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Logan brimhall

“Get up and yankee doodle dandy”

Written by Gale J. Brimhall 1997

Compiled by Richard Logan Brimhall 2005

A Father of Nations




FATHER’S NAME:                        Norman Andrew Brimhall

MOTHER’S NAME:                        Mary Agnes Willis

BORN:                                  12 October 1892

                                       Lehi (now West Mesa), Maricopa, AZ.

    Logan Brimhall’s life spanned the time from covered wagons to space travel.  One month after his birth in Lehi (now West Mesa) his parents took him and three other children to Taylor, Arizona in their covered wagon pulled by old “Chess” and “Jeff.”

    He grew up in Taylor, Arizona, number five of thirteen children.  When Logan was fourteen he was given charge of 30 head of cows and one Hereford bull, one yellow pony, and a sheepskin saddle and was sent to the newly acquired Turkey Roost Ranch, just south of Pinedale, Arizona.  Most of his next seven summers were spent there.  For the most part, he lived alone, cooked and ate alone and rode the range alone, and to quote him, “As a consequence, my soul was deeply stirred by the relentless silence of the forest and it’s song of patience, wait and see.

    In the fall of 1907, while he was in his 15th year, he began high school in Snowflake Stake Academy.  Here he made a letter each of the four years in basketball, baseball, track and field events and took part in inter-school debates and oratory.  He served one year as student body president.  It was a great learning experience for Logan.  He writes:


            “What did I get out of High School?  To put it in a few lines, it looks like this;

    1.  If you want to be happy, consider the other fellow’s opinion, and be not disgruntled if your own is not adopted as a procedure;

    2.  Playing with one’s associates teaches one balance, poise, good will, power to do, and courtesy in getting things done;

    3.  It pays to do the best, most essential things, and leave negative activities alone.  Is this proposal right? ” If not, I will have none of it!

    4.  Do your best and be happy in the doing.  It may be far superior to what some may do who carry away honors;

    5.  I’ve learned the formula for water, H20, and have never developed a taste for any liquid that is so satisfying:

    6.  Somehow, there came a turn of mind to histories, current problems, biographies, social problems, and fundamentals of religion; and

    7.  All along the line, my mind was impressed with the idea that women are sacred vessels of the God who created them, and that men were most fortunate to see their faces, hear their voices, and on occasion, let a little smile of approval.  To hold one’s hand was the honor of him who had been captured for better or worse.  Smooching, necking, mothering and cuddling are only things I’ve read about, and since there are no explanations, I know not what they mean.  Ah, poor, lucky me.  Too busy with athletics to go to H. - for cuddling.”


Logan served a thirty month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints in the North Western States Mission.  He spent six months among the nations of the Sioux, Grovons, Assinibones, Lodge Poles and Black Feet Indians as a teacher at a church school and as a missionary.

    Logan married Mary Hatch on November 1, 1916 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Together they raised thirteen children.  They worked their way through college, farming, working in coal mines in Utah and teaching.  During this time he carried correspondence courses and extension courses with several different universities.  Raising a large family on a school teacher’s salary was difficult.  But Logan loved farming, so during these years he farmed and ran his ranch.

    Tragedy struck soon after their second child was born.  He was working in the farm blacksmith shop with some of the tools.  


A piece of steel about 6” long was being hammered into shape for a punch.  A wrong blow on the steel at the right moment sent it flying into his head.  Logan was knocked out.  When he regained consciousness, he could hardly see.

    As he was rushed to the doctor, he suddenly came to the realization that he was stone blind.  The doctor determined the iron had hit both eyes outside the lids.  One eye might be saved, but never with any vision.  Then followed six weeks of night-time, wherein medicine was dropped into the eyes every 30 minutes.  He was confined to a dark room and was not to see any light for the duration.  Sight slowly returned to the good eye.  The other eye was carried for years through pain, torture and dust.  Finally, when cancer threatened, it was removed and substituted with a lovely eye made of glass.  When his health returned they went back to school by taking correspondence courses at four universities while at the same time working in a coal mine repair shop in Storrs, Utah.  The following is his record of how he did it.


    “Each night, after much writing of answers to questions in the assignments, I would read the next assignment.  On the morrow, I carried the questions, 20 of them more or less, to my work and pinned them on the wall near my work.  The questions were read and studied, and answers formulated as I went about the work of repairing mining cars.  When I came to the writing table, soon after the evening meal, I merely set down the answers formulated during the day.

    The Master Mechanic said one day when he saw the questions, “What goes on here?  Know ye not this institution is paying you for your time here?” The answer was an explanation of hopes, desires and efforts to become educated to the point of securing a teacher’s certificate, and an invitation to compare my output with other help in the shop.

