THOMAS HENRY REYNOLDS
Written by his daughter, Marjorie Alice Reynolds McCandless
Thomas Henry Reynolds was born 23 Nov 1875 in Wanship, Summit County, Utah, to William and Martha Jane Frazier Reynolds. He was the second of nine children, his older brother was Frederick William, his younger brothers and sisters were, Theron Leonard (Thede), Martha Gertrude (True), Pearl and Ruby (twins), Eunice, Robert Ingersoll, and Nina.
Wanship at this time was a bustling town. It was the resting place for all travel to and from Park City. It took four general merchandise stores to handle the trade. There were three millinery shops, one dressmaking shop, two blacksmiths, two saloons, a brewery, three hotels, two saw mills and a grist mill. William Reynolds owned one of the stores, using part of his store for the post office as he was post master. He had been a mail carrier, the constable, had owned one of the hotels, and still operated a ranch which is now covered by the waters of Rockport Lake. The Reynolds family were respected and well liked in the town. Tom had a happy childhood without the poverty and grubbing that many of the boys of that time had to endure. He did his share of chore on the ranch and enjoyed all the luxuries that were available in those days. He had his own horse, Mark, and raced between Peoa and Wanship with his friends. He attended school in a one room rock building in which one teacher taught eight grades. He is pictured in the Rockport Band holding a French horn. He said in later life that they needed a boy to hold the horn for the picture and he was chosen. I do not know whether or not he played in the band, but he always loved band music especially the marches of John Phillip Sousa.
In 1894-1895 Tom and his brother, Frederick, were living together in Salt Lake and attending the University of Utah. Tom was in the class of 1900, called the "Naughty-naughts". In 1897 Tom had to leave school and return to Wanship to help his father on the ranch. Fred finished his course at the University, taught there for awhile and then went on to Harvard University. He returned to the University of Utah where we was a Professor of English and founded and was the first director of the Extension Division, now known as the Division of Continuing Education. Tom returned to Salt Lake to take a few courses at the LDS Business College.
About 1898 the Reynolds family moved to Park City. Here Tom drove teams for McPolin's Bottling Works, Lewis Coal Company and others. He drove stage for Kimball's Livery and Transfer going over the mountain tops to Brighton. He was an express agent for Wells Fargo Express, which was bought by Adams Express, which in turn was bought by American Railway Express.
His company sent him to Bingham Canyon where he met and married Ida Waters in 1906. They went to Helper for a while and returned to Park City in 1914 where Tom was again agent for American Railway Express. In 1923 the Railway Express Agency, as it was known then, closed its office in Park City. Tom was given the choice of going to Cedar City or to Salt Lake. He chose Salt Lake because he felt he would have a better opportunity of "bumping" or bidding on another agency. The one he chose was in Ontario, Oregon where he was agent for five years. He worked for a very short time in Boise, Idaho before returning to Salt Lake in 1929. He worked for the agencies for a total of 32 years.
Salt Lake, 1929, led into the Depression years. Work was scarce. Tom, who had little seniority in Salt Lake, was on the extra board, called at a minutes notice to replace someone who failed to show up for work. Tom was a proud man and it was hard for not to be able to support his family and to have to ask for welfare, or "go on relief", as it was called then. He did obtain work with the WPA and did some research for the book, "Utah, A Guide to the State". I quote from the forward of the book: "Fully as significant, the Utah Guide supplies a glowing example of how reservoirs of unemployed labor and talent may be used to furnish the power for unique achievements that are valuable socially, artistically, and economically."
He retired 20 Mar 1940 and drew his pension for fifteen years. He was never a union man and did not believe a man should have to join a union to get or hold a job. He never joined but he did receive all benefits.
In 1941 the family moved from the center of Salt Lake to East Mill Creek. Here Tom was in his element. A big yard to care for, fruit trees and a garden spot. He loved working in the yard and fixing things up. Every house they ever rented was always left in better condition than when they moved into it. He painted and repaired and cleaned things up. He planted and trimmed and fertilized and made things grow. Ida said he could shove a dead stick into the ground and it would grow.
When they moved into their own home in Mount Air Acres, 1456 East 3115 South, he started again, a complete landscaping job, moving boulders, spreading topsoil, planting lawn, shrubs and flowers, and all of this he untertook at seventy years of age. The result was that his yard was the showplace of the neighborhood.
Although his job had always come first so that he did not have much time to spend with his children, he more than made up for it with his devotion to his grandchildren, all of them from Richard to Kay Lynn. (Two of them he never saw, Tom E. and Jerri Lynn.) He had all the patience in the world with them and got such a kick out of watching them grow up. They all have many fond memories of Grandpa and the house in Mount Air Acres. He was just as patient with the neighborhood kids too, especially the Handley children.
