Way We Were: For Parkites of the early 1900s, life was no picnic
Park City Museum
Life in Park City was not always easy for those who lived in the early 1900s. Diseases and accidents happened quite frequently. Unfortunately, some families suffered great losses in a short period of time. One such family that was touched by both disease and accident was the Heal family.
Edwin Heal was born in Maine on Aug. 11, 1859. He left behind his father and siblings to seek new adventures and arrived in Utah where he met his wife, Mollie. Mary “Mollie” Finch Heal was born on May 8, 1862 to Joseph and Jane Finch in Spanish Fork. Her parents were some of the pioneer settlers of the area. Edwin and Molly moved to Park City in 1888 while Edwin worked at the Silver King Mine for a few years. They had two children: G.B. and Jay. Edwin decided to quit working at the mine and bought a dairy farm called North Park which was right outside Old Town in Park City.
Sometime in 1904, Edwin became ill. He couldn’t do much around the farm as he did not have the energy. The illness lasted a few months and Edwin passed away on May 17, 1904. He was 45 years old. The official cause of death was either anemia or lead poisoning. The Park Record noted that “he was a devoted and loving husband and father and a good citizen in every respect” and “honest, upright, and conscientious in all of his dealings.” He was a member of the Woodmen of the World Organization and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.
G.B. and Jay helped Mollie with the farm. A little over a year later on June 11, 1905, Jay was in Old Town with a friend named Harry collecting scraps from the restaurants for the cattle. The wagon’s front wheel hit a rock and the wagon lurched forward. Jay was flung from the wagon seat and hit his head hard on the sidewalk. He staggered to his feet and then hit the ground again. A local police officer was nearby and tried to help Jay. The officer called Dr. LeCompte, but it was too late. Jay was buried next to his father three days later. He was only 13 years old.
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After losing a husband and son, Mollie and G.B. sold the farm and moved to Salt Lake City where they lived until her death in 1949.
If you’d like to learn more about other Parkites of the past who are buried at the Glenwood, sign up for one of the Historic Glenwood Cemetery Tours Saturday, Sept. 28. Space is limited and reservations are required. Glenwood Cemetery Committee member Barbara Martz will also give a lecture about who is buried in Glenwood on Sept. 25 at the Museum’s Education and Collections Center at 2079 Sidewinder Drive from 5 to 6 p.m. More information can be found at http://www.parkcityhistory.org.
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The Park City post of the American Legion has canceled an annual Memorial Day ceremony normally held at the Park City Cemetery, citing the efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.