People Profiles: Beginnings

Bish Taylor & JW Williams

Loren “Bish” Taylor

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Born in 1892 to one of Moab’s oldest families, young Loren “Bish” Taylor apprenticed at the Grand Valley Times where he learned the printing and newspaper business. After purchasing the Times and its competitor The Independent, the renamed Times-Independent became one of the most influential newspapers in southeastern Utah. Taylor served his community as town clerk and trustee of a new hospital while earning some of the highest honors of his profession. He was elected president of the Utah State Press Association and received the Associations’ Master Editor award in 1961. Taylor’s commitment to Moab lives on through his descendants, who own and lead the TI today.

 

Photo: Courtesy Tom Taylor
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Charlie Glass with horse and dog

Charlie Glass

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What would life be for an African-American cowboy at the turn of the 20th century in the American West? Charlie Glass’ story gives us a clue: you’d need “grit, ingenuity, and the cow-punching skills and character to earn the loyalty of cattlemen from Moab to Thompson Springs to Cisco.” Working faithfully for the Turner, Osborn and Cunningham ranches, Charlie was known for his fierce loyalty to ranch bosses. His reputation was burnished in 1921 when he fatally shot an aggressive Basque sheepman in self-defense. Upon his death, Charlie was buried in the Turner family’s plot, at a time when African-Americans were barred from being buried in the Fruita, Colorado cemetery.

 

Hear an authentic cowboy sing a song written about legendary Charlie Glass.

“The Ballad of Charlie Glass” written and composed by William Leslie Clarke, courtesy of Three Rivers University Press, performed by Sand Sheff, recorded in 2019 at KZMU Studios Moab, Utah.

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Lydia-Taylor Skewes

Lydia Taylor Skewes

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“My people came to the little Grand Valley in wagons and forded the Colorado River, and I’ve flown in jet planes.” A daughter of one of the earliest families to settle in Moab, Lydia Skewes grew up watching Moab grow up: horse races on the sandy road in front of her house, Fourth of July dances in Castleton and, always singing. As did other women, Lydia attended to the welfare of family and friends, especially when the mills shut down during World War I by making robes, socks, scarves and bandages for the Red Cross. And always participating in activities that she thought would better her community.

 

Lydia Taylor Skewes talks about her Chickering piano, Moab’s first.

Historian Bruce Louthan asks Lydia about how people got around in the winter before cars. Hear her talk about the time of horsepower.

Life  before modern refrigeration, says Lydia, meant getting by, and making ice cream, with big blocks drawn from the river in winter.

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Otho Murphy

Otho Murphy

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The youngest child of one of the first Euro-American families to settle in Utah, Murphy’s father Felix marched with the Mormon Battalion, the only religion-based unit in U.S. military history. Murphy worked in farming, ranching, prospecting, and surveying – and was an accomplished artist and singer-songwriter. He authored The Moab Story and was elected County Attorney, only to sue the Board of County Commissioners for offering him a $10 annual salary rather than the $1,000 per year his predecessor earned. Murphy’s legacy is found in the places that bear his name, including Otho Natural Bridge in Mill Creek Canyon and Murphy Lane in Moab.

 

Otho Murphy

At 90 years old, Otho Murphy records his own 1920’s composition, “The Moab Mellow Moon”.

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