in the Provo Division to be equal to the 1st Class in Wasatch. He wanted the
Wasatch Valley people to divide with the Provo District and thus help them to supply the
Provo Reservoir with the 50 second feet of water they had never used or claimed before.
His other desired changes in the proposed decree, that the Sage Brush Irrigation Co. be supplied with water only so long as it can be furnished from the Provo River (not to be allowed to use water from Hatch springs and London Springs) that Hatch Springs and London Springs not be included in this suit and decree. In other words, he wished it to be so worded that the suit and decree when rendered, would allow him to take those waters past the gates of the Spring Creek and Sage Brush Canal.
Since that memorable night in April, 1921, when, during the quiet hours of the night I received such a wonderful testimony, those words of instruction, spoken so plainly and again repeated, I was no longer left in doubt or in sorrow. I was sure the Lord knew of my past experiences and was anxious that the truth should be made known and right should prevail. Without His help, I knew not what to do!
Many experiences of the past again came into my memory and I realized and knew the Lord had been good to me. The main story I have told in previous and near coming pages.
The experiences of that memorable night I can never forget. I often think of the words of Jesus as he instructed His disciples. (See St. John 14-26). "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Again I read St. Luke 12: 11-12; "And when they bring you unto the synagogues and unto magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what things ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
To those who read my story, let me bear to you, this, my testimony:
The Lord has again established His Church and Kingdom here upon the earth and He talks to His authorized servants and gives to them instructions like as He did in days of old.
TRIAL BEFORE THE HIGH COUNCIL
It was really a great surprise to me when, a
few weeks after Judge C. W. Morse had officially signed the decree setting forth the
rights of all the users of the waters of Provo River and its tributaries, that I received
notice from the High Council of the Wasatch Stake of Zion that President Joseph R. Murdock
had preferred charges against me. The charges were, "That I had called him a thief
and a liar, etc."
I was asked to appear before the High Council for trial, to give reasons why I should not be excommunicated from the Church, as President Murdock requested.
Yes! I really was surprised!! I did not think he really dared to do it after the terrible defeat he had received at the last court hearing.
I had decided to say very little about what had happened except to my close friends. But if all that had happened in the past was just hushed up and dropped, I would forever have been the offender in the eyes and thought of many people. Because of that fact and that I had never had a chance to tell my side of our trouble, I really was glad that President Murdock had preferred charges against me.
President Murdock must have thought that all he would have to do was to tell his story, as he had done at Charleston a short time before, and that all people would believe him. He really wanted to humble me. He thought I would not be able to secure witnesses for my defense.
I have often wondered, had President Murdock strayed so far from the path of truth and right that he had entirely deprived himself of the Spirit of the Lord to direct his thoughts and actions? Again, was he listening to the cunning devices of that evil one who was trying hard to ensnare him more and more and to destroy his usefulness here upon the earth?
The Lord has said, (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121: 34-40). "Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson. . . That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins; or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
Behold, ere he is aware; he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God."
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence, "many are called, but few are chosen."
It must have been a terrible shock to President Murdock and, I could tell he was affected, when he saw me appear at the High Council hearing with court records in my possession.
I did not need any other witness, except those records to defend my past actions. I could prove that everything he claimed that I had said about him was true.
At that hearing, besides the Stake Presidency, and the twelve who were acting in the capacity of the High Councilmen, there was present George B. Stanley as clerk. I had asked my son Harold to be there also, and if necessary, to record in shorthand the proceedings. I am sorry that no minutes of the trial were recorded.
My wife and my sisters, Sarah and Eliza, were there; also William P. Edwards and John N? Simmons, who could no longer be scared by President Murdock.
William L. Van Wagoner, my wifes brother was a member of the High Council at that time. He asked to be excused from being present at that trial. He had heard so much against me and he did not want to have to voice in the case if it became necessary to deal harshly with me.
I must confess, that even though President Murdock seemed so anxious to crush me, yet my sympathy went out to him. He seemed so put out when he saw me with the court records.
