Albert James Mackley

[NOTE: This page currently under development. I post it early for family members who may be interested. Come back in awhile and you’ll see lots more interesting stuff on the life of Albert James.]

Albert James is my great-grandfather and the first Mackley in my family line to cross the ocean and come to America. I actually saw him once when we lived on 32nd Street in Boise, Idaho. I was about six years old when he came for a visit. That was about 1961 and Albert James would have been about 88 years old at the time (he died 31 Aug 1967). We are fortunate that Albert James wrote down his life story. What follows below comes from the original hand-written copy by Albert James Mackley. Later, in 1958, it was typed up by Ella M. M. Mackley and from that typewritten copy, the following was organized. Sentences and paragraphs of the same subject have been grouped together for clarity. Spelling and punctuation have been improved. Additional words have been added in brackets only. Original grammar has been maintained. Historical notes and photo’s have been added. Jeri and I had the opportunity to travel to the UK back in 1999 and we were able to visit Norwich (pronounced Nor-idge) where Albert James Mackley was born and raised. Some of the photos come from my trip to Norwich in 1999.

Autobiography of Albert James Mackley

Albert James Mackley and Catherine Braithwaite
Click to enlarge: Charlotte Martha Holmes, mother of Albert James Mackley

[The] history of the life of Albert James Mackley born at Norwich, Norfolk, England on the 25th of August 1873. I was the only son alive of James Goodwin Mackley and Martha Holmes.

Albert James Mackley and Catherine Braithwaite
1873 Norwich, Norfolk, England showing Magdalen (pronounced Maud-len) Street where Albert James Mackley lived.

Norwich was a nice place, pretty in the summer. In the winter at they had to turn on the gas [light] at half past two as it got dark early in England but in the summer you can sit on the door step and read at 11 p.m. There is a lot of rain there. They had a Cathedral (marked “C” on map) that was built by the Danes [Normans] when they invaded England. It was a nice building built out of cobbles. The soldiers would go to church there on the Sabbath.

They only paid [people] two pennies a day. In English [money] that [is] four cents. The people was so poor they would buy two cents worth of raisins and put them in a crock and keep them covered with sweet water. Next Saturday [they did] the same [thing] till they had enough for a Christmas pudding. That is the way they had to scrimp along.

My grandmother took care of me as my mother worked in the factory. Women had to work as it was tight picking. I used to go on a Saturday to meet my mother at the shop. The man they worked for would go over to the Public House and tell them to let the girls have what beer they wanted. One Saturday I got too much half and half. I couldn’t walk straight. My mother told me not to walk like that.

We lived in a house up an alley (see Zephells Yard, marked Z on the map). It had about four rooms. The roof was quite flat, it was made of tile, and I remember the cats used to accumulate there and hold their open air concerts. It would finally end up in a fight [and] then they would go scampering off the roof to the ground. [It was] about a two story drop but they would manage to alight on their feet in another alley.

We never had any stove in our house. Only a fireplace to do the cooking. Pies and cakes and bread was taken to bake shop. We could cook soup over the fire with a chain with a hook on it.

All the houses was infested with rats. The houses were joined together and the rats would go from one house to another one. One night when I came down [the] stairs after a drink of water, when I went to the cupboard for a cup, the rats went scampering out of there.

Later we moved from this to a place called the Red Lion Yard (marked “R” on map) that was at the head of Magdalene Street. There was a street running North and South. All east of that was farms. At the head of Magdalene street was a gate to the city and they [the gates] were closed at nine o’clock. At one time there was a ruler and he made the people go to bed and the lights out by nine o’clock. Well, this gate is still hanging on them hinges, sagging. I can see it now. I was talking to a President of the Norwich Conference a few years ago and he told me the old gate was still there. We lived up this Red Lion Yard till we left for America. At the head of this lane where we lived we had a picket fence in front of the house.

Picture of Magdelen street about 1881
This is a picture of Magdelen street about 1881.

Up this alley where we lived, come off the street named Magdelene Street [Maud – lin]. On this street at the entrance of the alley was a little store run by a man and wife by the name of Eifell. He was kind of interested in the Gospel but his wife wasn’t. He borrowed the Pearl of Great Price. He would read it when his wife wasn’t around but when he heard her coming he would slip it in the pepper drawer. They were whole peppers them days and when we got the book back, for years we could smell the peppers.



As [most] people there didn’t have any education they would keep their birthday or year, as they rotated their crops. They would say she was born the year such a piece was in turnips, etc.

[I] started to school between the age of three and four years. [They] call it here “kindergarden” but they learned us the ABC’s. [My teacher,] her name was Mrs. Graves. I remember she raised birds and I know she had a good sized tree. There was a swing in it. She taught in her home. The last school I went to was St. Pauls (marked “P” on the map). There I graduated at the age of nine years. I was in the eighth grade. I liked reading, geography, spelling, writing, [and] history

When the school officials would come to the schools, the boys would have to make a bow and the girls would have to give a curtsy to show respect. The teachers were strict and if we done something wrong we would have to go up to the rostrum and put out your hand. She had a good stingy cane. We would have to put out our hand and get what we called “custard” and if we jerked our hand we got two–so we would hold our hand stiff and take it. But I wasn’t up [but] once or twice. The teacher was called Governess. I remember one day I had a stick of licorice and the teacher told me to put it up. I did but I went and got it again. So she put me in a dark room with one of them things you learn to count with – buttons on a wire.

Grandma was a whirlwind to go and was very good to me. I was going home one afternoon. I had played the truant but she didn’t know it. It was the longest afternoon I ever put in. As I was crossing the street I seen her, I said, “Hellos grandmother.” She says, “Come on, boy, and go home.” She don’t know till this day I played hookie. When I got home she gave me a nice crust with some dripping bacon grease… um good!

