|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
Page 12 THE OGDEN VALLEY NEWS Volume II, Issue XV 1 August 2000 The Eden Blacksmiths Jessie M. Wilbur was born in Eden his son was, “If a man pulls a gun— February 17, 1874, a son of Elisha and take time!” Not long after, the sheriff Helen Worden Wilbur. For a while his came by and said he was chasing a man father had a small blacksmith shop who had stolen something in Ogden. north and back of his general store in Whether the culprit was caught is not Eden. known. He probably headed over the Jessie opened his first shop in 1895 north mountains. after “just working around” and attendWhen machinery came, it almost ing Utah Agricultural College (now eliminated the use of workhorses in the Utah State University in Logan), which area. Business picked up again when had a blackthe Weber County smithing departSheriff’s Mounted ment in 1892. He Posse was organoperated his small ized. Most of the shop until 1898 horses were of the when he built the saddle breeds, and structure which the majority of them now stands vacant came from Weber in Eden. and Cache Wilbur is a Counties. name familiar to In 1948 he was the residents of still using the rasps Eden since the to sharpen and town’s beginning repoint plowshares. and has been synIt was even harder onymous with the work than the old smithy trade for days because the three generations. shares were larger Jessie’s son Glen and heavier since was small when he they were drawn by used to “run away Portrait of J.M. Wilbur as a young tractors rather than from home” to man. by horses. watch his father in Jessie made a the blacksmith shop. In 1924 Jessie good many of the tools, which he put to took Glen into business with him. daily use. The Wilbur Bale Hook was When Jessie was 74, he was still man- designed and built in that Eden aging his business. Blacksmith shop and was the best tool He estimated he had shod some in the Mountain West for hooking bales 40,000 horses during the past 57 years of hay—hundreds of them were pro[he had worked]. Of course the jolly duced by the Wilburs. old smith didn’t shoe all those horses Jessie had worked on just about himself—he had helpers . . . when every kind of implement used for agribusiness was booming, but he did shoe cultural and other purposes in the area, a major portion of them. In the good but never did have a yen to work on old days they used to shoe some 2,000 automobiles. He and Glen became head of horses per year, and often as masters in the vanishing art of making many as 20 head per day. Over the wooden wagons, complete with woodyears they applied shoes—hot, not cold en spokes and steel rim wheels. “Do from the hardware store, but those what you can yourself and don’t hire made right in his shop—to the hooves out,” Jessie used to tell his sons. Mr. of those thousands of Ogden Valley Wilbur and his wife, Minnie Farrell horses. Wilbur, had based their lives on this. In the early days Jessie and several A familiar face around the Wilbur of his men were working when a man shop was David O. McKay, late presirode up and demanded some fast work dent of the LDS Church. He and Jessie to be done on his horse. Jessie, in his had been friends since young men. straight-forward way, said, “You’ll Jessie once said of him, “David O. have to wait until I finish what I’m McKay was the best man with horses I working on. I haven’t time right at this ever knew. It didn’t matter what horse, instant.” The strange man suddenly when David O. McKay would stand by pulled out a gun, pointed it at him, and his head, we could shoe the horse withJessie took the time. His later advice to out any trouble.” When Jessie passed Shown above is the original 5 foot bellows that was used to fire up the forge that Jessie used to create and repair tools, branding irons, wagon wheels, horseshoes and all else that was used by early settlers to survive in the isolated Valley. Today the Wilbur Blacksmith Shop looks much the way it did almost 100 years ago. The writing on the outside identifying the shop has been restored over the original lead writing. The bricks that were used to build the blacksmith shop came from a brick yard down Stringtown in Eden. away at the age of 77, 1951, after 54 in the shop, but new equipment had years of blacksmithing, David O. replaced them. Often the anvils McKay was the main speaker at the required two people to work them, packed Mormon funeral, although where the new equipment allowed Glen to work them alone. Glen and his close friend, Robert Hinkley, tried, without success, . . . to arrange an international horseshoeing contest in the Valley, but they gave up because there were no competitors. Glen Wilbur and his lovely wife, the former Clara Hunt, still maintained a degree of self-sufficiency as his father advised, in this specialized world of interA small sampling of horse shoes, a hand forged dependence. wrench and the famous Wilbur hay hooks are When Glen Wilbur sudshown above. denly passes away at the age of 69, he was the last of Jessie himself had never taken the time the Wilbur smithies as he had no chilto join the Church. dren. He was the gentleman blackAfter Jessie’s death, Glen, his co- smith and a friend of everyone who partner since 1924, continued in the familiar Wilbur trade and kept the social gathering place of the men of the three Valley communities and throughout Weber County alive. He was one of the few remaining blacksmiths—a profession from a bygone era. No longer was his five-foot bellows used to fire up the forge, which were grayed and crumbled due to Today inside the blacksmith shop, much remains the the numerous years of same. Many of the original tools and some of Wilbur’s use and smoke. A original handmade items can be found. flick of an electric switch started his forge. Because of considered the Eden area of Ogden this health, he concentrated more on Valley as “home.” welding farm machinery and operating He and his father, Jessie Wilbur, are a small gas station adjoining his shop. sadly missed in the Valley. Within the Pieces of the past still lingered blacksmith’s walls are locked the within the . . . structure on 2145 North pleasant memories of the “The Village 5500 East in Eden. Dotting the walls Blacksmith.” were shelves and racks that kept tools, When the blacksmith business tires, horseshoes, plowshares, and began to diminish because of the chains. Hanging from the rafters was a advent of cars, garages took their place. collection of various sized horseshoes—many hand-made, wagon har- Note: This article came from a larger article printed in “Remember My Valley” ness parts and other equipment. by LaVerna Newey, and is being used by Two anvils stood on wooden blocks permission from the Newey family.