Back to Table of ContentsLife History 1892-1946

Percy S. Hawkes was born December 2, 1892, in Richmond, Utah, to his father, Joshua Hawkes, and his mother, Sarah Ann Smart Hawkes.  He was their sixth child.  This family was the second family in a polygamist family.  Percy was number 15 of a total of 16 children. 

Soon after his birth his family moved back to Franklin, Idaho, where his father had previously (1876 to 1884) served as mayor for eight years.  Idaho became the 43rd state July 3, 1890.  Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896.

His mother, Sarah Ann, longed for a home and place of her own away from the large extended family in Cache Valley.  She was able to prevail upon her husband to come with her, and move her family of seven children north into the new country being homesteaded in the upper Snake River Valley in eastern Idaho.

They selected and homesteaded a ranch near the townsite which is now known as Drummond, Idaho.  It was the spring of 1896 when they filed on the homestead, and spring in 1897, when they moved the family by horse drawn wagons to their new home site in a place called Horseshoe Flat.  Percy was a four year old child when this historic move was made.  Some of the older married children from the first family also came and settled in the near vicinity with their small families.  Joseph Bryant and his family came just a few days later and L.J. and family came in 1898.  Other brothers from the older family also came seasonally to work but not to settle.

There were other good reasons for Sarah Ann wanting to make the move north.  Her sister Mary Jane Smart Webster and her husband James Whaley Webster together with their brother William Henry Smart and his wife Anne Haines, had formed the Smart & Webster Livestock Company and had moved to the Rexburg area the year before, in 1895.  Another sister Alice Fleet Smart Pratt and her husband William Jared Pratt had moved to Wilford three years earlier, in 1883. 

William J. Pratt had looked over this new virgin country east of St. Anthony and Wilford on his way to the timberlands to get firewood and logs.  He liked what he saw very much.  From the extended Thomas Sharrett Smart family then living in Cache Valley, he recruited, encouraged, and helped them to move and locate in this new area near Drummond.

The following people including his own son, Thomas Henry Pratt, all moved into the Drummond area and took up homesteads or settled there, in the years 1895 to 1898.  They were all related and members of the extended Smart family by birth or by marriage: Ossian Leonidas Packer, Nathan Packer, Joshua & Sarah Ann Hawkes, Joseph Bryant Hawkes, Lewis Joshua Hawkes, John Ervin Morrison, & Lorin M. Mendenhall.

Percy helped his father and brothers build their two roomed log cabin.  Later as a man, he would marry, come back to farm, and start his own family of six children in this very same log cabin, and live in it with them for 10 years. 

Information on these very early years of their life on the new homestead can best be learned from reading the writings of his older brother Acil S. Hawkes.   He wrote a book titled, “Luxury in a Covered Wagon,” which was later edited and published by Kelly D. Hawkes.  This book gives an intimate detailed picture of how the family traveled from Franklin, Idaho, and entered this beautiful spot and eventually made it their home.  This farm has remained in the Hawkes family ever since that time.

Here are some excerpts from the above mentioned book:

“With covered wagon.... we came to the crest of the hill overlooking the place they had called Horseshoe Flat.... a very beautiful place, covered with a sea of tall grass intermingled with flowers of blues and yellows... what quietness.. and peace.”

Spring 1897....Joshua & Sarah Ann Hawkes & children, Estes, Acil, Percy, Effie, & LeGrande.  “On the homesteads...without gun or a cabin...used snow from the bluffs...posts from the groves...dig a a bowery...dig a deep water well by hand...plow one or two acres of sod per day...we will make something of this place.”

Summers were spent developing the homestead with new buildings, farm land, and livestock.  The winters were spent in Rexburg, thirty miles down the valley to the southwest. There the children could go to school and the family could be away from the deeper snow and drifts.   Each fall his mother, Sarah Ann, would box things up in the cabin, and see that the kitchen stove was loaded in the wagon.  They would haul their belongings to a rented cabin near Rexburg, and unload the stove and other things to use during the winter months.

Percy was baptized when eight years old on July 12, 1900, by Hans Neilson, probably in Fall River near Hans’ Home.  He was confirmed by James Green the same day.  The warmer season was chosen because there were no buildings with fonts available at that time.  That was much better than being baptized soon after his birthday which was December 2nd.  His father, Joshua, helped organize and was the president of the first Sunday School in the Conant Branch, in 1900.