President Murdock spent most of two days talking and relating incidents of the past, and he was continually telling things that hurt himself. He told many things that I would have told. It was good evidence for me.
I sat there those two days, and said but little. I took notes occasionally. I thought President Murdock was doing a very good job for me.
Near the end of the second day session on Saturday afternoon, President Murdock announced he had said all he cared to say and wished to be excused from the hearing if I had anything to say. He said he didnt feel well. I think he was then telling the truth. I dont think I ever saw him when he looked more worried and tired.
I had avoided saying ver much during those two days. I wanted to give President Murdock a chance to talk on and say all he would.
Then the time was turned to me and I commenced telling of what he had tried to do in the last court session; he was bold enough to deny having anything to do with those petitions they tried to get approved in court. Thus, by his own words, he again showed that he was a liar. He said Judge Hatch was responsible for what was done. (I dont think that Judge Hatch was responsible for Murdock getting upon his feet in court and lying by saying all those changes in the water decree which they asked for had been agreed to by the people of Wasatch County and that he had my signature to the agreements, etc.)
After that session for the day was ended, and I had gone outside; it was then that Brother A. Y. Duke, Joseph Rasband, and George R. Carlile approached me and said with tears in their eyes, "Brother Winterton, can we persuade you to drop this charge against President Murdock? If this hearing is continued, someone is going to be hurt. We promise you, that if you will drop your charge and not tell any more about it, you will be blessed; you will be blessed both spiritually and temporally," said one of them.
I told them I was not to blame. President Murdock was the one responsible. He had preferred charges against me, and asked for a hearing before the High Council and had asked that I be excommunicated from the Church. And yet I did not want to crush him. All I wanted to do was to clear my name and the good name of my parents and family.
The next morning was Sunday and Fast Day. I remember that morning; my family was fasting and we had our family prayer as usual, before we went to Heber City. (I think that Van may have taken the younger children to Sunday School.) I do feel thankful that during all our troubles about water, we as a family tried to do our duty in the church.
My wife wished to avoid all the trouble possible, but she was firm and steadfast in her sympathy and support in my defense.
That Sunday morning when we again reconvened at the Stake House in Heber, I was again surprised when President J. C. Jensen arose and said: "He was glad to hear that Brother Hyrum had consented to ask forgiveness." I was not long in rising to my feet and telling the brethren that I was not there for that purpose.
As I talked I think that I was so filled with the Spirit of the Lord that it was easy for me to express my thoughts. Sarah, my wife, said she never had heard me talk so fluently and with such force as I did that morning.
After I sat down, one of the brethren made a suggestion that President Murdock be asked to go to Charleston and ask forgiveness of the things he had said and done. The suggestion seemed to please the others of the brethren and when President Murdock was asked if he was willing to go, he replied that he was willing and would like to go that afternoon.
Bishop J. M. Ritchie also agreed to ask forgiveness for the part he had played in causing the trouble at Charleston.
I said, I did not know that I had done anything except that which was my duty to do. If I had done anyone an injustice, I was sorry and would ask forgiveness.
President Murdock went to Church at Charleston that afternoon. He seemed very humble and he told the people assembled that Hyrum had done nothing but that which he had a right to do.
Since that time, I have felt that the people of Wasatch Stake respected me and seemed to act as if they felt I was their friend.
Those three days with the High Council of the Wasatch Stake, in my opinion, were of more value to me than anything else that could have happened at that time. I was glad that it was through President Murdocks own words that members of the High Council were convinced as to who was in the wrong. That was better than for me to have to say so much.
During all my younger life, I had thought there was no place like Charleston for me. It was the home of my parents and the place where I was born, The home of my early school days, the home of my young friends, the place where my wife Sarah and I were so happy and raised our family. We loved it there. We worked hard and tried to do our duty. Were we successful or did we fail?
