|Johann Friedrich Fechser|
The town bell was ringing furiously. Something was wrong. Men, women and children were in the street, everyone asking questions: “What’s wrong?” “Maybe a fire – or some child lost – or maybe Indians.”
The Town Bell was really the church bell in the four-year-old town of Hamilton, later changed to Mt. Pleasant.
After a few log houses were built, the next important thing was a church. The bell in the church was used to call folks to church, the children to school and to Sunday School; also for emergency calls of disaster. The excitement seemed to be in the **** part of town near the Grist Mill. John Fechser, the miller, was in the crowd.
Johann Friedrich Fechser (John Fechser)
He had come to Hamilton from Germany where he had learned the milling business.
The mill stood at the head of Main Street, painted white. It was as if it were in the middle of the road.
Fechser, with the aid of Kimp McGlenham and others, had built the mill, the main industry at the time. Of course there was also farming and saw mills in the mountains.
Fechser (who would some day become my father) – (I shall hereafter call him Dad) had lost his two children in St. Louis and nearly lost his life there with cholera which was raging there at the time, - also lost his wife while crossing the plains. Her name was Rosina Keyser. She had a brother Jake who continued on with Dad to settle in Mt. Pleasant.
Arriving in Salt Lake, Dad worked for awhile for Brigham Young, then with others was sent to Mt. Pleasant to help settle the new community. En route they stopped at Spanish Fork for a spell, where Dad met a Danish widow with a small daughter, whose husband had died on the plains.
She and Dad were both lonely and were married, although they couldn’t understand each other’s language.
At Mt. Pleasant, Dad, with others, had built the first mill in the valley, the main industry. Dad had built a two-story abode house near the creek and the mill.
He had married another woman by the name of Elizabeth. She was called Lesa, while the first wife’s name was Trena and was called Tanta in Danish, which is Auntie in Swedish.
Each wife had one side of the house, 3 rooms, and her own cow, chickens and garden spot, etc. They were not much younger than Dad – perhaps a couple of years. Lesa bore Dad two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria.
He was doing well at the mill and had about twenty acres of land near the mill, a team and oxen and was considered well-to-do.
It’s spring, 1862.
One of Dad’s customers came to the mill for flour and feed. He was Chris Johnson, a Norwegian immigrant who had recently arrived in Mt. Pleasant with his family of eight children. His wife’s name was Even. The children were John, Christopher, Ida, James, Elizabeth, Maria, Henry, Abram.
After chatting a while – Dad was always friendly and enjoyed a good joke – sometimes he would place his hands on the back of some of the girls in such a position as to leave white fingerprints to look like the gals had been embraced by the miller, as they went through town or home. Dad said to Christ, “You have a nice family. I have noticed your daughter Ida – she is a fine girl. You have a large family to support. It’s time she was getting married.”
Chris agreed and said, “She would like to find a place to work and help to support the family, but where could she get any kind of work here. Everyone is poor.” Chris thought that marriage would be the answer. Dad was well fixed, and eventually made the proposal.
Chris would talk to Ida and his wife Even. Dad smiled and slapped Chris on the shoulder and then proceeded to get the grist ready for Chris.
Next day Chris called his wife and Ida together and told them of the proposal. Ida had been seeing a young man from Ephraim, whose name was John Dorius. She thought a lot of him but nothing serious had developed (According to Ina Fechser, John Dorius was in Canada trying to earn a living so he could return and marry Ida). It was a hard decision to make. She would be a third wife and wondered how the older wives would accept her.
Of course she knew that plural wives was encouraged by the church. Brigham Young, the President, had several. So did the Prophet Joseph before he died. Also Heber C. Kimball had many wives. It was a commandment. The Lord had said “Increase and replenish the earth.”
Love or no love, would it be right to refuse? Here was security. Dad was good looking with black curly hair – dressed well; shoes always shined.
Many of the bishops had plural wives, they seemed to have the first pick, while the younger men were left. But that was the way of life in Utah at the time.
Ida would marry Dad, and eventually become my mother. Hereafter I shall refer to her as Mother.
Mt. Pleasant was located on both sides of Pleasant Creek with its cool mountain water flowing from those beautiful mountains to the east, covered with green quaking aspen trees in the lower part, and tall green pines at the top.
Game was plentiful and there was a plentiful supply of wood, while the west hills were covered with cedar trees which were used for wood, fence posts, and supports for sheds, barns, etc.
Chris, my grandfather, was an ex-sailor on fishing boats in Norway. This was a new environment for him, and to make a living must have been a real struggle, but they had joined the church in Norway.
The Lord would help them if they lived their religion and did as instructed by the authorities. John, the oldest son, was in Ephraim working. He later married and made Ephraim his home.
June is a beautiful month anywhere in North America, and Mt. Pleasant was especially beautiful this time of year. In fact, I have never seen a valley in such pleasant surroundings, except in Helena, Montana which reminded me so much of home when I was there looking for work as a young man.
Now all arrangements had been made for the marriage of Mother and Dad. The drove to Salt Lake to be married in the Endowment House, as the Temple had only just begun to show above ground and was to take forty years to build.
There was another couple with them on the trip to Salt Lake. Jacob Hafen, * Dad’s friend and neighbor, was taking a second wife. Her name was Lizetta Ott. His first wife’s name was Kathryn. The Fechsers and the Hafens were to be neighbors and friends. Their children would grow up together, go to school and church together, and both would have large families.
After they were married and on their way home, which took three days, the four of them had a lot to talk about. They talked about the Prophet Joseph and how he was shot with his brother Hyrum while in Carthage Jail for “protection” from the mobs, like the ones that had run the Saints out of Far West and Kirtland, Ohio. They talked about plural wives and were sure they were right in upholding the “principle.” They stopped near Utah Lake near the foot of Mount Timpanogos, and caught carp and suckers. The roads were rough and bumpy.
When the Prophet was assassinated, his sons claimed that one of them should be the prophet and broke away from the church, or rather claimed that it was Brigham and his followers that broke away. They would not accept the principle of plural wives and said that the prophet had no more than one wife.**
The next night the newlyweds camped near Nephi, and the next day they went through Salt Creek Canyon. This was a bad piece of road along the foot of Mt. Nebo, and there were plenty of wild animals in this territory. Even as late as 1925 two live bear were captured there, but the worst danger was that of Indians, as it was a hangout for Black Hawk and his tribe.
The trip went along all right though, and Mother wondered how she would be received by Dad’s other wives, who were about 36, while she was only 17. Of course there would be jealousy, but it really proved to be much worse than that.
Dad was going to have two rooms added to the present house for Mother, but she would be right under their noses and would need to have courage. The principle was a “call” from the church. All would be well.
*Correction: Rather than Jacob Hafen, it was Peter and Anna Monsen who went with Mother and Dad to be married
** See “Live of Heber C. Kimball, page 339 and 431; also Blood and Atonement. Names of Joseph Smith’s wives: Emma Hale (1/1/37); Helen Kimball, Louise Beaumans (5/4/41); Sarah Ann Whitney (7/27/41); Martha McBride (1842); Rhoda Richards (6/12/43); Lucy Walker (5/1/43); Mallisa Lott (9/20/43) and 5 others, dates not known.
Dad had made arrangements to have two rooms added to the present home, just east of it, with a breezeway between it and the existing house. The deep creek was very close to the house. Two large logs were across it to hold the lumber bridge. The creek was about 15 feet deep here and the outlet from the tunnel which carried the water from the mill water wheel was a few feet from the bridge.
Across the bridge was a new orchard of about 300 trees, mostly apple, but also pears, plums and grapes, and of course the outhouse. The barns, corral, horses, cows, pigs and chickens were at the east end of the lot. Mother had her garden east of the house on the north side.
In a few weeks her house was ready and Mother moved in. Tanta and Lesa let Mother know at once that she was the third wife and they held priority over Dad and any fruits of the orchard. Each wife had her own pigs, cows and chickens and garden spot. When any arguments came up, it was always two against one with Mother in the minority. She had many cries to herself rather than go to Dad or grandmother.
When she knew she was to have a child in the summer, she decided if it was a boy she would name him Joseph, and hoped that another would be named Hyrum, after the Prophet and his brother who were shot back in Missouri.
A son was born in 1863, and Mother was very happy, and Dad too, because now he had a son to carry on his name. John Strom had made a wooden cradle and Dad brought it in and told Mother he loved her and for her not to worry about the other wives. Now they would be better toward her.
Both Tanta and Lesa seemed better. They brought in soup and advice, also friccdalla, a kind of lean sausage that was popular with the Danish folks. Lizetta Hafen called. She was getting along fine and brought news that her sister had married Jacob Bigler as second wife. The other wife lived in Heber City which was away up in Provo Canyon.
Mother was happy. Dad was very busy at the mill. They now had more business than the mill could handle, and soon they would have to enlarge it. It would then have four large mill stones instead of two.
Sometimes the wives would get together to cord wool, spin yarn or have a quilting bee. The next two years have soon passed. Then Mother knew that she would soon have another child. In the meantime, Dad planted another orchard on the ten acres up by the mill, as he now had three wives and would likely have a large family. He planted two hundred more trees up on these lots, and the balance of the land was in Lucerne, which provided food for half a dozen cows, two or more horses, which were seldom used except to haul in food for their won feed, and of course trips to the canyon for wood.
Later there were coal mines found above Fairview. They were good mines, and teams came for hundreds of miles around to get coal. There was a private toll road to the mine, and it cost a quarter each way to pass along this road.
It was late in April, 1865, and the entire nation was in mourning. President Lincoln had been assassinated in the Ford Theatre in Washington just before Easter. Lincoln has been a great president and would go down in history as the most kindly and humble of any of our presidents, in spite of his many enemies in the south.
The Prophet did not go along with the President as to the way that the slaves were to be liberated. Joseph and the leader of the Church favored the plan whereby the government would buy the slaves from the plantation owners, possibly averting war. Lincoln also wanted to pay $400 each for the slaves.
The Church had been persecuted by the present officials and so did not feel like voting for either side in the coming elections. Therefore the Prophet decided to accept suggestions that he run for the Presidency himself in the next convention.
Now the Saints could vote for the Prophet whether his name was on the ballot or not and still be loyal to their franchise, and this they did.
Mother was sitting by her north window – a spinning yearn on Grandmother’s spinning wheel. There was a nice black walnut tree just inside the picket fence. She had been watching Joseph at play as she kept on spinning. Suddenly she couldn’t see him. She called, “Joseph, Joseph, where are you?” No reply.
Dad had made a breezeway between eh house, and it was open. As Mother called, Trena and Lesa came out to help, also Mrs. Wallace from across the street. Someone went for Dad up to the mill when Joseph couldn’t be found. They went on the bridge and looked down and someone went down to the Church and began ringing the bell. Others came. A child was lost. Everyone must help as it was getting late.
Dad and Hafen were wading the creek looking for the child. About sundown, Joseph was found. He had been drowned. Mother had overdone herself, and in another week her child was born, in April instead of May, and lived only one day. They named her Emalie.
Now Mother was alone again, and she went over to Grandmother’s every day and came back at night, as there was still a big family. Grandmother lived just one block north of Mother, in a two-room log house with a dirt roof and a large fireplace at one end. There Grandmother did all her cooking. There was a great iron kettle that she baked bread in and used for roasts and stew. The lid was iron and had a two inch lip around the edge to place coals on, making an oven.
A large copper kettle was in the back yard where they made soap or heated water for washing or scalding the pigs at killing time. A one-room frame was added to the log house as the children grew older. I only remember Grandmother once when I was with Mother there. It must have been late spring because all of our apples were gone but Grandmother gave me two wrinkled apples and a cookie. She died when I was four years old.
Back home Mother was doing her best to keep busy and forget her loneliness. Trena and Lesa were more kind to her for a while, although Mother knew she must still remain in the background, more or less.
While conditions in the new settlements were pretty rough at this time, Salt Lake was fast becoming a city of industry, helped by the new mines coming in and the railroad nearly finished.
In 1868 a silver mine was found at Prisco, 200 miles southwest of Salt Lake. It became the oldest mine in Utah. I believe it is still producing. I worked in it a few days in 1905. Then there were the gold and copper mines in Mercur east of Tooele. This became a ghost town by the turn of the century. But the big story is about the famous Emma mine at Alta, now a ski resort east of Sandy. With the discovery of one of the world’s richest silver mines in 1868, a boom developed that made Alta one of the most colorful mining communities of the west. Many Utah fortunes were made virtually overnight.
The Emma and other smaller but famous mines produced millions of dollars in ore. Byproducts of the boom included six breweries and twenty-seven saloons, among the two most notorious were the Farmer’s Daughter and the Bucket of Blood. More than 100 men were killed in these saloons in quarrels over women and mining claims. Their graves can still be seen at the food of Rustler Mountain.
The original Alta Club was made up of men who struck it rich in the mines. It was in a shack just west of the Bucket of Blood. When members made still more money they moved downtown. The famous old Emma mine almost caused a diplomatic rupture between the U.S. and England when sold to an English group. Shortly after this, the concern ran through the silver and into the Montezuma fault.
