Helaman Pratt Call: Interview

Interview of Helaman Pratt Call by Clarissa Walker, December 2002

My sister interviewed our great-grandfather shortly before he passed away for a school project on WWII. She was in seventh grade at the time, so the interview is short, but yet the answers are detailed and touching.

Q: How was it during the time of WWII?

A: During the time of the war, I was an insurance man and I collected war bonds along with insurance money, so I thought I would be exempted from service all the way. But in 1940 in January, I got a notice to report to the board. I had to go up on the 3rd of January for an examination. We had just gone up to Morgan for Christmas with the folks. We stayed up there and didn’t get home till New Year’s Eve and on the 3rd I had to be in the draft board.

Q: What Branch of service did you go into?

A: When I went up to the draft board Merle said don’t go in the Marines. She had a brother in the Marines and she didn’t want me head chopping like he had been able to write home about. I just got in to the draft board and they called my number. I was stripped down waiting to be examined. They called my number and I went up to the desk and they said, “Mister, grab your clothes and get out in that truck. You’re going to Fort Douglas.” They took me there and in 30 minutes I was in the Navy. I hadn’t even been able to tell Merle about it. I went home and then I had to leave on the 5th of January to Farigle (?) Idaho where my career in the Navy started.

Q: What event stands out the most to you during WWII?

A: The day President Roosevelt died, I think our ship was hit by three Kamikaze planes. Within about five minutes we lost about 150 men. My job was to help hold them down while a man who had been training to be doctor but wasn’t a doctor yet amputated legs and arms and things like that without any anesthetic. It was very traumatic to go through that. As a result, they ordered me to the hospital. When I got to a telephone and called home I found out that Linda was hit by an automobile and not expected to live. So they sent me home rather than sending me to the hospital. I did never go to the hospital. I was discharged after coming home to see her and to see my father buried. He had died. That was the most trying experience I had during the entire war.

Q: About how old were you?

A: I was 36 when I was discharged from the Navy.

Q: How was it keeping in touch with your family?

A: We wrote letters to each other but I couldn’t ell anything about where I was so if the enemy wouldn’t find out if they got a hold of some of my mail, so Merle didn’t where I was or anything till she heard over the news that my ship had been hit and lot of people killed. She didn’t know how I was and I didn’t know how she was. She wasn’t well, we had a lot of difficulty.

Anson Call: Autobiography

Anson Call

I was born in 1810, May 13, state of Vermont, Franklin County, town Fletcher, son of Cyril and Sally Call. Cyril was the son of Joseph; Joseph was the son of John. Cyril was born in Woodstock, Windsor County, Vermont, June 29, 1785; Joseph was born in Oxford, Worcester County [Massachusetts?], 1745. My mother was the daughter of Christopher Tiffany who emigrated from Germany. Continue reading “Anson Call: Autobiography”

A History of the Robert Bezzant Family

Robert Bezzant was christened 8 August 1790, the son of William Bezzant and Ann Bewley (Bishop’s Transcripts of Clyffe Pypard, Wiltshire, England). Sarah Loveday or Lowder was christened 25 September 1796, the daughter of Jonathan Loveday or Lowder and Sarah Tuck. Her family used the two surnames interchangeably. They grew up in the small hamlet of Broad Town, a tything in the parish of Clyffe Pypard, although portions of it were situated geographically in the parish of Broad Hinton. In fact, the manor of Broad Town lay just to the east of the boundary in Broad Hinton. Thornhill Manor Farm, however, was just within the parish of Clyffe Pypard, northwest of Broad Town village. Broad Town was approximately south and east to west. To the south of the parish lay the Lower Chalk Terrace. Binchnoll Wood, the only woodland in the parish, lay in the southeast corner of the Terrace. A stream flowed from the escarpment north through the town. Southeast of the town, on a chalk promontory were the remains of Binchnoll castle, presumed to be of medieval construction. A white horse was cut in the chalk just above Broad Town in 1863. Continue reading “A History of the Robert Bezzant Family”

Matthew Bezzant

Matthew Bezzant was born in Broadtown, Wiltshire, England Aug. 10, 1826. He was reared a member of the Church of England. While still a boy he moves to Wales where he was employed by Squire Surrage, as a farmer for fourteen years. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder John George. The exact date of his baptism is unknown.