After doing our best, as I thought, and those whom I thought were my friends had once turned against me, I never could feel quite the same. I wondered if ever another time of testing should come, if I would again be turned down in sorrow.
Yet, at this time, as I write, my heart still goes back to the dear old home. In the cemetery in quiet rest, there reposes most of my loved ones, now departed. When the trump shall sound and the command be given on the resurrection morn for all to arise from their graves, I hope to be there with my loved ones.
And as my closing sentiments of this chapter, may I enclose the words of the last verse of one of mothers favorite songs:
What, though years have rolled before me
Though mid fairer scenes I roam,
Yet I neer shall cease to love thee,
Childhoods dear and happy home.
And when lifes long day is closing,
Oh, how happy I would be
On some faithful heart reposing
In the cottage by the sea.
Salt Lake City, May 2, 1961, I write the following:
To Whom It May Concern:
It is 40 years today since C. W. Morse
signed the decree setting forth the rights of the water users involved in the case then in
the Fourth District Court. Provo Reservoir Co. plaintiff, versus Provo City et. Al.
At the beginning, the Provo Reservoir Co. did their best to make all people who used or claimed an interest in the waters of Provo River and its tributaries to file in the Fourth District Court a statement of their claims. That case was in Court seven years, from 1914 to 1921.
As attorneys for the plaintiff appeared A. C. Hatch, A. J. Evans, Jacob Evans, A. L. Booth, and Thurman, Wedgwood and Irvine. Never do I remember of there being less than four attorneys for the plaintiff present whenever court was in session.
As I now ponder over those days of anxiety and trouble, I am filled with awe and with praise and thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father for the help which came through inspiration from Him.
I am filled with awe to think of the wonderful stipulations that were written up and signed by both the plaintiff and defendants, and which were written into the decree of the court giving to the people of Summit and Wasatch Counties the first right to the waters of the Provo River and its tributaries, to the amount of their stipulated needs as against all interests in Utah County. Now I say: was that not right and fair?
Back in the early days, the flow of Provo River in low water was very low, and even before any court decrees to settle the water rights of the people in the upper districts, they had maintained solid dams in the river in low water time so they could use all the water available.
In the high water season, they had freely poured the water on their high and gravely bench lands, and thus held water to increase the flow of springs to flow and find its way to Provo and vicinity after high water time.
Through that means, a better water right was created for the old users in the Provo District than they had ever had before in the low water season.
I am satisfied that a time of shortage of water came to the Provo District, when by some hook or crook, or crook or hook, the Provo Reservoir Co. secured in the C. W. Morse decree, 50 second feet of water which they had never before owned or used. That extra amount of water to be supplied on equal basis with all other Class A water rights.
That extra amount of water being decreed to the Provo Reservoir Co. undoubtedly hurt the old users very much, especially in dry years and before the building of the Deer Creek Reservoir. They even dug wells to supplement the remaining flow of the river.
President Murdock anticipated those conditions of water shortage and that is why he figured on, not stealing the water, but just getting some radical changes made in the proposed decree without the knowledge or consent of the people of Summit and Wasatch Counties. In that way, he would take from them their priority rights and nearly all the water.
President Murdock had undoubtedly planned for a long time on what to do. I was suspicious, when he had said to me a short time previous, "I expect to get a lot of water out of Wasatch County."
When he learned just a short time before the last session of court was to be held, that the directors of the Charleston Irrigation Co. expected to appear at Court that day, it caused him to worry. He didnt want either us or our attorney to be at the last hearing in court, which he thought would mean so much to the Provo Reservoir Company, if no one was there to oppose the granting of their petitions.
That is why he appeared at the water meeting at Charleston, which had been scheduled by the directors of the Irrigation Companies, and where on that fateful day in April, 1921, he so abused me, my name, my character and reputation, that he succeeded in winning an unanimous standing vote of every man in the house for his support and a pledge to oppose me. Only my father and three brothers stood in my defense. Even the men who had been working with me and had been unanimous with me in all we had done to take care of the interests which had been entrusted to us. Yes, even those men voted to oppose me.
