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Joseph Hyrum STAY 

Joseph Hyrum STAY

Male 1851 - 1898

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Joseph Hyrum Stay

The History of Joseph Hyrum Stay, By Gary Stay a Great Grandson

Joseph Hyrum Stay was born in Nailsworth, Gloucester, England, on the 14th of February, 1851.

Gary and Laura Stay visited Nailsworth some years ago. It is a town in Gloucestershire, England, lying in one of the Stroud Valleys in the Cotswolds. It has a population of around 6,600 people (2005) and lies on the A46 road.

In ancient times it was a settlement at the confluence of the Avening Valley and the Woodchester Valley, on the Nailsworth Stream; among many notable historic buildings of medieval times in the area notable are Beverston Castle and Owlpen Manor. The ancient structures at Calcot Manor and Kingscote are relics along an ancient Roman road, indicating the prominence of this locale in early history. These days Nailsworth is sleepy and tranquil, visited in the summer by walkers, and holding a Farmers' Market every fourth Saturday in the month. Local events like the market and the Nailsworth Festival are announced by the Town Crier. Why Joseph H’s parents lived in Nailsworth at the time of his birth is not known, Joseph (the father) was a traveling Elder in the general area and perhaps used Nailsworth as a home base.

Joseph Hyrum was the son of Joseph Stay and Sarah Mussen. His father, a landscape gardener, was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, 3 November 1845 at the age of twenty-three. Joseph Hyrum’s father and mother were active in the Cheltenham area and moved about Gloucestershire and were living in Nailsworth at the time of Joseph’s birth. Joseph, his father, was a leader and had a number of callings in the LDS Church. He was an extraordinary missionary and baptized a number of members during this period (See History of Joseph Stay).

We know little of Joseph Hyrum’s life during his early years. He must have attended school as the family moved about.

Family histories are often silent regarding certain family lines. Family members often wish not to disclose situations which could cast a negative connotation upon the family name.

Why an account of Joseph Stay's life has not been handed down either verbally or in written form is somewhat of a dilemma. This history is of Joseph’s life as best as we can provide has provided evidence as to why a void exists within the family. We now know that this void in the family history is because of the serious emotional and alcoholic problems that the family did not wish to have known. One of the goals of this narrative is to bring a perspective into the behavior of Joseph Hyrum Stay.

Our first clue regarding his behavior was found in the LDS Branch records in St. Louis, dated August 18, 1872. The record indicates that this handsome young man did not live in accordance with all the tenets of the LDS Church.

The Saint Louis Branch Records(3) detail the following account:

August 18, 1872:

"Bro. Joseph Stay, Jr., was cut off from the Church this date "for continual contempt of Council". Bro. Joseph Stay, Jr., was listed as a Deacon. Elder Joseph Stay (Senior) was in attendance at this council meeting. "

We must assume that this reference was a severance from the Church. Either disfellowship or excommunication when he was 21 years of age. "Continual contempt of Council" could relate simply to not taking the advice of Council to bring his life into conformance with accepted mores and attend to Church duties and meetings. It possibly may refer to his use of alcohol. Joseph Hyrum was reinstated into full fellowship prior to 1877 when he was sealed to Mary Cornelia Woodbury in the St. George Temple.

In Joseph Hyrum's later life, we know he had a drinking problem. In the 1870 era, drinking was considered a weakness in character or lack of willpower, and little could be done to "cure" a person. Successful treatment is only 30 to 40 years old and still remains a difficult condition to treat. This stigma attached to Joseph Hyrum's drinking and behavior patterns would have been the reason that no objective family history has been written about Joseph Hyrum. The situation appears to have been further intensified by the fact that on the 22nd of April 1898, Joseph Hyrum took his own life. Religious connotations are also attached to this act, "an offense that has eternal implications".

Emigration to the United States

We note from the Cheltenham record of members, that Joseph Stay and his family and Mary Lacy Pearce, Sarah's mother, "Emigrated on October 1, 1858", which is the last notation regarding the Joseph Stay family in England.

