Back to Table of ContentsMemories of Percy Hawkes

by Mary Brown, a niece
Spring of 1997 in SLC

  Percy was a most likable fine person.  He loved people - so was most friendly, kindly, and lovable to everyone.  Of course, they all thought a lot of him and liked to be around him.  We spent hours, with me at the piano and him setting on the piano bench with me playing the piano and singing alto - him singing the melody. 

He always had interesting things to tell me of his growing up years.  He was considerate and kind to everybody.  When he went to the Navy we wrote letters occasionally.  Then he sent me a Middy Blouse which I wore often to school.  I think I was about a Junior in High School.

His sister, Effie, was my step-mother.  His mother, Sarah, was staying at our place while she was building a duplex half a block south of our home.  She moved into it and we rented our big house to a fraternity and moved into his mother’s duplex on 3rd E. and 4th North.

Hazel Dunford, a new widow, with a little boy, rented the lower apartment.  Hazel and I became great friends - Percy was fond of her also.  Hazel built a nice home ½ block south of us.  Hazel eventually married her dead husband’s cousin, Grover Dunford.

You can be proud of your fine father.  He loved to play baseball on the Farnum teams.  He lived at the Brown’s sometimes when he was in Logan. 

A humorous incident happened in our home.  One time unexpected company came to visit us.  They took up all the extra beds.  Percy lay down in my bed.  I came home late from a date - there he was.  He pretended to be asleep and held really still.  I slipped in just enough to get some covers over my head and went to sleep as far from him as I could.  In the morning the whole family had a great laugh at the whole affair.

A memory I have - is Grandma Sarah Ann Hawkes calling her kids into dinner.  They were out and about and sometimes far from the house.  She would go out, cup her hands over her mouth and in a high shrill voice, loudly yell:  Aceeee! Effieeee! Elsieeee! Perceeee!  They all knew that meant it was time to come in.

Memories of Percy Hawkes
by - Ray Brown, a nephew
Spring 1997 Logan, Utah

I remember Percy coming out of the Navy in January 1919.  He really looked great in his Navy suit and hat.  He stayed 5 days at out place in Logan and treated us to ice cream at the drug store.  We thought he was really great.

In the spring he went to Horseshoe Flat and started farming.  He farmed 320 acres on the east side of the road and lived in the 2 roomed log cabin.  There was a log barn just southeast of the house. 

When I was 12 and 13 years old I would come up in the summer and stay for two or three weeks with him in the cabin.  I would help him farm.  On one occasion we were plowing on the 80 right by the house.  The 4 horses were pulling a 2 bottom plow.  Percy taught me to drive the horses and I could do it quite well.  One day I was way out on the north part of the field and the horses were hot and tired and quit working.  They just stood there resting. I let them rest a while, but when it was time to go, I could not get them to budge.  I tried everything I had seen Percy do, but to no avail.

My only recourse was to walk back to the house and get Percy to come and get them going.  When I got to the cabin - I found Percy taking an afternoon nap.  I awoke him with the news.  He jumped up and ran as fast as he could up through the field to the horses.  By the time he got there they had milled around and gotten themselves thoroughly tangled up in their harness and the plow.  Percy was very angry at me and the situation, but soon was able to get the problem solved.  He was always very kind and good to me, however.

Even after Percy and Ida were married Ray Brown would come on occasion and help with the farm work.  Ray Hawkes and Ray Brown were about the same age and being cousins spent many summers on Acil and Percy’s farms. 

Ray Brown tells the story that he and Ray Hawkes were staying in the log cabin with Percy and Ida.  On one occasion they peeked through the kitchen door crack and saw that Ida was taking a bath (with her back to them).  She was splashing a little water on Percy and they were laughing and in a happy mood.

Ray remembers a lot of fishing trips, baseball games, picnics, and other good times being up on the farm and working. 

Memories of Percy S. Hawkes
by - Raymond H. Hawkes

When I was a young man in my teens, I remember an interesting project that Percy (everyone called him Percy, out of respect I should have called him Uncle Percy but I fell in with everybody else and used the familiar name of Percy because he was just a member of the family) and I undertook.  We moved the Joe Cazier house from the other ranch [to the west] to the ranch which Percy owned at the time in Horseshoe Flat.  We connected it to the log cabin that my grandfather, Joshua Hawkes, built in his early days of homesteading.  The small two-room frame house was standing idle, so Percy made a deal with Dad to buy it. 

We jacked it up and placed logs under it which we used as skids.  We hooked on to the skids with the Caterpillar 20 tractor which Dad had recently purchased.  We thought the tractor would be able to pull it all right because it had tracks instead of wheels for traction.  But the tractor could barely pull it.  We avoided steep hills, washes, and rock patches.  We took down several fences and replaced them afterwards.  The house was heavy enough to leave some healthy skid marks behind it.

