LINKS TO THE PAST
GEORGE "DUTCHY" STOLL
The following narrative is believed to have been written by Alta Gamble
WIDDOPS OF BURNTFORK
JOURNAL OF FLORENCE SMITH WELCH HILL
GARIBALDI "B" GAMBLE
TOM AND MOLLIE WELCH
EDNA STOLL STITELER
THOMAS WELCH FAMILY NARRATIVE
CLYDE AND ELINORE STEWART
LETTER FROM JERRINE
THE PERKINS FAMILY
ELI AND SUSIE MAE SLAGOWSKI
NITA ANDERSON WHITE
SARAH SMITH, PIONEER WIFE
BILL AND EMMA COX
ALVIN SMITH FAMILY
HENRY AND MELISSA HEINER
KATZMYER - LUKE CONNECTION
LEILA TERRY ANDERSON
JEAN ANDERSON HEINER
T. R. ANDERSON
VELOY TERRY GREGORY
STEWART – ANDERSON
THELMA MENDENHALL TAYLOR
TRIPLETT FAMILY AT MCKINNON
HAROLD AND ZELDA BRADY
NOTES BY FRANK WHITE
REFLECTIONS OF ALDEN WHITE
MCKINNON AS I REMEMBER IT BY WILLIAM E. ROBINSON
AUSTIN AND LOVINA STEVENS
HARRY AND FLORENCE KATZMYER
DONALD BEHUNIN FAMILY
NORMA BUCKLES GAMBLE
OLSEN – JARVIE
CHARLES MEEKS FAMILY
GLEN AND MABEL WARBY
TIM AND BERTHA POTTER
OLD SADLIER HOUSE
In this Wyoming Centennial year we compiled this history with the help of shared journals and remembrances of the people who are in it. In the true sense of the word, it is not a documented history but only a compilation of memories.
Sometimes the weather and terrain are hostile to the efforts of humans but everyone who came here left his mark, yet the mountains, sagebrush, plains, forests, creeks and rivers change only as they will. People learned to live with nature. Or they moved.
Cedar Mountain still stands, scarred in a place or two by roads that it tries to obliterate with every rainstorm, essentially the same.
Phil Pico continues to hold its majestic head over the valley be1ow.
The creeks change their minds at will and steadfastly refuse, despite man's valiant efforts, to run uphill.
Our oiled roads now take the place of dusty trails and allow the wandering people to move through the valley with a minimum of discomfort. The main road which at one time was the only way to go can be seen in spots still where Henry’s Fork meandered from one side of its bed to the other.
Barbed wire fences now enclose once open range and are used to separate ranches and the cattle on them. This area is still an agricultural area with cattle and sheep grazing side by side. May it always remain the peaceful valley it was when Phil Mass, the first settler, came here.
We have borrowed material from Flaming Gorge Country, Progressive Men of Wyoming, Don Baxter's Thesis on schools, Where the Old West Stayed Young, Bridger Country and Mont A. and Arch Pulham's compilation called The Wyoming Woodticks.
We are truly grateful to everyone who contributed in any way to this journal.
We really don't know too much about Philip Mass, the first settler in the Henry's Fork Valley. Gleanings from books like Progressive Men of Wyoming. Flaming Gorge Country and Bridqer Country have yielded the following information.
Philip Mass was born in Chihuahua, Mexico about 1839. He went to Fort Bridger with the army as a scout. He aided in the removal of the army stock to Henry's Fork and apparently fell in love with this beautiful valley. In 1859 he made his headquarters on Henry's Fork at Montoya Meadows about two miles north of the present McKinnon, Wyoming, and entered into the stock business. This was all open range at that time and there were few if any fences along the whole length of it. He made his start by trading cattle with the emigrant trains.
In 1860 for three months in the summer he was a rider for the Pony Express traveling 100 miles in ten hours time. He was a master of horseflesh and loved a good horse race. His racehorse "Sorrel Johnny" was known for miles around. There must have been a racetrack on his place for my mother-in-law, Roena Anderson, told of a Fourth of July celebration when she first came out here at the place that had belonged to Mr. Mass. She told of the people coming in buggies and wagons, racing the horses and of some of the horses going home without their passengers. People caught rides home with neighbors, retrieved their recalcitrant teams and went back the next morning to get their buggies.
Phil Mass and Irene Beauveaux, a Shoshoni girl, were married in 1862. They raised nine children: Marguerite (Mrs. Robert Fosdick), Rosalie (Mrs. A.H. Harvey), James (shot and killed at 23), Lucy (Mrs. F.A. Peterson), Emma (Mrs. W.A. Perry), John, Edward (of the Big Horn Basin), Philip, and Jessie. They developed a beautiful home on Henry's Fork where they were held in the highest esteem. All of their children received excellent educations at the parental home as their father employed the best of tutors and instructors. William Pearson was the first of them. This caused a neighbor, William Sommers, to say, "If Phil Mass did not spend so much to keep teachers to educate his children and keep them out of trouble he'd be better off than old Lige Driskell."
When Phil got into trouble with the law from Evanston at one time he was asked his nationality. When he said, "Mexican", he was asked when he was naturalized. "Never. I was living on Henry's Fork when it was Mexico so the U. S. received us along that river with the Mexican Cession."
Phil Pico was the name Phil Mass gave to the mountain south of McKinnon where his stock grazed in the winter. Phil Mass Mountain, a large flat-topped butte to the north was his summer range. Phil Mass Mountain is now known as Cedar Mountain.
Both Phil and Irene Mass are buried in the Burntfork Cemetery.
William Pearson was born in England in 1839. At this age of seven, he came to the United States with his mother’s brother, Edmund Taylor.
He came to Wyoming in the 1860's as a tutor for Phil Mass in Burntfork. He taught their nine children, four boys and five girls, for several years. One year he taught the children from the Almanac. He taught them the basic subjects and all of the girls ended up writing just like he did. He taught the Mass children until about 1884 when he taught at the first school in Burntfork.
In 1884 he married Mary Lucinda Thomas in Evanston, Wyoming. Family members say that she came to Wyoming from Indiana as a "mail-order bride". She was born to John Albert Thomas and wife in 1859 and was educated in the Muncie, Indiana area. She taught school around the Marion or South Bend area before coming west. When she came to Wyoming she had with her only a suitcase and a sewing machine. She reportedly taught Mrs. Mass and the girls how to sew. They all became excellent seamstresses.
To this marriage were born five children. They also adopted a boy so the number of children raised was six. They are: Voorhees Pearson, 1885; Adaline Pearson Eames, 1887; Dora Pearson Pallesen, 1889; Bertha Pearson Beckstead, 1896; Winnie Pearson Offield, 1899; and Carey Pearson, 1900.
Besides teaching school, William was the Justice of the Peace for quite some time in the Burntfork area. While serving in this capacity he married at least two of his children, Vorhees to Lillian Stoll of Burntfork and Dora to NeiIs Pallesen, who also was a teacher in the area. The marriages cost $2.50 at that time. Winnie, in an interview in 1983, could remember having court in their home. She also remembered Pete Wall as a lawyer at this time.
The Pearson family lived on what we now call the White Place, which Doug Jarvie now owns, on Henry’s Fork just west of the Anderson ranch. Winnie remembered having the barn, a corral for the cows, a corral for the hay, and two stables, besides the house. She remembered how the creek flooded and how they lost a saddle and found it further down the creek sometime later.
When Phil Mass died in the fall of 1914, Winnie said she remembers her father saying, "I wonder who the next one will be?" It was he. She remembered, "Vorhees and Papa went to Linwood to see Dr. Tinker. Papa was out of his head for about a day. On Christmas day he said he wanted to fix up a will, so he got Clark Logan and three or four others and drew up the will. Then he went back and his mind wasn’t clear any more." William died on January 16, 1915.
Mary Lucinda worked in Linwood at the boarding house that Keith Smith owned. He paid her 25-35 cents a meal for his hired men. She also fixed supper for the dances they held there. She died at the age of 75 on May 31, 1934, in Green River, Wyoming.
George Stoll was born In Germany in 1836, a son of John and Elizabeth Lohr Stoll. His mother died when he was but eight years old and George very soon thereafter crossed the Atlantic with his uncle, George Lohr, with whom he made his home for about four years in New York City. When he was about fourteen years old the resolute and adventurous spirit of the lad induced him to take the voyage to California sailing with Captain Madigan on the good ship John Baring, and arriving at San Francisco In 1851 after a voyage of nine months. He at once went to the mines where he successfully labored for fully eleven years. In 1862 he went to the Nevada mines where he stayed until he enlisted in the First Nevada Cavalry In General Connor's command. He was in service at Ft. Churchill, Salt Lake City and Ft. Douglas during the time of the military operations brought on by the actions of the Mormons. In the spring of 1864 the troops came north, crossing the mountains near Burntfork and taking up their quarters at Ft. Bridger, where they acted as escorts and guards for the U. S. mail carriers until 1866, when they returned to Ft. Douglas and were mustered out. Mr. Stoll then engaged in the brewing business at Bridger, conducting this until he took up his place on Burntfork.
He married Mary Ann Smith, daughter of William and Mary Grimshaw Smith, in Salt Lake City in 1866. While this couple lived near Ft. Bridger their three oldest children were born in the same house in three different states. George Jr. was born Apr. 20, 1867 when Ft. Bridger was in Utah territory. William was born April 13, 1868, after that land east of the Wasatch Range was surveyed into Dakota Territory. Lizzie Stoll was born in 1871 in the same house but in the territory of Wyoming, this territory having been established July 25, 1868.
When the family moved to Burntfork, family members say that they lived in a dugout near the creek with four small children the first winter. A home was built and both of these intrepid people set to work providing a decent living and civilized society for their children. Philip Mass was the only resident here at the time. Schools were of prime importance to these early settlers. (More on these schools can be found elsewhere in this collection.)
By 1879 more people had moved in and the I.O.O.F lodge at Bridger was transferred to Burntfork. Mr. Stoll was an active participant in these meetings and was instrumental in getting the new ("Old Hall") built in 1887 after their meetinghouse burned. Some names listed as members are:
Driskell, Van Deusen, Logan, Widdop, Son, Large, Pearson, Stillwell, and Stewart. In 1883 D.D.G.M. George Stoll reported, "Everything is running in good shape. Although the members of our lodge are scattered considerable and have to come from three to twenty-five miles, we have a good attendance and never lack for members at our regular meetings. This lodge disbanded in 1895 because membership had dwindled so badly.
George ran his cattle and served as a deputy sheriff in the furtherance of law and order for a number of years.
Mary Ann Stoll presided over her home with true womanly courtesy and was a very capable midwife and nurse. She was of inestimable value when confronting illness or accidents. I don’t know where she found the time for she had eleven children and lived under quite stringent conditions. One of their children died In infancy; a son, Daniel, was killed by a deer at the age of six; and their youngest son, Robert, died In China at the age of 30 while serving with the U. S. Army during World War I.
Their other children still have ties to this country. They were: George (Lillian McDougall), Will (Ide Sadlier), Lizzie (Fletcher Kirkendall), Mollie (Tom Welch), John (Betty Finch), Alice (H. E. McMillin), Edith (Ed Bremm), and Lillie (Voorhees Pearson).
George and Lily Stoll stayed at Burntfork all their lives raising their children Earl, Fred, Alta and Louis here and helping to elevate the standard of living for the whole area. He was a rancher and she was a teacher and they provided their children with good education's and exemplary examples of honesty and diligence.
Earl married Debra Johnson and they lived away from here. Fred married Emily Vaughan, they raised Elsie (Gilbert Lee), Jennie (George Sadlier), Phyllis (Howard Braden), Merle (Harold Hermansen), Jacqueline (Robert S. Merchant), and Don (Judith Elmer) in Green River and Burntfork. Louis never married.
Alta and Earl Gamble stayed in Burntfork on the old B. Gamble Place where they raised three sons. Bob who married a school teacher, Norma Buckles, and they had one daughter, Karen, who married Don Lewis of Green River and who has given them three lovely grandsons; Kim, Rob, and Con. Bill was killed in a car accident near Hudson in 1955 when he was about 30 years old, and Gene who married Peggy Brady, daughter of Sim and Hortense Triplett Brady, and had five children: Ann, Billy, Joe, Laura, and Mary Sue.
The original Stoll Place has been divided into three pieces now belonging to Alta Stoll Gamble, Glen and Julie Iorg and Donald Stoll, son of Fred and Emily Vaughan Stoll, who lives in the George and Mary Ann Stoll home near the road at Burntfork. He still hays the meadow and runs a few cows as did his great grandfather, grandfather and Uncle Louis before him.
The Stoll Ranch has been honored to be named as a Centennial Ranch at the Wyoming State Fair in 1990 as it is one of a very few in the state to have been in existence and continuously run by the same family for 100 years. Our very sincere congratulations go to them!
My grandfather, George Stoll, Sr., was born in Bingham, Germany and as a boy came to New York and joined his uncle who was a barber in New York City. He worked as an apprentice barber with his uncle for some time and also went to school after finishing his apprenticeship. He worked other places and finally became associated with the army. In 1857 when President Buchanan received word that trouble had erupted in Utah, he sent two armies out to Utah to put down the trouble. But encountering many difficulties, they only got as far as Fort Bridger and found it in a very deteriorated condition. They sent word back to the President about their difficulties, but he had already sent another army commanded by Colonel Johnston with which my grandfather came West as scout. They brought orders that they should all winter in Fort Bridger. They arrived there in October of 1857. In the early spring of 1858 they went on into Salt Lake and soon put down the trouble. But the armies were stationed there for about two years while they built Fort Floyd Crittenden.
While there, my grandfather met Mary Ann Smith. Her family had come West with a trek heading for the gold fields of California, but winter overtook them and they were forced to winter in Utah. In the early sixties two armies under the leadership of Colonel Johnston left Salt Lake for California, leaving one army behind on guard duty. They were stationed at Ft. Crittenden and in 1862 the two armies returned to Salt Lake finding Ft. Crittenden in shambles. They came on into Salt Lake and established a fort built of adobe houses and cement basements with tents stretched over them. This fort built up to what is now Fort Douglas. Stationing an army there to keep down trouble. Col. Johnston brought his men back to Fort Bridger where they re-built Ft. Bridger. My grandfather was still with them. Ft. Bridger then became the army headquarters. After they were established there, my grandfather went back and married Mary Ann Smith, whom he had met before, and brought her back to Ft. Bridger as a bride. They made their home in Ft. Bridger where my grandfather ran a brewery until 1867 when he and my grandmother and three small children moved to Burntfork. They were the first white family to settle in Burntfork. My father was one of the three small children with his two sisters Lizzie and Mollie.
My grandfather took up ranching and cattle raising, staying and raising his family in the Burntfork area. Before long my grandfather built a log cabin for a schoolhouse and, with the help of others, established a school. My grandfather was the first teacher.
I remember my father, George Stoll, Jr., saying his first schoolmates and playmates were Indian children which he thought a lot of. Within three or four years other white families moved in. Those outstanding in my memory being some of the first after my grandfather were the Widdops, the Ansons, Vandusens, and others. I don’t recall the names.
Next they established a post office, my grandfather being the postmaster. This post office served all the surrounding country, which at that time was all known as Burntfork. This was the oldest post office in Sweetwater County and was the only post office in the area clear down to Linwood, Utah. In later years they established a horse back mail route which went down Henry’s Fork, which derived its name from one of the first mail carriers named Mr. Henry, who drowned in Henry’s Fork. My grandfather was postmaster for many, many years. Then as other families moved in they built the Odd Fellows Lodge, a two story building the upstairs being used for offices and down stairs was used as an entertainment center for dancing, programs or for whatever community gathering it was needed. It stood until just a few years ago when it was torn down.
I might say Burntfork derived its name from a large burn upstream from the now Burntfork. It was supposed it burned at the time there were trappers camped up there as quite a number of trappers came through this country trapping furs.
Then a man by the name of Sam Smith built a store building and started the first real store in Burntfork. My grandfather carried a few small items in connection with the post office. But later Mr. Smith's store was burned down. Then Mr. Smith went out to make arrangements to start a new business but never came back. His horse came home and the men got a searching party together but never found him. Years later his body was found buried on Cottonwood by a sheepherder—Cottonwood being between Burntfork and Mt. View.
My father grew to manhood in Burntfork where he assisted his father in ranching and cattle raising as did his brother Will. He also worked for the Carter Cattle Company as they ran many cattle in this part of the country, which was all open range then. They rounded up in spring for branding and in the fall for shipping. The cattle wintered out in those years.
In the later eighties, my mother came from Iowa to teach school, first in Evanston, Wyoming, then in Fort Bridger, then to Burntfork. In October of 1890 my mother and father were married in Evanston, Wyoming. They came back and went into ranching and stock raising for themselves. My mother went on teaching. She taught for several years.
Several general stores were started at different times, one of the first by two men, Gilroy and Shurtleff. In early 1900, my father started a butcher shop in Rock Springs which he ran for some time. My mother stayed on the ranch with us kids and ran the ranch. Then in 1908, my mother and father went into the store business, which they ran in the old Odd Fellows building which my father had bought at the time. My mother took the post office as my grandfather had grown elderly and did not wish to be postmaster any longer. One of the mail carriers was Art Hallett who was a friend and neighbor of my family. My family ran the store and post office for several years.
In 1913 my father took the contract to build the first telephone line between Mt. View and Linwood, Utah, which went through Lonetree, Burntfork, Manila and on to Linwood, Utah. Upon completion my brother, Earl, ran the switchboard in Mt. View and took care of the new telephone line until he went into the army in World War I.
My mother and father went out of the store business but my mother ran the post office until about 1921 when Nels Hilrick took it over. After that there were several postmasters.
We established our first Episcopal Church in Burntfork in 1921. Louis T. Hardin being our first minister. He and his wife, Norma, and two children lived some time or several years. We first held church in my mother's home. Then the church bought the old Odd Fellows building and had their living quarters in the back and church in front. He also ran a little store. Then Ray Stoll, Louis Stoll, and John McCarty went to the timber and got out logs and the community got together and built a rectory for the Hardins which was used by the minister who came later. It still stands at Burntfork. The post office building that my grandfather had his post office in is still standing back of the old home at Burntfork.
John Baker Anson was born in England on May 5, 1836 and came to America with an emigrant group. He was a member of the Fourth Handcart Company, which left Iowa City on July 15, 1856. He arrived at Fort Bridger on Nov. 2, 1856 where he remained with his sister, Jane. While in Bridger he met Uncle Jack Robertson, the mountain man, and Uncle Jack’s son-in-law, Robert Hereford.
In 1859 John and his sister homesteaded a piece of property near the confluence of Burntfork and Henry's Fork. He lived here from 1859-1863 and, in the latter year married Mary Ann Webster who was also born in England. At that time they left Burntfork and moved to Montana where two of his children were born: Thomas W., 1864 and Hannah, 1866.
In the fall of 1868 Robert Hereford persuaded Anson to return to Fort Bridger to assist in operating a trading post on the Green River. When the Union Pacific Railroad was completed this trading post was no longer needed so Anson worked for Judge William Carter. At Fort Bridger, Utah Territory, his third child George William Anson was born. In 1871 the Anson family moved to Kaysville, Utah where the remaining four children were born. John Arthur, 1872; Mark Albion, 1876; Caroline, 1880; and Mary Zelima, 1886.
Most of the Anson family returned to Burntfork and Ft. Bridger. Some of John and Mary Ann’s children attended school in Burntfork, riding horseback to get there. They went to dances 30-35 miles away. Going on horseback with their "dress-up" clothes in a flour sack tied behind the saddle, they would dance until dawn and ride the many miles back home again.
Their home life was a typical pioneer life with no running water except the creek or a spring nearby. Heat was furnished by a wood stove, usually pot-bellied, and large enough to heat the whole house. Cooking was done on an old wood cook stove. Refrigeration was a challenge.
