Early History of Fayette, Utah

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Writing by Martha Winch Bartholomew
Wife of Ray Calvin Bartholomew
Who is son of Joseph Bartholomew Jr., and Emma Mellor
Who is brother of Bishop John Bartholomew

In the spring of 1861, a party consisting of Joseph Bartholomew Sr., James Mellor Sr., Ira Draper, Jacob McCurdy and Wellington Wood, with their families, left Springville, Utah, and arrived at the place where Fayette now stands, April 8, 1861. They built shelters of willows to supplement their wagons for living quarters until their crops were planted. Three of the families became disheartened and left.

The creek ran from a warm spring in the foothills about one mile east, in a natural channel, which is marked by the fence line between the present homes of Elijah James and Ray C. Bartholomew. When it reached the meadow it spread out on its way to the Sevier River. The Mellors built their dugout on the south side of the stream; the Bartholomews made theirs on the north side, just west of where the highway now is. They called the settlement Warm Creek.

In the autumn they were counseled by church authorities to move to Gunnison in order to be safe from Indians, who, although not on the war path at the time, were not to be trusted at places where numerical strength of the whites afforded opportunities for theft and murder on the part of the savages. No one remained at Warm Creek during the winter of 1861-62. In the spring of 1862 they returned, their farming operation began on a larger scale than in the previous year, and a pretty good crop was raised.

The Indians claimed the spring and the meadow, so the settlers bargained with Chief Arrapene, giving two fat oxen for the spring and some calves for the meadow.

The Mellor and Bartholomew families had many similarities. They were nearly the same ages, both had large families and each had a pair of twin girls. The Mellor twins were seven years old and the Bartholomew twins were six when they came to Fayette. When Elizabeth Bartholomew Bown was an elderly lady she said that she and her twin sister, Eliza were very unhappy on the trip from Springville because their mother made them ride in the wagon "every foot of the way," while the Mellor twins, Clara and Emma, who were only one year older, were permitted to walk some and help the boys drive the cows. She said that this valley was like a paradise to them, having an abundance of wild life such as ducks, geese, pelicans, cranes and all kinds of small birds. Trout were plentiful in the river; deer came from the mountains to drink at the spring and to browse in the meadow. A profusion of wild flowers grew over the foothills and among the beautiful meadow grass. The riverbanks as well as the banks of the creek were covered with tall shrubbery, including bullberry bushes, cane, wild roses, wild currants and sagebrush.

During the spring and summer of 1862, other families moved in, and in that year a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized with Branch Young as president. He was succeeded in 1864 by John Edward Metcalf Sr., who after the Indian troubles of 1865-1869, was succeeded by John Bartholomew as presiding elder.

In 1863, John Edward Metcalf was called by Brigham Young to move from Springville to Warm Creek, to build and operate a gristmill. On this Warm Creek the mill would be able to operate the year around.

As the Metcalfs neared Warm Creek, Eliza, age thirteen, sitting beside her father at the front of the wagon, said, "I see the fields but where are the 'ouses?" To which her father answered, "The 'ouses are there, you will soon be seeing them." Soon they came near enough to see mounds of earth with wisps of smoke curling up from the chimneys. Yes, sure enough there were the homes, not like the log and adobe houses they had known in Springville, but they were homes and people lived in them.

The Metcalfs camped about three fourths of a mile east of the other settlers, at the site where they decided to build the mill. Besides his family, he (Metcalf) brought a few provisions, all they had in fact, in a wagon drawn by oxen. He also brought a pick, a shovel, an axe, a steel bar, two augers, a hammer and a chisel; also faith, ambition and perseverance. They soon hauled rock from the nearby hills and built their dugout and mill house. The burrs they chiseled and fashioned from some granite boulders they found in the Cedar Ridge, east of the "Painted Rocks," about twelve miles north of Warm Creek. They used wagon tires to hold the sections of the burrs together.

"The ditch from the spring to the mill had been dug by hand with pick and shovel, and had been tested. The water ran through it. The wooden water wheel had been assembled and set in place, and aside from leaking a lot, it worked. The burrs had been moved into place and everything was ready for the test.