The minister would take us out to his home for an outing. We would walk out and ride back, maybe. And he was afraid for us to drink too much water so he put bran in it so you wouldn’t drink too much. The girls would have to learn to sew by hand, have your hand clean sewing this afternoon.

Long before I left school, my mothers brother lived in Arizona. We had a map of the world in school and I went to America and found Arizona and looked and found St. Johns, Apacha County. And [I] took my teacher over there and showed her where my mother’s brother lived in Arizona. When we came to this country he came to Utah to see us.


The Elders

One day when I came home from school I saw a placard in the window. It was a 10×12 light as far as I can remember. On this card it said: “The Elder William Budge will preach at the St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich.” I can’t remember when I couldn’t read.

We was always glad to see the Elders. We would go across the city and hold meetings at each others homes but after so many left to come to Zion the harvest was poor. I and my father was baptized the same night in the river Wensum. The Elder that I mentioned before that left the placard in the window [and] that preached at St. Andrew’s Hall was William Budge from Scotland. He was a convert to the church and came to Utah. He was called on a mission to England. Later, when he filled his mission he was put in [as] President of the Logan Temple.

The Elder that baptized me and father was named Joseph W. Vickers. He lived in Nephi, Utah [and was a] very good man. He treated me like a son. As the mobs were on the Elder’s heels, that was the reason we was baptized at night. 

Elizabeth Alexander Holmes
Elizabeth Alexander Holmes is the grandmother of Albert James Mackley.
Ezra T. Benson
Ezra T. Benson served missions in the Eastern States, British Isles, Scandinavia, and Hawaii. He is the great-grandfather of Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th President of The Church.

My grandma was skin and bones but she traveled like a streak. One night after dark a mob gathered and was going to mob the Elders. I went in the house and told Grandmother some men was after the Elders. She had a large wash basin full of boiling water and she throwed it in their face and she told them if they didn’t go she would give them another. They left. I seen them. She was a real Latter-day Saint. She would stand up for the Gospel. She was about 90 years old when we got word we was going to America. People says, “Mrs. Holmes, you’ll die on the way.” She says, “I don’t care, I’ve been looking for this opportunity for a good many years.” She was one of the first that joined the Church in that part. My mother says she [grandmother] was baptized by Apostle Benson, [great]grandfather of Ezra T[aft] Benson. When the Elders would come and see us they would have a meal with bread buttered and a Yarmouth Bloater. That was good. They were glad of it. Talking about bloaters, there at Yarmouth by the sea they would dry them and string them on wires and dry them and smoke them. They called them “High Dried.” They were good after they was smoked. 


Growing Up

There is so much to tell I can’t write it all. I used to get into trouble after school. One time there was going to be a swimming race on the river. We was anxious to see it. So to see it, we got on a roof of a coal bin and the roof went in and we went home in a hurry for fear the police would get us. Another time we got into a carrot patch and there was men working there and they spied us. We got in alright but when we went to get out the hole had closed up, but there had to be a hole. We never tried it again. When school was out one afternoon, some men were working and some plank was laying there and there was a brick wall so we took a plank and then we got on the plank and it didn’t even up so I was the closest to the wall and I got my finger between the plank and the wall and I thought I was killed. I never tried it again.[Once] there was a conference at a place along the sea shore. As people built close so when the tide come in they are far enough from the water. There was a meeting place there. The town was Lowestoft and after the meeting I went down to the beach and walked out there on the sand picking up sea weed, little lobsters and crabs. I wasn’t watching the water, I guess the tide must [have] been coming in one wave, then another. I had to move to keep out of the water as the breakers was coming in. The man that was President of the conference was Albert Carrington. He got cut off the church for adultery in England. That was when I was a boy. This sea weed I mentioned, you could hang it up in the room. They used it as a barometer. They could tell what kind of weather they was going to have. When it was to rain this weed would be wet and when it was to be dry it would powder up. Where we lived was 21 miles from the Ocean. The fish would come in every morning, all kinds. People eat a lot of fish. So many kinds [of] shell fish (all kinds) and [it is] cheap. One afternoon as we were going to market there was stalls that sold shell fish such as cockels and mussel, oysters and other shell fish. They had them in saucers ready to eat as people come along. So I would run ahead and have a saucer cleaned up before she got there and had a bill to pay. The fishermen would go out all night and they would have their boat full so they had them on the market early. The rivers there was navigable. The boats would haul coal from the mines and the coal bins were along the river so they could stop and unload what they wanted. Men would push the boats with a long pole called a quant. It had a finger on it so it wouldn’t go to far in the mud at the bottom of the river and the stream would help to take it. Another story as I read it in the paper; A girl was coming home from school [and] this man ravished her and then killed her on the way to my school. They had his picture in the photographers shop. He was a hard looker. They gave him a trial and found him guilty and they sentenced him to death by hanging. So the morning he was to be hung at daylight at the castle, there was an immense crowd there to watch it. They put a black cap on him and marched him out, put the noose around his neck and they sprung the trap and he dropped. When the folks seen them bringing him out they said, “Here he comes.” Mother said people was so thick there you could roll a ball over their head. That is the way they do there. When a man is guilty they soon do away with him.One night I went to a panorama. That was the first time I saw people act from a stage. They sung “Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.” We never went out at night very much. We used to go to church and sing the hymns.My first recollection of my father was him packing me on his back upstairs. My father worked at the barracks as he made soldier clothes. He was a tailor and so was his father. Practically all the Mackleys were tailors and the women made bonnets and hats. My father had two sisters there that I seen. One was a spinster. The other married and had a family. The single one was Jane and the married [one] was named Clara. She married Henry Allen. He was a chimney sweep. Never seen much of fathers folks. Seen my Grandfather James a few times and my Grandmothers Mackley [but] they didn’t visit much. I had a cousin there in Norwich. He was a barber [and] his name was Billie Mackley. My Aunt Sarah Loveday from Hayland near Barnsley Yorkshire came to visit us before we left. One day grandfather [Charles Holmes] got a job cutting hay with a chopper, up in a barn loft. When he finished and his master paid him, he says “Come on, boy, let’s go ‘ave a ‘alf pint.” He meant beer as that is part of an Englishman’s living–that and his pipe. So the next time he got the job it was my turn to say “Come on grandpa, let’s go have a half pint.” I was quick to learn.My grandfather Charles Holmes was fishing for eel. He thought he had one –but it was his big toe. When he jabbed it with a table fork he found out it was his toe so he had to go home to Grandma and she had to pull it out. But it never got better as he was always lame after. I think it [was] partly [the cause of] his death as he died at 75 [81] and grandma at 92. I remember my grandfather, I heard him say to my mother just before he died (my mothers name was Martha); “Go and get my vest coat (they say, ‘west cut’) and get the money for that boy as it will be the last I will ever give him.” I was five years [old] when he died [on 15 October 1878]. I seen him put in the grave and there was room for another but she was not put in there. When my grandfather died they dug it deep enough so grandma could be put there too, but she fooled them. She came and was buried in Spanish Fork, Utah. 