    About a week later, Mr. Murphy, the Big Boss, came to the shop and watched around for an hour or more and before leaving said to me, “Come to the office tonight at seven bells.:  I went to the office to get my time.  Mr. Murphy was alone and said to me, “” Mr. Brimhall, we have never had a case just like yours before.  You are selling to Spring Canyon Coal Company eight hours of physical labor and the same eight hours to educational institutions.  We have here a report of our output for a week.  You did not take time off to enter into idle talk of the crew and you did 10% more finished output than the next highest man.  Congratulations my boy, your wages have been raised to $1.50 per hour.  Keep to your lessons and your work son, and you will come out on top.  Good night and good luck!”” We stuck to our guns and have never been sorry of the effort.””    

    He finally graduated from Brigham Young University in 1924.  Logan was appointed to direct the Social Studies Department in the Snowflake Union High School in Snowflake, Arizona.  For more than 25 years he held this position.  He was respected and loved by the many students whose lives he influenced.



    Logan was elected the first president of the newly formed S.I.D. (Show Low and Silver Creeks Water Conservation and Power District) with headquarter in Snowflake, Arizona.  He was also the last president of the Snowflake and Taylor Irrigation Company that had served the communities since the 1880s.  The three S.I.D. Board members, E.J. Larson, Rube Rogers and Logan Brimhall directed the federally financed Lone Pine Dam project to its’ completion.  Some of the final results of this venture are: 1) The dam was sound and well done;  2) Unknown to the federal engineers was a fault running across the storage basin that was covered with some six feet of earth that gave way under the water pressure as the basin filled and the water ran out the spill-way for several days.  Most of the water went down, down, down, through this fault some 400 feet or more into the coconino sand strata.  3) From this underground reservoir, many pumps lift water some 100 feet more or less for irrigation, operation of local mills, etc.  4) This dam and other developments on the Millet Swale ended the waste of lost run-off water each year.  5) The government canceled all debts against the project, thus leaving the area out of debt;  6) S.I.D. Water rights on the Show Low Creek were sold for $100,000.00; and  7) The S.I.D. Electric franchise sold for another $100,000.00.

    During Logan’s teaching years in Snowflake, Arizona he lived in Taylor, three miles south of Snowflake.  In addition to his public service with the Water Conservation and Power District and the Snowflake and Taylor Irrigation company, he served in the Church and the local community.  He was the Bishop of the Taylor Ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for many years.  He assisted in the agricultural development of the area, helped build chapels, performed many marriages, assisted the sick, helped settle family feuds, assisted in building a rodeo grounds and other public facilities, and gave over 80 funeral addresses.  Logan retired from teaching in 1949 and moved to Mesa, Arizona.




    January 1, 1952, Logan was set apart by Elder Delbert C. Stapely of the Council of the Twelve Apostles as the Director of the Arizona Temple Bureau of Information of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He also was the Director of the Temple Genealogical Library and Executive Secretary to the Arizona Temple Committee.  He functioned in these positions for twenty years and retired at age 80, January 1972.  During this period of service, the library became a branch of the major library in Salt Lake City.  The Visitor’s Center, north of the Temple, was erected in 1956, and visitors to the Mesa Temple increased from 15,000 in 1952 to more than 300,000 in 1971.

    Logan’s work at the LDS Bureau of Information involved direction of the effort of some 60 Guides on the Temple Gardens and assistance to and direction of the 30-plus Genealogical Library Assistants and Teachers.  The Guides acted as hosts for the Church to thousands of guests who came to Mesa from all over the world.

    He organized a corps of teachers and librarians at the genealogical Library to teach the fundamentals of genealogical research.  They printed a “KNOW HOW BOOK in Genealogy,” and a book entitled “PRACTICAL RESEARCH In Genealogy.”


    Plans for removal of the orchard, landscaping the area, and placing a new Bureau of Information north of the Temple were presented to President David O. MaKay, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by Delbert L. Stapely, David E. Haywood and Logan Brimhall in October of 1952.

    Logan records:

    “At the end of twenty minutes, President McKay said, “”Though you haven’t said it as yet, I know all of this is leading to your asking the Church to remove the orchard and build a new Bureau of Information north of the Temple and use the present building for a Genealogical Library only.”” That stopped further efforts on our part, for we knew he had the picture as well, if not better than we.  He finished our effort by saying, “Leave your plans, pictures and application and we shall see what my favorable recommendation to the Brethren will bring forth.”

    When we arose to go he said, “Please be seated, we have two good minutes yet, and often many great things happen in less than two minutes.” He asked very understanding questions about the Library and smiled happily when we told of its’ success and the great service it renders to the people.

    At age 80 Logan retired from active community service and spent his last 10 years in family and Church service.

    Of special note is Logan’s Family Organization.  He named it “B-13.” His family was the most important thing in life to him and numbers over 500 in 1997.

