Seymour Bertie ALLRED
Allred Lineage: Seymour Bertie, Medwin Newton, William Moore, Isaac, William, Thomas, Solomon born 1680 England
Born: 07/05/1881 Garden City, UT
Submitted by: Sharon Allred Jessop 01/26/2000
Photo dated 1894: Medwin and Maria Allred family
Back: Seymour, Asa, William, Edwin
Front: Medwin holding Arlin, John, Alvin, Rollan, Maria holding Darrell
LIFE SKETCH OF SEYMOUR BERTIE ALLRED (1881-1960)
Born July 5, 1881, at Garden City Utah, within a stone’s throw of the waters of the beautiful Bear Lake which lies clear and blue half in Idaho and half in Utah, I had no reason for not being brought up healthy and strong if the laws of nature are any unfailing guide. Also, psychology teaches that the farther the parents are apart in relationship the stronger will become the race. If distance is a guide to determine anything by, then I have another law in my favor because my mother, Maria Josephine Stock, was born in Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony, South Africa. NO! You are mistaken there. I am a blonde, not a black nor in any way related to the blacks. Would you think for a moment that if a litter of kittens was born in the oven that they, therefore, were biscuits.?
My father, Medwin Newton, was a typical Yankee, full of all the big things that go to make a man a man - dealing with others exactly as he would have them do to him.
Father loved sports. The gun and fishing rod were his common friends. I say “rod” for a common expression but his was usually a much more speedy way of catching fish. The spear, trap, and seine were his main holds. Of these you will hear later as I had occasion to share in the sport as the years slowly came and went. My greatest ambition in my earliest years as I now recall was to be strong enough to join in the many experiences of my father and his friends.
Baseball was even then a leading pastime, Not a feather bed for the catcher or anyone - only a left hand common leather glove was used by any player and a half breed Indian to pitch. And OH! How he could pitch! Consequently, my Uncle Orson, who was the champion catcher of the Bear Lake Valley baseball league, quit the game with not an uncrippled finger on his hands.
My mother’s brothers to this day have mounted heads and furs galore, consisting of elk, deer, bear, and birds of many kinds of their own bagging. Their homes are a “Haven” and that is now the name of the town wherein is the greatest resort for pleasure, owned by them, on the shores of this beautiful body of water known as Bear Lake.
With this apparent predestination it is no wonder I love the wilds and have had my share of its varied gifts so far, of what the few surrounding states can furnish.
My earliest recollections go back to the true tales that were told by my mother of their experiences a little before my time.
An uncle on my father’s side had the privilege of saving my uncle on my mother’s side by throwing a rope from the banks of the Green River where some of the pioneers were attempting to cross. As he arose the third time he grasped the knot of the rope but was unconscious when dragged to shore.
Every winter the ice becomes a sheet of glass on the Bear Lake. It is then that the young people had the greatest of sport known in their day skating from town to town and sleigh riding for miles to dances, theaters, and parties.
A near tragedy happened when my father and mother were keeping company. They were on one of those sleigh-riding parties rather late in the winter, when a thaw helped to make the ice rotten. The streams that ran into the lake caused the ice to melt for some distance out which necessitated the driving still farther out over very deep water. The party seemed to realize the danger but they were so far out that there was less danger in going ahead than turning back. The horses now and then would break through the ice with one foot then possibly after a few lashes of the whip they would slow up when through the ice another foot would drop - followed by screams from the girls and white faces of the men. Try that over one hundred feet of dark blue ice water and one mile from shore and see if you can keep fully composed.
When an infant my parents went to Cache Valley for a load of fruit. While father was putting in a few remaining articles used in camp, the horses already being hitched to the wagon, my mother set my three-year old sister, Edith, in the wagon seat while she wrapped me a little more warmly and securely. The horses, being a little cold and eager to go, started before father got hold of the reins. The wagon struck a rock causing my little sister to fall out under the wheel which passed over her body. She was - what was termed in those days - rushed home where aid could be secured. All the afternoon and until midnight she suffered with the jolts of a wagon over a rough mountain road. She lived until morning after reaching home. A hard blow to a mother who had in all nine roughneck boys but not another girl.
A year or two later I was taken to a hay ranch to spend part of the summer. While all were busy, my four-year old brother, Asa, and I strayed to the bank of a stream and, or course, as is so common, the baby fell in. Asa ran at once to mother and told her. Lucky for me I was wearing skirts, or girl’s clothes, which caused me to float. My brother said, “He simmed dist like a dut.” Only for a good scare I was none the worse for my “swim like a duck”.
It was the next summer, 1885, that began to leave impressions on my mind that are hazily stamped. I faintly remember current picking, climbing into wagons, and ducks that were brought into camp.
The next summer saw me playing in small streams, and one vivid impression is the memory of catching minnows in the streams which trickled down to the lake less than the length of a city block away. Many were the days of the greatest enjoyment that could be given to a tot of my kind and age to have a small crystal stream with fish in it all my own.
When I was four years of age, 1885, my father homesteaded near a small town twelve miles distance at Fish Haven. The land was rolling foothills which required a ditch along the side hill above his claim. Help was quite necessary to complete this task and so father divided up several parts of his land to those who would help in fencing and ditching for the common benefit. A two room log hut with a dirt roof was our abode for a few years. It was here that my recollections become more vivid. It was to this home that my father brought many of our first elk, deer, and bear. The first bear I can remember seeing was brought home in a wagon and it nearly filled it. From this bear comes the first bear story of my remembrance. What a monster he was and here is the story of his demise as I remember it from a few times telling by my father.
“We, Jake Merkley, Ben Welch, and I were out as usual at the first signs of a tracking snow. The preparation for the trip was essentially the choosing of a good team of horses, a good but light wagon, a large roll of hay, two sacks of oats, a good sized grub box well filled, warm footwear, plenty of quilts, guns and cartridges.” I might say here that the thought of licenses for hunters had not entered anyone’s mind as yet. Neither had my father ever bought a box or cartridges. We bought empty shells, black powder, lead by the pound, and many are the bullets I have run through the bullet mold that he owned.
Being all set they drove off with the common “Good luck” and the wave of the hand. Baby was crying and mother took him up, sat in a rocker and then comes the old lullaby as she rocks:
“By baby bunting Daddy’s gone a-hunting to get a little rabbit skin to wrap the baby bunting in”
All is anticipation until the return and - although they had plenty of venison - there was nothing that took the eye like that large grizzly with his feet sticking out the back of the wagon underneath the end gate. After putting the old faithful horses in the stable, the rubbing down of the horses and bedding being changed for dry straw and wet clothing changed or laid aside, then with the story:
“We reached a well known spring at sundown the first night and before morning another two inches of snow had fallen. That is the desire of all hardened hunters. We scout about next morning to see if we could locate fresh tracks in the new snow but soon decided to hitch up and go a few miles up the canyon. We did so and soon saw a track of a large bear that had very recently crossed our road. We located a convenient camp ground and hastily made our preparations for following Mr. Bear. The tracking was slow and quiet for a bear surely takes his route over rough and brushy places. After about two hours stalking, “Bruin” was seen and several shots seemed to only slow him up slightly. He entered a very thick clump of low brush oak and chaparral from which we could not tell that he left in the next thirty minutes. Our plan was then formulated. Ben was to go up one side of the brush, I the other, and Jake was to follow the tracks through and scare him out where one of us was sure to see him and get a shot at a much closer range. The plan worked quite well but tedious for Jake as he worried along through the tangle - now and then spying a little blood on the snow. Mr Grizzly was wounded, so Jake knew he would have to be cautious. Soon there was cracking of limbs, a shot, and much commotion and no longer than it takes to tell it out came Jake in my direction, bareheaded and no gun - with that bear dangerously close behind. He was in excellent range of me and I couldn’t very well miss him. A single shot and Mr. Bear lay helpless. Jake, frothing at the mouth could do no more than grin.
‘Where is you gun, Jake?’ I asked.
“He took it away from me and then kept coming because I didn’t give him any cartridges,’ replied Jake, and sure enough when we found his gun there were six deep tooth marks in it’ stock.”
This seems to bear out the old idea that if one is pursued by an angry bear that he will hesitate long enough to tear any clothing that one may shed in his flight while the bear is in hot pursuit.
Another two days were spent bagging venison before breaking camp, and while out the next day after the bear episode, Jake left the two for a few moments and never missing an opportunity for a good laugh my father says: “Ben, yell ‘Here’s a bear!’ and see what Jake will do.” They each sprang toward a tree and Jake, being away from his gun, grabbed for the nearest quaking aspen and the bark being smooth he just slid to the ground with his legs and arms gripping around the tree and a silly scared look on his face.
As the cold weather increases the bears go into winter beds and stay dormant until spring weather brings renewed life to them. Not only bears, but squirrels, snakes, and many other creatures do the same.
The next spring found my father in about the same location while the drifts were yet deep with many bare spots. Strange but true the bears come out of their stupor as fat as when they had their last meal months before.
The one father and Jake found that spring was a very large black bear. Father’s first shot turned bruin directly toward him on top of a very large and steep drift of snow. He continued to come until father had shot six times. The sixth shot brought him to the snow drift and he rolled to the bottom out of sight into the bushes at the foot of the drift. He was stopped less than one hundred feet away yet father said he had absolutely no fear. Jake became attracted by the successive shots and started down to see Mr. Bear. The drift, I have already stated, was very steep and as Jake was careless his feet slipped and down he sat and when he came to a stop at the brush edge where the bear had vanished he was within ten feet of the beast but luckily for Jake Bruin was stone dead. All six bullets had made their marks upon him.
The next Fall found my father in a pinch where he was willing to compromise. It was in the following manner:
The day was pretty well spent when he turned toward camp. He thought mostly of reaching there before darkness came on for it is not pleasant to travel in the dark, afoot, alone over a rough trail and sometimes through dense under growths. He was partly running and jumping over the smaller bushes through some quaking aspens when lo and behold to his surprise and astonishment a large grizzly stood up before him and disputed his right-of-way along that trail. Not thirty feet away, upright, with his paws folded in front of him on his breast stood the bear. Did father stop short? He said he did and this is what he said:
“I leveled my gun and thought - now if I shoot and fail to get him in the neck or brain he can tear me to pieces before I can fire a second time. Even if I shoot him through the heart he can do the same before he drops dead. ‘Now if you will let me go I will let you go but I won’t run!’ A full minute we stood eyeing each other when all of a sudden the huge beast as large as a yearling steer - whirled on his heels and how he did crush those small willows and brush! I never went back on my word. I let him go with only his own effort and that seemed to please him, too, for he was evidently as surprised as I was.”
The Spring of 1886 saw me following him on his rounds to attend fish traps and to seine fish in the deeper waters.
It seems strange to some, no doubt, if I say that I can catch fish of any length that may attempt to go up stream of moderate size and depth and yet have nothing but the common willows that grow along the banks with which to catch them. It is done in the following manner:
The art of choosing a good place is an important part toward a good successful catch. I choose a good current, solid even bottom, and cut small willows as long as the water is deep. The straighter the willows the nicer the fence. These are laid together and with the very small willows weave the longer willows into a fence as long as the steam is wide. About three braids, one at or near the bottom end, through the middle, and the third braid at the top. Then the basket is built by long straight willows being woven with all butts together tied to a willow hoop. This basket is built long and tapering to a point. It has very little resistance when the water guns against it and then when a hole is cut through the fence - which is staked to the bottom - the basket its placed with the point downstream and when a fish goes into it head first the force of the water holds him there for he cannot turn around. I have seen forty or fifty points caught in one basket at one time or in one night’s catch. Fish run up or down stream to larger bodies of water where possible.
One of these early summers of my life the news of the telephone coming through Bear Lake valley reached many boys’ ears and when the posthole digging, setting up of the posts, and stringing the wire was being conducted there was no end to the curious boys and girls that grouped about the workers and talked through pipes and hollow tubes. That was, of course, our interpretation of how one could talk along the wires. Everyone would take a peep to see if that long wire really did have a hole in it. The first telephone in the Bear Lake valley was in the year 1888.
Another great event was the uncommon fruit peddler that may stray that far away. Gee! The smell as he was passing by was worth a half mile’s walk down to the road from our house. Then came the climax. One day a wagon hauling freight went jogging along and a hapless peanut sack had a hole in it and every rod or so out jolted a nut. I actually believe that for every peanut lost there was either a boy or girl on the road looking for it.
As the telephone wires were strung in the new country many a bird lost its life by striking them with its wings. We boys, ever ready for adventure, would follow those wires for miles and pick up the dead birds, gather eggs by the hundreds, and then build a fire and have a regular Indian feast on the birds and birds’ eggs. We would often have a double strand of eggshells on a string that would reach from ceiling to floor. We had no thought of the crime we were committing by that wanton destruction.
As a boy I have sampled many kinds of birds’ eggs on a good many different occasions. The wild goose being the largest bird which I was familiar was the most choice. Its eggs are delicious. The many varieties of ducks will class as ducks only. They equal the goose egg except they are smaller. The sage hen is speckled and has a quality equal to the tame hen. Then there are the pine hens, grouse, quail, prairie chicken, pheasant - each rivaling the other in quality - the only difference being in size. Even down to the smaller birds, black bird, robin, meadow lark, pigeon, mourning dove, - all in a group by themselves. I have tasted all of these but, not being game birds, I never could fancy the eggs. The eagle, hawk, shitepoke, crane, crow, magpie, the mud duck, the killdeer and the sandpiper - although very small birds - lay eggs which are comparatively large.
Then when I name the animals I have trapped and shot you will wonder if I have eaten of each of these but - No! When it comes to something near the dog or cat I always drew the line. The bear being, as I considered, as near the dog as I cared to sample, and the squirrel or rabbit comes as near the cat as I cared to eat.
Many are the squirrels and chipmunks that vanished while I was yet a small boy. A stream of water running above a colony of the rodents and then a boy of my type with a shovel is disastrous to them and many hours of amusement they have afforded me.
In the Spring of 1889 a few very peculiar things seemed to be about to happen. As the ice begins to thaw on the lake - even to this day many fishermen spend day and night fishing through a small hole in the ice. It was during this season of the year that my father and mother became very much alarmed when a wind broke the ice from the shore and it started breaking up and floating eastward. The width of the lake is about twelve miles and they knew that we, two or three sons, were somewhere on the ice or shore. Father was soon on horseback and had a rapid ride two miles down to the lake shore where he found us none the worse off and his fear that we may be adrift on the floating ice had no foundation.
It was one of these days in the Spring when we were gazing over the lake from our house which was on a prominent rise so that a splendid view was to be had of all the valley that my mother saw in the distance and on the surface of the water that great Lear Lake Monster! The great “beast”had come to the surface for the first time after a long winter of seclusion underneath two feet of frozen surface of the lake. Dark in color, ten to fifteen feet wide, and half mile long, it slowly moved northward. The story had long been in existence of just such an animal - or fish - but this was a rare privilege to see it and be a safe distance from its massive jaws. Come children! See! Can it be the real Bear Lake Monster? What a sight! Eyes gazed from under slouch hats, with mouths open and fast beating hearts. Are any of our relatives or friends down on the shore today? If so is it possible for them to escape that great beast: It is coming to shore and to shallow water. What will it do when the lake ends? Suddenly, when it seemed that something must happen, a swerve in the shape and someone exclaimed, “Only a flock of geese!” That is as near the truth of the great Bear Lake Monster as anyone has ever been able to see.
As warm weather approached and grass became green and nesting time for the birds came around, several times our family went in the old farm wagon to a small sluggish stream known as Spring Creek. This stream was only three miles away from our home and narrow enough that the men folks could jump it in most places yet deep enough to contain many of the slower fish known as suckers. All the larger folks armed themselves with pitchforks. By stamping upon the bank near the water many fish would be seen to run out into the open water where the fun began. Running up and down the stream, spearing and jabbing at the scared fish, the falling of the men, and often ducking that they would get, caused a great amount of merriment for the women and children who were looking on. A hundred fish were often caught.
During the following summer our family moved to a sawmill in what is known as Green Canyon. The mill was run by water power known as the undershot. Here too, was found vivid impressions of wild life. Here we watched great fish mount a waterfall of twenty or thirty feet - almost perpendicular. It was here I had many enjoyable experiences gathering pine nuts, pine gum, and listening to the hum of the saw as it ripped through the logs. There is a rustle and bustle about a sawmill that one always remembers as being full of life. It was here that a porcupine got into my mother’s kitchen one night and ate up a bar of soap, of which they are very fond. Not content with this, he was proceeding to eat the wash bench that contained a lasting flavor of soap, when the noise wakened father and Mr. Porky was chased out and the door securely fastened.
Here it was also that my youngest brother, Ed, came running to his mother crying with freight. I will never forget that picture of his face. A large slouch hat, a dirty face smeared from a dirty nose, all out of breath and full of fear crying, “Mama! Asa seen a mink.!” There were martins aplenty around there and it was one of these little animals about the size of a half grown cat that he was afraid of.
It was here I remember some men, who had been on the dry mountain side all day without water, came to the stream with swollen tongues and parched lips. They lay with their hands in the water to their elbows and just took a few swallows at a time for several minutes. Here, also , an accident happened to a cousin while sawing shingles. It happened in this way:
Blocks were put on end resting on a movable table and as each shingle was sawed it must be taken by the hand just before it dropped. This required the sawyer to touch the side of the saw each time so that he could place the shingle properly in the least time. Thousands of times he was perfect in his handling but it took but one slip to have three fingers and his hand badly cut that he was forever a cripple in that limb.
At this mill, also, my father came nearly having a bad accident. As was the custom on small mills when there accumulated a lot of rough boards they were placed before the saw on the carriage and edged we called it. One day as this was being done an edging caught in a way that it was thrown upon the saw. The rapid revolving of the saw threw the stick the size of a good big club so near my father’s head that he felt the wind of it. The force of it knocked off two boards at the end of the mill thirty feet away. Had it struck anyone it could have easily gone through a man like an arrow through a rabbit or squirrel.
I can well remember the use of ox teams at this mill and at another a few miles away where my Uncle Marvin had placed a steam power and quite up-to-date mill. It was to this mill that we went next season and it was here that I had several summers of woodland life and some more lively experiences while putting a few years behind me. It was the summer of 1889 at this mill, located on the head waters of the Logan River, where I did the first actual honest-to-goodness work for a wage.
Hold on, though. I must back up and tell you of a job I hired out to an Uncle Edgar to perform. That was milking a cow for five cents a week. I milked the cow three weeks and thought I did all right but for some reason I was paid only ten cents. For years that was a joke told and retold on me and many a laugh brought from it.
One more little instance of my hiring out then I will proceed with my routine. My grandfather agreed to buy me a pair of stoggy shoes if I would come and herd his cows in a pasture poorly fenced. His object was to have someone see that they came home at the proper time. I got so homesick I could not hold out for a week. From that day to this if I am to keep from that dread disease I must have something to keep me busy.
My brother, Asa, and I were hired to tend ratchet, which consisted of riding the carriage that held the log and when each board was sawed off a lever moved the log one inch nearer which gave the saw another board to cut. The two of us held down that job for ten hours a day for some time. There was many times during the days of my milling experience when life was as interesting as it had been and also as it was yet to come.