With the President of the U.S. and the King of England involved in the transaction, Congress made a formal investigation. Boat loads of lawyers from Great Britain and geologists from Germany cam over for the investigations. Net result of the 875 pages of testimony was that everyone was held blameless.
Grandfather was working at the mill with Uncle Jim and Chris – the saw mill in the mountains. They could sell the lumber for eight dollars per thousand, taking scrip for which they buy supplies at the Coop store. A rock fort was being built just east of Mother’s house, as the Indians were causing trouble.
It’s spring in the year 1875. Ten years have passed since Joseph’s death. Mother now has four daughters: Sarah, Ida, Josephine and Rosena. This made six children for Dad. Lesa’s girls were now about twelve. Trena’s daughter married Peter Monsen. It seemed there would be no more boys, but Mother was going to have another child in August which they were hoping would be a son.
The Saints were having their troubles. Rumors in Washington were that the Mormons were defiant in breaking the law while living according to the Constitution, which provides that citizens could live their religion as they chose. Nevertheless, Johnson’s Army was sent to arrest the Mormons, but the Saints were ready with powder and gun to protect themselves, and torches were ready to burn their homes should they be raided.
The President had sent a messenger to Washington to tell the real facts, which resulted in the Army being disbanded near Salt Lake. One soldier, a German named Jacob Bigler, deserted and came to Mt. Pleasant and joined the church there through the efforts of Dad and Hafen. They became very good friends.
There had been a lot of Indian trouble during the past ten years. They were reported to be in Pigeon Hollow near Ephraim. Uncle John and some other men were sent to head them off. Uncle John was the only one to return, as the others were killed by the Indians.
There were some other Indians north of Fairview near Indianola. Some immigrants were coming to Fairview and were waylaid by Indians and all of them were killed. To this day at Fairview you can see an old plank headstone with this inscription: “The Givens Family – killed by Indians, 1869.”
Mother’s brother, James, had died as a young man. Chris had married and lived in Spring City. His wife was Sarah Blain. They had three sons, Leroy, Tom and Abe. Chris died when they were very small. One sister Elizabeth was grown and going out with the boys. More about her later.
Early in August 1875, Mother had a baby boy. She was very happy and wanted to name him Hyrum, but Dad was so tickled to have a son, after six girls, that he thought he should be named after himself, “John Fredrick”, and so he was.
There were times when Trena and Lesa were more considerate; bringing in fresh pork and sausages when they killed, as Mother did for them. Now they brought chicken and soup, yet they always let it be known that they were the boss.
Then Mother asked Dad to build her a home up by the mill, away from the other wives, and this he promised to do. He would build her a home by the new orchard which was just across from the mill.
What a lovely morning! It is June 1880. Wild roses are always in bloom this time of year, and there is a large bush up by the cherry tree. There are fresh vegetables now, and small green apples are showing on the trees. Mother has been in her new home just two years, having moved just in time for James Christopher to be born, named for her brothers.
The house was a large one-room frame with fireplace to cook on and to heat the house, as Mother had no stove yet. Then a two-story brick addition was added, one room up and one down, with a cellar underneath. Now Mother was going to have another child. Another thing was happening on that June day. Lesa’s two girls were getting married. Mariah to Ephraim Hansen and Elizabeth to James B. Staker. A double wedding, and Mother couldn’t go.
She had sent for Mrs. Yoss, the midwife, who had taken care of her many times. Her name was really Mrs. Neilsen, but everyone called her husband Neils Peter Yoss. Someone once asked him why they called him Yoss, and he replied, “They call me Yoss just because I can’t say “Yoss,” but I can say “Yoss” just as good as anyone.” Well, Mrs. Yoss came and went, leaving a girl who was named Mary, born on the night of the double wedding of her two half-sisters.
A lot of things happened during the next two years. Grandmother came up often to help Mother, and one day she came very excited and crying, for her daughter Lizzie had run away. She had eloped with Milford Allred to Spring City, and nothing was heard from her for a long time. Then a letter came telling of their home in Bisbee, Arizona, near the Mexican border, and near the lawless mining camp of Tombstone, Arizona.
It was generally known that Milford Allred was rather wild, and Grandmother was worried about her daughter’s welfare, but news came quite regularly as children came to bless their home. The first one died. There were four others, Belle, Maud, Arthur and Lerue. And later Ethel.
Now Trena was being quite good toward Mother since her daughter had married, and Lesa’s girls were also gone. It was lonesome for Trena, and one day she came to Mother’s and said, “Ida, I am lonely, and you have so many children around you. Will you let one of them come and stay with me? I would like to have Rozena stay with me for a while. It’s only a block away, and she can come home every day.”
Mother didn’t like the idea. Rozena was seven and could help a lot with the children, wash dishes, etc. But Rozena thought it would be wonderful. After all, she would be with Dad. She would get more clothes and have her own room upstairs. “Mother, please let me go. I’ll be a good girl and come and see you every day,” she pleaded.
Mother finally consented, not knowing that Rozena would live with Trena until she married, and take care of Tanta until she died. She was a very good looking girl, with her black wavy hair and dark blue eyes. Dad always called her Rose. We smaller children hardly knew she was our sister until we were older, when she started to clerk in Uncle Abram’s store and often brought us candy or playthings.
It’s a cold day, and the heavy icicles are hanging from the eaves of the house. The date is January 7, 1885. Mrs. Yoss’s old nag and white to buggy were tied to our tie post, and she was coming out with her basket hooked over her arm. Mother had another boy - - ME! The last time Mr/s Yoss had been there was on August 29, 1882, the day Elizabeth was born. Yes, Mother had her wish, as the boy was named Hyrum. The name didn’t suit me any too well as I grew older, but I was willing to settle for “Hy.” That was 70 years ago.
Let’s look back one year, 1884. Dad was doing fine at the mill. They had made it larger, installed steel rollers from Barnard & Leis, Moline, Ill., and now it was a roller mill. The burr mill was still used to make graham flour and chop. A plank flume to carry water to the mill wheel ran through the lot east of the mill’s new home being built.
Now Dad had a man working in the mill by the name of Nils Jensen, a pleasant looking fellow, always smiling, and one who liked a good joke. He wore a mustache, well trimmed, and Dad like him , as did Sarah, although he was married. His wife’s name was Nicoline. Well, why couldn’t Nils have another wife? Why not Sarah? Anyway, that’s just what happened, and Sarah and Nils were married and were building a house east of the mill across from our house.
Now two months after I was born Sarah had a daughter named Anna and later a son named Fred. A few years earlier Brother Hafen’s sister Katherine had her cap set for Dad. She was a little younger than Dad but a lot older than Mother. Dad was very friendly with Hafen, and there was the two-room house that Mother had lived in, and Katherine could live there.
I don’t think Dad took to her very much, as she was quite a gad-about, always talking and knew all the news. “Yes always in my country they did this or that.” One day when Lizzie and I were cutting seed potatoes, she noticed us cutting the small ones in half. She said, “Oh, I were not cut dem small ones; in my country we always never cut the little ones.” Yes, Dad married Katherine. I don’t know why, and I don’t think Dad did either.
You could see Katherine carrying feed for her cow. The feed would be tied in an old blanket and perched on her head. She was a native of Switzerland, and she made her own barley coffee by scorching barley on her stove. We could usually smell this or some spice cake cooking when we passed her place. She and Dad had no children.
Then a little later Dad married a widow whose name was Bjenta Johnson. He and Bjenta had no children, although she had two by her first husband, John Gustave Johnson.
In the meantime, the Deputy Sheriffs were watching, but doing nothing, and the Saints still holding their own by the fact that the preamble to the Constitution provided that all churches could live the religion as they chose. As plural wives was a principal of the church, the Saints had nothing to fear.
Now my half sister had three children; Eph, Marie and Hazel. They were playmates of us younger children. In 1887 Mrs. Yoss brought mother another girl, my youngest sister Ella, Mother’s last child. Ella used to say that she was the baby of the family.
I used to go over to the mill often just to watch some fo the characters that came. There was Rass Frandsen, a big raw-boned man who scared me to look at him. He would boo at me to make it worse. He was tall, lean and homely with a rough red face, chin whiskers that stuck out in front of his face, and a big wide mouth. He looked like an exaggeration of Uncle Sam’s picture.
Then there was John Strom; meek, mild and small. He was what we now call a cabinet maker and did the fine carpenter work around the mill.
Then there was big Nils. Well, I thought I had seen a real live giant when I saw him. He weighed around 500 pounds.
Old man Neaf lived around the block from us. He was a “Flying Dutchman” if there ever was one. One room of his house had a dirt roof and a dirt floor, and one room had a shingle roof. He was very kindly when treated the same way, but when angry he scared the life out of us kids. We had heard from the older boys how to tease him but were cautious not to try it. “Just throw some rocks on his shingle roof” – and we did! Eph, Jake and I, and out he came, swinging his arms and crying “Dunnervetter – Sacramento and Blitzen” – and chased us till we found a good hiding place.
An old-womanish looking man that came to the mill from Spring City had earrings in his ears and couldn’t raise a beard. He had some home-spun pants with funny wide pockets, and usually a flask of whiskey bulging in them. He would pass the bottle around to anyone there.
“Squealer Chris” with his high-pitched voice which sounded kinda rusty.
Most of the people around there came from Denmark or Sweden, but there was a sprinkling of Dutch, German, Swiss and Norwegian. The language became kind of mixed with so many of them, which was hard to understand and very funny. Phillip Marx was about the only Englishman around. He would usually bring potatoes to exchange for our apples. He smoked a short-stemmed corncob pipe that you could smell three blocks away.
In 1889 and 1890 a lot of historical changes were going on, but to us kids, small as we were, everything was figured to be just normal. Yet as we now look back, a major change was in the making, especially in the Church.
Now you can fight the government just so long. To convince them you are right in your belief, in serving the Lord, that the Constitution is your protection; that you will stick to your belief. Yet the Saints did not want to be driven from their homes again, so the President of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, through inspiration, issued the Manifesto. Plural marriages were now outlawed. The nation, also the church, hereafter, would prosecute anyone who took more than one wife.
But the status of those who already had more than one wife was to live only with the first wife, though obliged to support the other wives. Now this made a big job for the U.S. Marshall. Many deputies were employed to watch the Saints, and many were taken to the “Pen” for violation. Any that took another wife after the Manifesto were cut off from the church.
Dad and Mother already had their family and had nothing to worry about. Of course Dad would come over to the lot to take care of the orchard but didn’t dare to come in the house. We kids hardly knew our dad, and Mother raised us almost as if she were a widow.
John Fechser Family
Sister Ida had married Henry Carlston and lived in Fairview, and Josephine was now marrying Frank Carlston. It was the first wedding I remember. They used our house and Sarah’s, where Josephine would live, and folks came from everywhere, including the cousins from Spring City; Roy, Abe and Tom.
Dad had brought a large jug of wine encased in a straw covering with a handle on it. This was set under the table until ready to serve. Abe and I saw it, crawled under the table, tasted it and as it was good we drank some more.
When we came out, the long tables were set with everything good. Bjenta was there doing the cooking, and there was roast chickens, hams, cakes, pies galore, Mrs. Beckstrom’s famous starch cake – she made her own starch from potatoes – and of course the wedding cake with the wedding bell on top, which was a three-layer fruit cake.
Well, Abe and I looked but couldn’t eat any, as our heads were awhirling. I went upstairs to lie down, and the next thing I knew it was morning. I went for water, and the headache started all over again. That was enough for me.
By five o’clock on a summer morning Dad could be seen with his shovel over his shoulder, irrigating the orchard or cleaning out the ditches. By the time we were up, he would be at the mill. Sometimes Lizzie and I would go over in front where they unloaded the wheat and gather up some that was spilled. If there wasn’t much on the ground we would slip into the mill and add a few handfuls to what we had. This we would take to the store and get candy for it. But usually our chickens beat us to it.
All of Grandma’s children were married except for Henry before she did. Henry was a handsome man and knew it. He was six feet tall, had brown eyes and black curly hair. He didn’t like hard work and looked for easier ways of making money. He left home for the mining camps and eventually was in the gambling business, going from one camp to another, finally ending in Eureka, Nevada and Truckee, California.
He became rich and I have been told he owned half of Truckee. He came home once when I was small and brought us kids large bags of candy. He looked like a million, but Mother and her brother Abe didn’t like it and told him that he was going to hell.
Uncle Abe, like Mother, was religious. He went on a mission soon after he married Vilate Bean of Richfield. When he returned home he went into the store business, and Mother always sent to Uncle Abram’s for everything, usually a can of coal, oil or sugar, as we raised most of our own food.
But Abe had his share of trouble. His store burned down in the big fire when all of Main Street burned. His boys Evan and Virge, while playing with matches, burned his large new barn, and with it went the horse, cow and buggy. Yet he came out of it by trying again. He rebuilt the store and barn.
He was twice mayor and ten years postmaster. His wife Vilate was the lady of the town; best dressed with her fancy ruffles and bustle, but she made them herself – even the fancy hats.
There were hard times in the early 90’s. Cleveland was President. There was a depression. That was the time when Coxy’s army marched on Washington for help which did not come.
1892 – I am seven years old. Together with young Eph Hansen and Jake Hafen, about the same age, we were having the time of our lives. We had our own horses to ride and would explore all the valley and then into the canyons where there are many cool springs and forests of quaking aspen and wild strawberries.
