Confidence: Direct and primary evidence
David W Birdno
From story found in home of Maxine McRae Layton
Nehemiah Wood Beirdneau grew to manhood in Ohio, was converted and baptized into the Mormon Church. He met America Ann Steel. They were married and emigrated to Illinois. He belonged to the Nauvoo Legion, which was trained by Prophet Joseph Smith. He was a body guard to the Prophet, and he, together with Tom and Price Nelson stood guard over the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith while they were lying in state.
While in Nauvoo, he and several others went to volunteer for service in the Mormon Battalion, but found the quota had already been reached.President Brigham Young made this statement to the Battalion: “They have taken the flower of the Mormon Church, but if you men live your religion, and say your prayers morning and night, you will never have to fire a gun.” When they were coming to the place where Tucson Arizona now stands, they could see the smoke of the battle, but upon reaching there, they found the battle was over.They never did fire at the enemy.
He was with the Saints during their persecutions and sufferings in Illinois and Missouri, and emigrated to Winter Quarters. There he rigged up two yokes of oxen and a wagon, and emigrated to Utah with the James S Brown Company. At that time they had four children. They were: Clara, Sally, Etta, and Will.
They reached Salt Lake in 1848. While there, he met Mary Bird Ferrell and they were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake. He then moved to Logan and helped settle the country. To this union came six sons,namely: Charles Nehemiah, George Hyrum, John Joseph, David Wm. Enoch Louise and Lionel Ferrel.
He was a blacksmith by trade and was the foreman foe tempering and sharpening the tools that were used for cutting the blue lime rock used in building the Logan Temple. When the polygamy question came up, he was called on a mission to Saint Johns, Arizona to help colonize and settle the country. He and his wife Mary and family left Logan June 4, 1884. His first wife America Ann and family remained in Logan. They left Logan traveling the main highway through Brigham City, Salt Lake, Provo and Panguich, and then to Little’s Ranch. There they learned the Big Colorado was so high it was impossible to ferry across and as there was plenty of Prairie grass and feed for the oxen, they remained for six weeks. Sometime in July, they left Little’s Ranch and started on. Upon reaching the river, they found it still so swollen the operators of the Ferry wouldn’t attempt to take the ferry across. Finally it was decided to swim the cattle and by tying two boats together, the wagons could be loaded on them. After taking the boats and wagons up stream about a half mile, they started across, but a hard wind struck the cover of the wagon and turned the boats back to the shore they had started from. They then took the boats and wagons back up stream about three-quarters of a mile. This time they removed the covers from the wagons and made it all right. They journeyed on to Winslow, Woodruff, and Snowflake. When they left Salt Lake they turned in the grain they had, received an order for it, and they were able to receive grain and flour along the way as they needed it.
On November 29, 1884, they reached Pima Arizona. They lived in Pima and did Blacksmith work for a while. A little later, they bought a small mill and ground flour. About this time President Christopher Layton moved from Saint David and settled in the upper part of the valley about where Thatcher Arizona is now located. The Birdno family sold their business and bought from President Layton about 160 acres of farm land about half way between where Thatcher and Safford Arizona are now located. Here the family settled until after the children were grown and married.
David, the fourth son, worked on the farm part time, and together with Charles and George hauled lumber from the Graham Mountains. In 1890 he started driving stage for President Christopher Layton between Bowie and Fort Thomas taking two days to make the trip. He made this run for two years, then took the run from Bowie to Globe for another year. During the three years he drove stage, he never failed to make the run, was never held up, and never more than one hour late on any run. He then quit driving stage and hauled the freight between Wilcox and Globe for several years. During this time, he met Millie May Haws and they were married in Pima, August 29, 1894, with Bishop John Taylor performing the ceremony.
Lyle Edward Birdno was born August 21, 1897 in Thatcher Arizona to David William Birdno and Millie May Haws Birdno. The family farm was located between Safford and Thatcher and later become the Safford Ward Welfare Farm. Two years later, Dave sold the farm and with his brother Charles, established a mercantile business where the present Mobile Service Station is. Too many uncollectable credit sales ended the venture after two year, and David took his family to Bisbee and worked in the mines. Here, he recovered his financial loss and bought a .......
David William Birdno
David William Birdno was born 17 June 1870, in Logan, Utah, to Nehemiah Wood Birdno and Mary Bird Farrell Birdno. To this union six sons were born. David was the fourth.
His father, Nehemiah, was an excellent blacksmith, and received a call from the L.D.S.Church to fill a mission in Arizona as a colonizer and blacksmith in the Joseph City area. The family started for Arizona 4 June 1884. The waters of the Colorado River were so high it took several attempts to get their wagons and cattle across.
By the time they reached Joseph City, the services of a blacksmith had already been acquired. A blacksmith was needed also in the Gila Valley, so they journeyed on, arriving in Pima, 29 November 1884.
Nehemiah bought 160 acres of land … grew to manhood.
David farmed and hauled lumber from the Graham Mountains as did some of his other brothers. Another brother, John J. Birdno, established and edited the “Graham County Guardian” first newspaper in this area, and its service continued until 1975.
In 1890, David started driving stagecoach and freight teams from Wilcox to Globe; and later from Bowie to Globe. He always made his run, was never held up, and never arrived more than an hour late during the years he drove. This was quite a record as Geronimo and his renegade Apaches were on the rampage at this time.
David married Millie May Haws, daughter of William Wallace Haws and Barbara Belinda Mills Haws on 28 August 1894 in Pima. They then went to Salt Lake City and entered the Salt Lake Temple 17 October 1894.
Upon returning to the valley, they settled on the Birdno farm. Here their first three children were born: William David Birdno, Lyle Edward Birdno (my father) and Reva May Birdno (Clifford). David’s father, Nehemiah, died 7 September 1901.
In 1900, the crops were poor and prices down so David was persuaded to sell his part of the farm and go into the mercantile business with his brother George. Their store,the Birdno Building, was located on the corner of 5th Street and 7th Avenue in Safford. Within a year, the store was bankrupt and everything had to be auctioned off. The family lost their life savings in that venture.
David and family then moved to Lowell, Arizona, where he worked in the mines at Bisbee. He bought a small home and here their fourth child was born: Beatrice Nellie Birdno (McRae). Later he built a nice two-story home for his growing family.
David was injured several times in the mines so he decided to go into a successful fruit and vegetable business. At this time, their fifth child was born: Armand Hugh Birdno.
In 1909,David received a mission call to Mexico. He moved the family back to the Gila Valley while in Mexico. He left in April 1909. After a few months in Mexico, he became very ill and had to be released. He was sick for many months.
In late 1910, they sold their homes in Lowell and moved to Safford to live on John Birdno’s farm. Here their sixth child was born: Bernice Laver Birdno (Bingham).
In November 1916, David bought the Wakefield farm from Bill Cosper, and this became home for the family.
Here their seventh child was born; May May Birdno (Paul). The next day her mother, Mille May Haws Birdno died, leaving this one-day old premature infant and six other children. The oldest son, Bill (William) also was gravely ill with double pneumonia. Bill didn’t get well until June. Aunt Mary Mangum (grandmother’s older sister) took baby Mary and raised her.
David later married a widow, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bullard.
From about 1920 until his retirement, David farmed and did custodian work at the Graham County Court House. He died 23 April 1950 and internment was in Safford, Arizona
Submitted by Floreine Birdno
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