Excerpt From the Aroet Book

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“Utah, after nearly forty years of receiving emigrants and raising two generations of its own, was getting crowded. Most of the agricultural lands had been homesteaded. The colonies established in southern Utah and Arizona were full. . . . The LDS Church was on the lookout for new lands offering economic opportunities for the upcoming generation.” (SV 111). In August 1878, Apostles Brigham Young (son of President Young), Moses Thatcher, and Charles C. Rich, along with others, visited Star Valley, Wyoming Territory, to explore the idea of establishing it as an area for settlement (SV 115). The Valley was “one of the very finest and most beautiful” they had ever seen in the West. (SV114) By 1880, with encouragement from Brigham Young to colonize the area, twenty-one Saints moved to the Valley.

With the issuance of the Edmunds Act of 1882 polygamy was declared a felony; however, it wasn’t until about 1885 that enforcement of th eAct became intense. According to Aroet (3rd journal), by 1885 “hundreds of our Brethren that was living in polygamy was arrested and throde in prison.” Not only were husbands and fathers arrested, but many women were held in contempt of court and jailed for not testifying against their husbands. The enforcement of this federal legislation was leading the Church toward economic and political destruction. President Wilford Woodruff’s revelation that let do the issuance of the Manifesto (1890) eventually ended the legal confrontation, but until that time Aroet was determined to protect his family by making one of the most difficult decisions of his life.

Aroet left Grantsville in February 1886, and after visiting with some of his older children who had settled in the southern part of Idaho, he made a pair of snowshoes and went to St. Charles, Idaho. He was anxious to visit with his son A. Lucius (Aroet Lucius Hale, Jr.), who had been called in 1868 by President Young to help pioneer and colonize the Bear Lake Valley. Aware that his father was looking for a safe haven for one of his polygamous families, Lucius suggested that the sate of Wyoming, and specifically Star Valley, was a welcomed area to settle. Wyoming was relatively free from federal marshals, who were attempting to arrest and imprison all polygamous practicing families. Unlike governors of other states and territories, Governor Moonlight encouraged polygamous families to settle in Wyoming and even offered protection from the marshals who were anxious to continue their pursuits.

Upon arrival in St. Charles, Aroet and A Lucius snowshoed through the mountain pass to Star Valley. Aroet found the valley to be everything his son had said it would be and agreed that it would be an ideal place to bring Charlotte and their children.

Aroet and A. Lucius set to work to assist Henry M. Harmon in surveying the land that would become the town of Aton. A long rope was measured by a carpenter’s square and bearings were taken from the noonday sun and North Star, guided by reference to the Almanac. When an official survey was made several years later, it was found that the original survey was a mere four to five feet out.

As original settlers, bot Aroet and A. Lucius had the option of homesteading their selecte property sites. They proceedd to plow and fence their 160 acres, plant prain and potatoes, dig ditches, and build their first small but adequate homes. A. Lucius then moved his wife, Eliza Ann, and their five sons to their new home before the end of the summer.

By the fall of 1886, Aroet had traveled to Grantsville and returned to Afton in covered wagons with his wife Charlotte and their seven children. One week after arriving in Afton, it began to snow. They didn’t see th ground again for six months, but even after endureing the severe winter months and living under primitive conditions, Charlotte said Star Valley was “the most beautiful place she had seen since she left England.”She was asked years later if she’d like to return to Grantsville, but she considered Star Valley her home and had no intention of leaving.

By the close of 1888 there were about 40 families making their permanent home in the valley. In addition to the severe winters, these initial settlers faced additional challenges. The nearest realroad was fifty miles away. The road out of the valley followed creek beds in places, while meandering over high hills an through steep canyons in others. The snow depth during a typical winter was recorded to have fallen from two and one-half to six feet deep, literally snowing everything in. Sometimes in winter, it was necessary to haul supplies into the valley by men on snowshoes. Under these conditions, it was no small undertaking to pioneer this country.

About the year 1888 or 1889, Aroet returned to Grantsville, having been reassured that his son A. Lucius would lend support to Charlotte and the children as needed. From this point on, Aroet frequently traveled between Afton and Grantsville to see to the needs of both families.

["Early Days of Star Valley, Star Valley Independent, C. Watt Brandon, March 15, 1951]

Pictures are of the Star Valley, Wyoming Temple and A. Lucius Hale, son of Aroet Lucius Little Hale. The Temple is located on the original homestead of A. Lucius Hale family.

