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John Alford Allen O'Bray and
Corilla Emma Harrod O'Bray

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts
Pages 453-454

John and Corilla both came from early Mormon pioneer families, who had crossed the plains in covered wagons, and settled in Salt Lake Valley in the 1800's.

John was the third child and second son born to Sam Napoleon and Marcia Ann Allen O'Bray, April 8, 1892 in Paradise, Cache County, Utah.

John grew up in Paradise and learned at an early age the necessity of hard work, which he enjoyed. When he was eight years old he drove a team of horses hauling wheat into Logan, camping over night, and returning home the next day.

When John was fifteen years old the family left Utah by train to come to Canada. When they reached Great Falls, Montana, John got off the train and started running away. He said he wasn't going to Canada; he was going back down home. Two of his brothers caught him and dragged him back onto the train.

The family settled in Beazer and lived there until they moved onto their homestead in Twin River.

In the meantime John returned to Utah, and was married in the Logan Temple to Corilla Emma Harrod.

John and Corilla made their first home in Beazer, and their first three children were born there. John then took out a homestead in Twin River, and built a log cabin which they all moved into.

Their oldest son, Alfred, became sick and they moved to Lethbridge to be near his doctor. Later they moved to Magrath. During this time five more children were born to them, one in Glenwood where Corilla's parents lived, and four in Magrath. During the next few years Alfred's health steadily declined, and he died February 1919. The same year in July another boy, just a baby of five months, died, and in June 1922 another infant boy died. They were all buried in the Magrath cemetery.

Not too long after that the family returned to the homestead. John had already erected a log cabin in which they lived. He and a friend, George McCaller, a man from Australia, dug a good deep well, and cribbed it all up with rocks. The well was still there and had lots of good water in it when the family left in 1936 and moved to Cardston. Part of the old log cabin still stands today.

John and Corilla worked hard all their lives. They raised sheep, cows, horses, and other animals, and farmed the land. Their homestead was east of Del Bonita, and bordered on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Montana.

Their children attended school in the one room school house, with grades from one to eight being taught. Church meetings were also held in the school house. In the winter time they would heat big rocks in the oven and wrap them up and put them in the wagon to keep the family warm as they travelled back and forth to church.

During the cold winter of 1934 in the month of December, their little daughter, Lola Mae, died of pneumonia. She was taken to Magrath and buried alongside her brothers.

After having moved back to the homestead, five more children were born into the family. Two were born in Twin River, and three were born in Cardston.

In the fall of 1936 the family left the old homestead for good, and moved into Cardston, and later to Mountain View, where John and his son, Dolph, spent some time working for Max Bradshaw, owner of the Birdseye Ranch.

Their two oldest living sons served overseas in the Canadian Army during the second world war.

John and Corillia spent their last years living in a warmer climate in British Columbia. John died in April, 1967, in Port Coquitlam. At this time Corillia went to live with her daughter in Cranbrook, B.C. until her death in January 1972.

They are the parents of thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters. John Alfred died at age nine; Charles Sylven died in infancy; Samuel Albert died in infancy; Lola Mae died at age one and a half.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup