Willard Call – Desert News

Payment of Mexican Claims Will Restore Utahn’s Sight

(Typed from an undated Deseret News clipping)

Willard Call Will Be Able to Finance Operation With Money Lost in Flight From Colony. Experiences of one of the darkest days in his life — when he was forced in 1916 to forsake all his material possessions in American L.D.S. colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico — now promise to bring light back into the life of Willard Call. For Mr. Call, totally blind for the past several months and partially blind for a number of years, will finance an operation to remove a cataract from one of his eyes and restore sight with money awarded him by the special Mexican claims commission.

A resident of Bountiful and Salt Lake City since leaving Mexico with hic family more than a quarter of a century ago, Mr. Call is one of 382 Utahns and former Utahns awarded similar reparations, funds for which are being paid by the Mexican government.

Recalling vivid scenes in Mexico in the wake of the revolution of 1910, which lasted several years, Mr. and Mrs. Call Monday painted a vivid picture of their flight.

“Armed troops came into Colonia Dublan and demanded our arms,” Mr. Call related. “We gave them a wagonload of guns, but hid others. Soon we decided it would be wise to leave — for only a week or ten days, we thought then-but now we know we never will go back.

“We left our home as it was, with drapes and all furnishings and household articles intact, including an organ and cornet. Two Mexican families who moved in almost as soon as we left enjoyed these luxuries to the utmost, we heard. We still have the deed to the property.”

Mr. Call also owned three stores, two in near — by lumber camps, all of which he lost. “We hope to get about 2 per cent of the value of the property except for buildings and real estate,” he said.

Approximately 1000 other men, women, and children refugees left the L.D.S. Mexican colonies at the time. Many failed to file required claims prior to 1927. Others have gone back into Mexico. Perhaps none will rejoice so much over the partial reparation as will Mr. and Mrs. Call.

(Note: According to Helaman Pratt Call, son of Willard, the payment from the Mexican government fell through and was never received.)

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