LIFE STORY OF JOHN HAROLD McCAIN
by Marie Iverson Waite
John Harold McCain
Following is a brief life story of our beloved BROTHER AND UNCLE HAROLD, during his all too short life, here On the Earth.
It is dedicated. to his MEMORY and the GOOD LIIFE the lead, with our LOVE. May this short story of HIS LIFE be preserved for his relatives, to be read and re-read in the years to come.
This information was compiled by Marie Iverson Waite, at Niece to Harold, a daughter of his sister Leoma. McCain Iverson and at present 1967, the elected Historian for the McCain Family Organization.
The information in this history was sent to me by his four sisters Artie Snyder Gifford, Belle Hiat ,Mary Cromwell Holladay and Leoma. Iverson and his one living brother Archie McCain. I've used their own words as much as possible.
Some of the ideas on how things were and how they happened may conflict a little, but that is certainly understandable and. only human. For as the years come and go memories tend to fade and grow dim. This is one of our human frailties.
We hope that the things that are written will help to keep him in our memories and. we will feel that we knew him better as we read these things. And. I'm sure that we will know hill better when we meet him again in the world. to come.
John Harold McCain was born 5 May 1902, in Jenson, Utah. He is the 6th child and 2nd son of Albert Alexander and Rhoda Chamberlain McCain.
Harold. brought So much happiness and. joy into their home. They had. long wished. for another son, because their 1st son had died around 13 years before, in Tennessee. They then had four lovely daughters and now at last another son. He was such a sweet golden haired baby boy and his family adored. him.
One good neighbor lady told. his mother, that she would give her life if she could give birth to a darling baby, like Harold.
When he was only a few weeks old his mother had rented a spot for a garden that was miles away from home. Raising ,a garden was very essential in these days for food for the family. She would walk to the garden and. work in it for hours, then walk back home again.
She left tiny Harold with the girls, telling them to watch him very carefully and if he got hungry and started. to cry before she returned to put a spoonful of sugar in a small white cloth, tie it and. give it to him to suck on. In those days they didn't have ways of feeding a baby like they do now. This was called. a "Sugar Tit" and some days they would have to give him several to keep him satisfied until his mother came. They would also give him a little water to drink from a spoon.
When his mother did return, she would be so tired and sweaty after working so hard and walking so far, that is was a joy and relief for her to sit down and nurse her baby, as she rested.
It seemed that little Harold grew slowly and was a delicate and sickly little fellow. One time when he was between 1 and 2 years of age, he went into convulsions and his mother thought he was dead. It was in the dead of winter, with lots of snow on the ground but his sister Belle ran outside to the back of the house, knelt down in the snow and ask God not to let her baby brother die.
As she went back to the- door, her mother met her and said, "He isn't dead, run for Sister Billings" (She was their Bishops Wife) so Belle ran and Sister Billings came. They dipped the baby first in a tub of hot water then into a tub of cold water, until he came out of the convulsion, and was soon alright again. The doctor said it was caused by stomach worms.
In those days, baby boys wore dresses just the same as girl babies, until they were a year or two old and big enough to wear overalls. When Harold was large enough they got him some overalls and put them on him but he didn't like them at all and would take them off about as fast as they could put them on him. He wanted to wear dresses like his sisters did. He didn't want to be the only one who was different. So he were dresses more than he did overalls for quite a while then he finely decided he liked them and when his younger brother, Archie, was born he thought the baby should start wearing overalls right, then because he was a boy.
Harold and his brother Archie
Harold and his sister Leoma
Harold's folks moved quite often when he was small, as they didn't own al place of their own yet. He was born at the Helgate place, then before he was a year old, they moved to the Alf Billing's place. They lived there about a year then moved to the Grandma Orser place. They moved from there in October before Archie was born, to the Alma Timothy place. Here Archie was born. Next they moved to the Hunting place.
Here at the Hunting place, a large ice hole had been built. This was done by digging a hole back in a bank. It was fi1led with. large chunks of ice packed in straw. Long poles were laid across the top and then covered with brush, the brush was then covered with dirt. This preserved the ice well for summer use.