We now know the particulars of the Stay family emigration. The family went to Liverpool, the Church's emigration office, prior to departing. The family is recorded as utilizing the Perpetual Emigration Fund (P.E.F.) and arriving in the United States through the Port of New York on 6 November 1858.1 The emigration location in New York City at the time was Covenant Gardens. Ellis Island was utilized after their entry. The ship was an early steam ship and crossed the Atlantic in 36 days on the steamship Ship West Point. On the ship manifest, the family is listed:

Joseph Stay 36 Male Farmer England

Sarah Stay 36 Female Wife

Sarah Stay 10 Female

Joseph Stay 7 Male Child

Charlotte Stay 5 Female Child

Mary A. Stay 3 Female Child

Louisa Stay Infant Female

Mary Pearce 50 Female Housekeeper

The steamship West Point was configured as this one with two masts for sails.

Sometime in November of 1858, the Stay family settled in the St. Louis area and spent the next sixteen years there. The children went to school and experienced early childhood in that city and surrounding environs. Joseph Hyrum indicated they used to "sit in trees and watch the troops of the Civil War go by". And that he "worked as a florist and landscape gardener, the same trade as his father". Both worked for Shaw's Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.

The family is recorded in the 1860 St. Louis City Directory (page 487), "Joseph Stay, Porter, George Dunford Residence, 251 Broadway." Dunford's business was hats and caps and was located downstairs from the family living quarters. From this account, the family must have been in the city at least by 1859 for the directory to include their names in the printing. Also Joseph's work at this time, that of "porter" gives a hint as to his work situation. Dunford was a Latter Day-saint and later immigrated to Utah.

Because of the gap in time between when the family left their branch in England and when the twins were born in St. Louis, little is known. We know that Sarah Jane, Joseph's oldest daughter married a Charles Vought in St. Louis, Mo. June 3, 1869.

Note: Gary Stay

I spent some time going over the PEF records and found the family, all except Joseph H. I don’t know if the PEF (about $250) was for funds to travel from St. Louis to Salt Lake, or from Liverpool to St. Louis, the latter seems reasonable.

In researching the records of the Church in St. Louis we find the following entries pertaining to the Joseph Stay Family: “Bro. Stay and others spoke in Council meeting Apr 1, 1862, Elizabeth Robinson baptized Aug 19 by Joseph Stay, Confirmed by elder Joseph Stay same date, 1863 Charlotte Elizabeth Stay baptized Aug. 19 by Joseph Stay, Confirmed by Joseph Stay same date Mary Ann Stay baptized Aug. 19 by Joseph Stay, Confirmed by George Lamb same date, Joseph Hyrum Stay bap. Aug 19, 1863, confirmed same date by Joseph Stay, Sarah Stay bap. by Joseph Stay Aug 23, 1863 conf. same date by George Lamb”.

JHS and Mary Ann
Joseph Hyrum Stay with Sister Mary Ann

Records would indicate that Mary Ann Stay was baptized Aug 19 and died shortly after this time. Three pictures of Mary Ann have been found. Two show a hand holding her head erect the third with her brother Joseph Hyrum, shows her head tipped leaning on his shoulder. A careful examination of the pictures would lead one to believe that she may have had a major disability.

Joseph Hyrum Stay
Joseph Hyrum Stay

In his late teens and early twenties, Joseph H. worked with his father at Shaw’s Missouri Botanical Garden, this is attested to by the findings of Sharon Stay Brown.

Sharon wrote to Shaw's in St. Louis with an interesting response. Indeed the Stays did have substantial contact with Henry Shaw. The current archivist of the Missouri Botanical Garden who is responsible for the early records kept by Shaw reports the following:

“We consulted time records on employees of the Garden which begin in 1867, and did not find either Joseph or Joseph Hyrum Stay in these records up to the year 1867. Records prior to 1867 are not in our archives. I did find Joseph Stay and Joseph Stay Jr. in time records for Tower Grove Park: from December 1870 to December 1871 for Joseph Stay, and from December 1870 to May 1871 for Joseph Stay Jr. The time records for park employees in this period are not complete so it's hard to say how long they worked for the park. There are no records prior to December 1870 and from 1872 to 1879. I also found Joseph Stay listed in the 1868 Cash Book for Tower Grove Park, which is a different book from the time records. He is listed monthly beginning on June 3, 1870 and ending on May 15, 1872 with entries reading like the following: "Kopplin & Stay foremen & 56 men mow and mulch, water & laying of finish & walks." The duties of this crew for which Stay was one of the foremen varied for each month but included the following: Planting, rolling, driving, mowing, watering, laying of walks cultivating, digging foundations, and grading.