"Mother Metcalf had helped her husband and the boys, but now that the water was turned into the flume to pour over the wheel, she stepped back a few steps and stood with uncovered head and arms folded. The water wheel was soon in motion, but nothing happened with the burrs. Father Metcalf hurried into the cellar and adjusted the rawhide belt that transferred the power from the water wheel shaft to the burr shaft. Then slowly the burr commenced to turn just a little, and was soon scraping its face against its mate stone burr.

"One of the children called, out, "Maw! It's turning! It works, Maw, the mill works!" "Mother Metcalf turned and walked slowly toward the dugout, and with head bowed she said something, and what she said, only God, the angels, and she knew.

"The mill was soon turning out meal and flour, all day long every day, and the products were taken to settlements to the south in Sevier Valley and elsewhere. It was operated for quite a few years." Above quote from an address given by V. Lloyd Bartholomew at the dedication of Daughters of Utah Pioneer Marker, December 4, 1955.

Apostle George Albert smith visited in Warm Creek and counseled the settlers to divide the land into ten acre plots and building lots enough to accommodate twenty more families, promising that if they would do this the water would be increased. They made the division and other families moved in. One day about noon, they heard a sound of rushing water and they discovered that the stream had increased and was flooding over the banks. The promise had been fulfilled.

During those early years Brigham Young divided the territory of Deseret into large divisions and gave the apostles charge of these different areas. It was in 1858 that Orson Hyde was given the responsibility of the settlements in Sanpete and Sevier Counties. He made his home in Spring city. He, it was, who advised the people here to change the name of Warm Creek to Fayette, after Fayette, New York, where the church was first organized.

Even though they lived in dugouts, the women took pride in their housekeeping. They would sprinkle water on the dirt floor, then tamp it with a wooden tamper until the surface was smooth; when it had dried, they marked artistic designs on it with charcoal and limestone. The tamper was made of a round section sawed from a log. A handle was inserted in the center and stood upright. It looked much like one of their churn dashers.

"This dugout was built by Anthony Metcalf in the late '60s. The roof was of poles covered with willows, straw and then dirt. All poles were held in place with wooden pegs driven in three fourth inch auger holes. The inside walls were plastered and liberally whitewashed, as was also the underside of the roof. The floor was of smooth flat rock laid closely together and was kept scrubbed clean. After each cleaning it was marked with a geometric design, using soft limestone.

"The bed occupied one corner of the twelve by eighteen foot room and was built by setting four posts securely and mortising a small pole frame into the posts. Then green rawhide was laced back and forth, crosswise and lengthwise, and this when dry, made a fine bed. The fireplace was in the back end of the room." V. Lloyd Bartholomew.

Many people used straw ticks for mattresses on their beds. These were delightfully fragrant when filled with fresh straw at housecleaning time. The more fortunate had "feather beds." A feather bed was a large heavy bag filled with feathers and used as a mattress. Some even had two: one under as a mattress and one on top in place of quilts. To make the bed look immaculate the housekeeper would smooth it as much as possible by hand, which was not an easy job. Then she finished the smoothing process by means of a long straight heavy willow, which she laid across the bed, then pressing gently she moved it up and down across until the desired smoothness was obtained.

Joseph Bartholomew Sr. held a spelling school in his home, evenings, until the log meeting house was built in 1864. He also enjoyed the distinction of owning and operating the first store. By this time most of the settlers had built log cabins near their dugouts. When the Black Hawk war broke out in 1865 the meetinghouse was taken down, moved to Gunnison and re-erected in the fort. It was in this building that Gunnison's first Sunday School was organized. After peace was declared, it was moved back to Fayette and used until the red rock meetinghouse was completed and dedicated August 1, 1875, by Robert G. Frazer.

It was in 1864 that the Phillip Dack family came to Fayette. In his family history we read that he carried the message of the killing of William Kearns by Indians, April 12, 1865, to Nephi, making the trip, on horse back, in three hours and forty minutes.

According to information received from the Post Office Department at Washington D. C., a post office was established in Fayette on December 7, 1864, with Henry I. Young as Postmaster. He was the father of Branch Young, who was the first presiding elder of this place. They were not close relatives of Brigham Young. The post office was discontinued on May 25, 1868, and reestablished April 4, 1872, with James Mellor Sr. as postmaster.