We can only imagine the events of his childhood days.  We can picture in our mind the joys and difficulties he had as he participated with the rest of the family in everyday life.  They were not yet blessed with the luxuries of life but worked hard to make a meager living and get a good education.

Percy was on hand to help haul logs and firewood from the forest which lay 10 miles east of their place.  For several years they hauled water in barrels from Conant Creek which was four miles away.  A successful well was dug by hand in one day in their front yard.  This well furnished water for them, nearby neighbors, and travelers for many years.  Horses were used to do farm work, ride as saddle horses, and pull the wagons and buggy.  Cattle furnished milk, butter, cheese, & meat, but had to be grazed, tended, and milked.  He probably got a turn herding cows in the surrounding hills and vales.

Percy went many a time with his father and brothers to work on the Conant Creek Canal Company.  They were digging a sizeable ditch ten or more miles long, east of Drummond, that would bring water from the creek and out onto the farm lands.  As they would camp on site, or be in the forest overnight, his father would relate many stories and experiences he had had during his early life.

His father was 60 years old, and his mother was 41 when they first came to this new home.  His father had stories to tell from the days of Joseph Smith and building the temple in Nauvoo, crossing the plains in wagons, settling in Utah, Indian Wars, Johnson’s Army, his own escape from the hands of persecution, and finally having to spend a winter (1888) in jail in Boise, Idaho, for living the church law of polygamy.  His father loved to sing songs, tell stories, and was a happy and jovial man.

In addition to his advanced age, his father had a very sore leg which had troubled him through the years.  As time went on, he was not able to keep up to the hard work of farming, ranching, and etc.  He finally turned the work over to his family and went back to live the remainder of his life in Franklin and Logan where he worked in the temple and rested from the rigors of such a hard life.  His father died March 5, 1914, in Logan Utah, at 78 years of age.  (Joshua’s life history has been compiled and published in 1996, by his grandson, Percy Blaine Hawkes.)

Percy attended elementary school in Rexburg and then the Ricks Academy for a while.  This was the forerunner of Ricks College.  He later attended the Agricultural College in Logan, Utah.

Sometime in the years between 1910 and 1912, Percy and his mother, Sarah Ann Hawkes, both decided to go to the Raft River area and homestead some farm land there.  The following is a little background on how that came about.  The Francis C. Gunnell family was called on a mission to help settle the Rexburg, Idaho area.  Father Gunnell was called to serve in the first stake presidency, as the second counselor to Thomas E. Ricks in 1884.  A son, Frank Owen Gunnell, later met Percy’s sister, Alsamina S. Hawkes, as they both lived in the Rexburg area.  They fell in love and were married in 1905. 

Earlier, many of the extended Gunnell family had taken up homesteads in the Raft River area.  Frank and Elsie (Alsamina) decided to make this area their new home.  Their homestead was one mile southwest of the town of Naf.  Sometime during this time frame, Percy and his mother were attracted to this area and each homesteaded tracts of land.  They turned the Horseshoe Flat homestead land over to one of the older Hawkes sons, Estes, and put their energies into this new adventure in Raft River. 

Percy built a cabin on his Raft River homestead and commenced to try to raise crops.  The weather was very hot and dry, and soil was too alkali to produce much of a crop.  The wild rabbits became so prolific that they would come into the area and eat up most of the grain.  The farmers would conduct “Rabbit Drives” which consisted of several men and boys walking about 100 feet apart across the fields and gradually cornering the rabbits into pens.  Then they would shoot or club them by the hundreds.  Their bodies were hauled off for pig feed or buried.

The Raft River venture was soon abandoned by Percy and his mother.  She moved back to Cache Valley.  By 1913, Percy spent his summers back in the Drummond area working on the farms with his older brothers, especially, Acil.  In the winters he would move back home to Logan and attend school.  Then, in the spring go back to the farm and work for his brothers in Idaho.

Percy’s brother, LeGrande Hawkes, left Salt Lake City, to serve in the Eastern States Mission, on April 10, 1912.  The last entry in his very good missionary journal is dated November 6, 1913.

