David Wells JacobsonLeola Dickson
Wells JacobsonLeola Dickson Jacobson

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16 Dec 1898 - 1 April 1980
taped in 1976-1977
8th Child of James William Creager and Ida May Welsh

I was the youngest of eight children, the son of James William and Ida May Welsh Creager.  I was born 16 December 1898 at the Creager homestead located on the East bench of Richville, Morgan County, Utah.  As an adult I stand 5'9" and have blue eyes.  My hair was brown before it turned grey.

My mother was about 5'2" and had blue eyes and black hair that that she wore in a bob on top of her head.  Her hair didn't turn grey until just a few years before her death at age 86.  She never was heavy set and weighed less that 125 pounds.

I was named after my father.  He 5'9'' or 10'' and weighed about 175 pounds.  He had brown hair and blue eyes and red whiskers.  He usually wore a large mustache.

My parents were born and raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Shortly after their marriage they were visited by Mormon missionaries, Bill Brough and Jim Ingles and were baptized 27 July 1882.  My folks were persecuted a great deal in the town because they were Mormons, so they went to the Snyders, mothers relatives that she worked for, and borrowed enough money  to go to Marion Center, Kansas, where some other relatives lived.  They were living in Marion Center when their first daughter, Jenny Myrtle, was born, 8 January 1884.  Mother had a son, Ira Ottobine, who was born about four years before her marriage.  Ira couldn't have been a better brother and Dad always treated him just like his own flesh and blood.  [Tears filled his eyes and his voice choked up as he spoke of his brother.]  The folks wanted to come to Utah so the Church loaned them money from the Perpetual Emigration Fund to cover their expenses.  It was  later repayed.

They left Kansas in September of 1884 to come to Morgan, Utah, where Mothers brother Ambrose Welsh had come before the Civil War.

In Morgan my Dad worked for the Railroad Section going into Wyoming for about the first year and a half at $1.50 a day.  He decided it was worth $3.00 a day to work for himself so he built a homestead at Richville, a few miles above Morgan.  He built on the East bench of the valley that was later called "Creager Hollow".  They moved there about 1886.
One of the earliest things I can remember is sitting on Mother's lap in the old springboard wagon as our family was on the way to visit George and Alice McPhern.  The horses, Bill and George, got excited and almost ran away before they were brought back under control. Those two were Mother's favorite team of horses.

I was baptized 11 May 1907, by Bishop Albert  D. Dickson, who was Bishop for 37 years.  I remember that while Bishop Dickson was looking for just the right spot in the East Canyon Creek to baptize us, he stepped into the water and nearly sank out of sight.  The water came up to his chin and I still laugh every time I think of how comical it was to see the Bishop's white beard bobbing up and down in the water.  "We don't want to drown those kids", the Bishop said.  So he found a better spot upstream.  I can still remember how cold the springtime water was as Bishop Dickson held both my wrists, mumbled the prayer, then dunked me into the icy cold water.  Boy oh boy, was that ever cold.  

While we lived at Richville I went to school in Porterville, a few miles further up the canyon.  At that time eight grades was all the higher the grades went without going to college in Ogden or Salt Lake City.  When I was in the 6th or 7th grade a high school was started in the old South Morgan School.  I staggered through school to the eighth grade but I didn't graduate.

The high school was built in Morgan in 1915.  My Dad hauled all the bricks for the North and South Morgan Schools.  

Our family moved across the Richville Valley, then after Dad got sick he moved to Morgan and built a livery stable on a half acre of ground. The rest of the family joined him about a year later.  Dad hated to give up the home in Richville, but Mother insisted, "I'm not about to have my family all split up".

I helped at the livery stable, worked at the pea factory, and went to school in the winter.

Dad told me that when he lived in Pennsylvania he had inhaled an unpopped popcorn kernel that lodged in his lungs.  About 16 years later the kernel was dislodged during a coughing spell and was coughed up, but his lungs damaged by then and always caused him problems. Once he tried spending some time in the mountains to see if the high altitude would help his lungs, but it didn't.  While he was gone he shaved off his mustache.  When he came home I didn't recognize him without it and called to Mother, "There's a stranger in the kitchen!"

I was only twelve when Dad died.

