THE LOG HOME BUILT BY ROBERT FREDRICK ALDOUS
Written and illustrated by Myrtle S. Hyde,
with gratitude for information from
Lester and Hazel Aldous, Adriana Aldous, Joseph Felt, Earl Felt, and Sidney Aldous
On the following page is a composite drawing of the log home built by Robert Fredrick Aldous in Huntsville, Utah, in 1861, and occupied by his family in 1662, on the site where the present Lester Aldous home stands 7585 East 200 South). Traditionally, it was the first log house built in the town site of Huntsville. The east end of the house is to the right of the picture, and the rooms are in a single row.
From talking with older people, who can remember the house, it is learned that there were two lean-to porches, the one on the east entering into the “parlor,” and the one on the south opening into the kitchen.
Grandmother Mary Anne Aldous was a fussy housekeeper, and kept the parlor “special.” Joseph Felt tells that he used to help milk the cows, and sometimes went into the kitchen, but was never invited, as a farm hand, into the parlor.
On the porch by the kitchen was a trough built for the milk cans and kept full of cold water to cool the milk. The water was drawn from the well which was not far from the back door. There was another well on the other side of the house; perhaps it was dug first, while the house was still being built, and later circumstances made it convenient to have one on the south of the house, so another was dug.
The bedroom of the house was undoubtedly to the north of the kitchenen, rather than between parlor and kitchen. When company came to stay, beds were made in the attic, or loft.
The room on the north end, beginning with the door at the left of the picture, is still being used, as a coal house, and has been moved from its original location. It was built on after the rest of the house had been completed, and was never finished, the floor being just a hole in the ground. Grandmother Aldous worried that grandchildren would open the door and fall into the hole, so she told them it was the “Boo Room,” and to stay away. The ceiling is low with the top of the doorway reaching to it. In probability all the ceilings of the house were the same, just barely clearing the head of Robert. Aldous, who was about six feet tall. His daughter-in-law, Ethel, of average height, who lived in the house for several years, said that the ceilings were so low she white-washed them while standing on the floor.
If memories are correct there were two chimneys, one for the kitchen and one for the parlor.
Possibly too many windows are drawn into the picture of the house. The window on the left is illustrated as it exists, with one side sharing its frame with the door. This was the easiest way to build a window into a log structure, and in this case, it is the only window in the room. Perhaps the other rooms had just one window each also, and if this is the case, one or two of these were very likely on the other side of the house. If the rooms had more than one window there were probably this number on the south of the house, as drawn.
Little can be learned about the shrubs and trees on the grounds, except for the poplars that Robert Aldous planted, and an apple tree in the southeast corner of the lot.
Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.711
ALDOUS, ROBERT (son of James Aldous and Mary Ann Page of Huntingdonshire, Eng,). He was born July 17, 1811, Kelsale, Suffolk, Eng. Came to Utah Sept.
14, 1853, Claudius V. Spencer company.
Married Mary Ann Parkin Dec. 24, 1835 (daughter of Luke and Nancy Parkin). She was born Nov. 9, 1814, and came to Utah with husband. Their children: George P. b. Oct. 30, 1836, m. Christiane M. Thurston Dec. 24, 1865; Georgiana M. b. April, 1838, m. Martin Harris; Charles b. April 9, 1840, m. Lucy Drake Nov.
26, 1862; Frederick b. [p.712] Nov., 1841, m. Margaret Wilson; Angeline P. b. Dec. 27, 1843, m. Brigham Bingham Dec. 24, 1862; Henry b. 1845, died. Family home Huntsville, Utah.
Worked on some of the first public works in Salt Lake City; also on Ogden tabernacle; superintended the building of three bridges in Ogden canyon when first opened. Carpenter and builder; built first school in Huntsville and was its first superintendent; also built first log house there. Watermaster five years. Seventy; high priest.
Robert Frederick Aldous
As written by his granddaughter, Sarah Alice Aldous (Halgren), with added information as noted. Compiled by Myrtle S. Hyde, 1960.
"My grandfather, Robert Fredrick Aldous, was born 17 July 1812 in Kelsale, Suffolk, England," one of fourteen children of James Aldous and Mary Page, his father being a carpenter by trade. Robert received such an education as the common schools of his vicinity could afford, and at the age of seventeen moved with his parents to Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England. There he learned carpentering, and assisted his father on the estate of Rev. L. R. Brown. ("History of Utah," by Orson F. Whitney, Vol. 4, p. 433)
"At the age of twenty-four he apparently had achieved some measure of economic independence, at least sufficient to marry, and on 24 December 1835 he was wed to Mary Anne Parkin, the daughter of Luke Parkin and Ann Hancock. His wife was twenty-one years old at the time, having been born 9 November 1814."
He and his wife subsequently resided in Fenstanton, and all of their six children (George, Georgiana, Charles, Fredrick, Angelina and Henry) were born there. Henry died at the age of nine months, but the rest "were seemingly healthy and hardy"
Robert first heard the gospel preached by a Mormon Elder in front of his father's house. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on December 23, 1849. Six months later he was ordained an Elder, and soon after was appointed president of the Fenstanton Branch. The duties of that office he faithfully discharged as long as he remained in his native land. ("History of Utah," ibid.)
"He and his wife and their children sailed from Liverpool, England on the ship "James Pennell" 2 October 1850. They were members of a company of 264 saints under the direction of Elder Christopher Layton."
