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Gove Edwin and Effie Ellsworth Phelps
Children: Villa Maxine, Wayne Ellsworth, Worth Lovell, Rex E.

The family of Hyrum Phelps and Mary Elizabeth Bingham Phelps was among the first to be sent from Idaho to Arizona to help settle the Salt River Valley. On the cold winter night of Dec. 2, 1878 this group of travelers had stopped at Lee’s Ferry to await the arrival of Mary Elizabeth’s new baby, Gove Edwin, then proceeded on their way the next day towards the valley where they established their first home on south Hibbert Street between First and Second Avenues.

Gove was a happy youngster. He was always obedient and respectful to his father and mother. He loved all his brothers and sisters dearly. When he was little he loved to jig. Some of the Burnett brothers used to get him to dance for them, for he was very adept, keeping time with his feet to the bones which he rattled as he danced.

On the homestead was a very large swing which the children took turns using. Gove loved to swing but he was often provoked by Jack Hibbert and his brother who would “pants” him or take him down to chew his ears.

When he and Guy were small, they used to go out on the desert on West Broadway and drown out squirrels which they took home for pets. One of his duties in the family was to go afterthe cows. Heusedtoride oldPuss. On one trip he lost the old blue coat which was sorely missed by the family, for it was one of the warmest they owned. During the summer months, he and his brothers worked on the header to earn money to go to school

He first attended school at the building which stood at Center and Second Avenue. After he graduated from the Mesa schools, he went to Provo to the Brigham Young Academy from which he graduated in the school of commerce. To earn money to go to the Academy he used to go to Cove, north of Logan, to work for Uncle Levi Allen on the thresher. He was working there at the time his father came home from his mission in 1900.

During his early manhood he went with Belle Coleman and Deborah Allen. Aunt Barbara used to trade him her buggy for his cart so that he could take out the girls.
While he was going to school, he was very short of funds, for one summer after the harvest was over he had made no profit but his room and board. He used to sew cuffs to the sleeves of his coat and wore a dickey, which looked like the best of shirts of which he had few.

He was the most jovial of fellows and was always well liked by his school mates. He never missed an opportunity to joke, tease and have a good time. One time during his schools days at Provo, he and Elijah Allen were dared to run around the block in their underwear in the snow. They both obliged, clad only in their winter longies. At graduation time his sister Hattie sent him money which she earned sewing for Fannie Allen, to buy his class picture.

While away at school he renewed his acquaintance with Effie Ellsworth whom he had known in Mesa. They fell in love, became engaged and were married Dec. 21, 1904. Effie’s mother gave them apart of her lot for a wedding present. Gove borrowed money, built the house which still stands at 122 North Macdonald, They moved in the night of their wedding.

After he was married, Gove worked for the Standard Oil Company, the 0. S. Stapley Company, and North Hardware. In a building which stood on Main Street he opened a bicycle shop. During an election year, after the returns were in, he made a cemetery in the vacant lot next door and “buried” the losing candidates with appropriate epitaphs on their headstones.

He decided to build a building for his own business, borrowed money and built the Rex Hotel building. In the back was a warehouse where he operated a hardware store. The family lived upstairs and managed the hotel. In the front was a garage. Later, the front was made into a lobby, apartment and more rooms for the hotel and the back part of the building was added. During the depression years, when the hotel was going badly, the grocery store was added. The latter part of Gove’s life he spent in managing the hotel, repairing its many leaky faucets, bad light switches, and innumerable odd jobs which constantly consumed his time.

At no time during his life did he ever neglect his church duties. As a small boy he was very conscientious in all of the duties required by the office that beheld. He never neglected paying an honest tithe, not doing anything for his family or for those who were in need.

He and Effie were the parents of five children, Kenneth, who died at birth, Maxine, Wayne and Worth, who were all born at the home on North Macdonald, and Rex, who was born after they sold their home and moved to the hotel.

Gove spent a great many hours in the building of the First Ward Church. He was councilor to the bishop of the ward for fourteen years. He had a beautiful tenor voice and faithfully sang in the choir all his life. He made many trips to the desert for wood for the church. When he was asked why he didn’t take credit for the wood on his tithing, he remarked that he didn’t believe in letting his right hand know what his left hand was doing. The countless deeds he did for the poor, the widowed, only he knows. He never missed an opportunity to do good when and where he could. Many times when his wife asked him where he was going with a sack of groceries under his arm, he was on his way to visit some unfortunate family. His generosity knew no bounds, even if it meant sacrifice and hardship for himself. He denied his family nothing, but asked only the necessities for himself.

His greatest pleasure was in the hunting trips he took with his brothers, friends and sons. He was the most devoted of fathers. There was nothing to big or too small for him to do for his children. His grandchildren, the ones who remember him, adored him. He spent countless hours making swings, teeter totters, and a swimming pool for them. He always carried Blackjack Gum in his pockets for his grandchildren- No matter how many things needed to be done, he found or took time to ride them piggy back or wrestle or play with them. No grandfather was more loved or worshipped than he.

Gove had extremely good health. Only one time in his life when he ate grapes and drank a lot of ice water was he ever seriously ill. After some strenuous lifting, he complained of a pain in his side. He thought he had better see a doctor. After the diagnosis, he went to the hospital for an appendectomy. He seemed to know that he was going to die and begged to be taken home, for he feared dying alone in the hospital. He suffered several heart attacks, both in the hospital and at home which finally took his life when he was 64 years old, July 23, 1941. He was buried in the Mesa Cemetery, loved by thousands for his generosity, his thoughtfulness, and his loyalty to his friends and family.

Villa Maxine Phelps,  md. Earl Milton Lines
Wayne Ellsworth Phelps, md. Mary Zee Hill
Worth Lovell Phelps, md. Grace Naylor(div), md. 2nd Nancy Pennington
Rex E. Phelps md. Elaine Spilsbury