At age 18 I went to work for the railroad for .38 cents an hour.  In 1922 I worked with my brother Merl's team of horses hauling freight.  I hauled dirt and concrete for the original East Canyon Dam.  Then I started welding for the railroad at .77 cents and hour and became Section Foreman on the welding gang between Bitter Creek and Rawlings, Wyoming.  I got so I could write pretty good through keeping books, time rolls, etc.

Roland Petersen and I were partners with a pact.  Roland got the girls and I had the car.  Roland happened to be acquainted with a couple of graduate nurses in Ogden, and about August of 1926 Roland had a date with Ardella Romer and fixed me up with her giggly roommate, Doris "Hap" West.  We picked the girls up bright and early on Sunday morning and took a long drive around Garland and Tremonton, then to Ardella's parent's home in Elwood where we enjoyed the afternoon.  After returning the girls to their apartment in Ogden, I caught the midnight train to return to work on the railroad welding gang near Wamsutter, Wyoming.

About a week later I made a date with Ardella and she was my steady girl after that.  She appealed to me because she wasn't the giggly, carefree young lady that her roommate was.

Ardell, [as I always called her] and I double dated often with Jack and Ruby Durrant.  Ruby and Ardell had graduated from nursing school together.  One time we went to the Utah State Fair together, then to Saltair near the Great Salt Lake and rode the giant racer of "scenic railroad", as the roller coaster was called at that time.  We had to hang on tight to our seats [no seat belts] to keep from flying out of the long car as it raced around the narrow track.

In the fall of 1926, Ardell and I were waiting in the car for Jack and Ruby, when I said, "Ardell, what would you say if I asked you to marry me?"   "I'd say  'yes' right now," was her reply, and we started making plans for our future together.

I went back to work welding on the railroad between Bitter Creek and Rawlings, Wyoming, and the first chance I got I caught a train at Wamsutter and went to a jewelry store in Evanston and bought an engagement ring for about $50 or $60.  I arranged to have small payments taken out of my check each payday to pay for it.

At Christmas time I got 3 or 4 days off work, so I bought a ticket on the inter-urban Utah-Idaho Central Electric Railroad to Elwood. Ardell's uncle, Melvin Petersen, picked me up at the station.  I gave the ring to Ardell a day or two before Christmas in 1926.

She had already told her father she wanted to get married.  He agreed, but told her she had to spend the first night at their home, then added,  "You are welcome to come home as often as you can, but if you  have a quarrel then you've got to live with the man you're married to."

He told Ardell's sister, Verna, the same thing.  

Ardell and Verna both wanted to be June brides, so they decided to have a double wedding.  Verna was marrying Heber Mortensen.

The night before our weddings were to take place, Hebe and I shared a room at the Broom Hotel in Ogden.  I went to bed but Hebe paced the floor and looked out of the window for a long time.  Finally I said, "For Heaven's sake, you ain't a gonna' be killed.  My gosh, people get married every day.  Lay down and turn the light off!  I've been working hard all week and by gad, I wanta rest up a little!"

The next day, Monday, June 20th, 1927, we were married at the old Weber County Courthouse in Ogden by Judge Hendrickson.  Ardell and I were married first and Verna and Hebe acted as our witnesses, then Verna and Hebe's marriage was performed with Ardell and I as witnesses.  No one else was there.

Then we got into Hebe's old Model T Ford [that was quite a wreck], and drove out to Elwood - where a reception was to be held at the girls' home.  Some of my family drove down from Morgan to attend the reception.
During our reception at Elwood, Jed Mortensen [Heb's brother], got Verna and I on the fenders of his car and Ardell's dad, Andrew, got her and Hebe on the fenders of his car and they drove us along the road about four miles with a lot of others following along in their own cars, honking and blowing whistles as they chivalried us.  We were allowed to get back inside the cars for the ride back to Andrew's house.  This was the extent of the chivalry though.  Andrew wouldn't allow the customary, more drastic one to take place.

Following Andrew's wishes, all of us spent our wedding night at the Romer home.  Then the next day Andrew drove Ardell and I to Ogden where we caught the train to Morgan, and walked through the fields to my Mother's home where we stayed overnight.  Then I put Ardell on the train so she could return to her nursing job in Ogden, and I caught a train back to my welding job on the railroad in Wyoming.

On Saturday of the next week, my mother held a reception for Ardell and I in Morgan.  Ardell's family were able to come to it.