Mt. Pleasant was a world in itself for us boys. It’s three years since plural marriage was outlawed by the Church. Folks were cooperating. Dad and Mother had their family. But how about sister Sarah in Murray?
Nils had built her and Nicolene separate houses on adjoining lots, but he had to live with his first wife, while Sarah was left with two children and was going to have another. Nils would manage to see Sarah in the evening when no one could see him.
One night in the summer after she had put Ann and Fred in bed, she saw something white move out by the lilac bush. She knew it was Nils, as his clothes he wore at the mill were always white from flour. She beckoned him to come in. He had a plan, but just as he started to tell her a knock came at the door. Nils ducked into a dark corner while Sarah shakingly went to the door. It was Nicoline, who usually popped up when Sarah wanted to have a word with Nils. All right, Nicoline, come in. You must hear of Nils’ plan.
Now it was late summer, 1892. The family had just finished dinner. Mother had sent me to Ericksen’s market yesterday for a shank of beef which always cost 25 cents. She had made some of her famous noodle soup. Plenty of fresh garden vegetables, a sprinkle of parsley. She made her own noodles while Mary and Josephine had made fresh apple pie.
Elizabeth, Ella and I had been to Sunday School. Fred and Jim had not come in yet. A rig pulled up to the gate and a man was coming in. It was Nils. “Mother,” he said, “I have come for you, as Sarah will have her baby any day now. Will you come?”
Mils and Mother stopped by Mrs. Yoss’s to pick her up, as Nils thought it better that way – didn’t attract too much attention. If the deputies got wind of it, Nils would have to go to the Pen as so many others had. On the way, he told Mother of the plan they were carrying out.
He had moved Sarah and the two children to a remote farm shack near Payson, midway between Murray and Mt. Pleasant. There Sarah would live until the baby was born and enough longer until things quieted down, as they did from time to time. She would live as a widow. The baby was born the day after Mother and Mrs. Yoss arrived, and Nils had gone back to Murray and the mill.
Anna was now seven and Fred was five. It was mighty lonesome for Sarah those months ahead. Winter came and the snow howled around the shack. She could see Utah Lake a few miles to the north. She and the family lived there until late in the spring when Nils came after her. Of course he had been there several times before, bringing provisions.
Back home, Sarah would have to be very careful. No one must see the baby. Leo was about two years old before he was seen much around the place. Things had quieted down by now, except that Gentile leaders were constantly watching the leaders of the Church.
Nicoline was naturally jealous of Sarah and her three children. Then she adopted a little girl and they named her Stella. She was a cute little thing just about the age of Leo, and those two kids had wonderful times together. Of course it hurt Sarah many times when she would see Nils carrying Stella around and fussing over her when he scarcely dared to make a fuss over his own children.
Sarah raised a fine family. Anna married young, had a large family and died when her children were all small. Nils died when the boys were in their early teens, and they took over like men. Fred was now the man of the house, and with the other boys took good care of their mother. They built her a new house and Fred didn’t marry until he was fifty, while Sarah lived in comfort until she was about eighty years of age.
The winter of 1892 was long and cold. The snow was so deep we could walk right over the fences. It was easily five feet deep. Then a slight thaw followed by freezing weather left the snow so crusted that Eph and I rode our ponies on top of the snow without breaking through.
Skating was very good on Jenson’s Pond, a mile north of town, where the young folks went every day or evening for this sport.
Summer grazing was very good in the mountains. It was open range on the mountains then, as the forest reservations hadn’t been made. Farmers ran their cattle on the mountains in the summer without herder care. Then in the fall they were rounded up and driven through town to the cattle pens near the depot where they were separated and the rightful owners could claim their own stock.
This was a great day for us kids. Almost as much fun as watching the thrasher in full operation. Sheep were being run on the mountains or anywhere they chose. As usual, there are always some greedy persons who spoil a good thing. They put more and more sheep on the range until they cleaned the hills of all grass, even down to the roots, leaving nothing but dry dust on top soil to blow away.
Then in late spring, when the snow was thawing, there was a heavy rain and a cloudburst in the mountains. A flood was coming, and men on horseback rode through town yelling, “Flood! Flood!”
Soon we heard a rumbling, crashing noise coming toward us, and we could see the trees and bushes along the creek fall in the path of the flood as though a giant mowing machine was cutting a path, half a mile wide on either side of the deep creek.
The rumbling of the huge boulders rolling down the bottom of the creek sounded like hundreds of tanks and airplanes would sound today. Trees large and small, chicken coops, barns, fences rolled by, in thick mud of mountain soil. The smell of sheep and wet wool, etc. filled the air.
Our east lots and north lots were covered with thick mud and rocks. The lower lots were not damaged much as the creek was deeper there, but the old mill near the old house was completely flooded. The cellar which Dad had used for making cider from our apples, and which was filled with several barrels of cider, was completely washed out. The town, Main Street, was filled with thick mud, rubbish, boulders and trees. Dad’s mill was put out of commission. The tunnels filled with mud had to be cleaned out, and it cost a lot of money to get the mill going.
It seemed that Dad lost controlling interest and soon after became dissatisfied and sold his interest in the mill. He would form a new company and build a new mill three blocks west of the present one. I don’t see why Fred and Jim and others didn’t talk Dad out of this, as he was now sixty-eight years old, and too late for new adventures like this.
There would now be two mills and not any more customers. Besides new mills were being build in nearby towns to cut off that patronage. Yet plans went ahead for the new mill.
Those days were before we had water works in Mt. Pleasant. In the summer we could get our water from the ditch which rang along just inside our front picket fence. The fence around the corral was a bull fence, made by placing two cedar posts in the ground in the shape of an X, then leaning another post in the crotch, repeating his procedure until the fence was complete.
The water ran down past our gate and into the corral for the cattle, so on wash day it wasn’t so bad to get water, but in the winter we would get my hand sleigh with a copper boiler on and go down to the creek, taking an ax along to break a hole in the ice; then dip the water out. Several trips had to be made to get enough to wash with, or to bathe on Saturday.
Now Mary was a big help around home and would sometimes do a neighbor’s wash. The size of the wash would be all they could pile on a sheet and tie the corners together, plus a few towels tucked in afterwards. I used to help Mary haul the load home from Mrs. Neek’s house. John Nick was the saloon keeper and could afford to hire their washing done.
After hauling water from the creek, washing all the clothes on the scrubbing board, drying and delivery, Mary collected her fifty cents.
In the summer it was different. We had a lot of fun. There was a whirlygig in the pasture and a swing hung from the big limb of the locust tree in our front lawn. Lizzie would come up with some good ideas very often, and one day she said, “Hy, don’t you love oranges?” “Yes, of course.” Well, yesterday she had seen Gunderson’s, who run a candy and ice cream store, throw out some oranges that didn’t look like they were very rotten. “Let’s go down and get some.” We did, but the oranges were gone. Then she asked me to go in and ask them if they had any rotten oranges. Another time she said, “Hy, I know where we can get a nickel to buy some candy. Just go over to old man Neaf’s and ask to borrow a nickel.” We did and got it. It seems Marry ah d borrowed a quarter from him before.
One day Rozena came in. She had brought us something new to taste from Uncle Abram’s store. It was bananas. Once before she had brought our first taste of tomatoes.
Now about this time Josephine and Frank with their baby May had moved to Fairview, the next town north about six miles. Lizzie one day said, “Hy, let’s go up to Fairview and see Josephine.” I was usually cooperative but said, “We can’t ride the horse up there, and besides Mother wouldn’t let us.” But Lizzie had another idea. We could go on the train. “Why, that would cost us each a quarter.” “Well,” she replied, “don’t you know kids can ride free?” She had been on the train before with Mother and didn’t have to pay. So down to the depot we went. I don’t know if we asked Dad or not, but he didn’t count, as he never knew where us kids were anyway.
On the train we went, and soon the conductor came along for our tickets. When we had none, he asked where Mother was. We said she was home. “Well, where are you going?” he said. “Up to Josephine’s,” we replied. After giving us a good talking to he said, “I’ll have to put you off at the next stop.” That’s the way we got to Fairview.
While plans were going ahead for the new mill, Dad bought a new surrey just out on the market. It had fringe around the top and fenders draped over the wheels. It was some class – only one other like it in town. Dad was pretty well fixed, and he built a new buggy shed for it. We all had rides in it, as we had some good horses, but soon the boys took over, and it was gone nearly every night. They had girls in Spring City, Manti, and in Ephraim, and the surrey soon needed repairs.
In the winter we would take the wheels off and put sleigh runners on and it made a good sleigh. Some time I could take it, although I was just eight years old, and could hitch the team, milk cows etc. which was my job.
Well, one Sunday I had the surrey with the sleigh runners on, hitched to “Old Blue” a large spirited horse. We had shafts on the rig then, but usually we used a tongue and two horses. Elizabeth and Marie, our niece was with me, and we were getting along fine until we crossed a ditch. One of the shafts came out of the loop and dug Old Blue in the ribs. The more he jumped, the more the shaft would dig him. We were going thru town like wild fire when the horse broke loose and ran until someone caught him. That was the last I had the rig for a long time.
Elizabeth, Ella and I had a lot of fun in those days. Elizabeth would usually dream up some adventure. One day she had an idea. “Hy” she said, “do you like mustard sardines? I know how to get some and crackers to go with them but you mustn’t tell anyone.” I agreed. She told me that she had previously been with Marie to the store and all she had to say was “charge it to Eph Hansen” and she could get anything she wanted. We could do the same, and I agreed.
We got the sardines and crackers, charged them to Eph Hansen and went home. She sent me in the house for a can opener and spoons. Then we went down by the edge of the creek and had our fill of sardines and crackers. Gee, they were good! Everything was all right until we went in the house with the can opener and spoons when Ella yelled out “I smell fish.” We were worried, but Mother didn’t suspect and no more was heard of it.
Dad and his new company were going ahead with the new mill. They had intended to make it a water power mill and bought a right-of-way from the new site up to where the water left the tunnel of the old mill. They would use the water over again. But somehow they discovered they couldn’t get enough power and proceeded to put in a steam plant to run the mill. This would, of course, increase the cost of the operation.
Soon the building was up, the boiler and engine were being installed, millwrights were busy building shuts, elevators, conveyors, bins, grainery etc. and there was a lot of activity going on. We would soon have a new mill!
A lot of activity had been going on in Mt. Pleasant. The new mill was up, painted blue. It was named the “Queen City Roller Mills.” From the steam boiler was a nice sounding three-ton steam whistle which blew at eight, noon, and at sox. Jim Staker had built a large plaining mill to process the lumber brought from the mountains. It also had a steam whistle, a siren, ranging from a high pitch to a deep bass. Also, Lundberg had installed Mt. Pleasants first electric power plant, using the mill water power at night when the mill was shut down.
A new school house had also been finished this year. It was a two-story brick building; eight class rooms, one for each of the eight grades. I was very happy when we first began to use it.
Another great event happened this year. Utah was to be accepted into the Union. She would now become a state and great plans were being made to celebrate the occasion.
Bruce Dallon, a brother of Cyrus E. Dallon was the Engineer of the mill. He would go to the plaining mill and play “Yankee Doodle” on the whistle at Staker’s Mill; Lundberg would turn on the electric lights as a signal as soon as the news was received by telegraph. For a kid of eleven this was a great occasion; every bell ringing, every whistle blowing, others shouting and “Yankee Doodle” being played. This was AMERICA!!
Mt. Pleasant had received its growth about 3000 and never did get any larger, even to this day (1957). As soon as children were on their own they went to the city, to mining camps or wherever they could get employment. Some went to Idaho, some to Canada, where land was plentiful.
Another summer came and went. Our orchard was loaded with apples. We sold some to peddlers who took them to the mining camps. The others we stored in large bins in the cellar. We kids passed the mill going to school, sometimes calling in for some money from Dad for books, or maybe a pair of overalls, always getting it, but Dad was worried – going broke – and would “where the dunner the money come from?” then give us the 50 cents.
One day I called in the mill and Dad said, “Come in the office Hy, I have something for you to do.” He brought out a fat envelope. “I want you to address this envelope for me.” The address was: Mrs. Maria Muller, 177 Bahnhoffstrasse, Stuttgart, Germany. Dad hadn’t written to any of his folks since he left Germany. He was afraid of conscription in the army, as he was eligible before he left.
Mother had sent me to the store. Ella was with me. We had to get sugar, Arbuckles Coffee, a can of coal oil, and a spool of thread no. 46. On our way home we saw a crowd over by Ericksons Market. I went to investigate. It was a talking machine. It had rubber tubes attached and for a nickel you could hear it. One day I got to hear it. They were lynching a negro. He was yelling while others were calling out “Bring the red hot iron and put it down his throat” and all the time the negro was gurgling painful moans. I wished I hadn’t heard it as it haunted me for weeks.
It is now the summer of 1897.
I was twelve years old. There had been a diphtheria epidemic in town that winter. Almost all children got it and many died; sometimes three or four in one family were taken. We were very lucky in our family only one got it and pulled through ok.