To this day, the landscaping work of Joseph and his father continue to be one of the premier botanical gardens in the world. We as a family can boost of our family having some small part in the development of these gardens.

We must assume that Joseph and his family arrived in Saint Louis to gain the necessary resources to then migrate some 16 years later to Utah. Economic conditions in St. Louis were so favorable that he was able to gain employment at several jobs. The specific reason for not moving on to Utah is not known; however, the reasons would appear to be fiscal or health related, based upon statements in the branch records where the family declared their intentions on several occasions and then did not go.

Joseph and Louisa
Joseph with daughter Louisa circa 1870

This picture of Joseph, Joseph Hyrum’s father with his sister Louisa, showed him to be an exceptionally well dressed gentleman, which would indicate that his salary as a foreman of Shaw's Botanical Gardens provided well for the family.

Sometime after 1872 when Joseph H. was cut off from the Church, he relocated to Salt Lake City Utah. He apparently went to work at the Pioneer Nursery Co for Thomas H. Woodbury where he met Mary Cornelia Woodbury, daughter of Thomas Hobart Woodbury. We note an advertisement for the Nursery specializing in fruit trees.



Vernal_Express: 26 DEC 1895 page_04 column_06

The family arrived in Salt Lake City by train in November of 1876, and Joseph Hyrum who had arrived in Salt Lake City earlier met them at the depot. We can also conclude that the connection with the Woodbury family was in place prior to their arrival through an association as an employee with Joseph Hyrum.

Mary Cornelia Woodbury
Mary Cornelia Woodbury about the time of her marriage

Joseph Hyrum married Mary Cornelia Woodbury in a civil ceremony on the 8th of May 1877. The marriage was solemnized at the St. George Temple on 31 October 1877. His sister, Louisa Stay, Joseph's fifth child, married William Josiah Woodbury, the stepbrother of Mary Cornelia. This marriage tied the Stay family into the Woodbury family through two lines (brother and sister married brother and step-sister).

Why St. George, and not the Endowment House? Did Mary C. still have family in St. George Area? How did they travel to St. George? Train then Wagon? We looked at the marriage entry in the Temple Index Bureau and no family member witnessed the event.

After arriving in Salt Lake, Joseph and Joseph Hyrum both worked on the landscaping of the Salt Lake City and County Building. This is particularly significant because of the 1989 complete renovation and restoration of this fine old red sandstone structure. Family tradition indicates that many of the majestic trees standing today were planted by Joseph and his son Joseph Hyrum. Tradition also indicates that Joseph was involved in the landscaping of Liberty Park just off 7th East during its construction in 1880 and 1881. Joseph's home was just one block away.

The City and County Building was completed in December of 1894. Charles Wilken was appointed superintendent of the park (Liberty Park) and a Swiss landscape gardener, Arnold Schulter, was engaged to design and improve the grounds. The City and County grounds (Washington Square) were landscaped by Martin Christofferson who was from Norway. The trees planted by Joseph and son, Joseph Hyrum, in Washington Square, where the impressive red sandstone Salt Lake City and County building is located have an interesting history:

Under instructions of Brigham Young all Mormon missionaries were instructed to search out and send to Utah healthy shoots of trees and plants, which they thought, would grow in this desert valley. There are two hundred and ninety trees on Washington Square representing forty-five varieties . . . Newell Knight, County historian, 1966

Joseph Hyrum Stay
Joseph Hyrum Stay

Joseph Hyrum and Mary Cornelia lived in the 7th Ward and then in the 1st Ward, in Salt Lake City Joseph Hyrum was employed as a florist, nurseryman and landscape gardener. Between 1890 and 1897 He lived at 236 West 6th South, and also lived at No. 574 S. 1st W. Str. in 1888. He lived in Millcreek, Salt Lake just North of 33rd South Street after 1897.