President Murdock thought that he had disposed of me when he had obtained the almost unanimous decision of the meeting to discharge their attorney, J. N. McDonald, (because of the dirty work he had helped me to do) and also to hire another attorney of his (Murdocks) choice to represent them (a man who knew nothing about the water rights of the people and cared less). Yet it would be wonderful to have an attorney of the Charleston Irrigation Co. to be in Court and sanction, in behalf of the Charleston Irrigation Co., all the proposals and petitions of the Provo Reservoir Co.
President Murdock appeared to the people that day, a great man, and protector of all their water rights. They thought he was the man they could most trust. There was only one thing that President Murdock did not seem to realize and figure on. Namely" that the Lord was on our side, and would tell me what to do.
It was through the instructions and inspiration of the Lord that we were prepared and able to successfully defend the signed stipulations which we had spent seven years in securing and to expose those who would fraudulently, if possible, steal away our rights.
Had the Provo Reservoir Co. President, with his attorneys, been successful that day, they would have succeeded in securing the first right to another large amount of water from the Wasatch County to take care of his newly acquired 50 second feet of water. He would rather that Wasatch County furnish the 50 second feet than to divide with the old users in the Provo District.
Following are additional demands which they hoped to be their big haul:
The Provo Reservoir, together with a few other small land owners, had filings in the State Water Commissioners office for a large amount of water. Those filings of appropriation were classified according to priority of date of filing, and classified Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class F, Class G, Class H, Class I, and Class J.
The Class B filing was dated August 22, 1905. The last filings for irrigation water and denominated Class I was dated August 6, 1909. The total of all filings was 25,914 acre feet of storage water. 273.93 second feet of the natural flow of Provo River to be used or stored as the appropriators of the water desired to do.
It was a demand of the judge that any person or groups of people wishing any change in the proposed decree must file with the clerk of the court the changes to be posted in the clerks office and other public places for the inspection of any and all who wished to see those records.
Just as the Provo Reservoir Co. President and directors had believed, hoped and planned, there were no representatives from Summit and Wasatch Counties watching the maneuvers of the Provo Reservoir Company. The people thought their water troubles were all settled by stipulation. Nobody dreamed or thought that their best friend would try to sell them down the river. If they asked no changes, who appear? Hence, no person from Summit or Wasatch Counties were present at the last session of court which convened for the purpose of correcting any mistakes in the proposed decree except the three former directors of the Charleston Irrigation Co. with the two attorneys they had personally engaged; namely J. N. McDonald and W. W. Ray of Salt Lake City.
Also present were J. H. Ritchie and Harry Watson initiating the newly engaged Charleston Irrigation Company attorney. They were there herding a pet scheme suggested by President Murdock, by knowing nothing of the real issues to be considered that day, namely, the changing of the proposed decree.
It was at the Clerks office that I obtained a copy of the petition for desired changes as asked by the Provo Reservoir Co.
Their first request was that the Class A rights in the Provo Division by equal to the First Class rights in the Wasatch Division.
The Class B rights in the Provo Division be equal to the Second Class Rights in the Wasatch Division.
They asked that the rights be so classified and so denominated so as to make the Class S water and all the Provo Reservoir filings which are in number 10, classes equal in their order, with the first to tenth classes in the Wasatch Division.
Those 10 classes in the Wasatch Division I identify by copying from Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law, page 55 under title "Wasatch Division".
The second paragraph reads as follows:
It is hereby stipulated by and between the parties hereto by their respective counsels whose names are subscribed to this stipulation that when the decree is entered in this cause the waters of Provo River and its tributaries awarded to the parties to this stipulation shall be as hereinafter stated.
That as to priority of rights the findings and decree of the Fourth District Court in and for Wasatch County, State of Utah in the case of the Wasatch Irrigation Co. et al. Verses Edward M. Fulton, et al. Entered May 6, 1899, be adopted as defining the rights of the parties to this action, named in said decree from 1st to 10th class rights inclusive, said waters to be measured at the head of the laterals.