Days of excitement were quite common, as one day when the drive belt of the engine flew off and it, in turn, broke the governor as it would around the wheel and shaft. Then at each revolution of the main drive wheel - which was seven feet in diameter - the belt would slap the floor of the engine room with increased speed of a runaway engine which would sound like a small cannon. It was so near the throttle that it was suicide to attempt to shut off the steam. There it went until the belt broke and wound up on the shaft so that it was safe to close the throttle and shut off the steam. It was running at such high speed it seemed for a time that the whole engine would fly to pieces.
During times of repair my father would do some logging for himself. It was one of these days that I was driving his team of horses when the wagon tipped over with a load of logs on it. I was sitting on top and unexpectedly the wagon went over, down hill, and I went with it but being nimble on my feet, I lit on them and kept ahead of the rolling logs. My father complimented me upon my ability to stay on my feet.
It was one of those days when my brother, Asa, was looking for the family cow and being a little longer than he should have been father went out to meet him. He saw the cow with the boy following close behind. He thought, “Now I’ll scare him!” He hid behind a clump of bushes and growled as the boy went by. Asa stopped and looked. Another growl and Asa picked up a rock and with a left hand swing he landed a stone right on father’s head just as pretty as you please! He came up standing right now. He was ready to surrender.
Another day a logger felled a tree and for safety one should only step around to the side opposite the way the tree is falling but this fellow lost a little reason, I guess, for he ran with all his might and lucky for him he started as soon as he did for he just reached the length of the tree when the brush struck him over the head and shoulders knocking him down but not with sufficient force to kill him.
My father said, “What made you run? Don’t you know better than that?”
He said, “The Devil told me to run and I couldn’t stop till I was knocked down.”
Another day there was some excitement at the bunk houses when a dog began tearing through the doors of all the houses found open and yelping for all he was worth. He was foaming at the mouth which plainly indicated a case of rabies. There were plenty of rifles and good marksmen and, of course, he was soon shot by one of the men.
About this time my mother sent to the mill for my father to come to the house quickly. I was on the carriage tending ratchet at the time. The mill stopped and father even ran most of the way to the house. I followed but was a little behind. When I reached the house mother was in tears and father was laughing. The gist of it all was that she had discovered lice on several of the children and it was her first experience with them. The source was from a new boarder who was soon accused and discharged. After a good sound boiling and cleaning all signs of lice disappeared.
It was this same Fall that we boys discovered that we could catch fish with our hands. By scaring the mountain trout and making them seek shelter under the bank one can carefully reach under and, if very cautious, the touching of the tail will not scare them. Then slowly move toward the head and when a hold on the gills can be secured only a squeeze and out comes Mr. Trout.
You will note that most of the ways I have mentioned catching fish is unlawful at the present time but when it was done in my boyhood days there was very little law against killing game and catching fish any way possible.
It was at, or near, this mill that a set gun was put for a bear that made his visits a little too frequently around and near the cabins. On one of our jaunts, or wanderings, we discovered glistening sparkles on the ground when the sun was shining in a certain angle from us. We learned to follow that sparkle until we could pick up what we termed diamonds. There were, actually growing from the ground, beautifully carved crystals cut like diamonds. A quartzite elongated and with an apparent root still in the ground. The sunlight was the only thing that would betray their whereabouts and we were devoted searchers. Well, that bear gave some concern and so a gun was placed in such a way that when anything pulled a string crossing a trail at a certain place the gun would be discharged at the very spot touched. It was placed two nights only before Mr. Bear committed suicide by shooting himself. That is a very dangerous practice and can be tolerated in extreme cases when good judgement reigns. It is immaterial to a gun who or what pulls the trigger. It acts the same regardless of the consequences. I would not advise its use by anyone except in extreme cases.
It was about this same time as I remember that my Uncle, the same one who hired me to milk his cow, made me a present of a single barreled muzzle loading shotgun. Do you think I was proud of that? Well, I guess yes! That was worth as much to me then as a gift of a new car would be to an average boy today. I was always careful with a gun yet later in life I had some very near accidents.
The falling of the first heavy snow storm was the signal for seeking lower levels and soon we were all back home and all mill hands had deserted the old mill and loggers scattered until another summer’s sun melted the huge drifts of snow.
The Spring of 1889 found my father and brother Asa, two years my senior, on their way south headed for the Provo bench where some university land was to be thrown open to the public. About six days travel and they arrived at their journey’s end where a forty acre claim was staked out but even upon arrival there Asa complained a little of a sore throat and fever. His case developed rapidly and the fear of the dreaded disease diphtheria - which it was - soon had my father ready to rush back home with him. A badly swollen throat, a raging fever, a thickly coated throat, and two hundred miles to travel by horse team was anything but pleasant to contemplate with a boy eleven years of age. Just in the prime for the ravages of that terrible disease as it wiped out whole families as did the influenza years later.
They both returned but Asa was near death for a long time. I can remember my father with a sharp stick breaking the membrane from his throat so that there might be a space for the air to get by to his lungs. There was no medical physician in reach and so home remedies had to be used almost entirely. There were five of us down at the same time, but none had nearly the siege that Asa had.
A person recovering from diphtheria must take his drink a swallow at a time, then he would lose part of each swallow by its coming back out of his nose. Much of the top of his throat back of the palate is literally eaten away by the disease. We had all recovered and as sound as ever, yet Asa was weak and it took weeks and months more before he was back to his normal strength.
We moved to the new homesite on the Provo Bench in October of the year, 1890, and when we arrived there we almost wished we were back on the old homestead.
Diphtheria was raging something dreadful. I well remember one family of six children all dying within a few hours. The parents moved away and the next family that moved in soon contracted the disease and three of them suffered the same fate whereupon the house was burned as if it had a curse upon it.
An uncle on mother’s side had two children die and other that the digging of the grave the burial was all done by the father and mother even to the covering of the coffin. I have known some to feel the first throat trouble in the evening and the same ones be dead before daybreak the next morning.
I remember one family named Adams who, one morning, had a wagon in front of their house. As boys we were not a little inquisitive because we suspected just what was about to be done. The door opened and out walked the father and daughter carrying one of the smaller ones in a coffin and placed it in the wagon. The father drove away alone while mother and daughter returned to the house to watch over the others that might at any moment need the same procedure to place them where they could not spread that dread plague.
Thanks to science for the great knowledge of how to greatly overcome that and many other diseases by inoculation and vaccination.
Not having a suitable home to live in on the farm we rented where we could have some livestock. Some of the cows kept getting loose and we had all sorts of trouble with the cattle becoming bloated and dying. Others trespassing would be taken and held for damages several dying that way. Then in the Spring a company from Salt Lake City hired all the men, teams, and plows that they could get in the nearby country and they started plowing in a circle around hundreds of acres of land paying no attention to stakes or claims. It was gobbled up by men of means and such men as my father with large families had no chance whatever to defend themselves. Cabins and posts were pushed over - or brushed aside - and on went the hired men through plowed land, shrubbery, ditches, or whatever might be in the way regardless or whose claim or what one’s claim might be.
During the winter, however, I had an accident that caused me considerable trouble and pain and some anxiety to my folks. About Christmas time there came a real heavy fall of snow. Everyone seeks a sleigh ride when that happens. The boys went to work at once to build some sort of thing that will slide when pulled by a horse. It may be only two logs hewed to resemble runners. Most anything will do. Ours was two planks shaped at the ends and boards spiked across to give strength and a flat surface to sit on or to nail a box upon for a seat. Some baling for tying on a single-tree and all was ready to hitch the horse. Away we went for a visit with some cousins a few miles away.
As has been the custom for many generations as far as I know everyone is even now on the watch to play a joke on another. It was when one of the boys pushed me off the sleigh into the snow that the horse was urged to increase his speed so that all might laugh at my attempt to outrun even a lazy horse. At the moment when I was ready to place a foot upon the sled it struck a bump and the horse went on but the sled stopped suddenly. I went sprawling over the sled striking my shin across the box edge. It pained terribly but we went on after retying the horse and completed our visit but I remember I cried nearly all the time we were there. That night after getting home I also remember I never slept. For weeks I could not walk and the doctor said one day that he feared infection in the marrow of the bone. However, it became a good leg again after a few months and never gave me any more trouble.
It was during this same winter of 1891 that father and brother Alvin went after deer out of the Uintah Indian Reservation. Alvin was only fifteen but he had killed one deer before this time and so he thought he was a full fledged nimrod. Father gave him directions to follow and they separated - each riding a horse. Alvin, having been gone an hour or more, saw a small buck and wounded it to the extent that it could not go very far. There was some snow and tracking was easy. He went slowly on expecting any moment to see other deer but what was it he saw but a moccasin track taking up the trail of his wounded deer. Soon he became worried. Should he continue on the trail and claim his right to the deer or should he give up and say, “Mr. Indian, you can have him?” He knew what father would do but he was only fifteen years old and against an Indian in the Indian’s land. He had no great length of time to think of it for there lay his deer dressed and a coat spread upon it. No shot had been fired which was more evidence that the deer was Alvin’s.
He feverishly jumped from his saddle, threw the coat aside, and with increased strength and speed placed the buck in the saddle and jumping on behind he rode rapidly toward camp with a good many times looking back over his shoulder and great digs in the horse’s ribs to urge him to hurry and reach the protection he so craved. The Indian was never heard from. He took it for granted, I suppose, that the real owner had followed up his quarry and taken what was really his.
As summer came and my leg became well I ventured out to use the gun that had been looked upon for months with such an eager eye toward the day when I could go out and use it and think I was old and big enough to handle such a precious thing. I saw what I thought to be a duck near the shore close to where we lived on the edge of the Utah Lake. I put in a good sized handful of powder and then a bunched up wad of paper and pushed that down upon the powder with the ramrod. I then poured out about one half the same bulk of shot - bright and shiny little pellets. I can remember now how they did shine! I then wadded a little more paper and rammed that down on the shot. Quickly placing the cap on the tube I rushed down to the water’s edge and kept hidden behind some rushes for a few minutes. The bird came in full view and now was my time! Bang went the gun and over went I - almost flat in the mud. My gun fell into the water and when I had picked myself up and retrieved my gun nothing could be seen of the bird either dead or alive. The truth of the matter was that this particular kind of bird, known as the hell diver, can dive so quickly that it can escape the lead by suddenly going under water. After a few moments up bobbed my duck at a very safe distance - just long enough for a breath of air - then down he went again fast lengthening the distance between him and that horrid boy with a gun.
During this same summer, while mother was anything but well, she, by mistake, took a poison medicine which immediately threw here into convulsions. I remember how she gave a sort of scream as she fell upon the floor. We were all gathered around the breakfast table at the time and I can only remember my own feelings and that they were terrible. The fall threw her left shoulder out of place. The doctor, who arrived in a few hours, said that if the fall had not dislocated her shoulder joint the poison would likely have killed her. He said the nervous reaction of the accident saved her life. He placed his foot in front of her shoulder and with the assistance of father and Alvin, they snapped the joint back into place.
The impression and effect left on me by the incident stayed with me for years. No darkness while alone could I endure without becoming pale with imagination of someone following me and the nearer to the light I arrived the nearer the ghost was to me. I had become a real coward.
In October, 1894, we again took to the road headed back over the route we had traveled some two years previous. Early October saw us on the way with less than half the stock we had come with and we were going right through our old home town and on to a small town a few miles over the Wyoming line.
We traveled up Provo Canyon through Heber City, Wanship, Coalville, Echo Canyon, Wasatch, Randolph, then over a range of mountains where the beauty of the old lake reflected once more upon my soul. Garden City! The place where I was born, Fish Haven - the home of my grandparents and several uncles on my mother’s side. St. Charles, the place where I spent my boyhood days, home of the father’s parents. Montpelier, the place where I had seen my first train and days of the circus when Adam Forepaw as at his best.
After eleven days we arrived at our journey’s end and with some misgivings, too, as my mother expressed herself; :This is Starve Alley rather the Star Valley.” We stopped at a square dirt roofed building, plastered log walls, and one room, but a large one. The middle of October was just past and cold weather had set in. There was no coal in the valley and so our task was staring at us. Get wood and wood aplenty! All of six months of snow was only a common winter then and two cords of wood equals about one ton of coal for heating purposes. Along with the wood hauling we brought in a few logs on each load and before Spring we had a set of house logs - or, about ninety in number. Along with the blizzards and temperature fifteen or twenty below zero many good times were had. Parties, home talent dramatics, sleigh and skiing parties were the winter pastimes. It was during this winter that Alvin and his chum. Warren, went on skis up in the mountains about ten miles from home. Their constant companion, of course, was the ever ready rifle. They drove a team as far as the snow would permit. After two or three hours climbing on their skis they saw tracks of deer in the deep snow where they had crossed a hollow from one ridge to another. In the dead of winter the deer seek ridges and other places where the wind has blown the snow off the feed that they have to paw to reach.
After a while of feverish haste the deer saw that they had been discovered and ten separate tracks led down into deep snow where they sought to give their pursuers the slip.
At this turn of affairs the boys were delighted for anyone accustomed to skiing knows that he can soon overtake any wild animal that attempts to break through deep snow when the pursuer has the down grade and can skim over the surface so rapidly. The boys rode right among the pretty scared animals and it was only a matter of a few minutes till they had killed them all. This seems wanton destruction but not so in the face of extreme cold and large families that could well take care of every pound of meat. In fact, it was as if an unexpected wagon load of provisions had been brought to us and orders given to help ourselves.
It was common for boys of my age to go and live with people who had no boys and yet had hay to haul to cattle, canyon trips to make for wood, and other chores more than one man could do. The work could be done before and after school. Our wages consisted mainly of a twenty-five cent dance ticked a week and our board. I well remember, too, that was the time of my first suit of clothes and they were homemade. I don’t know how I looked but I guess all right.
It was one of those Friday nights that the Home Dramatic Company played at a town ten miles away. My Uncle Nelson was stage manager and his wife, Merinda, an actress - as the town performance went. They had gone early in the day to make due preparations for the evening. My chum Chet Campbell, and I had arranged to go to the theater; therefore, had been excused from school at recess. Our chores were done early and we were ready to leave just as it was getting pretty dark. We lived in opposite directions and for some reason - I cannot remember now - we were leaving without supper. Uncle’s home was next door to the school house. I looked through the window and could see food on the table as they had left it in their haste to go. We were more hungry than boys ever get! I know Uncle wouldn’t care if we go in and eat something before we go. The door was locked but a window raised easily as we lifted it. In we went. We each spread a slab of bread with butter, a liberal coat of syrup, and were climbing out of the window when a lady, who lived a block away and was placed in charge of the premises, asked what we were doing in that house. Out heads fell, of course, but I believe we kept on eating our huge sandwiches. We denied taking anything but the next morning we were summoned to appear for a hearing. By the way, my Uncle was a Justice of the Peace of the small precinct. We were in a pretty plight. We were caught in the act of leaving a house by way of the window. My mother cried and cut me by saying I had done something that none of our relatives had ever done, namely to break into a house. My father merely asked when the trial was to be held and stated that I would suffer the penalty, whatever the consequences. There was a house full to listen. As I remember the questions were few. Why had we gone into the house? We were hungry.
What did we take: Nothing but bread and butter. That’s not likely. We surely done more than what we had acknowledged doing.
It was put to us this way: “Maybe you tell the truth but it doesn’t sound right. I shall take stock and if anything is missing you will be responsible. If anyone saw you fellows do what you did they could easily have taken a load the same night and you boys would be responsible. If nothing is missing you are welcome to something to eat but not welcome to enter that way.”
We saw the plight we were in and the lesson taught us was worth a great deal. When they found nothing was missing our folks and neighbors were compelled to believe our story.
The coincidence of this little episode is in the fact that I had occasion to ask this lady, who caught us climbing out of the window, for her daughter to be my wife less than six years later.
The rest of the winter was taken up in building two rooms with the logs that had been hauled out of the canyon earlier. When winter set in in real earnest all canyons were closed. The snow became so deep that for miles one could look over the flat and every fence and post was buried deep beneath the snow. I will speak of the snow depth gradually for soon I will tell you of snow that you may say that is a “believe-it-or-not story”.
By Spring our house was up to the square and soon a man with a very broad ax was hired to come and hew the inside of the logs so that the plaster would make a reasonable smooth wall. My mother looked with great anticipation to the time when she could move into a new shingled roofed house - even if it were very small.
I remember the homemade rag carpet that she had made. It was the 29th of July 1895 and I remember that I was about one mile away getting a wagon box full of straw to put under the new carpet and to fill two or three bed ticks when Alvin called and motioned for me to hurry home and away he ran. I knew something was wrong but could not guess what it was. Upon reaching home I found my father had died without a word of warning. He was watching mother stitch the new carpet together making it ready to spread by the time I arrived with the straw. We had been in the house only a few days and not a year in the valley. There were nine boys and the eldest eighteen years of age and the youngest less than two years. It was terrible misfortune to us all and such a blow to our mother.
The rest of the summer was a lonesome time for me. My mother went over the mountains to stay with her folks while the grief from her losing her husband wore away somewhat. I can well remember the old fear that I had rubbed into me on a previous occasion. It had not left me nor had it lessened any in the length of time. The night showed its climax and the last time I can remember that I was ever afraid in the dark was one night two weeks after my father’s death and mother was away.
I was at an Uncle’s home about the length of two city blocks away from our home. Night came on and I was anxiously looking for my two older brothers to come from their work. I watched and soon after it became intensely dark I saw a light in the direction of my house. I, thinking that they had arrived and had lighted the old kerosene lamp, started out to run to them. I missed the light, however, as soon as I had started and there being no house between I was in a quandry. They had been home a little longer than I was aware of and had tumbled into bed and put out the light - were my thoughts. We never thought of locking our doors in that country unless we were going away for a prolonged stay, and so it was natural to walk right in - which I did. All was silent and death itself can’t be more still than that house when I spoke my brother’s name and I could not believe they were yet asleep. There was no response and then, had something dropped, or a cat had scuttled across the floor, or any odd sound, I truly believe my heart would have leaped out of my body if possible - or as nearly so as any tooth ever jumped out of one’s jaw. I backed out of the house and such a relief one seldom experiences when I turned and ran from that castle of ghosts. It is needles to say that I did not come back there that night, nor did anyone ever know what I suffered during hose few moments I was under such suspense.
I slept at my uncle’s home and in the morning all was quiet. My brothers had really come a few minutes later and they were quietly sleeping when I went down early the next morning. From that day to this I can truthfully say I have never been afraid of the dark. I think the big thing that changed my feelings - and especially in this case - was a dream I had of seeing my father.
It seemed that I was standing in the shade of a tree in a park when my father walked by. He recognized me and I was only a moment reaching his side. I even pulled at his hand to persuade him that he must go a little way over and speak to mother because she could not be reconciled to his going and leaving her with such a burden. He had seemed very much in a hurry - even when he stopped to speak to me - and when I said, “You must come over and speak to mother,” he at once replied: “I have a meeting to attend over here and I’m nearly late now.” As he hurried on he held out a book (the Book of Mormon) and said, “My boy, do as this book says and you will be alright.” Then he was gone.
