Biography of Charles A. Cobbley
By his Grandson: Charles B. Walker
Sunday morning, April 2, 1937, marked the passing of a life well lived—a long life, beyond the four-score mark—a life which has been filled with service, which has shed great influence for good, a lift which has been honorably lived in keeping and in accordance with the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ—a life wherein nobility of soul has been attained. This is my testimony of the life of Charles A. Cobbley, my grandfather, for whom I was named and whose name I feel proud and honored to carry.
Charles A. Cobbley was the fifth child of a family of seven children born to the union of Thomas Cobbley and Sarah Smith. His birthplace was England, the shire of Northampton and the town of Winwick. He was born on the 13 day of September 1855. At the time his parents were rejoicing in the anticipation of going to Zion and when grandfather was but six weeks old a wind-rocked sailing vessel, the “John Bright” became his cradle. After landing in America, grandfather’s parents with their family of little ones sojourned in the east, in Philadelphia, for more than five years, while they worked and saved that they might continue their journey to the valleys of the Saints where the children could live and grow in the light and beauty of the gospel.
Grandfather was six years old when his parents and seven little children were again able to take up their journey toward the land that for long had been their goal. The severest of trials—fire, sickness, death and persecution, dogged their trail, but they came through with courage and faith undaunted. They left Florence, Nebraska with their hearts clinging to two small, freshly mounded graves but with faces set resolutely and hopefully to the west. Death had hovered over the boy Charles, but his life had been spared and very soon afterward his small legs trudged almost the whole of the 2,000 miles across the vast plains.
In the days of his childhood and youth, grandfather knew the hardships, toil, and privations which were incident to pioneer life but he also knew the simple, but deeply satisfying pleasures and joys which were a vital part of the lives of those closely-united pioneer souls.
Grandfather’s youth was marked by industry and thrift. As he has said to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he “was never one to waste his time.” As a child and as a youth he worked and willingly and in his free hours entered in to wholesome, unhampered play and recreation which the great open country and the simple village of those days so well afforded, with all the joy and skill of one who was part of fine physique and who possessed physical prowess–for grandfather was a well built youth, athletically inclined and skilled.
Charles A. Cobbley and Emma Davis were united in marriage in the Endowment House on June 28, 1878. Theirs had been a beautiful union, a companionship that grew and strengthened through the years. To them ten children have been born. His beloved wife and three of his children have gone on before him.
At the mid-point of his life, Charles A. Cobbley was called into the mission field. His labors were in the Kentucky conference of the Southern States Mission.
For two years he traveled up and down Kentucky without purse or script and his only means of transportation were his two legs. I have heard him say, “I labored the full two years without a five cent piece in my pockets. In going from place to place I never once rode on the train and at one time I walked the a distance of 80 miles to get to my place of labor.”
Most of grandfather’s 61 years were lived in Lindon with the exception of twelve years when, after all there children were grown and married, grandfather and grandmother lived in Salt Lake, members of the Wandamere Ward.
Mr. Cobbley was a blacksmith in his earlier manhood, but had been farming until his residence in Salt Lake. With the exception of twelve years spent in Salt Lake, where he custodian of the Wandamere ward chapel.
In both places in which he lived, Charles Cobbley was an ardent church worker, always loyal to the church and its principles. For many years he served in various church positions of honor and trust and served with credit and conscientious devotion to truth and right.
We, who have loved and revered him, feel our loss but we are comforted by the knowledge that we are in possession of a great treasure—memories of sweet days and years of association and love that we have enjoyed.
(From Mary Jean Caldwell)