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Samuel Frost Wiser

History of Samuel Frost Wiser

I believe this history was probably written by Samuel's eldest daughter, Effie. Effie was the "family" genealogist all her life and penned several histories. Robert Raymond


Samuel Frost Wiser, a native born pioneer and early settler of Lewiston, Utah, was born October 23, 1862 In Richmond, Cache County, Utah just a little over two years after the first settlers located there. He was probably born in the Richmond Old Fort, as it wasn't abandoned until 1864. He was the son of John McCormick and Martha McKinney Frost Wiser.

In Richmond he had attended school under six different teachers and in the spring of 1872 when he was nine years of age he moved with his family to Lewiston. It was high water time and they were forced to go by way of Franklin, Idaho. It was one year after Lewiston was first settled. He attended the first school in Lewiston the summer of 1872 and was taught by Mary VanOrden Bair at her home. The schools were tuition schools of short duration.

A short time after coming to Lewiston he helped to fight grasshoppers for six weeks. He also herded cows on the banks of Bear River. They were his father's cows and a neighbors, Mrs. Lucinda Cunningham, who paid him fifty cents a week. When he was ten years old he did his first civic work. He helped his father make the adobes for Lewiston's first public building, which was used as a Church and also as a School House. It was called "The Little White House." He also helped his father widen Cub River canal when he was about fourteen. He helped his father on the farm, making ditches, etc. He hauled wild hay from the bench north of Preston, Idaho. When he was fifteen he went to Idaho with his father on construction work for the Union Pacific Railroad, doing grading with team and scraper. He worked north of Battle Creek near Red Rock. He worked on the railroad every summer, from Marsh Valley, Idaho to Missoula, Montana, until he was twenty years old. He also worked with his brother-in-law, Heber Smith and Jeff Bybee. He and Edsel Alred freighted a threshing machine to Virginia City, Montana, then joined his father who was doing grading work in Montana.

Samuel F. Wiser was interested in all sports and entertainments of that early day. He was especially interested in dancing and the theater. He took part in the school plays when he attended Jim Bainbridge's school and later was a member of the first Theatrical Company in Lewiston which was organized by Mr. Bainbridge. He was also a member of the Minstrel Company and was a member and played the cornet in the Lewiston's first brass band which was active about twenty years.

In 1883 he helped to build the new Meeting House that was later remodeled and built into and was known as the "Opera House." In October he was helping to shingle the roof when the road supervisor came and reminded him that it was his 21st. birthday (Oct. 23) and he should work his poll tax on the road.

Later when more room was needed in the Church, he helped to build the addition, which was two large rooms and a stage on the east end and an entrance and a ticket office in the front of the building. When the work was completed the Opera House had the 2nd. largest stage and dance floor in the County, and six dressing rooms. Many came from all over the valley to the dances and also to the theater. The Theatrical companies came often as this was a good show town. This building burned to the ground directly after the Christmas dance 1930.

On the 23rd. of October 1884, Samuel F. Wiser was married to Rebecca Ann Telford in the Logan L.D.S. Temple, by Marioner W. Merrill, Sr., President of the Logan Temple and Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His wife was born January 16, 1862, in Brigham City, Utah. She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Robinson Telford, of Richmond, Utah.

In 1885 he built his first home, a one-room log building, having cut and hauled logs the previous winter from Sugar Creek Canyon. In 1888 he built his new frame house, a two story building, then built an addition in the summer of 1904.

He was baptized at the Canable in Cub River by Henry J. Talbot, Sr., July 20, 1873, and was confirmed by Wm. H. Lewis, July 20, 1873. He was Ordained a Deacon Feb. 21, 1878, Ordained an Elder by Robert N. Egbert, Feb. 7, 1884, Ordained a High Priest by William Waddoups, Nov. 6, 1887. He was married and endowed at the Logan Temple, Oct. 23, 1884.