The Anson children played an important role in this area's history. The oldest son, Tom, worked for the Carter Cattle Company in 1882 until 1885 when he became a range rider for Col. William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Hannah married H.J.B. Taylor who played a prominent part in Mountain View history. Will married Nora Marston of Kaysville. Their daughter married Vernon Call and they live in Star Valley where they own an airplane factory and other businesses. John Arthur married Tena Hayward of Robertson, a sister of Bessie Harvey’s father. Mark married Sarah Vincent whose family owned the White place. Mark later lived in Manila where he became Daggett County Assessor and later Sheriff. He was known all over the valley and loved by all who knew him. Carolyn helped with family responsibilities as Mary Ann died when Carolyn was about twelve. She later married Jesse Vincent. Mary Zelima married Asa Rounds, a lumberman and also an accomplished violinist. They lived in Mountain View and Lyman during the winters and in the mountains in the summer.
Thomas Anson, father of John B. Anson, was the first person buried In the Burntfork Cemetery. When he died the women of the valley had to bury him as the men were away. Some say they were on the roundup and others say they were fighting a forest fire. At any rate, the women buried him the wrong way.
John B. Anson died at Fort Bridger in 1907 and is buried In the Burntfork Cemetery near the old ranch. His wife is also buried there.
The Widdop family followed closely on the heels of the George Stoll, Sr. family. James Widdop and his family came to Burntfork in 1879. They raised cattle and at least six children, some of whom were born here. James also had a gold mine on Phil Pico up Burntfork.
Water and the lack of it have caused many problems for the people in this area forever. James was probably the only one who gave his life for it, however. He was shot and killed by Willard Blodgett when he and his son. Tom, tried to "adjust" the flow in their common ditch. Tom was shot in the arm at the same time. Since both the Widdops were armed at the time, the jury called this self-defense. Feelings ran high and Mr. Blodgett soon left the country too.
If we haven’t the wrong information, this occurred after 1891 for James Widdop is listed as a member of the Bridger I.O.O.F. organization of that year. According to his son. George H. Widdop, James did the carpenter work when the Burntfork Hall was built in 1879 for the I.O.O.F.
Tom Widdop rode for Lige Driscoll who had settled near the mouth of Henry's Fork probably about 1868. When Tom married Myrtle Burnham of Ogden, they settled at Muskrat Springs on Burntfork and raised cattle. (This is the Wade Stephens property today.)
In 1889 a post office was started at Burntfork and George Stoll, Jr. was the first postmaster. Mark Manley had the contract to bring the mail from Bridger. Tom Widdop was the second mail carrier. In good weather, Tom carried the mail in a mountain buckboard but in bad weather, he went horseback sometimes with a packhorse.
By all accounts Tom was a friendly person who got along with his neighbors and joined in the activities of the day.
According to "Flaming Gorge Country", Tom recalled the time when Butch Cassidy spent three rainy days at his folks ranch on Burntfork. Butch was called a Robin Hood of his day for he was a very likeable person who only seemed to rob folks he thought had more than enough. He was careful to make friends with folks who were scattered some and lived in out of the way places. He never knew when he might need a bit of assistance from them at one time or another. Trading spent horses for rested ones, or catching a good meal and a safe bed for a time was necessary to his way of life.
In 1899 Tom Widdop went into the sheep business and was soon running five thousand head. He immediately gained the animosity of his former pals. He was careful not to intrude on cattle range, only bringing his herds to the ranch to feed them hay in the winter.
Tom and Myrtle left the country at some later time to go to the Ogden area where, it is thought, he went into the mining industry.
Other children of the James Widdop family maintain ties to this corner of Wyoming. At least two of the boys, George and James, Jr., lived in Green River at one time. George married and stayed in Green River where he raised two boys, Jack and Ralph. Jim worked at the Phelps Meat Market before he married Beulah Taylor, daughter of H. J. B. Taylor, a prominent Mountain View resident. Their son Charles lives in Fort Bridger now and their daughter, Mary Hysell, lives in Mountain View. Bill married a Mountain View woman and lived between there and Urie. He is the father of Leila Widdop Gregory postmistress and storekeeper of Lonetree.
James Widdop, Sr. also had two girls Emma and Elizabeth but we don’t know anything about them yet.
Zebulon (Zeb) Edwards was born in 1861 in Millville, Utah to Esaias and Belinda Miles Edwards. The town of Millville derived it name from Esaias’ grist and sawmill which he owned and operated with his sons, Ike, Dave, Zeb, and his son-in-law. Francis Joseph Sadlier. The old grist mill wheels are preserved in a monument behind the Mormon Tabernacle in Logan, Utah.
As a young boy Zeb accompanied his cousin, John Spears,a noted hunter and trapper, into the Utah-Wyoming territory. While visiting their trap lines near Sheep Creek Cave they once met Major John Wesley Powell. Zeb became an expert in both hunting and trapping because of his early experiences with his cousin.
While managing Birch Springs Ranch in Manila with his older brother, he was asked by Mrs. Cleophas (Ella Colton) O’Dowd to help take her and part of her family to the train so she could relocate in California. When Mr. O’Dowd heard she had left him and the two boys behind, he stopped by the Birch Springs Ranch to see which way they had taken to the railroad. Someone told him it was Green River so he didn’t catch up with them as they had gone to Carter to catch the train.
George Solomon, Zeb Edwards, and Garibaldi B. Gamble became partners in Connor Basin. While they were living there, Zeb was hired by the government to supply wild meat for Judge J. Carter and the soldiers building roads on the mountain and in the canyons. Zeb would kill the meat, dress it out, and hang it each day in the trees just ahead of the road building crew. Zeb and "B" soon sold their shares to George Solomon and bought property on Burntfork. Zeb also bought a place from John Proe on Birch Creek. He also took up more adjoining land. The dugout that Mr. Proe had lived in was still on the ranch when we moved back to it in 1931.
In 1890 Zeb helped Ellsworth Daggett and Adolph Jessen lay out the Manila town and county. He also worked on the canal from Connor Basin to the Birch Springs Ranch.
Zeb was one of the first white men to visit Spirit Lake, which is just 13 miles up the mountain from his ranch. He owned a sawmill east of his place on Phil Pico. Carl Youngberg hauled lumber from this mill to build the first LDS chapel in Lyman, Wyoming.
Zeb’s older brothers, Ike and Dave Edwards, and their widowed sister, Emma Jane Sadlier, followed Zeb to this country to make their homes here. Ike and Dave never married but Emma Jane Sadlier has many descendants from her seven children. Her brothers built a large house for her and she lived here a good long time. Her children include: Don Sadlier, who married a woman named Wyman, and lived here for several years. He was shot in the knee in a hunting accident and lost his leg. He died following surgery for appendicitis and his family moved to Vernal. George Sadlier was the father of Claude, Pearl, Clara, and George Jr. We all knew Claude and Alice and their boys, LaRay and Ellis. Ray is Daggett County Commissioner at the present time. He and his wife Pauline Hymas Sadlier raised their four children, Kurt, Karma, Robin and Troy here. Ellis and Kay Harvey Sadlier live in Robertson, Wyoming on her fathers place there. They raised Vickie and Bob.
Emma's daughters were Ine who married a man named Allen and later, Lee Russell. Ide married Will Stoll and lived at Burntfork where she raised her family. Eva and Etna we couldn't find anything about. Ce1ia married Yank Meyers and they lived near her mother. Her children include Florence who married John Briggs. Josephine who married Dewey Lamb, (parents of Bert, Jimmy, Keith, Grace, Fern, Nedra and Betty) and later George Peterson. Celia’s son, Les, was the father of Dee Meyers.
Zeb and his brothers built many houses, barns, and other buildings for themselves and neighbors as they had learned carpentry from their father.
Zeb was married the first time in 1897 in Green River, Wyoming to Edith Ellen Davis. She left him in 1901 for a roving gambler of Pocatello. Idaho. They had no children.
After his divorce he married Catherine Rebecca Hill, daughter of Benjamin and Florence Smith Welch Hill. The witnesses at this wedding on Birch Creek were George Bullock and William Stoll with J. P. Edward Tolton presiding.
When ranchers marketed their cattle they had to trail them to Green River for the Omaha market or Carter for western markets. Most of the traveling was done by wagon or horseback.
Vernal, Utah was the county seat for the Utah area of this valley before Daggett County was formed in 1918. A quotation from the Vernal Express in 1909 stated that Mr. and Mrs. Zeb Edwards were in Vernal on business and called Zebulon the "Daniel Boone of the West."
This couple had four daughters: Avis Olive, Florence Isabelle, Beatrice Eudora, and Myrtle Bessie. When the oldest daughter was ready for school it was felt that country travel would be a hardship on her as she had contracted infantile paralysis and had a lame left leg. Zeb leased his Birch Creek Ranch and bought a bit of ground in the Sacramento Valley to be nearer medical help and schools for his girls. He grew fruit and English walnuts but the whole family suffered with malaria for several years because of the mosquitoes on the Feather River.
From there they moved to Trent, Oregon, and were well away from the mosquitoes but the extreme dampness was hard on Zeb as he contracted rheumatism there. A higher, drier climate was called for so he bought a place in Midvale, Idaho. Zeb traveled too much from Idaho to Birch Creek so the family was moved to Vernal which was much closer. He left the Idaho ranch to his brother-in-law, Leo Hill.
Two months after the family moved to Vernal. Zeb became ill and died in 1924.
Descendants of Zeb and Kate Edwards who live in this country include two of their daughters Beatrice (Mrs. Larence Beck) and Myrtle (Mrs. Alton Beck) and some of their families. Avis (Mrs. Fred Weeks) has always lived in Vernal and Florence (Mrs. Dick Ellsworth) has most of her family living in the Salt Lake City Area.
Beatrice and Myrtle married brothers and raised their children here.
Beatrice’s unmarried son, Milton, lives with her at the mouth of Birch Creek Canyon. Larry & Lorraine and Ronnie & Ruth and their families live in Green River. Mae and Myron Benson and their family live in Newton, Utah.
Myrtle’s son, Duane and his family live on the other half of the Birch Creek property. Joyce (Mrs. Calvin Briggs son of Eli and Mary Briggs) lives in Washington and Jeannie (Mrs. Eliot Emery) lives in Logan with her family.
Duane is the present bishop of McKinnon Ward and is retired from Northwest Pipeline. He and Patricia Reynolds Beck have eight children who were all raised here. Carol and Clyde Slaugh and their family and Doug & Venetia and their children both have homes here. Sally & Frank Porenta and Julie & Dave Shillcox live in Green River with their families. Penny & Clay Muir and children live in Manila. Steve and Carol Anderson Beck and their girls live in Texas. Darla is living in Ontario, California and Zebulon Edward Beck has just graduated from Manila High School and is preparing for a mission to Peru.
Florence's son, George, is the only one of her nine children to live in this area. George and Juanita Robinson Ellsworth live in Manila where he runs a garage and is a master mechanic. Their four children Rick, Robert, Christa, and Glen all grew up in Manila and some are still there.
I was born in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1845, the daughter of Hugh and Rebecca Norvell Smith of Wilson and Sumner Counties, Tennessee.
My father was a religious man and always taught us children to do what was right. He was a widower with five children when mother married him. They had eleven more so there were sixteen children in our family. We were.unable to get much schooling on account of the deep snows and the wolves being so dangerous. My larger brothers went ahead of us to break the trail, and with their guns, guard us from attack by these wolves to and from school daily.
My father was a wealthy man, but nevertheless, we children had to work. The fall was always a busy time preparing for winter. We killed no less than thirty-five hogs, and at least one beef for our winter use. We always fried down about fifteen gallons of sausage, some of which we put in jar, and some was put in cornhusks to smoke with the rest of the meat.
My father, Hugh Smith, having lived near Nauvoo, Ill., knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and often joined him in his meetings.
My mother had about 300 laying hens, 150 turkeys, 200 to 300 ducks and geese. The geese were picked every six weeks. It took down from five geese to make a pound. Mother received at least $80.00 for the down each time these geese were picked.
The woods were always full of wild fruit and nuts. When father was not using all the teams. Mother would take the wagons with double sideboards and a few of the children to gather nuts. The wagon when we returned was always filled as full as we could trample them down with fine hazelnuts. When we reached home we put them out to dry, turning them occasionally until they were thoroughly dried. Then we would store them away for the winter and make another trip to gather hickory nuts, chestnuts, and black walnuts. We also picked wild fruit. Bushels of grapes were used for making jelly and juice. There was a plentiful supply of hops, which we were glad for as we used them for making yeast and many other things. The percoon roots, Indian arrow buds, and the various herbs we found in the woods were used in the making of our medicine.
We had a large orchard and often had "apple bees". Everyone around was invited. The younger ones would peel the apples while the older people cooked and bottled them for our use in the winter. This was one of the greatest times of the year. We also did the same with our peaches, then, in turn, we would all go to each of the neighbors until all had their fruit up for the winter. We all had the chance to visit with each other. We canned about 55 gallons of both peach and apple butter. We also had six large maple trees from which we made all our own sugar. Father would go ahead to tap the trees, then we children would follow along with the buckets and a wagon load of barrels. After filling all the barrels with sap we would take it home and boil it down into sugar. We made about 33 gallons of maple syrup and almost 2000 pounds of sugar. Mother then made cubes of sugar for the use of her company at afternoon tea.
We never raised less than 100 acres of corn. We had corn husking bees in the fall which we would all attend. There were no threshers in those days. Father had a large barn with a double floor where he threshed his grain with the aid of eight horses. We had a small windmill that was used to clean the wheat, after which we piled it in a bin. The oats were threshed in the same slow manner.
There were large quantities of popcorn and peanuts raised. We children would have great sport sitting around the fireplace in winter playing "hull gull" while the older people visited with each other, popping corn or roasting peanuts.
Father raised all our own flax and cotton. We could all pick cotton well. I could pick 100 pounds of cotton a day at that time.
We had a homemade cotton gin to separate the cotton from the seed. We carded and spun all our own cotton and wool and made our own yarn. I kept four of the quilts I had handmade myself. Each of us children could knit a sock in a day. We were paid one dollar a pair for the wool socks and
seventy-five cents for a cotton pair.
One of my sisters and I could spin sixteen "cuts" in a day. There were eighty threads in a "cut". These were woven on a loom into cloth and we made all the cloth that was needed for the family use. The flax grew in stalks. In order to separate the outside of the stalk from the flax, we had to scutch it. A scutcher is a tool similar to a wool card or board full of nails with three sharp ends to pull the flax over. Then we spun, wove and bleached. We always had a supply of fine linen for our own use. The men folks always had a fine linen shirt for dress.
The winters were always hard. We had deep snows and long cold spells. One winter the mailman took the mail and passengers over a "staken rider" fence for three weeks before he could tell where the fence was. Nevertheless we had great fun sleigh riding during these deep snows.
I was always called "Tommy" because of my love for out door life, especially horseback riding. When I was sixteen years old I rode in the Fair at New Berlin, Illinois, and won a horse, saddle and sash. Was I proud!
I was well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and talked with him many times. When he was assassinated all our doors in Springfield were draped in black cloth. His oldest son, Bob was a good friend of mine.
When I was twenty-one years old, I met William Adderson Welch. We were married in June of 1866 in Sangamon County and it was there that my first child, Thomas Adderson Welch, was born, May 25, 1867. We lived in Platte County three years, divorced, and I moved to Girard, Kansas, where my brother, James, and later my parents lived.
We had many terrible cyclones in the state of Kansas. I recall one in particular that left people homeless. It
blew one man up into a tree, killing him; another man was blown into a creek, members of families were lost, barns blown over and crops destroyed. Whenever we saw a dark cloud grow in the northwest, we would run for cyclone shelters or cellars.
I met and married a widower, Benjamin Hill, formerly of Kingston, New York. His wife and baby daughter are buried in Girard, Kansas. He had three sons: Joseph age 10, David age 5. and Leo age 3. With Thomas, 9 years old, we had a family of sons. We were married 19 April 1876 in Girard. We had a son in 1880 whom we named Fredrick Benjamin but we called him Fred.
My husband, Benjamin, was born in Kingston, Ulster Co., New York to James and Catherine Short Hill, in 1833. When he was a young man, he sailed as assistant sea captain around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. On one of his voyages to South America he saw a snake nearly as large around as he was. He was in the gold rush of 1849 in California. After traveling all through the Wyoming and Utah territories, he liked it so much, he decided he would like to make his home hereabouts.
In 1881, when Fred was a year old, we signed up with 33 other covered wagons headed for the Northwest. We suffered many hardships along the way. For our cooking fires we had to burn the buffalo chips we found on the prairie. Many times water had to be rationed. Some of the animals died along the way. It was a long trek from Girard, Kansas to Green River, Wyoming. When the wagons finally arrived in Green River, we, along with a few other families decided to make this our home.
We bought a place near the riverbank. It was in Green River that our daughter, Catherine Rebecca, was born in 1884. She and her five brothers attended the Green River schools.
We signed contracts to haul freight from Green River to Old Ashley on White River about 1888. Old Ashley was just below where Vernal, Utah now stands. When we started freighting, my husband drove a four-horse team and I drove a two-horse team with bedding, food, hay and some supplies and freight. I always had my little boy, Fred, with me. One day I would go in the lead and the next my husband would, because there were roads to make and trees to cut out of the way. There was fallen timber in the trails and it was a very rough road over Taylor Mountain. We met many Indians and outlaws who were friendly to us.
When we freighted to White River we became acquainted with Chellus Hall. I also met an old friend. Bob Lincoln, on one of our trips. We were at that time among the few white people who had to be protected or guarded by the soldiers.
In hauling freight we often went up Birch Creek, Carter Dugway, and over the Young Springs Dugway. We decided we would like to own property on Birch Creek so we bought a small place, which is now known as the Zimmer Meadow. We lived here a few years when our son, Fred, developed tuberculosis from some unknown source. Fred was nearly eighteen years old when he died on 12 Jan. 1898. He had been an excellent student and artist. We had planned for Catherine to go to Kansas to stay with my brothers family to study and become a teacher but, when we lost our son, it seemed too much for us to have Kate leave us.
We became very good friends to people in the neighborhood; Stolls, Edwards, Gambles and Sadliers.
Kate would help her father cutting and sawing wood for the stoves and helping with the necessary chores on the place. Her father was not at all well as he had returned from Kansas, having undergone surgery for cancer of the eye and had had one eye removed. He was in very poor health most of the time.
After Zebulon's wife, Edith, ran off with another man, he divorced her in July 1903. He worked hard ranching and with his sawmill. He would stop by and visit once in a while and began courting our daughter. They were married in 1904 in Zebulon's house on Birch Creek, which was to be their future home. They did a lot of traveling on snowshoes in the early days because it was impossible to get around any other way. Very little visiting was done in the winters.
As Benjamin’s health continued to fail, Zeb suggested we sell our place and move into a cabin he had near their house. I loved living near my loved ones. I was the mid wife for three of their children; Avis, Beatrice and Myrtle. Florence was born in Green River.
Benjamin passed away after much suffering in 1908 at the Birch Creek Ranch. He was buried in the Burntfork Cemetery. I spent many lonely years traveling from one of my loved ones to another.
After Zeb died. I made my home with Kate and her family. I spent many wonderful months with the, teaching skills I knew and could gladly pass on. While I was living in Vernal, I filed on a homestead that was available at that time up above Birch Creek over here. In my will I gave the Homestead to Kate, as she lived with me all the time I was proving up on the place. Eighty acres that Zeb owned on Phil Pico, Kate gave to her brother, Tom Welch, and he gave it to his son, Willie.
(Florence Isabelle Hill had a stroke, after which she was bedfast for some time before she passed on. She died on the homestead she had lived on for six years. She died four days before her 90th birthday in 1935. She too is buried in the Burntfork Cemetery.)
