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Garland Bray -- Biography (Part 1)

Garland at age 3

GARLAND LAMAR BRAY, the oldest son of Robert LaMar Bray and Grace Allene Lumpkin, was born August 18, 1930 in Salt Lake City. He said he remembers living at their home on the west side of Salt Lake.

Garland (called "Gar" by his friends), mostly remembers growing up in Copperfield, where they moved when he was about 4 years old. It was at the top of Bingham Canyon on a very steep hillside, where the houses were practically stacked up above one another, and there were steep stairways in between. When the mine was expanded it was all torn down, and even the mountainside where it used to be is now gone. Later the entire town of Bingham was also torn down, in the 1960's. I (Karen) remember as a child going with Grandpa and Grandma Bray in their old 1950's Plymouth and driving up through the town of Bingham, on the narrow, steep, and winding Main Street through the town. When Garland grew up in Copperfield, there were also many other little settlements in the canyon besides Bingham. In those days people couldn't commute to work like they do now, so everyone who worked at the copper mine and in the U.S. Mine (underground) lived in the canyon, and there were also many different ethnic sections. In Bingham there was a section called Frogtown (where French people lived), and there was also Markham and Freeman, which were up little side canyons. Higher up the canyon there were two main forks -- Highland Boy was up one fork, and Copperfield was up the other one. Copperfield had its own movie theater and at least two grocery stores. "Jap Camp" and "Greek Camp" were two sections of Copperfield. Also there was Dinkyville, and further up was Telegraph. Garland remembers delivering newspapers around Copperfield when he was a boy; his dog Tip would pull the sled with the papers on it, up the road to Telegraph, and then after delivering the papers they would ride the sled back down, about a mile. He said that when he was in scouts there were enough boys that there was one troop in Copperfield, one in Highland Boy, two in Bingham, and one in Copperton at the bottom of the canyon, making five troops in their district. The boys in Copperfield used to sometimes gather up rocks that had ore in them and sell them to tourists; they would jump onto the running boards of cars coming up the canyon, and offer to give them a tour of the mine. The boys used to have fun sledding in the winter, on the main road up to Copperfield, which went through a tunnel. One of them would stand on the hillside up above, to watch and signal when the coast was clear and there were no cars coming through the tunnel, but a few times they had some close calls, and had to swerve off the road into a snowbank. Garland got into a lot of mischief as a boy. They used to steal dynamite from the mine company and light it off; they would put one end of a pipe into the ground on a hillside, pointing it out over the canyon, light the dynamite and drop it in, and then put a bunch of rocks and dirt into the pipe so that when the dynamite exploded, the rocks would go shooting out over the canyon for about a mile. One time Garland says his pop got mad at him and his friends for doing something wrong, and was coming after him to wollop him good, so he and his friends jumped onto one of the hand-operated cars which move along the railroad tracks by pumping the handle up and down, and they got away from his "old man," who was chasing them down the tracks.

When Garland and his friend Rex were 11, they decided on the spur of the moment to hitch-hike down to California, where his Grandma Lumpkin lived. They actually got rides and made it all the way to Los Angeles. After they got there, his parents and grandma decided they would let him stay for the summer, but they made him work hard while he was there, and he had to cash in his war bond early and pay his own way back when the summer was over. Another time, Garland and some of his friends got into trouble when they broke out most of the lights in the car tunnel to Upper Bingham by throwing rocks at them, and he had to go to juvenile detention for a while. It seems that after this Garland decided to reform. He became a scholar at school. All through high school he was quite small for his age because he was one of the youngest in his class (he didn't get all of his growth until after he was in the army). He was on the football team, but didn't get to play too much.

Garland was very active in scouting, and earned his eagle scout badge. He was a very good swimmer. There was not a swimming pool in Bingham, and the boys had to go down to the Saratoga resort, near Utah Lake, to swim. But for some reason, the scout troop from Copperfield would usually beat all the other troops in swimming competitions. Garland learned lifesaving techniques in water rescue, and later on two occasions saved the lives of people who were drowning; once at the Saratoga pool, and once in the Sacramento River in California, when he was in the army.

Garland at age 17

Garland became a very responsible, ethical young man. When he was 21, he was called for a mission to the North Central States Mission, but then the Korean War broke out, and the church was told by the U.S. Government not to send any more missionaries for a while. They sent letters to those who had just been called, telling them that their mission calls had been rescinded. Garland was drafted into the army and served during the Korean War. He passed an electronics test with very high scores, so he was sent to electronics training and learned how to repair radios and other equipment. For this reason he didn't have to go into combat, but was stationed in California, in Georgia, and in France for a time.

He competed in boxing while he was in the service, and was a member of the U.S.Army boxing team which toured Europe to participate in boxing meets with teams from other countries.


Part 1


            Part 2


Part 3


Text by Karen Bray Keeley

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra S. Bray