When Indians began stealing horses and cattle in the vicinity of Fayette, several of the families became frightened and moved away; the rest moved to the Gunnison Fort for protection. In 1867, by advice from Bishop Kearns of Gunnison and also by orders of General Pace, who was in charge of the Sanpete militia, Fayette people moved some of their log cabins into the fort, and while their families were safe in the larger settlement, the men returned in companies, assisted by the militia, to attend to their farms.

On September 4, 1867, about a mile and a half east of Fayette, three militiamen of the Wm. L. Binders Company of Salt Lake City, on duty here, were burning lime for the bastion at Gunnison. Indians stole up in the darkness and by the light of the fire, were able to single out John Hay, whom they shot and killed. Three Indians had been down west of Fayette, trying to catch some horses that were pasturing in the meadow. They tried all evening but couldn't catch them and when at last they gave up they were angry. They had seen the fire at the limekiln, so they went up there to see what was going on.

The two men who had been tending the fire had left for a moment to gather wood, and John Hay had left the position he had occupied while standing guard and sat down by the fire figuring on his boot. This made him a good target for the frustrated Indians. His comrades gave the alarm to eight other men stationed nearby, and taking the dead man with them they retreated to the settlement. Next morning a group of volunteers joined the militia in following the Indians. They tracked them as far as the Sanpitch River and then had to give up.

During the winter months danger from Indians quieted down and some would venture back to their homes in Fayette, but when summer came again all precautions had to be repeated. Following is a copy of a letter written by Captain C. A. Madsen to his superior, Co. N. S. Beach at Manti:

"Gunnison July 8, 1868
Sir. . . . . . . The families who resided at Fayette are removed to Gunnison. The herds at Gunnison and Fayette are put under guard; and at the latter place are also guarded at night in the corrals lately put up. A picket guard is kept at Gunnison on Point Lookout. And smoke signals are to be given from both places in case of attack. Our force at Gunnison is 43 able bodied men, at Fayette 11 men. I have made our guards as strong as our limited number will permit."

Able bodied men and boys over sixteen served their turns as "citizens of Fayette, Sanpete County Territory of Utah, employed in the suppression of Indian hostilities in the county." Fayette men were mustered in Platoon with their own officers, but served under command of Captain C. A. Madsen of Gunnison. The older men were appointed as Home Guard and called Silver Greys.

When the Black Hawk War ended in 1869, the Fayette people moved back home to stay. They appreciated the protection and hospitality given them at Gunnison, but were glad and grateful to be back in their own homes.

At a session of the Sanpete County Court held at Manti June 21, 1869, in answer to a petition, Fayette was organized into a precinct and school district, and at the next meeting, September 6, 1869, its boundaries were determined. James Mellor Jr. was appointed magistrate, Anthony Metcalf constable, and John Bartholomew road supervisor.

At that time it took nine to eleven days for a letter from Salt Lake City to reach Fayette. This was due to its locality not being generally known. In the Deseret News was this item; "the settlement of Fayette, also called Warm Creek, is in Sanpete County, six miles north of Gunnison on the main road from that place to Chicken Creek, Levan and Fillmore." Chicken Creek was a mail station about two miles north of Juab railroad Station.

In the early 1870s, the mail was carried tri-weekly on ponies by boys and men, from Nephi via Moroni through Sanpete County to Gunnison. This was a long round about route and the people were dissatisfied. In 1876, a petition was sent to the United States Post Office Department for a direct mail route from Nephi through Levan and Fayette to Gunnison, asking for a daily coach to carry mail. This petition was not granted. In 1891, a branch line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad was completed from Thistle to the border of Gunnison. Mail was then delivered to the Gunnison depot and a star route was established by way of Gunnison to Fayette.

In 1869, James Mellor Sr., influenced by the preaching of George D. Watt, organized a society for the production of silk and started a mulberry plantation.

President Brigham Young had said previously that this country was a good place to raise silk. In 1868, he built a large cocoonery near Salt Lake City, in which to raise silk worms. He also had a grove of mulberry trees planted in that area. People in all sections of the territory were encouraged to plant mulberry trees and raise silkworms. The cocoons were sent to the factory in Salt Lake City.

The silk produced and manufactured in Utah was of such high quality that the Board of Lady Managers of the Colombian Exposition invited the women of Utah to place an exhibition of their silk in the World's Fair, held in Chicago in 1893, with the hope that it might lead to the encouragement of sericulture in the United States. The first Utah legislature after statehood in 1896, passed "An Act for the Establishment of Sericulture," and provided for a bounty to be paid on cocoons. Many thousands of trees were planted throughout the Territory and many cocoons produced, but in a few years people lost interest. The law was repealed and the industry died out.

For many years cocoons were kept as mementos and were finally used up by children taking them to school for exhibitions and demonstrations. It was intriguing to see a cocoon placed in a pan of hot water and then to watch while an end of fine, fine filament was found and then wound from the cocoon onto a spool while the cocoon turned and bobbed in the water. The trees were not a total loss. Their beautiful glossy leaves made them attractive and the delicious berries made excellent jam. The black and red berries were used in combination with other fruits to lend both color and flavor.

In 1869, John James Sr. and his family arrived in Fayette. He was a practical doctor, especially efficient at setting broken limbs. He and his wife gave much assistance to the sick, both human and animals. Windom, their oldest son, was a small child when they came here. He said that bands of Indians used to go north in the springtime and back south in the fall and they always stopped off here to rest. He would go to their camp east of town and wrestle and play with their boys in the sand hills. When the sun started going down the old chief put his hand on Windom's shoulder, pointed at the sun and said, "Hike away." Then he turned and pointing to the east, told the boy that when the sun came up he could come again.

One day when Windom went to the field he discovered a calf that had been so badly gored that its entrails were hanging out. He ran home for his mother. She told him to make a guinea peg, such as the boys used in their games. With her scissors she cut away all of the entrails that were cold; then she slipped the guinea into the warm entrails, pulling the two warm ends together and sewed them. He asked her how she was going to get that piece of wood out of there and she said that would be easy. She slipped the guinea out, sewed up that slit, replaced the entrails and then sewed up the tissues and the hide. The calf lived and when it was about two years old they sold it for sixty dollars.

Wm. C. Mellor, a son of James Mellor Sr., was five year old when they crossed the plains with the belated Martin Handcart Company. By the time they came to Fayette, he was eleven. Following are some of the stories he told.

He and George M. Bartholomew, about the same age, herded the cows and sheep along the Sevier River in the summer time. The feed was good; the grass and bushes were thick and high. One day they saw some Indians on horse back coming toward them and they were scared. There were lots of beaver along the river in those days. The boys were good swimmers and they knew all about beaver houses. Into the water they dived and crawled up into a beaver house, where they stayed until they thought the Indians had gone. The Indians had gone but they had taken several fat sheep with them.

William loved music, and with the help of Guard Doxford, he made a fiddle from a dry goods box, on which he played for dances. He saved up his money until he had sixty dollars, which he sent to Philadelphia, to buy a violin. It was winter when it arrived and he had to go to Juab with an ox team to get it. He had one lesson from James Fjeldsted of Gunnison. The violin was a good one and brought joy and happiness to three generations of people in this valley. His fee was usually one dollar; if the dance lasted all night he sometimes received two dollars.

A dance ticket might be a squash, some potatoes or any other kind of produce. If no cash was taken in, the fiddler took his pay "in kind." When the time came that they had money to pay, they charged 25 cents a ticket. Each gentleman was given a number as he entered and the floor manager would call out eight numbers enough for two sets of quadrilles, and the couples all had to be in position before the music started. The numbers were rotated so that everyone got a chance to dance. They had much respect for the floor manager and any one who misbehaved was put out. No one under sixteen was allowed, but dances for the children were held on Christmas, New Years and the Fourth and Twenty-fourth of July, with floor mangers. The day when babies were taken along to dances and put to sleep on the benches, came years later.

For timber, the men went in companies to the mountains northeast of the valley. Good timber was available in both Hell's Kitchen Canyon and Timber canyon. That from Hell's Kitchen however, had to be hauled out by way of Second Canyon, which was later called Mellor's Canyon.

They also logged in Twelve Mile Canyon and on one trip up there a tragedy occurred that plunged the whole community into mourning; seventeen-year-old William Bartholomew was accidentally shot and killed.

The men and boys often went great distances to fish, hunt and trap. On one occasion when a group had gone to Fish Lake, it snowed on them during the night. In the morning one of the boys was sent out to find the horses and as he walked along among the bushes all shrouded in snow, he could not see far in any direction. All at once, he was face to face with a big bear! The bear was as surprised as the boy. It gave a startled growl and a jump, and they both turned and ran in different directions.

One day when Joseph Bartholomew Jr. was returning from his trap line north of town, he discovered a huge black bear asleep in a willow patch. It had killed a calf and eaten most of it. He hurried home for help. A number of men went ahead to kill the bear while others followed with a wagon drawn by an ox team. When they returned with the bear on the wagon, the rest of the people were out to greet them. The hide was tanned for a rug and the fat was rendered to make soap, shoe grease, harness oil, etc. For the whole community.

The home of Joseph Bartholomew Sr. built in 1870, of red sand stone quarried in the hills southeast of Fayette. The timbers were red pine from Hell's Kitchen Canyon. The iron nails were square. The doors were heavy and each window had eight small glass panes. Each of the two front rooms had a fireplace. The walls were eighteen inches thick.

The home of James Mellor Sr. built in the early 1870s, before 1875. He made the brick himself with the help of his sons. It was a spacious house. The front door opened into a large hall, which led to all rooms and had an ornate stairway leading to the second floor. Each of the two large front rooms had a fireplace.

The women washed the wool and carded it, dyed it with home made dyes, then spun it into yarn and wove it into cloth. They sewed, made candles, dried fruit, and helped each other in every way possible according to their special talents. Clara Mellor Hill was an expert at making yeast and she generously divided with anyone in need of a start. Polly Benson Bartholomew was an artist at weaving beautiful rugs, carpets, bedspreads etc. One of the bed spreads she made is now on display at the Bureau of Information in Salt Lake City.
Some of the social events were sewing bees, quilting bees, apple-drying bees, or squash-drying-bees, corn-husking bees, dinner dances, home dramatics. The youngsters especially enjoyed the candy pulls at molasses cooking time. Nearly every family had a patch of sugar cane.

Roxie Bartholomew Christensen was old enough to help with the cooking when her mother bought her first glass fruit jars. The instructions that came with them said to wrap a cloth wrung out of cold water, tightly around the jar while pouring in the boiling hot cooked fruit. Needless to say many bottles broke and before long they discarded that part of the instructions.

John Mellor, brother to James Mellor Sr. arrived from England with his wife and family in 1872. His wife became known and loved throughout Sanpete County as Aunt Amy. She was a midwife and practical nurse who gave freely of her services. She loved to tell stories to children while she crocheted and made hair flowers.

On May 1, 1874, the Fayette branch of the United Order was organized.

On July 2, 1974, the Fayette Cemetery was dedicated.

On April 27, 1977, Presiding Elders, Bartholomew of Fayette, and Olesen of Mayfield, received orders from Stake President Thurber to "hold in readiness respectfully, forty three men mounted and equipped, to escort President Brigham Young and party from Salina to Manti. . ." The men were fitted out under the command of Lieutenant James Metcalf. They accompanied the party from Salina to Manti, stopping en route to hold a meeting in Gunnison. Brigham Young dedicated the Manti Temple ground on April 15, 1877.

June 20, 1877, delegates were appointed to build barracks for the workers on the Manti Temple and sheds and corrals for their work animals. They were Joseph Bartholomew and William Gee from Fayette, James Hansen and C. A. Madsen from Gunnison C. C. Olesen from New London (South Mayfield), N. C. Anderson from Mayfield.

Fayette was a branch of Gunnison Ward in Sevier Stake, until July 4, 1877. On that day the Sanpete Stake was organized. On the same day Fayette became a ward and was attached to Sanpete Stake. John Bartholomew was named Bishop, with John James Sr. as first counselor, Joseph Bartholomew Jr. as second counselor and William Bown Sr. as clerk. Counting the years that John Bartholomew served as presiding elder and then as bishop, he presided over this community continuously for forty-seven years.

In 1884, the Relief Society women decided to build a house of their own. Most of the work done on the building was paid for by sewing, knitting, quilting and donation of Sunday eggs. The officers and members took turns boarding the masons and carpenters. When the walls were built up to the square, they decided it should be a two-story building and so the house stood unfinished for a number of years. It was completed in 1895.