It is clear, that Joseph Hyrum was a good looking intelligent individual. Family history, tells of his propensity towards alcohol. The oral history indicates that at one time, he was sent to Round Valley (now Scipio), to work on the Woodbury farm. This to get him away from the influences connected with his drinking problem. It was told that he was sent up Big Cottonwood Canyon to work on the hydroelectric power plant and that he would hike over the mountain to Park City and play his violin and sing for drinks. The History of the Jeremiah Woodbury Family indicates that he also was “a machinist, which trade he followed very little”. The notation also states that “Then he took up electrical engineering for the Utah Power and Light Co. He helped build a unit in Big Cotton Canyon. Later he ran that same unit as Hydrostatic Engineer.” We have no record of training pertaining to these activities.

Business Card

We have located a small account book of Joseph Hyrum about 3” by 6” with his signature on the front fly leaf. This book came to Gary Stay from Paula Toffer Vilburn.

Small Account Book

This page illustrates Joseph Hyrum’s handwriting and provides his address.

Handwriting and Address

A contract between Joseph H. and W. Spence to paint Joseph’s house “a first class job, $20.00


Two pages from Account Book

Malequist Acct

Account book for Mr. Ed Malequist showing work performed and plants including 160 privet bushes 2 years old for $24.00, looks like he was planting a hedge. Honey Suckle, Virginia Creeper, English Ivy, 4 extra large Pear trees at $3.00, and a Crabapple tree. Note the name of Abraham Cannon regarding work done.

Abraham Cannon

Account Book page for Abraham Cannon who was a publisher in Salt Lake, Brother to George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency. This page shows the days worked and also that Joseph swapped work for a Book of Mormon, a DocCov, a Compendium, a time book and six small time books.

Paid Working Men

Paid to Working Men, Saturday April 7, 1888 Isac Hardman by cash $7.00, William Baun $7.00, Oscor L. Man $6.50, Jacob Chamberlian $5.25, Martin Lamson 6.75 Jos. Stay 5.00 (his father), Fredrick Hayes and Himself Jos H. Stay $20.00, Silvestor James and Blind Ben were also listed.

Recent information found in newspaper accounts of the period tell us about Joseph Hyrum. Some relate to his behavior and drinking problems. We also list two Admissions to the Territorial Insane Asylum.

Deseret News Untitled Newspaper 1879 Oct 22


List of Premiums Awarded at the Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society, at Salt Lake City, October 2d, 1879.


Awarding Committee – includes the name of Joseph H. Stay.

The Deseret News Newpaper 19 Nov 1886

City Council

The City Council met in regular session at 7 o’clock last evening, Mayor Armstrong presiding.

Joseph H. Stay wanted to rent the Tenth Ward Square for nursery and horticultural purposes. He said he could furnish the best of references, and would greatly improve the property by setting out trees, etc. - referred to the committee on public grounds.

The Deseret News Newspaper 29 December 1886

Stay a Lunatic. – Justice Pyper had intended to have a hearing to-day of the charge against Joseph H. Stay, who created a disturbance in the Seventh Ward Last week. Stay had been quiet for a day or two and appeared perfectly rational, but just before the jailor went to bring him out for trial he broke out again. His father came to see him, but there was no cessation in his ravings, and he had to be transferred to a cell for safe keeping. At one time he wanted the U. S. army sent for to liberate him; at another he had a confidential communication for the G.A.R., or was a “special detective of the Utah Loyal League.” Occasionally he would vary his proceedings by singing for a short time.

Under the present circumstances it would seem a proper thing to have an investigation made to determine definitely whether or not Mr. Stay is actually insane and should be kept at the Territorial Asylum. Experience has shown that he is a dangerous person to be at large, and if his condition is due to insanity, he should be given quarters elsewhere than in jail.

The Deseret News Newspaper, 12 January 1887


Gone to the Asylum. – This morning Sheriff Burt left for Provo, having in his custody Joseph H. Stay for commitment to the Territorial Insane Asylum. Stay was comparatively peaceable when he left, though he kept on talking incessantly. During the time he was in the city jail, he was either singing or shouting during the whole night.

Highlights of the court records and Questions for this admission

Joseph H. was committed to The Territorial Insane Asylum on 6th January 1887 and discharged on 1 April 1877. (This is the first of three admissions to the Asylum)

Selected Questions for the two medical doctors to be answered.