I attended school the following winter and did what I could in helping to dig a well that was fifty-five feet deep to water. Each shovelful had to be rolled up by a windlass and strong rope. Several near accidents happened while digging - such as, the slipping of the hands while lowering the one who was going down to dig, and the falling rocks that were carelessly laid on the bucket edge later to shake loose and fall to the bottom. Only once, however, did one of these cobbles find its mark. My brother, Asa, was at the bottom some forty feet below the surface when a stone the size of a walnut struck him a glancing blow on the head. He was down for the count for he would not answer for a few minutes. Then when he was able to speak Alvin and I began to draw him up. He was bleeding some but the great danger was in becoming unconscious on the way up which would cause him to lose his hold of the rope and fall to the bottom. We were not wise to this danger until after we had landed him safely on top. Mother soon had the cut nicely bathed and bandaged. Only a few days and he was as good as new.
The well was soon finished and the water began to rise and when Spring arrived the fifty-five foot well was more than half full. Very strange indeed was the fact that all through twenty years that I lived there that well never caved in and neither were the walls protected.
School was out and everyone was free to do more or less as he chose and I was again out with my gun. This time it was my chum’s (Chet Campbell) turn to use it and the same old tactics of creeping upon our game. Some ducks were sighted near some small willows. We sneaked along almost afraid to breath for fear they could hear us. We then stood up and prepared to shoot. An accident had happened to my gun which broke off the thumb piece of the hammer. I had drilled a hole and placed a wire ring in place of the extended hammer. This rather hurt the finger when cocking the gun so Chet placed his foot upon the hammer with the butt, or stock of the gun, upon the ground. By a little pressure the hammer snapped down. The gun was pointing directly toward my body. In fact, it touched my hip as he performed the act of trying to cock the gun. It never did before, not after, what it did at this particular time - and that was to flip the ring over in front of the hammer in such a way as to keep from striking the needle which - if struck - would have sent the charge through my body. Such a thing may happen once or even twice and maybe three times, but when just as peculiar things happen in so many different ways as you will read later I think - as some would term it - I have surely had a charmed life. During my life I had near death staring at me by freezing, drowning, fire, and crushing, yet am not suffering from any ill effects of any experience.
My first hunt for elk was in the dead of winter. I went with an uncle and others down the Grays River trail. It was extremely cold. We took sleighs to the canyon mouth and went afoot on skis up the river following the ice where it was possible, then we would take to the mountain side when the swift water caused an unfrozen lead to keep the ice melted, or, in other words, would not become frozen where it dashed against the bank. We walked some three or four miles up the ice and into very rough country. The snow was five and six feet deep everywhere except on the river ice. There were elk trails through that deep snow leading in all directions wherever they were able to reach grass or small brush for browsing. I was following an old hunter. We usually went in pairs when hunting. We were handicapped on account of deep snow. We could not go far from the ice and if we left it at all we must follow a game trail. Often we could hear elk ahead of us but because of snowbanks higher than their backs we were unable to see all that escaped our aim. We startled two at about the same time, a very large bull and a cow. They separated - the cow taking to the ice where she could go at a more rapid speed. The bull was nearest to me - a very large fellow with eight prongs on a side. I followed closely at his heels attempting to drive him some distance down the river before killing him so as to save dragging him. He went very well for a short distance and as I neared him, and his freedom narrowed, be began to get scared and turned back upon me when I least expected it. I was within twenty feet of him, and, head there not been a tree right at my side when he turned, I might have been gored to death. As it was he stopped his attack as I jumped behind that tree not ten feet from his horns. The old hunter at that moment put a shot into his neck.
I was not sufficiently experienced at that age to be equal to such an emergency and therefore lost an opportunity to kill my first elk. My pal, being with another hunting party, took the tusks and after cutting his throat so that he would bleed well, said, “Now I’m through with him. You can have the meat and hide.” We were after the meat especially and were glad enough to accept his gift. The tusks, as we called them, were worth around fifty dollars at that time.
We went down the ice following the cow’s track and curiously enough she had taken to the open stream of water and had swum as long as the water was open and had only climbed out when compelled to. One of my own crew - or company - had met her as she came down the ice and was dressing her on the flat surface of the river. The two gave us about 500 pounds of meat and after part of the next day spent in dragging in our success, we left for home happy to get back - I guess partly because it meant just that much less time before starting out on a similar chase.
The following winter I hired out to an uncle then living, and, by the way, is still living on the same ranch twenty-five miles up the Hams Fork stream above Kemmerer, Wyoming. I well remember my trip over the mountain trails for the first time and little did I think of the many times I would have occasion to traverse that same route during the years to dome.
I was a pretty well-developed lad, healthy and strong. The same uncle who had given me that gun came to my assistance again and gave me a small horse not much larger than a Shetland. I rode that pony eighty miles through the mountains without a saddle under me. I was as tough as leather itself.
I had a companion on this trip called “Honey” Jensen because of his taking and filling orders for honey. I arrived safely at my destination and a bargain struck wherein I was to herd sheep until the snow compelled feeding, then I was to haul hay to them and also two hundred beef cattle all for the stupendous sum of five dollars a month.
These were indeed long days and nights to me. The first time I had ever been away from home for even a week. I became very lonesome and homesick. There was no boy near my age within twenty miles. It was good for me that I was kept very busy.
When winter set in it required four large loads of hay every other day to feed the stock. This was always hauled from the stacks built conveniently on the meadow land to some protected spot where the willows sheltered the sheep and cattle from the wind. The wind surely blow and for weeks without a letup the snow piled up around and over everything,
One day it seemed all fury had been turned loose. We walked ahead of out team, each leading a horse and feeling our way for the hard streak of road so that the horses could follow it. By the way, most horses will become so accustomed to a snow road that they can almost walk a narrow plank for miles and never step off. We reached our stack of hay less than one mile away about ten AM - having started before daylight. We threw in a few fork fulls of hay but as soon as there was a slope to the hay in the rack try as we could we could hold no more. It blew out just as fast as we put it in. That one day our sheep and cattle got no hay. We returned to the house and were glad to get back to shelter hoping that the morrow would be more favorable.
Our house and barns were the ordinary one-story type. The barns were surrounded with a ten foot fence and posts which stuck up another three feet. The barns were so completely covered that one going by would never know that horses and milch cows were kept below. The last of these posts I used for a sawhorse when I sawed wood. We burned no coal. It then went under the snow. In coming out of the house twelve steps were cut out of the drift to bring us on top. The house was built on high ground but the drift’s point touched the highest point of the house gable. It will seem unbelievable to many readers but what I write I am able to prove and I will send anyone who cares to inquires further evidence of the truth of my assertions.
The coyotes were plentiful around our sheep and cattle. We did much shooting but the value of the fur was so little that we did not seek to more than keep them away from the sheep. Yet, to further describe the depth that the snow fell, I will say that as I rode along toward my feed ground one day a coyote strolled through the willows and I noted that they were nearly covered up for I would not lose sight of the sly animal for even a minute at a time. In that same brush the next summer about haying time I had occasion to go through it and become lost because of darkness. I stood up on the back of my saddle horse, and it was not the little one either, before I could see the north star. You can estimate near the great depth of snow that covered the ground.
I do not know what might be the history of former snow falls and cold weather there but I do know that never since 1895 has there been anything like it. The thermometer had a round red ball for three weeks straight after that storm. That meant forty degrees below zero. The poor cattle would freeze their noses. They would lose their ears in many cases and especially the ones that were poor and not thriving. Some of the tails dropped off leaving only a stub. And OH! how the sleigh runners would squeak. July 6, 1896, saw me back there and remnants of the drift still remained at a spot between the house and the barn.
I put in the summer in the timber another twenty-five miles higher up the river. This was cutting saw logs and mine props. There was nothing of great consequences happened during the summer. The work consisted of chopping, trimming, and logging off, then snaking the logs to the bank of the stream where they were piled to await high water in the Spring. They were floated about fifty miles where they were used by the mining company at Kemmerer, Wyoming, for bracing up the mine walls with the smaller, and sawing into lumber of the larger logs.
An incident happened which always caused a regret when I think of it. The horse that I was using to drag with was bad about running away and often he would get loose from the drag and away he would go for camp a half mile away on a good gallop. This time of which I speak I was nearly to him when his drag broke loose and away he went up the trail for camp. I ran to head him off but he saw my intentions and increased his speed. I knew that it meant probable discharge if he should reach camp for that was not the first time I had to chase him and lose an hour or so of work. As I ran I gathered a limb and threw it. The end struck him in the eye causing blindness. I don’t think that I ever threw a stick in a like manner after that.
As winter came around it found me again at the old ranch for the same purpose - that of feeding cattle and sheep. The winter was not so terrible in snowfall but the customary cold weather was there.
A timber crew came and camped with us for a part of the winter while they hauled about eight thousand timbers down to the larger stream edge, preparatory to floating them. During the coldest spell, about the first of the year, a man walked away from the beaten road and was lost while hunting elk. The walking was difficult and he soon became tired and numb with the cold as the night came on. A searching party went out after him next morning but it was too late. They soon took his track which was easily followed and after turning and circling for a few miles the rescuers could plainly see he had become bewildered. Soon they found where he had taken to the creek, walking right through the water down stream. Less than a half mile of this and he climbed out into the snow, walked a few steps, turned around at right angles to his track then fell face down in the snow without raising an arm to protect himself from the fall. He likely imagined he was falling into a nice warm feather bed.
I did not remain all winter with my uncle. He was insistent that I go into the canyon and haul logs because I shouldn’t care what work I did as long as I was busy but I balked at that hazardous work for that precious five dollars a month. The results were that we broke intimate friendship and I was ready to go back home. I took a 22 caliber rifle for twelve dollars that was due me and after getting a ride to the railroad I jumped the blind baggage and rode seventy-five miles to Monpelier, Idaho, without being seen by the conductor. Cold? Oh yes! At times I stood in snow nearly to my knees as the engine plowed through the drifts then the next moment all would be swept clean around me.
The next April saw me back on the job to help float the hundred and sixty-five thousand logs that I had helped to cut and bank the year before. The crew consisted of twenty-four horse teams and wagons loaded with tents and provisions. The stream was already a rushing torrent and when we faced a crossing of the ford it looked rather frightening. My pal and I being the youngest of the crew, were doing quite a lot of walking and as we headed for the crossing he and I jumped upon the back end of the wagon. As the lead team entered the water the swift current swept them down stream which caused the other team to go in on quite an angle. This threw the wagon sidewise with one side keeping the high bank and the other going into the stream. It was only a moment until all the wagon but myself and pal, who saw our predicament soon enough to leap to the bank, tipped upside down into the raging flood. Flour, bacon, sugar, cases of canned stuff, of which there was more than a ton, went under water, mixed with seven men who were not able to jump soon enough to save themselves form a ducking. The foreman, or boss, was among them. He at once took to caring for, and assisting, every man to shore before he took to saving the groceries. I can see the variety of things now as I live over that time again. I waded out on several occasions and saved sacks of flour as they floated by. I can also remember a jug bobbing up and down, Bill, the boss, saw it too, and in he went with a shoop. It was alcohol and he knew it. He was not afraid of water and he made a joke of saving that jug, although he had to swim at least two hundred yards through that icy water to get it.
The horses soon saved themselves and the wagon washed up onto sandbars, although it had come apart as did also the wagon box. There were no men injured. Other than some loss of clothing to the most of the men the big loss was to the company furnishing the food supplies.
(Late in the summer many cans of fruit, corn, peas, and beans, and tomatoes, with several hams, were picked up from where they had washed onto the banks.)
The next day most of the men were drunk with the liquor saved and those that were sober salvaged what supplies we could, put the wagon together, and made ready to continue up the river till we could reach the great pile of logs. We traveled through mud, water, and snow drifts, but as night closed around us we spread camp and pitched what tents were there. Our work started at the time we arose from our beds for everything was hurry! hurry! Five o’clock saw everyone up; five-thirty all were eating breakfast and at six all were on the job. Many thousands of logs were already afloat, because, when the hauling was finished, the ice in the river was covered as well as the banks. In fact, we saw some of the timber on our way up that had floated some ten miles. I have failed to state that most of the river hogs, as they were dubbed, were Finlanders - hardy and well seasoned for such work. Our first day saw four of us on the bank of the torrent exactly at six in the morning. We wished we were on the other side. If we were only over there we may be able to keep dry until the sun could give a little warmth. The snow banks were just above the waters edge, seven thousand feet elevation among the pine timber. This will be sufficient to make you understand why we wished we were over there. There was no way to wade or swim. If one was nimble, or lucky enough to keep his feet, he would get wet only to the waist, but if he slipped it meant swim or drown. Why couldn’t we be taken across on the horses on such a cold morning? But no! We had to buckle in, right from the first day and no white feather was to be tolerated. A large Finn took lead. I said I would follow anyone who would take the lead. He fell and partly swimming, and partly clawing his way, he made the other shore wet and shivering. The rest of us had little better luck. As one reached the shore he would reach out his pike pole as far as he could and help the next one to make shore without falling.
At ten o’clock hot coffee, stew, beans, prunes, bread and butter were served. Four meals a day and twelve hours of wading swimming and sometimes, the carrying of logs from the leads where the back water had floated them. I well remember the prunes for I, at one time, took a spoonful to my mouth and it rattled on my teeth which I at once recognized as being a little odd. I dropped it into my hand and lo! It was not a prune at all. It was a large black beetle known to some as a stink bug! Prunes never tasted right after that.
Each day brought its story to be told. Night after night I have gone to bed without undressing because I knew if I did my clothes would be frozen stiff in the morning. I have often been so wet that my clothes did not dry during the time I was in bed. Many a poor fellow would jump right out of bed in a rain or snow storm - it made no difference - when those knots raised on the muscles of his limbs. The cramps were terrible for some. No wonder cramps would come after one had to stand for hours in water to his knees and keep the larger logs from going upon sandbars where they would be left alone, causing a jam which is the worst thing that happens to a log drive. I have stood my turn in such a place and my legs had no more life in them as far as feeling was concerned than if they were wooden legs. Then to climax such a day it would sometimes snow so hard that in a half hour there would be four inches of snow over everything, and we would have to walk, or plod, two and sometimes three miles through snow covered brush to camp.
Yes, there is something else to think about. I was drawing top wages because I was to handle a boat, the price being three dollars a day. It was only a few days before we struck a large jam which backed up the waters until it had scattered timber over hundreds of acres of low meadowland and backed the water for a mile. The main channel was piled twenty to thirty feet high with logs. This was the place to concentrate our attention. The first log to stop is the fist log to loosen and when the jam broke I saw six to eight inch logs snap like matches when that mass began to roll. I was on it when it broke along with five other men. Logs tumbled end over end with a wall of water fifteen to sixteen feet high forcing through. We all made shore but one elderly man whose age was against him. He gave up and sit down on his pike across three logs, waving his hands as he went around a bend out of sight with thousands of those logs rolling and tumbling as if they were crazy to overtake him and grind him to jelly. Two of us crowded our way across the bend to the stream to try to save him but we lost the race. He was nowhere to be seen. We, thought our thoughts, naturally supposed all would attempt a rescue. But, not so with that boss. He just said with an oath that he had no business being on the job, anyway. “If he is dead he is dead and we can’t hurt him any more. Everybody go to work!”
That happened before noon. We worked until night then at ten o’clock after all had gone to bed the old fellow came into camp and hold his story. He had ridden down for miles and finally stopped in an eddy where he went round and round. After the rush of water passed by he sounded for the bottom and found that he could bottom it and so he did. He stood to his neck in water and fought the logs away until he could swim to shore. The poor fellow got his discharge the next morning. It was a rather peculiar consolation to the old man after the indifference of all the crew in not even making an effort to save his life.
Although the boss was considered a “n****r driver”, old Bill never asked a man to go where he would not go himself.
As the weather warmed and the stream became larger the men all became more daring. A case of this kind came nearly being my finish. It came about in this way: My work was to stay in the rear of everything and watch for stray logs that all others had missed. This required much paddling across the stream, darting into small channels, watching all nooks and corners where a log might be pushed and become caught. One day as my companion and I were floating leisurely along, the boss and another man came near us riding a large saw log. They were joking with each other by tricks of rolling one another off and causing a great ducking. To ride a lot as it floats along requires an experienced hand. As they came near the boat I sprang upon the log to pin them in the fun and at once they turned upon me to give me a taste of expert log riding. I had done fairly well for some time when an opportunity presented itself - with me out of breath. I went down feet first with heavy rubber boots on. The water at this particular place was still and deep and muddy as could be. It seemed that I would never reach the top where I could get a breath of air. I did, however, but oh! How heavy my feet were and with my strength nearly gone. My arms almost ceased to work and I was standing upright in the water. I was weakening and I knew it. I would not cry for help until my last breath. The chance for assistance was slim. The boat was several rods away and the men were struggling for themselves too far down stream to assist me. If I go down I will never be seen again, I thought. The water is too muddy for anyone to find me. I will soon land under the bank of the next bend of the river there to stay until low water reveals the whereabouts of my body. These thoughts went through my mind while struggling in that dangerous position and all because of a foolish act. When I felt water splash over my face and I drew some into my nostrils I could then realize I had only a few breaths left. I then gave a cry of distress and when I opened my mouth the water filled it and my cry was an odd sounding gurgle. I could see the look on those men’s faces as they floated too far below me to help me if I once went out of sight. Without a thought of how it happened, or that it might happen, a boot dropped from my foot and I could float well enough to get a few breaths which soon revived me and I was able to carry myself on the surface until I reached a small log which supported me. The boat was soon brought to my assistance and I climbed in with a thankful heart. I had again been so near the divide I could only space it as about ten or fifteen minutes on that road that I had turned from so unexpectedly. I had not taken a day off during the whole job. I had not cramped to any extent, although I was wet for twenty-two days without a day’s rest. I was told by nearly every one who spoke of my work that if I did not suffer at the time I would have rheumatism in my later life. With all my exposure I have never had rheumatism or in any way suffered any ill effects of my experiences.
After a general settling of obligations everyone was turned loose in a mining town full of liquor and old women. One would hardly believe that such a short space of time between then and the present. I lost no time in hurrying back to my old home where I had my eye set upon a young lady that would be returning from school even though summer was quite uneventful for me.
There were a few incidences, however, that kept things alive. As I entered a small town known as Afton, I got this story: Jack Merrill had had an affair with one Davis by name. Davis’ estranged wife was a maid in Merrill’s hotel. Dave came horseback from Jackson Hole to settle the old grudge with Merrill. He rode into Merrill’s yard and saw at the same minute Merrill and a companion leave the hotel by the back way and took to the street headed uptown. Davis stooped beneath his horse’s neck and fired at Jack with a Savage rifle. The bullet told Jack that things were mighty warm and that he needed some sort of defense. He whirled and ran back to the hotel as another zip clipped close by. He gained the building and soon appeared at the door with his Winchester. He stepped out in the open in full view of Davis, who now was standing behind his horse, and as Jack raised to fire, a ball grazed his rifle barrel taking off two fingers, plowing through the flesh of the left arm, and barely missed his armpit. Jack was momentarily out but after another miss by Davis Jack rallied and, although one arm was badly shattered, he never sought cover, not protection, but deliberately aimed and the one shot stuck Davis through the thigh below his horse’s neck severing an artery. He dropped to the ground and no one went to him until he had bled to death. Jack stood trial and was quickly acquitted upon a plea of self-defense.
