During 1952 also we moved to heed the direction of the General Authorities to secure tor our ward a welfare farm. A 40 acre farm owned by a family who boasted of being Mormon haters, the Fitches, by name was to be auctioned off. At my direction Ferron Blake went to the sale to place our bid of $8000.00 on it. Our's was the highest bid. We waited a couple of weeks - nothing happened. Then one day Mr. Fitch came by and said they would let us have it for $1,000.00 more. I told him I'd council with my members and counselors and then get back to him. The ward agreed that it was a good price even at $9,000.00. He wanted $1,500.00 down. The ward members came through when asked so we could pay this. Then we immediately applied to the General Church Headquarters for the 75% loan for the 2nd payment in the fall. Time went on and no word from Salt Lake. Of this 40 acres only 20 were farmable. We decided to level it. The leveling was quite severe in order to make it all farmable. This cost us $1,065.00. Then we covered the whole thing twice with manure and applied commercial fertilizer also. The ward came out in large numbers to do this. We planted potatoes, watered and cultivated. We did not know what to expect in our harvest as it had been my experience that when land is leveled that severely the first two years the crop yield is low.
With 3 months to harvest and the second payment near due no word had come from Salt Lake. I made two telephone calls to Harold B. Lee's office to see if we could not get the money in time. I knew that if we defaulted on this payment the Fitches might take the farm from us. Three days before the payment was due, the money from Salt Lake still had not come so I went to the bank and borrowed $3,500.00 on my signature for this second payment. At harvest time 20 spud diggers and 4 trucks were supplied by the ward members. We found the crop of potatoes were of medium size but good shape so we got a good price. We made $11,000.00 on them dug and delivered. At this time a cheque came from the Church Headquarters - I just put it back in an envelope and returned it to them uncashed.
The Lord really blessed us. We had made enough money to pay off the land and leveling and had $1,000.00 to the good. We used this extra money for the ward and bought extra ground around the church for a ball field.
During my time as a bishop I married three couples - one being the daughter of our dry farm friends, the Homer Jones family, from Drummond. These were happy but frightening experiences for me. One of the most frightening experiences was conducting the funeral services for Bill Cox's uncle. He was not active but a good honest man towards everyone. I've never shook harder than I did at that time. I used to tell my counselors that I prayed that no one would die or get married. I had two other funerals to conduct.
Though very hard these were good experiences from which I grew.