Willard James Iverson
Sketch Of Willard James Iverson"s Life: By Nellie Iverson Cox

Willard, the second son of Hans Peter and Hannah Christensen Iverson was born November 20, 1884, in Washington, Utah. He was the third child, baby Yulia (or Julie) having died before his birth.


Willard James Iverson
When Willard was a little past six years of age, his father decided to take this part of the family to Littlefield, Arizona, due to polygamous persecution. The move was made by team (and on foot), and took place in the month of March, 1891 and included the parents, and the two children, Willard and Doretta. Martin was left behind in Washington to help with chores, etc., for other members of this big family. He would join them in Littlefield later on.

An account of their journey to Littlefield shows the hardships that even such a simple move entailed. As they neared their destination, the road became very sandy and hard to walk in or for the team to pull the wagon in, and Hannah and the two children, with one more expected in two or three months, was told that the way was shorter if she cut across the sand hills.

Willard became very tired, even more so than his younger sister, and wished to lie down at the side of the path and sleep, even though the March night was chilly. Luckily a sheep man on a horse rescued them and took them on to the Reber home where they were fed and also warmed by a roaring fire in a fireplace. After a short period, they moved into a little lumber shack on top of a sand hill near town.

Brief incidents of Willard's life in Littlefield include his trapping of quail to help out the family diet and contacting the terrible disease of typhoid when in his teens. In fact, almost everyone caught it, and a number of the younger people died, not knowing that it was due to polluted water and could perhaps have been avoided had the water they used been boiled. Willard would suffer its effects to some extent for the balance of his life.

A card from the clerk of the St. George 4th Ward shows that Willard was baptized April 6, 1891 by Albert Frehner. Family records and a photographic copy of Courthouse Records evidence that he married Frances Jarvis on August 26, 1908. She was a citizen of Old Mexico and had come to St. George to visit her great grandparents, George and Ann Prior Jarvis, and to attend the Temple wedding of Roy Bundy and Doretta Iverson, she having known the Bundys in Old Mexico. Following the marriage, Willard and Frances went into Mexico, also, and here their baby son died just a few months prior to the birth of Nellie, in Colonia Guadalupe, Chihuahua, Mexico.

When the Mormon Colonists had to flee from the depredations of Pancho Villa, the Iversons went over the mountains into the State of Sonora and came out of Mexico with friends and relatives in 1912.

For a few years Willard and Frances farmed at Kaolin, Nevada, until Frances' death in January, 1914, They had just built a home and were becoming comfortably situated. But now, everything was disrupted. Frances was buried at Kaolin, though some twenty years later, when Lake Mead was being built, the U. S. Government moved all graves in the area to higher ground at Overton, Nevada. A ring on Frances' finger at her death and burial was recovered and now owned by her granddaughter and namesake, Frances Cox Spendlove.

When the Iversons and Bundys went to homestead on the Arizona Strip, after being forced out of Mexico and failing to make a living at Kaolin, Willard was one of them. He also went to work in the Texas oil fields for a while. His mother lived with him at Mt. Trumbull, keeping house and also helping her other children at that place.

Willard spent a very lonely life, or rather, lived alone. He liked pretty girls and nothing made him happier than flirting with them. But he never remarried.

In September, 1966, he suffered a stroke and had to put in a rest home. Prior to this, Nellie had bought a house in St. George and given him a room there, in order to keep him off the streets as much as possible, since he would walk, walk all day and be right in the middle of the street and in danger of being struck by a car. But it was impossible to convince him of the danger involved.

He loved to ride and would gladly let anyone in a car pick him up and take him as far as they would. The only trouble being that if he got picked up by someone, he would not get out of the car when the owner wished. Sometimes he would be missing all day and the cops would be called to help locate him. It never bothered him as long as he was going somewhere.

On September 24, two or three weeks after his first stroke, he suffered a second one and died in the Dixie Pioneer Memorial Hospital. He was buried in Washington beside his father, Hans Peter, and grandfather, Jeppe Iverson. Sagebrush and cedar limbs, symbolizing his life on the Arizona Strip, were brought to decorate the grave. he had one child, eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren at the time of his death.

What kind of a person was Willard? Well, he loved to make money and seldom spent any on himself, unless it was to buy ice cream, which he loved. And ANYONE COULD TALK HIM INTO LENDING THEM MONEY, WHICH HE SELDOM GOT BACK, especially since he did not keep accurate accounts and could not prove whether or not any of it had been paid back. It is estimated that he lost several thousand dollars this way. But he must have enjoyed the feeling of power that it gave him to have someone, especially a pretty girl, come to him for a loan.

Willard acquired quite a bit of property in and around St. George, and sold it to anyone who had a fistful of "green." He did not like checks. In the area where the Hilton Hotel now stands, he owned property, which he sold for a "song." He loved to point out the many pieces of property which he had either owned, or believed that he had owned. So who knows if he would have been happier living any other way?

His sister, Doretta Bundy, and his brother, Levi Iverson and wife. Estelle, were very kind to Willard, always feeding him his favorite ice cream and helping him in any way they could. He lived to be 82.