The following is an excerpt from the Millennial Star, describing their passage:
Robert, along with Mary Ann, George Georgiana, Charles Frederick and Agelina came to the States with the Fiftieth Company on the ship "James Pennell".
"FIFTIETH COMPANY. -- James Pennell, 254 souls. On Wednesday October 2nd, 1850, the ship James Pennell sailed from Liverpool England, with two hundred and fifty-four Saints on board, under the direction of Christopher Layton, an American elder, who had been in England on a visit. After an ordinary passage, the ship arrived near the mouth of the Mississippi River, and the passengers were jubilant at the prospect of soon landing on the shores of the promised land, when a terrible storm met the ship and drove her far back into the gulf, breaking her main and mizen masts, and washing part of her rigging overboard. In this disabled condition, the emigrants, exposed to wave and wind, drifted about for several days, until the provisions on board were nearly all consumed, and starvation commenced to stare the emigrants in the face; but, finally, the crippled vessel was found by a pilot boat, and conducted to the mouth of the river, where, on the twentieth of November, she sailed up along side of the Joseph Badger, which had sailed from Liverpool with another company of Saints, over two weeks later than the James Pennell. The two ships were now towed up together to New Orleans, where they arrived the twenty-second of November. The next day the emigrants from the James Pennell continued the journey up the river to St. Louis, Missouri. There and in the surrounding country, they found employment for the winter, and the following year a part of them wended their way to the Valley, while others remained in St. Louis for years, before they continued the journey to Utah. (Millennial Star, Vol. XIII, page 9.) "
"Wed. 2. [Oct. 1850] -- The ship James Pennell sailed from Liverpool, England, with 254 Saints under the direction of Christopher Layton. It arrived at New Orleans Nov. 22, 1850."
"The family lived in St. Louis for Two and one-half years. Then in the spring of 1853, they joined the Claudius V. Spencer company, which left Council Bluffs, and crossed the Missouri River on the 3rd day of June." Robert's outfit consisted of a wagon, a yoke of oxen and a cow. The only exciting incident of the journey was when the travelers met a band of five hundred Indians, whom they placated with gifts of sugar and tobacco, and were allowed to pass on unmolested. The date of arrival at Salt Lake City was September 14, 1853. after a month's stay in the city he moved to Ogden, and thence went to Bingham's Fort (the name of that place changed to Lynne, and later
incorporated into Ogden City). There he remained seven years. (History of Utah, ibid.)
"In the summer of 1861, according to available information, he, together with a group of other man (among whom was David McKay, father of President David O. Mckay) spent considerable time harvesting and putting up wild hay growing in the valley. He was also among a group of seven men who in 1861 assisted one David Jenkins (presumably a government surveyor) laying out the town site of Huntsville. In 1862 he moved his family to Huntsville, where he was a prominent citizen, and did much in a quiet unassuming way to build up community.
Because he was a skilled carpenter and builder, his services were in demand. He labored at various employments--first upon the public works at Salt Lake City, then upon the Ogden Tabernacle, and in opening Ogden Canyon, where he superintended the building of three bridges. He helped to build the first log school house in Huntsville, and superintended the building of a rock school house at the same place. The latter was constructed with a dome ceiling, and was considered a "wonderful piece of work" (John Henry Aldous wrote this in a letter to Sarah Alice Aldous Halgren, in 1955). He also assisted with his means in the erection of the meeting house and other edifices. He helped lay out the Huntsville irrigation system, as well as the mountain canal on the north side of the valley; John Henry Aldous, in the letter referred to above, says he did "it with (a) common spirit level. It must be about 13 miles long and it is as true as if it had been done with a up to date surveying instrument."
Robert Aldous was one of the first school teachers in Huntsville, and for five years was water master, serving in both positions without compensation. In the Church he held successively the offices of Elder, Seventy, and High Priest.
those who knew Robert Aldous remember him as being a tall man (over six feet) with a very short wife. He was relatively deaf, and carved an ear trumpet, asking people to talk into it to enable him to hear them. He always went to church, and took his foot long trumpet with him. Adriana Aldous (the wife of Robert's great-grandson) writes the following about Robert Aldous,
"His dry wit was much appreciated by his fellow townsmen. after the rock school house was completed, it often was cold there during the severe winter months; it was decided that they should put the stove on the opposite side of the building from where the chimney was, by the next winter, and put stove pipes along the ceiling (or close to it) so more heat would stay in the building instead of going up the chimney. Robert Aldous gave a load of barley to buy the stovepipes with. Bishop Hammond took the barley to Ogden and traded it for the stovepipes, which were installed. Upon completion, Bishop Hammond in Sacrament Meeting drew the attention of the ones present, to the beautiful new stovepipes he had gone to Ogden for and bought, giving the impression that he was the donor. The elderly Sister whom related the story to me said "Robert Aldous stood up and in his dignified way, yet with a little rougish smile on his face, said, 'Well Bishop, you did go to Ogden and bought the stovepipes, what is very commendable, but just remember, my barley (he pronounce it bearley) paid for it.',and sat down." She said it pleased the people and many a chuckle could be heard. As a rule, Robert Aldous went along not letting his right hand know what his left one did; he was kind hearted and generous."
Robert Aldous lived to the age of eighty-four years, dying in Huntsville on the 24th of August 1896.