(In effect a Medical History)

10. What evidence have you of the presence of insanity? Incoherency of speech and erratic behavior

11. Is there a homicidal, suicidal, or incendiary dispositions?

No No Yes

13. When did this attack first appear? Two weeks ago

14. Is this the first attack? If not, when did others occur, and what their durations? No, about one year ago and also about two years ago. (1876 and 1875)

15. Is this disease increasing, decreasing, or stationary? Increasing

17. Is there any permanent hallucination? If so, what is it? That people have injured him

18. In what way is the accused dangerous to be at large? In danger of injuring others

21. Is there a disposition to filthy habits, destruction of clothing, furniture, etc? No Yes Yes

24. Been intemperate in the use of ardent spirits, wine, opium or tobacco in any form? No except occasionally letting liquor get the best of him.

27. The supposed cause of insanity? Sun Stroke

Complaint and Commitment.

Territory of Utah

County of Salt Lake

Alfred Solomon being duly sworn on oath says there is in said county an insane person whose name is Joseph H. Stay who is so far disordered in mind as to endanger health, persons or property. And affiant therefore asks that said person be arrested and taken before a judge of a Court of record within said county for examination.

Subscribed and sworn before me, this fourth day of January A.D. 1887 Alford Soloman George D. Pyper justice of the peace 5th prect. said Co.

Joseph H. Stay the person named in the foregoing affidavit being this day brought before me, Judge of the Probate Court for examination on a charge of insanity, and having heard the testimony of Alford Solomon and Wm Salmon, witness who have been acquainted with the accused during the time of the alleged insanity and Drs. H. J. Richards and Dr. Jos. S. Richards practicing physicians in medicine, after hearing the testimony of witnesses, after a personal examination of the accused having made the certificate by law required; and being myself satisfied that the said Joseph H. Stay is insane, and is so far disordered in mind to endanger health, person or property; and being further satisfied of the truth of all the matters set forth in the certificate of said physicians, I do hereby order that said Joseph H. Stay a male aged 35 years to be confined in the Insane Asylum at Provo City and Andrew J. Burt is charged with the execution of this order.

The said Joseph H. Stay is unable to pay his expenses in the Asylum

Witness my hand this sixth day of January A.D. 1887

Elias A. Smith, Judge of Probate Court

Territorial Insane Asylum

Territorial Insane Asylum, Provo City, Utah

County Court Records 1 Feb 1887

From record of minutes of court:

“Receipt of Territorial Insane Asylum Jan 7/87 for insane patient Joseph Stay (filed)”

County Court Records 21 May 1887

From record of minutes of court:

“Communication received from Territorial Insane Asylum that Joseph Stay has been discharged.”

Salt Lake Daily Tribune Newspaper 24 Jan 1895



He Never Sleeps, but Has Revelations and Named One of His Boys Jesse James.

It was dementia’s day in the County Court, two of its victims appearing before the Commission, consisting of Drs. Wright and Anderson, upon whose findings Joseph Hyrum Stay was adjudged insane and ordered committed to the asylum…

The session opened with Joseph Stay, who on the previous day had chased “Crazy Jimmie” down the street. Sergeant Ford told of his eccentric conduct, his attempt to burn the prison over his own head and other wild acts.

“Isn’t a religious crank, is he?” asked County Physician Wright.

“You ought to see me at the Tabernacle!” exclaimed the subject.

“What did you arrest him for?”

“For singing the ‘Red, White and Blue!’” shrieked Stay, while the witness undertook to explain that it was because of his attempt to run down “Crazy Jimmie.”

Jailor Kimball was asked if the subject showed violence, and was telling of an occasion when the latter attempted to slay him while in jail with a poker.

“Oh, that’s a chestnut!” interjected Stay.

“And,” continued the turnkey, “he tore up the blankets, plugged up the sinks, flooded the lower floor of the jail-“

“We wanted to drown out the gray-backs,” interrupted the respondent. “It’s the nastiest jail on earth and ought to burn down.”

Stay, when put upon the stand, testified that he was born in England forty-four years ago, came to this country in 1876, did the first piece of landscape gardening ever undertaken in Utah upon the lawn of the Gardo house and on his father-in-law’s ranch at Mill Creek last year grew eight tons of grapes. He was the father of six children, and one of whom, he testified with evident pride, he had named after Jesse James, the famous Missourian.