During the next October and November considerable sickness broke out in our little community. A friend’s infant had suddenly died and it’s father was working in another one of those timber camps that I have spoken of, and in the same locality on the Hams Fork River. He had heard no word from his wife for weeks and, of course, knew nothing of the sickness or death. It was, and still is, customary to sit up all night with a corpse in that country and so it happened that I was one of several who sat up the first night. About midnight, or later, it was decided that I should take two saddle horses, ride one and lead the other and go to the timber camp about eighty miles away and bring back the father of the baby. Snow had fallen weeks before. The ground was white and, needless to say, the weather was extremely cold late in November. I started at daybreak with only a lunch in my pocket. I got along very well realizing the danger and risk I was going to encounter.
During the day I crossed several bear tracks and one big fellow had followed my trail for miles. I had no gun. My load must not be any more than it was absolutely necessary for the horses to carry. However, I feared nothing and only the wish entered my mind - if I could only stop and hunt! With this I hurried on until darkness overtook me. The snow gradually became deeper and there seemed to be a crust upon it that made my horses flinch when it came to wading it in certain places.
Late in the evening my saddle horse refused to go through a particular flat surface of snow. I dismounted and found that a crust was on the snow and my horse’s legs were bleeding from the constant friction.
It was useless to try to persuade them further and, there being a three-sided low hut near by, I decided to remain there until the next day. I found a large pile of dry twigs, weeds, and leaves that rats had carried into one end, or corner. My horses standing at one side gave me very little space for a fire between them and the wall but it was better than being out in the snow. I kept a small fire all night and, by constantly turning, I kept from freezing. When daylight came I had another large feeling of thanks for it. I knew my directions and so lost no time pushing on to the camp which I reached soon after lunch time. There was no hay for my ponies at camp. When the heavy fall of snow had come all horses were taken some twelve miles to a ranch where they were being kept.
When I became warm it is needless to say I also became sleepy. Two nights without any sleep and out in the extreme cold is no picnic. I could not sleep, though. Charlie Cazair and I must be gone before another hour. The funeral was to be held the next afternoon and we must arrive in time. We chose a route that was new but a much shorter way through the roughest of that section.
Did we work and tussle? Did our poor horses enjoy those two nights and days without food? We soon encountered snow that struck the horses breasts but that sharp crust had disappeared. Night came on again and we were in the tops of the mountains with snow waist deep. As we began our decent it became necessary to walk and lead our horses because of the danger of forcing them over a precipice. The snow is very deceiving and especially in the darkness. For miles we led our horses through that snow and each step made us wetter and colder as the heat of our bodies would melt the snow on our clothes. Then when we were able to ride with some degree of safety imagine how you would enjoy climbing into an ice covered saddle with clothes that rattled like time covering your body. How cold those stars did shine down upon us that night! My third night without sleep. I have often thought how easy it would have been for me, or for both of us, to have stopped long enough to let cool blood reach our brains and then the sleep that doesn’t end would have been upon us. I slept while walking, I dreamed while walking. Charlie said once before morning, “If it weren’t for you I could never make it”. We did make it. Yes, when I reflect back what was there to gain by risking two lives as we did? I often ask myself, “Was it worth the price:” I had a grateful friend for a while but he soon disappeared.
My time was divided during that winter between school and rat trapping. My old shotgun had disappeared and I cannot recollect just what became of it. It was, however, replaced by a more modern one and along side of it I owned a 30*30 caliber Winchester saddle gun. This one, along with a 303 Savage, were always my favorites.
I remember one catch of 144 muskrats that winter which I took to market. I was offered the fat sum of $7.15 for the lot that today would bring in the neighborhood of $144.00.
A little incident happened while running my traps one morning. I quietly looked over the creek bank and saw three geese sailing on the water with their leads close together. I raised my rifle to my shoulder and as I cleared the ground two heads were blown off with one shot. I went home right now proudly carrying the large geese.
During the late fall I had an exceptionally good catch. My traps were only 30 some odd divided between Muskrats, mink, and three larger ones set for otter. These wary little animals are hard to catch but our way brought us success upon several attempts. We used a boat whenever possible and rowed up to the setting where we carefully tied a long common wire around a willow beneath the surface of the water. This is for the purpose of hiding all signs and killing all human scent. Then, after threading the wire through the ring of the trap chain, it was tied around a rock weighing 12 or 15 pounds and that was thrown into deep water. The trap is placed usually in shallow water at the edge where numerous signs appear; then when the otter, or beaver, is caught he seeks deep water where he soon drowns. We gathered up sixteen rats, three mink, and, when we saw that our trap was gone from its setting and was somewhere in deep water, we were highly elated. Sure enough, there was a nine foot otter safely drowned at the other end of the wire. Sixteen rats, three mink and a large otter was not at all bad for two men in one day. I don’t remember what the net income was but I can remember a swap straight across of one mink for one pair of high grade hip boots.
My oldest brother, Alvin, and I hired out to a government survey crew the next summer and went into the mountains for a prolonged stay. Our labor was to carry the chain and divide the land into sections, which measure one mile on each four sides. We then sub-divided it into quarter sections. We walked wherever we went and the camp followed us. My! How we could eat when we arrived in camp each night! That man cook sure knew how to feed, too! There was nothing that could stop us. If a cliff was the obstacle it required only an offset and away we would go. If it was a stream, through it we went. If a lake it meant another offset to get by it. We went up mountain and down dale. Once it required our climbing down a tree from top. There was no way to get down that cliff in any reasonable distance around so we were compelled to risk our necks by climbing out on the limbs to the truck of the tree then down we went.
If ever you are tired and desire a good bed in the mountains just remember that pine boughs, thickly and orderly placed, give a real bed that can’t be equaled in the most, elaborate home. The clear crystal spring water that bursts forth in every gulch of those high Wyoming mountains, the berries that grow on bushes almost as thick as red English currants, the thimble berry, service berry, choke cherry and, with these, combine an arm load of pine nuts of the finest quality, and you can form some idea of the things that go to attract the desire of one who loves to live with nature.
Because of the load on the horses backs no one was allowed to have a gun along except the man responsible for furnishing the camp with meat and groceries. Daily we would see wild chickens. Almost daily we would see elk with their great antlers and cows with their calves. The female elk is called a cow and the young ones calves. They are so full of alertness, shyness, and such a quick eye and sense of smell, one can hardly associate the ones in captivity with those left to live as they choose. I have sneaked up so close that I could see the eye wink as one of those big fellows got the scent of me and then - how he would go!
The antelope is another shy little animal - yet born with a great curiosity. The Fall of which I write we had some lines to run on the Green River plains and the antelope were so plentiful that no time during the day would we be out of sight of them unless we got close into a wash or would lie down behind something. They came up many times so close that they were easily hit with a stone thrown by one of us. This was actually done one day. A bunch of them came up trotting in more or less a circle around us. One of the men threw a good sized stone and struck a small antelope in the leg. The boys never did that again because the little thing ran away with a broke leg.
It was here that we found 150 sheep dead in a space of less than one half acre. We had to stop and try to account for them. I remember four day previously of seeing a band of sheep hurriedly driven with dogs down a canyon from the neighborhood in which we were. I thought at the time that the herder was in very much of a hurry. Our lead man brought us the story that night and this is the substance of it: The cattlemen claimed all the open range that sloped toward the Green River. This herd had been allowed to graze too far. The man had been warned to keep off their range. He paid no attention to them and the next day twelve men on horseback and without a word they began to shoot sheep. The two herders grabbed guns and ran for the brush. The mob opened fire on the spot where they vanished. One came out in a few minutes and one was carried out. There never was anything done about it by the officers of the law.
A few weeks more and the month of November had arrived. A nice big snow storm had also arrived. The weather began to be bitter cold. We were paid off but before we left we prepared to take our winter’s meat with us. We sent for another brother, Roll, to bring us horses. He arrived as we had anticipated and we three went out to bag our elk. I always chose to hunt alone and on foot and so it was this day. It is also very uncertain that two will meet again during the day if they once part in those mountains and timbered slopes. So it was with me and the other boys. It was snowing when I started out and before long I had found a fresh track. Here again one is deceived very often, for miles and miles can be trod unrealized, but when the return trip begins weakness generally begins also. The chase had been abandoned. The stimulant had been used up. It was so with me that day. I hadn’t seen the sun all day. I had killed one elk and after dressing it I hit out for another when I found I had lost my lunch that I had tied up in a large handkerchief and had carried on my back. Somewhere I had ripped my lunch bag on a limb or knot and all my food had dropped out. The brush was covered with snow and after walking through it all day I was wet nearly to my waist line. The clouds were rising and the night was near. The light was shining through the clouds in the wrong direction for sunset. Could I be lost? I was weak when I found that I must return to camp. Yet if I am lost and don’t know what direction camp is how shall I find out? I can go to the bottom of this canyon and is the water runs one way I’ll know I’m right. I knew my directions and could reach shelter but if I should be wrong I was not able to climb back up the steep mountain side and then the four or five miles to camp. I could not locate the elk I had killed and this also added to my confusion. I felt for my matches and took them out of my pocket. Not one brimstone on it! They had all become wet. It was getting dull overhead plainly saying that night was near and broken clouds also said the night will be clear and cold.
Well what shall I do?
What would you do?
I hadn’t seen any signs of my brothers during the day and I hadn’t heard a shot to draw me toward any shelters or assistance. I was in heavy timber where all directions look the same. Well this is what I did: I just shouted to the top of a might voice. Would you believe it - just a few yards away to one side of the direction I was going my brother. Alvin, replied, “Hello! What the Devil’s the matter?” Can you imagine how I felt? I believe you can if ever you have been in a similar situation but if you haven’t it is impossible to appreciate my change of feeling. They had three horses there and were loading a large elf on when I arrived. They had a nice fire, too. I just placed a piece of liver the size of my hat on that fire and in about twenty minutes I broke the black coal off and devoured about twenty-one pounds of fresh meat. That was the happiest ride I ever had going to camp, a good supper, and a warn bed.
I was in need of warn footwear the next morning and if you were there, your shoes or boots frozen and wet, what would you do to keep from suffering with the cold if you had to double back over your trail as I had to do to get the elk I shot? Well, I did just that; I cut around the leg of the elk ten or twelve inches above the hock joint, or high enough to pull the skin and turn it back like a sock. Then skin for about eight or ten inches below the hock. There is just enough turn, or bend, in the hock to fit the heel nicely. By sewing up the small end it makes a sock of the warmest and most durable material that can be found. It takes only a few minutes to prepare it and there is no cold that will penetrate those elk skin moccasins if the wearer will only move once in awhile so that the blood has a chance to circulate. They are so quiet, too, that at once one will understand how the Indian was able to get close enough to shoot and to kill even with the bow and arrow.
We had no exciting experiences on our way home well laden with fresh meat and sufficiently full of the life to do for some time. During the winter Alvin and I bought a small hay ranch. When Spring came I undertook to shear sheep. I was of age so no longer had any dread of school. I started with the sheep and went so far as to buy a pair of blades, as we called them. They were the old had shears. I also bought a stone for whetting. That is as far as I went along that line at that time. I was offered a job tramping wool and I was persuaded to do that instead of trying my hand at shearing. I worked through the season and then went with the herd to the mountains of my old home. The life of a herder has too much seclusion for me. When I went for supplies I took back a horse to ride home again for I was going to quit. I did quit and went back to the ranch.
I was soon wanted on a late job shearing sheep and so I started the work that I have followed every Spring for twenty-five years and am still going strong.
A man who could shear one hundred sheep in one day was then called a hundred striker. He was considered quite a wonder. After many sore muscles and more sore blisters I reached the grand total of sixty-five one day. This, by the way, was a choice sheep - or those that had very little wool. The sheep then were of much inferior grade compared to those seen on the range today. We were paid six cents a head and were to pay sixty-five cents a day for meals.
During this time I was beginning to think quite a lot of a certain young lady that I had become acquainted with on almost the first day that we arrived in the valley about six years previous. We had played together in school, attended parties, picnics, and socials, but not until this time had we thought of anything serious. Well, to make a forty-year story short, we were married the next Spring, May 22, 1901.
Mary Ellen Child and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. We are now sixteen instead of two, including six grand babies, and still going strong. Our first winter together gave us many pleasant recollections.
Joe Maughan and Mamie Dewey were married in December, before we were married in May. We associated together considerably during the cold winter, even going in turns, first to their home then ours, where we would saw wood until we were good and ready for a rest then we would sit with the girls and play Solo or Bridge. Stories were told and plans laid for the future. Joe was good company, a good sport, and an all around good fellow. He stepped in as a traveling salesman, though, and broke an engagement between the girl, Mamie, and my brother, Asa, who was spending two or three years in Tennessee on a mission for the LDS Church.
Joe’s and Mamie’s family grew rapidly. Three quite close together and then twins. Joe had a hard time to make a living. His job stopped and he was poorly adapted to the rough and all around rustler. A political election came around with him on the ticket and his associates were many and varied. It takes money to win most elections and he became acquainted with a woman with money who proffered him campaign funds. He could see only success if he won. The field was ripe for a young attorney with plenty of gab. The woman visited him frequently at his office and slander soon spread. He was defeated and rather than face the accusation along with defeat he vanished with the woman and was heard from only once for many years. This once was only to confirm the suspicions of his wife that his defeat and inducement of that woman had caused him to desert five children and a lovely wife.
Mamie’s father, John Dewey, followed him into the state of Texas and found him with a bad gang and a large six-shooter strapped around him. This was the evidence that convinced Mamie that he had become bad and so she secured a divorce and battled life alone for many years.
Another old friend, Chet Campbell, and I, with still others, hired an old well-educated chap to polish us up on a few fundamentals of the eight grade school. We attended regularly during several months of the next long winter and secured credentials that were acceptable to high school authorities. One Saturday, while school was not in session, I took a common stroll for me and found a few wolf tracks. There were - to be exact - three of them. They were real timber wolves - the kind that often kill cattle as well as sheep. The chase was my real delight and, of course, away I went. I tracked them carefully for several miles and always toward higher ground. Their habits are to do their marauding in the night and then be gone beyond reach of the gun before daylight comes upon them. When daylight approaches they, as do their smaller relative the coyote, find a prominent point where the visibility is good and there lie down and sleep most of the day. They are very light sleepers, however, and the slightest noise awakens them and their point of vantage gives a good view of anything that may approach. I was well aware of their habits and so carried on my knowledge against their intention. As I came to a raise where I should be exposed I stepped carefully and kept my eyes in the distance for the purpose of seeing them before they saw me. It worked and when not far from him I spotted one of them lying quietly on the snow and knew the others were not far away. I was soon in shooting distance and as close as it was possible to get without being seen. I stood up and drew a bead just as his quick eye caught sight of me. He jumped to his feet and stood just a moment. That moment was just right for me. My aim was true and I had one hundred pounds of wolf to drag to my home. The others were in less advantageous places for me and they got away with no more than a good scare. With the fur and bounty I collected a nice day’s wages.
I was married but that did not stop me from my rambles. My wife was always willing to accompany me wherever I went. The next summer, being reasonable successful for me, we made up our minds to move where I could attend school. I was twenty years old but I didn’t care about that. Many were the jokes on me when all my classmates learned that I was married and a freshman in high school. I attended BYU High School in Logan, Utah.
Well, now to follow Chet Campbell for awhile. He married Mamie’s sister, Rinda. My wife is a cousin to Mamie and Rinda. My four years of high school were uneventful and of only two or three incidents will I speak.
During the great scholastic basketball tournament there were many a bruised bone as the two student bodies of the two large schools came together to test their strength. After one game, of which our school was winner, my brother, John, being a class leader, went up an electric light pole and waved the school banner. At once there was a rush and, of course, our own were immediately around the pole. The opposers kept trying to get a man up the pole to throw our banner down. All stratagem was tried. A man was stripped to shirt sleeves and passed over the heads of the crowd to the pole but to the first spike was as far as he could possibly reach. We had him in only his underclothes. His trousers and shirt were literally torn from his body. We won and brought our colors down at 11 o’clock that night. In a class game soon after, a similar test of class strength developed. When the game was over we naturally walked up the street and bands of boys of the opposing school gathered a few hats. My wife’s brother, Orville, being one of the losers, became angry and was trying with all his might to recover his hat when a cop interrupted and said, “You boys come with me!” The opponent said, “Take that fellow, too, if you take me!”
“Who? This one? “ replied the cop. Whereupon the fellow dove into the crowd and was gone. We had to promise to appear in court when wanted. We were then turned loose. The second day we got our notice and appeared. They had the other fellow, too. A few questions and a $3.00 fine on my brother, John.
“Why did you want this fellow, too!” Asked the policeman, meaning me.
“Nothing!” Said the student.
“Ten dollars for you, sir.”
To me he said, “You can go.”
He took the ten and dismissed the fellow. John had lost his hat and so the judge said, “You keep that $3.00 for the loss of you hat. He was at the bottom of the trouble.
During the holidays we took a trip back to Wyoming, seventy-five miles on the train, then fifty miles by team and sleigh. Another pal, Ray Merkley, who was also attending school, was mu hunting companion for several years to come. We put in most of the time while on vacation shooting coyotes around on the nearby hills. We secured sixteen of them in ten days and did it all by shooting. This is considered a record for marksmanship. In April I got leave to quit school and so my wife and I went to American Falls, Idaho, to sheer sheep and she was to cook for the shearers.
Much rain brought many days of idleness. Wet sheep must not be shorn. The wool moulds and is soon ruined. Some men went fishing and a few boarded trains going west. One day two Mexicans quarreled over a fishing rod. One being smaller than the other he was not so strong and the rod was taken away from him by force. Not content with the victory the larger one struck the other over the head with it. This infuriated the little dark skinned Latin whereupon, he drew his pocketknife and struck with a vengeance. The blade broke off at the knife handle leaving the blade stuck in his antagonist’s breast bone. At this he turned and ran through the tent with several in hot pursuit. He could not be overtaken. He knew what would happen if he were caught. He ran from the town and caught a ride out on the next freight. He never stopped to collect a sum of money that he had coming to him. He acted as though he had a very urgent appointment somewhere else. Have you any idea how those women screamed? OH! NO! They wouldn’t do that!
Well, when we finished that job we went to another in the mountains east of Idaho Falls, Idaho, on what was named Meadow Creek. Our boss had plenty of liquor and used it freely. Gambling was also common wherever there were cards, money and men. Alvin’s and my wife were still cooking for the crew. One day remarks were made by Roose, the boss, about the women cooks and I, or we, took exception to that and the next day we quit the job. We hired a man to haul us to the railroad station. We were out by the side of the wagon when Roose walked up and in a half drunken voice said, “Say you had better unpack what you have of mine or I’ll have officers search your baggage.”
This was a surprise to me. I was like one in a stupor. I replied, “What do you mean?”
“Oh, that’s all right. You know. I’ll give you a chance.”
I said, “Do you consider me in your class? You may search everything we have now but don’t you dare to interfere after we start or you will have trouble. You say someone told you we had some of your property. I say I can whip any man that told you that if you will bring him here.”
“That’s all right,” is all I could get out of him.
“No one has told you. You know you are lying. I can do the same to you as I told you I could do to anyone else. You are a thief and a liar. I have stole nothing of yours and you know it.