After getting the house to its new location, Percy raised his family of six children in it.  This same house was later moved to the Whitmores where they (Albert and Reva) raised a large family in it.  It was a home for three large families.

I believe I was visiting with Ray Brown in Logan during the summer of 1927.  At this time Percy and Ida became engaged and we all spent time at Grandma Hawkes’ place in Logan.  It was a time of much joviality and many pleasant times were spent together.  It was a big event in their lives and made for a lot of excitement in all our lives.

As a young man I remember plowing on the home place at the ranch.  I was driving six head of horses on a two-bottomed plow and doing summerfallow.  Percy was paying me to do this and I think it was about one dollar a day.  The plowing went very slowly and I thought we never would get through.  It was monotonous to sit on the plow and watch the weeds being turned under as new furrows were being made.  This happened day after day and eventually the summerfallowing came to a finish.

Percy had a marvelous sense of humor.  He was at our place in Farnum one hot summer day and I asked him if I could go swimming in his car.  He replied that he didn’t think it would hold water to do it.  I was having trouble with one of the doors on his car and he said the way to fix it was to lift up and bear down at the same time.

When Ray Brown and I were young men we were getting the combine ready to start in the harvest at Percy’s place.  Percy came out and said, “Would you boys like to come in to supper?”  We were talking and said something to the effect that we were not boys anymore, but were men.  He overheard us and referred to us as young men after that and made us feel important that we had arrived at the point in life where we were men and not boys anymore.

Percy was my bishop when I reached the age to think about going on a mission.  Economically times were tough as we were just pulling out of the great depression of the 30’s.  Percy encouraged me to go, and he told me the ward would do what they could to support me.  I was able to get 160 acres of ground known as the Wade Place.  It had been lying idle for several years and was just growing a crop of weeds each year.  We were able to get this ground for practically nothing, so I decided to raise a crop on it which would help pay for my mission.  I was sent to the East German Mission which cost me $25.00 a month for the time I was there from Feb. 1937 to Sept. 1939.  I’ll always be indebted to Percy for getting me off on my mission.  My mission helped me set some lifetime goals and I have been so thankful for them as they have made my life much happier and more meaningful than it would have been otherwise.

I had arrived home from my mission and had never had a chance to talk to anybody about [my sister] Helen’s death.  She passed away shortly after I arrived in the mission field and I went throughout my mission without talking to anyone about her dying.  She was 19 at the time she died and I felt it would be a good thing to get the answers to a lot of questions I had about her.  I felt close enough to Percy to talk to him about it.  We were working in the timber in Island Park when a good opportunity presented itself to have this confidential conversation.  It was a wonderful experience and I felt close to the spirit at the time.  I shed a few tears and felt so much better afterward because I felt a burden had been lifted from me.  So many unanswered questions about death, the spirit world, and why everything had happened the way it did, gave new meaning to life and what it is all about.  I appreciated him so much at the time and this gave me a close wonderful relationship with him that was meaningful and always remained with me the rest of my life. 

When Leah Belle and I were married we wanted to spend the first night in the Hotel Utah.  We had a wonderful dinner and a reception in the Empire State Room at the hotel with several relatives present.  After an outstanding evening we decided to retire and get what rest we could because we had to get up and leave about 5 A.M. in order for me to get back to San Diego without being A.W.O.L.  Percy walked up and down the hallway calling Leah Belle’s name, trying to find out which room we were in.  It was like a little puppy dog and as soon as he found our room he came and jumped in our bed and wouldn’t get out.  It made a relaxed moment for us which could have been a tense situation.  We appreciated the fun he made for us and always remembered the pleasant evening he made for us.

Memories of Percy S. Hawkes
By - Leah Belle D. Hawkes

  The first time I ever met Percy was a Sunday in May 1944, as Ray had just arrived home from the South Pacific in the Navy for a 30-day leave.  He had taken me to a Ricks College dance the night before and invited me to spend the weekend at the ranch house so he could be with his family and me.  I met Percy and Ida and family that day at the Farnum Ward.  I possibly was introduced to him in August of 1942 when I rode up to church with Beth and Keith Orme, but I don’t recall meeting him at that time.  That Sunday in May 1944, the Hawkes families and relatives in the Farnum area, including Hazen and Helen’s families, Percy and Acil, plus Isabelle Bratt and husband Frank and their son Harold, and Lewis Hawkes got together for a picnic that afternoon (possibly to celebrate Ray’s leave) up on Conant Creek.  I remember it was a jolly time of much laughter and kidding one another, and I enjoyed it very much.  I am sure Percy had a lot to do with the joviality of the occasion.  The afternoon was suddenly interrupted when the creek bottom brush caught on fire and we all had to make a fast exit from the area.

