Thomas Ferris Wilcox was a farmer and a carpenter. He always had nice things in the home and around the house. On their property he had an orchard of fruit trees and a hill which was just in back of the home with a big rock the children called “frog rock.” He married Eliza Criddle in 1894 and they had three girls and two boys. She later died of cancer.
After the death of his wife Eliza, time passed and he married a German woman by the name of Roza. The marriage did not last. Belva recalls, "She had quite a temper. She taught the children some German songs. Father was a "good farmer", had fruit trees and gardens as well as dairy cows and chickens."
In 1910 he decided to move the family to Mesa, Arizona on to a 60-acre farm. The place did not have a house or anything on it, but it was located within the canal irrigation system, about four miles northeast of the city. The family moved everything they owned in a railroad car. Belva her brother Ferris rode in the car to take care of the animals, which included feeding and watering them.
Belva recalls that Thomas was a nice looking man around five feet 7 or 8 with brown hair and blue eyes. Being a farmer he worked hard so of course he was always very slender. He was a very pleasant person, but he was a very strict man with his family, that is with his children, because he had been the one to set the rules for us all of his life. So he seemed to think that it was up to him to set down the rules continuously.
He had a very thick head of hair, a nice hairline. When he died in his sixties, he still had lots of hair, he never did grow bald. He used to rinse his hair with sage tea, which he claimed kept it from going grew.
When they moved to Mesa, Arizona, the family moved into two square tents. They slept in one tent and cooked in the other. Thomas and his son Ferris planted trees, grapevines, and dug a well.
Belva said, "His health began to fail and so he and Mama and Judy moved to Mesa Arizona." He died on December 24, 1934. He had worked hard all his life as a farmer and had taught his six children high ideals and the importance of a belief in God and the restoration of the church in these latter days. He had given his children two mothers: one who gave them birth and one who would be an example of everything good in their life. He died January 25, 1934.
|Thomas Ferris Wilcox, son of James David Wilcox and Judith Oviatt - children: Ferris Clifford, Thomas Raymond, Hazel (Peggy), Alice Lovina, and Belva. Thomas Ferris' wife Eliza Criddle died in 1907 when Belva was three years old|
Thomas and Clarinda:
Thomas Wilcox with grandchildren:
Thomas Wilcox's second wife Clarinda:
Thomas Wilcox's grandfather was Ira Oviatt.
Mary Oviatt Jenkins: The Prophet Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon in this section of Pennsylvania at this time, and it probably was about this time and pleace that Ruth and Ira Oviatt heard of the gospel because they were the only members of their respective families to join the church.
they came west with the Saints and lived in Nauvoo across the street from the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ruth Bennett Oviatt told her grandchildren about sitting on her doorstep or in her rocking chair and listening to the Prophet preach to the people in his front yard. When the woodd country was cleared to build houses, a large stump was lifet in the Prophet's front yard and when people came to him for advic he would mount this stump as the crowd became larger and larger, and speak for hours. His voic was clear and distinct and he coud be herd across the street with ease. No maatter what their task, they would be ready to stop and listen, and could feel his influence as soon as they heard his voice. When Joesph and Hyrum were tarred and feathered by the mob, the came to her house and obtained clothing to put on before going home.
For more on Ira Oviatt click here.