Catechized concerning his adventure with “Crazy Jimmie,” the accused stated that, seeing a dog with a man dressed up like a British flunky at the end of a rope, he came to the conclusion that he had no business on the streets. Asked why he had attempted to burn the jail, Stay testified to having warned the turnkey at a previous incarceration that next time he got inside he would set fire to the “dirty, stinking lousy place,” and he attempted it. He denied having stated that he had preached at the Tabernacle, but had sung with the choir and volunteered, if the commission doubted his ability as a vocalist, to sing “A Warrior Bold.”

“Do you sleep?” was asked of Stay.

“Never,” he replied. “A man who is avenging a wrong never sleeps.”

“Do you dream?”

“Don’t you know that the man who never sleeps, never dreams.”

“You have impressions?”

“I have revelations - I can hear sweet voices talking to me, telling me what to do.”

“Do you act on it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did they impress you to attack the man yesterday?”

“No, sir, but I knew he had no business on the street.”

The examination closed, Stay was adjudged insane and ordered committed.

Salt Lake Daily Tribune Newspaper 11 February 1895


Insists That He Was Wrongfully Adjudged Insane.

Editor Tribune: -- I noticed an article in your paper of January 24th last headed “Stay Adjudged Insane.” Now, the reporter who took down notes of the actions of the County Court made as correct a report as possible regarding the questions put to me by Drs. Wright and Anderson; but I claim, as a business man of this city for the past eighteen years, that the Court did me an injustice when they branded me with insanity, as stated in your paper. I wish to state to the public and my friends of Utah and other places where your valuable paper is circulated, that there has been no insanity in my family on either side, and it puts me in a very awkward position in the eyes of my friends through the error that has been made and published, and I hope you will give me space in your paper to deny the assertions that have been made that I was insane. I was just as ready for business eighteen days ago as I am at the present time. I am discharged from custody and acknowledged sane to walk through the streets of our beautiful city, to breathe the free and fresh air as an American citizen. The stain has been partly taken from my name, but still it leaves its sting, as my friends cut me to a certain extent when I meet them.

In regard to the statement made by the Herald of this city, it seems almost impossible for it to make a correct statement. It gets its news second-hand or from hearsay. I will conclude by stating that I am ready to attend to business as a gardener. Most respectfully,


No. 236 West Sixth South Street.

Salt Lake City, Feb. 10, 1895.

The Deseret News Newspaper 9 February 1895

A lengthy article about bees and fruit spraying by E. S. Lovelace that referenced Joseph Stay.

“Myself and Mr. Joseph Stay after a close study and investigation last season”

The Deseret News Newspaper 23 February 1895


SALT LAKE CITY, FEB. 14, 1895.

Dear Sir – It is time to prune all deciduous trees and shrubs, and if you will allow me space in your valuable paper, I will suggest to the public and my friends a few points as a practical gardener of this city for the past twenty years.

I had the pleasure to plant some of the first trees and ornamental shrubbery in our beautiful city and am pleased to see most all the varieties adapted to the Mississippi valley do well in our mountain region, if planted in the right soils and locations. As a gardener, I imitate nature as much as possible and that is the great secret of success.

Nor for pruning and keeping said trees and shrubs in proper shape and conditions. Never prune maples or even the box elder in February, March or April, on account of the flowing of sap. The proper time to prune the said trees in the months of October, November, May, June, July, or any time when the foliage is on the trees. You can prune all deciduous trees or shrubs when the foliage is on the trees. Shrubs and evergreens of all kinds should be pruned in the months of July and August – in fact, anything with rosin in the sap, as it will callous over an heal the cut or joint.

Now is the time to prune all fruit trees, as you can see most readily the fruit timber and have a good opportunity to thin out all dead and crossed twigs, also to balance your trees and put them in good shape. We soon will be on the eve of spring, and all this work can be done very cheaply now, as a good many of our worthy workmen are out of work, and it will be killing two birds with one stone.

Orchardists and those who have trees that want pruning should let them be pruned and put in shape now. Beautify your orchards and lots, and feed the hungry of your city. I am willing, for one, to give my experience and advice to all those who are not able to pay for said work free of cost, and do it willingly. But those of our noble citizens who are able to have said work done, should do it in the name of humanity, and can find men with families who are willing to work to feed their little ones.