In one place on the top the dirt had fallen through, leaving a hole. One day three or four of Harold's cousins (Uncle Alex's boys were there playing with him and Archie. They were sort of playing follow the leader. They would run around the granary, which was against the east side of the ice ho1e, then get up on the ice house, jump down through the hole in the roof, then come out the front and around they would go again. They had been doing this for quite some time, when Harold got caught some way and was hanging there by his shoulders.
The other boys were too small to help him get loose, so on of Uncle Alex's boys ran to the house and told Harold's mother to come quick. He couldn't talk plain and she thought the boy was just playing, but he kept pulling at her and repeating over and over to her what sounded like "Harold is kicking his last". So she went with him and found Harold hanging by his shoulders. What he had been trying to tell her was that "Harold was kinking his neck." She helped him down and was so thankful she had gone to see what was the matter.
Harold's mother used to fish in the Green River a lot when they lived only about a block away from it and Harold loved to go with his mother. Of course he wanted to fish too, so she would get a long stick, tie a string on the end and tie a bent pin on the end of the string for a hook and let him try and fish. He was happy with his fishing outfit. It takes such little, simple things to make children happy and keep them satisfied
Harold enjoyed going to the pasture with the girls after the cows to help bring them in to the corral at milking time. When the feed was good in the foot hills, he liked to go with the girls to herd the cows as they foraged for what food they could find. This was done on week days, but never on Sundays. He learned to milk cows at a very early age, as did his sisters and younger brother.
He started to school in Jensen, Utah. His family lived five miles from the school. Sometimes they would ride horses or go in a buggy and sometimes they would have to walk. At times in the winter when there was snow on the ground, they would use a sled that their father had made.
When Harold started school his two older sisters were out of district school (same as elementary) so he went with his two sisters just older than him, Leoma and Mary. They always looked out for him and took care of him.
At that time, there was no such thing as a school lunch program so they always had to carry their own lunch from home or go without. One day Harold didn't come into Mary's room at lunch as he usually did to eat his lunch. After Leoma and Mary finished theirs, Mary went to find him. He was in his room standing in the corner with his face to the wall. She grabbed him and ask him why he hadn't come to eat his lunch. He said, "Miss Timothy won't let me. I have to stand in this corner until the bell rings." So Mary took him by the hand and said, "Come with me, your teacher is out now". She took him over to his desk and gave him his lunch and sat there watching him eat when in walked his teacher, Miss Birdie Timothy. She ask Mary what she thought she was doing, Mary said she had come to find Harold and give him his lunch and he was going to eat it. Miss Timothy said," No he had to stand in the corner until the bell rang, because he had talked out loud. But Mary insisted that he have his lunch, so she and Miss Timothy went around and around and while they were having it out Harold sat quietly at his desk and ate his lunch. He was never kept in school again as long as Mary went to school and from then on Miss Timothy was very good to Harold for he was a good student and learned fast and was never any trouble to any one.
One time when Harold was around 7 years old and his brother Archie was 4 or 5, they lived where there was a large irrigation ditch or canal that run between their house and the corrals. They crossed this canal by way of a foot bridge. In places the water run swiftly.
One day Harold and Archie were playing and some way Harold fell into the canal and Archie grabbed him just in time to keep him from going under the bridge. Archie laid down on his stomach and held to Harold for dear life all the time screaming as loud as he could, for help. Their mother happened to come outside and. heard him and. came running. She pulled Harold out before he drowned.
Archie says he can still remember how hard. it was to hold onto Harold and keep him from being swept away in the swift water.
In 1913 when Harold was 11 years old and his two elder sisters were married his sister Artie was soon to have her second child and his sister Mary had gone to stay with her and help her. The baby was then born so his Mother went to be with her. The baby was a little girl and they named her Vera. Anyway this left only his father, his sister Leoma, his brother Archie and himself at home. Harold had been feeling sick for two days but he went ahead arid helped with the chores anyway. They knew or thought he had the measles.
Then one night he was terribly sick all night.. His sister Leoma was up with him most all night trying to give him medicine, which he wouldn't take. He became worse unti11 he was delirious and talked out of his head. She tried to wake up their Father, but he didn't realize that Harold was as sick' as he really was and told him to go to sleep.