Progress Report on the Aroet Lucius Little Hale Book

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The “Aroet” book has been a labor of love and has taken a vast amount of time, work, and patience. All participants on the project are family volunteers who have collectively dedicated thousands of hours to complete this work. Aroet was a magnanimous person who accomplished many noteworthy things in his lifetime. His journals and letters are extensive, and his life affected many others. The basic manuscript is nearing completion and is beginning the editing process.

The book committee began meeting monthly to make decisions about the manuscript, including how many pages to work toward (this effects the final cost of printing each copy), what voice to use, which family members to include in this book, how to publish the current descendancy charts, the general layout and design, and several other details. One of the decisions we made together was to use Aroet’s words and perspective as much as possible–to let Aroet tell the story. When we decided that, all other details seemed to fall in to place and the project has flowed smoothly ever since.

We have been fortunate to have several talented and dedicated family contributors on this project. Lee and Debbie Hale, David S. and Christine Hale, Phil and Barbara Hale, David N. and NiCole Hale, and Donna Akers have been meeting regularly to sync their work on the project. Their talent and love for our common ancestor is fantastic, and shows in their work. What a distinct blessing it is to have their help!

The committee has collected photos, journals (and transcriptions), letters, and previous life sketches of ancestors–many of these items were given to the committee by Hale Family members at large. Additional information for the project came by visiting with older family members who preserved family histories, some information came from organizations such as Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and a few pieces of information came miraculously as members became acquainted, through unlikely circumstances, with cousins they had never known before but had information that helped fill in the gaps. One project of the committee was to create an extensive timeline spreadsheet representing decades of collecting and organizing information from these sources for the Aroet book project. This detailed timeline for Aroet’s life has helped us sort through redundancies and errors in previously written histories and helped guide the organization and writing of the Aroet book.

Photos collected by the committee have created many hours of work in themselves. Committee members have spent many hours sorting through these photos in search of the best ones to include and restoring old faded memories to a crisp, clean image for printing. They will be added to the manuscript during the final formatting as soon as the written portion has reached its final editing.

In addition to a manuscript of Aroet’s life, the committee has been collecting life sketches of each of Aroet’s wives and children, and editing them to fit in the limited pages of our book. It is remarkable how much these wonderful ancestors accomplished through tenacity, hard work, and a generous dose of family love and good humor. As committee members have collected known histories and searched for missing ones, it has been surprising to find that some of the children have absolutely no known life sketches in print. Sadly, unless you (yes, YOU, dear reader) have something to contribute, a few of Aroet’s children will have little more than their vital statistics in their life sketch. These children include:
Olive Amelia Hale, born 1852
Esther Louisa Hale, born 1858
Robert Gee Hale (adopted son), born 1866
Leonard Wilford Hale, born 1869
Sarah Almina Hale, born 1874
Frank Boynton Hale, born 1877

It is our testimony that as we have worked on this project, we have had assistance from the other side of the veil. Aroet’s life and experiences have much to teach us as we face our own lives, and we are anxious to create a wonderful book that each of us can learn from and share with our children–to teach, to inspire, and to encourage both ourselves and the next generation.

If you have additional documents or pictures to share, now is the last call for those items. Please bring them to the temple meeting or scan a copy and send it to either NiCole or Lee. Please use these addresses for such contributions: or

Hale Family Temple Day Changed

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February 27, 1889 The Hale Family Organization established its beginning. The purpose was to do as much Genealogy and Temple work as possible. Our ancestors set up an organizational structure to help our kindred dead by starting a fund to defray the costs of the work. The organization and the fund still exist today. The month of February was the month chosen for everyone to assemble in Logan to do as much of the work as possible that had been collected during the year. Everyone met at the Alma Helaman Hale home to distribute the work and to enjoy the family reunion. Most of them stayed with Alma and Sarah or other family in the area. There were several reasons for choosing February for this gathering. First, most of the families were involved in farming or related industries that were not as busy in the winter months. Second, February was the birth month of our patriarch Jonathan Harriman Hale.

For many years now, the Hale Family Organization has tried to carry on this tradition by celebrating the last Saturday in February in the Logan Temple with a family meal and Endowment Session. The Logan Temple has traditionally closed for repairs and cleaning the first week in January, but has now found that it needs to change their schedule to close for maintenance at the end of February, affecting our traditional temple date.

We must now adopt a new date for our tradition and we want input from family members as to that change. This year we will be having the Hale Family Temple day on the 10th of September. In making this change, many things were considered by the HF Organization Board. The obvious ones were winter weather and travel, busy summer schedules for families, and LDS church events such as General Conference. Hale celebratory dates were also considered: February is Jonathan’s birthday, July is Olive’s birthday, and September is their wedding month.