Going to America

We was bent on going to Zion. It would be if we lived right and kept the commandments. The Lord has been good to us. We have our health and all that is necessary.My mothers folks had [a] donkey cart. That is the way they travel, a lot of them. I remember, just before we left, my mother’s brother Abraham Holmes came to bid us good-bye. I sat on the side of the street all day watching to see if he was coming. Finally about 5 p.m. he came–donkey and all. I had to put up my finger to see if he was moving. I remember one Sunday morning mother walked over to Crostwich where she was born to see her brother and wife. On this Crostwich Common it was a big Pasture full of thistles and oak trees large enough to get inside and hide when playing games. The thistle is what the donkeys lived on. Well, as we are about to take our journey across the Atlantic, we started to Liverpool to take the ship, SS Wyoming. It wasn’t a very good ship but it took us across. Some times it was rough. The ship would roll to one side to the other and [was] very rough. Some time one night a storm arose. [There was] thunder and lightning. I thought the ship would break in two. It groaned and squeeked. Water came through the port holes. [However,] most of the time it was nice. One night as I was laying on my back I felt some water running in my mouth. Someone was running over so I put my head out [the] side and told them to shut it off. There was a berth above me [and] there was a big family of them [there.] As we left Liverpool [and] as we got out in the river Mersey (that was getting close to Ireland), there was a couple of girls that was going over too, and they come out to meet the ship in a boat. They hung out a rope ladder so the girls could climb up the ship. They was coming over here to their boyfriends and likely got married. After we had [been] on board [awhile], we got acquainted with some people from Spanish Fork that had been to Denmark to gather genealogy. We found out that she knew my aunt-mothers sister. The folks from Denmark was named Otteson. My mother was sea sick all the way over but it didn’t bother any of the rest [of us]. One day a lady died and I wanted to see them bury her in the ocean. They sewed her up in canvas and slid her down the plank for the fish to eat. The food wasn’t good and the toilet was close to the water. You didn’t need any paper as the water would splash and wash you off. It wasn’t anything for somebody to come while you was there. Some days it would be foggy and the old fog horn would blow. One day we seen a whale. We could see it go down and then come up and squirt water in the air. Sometimes we see icebergs floating. They tried to keep out of the way of them. We had a bottle tied to a string on the neck. We would throw it in the ocean and watch it jump. The porpoise would follow the ship. As time went on, one day a boat came out to meet us. It had a man on to take us into port. We was quite awhile before we reached port and then they came on board with goats milk and fruits and eats of differents kind[s] and when we went in New York we went up to see the city. We weren’t there very long. That was the first time I seen peaches and tomatoes. They used to call them love apples but I never cared much for them. We seen the Elevated Railroad. We didn’t have very much money to spend so they took us up the Hudson River on a big boat with paddles on the side as far as Castle Garden. There we layed around on the floor waiting to be cleared to see where we was going. Boy, we was glad to get out of there. [There were] no accomodations. The toilet was a long building with a pole to hang over. When we got on the train, that wasn’t to good either. Of course, the railroad wasn’t as good them days as they are now-a-days. As we got along through the different states we see different things. We was expecting to see buffalo but we didn’t hardly see chips. As the train stopped to take water, a lot of them would get out and go so far away from the train they would go away and leave them. Then they would take the next train. I remember when they crossed the Missouri they went across on a large boat then they would get off on the other side and go on the rails. One night as the train had stopped for water some men come and we thought they was going to rob the people. They looked around and I guess they thought they wouldn’t get much so they didn’t bother. Sometimes when the train would stop at eating houses they would get some hot water and make some tea. On board the ship I had a boy to play with but on the train I had to sit in the seat. On the train we was looking for historic places like the Horse Shoe Bend, but that was further on. It was getting into September and the fall season was on. The crops was being gathered so there was much to be seen. Cattle [were] on the farms. As we went along we seen the mountains as we come to them as there isn’t in England where we came [from]. We was glad when they said it wouldn’t be long before we would be into Ogden as Mother knew some people that used to live in Norwich but after they joined the church they come to Utah. In some way they was looking for emigrants so they found us and they took us to their place for that night and then the next day we went on to Salt Lake and my Uncle William was at the station to meet us and we stayed there a few days. We went to the meeting in the Tabernacle on Sunday and then the next day or so we visited some of the others that emigrated before [such as] J. J. Daynes. They run a music store and still do. And [we also visited] W[illia]m Wood that was on a mission awhile before we left. I was looking down the street and I said to mother, “There’s brother Wood!” He then was running a meat market. That was his [Brother Woods] son that was [the] President of the Cardston Temple. He was a very good man. When we got to our destination (Spanish Fork) we went and lived with our relations; mothers sister and husband James and Mary Vincent. We come in September and by the next spring we moved to a house we rented. The Salt Lake Temple was about four feet high when we come to this country but the street was full of granite blocks. They dragged them in with oxen as the Salt Lake Temple was forty years in construction. The side walks was made of a tar filling and when it got hot it was soft but later cement walks were put in. It was practically all L.D.S. people [there] then. The trains was small and they seldom went over thirty miles per hour. And they sold bananas, gum, candy, apples, and fruit but now they have done away with it. The roads to the depots then were very muddy and hacks would run and meet all trains. That’s all done away with now. 