Percy was ordained an Elder and received the Melchizedek Priesthood, February 17, 1915, from Dan. S. Swensen.

On November 17, 1917, he received a patriarchal blessing in Wellsville, Utah, from Alexander J. Spence.  Percy asked for and received other patriarchal blessings, and special priesthood blessings through the years.  These blessings were a great strength and comfort to him in special times in his life, and in times of discouragement or stress.  He had great faith in the power of the priesthood to give blessings of comfort, and administrations in times of sickness, etc. 

On December 15, 1917, soon after his 25th birthday, he joined the United States Navy.  This was during the time of World War I.  He spent the last few months of his enlistment in a place near San Diego, California, call “Goat Island.”  It was a place of quarantine for people who might be carriers of some communicable disease that was prevalent at the time.  While he was on this island the war ended and thus he was able to be discharged.  He was discharged as a Shipwright, from San Francisco, California, on January 15, 1919.

On April 16, 1919, Percy attended the Logan Temple in Logan, Utah, and there received his temple endowments.  This was a great blessing to him in many ways and helped to prepare him to later serve a mission for the church.

Percy received a patriarchal blessing given by Hyrum G. Smith in SLC, on June 4, 1919.

Now, that he was home from the Navy, his mother deeded over to him one of the 80 acre parcels of land on the east side of Horseshoe Flat that she owned.  With this and some other leased acreage, he began his own farming operation.  He still worked part-time for his brothers Acil and Estes.  They helped him out at times and he in turn worked for them at day labor when they needed an extra farmhand.  He was raising winter wheat, spring wheat, & oats, and summerfallowing one half of his land each year.

By August 2, 1920, he was able to purchase his first car.  By May 21, 1923, he had acquired a tractor which needed overhauling after a neighbor had borrowed it for an extended period.  He and his brother, Acil, did the overhaul job, but later, ended up putting a new motor in it.  Horses were used before that time, and after that time, when occasion required.

On March 27, 1922, Percy received another patriarchal blessing from George R. Hill, in Logan, Utah.

On November 18, 1923, Percy bid goodby to his mother, family, and friends, and left Salt Lake City to fill a mission in England.  He was now 31 years old.  He enjoyed the railroad trip across the United States and the voyage across the Atlantic by boat.  His mission president was David O. McKay.  He had a very successful mission, but suffered poor health while in England.  After 13 months Pres. McKay decided to release him and bring him home on the same ship with his family, as they were being released and coming home.  He arrived home on December 19, 1924.

Percy wrote a wonderful personal missionary journal describing his daily work and experiences.  In it he bore a strong testimony of the Gospel, The Savior, Father in Heaven, and the many blessings he had received from going on his mission.  There is included at the end of this written history a 35 page type written copy of his missionary journal.  It gives the reader a full knowledge of the type and quality of a man that Percy S. Hawkes was and is.  His mission has been a great blessing to those who read the journal, and those others he contacted in England, as well as to himself, and the Lord.

He continued living in Logan in the winter months.  In the summers he would come back and engage in the business of farming.  His brother, Estes, and family, had by now, 1926, moved to Boise, Idaho.  Percy was able to acquire some of the land Estes had been operating.  His mother had deeded some of the original homestead acreage to him in Horseshoe Flat, and he rented other nearby land including some state land.  By 1927, he was farming several hundred acres.

In January of 1927, while living in Logan in the winter, he happened to go to an MIA Dance in one of the wards.  It was there that he first met Ida Weyerman of North Logan.  They continued their acquaintance and finally courtship.  On August 3, 1927, they were married and sealed in the Logan Temple, by Joseph R. Shepherd. 

Ida had been working in the hospital for a while and hoped to pursue nursing as a life’s career.  Percy’s crop of grain was now ready to harvest, the honeymoon time was spent hurrying up to the ranch and getting right into the harvest.  Ida’s main job was cooking for the harvest crew of men.  Percy was very busy for several weeks—following the threshing crew from one farm to another as they took turns at one farmer’s place and then another—helping each other, as they did in those days.

The following summer, on July 1, 1928, their first child, a son, Percy Blaine Hawkes, was born, in Logan, Utah.  Because of a complication in the birth process, Ida suffered a serious infection problem that almost cost her life.  It took about a year for her to recover and gain her strength back.  During this recovery, she spent most of the time in Logan, living at Mother Sarah Ann Hawkes’ home with her new baby.