Aunt Lizzie Allred had moved to Mt. Pleasant that year from Bisbee, Arizona. Her husband had died there but we didn’t hear much of the particulars. She had five children; Bell, Maud, Ethel, Arthur and Lerue, the youngest. She had bought the home back of the mill that Josephine had been living in, and Josephine had to move into an old rock house just north of us. It was a terrible place but Frank had no job, so they had to have shelter.
Aunt Lizzie had visited us a couple of years previously, and we had a wonderful time. She wanted to visit Aunt Marie Day who lived across the mountains. It was about 30 miles away. Brother Fred drove the team. It took two days and we camped on top of the mountains the first night. It was near the Huntington Coal mine and was wonderful. Going down the other side of the mountain toward Castle Valley the scenery was so much different from our side which was always green with pines. The Huntington side is the mass of high red cliffs and bluffs, which reminded us of castles and fairy lands of all description.
We were welcomed at Aunt Maria’s whom I don’t remember having ever seen before. Their farm was at its best time of year. Fresh green peas, corn and new potatoes. These days were not prosperous, in fact folks were pretty poor, but they made us very welcome and happy. Only two things marred the visit. The water was terrible; had a flat, alkalins gagy taste and the mosquitoes nearly ate us up. The Days had a nice family; Henry, about my age, Chris, Floyd, Harold and Inis.
We had a wonderful trip on our trip home again. Thru those beautiful canyons although the roads were rough we kids at least were having the time of our lives.
Back home again, we were ready for the Fourth of July celebration. This was always a big day for us. First, at daybreak the boys, with their shot guns and giant fire crackers would begin shooting, followed by loud blasts from Jim Wilson’s blacksmith shop. He would place black powder between two anvils then with a long iron rod, heated on one end, he would touch off the powder which would go off with a sound like a dozen cannons firing all at once, echoing thru the valley with a thundering noise. Then we could hear the band playing “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “America” and others.
After breakfast we’d go down town and see the pretty girls, with pretty dresses and parasols; the parade, and the celebration was on, ending with a dance at night and a wonderful time with our best girl.
Time marches on thru 1898.
We are nearing the end of the century. Dad used to say that though he may not live to see the new century would predict that wonderful things would happen. There were new inventions, like the McCormick Binder. Mrs. Hafen used to say that the most wonderful thing to her was the new machine that could take the cream away from the milk – the new separator. No one here had yet heard of the auto mobile, tho’ it wasn’t long until we saw pictures of one in “The Post.”
Dad’s flour mill had been taken over by the creditors by this time. He was broke – had nothing except that he had the little property in mother’s name, which was saved. He worked in the old mill while they were liquidating the new one and dismantling it.
I didn’t realize it then, but I soon learned that I would soon be on my own. Dad couldn’t give me a job as he had the other boys. Fred went to college at Provo to prepare himself for his life’s work, while brother Jim got a job running Fairview mill for $35.00 per month.
He soon married, and he and Emelia and their daughter Ina moved to Heber City, where Emelia bore him three daughters – triplets. One soon died; one lived to be 15 years of age’ the other, Estrella has a family and lives at Bountiful while Ina, the oldest, never married, but teaches school at San Francisco. Jim lived to be seventy-two and died at his home in Moroni.
Right after a fourth of July celebration, and about 1899, Eph Hansen and I were sleeping in our new buggy shed. The smell of new lumber and fresh hay was invigorating. We had had a hot day and were tired before rolling in. Then about three o’clock Josephine came, calling “The town is on fire - there’s a big fire downtown.” In two seconds we had our overalls on and were on our way down town, which was only about four blocks away. The fire seemed to reach to the sky and burned most of the buildings on the north
side, including Uncle Abrams store. WE kids had an exciting time, but tho’ it was fun for us, many people lost nearly everything.
This year another great event also happened for us kids. Ringling Bros., greatest show on earth came to Mt. Pleasant. Small town – big circus, but the tents were filled to capacity and folks who had never seen a railroad before came from 200 miles around.
The great Parade was wonderful! All those gold and red wagons carrying the wild animals, the elephants, tigers, lions and hundreds of large white horses. In those days we kids were told that it was lucky to spit when seeing a white horse. Well, we were kept pretty busy. When we were in the big tent, watching all three rings at once, we lost all track of time. Of course we didn’t let any white horses come in the ring without keeping our good luck charm alive. Then between the acts we looked down the rows ahead, particularly at the backs of some men just below us, and se soon found another place to sit. At that show, there were the original owners of the Ringling show, all five brothers.
This year I got a job at a small soda water plant that had just opened up, and although I had worked at a brick yard for 50¢ a day (for ten hours) the new job was easier and paid $2.50 per week, so I quit school. The folks didn’t say much, only that I should stay at school. I was in the eighth grade, and have been sorry many times that I didn’t go to school more, as I had to take any kind of job and also tramp all over the country to find work. As a result I worked for myself a good deal of the time; restaurants, candy and ice cream stores, painting, contracting, real estate and etc.
As I remember, the balance of 1899 went along without any extra ordinary changes; Dad working in the old mill for small wages, living of course with his first wife Taunto. There were still three other wives living; Mother, Katherine, and Bjenta. Mother would be about 55, the other wives and Dad were about 75 years old. Fred was in Provo to school, Jim in the mountains, Elizabeth had gone into Salt Lake as a maid in private homes for awhile, Ella and I were still home, the rest of the family were married.
The boys expected me to stay home and take care of the folks but the little land we had was not enough to make a living on, merely an existence. I knew I was either doomed to stay around home and get nowhere or get out on my own, and soon I would be 15. Church leaders from Salt Lake when speaking in conference were always advising the young folks to stay on the farm where we belonged as the city was crowded and our future was to stay put and never go in debt.
Dad always went to his Priesthood meeting, and I suppose paid tithing, and was very good to remember anyone in distress. I remember many times of being sent with flour and feed to someone whose barn had just burned, or who had had a death in the family and were known to be in financial difficulties. I don’t remember him being too religious otherwise, like going Ward Teaching, etc. However at that time teachers usually made one call per year, in the fall.
Mother was very religious and while at work she could be heard singing softly:
“Oh my Father, Thou that dwellest in that high and glorious place, when shall I regain thy presence and again behold Thy face.”
At other times when opening her bedroom door to see where she was, many times she would be kneeling by her bed in prayer. God bless her soul.
She was always busy, if not at her housework or in the garden, she would knit or crochet. Sunday was always her busy day, and while we were at Sunday School she was home cooking the dinner for the married children who usually came with their families. It was a vacation for them but a log of work for her. Some times when supplies were low and hard to get, it was difficult for her, but she never complained and was always happy to have her children with her, even if the cupboard was bare the next day, which I know happened many times.
Josephine’s family were very poor and most of the time they got milk from us. When they could, they were to pay a nickel for two quarts, issued in a 3 pint lard pail brim full. That went for all milk customers.
When Mother was finally left alone, she lived for several years with sister Ells, who was very good to her, and as Ella had no children at that time she was a comfort to her. Then later she lived with the other children from time to time; mostly with her daughters, always helping, always working, mending, knitting, darning, spending her meager dimes for yarn to knit beautiful things for her children. She wanted to pay her way, and sometimes when she could get no more yarn, some of the girls would unwind her doilies into a ball of yarn so she could continue her work and be happy. God bless her soul!
Now sister Ida lived in Fairview and they were very poor. They lived in a two-room log house west of town near her mother-in-law, Ester Carlson, who was disliked around town on account of her mysterious ways, some believing her to be a witch. She had been mean to her boys; whipping them unmercifully at times, while her husband was a dreamer of great fortunes. He would prospect, sell stock, borrow, scheme, and otherwise be a big shot in the making.
Ida had a hard time living under these circumstances but was patient and hopeful, even with her mother-in-law’s dictation. Her first three children died; whooping cough, diphtheria, etc. She raised four children; two girls, two boys who grew up to be very fine folks. The boys graduated from college and they all raised fine families.
Ida’s husband was just a roust about town, had all the hard dirty work to do about town such as butchering hogs, digging wells, pitching hay for “peanuts.” Finally they sold their home for $250 and moved to Springville, where Ida died at the age of 46. Henry later moved to Salt Lake City where they all did better. He remarried to a widow with one daughter who finally got the home, leaving his own nothing.
1900 to 1909 were the years of my search for my life’s work. My ambition was to own a general store of some kind. That took capitol, so the first thing I had to do was to earn a start which was always set back. Jobs were not steady and by the time I found another, I was broke. The same thing kept repeating.
May 1, 1900 when I was still home, news came of a bad coal mine explosion in Schofield, just twenty miles over the mountain. That was the worst disaster of any in the state. 200 men were killed. Some of them had been blown out of the mine and across the canyon. Later on I worked in the mines near there, at Clear Creek, also working in the timber in the winter with my ax.
In the summer I worked at the saw mill which Eph Hansen and Frank Carlson were running. Mary’s husband also worked there. Angelo Christensen, Mary and Ange had a large family of eight children. They lived in Clear Creek for several years, but just couldn’t get ahead with a large family and small wages. Mary wanted to move back to Mt. Pleasant again where there were better schools and she could be near to her folks. They did, but there were no jobs though. Ange finally got a job on a farm for thirty dollars a month, then tragedy struck.
I was living in Salt Lake at the time. We had three children by then; Crystal age 6, Ruby 4, and Don, eight months. World War I had ended only a few months before, then a new epidemic broke out. They called it the Flu, or influenza. Doctors knew nothing about its control or cure. People were dying by the hundreds, young and old. Small children were left motherless and fatherless. It struck the homes of many of our friends.
Mt. Pleasant was hit hard! Funerals every day and the town was quarantined. It struck Mary’s home; their youngest, a few months old, the oldest about 12. They were very poor. The only weapon so far was to go to bed, stay there, treat as a bad cold – but to bed a must!
Mary, trying to care for her flock although stricken couldn’t stay in bed, and in two days she was dead. I was on my way to Manti on the train when I got the news. The town was quarantined, what should I do. I had a family to consider. Should I get off the train? Then, at Spring City I decided to get off and walk back to Mt. Pleasant. Half way back an old Ford car stopped to pick me up, and Frank Carlson was the driver.
In town I found funeral arrangements under way. They would place Mary by the window, the funeral would be held in the street. No one could go in except those who already had had the flu. I talked to Dr. Winters who was also Mayor. He said, “Don’t you know the town is under quarantine? I can keep you here, but if you get out of town today, you can go.”
What could I do? I couldn’t stay to my sister’s funeral – I couldn’t help. Mother, Rozena and Andrew took charge. I had to go home. I had a family that may even now need me. I had a good talk with the family and left that night.
Mary’s children had to be separated. Rozena raised Theodore, Jim raised Maiben, Ella raised Earl. The rest of the children were taken by Angelo’s folks. Angelo went back to the coal mines where he was a driver, pulling cars of coal from the mines by mule, to the main entry where the trains of coal were pulled to the outside of the mine.
A few years after Mary’s death there was a wreck in the mine. Angelo was caught in it and died a few days later in Salt Lake. Eight children are now really orphans. They have all made good and have families of their own.
Midnight 1899, 1900. The New Year and the New Century was here. A lot of arguments were gong on as to whether it was the 19th or 20th Century. We were dancing at the Pavillion when the clock struck twelve. I was dancing with Matilda Lund when she said, “Just think, I am dancing with you next year!” This was supposed to be leap year but wasn’t. To regulate time, one leap year must be skipped in any century year that cannot be divided by four equally, and this was it.
We had a lot of good times at the pavilion dance every Friday. We would usually date our gal when taking her home from Mutual on Tuesday night. One time I was waiting for Mutual to let out and for my girl when the Marshall came along and sent me home for being out after the curfew bell had rang.
The next year I was 16 years old and decided to go to Salt Lake to find a job. Well, my $5.00 soon gave out and the feeling of being alone in the city and broke, seemed to awaken me to the fact that now I was on my own. I wouldn’t back down and go home, or to Sarah’s either. She lived in Murray, nearby. I finally got a job in a restaurant, helping the cook. I got $4.00 per week and a place to sleep in the basement of the restaurant. This job nearly killed me off and I was very lonesome to be back home. I soon left that job for another restaurant job. Next morning I noticed a large picture on the front page of the paper. It was a picture of President McKinley, and he had been assassinated.
Later another fellow and decided to go to California. We could get a free pass on the railroad, to Truckie, where they were making a new road around Donner Pass and the snow sheds. We didn’t stay there long as my pal wanted to go to San Francisco. We went, and had a rough time of it, and had to beat it back to Salt Lake. We were very worried, going thru’ Sacramento, as reports were out that the cops were paid $1.00 each, bonus, for all vagrants they picked up. The men picked up were then sent to a road camp to work for thirty or sixty days – if they were caught without money or job, which we did not have.
We finally made it back to Utah. Now it was November and we were cold and hungry. No jobs in Salt Lake, we walked to Bingham Canyon where we finally got a job. I found one in a small restaurant. Next spring I went home for a spell and I wondered if anyone would remember me, but was surprised to learn that some didn’t even know I had been away. WELL!!
This story is not intended to be of me or my troubles but I was there and am trying to tell of the way of life before, and after the turn of the Twentieth Century.
