A family reunion
The family enjoyed the Fourth of July activities and met together for breakfast the next morning.
They brought displays of photos and history, as well as interests, accomplishments and hobbies to share. Everyone got to vote on a lookalike contest to see who looks the most like Corry and Kisten Perkins.
Only two children of Corry and Kisten are still living: Richard Corry Perkins, of Blanding and Calvin John Perkins of St. George. These men were honored guests and obliged the crowd with questions and answers about growing up in Blanding.
A slide show of old photographs was shown and after lunch the family enjoyed a competitive, lively auction with mostly homemade items donated by the family to help with the cost of the reunion. Caldean Black catered the noon meal with his famous dutch oven potatoes and barbequed beef.
Children’s crafts included stick horses and peregrine falcons and owls which were used as props in the family history skit later that afternoon.
Special guests, Spencer and Aaron Mitchell, Chase Chamberlain, and Seth Shumway, great-great-grandson of Corry and Kisten, taught all who wanted to learn the “Haka”, a Maori war dance. (If you read Corry Perkins history coming up you will know why.)
Grandchildren prepared a family history skit, presenting stories of ancestors which was enthusiastically appreciated by the crowd that night, along with a talent show that would rival Broadway!
Saturday the family went separate ways, some to visit Bluff Fort and others to the Monticello temple. They met at the Blanding Pool to cool off later that morning and said farewell at a Navajo Taco dinner that evening, catered by Jennifer Dandy. A young Perkins ancestor was heard to exclaim, “This is the best reunion ever in the whole world!”
Happy Anniversary Grandma Kisty and Grandpa Corry Perkins!
From Peregrin to Perkins
The Peregrin, or Pilgrim, meaning migratory, or one who journeys in foreign lands.
William Peregrin, a coal miner in Wales joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with his family and some of his relatives. John Taylor a Latter-day apostle and future president of the church served a mission in Wales and spent a lot of time in the Peregrin home. At John Taylor’s suggestion, they changed their name from Peregrin to Perkins when they migrated to America.
A calling to San Juan
The Perkins family came to America and settled in Cedar City, UT. They were called to the San Juan Mission in a conference. Brothers Hyrum, Corry and Benjamin Perkins were known as the blasters and the blowers on the San Juan mission because of their experience with dynamite in the mines in Wales. They helped build roads and blasted at the hole in the rock to make trails for the wagons.
Corry Perkins was born and raised in Bluff in a log cabin. His dad was Hyrum Mathew Perkins, one of the blasters from Wales. His mother was Rachel Maria Corry Perkins. When Corry was 6 or 7 years old his job was to herd the family's milk cows and keep them out of the alfalfa fields in Cow Canyon. Corry was musically talented and played the violin in an orchestra, he also played in a harmonica band led by his father.
He went to Brigham Young Academy in Provo, UT where he saw a basketball for the first time. He learned the game and played guard for the "White and Blue" (the name of the team back then). He played on the team for four years. He was the captain and star of the team in his senior year. One of his greatest thrills was when his team won the tournament that decided the national championship and he made the last basket that won the game. He was carried around the playing floor by his teammates! (Kisten, his future wife, was in her first year at BYA and cheered at the game.) Brigham Young Acadamy Basketball team 1907 Corry Perkins is back row, last on right.
In 1907, after graduating from BYA, Corry was called to New Zealand and served there for over four years. On the ship to New Zealand there was a professional wrestler who challenged anyone to a match for money. Corry was convinced to accept the challenge and had just a few days to prepare. Corry practiced hard with much advice from men on the ship. The professional wrestler was big and fierce looking, with a beard and a mustache that curled up at the ends. After a long, strenuous match, Corry won, but said that he walked like an old man for weeks afterwards.
In New Zealand, Corry and his companion rode ponies to get to the villages. The ponies were good swimmers and could be ridden to other islands. After such a trip to another island, the meeting was over and the tide had come in making the distance too long for the horses to swim with riders and a friendly boatman offered to take them across the water to their island base. The horses swam alongside the boat. Suddenly, they were attacked by sharks swimming swiftly toward them. Before the islander boatman could unwrap his rifle from the waterproof wrapping, a shark struck, tearing off a leg from a fear-crazed horse. They cut the horse loose but not before a bullet was fired into its brain. More sharks gathered and were in a feeding frenzy. The rifleman shot at the sharks and the gunshot sharks became the prey of the others. During the feeding orgy, the men were able to calm the other bucking, screaming horse and rowed to safety.
Corry loved the Maori people. He spoke their language fluently and lived with them and ate the food they ate, which was most often a fish stew. They sat around a huge pot and dipped the fish and vegetables out with two fingers. Corry learned island dances and songs; the Maori men's faces were tattooed and during their war dances they would make hideous grimaces which was part of the war dance to intimidate their enemies.