Thanks to all of the family members who sent in their feelings about the temple date change. It was very positive and unanimous that the September date becomes permanent and would be a better date than the winter month of February. The September date as been arranged with the Logan Temple and we invite all our family who can come.

Temple Day 2016

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The Hale Family Organization 2016 Logan Temple Day will be September 10, 2016. Please meet at 10:45am in the basement cafeteria meeting room. Lunch will be from 11am to noon. Hale Family Officers will be there to greet you and will have a short family meeting to update everyone on the organization. We will then excuse everyone for the 12:30pm session. Please bring family names if you have them. If you cannot attend this celebration, please attend anywhere that you can, hopefully at the same time so that we will have unity of our family to strengthen us all.

September is a good month to celebrate at the temple as it is the month that Jonathan and Olive started their life together as Husband and Wife. They were married on 1 September 1825 in Bradford (now Groveland), Essex, Massachusetts.

We have had many family members attend their respective temples all over the world at this time so that we can celebrate our departed ancestors who devoted their lives to this cause and their belief. Our freedoms have been obtained for us at an extremely high price and we should make sure we continue with the same strength and vigor that they did in protecting our religious freedoms and maintaining our family organization and the work we have pledged to continue.

Please write and tell us of your experiences and feelings on this special day.

Glimpse of the Aroet Book: Olive Amelia Whittle Hale

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The following excerpt is a brief look at the biography of Olive, Aroet’s first wife.

Somehow, along with providing for his family, Aroet found time to help allay Indian troubles in the Salt Lake valley. In recognition of the valued services which Aroet had rendered, he was assigned by President Brigham Young a grant of 160 acres of land in Tooele County, on what was then called Willow Creek, now Grantsville. He moved his family there in the early fall of 1854. Alma, now 18, was still with Aroet and Olive, and continued to be a great benefit to the family.

In Grantsville the family immediately built a two-room house and began to till the land. Aroet eventually sold the home on North Temple Street for $1,200. Those few years were difficult, to be sure. Grasshoppers were still a constant threat, and having enough food was always a concern. Most of what came to the table was hunted game, a catch of fish from nearby streams, and milk from the cow. Indians tormented the pioneers, and made progress even more difficult. Nearby families sometimes woke up to find their cattle gone.

Six months after their move, in the spring of 1855, Aroet was called on a special mission to Las Vegas, Nevada. His assignment was to defend the saints from the Indians, keep the stage line open, and build a fortified station for the protection of the US mail and the emigrants who were passing through Las Vegas in steadily increasing numbers. He arrived in Las Vegas June 14, 1855.

Aroet had spent time away from the family before in defending the settlements against Indians, but never for such a long period of time. The time Aroet spent on his mission was a period of growth for Olive. She was hardworking and diligent in rearing the children and running the household. Alma stayed to help with the farm work. In his first letter home (May 20, 1855, enroute to Las Vegas), Aroet encourages Olive to keep Lucius (almost 5) in school as much as possible. “Do the best you can, trust in the Lord, and all will come out right in the end.” He indulged in a little reminiscing about the fireside chats they had during the previous winter, and expressed his trust that Alma would be able to care for the cattle, horses and farm.

Soon later, Aroet sends a note to update his family on recent events. (June 4, 1855) They had enjoyed good health, and had commenced proselytizing among the friendly indians they had met. His heart is obviously with his family, worrying over their condition and pleading with Olive to write to him.

To this point, Olive had not learned to read or write, but she took this opportunity to apply herself to the task. Her first written words are contained in a letter to her husband dated June 24, 1855. Although she lacked the luxury of formal education, the letters she wrote to Aroet while he served missions in the southern territories show a clear-minded, spirited young woman. She had a spark of humor and enjoyed a good rapport with her husband. As is revealed in Olive’s own pen, she bore the burden of a young mother in newly settled territory with a positive outlook. Uncomplaining, she tells Aroet of her circumstances with honesty.

Through Olive’s letters to Aroet, we learn many details of her life as a pioneer. While Aroet was building the fort in Las Vegas, Olive and Alma continued establishing the home in Grantsville. For all their effort, they had many challenges. The grasshoppers and lack of rain that year were not the only problems, and Olive states it with perfect honesty in her letter to Aroet, dated August 9th 1855:

“I tell you, Aroet, there never were such hard times since I can remember. I hardly know what we shall do for wheat, and we have no garden stuff. Little Jonathan has been sick for three weeks. Your taxes and note must be paid with cash–and nothing else. Alma has the wheat thrashed; there were 16 ⅕ bushels, the same as he planted. We have lost old Rose, she would have made a good winter cow. We tried out her tallow and got 15 pounds. I am running eight dozen candles and making our winter soap.”