1906 found me in Hauser Lake, Montana. They were building a steel dam across the Missouri River. The camp is near Holena where I heard of the job, however reports came that the men were dying of typhoid, as they were living in such filthy quarters. However, die or not I had to have a job and went out there.
Yes, the camp was filthy; a dozen men to a small tent – no floor but wet straw, and it was lousy as most camps were, from the hoboes that were hired. However, they could get rid of them (the lice) by boiling their clothes every night and by taking a bath as best they could.
I soon got a job with the steel crew who had clean camps with clean sheets every week and women cooks, good food and better pay, which was $3.00 per day of ten hours, less .75 for board.
The summer of 1906 was spent working at House Lake. It was in a canyon. There were a lot of fish in the river. They would swim upstream to the dam and had a hard time getting thru the swift waters crowded thru’ the large pipes around the dam. They were so thick we could dip them up in a bucked if we were fast enough.
That summer word came of the great fire in San Francisco. Hundreds of people were killed. It started with an earthquake. A little later on a man by the name of Nesbit came to work on the dam, and he had been in the fire. His face was all burned on one side.
The dam was completed in November 1906. I with 11 others were picked to travel with the company erecting steel bridges etc. The next move would be to Buccatona, Mississippi. In the mean time us boys had sent to Sears Roebuck for new suits and traveling bags, etc. We were to stop for awhile in Milwaukee and in Chicago enroute.
Soon we were on our way east, thru’ the Dakotas. We stopped in St. Paul to change trains and while there walked across the bridge over the Mississippi. Gee! The same river we used to read about in school. I counted the steps; exactly 300. Then we were in Minneapolis, and soon after in Milwaukee, our Headquarters, then to Chicago and was I excited! I might even get to see Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.
I did, but first, when we got off the train and began to look up at the high buildings, I saw a really high one. It said Fisher Building, then a man came up and asked, “Can you tell me where the Fisher Building is?” Two blocks further on I thought I saw someone I knew, and it was cousin Leroy, going home from his mission. I gave him $5.00.
In the mail from mother was also a letter from Lizzie. She was getting married, so I sent her a silver tea set.
After working in the east and south for two years, we were building a bridge across the Mississippi at Clinton, Iowa. One morning when we came to work we found several packages of dynamite which had frozen. It had been placed under the derrick where I worked, and in other places. We were non-union but had not been approached about joining it. That same spring, the Hotel Utah which was under construction blew up, even damaging the Angel Moroni, on top of the temple. Also, the Times Building in Los Angeles was blown up.
Mother, in her letters had told of Dad. He had a sore spot inside his cheek. The doctor had pinched it off with a wire, then it turned into a cancer. Mother wanted me to come home, as she had asked me to do many times, so I went home. Dad looked too bad to talk about, and Mother was thin and worried.
After a few weeks I went over to Clear Creek to work so I wouldn’t be too far away. I boarded with Mary and Ange while there. Dad died that September, and I went back to the mines.
The mining town of Clear Creek was high up in the mountains, 55 miles further up from Soldiers Summit on the railroad, from which a spur track ran up through Schofield to the new camp. Schofield was the camp where the big explosion happened nine years earlier, when 200 miners lost their lives.
About 500 people lived in Clear Creek. There was the company store, the boarding house and the Saloon, which was run by Andy Wilson and his two sons. They were given this exclusive privilege because Wilson’s other two sons were killed in the mine.
When a new man was hired as a miner, he was issued an order on the store which was charged against his wages. He would work on contract, and furnish his own tools; a drilling machine, scoop, three picks, tamping bar and copper needle, cap with lamp, oil can and tickets good for oil and powder at the powder house. He was now in business.
In the mine the foreman would show him his room to work – generally there were two men in a room if they could agree as partners in the production. First in the mine you are in the main entry. Off it run the side entries, like side streets. Off these side streets are rooms, each about twenty feet wide. Then a pillar of twenty feet of coal is left between each room to support the roof. The pillar of coal was taken out only when the rooms reached the fault or near dirt.
Now you were in your room and your partner was green like you, but an instructor came to get you started. First pick a hole in the face of the coal to anchor the post of your machine. Then place a boring ring with a crank on the post. You auger a two-inch hole about six feet deep, then you undermine the face of the coal as deep as the hole you drilled. Now, with the aid of a shovel – inches of powder – sometimes more – with the end of the copper needle stuck in the cartridge, you slide it into the hole leaving the needle there until you tamp the hole with damp dirt. Then pull the needle out, leaving a small hole to the powder. Stick a squib in the hole, light it and run.
All this my partner and I had done. Now, if you were lucky enough with your shot, there would be about sox ton down, or enough to load three cars. We pushed a car up to the end of the track which we had extended and started to shovel. It was about six feet to the top of the car. After shoveling half an hour, and our back aching, we looked in to see how much we had done, but the bottom was barely covered. We couldn’t pay expenses at that rate, so we pitched it again. You see, we were paid 44¢ a ton, after deducting on third for slack which was dumped down the canyon – as the stoker was not yet invented. In a few weeks we were getting toughened in and could load half a car without straightening up.
Sometimes I would be working alone in the mine room. The partner had left because he had found a better job; maybe skinning mules or some other company job, but I was happy I had a job and could make more when I worked alone.
Sometimes when we had a lot of coal down, there were no empty cars, as they were all loaded and waiting for railroad cars. Then I would sit down on a pile of railroad ties, eat part of my lunch. It would be real quiet and dark; I couldn’t even hear the chain dragging behind the mule skinners mule. My light was flickering, the wick was short or the oil low. I would fill the lamp with lard oil and clean the wick, then I could hear a faint noise. Pick, pick, pick, it came, from the face of the coal, yet no one else was in my room. It reminded me of Jules Vern’s account of Monte Cristo, who was imprisoned for twenty years, then finally dug his was to freedom by his pick, pick, pick. You know the rest.
Then I’d think of us kids at home, coming in late, looking in the cupboard for a snack. Sometimes we would accidentally let a slice of bread fall into a pan of milk with thick cream on top. Then I’d think of the Schofield mine; of the stories told by miners working in that mine after the explosion, with their lamps swinging beside them, then disappear, some riding the back of their car, headless, or armless.
Then again I’d think of the time I was in San Francisco, a thousand miles from home, broke and hungry; how I’d sold my watch for a dollar and we bough doughnuts and coffee. Then for a dime each we could, and did buy passage on a freighter to Vallejo. From there it was only four miles to Benetia, and we walked.
There was a railroad there; a freight waiting to pull out, we found one box car that wasn’t sealed and jumped in it. It was dark. In half an hour the train stopped. Someone was opening the side door, then men came in with a lantern. There was local freight in the car – they had failed to seal the car, or maybe they would think we had broken the seal, but we hadn’t. IT was penitentiary offense to break a seal, so we were scared and quickly jumped out.
Now we knew this place was a local stop. No more trains would stop here; we couldn’t stay – must get this train out, but how? My pal knew the way; ride the rods. This scared me, but he showed me the two rods under the train. There is a four inch board fastened between the rods. We could sit on that, but no!
Well, we got out. We hadn’t done anything wrong except hitch a ride. Near Sacramento we were walking, and came to a river by the tracks, where there were lots of willows. Going down we saw some other “nights of the road.” We chipped in and got some vegetables for a stew. It was getting dark as a flock of geese were flying by. One hit the bridge, then one fellow grabbed it and cooked it. I was scared to have anything to do with it, but I ate some of the soup. The meat was tough.
Finally we made it to the edge of Utah. I felt better, got off at Kelton, near the north end of the lake. My pal stayed on – the train started and the conductor saw me and watched me so I couldn’t get on. I was alone, it was getting dark – nothing there but a dispatcher’s shack, a shed, and the section car was up a ways.
Oh yes, I am in the mines. It’s 1908, but I am thinking back to 1901.
I was stranded on the desert; the steep grade to Promontory was ahead. It’s getting dark; the edge of Salt Lake to the south, then desert. I made a small camp fire and sat down, prepared to spend the night. After dark I heard sniffling, and, I looked up, I saw I was surrounded with Coyotes. I was scared, then thought of Mother telling us that animals were afraid to come right in to a fire, so I began to gather brush. There was very little loose and I couldn’t pull the standing brush.
Finally I lit my last brush and ran to the shed. The coyotes were all around me. Toward morning they began to leave, then I went into the dispatcher’s office. He looked at me and I at him. Neither said a word. A little later I started up the track, thinking I could catch a ride on the slow moving train, but I couldn’t.
At noontime I came upon the section gang. One of the men handed me a sandwich and an egg, for which I thanked him, and walked on, biting the sandwich. It was soggy, the egg half cooked and slimy. Hungry as I was I couldn’t eat either, and threw them away. I had some change in my pocket which I had earned in Reno picking apples. Well, finally I was in Ogden; home again at last, and seven year later, in the mine. I hear a horse coming, a chain rattle, the driver coming for my load. Now I must get back to work.
Ella was home taking care of Mother. She was working at the laundry. I knew Mother prayed for me every day, as she did for all of us, which I know helped to keep me out of trouble.
I am now 24, and should be thinking of getting married, and I was, but there was no particular girl in mind at the time. I couldn’t marry until I had a good job or a business. Coal mining wasn’t the answer. Men came there, worked for years and most of them had little more when they left than when they came.
Now Rozena was living in Mt. Pleasant, a widow. Her husband was a fine man who worked hard. He had gone broke in the meat and grocery business. Later he scraped up a little money to make a payment on a farm, where there were over 100 acres of choice land, on the highway between Mt. Pleasant and Fairview.
Rozena and Andrew worked very hard on that farm. They had five children; Alpha, Evan, Marjorie, Jessie, and Viola. Also they had taken Mary’s son, Theodore, to raise as their own, making six children in all, all of whom got a good education. In addition they sent Theodore and Alpha on Missions. This was a lot of extra expense, with the payments on the farm.
Then came the depression. They lost the farm. Now they are back in the little three room house in town. The worry was hard on them, and Andrew got sick and died, at about the age of 59. Rozena had become quite stout and very heavy, yet she continued with her work amazingly well. When all of her children were married, she moved to Sandy near Salt Lake and her children, to spend her last days. She lived a beautiful life; always on hand when anyone was sick or in trouble.
One day she was dressed to go to her meeting, but as she got to the door she felt ill and sat down on the couch. Soon the children came. She had a stroke and died the next morning, at about the age of 77.
Josephine had a hard life of it. Frank was always domineering – always right, she wrong. In fact, to him, women knew nothing and the men knew it all. This went on until he became disabled and then it was alright for her to take care of him until he died.
Their boys and older girls turned out fine, but the younger girls gave them a lot of trouble. Josephine lived to be about 80 years of age and was nearly blind before she died.
Brother Fred lived to be 77. He and Flossie sent all their children through college, and one on a mission – Roger. Their children were, Kenneth, Clyde, Roger, Charlie, Ida, and John, who died when he was 20 years old. Charlie made a fortune in Las Vegas, and died leaving four children. Ida did not marry and she now lives with her mother.
At this writing, there are three of us left; Elizabeth who is 72, Ella, 68, and myself, age 70.
Elizabeth’s husband died fifteen years ago. They have five children; Gladys, Ray, Roger, Edith and Mildred.
Ella married Andrew Sorensen. They had been married about eight years and had no children, then they adopted a girl, Lavon. Soon after that, Ella was going to have a child of her own. They were tickled and also worried, and when her time came they came to Salt Lake. Elizabeth and my family lived there then. They stayed at Elizabeth’s a few days, when Andrew became very ill. He died before the baby was born. Her baby was a girl, and they named her Andra. Now at home Ella had two girls, and then Mary’s boy Earl came to live with her. Mother also lived with her for several years.
When Andra was about 16 she got heart trouble and died, after High School. Soon Ella was alone. She married John Jensen later. Andrew had left her a large farm, however, she worries a lot over her trouble and is getting old.
The spring of 1909 found me home. Jim also came home, and neither of us had a job. We borrowed some money with what we had and opened up the Crystal Ice Cream Store.
Jim was discouraged from the first as he had a family and I had none. He found a temporary job and I took over the store, debts and all. He was relieved and I was happy. Now if all went well I might be through hunting jobs. I was in business!
Luckily there was a big celebration coming up. Mt. Pleasant would be celebrating the fiftieth year of its founding. I was in the band, and it was a great day, the band with new uniforms, marching up the street leading the parade.
Jim was still with me at this time and we took in 1100 dollars that week. That was a good start. The next celebration would be on July 24th, Pioneer Day. I had been working from morning till 9 in the evening and Friday nights till after the dance was out, as we got a late trade then.
The afternoon of July 23rd, Vic Peterson came along. He had a rubber-tired buggy with a nice horse. Invited to take a ride I left Coalie in charge. (His name really was Arthur Jorgensen, a nephew of Jim’s. The boys called him Coalie because his hair was white as snow.) It felt good to get out in the air. The hot day was cooling off, and we headed for Fairview.
Fairview was all dressed up for the 24th of July, next day. Bunting and flag draped the store windows. Booths were in place at street corners and around the church square where the program would be held. Beginning at 5 you will hear and see the choir girls carolers singing beautiful song the same as they do at Christmas time.