Life in Utah

We would go and gather sage brush to burn. My mother didn’t want me to run around the streets so she said, “go and find you a job.” It wasn’t long before I had it. I found a job in the shoe shop on the tenth of June. The people I worked for was John F. Mellor. All I got was $1.00 a week and my dinner. One day they gave me an ear of corn and I never seen people eat it before as my uncle used give it to the pigs. I refused it so that is what I told them. They [then] told me I could go home and eat – so I lost my boarding place. He was a hard man to work for. I think they raised my wages in about two years to $1.25 but they was good to me on holidays. They would give me some money or scrip as there wasn’t to much money in the country. Then one day she was going to tell me how to do the job but I didn’t pay to much attention so she took a square box lid and hit me on the head. She found she hurt me so she went and got a piece of pie. I stayed with them nearly seven years. During that time my father died. I didn’t like to stay there as he would slap me [along] the side of the head with his boney back hander. So I was getting nearly as tall as I am now so I thought I wasn’t going to take that any longer. I hit him and skinned his cheek so he sent me home. I was gone away about two weeks and they was getting behind on their work as there wasn’t anybody that could do the sewing on the uppers as their son had gone on a mission to England and they depended on me. Altogether they came for me two different times. Their daughter told me, “Father said he would raise your wages.” I didn’t care. For that,  mother says, “You better go back. Some day it might come in handy.” So I went back. He never done it again. 


Catherine Braithwaite

During this time father died and my mother remarried and then I left home and went to work. In a few days [I went] to put up hay for a man in Springville named John Hatfield. I worked for a couple of months for him. I learned they was building a sugar factory at Lehi so I went there and got a job on the John Beck Ranch called Saratoga Ranch. I got $1.75 a day cultivating beets. They had 117 acres and I used a walking cultivator and a single horse. I used her two and a half hours and then changed to the other for the same time and it was a real job. The boys that was milking the cows quit. There was 25 cows. Me and another boy took the job [and] for that we got [an extra] 50 cents making 2.25 a day. I thought I was making more money than the President of the U.S. But we had a steady job [and] that’s what we asked for. They irrigated the beets with warm water all summer. We would put the can out in the sun so it would keep warm. We had lots of fun there. I want to tell you before I forget that I topped the first sugar beats that was raised in Utah. That was in 1891 before the peoples Co-op store in Lehi and I have or did have the first sugar made that year. As my Uncle Robert Holmes sewed the first sack, that’s how I got it. That was the best thing that happened to Utah as that is what brought money from the beets but they only got $4.50 per ton. They didn’t have a very good way of handling to unload them with anything at [the] first wagon. But to haul them they soon caught on. There was a lot of hobos working there that year. That was 14 miles to town so we would walk to town. No thumbing [in] them days. Once in a week we would get a cool drink [which] they would haul from Lehi. I stayed there till I got layed off and then I shoveled coal for $.10 a ton. In the fall when they harvested the beets I went back. Their beets went 35 ton to the acre. They was large [beets]. After they were plowed out we would pile them and top them with corn knives. They hauled them in big sacks nearly half as big as wool sacks. They hauled them on cord wood racks [for] 14 miles [and could] make a [single] trip in a day. It began to get cold at night. After supper we would go to an old adobe house with one end out. [It] had an old stove there and there was a lot of hobos working and at night they would tell of their experiences and we liked to hear them. So we would crowd close as the seating capacity was limited. So one day I imagined something so I left the crowd at work and jumped over a ditch and got where there was some sweet clover and opened my shirt. I had some matches and found out I was lousy. They had K.P.C. on their backs. It stood for Kilpatrick Collins and Company–was some that got away so I had to play sick that afternoon so we had an old heater stove where we slept so I rustled a five gallon can, made a good fire and boiled up and I had to dry them before they came from work in the field. That was my first and last experience. After the beets was up there on the ranch I got a job on the George Q. Cannon farm up on Bull River. That is between American Fork and Pleasant Grove and the town of Alpine. We could hear the school bell ring but couldn’t see the town as it was in the dell. Nice place. They say there on that place a lady that was cooking for the men had a girl staying with her (a niece). She was really pretty but there was a young man so in love with her he couldn’t eat. One night after supper we was sitting on the porch talking. I don’t know why she come and kissed me. Boy, was my face red. She asked to come and wake up with a cow bell and then beat it.  We left there when the work was over and I went home. 