Tom was not a member of any church but he urged his children to go to Sunday School. Ida was very active in the Relief Society and he never complained about the meetings she had to attend. He liked the ladies she worked with and was friendly with their husbands.
He loved going to the mountains, especially camping at Mirror Lake, where he could "count the stars". He was the fire tender and wood chopper. The family has so many happy memories of the good times we had there before the road was paved and people found and ruined the beauty of the place. His favorite drive was to Wanship and through the farmland to Peoa. Now this road is covered by the waters of Rockport Lake. When he turned 65, he and his cousin, Bill Gardener, used to get a 10 cent fishing license and Bill would drive them up the nearby canyons to fish. They never caught many fish, but they enjoyed being together and talking of their early childhood days.
Tom was a worker, not a lazy bone in his body. He was always up early and had chores to keep him busy all day. He was a handy man around the house. Anything the needed to be fixed was done immediately before it had a chance to break completely. When Ida worked, he kept the housework done, except for the cooking. His cooking ability was limited to making a cup of tea, a slice of toast and maybe an egg. As his children married and had homes of their own, he was always ready to help with anything they might need, usually going on the bus and carrying his tools with him. He made chests and stools that are still in use today. They may not have been beautiful but they were made to last. He made a sleigh for Aileen's girls. It was a work of art. A body like a wagon with raised sides so the kids wouldn't slide off, four separate runners, curved with a piece of metal stripping attached for easy gliding, a handle to be used for pulling or steering and it was all painted green. He repaired and then repaired again, toys for his grandchildren, always topping off the job with a fresh coat of paint, any color that he happened to have on hand. He loved to paint and usually had some project going that would require a paint job.
His life spanned the home entertainment era from cylinder records to television. In Ontario he had a cabinet Victorola, a machine that was wound by hand, the needle placed on the heavy record. These were played one at a time and sometimes the machine would run down and the music would slow down accordingly. A quick wind-up would sent it back to its regular pace. Tom liked songs by Maurice Gunsky, Gene Austen, Aileen Stanley (for whom Aileen was named). In 1928 he \bought a big radio set from Montgomery Ward Catalogue. Today, over fifty years old, this radio is still in working condition. Tom loved the radio. He would sit on his little black rocker in front of it, and turn the dial to see how many distant stations he could pick up. Later he had his favorite radio programs, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Ed Wynn, and the different theater plays, newscasters like Edward R. Murrow, H. V. Kaltenberg and others. He liked to listen to the broadcasts of the prize fights, especially the Joe Louis fights. The kids did not touch the radio. He picked the programs to be heard. In 1951 they bought a television set which was a source of much enjoyment for both of them. They were getting older now and the TV filled their evenings with pleasure. Again Tom operated the set. It was turned on at a specified time to watch a good program and then shut off again. None of this turning it on first thing in the morning and letting it scream all day long with no one paying attention to it as is done today. It was a special treat for them.
Tom enjoyed parades. For many years he would meet his daughters and grandchildren on Main Street to watch the 24th of July parade. Then they would either go to a show or to someone's house to have lunch. He liked the band music and the horses.
In appearances Tom was not tall, only about 5 feet 6 inches but he would not be called "Shorty". The men he worked with called him Tommy. When young, his hair was dark and curly. In later years it thinned out and was gray. His eyes were blue and his eyesight was good although he wore glasses in later life. His usual outfit was a pair of striped bib overalls, but he could dress in a suit when it was required. He always wore a hat, felt in winter and a straw hat in the summer. He smoked a pipe and Prince Albert tobacco for many years until he had his teeth out and couldn't hold the pipe in his mouth. Then he took up cigarettes but finally quit smoking altogether in 1947. His health was excellent. He had an operation for prostrate trouble in 1940 but no other serious ailments until his heart attacks in 1955.
He loved to read books, magazines and newspapers. He took the Readers Digest for years and made a check mark on each article as he read it, so that he wouldn't start to read it again. He was very intelligent. In fact even today we use the phrase, "Reynolds' intelligence", in referring to any of our overly smart kids. Of course the other phrase used not so often is "nasty Reynolds' disposition". Tom loved to write letters to members of his family who were away, sympathy notes or thank-you notes, business letters, articles that Ida needed in her church work, and diaries. Daily diaries that started with the weather, high and low temperatures, and progressed through each day with times of meals, phone calls, visits from family or friends and any other noteworthy event. We have fourteen years of his diaries from 1941 to 1955, a factual, first-hand record of births, deaths and marriages, trips, big events and little events, times of arrivals and departures of guests, a daily record of his life, written in indelible pencil and some of it hard to read. In his writings, he refers to Ida as Mrs. to Myron as The Boy, and to himself as THR.
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