Presented by Granddaughter
Beatrice Edwards Beck
Garibaldi Gamble was born in 1860 in Millville, Cache County, Utah. He apparently came to this area as a young man with Zeb and Ike Edwards. In 1882, when he was 22, he entered into partnership with Zeb Edwards and George Solomon in Connor Basin. He married Anna Rolfe and his two oldest daughters, Ethel and Ruby, were born there. He sold his interest to George Solomon so he could homestead on Burntfork just a mile or so north of the Utah line east of Burntfork Creek. He built a schoolhouse on his ranch and was a teacher there. His son. Earl, started in that school which was at the corner of the old Gamble ranch and has since been torn down.
Garibaldi, or "B" as he was known, ranched on the Gamble place raising Hereford cattle. He was a fine family man and had five children, four of whom reached adulthood. He retired from ranching in 1928 and bought a home in Green River where he lived the rest of his life. He died at the home of his son Earl while visiting in Burntfork on March 10. 1934.
The children of "B" and Anna attended the school at Burntfork. They rode horseback to and from school carrying their lunches.
Ethel was the eldest of the children. She was raised on the Gamble ranch. She married Dave Logan and they purchased the Clark Logan ranch where they lived for some time. They moved into Green River where Dave worked for Sweetwater County Road and they lived there the rest of their 1ives.
Ruby was the second child. When she was a young girl, she, Ethel and Earl rode horseback from the Gamble ranch to the Burntfork School. At that time there was a small shed and hitching post for the horses at the school. One day after arriving at the hitching post, Ruby was kicked by one of the horses and died several days later.
Earl. the only son, spent his entire life in Burntfork except for the time he spent in the army in World War I where he saw action in France. When he returned, he married Alta Stoll, daughter of George and Lillian McDougal Stoll. Earl and Alta helped on the Gamble ranch and Earl drove a truck hauling supplies. When his father retired and moved to Green River, Earl and Alta took over the Gamble ranch, which is still owned by family members.
Lila, the fourth child was also raised on the Gamble ranch and she married Grover Logan, a brother to Dave Logan.
Madge, the youngest daughter married George Stevens, a brother of Austin Stevens who was a rancher in McKinnon. They lived in Burntfork a short time and then in Manila. Madge is still alive, living with a daughter in Rawlins. She is now 94 years old.
Earl's two sons, Bob and Gene, and his mother, Alta, are the only members of the Gamble family still living in Burntfork. Bob owns part of the Tom Welch ranch and Gene owns the original Gamble homestead.
Elijah, or as he was better known, Lige Driscoll, also came to this area from Fort Bridger. When the term of his enlistment ended, he built a trading post on Ham's Fork and did a brisk business, swapping cattle with the emigrants. He settled near the mouth of Henry's Fork probably about 1868. By the mid-eighties his herds were so extensive that he shipped cattle to eastern markets by the trainload. He was about the first person to ship cattle on the train from Carter. He originated the "Wagon Wheel" brand which he used on the left side of the animal.
According to "Flaming Gorge Country" by the Dunhams, Lige asked his half brother Neil to come to Burntfork where Lige set Neil up in the mercantile business. Fire burned the building nearly catching the clerk and manager, Sam Smith, who was sleeping there. Sam disappeared mysteriously soon after this while on a trip to Ft. Bridger and his body was discovered about nine years later.
The Driscoll family history is interwoven in Burntfork history as one of the Driscolls settled on land near the Burntfork Cemetery. Not too much is known about their life on that piece of land except that there is a water right and ditch known as the Anson-Driscoll ditch out of Burntfork.
It is known that Lige married Cora Finch, a Shoshoni widow of a French-Canadian trapper named Finch. Lige is known to have adopted her young son, George Finch. When George grew up he married Martha Hereford and raised a big family. They had a total of 16 children, 13 of whom grew to adulthood. (Betty married John Stoll, son of George and Mary Ann Stoll; Minnie married Eddie Mass, son of Phil Mass; Elijah - called Bud unless you wanted him to poke you in the nose - who married a school teacher from New York and moved there with his family after living here for a short time; Clara; Nona married Dick Nicholson; Ella; Alonzo who died in France during World War I; George; Pearl married a man named Graham; Alice married Tom Jarvie of Manila and Brown's Park; Edgar never married; Stanley was a musician of note; and Nora.) Of other, closer descendants of Lige and Cora Driscoll we have no knowledge.
Neil married Ginny or Jenny Hereford. We are led to believe that Neil’s son. Charley, taught at the George Hereford ranch at one time. Neil left this country and died on an Indian reservation.
Charley was said to have had the first sawmill on Phil Pico and on Henry's Fork. C.A. Driscoll and E. H. Driscoll are listed as members of the Bridger I.O.O.F. organization in 1885-6. E. H. Driscoll was a trustee of the Burntfork School in the early 1900’s.
There are lots of stories of Lige Driscoll having known Butch Cassidy. Maybe he did. He is supposed to have won money from Butch and Harvey Logan during a poker game, somewhere, sometime. So, maybe he didn’t. You choose.
Lige Driscoll retired to Green River where he died at the age of eighty-three. Some sources spell the name Driscoll and others spell it Driskell. We do believe this is the same name, however.
Thomas Adderson Welch, son of William Adderson and Florence Isabelle Smith Welch, was born in 1867 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He lived with his mother when his parents divorced when he was three years old. He and his mother moved to Girard, Kansas to live near her brother and he was nine before she remarried. She married Benjamin Hill, a widower with three sons of his own. They had another son before they decided to take their five sons and move West. Tom was 13 in 1880 when the family joined a wagon train headed for the Northwest. They left the train when they got to Green River, Wyoming and settled down there. They added their only daughter, Kate, when they lived in Green River. (She became the wife of Zebulon Edwards.)
We can only imagine the responsibilities he must have shouldered being a part of a real pioneer wagon train. We do know he learned to drive a team. He was employed as a stable boy for a stage line in Lander when he was hired to drive the leg between Big Sandy and South Pass in 1881. He was then all of fourteen years old but was entrusted with both passengers and freight and was able to perform the job without incident. He was thus employed for a few years.
Tom came to this area from Lander about 1888. His parents freighted from Green River to Vernal but Tom put down roots when he homesteaded a place on Henry's Fork at the bottom of the now Anderson ranch and started raising cattle.
Remember, this was all unclaimed open range at the time. There were no meadows to irrigate or fences to fix so one had time to work with cattle, keep the range sheep-free, and court his girl. Tom married Mary Ann (called Mollie) Stoll, daughter of George and Mary Ann Stoll, early settlers in the region. They raised their three children here.
Tom prospered. His herd of cattle grew and, in 1904, he sold his place on Henry's Fork to Mackey Land and Livestock Co. and bought property on Burntfork where sheep were not as likely to be found. He really felt that sheep were only good for eating or wearing and had a cattleman's true antipathy for the raising of them.
Tom and Mollie acquired a lot of property on Burntfork and owned many cows. Tom became a well-known businessman in Green River when he and Dr. Hawk built and operated the Tomahawk Hotel there. Maybe he Just wanted a place to stay when he went to town but it was a successful venture for a number of years. Hard times came and this property didn't pay for itself so he got out of the hotel business.
The Welch children were; Ethel who married Bill Kunz, William (called Willie) who married Vivian Stevens Powelson (a sister of Austin Stevens), had a son named Tom, divorced and married Lillian Vaughan. John Fred (called Freddie) who married Alice Memovich and later, Beth Murphy. Freddie had two boys and two girls. Willie’s son, Tom, spent much of his time with his grandparents, Tom and Mollie.
They bought a house in Green River and Mollie moved in there in the winter so her children could go to school. Young Tom lived with them and attended Green River schools. Tom joined her in there in the early 1940's after he sold the ranch to the John Briggs family. (Bob and Norma Gamble bought the Wyman Bench part of Tom's property from Mr. Briggs and continue to live in the home the Welch's occupied there.)
Tom is said to have been a good friend of Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. He refused to ever say much about the things he knew of them. He did insist that Butch visited him in Green River long after he was supposed to have been killed in South America.
Boy, do I wish he'd kept a journal of his activities as they happened? You bet! He put a lot of living into his near century on earth. The bits and pieces we've gathered only touch the surface of what must have been a life rich in the lore of the West. We really regret not taping or, indeed, even listening to old-timers when they get started telling stories. Tom wouldn't visit much with folks who hadn't been there but he enjoyed reminiscing with his many friends who HAD been there.
Tom was over 70 when he retired to their house in Green River where Mollie died at 83 in 1956. Tom lived there another seven years before he followed her in 1963 at the age of 96 years. Tom and Mollie are both buried in the Green River Cemetery.
I am Edna Stoll Stiteler, the only surviving child of William and Ida Sadlier Stoll, who were married in 1897. They became parents of nine children over a period of 16 years. In the early part of this century an epidemic of whooping cough spread around the community. Many children contracted it and some died. Ida and William lost three children with whooping cough, Ruth, Edgar and Pearl.. There was not a doctor within 50 miles and even though Pearl was taken to Salt Lake City for medical care, she did not live. In a little over a year, another son was born but only lived a few days. A year after the baby boy died, I was born. In the next five years two more boys, Stanley and Kenneth, were born. The five surviving children, Ray, Lester, Edna, Stanley and Kenneth grew to adulthood. I believe my parents showed great strength and courage in coping with such tragedy.
We lived in a house on a small ranch near the site of the original Stoll property. We were acquiring more ranch land and raising cattle. For some time during those years my father ran a butcher shop in Rock Springs. He also shipped horses by rail trading them for mules, etc. He also served as a deputy sheriff and water commissioner for many years, continuing even after I was married.
After both their parents had died, William and his brother, George, divided the original Stoll property. My father borrowed money to pay off the other heirs, as I assume his brother did also. The winters were very hard, especially on the cattle. Many ranchers had only hides to sell by spring. As times became harder, much money was borrowed and then the depression hit. A lot of ranches went under, including my father's. His ranch was sold to satisfy debts. It broke all our hearts a little, my father's most of all. I am sure it led to his death at the age of 72.
I remember, when I was a very young child, the men formed a posse to go into the mountains to search for a desperado who had hidden out in a cabin. Word came back that one man had been killed. None of the wives and mothers were sure who the victim was until the posse returned. They had gotten the outlaw. What a relief to the waiting women!
Many years later, after I was married and had two small children, my husband and I came out to the valley in order to prove up on a grazing claim I had filed on before our marriage. We lived in a tent on Cedar Mountain near Sheldon Reservoir while we were building a rude cabin and fencing the land. My brother, Lester, had all the equipment that we needed such as bed rolls, camping equipment, a rifle and a shotgun. One day while we were visiting my parents at their ranch, my father was gathering a posse to go after some horse thieves who had taken horses from the Ross Reed ranch. The posse was going to Cedar Mountain and we said, jokingly, "Why don't you go by our tent? They may be holed up there." We returned to our camp the next day and the first thing we noticed was that the ties on the tent had been cut. It was a real mess! The bedrolls and guns were gone and a suitcase had been opened and dumped out. We called the sheriff in Green River. The thieves were captured near Granger a week or so later. We were called and retrieved all our things. You can bet we locked our door when we moved into the cabin.
Our family all left the country soon after the ranch was sold. I had married Lester Stiteler and lived in Denver where my mother came to live out her life with us. She spent some time each year with one or the other of the boys. She died at the age of 85, but not before she had to endure the deaths of two more of her children, Lester and Kenneth. We had five daughters, the youngest of whom died at the age of 13. Three of our girls live in Denver and one in New Jersey. We have eleven grandchildren.
Ray served in the Navy during World War I and later became a skilled carpenter. He married Pearl Harvey when he was 48 years old. They lived in Denver and Salt Lake City where he died in 1966. He and Pearl had no children.
Lester married Margaret Gamble and they had two children. Lester died in Montana at the age of 41.
Stanley served in the Army during World War II. He worked at a variety of jobs in Wyoming, Montana and Calif. He married twice but had no children. He died in the V.A. hospital in Spokane in 1979.
Kenneth married Grace Switzer and they produced five children. Kenneth was crushed under a car at the age of forty-five.
I have come home (YES, HOME) as often as possible. Everything has changed so much since I grew up here. I still have lots of family living here. Perhaps you don't know it but I am related by blood or marriage to most everyone in the valley. The Sadliers, Gambles, Stolls, Becks and Lambs, to name a few. We have traveled a lot; to Europe, Spain, Israel, Colombia and Hawaii but there is still no place like home.
This is a very brief piece about the Welch family, beginning with Thomas A. and Molly Welch.
Thomas A. and Molly Welch owned and lived on a ranch in Burntfork for many years. They were one of the first settlers in that country. Molly was a Stoll and perhaps will be discussed with that family. They raised three children, William L., Ethel, and John F., had several grand children and great grandchildren.
Son, Willie, married Vivian Stevens Powelson, and they had one son, Tom. They lived on what was called the "Lower Place" part of the ranch and Willie operated a dairy, which was destroyed by fire. They were divorced and Willie married Lillian Vaughan. They lived on what was called the "Gillis Place" with daughter, Fay. Tom was with them some summers, but lived with his grandparents in Green River and attended school there. Tom spent some summer time with his Dad at Blacks Fork at what they called the "Cow Camp".
John F. Welch sold the ranch to the John Briggs family.
Tom A., Molly, and Willie are buried in Green River, Wyoming.
Thomas Welch and Edith Katzmyer were married in Green River, Wyoming in 1942. Tom and Edith had their wedding dance in the old schoolhouse at Burnt Fork with the Sonny Larson orchestra playing the music. They lived in Green River until the beginning of World War II. At that time Tom enlisted in the Marine Corps and served until the end of the war.
Edith lived with her parents. Harry and Florence, on the ranch in Daggett County (near the Sweetwater border) while Tom served overseas. It was while there that Tom and Edith’s daughter, Judy, was born. Upon discharge from the Marine Corps, Tom, Edith and Judy lived in a duplex behind what was, at that time, the McKinnon Store, owned by Glen and Doris Walker. While living there, Tom drove school bus and worked for the Alvin Elmer Lumber Company. They moved from there to Logan, Utah, where Tom attended Utah State University. Their son Bob, was born while living in Logan.
During the Korean War Tom served with the United States Air Force in the United States, Alaska, and Aleutian Islands. For a few months, of that time, Edith, Judy and Bob stayed with Harry and Florence Katzmyer while Judy attended the McKinnon School. She was privileged to have Norma Gamble for a teacher.
Their contact in recent years to the McKinnon area was with Edith's parents, although they and their children, Judy and Bob, lived in Manila, Utah for 11 years. They moved to Salt Lake City in 1964 where Edith now resides. Tom is buried in Salt Lake City.
by Edith Welch (Mrs. Thomas W. Welch)
Clyde Stewart homesteaded in the Burntfork area in the early 1900's. In 1909 Elinore Rupert, a widow with a small daughter, left her work in Denver to become a housekeeper for Clyde Stewart. Shortly after arriving at Burntfork, she filed a claim for 160 acres adjoining Clyde Stewart's land. She married Clyde Stewart six weeks after she arrived here and, as the children arrived, his ranchhouse expanded onto her property. Jerrine Rupert was the small daughter who arrived with her mother.
To quote Jerrine as to her recollections about the ranch, she said, "What was it like? No running water, no toilets or closets, no factory furniture except a stove and no rugs unless you made them yourself. No doctor for 50 miles, no hospital for 65 miles, no cars, no telephones, no medical insurance, no Social Security, no credit cards, and no life insurance".
"The snow got too deep even for a long legged woman like me. You'd look out over those badlands, as barren as the side of that refrigerator over there and wonder why anybody'd live there. But then you'd smell the sage and pine, see the magnificent sunsets, and feel the gentle rain in the valley and the cool, clear nights that were so bracing."
"My own children don't believe me when I tell them how we made our own lard and soap and most of our clothes. I birthed lambs, calves, and colts, ran a plow, mowed hay, milked fourteen cows twice a day -by hand- put up the separator to get the cream and then I'd go out and sell it."
Elinore died in 1933 of a blood clot to the brain after gall bladder surgery. However, before her death she wrote letters to amuse a former employer who was housebound in Denver. The ex-employer got the letters published in the "Atlantic Monthly". Later they were collected into books. These books were "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" and "Letters on an Elk Hunt". "Heartland" was a movie made from "Letters of a Woman Homesteader".
Elinore and Clyde had several children. Clyde Jr. who now lives in Selah, Washington, Calvin and Robert. Robert lived in New Jersey where he owned a construction company. He and Calvin are now deceased.
After the death of her mother, Jerrine stayed on the ranch caring for her father. She left in 1940 to marry Frank Wire of Philadelphia. She remained in Philadelphia the rest of her life.
In 1945 Clyde Stewart sold the ranch and went to live with a son in Montana. Two years later he was dead at 80. He is buried in the Burntfork Cemetery beside his wife, Elinore. His first wife, Cynthia, is also buried there, as is his son, James (Jamie), whose death was portrayed in "Heartland".
The following is a letter written to Edna Stoll Stiteler from Jerrine Rupert Wire when she was about 80 years old. Jerrine was the daughter of Elinore Stewart who was the author of "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" from which the movie "Heartland" was made.
Dear Edna and Lester,
This is a beautiful green and gold day of spring. My fingers itch to work in my yard among the violets and azaleas and dogwood and Iris. Many birds have built nests in our trees. Squirrels scamper about fighting with each other and with my big yellow cat, perhaps discussing the problems of raising big families of mischievous, unheeding squirrel babies! All of the many sounds of mowers and motors and trains and planes make a sort of symphony interrupted by the brash staccato of helicopters and motorcycles and shouting children and noisy dogs. It is, to my mind, music of the purest form, it is life blessed by God’s great love and sunshine. My life slips quietly by and I am not worried by this but deeply thankful that these pleasures are mine to enjoy in old age. I have been blessed all of my 1ife.
Your visit was such a pleasure! My son says he should buy a muzzle to put on me because I talk too much. Buy it he might but put it on me, he never will!
Looking around my "collection" of past thoughts, I found the piece I spoke to you about [MICK] . When you have time read it, don't bother to return it. I just wanted you to know how I saw the neighbors of Burntfork and why I feel angry at the portraits some others paint.
Since seeing you, my Cuban friend, Fidel and his pretty Dominican wife, Myra, visited me, then took me out to dinner. Myra’s mother also came down. We went to a Chinese restaurant. A Cuban, two Dominicans and a French-German trying to make sense out of a Chinese menu! We had a good time anyhow. They tell me that if their baby is a girl they are going to call her Jerrine Hernandez and they invited me to the christening sometime in October. Wow! How the name grows! Cal's daughter, Bud’s daughter and Fidel’s. There are also four Jerrines in the Philadelphia phone book.
I hope your convention went well and that you are rested from your journeys. Anne and Bob are busy in Belgium today, I guess.
Love to you always for the now and for the then days.
"My Wild Irish Rose", the sweet haunting melody floats to my ears and memory swiftly flies back across the years. in fancy I see again the rough two-storied building built of rough-hewn logs hauled from the near by mountains. It is night and cold as all nights are in this high country. The yard around the building Is filled with saddle horses and teams hitched to light wagons and buggies. From the building pours the sound of music, gay and loud and beautiful to the ears of the listeners. Warm yellow light from the kerosene lanterns in the "hall" cut bright slices in the darkness. Inside the families of the ranchers in the remote valley are dressed in their very prettiest and are happily dancing, awkwardly, with much stomping and scraping and whirling. Dancing to old tunes almost forgotten now.
The fiddlers are neighbors who just "picked up" music and who play only a limited number of tunes they all know. The good smell of strong coffee and good cakes, of soap and water and perfume, of tobacco and liquor, and of children, and sagebrush and pine. The great stoves at each end of the hall roar merrily. Little children sleep on quilts and coats on the floor and benches back of the stoves. Older children scamper about or try to learn to dance.