He replied, “You lie!” And I struck him. I was wild. He lunged for my legs and after one more lick - and a good one - we went to the ground. True, he was on top because of his tactics, but he was that well occupied that he had no chance to strike. I forced my middle finger into his mouth and when I got the hold I sought he thought his neck would break before he could roll to the bottom instead of the top. He was well armed but had no chance to use his gun. My friend Chet, took the pistol from his pocket when it became exposed while on the ground. Alvin saw the sudden turn and soon was pleading for him. He said, “Show the dog that you are a man. He’s had enough.”
At his own request I let him up and would you believe it he at once asked for his gun. I was again furious and challenged him to fight. I felt that a bullet wouldn’t hurt me and I doubt if it would. I sure would have gone for him again if I had not been kept away.
My friend, Chet, who had kept his gun, asked him what he thought we had stolen. He said about six sets of new knives and forks. They were red-handled and now there isn’t one red-handled knife or fork. Chet said. “They didn’t take anything. Your knives and forks are here. Don’t you know that hot water will always turn red wood handles black?”
He acknowledged his mistake but had a great story to tell some who did not know the truth - how he had mauled me then held a gun on me while he whipped my brother.
A little affair while I was absent during this year, Caused me to lose close friendship with practically all of my neighbors around out old home. We had grown up there. We had held offices in the community - both my wife and myself. I had acted as constable and Justice of the Peace for years. We owned two nice little homes. One of them had been the Post Office for at least ten years under my widowed mother’s care. She had resigned, however, at the time of which I am writing. She had placed her furniture in two back rooms and I had rented the other three rooms to a young family who had moved in and were strangers in the town. Kerosene for fire starting was the cause of my home going up in flames. The town at once rallied to the help of those strangers. They replaced all that was burned of their old stuff with new. They were better equipped than ever before. They escaped even the rent that had become in arrears and yet the widow, because she was absent for sometime, was forgotten and put aside. There would be no praise of men had she been given a helping hand.
When we arrived home we soon were preparing to go again. This time we had in mind a large ranch on the Green River. Before starting on that trip I had occasion to buy a young mare for which I give a certain number of tons of hay. I had a small stack that I was to turn over to Bagley as a payment.
“How many tons in the stockyard?”
“About seven,” I said.
“I’ll bet there aren’t five.”
“I have measured it and should know.”
“I don’t give a continental! There aren’t over five tons and I’ll bet you that stack of hay that there are nearer five tons than seven!”
“I’ll take the bet and I’ll choose a man and you choose one to go and measure it.”
He agreed and they measured and found it measured very little difference from my measurement. I won and kept the winnings because he became so abusive.
I went to work for a man named Luman on a very large ranch which extended for miles along the bank of the Green River. We arrived after crossing a ford where the water came up into our light wagon and wet our feet and all that lay in the bottom of the wagon box. We were somewhat nervous because two of our company were small babies and that Green River is a very treacherous stream.
Our boss was an exceptionally impulsive man of the western type. As we had occasion to visit during rainy spells we heard of his cruel ways under certain circumstances. One was relative to the carelessness of one of his sons regarding the bringing up of supplies to the camp when there was a big cattle roundup. As it was told to me the boy forgot a saddle. His dad tied him to the back of the buckboard and led him like a horse for miles to where he had left the saddle. Another time he whipped himself with a bull whip until great welts were made from one end to the other. These fits of anger were always accompanied with language that none but a few could imitate.
One day I was stacking hay my attention was drawn to a coyote sauntering along through the meadow and sages. As I watched he jumped a rabbit, which immediately made for a hole in the ground some few rods away. Now, whether or not human intelligence was used, I don’t know, but never-the-less another coyote was at the hole as if the two had planned the trap for Mr. Rabbit. Bunny ran dangerously close to him, followed leisurely by the other. There was no rest for the rabbit, Each coyote in turn would keep in hot pursuit as long as bunny kept away from the hole. When he ventured near the refuge he had likely often been forced to seek, the watch would take up the chase and the partially tired coyote would take his stand on the mound. The rabbit was soon tired and made one desperate attempt to gain the hole but was quickly grasped in the jaws of his deadly enemy. The peculiar thing to me was that the coyote that caught the rabbit ate it all and his companion never at any time disputed the right to a warm meal. This transpired so close to me that I could plainly hear the rabbit squeal when it was grasped by the back.
One day I noticed that my little mare was lame. I caught her and found a running sore on the side of her leg. Just before this my brother, Ed, had her in a pasture for awhile and she became hard to catch. She was a very nervous little brute. He threw a stone to head her into the corral and it struck her leg. I thought we had better throw her flat on the ground so that we could do the doctoring more carefully. In her struggles her leg snapped off at the place where the rock had struck her. There was a small hole through the bone into the marrow about the size of a ten penny nail. Through this there was a constant drain. There was no cure for the trouble even if she had escaped the break. I was compelled to shoot her which hurt me badly. This left us with one horse to take care of and take us back home when our work ended at the finish of the haying season.
You’ll remember Luman, of the ranch on Green River. A few years later I had occasion to meet the same old man who had sold me the team of balky horses and our conversation, of course, included our old boss of the ranch and he reported to me that in one of those fits of anger and rage he was struck by lightning and died a violent death.
During the same winter my friend, Chet, you will recall as a schoolmate, was sick and his wife, also. He recovered but his wife died leaving him with four small children. This was a sad blow for Chet and those small babies. The burden for a time fell upon Chet’s mother who took them to her home and cared for them until Chet married again. Who do you think he married? Well, while we were living in Logan attending my fourth year of school who would come and call on us but Mamie and Chet. They had come for the purpose of being married. They stated their decision something like this: Rinda’s children were almost as hers. Chet said Mamie’s children needed a father to provide for them and so it had become a business proposition and maybe they could learn to love one another later. The two families united, or mixed , - eleven in all, including the parents. If you like to work hard, dear reader, try to support such a number by the sweat of your brow.
It was very common for everyone to take a team and wagon and go into the fruit growing country and get a load of fruit, vegetables, and honey. Part was sold to help pay the expenses of the trip and the rest was prepared for winter’s use. My youngest brother, Daryle, took me and my family down to Logan to attend my last year of school. On his way back he contracted pneumonia. Pleurisy set in and he was unable to reach home for many months. He was operated on but with little relief. He suffered many deaths and yet lived for two years. Finally, because of the doctor’s inability to heal up the would, his rib decayed. That was taken out and then decay of one lung set in. He was put under an anesthetic and one lung was removed but he died while under the influence of the drug. This was another blow which struck my mother hard. Now her pride, of the last days with her husband, was taken. I don’t mean to convey the impression that there was no happiness in our family because of my not relating the incidents that gave a reasonably good balance to my mother’s life, as well as to the lives of the other eight boys who are all now living, as is Mother.
Now, I will leave my own autobiography for a short time and relate some of the closely connected matters that has affected me indirectly. I will call the principal person Chris, who went into Idaho with his family. He was a man of considerable means, as we often spoke of him - owner of many cattle, horses, acres of land, and machinery. Chris had had no reverses of any consequence. He was “picking up” - to give it a common phrase. All his children were healthy and strong. One was married, five single. Time rolled along nicely for a few years. The mother of this family, Ivette, was my father’s sister - which helps account for my interest in them and their destiny. The oldest boy, Al, married in due time and settled near the old folks. Letty, the oldest daughter was also not far away. The wheels of misfortune took a turn and, as it turned, it ground out to that family a series of misfortunes, the number and magnitude of which few are called upon to suffer. The old folks home was purchased from an unscrupulous land shark who misrepresented and deceived Chris when making the deal. However that may be, I will say no more than that he has expressed himself, and even explained to me, the details of the crook in the transaction. It was a great misfortune which gave a wholesale dissatisfaction among the members of the family.
The horse pasture lay on the railroad track. The gate, when opened gave free access to the railroad. This gate was left open by mistake one day. Imagine the despair of the family when, upon the shrill “toot! toot!” they heard, they looked out to see what was on the track and there were eight of their best work horses racing down the track with a fast mail train upon them. They stood in their doorway and saw six of their valuable horses mangled by that monster of destruction. Following closely upon this three valuable milch cows died and the same day from the effects of bloat, or founder.
They all smiled at misfortune of this kind and so fate struck harder. The oldest daughter, Lettie, contracted Typhoid Fever and, after three weeks, passed away leaving five to mourn the loss of a mother and wife. Chris was still hopeful. Nothing could discourage him. We must have pure water for household use, he said. A well was contemplated for that purpose and work began at once. The soil was sandy and, from the beginning, precautions were taken to keep the sides from caving in. At thirty feet, however, a streak of quicksand was encountered. This is the most treacherous of soils. Sufficient defense against this element was not taken and to his horror Chris became buried to the neck in a moment of time - thirty feet below the surface. The alarm was spread to nearby neighbors and, in a course of ten minutes, there were six men on the ground to assist in the rescue. Two men were quickly lowered. They knew not what to do. They frantically shoveled around him but could gain nothing but to relieve the pressure about this throat. All digging was useless without something to stay that flow that filled up as fast as it could be dug out.
Then a plan of action was decided upon. Timbers must be driven around the walls so closely together that the sand would not stream between the planks. This took hours of time, although feverishly hurried by the rescuers.
Timbers were spliced and heavy hammers secured. Everyone was busy because time is the important element when on in buried underneath loose sand. Once, one who was driving the piles above, missed the timber and down that twenty or thirty feet crashed his eight pound hammer with three men occupying a space of six feet in diameter. The hammer fell harmless by in an opening which seemed prepared for it. As the stays were being driven, the bucket was busy. Load after load was quickly drawn up. They reached his waist after four hours of toil.
The cave-in happened at three-thirty in the afternoon and at about seven-thirty it seemed only a matter of minutes before he would be taken out. His knees were being uncovered when some three or four planks began to crowd to the center, which allowed a rapid stream of the treacherous live sand to pour in and around him. It did not come with speed, or force, but Chris was helpless to escape. The rescuers could keep climbing - which they did - but again Chris was buried to his chin. He, up to this time, had kept great courage; some time even making a joke of it. As he was again obliged to claw the sand from his own mouth he grew faint.
Imagine the feelings of a wife and children! Whiskey was given him at this juncture, which he had, up to this time, refused. He was advised to keep quiet and reserve his strength for endurance only. The sand was kept away from his face by a companion so that he would not have to exert himself even to do that.
A new plan was decided upon about dark that night. A new shaft was to be sunk alongside the old one and that to be solidly walled up as it was dug. Soon dirt was flying and carpenters busy building frames in sections to reinforce the bank as the cavity was lengthened. All night this work progressed with relays of men. Gradually Chris became weaker. The whiskey had taken away all fear and now he was more or less of a stupor. This was the aim of the doctor. His strength would be sapped by his realization of the danger he was in. To keep breath in him was the important thing now.
As morning approached it appeared that the race would be a close one. Could he hang out? Would another cave-in come? If so, the end was near. They reached his knees again. He realized nothing. Steady small streams trickled in and a long bar was procured. The last chance in now, one said - whereupon, he forced the bar beneath a foot and with a desperate lift forced a leg free. Yet at what a sacrifice! The tendon of the heel, known as the “Achilles”, was torn from its place on the foot. The other was taken out with little damage. The instep was broken by the pry but his life was saved. The sick bed was his for months, the crutches for years, and a cripple for life.
Only a short time and word came that the one year old daughter of the oldest girl who had recently died, had fallen into a posthole head down and was not found until dead. It looked as through destruction was near, it not upon them.
While Chris was still in bed his son’s home caught on fire and burned to the ground taking everything with it. Not a thing was saved. Quickly skimming out the time and events a few years later a son with a family of six was stricken and died. Still the old father and mother struggled on. The mother fell a victim to a horrid goiter. She was operated on but, it being one of the inward type, she succumbed under its terrible effects.
The old father gradually lost health. His nerves being so terribly shattered by both physical condition and mental anguish his stomach went bad and it looked for awhile like he would follow his wife in the near future. Time is a great healer. It proved to be with him. He took a turn and mended slowly.
Another blow was about to strike, however. His two daughters married and both were deserted by their husbands.
After a few months, the old fellow, being left alone, his nearness to my mother - in that theirs was a lifelong acquaintance, turned toward a union of himself and my mother. The old folks were married and both are living at Logan, Utah, and working in the temple there. They also are interested in doing Genealogy together. At a ripe old age they are still able to manage their affairs and get around slowly.
The regular routine of school ended with my completing four years. I or we - I say because my wife was always a part of me - started to school with one child and when the four years had ended we had three, two girls and one boy.
That spring Alvin and I invested in a sheep shearing plant. We did very well the first year but before another spring land claims had sprung up so as to enclose our plant and no sheep could reach us and remain on public ground. We were compelled to vacate.
One of our customers of the shearing plant was Pete Olsen of Cokeville. He came into camp one day bringing his family in a sheep wagon. Pete was well-to-do. He owned many thousands of sheep, hundreds of acres of land, hay ranches, farms, and a lovely home in town. Why should his whole family come hurriedly into our camp and stop with the apparent intention of staying at least several days? This is the reason: Eight years before Pete had hired two brothers to herd his sheep. The boys were Charley and Hugh Whitney. They were thrown on their own resources as their mother was left a widow about that time. Hugh was the older and, according to his phase of the story, Pete gave the boys a sound beating. The boys swore to become avenged - especially Hugh. A few years saw the boys becoming men with a growing hatred. Pete was a heavy stockholder and vice-president of a bank in Cokeville. This became the object of the boys’ plot for revenge and their plans were well laid. They, with one Manning and Dalton, came out of river brush and deposited four magazine rifles in a haystack a few hundred yards from the brush and some quarter of a mile from the bank. They advanced afoot having tied their horses in concealment. They entered three in number with one left as lookout. They had no trouble making a few of the officials of the country bank know that they meant business. They scooped up a thousand dollars or more and retreated through the fields toward the haystack. Had a horse followed them at this turn it would have been disastrous for the pursuers.
When the robbers reached the stack they were then behind a good defense, with arms and ammunition aplenty, and with the law crossing an open field. The results of an attack at this juncture can only be contemplated. The boys mounted their horses and rode into the mountains with no one in pursuit. Days, weeks, and even months went by with only occasionally a word coming from a camp here and there through the mountain when Hugh and Charley Whitney had called and eaten. Many rumors grew like mushrooms and everything was laid to those boys. They were hunted far and wide, high and low, but the rugged mountains gave them security from capture. They had separated into twos. Hugh and Charley together and the others had turned to their former homes with no suspicion resting upon them. Manning, as a resident of Cokeville, was not molested.
Then comes news of a saloon holdup in Dillon, Montana. Someone recognized the Whitney boys. They jumped a moving passenger train after the conductor had given their description. They were accosted by the conductor and it seemed they were going to surrender without resistance. Charley had given up his gun and Hugh had laid his upon the car seat as though he were submitting to arrest. He then grabbed his gun again. A struggle began and he shot the conductor several times. He then pulled the bell cord and the train stopped. They both leaped from the train near the dividing state line of Idaho and Montana and near a station known as Snow Line. Then things moved fast and furious. Idaho had the robbers and murderers. Montana wanted them for bank robbery. They were afoot so must proceed very cautiously. They had also separated. Hugh again showed his desperate character when pressed closely. He saw a boy riding a horse and on being refused the horse he badly wounded the boy and rode away. This was the last definite word ever heard from either of the two boys. Their known characters, though, were used by the other two cowardly assassins. Then Pete left his home he left because of fear. He had received a note which was left in his mailbox. It read like this:
“At eight o”clock, Saturday night, June ---, you are commanded to drive your one-horse buggy along the main road south of town and when about fifty yards south of the gravel pit you stop and place five thousand dollars in currency on the ground in a satchel then drive on. Failure to do exactly as I say will cause your wife, children, and home to be blown to pieces.” Signed, Hugh Whitney.
No wonder he sought safety among the hills! Pete turned the note over to the town Marshal. When things got in such a plight nearly everyone took to whiskey. The marshal, Hanson did. He was a man of no fear and, I would say, of little or no judgment. He tanked up and heavily armed himself - then at the given hour he straddled his horse and galloped toward the designated spot. He approached within about one-half mile when a rifle shot rang out and Marshal Hanson fell from his horse mortally wounded. Soon a crowd gathered and rushed the wounded man to town and home but he soon died.
The next morning at daylight men gathered on the ground where the shooting took place. Tracks were found leading across fields to Dalton’s home where he was found in bed. Evidence shown in the footprints, and the recently fired gun, was ample proof to get a conviction. Dalton was sent up for life but twice escaped from the penitentiary at Rawlins, Wyo.
Manning tried another holdup, or train robbery, somewhere in Oregon where he was shot by an armed detective. There were several minor incidents wherein the Whitney boys’ names were used but of no great importance. They were used by some quack holdup that lacked the backbone to stand behind his own, or else, thought their signatures would have the necessary effect to put over their demands.
Later that year we moved to a new location and on the way I had another narrow escape, or close call. We three, Alvin, Arlin and I, were traveling along down a canyon rather rapidly for a four-horse team when, at a bend in the road, the leaders shied suddenly at the flutter of a wild pheasant flying up nearly beneath the feet of the horses. The change in direction of the lead team threw the wagon against a rock larger than a washtub which lay at the side of the road. It was imbedded half way underground leaving a rounded surface which allowed the wheel to roll upon it. This sudden elevation of the wheel, together with the speed, suddenly threw the wagon over on its side. The peculiar thing was that the box of the wagon had struck the side of a ledge of rock like a knife blade for its whole length, excepting the one place where I stood. I was upright on my feet standing in a niche. The other two boys were doubled up underneath but not injured. We could not release ourselves. Soon another wagon came and helped release us. Other than a badly broken wheel and a little delay there was no injury. When we got home mother asked what had delayed us so long. When we told her of the accident she said, “I knew something had happened to my boys and I went to my bedroom and knelt down to pray that the Lord would protect you and bring you safely home.”
In one of those mountain streams leading into the Bear River I had the odd experience of shooting an eleven-pound trout when it appeared near the surface. The object was to shoot underneath a large fish when in the water. I did this and, whether you believe me or not, I got my fish without touching him. There was no mark - yet the shot killed him.
I remember a similar occurrence with a rabbit when I was a small boy. My father used his large caliber rifle and killed a hare without making a mark on him. It is explained by the fact that the ball can pass so closely to the head that the concussion will often cause death.
It was near the proposed site of our shearing plant that my boy, Vern, then about seven years old, and I were looking for chickens and were in possession of only a 22 caliber rifle. A medium-sized black bear strolled out of a clump of quaking aspens only 150 feet from us. Had I been alone there might have been a hair pulling for I could have stung him more than he had ever been stung by a nest of bees. I thought a second - and a third time - before I let my better judgment rule. I didn’t like the thoughts of a little fellow being mixed up in any scratching match with a three year old bear. However, I did leave him to watch which way bruin should go while I raced to camp and secured my old 30-30. When I returned there was no bear in sight. He kept going and, although I followed him for miles, I could not overtake him.
