THE STOCKHOLDERS MEETING
One day President Joseph C. Jensen, the
first counselor in the First Presidency of Wasatch Stake called me over the telephone and
asked if I would meet him in his office. I met him, as he had requested.
Said he to me, "Your name has been presented by President Murdock, and you have been counted worthy to be set apart as one of the High Council of the Wasatch Stake of Zion. There is only one thing that stands in your way of being set apart for that position. You have in the past said things detrimental to the character of President Murdock. President Murdock has spent his life for the benefit of the people of Wasatch County. I knew he would do nothing to hurt these people. His whole heart and soul is with them and for them. I know that President Murdock is right. I know he loves you, and you must ask forgiveness of President Murdock for the things you have said. He wants you in the High Council but there must be harmony and all bad feelings dropped."
My reply was, "If I could be convinced that I was in the wrong in whatever I have said or done, I would ask forgiveness. Until then, I cannot be a hypocrite. I cannot and will not yield to your commands." Thus, because of my convictions that I must do my duty and stand for truth and right, I was not considered a fit candidate for the position of High Councilman in the Wasatch Stake of Zion. But thus I was left, free to go unto my Heavenly Father in prayer and ask for divine guidance, that I might be enlightened to act wisely.
The Lord heard and answered my prayers, and President Murdock sometimes said in my hearing, "Hyrum, knows more about the water of Provo River and the rights of the people, than any other man, except myself."
Time passed and the water users of Provo River had received notice that one more day was set to give anybody who wished any changes in the proposed decree should be present on that day. Changes in the proposed decree could be made if by common consent and there were no objections to the change. People who wished no changes saw no reason that they need be there. Accordingly, at the last hearing there were no representatives there from Summit County; none from Midway, or Heber. This was as President Murdock wished, but how to keep Wm. P. Edwards, John Simmons and Hyrum S. Winterton from being there with their attorney, J.H. McDonald, was his problem.
We had met with the people of Charleston and recommended that a more understandable agreement be written up as between the Charleston Irrigation Co. and the Sage Brush Irrigation Co. and have it approved by the court that was to convene. That there might be no objection by President Murdock to our proposed more clarified agreement, we went to his office in Provo and asked him if there was anything in our proposed agreement that he might, for any reason, object to. He replied that he had no objections if the Charleston people did not object.
However, our going to his office worried him. We would be at the court session that he thought would mean so much to him. If the people of the upper valleys were not represented it would give him no trouble. By all means he must do something to stop Winterton from being there.
Accordingly, he called Bishop J.M. Ritchie over the telephone. He reported our having been to his office, that something must be done to stop us from doing things that would be of great injury to the Charleston Irrigation Co. When we returned to Charleston the next day, the people of the town were very much excited. Everybody knew we had committed a crime. We gave out notice of a meeting that we might explain our action and explain to the people we had done nothing except that which we had before received their approval to do.
John Simmons was chairman of the meeting, inasmuch as he was president of the Charleston Irrigation Company. Immediately after the house was called to order, President Murdock asked for the floor. His request was granted and he immediately started on a tirade talking of the terrible thing we had done in having written up papers, that if approved, would take many of the rights of the Charleston people away from them. He pictured me (Winterton) as a man that could not be trusted, one that was always causing trouble for someone. A man that should be asked to resign his position as director and secretary of the Charleston Irrigation Co. He said I had shown by my actions that I was not worthy to hold office. He said that the attorney, J.H. McDonald, should be released and not allowed to work for the company anymore, that another attorney should be hired to represent and defend the company's interests. I think he talked not less than one-half hour. To me, it seemed, that his main worry was, how could he get Hyrum Winterton and attorney McDonald out of the way?
I asked for the floor that I might speak in defense of our actions, but had said only a few words when President Murdock called me a liar. I answered, "So are you." From parts of the house I heard shouts, "Here, here." But Sylvester Broadbent's voice I could hear above all the rest. It seemed useless for me to try to say anything or make any explanation because of the feeling and influence that was in that meeting.
The two men that had worked with me and knew we had been sincere in trying to do our best to create a better understanding of each canal company's rights so as to avoid future trouble, and also knew that what we had done should not be President Murdock's worries; and yet when President Murdock asked all the people who were on his side to stand, to my surprise, everybody in the house arose to their feet, except my father and my three brothers. They alone stood in my defense.
Then President Murdock exclaimed as in triumph, "See he has no friends, except those of his own family."
After that triumph, he asked that all who were in favor of discharging attorney McDonald and hiring another attorney
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