On October 31, 1930, a second son, Lawrence Weyerman Hawkes, was born at home in the two room log cabin on the ranch.  Dr. Hargis from Ashton came out and attended the birth, but pretty much let nature take its course, which it did very well.  Mother and son came through the birth process in good condition.  He was born on the night of Halloween.

By now, the ranch had some livestock which required their attention in the winter.  So, they did not move to town, but stayed on the ranch and did what work was at hand to be done in the winter and tended the cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc.   Percy and Acil continued to trade work on their farms, both labor and equipment.  When something needed done they each helped the other out and by this cooperation both families were greatly benefited.

Percy was a carpenter and used his skill to make furniture items that were needed about the house.  Ida was a skilled homemaker and together they worked and fixed their home up very cozy and comfortable.  There was the butchering of hogs and animals for meat, chopping wood for the stoves to heat the house and cook the food.  Water was drawn from the open well and carried into the house for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, etc.

One half of the dry farm acreage was planted each year into  grain crops.  The other half was plowed and clean cultivated through the summer so that no weeds would grown and sap the moisture from the ground.  The soil in this area is very good to preserve the rain water and the snow that melts in the spring.  This method is called “summer fallowing.”  By farming this way a crop is raised every other year, but has the advantage of two years of stored moisture.  Sometimes if a few scattered weeds were growing here and there in the summer fallow, Percy and Ida and the children would go out with garden hoes and walk through the field about 10 paces apart and chop out the offenders.

On March 29, 1933, their third child, a son, Lloyd Hawkes was born at Logan, Utah.

Percy was sustained as the Bishop of the Farnum Ward, Yellowstone Stake on September 24, 1933.  Thomas H. Murdoch was 1st Counselor, Stillman Whittle 2nd Counselor, & Brigham Murdoch Clerk.  Later, Blaine Peterson, and Curtis Marsden both served as counselors, and Lester Hendrickson as Clerk. 

Percy was ordained a High Priest on October 9, 1933, by George Albert Smith.  He served faithfully as a bishop for seven years and was released November 17, 1940.  While he was bishop, he and his family lived in Horseshoe Flat for five of the seven years.  During this time the family drove the four miles from their home to the Farnum Church house by automobile or horse drawn sleigh in the winter.  Percy also had to do many of the annual reports at the end of each year to send to the Salt Lake City church offices.

During much of his term of office as bishop, he and his family had to do the custodial work of the church building.  This included starting wood fires early each Sunday morning in the big stove that heated the main chapel room and another heater in the basement area that was used for classrooms.  The floor needed to be swept and cleaned, the linen for the sacrament table laundered, and various other items to be readied each week.

One incident that took place in the last two years of his term of office was particularly vexing to him.  He, by then, had begun to operate some of the land that lay to the North of the church house.  At harvest time it was the custom for the farmers to work together and cooperatively hire a large threshing machine to come around to each farm by turns, then together all the farmers would help haul the bundles of grain in to the threshing machine.  Some of the non-member neighbors, including the man who owned the threshing machine, decided to play a prank on Percy as he was now the bishop. 

The plan was to move around the neighborhood in such a way that one of his harvest days would fall on a Sunday.  Then they would force him to be out working on the Sabbath while his congregation was holding services in plain sight of the church house.  He, of course, protested this turn of events.  They told him either he would work on Sunday or they would pull out and move the threshing machine to the upper country 20 miles away and not return again for the rest of that season. 

So, much to his chagrin he did have to comply with their unjust terms.  He suffered much that day as he worked in the field just north of the church house and saw the people come and go to church.  He vowed that day that he would never again be put in that kind of a compromising position.  The next season he bought a combine of his own so that he could harvest on the days of the week he wanted to. 

Percy’s mother, Sarah Ann Smart Hawkes, passed away November 3, 1934, at Logan, Utah, at the age of 79 years.  Percy was now 42 years of age.  He had been very close to his mother and missed her very much. 