On July 26, 1885, Wilford Woodruff, President of the Twelve Apostles, was staying at the Bishop's home in Fayette. As usual he had stopped off here for a rest on his way to St. George. A rider came from Juab and notified him that President John Taylor had died that day. Brother Woodruff returned immediately to Salt Lake City.

In the darkest days of controversy over polygamy, the government went so far as to disincorporated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, dissolving the Perpetual Emigrating Company and confiscating church property by means of the Edmunds Tucker Law, in 1887, and deprived polygamists of the right to vote. When Wilford Woodruff became president of the Church in April 1889, he issued the "Manifest," a proclamation suspending plural marriage. On January 4, 1893, President Benjamin Harrison (President of U. S.) issued a proclamation restoring the franchise and the property to those from whom they had been taken.

On November 16, 1893, under the direction of John Nuttall, who represented the General Authorities of the church, the Fayette Ward Relief Society held a meeting at which they elected a board of five directors and three trustees, to manage their affairs and hold legal title to their property. In doing this they elected the standing officers of the society. From that time on they were instructed to conduct their meeting in parliamentary order, also to be governed by "Articles of Association" which had been ratified and signed by the members.

Before modern embalming, it was difficult to keep dead bodies in condition before burial. When Joseph A. Young, president of Sevier Stake, died, August 5, 1875, his body was placed in ice and reached Salt Lake City in good condition. Ice was also used to keep meats fresh and in the nineties when drug stores began dispensing ice cream it was a necessity. In those day it seems that ice from ponds and streams was very much thicker than it is today around here. It was known to reach a depth of fourteen to eighteen inches. Men would drive teams on the thick and stout frozen surface of reservoirs or lakes-while others sawed blocks of ice, making each block about eighteen by twenty-four inches and whatever depth there was. After loading, these blocks would be hauled to ice houses and laid layer upon layer with sawdust in between. Many loads were hauled, enough to last through the summer. Chunks of it would be for sale.

An old newspaper clipping reads; "July 1, 1896-Fayette. Flood came down from hills. Almost entire settlement flooded. Bridges washed out, fences wrecked, cellars filled with water in some houses. Crops destroyed and haystacks washed away. New canal damaged in many places and filled with debris."

There was a terrific hailstorm followed by a cloud burst over the hills above the spring. It filled the spring with mud and shut off the water supply. The people were without water until they cleaned the mud out of the spring. The hail stones were as large as small bird eggs and were flooded into packs so hard that there was still ice enough to freeze ice cream on the Twenty-fourth of July.

Irrigation interests were supplemented and protected by the Gunnison-Fayette Canal Company, which was incorporated March 12, 1896, with capital stock of $2340.00, fully paid up by the corporation ownership plan. The canal they built was an extension of the Robins and Kearns Canal which came from the Sevier River west of Axtell. This Fayette extension went as far north as the McCarty Ford, about eight miles north of Fayette. It was surveyed by Joseph Bartholomew Jr. who made his own surveying devices. The men who helped in the construction of the canal received water rights as pay for their labor. Many took up homesteads along the canal as soon as it was surveyed and developed fine farms and ranches. About four miles north of Fayette the river makes a complete horse-show shaped bend. At this place the canal came out above the farm fences and made a good camping place for weary travelers to stop to rest and water their animals.

Up until about this time all the water from the spring ran past the gristmill and was the power used to run the mill; beyond that it was divided for irrigating the fields and gardens and for culinary needs. Since the Gunnison-Fayette Canal would provide the water necessary to irrigate all the land west of the community, the water from the spring was used to irrigate the each land both north and south. The mill ceased to operate because it was considered more important to bring the bench land into production, besides, flour could now be obtained at other mills that had been established in nearby communities. This mill with John Edward Metcalf and later his son, Anthony Metcalf had a successful run of about thirty-one years.

About 1880 the Clark Bridge was built across the river northwest of Fayette. Chris Olston was the builder and Jim Metcalf, the architect. It was the second bridge built across the Sevier River in this area. When the railroad was built into Utah many men learned the use of the pile driver. Some of the heavy pile driver hammers were used in the construction of this bridge.

The earliest formal schoolteacher of whom we have any record was a Mr. Syckle. Many faithful teachers followed. A Mr. Potter taught the children the Morse Code and telegraphy, and much to the consternation of many parents he predicted wireless telegraphy.

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