Suddenly there comes the sharp sound of a man banging a stick on the floor of the dance hall. A laugh and knowing look passes quickly along the faces of the crowd. Everyone knows Mick, the lovely Irishman, the village drunk, a bachelor, a very fine smith and mechanic. His frail looking body is in reality a steel wire capable of enduring roughest, hardest labor and bitter cold. His beautiful blue eyes gaze over the crowd as his fogged wits collect themselves. Suddenly he stands proud and tall and poised and waiting. The fiddlers begin his song and from him comes the purest tenor voice singing lovingly, sweetly, "My Wild Irish Rose". The haunting melody lifts the souls of all who hear it from the dull days, the loneliness the disappointments, the ugliness of today’s chores. Their minds soar with the rising notes and trip happily to the lilt of this simple song. They share again the love expressed by the young lover of long ago.
Mick’s weaknesses and faults are gone and he who was never to know real love, stands strong and filled with love and beloved. No one ever broke the spell he cast upon all of us.
by Jerrine Rupert Wire
Charles Stewart Lyle was born in Ohio in 1864. He grew up in Iowa and after traveling through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, he finally settled at Burntfork in 1904.
He lived on what became known as the Kelly Place on Henry's Fork just north of the Anderson ranch. The big barn there is said to have been used by teamsters hauling freight over the Carter Dugway and was a stop over between Fort Bridger and Fort Duchesne. The road from Lonetree went down Henry's Fork and past the Lyle place at one time. The creek’s penchant for moving from one side of its bed to the other has almost entirely obliterated this road.
According to a niece, Charley Lyle was not a cowboy in a cowboy environment. He was a master at fixing things. He earned part of his living by visiting the neighbors to repair clocks, mend kettles, sharpen knives, fix running gear on wagons, mowers, and rakes. He was sometimes called "Tinker Lyle" for his love of tinkering with machinery of all kinds. What could he have done with computers?
Charles married Pearl Aldridge, sister of Herb and Ed Aldridge early day settlers. He left his wife to raise three young children; Richard, 16; Edna, 10; and Elma, 9; when he died in 1926 of tick fever. I don’t know how they managed or what happened to them after this. He and Pearl are buried in the Burntfork Cemetery.
Roy E. Perkins and. Bessie Louise Nelson, born in southwestern Minnesota were united in marriage July 20, 1904 in Chalice, Idaho. From there, they purchased a team of horses, a spring wagon and camping gear. They started traveling in an easterly direction, entering the north entrance of Yellowstone Park. In-route through the Park to the south exit, the bears had robbed of groceries, leaving them in a famished state when they arrived at Dubois, Wyoming. In quest of land for Homesteading to establish a ranch, they proceeded south, crossing the Wind River nine times as there were no bridges; only two track trail-like roads. They received mail and some money at Lander, Wyoming. They inquired concerning homestead land but this area was mainly the Shoshone Indian Reservation. However they were informed of a homestead opening to be held in 1906 in the Riverton, Wyoming area. They proceeded on to Rock Springs where they decided, to stay for the winter. They rented a house built of sandstone blocks in the No. 6 mine area for $3.00 per month. Mr. Perkins continued his search by traveling horseback in the Farson-Evanston area and was led to purchase a small ranch known as the Piper Ranch at Farson. On April 12, 1905 their first son Alfred D. was born. In the spring they moved to the Farson ranch, acquired some cattle and. produced hay for sale. The source, of irrigation water was from the Big Sandy which common to most Wyoming streams was insufficient for maximum hay production. Then too, livestock grazing rights, on the surrounding public domain had already been appropriated by the large livestock interests. Operations of this ranch continued through 1908. During the interim, Clarence N., Dec. 10, 1906, and. Roy B. Jr., Oct. 8, 1908, were born in Rock Springs.
Being informed by Earl Wright that there was homestead land available in the Burntfork area, the Perkins family moved in the spring of 1909 and occupied a small house for a short time on Birch Creek near the present highway crossing.. This place is where John and Delva Hickey McCarthy later lived. The story was that James Mass had been murdered here by an apparent enemy. Since the Burntfork and Lone Tree area were isolated from the railroad towns, they were somewhat removed from identity and authority of the law, resulting in a haven for individual horse thieves or hired killers, to avoid being detected, resulting in some murders in the area. Lawlessness in Wyoming abated, likely the result of the conviction and execution of Tom Horn, a hired killer in 1898.
The Perkins family rented the Zimmer ranch for three years. It was located a few miles up Birch Creek, across the Wyoming border in Daggett County, Utah. They acquired a considerable herd of cattle and Mr. Perkins took the cattle for summer grazing in the Black's Fork area. It was there on the Zimmer ranch that Ruth Bessie was born with Mrs. Don Sadlier as midwife to Mrs. Perkins. Don Sadlier was our nearest neighbor and had lost a leg from an accidental gunshot. While we were there he had appendicitis for which Doctor Tinker of Manila, Utah performed an operation, which was unsuccessful. Also living there was Yankee Meyers whose son, John was pitcher for special event baseball games.
In the interim, Mr. Perkins had purchased underdeveloped land near the Widdop ranch on Spring Creek and in the spring of 1912 moved on this land, having sold the main herd of his cattle before leaving the Zimmer ranch. The buyer of the cattle paid for them with cash including stacks of gold coins. These gold double eagle coins fascinated son, Alfred, seven, who never forgot and that is probably why he has his present collection.
The only evidence of habitation of this land were juniper (cedar) posts, probably set thirty years prior by a homesteader who was advised to leave the country as a result of conflict with the Widdop family. Apparently he’d enlarged their ditch for irrigation water, permissible by law but possibly against the wishes of the Widdops as they thwarted his attempt to obtain water by physically breaking his ditch. In the encounter, while the Widdops were in the process of breaking his ditch, Bill Widdop was shot and Tom Widdop, the son, was wounded. The Widdops were armed, allowing him to claim self-defense. Their ranch was sold to Clark Logan, a single man, and years later sold to David and Ethel Logan.
Mr. Perkins acquired additional land by purchase and a desert claim which was all in a virgin state, requiring clearing of sagebrush and rock plus building of a two and one half mile ditch from Burntfork Creek for a source of irrigation water.
There were the forbidding open spaces of that part of Wyoming to subjugate and permit a family to live. It was a challenge to overcome the many adverse characteristics of undeveloped rocky, arid soil, limited in fertility and a short growing season due to a 7000 foot elevation.
During the winter, Mr. Perkins had built a cabin on Spring Creek to be occupied by the family in the spring of 1912. This was a start but a stupendous task faced the family, i.e. the building of corrals, fences and most important constructing a two and half mile irrigation ditch through rough terrain, followed by removing of sagebrush and rocks from land to be irrigated. Draft horses were expensive and in short supply and rather small (1000 to 1200 pounds) to supply the power needs. There were willing workers available for hire at $l.00 to $1.50 per day, board included. The work of Dave Gillis, Ed Aldridge and Arthur Hallett contributed much to accomplishing the tasks. A Mr. Swink contracted to plow and clear several acres while the ditch was being constructed. He lived in the McKinnon area, his wife was blind and they had several children. While Mr. Swink was in Green River, he obtained a large number of muslin cement sacks and had Mrs. Perkins sew clothing for the children.
Truman Horton, the fourth son was born November 25, 1912 in a one room setting in front of the Stoll house which is south of the highway crossing the Burntfork Creek. Mrs. Perkins had moved from the Spring Creek cabin to be near Grandma Stoll who served as midwife for his birth. She was one of the earliest settlers (1870's) and a fine medical practitioner. She was also midwife for Florence E. born January 1914 in the same location. Two years later Lois M. was born in the cabin on Spring Creek.
The road from Burntfork post office to Lone Tree traversed through land intended for cultivation. The county would not relocate the road, further adding to the burdens of developing the ranch. About two miles of the road required considerable grading along the hill-slopes and the bridging of Spring Creek and a wash. The present highway remains in the same location.
There was free for all open public domain for grazing of livestock but it was over grazed and range losses from straying of cattle amounted to as much as ten percent. Gradually the Perkins ranch accumulated a herd of about two hundred cattle and produced about two hundred tons of hay for winter-feed. The ranch had only flood water rights in the Burntfork Creek, which means it was entitled only to stream flow in excess of prior water rights. A cycle of low precipitation, especially light snow fall in the Uinta mountains resulted in low flows of the streams with below normal hay production resulting in about thirty percent winter loss of cattle during the winter of 1918-19 from starvation.
In the early 1920's the downstream of Birch Creek became polluted with typhoid bacteria resulting in the death of Alvin Hanks and Bessie Heiner with serious illness to other members of the Heiner family as a result of drinking water directly from this stream. Alvin Hanks was the husband of the present Lucille Luke and Bessie Heiner was a delightful young lady anticipating her first year of teaching.
Mr. Perkins was a man of unusual abilities which was recognized by the community as he was frequently visited for his advice pertaining to legal matters. He was justice of the peace, state water commissioner and school board member for many years. During his young years, his father, a District Judge, conveyed to him an understanding of law and legal procedures. He had the ability to read, understand and explain to others legal matters and encourage compromise rather than litigation. He recalled his father advising his clients not to resort to court action if at all possible to avoid it. Therefore he was well accepted as Justice of the Peace for the Burntfork community. He possessed, a couple of volumes of Wyoming State Statues and frequently neighbors in conflict would contact him for advice. He understood legal terms and would read and explain the Wyoming law as it applied to the problem. He prepared legal document, affidavits, filing of complaints, mortgages, notes etc. all as a community service. He held, at one time, a six-man jury trial, involving a conflict between two brothers, both friends of his. Violent occurrences were rare, but one late night, a man was taken to the Perkins house to file assault and battery charges resulting from a quarrel with a relative who hit him with his rifle. He was a gruesome sight with a large scalp wound and blood over his face and clothing. He performed marriages, one a double marriage of two sisters, viz, Lila Gamble to Grover Logan and Madge Gamble to Mr. Stevens. The marriage was performed at the Perkins home.
One of the trustworthy neighbors, Ed Aldridge, a single man decided to get married. Apparently his brother Herbert Aldridge, who had acquired his wife through correspondence, arranged for a woman to marry Ed, since he could not read nor write. Ed arranged to have the ceremony at the Perkins home to be performed by Mr. Perkins early in the afternoon. Everything was in order, hour after hour passed. Finally Ed came walking alone. He was dumbfounded and related that the woman had left during the night. We were sorry for him.
Mr. Perkins was prevailed upon by the community to assume the duties of water commissioner because the people felt that he was the only knowledgeable individual in the community as to state laws concerning water control of the streams. Due to droughts, the water flow in the streams was insufficient for irrigation of all the lands normally irrigated. Priority for the available water supply had to be adjusted by acreage and date of water right filing, resulting in many cases, of no water for the later rights. The Perkins ranch had only a so called flood right, i.e. the flow of Burntfork stream during the summer months were calculated only sufficient for the early water rights. Mr. Perkins had authority, similar to a sheriff, to make arrests for water violations. The matter of irrigation water control came as a surprise to many of the ranchers because in past years they had the liberty to take water from the streams at will. There is nothing that will provoke the ire of a rancher more than loosing his water supply because it results in crop loss. Mr. Perkins was very patient in explaining the necessity of his actions according to Wyoming law, by showing the record of an individual's water right in relation to the earlier rights. However, there were those who would not accept regulation. He did not tell his family of any troubles but they were informed that a rancher ran him from his ditch with a shovel. The next day, with the aid of a young man who grabbed the violent rancher, Mr. Perkins arrested the offender and took him directly to court in Evanston, Wyoming. Another time, Mr. Perkins was threatened that he would be killed if he set foot on this man's place. The next morning at 3:00 a.m., Mr. Perkins walked into this individual's house, arrested him and took him to court. This proved that Mr. Perkins would not be bluffed. He had no further trouble while serving as water commissioner.
The water shed for the Perkins ranch was in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. There was no interstate adjudication of water rights. Those irrigating land in Utah were not controlled, likewise a ditch originating, to irrigate Wyoming land, but heading in Utah was not subject to control because the water use situation was very complex involving several states with streams crossing state lines.
The Burntfork community was not entirely isolated from communication since there was a daily mail route that originated in Mountain View and came to Lone Tree and Burntfork, a distance of thirty-two miles.
The mail and occasionally passengers was transported with a team of horses pulling a light wagon, each starting in the morning from their terminal location and meeting halfway to exchange mail, other contents and perhaps passengers before returning to their starting place. Later after World War I, a motor vehicle was used through.the summer months. The Perkins family looked forward to mail, i.e. letters from relatives, a weekly newspaper from Kansas City, Missouri and a perennial Saturday Evening Post so enjoyably read by Mr. Perkins and the front cover cartoon by Norman Rockwell, an amusement to all members of the family.
The telephone line consisted of two steel wires supported by insulators attached to light wooden poles about every three hundred feet. The interior of most of the poles had been stripped by strikes of lightening. This was a party line, each identified by a series of rings, shorts and longs, originating with a crank on the phone instrument. Everyone knew the news of the community by listening to various phone conversations. The line did not serve well for long distance, at best only about forty miles.
In 1926, Mr. Perkins was awarded a four-year contract for the rural mail route from Burntfork to Mountain View and purchased a 1926 Chevrolet Coupe fitted with box similar to a small pickup, be used through the summer months. The motor vehicles at that time were subject to frequent mechanical troubles, especially steep hills caused axles and differential gears to fall. Mr. Perkins enjoyed the diversion from the ranch as the family members could do the ranch work.
During the winter months, getting the mail through was more of a problem as the route had to be traversed using teams of horses, each starting in the morning from Burntfork and Mountain View, to meet half way and return to their origin, a distance of thirty-two miles each day. The carriages, normally light,.spring wagons, were not readily being manufactured. Mr. Perkins resorted to the use of the rear gear, i.e. the back two wheels of a regular wagon fitted with a box and a tongue with hitching gear for a team of horses. The high wheels permitted less craft, i.e. pulling easier than regular light wagon. The remark was made that it reminded him of the ancient gladiators of ancient Rome. Two teams of horses were required at each end of the route, alternating them each day since the horses could not endure the thirty-two mile trip day in and day out. The operations continued smoothly as extra horses were kept to replace those afflicted with lameness or sore shoulders. The carts were durable but occasionally a steel tire would break due to cristilation as a result of the hammering over rocks and frozen ruts.
There was some resentment on the part of existing settlers when the Perkins family moved into the Burntfork area because of fencing of a part of the outside range used by the settler's livestock, especially milk cows that supplied their milk needs. Then there was the matter of barbed wire fencing which Mr. Perkins introduced. Existing fences were of the buck and pole type or the worm type built entirely of poles, requiring no nails. The bucks required mortising of two pieces of log or pole materials to form acute angles, which were nailed together at the mortised area. The bucks were stood upright at a distance of fourteen to sixteen feet apart to which three or four poles were nailed.
The barbed wire fences required less labor as there was a good supply of juniper (cedar) trees growing in the foothills from which posts could be chopped and set in the ground about two feet and spaced a rod (16 ½ feet) apart to support four or five barbed wires. Horses were vulnerable as they were prone to run into these fences resulting in injuries. Special precaution was taken in certain areas where range horses traveled to water and from one area to another, by flagging with rags, tree bows or placing stays between fence spans. Then there were no noticeable injuries to range horses. Soon other settlers started using barbed wire for fencing and the resentment of original settlers abated.
Generally neighbors and people living within the perimeter of the community appeared to be honest, but due to large losses of cattle, sometimes up to ten percent, it was surmised that some were stolen or butchered by the outside fringe of settlers.
Declining precipitation through the 1920's and more demand for the stream flows resulted in a yearly shorter irrigation water supply which decreased hay production needed for wintering of cattle. In 1929, the Perkins cattle herd were sold, to be replaced by sheep through the 1930’s.
The ranching venture was beset with hard work, uncertainties and disappointments but the primary purpose of the Perkins parents was to raise their family of seven children to be good citizens and make a worthy contribution to society. In doing so they emphasized the importance of a good education. In order to accomplish this it was necessary for the family to go to a town where further educational facilities were available. Ruth and Florence attended the Mountain View, Wyoming High School where Ruth graduated. Alfred and Roy went to Evanston High school where they both graduated. There now were several of the children ready to go to college resulting in Mrs. Perkins moving the family to Laramie, Wyoming. There were four of the children received Bachelor Degrees plus Masters or Masters Equivalent.
Truman remained on the ranch with his father, a difficult period in the 1930's with wool at ten cents per pound and lambs at four and one half cents. More land and range were required as the herd increased, but with perseverance, the outlook was promising. Through the W.P.A. the Hoops Lake Reservoir was built and all the shares possible were acquired for the Perkins ranch but the family help to rehabilitate the fields, which had not been irrigated for many years, had left. World War II was brewing and Truman was of the prime age to be drafted. It was more than Mr. Perkins could for see continuing, resulting in the exchange of the ranch for a fifteen-unit apartment property in Ogden, Utah in 1939.
Our fate was common to the pioneers of the west, a worthy experience was gained by all members of the family. We learned to work and manage our future destiny. Our parents have passed on but all members of the Perkins family are living and can give a good accounting for their place in society.
By Ruth (Perkins) Sandberg. 1983.
This following related by Alfred:
While my father and I were gathering cattle in the area, we stopped to visit Herbert Aldridge, his wife and baby girl. They insisted we have dinner with them, a very nice meal. They appeared to be very comfortable, but soon thereafter Mrs. Aldridge gave birth to a boy and sadly she passed away as a result of the childbirth.
The first school in this country was at the George Stoll Sr. place. This school was a log cabin built by Mr. Stoll and was west of Orson Behunin's house. It was situated on a little island on Burntfork Creek just north of where the present bridge crosses. George Stoll Sr. was the first teacher and the Stoll children were the only white children as the rest were Indians. As Mr. Stoll came to this country in 1867, this school was established at some time after that.
As the white population infiltrated, another schoolhouse was built. This school was about a quarter mile east of the present building (now gone) at Burntfork and it too, was on the north side of the road, east of the Welch Spring. Judge Hereford was the second schoolteacher. He and Mr. Stoll alternated as teachers until 1888 when Lillian MacDougal came to Burntfork to teach. She married George Stoll Jr. in 1890 and taught until about 1892.
Sometime during the a-fore-mentioned period, Phil Mass, who came to this country in 1862 and settled on Henry's Fork, hired a tutor for his four boys and five girls. The tutor was William Pearson.
The third school was on Birch Creek somewhere on the Lloyd Anderson ranch. At that time Charles Vincent owned the place. People are in doubt as to who the teacher was in that school but it was believed to have been William Pearson. Willie Welch talked of attending this school in his early years when his family still lived on Henry's Fork. He spoke of riding his horse across Henry's Fork several times to reach the school at a time when his saddle and gear on his horse weighed more than he did.
The fourth school in this country was in Utah on the B. Gamble ranch with Mr. Gamble as the teacher. A Mrs. Katterson was the next teacher. This building was at the corner of the old B. Gamble ranch house and has since been torn down. Earl Gamble started school there around 1897. H. E. MacMillin was a teacher there at one time.
The fifth school was built at the site of Mel Behunin's cabin about 1900. This was used until 1924 when the building burned down. Among the teachers at that school were, H. E. MacMillin, Molly Listrom, Grace Hathaway, Miss Muir, who was a sister of Walter Muir, Monroe Ashton, Mary Graham, Amaza Davidson, Pat Murphy, Delilah Decker and Ruth Hardin who was the teacher when the building burned.