I must have had more exposure to Percy during Ray’s month’s leave as I was up there more weekends.  My next vivid memory of him was the following Christmas Holiday (1944) when Ray had a  15-day leave and spent it in Rexburg with me and my family.  His dad, Acy purchased a Dodge from his sister Effie, in Logan, and asked Ray to drive it back to California to him on Ray’s return trip from his leave.  It was planned out that Percy and Ida would ride down with Ray for their first trip to California.  I decided to go as far as Logan on the bus with the three of them, and we had a jolly time together.  

When reaching there, I called home and received permission to ride on down to California with them as I still had another week or ten days’ Christmas vacation before school at BYU began in January.  This was one of the most enjoyable and pleasant trips I can ever remember.  There was nothing but laughs and jokes the whole way.  We arrived in the Riverside, California area after dark on New Year’s Eve, and in trying to find our way into Los Angeles, ended up in some orange groves.  After much trial and error we arrived at Ray’s parents’ home. 

The plan was to show Percy and Ida, Forest Lawn, which we toured for several hours on New Year’s Day, and they enjoyed it so much as it was a gorgeous warm almost summer-like day there in California.  Afterwards we went to Ray’s parent’s home and had his mom’s famous donatelly or don Italy, a wonderful pasta casserole made with pork roast or chicken.  We went on to San Diego where Ray had to report in and they spent several more days sightseeing with his parents before returning home on the bus.  Those were war-time days and very few people could get enough gas or tires to drive private cars between Idaho and California.

Six week later Percy and Ida and my mother and I travelled by bus to Salt Lake City for Ray’s and my wedding the next day.  We had a very  pleasant time with them, once again and then Mother and I went to the City Building and made the arrangements for a wedding license the next morning before going into the temple.

The group who went through the temple with us the next morning were: Ray’s parents, his Aunt Elsie and Uncle Charles Orison of Logan, Aunt Effie of Logan, her son Ray Brown and wife Lois, of Nibley, Uncle Percy and Aunt Ida, my mother, Isabelle Davidson, and my grandparents Sarah Louise and William Byram.  We hosted the same group for a wedding dinner at the Empire Room of the Hotel Utah about 5:00 P.M. on Valentine’s Day 1945.  Ray’s sister Peggy attended the dinner.  After dancing a while and then mailing our wedding announcements, we all stayed at the Hotel Utah. 

We didn’t want anyone to know just where our room was, and so crept up to another floor to our room.  Soon we could hear Percy going up and down the hall calling,  “Lee—ah—Belle!” over and over, as mournful and loud as he could.  We were laughing so hard in our room and hoped he couldn’t find us.  Finally, he burst in, and tore our bed all apart and jumped in it and covered up!  He said he was staying the night there!  He stayed there over and hour and wouldn’t budge!  Everyone trooped in and we had a lot of fun over it as he quipped many humorous things, as only he could.  We finally got him out of there, but he kept calling us up every little bit until about 2:00 A.M. saying each time, something like,  “Is this the Hawkes nursery?” or something else to bring us a laugh. 

We will always appreciate the humor and relaxation he brought into an otherwise tense moment in our lives and have grieved that he wasn’t able to share such a moment in his own children’s marriages, as he made so much fun for us and we will always be grateful for him.  My dad was in Kansas at a funeral and Ray’s dad was not the kind to be anything but serious at that time.  So the comic relief was welcome!  We knew we had to leave by 5:00 A.M. with Ray’s parents to ride 18 hours to Los Angeles and on to San Diego to get Ray back in 72 hours from the time he left.

Seven months later, we made our first trip home on leave from San Diego and Ray longed for a camping trip in the forest.  So we planned one with Percy and Ida, where we had an enjoyable time somewhere up in Island Park.  While there in our tents, we heard on the radio that the Japanese had surrendered and it was VJ Day!  What a happy day to share with them.  World War II, which had so shaped all our lives for years, was over!!

Our next association with Percy and Ida was the following Christmas Holiday while home from BYU, after being out of the Navy since October.  One day of the holidays we spent at Percy and Ida’s and he took us by sleigh up to the ranch and back.  I can remember how fun it was with sleigh bells jingling, and seeing the horses’ breath in the cold.  We were all bundled up snugly in the sleigh with the rest of their family having a jolly time.  That was the last time I ever saw him alive.

When my school was out in June of 1946, I got back to Idaho and Ray’s parents took me on up to the ranch.  We passed Percy and Ida’s and they told me how sick he had been.  I wanted to go in as we passed the house, but for some reason they were in a hurry and said I could come back and see him the next day.  The next morning he was taken suddenly to St. Anthony to the hospital and passed away before I could see him!  I always regretted not insisting on going in to see him as we passed by the night before.

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