    Logan organized his family and taught them to be independent and to be of service to others.  In 1960 the married families went together and acquired an 80 acre “ranch” in Pinedale, Arizona.  It is the gathering place for all of Logan’s descendants.  Uncle, Aunt and Cousins power is a blessing to all.

    Logan Brimhall influenced the lives of thousands for good.  Perhaps one can know him better by reading quotes from his writings:

    “When I die, if there are only two places for me to choose from - hell or the dark dungeon - I’ll take hell; for the heat eventually creates some light.”

    “Travel, like reading, is an education in and of itself, provided the right choices are made and the right perspective is present.  There must be open-eyed interest and a well planned itinerary.”

    “We have learned, the better educated people are, the easier it is to make acquaintance and strike up conversation, namely; Ask them about their children or dad or mom, and you have generally “pulled the plug out of the dam.”

    “In our teaching job of the present, we leave off all frills and bring their attention to the fundamentals of the most happy life.  These include health, loyalty to home and country, the necessity of God here and hereafter.”

    “Where we haven’t traveled, we have gone by “proxy” (literature, pictures lectures and music).  What little we have traveled, we have taken our family with us.”

    “The writer has looked in vain for written statements of men about the two most important women in the universe, WIFE and MOTHER.  


We have spent long hours wondering just what sort of woman was grandmother, whom we have never seen, great grandmother, and so on back to mother EVE.  I should like to have found in writing just what Dad thought of my mother, MARY AGNES WILLIS.  I know he loved her, for I have seen and heard him tell her so.  He said words to the children about her, but we forgot.  Why not put a few items on paper for the grandchildren to read about grandmother as grandpa saw her?”

    “Graduated, patrons of the school, and colleagues; When I have finished the effort, I shall not be disappointed if you say,“The theme lends itself readily applicable to people, communities and nations.  Sooner or later, every human soul comes under its broadening influence.  Just to repeat the words, brings a state of calmness to wearied bodies and burdened minds.  Peace be still, peace-peace to the soul.”

    “What people do when they don’t have anything to do become avocations.  What did Logan do when he wasn’t on the school duty over the years?  Among other things he served in the Church, operated farms, raised cattle, hogs, turkey, promoted irrigation schemes, country fairs and community celebrations.  He owned and operated combines, hay bailers, tractor service (that is he kept his boys busy and out of mischief doing those things).  Add to this the fact that we built and lived in five new homes.  In fact, we tried to do so many things that ‘tis hard to say which were avocations.”

    “The completely mortal character I most admire and search for new stories about is my distant cousin, Abraham Lincoln.  I’d rather hear an Abe Lincoln story, than wear a RED hat to a ball game.”

    “The people I like to hear speak in public are anyone who will get to the point without stuttering, rattling papers, carrying to the stand an armload of books - the fellow who “pulls the trigger” and lets his hearers know how he feels about anything.  I like to hear the fellow speak who has something he thinks is important enough for him to know what he is talking about.  The fellow who can do this and tells it and when he has finished, shuts his mouth and takes it to his chair with him.”

    “Some said, “A fellow of the professions has no business.” We make no point of the issues involved in that statement, but hastened to record: Professional men’s business is to keep and make people well and healthy, groomed, educated and satisfied.”

    “My business has been to educate the youth of the land, rear a large family, keep true to my companion, and lift and pull, push and lead.”

    “We have owned several good farms on which we produced onions, cotton, hay, seed, grain, silage, cattle, hogs, turkeys, and cucumbers.  We owned and operated the first radio, combine, and bathtub in our end of the country.  We constructed and lived in five new homes, sold our gravity-flow irrigated farm, sunk a well and developed, by pump irrigation, the “Valley of the Moon.”

    “As to our two main business ventures, teaching and rearing a family, the record speaks louder than can our pens.  Suffice it to say that fathering and mothering thirteen children, educating and otherwise caring for them is somewhat of an American BUSINESS.  They are all paid for, no doctor, hospital or other institution sends us “due bills.” Dollars were scarce so we had to make them go farther and do more things.  Mary developed the ability to turn pennies into dollars and kid energy into helpful ways.”

    In the latter part of 1979, Logan began to have physical difficulty, and in his late eighties suffered several strokes.  He was partially paralyzed and for the first time in his life since infancy, totally dependent on those around him.  He had always been able to do, to go, to accomplish for himself and others.  Now, this had been completely taken from him.  One of his grandsons, Ricky Brimhall, sitting with him said, “I leaned my ear close to his mouth and with great difficulty he said the following: “”I pray to God Almighty that I might endure this until I am taken home.  I am trapped in this old, broken-down body.  My mind, my intellect, my soul, my very being is more alert, knowledgeable and alive than it ever has been and yet, I am imprisoned.”

    He died in 1982, just weeks before his 90th birthday.




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