The band will be popping. Little girls with their new dresses will buy a brick of pink popcorn with a Japanese fan inside, then the Parade, after which the boys and gals will sort of pair off, yet in groups. This is the twenty-fourth. It will be a great day, ending with a big dance at the pavilion.
We stopped by the drug store, Vic and I. Vic had been coming to Fairview quite regular. He was sweet on Beth Brady but they were now not on speaking terms. “Here they come,” said Vic. There were three girls; Beth, whom I remembered because of her round face, then a cute blonde about 5’4” and 102 pounds. “That’s for me,” I thought, and edged over beside her. She knew me from a time I had been in Fairview, six years earlier with her boy friend, Joe, who also worked with me in the mines.
Well, Beth had to excuse herself, much to her disappointment. She had to go to singing practice for the program next day. Well, I walked beside Tina, the blonde and this left Vic with Nellie who was the less attractive, and older.
We talked and laughed, had root beer, a ride in the buggy, then Tina and I ended up in her swing which hung from a large limb of an apple tree in her front yard. We kidded each other and told fantastic stories – at least I did. She probably had a sweetheart, and I had a store to tend, - couldn’t leave it too much, so a squib here and there wouldn’t matter. I had a wonderful time and made a date for the coming dance the following Friday.
On that day I couldn’t leave the store as Saturday was my busy day. We were also having a celebration in Mt. Pleasant. I had a busy day at the store and business was fairly good the rest of the week. There would be no more holidays for a long time, and in a month summer would be gone. How would business be? The fountain would be forgotten during the long fall and winter. Maybe I couldn’t hold out, but I must, I must! If this failed I would be broke and in a big debt.
Jim had got a job running the Moroni Mill and was living there. In the meantime I would go up to Fairview. Tina was my sweetheart, but we hadn’t yet become serious. She could go with other fellows and did, when I couldn’t leave the store, but later on, we became more serious and Tina left off her old beaus. I was free of any other girl ties at the time – and we were falling in love.
After a dance her mother would have a lovely fried chicken dinner waiting for us; hot biscuits and trimmings – it was swell!
Now it’s fall. The ice cream days were done, and now we had to push candy sales as much as was possible. I put in a make-shift lunch counter, got a 3 burner oil stove. This helped some, and what trade we got for lunch was from the boys who were having their night out. Beer usually calls for lunch. There were two saloons to get their beer from.
Coalie would help me evenings after school when he didn’t have to take his violin lesson. He was a good kid, only when I was out the boys his age would attract his attention while some of them snitched candy or anything that was on display. Soon I noticed things disappearing that were on top of the showcase. I hadn’t sold them and neither had Coalie.
To set a trap, I had sent for some trick cigars. I placed some in a cigar box on the show case, with a sign 3 for 10 cents and waited. Next day a kid came laughing into the store. He had seen something funny. Glen was in the Barber shop, pulled a cigar out of his pocket and lit it and it had exploded. Well, I got one of them. Another had lit one behind the store and was seen, then I knew. That stopped the thievery for awhile, but not for good.
My trips to Fairview were about two weeks apart because nights were when I was needed most in the store. There was a masquerade ball coming up in Fairview. I loved those dances. Costumes from Salt Lake would be for rent, there would be Dukes, Queens, Clowns, Jews and Tramps. All would be masked and you couldn’t tell who you were dancing with. I remember one time I was having a wonderful time dancing, I thought, with a girl I knew, and she was a good dancer. When we unmasked she was the saloon keeper’s wife, and was slim and tall.
Well, I wanted to have the best costume that night. There was a young man in Mt. Pleasant who was setting himself up in the show business. He had just purchased a velvet knee-pants suit to portray a magician. I paid him $10.00 for the use of it. Tina wore a beautiful sunflower dress, and we had the most beautiful costumes at the ball.
After the dance we went in her house for awhile, as we usually did. I knew I was in love, then awkwardly I said something about “Let’s get married.” Tina, accepted, and we were engaged.
The winter was cold riding that livery stable horse that night back home from Fairview. Some time about half way home I would meet Harry Rassmusen coming home from Mt. Pleasant where he had been with his gal. He lived in Fairview. One cold night he handed me his ear muffs, as he was nearly home.
Another night I was taking my gal to Mt. Pleasant to a show. It was so dark I just let the horses find their own way, as we couldn’t see a thing. Suddenly there was a collision, “bang” = we had run head on with another team that was going north. It was Ras Rassmussen.
The winter was cold but not so much snow yet. I had a big pot-bellied stove which was welcomed by the boys who had nothin’ to do in the winter but visit in the Crystal or the Barber Shops. Sometimes they would spend a dime, but mostly I felt they were scaring away possible customers from coming in, so occasionally I would have to chear them out if I saw someone that looked like they were afraid to come in. This was the procedure nearly every winter.
Well, after Christmas there was practically no business, yet Tina and I were going to get married in February. We arrived in Salt Lake the evening of February 8th. Fred lived in the city and so did Elizabeth. We stayed with Fred the first night. I slept with Fred and Tina with Flossie who was soon to have another child – which embarrassed me.
In the morning Flossie, who made us very welcome and talked a lot, had made a large pot of mush, giving each of us a large bowl full. When we looked for a spoon Flossie couldn’t find them, saying the children must have pushed them all down the crack in the floor.
That morning we had to hurry to the County Building to get our license and make to the temple, all within the hour. We did some tall scrambling and barely made it to the temple in time. We were married and didn’t get out of the Temple until about three o’clock. Tina was tired and we were both very hungry. After dinner at the Chesapeake, we went to a show and then to Elizabeth’s where Elon made us very welcome. Lizzie and her baby had gone to Mt. Pleasant.
Next day we went to Ogden where Tina’s brother lived. He and his wife, Mary, made us very welcome, and treated us swell, even taking us to shows and dinners. However, Mary had said, “What an awful time to get married – the 9th of February and the coldest time of the year!”
At home there was a big wedding dinner waiting at Tina’s home. Everything good to eat – her sisters flying around with the preparations. There was Bertie, Lottie, Laura and Janie who was Wix’s wife. We had a wonderful time and Tina looked wonderful.
Now we had to begin housekeeping. We would live in one side of Mother’s old house where Trena had lived and where many newly-weds had made their first home. I had kalsomined the rooms, yet was embarrassed in not having a nicer home for my bride, but Tina was loving an happy to be with me, no matter how humble the place.
Her folks had told of how they started with nothing but a straw mattress and a few quilts. Well, our start wasn’t much better. I had sent to Butlers for a range costing $40.00, the big item – also a 6 x 9 rug. Andrew Johnson and Sidney had given us an iron bed and spring. Our mothers gave us quilts etc. then with the wedding gifts we were ready to begin housekeeping.
Now, on account of our many moves, our gifts have gradually disappeared, but we do have at this time one of a pair of vases that sister Ida gave us as a reminder of our wedding, forty-five years ago.
Tina’s mother had given us a spare bed that was put upstairs where she could sleep when she came to visit. The stairs steps were steep, more like a ladder. The bathroom, of course, was outside across the bridge in the dark orchard.
Sometimes Tina’s girl friends would come and stay overnight in the room upstairs. A can was usually provided for their convenience. One time Nellie Wallin came to visit and of course slept upstairs. I guess Tina had forgotten that the can had been removed. Next morning we would see Nellie’s barefoot prints in the snow outside, she not wanting to awaken us with shoes on.
It was pretty lonesome for Tina in the nights alone, as I usually stayed in the store till ten pm or later, and many times until one in the morning.
Spring in those country towns is very quiet. The Farmers are out planting their crops; the shipmen are busy with shearing, and lambing. You could roll a cannon ball down the sidewalk without doing any damage. Well, that was pretty tough on business, and it looked like I wasn’t going to make it.
I couldn’t go traveling around the country now that I was married. Then a local salesman came in with a jewelry deal, $200 worth. I could pay it off in 30, 60 or 90 days and the company would start the sale going by giving $25 worth free to my customers. It looked good – at least the payments weren’t due until business picked up. May Carlston worked with me for awhile, also Summit Nicolson was with me a long time, also his brother Mace.
The next year on March 19th, 1911 Crystal was born. I liked the name Crystal, and Tina and I were very happy. A year later I bought a lot near town on Main Street and built our first home. It was brick and had four rooms. Vic Peterson made the brick with his brother at their yard. Vic also did most of the carpentry, drawing most of their pay from the store. We were happy in our new home, and we were doing fairly well at the store.
Next year, 1913 Ruby was born. She had dark hair and big blue eyes, while Crystal was blonde like her mother. In 1916 I sold the store, having pulled thru’ the winters mostly by having candy punch boards., but now they were being tabooed, so I sold out. I tried sugar beet farming, also took up some dry land, all of which failed for me. I then bought the store back but the business was ruined so I had to give it up.
I went back to the mines in Marysville, then to Bingham, where I moved my family for the winter f 1917-18. The first World War was on, beginning with Germany.
Bingham is a rough mining camp. Only one street runs half way up the canyon, then branches off to a fork making two streets. I was on the night shift. It was hard on my wife, left alone at night. The mountain was directly behind the house and large loose boulders were just above the shack. One night a boulder came down, hit the house and knocked the clock off the wall. Another time I was walking along that same mountain side when I slipped against a large boulder. It rolled down and went thru’ the roof of the neighbors house. I was scared and slipped home to wait, but heard nothing, so I guess no one was home.
In the spring of 1918 we moved into Salt Lake. While Tina and the little girls went to Fairview, I was house hunting in the city. I rented three rooms near the City Hall which was not so good and Tina was discouraged. So was I.
Things were tough then; no jobs, and I thought of opening a small store of some kind but my money was getting low. I finally got a job at a boiler-making place as I had my steel experience. It was hard work, swinging a sledgehammer all day but I had to hang on. I got $4.00 per day and we moved nearer to my work, at 648 South 2nd West. It was a small 3 room duplex and the rent was $12.00.
On August 29th 1918 our first son was born. Tina’s sister Bertie came down to help out. Dr. Edmunds was in charge and his fee was $25.00. Then on Nov. 11th, the armistice was signed – the World War was over. There was some celebration.
With Don in the buggy, Tina, the girls and I walking up to Main Street. A couple of airplanes flew overhead, the first we had seen. All the bells in town were ringing – all whistles blowing, car-horns honking, and cars dragging anything that would make a noise, such as old boilers, cans, etc.
On Main Street it was a riot. Someone had a church bell on wheels, clanging; a string of old hearses with mummies of the Kaiser, Von Hindenburg and others. Then we saw something coming down the streetcar tracks. Yes, it was a railroad engine, clanging and whistling while the crowd were dancing and yelling until late into the night.
Well, that was the end of what we now call World War I.
Work at the boiler works lasted about a year, then came a general strike of industry all over the city. That job was over. Utah Oil Refinery signed up with the Union and I got a good job; pay $6.00. Now things were going a little better. We raked up $50.00 down payment on a small 4 room house on a good lot near Liberty Park; moved in before the deal was completed. As the broker couldn’t locate the owners, we couldn’t make the improvements we were planning. Time went on and we paid nothing on the place.
One day a neighbor said to me “Isn’t your wife afraid to be alone in that house?” “Why,” I asked. Then I was told that an old couple who had lived there had committed suicide. Now I knew I couldn’t leave my family alone at night if they knew of this, so I told the neighbor that we knew all about it and didn’t mind at all. Tina didn’t find out about it until we had moved away.
I was always trying to find a way to earn more money, buy and sell something, maybe real estate, but that took capitol. Then Dinwoodeys Furniture advertised phonographs at a real bargain; an off brand, but I figured I could get more for them at home as used ones. I made a deal for 30 machines, taking a few at a time. We advertised them and Tina would often sell them while I was at work. Sometimes we would ship them out of town.
I wanted to get ahead enough to make a payment on a house, repair it and resell. Finally I saw a bargain, but they wanted $300 down. I knew where I could get the money, but they wouldn’t hold the house for me. Finally I induced them to take the $2.00 I had in my pocket as a deposit until 9 o’clock. That night I was back with the money, which Tina’s brother Owen had furnished. We made $300.00 each on the deal in a week, selling to a party that was waiting to grab it if I hadn’t come up with the deposit.
Now it’s 1921. As long as we couldn’t get title to the house near the park we got our deposit back and bought a nice brick bungalow on Browning Ave., but that was short lived. No sooner had we got settled when labor trouble at the Refinery let me out of a job again. Worried we sold at a small loss and rented a place on 9th East.
It was winter and we were blue. I got part time work from a steel contractor at the refinery, then Crystal got small pox; the rest of us were vaccinated and escaped but I had to live somewhere else. In a couple of years we bought a place on Roberta Ave. Later, no job – we were having a tough time again.
Tina was brave about it. We sold again then while Tina and the kids went to Fairview I rented a large frame house near the University. We thought we could take in boarders. When Tina saw it she was sick, although I had papered the kitchen and put linoleum down. I was working on the dining room, which had a large plaster rosette on the ceiling, when I saw it move. I told Tina to run; I jumped and the whole thing landed on the dining room table.
We gave up the idea of boarders before we went into furniture. I began looking for paint and kalsomine jobs. Having no car I put a bucket and brush in a sack, took the street car to the job and borrowed a ladder. Finally I got in with an old man by the name of Larsen. He had a car and was a paperhanger, and we went in together sometimes.