We planned to spend our honeymoon on the 4th of July in Denver, but Ardell caught a train headed for Cheyenne.  Her train came through Green River, Wyoming, where I was to meet her, and was I surprised to see her familiar face on the wrong train!  I boarded the train and we got a berth on the observation car and rode the train to Cheyenne and stayed overnight there.  The next day, July 4th, we caught a train to Denver.  As part of the July 4th celebration a pony express race was held with riders going from Cheyenne to Denver and from Denver to Cheyenne.  We also watched a baseball game between Denver and Nebraska.

On the train back to Ogden we rode in the chair car where it was very warm.  I tried to talk Ardell into letting me ride in the seat next to the window where I could feel the breeze, but she refused to give up the prized seat.  After riding for some distance, Ardell turned toward me and I laughed because her face was black from the coal cinders that had blown on her face from the train engines.  We enjoyed a good laugh over that.

Ardell continued her nursing until the latter part of July of that year, [1926]  when she joined me at Wamsutter, Wyoming, where we lived in a "outfit" car that was provided by the railroad for the employees.  Our home on wheels moved as the work on the railroad progressed.
We lived from day to day and didn't really plan anything.  In about November of 1927 I brought Ardell to Ogden where we would live until our first baby, James Vance, was born on March 18, 1928.  I happened to come in on Sunday, so was there when Jimmy arrived.  About six weeks later I came to take my family back to Wyoming where we lived in the railroad car until1928 or 1929, when I was discharged from the railroad after my motorcar got hit by a train.

We returned to Morgan and moved into my brother Charlie's house, where we were living when our second son, Robert Andrew, was born on 22 June 1932.  It was the depression and jobs were hard to come by, so sometimes Charlie got paid $5 or $6 a month for rent and sometimes I did work on the yard as rent payment.  Ardell was able to find work at the Cooley Hospital in Brigham City where they lived until 1938, prior to Lyle's birth.

While my family was in Brigham City I picked up odd jobs in Morgan or at Hill Field as I was able and spent as much time with Ardell and the kids in Brigham City as I could.  Ardell worked nights at the hospital for about one and a half years.  Jimmy went to school there including the third grade.

The boys liked living close to their Grandparents Romer and they spent as much of their time with them as possible.  

While they were in Brigham City I built a house on the property my mother gave me, next to her home near the Weber River in Morgan. Much of the lumber used to build the home came from the old livery stable that my Dad had owned.  Our youngest son, Lyle Jay, was born not long after we moved into our new home, 5 October 1938.

In 1943 I got work at the Ideal Cement Company in Devils Slide, Utah, as a truck driver until I retired in 1963.

After Ardell's death, 11 October 1956, [her sister Verna's 50th birthday], I stayed on alone in Morgan until 1975.  Then I sold the house and moved into a trailer house in Ogden in the same court as Lyle's family.  My friend, Russel Bock lived with me most of the time I was there.


Jim enjoyed his grandchildren and was especially close to his grandson Stan and granddaughter Kim.  When Stan got his drivers license he took his "Grandpa Jim" and Jim's friend Russ for many rides in the car.  Jim drove his own car until about 1977, when his leg muscles began to fail him.  He never could bear being indoors for very long and enjoyed outings with Stan as well as with others.  Stan loved his grandfather and had looked forward to moving in with him as soon as he turned 18, so he could care for him and Russ.  However, Stan died just 2 months before his 18th birthday, a loss that was very difficult for Jim to accept.

Jim looked forward to Kim's frequent visits as she  "popped" in from her home next door.  Kim's mother, Donna, often took Jim along each morning and afternoon as she drove her daughters to and from school.  He always liked those opportunities to get out of the house. His son, Bob, also took him for car rides nearly every week.

Jim was blessed with a keen mind that always stayed sharp and alert.  His memory was vivid about childhood days as well as current events.  He never complained about his health, was always cheerful, and had a nickname for everyone.

He was in the Ogden Care Center in North Ogden from November of 1978 until his death on granddaughter Terrilyn's 16th birthday, April 1, 1980, at age 81.

His descendants are:
    3 sons -
        James Vance of Huntington Beach, California
        Robert Andrew of Ogden, Utah
        Lyle Jay of Ogden, Utah
    14 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren

[Recorded by Leone R. Creager, 158 W. 5100 S.,  Ogden, Utah,
April 1980, from tapes of conversations with James Creager]
Retyped for DWJacobson Website by Annette D. Anderson -  4 Nov. 2008