Enoch Cornia

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My Memories of Grampa Cornia

by Glen F. Tarbet

1 May 2001

Here are a few statistics and my early memories of my Grandfather, Enoch Cornia. 

He was born 18 August 1871 in Woodruff, Utah, to Peter Cornia and Ruth Clarissa Carter Cornia. The legend has it that he was "The first white child born in Woodruff," and that folks held dishpans over his mother to keep the rain off her while he was being born.

My mother and I were living with him and Grandmother Caroline Marie (nee Larsen) when my first memories open. I think I was two. He and Caroline married 22 January 1876. He obviously loved me, and I remember vividly how intensely I loved him and Grandma. What a blessing they and their love were to me! We lived on the corner of Second South and Main Street, Salt Lake City, in one room of the old Kenyon Hotel.

Grampa sold and maintained Silex vacuum coffee systems and makings to out-of-town restaurants for Cook Tea and Coffee Co., a coffee bean roasting and spice store at about 55 West First South street. It and the Kenyon disappeared many years ago. When I was four we moved to Alamo Place on the corner of North Temple and Second West (now Third West) streets. I remember the move there in a car with the rumble seat piled high with furniture. He made me raw onion sandwiches and took me to Sunday School and Sacrament meeting with him to the Fourteenth Ward on First South and First West. I joined with him singing "The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning."

When I was five he took me with him a few times to Wendover, Nevada, Price, Utah, Green River, Utah, and Little America, Wyoming. On one of the trips to Wendover, we side tripped to the Bonneville Salt Flats where he drove the company Studebaker coupe (model circa 1935) 90 mph. Grandma nearly collapsed when I told her about that. She was with us on the trip to Price where we stayed in a fancy motel one night for the horribly high rent of $11.00! Grandma thought that outlandishly extravagant.

As we traveled, he would stop and nap along the way when he was sleepy. He sang lots of songs to me while he was wide awake. We stopped once at Point of the Mountain where he harvested water cress from a spring out of sight off the road. (That was long before the prison was there.) At home I sat in his lap many times while he rocked the rocking chair and sang me lullabies.

My mother told me he lost his ranch near Soda Springs, Idaho, when his crops failed about 1925. He had been sheriff there. She was about 13. That's when they moved penniless to Salt Lake City. Then they lived in a little house facing south on one of "the avenues." I think his first job in the big city was with the Jewel Tea Company. He told me he had helped survey for the dam and irrigation canal system before they were constructed near Woodruff.

He took me with him several times on trips to Woodruff where we stayed at Uncle Pete and Aunt Sarah's. I remember their funerals well.

I was five when Grandma died of pneumonia in the Alamo Place duplex. My mother had married and we moved out shortly after that. He remarried the widow, Emma James (to me Grandma Emma) a few years later. They lived in her home at 664 east 6400 south until his death. The home is still there on the edge of a large housing development called, I think, James Estates (or nearly that). In his 80's he worked for my Uncle Kenneth at his hardware store, Western Distributors, on 1100 South Main Street. He died 2 November 1962 at 91.