Next morning Leoma said she was going after her Mother, but her father still didn't think Harold was as sick as he was. About then Belle and. her husband Jim came by. Jim had had the measles so he came in and saw right away that Harold was a very sick little boy. So they went right after his mother and brought her home. She worked with Harold giving him hot sponge baths until the measles broke out and then he began to get better.
Leoma and Archie both took the measles too, but neither one had them as hard as Harold had.
When Harold was still 11 years old, in June 1913 his family and his oldest sister Artie and her husband Albert and their family al left Jensen and started out by wagon and buggy to move to Moapa Valley in southern Nevada. They had a long hard, hot, dry old trip but all survived. They settled in the Moapa Valley and Harold and the other children went to school in Overton.
His sister Mary had finished District School and had a job at Shurtliffs Ice Cream Parlor. Harold and Archie came into town quite often on errands to the store for their mother. They would come to the ice cream parlor and nearly every time Mary would see a larger boy names Rex Perkins being mean to Harold and trying to start a fight. Each time the big boy would whip Harold. Finally Mary could stand it no longer so she went out and caught Rex by the neck and held him while Harold beat the socks off him. After that Rex was good friend to Harold.
One winter, when Harold was about 13 or so, he and some of the boys went into Bro. Lyons store. They were looking through the show case at pocket knives, so Bro. Lyons set a box or two of the knives out on the counter and then left the room. They couldn't see where he had gone but he evidently was watching them. The boys each took a knife and started for home. As soon as they were gone, Bro. Lyons called one of the boys mother and told her what they had done, so Sister Perkins came right over after Harold's mother and they took the boys and went back to the store.
After hearing the boys side of it and then Bro. Lyons side, those good mothers sure gave Bro. Lyons a Scotch Blessing, for he had said things that made the boys feel that he was giving them each a knife, but Bro. Lyons was evidently just trying to get them in trouble, so he could accuse them of stealing.
Donald Huntsman, Henry Burgess and Harold McCain
Probably two or three years after moving to Moapa Valley, Harold and some ether boys began catching wild donkeys and would have a gay, wild old time riding them. They even rode them to school part of the time. Robert Perkins, Henry Burgess and Donald Huntsman were among this group of boys that run around with Harold. By the picture it looks like they tamed those Burros down pretty good.
In 1918 Harold, his folks and his brother Archie, all went to Delta, Utah to work for a short time, on the Riding Ranch. They all worked for a while and then Harold, his Mother and Archie all quit working and rented a small house in town, for the three of them to live in. Their Father was still working at the ranch. so he continued to live there.
There was a small spot of ground by this little house where -they decided to plant a garden. They had some kind of a small hand plow, but nothing to pull it with, so they tied a rope to the front of it. One boy was to pull en the rope while the other one was to hold the plow and try to push from behind.
They had been working for a while, when they both came in the house and each sat down in a chair. Neither one said a word but just sat there with a determined look on their faces. Finally one ask the other if he was ready to go help him now. The other one said, "Are you ready to treat me half way decent?". Then they both sat there for a while longer and then ask the same questions over again. This went on for a half hour or more, then they both got up and went out and finished their job.
Their mother never did find out what the trouble was all about, for they never did say anymore about it other than the questions they kept asking each other, over and over again, "Are you ready to come help me now?" "Are you ready to treat me half way decent?" This all makes me wonder which one was having to play horse and do the pulling, and how the other one might have talked to him or treated him, in a kidding way. I would liked to have peeked in on that little scene, wouldn't you?
After Mary was married, she came home to her Mothers' house for her first baby to be born. When the baby came, it was a little boy and Harold wanted her to name the baby Robert after one of his dear friends Robert Wells who live there in the Moapa Va1ley. So she did name him Robert.
Harold always loved Mary's two sons, Robert and Arthur and was so good them and all his nieces and nephews, also his own brother and sisters and his parents. After Mary was divorced and left with her two little boys to support, she sent them home to stay with her parents, a good deal of the time so she could work. It was so hard for her to be away from her boys so much and have to work for a living.
Harold was always the one she could count on for help and encouragement. He made several trips to Salt Lake City, and would always stay with her.