This reminds me of another trip into the game lands with my brother, Asa. Our camp was located on a tributary of the Green River in Wyoming known as Horse Creek. Whenever the fall weather begins the chill seems to sharpen the appetite of beast, as well as man. The fresh snows give a vim to the pursuer and, I imagine if the hunted could express itself, it would say the early snows put terror into them. Asa had come across the remains of a colt that was partially eaten. His experienced eye told him at once that a mountain lion had sprung from the branches of a tree and his weight had brought down his innocent victim with scarcely a struggle. A warm meal of tasty horse flesh is a luxury for this savage animal. He had gorged himself and strolled away before my brother had found the remains. Asa figured the next morning would be the opportune time to appear on the scene again. As daylight approached he appeared but, instead of old Mr. Cat, there stood a nice black bear taking his turn but this late it was cold breakfast. Asa was close and one shot in the neck was all that he needed. The bear dropped dead but having heard wherein many bears try to play possum Asa took a half circle with caution and came nearer and had a better view of the head when he planted another shot between the eyes. This gave him all assurance of its being a dead bear; whereupon he approached without fear, with the thrill that accompanies the first important kill of the young hunter.
Our new choice of location for our plant proved to be too far from the railroad; hence, another failure. We let the undertaking drop after nearly a whole summer’s loss of work. It was in a beautiful location. There were live springs, large streams with plenty of fish. There were meadowlands, brush lands, pine timber and everything to make a wonderful camp but being so far from a loading point kept the speed men away.
The job of a Petty Officer in the country town of Fairview, Wyoming is in every way a thankless job. I had the experience in the two offices of Justice of the Peace and Precinct Constable for years. The enemies one makes in either case of doing one’s duty, or by not doing it, convinces me that one who values everybody as a friend, and a friend as something beyond price, had better not accept the office of a county judge. A little affair transpired on day as I walked up the street. There came loud words, mixed with profanity, from about a city block away where I could see three boys. I walked over and found the boys fighting. I separated them and listened to their story. The smaller boy nursing a bleeding nose. The other two were brothers. The larger boy was radical and so I asked Hy to tell me the trouble. He told it this way:
“Our dogs were fighting and we ran out to see the fight. My dog had his dog down then his dog had mine down. We could see that my dog was going to lick the other one when Warren took my dog by the tail and pulled him off. I said, ‘You leave my dog alone! You can’t pull him off while I’m here!’ Then Warren swung and struck me as hard as he could right in the mouth.”
At this Warren drew a pocket knife and with a little more profanity he declared he’d cut the heart out of Hy. I took hold of Warren and quietly told him that he would not cut anybody; whereupon, he turned and in a threatening attitude told me he would do the same to me. I then wrenched the knife from him and placed it in my own pocket. He was yelling then at the top of his voice, “Emery, run and get my gun! I’ll shoot their - - - heads off!”
I twisted his collar some so that he could not make quite so much noise. He was fighting all the while I was leading him to my house, or office as you please to call it. His mother and several kids appeared and in a few minutes the dad had come. The whole hive was swarming. I explained to the Constable what I had done and we gave them an opportunity to have a change of venue, which means a hearing in some other court. They just remarked that they didn’t care where the hearing was held. I then explained that I must place a fine for such an act of threat and drawing of a deadly weapon but to prove that I wanted nothing for court costs my fees were cancelled. Yet they swore vengeance on me and wrote me a letter saying, “I’ll get you!”
Several months went by before I say anything or Warren. One night I had prepared to take a load of cheese fifty miles to the railroad. I had left my loaded wagon at the gate where it was ready hitch my team to. We had retired and were asleep when a call came and I recognized the voice. My wife must go, too, if I was going out for she knew there was likely to be trouble. As we approached the gate the drunk called, “How are ye? Have a drink!” And reached to shake hands. I replied that he was no friend of mine and that I did not drink. He attempted insistence that I drink and at the same time staggered around me and as he got into the position he chose he struck me with all his might. I, rather expecting something of the kind, blocked much of the force, yet received a nice cut on the chin. My dignity was outraged. I could see two others in the dark beneath the wagon. I was an officer of the law and nothing had ever scared me since I had overcome the fear of darkness. I still owned good firearms and they were only a few steps away. There he stood tantalizing me to fight. I knew I was the best man in physical strength and so did he as he admitted before morning. I was under $2,000.00 bond and was liable if I should commit myself. My wife, however, controlled me for the time and so nothing came of it.
I soon had the Constable after them and this was the plot as it was told to him: If I had taken a drink he would have struck the bottle into my face. As I would not drink he had only a less chance to do me injury. He thought I would not submit to any blow without retaliating; whereupon, he expected to be thrown to the ground and then his brother, and one other that they had picked up as a sheepherder - who were lying under the wagon near by - would pounce upon me with rocks that each held, as large as a man’s fist. The rocks were there in the morning which bore out the truth of his admission.
The next day the hearing was held before a neighboring Judge and I asked that they - the dad as well as the older son, Warren, - be placed under bond. During the hearing they were so wrought up with anger that their teeth would grit together and could be heard across the courtroom. Their muscles would twitch and shape into contortions as if they were possessed. The Judge came to me for a few moments after the hearing and said that I had better defend myself for he saw they meant vengeance. I told him, and the sheriff, to remember me as saying that I would not cross their paths but now I had been threatened and would carry arms and that if anything happened please remember they were the first offenders. They both agreed and replied, “I don’t blame you.”
Several days passed. In fact, there were weeks of nothing to speak of except a feeling of dull apprehension as if something smouldering was about to burst forth into flame. The law was a check to them. They had several relatives go surety on their bonds to keep the peace but it came near the breaking point one day when I happened to be judging a horse race. The two brothers were interested in the race but didn’t want to confront me. Different ones warned me to be on my guard. Needless to say I was and this was my plan of action if need be.
The word came to me that Warren said, “G----D--- him! If I can get this rope around his neck I’ll go up and down the road as fast as my horse can run!” This seems rather a strong statement and too desperate an act to do under any circumstances but when I had been told that he would gladly die if he could only “get me” - which he had told me himself - you can see he might do something in the extreme.
I even bucked up to him while he was on his horse but with always a watchful eye and a heavily loaded 45 caliber six-shooter strapped under my arm. My plan was to let him make the first positive move and I would empty my revolver into his horse at an extremely close range, then I would be upon him before the lariat could even tighten upon me. Things looked like the old Wyoming expression gives it “there were going to be guts to clean” - but the day’s anticipation passed along quietly.
A few days and I was notified that a suit was filed against my bondsmen for my breaking the law in making an arrest while holding the office of Justice, and $2000.00 damages for injury sustained by the mother of Warren when allegedly I poked her with my elbow in the scuffle on the street the day of the arrest of Warren after the dog fight. They soon found the folly of such action and nothing came of it.
Soon after that, Warren went into the Big Horn Country of eastern Wyoming. It is impossible to make a lap dog out of a porcupine and so is it practically impossible to make a good citizen out of a sloping forehead, bully-born, ill-bred, overbearing person. They tried their regular conduct there and Warren was thrown into a little town jail. The younger boy was given a bed at the sheriff’s house. During the night he left his bed and with a large rock he crushed the door in and his brother, Warren, was free. They stole a horse and both rode the one animal until it dropped from exhaustion. They were captured, however, and returned to the sheriff when a charge of horse stealing was to cause them some more serious trouble. They were brought to trial and upon conviction were asked what they had to say why sentence should not be pronounced upon them. Warren was the first to reply. He said, “I wanted to get three men before I went to the pen.”
The Judge said, “Is that so? And who are they?”
He named me as the first one, the constable who arrested him after the affair with me that night, and the owner of the horse he had stolen. The records show that this statement was made by him. The younger boy was told that the reform school was his until he was twenty-one, whereupon he replied, “The penitentiary is good enough for me.”
He was sent up for three years and his brother, Warren, was given five years. Less than a year was spent where when a road gang was sent to build the Star Valley, Cokeville road. These convicts were among the workers. They worked only a few days and then those old familiar hills, creeks, springs, and woods were too free for the renegades to stay under an iron hand. They escaped from camp. They stayed in the brush and hills and visited home only in the safe hours of the night. The great war was on - (First World War). When they got fitted out secretly they escaped to the south where they enlisted under assumed names. They were never hunted farther but at the end of the war they were joined by their parents near Eureka, Utah, and are, as I have learned, content to call it off with the wild life and feel as I have related about my father and his bear hunt - “If I am left alone I will not bother anybody. I am satisfied as it is.”
Troubles and misfortunes befell the old dad, and I had occasion to drop everything that I might have held against him. He lost a leg and never fully recovered from the effects of the operation. He died a broken-hearted old man with little to look back on with any speck of pride.
As the summer came and went things changed for me. I was offered a teaching position in the small town of Rockland, in a district of Idaho. We sold what property we had and moved down to an enlarged homestead. Our first introduction was anything but favorable. We drove up to a farm house where we intended to live for one winter while I taught school. It was near dark as we approached the house. Ghostly enough from the outside, but when the children stepped inside several mountain rats scurried across the floor. I looked in as two of the beasts perched themselves in the dark corners on the joist that crossed overhead. The smell then added to the children’s disgust, whereupon they began to cry. It was different from anything we had yet encountered in our life’s experiences. We were all homesick and no fooling! We just climbed back in the wagon and went to the nearest ranch where well-to-do farmers lived and who were influential in the community.
The good woman said they had room for us and so we were taken car of for two years while I taught school. Many were the pleasant evenings spent with those folks, the Elisons. Many times did we enjoy hot soup after a cold ride or late staying out. Their yard was well stocked with chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. These were constantly becoming fewer but always plenty left for restocking in the spring.
Many coyotes and some beaver fell before my aim during the holidays of those two winters. Whenever an opportunity came I was just as eager to take my gun and hit the trail as ever Daniel Boone was in the early Colonial days.
School days were only as school days usually are; no excitement or anything out of the ordinary. We moved into our own 320 acre enlarged homestead into a small two roomed log cabin. We lived there for three years and had a little store and eating house on the main road from American Falls to Burley, at the intersection of Snake River and Rock Creek. The first year we raised the nicest garden I have ever seen raised on a so-called dry farm; potatoes, tomatoes, beans, radishes, and many other of the choicest vegetables. Three thousand dollars was the common minimum price for my claim the day I received my patent.
A faithful old tramp dog was given to the children by an aunt and a true friend he proved to be. I remember we allowed him to ride on our small buggy when we took him home. He seemed to wake up with the children the moment they got acquainted as none but a Scotch Collie can. We were living virtually among the coyotes, rabid and otherwise. There were rattlesnakes aplenty. I had occasion to kill sixteen of them one summer. I found them under all sorts of conditions. The old dog always gave the alarm, by at once stepping between the snake and the person, with tail wagging, ears erect, and head up. I found one in a post hole one day. I teased him for some time as I had done many times. I will say I have never been able to get a rattlesnake to strike for more than a few inches. True, he will coil with the head in the center of the coil, but other than to straighten out his neck, head and a small portion on the body, be will not reach far.
I was riding one day when the dog and horse took a circular route. I knew at once the cause. I sought the snake and was unable to find either rock or stick with which to kill him. I had never let one escape and so I took a very foolish chance. He was coiled under a small bush known as rabbit brush. I stepped back a few feet and with one jump I landed upon his head and coiled body with my heels. That’s another thing I would not advise anyone to do. I took the rattles - which made me quite a pocketful, sixteen in all for one summer’s crop.
Scotty, as we named out old pal, was always ready to join in the fun. One night after we had all retired his persistent barking gave us to understand that all was not right in the yard. I stepped to the door and saw by the faint starlight what I took to be a coyote, or lynx cat. I just called to Scotty to hold him. He was circling around and around. I slipped on my trousers and shoes. I grabbed my rifle and darted out to help Scotty with whatever he had to deal with. When I neared them the poor dog thought I was in danger and so attacked a large porcupine and, by coming in close contact, filled himself so full of quills, mouth, nose, feet, and legs and breasts that, although I worked for hours that night, I was unable to get them all out. He was so full of pain upon extracting them that it was necessary to tie him down. He became sick soon after and as he slowly failed months afterwards there were quills worked out of his body that had gone completely through. Such a one I found at the top of his shoulders, black point up, and half sticking out of his skin. It was real grief for us to see this faithful friend go.
During the winter while teaching, my old friend, Chet, visited us. We were surely pleased to see him. He told us of his fight for existence with that enlarged family of his. It now consisted of eleven souls, himself, wife, Mamie, four of his and five of her children all under ten years of age. He left us after trying to rent a farm. He went back home feeling sure he would move into our locality on a farm of which he had partially secured a lease.
That poor family was to again receive a blow. The father was feverish when he left us and upon reaching home he was pronounced a very sick man, with typhoid fever, from which he never recovered. That poor girl, Mamie, was now left alone with that bunch! It seems the purpose of life is to do the impossible. That which seemed a miracle for Chet to do in feeding those children, was now thrown upon his wife who fought the fight to the finish and won. The children all grew to maturity and many are the educated class, holding office in the government, bookkeepers, and stenographers. The rest of them are honorable men and women with lovely families.
Joe, the deluded husband and father, came back three years ago, but only to die. I visited him soon after his return and this is the short sketch of his story as he related it to me.
“I became interested in Texas oil. We sank several wells but my share of the one was only sufficient to purchase a few shares more and so I went north into Wyoming and there accumulated quite a holding on paper. I bought a piece of Pierce Arrow and was headed for Cheyene one night when I went off the road and tipped over. They told me I was pinned under my car for more than four hours before help came. I know I never appreciated their help. I wished they had never found me. My spine was paralyzed, as were my lower limbs. I was nine months in the hospital and now it takes me fifteen minutes to walk one block. My property was all taken from me. They figured I would soon die, anyway, and no one knew of any of my friends. I was in this condition when this angel found me.” He pointed to his daughter, Gwen, who had advertised and followed up clues of information as to her father’s whereabouts. His former wife, Mamie, said, “I cannot spend my life in a more suitable way than to care for him as long as he lives. My life is still a sacrifice and this suits my children.
A few months and Joe had suffered a good portion of the debt he had willingly assumed years before. He died with no malice toward the fate that had befallen him. He said to me, “I have earned all I am suffering. Mamie is doing more for me than I deserve to receive.”
He had left no security on oil wells or any other property that Mamie was able to secure any money from. Her children, nine in number, are all married now, and Mamie is coming nearer getting a little happiness from life than she has had since childhood.
My farm proved to be less valuable as the years went by. I fenced it all with cedar posts and two barbed wires. I raised less wheat per acre each summer. I plowed one hundred acres of land the last summer before getting my patent for the land. The rain had become so scarce that three or four bushels per acre was an average yield. I had dry farm peas sixteen inches high on the 12th of June, 1918. There came three days and nights of hot wind. Those peas dried up as if a fire had been built within a few inches of them. All this was done within thirty-six hours time. On the 16th and 17th of the same month it froze so hard at night that wheat, which was headed out, would snap off when one walked through it as if the stems were glass. There was not a drop of rain fell that year on my farm between the 21st of May and some time in September. It was no wonder there were millions of acres of ground deserted by homesteaders throughout the state of Idaho.
My spring plowing and seeding being done early in the spring, May and June saw me on the road as usual gathering a few dollars from sheep shearing. We were near the Montana state line - Spencer, Idaho - and a good deal of liquor was brought over the state line before officers became strict in the enforcement of the law.
On one occasion there was some drinking as we entered the train bound for Pocatello, Idaho. I saw the conductor tell several to cease drinking or he would be obliged to report them to the officers of the next town. Some continued their actions in the face of his threats. One fellow raised his flask and emptied it as the conductor entered the car. Their eyes met at the same time. The fellow sat almost at my elbow so that I saw every move he made. He dropped the empty bottle and also set a full one down under the car seat as the officer approached him. We were then entering Blackfoot, Idaho, and slowly came to a stop. The conductor compelled the fellow to leave the train and there was turned over to the town officials. I, sitting within reach of his full bottle, picked it up and placed it inside my coat pocket. We were soon in Pocatello where I must change cars so that I might go west to my dry - farm home. It was then that I became nervous as I thought of what I had done. The situation was this - I had been shooting at a target a few minutes before boarding the train and so had, in my inside coat pocket, a revolver. If an officer should search me and find a concealed weapon and a bottle of whiskey upon my person I could see at least 30 days for me in the calaboose. I had no way to get rid of either - I must take the chance. I, therefore, left the depot and walked around the town until train time when I boarded it and was soon over the 25 miles between Pocatello and American Falls. I sure breathed easier when I was able to leave that train and was walking toward my home where my kiddies were waiting for my return.
The last winter experience there is of sufficient importance to relate an incident or two. As cold weather approached we prepared fuel and supplies for the time when we would be less able to make the trip to town. My brother, Asa, and I had combined out team and outfit which brought a load of coal for both families. He lived some two and a half miles away. He brought the load and as it snowed about four inches that night we had become a little short of fuel. I rode a horse over to his farm after starting a fire and putting in the last of the coal.
“I will run over before breakfast and bring back a sack of coal so you may wash, “I said to my wife.
I carried my trusty 30-30 as you have been so often told. The new fall of snow is the all important time to hunt. I had arrived within half mile of Asa’s farm house when I crossed a large track the like of which I had never seen except in the timber mountains. I leaped from my horse and examined the footprints closely. I placed my hand over the track and found that the foot was larger but a little shorter than my flat hand. I knew in a moment that it was an old cougar, or Mr. Lion, that had strayed far from his usual haunts. I rode on to Asa’s place and found him milking his cow. He called to his wife and merely said, “Can I go for a chase before breakfast?” And she said “Hurry back! Breakfast will be waiting.”
He mounted his riding horse and away we went. The fresh snow gave us the best kind of tracking. We realized that we must go a long way before overtaking him. There was not even a cedar tree for miles. Well, ten miles were traveled in eager anticipation of an encounter. Upon reaching quite a steep cedar-covered mountain we were compelled to zigzag back and forth to climb the slope with the lion going straight up. As we neared the top our horses’ heavy breathing disturbed the old cat’s slumber. He was actually sleeping on the high point of rocks overlooking the surrounding country. He put up his head as I looked at the right spot. His short fat ears, his broad face and round head, appeared for a moment before flight. What a sensation to see such an animal - eight feet, two inches long, standing as high as my waist, waving his long tail as if deciding whether to stand his ground or flee for his life. He chose the latter and, for only a few seconds could I see him, then he dropped out of sight. We rushed out horses by vigorous urgings as kicks and slaps with the reins. When we reached the top all that was in sight was speedy looking tracks taking down the mountain in the opposite directions from which we had climbed. We rode as rapidly as we dare over snow-covered limbs, rocks, and holes. Our faithful horses stumbled many times but did not fall, which often proved disastrous in a chase. One-half mile ride and we approached a heavy grove of cedars. Here the tracks were confusing. There were doubling back on his own track. This is a trick of the more sly animals for the purpose of throwing their pursuer off the scent. It was necessary then to turn and watch with care just where he had left his first made track. Would you believe it! He had backtracked himself until he feared being seen, when, with a mighty jump, he had landed in a small tree - which might have had the desired effect of losing us, only that the new snow betrayed him and we were soon in hot pursuit. Asa saw a glimpse of him as he jumped from behind one tree to the protection of another. Only for an instant, though was he to be seen. After getting sight of him in this manner several times - and that, too, within forty or fifty feet - and yet, at no time were we able to take aim. The tracks became confusing by their number and in many directions.
