Anson Vasco Call II

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Anson Vasco Call
Mayor of Afton, Wyoming
In office
1902-1904, 1912 – 1914, 1924, 1925, 1927
Preceded by None
Personal details
Born 1855
Willard, Utah Territory
Died October 12, 1944
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Anson Vasco Call II played a major role in founding Afton, Wyoming. He was one of six honored July 5, 2008, at the dedication of Afton's new Civic Center.

He was born in Willard, Utah Territory. During his early boyhood he worked in the fields gleaning wheat. In 1864 his father Anson Call was called to serve a mission in England by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while returning home in 1867 he died at Rock Creek, Wyoming.

By the age of seventeen, Anson was enrolled in the University of Utah, graduating with the first class in 1875. Also attending was Alice Jeanette Farnham One afternoon Anson summoned sufficient courage to go to her home and asked her for a date. She replied, "Ask Mother." About four years later they were married in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 17, 1876.

Anson was a fine carpenter, and he built a new home for his bride. He started work on it at 3:30 A.M., and then walked three miles to Centerville to teach school. He was also serving as the superintendent of schools and stake president of the Mutual Improvement Association. When Anson considered taking a second wife, he chose Emily Stayner, Alice's cousin who had grown up in the same home with Alice. However, out of consideration for Alice, she refused him, saying she would as soon be tenth as second. Emily finally became his third wife. Anson had married Lucy King in 1882.

Severe persecution for practicing plural marriage now made it necessary for him to leave Utah; so he served a mission in England. He left in February 1885. Some of the first Elders he met were also from Davis County, one of them being George Osmond with whom he would later serve in the Star Valley Stake Presidency, and Daniel H. Wells.

Anson arrived back in Utah in 1886 and found his family in good health but arresting of polygamists was still very common. Because of this he has to escape to Chesterfield, Idaho where he lived with his uncle Chester in hiding. Many of his relatives lived in and around Chesterfield, and Emily came to teach music to them. It was there that Anson heard about Star Valley, Wyoming and its seclusion and the friendly attitude the Governor had towards polygamists. Alice and Anson and their children set out with Chester's brother, Bowen, to try pioneering in Star Valley. They hauled logs and built two cabins; a one-room cabin for Anson and a two-room cabin for Bowen. There were at that time about ten families living in similar cabins in the Afton town site. On November 16, 1887, Uncle Chester Call arrived with Bowen's wife, Theresa, and daughter, Theresa's mother Pamela Thompson, and Anson's wife Alice with her daughters Maud and Ella. They came in one light wagon with few supplies. As Uncle Chester drove up to the cabin, he said to Alice, "Here is your mansion".

The cabin was small (14x16 feet) with a small cook stove, a wooden rocking chair, few cooking utensils, bedding, and dishes. Boards were nailed into the wall for a bunk bed. Winter supplies were piled in the corner, and the south end of the room was reserved for the carpenter's workbench and tools. Anson made a turning lathe entirely of native wood, powered by a foot treadle. He made furniture to trade for meat, milk, hay, and buckskin. Anson was offered a school teaching position for fifteen to twenty students but gave the job to Bowen who had no other means of employment.

Anson's brother Joe came with his families, and the following year they built the first framed buildings with shingle roofs. For several years Anson and Joe built many structures of importance in the valley. They were also partners in the first furniture store and machine company. Anson taught school in the winter and built buildings in the summer. In 1892 he designed and supervised the building of the Afton Ward chapel. That same year the Star Valley Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized with George Osmond as president, William Walton Burton as first counselor, and Anson Vasco Call II as second counselor. In August 1904 the cornerstone was laid for a new tabernacle, and Anson served as architect and builder. The tabernacle was dedicated in August 1909. He also built and sold many homes in the area. He built one for his first family on the corner of Madison Street and 3rd Avenue, and he built a new home on Fifth Avenue for his fourth wife, Margaret Ann Hepworth.

On September 13, 1901 and mass meeting of Afton citizens was held to select a committee to incorporate the town. Anson Vasco Call II, William Henry Kennington, and Osborne Low were selected. Anson Vasco Call II was elected the first mayor and began serving in 1902. In all, he served nine terms as Mayor of Afton (1902, 1903, 1904, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1924, 1925, and 1927).

Anson personally supervised the installation of the first city water system in 1913. He served for many years as the Federal Land Bank Appraiser for Lincoln, Uinta, and Teton counties, and as the Government Weather Observer.

Anson Vasco Call II died Thursday, October 12, 1944 in Afton, Wyoming. October 17, a large crowd of his family attended the funeral; twenty-nine of thirty-seven children were there. He was buried in the Afton Cemetery.