Abstract: This is an oral history of Adele Bryan Lewis. It was conducted February 12, 2007 and concerns her recollections of the history of the Marriott-Slaterville area.
AL: My husband was James H. Lewis. We have always lived at 1597 South 1200 West, between the railroad tracks and the river. We bought our house in about 1950 from Ken DeFriez and Ruth. My husband was working at the railroad as an electrician and doing a little electrical work on the side. He worked and studied until he could take out his contractor’s license. He became an electrical contractor.
Our business was in the city of Ogden but we still lived in Marriott. We lived in the old Wecker place, an original pioneer, two-room brick building. They had a lean-to type room on the back over a half-cellar for the boys in their family. They had a pioneer orchestra who furnished music for the church dances. Every summer we would be visited by some very strange people who just descended on us and wanted to take pictures of this old house. We had remodeled the house and they were somewhat put out when they came by to take pictures for their family books of remembrance. They even acted a little rude that we would do such a thing as remodel the place.
Perhaps what I can tell you most about is Marriott, as I saw it, after I moved here. Our church was on 12th street. It was very badly in need of repair and the ward members did not want to repair it. They finally called a new bishop to build a new ward [building] and that is when we joined the Slaterville ward in the new building. This bishop was named Brother Buck. The old building is what I remember first about coming to Marriott. They had the ward reunions there and the Relief Society was called upon to serve the food and wash the dishes. They had an old washing machine that they used to fill with water so that we would have water to wash the dishes. One corner of the basement had water in it and they had a wooden slat floor built over it. The first time I saw this I was very disturbed, because my children were going to a Junior Sunday School in part of this basement. I understand they used to have dances up on the second floor. When they had the dances the whole building would shake. It was badly in need of repair.
I have joined the Daughters of the Pioneers after a few years of living out here. Our camp was named after Susan Marriott who was one of the original settlers of Marriott. Her husband was John, and the best thing he did for our town was to fall in the water. I understand he did much of the labor himself of digging the irrigation ditches. There were two main irrigation ditches that took water out of the river. The original pioneers were very forward looking on filing on the water so that it could not be taken away from us. They formed this irrigation company which is in service even to this day. John Marriott was a very strong fellow. He told stories about how strong he was, that he could pick up a thrasher and move it if it needed moving. He was quite a rugged man and very influential in our town.
This Daughters of the Pioneers camp has different stories that they are willing to tell you. We have been meeting here in our new building from time to time. It seems very interesting.
When I first moved here, we had a party line on our phone. I remember our signal was four rings. It was quite busy because we had so many people on the line and you couldn’t help but hear things as you picked up the phone and it would be busy. Sometimes we were a little lax in putting it down. So everybody knew each other’s business. It was not long after I moved here that Meachams had a house fire and their little daughter was burned to death. They lived just east of Elmer’s and we always said we lived in Elmerville. But that was a very sad day. That was the most tragic thing that happened that I remember in my early days in Marriott.
I suppose the golden age of Marriott was before my time when the church was new. My husband was on the planning commission. When we moved the church they thought about incorporating but we didn’t have enough people or enough tax-base to incorporate. We had to wait clear until now when we could incorporate with Slaterville.
The whole community was built around the church. We all had about three or four jobs, and to get out of your job, it had to be when you were expecting a new baby or took two others.
My fondest memories of Marriott are my family and relations with the people. I think moving here made me a better Christian. The first thing I found out in the first two or three weeks was that I must not say anything about anybody that lived in Marriott. The only people that were not related to everybody were the Elmers, the Meachams, and the Lewis’. Everyone else to the north of the tracks were all related.
My children went to the new pioneer school. Actually, we wired it as an electrical contractor. The architect was John Pierce and it was one of the first schools with the idea that several classes could be in a pod. It was more opened learning. I thought it was very nice because my kids were more outgoing. Now I think that the school system—now that they go out to West Weber, it is more just one teacher and one class. In this first school it was one class and many teachers. If a child was not outgoing, they would kind of get left behind in the shuffle. My kids, the older children, went to Weber High School.
#1: No, Wahlquist first.
AL: Yes, Wahlquist. The first remodel of Wahlquist, of course, we wired that one too. Wahlquist was very good because they always forgot their gym clothes or something on Monday morning and it was not too far to run it over there to them. Then they went to Weber High. The first two of my children graduated from Weber High. I take that back. My daughter graduated from Weber High. My older son was the first graduation class from the new Weber High up in North Ogden.
The difference in the way that I dated and the way that my family dated was quite different. I cannot remember—when I grew up we dated in more of a group. I was attending Brigham Young University the year that the war was declared and that changed everything. That was in 1941. When I was going to the Y we had five thousand students and the University of Utah had eight thousand. The war changed everything. I went to Salt Lake to work, and there I met my husband who was going to the University of Utah. It was coming up close to his draft number so he joined the Navy. We wrote letters and courted more long distance. However, I was engaged before he went into the Navy. We went to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and were married. I followed him to Oakland, California where he was in the Navy. He was a hospital quorum, he went east to Norfolk, Virginia for further study. I came back to Utah.
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