At that time the Provo Woolen Mills was running and it wasn’t paying too well but they made good cloth. A suit that was all wool [costs] about $3.00 a yard [and took] about three and a half yards to make the suit. A tailor would make it [for a] reasonable [price]. That fall I had job working in the harness shop for a James W. Miller. I worked for him for quite a while. I used to get there early in the winter to get the room warm as you can’t sew unless the room was warm. As it was built of rough lumber, it had shrank and left big cracks. So while the room was getting warm there was a saloon nearly joining it and I would go in there to get warm. The bartender was Bob Ferguson. So he says, “Jim, you want to make 15 cents?” I said, “Yes.” He says, “Empty this tank and fill it up with water.” So every morning I would do it and after supper I would go down town and go in there and he would ask me if I would tend bar for him while he had gone to supper. So he told me what to do; fill up certain demijohns with different kinds of liquor. I had to draw it up thru a hose and some of it was good and I would take a cigar and smoke it. I was about 17 years old. So one time Bob wanted to go with some fellow to Salt Lake to the stock fair and he asked me if I would take over and mop the floors and put clean linen on the bar. So it took me all night to do all this work alone. Along in the early morning some of them old soaks would come for an eye opener and by the time I got home it was nearly 12 0’clock and my mother asked where I had been all night. I told here I had been to the saloon at work. “What in devil you been buying there?“, [she asked]. So I told her. She says. “Let that be the last.” It was [the last]. I took her word for it and I am very glad I done what I was told. If I hadn’t I would have been an alcoholic as I was starting out bad for my age–either 17 or 18. I’ll tell you, it pays to mind your parents as they have been on earth long and have seen what happen[s] to boys that go astray. I am thankful for my mother looking after my interest as they never tell you wrong. I worked for Miller in the harness shop for some time and [then] I and my partner had a chance to take a farm on shares, cattle and all. We had bad luck as the ground was run down, full of wild oats and weeds. It hadn’t been fertilized as it ought to have been and our crops didn’t turn out to be worth anything. Our beets that we put in didn’t come up good so we had to replant and that throwed them late to harvest. We dug them in the snow and we payed out so much for labor. And when we settled up for labor we had $18.95 each and my partner said he would go to the mines and work if I’d take care of the stock but I never got a cent out of my work as he gambled his money away as he was a card shark. I couldn’t take it any longer so we had a fight over our stuff. So I pulled out and went up into Salt Lake County and got me a job with Dan Jones for $10.00 per month as jobs couldn’t be bought. He had two women. They took care of the milking. The first wife was good to me like a mother.

Albert James Mackley and Catherine Braithwaite
Albert James Mackley and Catherine Braithwaite,
married 3 May 1897 in the Manti Temple.