He was married to Ann Savior and four children were born to them. In the sixties he acted as President of the Cragun Hill Branch. He conducted man street meetings. His son Mark usually accompanied him to the meetings. At one time he was rotten egged and driven from the street.

In 1860 he prepared to take his family to Utah, the money for this venture to be secured from the perpetual immigration fund. Just before they were ready to leave England, however, his one daughter died and shortly after his wife died at the birth of his other daughter, who also followed his mother in death. This delayed his plans for leaving England for some time. In 1862 his son, Mark emigrated and was followed in 1862 by his brother Samuel. He then moved to London where he operated a milk route for his brother, William. He continued with this work until he migrated to Utah. He arrived in Utah Nov. 11, 1864 and Aril 21, 1865 he married Maria Ann Cook, whom he had met at the Goswell Road Branch in London. Five children were born of this union.

Conditions at this time were far from good, many people having barely enough to eat. One instance was when Mark accompanies his grandfather to the harness makers (Jensen’s). The harness maker invited the grandfather to dine, explaining to Mark that he would give him food also but could not afford it.

In 1868-69 he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo canyon. The company was making a road building eastward from San Francisco. The contracts for this work was let out to different people. The grading of the road through Echo and Weber canyon, together with the cutting of ties in the mountains was done by Utah people. The buildings of this road brought prosperity to Utah for it caused money to be circulated and immigrants came to the new country where land was so plentiful. The country at this time was so wild that men carried firearms at all times. The workmen used to sing this song:

At the head of the great Echo the railroad begun,
The Mormon’s are cutting and grading like fun,
They say they’ll stick to it until it’s complete
When friends and relations they’re hoping to meet.
Hurrah, Hurrah. The railroads begun
Three cheers for the contractor, his name’s Brigham Young
Hurrah, Hurrah we’re honest and true,
And if we stick to it, it’s bound to go through.
Now there’s Mr. Reid, has a gentleman too
He knows very well what the Mormons can do.
He knows they will earn every cent of their pay.
And are just the right boys to construct a railway.

When the United Order was established in Pleasant Grover brother Bezzant worked in it. He was an excellent farmer and bundle pitcher. He owned a piece of property in Pleasant Grove which he traded to Oscar Winters for property in Lindon. In the latter part of his life his hearing became very poor. He died of Pneumonia Feb. 14, 1891.

Matthew Bezzant and Maria Cook

Matthew was born in Wilshire, England in 1826. He was a member of the Church of England, and while a young man moved to Wales where he worked as a farm laborer for 14 years. He and his first wife, Ann Savior had 4 children and joined the church together. During the early 1860s he served as branch president of the Cragun Hill Branch and prepared to take his family to Utah. Just before they were ready to leave his daughter died and shortly thereafter Ann passed away in childbirth. The family remained in London, England where he operated a milk route for his brother, William. His oldest son, Mark emigrated before the rest of the family with Matthew finally arriving in Utah on November 11, 1864. During the time he was in London he met Maria Cook, the daughter of a Methodist minister who had been driven from her father’s home because she had joined the Mormon church. They sailed on the same ship to America and were married in April of 1865. Of their 5 children, Mary Jane is our ancestor and grandmother. Matthew worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo Canyon, and was part of the united order experiment in Pleasant Grove. He was an excellent farmer and bundle pitcher and to Lindon following a property trade with Oscar Winters. He died of pneumonia in February of 1891 Maria, who was known as grandmother by Aunt Lucile and Aunt Emily lived on the farm with her family until her passing in 1917.

(From a red binder from my grandmother)

Maria Ann Cook Bezzant

Maria Ann Cook Bezzant was born at Lowestoft, Soffolk Co. Engl. on March 27, 1837. She was the daughter of Cotton and Emily Green Cook. Her father was a Methodists Minister and she was raised in a very religious home. Her parents were very sincere in their belief, especially her father and he raised his family to always attend Sunday School and church and devote themselves to the spiritual side of life. At the age of eight she won a prayer book for repeating scripture in church. Continue reading “Maria Ann Cook Bezzant”