back Uncle (3G) Charles Franklin Decker next
Not to focus unduly on Uncle Charlie’s demise, but it’s not my fault that Charlie himself made sure he would leave this world in an unusual and memorable way. I’ve only learned about the story recently (2008), and it’s priceless.

Turns out that Charlie died in poverty, at the home of a friend named Riley Green in Vernal. Green purchased this stone and provided space in his own family’s cemetery plot.
“Perhaps sensing his time was short, Charles had made…Green promise him that when he died he would secure him the fanciest wagon and best team to rush him to the cemetery at the fastest gallop they could go, or as he put it, ‘at a full tilt.’ This promise was fulfilled, by Ward Relief Society President and community nurse Annie Bartlett. When Charles died, Annie…organized a brief and sparsely attended funeral at the Stake Center in Vernal. She spoke with the neighbor who had the foxiest wagon in town and then she met with the man who had the prettiest and fastest team of horses to pull it. She made sure the fanciest harness was used with lots of silver and pretty buckles and hand cut ribbons to blow in the breeze on the way to the cemetery…”1

Ashley Bartlett, Annie’s son, later told of the wild ride to the cemetery: “Now, in those days the water ditches crossed the road and there was a bridge, another bridge, and still another bridge. Now, I was in that wagon helping to hold his body, and whenever we went over the bridges the coffin would go way up and my two older brothers were holding on also and it was quite a ride trying to keep the box in the wagon and all. So my mother saw to it that this man had the grandest burial she could arrange…”2

Postscript (too good for a mere footnote): my precious Valerie (née Valerie Ann Jorgenson), remembers sitting on Ashley Bartlett’s lap in church as a little girl in Fontana, California, more than forty years later. Another decade later, Ashley gave patriarchal blessings to both of us. Cool, huh? Wish we’d known about it in his lifetime.

1Allphin, op. cit.,, p. 400.
2Ibid., p. 401.
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