John William Hepworth was born 1 Dec 1872, in Oxford, Bannock County, ID, son of Squire and Margaret Ellen Cox Hepworth. He was baptized at the age of eight and endowed at the age of 19.
For insights into John William’s early life, see the history of his sister Eliza Ellen Hepworth Crawford, written by Verda Davis and Lucy Schiefer, photocopy in Scott’s file on Hepworths).
We have a photocopy of the Missionary Certificate for John William Hepworth, signed 8 Nov 1895 by Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, the First Presidency.
On August 18, 1998, Grandson, Joseph Leland Hepworth, wrote the following concerning his grandfather:
Personal values lived and taught: Study the scriptures – your word given is your bond – be loyal to an employer – tell the truth – do an honest day’s work.
Personality, personal attributes: As a small child, I thought him harsh – was a good listener – reserved with strangers – very industrious – loved a good team of work horses – a man of his word – deep feelings against unfairness – strong family loyalty – great respect for womanhood – compassionate to the truly in need – little respect for shirkers – liked to chew on stems of grass or toothpicks – never saw him wear ear flaps or ear muffs or “pet his ears” – walked with a swinging gait – leaned ahead slightly when hurrying – often watched people and things with partially closed eyelids – potatoes were a food staff of life.
Accomplishments: Brought into the world 19 children, all of whom lived to past middle age – broke up considerable land in the Raft River Valley and on the Perrine Project near Eden and Hazelton, Idaho planted a grove of black walnuts on some rough ground on his land north of Jerome that were in great demand for gun stocks during WWII and Korean era – repented and became active as an elderly man after years of inactivity. I’d guess over forth years as such – worked hard in his eighties – quit drinking coffee when an old man – served full-time mission to Carolinas – married first wife in St. George Temple.
Lessons learned in life: The need to forgive self and others – hard work is its own reward.
Sound of voice: His voice carried well – his voice manifest determination and emotion. I remember him singing mostly to himself when walking to the fields with his shovel on his shoulder.
Common expressions: “By grab!” “Better get movin’” “Shake a leg”
Physical characteristics: I only knew him as a bald, light colored brown curly rim – his eyes were not wide by any means – light blue also could be very searching or piercing – twinkled at times – he was in prime 6 ft. and weighed at most around 200 lbs. – smooth muscled hands were not overlarge nor were his fee for his size.
Talents: Very logical discussant of scriptures – could play accordion – seemed to have a sense of rhythm – excellent draft horse trainer and handler – good at butchering animals – very skilled at sharpening tools – excellent ax man – good hunter, hunting was a necessity not a sport.
The following was written by or on behalf of Ivan Hepworth, son of John William and Alice Ashcroft (John’s second wife).
John’s father, Squire, has two wives, Emily Dyson being his first wife, and Margaret Ellen Cox, his second wife. John was born in Oxford, ID, as was his sister, Eliza Ellen. Squire moved his two families to Springdale, Washington County, UT which is located at the entrance to what was then called Zion’s Canyon, later dedicated a national park 9/15/1920.
There were 26 children born into the two families. Squire and his first wife, Emily, were blessed with Thornton, born July 14, 1864, Emily Ann, born December 12, 1865, Amelia Jane, born October 11, 1867, Squire Edmund, born April 22, 1869, Joseph Ephraim, born January 2, 1871, James Henry, born August 12, 1872, Charles Dyson, born August 17, 1874, Clara Elizabeth, born May 14, 1876, Mary Annice, born January 26, 1878, Russell King, born July 16, 1879, Eleanor, born August 8, 1881, Hyrum, born July 16, 1883, Lavinnia, born April 30, 1885, and Harriet, born October, 1887.
Squire and Margaret Ellen’s children were: John William, born December 1, 1872, Eliza Ellen, born December 19, 1874, Samuel, born March 20, 1878, Alvin Squire, born January 1879, George, born June 29, 1881, Anna Lavicia, born April 23, 1883, Lucy, born February 27, 1885, Richard, born March 20, 1887, Hannah, born May 29, 1889, Edgar Cos, born September 17, 1890, Alma Bee, born November 15, 1893, and Ira, born January 31, 1897.
Both of Squire’s families lived at Zion’s Canyon for several years. Squire was very active in the LDS Church and was the Presiding Elder at the Springdale Branch when it was organized into a ward on November 6, 1887. They had settled in what was known as the “Gifford Place,” and each of Squire’s wives had their own home.
John recalled that Squire’s first wife, Emily, always got first choice of things. His father saw to it that everyone had a musical instrument if they wanted to learn. John learned to play the harmonica and accordion. Squire taught the boys farming, carpentering, blacksmith, and shoemaking. The shoes were made from hand-tanned leather with the soles fastened to the uppers with wooden pegs. (Tacks were not yet available.) They were sewn with Irish flax
Mahala Strong Parker was born 10 Aug 1873 in Shoneburg, Washington, UT, daughter of Samuel, Jr. and Mahala Ruth Durfee Parker.
She was baptized
They were married 2 Dec 1891, in the St. George Temple, when he was 19 and she was 18.
She died 17 Sep 1912, in Malta, ID at the age of 39, leaving a large family. He married Alice Ashcroft in southern Utah(?).
He died 47 years later at the age of 87 on 22 Jan 1960 in Jerome, ID.