Many children attended this school. The children who probably rode farthest were the Sadlier children, Claude, Clara and Pearl, who rode horseback from the Ike place above the old Gamble ranch. The Lamb children, Archie and Dewey, rode from the Beck place to Burntfork and Willie Welch rode from Henry's Fork. Geraldine Fish rode from the Fish place, Mae and Kim Bullock from the Herman Olsen place and the Gardiner children walked to school from a place under the hill from Earl Hank's present home.
All of the students walked or rode horseback and many of them carried their lunch in a five-pound lard bucket. The subjects taught were reading, writing from copybooks, physiology, spelling, history and geography. Spelling matches were held every other Friday and ciphering matches on the alternate Fridays.
After this building burned, school was held in the "Old Hall" until the new building was completed in 1925. Carpenters on the building were Gus Youngberg, August Gustavson and Mr. Oaks who boarded at the George Stoll Jr. ranch. The lumber was hauled from Carter by Earl Gamble.
Lucille Hanks Luke was the first teacher in the new building. Some of the other teachers there were Etta Katzmyer, Jessie Chipp, Anna Angelovic, Ruth Perkins, May Branson, Glen Walker, June Landis, Norma Buckles Gamble, Lyda Husman, Mrs. Ruble and Mrs. Liggett. That school was consolidated with McKinnon in the late forties.
According to a history of schools compiled by the McKinnon High School history class of 1931, the first school in McKinnon was on the lower end of the Smith place. In checking further I found that this was on the J. J. Swink place. Swinks lived at what is now the Tex Dorman place north of the McKinnon Store. The schoolhouse was west of the Swink house and east of Eli Slagowski's home. Corabelle Smith was the first teacher. This first school dates back sometime prior to 1914.
There was a school at what is now the Bob Briggs place. Adell Meyers was one of the teachers there. One was below Bob Briggs place and Erma Collett Slade taught there. Another school was at what is now Dale Briggs home. This was the Logan home then. Sadie Chandler Lazzell taught there as did her sister, Guzzie Chandler.
Another school was the old red schoolhouse which was built around 1916. This was at the site of the present L.D.S. church. There were apparently two schools being conducted at the same time in the McKinnon area. One was down on Henry's Fork near the Briggs place and the other in the red schoolhouse. Minutes of 1919 show that there was a consideration of consolidation of these two schools.
Teachers in 1919 at the red schoolhouse were John A.Vance and T. S. Anderson. In 1920 teachers were John Vance and Mrs. Levar Anderson. Mrs. Cliff Anderson taught there in 1921 as did Etta Katzmeyer. Leonard Christenson taught as did Lowell Merrill and Mrs. Clarence Hickey.
In 1925 the school board met with Gus Youngberg to draw up plans for the new school. Apparently this school was completed in 1926. That building was used until 1971 and served as a church, dance hall, basketball court, and general-purpose building until the present church was built.
Early teachers were: Veloy Terry, Mae Terry, Rowena Anderson, Val Anderson, Evelyn Daniels, Bessie Heiner, Opal Walker, Louella Blackner and Lucille Luke.
It is interesting to note that Erma Collett Slade who taught in the Henry's Fork area in the 1920’s had a daughter Anna Collett Smith who taught at McKinnon in the 1940’s.
McKinnon School District #14 was consolidated with Green River in about 1957. For many years McKinnon had had a two-year high school which was discontinued about this time. Since then grades one through eight have been maintained. At one time four teachers were employed in this district as the student enrollment was 89 students.
Some of the students who went to school with Jim Slagowski were: Carrie Pearson, Fred and Bill Swink, Charlie and Ruby Richardson, Ivan and Marion Bingham, Lucille, Lovina and Eva Smith, Monte Swift, and Lela and Vivian Slagowski.
It was at Coon Hollow School that one of the most outstanding teachers of the region began his career.
Neils Pallesen came from Denmark to the United States in 1889 and attended Nebraska State Teacher’s College. He taught at Coon Hollow in 1905 where he met and married one of his students, Dora Pearson.
They moved to Manila after Mr. Pallesen taught at Lonetree for a year or so. He taught at the State Line School. He retired from teaching to become a rancher, storekeeper and postmaster in the Old Hall in Manila, was one of the first Daggett County Commissioners, and served as clerk of the school board in Manila until his death in 1941. Mr. Pallesen was an astute businessman.
Neils and Dora raised eight children: William "Billy", Wilbur, Mildred, Delbert, Bonnie, Doral, Allen, and Forrest.
Few men have given more devoted support to the cause of public education than did Neils Pallesen.
Eli Ephriam Slagowski was born in 1880 in St. George, Utah, the second son of Xcenerius Franciscus and Rosina Rindlesbaucher Slagowski. He went to school up to the eighth grade, which is equivalent to a high school education now. He was very talented in arithmetic and he loved to read books. I can remember seeing him up most of the night trying to finish reading a book or novel by the light of a coal oil light.
Uncle Ben, Eli's older brother, came to Manila, Utah in 1898 to teach school. The rest of the family came to the Bridger Valley in about 1900. Doyle said Dad told him that he walked and drove a bunch of sheep from Beaver to Manila. The Merchants were already living in Manila. That's where Eli and Susie Mae Merchant were married in 1901.
In the early part of his marriage he built a cabin up at Coon Hollow so the children could attend school. At that time Jim, Lela, Vivian and Della were in school. We went to several small schools that were held in log houses up and down Henry's Fork. We would ride horseback to and from school carrying our lunches and books and we had many good times during our school days.
Dad took over the homestead of 160 acres that Uncle Ben had filed on Henry's Fork. We were raised there as a family. Dad built a two-room cabin on the creek bottom with a bunkhouse for the boys to sleep in. He had a new home started up to the square when the flood of 1918 hit. It filled the old house with mud and floated the new house away. He and the family went to the mountains with wagons, horses, and cows to get the logs out to build another house. He built up on a hill this time.
We always had a good garden, potato patch, milk cows, and chickens. He would take the wagon to Vernal every fall for apples, melons and honey. At one time he had sixty Hereford cattle and he traded them for sheep which was a terrible mistake. He would work for the sheep men hauling corn from Green River with a wagon and two teams. It took two days to go in and two days to come back. He also worked at a sawmill on Phil Pico when Jim was little. He worked for Keith Smith in the summer at Linwood as a ranch foreman to put up the hay. He was boss on the McKinnon Canal when they built the Beaver Meadows Reservoir. He was also ditch rider on the canal for two years. He was very ill in the summer of 1927 when he had typhoid fever from drinking from a polluted stream.
My parents belonged to the LDS church but we couldn't always attend even after more saints moved into the area and organized the ward here. Mother was bedfast for several years before she died in 1929 and my father had quite a struggle with the many pressures of raising nine children, having a sick wife and without adequate means. Four of us were still home when mother died. I was sixteen, Floyd was thirteen, Eugene was ten and Leo was only seven. My father was always there at night with the house warm and clean when we got home from school, which I appreciated very much.
Of the three girls and six boys, which they raised on Henry's Fork, only three stayed in the immediate area. I married Orson Behunin and we finally owned the old Will Stoll ranch on Burntfork. Doyle married Fon Potter and they raised their family at Washam near Manila. Della married Ronnie Harris and they acquired my father's place and lived there and raised their children on the old homestead. This property still belongs to Della and Ronnie’s children. The other children were James, Lela, Vivian, Floyd, Eugene and Leo.
My father died of cancer of the kidneys in 1942. He is buried beside my mother in a graveyard in McKinnon, Wyoming not far from my home.
by Christena Slagowski Behunin
John A. and Lucinda Sanderson Anderson had a successful profitable life in the small town of Fairview, Utah where they raised sheep. They had built and lived in a beautiful, five bedroom, modern brick home where Cindy raised her children with room for other family members for various lengths of time. John A. was a successful sheep man ranging his herds from Sanpete County to the West Desert. Cliff, as the oldest son, was a great help to his father spending months away from home with the herders or being Mother's right hand man when his father was with the sheep.
When the Homestead Act of 1915 opened land opportunities John sent Cliff and his half brother, Hy, to Evanston to file on this "free" property as he needed more, better sheep range. They went to Evanston, filed from a plat in the land office and returned to Fairview without ever seeing this country. Cliff extracted a promise from his father that if he came here, he'd not move his mother out of her lovely home .
In the summer of 1916 Cliff and Hy came out to "prove -up" on their adjoining homesteads. Cliff was chagrined to find that his land description didn't include the land his spring was on but the water was his. He spent that summer with the Charles Terry family earning the materials to build his two room cabin and getting to know the people of the area. He talked of baseball games with the boys from Burntfork and chivarees and dances he attended. He spent that winter on the West Desert with the sheep getting back to Fairview right after Christmas. When an epidemic of some kind closed the schools for a couple of weeks in February, he and his sweetheart, Roena Day, decided not to wait until summer to be married. They traveled to Manti with her mother and were married in the Manti temple Feb. 7, 1917. When school reopened, Roena went back to the classroom and Cliff went back to the desert.
In June of that year they loaded their belongings into a wagon, hitched up a good looking team and, pulling a small buggy and leading Cliff's saddle horse, they headed for Wyoming. It took them over a week to make the trip but they were young, in love, and really planned to stay in Wyoming only long enough to gain title to their land, sell it and move on. It seems strange that they who didn't start out to stay last all their lives while some who planned to sink roots here weren't able to.
Cliff was not pleased when his father uprooted his mother, sold his holdings and home in Fairvlew to buy the Beach Place from Joe Duncan and move the family here. He recognized the potential for the area but was well aware of the monumental difficulties to be overcome before water could be channeled to the land.
John A. believed that the life giving water was in the mountains and could be used to irrigate their fields, when they got some. He was a small man physically but the work he could do and the dreams he could dream were prodigious.
Both set to work with their neighbors, teams and scrapers and the Beaver Meadow Reservoir and the Interstate Canal came into existence. This was only possible because of the cooperation, dedication, determination and sweat of every man in the community. Cliff and John A. were both right. Water could be obtained and it was truly a gargantuan task.
John A. and Cindy were 55 and 48 years old when they came to this area in 1920. They moved here with Eva, Lyle, Les, Von, Jessie and Bob. Buena, the oldest daughter, married Squires Tillotsen that year.
Cindy had problems having twelve children and her hearing loss became more pronounced with each pregnancy. By the time they moved here she was completely deaf but was so adept at reading lips that you forgot she couldn't hear as she was able to follow most conversations with ease. Crowds were harder for her but she kept up with the whole world as it came to her door. It wasn't easy for her to come from relative affluence to a lonely waterless plain and leave four small graves in Fairvlew. Taking care of Von who had cerebral palsy and providing meals, clothes and beds for the rest of her family under primitive conditions would have had most of us bemoaning our fate, wringing our hands and quitting. But not this tiny, great lady. I didn't get to know her but a few years before her death but I truly appreciate the example she showed me of true grit and a genuine enjoyment of her family. She loved babies and children and their noise, of course, did not bother her. Her grandson, Chester, swore that she could TOO hear. When he, Von, Les, and Bob tried to tell jokes in Von's store, Grandma would come to the door and tell them that kind of talk wasn't necessary. She was always ready to feed, clothe or bed down anyone down on his luck.
Cliff and Roena started their family soon after coming here. They had four boys; Chester, Kent, Allen, and Morris, and one girl, Beverley before they lost their second son, Kent, at 7 years at Primary Children's Hospital of heart trouble. They welcomed two more boys, Keith and Lloyd, and their tag-a-long daughter, Cherri, ten years after Lloyd.
Roena taught school off and on for many years and, when teachers would fail to show up in the fall or be let go in the middle of the year, she was able to take over. She spoke of teaching unexpectedly when Allen was a baby and riding a horse up to Grandma's to nurse him at noon. When she wasn't teaching, she was on the school board or otherwise involved. She was instrumental in instituting hot lunches and a two-year high school so the kids needn’t leave home quite as young as they had had to do. Her music was the very air she breathed but education's for her children were as necessary as eating.
Many were the dances attended but not to dance! She played for most of the dances with whomever else was available; Fred Stoll, Archie Lamb, the Terry children, the Heiner children. (I'm sorry, I don't know who else.) Archie Lamb talked to me once of playing with her and had only one fault to find; she HAD to have the music before her. He played by ear but she was never able to memorize music, although able to play anything put before her. She spoke of playing in the old hall at Burntfork when she and the piano would slowly work their way to the middle of the room and the men would band together to push them back against the wall. I can almost see her sliding across the floor, still playing? Her short gnarled fingers had truly mastered the ivories.
All of their boys saw military service in World War II or the Korean conflict but returned safely to continue their educations and find jobs in their diverse fields. Chester in wild life management with the Game and Fish, Allen to design dams and water projects for the Bureau of Reclamation, Keith to design and work with airplanes at Boeing and the FFA and Morris and Lloyd to stay in the country and work with horses and ranching. Bev became a top-notch secretary and Cherri a compassionate registered nurse.
After losing money on cattle his first year out here, John A., Hy, and Cliff went back to what they really knew - sheep. In a cattle era on traditional cattle range they prospered. The browse the old ewes found here opened some minds to the fact that sheep and cows prefer different kinds of feed and that the two could be run simultaneously. (Lloyd’s only problem with having both was that he had to go to twice as many meetings.) They took turns herding their band of sheep on land purchased or homesteaded on Phil Pico and grazing rights controlled by the BLM. Hy sold out after a few years and went back to Utah but John, his son. Lyle, Cliff and his boys provided most of their early work force.
John built a nice two story home, which didn’t compare with the brick home in Fairview because of the lack of amenities available to them, but was great for its time and place. Unfortunately this home burned in 1941 leaving them homeless at ages 75 and 70 but grateful for their lives and the lives of their boys, Von and Les. It should have been enough to make one bitter but they persevered, moved another cabin in, added on, and went back to life as it was handed to them. (Granddaughter Kay and David Potter still live in this "new" house)
Grandpa's potato patch and garden was a pleasure as well as a necessity. He was a fine family man always feeding the youngest child from his plate at meals. I know he taught Jamie to chew on her fingers as a baby by sticking her fingers in her mouth, into the sugar bowl, and back into her mouth. Not, perhaps, sanitary but a satisfying experience for young and old alike.
John A. and Cindy continued to live in Coon Hollow and run their sheep with the help of their daughter, Jessie, and her husband, Crystal Youngberg, until 1959 when John died after an illness of only 10 days at age 94. Eighteen months later Cindy followed him at 88. They are buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Cliff worked hard tending sheep, irrigating, fencing and improving their lot. Roena gave piano lessons, raised a garden, sewed all her own and most of her children's clothes and kept her family clean and fed. They were both active in church and community activities. Cliff flew to Washington to help secure the RTA loan so telephone service could be expanded and improved. He was president of Union Telephone Co. for many years, was on the BLM advisory board,. County Fair Board, and both were school board members at different times. Roena was recognized statewide by receiving the 1955 Quealy Award from the state Homemaker's Organization.
In 1946 they purchased the Heiner property. They were both close to fifty years old when they undertook this huge debt and most of their kids were gone from home. They did it! They never quit. for ten years later they bought the Ringdahl sheep outfit with their sons, Morris and Lloyd, and assumed an even bigger debt. Morris left in 1960 to work on the dam and later for Mt. Fuel. Cliff and Lloyd ran the sheep outfit successfully until 1966 when they sold it to Ray Cook and Lloyd bought his father's shares in the outfit.
Cliff and Roena retired to Green River. Trips to Hawaii to visit Keith, a People to People tour of South America, Stockgrowers and Telephone conventions and Fair Board duties kept them both young. They retired, but not to rest. Cliff joined the Lion's Club and was on the advisory board for construction of the new County Courthouse. Roena belonged to a Homemaker's Club and Reading Club as well as their continued participation in Church activities.
Cliff died in 1974 at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer. Roena lost her hearing and had problems with her sight before she died in 1989 just days before her 94th birthday. They are buried in Green River Cemetery.
We salute these four people and appreciate their hard
work. We WILL remember them.
There are many stories of how Coon Hollow got its name but no one really knows for sure. When my father, John A. Anderson, bought the Beach place there was a little log cabin between two willow trees and we were told that it was where a Negro had lived who was hunting for gold.
It was said that Sam Smith named it this because' there were so many prairie dogs or ground squirrels in the Hollow that he called them coons and he called the place Coon Hollow. He camped at the spring on the Beach place before William Beach took it up as a homestead.
Another story is that William Beach had a Negro working for him by the name of Turner. He was said to have hunted for the loot from a Union Pacific train robbery in about 1898. Some think $85.000 in gold coins was hauled off in U.P. buckets and brought out here. A bucket was found at Doud’s hole, but others have searched at Beaver Creek, Long's Park and even around Carter Dugway. No one knows whether he found it or not as he later disappeared.
However it got its name. Coon Hollow it was for quite a number of years.
William Beach homesteaded in Coon Hollow in 1897. The only water available to him was seeps and a canyon spring. Joe Duncan bought this place in 1913 and was one of the first sheep men in this area. The Duncans were the objects of quite a bit of harassment at the hands of the cattlemen. Some of his sheep were shot in the corral and a sheep wagon was burned.
When my father, John A. Anderson, bought the Beach place from Joe Duncan in 1920 there were but twelve acres under cultivation for that was all the water there was. He worked very hard helping build the Beaver Meadows Reservoir and on the Interstate Canal which we still use to water our fields.
At one time the main traveled road went through our place and travelers would camp overnight at the spring. Crystal's father has told us of camping there many times as he traveled to Manila or was hauling lumber. The road then went on up the canyon through the east groves and down around Cedar Point to the Dallas and Fouman places where there was a store and post office.
Cliff and Roena had taken up a homestead and so were here to live on our place and take care of Dad's registered cattle while they worked on their homestead fences, etc. Lyle lived with them and both Lyle and Cliff worked on the dam and canal construction. Roena taught school and boarded the other teacher, Mr. Vance.
In the early 1900's a Mr. Jessen had come into the country and found that it had lots of possibilities. He searched and found that Sheep Creek could be carried along the mountainside in a canal to take water into the valley where Manila is now. He believed the soil was adapted to alfalfa so he named the valley Lucerne Valley. He and two other fellows with capital formed the Lucerne Valley Livestock Co., bought the Finch horse ranch and hired a contractor to complete a canal from Connor Basin to Birch Springs Ranch. It was this ranch and project that lured all the people from Beaver and Sanpete County, Utah to come to this area in the first place. The pictures of the grass so high and thick and cattle in grass up to their stomachs on the pastures were very enticing but a bit misleading. I don’t know where the pictures came from for they certainly didn't show the country in its true state.
After seeing what the Lucerne Valley Livestock Co. had to offer, many of the original immigrants moved up country and homesteaded on the bench at the foot of Phil Pico. They decided that water could be obtained from the mountains and made quite a settlement, which became known as Terry Town. "Daddy" Terry, Charlie Terry, Uncle Tommy Anderson, Mont and Arch Pulham, Uncle Hy Anderson, the Stokers, and Cliff and Roena were some of the first settlers here.
As these were LDS people they soon organized a Sunday School and would meet each week in the different homes. When Stake officers came in 1918 from Woodruff and Randolph to organize a Ward, it was suggested that they build a church in Terry Town by the spring above Cliff’s where the school now gets its water. The "new" town was to be called Mountain Home.
It was later decided that the school and church should be together and, as there were students coming from Birch Creek, the present location was decided upon. The name of the town was then changed to McKinnon in honor of one of the church officers from Woodruff.
Other people who were here or came at about this same time (1915 - 1920) were Lukes, Heiners, Ben Stewarts, Sim, Harold and Phil Brady, Warbys, Tripletts, Nelsons, Smiths, Aldridges, Slagowskis, and Boyntons.