When both Harold and Archie were yet in their teems and after their parents had moved to Mt. Trumbull to take up a homestead they both started working with cattle somewhere in Arizona near the Colorado River. There was a man with them from St. George, Utah. Archie was sent to an old cabin, where they kept supplies after something they needed. There was a large, dry goods box under the table. Archie just reached into the box without looking and was bitten by a rattlesnake that had crawled into the box. He was bitten on the right hind and as he pulled it out the snake was still hanging on. He killed the snake with his boot and then loosened it from his hand. he then hurried back to where the others were to tell them what had happened.
Harold quickly sharpened his knife, then filled his mouth with dry sand and then let most of it fall back out of his mouth. This was to take up the poison. He then cut a cross over the bite on Archie's hand and sucked out blood until it was bright and clear looking. He then put Archie on his horse and Harold mounted another and he took him to Kingman, Arizona to a doctor. The doctor told them that the way Harold had taken care of the hand, was the only thing that saved Archie's life.
They then went back to the cow camp. They had to swim. their horses across the Colorado River, both going and. coming from Kingman. They both really enjoyed working with cattle and loved horses. So they really liked their job here with this cow outfit.
While living at Mt. Trumbull Arizona Harold and Archie decided to take a trip back to Jensen, Utah where they were born and where they still had relatives and friends. Harold was 18 and Archie was 16. It was the year of 1920.
They left home in May and traveled by horseback, taking 8 horses with them. Their mother really hated to see them take such a long trip alone when they were so young but they were very anxious to go and assured her they could take care of themselves and would be careful. They took their saddle horses along so they could. change their riding mounts and also in case a horse went lame or even to sell or trade in case they needed to.
Following is a day to day report on their progress as told by Archie to his sister, Mary, in the year 1967 when she was down in Arizona visiting him at his home in Scottsdale.
The first day after leaving home in Mt. Trumbull the boys traveled to Wolfhole and stayed the night. The second day they made it on in to St. George, Utah, and on the third day they went as far as Leeds, Utah.
The fourth day they went to Kannarraville, fifth day to Hamilton's Fort, sixth to Cedar and the seventh to Parowan, Utah. On the eight day they made it on to Paragoona or a little beyond, to what was then called Flowing We1ls. On the ninth day on to Beaver and on the tenth day to 'Terry's Ranch and on the eleventh night they camped ever night just before they got to Cove Fort.
At this time, there of course nothing but dirt roads and all open range with no fences at all.
On the twelfth day from home, they started for Richfield and was three or four days going over the mountain range that had to be crossed before they arrived there. They then went on to St. Jo or Joseph and stopped there two days. It was late afternoon on Friday when they arrived so they decided to stay over for the dance on Saturday night and rest over Sunday. On Monday they started out again, but they had traded one horse for another one and the man gave them $10.00 difference.
They then went on to Salina and up the canyon, where they stayed two or three days and then went on to Emery, which took 3 or 4 days, which was a long ways by horseback.
Then on to Price, Utah where they rested up for 2 or 3 days and then on to Helper in one day. They were getting up higher into the mountains where it was much colder. From Helper it was 9 miles on to the foot of Soldiers Summit. There was nothing there but an old house that was called the Roadhouse. It was used years before when the horse drawn Stages were used as a stepping place, where horses were exchanged and passengers could eat and rest a little, but now it was all deserted. The boys stayed there over night and started. on the next morning. It soon started to rain and. then it turned to snow and it snowed so hard that they couldn't see where they were going so they found a cave and stayed all night.
They turned their horses loose that night and the next morning. Archie went to find them, but could only find 7 of them. They hunted for him all morning and about then found him dead where he had fallen over a big cliff, so they went on their way now with only the 7 horses.
It was awfully cold. now. They guessed that the night they spent in the cave it must have been 30 degrees below zero, at least it felt like it.
As they climbed higher up the Soldier Summit Mountain the deeper the snow became and finally it was so deep they had to walk and break trail for their horses, so they could get on up the mountain. The snow was at least 4 feet deep and in places where it had drifted it was deeper than that.
