Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This post is about Afton Madsen Clark, my mother's mother. Most of the following was written by my mom's older sister, LuDean, and read by me at Afton's funeral.
Afton Madsen was born in Summit, Iron County, Utah on 30 Mar 1906. Her parents were Nels Christian Madsen and Norah Dean Hulet. Two years later twin boys were born on her birthday, Ardell and Bernell, and 7 years after that her youngest brother Elmer was born. The picture posted here is Afton at 6 months. Summit, located 12 miles north of Cedar City, only had an elementary school, so when it was time for high school, Afton moved to Cedar City and lived there with several of her friends as was the custom in those days. She went on to college and graduated from the branch of the Agricultural College in Cedar City in 1925. She was planning to be a teacher like her mother and three aunts, but after substituting for her cousin for 6 weeks, she decided very quickly this was not for her.
In 1924, while at Zion's National Park, Afton rode across the canyon (from Angel's Landing to the bottom) on a load of logs used for the construction of the lodge.
The Escalante Hotel in Cedar City was hosting a special banquet, and called the school in search of girls to help out. Afton was recommended, worked at the banquet, and was immediately offered a job. She worked in the hotel business until she met her husband, Frank.
Southern Utah was a popular place for the movie industry during the 20s, and in 1926 when the movie "Stagecoach of '76" with Tom Mix was filmed in the area Afton went to Zion's again with a group of girls to work in the dining room for the crew. In 1927 when "Ramona" with Dolores del Rio and "Shepherd of the Hills" with Molly Malone were filmed all the stars stayed in the Escalante Hotel where Afton worked.
After this, Afton went to Delta, Utah, where the Pavant Hotel was being opened. There she met Frank Huntington Clark, a widower with 2 small children- Jack Owen and Shirley. They were married on 6 May 1929. A year later they moved to Springville, Utah to take care of Frank's father, John Lafayette Clark ( see earlier post on John and his trek to Utah from Iowa).