We held church in the schoolhouse for what seemed like forever before we finally got the chapel built and dedicated in 1957. All former Bishops were present at the dedication except for Alphonzo Terry who was deceased at the time. The former Bishops were Arch Pulham, J. Alphonzo Terry, Mont A. Pulham, Alden White, Glen T. Walker. Reulon Anderson, and Crystal Youngberg who was Bishop at that time.
by Jessie Anderson Youngberg
I was about twelve years old when McKinnon came into being and about thirty-eight when I left there. It was at McKinnon that I grew to womanhood, married and had eight of our nine children. My childhood was happy; my parents the best, good and sometimes bad brothers, horses to ride, singing to enjoy, piano lessons, dances, girl friends and a lot of good church activities. At first we walked to school then rode horses and later went in horse drawn wagons.
I found a good husband there. He had to work for the railroad in Green River part of the time during our first years of married life but eventually we made our homestead into a productive farm where we raised potatoes, hay and grain, some good horses, sheep, etc. Because we had a family we wanted to educate without sending the children away from home, in 1944 we sold everything to Cliff Anderson and moved our family to Roosevelt, Utah.
However we claim that some of our dearest friends that we knew so well, that helped us in sickness and in health whom we loved and had such good times with, especially in the old Pine Grove there in McKinnon, we enjoyed our lives there but will have to say though it was hard to pull up stakes and leave McKinnon, we have had no desire to return. We learned how to work, how to cooperate and hope we have contributed something of value to that community.
Now regarding my parents, known as Uncle Tommy and Aunt Lucy. They were among the first people to locate in McKinnon. They worked hard and built a good home there. We had raspberries, gooseberries, currants, plenty of milk and butter, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, a beef and a veal occasionally, sugar cured pork and Momma’s good cooking. We lived well though we were a little hungry in the first years. I do not like gravy. We had to practically live on it during the first years that were lean and full of hard work. My parents did a good job. Papa was one of the main stays in the irrigation company. He was ward clerk for many years. Mother worked in the Relief Society with compassionate service to all, made many much needed quilts, and was always on hand in emergency, when there was a new baby or sickness of any kind.
My parents were Daniel M. Nelson and Sarah Warby Nelson of pioneer descent. Father’s parents came from Scotland but he was American born. Mother was born in Sidney, Australia but left her native country when nine days old to come to the United States with her parents. I was born in Beaver, Utah, January 32, 1889 and lived there until I was 17.
My mother died when I was seven years old leaving father with six children to raise, therefore I never knew what a mother's real love was. Mother died of childbirth and the baby died soon after. Father soon remarried to my mother's sister and, as they had 13 children on top of the six in our family, there wasn't much fun in our childhood. We were too busy making a livelihood.
The most pleasure I had when a child was robbing magpie and blackbird nests. Some of the neighbor's children would go with my two brothers, my sister and I and we would also gather wild flowers for decoration day that we enjoyed doing very much. The summer I was thirteen I went to visit my uncle and aunt, Sam and Maryhanna Warby, on North Creek. On Sunday he hitched up his team to a wagon that had a woodrack on it and drove over to his brother's place to get a load of hay. His wife and children and I went along. When we returned home he asked me to get down off the load and open the corral gate so he could drive in. There were some cattle in the corral and I was frightened of them, so when I got the gate opened, I tried to climb back on the wagon. In doing so I got my foot caught in the wheel. I screamed, "Uncle Sam! Uncle Sam!" but he thought I was frightened of the cattle and kept on going. When he stopped, my leg was drawn around the wheel. He had to back the wagon to release me. He said if he had gone a foot farther it would have taken my leg off. He rushed me to town to my grandfather's place. Father came, but he did not believe in doctors so he wouldn't consult one and the consequences were that I was on crutches for months and left a cripple for life. I have walked on my toes as that leg was shorter.
Being in poor circumstances, my father and oldest brother worked for wages most all the time. We had a small ranch and it fell to my lot to take care of the irrigating. The soil was sandy loam and I was irrigating on a side hill where alfalfa had been planted. Father cautioned me not to leave it a minute or it would wash a hole down through the patch. I thought it was safe for a little while so I went to get my dinner and when I came back, it had washed a gully down through the patch. I was afraid father would punish me so I started packing dirt by the shovel full to fill the hole up, never stopping to think that he could see the large hole I was making and would know what had happened. That evening when he came home and out to where I was, he looked at the hole and then at the place I had filled and said, "Well, you did a good job of it." I didn't know whether he meant in filling up the gully or digging such a hole. Was I ever scared! But he said no more. That started my career in irrigating and it turned out to be one of my hobbies. I loved to irrigate and prided myself in seeing what a good job I could do.
I received what education I have the hard way having to walk three miles to school and back every day through all kinds of weather. I was deprived of church activities as father thought where we had to walk every day to school, that was enough. Not being taught religion in the home. we never realized what we were missing. I wasn't baptized and confirmed a member of the Church until I was thirteen.
The winter before we immigrated to Lucerne Valley, known now as Manila, Daggett County, I attended school at North Creek living with Uncle Sam Warby and family. It was there I met my future husband and that winter was the first time in my life that I knew what real pleasure was. I had never been permitted to go to dances or join others in their sports. We would attend Sunday School in the schoolhouse in the forenoon and then my sister and I would join the crowd to play baseball in the afternoon. I thought I was quite a professional ball player in those days but I really did get a lot of pleasure out of playing ball and having the privilege of associating with other young people.
I became engaged to my husband just before leaving Beaver to go with my folks to Lucerne Valley. We left Beaver July 20, 1896 by team and wagon driving our livestock along with us. There were seven wagons in the company and 250 head of livestock. It fell to my lot to drive one of the wagons the entire trip of over 400 miles. Alvin came along with us to assist with the cattle. It took us almost a month, until August 16, to make the trip which became very tiresome. We arrived at Fillmore, Utah, on July 24th just as they were forming their parade for their Pioneer Day celebration. They wanted us to join them but the men declined as it would be hard on our livestock and teams as we knew we had a long journey before us. On arriving and looking over the valley, some were so disgusted they wanted to turn around and go back. After considering things a while they decided to stick it out.
Many a hardship was encountered until some dirt roof and dirt floor rooms could be built to house the Company until spring when they could get their land selected and houses built. We lived in a dugout that had been built in the side of the hill. My stepmother, being a great knitter, had a hard time keeping track of her knitting as the pack rats were very numerous.
We were the first white settlers in the valley. All up and down Henry’s Fork there were half breeds as the white men had married squaws but nicer people you never met. There were a few white families around what was known as Burntfork, Wyoming and one family at the main Company's ranch known as Birch Springs. There was a dance hall at Burntfork twenty miles away where we would attend dances, going by way of team and wagon or on horseback. The music consisted of a violin, banjo or guitar. It was customary in those days to see the men in high heel boots with a six shooter strapped around their middles and a bottle of whiskey sticking out of their Levi pockets. We would dance all night long, having a midnight lunch furnished by the ladies.
The next spring after arriving in the Valley the men started building homes on their homesteads. Father erected a two-room house. One room, which we used for the kitchen and dining room combined was quite a large room and was of times used to dance in. We would pile everything outside to make room to dance. Many a night was spent in this manner. There was a man, James Reed, who played the violin and the menfolks would haul him a load of wood or a load of cedar posts to pay him for playing for the dances.
It was in this house that Alvin and I were married December 28, 1897. At that time there was no county seat and we had to do all our business in Vernal, Utah. Our marriage license was obtained through the Justice of the Peace, George D. Solomon, who performed the wedding ceremony. We were the first couple married in the Valley. People came from far and near to eat, drink, and be merry. A table loaded with eats and a coffeepot on the stove for all those that cared to drink it. Of course in those days the men had their drink on the side and it flowed freely. What a time every one enjoyed! It lasted three days and nights.
We had started a house but didn't get it finished until after our marriage. It being some distance from where we were married, we would both pile on an old gray horse named Dap and go work on our house until it was finished enough so that we could live in it. A dirt roof, rough lumber for flooring and a flour sack for a window, but a happier couple you never saw. Just prior to our marriage Alvin gave me $10 and took me to a store up to Lonetree, about 36 miles. With that ten I bought a lovely piece of calico to make my wedding dress, and had enough money left to buy cooking pans, knives, forks, and spoons, and some dishes. We lived in this house until the following spring and then moved down on Henry's Fork and worked for Mrs. Shade Large that summer. In the fall we moved onto Sam Warby's ranch. Our first child, Lucille, was born that winter. We lived there two years while building a home on the homestead we had filed on near Linwood, Utah. In order to get water for it we made a canal out of Henry's Fork known as the Peoples Canal. Each stockholder working out his share on the Canal. By this time we had a child five months old. We pitched our tent and went to work with pick and shovel making the canal. We had a bed made in a dry goods box with a cover over it for Lucille. I would pick a bunch of dirt down and while Alvin was shoveling it out, I would knit, as in those days I knit all his socks. We worked in that way until the canal was completed. Then we built us a home on our ranch. The canal wasn't a very good success as it was built for several miles along a steep hillside and when they turned the water in it would cause the hillside to slide off. It wasn’t a success for a number of years. We finally decided to dispose of the ranch. While we were living there our second child, Lovina, was born. also in December.
One day Alvin went up to visit my uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Twitchell. While he was away there came up a terrible thunder and lightning storm that ended up in a cloud burst. There was a deep wash between Alvin and home and he had to stay until the water subsided so he could cross to get home. When he arrived about twelve o’clock he found me and the two babies tucked under a tarpaulin I had placed over the bed, after shifting the bed to the middle of the room trying to find a dry spot. Our house had a dirt roof and one can imagine what a mess we were in.
Not long after that Alvin went to clerk in a store owned by Keith Smith and M. N. Larsen called the Smith and Larsen Mercantile Co. in Linwood. This left the children and me alone during the day with stock to drive a mile to water each day. I would place the baby in a rocking chair and tell Lucille not to touch her, but if she woke up, to rock her gently until I came back. When I returned she would be sitting there in her little chair beside the baby just as I had left her and the baby still sleeping. I would drive the stock down to the water, water my pony and hit for home as fast as I could drive the stock as it worried me so to leave my babies there alone and not a neighbor within two miles. Lucille was so good to mind I was sure she would do as I had asked her.
We lived there for a while then moved up to Manila where I was appointed Postmaster, a position I held for two years. While living in Manila the first Relief Society was organized with Maude Wall as president and I was chosen as her first counselor, a position I was very proud of. I was then about 26 years old.
I gave up the Post Office and we moved up on the Frank Briggs place where Eva was born in August 1904. After working for Frank Briggs that summer and winter and moving down to Linwood the following fall we took over the Hotel. Alvin worked for Keith Smith doing the freighting for the store from Green River. Our first boy, Wesley, was born there in July 1906. We lived there until the next spring when we moved back onto the ranch. Mr. Fowler, a man working for Keith Smith, bought a half interest in the ranch. That same fall he bought us out and we left there in October 1907 for Vernal, Utah. The main reason for going to Vernal was that our baby, Wesley, was in poor health. He had ear infection and I walked and carried him most of the way over the mountain which took us three days. I had him under the doctor's care all winter. The two older girls were so happy living there where they had friends to play with and a good school.
Alvin went to work in the coalmines and got discouraged, so he decided to return to Manila. He left Vernal right after Christmas horseback and had quite a time getting through the deep snow. He bought in on a sawmill with Willard Schofield and moved us back over the mountain the following spring. It was a big disappointment to me to have to come back there to live. We soon discovered that partnership business wasn’t so good so we bought Willard out and kept on in the business. While there we nearly lost Lovina with pneumonia. Our sawmill was up on Phil Pico. In order for the two older girls to go to school we would have to take them down to Showers in what is now McKinnon every Monday morning and go bring them home on Friday evening.
Alvin got in dutch with the government for cutting timber without a permit and that cost us quite a sum to clear ourselves. Things just went from bad to worse and Alvin’s health got so bad that we took him to Salt Lake to see a doctor. He told him it was nothing but worry and that he would have to get away from the sawmill. We sold out to J. K. Crosby and we moved back down to Linwood. Alvin went back to work for Keith Smith.
We moved into a house of George Solomon’s. Doris was born there in October 1910. The next spring Orsen Hyde hired me to cook for his shearers so we moved to the Horse Ranch. After shearing we took a herd of sheep for the summer. We thoroughly enjoyed the summer as we could take our family along with us. Having a sheep camp and tent we could manage real nicely. We also had two saddle ponies which made it nice for the children. When we had to change camps and the roads were bad, Alvin would drive the team as it was on the mountain and too hard for me to manage. I would drive the sheep. In those days sage chickens were plentiful and we were allowed all we wanted so Alvin or I would go out and kill what we wanted. I was a fairly good shot in those days so Alvin bought me a 25-20 rifle, one large enough to kill coyotes as well as small game. The first time I went hunting I killed four sage chickens in five shots. I also wounded a coyote that summer.
That fall we went back down to Linwood. Alvin helped Mr. Hyde put up hay and I cooked for the men. We moved to another house from where we had lived in the spring. We stayed there that winter. In the spring we moved to what was known as the George Solomon place. Alvin went out herding sheep for Pete Wall. He was out from Buckboard on the Twin Buttes. That winter I borrowed my brother Harvey's saddle horse and went out and stayed two days and nights with him.
The next spring we moved to the Steve Warby house and Alvin worked for Keith Smith again. I spent six weeks in Green River taking care of my cousin, Maude Green, when her third child was born. I will never forget how homesick I got and how homesick for me my baby was when I got home.
We moved from there to Manila in what was the dance hall as Alvin had bought some lots there. He then built us a house on another lot he had bought. Then back down to Keith Smiths we went. I took care of little James Tinker during the day while Mrs. Tinker taught school. We came near to losing Lovina that winter with membranous croup. The following spring we moved to McKinnon as .Alvin had traded the city lots and a team to Mr. Showers for his ranch.
Believe it or not, we lived there twenty-eight years only making one move. That was to Green River, Wyoming, where I lived for three years in order that our children could go to high school. While we were living at McKinnon I took the job of cooking for a ditch crew for Keith Smith while they were constructing a canal into South Valley. This same year the children stayed on the ranch and, after the canal was completed, Alvin came home and went to work for Joseph Duncan, a neighbor living about a mile above our place. This way he could be home nights. Lucille met with a serious accident while chasing the milk cows on horseback one day, she ran into a clothesline which caught her on the throat. She lost some hide and nearly broke her neck.
When one speaks of pioneering I can truthfully say I had a taste of it when we first settled in Lucerne Valley as well as after we moved to McKinnon. Because there was no doctor in that part of the country, I was called on to deliver four babies alone as well as assist Dr. Tinker with many more when he came from Manila. I also took care of the mothers and babies and sometimes the whole family for days. I was called on to nurse numerous other sicknesses too. When the group of Mormon Saints moved to McKinnon the year after we did it was hard times for us all but we grew very close together, almost like one big family.
The rest of the story of Sarah Smith will be found in conjunction with her husbands life sketch. We were lucky to have found this by her to add to our picture of what life was like for women in the early years in our area.
My father. Herb Aldridge, and his brother Ed came to the little green valley, which is now McKinnon, earlier known as Burntfork, in 1908. They took the train to Green River, then the mail stage to Manila, Utah. From there they walked to Philpico where they worked in a sawmill long enough to cut logs for their cabins which were built one fourth mile apart and one mile west of the now McKinnon Church. Herb’s cabin was finished in May 1911 and he and my mother were married in June after a correspondence romance.
Their first baby was stillborn at six months, March 1913. I, Snow Aldridge Stahlberg, was born in June 1914, with my father assisting until a couple of neighbor ladies came. My brother, Herbert Jr., was born in September 1916 and our mother died two days later after many convulsions.
It was our mother’s wish that we kids be kept together until we were grown. So the years were hard on our father being both mother and father to two small ones with little money and no outside help, except neighbors who came calling now and then.
It's been such a long time since my childhood in McKinnon that sometimes my life there seems like someone else’s life in another world.
Like most of my friends, I was born on a homestead, in a log cabin, in days long before hard surfaced roads,. electricity (at least in McKinnon) and radio or TV. There were few fences when I was a small child, and sagebrush spread over most of the valley. The Indians still held a minor claim to the land. I well remember watching them ride single file on horseback, led by a princess, as they traveled from one reservation to another.
Those were hard years for all our parents as they tried to scrounge a living from the often unproductive land, but there were lots of fun times for us kids, especially when we were old enough to go to school.
I always looked forward to Thanksgiving, with the school festivities and the community dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Long, long tables laden with such foods as I've never seen before, or since. Then there was Christmas, with the church Christmas tree hanging heavy with gifts for all. I'll never forget May Day (in June) and the picnic at Pine Grove, where we dressed in our "paper best" and braided a gay and colorful Maypole.
Some of the nicest memories I treasure are the long summer days when I could ride my horse over the mountains and through the valleys with a sort of wild freedom.
I have been back to McKinnon a few times since I left long ago and I never fail to marvel at how little the land, fences, and buildings change. There are only a few familiar faces among those who inhabit the houses I used to know so well. Every hill, every creek, every house, even every turn of the road reminds me of another time when we were all too young, too full of life and joy, too innocent to worry about the world’s problems that our young and their young must face. I wouldn’t want to change my life, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had chosen to stay in McKinnon. It’s good, sometimes, to turn back the memory clock now and then and contemplate how it was when we were "tiny ticks".
John and Jane Kirkham Briggs followed their oldest son, John Jr. to Manila in 1910. John traveled from Beaver, Utah with two teams and wagons and four children while Jane came on the train to Carter with the two youngest children, Bill and Ida. Their two older girls were married and remained in Beaver and Salt Lake City but the rest of their family grew up in Manila.
John Jr. married Florence Meyers of Burntfork, whose parents, Yank and Ine Sadlier Meyers, set them up on the old McCarty Place on Birch Creek. They lived here for many years being an integral part of community activities in both Burntfork and McKinnon. I think their children went to the McKinnon School. They had four boys: Harold who married Pina Heiner and, after her death, Joanne Christensen; Dick married Gladys Benson; Jack married Allowee Heiner and the youngest son, Hugh, was not married before they sold their Birch Creek property to migrate to Montana.
Caroline married Lester J. Schofield and they stayed in the area just a short time before moving to Rawlins.
Rachel married James Lowe and they were here for six or eight years.
Eli married Mary Nelson, daughter of Daniel and Matilda Warby Nelson. Bob married Cloketta Brough from Lyman. Eli and Bob bought a place on Henry’s Fork where they raised cattle. Bob’s son, Dale, still owns this property.
Eli and Mary had seven children: Calvin married Joyce Beck, Veda married Norman Olsen, Don married Dale Christensen, Gene married Ferl Lamb, Arlene and Merrill live near Ogden and Reuben in Montana. Bob and Clo raised Vance, Eunice, Bonnie and Dale on their place on Henry's Fork.
These families were important members of the McKinnon community and ward for many years before retiring to Ogden and Manila. Their children all attended McKinnon School. Eli and Mary’s son, Gene, is Daggett County Clerk.
Bill Briggs married Agnes Marshall, a teacher from Rock Springs who taught in many schools in the area. Their children are: Billy and Carol Ann, Jim and Barbara, Eutona and Doug Jarvie and Lawona and Keith Anderson. Bill and Agnes stayed on his father’s place in Manila taking care of the land and his parents in their later years. They bought the original Phil Mass place from Frank White and their daughter, Eutona, and her husband now own it.
The baby girl, Ida, married Buell Bennett and they have moved to Vernal across the mountains.
Bill and Emma Cox bought the Archibald Pulham homestead in the late 1920’s and moved to McKinnon in the spring of 1930. Bills brother, Bryan, was living in McKinnon prior to 1930 but became ill with typhoid fever and had to move back to Utah. The Cox’s had two children. Billy, age 9 and Helen, age 5.