We looked about for about fifteen minutes then we stopped to consult one another as to the plan of action. By this time it was nearing sunset. We had had no breakfast. We had no lunch. Our horses had no saddles on their backs and they were wet and sweaty. Do you think we were at all tired? The plan was soon formulated. We rode together beyond any tracks. We were sure our cat had left the grove. We took opposite directions. Each was to go in a circle until one or the other found where the track left the timber. Immediately upon my getting out of hearing, where I could not call Asa, I found fresh tracks leading into a deep ravine which led to the level ground below all timber. This was my time for delight. Not once did he leave that wash. When it became winding, as is always the case when a stream becomes slow, I would take short cuts to the next bend where I would glance again just long enough to assure myself that he was still staying in the gutter.
Now I was fast covering his trail. He was no longer running. The ground was no longer rough and I was going faster than at any time before. My horse was speedy so I would at least have an exciting chase over the flat when I did become close enough to frighten the beast. He never at any time left the cover of that wash until it ran out, and, as it afforded him no more protection, he was compelled to show himself. I was there at the same time. Sixteen steps from me he came into view for the first time since the chase in the cedars away up the mountain side. I could see his eyes, his ears. I could even see his snarl as he defied me, with his mouth slightly open and his catlike whiskers around a gray mouth. My time had come. There was no fooling! I must run no chance of his getting away! He made not a move except to slowly wave his long tail from one side to the other. He was staring me in the eye. I jumped form my horse eager to battle is necessary. I must have him! I had earned him to take home. I drew a bead for his open mouth but my eagerness would not allow time to draw finer. My thoughts were - - I will sure give him hot lead to eat! As it was,,, quoting an old panther story, I walked up just as confidently, knowing exactly where the bullet had struck, but my bullet had enlarged a nostril just enough that I could detect where the ball had gone.
It was sundown. My horse would have nothing to do with lions. I couldn’t even lead him up to it. I tied a large handkerchief over his eyes, which was kept there all the way home and, with bridle, I fastened him to a sage. I took his tie rope and with one end around the cat’s neck I managed to tie the other to my horse’s tail. I mounted with my prize twenty feet behind and set out for home more than ten miles away.
I arrived home at eight o’clock and found some commotion there, as you can imagine. There I had been gone thirteen hours when thirty minutes was plenty to do what I intended doing. Everyone of the family could hardly believe I was safe and sound after such a day of anxiety for them. Accidents were so common where men were riding the range. The horse often fell on its rider, or at least broke a leg, which meant death to anyone lying out in the snow on such a night as the one now upon them. They were bundled up and in another minute Vern and his sister, Verba, would have been on their way two miles distance to find if I had ever called at Asa’s home. Asa, by the way, had given up the chase upon my leaving him and had then hurried home. He knew the conditions surrounding my absence and so hitched and brought coal down to my house and arrived a few minutes after I did. He was as surprised as the rest to see what I had done. Several men who saw the cougar said that they would have gone the other way when they saw his size.
We skinned him that night and the next day a man offered me $45.00 for the skin. I thought that a pretty good price for all concerned. My wife’s forgiveness was secured, I filled up and within a few days I would be healed up. I accepted the price and have been sorry many times since that I did not keep it myself. The fur is not soft or nice, but the color a reddish yellow, and claws sharp as needles, with feet a size larger than a man’s hand. Then with the head attached and mounted he looked as he did when he approached firing line. This would have something so different I would have prized it highly for many years.
We built a little roadhouse, or grocery store, on the highway where we were doing fairly well during the early days of the war while prices were soaring higher and all dry farmers were prospering, especially in the anticipation of still higher prices and fairly good seasons for dry farming. We built near a crossing of Rock Creek where it empties into the Snake River. There was quite a grade from our house down to the steel bridge spanning the creek eighteen feet above the water. As cold weather and snow came the road became a nice coasting lane down the slope onto the bridge.
Our four small ones, Rema, Naomi, Owen, and Una, went out to ride one day while the sun was warm and nice. They ventured down the grade for the first time. Three of them, the three girls, on the hand sleigh, - the eldest, Rema, a girl of seven, with the baby, Una, one year old, between her and the five year old, Naomi. Owen, a three year old was left to walk and follow them down. The sled became unruly on the ice of the flat steel bridge and off the side they slid down to the ice eighteen feet below. They were not missed until Owen walked back to the house crying. We rushed out when he said, “The tids runned off!”
We found the three in a sort of daze lying on the solid ice below. They had taken a complete summersault and two of them had lit on their feet, breaking bones in the ankle and instep of each. The older one had struck her chin which was showing a gaping cut. The scar is yet a reminder of an accident that couldn’t happen often without more serious results. The ankles of the other two are weak now and may be the cause of further foot weakness as they become older.
The next summer found us ready to vacate the farm. The war was on and men were needed in many lines of business. We were among Germans aplenty. A dislike grew up among a few. When some knew we were leaving they seemed to be set on getting what they could. As it happened one day I had taken a load of hogs to market but was careless and left the pen so that several got out. When I arrived home I rode over near one of the German’s farms and saw a broche driving my hogs toward his barn. I rode up and scared them so that he failed to pen them. He ran at me with a pitch fork held menacingly. I placed my hand on my pocket and jumped off my horse saying, “You had better take care!”
He kept the fork in a threatening position until I got hold of the tines. I quickly wrenched it away from him. Did he foam and sweat! I mounted my horse and with a laugh I said, “You come to my house and ask for this before you can have it!”
Of course an attorney was informed how I had come upon his premises and forced him to give up his only pitchfork. I received notice in due time that it was a serious charge against me if I did not return the fork by a stated date. I only informed the lawyer of my side of the case whereupon, he said, “If that is so, all right. If he wants the fork he can go and ask for it.” Enough said, - he never called.
Asa, my brother, lost seven head of sheep and by close tracking found them shut up in a cellar of a neighbor.
I had gone to the trouble and bore the sting of bees to capture them from a large cedar tree. The summer gone, I thought I would have a few gallons of honey. I didn’t get it, however, but was informed so that I was reasonably sure who got the benefit of my labor. I could appreciate this treatment when I remembered how I had chipped and chopped with those bees around my head and often on my neck, with a few on my nose. After the tree fell there was an awful commotion among the bees. I then split the tree and in the hollow space a quantity of bees still remained. I was shielded some with a screen about my head, and gloves on my hands, but not a few holes where they made it warm for me. I scooped up handful after handful and was lucky in getting the queen which held the colony in the box. This dogged determination all came back to me and I had done it all for one whom I disliked.
Fate seemed to be enlisted against me. Someone set dogs upon a bank of horses, among which was my horse that I had often ridden. He took the lead and was soon in contact with a barbed wire fence. He jumped across the top wire and, there being posts only each 100 feet, he struggled with the wire caught in his flanks for fifty feet. The hair and flesh showed the distance the wire had acted as a saw. It is useless to say it ruined my best horse.
I was riding another horse into the barn from the field not many days after that when he fell with me, lighting on his head and breaking his neck. That same day my hogs were attacked my a dog inside the pasture and were ruined by hamstrung, or cutting the cord of the hind leg, so that they could not walk on the hind legs.
Soon after this I had a fight with my brother’s dog. I knew the vicious nature on him and when I saw him with a blood covered face I became so enraged that I jumped from the wagon on which I was riding directly upon the dog’s back. Then a royal battle began! I had thought to stomp him to death, or so near it that my revenge would be satisfied. I kept him to the ground as my heels worked upon his head and neck. He yelped, struggled and fought me as I fought him. I kept my hands from him so that he could not bite them but my legs suffered and I carry the scars yet that he made just above my shoe tops. He possibly got the worst of it but I became so winded that I could no longer hold him and when he got a chance to escape he was not long in getting beyond my reach. Suffice it to say I never knew of his injuring another living animal. He had received his lesson and his dessert.
I then traded my hogs and bought some thirty sheep. I placed them on an island in the Snake River just large enough to supply feed for a month’s time. It could be reached by boat only yet seven of the thirty were stolen one night.
We made the choice to educate the family so we moved to Logan, Utah. All our worldly possessions were in a wagon. Eight children, four horses, six cows all arrived in Logan July 24, 1917. We had bought a home on Center street sight and unseen. The house was full of bugs so we turned it back and got a home on 5th East. I taught school in North Logan for three years.
I owned one-half interest in a header used for cutting wheat. I traded my share for a fine two-year old horse. I sent him to a pasture for safe keeping. I never saw him again, or heard what became of him. I had a wonderful young jersey cow that had freshened lately. I was offered $150.00 for her. In less than a week of that time I came home from town and found her four feet sticking straight up. She was as dead as a log. I was offered a cow in Wyoming with a guarantee of quality for $100.00 so I rode a horse 150 miles to get her and drove her back home. She nearly dried up by having to travel so far. During the cold weather she seemed to contract a lung fever which caused her death in a few days. At the rate they were going I was soon rid of all my animals and I declared I would never buy another as long as I lived. That was in 1919 and I am sure I have never owned a cow or horse since. My luck has been better, too. I haven’t had one die since that time. I borrowed a horse from a neighbor one day and on the way home the horse started to limp and got worse as I got nearer home. Upon investigating the cause I found that he had stepped on a rusty nail which he still had in the foot. As my luck was going after a few days the horse got worse and finally developed lock jaw and we had to kill it.
My family picked fruit in Brigham City for two summers. When the school term approached I got a school in Weber County to teach in West Weber so we decided to move to Ogden, Utah, and rented an apartment from the wife’s parents at 613 28th Street.
My first experience in Salt Lake City by way of automobiles is told in the following way: I had three lady passengers and all were teachers going to attend the State Teacher’s Institute held each year. We parked my Ford car in front of a local hotel after attending an evening meeting. It was near the midnight hour and many cars were yet along the curb. I thought they must be there for the night and so I took the necessary precautions to save my car from theft by taking off, or disconnecting, the main terminal wire so that the engine would not run. I slept soundly and arose in the morning thinking of nothing that might be irregular. However, my car was gone in spite of my assurance that it was safe. Well, a few inquiries brought out that the police had towed it away during the early hours. Thought I, “Here’s a $10.00 experience for me. A rather expensive lesson.”
By inquiring I found the police station and went in. “Have you a Ford touring car in this morning?” I asked the desk sergeant.
Yes we have. And we had a - - - - time, too! The thing wouldn’t run and we had to get the police car and tow it in. We have three charges against you!”
By the way, they had been thinking it was a stolen car, and so had telephoned and had this evidence against me.
“You over parked in a limited zone.”
“Yes, sir.” Here goes my $10.00 as I had contemplated.
“You were not on a 45 degree angle.” (Two-fifty more I added in a hurry as the stern face raised and eyes looked only momentarily.”
“But the next one is the severe one. You have given us a fake address which is called fake registration. Pretty severe, brother, when all three are combined.
“Well, “ I replied, “I am guilty of the two but not the third.”
What’s your name?”
I told him.
“You are registered as residing at 828 25th Street, Ogden, and we have telephoned and found there is no such place. It is a vacant lot.”
“Not guilty! I quickly replied. The receiver went to his ear and a call to the Secretary of State.
“Hello! We have so-and-so here for over parking and find our records give his address as 828 25th Street, Ogden, Utah. What do you records have?”
Some time elapsed when comes, “Hello! Hello!” from the sergeant. “What?” and the brow knitted as I could see and I knew I had won at least the biggest point at issue.
“We have that number right from you as 828 25th Street. You say it is 828 28th Street, Ogden, Utah? You have sure got us bawled up here and in a - - - - of a mess. There are three charges against this man and you have been the cause of the major one by giving us the wrong number. You’d better be pretty careful about that!”
The receiver was hooked on in no very careful way and, turning to me, he said, “Your d- - - - car is in the yard. We cranked the - - - - thing till we were disgusted and had to tow it in. Take the - - - - thing and get it out of here as quickly as you can!”
My $10.00 had returned even quicker than it had gone and a happy victory I had won, and all by a mistake of the officers.
I failed to state that just before this happened we had moved from the apartment to a home farther east on the same street and decided to buy it. We were living at the address that was on my registration.
I then sold myself to Weber County to teach a school that the Superintendent considered an outlaw. If I succeeded in mastering the school I was to teach there indefinitely. I was well pleased with my school the first year. I accepted the second contract and began the term when news came that a teacher had shot one of the pupils in a nearby school. I was asked to replace him but, partly from a protest of my own school. I was left alone and another secured to replace that teacher who automatically became disqualified. The next term saw me sent to another poorly managed school against the unanimous petition of pupils and parents of my school. Regardless of the Superintendent’s promise to the contrary he insisted that I go straighten out, as he called it, the other school.
I taught the other school for two terms. At the close of the war there were so many people out of work that a teacher’s salary was cut almost in half.
This is the story of how I came to quit school teaching:
I was driving a car eleven miles to and from my school. I had never been late nor absent in all the three years I had taught. I had never been given a browner because of failure to measure up to any standard. A heavy snowstorm came two days before the closing of school for the holidays. I was more than half way to my school when I wrecked my car and was compelled to have a truck tow it to a garage. All teachers of the outlying schools were excused from attempting to reach their school on the last day. Two weeks allowed time for the snow to become settled, plows to do their clearing, and for the garage man to fix my car. I paid the bill and took my car home a few days before the holidays ended. I continued my teaching and in early April I was sent an application blank to fill out as usual and waited for my contract or the board’s rejection. This is what came: “Mr Stratford, our Board member, says that you owe for a garage bill that you incurred last winter. He claims that because you are in our employ we are liable to him for your account. Now, we cannot assume your bills and we insist that you settle this obligation at once.” Signed: B. A. Fowler, Supt.
You may guess again how this made me feel when I had such a high regard for myself in the management of my school. I was just furious, that’s all. I went to Superintendent Fowler in no pleasant mood. My first words were these: “Mr Fowler, someone is trying to make a goat out of me. You have sent me this letter and there is not a particle of truth in it. It is a lie - every work - and I will face anybody in it.”
He asked to see the letter. I handed it to him and he destroyed it. He said, “That’s mighty funny. I don’t think Mr. Stratford would lie about anybody.”
I went to the garage and asked the mechanic if I owed him anything. He said not that he knew of.
“Did I pay you before I took my car away?”
“You did,” he replied.
“Will you just write me a “To Whom It May Concern’?”
D”You bet I will!” He said.
It read - after dating it -: “To Whom It May Concern: This certified that Mr. Allred paid me in full for all repairs on his automobile before he took possession of it on January - - - .” Signed, _ _ _ _
I said, “Have you ever told Stratford that I owed you any money?”
He said, “I have not seen or spoken to the old - - - - since you were here.”
I took this back to Fowler and told him I wanted that letter that I had handed him. Then he admitted losing it. I knew my time had come for hunting another job. I was insulted and I didn’t care how much I dared them to prove their lies.
Stratford acknowledged his falsehood but later I found out the whole thing lay in another teacher offering to take my school for $40.00 per month less than I was getting. That was a drop too heavy for me; to come down after 9 months of teaching for $125.00 per month. Then came a demand to attend summer school for at least six weeks. I could not attend school summer and winter, too, so I quit school teaching and went into cement work.
The great depression had struck and we lost out home and moved to Salt Lake City where I did cement work. We lived at 160 J Street. As winter came along and the last few years had seen me tied pretty well in the schoolroom I longed to be rambling for a change. My son-in-law, Harold, and I determined to go down into the Sevier Lake country to trap and hunt. We loaded up my Ford with two full barrels of traps, food, bedding, and guns. We knew nothing of the country but were going to learn about it. The seeing of the Sevier Lake lying out there truly looked like a dead sea in its last stages. The wonderful mirages seen in the region are something that one never forgets. The Savier Lake is to me like the base of all old fairy tales. A little truth with so much illusion surrounding it.
There are very few who have ever seen the lake. It cannot be observed at close hand unless one goes many miles off the traveled arteries of the state. We had the privilege of standing on a prominent point the foot of which was washed by the Salline Sea. We knew of one trickle of water and only one in forty miles. This was a well cared for spring giving a stream that was capable of filling a five gallon can every twenty minutes - its capacity being fifteen gallons per hour. The government trappers had lately made a raid on the cats and coyotes in that locality and so, other than a catch of a few badgers, we had out trip for only the experience and sights that we saw.
I have continued my sheep shearing now for twenty-five years. I have shorn a goodly number. My best day’s work netted me $35.00 - seventy sheep. This, of course, was under the most favorable conditions. I am only an average man at the work and when I tell you that a small man netted himself $55.00 in a day you will readily wee I was only average.
Winter once more approached and, having no steady employment, my brother-in-law, Orville Child, and I planned to go to California in his car. We were one day out on our way when a wheel dropped off out on the Salt Lake desert. The read axle had broken. There we were fifty miles from help at seven o’clock at night. We took the piece that was broken and, hailing a passerby I rode back to Salt Lake, secured the axle needed, and had ten minutes to catch the train back to the desert camp and our car. The man who sold me the axle hurried me to the station just as the conductor called all aboard. I explained my situation and was placed in the cab of the engine so that I could tell the engineer when we had reached as near my destination as I was able to tell. The night was dark and it was raining. I could tell very little where the broken down car was. I just used my best judgement and then said stop and let me off. I knew the highway was north and west of me but how far I knew not. I hit out and after hours of walking I found what I was looking for. Orville was asleep in the car. It was four o’clock in the morning and a happy boy he was to see me. The work was new to us and anyone who has had experience will laugh at me when I say that we had not a thing but a carpenter’s hammer to take the pinion off the broken axle and place it on the other. As daylight approached we were busy! We lost not a moment and by sunset that night we were able to start west again. We were afraid of heavy snows on the Sierra Nevada mountains and so we traveled all the time. Everything went well until we reached a place twenty miles west of Wendover when we needed rest. We camped by the side of the road and thought we would get a little sleep. It was then after midnight. We made a fire near the radiator of the car to keep it from freezing. Lo and behold, when the fire warmed things up the radiator leaked a stream. It had already frozen and broken. Now, instead of sleep, I sat there all night and as fast as a ten pound lard bucket filled up with water I poured it back. We had no other bucket and water is most precious on the desert. In the morning we melted some snow. A passing motorist gave us a bag full of water and, with our own water bag, we were again ready to go. Ready was right but the car wouldn’t go. It was locked in the gears. Shaking didn’t do any good. Try as we would it would not loosen. The bendix was stuck. We were not learned and so by the time we had taken off several parts of the car another passerby put us aright. It was nearly sundown again and we were ready to go. We were able to pick up two large cans which we filled for emergency. We reached Reno, then, and started up the mountain. A heavy snow storm was on. It was early December and before we could get over the mountain=pass the road was blocked for winter. We tried hard - as did other cars with a tractor ahead - but to no avail. All had to turn back. We went north to the Uba Pass and were barely able to get through.
Such a relief it was when we rapidly left the now behind us and dropped, as it were, into the land of no snow. That was a wonderful sight to me; to see that rough and rugged country with dashing water and such heavy undergrowth covering all the surface of the ground everywhere. The roads were wonderful but steep and crooked. We saw no large settlement until we arrived at Silver City. Near this town I understand was the first discovery of gold which caused the gold rush of California.
