BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
This North Ogden home is a historic landmark in North Ogden. Chris Griffin lives there now, and the house has just as complex a history as her ancestors who lived there.
Joseph Godfrey was different from other early immigrants to the United States. For one, while he came from England like many others, he came completely alone. After he ran away from home at age nine, he sneaked aboard a ship and kickstarted his sailing career. He’s also different from others because he never meant to stay on the North American continent. His ship’s crew mutinied off in the New York harbor by happenstance, and after he was thrown overboard, he decided to stay.
He met and married Ann Eliza Reeves, and together they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They crossed the country with the David Wood company and bought the land where Chris’s house is today.
“I have the old deed,” Chris said. “It’s like a history typed on carbon paper.”
Later, Joseph would marry two more women, and between the four of them, they had 21 children. Chris comes from Joseph’s youngest wife, Sara Ann Price. Together, they owned more land than just where Chris’s house is today. The land they owned included the orchard that used to surround the house, the church across the street, and North Ogden Museum. Their land was split up between all of their children, one of them being a daughter named Jemima Helen. She married Nephi Lorin Campbell, and they lived in a house that was built on their share of the land. Eventually, their son, Lester Campbell, bought the house, but even then, Jemima lived there through her sixties. Lester married Lina Wettstein, and together, they had seven children. Karma Campbell, Chris’s mother, was born in the house. Chris was also raised there. She kept the house in the family when she bought it in 1967, after her Grandma Jemima died. At the time, she and her husband had three young children.
“When we bought the house, there was one room that was finished,” Chris said. “The rest was just storage.”
What they didn’t see until the mortgage loan was finalized was that the house needed entirely new central heating, plumbing, and electrical systems. While it was a historical landmark of a house, it needed a lot of work to make it livable in the modern day. Chris remembers feeling so overwhelmed, she cried over the repairs.
“We can’t fix this,” she remembers telling her husband.
Lucky for her, paneling was tremendously popular in that day, because that’s all they could afford to cover up repairs in those early renovation days. She admits it took them a while, but eventually, they were able to turn their old farm house into a home.
One aspect of the landmark that could not be saved was the orchard. According to Chris, the apple trees they have are over a hundred years old and still produce small apples. She did the best she could, but in the end, couldn’t save the trees.
“I didn’t want to be a farmer anyway,” her husband said.