Times were tough for the family as Bill tried to make a living selling hay at $7.00 a ton and renting winter pasture to sheepmen. People were the only things worth much in McKinnon during those depression years. Bill bought his brother's place for $1,000.00 and a few years later bought the Shepherd Place homestead for $1.00 an acre from a man in Utah who came out, looked at it, and offered it to Bill for whatever he could pay. One hundred sixty was all he had. Over the next 25 or 30 years he and Emma were able to add another 800 acres to their place.
Helen moved away, married Howard Brothers and after a few years settled in Roseburg, Oregon with their two sons, Billy and Paul .
"Billy" became "Bill" in High School and married Beth Terry December 3, 1941. They built a home on the original Bryan Cox homestead and lived there until 1949 when they and their children, Nola and Arthur, moved to Orem, Utah, where they still live. They have three more children: Jim, LuAnne, and Mary Beth. One little daughter, Karen Beth, died at birth and is buried in the McKinnon "East" Cemetery.
Emma was active in the Friendly Neighbors Club, the church, wrote news items for the Green River Star, and was a perennial election judge.
Bill served on the school board, as secretary of the canal company, and was a Sweetwater County Deputy Sheriff for a long time.
They purchased and moved to the Terry home and spring in the 1950’s. This was a pleasant change for them, one which they enjoyed very much.
In 1976 Bill and Emma sold most of their property to LaRay Sadlier keeping only that on the south side of the main road. Bill and Beth Cox later owned that property which they eventually sold to Jack Baggs in 1987.
William E. (Bill) Cox died at the age of 86 and is buried in Provo, Utah.
Emma E. Cox died seventeen months after Bill at the age of 79 and is also buried in Provo, Utah.
The heartstrings of the Cox family are still tied to the McKinnon area and our special friends there.
Alvin Edward Smith and Sarah Ann Nelson Smith were part of the settling of McKinnon although they didn’t come with the main body of settlers. They preceded them by a few years. In 1897 Alvin and Sarah Ann migrated with a group of pioneers from Beaver, Utah, and settled in the Manila-Linwood area. Her father was one of the leaders of the group. These two young people were the first white couple married in Manila (December 28, 1897). The wedding celebration lasted three days and nights. Their first five children were born in this area: Lucille, Lovina, Eva, Wesley, and Doris. In the early spring of 1915 Alvin traded some city lots in Manila and a team to Mr. Showers for his ranch in McKinnon. This ranch was located in what they nicknamed "Coon Hollow". Some said the name came from the fact that two Negroes had camped there at one time. There was a ranch about a mile above us on which Joe Duncan lived. The Swinks lived about a mile below us. The children went to school in a one-room schoolhouse half a mile north of our place. It was a small, dilapidated place and the tiny little teacher. Miss Jenny Brewer, was in a quandary constantly to know how to handle the big overgrown boys that really had a jolly time thinking up new mischiefs each day to try her. One ritual each child had to contend with was a teaspoon of honey and sulfur each morning - to purify his blood.
Alvin and Sarah took the job that summer as foreman and cook for Keith Smith in constructing a canal in South Valley. The children took care of the ranch. Then Alvin went to work for Joe Duncan. During the summer of 1916 a new two-room schoolhouse was constructed on our property to the east of our home. Alvin had the contract to haul the lumber. As one load of green lumber was coming by the place, Wesley ran out and tried to climb on it. He slipped and fell under the wheel breaking his leg. The old country doctor, Dr. Tinker from Manila, was brought and the leg was set.
The schoolhouse was completed for school that fall. The two rooms were separated by folding doors so they could be folded back for dancing and church meetings. This was a great stride in our lives.
That November 11 the youngest son, Daniel, was born and Dr. Tinker had quite a time between our place and Hy Anderson’s where their oldest daughter, Jean, was making her appearance.
We acquired the Swink place in 1917 when Alvln's brother, R. G., bought it, moved out from Provo with his family for about three weeks. The altitude proved too much for him as he had to be rushed out with a hemorrhage from the nose and he couldn’t come back to stay.
During the summer of 1919 or 1920 the Interstate Canal Company went up to Island Lake to construct a reservoir out of the lake for irrigation water for the settlers. Alvin took the contract for hauling cement for it. He and Sarah hauled cement as far as the Widdop cabins in wagons, then for fourteen miles it had to be packed on horseback over a pretty rough trail. He arranged a string of five pack animals and loaded a 100-pound sack of cement on each side. Sarah would take the lead and Alvin brought up the rear, keeping the horses on the move and on their feet as the loads got heavy. After this job was completed, they stayed on to work on the dam. Sarah caught fish for the camp and sent some to the children at the ranch. These were salted down and kept in a big crock jar in the icehouse.
When the reservoir and canal were completed so that water could be brought onto the place, Alvin, Sarah, and the kids cleared acres and acres of sagebrush and planted them in alfalfa. The garden to the north of our house was a real lifesaver for us. Another crop that was harvested each winter was the ice. All the men turned out when the ice became 16 to 18 inches deep on the ponds around the neighborhood. Each farmhouse had a log building filled with sawdust. This was taken out and the squares of ice put in, layer upon layer, with sawdust packed around and in between. In the summer the farmers would have the ice for cooling milk, butter, etc. and for that good old homemade ice cream.
June 16, 1921, was a big day in our family life as Lucille and Lovina had a double wedding. Lucille married Elmer Swett of Green Dale, and Lovina married Austin Stevens who lived on a ranch about eight miles above our place. They went to Manila to get married and then we had a big wedding supper for them.
Sarah took an important part in doctoring in our area. Many called on her for advice and help. She delivered four babies by herself and helped Dr. Tinker with many more. Her services were always given freely.
During the fall of 1923 she decided she must get her children to where the two older ones, Eva and Wesley, could go to high school, so she moved into Green River and put them in school. She took in boarders to help financially. Later, after the crops were in, Alvin came in and went to work for the railroad. He leased the ranch, and we lived there three years before moving back to McKinnon. Eva met and married Silas Dorman. Wesley didn't go back but stayed on to work in Green River and later married Clarinda Gutierrez. Doris later went to Lyman to high school and in 1931 married Glen Walker. Daniel married his school- teacher sweetheart, Anna Collett, in 1941 while on furlough from the army. His military service lasted three years part of which was overseas in World War II.
Sarah became postmistress of McKinnon in 1930 and held this position for eight years. They moved a home in from Cumberland, Wyoming, and put it out by the road across from the four-room schoolhouse that was built while we lived in Green River. To the post office they added a service station and small store. They kept this for eight years until they sold it to their youngest daughter, Doris, and her husband. They moved back into. the old home.
In 1943 Alvin and Sarah moved to Vernal, Utah, where they raised rabbits and chickens. Alvin lived to be 81 years old and died in 1958. Sarah lived for another nine years and died in 1967 at the age of 89.
These were two wonderful people who were pioneers of good standing - always good neighbors, friends, and parents eager to help a small community grow and advance. The Alvin Smiths did contribute their share to the little community of McKinnon.
My grandfather. Alvin E. Smith, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1876, the son of Dr. A. W. Smith and Jennie Brough Smith. My great grandfather was a doctor in the Civil War and later practiced in Salt Lake City. My great grandmother worked at his side and, after his death, she carried on with his work. On one occasion she was unable to extract a tooth, and, as my grandfather was helping her at that time, she asked him if he would pull the tooth, which he did. This was the very first experience he had in dentistry.
After my great grandmother died Grandfather fell heir to the dental instruments. In the year 1896 he, with a group of other people, immigrated to Lucerne Valley. Later he made his home at McKinnon, Wyoming. There were not very many people in this area, which is located about 65 miles south of Rock Springs.
Grandpa being the only one who could pull teeth was called on quite frequently. He saved many from much suffering as the next closest dentist was at Green River and that was 50 miles. The only transportation at that time was either by team and wagon or on horseback. It took them two days by wagon and all of one day by horseback.
This was a long way to go when anyone had a toothache and so they always went to Grandpa to have their teeth pulled. At that time he did not have things to kill the pain with, but they figured that they could stand the pain for a few minutes rather than stand a constant toothache, riding on a horse or in a wagon all the way to town.
Many times people came to have their teeth pulled when Grandpa would be out in the field or up in the mountains at his sawmill, so they would take his forceps and go to the place where he was and he would always manage some way to pull the tooth.
On one occasion Grandpa was in Green River and happened to be in Dr. Hawk's drug store when a man came to have a tooth pulled. Dr. Hawk being away on a hunting trip and Mrs. Hawk knowing Grandpa pulled teeth, she asked him to pull it, which he did and it was greatly appreciated.
Although he may have hurt the little children at the time of pulling their teeth, he never lost their friendship. He was a very happy man and always had some sort of a treat for the children afterward.
After selling our holdings in Morgan, Utah we, with five children ages one to eleven, arrived in Burnt Fork in our 1913 Reo on July 8, 1918. On arrival, we had the impression that we were the only Mormons in that country.
A few days later I went to the post office, partly to get my mail and partly to get acquainted. Three or four men were sitting around on nail kegs. The postmaster said, "Well. they tell me you're a Mormon." When I informed him that I was, he said there was a Mormon living on the creek below who made moonshine. The cowboys were riding down there looking for stray cattle when they ran on to him, sitting in the shade of a tall cottonwood tree, stirring a barrel of moonshine with his right hand and holding a Bible in his left hand. He was reading the passage in the Bible, which says. "Never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
After several months had passed we attended a school program in the Burnt Fork hall. While they were singing the state song, "Wyoming," Reed Hanks, who sat immediately in front of us, turned around and said. "Wyoming be damned! Utah, We Love Thee!" which gave us the impression we were not the only Mormons in the building.
As time went on we had some good times dancing in that old hall. We danced in the upper story of the building and the floor sprang up and down so much that the doors below kept time to the music. Just before one of our elections, Governor Ross attended one of our dances. He wrote about it in the Cheyenne paper. He told about the doors dancing in time to the music, but he said he enjoyed himself more there than in any other place in the state.
After being there a few weeks we were happy to learn that Charley Terry was holding Sunday School in his home, which he continued to do until he was accidentally killed by a falling tree while getting out timber for his sawmill. This was one of the first and saddest deaths in our little community.
For the first few years after our arrival in Burnt Fork there was a terrible feud on between the cattlemen and the sheep men. This resulted in the death of one sheep man who was shot while cooking supper in his camp. But things quieted down and the cattlemen became some of my best friends, especially during the time of our illness.
In 1927 someone polluted the pure water in Birch Creek, which ran through our ranch, with typhoid fever germs. This resulted in several deaths including our 17-year-old daughter, Bessie, and our daughter, Pyna, who died a few years later from the after effects.
Joe Boynton, Frank White, Harold Brady and I worked off and on for twenty years building a canal out of Henry’s Fork, which proved to be a very costly endeavor.
One cold December day my wife and I and an elderly rancher, Mr. Fosdick, started for Rock Springs to get our two oldest children, Bartley and Bessie, who were attending school there. When we had gone about 25 miles we ran into a snowdrift. Attempting to back out of it, I broke an axle. Cars were so scarce then we didn’t think any other car would be on the road, so we decided that I had better try to walk to the nearest ranch (the Horse Ranch), which was 10 miles away. There were eight inches of crusted snow on the ground, which I broke through at every step. My wife and Mr. Fosdick stayed in the car. We had no windows - just side curtains - and no heater, but he kept my wife’s feet from freezing with a lantern and by holding them in his lap under a bear skin overcoat. I arrived at the ranch at 11 P.M. The next morning I phoned to Green River for help. The garage people had to get the axle out of Denver. I arrived back at the car at 2 P.M. that day. About that time they arrived with the new axle. It was not long until we were happily on our way.
Our children rode horseback to the Burnt Fork School a distance of about three miles. They went to school with some pretty rough characters. One day one of the boys had his feet out in the aisle and was chewing gum. The teacher said, "Asa, take that gum out of your mouth and put your feet in."
Later they went to the McKinnon School and a school bus route was established. When they were of high school age they went to Lyman or Rock Springs and boarded out as there were only two years of high school taught in the McKinnon School.
While we lived in Wyoming we had a lot of company in our ranch home. Many relatives and friends came to visit us each summer. Some of the boys stayed on to help in the hay fields. A school teacher or two boarded with us nearly every year. Some of these were the Adriel Normans, the LeGrand Jarmans, Opal Walker, Louie Blackner, Flora Murray, David Lamph and Leona Booth.
After our McKinnon community was established, we had some good dances in the McKinnon School House. Many of these were church sponsored. Some were following basketball games when our team played Burnt Fork or Manila. Our four oldest children played different instruments, and for a number of years, they played for all the dances. Later the Terry family formed an orchestra to play for the dances.
Our children all grew up in McKinnon. Three of them married McKinnon natives. Pyna married Harold Briggs; Allowee married Jack Briggs, and Reynold married Jean Anderson.
After living in Wyoming for 30 years, I decided to sell the ranch because of my poor health and move back to our home town of Morgan. Bartley had left to become a seminary teacher a number of years before. Elwood had also left to become a beautician. Reynold and I left in November 1946.
Lucille Katzmyer was born in Butternut, Wisconsin where she graduated from High School. She went to the State Normal School in Oshkosh and became a teacher. She taught one year at Turtle River before she and a cousin came west in 1913 to seek their fortunes and to see what the west had to offer besides cowboys. After a visit in Burntfork, her cousin married a cowboy and moved to Buffalo, Wyoming, and Lucille went to California to visit relatives and work a while.
She came back to Wyoming and taught at the Coon Hollow School in 1914-15. Her father died and she went back to Wisconsin where her family decided to follow her to Burntfork. Her brothers, Ben and Harry, and her sisters, Etta and Elinor, had already come west, so it was just necessary to move her mother and two younger sisters, Mabel and Velva Jean. (Ben never married but provided for his mother. Harry married Florence Hallett. Etta married Claude Bingham. Elinor moved to California. Mabel became the wife of Glen Warby. Velva Jean married Arv Twitchell but died in childbirth with her first child who also died.)
In 1916 Lucille married Alvan Hanks in Evanston and was teaching In Burntfork when World War I began. Alvan was called into the service and Lucille taught at Burntfork and Lonetree until he came safely home. They lived in Evanston in 1921 where their only child, Dorothy, was born. Returning to Burntfork, Lucille had much sickness with stomach ulcers. . Alvan contracted typhoid fever in 1928 when Birch Creek water became contaminated and many people were sick with this dreadful disease. Bessie Heiner and Alvan Hanks were the only fatalities at that time but Pyna Heiner and Bryan Cox were eventual victims also.
Lucille had successful surgery on her stomach in Salt Lake City that winter and by the next fall was able to teach at the Finch Ranch at the foot of Cedar Mountain. She and Dorothy lived with Bud and Jessie Finch and Lucille only had two pupils; Dorothy and Donna Finch. It was a good recuperative year for her. (Bud and Jessie didn’t stay in the area. She was an excellent teacher from New York state who’d come West to teach school but found the country not to her liking. She talked her husband into moving to New York where Bud was able to help farmers with their errant cows by being able to ride a horse and, catch up with strays. He became a colorful addition to a more urbane community.)
Melroy Luke had come with his family to Manila, became discouraged there and filed on a homestead near Birch Creek in McKinnon in 1915. He was in the army in World War I, returned, married, had one son (Elvin), and lost his wife and second baby within just a very few years.
Melroy and Lucille were married in 1932 and settled down on the ranch near Birch Creek with their children; his son, Elvin, and her daughter, Dorothy. In 1940 they moved into Green River so their children could finish High School. Melroy worked on the railroad and Lucille worked at the Castle Rock Bakery for two years. Elvin became ill with polio while in the service in World War II but recovered and came home with them to the ranch when the war was over. He married Dessie Twitchell and they made their home in Evanston. Dorothy married Harry Mann and had two daughters. She lived in California for many years before her death in 1980.
Lucille-'s experiences as a teacher would have made a book by themselves. Small, one-room, dirt-roofed cabins, the downstairs part of the Odd Fellows Hall, and the "new" schoolhouses at Burntfork and McKinnon. Jim Slagowski could recall the willows that grew along the creek which she made good use of when he was naughty when the school was on Henry's Fork near Fluman’s Store. Bartley Heiner giving an example of feminine gender by saying, "I see a feminine gender coming up the road," at the Burntfork school. She loved teaching and she loved teaching children!
Melroy grubbed brush, bought cows, worked to get water onto his land, drove the mail from Burntfork to Linwood and delivered cream to the Creamery at Birch Springs. Much the same things everyone else in the area did. He joined in community activities, i.e. fish fries, homemaker’s picnics, card parties, dances, ballgames, and programs with a wry sense of humor.
They sold their ranch to M. R. Wilde and Sons in 1967 and "retired" to Green River where they attended the LDS Church, American Legion and Auxiliary, Loyal Neighbors Lodge and Homemaker’s Club. They were both active and alert until Melroy’s health failed and he died at the Veteran’s Hospital in Salt Lake City in 1982. Lucille stayed active after moving into Man’s Face Terrace in Green River where she died several years later.
These two fine people leave treasured memories by those of us fortunate enough to have known them. They made their mark!
My father, C. A. Terry of Provo Bench, Utah, my brother, Charley, and my husband Jesse Mendenhall bought stock in a land development company for what was then called Lucerne Valley near Manila, Utah. We moved out there with our families in the spring of 1915. We had five children at this time and lived in a tent west of Manila for a while. Later the land company had a sawmill so we got enough lumber to build a one-room lean-to at the side of a one-room log house that Daddy lived in near Birch Springs. We lived here until winter began but it wasn’t warm enough for the cold winter. There happened to be a log stable on the place, which hadn't been used for some time so we fixed it up and moved in. It had a dirt roof and floor and a large pole in the center to help support the roof. The cracks between the logs were sealed with chunks of wood and mud plaster. We built bunk beds out of poles and slabs and had straw ticks to sleep on. We had straw on the floor to make it warmer. While we lived here our son, Wendell Terry, was born (1916). Jesse had to go to Manila to phone for Dr. Tinker who lived about 25 miles away. The doctor had to travel by horseback but he got there in time. During one of the spring blizzards that are quite common in that country a large wooden chink blew out from between the logs of the house, and the snow drifted in over the bed where I was sleeping with my small baby. It didn’t hurt either of us.
The older children went to school at Larsens. He was a well-to-do farmer and rancher who lived on the hill above our place. School was held in one of his farm buildings.
In the summer we took our families and lived at the sawmill where I cooked for the men. Jesse, Daddy, and Charley all worked at the mill.
Pete Wall and the Nebeker brothers were very good to us helping us whenever they could. The forest ranger, Sidney Hanks, was also a very good friend.
That summer Daddy, Charley and Jesse decided to take up homesteads at what is now known as McKinnon, Wyoming. Others of the family who also homesteaded were Uncle Tommy and Uncle Johnny Anderson and their families. Charley’s land had a nice spring on it so he and Daddy built their homes near it. Our homestead was farther to the north. We built a two-room log house but we had no water so we hauled water in barrels from Charley’s spring. We had no water to irrigate with so we could not have a garden like the others did.
We had to make the trip to Green River in a wagon to buy our groceries and supplies. We used to send with the mailman to Manila or Linwood for our groceries when we ran out. Money was scarce so we lived on the bare essentials: lard gravy, flour mush, bread, Karo syrup, etc. We hardly ever had fresh meat - sometimes rabbit or sage hens. I will tell a little story about this. There was an old sawmill site at the foot of the mountain a couple of miles from Daddy's home. Some of the herds of sheep were near this place. When they moved their herds there was an old sheep left there for some reason. It stayed there all summer and no one claimed it. Jesse figured that the wolves or coyotes would just get it and we needed meat, so he killed it and brought it home in the wagon. He skinned it and gave Daddy and Charley some of it. The very next day Eddie Mass came to Daddy’s place and asked him if he had seen anyone get that sheep for it was gone. Daddy said he hadn’t seen anyone get it. Then he told Jesse he had better get rid of the hide.