Other men–even Olive’s father–had given up with raising wheat and moved back to the city, but Alma and Olive worked hard to keep the farm going and carry on. Since they could not rely on their wheat, Alma took jobs as he could. He spent time harvesting lumber for the mill in the summer of 1855. The family raised a small herd of cattle as well. To keep food on the table, Alma regularly went fishing with other men from the community.

Olive’s neighbors and family were also a strength to her. Townspeople often checked in with her to see how things were going for her as well as her husband. Olive would find a way into the city to see her mother, or her mother would come to Grantsville, as often as they could. In fair weather, they saw each other weekly. Her brother Casper occasionally visited, and Olive’s sister Emeline stayed with Olive from June 1857 until Aroet returned home.

Although life was not easy, Olive remained firm and full of faith. In a letter dated September 23, 1855, Olive further describes her situation and temperament:

“How we are to get our bread, I know not. Alma has made one trip north to sell something to buy wheat, but was unsuccessful. But I expect the way will be opened for us, if we do right and trust in our Redeemer. Alma sold the pink cow to pay the taxes. I did not like it very well, for that cow you always called mine.”

Financial struggles are not the only challenges Olive faced while Aroet was gone. As Olive mentioned in the excerpt above, little Jonathan was constantly cross. He required extra care, and in a August she writes that he hasn’t walked in three months. Jonathan was only 19 months old and Olive had no idea what was making him waste away. Additionally, Olive’s sister Josephine became sick and died just one month before her second birthday. Add to all of this the bittersweet status of expectant mother, for Olive bore another healthy baby boy just a few months later on November 29, 1855: Thomas Whittle Hale.

One more excerpt of her letters, this one dated December 1885, relates Olive’s perspective of the situation:

“I have one of the finest boys to show you when you come. I had the best time I ever had, but had no help until Alma got his sweetheart to come, and they took care of me and everything. I received the $10.00 and the 6 pounds of dried grapes you sent home. I got them when the baby was two days old. It was the only delicacy I had.”

Through the letters she wrote, we also catch a glimpse of Olive’s compassion and concern as a mother. She began sending Lucius to school as soon as he could attend, and remarked at how quickly he caught on to his lessons. Olive mentions each of the children lovingly, helping her husband to catch up on their growth. Olive’s letters brought comfort to Aroet. Even at a distance, Aroet took great care to do what he could for his family. He sent packages to Olive and the children as often as he could. Pine nuts and “dried grapes” were their favorites. In 1856 he made arrangements with several people in town to have the house painted, the well “rocked” and for his family to get new shoes. He wrote his family frequently, and expressed his love for his dear wife each time. Aroet even found ways to tease her from a distance, and the effort was not lost on her. One set of passages is typical of their banter: Aroet described his encounters with some of the friendly Indians, and related to her that a squaw of eligible marrying age was rare enough that it was common for two or more Indian men to fight for her hand. He joked with Olive that he might bring one home for his own. Olive knew her husband’s wit even at a distance, and didn’t miss a beat. “You won’t need me and a squaw to keep you clean, and you needn’t come home if you have another.”

Olive’s kindness and love for her family and friends is obvious through her letters. Noticeably absent from Olive’s writing is any mention of disagreements or petty aggravations. Johnathan was not the only one Olive worried about. In each letter, Olive expresses her hopes and grief over the many good people in her life. She encourages Aroet to write to her sister Mary who needs some cheering up, mentions the friends who have asked about Aroet, and tells him of loved ones who pass away, including a two year old sister, Josephine.

Above all, the remarkable trait of this pioneer woman was that she was uncomplaining and completely supportive of her husband. The challenges Olive faced as she tamed the rugged landscape were daunting, but she was undaunted. In all of her letters, Olive tells Aroet that the family loves him and misses him, and that they pray for his success. ”My prayer is that you will perform your mission in a way that will be an honor to you and your posterity and be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.” (June 24, 1855, spelling corrected)

Headline-Making Cousin (literally)

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Ronald Millett, cousin to the Aroet Hale branch of the family is a regular contributor for Meridian Magazine, an online magazine featuring current events and faith-based stories. Follow the links to learn more about Ronald and browse dozens of insightful articles.

