Thursday, February 16, 2012

Simeon Cragun Part 2

Simeon Wilbert (Wilbey) Cragun

Click here for a related post: What price a debt unpaid

I say part 2 in the title to reference Simeon, my grandfather as I am a grandson from his 2nd marriage. I am hoping some of my 1/2 cousins find this site and this article.

I am going to share a few things about our grandfather and wish I knew more of him. Truly when an old man dies a library burns. In my case I became interested in family history when most of the old men and woman have passed on. I would love to have them tell me stories.

Simeon has one son from Blanche Bingham that is still alive. His name is Howard Cragun and I have asked him to provide me any information he can provide.

There are a lot of Craguns in Utah and more are from his first wife, Mary Ann Clifford than from Blanche.

Blanche Rebecca Bingham Cragun
My grandmother, Blanche was 28 years younger than Simeon when they were married. Mary Ann had died 8 years earlier. Blanche was 21 years old, Simeon 49. Is it fair to say Trophy Wife? Was that a problem with his family?

From my knowledge our side of the family has had no contact with our 1/2 cousins. I don't know why.

It seems my grandfather moved away from his other children after marrying my grandmother. I get the sense he had little contact with them after that. I'd like to know for sure. I wonder if there was resentment about her age, someone so young? My grandmother, Blanche had had a previous marriage annulled.I don't know if that was a problem. His name was Grundy. He worked on the railroad and she discovered he had another family at the other end of the railroad so to speak.  She was pregnant when she discovered this and was so upset she miscarried.  (Cecil Cragun writes me that the anulment part of this story can't correct due to Reubens birth. I will research this, I may have some facts wrong, however, there have been several times I had been told about Grandmother Blanche having a miscarriage. ).
Our family was told that Simeon had been quite successful in Utah. We were told he sold his farm to his son, Levi with an agreement to be paid at a later date. We were told he was never paid and he was quite bitter over this, angry and bitter. I am told by my father Royal Cragun he carried this anger until he died.

Things must not have been real peachy for my grandmother, being married to Simeon. Before she died she told the family not to seal her in the temple to him. (Someone did that anyway, Oh Well).  She said he promised to marry her in the temple which he never did. We hear stories that they were continually poor. He moved her to American Falls, Idaho to set up a dry farm that never panned out. We have been told their housing was a dig into a hillside with tarps as covering. I've lived in Southern, Idaho, and winters can be brutal. I can't imagine living in that condition.

My father was an electrician. He credits his father for going that direction. Simeon, as I recall, was an important part of the construction of the American Falls Dam. It would be interesting to see if that helped their life financially.

I guess there are lessons to be learned from my grandparents.  Perhaps the biggest was in some of my grandfather Craguns last words. My father was with him as he passed away. Dad told me that grandfather Simeon told him, the biggest mistake of his life, was letting the debt from his son cause him to lose his relationship with him.

Comments are open, and I hope some day to have someone leave me greater insights to this very incomplete story.

There has been some confusion in our family as to his correct name. He went by Wilby with my fathers era. 

1920 Census RE: Family

Simeon Wilbert (Wilbey) Cragun


  1. I received this from My Aunt as my Uncle is 89 years old now: He was young when his Dad died and 'rumors' were all around regarding he and his brothers. A good deal of 'bitterness' evidently.

    I ask, is this bitterness passed on to subsequent generations?

  2. The 1860 census shows his name spelled Simeon Craigan. Often the census taker spelled by sound, I think.

  3. Cecil Cragun writes me that the anulment part of this story can't correct due to Rebuens birth. I will research this, I may have some facts wrong, however, there have been several times I had been told about Grandmother Blanche having a miscarriage. Thank you Cecil. He also corrected my statement of Levi being Simeons son. He was the youngest by Mary Ann Clifford.

    This is one of the reasons I am doing this blog: Correct data.

    1. Because we don't have documentation, there's no proof. However, there's plenty of time after Reub's birth and the marriage to Simeon for an annulment. Grandma speaks of it as a divorce. Later she's called a widow. If Grundy was already married no paperwork would have to be filed, either annulment or divorce.

      I will get out her Book of Remembrance and see if there's anything. See my tree for estimated dates.

  4. I'll dig out grandma's account of her miscarriage. She said she lost twins, which she always wanted [twins].

  5. This type of collaboration is good. It has pushed me to talk to Howard Cragun last night. He is the only living son of Simeon. He cleary remembers that his mother lost twins before Reub was born. Nancy has sent me some things by email today on the subject. I will try and look at them today. Larry

  6. I just posted Grandmothers story about losing twins.