In the fall of 1934, Percy and Ida’s children were starting elementary school.  They took turns with the neighbors hauling the children to Drummond where they attended school.  In the winter a covered bobsled was heated by a small stove and pulled by a team of horses.  The driver sat inside with the children to keep warm.  Leather lines were slipped through a slot in the front to guide the horses.

To receive some special counsel and comfort, Percy asked for and received a special Priesthood blessing from Henry W. Miller, Patriarch of the Yellowstone Stake, on July 13, 1935.  This and other blessings are found at the end of this written history.

On August 17, 1936, a beautiful daughter, Norma Ruth Hawkes, was born at Logan, Utah, to Percy and Ida.  She was the pride and joy of the family, the only girl in a household of five brothers.

Percy received word that his brother, LeGrande, had passed away on March 26, 1937, at his home in St. Louis, MO.  A fire had started in the living room and he had suffocated.

On April 18, 1937, Percy and Ida moved into a new addition on their 2 room log cabin.  It was a two roomed frame house that had been moved over from the Cazier place the fall of 1936.  It was brought in on log skids and placed on the west side of the log cabin.  The two houses were inner-connected in such a way as to allow easy access.  This made the home almost twice as big.  Earlier, Percy had built a small one bedroom addition on the east side of the house for the boys to sleep in.  The home was growing in size as the number of children increased in the family.

A humorous incident occurred one cold night in the boys bedroom.  Ida came in and asked if another blanket was needed as it was getting colder each hour.  Lawrence replied, “No, Mother, we don’t want to have to get another blanket warm.”

In the fall of 1937, Lawrence contracted scarlet fever and the family had to be quarantined under doctors orders for a couple of weeks until he recovered.  After that, the house was fumigated to kill the germs and closed up for three days.  The family stayed at Chester and Neva French’s home during that time.

A tragedy occurred earlier one Christmas season.  The tree was decorated with ornaments, candles, icicles, & etc.  Lawrence had wanted to dress up like Santa Claus and come into the room and surprise everyone.  His mother helped him get ready in the bedroom.  When he came out looking just like Santa with cotton whiskers around his face, ears, etc. there was great excitement.  However, he came too close to the burning candles on the tree and all at once he was on fire.  Percy threw him down and quickly rolled him up in a throw rug to put out the fire.  Ida got some burn ointment and treated the burned areas.  His ears, neck, and face were scorched.  Percy gave him a priesthood blessing.  He was blessed and was able to recover without any scars or blemishes.

In January 1938, Percy became quite discouraged with several things.  Many families had moved away from the ward and church attendance was down to about one dozen that attended the meetings.  He was worried that the ward would soon have to be dissolved because of lack of members. (Ten years later, Jan. 11, 1948, it was dissolved and made part of the Marysville Ward.)

Another worry was the price of grain.  They had been blessed with a very good crop and had 3500 bushels of wheat to sell, but the price had fallen to only 72 cents per bushel.  He had invested in a T20 International crawler tractor.  He had traded in a wheel tractor for $500.00 on the crawler, but still owed a balance due on the deal. 

Electricity had not yet come to the rural area.  A 12 volt wind charger generated enough electricity to charge a bank of batteries, when the wind blew.  This furnished a light bulb in each room and would operate the radio.  There was a piano in the home given by Percy’s mother in Logan.  Percy played by ear with both hands and the family enjoyed singing together as he played.  He also bought a mandolin and learned to play it.  Blaine took piano lessons from Belle Lupton in Ashton once a week.

In the fall of 1938, Percy and his brother, Acil, decided to trade farms.  Acil and his wife, May, had built a big beautiful new home in Farnum about ¾ of a mile northwest of the church house.  It was built in 1918-1919 and had electricity, a set of out buildings for livestock, a good dooryard, garden, apple and shade trees, etc.  Thirty plus acres of good irrigated land and pasture surrounded the building site.  The farm totaled 160 acres of good deeded land.  (Percy farmed other rented ground and later bought 80 acres from Herbert Benson one mile east of this home place.  This gave him enough acreage, and with a small livestock operation, enough to earn a fair income for his family.)

Acil and family moved to California each winter and only lived in their farm home in the summer.  Percy and his family lived on the Horseshoe Flat homestead the year around in the original two room log cabin with an addition on it.  Percy had more land (400 acres) to trade,  but the offer of the much nicer home and 160 acres of land clinched the deal. 

