William Parley Elton – Poet of Honor

William Parley EltonCroppedMy great-grandfather William was 11 when his father died, and the English officers came to take him and his four brothers to the poorhouse. “How we clung to mother’s dress,” he said. Isabella was, a little woman. But in faith and work, [she was] a wonder. “Not one of these boys goes,” she said. “Each and everyone will go to Zion.” William had to quit school to sell papers, sweep crossings, and sell milk door-to-door. He worked in a small store, never touching money left laying around by the manager. “I wouldn’t take anything I did not honestly earn,” he said. No one doubted Williams honesty. Encouraged by his mother’s faith and letters. One by one all 7, plus mother made it to the valleys of the Salt Lake. In Utah and Colorado, at age 16 he maintained railroad ties for the Rio Grande, was promoted to surveyor, track foreman, bridge inspector, and conductor, sending every penny he could to his mother while contributing to the college education of his younger brother. On a work assignment he met Rachel Ault at the Cedar Valley station. They later married and ran a boarding house. Self educated, William spoke as though a scholar, brilliant in mathematics. Knowledgeable men often came to him to solve problems. He was happy, shook hands with everyone, did not find fault, and expected his children to respect others, especially their mother, and would not settle for any kind of sloppy job. He honored people, hung photos of servicemen on his wall, and wrote a poem for each funeral in the community. “And my dear loved ones, Lord I pray, protect, direct and guide each day. Dear Lord in truth may I increase, that when my mortal life shall cease, I may be worthy, Lord, with thee, to serve through all eternity.”

(by Kenneth R. Hardman, based on writings of grand-daughter Beverly Elton Hunt, compiled in Hardman Biographies – Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin) #AncestorClips

Inherited Traits – Like great-grandpa Elton, I feel like I’ve inherited the tendency to be honest. I’ve written a few poems in my life. As I read this story, I relate to his desire to learn, to be happy, to greet people with cheerfulness, and to respect others. I could further follow his example of working diligently, even when times are tough, to never find fault, and to make sure my work is well done, not ‘sloppy.’

Patterns of Goodness – Grandpa Elton was committed to honesty and cheerful work. His faith moved him forward and his vision of eternity, instilled by his parents was a pattern I admire and desire to emulate in my life.

Please follow this blog, add your comments about this ancestor, his traits, and the example he sets for us, his descendants.

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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2 Responses to William Parley Elton – Poet of Honor

  1. Dad, it kind of looks like you got his eyes, too!

  2. Jodi Clayburn says:

    Thank you dor sharing this i appreciate learning more about where we come from. Appreciate it alot.

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