By the time they had worked their way ever Soldiers Summit and down the other side it was dark and they and their horses were dead tired, wet, cold and hungry, but them was no food for them or their horses. They did however cut Quaking Aspen limbs for the horses and they found an old empty cabin where they could spend the night. They built a fire to warm themselves and dry their clothes. They also melted some snow in a can they had along with them so they could at least have a drink of water.
The next morning, they went on to Duchesne and stayed that night. That evening while there some Indians came down to where they were camped. There were a lot of Indians in this vicinity. They seemed friendly and gave the boys each a cigarette, the first one they had ever had. The Indians also wanted to trade horses, but the boys decided they had better keep the ones they had.
The boys went on to Roosevelt, but on the way they stopped to talk to some people they met along the road they were cattle men and they had their Chuck Wagon along and invited the boys to eat with them and also travel along with them and spend the night at their camp. The boys were glad for a little companionship, so accepted the invitation. In those days there were a lot of sage hens and rabbits roaming the hills, so they had a very good supper and breakfast and then were en their way again.
By now the boys and their horses were getting pretty tired and leg weary and were glad to be getting near the end of their long journey. For the next day or so they took things easy, letting their horses pick along as they went. One night they camped in a wash because the greasewood was getting green and grew here in abundance. Their horses would eat this and enjoyed picking around. The next day they also traveled slowly as they went on into Vernal. They went to the Mazer ward and stayed all night and then on to Jensen.
At this time, Jensen was a very small town with only a Post office, one store, the school house and the Church. About four miles before they were in town the boys stopped at the Johnny Rasmussen farm. At one time Harold, Archie and their family were neighbors to the Rasmussens and the boys had always called them Uncle Johnny and aunt Ester.
How wonderful. it was to meet their old friends again. They gave Harold a job helping on the farm but they felt that Archie was still too young, for a full time job, but said he could work around for his keep. So he helped Harold, and Uncle Johnny's boys on the farm. One of these boys was named Ralph and he had five horses. He told Archie if he would and could break them to ride, he would give him $5.00 for each one, so that is what he did.
One day when Aunt Ester was out gathering the eggs Archie was on one of these broncs, and he went bucking right into some farm equipment. She got so frightened, that she dropped all the eggs and broke them and Archie broke the horse and earned his $5.00.
On the 4th of July Archie was in a horse race with Dug Chew and Perry Morgan and beat them and this made them angry at him. Archie had ridden one of his own horses Old Snip that he had got from Jockie Hail out at Wolfhole. Now Dug said he had a horse he wanted Archie to ride. He was a bad Bronc and Dug had hopes that he would throw Archie there at the celebration so all the people would see him bucked off, but Archie rode him and then Dug was really angry at him.
Harold worked for Uncle Johnny on the farm all summer and Archie get a job herding sheep for a man from Vernal They had their sheep up at Blue Mountain. When Archie arrived at the camp, he found that they really wanted him to tend camp for them and he didn't like this very well because he was always left in camp alone. Later he get sick, so quit and went to Salt Lake and stayed with his sister, Mary for a while before going on back home.
After Harold was through working for Uncle Johnny in the fall he helped trail some cattle from Blue Mountain to Green River, Wyoming and then he too returned back home. They had a very eventful summer with some exciting experiences and enjoyable times, that drew them closer together than ever before.
After returning home to Mt. Trumbull, Arizona Harold realized more than ever how hard life really was there on the homestead for his parents. They had lived there for a number of years and there wasn't much hope of things getting too much better for them, because of the lack of water, electricity , and other advantages that would make a place build up and prosper.
There were no stores except a very small one where only the bare necessities could be bought and no doctor or medicine. Harold felt that his folks were having to work just too hard and getting very little for their efforts so he tried to persuade them to move somewhere where things would be easier for them now that they were getting older.
Finaly Harold leased a farm at Kanarra or Kanarraville, Utah just south of Cedar City. He got his folks to move there to be with him. He and his father worked this farm for 2 or 3 years, and then his Father traded his place in Mt. Trumbull for a farm in Bloomington, Utah. a very small farming community five miles south of St. George, Utah.
