Forgotten Chapters of History: Home Manufacture

Home manufacturers on the job.

Home manufacturers on the job.

During the 1950’s Cedar City historian and businessman William R. Palmer had a weekly radio program on local radio station KSUB. During his show, Forgotten Chapters of History, Palmer told tales of local history and sometimes covered other topics. Thanks to Special Collections at the Sherratt Library on the campus of Southern Utah University, many of these programs are available to listen to. On November 9, 1952, Palmer presented the story of Home Manufacture in Southern Utah.  Click the links and enjoy making something yourself as you listen to Forgotten Chapters of History.

Palmer’s audio broadcast “Home Manufacture” 11/09/52

Taking the sheep home.

Taking the sheep home.

Step one in the manufacturing process.

Step one in the manufacturing process.

Exploring our Collection: Nathaniel Pryor’s Captain’s Chair

Pryor's Captain's Chair

Pryor’s Captain’s Chair

On the morning of Friday, January 13th, a new addition made its way to the Frontier Homestead: The Captain’s Chair of Nathaniel West Pryor. The chair was donated by Margaret Pryor Williams, a great-granddaughter of Mr. Pryor.

Nathaniel W. Pryor was born in Jefferson County, Alabama on October 31, 1833. As a teenager, he became a cattle driver for a company headed for the California Gold Rush and stayed until 1857, when he began his journey back home to Alabama.  Pryor made a stop in the small town of Cedar City, Utah and attended a dance held for Latter-day Saint, or Mormon, community members. At the dance, he pointed out a pretty Mormon girl to his friends and declared, “That is the girl I am going to marry.” Pryor was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 6 of that year and married Jane Ann Giles before the year was over. Jane, was that pretty girl which he had pointed out to his friends. He never returned to Alabama.

Nathaniel West Pryor

Nathaniel West Pryor

In 1862, Pryor, along with his youngest brother, Green Berg Pryor, served during the Civil War for the Union Army. His other three brothers, John Henry Pryor, Milton Stokes Pryor, and Benjamin Franklin Pryor fought for the Confederate Army. After he was relieved of duty, Pryor joined the police force in St. Louis. Missouri. Pryor and Jane Anne Giles had 8 children together, two of which survived to adulthood. Pryor and Jane Ann moved back to Cedar City, Utah, where they first met, to make a permanent residence together. She had been very ill for quite some time and passed on October 23, 1872, shortly after Nathaniel had been elected Constable for Cedar Precinct (August 5, 1872).

1897 Cedar City Ballot

1897 Cedar City Ballot


Pryor Home

Pryor Home

On January 8, 1874, Pryor married Margaret Evans who had two daughters from a previous marriage, Jane and Catherine. Together, the Pryors had six additional children. On August 2, 1888, Pryor was elected Justice of the Peace. He served in this position until 1902. Pryor and his second wife, Margaret Evans, were married for 42 years. Nathaniel Pryor passed away on January 11, 1916 and to our knowledge is the only veteran of the Civil War buried in the Cedar City Cemetery.

Nathaniel West Pryor's headstone

Nathaniel West Pryor’s headstone

Book Review: At Home – A Short History of Private Life

As the year is just beginning, we thought we would, from time to time, share with you what we here at Frontier Homestead are reading. Our first review comes from our long-time staffer Stephen J. Olsen. We encourage you to share with us your favorite reads as the year progresses.

at-home-bill-brysonFor those who wonder from time to time why something is called what it is called; how and when it was called that; when did what we are commonly familiar with become familiar; and for those who are curious about the progression of society from the so called primitive to the so called refined or civilized, read Bill Bryson’s book At Home, A Short History of Private Life.

Have you ever wondered when you walk down a hall, why it is called a hall, and when did they start calling it a hall. Do you live or have you lived in a two story house, or at least been in a two story house? When did such structures become popular and how did that all come about? Or should the question be phrased: which came first the second story or the chimney? What does a chimney have to do with multiple story houses? During the Victorian era in the United States, there were “ten levels” or types mattress available. Down, feathers, wool, wool-flock, hair, cotton, wood shavings, sea moss, sawdust, and straw. Which would you have preferred? Which could you have afforded?

Mr. Bryson gives the answers to these questions and a great deal of information about daily living. Bryson unveils this information by leading the reader through a small, common house room by room. Bryson uses his home in England, which had belonged to Reverend Thomas Marsham in 1851. Using Bryson’s words, the house “looks the way a house should look. It has a homely air. So it is perhaps slightly surprising to reflect that nothing about his house, or any house, in inevitable. Everything has to be thought of, door, window, chimneys, stairs, and a good deal of that, as we are about to see, took far more time and experimentation than you might ever have thought.”

The Hunter House, our own historic home.

The Hunter House, our own historic home.

Bryson sets up the book, beginning with the time period of the building of Thomas Marsham’s house. Then Bryson details the setting, England. Beginning with chapter three, Bryson takes the reader room by room, each chapter a different room. The Hall, The Kitchen, The Fuse Box, The Drawing Room and so forth to the Attic. For us Americans, Bryson relates the house to the United States as well. He does point out where there were unique differences in things or names in the USA and England during the Victorian Era. This reader found the book to be fascinating, chuck-a-block-full of wonderful information and insight. The book is an easy read, well written, and organized. Once you have read the book you will be a wiz at trivia, a wonder at parties, and educated in the common things of life associated with the house you live in.

I’ve not begun to reveal a thousandth part of what Bill Bryson’s At Home contains. But I hope I’ve sparked an interest in you to beg, borrow, don’t steal, just borrow and don’t return the book for decades, or buy a copy of the book. If you have a bit of inkling for history, interest in facts, or just a good read with some humor, you should enjoy the book.

Cedar City: A Look Back

Throughout 2017 we will be featuring an historic photo of Cedar City each month. This month, a wintry scene of Main Street looking south from the corner of 200 North. This photo was taken in the 1930’s.  Cedar’s Main Street has been the city’s main thoroughfare for the  majority of its existence. Businesses and buildings of yesteryear are displayed in this photo. Angled street parking, skewed mileage signs, and , now classic, automobiles provide a sense of nostalgia to the life-long residents of this community.

main-st-winter