Joseph Mason Kirton

Joseph Mason Kirton was born in 1893 in Coalville, UT. He was a hard worker and fairly strict man. Joseph’s father John Kirton,
had migrated from England and died in a mining accident in Scofield, Utah when Joseph was still a young man. As a result,
Joseph grew up with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. In turn, he taught his children the importance of dedication and
hard work. He and his younger brothers joined the army in WWI and were sent to training, but the war ended before they were
sent to the front.
Joseph Kirton worked laying steel for the Ogden Iron and Bridge company and later was a boilermaker for the Union Pacific
railroad at the Midvale smelter. He didn’t have the opportunity to get any formal training in engineering or design, but traveling
around he would sketch some of the buildings that he passed along the way. He studied the
structures and supports and in that way he learned how to design and build. Part of his job
was in metalwork. One day a sharp metal spark flew off a grinder into his eye which had to
be removed. He spent the rest of his life with a glass eye.
Fearing that with the disability he wouldn’t be able to keep his job the family decided to buy
a little farm out in Draper in about 1934 where they could get along if he couldn’t go back to
work. Thankfully he was able to continue working for the railroad and had a really good job, which provided the family with
just about everything they needed even through the Depression. He raised chickens on his farm and sold vegetables to the
neighbors and eggs to the Draper egg co-op. The children helped to collect and clean the eggs.
During World War II Joseph would leave the house at 6am and work almost two shifts before returning home because it was
such a busy time for the railroad. Joseph was a heavy smoker and wasn’t very active in religion until the last few years of his life.
After his wife died he spent about 10 years on his own, quit smoking and eventually became a temple worker at the Salt Lake
Temple. By the time of his death he had completed the endowment work for hundreds of people. He kept a record of the names
on slips of paper that he dropped into a mason jar in his home. He died in 1972 at his home in Draper, Utah.

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