Utah – Roots

What Tara is to Scarlett O’Hara, Huntsville is to my dad’s family.  The little brick house where my grandmother was raised remains in the family and has become a sort of spiritual home-base for her children and grandchildren.  My grandfather currently lives in the house (alone, since Granny’s passing a few years ago) and my aunt lives next door in the house where my family lived when I was 9 yrs old.  As my family converges to celebrate my granfather’s 90th birthday this week, Huntsville was the natural gathering place.  There are kids and suitcases everywhere, a roaring fire on the hearth, and a kitchen full of cookies, chocolates and pots of chili.

Huntsville is a tiny town in the mountains of northing Utah — population 618.  This morning I went out for a run through the snowy streets.  It was great to stretch my legs, relive memories, and see the place (at least, one of the places) where I’m “from.”
 

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Granny’s house. 
Built in 1928.  Granny moved here when she was 4 yrs old.

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Posts delineate the driveway and facilitate plowing during big snowstorms.

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The West House (next door to Granny’s house).
I lived here when I was in Fourth Grade.

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The Angus McKay House (a.k.a. the Rock House)
Angus was Granny’s great-grandfather. Granny was born here.

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The David O. McKay House.
Next door to the Rock House.  David was married to Angus’s sister.

So, two things of note regarding the McKay houses:

First, politics:  When Utah tried to join the United States, it faced two obstacles:  polygamy and political parties.  The polygamy problem was solved when the Mormon church banned the practice.  The political problem was solved when the territorial government went through every community and designated every other house as Republican or Democrat.  The David McKay house was designated Republican (and remains so to this day), and the Angus McKay house was designated Democrat (and remained staunchly so until my parents’ generation — McKay ancestors rolled over in their graves when my parents put up Reagan posters in the 1980s…).

Second, family bloodlines.  I always thought that David and Angus were related and that we were all part of one big McKay clan.  Turns out not.  David and Angus just happened to have the same last name — the only relation is by marriage!  So my link to Mormon royalty (David McKay was the prophet and president of the church in the mid-20th Century) is more attenuated than I’d originally supposed.

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Pineview Reservoir under snow and ice.

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Farms and fences and lake in the distance

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First Street and the Library
(as seen from the driveway of the West House)

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See the elementary school?  Neither do I. 
When I lived here, the school sas in this field across the street from the West House. 
It has since been torn down.

5 comments

  1. *sigh* I love your blog. SO GOOD to see you today!

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  2. Thanks for all the pictures. And the “bloodline” history… I've always though we were directly related to David O. as well. Good to get the facts straight!

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  3. Anonymous · · Reply

    So glad we could all be there together for a day or so. Great snow pictures. Lady

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  4. This is your second cousin, Joyce Anderson. I love Huntsville. I love the red brick house, so many good memories there for me too. I love your Granny and Grandpa Jack so very much. Aunt Janice was always a classy lady and someone that I always wanted to be like. I have so many good memories of her and the family here in Huntsville and on Dallin Street in SLC. It's so funny that you mentioned the politics of the neighborhood, my cousin Shaun still thought we were all Democrats and was shocked to find out that some of us jumped ship, or were never on the ship to being with. He was sad, nigh unto tears about it. Anyway…this was a GREAT blog post with great pictures. Thank you so much for the good memory. 🙂 It's great to be a McKay.

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  5. Anonymous · · Reply

    What a lovely post. I yearn for Huntsville, being dragged around the town in a train of sleighs being pulled by the tractor with Uncle John driving. There were no warm things to be found after about 15 minutes of this activity :> Aunt Joan from AZ

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