During the month of December the actual move was made and Percy’s family spent the Christmas of 1938 in their new home.  The children now attended the Farnum School, a two-room stone building one mile west of the Farnum Church.  All eight grades were taught in two rooms by two teachers.  Percy served as a  trustee in the Farnum School District #64 from 1939 to 1943.  He also took his turn periodically being the “Bus Driver,” which was a car in the summer and a covered sleigh in the winter.

Percy was released as Bishop of Farnum Ward, November 17, 1940, and sustained to the Yellowstone Stake High Council, November 20, 1940, where he served until Dec. 16, 1945.  He enjoyed this new assignment and his association with Pres. Horace A. Hess, Karl C. Klingler, & E. Glen Cameron, the Stake Presidency.  Oliver K. Meservy was the stake clerk.  Other members of the High Council were: Royal A. Grover, Erastus P. Peterson, Ira E. Rudd, Severin Swensen, Eli M. Jergensen, Fred Porter, Eugene O. Rich, Floyd Law, Burdette Remington, Emmett Hunter, and J. Edgar Birch. 

He was able to travel around the Ashton/St.Anthony area which was all one big stake with about 14 wards in it.  Every three months a quarterly conference was held in the tabernacle in St. Anthony, with a visiting authority from Salt Lake City in attendance.   During one of these conferences, his former mission president in England, David O. McKay, now one of the twelve apostles was visiting.  As Brother McKay sat on the stand he recognized the former missionary he had known 20 years earlier.  He communicated for Percy to come up to the front after the meeting.  They had a good visit, which was a thrill to both of them and Percy’s family.

A son, Richard Reed Hawkes, was born November 18, 1940, in Rexburg, Idaho.  Richard was the fifth child, and the fourth son born to Percy and Ida.  He was born two years after the move from the Horseshoe Flat homestead to the new home in Farnum.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States became involved in World War II.  Percy had served in the U.S. Navy in World War I.  Now, a great defense effort was started all over the United States to build military installations.  People from all walks of life were asked to help out if they could. 

As Percy was a skilled carpenter, on January 30, 1942, he joined the Idaho State Defense Council and went to work at Mountain Home, near Boise.  He was involved the rest of that winter building buildings, etc. for the Air Force Base.  Ida and the children stayed on the farm and tended & took care of the livestock.  The older boys were now in their teens and so were able to manage the livestock in his absence.  He went, out of patriotic duty and also to supplement the family income.

He came back in the spring of 1942, to be with the family and to operate the farm.  Blaine worked that summer (and until 1945) for Walter Clark on his dry farm in Squirrel.  After the harvest was over that fall he decided to go away again to work in the defense program.  He joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters October, 27, 1942, and worked in the SLC/Ogden area at the Hill Air Force Base during much of that winter.

Percy was a jovial person and loved to sing, dance, play the piano, and mandolin.  He was pleasant to be around and would relate stories of times gone by.  He had a testimony of the gospel and lived a good life.  However, he suffered from sciatic rheumatism, milk leg, and some depression at times. 

On November 14, 1945, Percy and Ida purchased 80 acres of land from Herbert and Alta Benson as they were moving to the Rexburg area.  This land lay one mile east of their home place and 60 acres of it could be irrigated.  This made a good addition to the farming operation.

Because of the stress of life and health conditions he asked Stake Pres. Horace A. Hess to release him from the High Council.  He was released December 16, 1945, after serving in that position for five years.

On March 31, 1945, David Weyerman Hawkes was born in St. Anthony, Idaho.  David was the fifth son, and sixth child in the family.   He was 2 ½ months old when his father, Percy passed away on June 12th in St. Anthony, Idaho, at the age of 53 ½.  Ida was 38 years old.

Percy was buried June 15th at Ashton, Fremont County, Idaho.  A copy of his funeral proceedings are found at the end of this history.   Also found there is a copy of his missionary journal, patriarchal blessings, written memories of his wife, Ida, and each of his now living children and others who knew him.

Home + Historical Summary + Life History + Missionary Journal + Memories of Percy + Special Blessings + BibliographyContact

If there are any additions or corrections that would make this more complete please send them to  P. Blaine Hawkes.