Now we wanted to move so bought a little shingle house on 3rd East. Our son Farrel was born there on March 24th, 1923. Now we had two girls and two boys, all very lovely children. Another winter came; few jobs and tough times. I needed a car so put our last $25.00 down on an old Ford, to go into the painting business.
Tina has her hands full with the four children. Crystal and Ruby are a big help now. We don’t go anywhere much; haven’t been to a show or a dance for years. However we enjoy visiting back and forth with sister Elizabeth which we enjoy very much, then occasionally a visit with sister Sarah.
Mr. Larsen, the paperhanger is 70 years old, an apostate. He likes to argue with the women about religion which sometimes ends in a row. He is cranky but likes me and I am learning to hang paper, practicing on our rooms which have rough plaster on and so are very difficult.
When the busy spring rush is over we put the kids in the small delivery truck to go to Sanpete to see our Mothers, which is our vacation.
In a couple of years we outgrow our little house and buy another one on Lake Street. You see we are becoming the “moving Fechsers” and are not thru’ yet. After we got the rats killed off here and are connected with the sewer, we feel better. We usually have to buy second-hand furniture but now spread ourselves and buy an overstuffed leather chair.
In a couple of years we bought a place on 17th South intending to resell it, but Tina thought she would like it better there, so we moved there and sold the other house, taking over a small grocery in on the deal. I didn’t want to run it, so sold it to a young couple who had a little baby. Their name was Lois. Soon Mr. Lois came and worked with me as I was very busy, as I was now doing all the work for the Gaddis Investment Company, which I did for the next twenty years.
Well, we fixed up the place very nice, even painted the brick a nice buff color. We also build a garage and all was well except the house was full of bed bugs. We sure had a hard time getting rid of them but we thought that at least we had a home we liked, and intended to stay there.
Little did we know that in this house on of the worst disasters of our lives would happen. It’s spring of 1926. I am very busy as this is the time of the year that everyone wants to do their housecleaning, or have it done. Tina is very busy taking care of the four children and we would have another addition in June. Little Farrel is three years old. H would cry when I couldn’t take him with me in the car.
May 20th 1926, another beautiful spring day, I left for work early. Tina wasn’t feeling too well. Farrel would play in the sand with his little playmates who lived a couple of houses west. There was a little boy like Farrel and a little girl whose folks run a small grocery on the corner. The little ones would go there often for candy. The street car ran in front of the store and the school was across the street.
The day before, some photographers came by and took Farrel’s picture, sitting on the piano bench.
I was called home from work as there had been an accident. A work train had stopped at the crossing, pushing the cars in front of the motor. The conductor should have been in front to watch, but he wasn’t. As the train started, two of the children ran back while Farrel was in front. He was killed’ they had already taken him away when I arrived. Tin was too heartbroken to look at what was supposed to be little Farrel.
That was the saddest part of our lives, and Tina was soon to have another child. We had to be careful. Our neighbors were very thoughtful, and kindly. Also by this time there were quite a few friends from Sanpete living in Salt Lake who came to sympathize with us. It took a long time before we could realize that our little son had left our former happy happy home.
Two months have passed. Tina has her baby now, a blue-eyed blond boy. We named him Lloyd Lamont and he looked a lot like Farrel. Now Tina had something more to keep her mind off her grief. We didn’t sue the street car company as we felt like we would be profiting on this disaster, so we accepted the $1500 that the company offered. We bought a cemetery lot, paid expenses, then put the balance on the home. We didn’t or couldn’t celebrate.
I was kept quite busy the year round, working hard but not getting big pay. In time something new was on the market – Radio, and we soon got one, a battery set. Every two weeks we had to get a new “A” battery costing $10.00. The “B” was smaller, costing about $2.00. We were the first in the family to own a radio, phonograph and automobile, but our new baby would be the first to own a television.
Sister Elizabeth and Elon would come up and often stay until midnight listening to this new marvel. We would hear Jack Dawn sing the Drunkard Song, etc.
I still believed in buying houses when I could for resale or rental. Gradually I was getting a few places. Whenever I got one better than ours Tina would want to move in, so that is one of the many reasons for our moving about.
Well, I was offered a brick bungalow, ten years old, for $3250 with nothing down and $35 a month. Besides they would pay me $200 for redecorating. When it was ready Mom wanted to move in. She wanted to get away from the home where she was reminded of our recent disaster, so soon we were living at 472 Redondo Avenue.
Don made a big fuss as he would be leaving his friends. One was Richard. We would take him back there to play with his friends quite often, but he soon found new friends in our new location as did Crystal and Ruby, and of course Mom and Me.
We did pretty well here for awhile. Crystal and Ruby grew up to be young ladies. Sometimes I had six men helping me. I invested in some other houses sometimes making only $100. Some I sold on contract, leaving me a small equity. We had a 4 unit apartment, two or three houses and Brother Jim and I bought 3 double houses on a large 100 x 200 lot 1 North and Main, cost $7000.
Just beginning to get somewhere when the stock market broke. Had to lose my equities one by one because folks couldn’t make their payments. We just about lost our home when President Roosevelt was elected. Soon we had the home loan put through, where we only had to pay the interest for three years, $9.00 month then only small payments.
Thousands who had lost their homes got them back thru’ this plan, also home improvement loans were made. This made work for many. I took out about the first of such a loan to convert one of the apartments on 1st North into two apartments. This was a lot of work, then we traded it, taking a home and store on 10th East in trade. This made me have to take care of the store which didn’t pay but had to be taken care of until sold.
Tina didn’t like staying home alone while I kept the store open until 9pm so she insisted on moving into the house, which we did. Then Mom would tend store while I went on with my work. Kids would steal when her back was turned and we would only take in $5 to $10 a day.
We finally got a buyer, taking a home in Bountiful as part payment which turned out pretty well. We were getting our money back with a small profit. The home we took in was a nice place on Main Street, 1 ¼ acres at $3000 which we later sold.
Now we had to move again, this time to 523 East 7th South St to a nice 2 bedroom remodeled white stucco house. I fixed it up real nice. We lived there about 8 years as we did on Redondo Avenue.
Crystal was married to Clyde Crow before we moved from Redondo. They now live near us on 7th South Street. We had a house warming when we moved in our new home. There was quite a large living room; the hardwood floors gleamed; we had a lot of friends who were mostly old friends from Fairview.
We had our dance and bridge parties, and, yes, we were having about the best times of our married life. We danced and played games and served lunch. The guests were Mary, Wix, Beth and Henry, Elizabeth & Elon, Otis and Lozine, Carlton and Mose Jones and also the Coldwells. This was our gang now. We spent many happy evenings at their homes or at the Coconut Grove dancing to the beautiful music of Adolph Bronx Orchestra.
There was a grocery and meat market on the next corner. Mr. and Mrs. Slaughter had run it for years. They had a two-story home next to the market. Mrs. Slaughter had died just before we moved here. Mr. Slaughter was old and incompetent, just living in a dream. Their old employees ran the store while a Mrs. Brosey took care of the old man in the home.
I was called there to do some painting upstairs; Don was helping me. Mrs. Brosey told me that if I found any loose boards to let her know as Mrs. Slaughter had hidden something which Mrs. Brosey was to have (so she said) but I paid little attention to it.
Later when painting around the edge of the floor near the chimney, a short board wiggled. Mrs. Brosey had gone down town, so, lifting up the board I saw some tin boxes. I called Don and said, “You have heard of hidden treasure, now you can really see some.” We opened the tin boxes; there was a bag of old coins, some foreign pieces, some 2 ½ and $5 gold pieces, some old but good currency, jewelry, gold hunting case watch, a ladies watch and pin, also one loose diamond, perhaps one carat.
We replaced the boxes, then when Mrs. Brosey returned I told her of the find. After all, it was she that hired me to do this work, and she was probably a relative, and I might be rewarded. But I thought wrong as I heard nothing more of it.
Well, we were enjoying our home. President Roosevelt was doing a good job getting us out of the depression gradually; creating social security, old age insurance, work camps, bank insurance, youth training camps, W.P.A. etc.
Later we bought a piano and the girls took lessons. Then Ruby met Owen Thomas and soon was married. Don was called on a mission and served in the Southern States. His girlfriend was Bette Reynolds, and they were married soon after his return.
Tina and I were having lunch down town on Dec. 7th, 1941 when we heard the radio announce that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japan and our Navy wiped out. World War II was on, as England, France, Russia and Germany were already at war.
Japan had already taken the rubber countries and we had none. We couldn’t operate army trucks, airplanes etc. without tires. They had us over a barrel. All new tires were immediately taken over by the government. Gas was rationed to save the tires we had on our cars, then more rationing – on nearly everything.
Two years before the war, Crystal and Clyde had moved to Los Angeles. We had visited them and liked it. We went thru’ San Francisco, during the World’s Fair. We had also been to Yellowstone Park, Grand Canyon, Brize, Zions etc. during the last ten years.
Tina wasn’t feeling so well these days. She had a serious operation, and the cold winters were hard on her so we decided to move to Los Angeles in the spring, when Lloyd would be out of school. We made our plans, sold out and left for California on June 9th, 1941.
The war was in full swing, Japan was coming close to the coast, and California was a dangerous spot. June 10, 1941 we are in Calif. People here are scared stiff and many are moving out. When we stopped at Azusa for gas, the attendant said we were crazy as most people were going the other way.
Before we left Salt Lake we planned where we would like to settle and shipped a few belongings to Glendale, having sold our furniture with the house for $4250, which we thought was pretty good. Then we made a list of all the things we would like in our new home, then waited to see how close we could come to it.
Well, we found what we wanted – the first place we looked at in Glendale – a nearly new house with an extra home in the rear, both furnished, near church and shopping district, for $5700. We liked it, but Lloyd was very lonesome, saying we were dumb for making the move. He was nearly 16 and I let him try driving the car on the way, as he wanted to get his license as soon as he was 16.
Crystal and Clyde were happy that we were here. They bought a home in North Hollywood at this time (in July). The war was getting worse. We were fighting Germany in Europe and Japan in Asia. We were losing because we had been surprise attacked by Japan.
I went to work at Lockheed, as did Clyde. Don was later called into the service. He contracted Rheumatic fever while in training in Denver, was hospitalized for six months, then sent to Miami to serve in the Hospital Corps there. Bette and the baby joined him there, staying until he was released.
In 1943 Owen was called into the service, being sent overseas. Ruby with her two children came to California with him before he left, and we had to find a place for them to live. There were no homes to rent – rent control was on as was nearly everything else. The house in the rear was rented. We had difficulty getting the tenant out, finally had to go to court to get possession.
In the meantime we bought a duplex on North Belmont St, for $7500 for investment purposes. Ruby lived in one side for awhile, then she followed Owen to Texas for a few months. When she came back I had to get her in the other house in the rear.
The war was at its worst. Japan was taking one island after another; now they were firing on Australia; we would be next. Germany was taking Russia, our ally then; England was battered constantly with bombs and guided missiles. Things were mighty serious, but we had a courageous President.
We would eventually win but in the meantime we at home had to do our part. Food rationing was one of the big sacrifices. We were issued stamps limiting food (especially meat – butter and eggs were seldom obtainable) and gas. The cattle men were not satisfied with price controls so they held their stock from the market and meat counters were bare. One day I went out searching for some meat. Regular customers and butchers friends got theirs, but the rest of us had to whistle. Well, this day I went from store to store but there was nothing in the meat counters. Finally I got a couple of bones that had been cut out of some round steak.
The cattle men were stubborn. They promised the President that if he would release them from controls they would sell their live stock at a reasonable price and said that they would always be satisfied with supply and demand prices, good or bad. Now (in 1956) they are asking and getting subsidy and other help from the government.
Well they were first to be released from controls when meat shot up from $0.35 to $1.25 a pound, while rent control was held on until four years after the war was over. After President Roosevelt died, we got President Truman who was elected to succeed himself because he sold the landlord down the river to get millions of votes from tenants who were getting cheap rent while everything else had sky-rocketed, and he would still have rent controls, I believe, if he were still President.
Well, when Owen went overseas and Ruby came back here, she told us she was going to have another child. Of course we were happy for them and for us also, but we also knew there was a problem, as we couldn’t get the house for her to live in. She finally found two rooms upstairs in an old house where she lived until we could get our tenant out, who seemed to think he had preference.
In due time we got Ruby to the hospital where her little girl was born. I was called in to see the baby and the Dr. was leaving when the baby started choking. The Dr. rushed back, and taking her by the feet he began shaking her. The shut the door and I couldn’t see anymore. Then he came out and said the baby was all right. Next day Mom and I came up to see Ruby and the baby. Ruby was fine and the baby looked fine but held her head to one side. We didn’t’ know it but she was injured; never walked; finally died at six years of age.
Mom liked the place on North Belmont so we moved in the north side the next year. It had large rooms and closets and magnificent yard, patio, lovely rock wall with built in fireplace, rock garden with waterfall, also fish ponds with lots of gold fish. We liked it – this would be our last move.
When Don got out of the Army he and Bette moved in the other side. Lloyd and Jackie were married the next day after Don got there, then Lloyd had to go into the service. When Owen was released they moved back to Salt Lake.
