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Autobiography of Sylvester Veach Grow

Sylvester Veach Grow History compiled by Marco and Bobbette Grow
Received from Jacqueline Dinsmoor

Autobiography of Sylvester Veach Grow

I was born of Latter-day Saint parents in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 29, 1861. My early childhood recollections are principally of playing on the Temple blocks while the Tabernacle and the Temple were under constructions.

The city had no charm for me. I wanted to live on a farm, consequently, at the early age of thirteen years, I left Salt Lake City, empty-handed and on foot and came to Huntsville.  I walked all the way.

From that time on, with the occasional visit to Salt Lake City, I have lived in Huntsville. For some time, I hired out to the farmers. I also herded cattle during the summer seasons until finally I bought a small place of my own to which I have added as fast as circumstance would permit.

At the age of nineteen, I married Matilda Ann Smith of Huntsville, Utah and after twelve years of married life she died leaving me with six children, the eldest only eleven years of age. I struggled along for four years trying to keep my children together when I married a second time, a Huntsville girl, Johanna Matilda Michelsen.  We have six children living, one of whom is on a mission to California.

I served as a Ward Teacher for several years, also as County Game Warden for six years and Deputy State Game Commissioner for two years.  In November 1910, I was elected on a Republican ticket as Representative to the State Legislature for 1911-1912. I have always taken an active part in the politics of Weber County.

My ancestors on my mother's (Julia Melville Veach) side were principally Germans. One of my mother's brothers and several uncles were reverends, ministers, aside from that we knew very little of them. My father, Henry Grow Jr was born October 1, 1817 at Norristown, Philadephia, Pennsylvania. (Refer to biography of Henry Grow Jr)

My uncle, Dad's brother, Galusha A. Grow was born at Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut, August 31, 1828.  He was admitted to the Bar in 1847 and in 1890, he was elected to the 32nd Congress of the United States of America.  He was reelected to the 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th and 37th Congress.  During the 37th Congress he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.  It will be remembered that during this period there was an unyielding struggle between those who believed in Free and those who believed in Slat Territory.  In the desperate struggle, before the war, to pus slavery into Free Territory, Galusha A Grow took a leading part and proved himself to be a far-seeing, broad-minded statesman, an able director, debater and an uncompromising, true, warm-hearted friend of humanity and freedom.  Amid all the trying scenes and events of that trying time he was calm, independent, fearless and resolutely, coolly fought the battle of freedom on the floor of the house.  

Galusha A Grow has also heavy claims upon the gratitude of the people of the country for having been the "Father of Free Homes." In the first session of the 35th Congress, on January 4, 1858, he introduced his famous bill "To secure homesteads to actual settlers in the public domain." His maiden speech in Congress was on this questions, in May 1852, although it failed to pass at that session, it became a law of the land in 1863, and brought blessings that cannot be estimated to toiling millions of his countrymen. It was Mr. Grow's bill that became the Homestead Law and he had the satisfaction of signing it as Speaker of the Hosue. A hand-painted portrait of Honorable Galusha A Grow was hung on the wall in the House of Congress at Washington, January 21, 1892 and it there at this time. (Note: Galusha A. Grow is not a brother to Henry Grow Jr. - relationship has not yet been determined. - Marcia Nelson)

In the struggle of existence, my own early education was sadly neglected, consequently,I have been handicapped in trying to emulate the example set by some of my worthy ancestors, but while I was a member of the Utah State Legislature, session of 1911, I was the father of three bills, all of which were passed and all calculated to benefit and better the condition of the community in general.

One bill to prohibit gambling was introduced by me and approved Mary 20, 1911, has been the means, to a very great extent, of eliminating gambling from our towns and cities.

Another bill, No. 124 entitled "Use of Motor Vehicles on Public Highways" has made our highways practically safe, both for vehicles drawn by horses and motor vehicles. Fewer accidents have happened in our canyon since the approval of that bill, March 20, 1911.

The "Fraudulent Check Bill" introduced by me, has been a great protection to business men as well as all the laboring classes of the State.

When the Huntsville Commercial Club was first organized, I was elected to act as a director. I was reelected to serve a second term and am just starting my third term.  Our aim is for the betterment of Huntsville. For the past four years, I have served on a Railroad Committee to, if possible, get the railroad into Huntsville and we are on the eve of success.

I have a keen regard for the laws of the Country as well as the higher law which touches every heart from the Divine source of all laws.

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