HISTORY OF SIMON SHELBY EPPERSON

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HISTORY OF SIMON SHELBY EPPERSON 1871 ‑ 1950 

 Simon Shelby Epperson, seventh son of Sidney Hiram (Hyrum) Epperson and Mary Jane Robey (pioneers of 1852) was born in Midway, Wasatch County, Utah, in a pioneer log house in the old string fort January 12, 1871. The snow was three feet deep and father said it was a mighty cold day because his feet had never been warm since. He married Lydia Melissa Smith April 4, 1890, at the Smith Grove in Midway. After their marriage they spent two winters in Provo, Utah, where he finished his education, graduating from the old Brigham Young Academy in 1892. He taught school in Midway for the next seven years. He told us how often during the cold winters the snow would be so deep they would have to drive horses to break trails for the children to get to school. When they arrived they would be half frozen and he would gather them around the "pot‑bellied" stove to get warm. He would hang the coats, caps, and mittens to dry and then he would take off the shoes of the younger children and rub their little hands and feet until they were warm. Father was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints and while he lived in Midway he worked in all of the Church Auxiliary Organizations: Sunday School teacher, class leader in the Young Men's MIA, and was Ward Clerk and Chorister of the Midway First Ward under Bishop Henry Coleman for seven years. In 1894 they built a two room home in the northeast section of Midway, cater‑ cornered (we called it kitty‑cornered) across the street from the First Ward Meeting House. In 1907 they added a kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, and one‑ room basement, also the west front porch and the south bedroom porch. They were the first family in Midway to have hot and cold water and bath in their home. Simon served as secretary of the Midway Town Corporation and secretary of the Midway Water Works and Irrigation Company. He spent two years on the road with a wagon and team of horses selling ranges for the Home Comfort Range Company, and worked for two years for the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company. He served 13 years, 1906‑1919, as Branch Manager of the Studebaker Brothers Company at Heber City, first selling wagons, buggies, sleighs, harness, etc., and later Studebaker Automobiles. Father loved horses and he and mother always drove beautiful horse or matched team. In the book "HOW BFAUTIFN UPON THE MOUNTAINS" by the Wasatch Chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers,they printed the following, with a picture of mother in her buggy: "Only one livery stable flourished in Midway in the days before automobiles. The stable was established about 1909 by Simon Epperson. In earlier years, Mr. Epperson's father, Sidney H. Epperson, had kept a feed stable where travelers could stop for feed for their teams. 'Mr. Epperson invested much in his livery stable and boasted fine quality horses and the best in harnesses, buggies and cutters. Many of Midway's young couples courted in Epperson buggies and enjoyed Sunday rides in outfits from the stables. Workers at the mines also made good use of the services. When mining activity dwindled so did the livery stable business, and its end came when automobiles gained in popularity. In high style for her day is Mrs. Simon Epperson, shown here with the popular horse "Skipper" known throughout Wasatch County. She‑is seated in a buggy from her husband's livery stable. The photograph was taken in 1911." In 1913 he sold the home in Midway to Joseph and Edith VanWagoner, daughter and son‑in‑law of mother's sister, Martha Ann Smith Bronson. Edith's eldest son Burton and his wife Lorna Vatkins still live in the old home. Father then purchased a home in Heber City next to the Studebaker Building on main street.

 

While residing in Heber City he was Sunday School Chorister of the Heber Second Ward, a member of the Sunday School Union Board and Second Counselor to‑David A. Broadbent when Religion Classes were first organized in the Stakes. He loved working with and was a favorite among the young people in Heber. On his many trips to Park City, Kamas and Coalville he would often take a group of young people with him and in the winter to Wallsburg and Charleston his cutter would be loaded. Leaving Heber City May 31, 1919, he purchased a home in Silver City, Utah, where he was associated with the Iron Blossom Mining Company a number of years. Later on he worked as time‑keeper for the Jesse Knight Investment Mining Company. In Silver he served as First Counselor to Bishop Jesse Haws and was ward chorister. The spring of 1923 we moved back to our home in Heber City where we attended school. Father received a call from his dear friend Jack H. Buehler, one of his former pupils, asking him to work as bookkeeper and assayer at the Bristol Silver Mines Company. On April 30, 1924, father and my brother Frank, who was also offered a job, left for Pioche, Nevada, to look the situation over and decided to stay. June 24, 1924, Mother, Victor and I joined them at the mine. We "camped out" there during the summer and in the winter we would move down to Panaca where Victor and I would attend school. Father and Frank would drive down on weekends. In 1926 my brother Frank was called from the Panaca Ward of Lincoln County to serve on a mission in the Southern States and father decided to return to Utah. We moved to Salt Lake City August 29,1926‑ Father purchased a home at 259 South Second West and then he went to work for the Park Utah Consolidated Mining Company and worked there until it closed in 1931. In August, 1930, they sold the home on second west and bought their last home at 737 East 17th South in the Hawthorne Ward where he was active as a High Priest. He suffered a heart attack and was unable to work for several years. When he had recovered enough, he would drive his old 1924 Studebaker Victoria Coupe up to his father's old home in Midway to see his sister, Mollie, and brother, Dan. He later obtained a job as city salesman and advertiser at summer auto camps in Salt Lake area for the Original Utah Woolen Mills, makers of the famous "Jack Frost" lines. one day while father was parked on State Street Harold Jensen, a reporter for the Deseret News interviewed him and the following article appeared in the paper the next evening: "SIMON EPPERSON 'Come and Aide with me Lucitte, In my many automobile. . .' National Automobile Dealer Week recalls this famous melody of yesteryears, which Simon Epperson, of 737 East 17th South, nearing 80, makes a living reality. Daily he drives his wife or friends in his 1924 Studebaker, when well. This writer noticed him parking on State Street and began reminiscing. "Mr. Epperson was born in Midway, Utah, log house, with dirt roof, in 1871, went to B.Y. Academy in the old school where depot now stands, taught seven years. Married Lydia Smith and they recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They had nine children. He bought his first Studebaker E. M. F. in 1914, when dealer in this line at Heber. Comparing today's cars with yesterday he said is 'like a snail to a reindeer.' He was nattily dressed, drives without glasses and has never had an accident." Though he traveled far from the  place of his birth, his spirit always remained in the Wasatch Valley. He died   December 29, 1950, and was laid to rest January 2, 1951, in the Midway Cemetery  in the valley he loved so well. Their Children:    Jennie Agnes b 20 Sep 1891 m Alvah Alexander Ross 12 May 1911 Vida Lydia   b  6 Jun 1894 d   9 Aug 1902 Simon Doyle  b  5 Jun 1897 m Margaret Ellen Murdock 15 Oct 1918 Edith Rosedale b 20 June 1899 d 9 Nov 1902 Juanita        b 25 Aug 1902  d 20 Sep 1902 Erma Lavella b 26 Aug 1903 m Joel D. Hickman 20 Oct 1923 Frank Ross   b 14 Aug 1906 m Cora H. Farmer 8 Dec 1929 Lillian Estelle b 16 Mar 1909 m (1) Darrell Peck 27 June 1930 (2) Alma E. Dalley.

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