I’d take hay into Salt Lake and put it in the stores or up in the loft of the barn. He had a hay bailer besides working on the farm. As it was all horses them days he had several horses and some cows. I would feed them [and] clean out the barns. We would draw up the water [for the animals] and I got tired of that so one day I asked him if I couldn’t take them up to the canal. It was up the state road about forty rods and on the way back a young girl said to her sister, “Who is that young man driving them horses?” Her sister says, “That’s a fellow working for Jones’s.” She says, “That’s the young man I’m going to marry.” Her sister says, “You big fool, I’m going to send you home to Ma.” She didn’t. When she was working as a girl, before she was working for Brother Farnsworth in Manti, that was her home town and Brother Farnsworth says, “ Katie, do you want to see your future husband?” She said, “Yes.” [He said,] “Well, you pray tonight and I’ll pray.” They did. So he asked her the next morning if she seen him. She said no. And he says, “You pray tonight and I’ll pray.” And she seen me that is the reason she knew me when she seen me on the road and after a while I got acquainted with her and she went to her home in Manti. That was along in June. My time run out [for hauling hay for Dan Jones] the 21st of August as I hired out for six months. Then I went and got me a job at the Sandy Smelters. I got $1.52 per day as wages was cheap them days and board cheap. But in September I went to Manti to see her and her parents. They treated me fine and on one Sunday we went around the Manti Temple and it was a glorious feeling. Ever after I told her that when we got married I wanted to be married there and we did. The following Christmas, I went down again and stayed ten days and while I was there I promised her that I would buy her some clothes. And she used to go and work out to get her own clothes. She would go and do a big wash for only 50 cents. That’s what they used to pay. Things were hard for everybody. I promised her I would hunt up a job. I went to the smelters where I used to work. They would only let the men work every other day. Just enough to live on. I sit there with my boss talking. He wouldn’t promise me a job but I went there the next morning and went to work and I [was] never layed off. It looked like the Lord was with me all the time and when I got my money me and her mother went into Salt Lake and bought the goods and when she went home they made them with her other daughter that said she would send her home to me. So on the third of May we were married. She sent for me and we wasn’t going to be married ’till the 25th of May but while I was there she said we better get married. So Bishop Reid married us and we came back in November and went to the Temple and was married for time and eternity by J.D.T. McCallister. We didn’t have much money when we was married but we started right to get things into the house. We moved into a house with a cupboard, stove, table, some chairs, a few dishes, etc. It wasn’t long we lived in that house and we moved down town and on the 6th of May, Albert Charles was born. I done all kinds of work. George Ellis gave me a job helping him to make brooms. He couldn’t pay much as the days were short – about six hours a day. 75¢ rent was $3.00 per month, butter 20¢, milk 5¢, coal $4.00 [a] ton, [and] $65 for fifty pound flour. I did shoe repair for that, hauled my own wood [and we] had our own pig and chickens. We put up fruit and George Ellis had me go on the road. I took a load of brooms as far as Manti that summer. I worked around for different people. That winter in January I started off to hunt a job. I got on the railroad track [and] I walked as far as Lehi about 30 miles [away] and stayed with a family I used to board with when I was about 17. And the next morning I got on the track and walked as far as Draper about 20 miles [away]. As I was going along I seen a man getting a load of sand out of a bank. I asked him if he knowed where I could get a job. He took me out in the road and said, “You see that Steam Nelson and Meek are dipping sheep. Maybe you can get a job there.” I asked them if I could help them dip sheep. They said, “Do you think you can dip the head under that mixture?” So I done it and after I got thru he asked me to go home with him. On the way, I asked him if he had any harness I could fix. He said he had ten set [and] he had eleven bands of sheep. So I told him I would send home for my tools. He said he was going into Salt Lake tomorrow and he would get what I wanted. I worked for him till I got the harness fixed and then I dug a pipe line to water the sheep at the lambing shed. I worked there doing different things–hauling manure and digging drain ditch. When I got through [with that job] I started to run a shoe shop but the people went bare foot – women and kids. So there wasn’t much to do. A neighbor come to my rescue. He asked me if I wanted a job on the section. So I went there for two weeks as one of his men had to lay off. I stayed ’till he came back. After a while I got a letter from my stepfather. He wanted me to put up his hay rack, so I went down to Spanish Fork and got a team and rack and moved back to Spanish Fork in the harness shop until December as that was the [day] Spencer was born (December 19). After that, I was out of work for a few days and then went to the broom factory to work. Later, I went to work for Oran Livis grubbing oak brush and working in the yard hauling coal. And in May I went to Manti go head sheep for Hirum Brown. I worked for him for two months and was called home as he had the whooping cough. And I worked around ’till I went to work for the co-op again for awhile. And then a man came to me and wanted some men to work at Castle Gate Coal Co. to load coke but it was of a short duration. We wasn’t making any money so we took what little money we had and walked home [which was] about 60 miles [away]. We, Dan Lewis and I, bought a bed one night and started out early and walked to Soldier Summit and bought a loaf of bread and broke it in two. We walked to the Thistle Junction and then beat our way on a freight train home. Hadn’t been home over a day ’till a man came and wanted us to go up to sack wool as they was going to sheer sheep at P.V. Junction. We was there a couple of days ago. I was up there for ten days and it stormed so much we couldn’t sheer but we had to eat. When we settled up I had $4.35. I sent the $4.00 home, bought 25¢ in stamps [and] 10¢ to buy tobacco. I got a job herding sheep [and] was there for two days and got sick with tick fever. I was sick all summer. I left the job and layed around sick. I had them administer to me. I got better. I went downtown to get me a job. I got a job on the threshing machine. I stayed down for awhile and when I was coming home I met my wife’s mother and Lyness Braithwaite, her son. They said, “You got a daughter.” My wife wasn’t sick when I left. That [daughter] was Blanch, born [the] 27th of August. I left in September for another job. I packed my grip and expressed it to Bingham Junction and walked up there. I didn’t work that night but the next night I went to work on the night shift and I worked at the Bingham Smelter until 24th of December and came home. I was to be notified but they never, so I went up there and went to work and then I moved my family. I forget to tell I bought a lot. Borrowed the money from the bank so I had to get money to pay the bank. My father-in-law said he would plant the trees for me so when I got the bank paid and the money to build the house I moved back and built a two room sloop and the trees was bearing. We was glad and happy while we was saving the money. Robert was born the 21st of April at Midvale so when we moved back we had four children but we still kept on trying to get ahead. I got tired working for [the] co-op as some of them was lying. I could never like a liar, so I left. A man came to me one day and said he would like to trade for a place in town so I told him I would trade before I knowed it. So we went to trade, it was just a little place but I traded. There was 36 acres and I wanted to get a pasture. There was not water on the place but the house was small and full of bed bugs but we got rid of them in time. I got a job on the section and thought it was steady but in ten days I got layed off. Ten days work brought $10.30. It was getting to close to Christmas so I started to shift for myself. The first few days wasn’t much doing but it started to come. In a few days I soon was working ’till late at night and then I began to make something for myself. It wasn’t long before I began to get up on top. I was really busy and then I bought me a patching machine but the machine never was any good. I sent it into the company but they didn’t do it any good. It wasn’t long before I begin to do harness work. I sent in for a side of harness leather but they sent me a roll 230 lbs and it frightened me so I wrote them about it. They told me to pay for it as I could. The first thing I done was to cut the long side into halter straps and hung them. It wasn’t long before they were sold. I made a lot of hame straps. I got in some collars, curry comb, brush. It wasn’t long before I had to move into a larger building. There I bought buggy harness oil and a vat. Soon I was busy oiling. When I was working a salesman came and wanted to put them (co-op) in one but they couldn’t see it. They brought me their harness. Soon they seen it was a paying business [and] then I had competition but they couldn’t get it all. And then I put in a line of horse remedies and a line of poultry supplies. I sold a lot. I got some incubators and sold them. We tried everything. I was going along fine.We built onto our house. It wasn’t long before I decided to build another house that was larger. So Jesse Braithwaite had studied the architecture business so I asked him to bring over some plans that they had a book of different buildings. So I picked out one with ten rooms. He told me about what it would cost and we decided to go ahead. I didn’t have any money so I had Will Johnson haul me the gravel and got the cement from Jex Lumber. There was 175 bags of cement in the house, basement, foundations and porch. Well, we put in the foundation, had men to help. Well, we wasn’t long before we had the studding up and at night I would put up the sides. It was about four inch wide Larch Lumber, easy to work. I would give it a coat of yellow ocre to keep it from the weather and we kept on. Finally we got the floor down of common lumber and then the flooring was put on and oiled and then the roof. We shingled it at night and it was moon light and cool. I got the adobes and layed them up me self. I got a man to lay up the chimney. Jesse done all the finish [work] of [the] windows and doors. I paid Jesse when he would ask for money. He drawed fast, when the house was completed he was owing me. The plastering was done. I got that paid. I hauled lumber for Jex and cement. They got stuff out of the shop. I bought 253 white lead and done my own painting and I never had to sign a note for nothing I got done or had done. My credit was good. I got all my hardware from Salt Lake Hardware. When the house was finished it wasn’t long before my business growed. We put in a nice orchard. We was enjoying the place. We thought we could do better in Idaho as my brother-in-law George Smith was wanting me to come there and so I went up there in 1916 and filed on a homestead. It was nice place in the summer. Lots of timber on the place. I bought some cows. Some [cows] we took with us up there as we had a big car load of livestock [and] some machinery. Then we had to buy hay as we had to feed the horses and cows and sheep. We built us a long house with two rooms and upstairs. We had plenty of wood and plenty of snow. We couldn’t see the fences as the posts were covered up but we kept on trying. We built a barn big enough to hold 60 head. We had plenty of logs on the place. We took them to a saw mill and had it made into lumber. We was getting some nice heifers coming in and things looked prosperous. We had some young hay in but the wind blowed hard and froze the hay. I had already had a milking machine installed. We was getting 50¢ a pound for butter fat and then the hard time hit everybody. Butter fat went down to 11¢. Hay went up to $40.00 per ton. I had $25.00 paid on the milker. Things tightened up so we lost the milker and cows. Some [cows] I sold for $7.50 and that was bad for everybody. I homesteaded in 1916. We tried to make it. I tried to but a swamp ranch. I paid on that and finally had to give that up. D.C. Buxton has got that now. He will have a good place out of it. He has it stocked with cattle. Finally I gave up the ranch as they couldn’t make anything out of it but we didn’t have any money to put out on it. Now they have electric light up there. They already had good water to drink. Hard to get out of in the winter. We built onto the house so we could get along. I had to go back to the shop in Driggs, Idaho. There I run and tried to keep some cows there. We sold milk to customers. The children married off and I stayed with the shop. My wife’s health got bad. [The] climate was to high so we moved to Rigby, Idaho. We rented a house for a few years. Finally I bought a lot and we built a nice little house. My wife felt so bad when we left our home in Spanish Fork I told her, “Don’t feel bad, we will build you a house and you can have it the way you want it.” We had a nice little home fixed like a doll house, everything the way she wanted. A lawn with all kinds of flowers. You could find her out taking care of them. I planted a nice lot of fruit trees and had a lot of chickens. And then Martha was the only one home. She got married and they moved to Clearfield so we didn’t enjoy the doll house too many years. They wanted us to move there so we bought a nice house across from them. We could see them everyday. We would drop over or they would. We was enjoying it fine ’till Rex thought he could do better on a farm as he was working at the Navy Base there. So it wasn’t long ’till they moved to Mud Lake and we was not better off. We could have lived in Rigby and went 25 or 30 miles and seen them there but we don’t know the workings of the Lord. I think he moved us around to suit his purpose.  Mary Ann RogersMy wife Catherine Braithwaite Mackley was taken very sick the latter part of March and 1948 we took her to Mapleton to our son Spencer and later she went to the Provo Valley Hospital and was operated on and kept getting worse. Finally she died on the 30th of April and was buried on our wedding day the 3rd of May 1949. She was buried at Spanish Fork, Utah. We had twelve children.

