The spring of 1909 was memorable to me. A neighbor, Jed Hawkins stopped by to invite me to a dance at Naf Idaho that evening. I wasn’t going to go but when I met his beautiful Sister, Sarah, I made up my mind in a hurry.
At the dance an old friend of Sarah’s named Campbell asked her what she was doing out in this country and Jed spoke up and said, “Why didn’t you know Sarah and Lew are married?” Campbell congratulated her, and little later when Campbell and Sarah were talking over old times and I walked up and said “Don’t you think you are getting too chummy with this man? Campbell apologized.
When I took Sarah home that night she introduced me to Mother Hawkins as her husband and Mother Hawkins said” Oh, you soft thing.” When I finally asked Sarah to marry me, she said she didn’t like to think of raising a family where the husband was using tobacco, (I was chewing at the time). I told her the day she and I went into partnership, tobacco and I would dissolve partnership. I was true to my word and never used it again.
When I asked Father Hawkins for Sarah, I said, “ How do you feel about our marriage?” He pretended to not hear right and said” I feel just fine, I didn’t feel so good yesterday but I feel much better today”. And I said, “I didn’t ask about you, I have a more important matter to discuss with you.” Then he laughed and gave us his blessing.
We were married 14 December 1910 in the Logan Temple. After we were married Brother Morgan asked me if that was the first time I had kissed my wife and I said “Yes Sir.”
We made our home on the farm in Bridge, Idaho. The following spring Father Hawkins fell on a head gate, breaking some ribs. The injury caused pneumonia to develop and he died Six weeks later on 27 April1911. Oswald and I took his body to Logan in a covered buggy, where he was buried.
Our first baby, a girl was born 19 February 1912 at Mother Hawkins home in Logan. We named her Margaret. At first she didn’t have much hair, but a year later Sarah got what she always wanted, a curly haired doll, Margaret’s hair was beautiful, long and Curley. This same year I was called to be Superintendent of the Sunday School. Three years later we had another baby girl on 13 January 1915 at Bridge. We had no doctor, just a mid-wife to help deliver her. We named her Dorothy. On March 27, 1917 we thought there was only one kind, for we got another girl. We named her Ruth. She was also born at Bridge Idaho.
In the spring of 1919, I was called to be a counselor to Bishop Harry Toyn in the Naf Ward. In the fall I was kneeling to pray with the family when a terrible pain seized me. I was in such pain that Sarah walked three miles in the dead of night to get help from her brother Jed. Will took me to Logan in his car. Bob and Emeline come to see me and called a doctor. They operated on me for appendicitis and found nothing wrong with them. Three days later I was dying again. A Doctor Campbell gave me up saying,” Well, we can’t save them all.” Doctor Jones wouldn’t give up, he forced a tube up through my intestine straitening out a kink in the bowel, which saved my life.
One time my Mother wrote and asked if we could spare her any money. I will always be grateful to my dear wife Sarah, for she took all of our meager savings from the cupboard and sent it to her. My Mother died from Cancer and a stroke paralyzing her one side December 2, 1919. How I did miss my Dear little Mother. She endured many hardships, especially after father died. She was true to the end, staying close to the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In April of 1920, Sarah was visiting her Mother in Logan. She was badly affected with hay fever, so we had decided to leave the farm and move to where she could get some relief. About this time President Eliason came to ask me to serve as Bishop of the Naf Ward. He gave me a week to give him an answer. On Friday I went to Malta and told him I could not accept the calling because of Sarah’s hay fever and our plans to move. At five o’clock the next morning I was sleeping soundly, when suddenly I was lifted from my bed, and stood on the floor, it felt like my hair was standing on end. I knew at once that I must get ready and go to Almo to attend the Priesthood meeting. I hurriedly did my chores and rode seventeen miles horse back arriving in time for the meeting. There I was called into the Presidency and High Counsel meeting, and was asked why I could not accept the calling as Bishop. I told them of Sarah’s affliction. Patriarch Toyn stood up and said” Brother Gunnell, I promise you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that if you will accept this calling as Bishop and do it to the best of your ability your wife will be healed.” I accepted and Sarah never had hay fever again. I was set apart as acting Bishop, April 10, 1920. Later on 6 February 1921, Rudger Clawson ordained me a High Priest and Bishop of Naf Ward, Raft River Stake,
On August 27,1920 our faith was restored, there was another kind after all. A fine baby boy comes to bless our home. He was born at Mother Hawkins home in Logan. He was given my namesake, Louis Junior. Three years later on 10 April 1923 we got another beautiful daughter, also born in Logan. We named her Alice Velma. On 20 September 1926 another son come to our home, we named him Eudean Hawkins. He was born in Logan.
During my nine years as Bishop, Sarah served faithfully at my side as Ward Organist, Sunday School Teacher, and in the primary and Relief Society, except the winter of 1924 she spent in Logan. Sarah was also a devoted wife and mother. She taught our children the gospel, played the piano, sang with the children, and we held a home evening with our children. She also home taught some of the older ones. All this while she kept a home, cooked for hired help and gave birth to some of our children. I find words inadequate to express my great love and admiration to my dear companion. These were certainly hard years but she never complained. She supported me in every way she could. Her many poems over the years tell us of her love of the Lord and her inner most desires for her family. I encourage my family to read them often.
The 3rd of February 1929, the Naf Ward was dissolved and I was released as Bishop. We then had to travel 15 miles to Malta to attend church. In the fall of 1929 we moved the family to Rupert, Idaho so there would be better advantages for schooling. Margaret was now in High School. At Bridge, we had just a small one-room schoolhouse with eight grades and one teacher. We rented part of the house on the farm to a family to live and take care of the livestock Etc. while I was away with my family. Their kids played with matches and caught the home on fire. It was a complete loss. We lost many keepsakes, family pictures, furniture and many of the Naf Ward records that were in the Bishops desk. When I came home all there was, was a pile of ashes.
We never had much of a home on the farm after that. I stayed in part of the old granary for a while and in the spring I moved three old homesteader homes from the flats that had been abandoned and put them together to make a home for us.
This was a hard year, for some time we had been having problems with farmers up in Clear Creek over water. Even though I had decreed water rights, this year they held the water and refused to let any come to Idaho. We had to watch all our crops burn up for lack of water. Sarah and I had never been so discouraged. Later through court action, which further secured and decreed our Water Rights, we never had any more problems over water.
In the fall of 1930 we moved the Family to Malta so the girls could attend High School. There was much sickness and our family got their share. The following school year, Margaret and Dorothy went to stay with Ida Turner (Sarah’s sister) in Corrine, Utah and attended school in Brigham. Ruth stayed with Sarah’s brother, Irvin, in Logan, and she attended school there. On 18 February 1931 Sarah gave birth to another little daughter, we named her Luana Dale. She was born at Mother Hawkins home in Logan, Utah. She was our last child. Dorothy come home for Christmas and stayed so she could help me with the younger children. Junior and Velma attended school at the one room school at Bridge. They road a horse about 2-3 miles to school each day
Full history: https://familysearch.org/photos/stories/1792349/louis-gunnell-life-history-written-by-my-daughter-dorothy