We sold the house on South Belmont and bought a duplex on Columbus so Lloyd would have a place to live. Again we had to evict the tenant, a policeman, to get to court to get them out. In the meantime, of course, the war was over. I will not elaborate on this as it is another story.
I was “let out” at Lockheed about the same time that Lloyd got married. I did some painting, working for other contractors when I could because I had to make up my employment record so I could qualify for Social Security when I became 65. Later I worked for the Police Department as a Crossing Guard until I was 70 when they retired me.
In the meantime I was doing some Real Estate work, then I bought a lot intending to build a small house on it to sell. It turned out that the house was built for Don and Bette who moved in there after getting a G.I. Loan. Then Mom thought she would rather live on the other side of the house when they moved out. It had one bedroom, while our side had two, and we could get $90 for it now that rent controls were finally off.
Now we were really enjoying ourselves and felt better off financially than we had ever been. Even if I did make some mistakes sometimes which would set us back. We would take trips to the beaches, to Salt Lake City, Sequoia, Mexico and other places.
One Sunday afternoon I was snoozing in the front room chair and Mom was napping on the couch, when I thought I heard a paper rattle. Looking up I saw something move, then a man peeked around the doorway. At first I thought it was Clyde trying to play a trick on us, but soon noticed that it wasn’t. Then I started to ask him what he was doing. Mom thought I was crazy, talking to myself but it was a real burglar. He turned and walked out, then ran. I called the Police and they soon came, sirens screaming, but he got away. He got Mom’s purse with a few dollars but missed about $70, that I had in the desk which he was just starting to ransack when I saw him.
Being in the real estate business I was always looking for something to sell, so Tina and I would often drive around town to see what was for sale, often seeing places we liked better than ours, and in our price. Then when we got home we would say our home was the best after all and we were going to stay there PERIOD!
In the spring of 1951 Tina and I were driving around looking at houses near Montrose but still in Glendale, and we saw one for sale that I thought I might work on. After we looked it over Tina liked it so well that she insisted in my buying it, but I didn’t think it was worth the money. She insisted so we bought it and moved in right away, renting the duplex. After I got it all painted I took a job painting another house which I shouldn’t have done, as I fell and broke my leg and arm and was taken to the hospital.
While there we received word that brother Jim had died of a heart attack. Of course we couldn’t go to the funeral, as we always had in the past to services at home of our relatives.
We liked our new home very much. The floor plan was the best we had ever had; lots of fruit on the lot, and we were on the last street North in Glendale yet only one block from the business section of Montrose. We were in the La Canada ward and they were building a new church. I was up, working on it quite often and it was, and is, a very beautiful building.
We had taken a trip to Long Beach that summer as we did every year. We had put our suitcases in the car when we were ready to return home. I locked the car and we went around the corner for lunch. On returning to the car I thought the door seemed to be unlocked but thought nothing of it until we got home when we found our suitcase had been stolen. We reported it to the Long Beach Police but heard nothing more of it. It was gone; we had our best clothes in it and Mom’s glasses; also had just bought the new suit case. This was quite a loss. We enjoyed trips to Balboa Island and the boat rides up the channel viewing the beautiful homes on the shore and the swell yachts of the rich. This was a beautiful place to visit.
In the spring of 1945 we sold our Pontiac and bought a 51 Dodge as we wanted to do some traveling. Then on the 3rd of July we started for the Grand Canyon south rim. We started at 4 a.m. to escape the heat; even then it was 106 at Blyth when we went thru’ at 6 a.m.
I was a little worried as I was now 69 and would hate to get stuck on that hot desert, and it was hot. About 100 miles inside Arizona we began climbing steep roads with no easing off places. The car boiled as we were near the top and I was worried, but after stopping and cooling off we were on our way.
Now the country was getting better. We were soon in Preston, high in the mountains and beautiful. We camped there and were told of a scenic route to Flagstaff which we took. It was a wonderful sight. After climbing a few more miles up a gentle slope thru’ farming and cattle country we began to descend thru’ beautiful Box Canyon. First we came to the ghost town of Jerome, which I thought might be a few deserted cabins and old shafts, saloons etc., but we were surprised to see the remains of a large city that was hung on the side of a mountain, like a magnified cliff dwellers hide out.
There were four and five story hotels, offices, schools, high schools, store buildings, cabins, clinging on the sides of that mountain as though they had grown there, like grapes hanging from a vine, now all deserted save for a few old timers who were waiting to tell the story of the once famous Jerome, where millions of dollars worth of copper was mined during its hay day.
Now we proceed on down thru the beautiful canyon, all draped with lovely vines, trees and bushes. A cool stream of water flowed thru the canyon with fishing camps all along the way, then here and there some nice Lodges. This is a fisherman’s paradise if I ever saw one. Now we will soon be in Flagstaff, the Kaibab Forest and the Grand Canyon.
We arrived in the Grand Canyon on the 4th of July and were soon met by Bob Searle, Don’s friend who also works for Santa Fe. Don had called him up and he had made reservations for us. He also called on us in the lodge. Then a thunder storm came which made beautiful sights across the mighty canyon. It was exciting.
Next day we left for the trip around marble canyon to cross the Colorado. This is usually a long hot trip thru’ rocky desert country but the rain cooled the air and the trip was very nice, but we were glad when we got to Jacob’s Lake where it seemed we were getting into civilization again, then we drove on to Richfield for the night.
Next day we drove through Mt. Pleasant where we visited with sister Ella, then went on to Salt Lake where Ruby and family were waiting with a lovely dinner for us. Next day Owen took us with the family for an outing and picnic in Little Cottonwood where we enjoyed ourselves very much.
In the afternoon he drove us thru’ the canyons and we ended up in Coalville where we visited with our friend who we had met in Glendale, with his wife, but who had recently passed away, and at this writing Mr. McMichael has also passed away. They were our dear friends in Glendale.
Back in Salt Lake we rented an apartment then called on our old friends that we had had so many good times with when living there. There was sister Elizabeth, Beth and Henry, Otis and Lozina, Mary and Wix, the Miners and others. We had a lovely time with them, however they are getting to be old folks the same as we are, yet to see them brings back the times we had as younger folks and makes for a happier life. There is nothing like visiting old friends and your own family. Go where you will there is nothing that can take the place of visiting the friends of your youth.
I always worry some about crossing the desert going back home; mostly about having a breakdown on the desert, so we always start early and stop early. We made it to St. George the first day. Now it is awful hot and as they were making a movie there at the time we were told that there were no vacancies in town, but a friend we knew got us a room in a private home.
It was scorching hot. We rested a bit and at 2 a.m. we were on our way. We had breakfast at Mesquite, got some ice and were on our way which proved to be a little cooler, so we got home in the early afternoon.
While we liked our home quite well, we still had the wanderlust. We would look at apartments around Glendale and think we would like it better there. Besides it looked like we would soon have a recession and prices would drop, so we sold our house and tried renting an apartment for a change. It was handy to everything including the ward which Tina insisted on. We weren’t going to buy a house again… we liked it here.
Tina’s brother Wix died the next winter. We went to Salt Lake to his funeral and I was asked to be one of the speakers; something new for me, but they said I did very well. We stopped at the Hotel Utah while there and enjoyed a nice visit. As we didn’t have our car, Ruby would come nearly every day and bring us up to their home for a nice meal.
Back home again it was hard to content myself with nothing to do as the city retired me soon after I became 70 years old. I got hold of a typewriter and started this history as some of our grandchildren may be interested later on. That is why I want to relate some things regarding our way of life thru’ most of the 20th century.
The Thomas’ called to see us here in this apartment and Mrs. Thomas predicted that one year would be our limit in the apartment. We laughed… we were thru’ moving. As usual we became restless, looking at apartments and houses to pass time, also planning vacations. We made reservations for a trip on the Greyhound to the Pacific Northwest including Canada.
In the meantime we found a place in Sunland we liked; two houses on one lot so we bought it for $14,500 which was only 2600 more than the home we sold near Montrose, and newer. This rear house was rented for $65. The front house would be vacated while we were on our vacation.
We met our traveling companions in San Francisco, and on July 3rd we were on our way. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge we came to lovely green forests, the redwood trees getting larger as we went along and by evening we were at Scocia, where the largest Redwood lumber mill is located, right among the big trees.
We stopped overnight at a swell lodge and the meals were wonderful. Next morning we were escorted thru’ the large mill which was very fascinating. They used everything from the tree, even the bark which is used for insulation, then we were on our way again; hundreds of miles of forests, wild flowers, then miles of blooming azaleas were especially lovely.
That night we stopped at Coos Bay, another lumber camp on the shore of the Pacific. We are still in California but today after going thru’ Eureka we will cross into Oregon and more forests and rivers, - so many rivers. We crossed one called the Pistol River. Someone asked why it had received that name. I replied that it was because you could go up stream a ways and shoot the rapids.
Well, after going thru’ Eugene (or Eugiene), Salem and lots of farms where they raise all kinds of nuts, we arrive in Portland for the night. We are driven right up to a swell hotel where our baggage is taken to our room in all cases. Even the tips are taken care of. Next day we are on our way to Seattle which is twice the size of Salt Lake and surrounded by many lakes, rivers, beautiful parks, and of course the Pacific Ocean.
Next morning we checked out of the Hotel Mayflower and were taken on a short ride to the Puget Sound where we boarded the liner Princess for our trip across the sound to Victoria. We could see other islands including Port Angeles. The crew on the liner was decidedly British. The Purser reminded me a lot of Uncle Owen; tall and stern.
This was a beautiful four hour trip. Arriving at Victoria we marveled at the huge 600 room hotel where we would stay. Off the liner we were greeted by Tallyho sightseeing stages drawn by six horses decorated with flowing tassels attached to the hame of the harness.
There were Englishmen everywhere. At the big hotel Mom and I were given a large front room, much to the envy of the others. The hotel was so large I got lost. There were two large waiting rooms adjoining. We went out for a walk one afternoon and when we came back we thought we were lost because what we thought was the waiting room seemed to be a dining room as it was filled with tables and the high society were being served. We discovered that the waiting room had been filled with tables and the folks were having tea and crumpets. Yes, we had to try some.
We were then taken from the Hotel Empress by Greylines to see the sights of Victoria which included Bucharts gardens. Another night at the hotel and the special bus took us up the peninsula to a beautiful place on the shore of Puget Sound. This Macknamio, a resort and fishing resort, and a sportsmans paradise. We got a rear room this time and were glad of it as it faced the sound where we could see the ships go by and sometimes planes would land and take off from the water.
We enjoyed the meals so much; plenty of good beef in Canada and here was most every kind of fish fresh from the sea, rivers and lakes. We were having the time of our lives – the best in all our lives. If you haven’t seen the Pacific Northwest you haven’t had your share of wonderful living.
Now we get another trip across the sound, this time to Vancouver. These trips were the highlights of our trip. The Vancouver Hotel is about as large as the Empress, only 550 rooms. Of course we stopped at the best hotels, for once in our lives.
It’s not so British here but decidedly Canadian. We were foreigners here but made very welcome. We visited the capital of the Province and the Museum. There are more Indian relics here than we ever see home; many totem poles, and to keep the tradition alive, the government hires the most skilled Indians they can get to continue building totem poles. We saw them under construction.
We were taken on many side trips at no extra cost; so many lovely parks, river, lakes etc. On our trip back we were shown Bonneville Dam, where Salmon climb up the locks, then up the Columbia highway to see the falls and dams, lunching at the large lodges.
We went thru’ Portland and Seattle on our return trip, then on up to Crater Lake, which is high up in the mountains of California. It is cold here in the middle of July and snow on the ground; a massive fireplace in the lodge where we were entertained by the rangers. Again our room faced the lovely blue lake.
Our next stop is in Redlands where we are entertained by Greyhound, then San Francisco and home. This was the most wonderful trip of our life time. Back home, we proceed to move to our present home in Sunland which should be our last, but I doubt it as it gets too hot here in the summer and colder in the winter.
So don’t be surprised if the moving family moves again, but we have on good advantage here, as we are not too far from Lloyd and Jackie, who come in often and always offer a helping hand when needed.
Obituary of John Fredrick Fechser,
From Newspaper dated Sept. 28th, 1908
John F. Fechser, one of Mt. Pleasant’s oldest and most highly respected pioneer residents, died at his home on Sunday of this week after a long and painful illness. His funeral was held on Wednesday under the auspices of the LDS church of which he had long been a faithful member. A large crowd of relatives and friends followed the remains to their last resting place.
Deceased was born in Nassau, Wurtemburg, Germany, July 19th1825, having been 83 years of age at death. He was married in 1850, joined the church in 1852 and came to America the following year. Two years were spent in St. Louis and in 1854 the family left for Utah by ox team. Many hardships were endured, the company at time being obliged to subsist on roots, etc. Mr. Fechser lost his wife and only child during the trip. In 1855 he married again. Lived at Little cottonwood and Spanish Fork, coming to Mt. Pleasant in 1859, with the first settlers. He was a prominent citizen her for many years. He started the first flour mill in Mt. Pleasant and promoted five different mills in the county. He was a kind, big-hearted man well liked by all. He leaves 12 children, 38 grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.