The strange trees, vines, and luxuriant vegetable growth, coupled with the mild temperature, sure made it delightful compared to the cold and snow that we had just been through. We passed through Sacramento Valley and there, for the first time in my life, I saw the tide caused from the ocean. Each day the water piles up along the river as the ocean tide comes landward. At Reo Vista we were employed to build a garage. We stopped long enough to do that work when we struck out for Los Angeles.
Although it is semi-tropical in the Sacramento Valley they have heavy frosts and fogs. Our place for lodging, while here, was several miles from our work - which required going to and from each morning and night. During practically every day while traveling we were compelled to have our lights burning. The heavy fog dripping from the roofs put one in mind of a shower of rain. Horns sounding and other penetrating noises were resorted to, which often saved collisions. The old daily steamboat which plied the river had its fog horn constantly sounding out a warning. This experience was only an incident wherein I had the opportunity to see and realize something different from my living year after year in the Rockies where the air is scarcely if ever, other than pure, clear and crisp.
Going from Sacramento to Los Angeles was another lovely ride. Pavement all the way. Great fields of asparagus as far as one can see. Rice unharvested amounting to hundreds of bushels. Oranges and lemons just ripening, the fig trees, the beautiful palms, the date and fan are most wonderful. The olive tree and fruit is another oddity.
For miles and miles we traveled along the ocean beach. If I could always travel in such a climate and among such scenes I don’t know that I would ever tire of it. The walnut groves, the eucalyptus tree that sheds its bark each year but never its leaves; the beautiful poinsettia gracing the gardens everywhere at Christmas time and the acres of roses that have made Pasadena famous all go to make the most delightful winter trip in the world. We saw hundreds of acres of grapes in a single field that had apparently never been touched at harvest time. The grapes hung in great clusters from the vines of dozens of such vineyards.
We rolled along at twenty-five miles per hour watching ships as they sailed quietly through the water. We watched the waves roll upon the shore where bathers were gathered for a December bath. This was more for the novelty than for the comfort of it, though. There was a whale that had recently been washed upon the beach. This was a little rare for the locality. Death had overtaken it - probably from lonesomeness. Few have ever been seen that far south.
We passed through Hollywood - the great movie colony. The higher up the mountain a mansion was built the higher up in the movies was the owner. They build just as high as the mountain will hold them and I wonder if some could not be seen suspended in the air.
We lived for a while in Los Angeles and worked at Glenwood. We also helped wreck a large building in the heart of Los Angeles. It was while working there that I had a chance to get next to the dark side of winter life for transient.
We were given forty cents per thousand for cleaning the mortar off the brick when wheeling and piling them in an adjoining block. I had occasion to see the lunches of several of the workers. One had a large paper sack. He spread part of it out at a time so that we could see the filth and slime. It consisted of the outer leaves of lettuce, the same of celery, a few small turnips, no bread or anything else. Several were exactly of the same articles but varied slightly according to the time the garbage was visited. I saw one poor fellow pick up a small pear all dripping with swill. He took a piece of paper and wiped the slime from it then place it in his coat pocket. One of those poor fellows was working near a wall which fell on him. He was covered completely with brick. I quickly helped to uncover him and by our quick work his life was saved but he was unconscious. Other than being badly cut by the falling brick he was not severely injured.
The mild climate is wonderful there and because of that many flock to the coast and California. It is never-the-less a cold part of the world when it comes to test man’s love for man.
I was only a few blocks away when the tragedy of Marion Parker happened. This created a nationwide interest. It seemed that the perpetrator, Hickman, had been discharged by the father of the girl some months before the terrible tragedy happened. Thinking that Mr. Parker had means, or at least had access to money because of being employed in a bank, Hickman, attempted extortion of money by kidnaping the small daughter, Marion. It was arranged in the following manner: Hickman drove a closed car to the school grounds where children were playing and beckoned to Marion. She, being somewhat acquainted with Hickman, got into the car when told that something was wrong at home and her mother wished her to come home at once.
Once inside the car she was quickly taken to an unfrequented room upstairs and at the rear where sound would be deadened. She was tied and muffled, blindfolded, and kept in ignorance of her situation while he made demands upon her father for money. His first scheme fell through and, because of the close drawing net, he became desperate. To let her go to her home now meant an early accounting because he would be readily identified if captured.
In desperation he sent another demand and, unless fulfilled to the letter, Marion was to be slain. He was so doubtful about his demand being complied with and, knowing the danger of detection if Marion did live, he pounced upon her helpless body and strangled her with a fiendish choke of his murderous hands while she was blindfolded and lashed to the wall of the house. He then cut her limbs all from her body and shaped her torso to fit into a suitcase. This was all done in a bathtub where all traces of blood could be carefully washed away and all evidence destroyed. He then took her dead body and propped it up in a way that her father could see her head and shoulders over the car seat and then appeared on the scene where the money was to be left and his daughter was to be returned to her father unhurt. The demand for the money was followed by the father’s demand for his daughter simultaneously. The open car door gave poor vision of the daughter in the night’s darkness but quickly the bag of money was grabbed and away sped the car taking the form of Marion with it. The father’s vision of her was only partial but of a terrible disclosure. He was confident that his daughter would have spoken if she had been alive.
A few encircled blocks of the city and a stop alongside of a hedge where the suitcase with its gruesome remains was quickly concealed and away to the north sped the lone terror of Los Angeles.
Very little trace was even in evidence until he passed over a toll bridge in the state of Washington without stopping. Then he returned on foot and paid the toll. This act created some suspicion and, because of the almost universal knowledge of the deed, in a very short time officers were in hot pursuit. He was overtaken and surrendered without trouble. His life was taken to repay the life of a young girl - or, rather - taken to warn others that murder will not pay. San Quentin added another name to its many. We went to work each morning unmolested but several times were searched as we entered the city.
After a few weeks we thought it time to head homeward. Employment was not favorable there and winter was setting in. We made up our minds to come home the southern route.
We put another $20.00 into the car to make it reasonably secure for the trip. The start was wonderful through San Bernardino and over the range to the Nevada desert. We enjoyed every hour until we were within a few miles of St. George where we encountered snow. We were sure that snow would be our constant companion to Salt Lake City. We had no trouble to speak of until we arrived some ten miles south of Cove Fort when, as we were sailing along at twenty-five miles an hour, a speeding car struck us in the rear. We little realized what was going on until we were off the road - turned end for end - yet right side up. The other car was off the opposite side and down the grade. Luckily no one was hurt badly. Neither were the cars, except his light and front fender badly bent and our rear was crushed. We measured the distance and found that our car had slid 105 feet, turned exactly end for end and yet landed right side up. The slick surface was our salvation which allowed the sliding with a minimum of friction. Our lights were put out and we traveled on home and arrived in Salt Lake a little after midnight having passed through town after dark without lights. The cops were good and let us go - or they were on some other street and did not see us.
Spring came along in its regular fashion which brought contentment to many of us. Work was plentiful. My shearing called me to St. George, a little village in the extreme southwest corner of Utah. I took my car and one companion. We sheared there for a week. It was there I saw a large sand turtle for the first time. We rode through the mountains in a northwesterly direction to Modena on the Salt Lake Los Angeles Railroad. We passed through what is known as Mountain Meadows. We saw the graves of the emigrants that were slain there in an early migration to California.
As we entered a small village known as Enterprise we were within ten feet of the gate of the third member of out party when a wheel dropped off my Ford. This was another time I had occasion to wonder why that did not happen on one of the many steep mountain roads which could have easily turned us over. Again, after leaving Modena, we crossed sixty-five miles of desert. It rained so hard that for miles our car rolled through water as high as the running board. There was no getting out of the ruts made by the running water. I remembered one depression where a lake had formed covering several acres. The water was dashing over the running board. It looked like the car would stop out there in the middle. My companion stood on the side of the car ready to step into the water up to his knees if it came to the worst. A lift at the right moment could put us over safely. We were going as slow as three miles an hour. Another instant and the car would stop. As he reached to step into the water there was an increase in speed. We were safe for now.
We were thirty five miles from the nearest help and not a bit of food. Things could have been serious for us with the constant rain. However, we didn’t stop until we reached highway and within four miles of a small town called Scipio when the rear end, or differential, gave way. We were towed into town and new parts replaced the next day. We then drove home and were soon headed north to continue our program for the season. My wife accompanied me again on my northern route. The weather had become warm and everything was delightful. Real life comes to me when I can go on the road in a comfortable car with some choice friends and companions. No time is more delightful than the month of June.
Our work went to the finish without trouble. My folks were treated royally. There were six in my family including myself. There were three in our companion’s car. We camped side by side and while shearing, of course, I received my board free and ate at the public table but our crowd was also furnished food. Often before the folks had risen breakfast was brought on a large tray and put on a table at the tent door steaming hot.
Our son, Owen, then twelve years of age, would spend hours of his time on the edge of the reservoir a half mile away fishing for the shining sided little fry that were just perfect in size for choice eating. He would often come carrying into camp thirty-five or forth of them on one string all cleaned. They were left with the camp cook who would fix them in the most pleasant way possible then carried to anyone in the camp who was favored by such instructions from the one who caught them.
The congenial disposition of everyone and the appreciation of the company for what one can do in times of distress made a fellowship and friendliness between the employer and employed that has existed to this day. I haven’t failed to be present any summer since that year during the great war when things seemed to be all upside down. Men were then making as much as $55.00 a day and yet went out on strike that they might make $100.00 or more because it was possible in the face of scarcity of men to perform the required work. Such men were never re-employed and since that time everything has gone along without any dissatisfaction. I offered to pay for the food but the reply was that if your services for twenty years haven’t been worth what food your friends eat while they are here it is too bad.
We planned to make a trip through the Yellowstone Park while we were that near. We were at the time about eighty miles due west of the west entrance. The second of July we made our camp on a crystal clear stream of water which is the pride of camping trips. The trout darted hither and thither as we approached the bank. It is doubtful to anyone who hasn’t seen them that there were hundreds of wild chickens that spread in all directions as we drove up to the stream. It seemed that all the wild life of the neighborhood must have gathered at that spot. We were not long in supplying our camp with what fish and fowl we wanted and then opened a sack that “Jack” the camp cook had filled for us. When told we were going to the Park he remarked, “I’ll fix up a little variety. I know how all eat on the road.”
In that sack was a slab of bacon, a ham, sugar, rice, raisins, prunes, evaporated apples, cocoanut shredded, apricots, oatmeal, salt pepper, besides two dozen cans of assorted peas, corn and tomatoes. We estimated that there was $30.00 worth of groceries in that sack. Bread was the only item of food that we had to buy on the ten days we spent in that most wonderful of all wonders of the world. The story of one’s experiences and the scenes observed are many times exaggerated and added to to make it pleasant or exciting to the reader, but to me the scenes and wonders of the Yellowstone Park cannot be added upon. The reality is greater than words can describe. We were eager to see the bears. After leaving Old Faithful, the great wonder of all geysers, of which I will not attempt to describe - we were at once in the depths of the mountains and forests. A car ahead of us stopped and were taking snap shots of something.
Yes, it was a bear and also a small cub. We stopped and attempted to draw the mother closer for pictures by throwing sweets to her. Fish meat, or any common food is disregarded by them - they must have liked cake, candy, or something sweet in order to get them to stop and act up for a picture. I soon had the mother bear coming my way seeking contents of a fruit jar of preserves. I poured some out to begin with but soon she wanted the source of such a delicacy. She came up standing and when I showed signs of shyness she demanded the bottle. I allowed here to stand side by side with me while she ate the contents from the jar. I got along rather ticklish until she placed her paw upon my bare hand which held the jar - then came the creeps. It was too intimate for me. I then gave her the jar and moved away. It was likely the best thing for it was only a moment when the cub seemed to sense fear for the first time and up a tree it went. The mother lost no time rushing to the tree amid a hurried scattering of tourists who had gathered around. We rode on with no other stop until we reached the Thumb Station.
This place is the junction with the southern, or Jackson Hole, route. A few miles north along the lake shore we discovered a lead of water in which were loads of trout. We caught enough for a couple of meals then went into camp where we feasted upon the most delicious fish that nature produces. The next morning my little daughter, Una, then nine years old, and I arose while the camp was slumbering. We fished until we thought breakfast would be waiting. We rode into camp while everyone was getting their dash of cold invigorating water in preparation for the meal. We strung our catch on a bed rope and with great effort I was just able to raise those fish off the ground while a snapshot was taken. There were thirty-seven in number and none weighed as little as a pound. We were fortunate in having salt along which was freely used.
We had occasion to give a fellow tourist a good mess of the speckled beauties. His company was from the east. They asked how to prepare them. Do they skin them? Should they be boiled and should all the bones be taken out before cooking? This all seemed so peculiar to us who had eaten hundreds of mountain trout and knew of but one way that is far ahead of all others. Just slap them into a pan of hot grease, salt and pepper and fry them to a light brown.
The trip was the most delightful I have ever experience for the first time, but having gone all through from one end to the other the second time through was much of a disappointment to me. It was interesting but there was none of the awe inspiring incidents common and so often while all was new.
We left by the southern entrance where our guns were unsealed and where we reported approximately the number of pounds of fish we had caught. This was for the official record required from the attendants at all entrances to the Park. The roads were not as good when we left Jennie’s Lake and neared the Teton Peaks. They again are such majestic spires that one must gaze with wonder while standing at their bases. The green and dense forests for an equal distance, then the grand streaks of everlasting snow that seems almost within reach of the sound of one’s voice. The top, however, is one grand pinnacle of stone that baffles many a climber for many years.
A little farther south and one enters Jackson Hole - the old time rendezvous of the typical western bad man. The best entrance to this famous home of the outlaw is over the road down the mountainside from the west where the horseshoe bends turn in successive curves so close together that the traveler can see three parallel roads from one point of view. This is all necessary for the climbing out of, or into, truly a hole. It is near Jackson Hole in the Gros Ventre country where only recently the mountain side slid into the canyon and blocked the river forming a large lake. It is this country where many tons of hay are purchased by the U.S. Government and then fed to thousands of elk that come down out of the higher altitudes where the snow falls to great depths in the level valleys where they learn that man is a friend as well as an enemy. There are actually hundred of them one can see.
Even with all the encouragement, coaxing, asking and prodding, this is as far as Dad got in his recording his life history so from here on each of the children and all who have memories they can recall pertaining to the life of this great man have been asked to contribute their thoughts that this might be as complete as possible.
First, we will take what Edith has to say - she being the eldest of the family of eight children:
From this point on I will try to recall some of the things that I can remember about Dad’s life. Because I was married and had a family of my own I do not know much about the pleasant trips that they - Mother and Dad - took from here on but I do know they were many and perhaps just as thrilling as the ones he has told about. The ones I do know about are just short overnight picnics when he would take the family - along with Uncle Alvin Allred’s and Uncle Orville Child’s families, and the fun we would have!”
In 1933 Dad and Mother decided to take over the old home at 613 28th Street in Ogden from Grandpa and Grandma Child for $2500.00. There were to give the old folks an apartment to live in for the balance of their lives and pay $25.00 a month as payment on the home. They had one apartment which they thought they could rent which would more that make the payment. Again bad luck hit. The depression was on and they were about $1500.00 behind in their payments - interest, taxes, etc. I had received this much money in a lump settlement from the Ogden City because of the death of my husband, Harold, so I loaned it to Dad and thereby saved the home for them. For this they fixed up the house in the rear for me and my family with the help of Grandpa Child and the Elders’ Quorum of the Fifth Ward.
In 1940 Dad got the first good, steady, job of his life. He went to work at Hill Field as a guard and worked there for about six years - or until the end of the World War II. Then to build up his Social Security he went to work at the Emporium Department Store.
During the time he worked for the Government he had built onto the house making two more apartments in it. This made six apartments in the old house so, with this income and his wages from the Emporium, they were able to save some money and enjoy their life together. Still traveling around quite to see their children in Washington - where Owen and family lived - and Oregon where my family and I had moved. They also did a lot of temple work and family research.
Dad served as High Priest President from 1950 until he was called on mission in 1952. He left Sept. 17, 1952, for the Southern States Mission with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. During his mission he still traveled, covering every state within the mission in his first year and a half. Then Mother joined him and they served the last six months together at Athens.
Before their mission they had the chance to go to the World’s Fair in San Francisco and in 1956 attended the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple.
In 1955 they sold the old home to Dewey, my husband, and me and that left them free to go traveling whenever they wanted.
They spent one winter in Mesa and one in California. Then in the Fall of 1951 they left for a trip in the trailer with Uncle Arlin and Aunt Irene Allred for the East. There were gone one month - then on Jan. 9, 1957, they left again with Arlin and Irene for California, Arizona, then back to the mission field in Georgia on a trip that took them over 8000 miles in three months.
We went with them on many short trips during the years from 1953 until 1960. One of the most enjoyable being to Yellowstone Park in the summer of 1959.
Sunday morning, January 31, 1960, Dad and Dewey left together to attend Priesthood Meeting at the 18th Ward. It was a nice bright sun shining morning and as I went to Sunday School I met Dad coming down the front steps of the church and said to him, “Where is you coat? Aren’t you cold?”
“No! It’s a beautiful morning.”
“Aren’t you going to stay for Sunday School?”
“No, I better go home and stay with Mom,” was his reply. Those were the last words I ever heard him say because we just got into our class when the Bishop came and told us that Dad had gone with a heart attack. This was the end of the mortal life of this wonderful father. We all miss him and his good advise in al things but we are sure he has gone on the help others.
Next - Verba writes:
I remember Dad as being the life of the party. Even at home we were, as youngsters, wanting him to join us in our games around the table. One game was called “I Am a Donkey”. He always made us laugh - especially when he would pull a face and wiggle his ears. He liked to play tricks on people. For example - one night at a family party he was to play a doctor. Uncle Orville Child, who was playing the patient, was injured and Dad was to find out where the broken bones were. He was to put black on his fingers then rub all over the face of the patient. The joke was on Dad, too, because - unbeknown to Dad - Uncle Orville had black on his fingers as he rubbed all over Dad’s face.
He kept his family together because he played games with us, took us camping, and on Easter Sunday after Sunday School we got together for a picnic lunch.
When Glen was born and I was in the hospital with pneumonia every time Dad came into the room he filled it with sunshine with his big smile and a cheery greeting, “How are you doing, Dot?”
Grandma - Maria Josephine Stock Allred - died the 27th of June 1954 in Logan, Utah. She had lived in her own apartment and kept her own home until she went to live with Uncle Alvin and Aunt Effie. After a few years she went to live in an apartment that Uncle Arlin and Aunt Irene had for her. She lived there - in Smithfield, Utah, - until Uncle Arlin went on a mission. She then moved to Ogden and lived in one of Dad’s apartments. There she stayed until Dad was called on a mission then she went to Logan into a nursing home. She died there while both Uncle Arlin and Dad were in the mission field. She was 95 years old at the time of her death.
I remember Dad used to have dreams when he had a big problem - or opportunity - coming his up. He would dream he was out fishing and if he caught a big one then he knew his problem was being answered favorably but if the “Big One” got away then he was the loser. Many times in his bidding for contract jobs I have seen this fulfilled.
When Julia had Polio and was hospitalized Dad and Byron administered to her before Dad left on his mission and in three days she was out of danger and Dad always spoke of his miracle child.