Mary Ann Rogers

After that we sold the place at Clearfield to Earl Wixom. From then I went to visit each of the children till I thought I would go and do Temple work. I went to the St. George Temple and started on the 27th of November and went steady ’till the 27th of March 1951.One night I made up my mind to pray to the Lord. This is what I said to him. I asked him if he was willing for me to take another wife, I want one that would go to the temple and work in the Relief Society. I waited a few days and I began to think that it was throwed away ’till one Sunday afternoon after conference I was standing by the bank corner. One woman came along and asked me a question. I answered her and she went on, [to] another street. Finally another woman came along and I spoke to her and one word brought on another. I told her I came here from Idaho to work in the temple. She said she came here from Idaho. She had brought her husband for his health but he had passed away and I thought that was a good chance for me. By the time I got to the corner I was going to turn to go across the street. I asked if she cared if I come to see her. She say, “I don’t even know your name.” She hadn’t looked to see what I looked like. She say, “If you’d come to the corner I’ll show you where I live.” I says, “I’m not acquainted with the town.” I says, “I better walk down with you” and I ask her if she would go to the evening meeting with me. So I says [that] I’ll go and get my supper as I was bach’ing it [and then] I’ll bring down the car. So that was the start of our courtship. I was going to leave for Mapleton on the 27th. I was going to take back some tomato plants. I asked her if she would go to Washington with me to get some but [I] couldn’t find any so I went to Hurrican and got a large box [full]. I was going to give them all some, so we visited every day. I would take her to the temple and go home and get my meals. I asked her if she thought we could make it. She says you go home and pray about it and I will. So we done it and everything went along alright and we got married on the 27th of March 1951. After that I took my things there and we have been living happy since. 