The spraying of fruit and fruit bearing shrubs will soon commence in this valley and in fact in all the Territory, hence this work of pruning should be attended to to give a chance for spraying properly. All twigs, branches and the loose bark of all fruit bearing trees should be carefully gathered up and burned, to destroy all fruit tree insects, and fruit pests, that are laying dormant at this time of the year. I implore all interested in the fruit industry of this Territory to co-operate as one and let our beautiful Territory bring forth the healthy products of the orchard and field.


Jos. H. Stay.

Minuet book – County Court 1 June 1895

A communication from Jos. H. Stay protesting against the appointment of Fred W. Price as fruit inspector. (was ordered filed)

Salt Lake Daily Tribune Newspaper 15 December 1895


Delegate Elected and Date Set for December 27th

At the meeting of the Salt Lake County Horticultural society yesterday it was decided to hold the Territorial convention in this city on December 27th…

List of delegates includes the name of Joseph Stay.

Deseret News September 9, 1897

Joseph Stay was arrested

Joseph Stay was arrested and thrown into the county jail this morning charged with insanity. Stay was having a merry time near the corner of Fourth West and Fourth North streets imagining himself a Jesse James, a Dick Tarpin and all that sort of thing. His antics frightened residents in that locality and the officer Tom Milner was sent down to take him in charge. The officers say it is one of Joe’s periodical outbreaks. The last time he was on a rampage, he made things decidedly uncomfortable for that happy, familiar fellow Schooner Jim, by chasing Jim and his dog along East Temple Street, Mr. Stay being on horseback at the time.

The Ogden Standard Newspaper 10 September 1897

Joseph Stay was arrested and thrown into the county jail yesterday morning charged with insanity. Stay was having a merry time near the corner of Fourth West and Fourth North Streets imagining himself a Jesse James, a Dick Turpin and all that sort of thing.

The Ogden Standard Newspaper 11 September 1897

Shot From the Window.

A stir was created yesterday morning at 9:30 o’clock, in front of the Harmon block on Second South street, when a pistol shot rang out, followed by the crash of a plate glass window. People on the sidewalk saw a half-dressed man holding a smoking pistol from a hack window and another man beside him, whose face showed sudden surprise and terror. The weapon was soon in safer hands and all in the neighborhood breathed more easily. The occupants of the hack were Joseph Stay, who was being taken to the court for examination as to sanity, and Deputy Sheriff David L. Levy, who had him in charge.

Yesterday morning word came to the police station that a man was acting as if crazy in the northwestern part of the city and Officer Milner arrested him. He was docketed as a drunk. Jailor Kimball and others recognized him as Joe Stay and pronounced him not drunk but out of him mind and he was later removed to the county jail.

The morning Deputy Sheriff Levy was detailed to take him to court. When in front of the Harmon block Stay reached the pistol from the officer’s pocket and fired it. The bullet sped across the sidewalk in a slanting direction, cut down four buggy whips which were hanging from a rack, as neatly as if a sharp knife had done it, and then passed through Henry Rippe’s window.

When the sheriff’s office was reached the leather muff was placed on Stay’s hands. He asked for a drink of water which was given him. While drinking he said to the deputy sheriff who was in the room, “Levy come here. I want to give you an imitation of a Chinese laundryman.” The officer stepped up and Stay spurted out a spray of water into his face. He denounced the officer in very strong terms for his carelessness in allow him to obtain the pistol and said, “I could have killed you and would have been justified in doing so for I’m supposed to be crazy.”

The court decided that insanity was fully proved and Stay was removed to the asylum at Provo yesterday afternoon. The poor fellow has been there for treatment before.

We have located Joseph Hyrum’s court and adminssion records for the above occurance. Some of the items listed from the Physicans’ Certificate pertaining to his commitment are included:

Practicing Physicians in medicine E. S. Wright and S. Hughes Certify.

Ogden Hiles Judge of the third Judicial District Court. They find that Joseph Stay is adjudged Insane and so far disordered in his mind as to endanger health, person or property, and that said insanity is not a case of idiocy, imbecility or simple feebleness of mind. He is listed as being 46 years old born in England.

The following questions are in effect a medical history pertaining to Joseph Hyrum.