Harold had sandy blond hair and gray eyes. He grew slowly and was slow to develop until he got to the age of a young man then he seemed to spring up almost overnight into a handsome, stalwart young man. He and his brother Archie grew up to be about the same size, except that Archie was a little taller.
Harold was always such a good boy as he was growing up. He was always willing and anxious to help and learned to be a good farmer but his first love was to work with horses and cattle.
As he was growing up he always liked to go to Sunday School and his other Church meetings. He was baptized on the 7 Aug 1910. He was ordained a deacon on the 15 of Nov. 19 at Overton, Nevada. He was ordained a teacher 6 Jan. 1920 at Overton, Nevada. He was ordained a priest 4 Mar. 1928 at Kanarra, Utah and his Temple Endowments were done for him 11 of April 1929.
Harold learned to dance when he was young and living in the Moapa Valley and enjoyed it very much. He learned to be a good cook, was a wonderful baby sitter, as his sister Mary can testify. He always kept himself neat and clean, was well mannered and kind and gentle to everyone.
Harold went with several girls. There was a Reva Case in Jensen, Utah, Lizzie Roundy in Kanarra and an Ellen Roseberry in Kaolin, Nevada.
We have here a picture of Reva Case on the ladder and a picture of Bobie Rasmussen. She is probably one of Uncle Johnny Rasmussen's daughters. These were pictures that belonged to Harold.
Reva Case, on the back of the picture she wrote "This is me, when I was lonesome, looking for someone".
Archie and Harold in Kanarra, Utah. Harold's car in back.
Harold didn't stay home much anymore after his folks moved to Bloomington. He went back to Jensen the place of his birth he seemed to like it better up there. Here he started to work with cattle again and was getting a small herd of his own started, at the time of his death on the 11 of Sept. 1928. He died in Jensen or Vernal where he was born at the young age of 26 years and unmarried.
There is more than one story on the cause of his death. You can draw your own conclusions but it isn't too important now what was the reason for his death.
His sister Belle writes this version.
"When Haro1d was in Arizona, some man who had killed a rattlesnake, gave Harold the practically new boots he had when he killed the snake because they hurt his feet. They didn't fit Harold very well either and so when he wore them he had to keep a piece of cotton in his sock to try to keep his heel from rubbing the boot.
He then went up to Jensen to work. Later he got very sick so had to quite his job and went to his Uncle Alex Nelson's place. He ate supper with them then went on to Vernal to a doctor. The doctor thought he had the flue so he gave him some medicine for that and then put him in the hospital. He became so terribly sick that the doctor asked if there wasn't some one he would like to have come to him and Harold said, "Yes, send for Ester Rasmussen to come in. So Aunt Ester came and held his hand as he died.
After his death, the undertaker said it was blood poison that caused his death. He had Harold's boot examined and found a rattlesnake tooth in the heel of the boot, this was supposed to have irritated his heal causing blood poison!"
Another account of the cause of his death is told by his sister Mary. She writes as follows:
"Harold died of Mountain Fever in the Vernal Hospital. Mountain Fever is caused from the bite of a tick, which poisons the body. I helped dress him for burial and there were no marks on his body, feet, legs or head. I know what I am talking about for I talked to his doctor at Vernal, who took care of Harold before he died. I also went to his funeral. There may be other ideas on what caused his death, but I was right there and got this information first hand from the doctor and by seeing for my self."
Well it matters little what caused him to die but it seems tragic to us that remain that he died so young. It seems that he missed. so many of the real joys of life for he never knew the true love, happiness, joy and fulfillment, that a wonderful marriage, wife and children could have brought into his life.
But then who are we to judge? We do know that the Lord must have had another, more important mission for him to do so he called him home to serve him there.
I'm sure the Lord knew Harold was an honest, clean, brave and stalwart young man and he had more worthy things for him to do. He knew he was a choice son as he had always been a wonderful and thoughtful son to his earthly parents and loved and respected by those who knew him.
His family grieved his passing deeply and missed his sweet presence greatly. Those that are left of his family who knew him have nothing but deep affection, praise, respect, love, and happy memories of him. We like to think that he will have the chance in the here after, to do the good things he didn't have time to do here and that we will all live worthy to meet him someday.