio. One day,
the boys got together and decided to see "just what else the show had to offer".
As a joke, his friends dared Uncle Ed to go into one particular tent. Not knowing
what to expect and not being afraid of anything, Uncle Ed took his friends up on the
dare. When he got inside all "you know what broke loose". You see, this tent was
the Rodeo's snake pit, and when Uncle Ed saw the snakes, he did what came naturally.
He grabbed a large plank of wood and started swinging at anything that moved. When
he emerged from the tent, the snakes were all dead and so was his stint with this
Uncle Ed loved baseball and, as a young man in Idaho he played against the Vi Pont
Silver Mine team. He made such an impression on the management that they wanted him on
their own team. But, in order to be on the team, he had to work for the Vi Pont
Company. Uncle Ed was too young to work in the mines so in order to secure Ed
Larson as a pitcher for their team, the Vi Pont Corporation hired Uncle Ed to
work for them, but not in the mines. Instead, they gave him a job feeding the
company mules. When he was finally old enough, he ran the hoist for the mine.
A lot of wild things can happen in a minning town. One incident that Uncle Ed
recalled went like this: There were too many dogs in camp and they were over
running everything. The superintendent told the "Bo-Hunks" to get rid of the
pests. So, the Bo-Hunks" devised an unusual extermination plan; they wired the
dogs with dynamite. Their thinking was that this would not only take care of the
problem of the dogs, but it would give them some bizarre entertainment as well.
Unfortunately, their plan back fired (literally) when the dogs ran under the
bunk house and you guessed it, blew it to kingdom come.
When Uncle Ed had worked at the Vi Pont mine for about two years, the bottom
fell out of the silver market. Silver went from $1.00 an ounce to about 50 cents
an ounce so the Vi Pont mine had to close. The superintendent of the mine was leaving
Idaho to work in the Bingham mines in Utah. He liked Uncle Ed, and appreciated
his talents as a ball player so much that he made arrangements for the 20 year old
Larson boy to come work for him at the "Highland Boy" mine in Bingham, Utah. He
told Uncle Ed that when he was finished with his hoist work at the Vi Pont Mine he
could come to Bingham to work and play ball. So, in 1923, Uncle Ed left Idaho and came
to work in Bingham, Utah.
During the years at Bingham, Uncle Ed saw many wild adventures. One winter's
day he was standing in his long handled underwear, shaving when all of a sudden
he heard a terrible raor. The next thing he knew, he was half way down the
Mountain side. A terrible snow-slide had broken loose, uprooting trees,
destroying everything in its path, killing several people. The slide had carried
Uncle Ed's house down the mountain, but, Uncle Ed, standing in his underwear,
While at Bingham, Uncle Ed met a school teacher, Miss Clerynth Jensen. It wasn't
long before he was smitten, and so was she. What an interesting couple they must
have made. He was a dashing dandy who loved to dance and party, and she was a reserved,
dignified beautifully dressed lady. Theirs was a special marriage. She brought out the
best in Uncle Ed and he adored her (even if he did teach her a few words she had never
heard before!). She was his eternal sweetheart and he loved her dearly. Uncle Ed told
me many times how happy he was that they had gone to the temple and had been sealed.
This summer would have been their 65th wedding anniversary.
He worked in the Highland Boy mine and pitched for the Delaware Mine baseball team.
He was a great pitcher. These semi-pro teams were made up of the finest players in the
world and they had the best equipment money could buy. They traveled everywhere by
train. Utah Copper had a team and there were other teams from the mine sites in Bingham
and some from Copperton, Magna, Grantsville, Garfield, and other areas throughout the
West. the team that Uncle Ed, Uncle Thell Pearce, and Grandpa Earn Pearce played on
actually won what was at that time equivalent to the World Series. They were truly the
best baseball team in the world.
The "Bees" were a Professional Baseball Team from Salt Lake city. (Tony Lazari played for
the Bees). Every year they would play against the "Utah Copper All-Star Geam". Uncle Ed
pitched for the all stars. Uncle Ed pitched three innings against the Bees giving up no
runs and no hits. He pitched a 3 inning shut out. the Bees were cocky and self assured,
they didn't seem too concerned about the edge the all stars had on them. But when the
other Utah Copper pitchers came to the mound, things did not get any better for the pro
team. The third Utah Copper Pitcher was an Indian who threw a great knuckle ball. It
was the first knuckle ball that Uncle Ed had ever seen (and it looked pretty new to
the Bees team too!), When the self important Bees decided they had better "take up the slack"
and win the game there was no slack to take up! Uncle Ed's Utah Copper All Stars won the
game! Uncle Ed still has Perry family members in the South and is a cousin to Gaylord
Perry the famous baseball pitcher and his brother Jim Perry.