About Ronald

Aroet Book Update 2016

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Work continues on the Aroet book.  Those participating have been pulled in several directions, but we are making progress slowly. Sketches of Aroet’s wives are complete and ready for editing. Aroet’s extensive journals have been transcribed and research has been done, and continues, on the history of the places and events he was a part of.  A master time line has been created and artifacts continue to come in related to Aroet.  At the Temple gathering in February 2012 Lee showed the family a book of Aroet’s poetry that had recently been given to him by a relative. 

This has been a laborious project, and we still have details to finish.  We could use more help as we wrap up the Aroet book project.  Specifically, if you are interested in writing a short history on each of Aroet’s children (or a few of them), we would appreciate the help.  We can provide you with the data the committee has already gathered and give suggestions about where you might do more research to fill in the blanks.  We have an editor so you don’t need to worry about verbiage and syntax–we just need people to sift through information and create concise summaries.  This project can be done in small chunks, and every bit of help is welcome!  Use the “Tell Us Your News” link and I will get you in touch with the committee.

Temple Day 2012

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We were blessed with wonderful weather this year, and the Logan gathering went as planned.  On February 25th, 2012, the Hale family filled the banquet room in the Logan temple with over 80 family members in attendance!  Temple work continues with this great family of ours!

At our general meeting, we discussed some things that members of the Hale Family are currently part of.  For more information on those activities, please see “FAMILY NEWS” through the link on the right.

Lee spent some time taking suggestions on the newsletter content, we discussed the need to celebrate the lives of our recently deceased (although space does not permit in the newsletter we can post obituaries on the website), and David had a few minutes to update everyone on the use of the website.

One suggestion was made that stands out to me personally.  We have a great opportunity here as we gather together as family.  There is still much work to do.  If we organized ourselves, communicated needs, and worked together on projects, more would get accomplished as we focus our time and energy together.

To that end, we now have a “HOW YOU CAN HELP” page with a link in the right hand sidebar.  Please check it monthly for new projects and updated status reports.  If you have suggestions, please contact Lee or NiCole via the “Tell Us Your News” link.  Our purpose as an organization is to get the work done–and it will only happen if we work together!


Logan Temple Day 2011

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(Update 25 Feb 2011)

Because of severe weather conditions in and around Logan, we must unfortunately cancel the formal meeting which we had scheduled for 26 February at the Logan Temple. Family members are encouraged to visit their local temples as possible. Because of the delay in sending out this message, please forward this to others who might be planning on attending this event.

We would like to extend an invitation to all who are able to meet us in the Logan Temple February 26th for our annual Hale Family Temple Day.  Our schedule is as follows:

Gather in the temple cafeteria 11:00
Lunch/Family meeting 11:30
Dismiss to prepare for session 12:15
Session 1:00

This day commemorates the time Alma and Aroet Hale spent in the temple each year from January to February, performing ordinances for their ancestors.  Specifically, it celebrates the “Lighting of the Logan Temple,” a  phenomenon witnessed and documented at the culmination of their temple work in 1896.  A summary of this event is here.

It is an honor to meet together and carry on the tradition of our Hale ancestors.  If you cannot meet in the Logan temple, the HFO encourages you to participate in spirit through your own local temple.


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The Hale family organization is nearing completion on a book of Aroet Lucius Little Hale (1828-1911), the oldest orphan of Jonathan Harriman Hale and Olive Boynton.  Aroet was a great man with an adventurous spirit.  His extensive journals tell tales of:

  • traveling with Brigham Young on advance parties to prepare for the westward migration of early Latter-Day Saints;
  • leading his orphaned brothers and sister across the plains;
  • serving several early missions to settle areas in the southwestern United States for the church;
  • negotiating with antagonistic Native Americans; and
  • raising a large posterity.

The book committee has used Aroet’s journals to lead them through the compilation of this book, while researching extensively by visiting the areas Aroet lived in and settled, speaking with some of the relatives who actually remember him, and investigating other written sources to give us a better perspective of Aroet’s life and adventures.  Chapter biographies of each of his wives will be included, along with short excerpts on each of his children where information has been available.  Also included will be a CD paf file of Aroet’s genealogy.  Research for this book has been going on for over a decade.

The HFO would like to finish this project up but we could use your help.  Specifically, if you are interested in writing a short history on each of Aroet’s children (or a few of them), we would appreciate the help.  We can provide you with the data the committee has already gathered and give suggestions about where you might do more research to fill in the blanks.  We have an editor so you don’t need to worry about verbiage and syntax–we just need people to sift through information and create concise summaries  This project can be done in small chunks, and every bit of help is welcome!  Use the “Tell Us Your News” link and I will get you in touch with the committee.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact us!  There is plenty to do.

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