The waters at the foregoing quantities constitute the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth classes of water of the parties to this cause that avert and appropriate the waters of Provo River and its tributaries in Wasatch and Summit Counties.
That whenever the water flowing in said river and the canals of the parties heretofore stated exceed in volume the aggregate of the quantities hereinbefore specified (10 classes) the parties to said findings and decree referred to in paragraph 1 hereof, are entitled to one second foot of water for each sixty acres of irrigated land.
The foregoing amount is denominated as the 11th class.
(Now that the first 11 classes have been so well defined in the Wasatch Division, let us see what are the rights of Classes B to J in the Provo Division. That we learn on page 47 of the decree.
That the plaintiff and the defendants that appropriate water under applications approved by the State Engineer of the State of Utah, and that appropriate water under certificates of completion of appropriation issued by the said State Engineer, are hereafter denominated, and the waters to which each of said parties are entitled is as follows:
That the plaintiff and the defendants in this cause having reservoirs in Wasatch and Summit counties, that appropriate and store water under applications approved by the State Engineer of the State of Utah, and that appropriate and store water under certificate of completion of appropriation issued by the said State Engineer, have the right and are entitled, as set out and agreed to between plaintiff and defendants in a stipulation filed and entered herein, to store in said reservoirs all the water that can be stored in them between September 15 and April 15 of the succeeding year.
What do you think about the Provo Reservoir
Co. President and attorneys being caught red handed? All their decreed right later than
Class A rights were later in date of appropriation than all the Wasatch Division rights.
If the plaintiff had succeeded in changing the proposed decree of the court that fateful day, to meet their wishes, what would the people of the upper districts have done, and especially, those last few years of great shortages in water?
I will here specify the more particular ones, I have in mind, that would have no right to any water until all the claims of the Provo Reservoir Co. be satisfied with the full amount of their filings of appropriation.
After the 11th Class Water Rights which was just previously explained, comes the Sage Brush Irrigation C. with 500 acres in the 12th class. Next the Midway Irrigation Co, with 12 17/100 second feet in the 13th class.
In the 14th class we have:
In the 15th Class we have:
Midway Irrigation Co. with 20 sec. Feet
In the 16th Class we have:
Charleston Irrigation Co. (upper canal) 1 2/3 sec. Feet
Abram Hatch Estate 90 acres 1.5 sec. Feet
George B. Jordan 25 acres 0.412 sec. Feet
Now after the mention of the above specified classes and amount of water specified for the Wasatch Division, I wish to explain the 17th class water by entering here the following clauses from page 57 of the final decree.
That to control and distribute the waters of the Provo River and to insure the full measure of service from the waters of said river to all the parties to the above entitled cause the water Commissioner shall have the reasonable discretion, but such authority shall not interfere with the rights specified in the 1st to 16th classes inclusive, as hereinafter stated.
That whenever the water flowing in said river and the canals of the parties heretofore stated exceeds in volume the aggregate of the quantities hereinbefore specified as belonging to the parties above named, the said parties and each of them are entitled in proportion to their respective quantities before specified, of such excess in any and all irrigation seasons from May 1st to August 10th, (except as provided in section 33 herein) to an amount which when added to the quantities hereinbefore specified will amount to one second foot for 40 acres of such specified land; and when the volume of flow is insufficient to supply one second foot for 40 acres of such specified land, but is more than sufficient to supply the 16 classes aforesaid, such amount is to be distributed to the said parties and each of them in proportion to the quantities heretofore designated, each of them receiving the same amount of water per acres of said specified land; that is, the duty shall range uniformly from 40 acres to 60 acres per second foot of water. The foregoing is denominated as the 17th class.
I have no excuse to offer personally because of the fight that was made to protect the water users in the upper valleys. By starting the use of the water in the upper valleys, the water was used over and over again before it reached the lower valleys.
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