Uncle Ed's opportunity for baseball fame ended with a tragic mining accident that nearly
cost him his life. while being lowered down a mine shaft, the cable holding the platform
snapped. Uncle Ed and a Mr. Siddoway were the only two men on the platform as it fell
several hundred feet. Uncle Ed knew that he would be killed if the full impace of the fall
was taken standing up. He quickly decided to jump away from the platform as it hit the
open level of the bottom drift. At moment of impact, Uncle Ed jumped. The platform
bounced upward and his one leg took the full explosive blow. Mr. Siddoway was killed.
Uncle Ed's recovery was a medical miracle. Instead of losing his life, he recovered and
had almost full use of his leg. However, the recovery process meant many long months in
the hospital and would have driven most men crazy. But, Uncle Ed had the grit and the faith
to endure whatever the doctors told him because he was determined to walk again; and he
All of our seasons are filled with memories. Memories of:
of his dear brothers Pete and Bill.
of the nick names he had for his friends and family ... Junion, Bo Hunk, Mutton Head,
and Meat and Potatoes.
of Puffer Lake.
of how he always had a parade of little boys following him wherever he went.
of when he was bringing supplies in and out of the lodge. He continually bent down to
unload and each time he stood up he would bump his head on the old crank phone that was
hanging on the wall. After about a dozen of these trips and bumps, he ripped the phone
off of the lodge wall and threw it in Otter's Lake. (That was always one of my father's,
Rex Lish, favorite stories!)
My dad lost his own father when he was a little boy. Uncle Ed became the father my
dad never had. I think that my father became one of Uncle Ed's "many sons?.
Sitting around the big rock fire place at the lodge, listening to his great old stories,
no one could match his story telling.
One of my favorite pictures is of Uncle Ed reading with his glasses propped up on his
The many winter hikes with his good friend Chris Fatheringham. Chris was the forest ranger for Beaver
County. The two men would travel on showshoes to the lakes and up to Big Flat in order
measure the level of the snowfall throughout the Winter.
The wood cutting trips.
His pick up trucks.
Following him around as he worked on the generator behind the lodge; after a while he
would reach into the wooden box sitting in the Spring and pull out a Grape Nehi, or an
Orange, or a Squirt because "he was so thirsty" and he would "insist" that I have one too.
His work pants, overalls, work boots, oil stained gloves, and his baseball caps.
How he continually tried to stop the leak in Otter's Lake.
How he became great friends with his father-in-law, Grandpa Neils Jensen and the tender
love he had for his mother-in-law, sweet Grandma Kate Levi Jensen. From there he found three
wonderful sisters, Letty, Norma, and Faye. (He even took little Faye roller skating.) He didn't
just watch, he skated, and was pretty darn good too! These new sisters had husbands who became
his close friends. As Uncle John Williams said, they were like fathers and brothers.
How he shared in the raising of the 9 Pearce children, the 2 Easton boys, Clare Williams, and
Nancy and Billy Larson.
The wonderful trips with Nanny and Grandpa Pearce
How he never had to think twice about lending money to friend or family or to anyone who was
All the wonderfull gifts, like the Railroad trip that Danny and I took all alone to Milford
for Christmas so we could be with Aunt Clerynth and Uncle Ed.
The many many times that he would refer to himself as "The Mayor of Frog Hollow".
His dramatic recitations of "Dangerous Dan" and of "Casey at the Bat".
He could play the piano and always said that he would been a better player if he hadn't had to
practice marbles so much.
Our oldest son Matthew is in the Mission Training Center, and when he received the news about
Uncle Ed's death, this is what he wrote to me: "Dear Mon, I just received your letter and I'm sorry
about Uncle Ed. But, you know he's in heaven with Aunt Clerynth. I'm actually happy for him because
he no longer has his limp, now he no longer has heart trouble, and now Aunt Clerynth can scold him
whenever he swears! I know he's happy Mom. I love Uncle Ed.
Uncle Ed had a sense of homor that could not be matched.
He is greatly respected because of his honest character.
He is dearly loved because of his generous heart.
No College or University could have made him a better man. You see, they just don't come any
better than Uncle Ed.