Life in Bluff
After his mission he came back to San Juan County, his family, his Piute and Navajo friends and to court and marry Kisten Adams. They lived in Bluff where he worked with his family ranching sheep and cattle, battling rustlers, homesteaders, drought, and government laws. When the couple’s first daughter, Merlene, was fourteen months old, Corry was called to serve a short mission in Kansas City, Missouri.
Corry was fluent in the Piute language as well as the Navajo language and could converse with the Indians of San Juan. He considered them his friends and valued that friendship, having learned during four years in the mission field, that though people speak and look different, they are people to be esteemed. He had lost any fear of the Indian people and enjoyed their association in the cow camps and in town. He was completely unprepared for a life-threatening episode after some Indian trouble in Bluff. Piutes were burning bridges, cutting telephone lines, and shooting cattle. The sheriff sent word to the cattlemen with stock on Elk Mountain to remain at home, because of the threats the Piutes were making on the settlers. Corry thought that advice was ridiculous. The Piutes were his friends. They came to the Perkin's cow camp many times bringing venison. They had shared meals and persuaded Corry to play the harmonica and tell them stories of the Maoris and sing the songs of the islands. He needed to care for his cattle on Elk Mountain and was just starting up the other side of Cottonwood Wash when 17 Piutes rode out of the trees and surrounded him. Threats were made and one of the Indians hit Corry across the face with a quirt and put his loaded rifle against his mid-section. Posey and Dutchie, Piute friends to the bilagaanas, spoke up for Corry and said that Corry never carried a gun and had always been their friend. Posey told Corry to go on to the mountain and that he wouldn't be bothered again. Corry started on his way and was stopped by the Utes twice more and threatened with his life, each time Posey and Dutchie taking his side.
Several years later Old Dutchie and his family came to Corry’s home to hear of the people that lived far over the sea. Corry put on a show the likes of which hadn’t been seen in that part of the world. With a grass skirt and feathered robe from New Zealand, he made his face into such terrible grimaces that his little daughter fled into the house in terror. After the show he gave the beautiful feather robe to Dutchie.
Corry loved horses and rodeos and horse races. His lifelong dream was to breed horses for working cattle. His life was cut short when he died in 1939, leaving his wife to raise nine children alone.
Mary Kisten Adams Perkins
Mary Kisten Adams Perkins was born in a log cabin in Bluff on August 31, 1899. Her father's family was from Ireland and Germany. Her grandfather on her mother's side was Jens Nielson, from Denmark who came to Utah in the Willy handcart company. On the trip to the Hole in the Rock for the San Juan Mission, Jens was a wagon leader and when they came to the Hole in the Rock, they didn't know how they would continue. Some people wanted to give up and go back. But Jens said, "We must go on whether we can or not. If the Saints have enough stickie-ta-tudy they cannot fail!"
Kisten's father was known as Cold Water Adams and this is how he got his nickname:
The cowboys rode the range all day and sometimes there would be several inches of snow on the tarp which covered their beds. In the mornings the cowboys wasted little time to get a fire started and coffee made to warm themselves up. When they offered a hot drink to John Adams he refused it with these words, "No thanks. I'll have a little cold water."
Kisten's family lived in a three room log cabin in Bluff when she was growing up. The mud plastered walls and ceiling were covered with cloth called "factory" which had to be taken down and washed by hand after every rain. The floors were covered with straw and over the straw was laid homemade carpets. The mattresses and quilts were made of wool from the sheep herd. Kisten helped her mother make candles for light, soap, bread and churned butter. They washed their clothes in a hand turned washer. Kisten's father built a beautiful, big house in Bluff when Kisten was older; the house was later flooded and is no longer in Bluff.
Kisten went to BYA. At the end of four years she had a broad base in all homemaking skills: Hairpin lace, tatting, fancy crocheting, smocking, mending, and patching and nutrition.
She graduated about the same time that Corry came home from his mission and they got married. Corry and Kisten had nine children: Merlene, Dorothy, Margaret Enid, Beverly, Bruce Hyrum, Calvin John, Richard Corry, Howard Dean, and James Adams. Kisten made her children line up every morning and swallow a spoonful of cod liver oil just in case their diet lacked certain vitamins. Kisten was asked by the bishop to serve on the Burial Committee in Blanding. If a sister or a child died in the ward, she would go into the home, prepare the body for burial, and sew the clothes for burial. Many times she worked through the night, comforting others with her embroidered handiwork on the beautiful clothes she made for their loved ones.
Kisten and Corry had heartbreaking times of their own when they lost their oldest daughter Merlene when she was 15-years-old and four years later their oldest son, Bruce, died. Five years after Kisten lost her son, her husband Corry died and she was left a widow for the last 27 years of her life. Her faith upheld her when her son, Calvin, was missing in action during World War II; Calvin was a POW for eight long months.
In later years she traveled to every temple and did a session in each one. Kisten went to California on a mission where she was a companion with her youngest son, Jimmy, for six.
Kisten died on November 22, 1966 and is buried beside her husband, Hyrum Corry, in Blanding.