Temple Work

We have done a lot of temple work. She has done of 1700 [names] and I have done over 2450. We are glad to have the privilege to go to the Lord’s house as it is really a privilege to get in there. So many souls are made happy to get the chance to go there as you have to have a recommend by your Bishop and President of the Stake to get the chance to get in. This winter since the first of December we have had two old gentlemen staying with us. Both [are] over 80 years but in about one month they will be gone as it is too much of a hardship washing temple clothes for four of us so [that] we will be clean and respectable. When Grandma gets her [story] made out and book form there will be quite a history.

Final Thoughts

Now all of this is taken from memory so if there is any mistakes you will have to correct them if you can as this is taken from memory from the time I was about three or four years old. [I am] glad to have that much memory at 85 years. There is a lot that I have jumped over as some come to me when I had written the other. Of course I forgot or tried to [forget] the little things in life such as getting into mischief with other boys. I believe I can remember where all the good apple trees and pear trees and all the apple cellars [are]–especially them that was layed on the ground and covered with straw and then dirt covered. All we had to do was to burrow till we come to the straw and there they’d be. I hadn’t thought to tell the things but they was too good to hold back. All the boys have their days and girls, too. So that is life, but when we grow older we should have more sense but where you repent and not do it again the Lord will forgive you and [you must] try and live the good life. Well, as I have about come to the end [I give this advice]; Do what is right and you have no room to fear. If you have the Priesthood, honor it and do what you are asked. Get yourself ready and go to the temple. Do all that you can. So far up to date I have done work for 2788 [people]. Try and come up to it.

Love and best wishes to all my family. As ever, Grandfather, Albert James Mackley


This is another day to tell you about. We just got back from our trip from St. George to Fresno, California to see Zella Williams. [We] stayed there a few days and then [went on] to Edith and Kay Hunter. I seen them milk a bunch of cows and then [we went] to Ashland, Oregon to see Seth, Eva and the girls. Charles had moved his wife there as Charles was helping his father and his wife Karen had a baby. [They] named it Seth David. And then we went up to Portland and stayed there two nights and one day. And then [we] went on to Moses Lake and had a nice visit with Martha and Rex and family. From there Rex brought [us] to Walla Walla [where] we visited with Jay Park and family and then onto Letha Idaho and visited with Ethel and Dean Gordon and [their] girls. I helped him awhile with the cement and [then] went on to Emmett and visited with the little family. [We] seen Hyrum and Mary Wallace and from there we came on to Pocatello and stayed with Catherine Wallace and Frank Douglass and family. Then we went on up to Driggs and visited with the Buxtons, Art Mackley, Eva and Carl Josephson and family. [We] seen Blanch and family at the reunion [and] Elmer Mackley and family from Arco. I had my operation, a bad hernia, taken care of. I was in the hospital four days. Went after the next week and had the stitches taken [out]. So far after two weeks getting along as well as could be expected. I’m glad it was done, should have been done before. The Lord has helped me. Now it’s my turn to help him as he has always been with me. A.J. Mackley 

[Originally] copied from a hand written story by Albert James Mackley in 1958 [and then typed] by Ella M.M. Mackley.

The following taken from the handwriting of Albert James Mackley – written Sept 11, 1965. Song goes, “If you do right you have no need to fear.” As I have a talk with my little grandchildren I tell them to be good, mind their parents, and never lie because they get you into trouble. Always tell the truth and be free. One lie and you tell another to cover it up.Harold, I am happy here doing the Lords work. Today there was a couple getting married. When they get married for time and all eternity, they have a good foundation to start on. Some think if they get married in the temple, they are saved as far as that go but you have to life good lives. We want to be happy on the other side. If we do what the Lord asks us to do, we stand a good chance. Some think they are saved if they go to the tample but you have to keep on going. About JimThe following is quoted from Vadna J. Mackley in her book Our Mackley FamilyJim had a beautiful singing voice and many, many times he and Catherine would sing together, their voices harmonizing with each other beautifully. Jim had an enviable personality–people liked him. He had a witty mind and could make people feel at ease and forget their troubles. His grandchildren loved him for he was always telling them something funny and they would laugh and tell it again and again to each other. On one occasion after having purchased an insurance policy designed to take care of funeral expenses, he met his friend the mortician on the street and said to him, “Brother –, do you have a second-hand casket for sale?” The mortician laughed heartily.Shortly after 1953, Jim’s eldest son, Albert, moved to St. George so as to be near to and able to help his father. And upon him Jim leaned for support in his last few remaining years. Although his true birthdate was September 1, he had always celebrated on August 25th and on that date in 1967 his daughter Alice brought him a cake and wished him a happy birthday. His only response was, “I’m afraid my cake is dough, Alice.” Seven days later–a day short of his 94th birthday–quietly yet suddenly he passed from this life with his son Albert by his side. His funeral was held in the forenoon of September 4th and was attended by friends and fellow temple workers of the Saint George community as well as by his far flung posterity who had gathered to pay honor and tribute to their progenitor. He had accumulated an impressive number of 7,000 names for whom he had done temple ordinance work. He was buried in Spanish Fork beside Catherine, his lifelong companion. And so came to an end the sojourn in mortality of two of the Lord’s choice children. They had very little fo this world’s material wealth amassed but both left this world and entered into their heavenly reward, wealthy, for the Creator has promised that “He that hath eternal life is rich.” At Jim’s death he had a posterity of twelve children, 64 grandchildren, 174 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. A total of 252 descendants.

2 Replies to “Albert James Mackley”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! Albert James Mackley is my great, great grandfather (through Arthur) and I have loved reading his stories and seeing the pictures you’ve attached.

    1. Thanks for the comment. So glad you enjoyed the stories. We can thank Albert James himself for taking the time to relay the history.

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