He went on an L.D.S. Mission to the Eastern States Mission, March 30, 1898 and was set apart for the mission by J. Golden Kimball, March 30, 1898. He was released by Pres. Smart, June 15, 1900 in West Virginia. He left for another mission to the Central States, Dec. 5, 1910. Pres. Samuel Bennison was president of the Mission. He returned Sept. 5, 1912. On Dec. 7, 1927, he left for a short term mission to the Northwestern States, W. R. Sloan was his president. He returned April 8, 1929. He was a Home Missionary, in Logan and Smithfield during the winter of 1896.

Samuel Wiser was active in Civic and Church functions. His wife and family were also active in the Church and Community. He was a farmer, dairyman and thresherman for 46 years. He served as Stake High Councilman for 28 years. He was set apart for this position at the organization of Benson Stake May l, 1901. He was Second Assistant in the Superintendency of the Lewiston 1st Ward, and in the Stephenson District (West Lewiston) before the 3rd Ward was organized, about 1909. He was a Ward Teacher 20 years, Second Counselor in Sunday School 19 years. President of the M.I.A. Superintendent of the Religion Class and teacher of the High Priest Quorum. He was a member of the Ward Choir 30 years and was the leader of the Choir for two years. He was a member and lieutenant in the Sons of Pioneers of Utah Camp 63.

Samuel Wiser was a School Trustee and Treasurer and supervised the building of the white brick school house. He was Justice of the Peace, Pound-keeper (succeded Robert Egbert) and was Constable and dance manager. He was a member of the first Town Board and served for 14 years as a Town Board member and City Councilman. He was Treasurer for 14 years. He was also President of the Town Board and was Lewiston City's First Mayor, elected Sept. 15, 1921. He served on all important committees such as the roads, water, and cemetery committees. He and G. A. Hogan worked hard and long for a Federal Road to go through Lewiston but were unsuccessful. He proposed buying Merrill's Flour Mill for extra water for the Town. He and Peter E. VanOrden were on the committee that bought the mill. It was a good investment and has brought revenue to the town ever since. He compiled the City Ordinance Book, containing the laws to be enforced in the community.

In 1919 while he was President of the Lewiston Town Board, he started the work of improving the Lewiston Cemetery. He and Brigham Pond were put on the Cemetery Committee. Prior to this, very little had been accomplished, because of lack of water. The old surveyor stakes were gone and many graves had been placed in the streets. The Cemetery Committee purchased more land so the cemetery could be enlarged. S.F.Wiser suggested to the Town Board that the unsightly swale through the west center of the Cemetery be surveyed and made into the Main street into the Cemetery. This was done and other streets were made and designated. They measured the lots and remarked the corners of them. There were many unmarked and unidentified graves and the records were incomplete so that Sexton Theo France, spent months completing the Cemetery records. Graves were moved and trees, lawns and flowers were planted. This work of beautification was carried on as long as S.F.Wiser was Mayor and also by Dr. John M. Bernhisel, while he was mayor and has been kept up ever since and is considered one of the outstanding cemeteries of Cache Valley.

Samuel and Rebecca Ann Wiser were the parents of nine children: Effie Lenore, Samuel Glenn, Nilus Wiser Packer, Venus Wiser Lufkin, Lorin Frost, Wayne Telford, Erwin Douglas, Horace Verne, and Marjorie Wiser Titensor. They sent two sons on L.D.S. Missions. Three sons, one son-in-law and fifteen grandsons were in the U.S. Service. Two of the sons were in World War I and the others served in War II and in Korea. One grandson, Paul Wiser Packer didn't return. He went down in flames over the Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania, Aug. l, 1943.

At the time of Samuel Frost Wiser's death, he was a High Priest in the Benson Stake and resided in Lewiston 1st. Ward. He died at the family home on Tuesday June 3, 1947, two weeks after an operation. He was buried in the Lewiston City Cemetery June 6, 1947.

Saturday, 29-Mar-2003 20:55:55 MST