Question # 9. What evidence have you of the presence of insanity? Personal examination and examination of witnesses.

#10. Is there a homicidal, suicidal or incendiary disposition? No

#12. When did this attack first appear? Within the week

#13. Is this the first attack; if not, when did others occur and what their duration? No, about a year ago two weeks.

14. Is the disease increasing, decreasing or stationary? Increasing

15. Are there rational intervals; if so, do they occur periodically? Not wholly

17. In what way is the accused dangerous to be at large? To himself and others

18. Is there a disposition to injure others; if so, is it directed especially to relatives; is it from sudden passion or premeditated? Yes - No sudden passion

23. Been intemperate in the use of ardent spirits, wine, opium or tobacco in any form? Yes – Alcohol

26. The supposed cause of insanity? Intemperance Alcoholic

27. What class of insanity? Mania Acute

Warrant of Commitment.

I, Ogden Hiles, Judge of the Third Judicial District, State of Utah, upon affidavit of T. W. Milner caused to be brought before me for examination on a charge of insanity, and having heard the testimony of W. A. Wilson and D L Sevy, witnesses who have been acquainted with the accused during the alleged insanity, and Drs. E S. Wright and Saml Hughes, practicing physicians, after hearing the testimony of witnesses and after a personal examination of the accused, and having made the certificate by law required, find that the said Joseph H. Stay is insane and is a fit subject for custody and treatment in the Asylum; that the residence of Joseph H. Stay is in Salt Lake County, State of Utah, and he is an indigent and is unable to bear the actual charges and expenses for the time he may remain in the Asylum.

I therefore order the said Joseph H. Stay a male aged 46 years, to be confined in the State Insane Asylum at Provo City and Thomas P. Lewis, Sheriff is charged with the execution of this order.

Manti Messenger Newspaper 30 April 1898

Also – Davis County Clipper Newspaper 29 April 1898

Joseph Stay of Mill Creek, a landscape gardener, committed suicide by hanging on Friday last. Stay was recently released from the state insane asylum. He became despondent and planned the hanging bee in which he figured as the principal character.

Oral history indicates that he arrived home tipsy the night before and Mary Cornelia would not let him into the house. Joseph Hyrum was found behind his home the next morning hanging from a fruit tree by his oldest son Joseph Charles.

Mary Cornelia Woodbury Stay after the time of Joseph’s death

From the above information, Joseph Hyrum’s later life was tragic. He clearly was an alcoholic and in all probability could have been today known as “Bi Polar” or similar such conditions. His article about the trimming of fruit trees just three days after he was discharged from the insane asylum, his activities at the State Fair and other references. All indicate him to be a well mannered individual and intelligent, who could articulate his thoughts well.

One very interesting item from the Questionnaire was:

#27. The supposed cause of insanity? Sun Stroke.

It has been noted that some of the more serious effects of advanced “Sun Stroke” include rapid speech, confusion, strange behavior, and that the patient may become extremely disoriented. Some data from the Internet indicate that permanent brain injury may be a result of sun stroke. Joseph as a Landscape Gardner was working in the sun extensively. Is it possible that a contributing factor to Joseph’s behavior was partly due to serious sun stroke, coupled to his addiction to alcohol? Pure conjecture on our part some hundred years later!

One can imagine how difficult Joseph’s behavior was on his family. The fact that on one occasion he was arrested at his home in the Seventh Ward indicates he brought his problems home. What could a child think of their father, how would they be viewed at church or at school?

Hopefully, we can review in some detail that what is known of his condition. What mental problems are exacerbated by the ingestion of alcohol? The mental health texts are filled with examples of alcohol related behaviors. It also could be possible that his source of alcohol i.e. “moonshine” type brews were not good, it is known that some home brand products contain methanol that is toxic.

The data presented from the newspaper accounts and the Court and admission records is an interesting case study. All indications are that Joseph Hyrum had a very serious mental illness. He was declared insane by the courts on three occasions and interned in the Territorial Insane Asylum. Until recently, with modern drug therapy, society was unable to treat ailments such that Joseph Hyrum displayed.

We welcome any comments or suggestions pertaining to this history.

Gary Stay

Feb 12, 2009

Owner/SourceGary Stay
Date12 Feb 2009
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Linked toJoseph Hyrum STAY

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