Jesse went to work for Nebekers herding sheep for a couple of months. I was so afraid to stay alone that he soon gave that up and we moved into Green River where he worked on the railroad for the winter. This was at the time of the first World War. We had to "Hooverize". We had to buy substitutes for every pound of flour we bought - like cornmeal, cornstarch, rice and beans.
At this time my mother took seriously ill and had to be near a doctor so my parents moved to Green River and lived with us for a month or so. We were crowded with six children and expecting another so they rented a house and Eva and Bryan Cox came to take care of her. Her health didn’t improve so they took her to Alphonzo’s home in Provo where she passed away. My son, Lee, was born three days before my mother passed away.
We stayed in town until school was out and then moved back to the homestead. Jesse got a job haying for Oneys in Lonetree and we stayed up there for a while. That fall we sold our homestead to Reulon Anderson and moved to Ogden. We were there during the flu epidemic and when the armistice was signed.
We moved to Payson, Utah early in the spring of 1919 and built a two-room frame house at West Mountain. We raised hay and sugar beets. Our son. Rex, was born in 1920 and our daughter Jessie Fawn in January 1922. My husband Jesse died one month after Jessie Fawn was born leaving me with nine children to raise. We sold the farm and bought a home in Payson where I worked at the A. L. Curtis Hospital for four years. I married Orson Cloward in 1927 and moved to San Diego. He died in 1937. I stayed in San Diego until 1960 and then moved back to Payson.
In September 1915 my mother with six of us children headed for Wyoming in a covered wagon with my Uncle Lew. We loaded our things in the wagon and left just enough room for us to ride on top of the load. It took us ten days to make the trip. Things went all right until we got to Lone Tree where it started to rain. When we got to Smoker’s Dugway, the hill was too steep, slick and muddy for the horses to pull the heavy load up the hill. We had to camp that night at the foot of the hill in the gulch. My brother. Cleo, and Uncle Lew made their bed under the wagon on some bedsprings and it rained so hard that the water came up into their bed. In the morning at daybreak they were up and on their horses going after help. They located the Hereford Ranch where some of the boys there got horses and came to assist us in our trouble. They managed to get us over the hill and we went to their ranch where we stayed for the night. We started on our journey the next morning and arrived at Birch Springs that evening. This was our first two days in Wyoming.
We lived in a log cabin for a little while and then went to Manila, Utah to stay for the winter. The next spring we moved out on our Homestead where we lived that summer in a couple of tent houses. Jex was born in September of that year. That fall a big snowstorm came followed by a heavy freezing. It was very difficult to keep warm. Baby Jex, sleeping with his mother because of the cold developed icicles and frost on heads and bed-clothing. This did not hurt the baby as he was such a healthy child.
That fall we moved to Lyman, Wyoming and stayed the winter but moved back to the Homestead the next spring. Grandfather Peterson came out that summer to assist us in building our house. Most of my life in McKinnon was spent in tending babies. Some of my jobs included tending the families of Val and Rowena Anderson while they taught school. I also stayed with Sim and Hortense Brady on the Bennion Ranch at Lonetree. One of Hortense’s babies was born when I was there. Grandmother Terry came for a few days to attend Hortense and the baby. Some time after this I went to Green River to assist Brother and Sister Pete Wall as their daughter, Dora Benson, died leaving five children to take care of. Some time later they went to Buck Board with the children. I stayed with them all that summer. I think the years I spent in Wyoming were the happiest times of my life. All the families were poor but rich in the things that matter most. Rich in faith, courage and love for one another. There were enduring friendships with much concern for one another. We were like one big family. I enjoyed the Sunday School we had in our home. Then as more people came we held our meetings in the school house which was a real joy to me.
I shall always remember with great happiness the May Day celebrations held at Pine Grove. Everyone all around the country would come and join in the fun. We had unforgettable good times at our dances. I well remember one time Hal and I rode horse back with another couple to Lone Tree to a dance. We did not arrive home until sunrise the next morning. That was quite an experience for me. We traveled everywhere in our white top buggy.
This was a long time before we owned a car. I well remember one time a group of us went to a dance in Manila in a bob sleigh. It was very cold in the winter but we had a good time together. Another thing I remember so well is berry picking. A group of families would go into the hills with our lunch and all the children. There were a number of wild berries. Service berries, choke cherries, gooseberries and black currants. This was the only kind of fruit we had for a long time and I’ll never forget the wonderful pies mother made from a combination of this fruit.
I would like to mention here a family not exactly from McKinnon but very near and dear to our family, the Nebekers, Am and Ran, Ruth and Lee. We got acquainted with them when we first arrived in McKinnon. We passed their ranch in Connor Basin on our way to the saw mill quite often and would stop there to visit. One thing happened I’ll never forget was when Mother was there helping Ran during haying season when a lot of men were employed there. Mother took the flu but I was there to help. I helped Ran with a quilt she was making and to my surprise and delight, so did Am. He was about as good at quilting as a woman. Some evenings Ammon and I played jacks where he nearly always beat me. Veloy and I visited them often for we loved to go there and they seemed like part of our family. Ran told us she claimed us as her daughters and we really enjoyed our wonderful visits with them.
One other thing very exciting to me was the first radio I ever heard. This was the one that Wendell Triplett built himself. We listened to it through earphones. What a thrill!
I shall never forget my first view of the country where I was to spend 25 years of my life. A bride of a few months, I was to go to Wyoming, where my husband had filed on 160 acres of farmland. He met me at Carter in a covered wagon, and although it was not far, we took our time and camped one night on our way to the Promised Land, as he had described it.
Never having lived anywhere but in a town, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed, as the country was mostly covered with sagebrush. I looked very hard to see the green grass that Hy had told me was very abundant. I’m sure he knew a great deal more about good sheep country than I did.
The first few months we lived in a tent and a shack. Although we had no luxuries, they were happy months. Later we moved into Cliff Anderson’s log house for the winter, and there on a cold night in November, 1916, my first child, Jean, was born. Dr. Tinker had to ride horseback 15 miles in bitter cold weather to take care of me. Mrs. Alvin Smith's son, Daniel, was born the next morning. Later we built a log house of our own, which burned down while we were away.
Most of the Terry family were there, and I shall never forget Aunt Maggie Terry. She was a wonderful woman and was like an angel of mercy to me. She was the mother of a large family, but she could always find time to help others. She could make a rabbit taste like ambrosia. Another one of my neighbors that I would like to pay a special tribute to is Mrs. Alvin Smith. She was indeed a friend in need.
At that time they held Sunday services at the home of Charley Terry, and all the friends and neighbors gathered there on Sunday to worship. Arch Pulham was the bishop. Although there were not many of us, we had some very inspirational meetings.
School was held in a small red schoolhouse located about where the new chapel now stands. In 1918, when Alvin was very small, I taught the four lower grades with Brother Vance from Provo, who taught the upper grades. I shall never forget the first airplane we saw as it flew over the schoolhouse and how excited we all were.
The first dance I ever attended was at Burnt Fork - in an upstairs room over the post office. There were several cowboys who danced in their chaps and spurs. To me it was like a picture show. Later the new schoolhouse was built, where four teachers were employed, and a ninth grade was added. Some of the teachers I remember were Brother Vance, Roena Anderson, Glen Walker, Lucille Luke, Bessie Heiner, Bartley Heiner, Mae Terry, Veloy Terry, Ernest Clayton, Jeff Harper, LeGrande Jarman, Opal Walker, and Louie Blackner.
It is strange how just being a child colors places and events and makes them seem exciting and adventurous. Looking back on our life in McKinnon, I realize that my parents experienced many hardships and had serious problems including financial worries but, as a child, most of these were not matters of great concern to me.
I was born in McKinnon where my father had a homestead. Many times I have heard the story of how Dr. Tinker rode up from Manila on horseback to attend my mother and Mrs. Smith. Her son, Daniel, was born that same bitter cold night in November. When I was very small my parents found it necessary to move to Clear Creek, Utah where my father could work in the coal mines to finance his ranching operations. My mother taught school there.
Returning to McKinnon was a great adventure in my life. This was in June 1924. I was eight; my brother, Alvin., was six; and Bettie was one year old. We traveled to Green River on the train. We were met there by Fonzo Terry who had a trucking business and small store near our ranch. Alvin and I thought it was great fun to ride in the back of the truck. I can still remember the smell of the sagebrush and the wind blowing through my hair.
After staying overnight with Uncle Tommy and Aunt Lucy Anderson we moved into a sheep camp and a small shack where we lived during the summer while our house was being built. Our previous four-room log home had burned to the ground while we were living in Clear Creek.
Every day brought new and wonderful experiences. We loved riding the horses, hunting Indian arrow heads on the rocky hillside, and chasing the nimble chipmunks which flitted in and out of the granary all day. One of my most vivid recollections of that summer is of my baptism in a pond on Uncle John A. Anderson’s place and being confirmed there on the bank by Uncle Tommy Anderson.
How well I remember the thrill of May Day! (Always held in June) One year Frances Terry and I were chosen to be attendants to Zelda Triplett who was queen that year. We sat on little chairs in the back of a truck and rode in the parade over a very rough road from the Schoolhouse to the Pine Grove. When the gears were shifted there was a sudden jerk and we had to hang on to the side to keep from being thrown out backwards. May Days were special! The program at the school, we girls dressed in elegant crepe paper costumes braiding the Maypole, spreading a quilt on the ground over a thick carpet of-pine needles to eat our lunches on, buying cones of delicious homemade ice cream for a nickel, the men tossing the women up on a quilt, sack races, tug-of-war, children’s races, etc.
I never attended school in the little red schoolhouse but my mother taught there when I was too young to go. The new schoolhouse must have been finished the year we returned from Clear Creek. My grandchildren find it hard to believe that we rode to school in a covered wagon. Often we took rocks that we had heated in the oven to keep our feet warm. After we arrived at school we clustered around the stove until the building warmed up. Our mothers took turns furnishing soup or cocoa in five-gallon milk cans which the teacher would warm on the stove to go with our cold lunches. The upper grades held classes in the big room, which was also used as an auditorium, gymnasium, and a chapel on Sunday. It was divided by a canvas curtain for classes. The boys who sat near the curtain would pull back the edges and throw wads of paper and small lumps of coal through when the teacher left the room. My mother taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grades for several years.
My grandchildren can't imagine a world without electricity. We studied by the dim light of a kerosene wick lamp. Later we had gasoline pressure lights, which were much brighter. Our mother scrubbed our clothes clean on a washboard until we got a hand-turned washer, which we reluctantly turned for mother on washday. We also churned butter and helped mother plant and weed the garden - and herded the cows out of the alfalfa.
When Dad was clearing our land, he would build a sagebrush bonfire in the evening. He would let us roast potatoes in the hot coals. They would form a black crust on the outside but, when we broke them open, the inside was very delicious eaten with a sprinkle of salt. We had a lot of snow in those days. We enjoyed sleigh riding down the hill on our ranch. Sometimes Dad would put the lariat on our sled and pull us behind his saddle horse. We would go around and around our alfalfa field until we laughed so hard we would fall off in the snow. We had an occasional bobsled party, too with everyone wrapped in quilts, sitting on the straw in the bottom of the bobsled, singing all the songs we could remember as we zipped over the snow.
I remember the fun of riding horses around the ranch. Dad would have us ride bareback, Indian style, because he felt that it was safer. If we fell off we could fall all the way and not get caught in the stirrup. In the spring we would ride along with Dad to bring the sheep into the bed-ground in the evening. The little lambs would form in long lines and gambol and play together, playing follow-the-leader just like children.
They were still holding church meetings in the little red schoolhouse when we returned to McKinnon. We didn't have a car so for years we walked over to the main road and Bishop Fonzo Terry gave us a ride to Sunday School in his truck. After Sunday School we -nearly always went home to dinner with some other family or they came to our house. After dinner the grownups visited and we children played together until it was time to go back to sacrament meeting. We often played paper dolls with figures cut out of a Sears and Roebuck catalog.
Our home was very crude. The inside walls were made of rough lumber. The dream of our lives was to have them plastered but we never accomplished this. Still, we had some happy times there. When I was in my teens our crowd often gathered at our home for entertainment. We would stand around the old piano and sing the popular songs: "Just a Little Street", "Happy Days are Here Again", and many others. We played games by the hour. Remember "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John"? Some of the crowd were Ronald, Clive, and Mavis Pulham; Jex, Norma, and Frances Terry; Jack, Golden, and Bob Anderson; Eldred Stewart: Woodrow, Lowell, and Leatha White: Reynold, Elwood, and Pyna Heiner.
I think what made our dances special was that the whole family would go together and we would dance with our parents as well as the kids our age. Babies were put to bed on the benches around the hall. Little children danced and played among the dancers until they became drowsy. Then they too would be laid on benches and covered with someone's coat. Remember the great sound of the Terry orchestra playing "Beer Barrel Polka", "Elmer's Tune", and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me"? We dreaded to hear the strains of "Goodnight, Sweetheart" because it meant that the dance was over.
After Reynold and I were married in June 1935, we lived in a one-room log cabin next to his folks' house. When Gary was six months old, we moved into our new little house on the old Nelson place about five miles down the river from the Heiner ranch. At first I was very lonely but I learned to love the sound of the river (Henry's Fork) running by the house and the rustle of the wind in the cottonwood trees around the house. Paul and Karalee were born while we lived there.
We enjoyed working in the ward and it kept us very busy. Most of us who were active members had jobs in all the auxillaries because the ward was so sma11. The women of the community had a Homemaker's Club, which was sponsored by the Extension Department of the University of Wyoming. We held our meetings in the various homes. The home extension agent from the university sometimes met with us. We learned many things, which were useful to us as homemakers as well as having some good social times visiting together.
Reynold started to do some solos in public about the time we were married. We spent many enjoyable evenings practicing music together. When we had company for dinner or in the evening we usually ended our visit by singing all together. Reynold often sang solos in church, at funerals, programs, and at an occasional stake conference. We also sang some duets.
Our children enjoyed the ranch. It was like a funeral when we left. We all suffered from homesickness that first year after we moved away.. I am glad we had the experience of living on the ranch in McKinnon. Some of our most dear and lasting friendships were made there. Although we didn't have much in worldly goods, we were greatly blessed and we learned to appreciate our blessings. Life has been easier for us here, especially in the last few years, but when it gets too rushed and complicated, as life so often does here in the city, we long for the simple life we knew in McKinnon.
Mary Jane Brampton Boynton and Joseph Hyrum Boynton, Jr. were both born and raised in Bountiful, Utah. They were married September 14, 1905 in the Salt Lake temple. They went to Linwood, Utah to live and started raising their family there and in Manila. They moved onto the Mackey ranch on Henry's Fork in 1915. This was an ideal place to raise a family, lots of hard work, good spring water (even if it was a long way to carry it to the house), a river to swim in, and horses to ride to school and to do most of our work. There was enough irrigation water and hay was plentiful.
We always had a good garden. We had to work hard in it. but we had plenty of vegetables and mother bottled or salted enough to last us all winter. We had a good place to store the other vegetables too. Oh. the sauerkraut mother used to make! We used to put up a fuss about the smell, but it was so good! The wood stoves baked the best bread and cakes we've ever tasted.
The folks worked very hard but it was a happy life. We didn't have school buses at first and we had quite a way to ride the horses to school. Later on they got buses but we had to walk to the top of the dug-way because the hill was so steep and slick.
By the time the Mackeys sold the ranch we were on my mother had had eight of her nine children. For three of us she made the long trek to Bountiful but the rest of us were born at home with only loving neighbors in attendance. For most of us she didn't even have a doctor.
Moving onto the bench where Daddy had taken up a homestead and built a home for us was a real change. The wind blew all the time. There were so many rocks to be hauled off every spring we thought they were hatching. We didn't have good water for the house. Daddy dug several wells, but the water was hard. We didn't have irrigation water and every spring Daddy had to take all the money we had to buy feed for the horses and go up and work on the Bluebell Canal. Daddy worked hard and so did the horses, still no water. We would try and get some spring planting done but it was usually a disappointment. We did raise good potatoes, if you could tell them from the rocks. We worked hard to raise a garden but the gophers and rabbits would get most of it first.
I really don't know how my folks stood those years. It seemed like all hard work. We had such good friends and we really had fun together. Dances, candy pulls, slumber parties, and just getting together for dinner and visiting.
Our eight month old sister, Wanda, died in 1926. My sisters Nettie and Afton were killed on the highway over by Bridger in 1938. Afton had graduated from the Green River High School the night before and the girls had just mailed Nettie's wedding invitations when they were hit by a car driven by George Powers of Lyman. My brothers were in the service during World War II but managed to return safely.
My folks sold out and left McKinnon in 1944 and returned to the Bountiful area. Daddy worked at the Clearfield Naval Base. Two years later Mother had a stroke from which she never fully recovered and spent the last sixteen years of her life in a wheel chair. Daddy died in 1955.
Their children didn’t become rich materially, but they all knew hard work, so they are comfortable and happy.
Mrs. D. E. (Wilda) Bluemel
In 1915 we moved to Manila, Utah on a land project where the Terry family had settled. I left my family on Provo Bench. After working about six weeks I returned to Provo Bench for them. We loaded our wagon with our belongings, put the family on top of the load, with two or three horses and a cow following we headed back for Manila. I finally lost what I had put into this project. My. oldest son, LaVar, left for Camp Lewis, Washington for the service in World War One. He returned in June 1919. I took up a homestead in McKinnon, Wyoming early in 1916 where I built a home. This place was known as Terry Town at that time. Here I settled down for thirty years of pioneer work. I put in much of my time on the canal and building a reservoir which was known as the Interstate Reservoir and Irrigation Company. I was a member of the board of directors for quite some time, was secretary for ten years and president for many years.
There were ten or twelve families in this original group with an increase of families as time progressed. A Sunday School was organized and we had our meetings in our homes with many parties and dances in the school house. My son, Reulon, served a two-year mission in the Southern States Mission from 1926 to 1928. My married son, Arch, and his wife, Melba moved out to McKinnon to help me on the ranch for a year or two. This was helpful for me as my wife, Lucy, had passed away in 1930. By this time all the children were married except Jack and Golden who were away to work and school but they both married soon after. In 1934 I married again to Mary Weeks Christensen. She was called Aunt Mary. Mary and I did the farming for about eight years and then we sold out to my son, Reulon. He had built a home just north of us but we held the chicken coops and garden. Then we finally sold all this to him and we moved to Sprlngville, Utah in 1947.
Reulon moved back to McKinnon where he had some land near his father’s homestead in 1943. He was a member of the Interstate Irrigation and Reservoir Co, member of the school board, councilor in the bishopric, ward clerk, high councilor in the stake, on a Stake Mission, and ordained Bishop in 1948. This was done by Marion G. Romney, then assistant to the twelve. We had been holding our meetings in the schoolhouse, but started a ward chapel. This was not completed in 1950 when I moved to Green River, Wyoming, as our boys needed an education in the higher schools of learning. Working on the railroad, I got a transfer to Provo, Utah, where I became active in the Provo Seventh Ward. Reulon retired from the railroad in 1964 and moved to Salt Lake City.
Sim and I were both born and raised in Fairview, Utah. When he grew up he went to herd sheep for the Bennion Livestock Company. Later he managed the herds for them. On one of his trips home we met at a dance, and that was it for both of us, as we were married a year later. In 1916 he decided to quit Bennions and find work where he could be home with his family. We had two children then - Ferl and Rex.
Bennions asked Sim if he would like to run a ranch for them in Wyoming, so in October he came to Fairview for us and we went to Lonetree, Wyoming, to what seemed to me to be the last outpost of civilization. We were happy to be together but we did miss family and neighbors.
To our surprise and delight one day Hy Anderson stopped at our place on his way to Carter to get a load of freight. We had not known that he lived close around there, and he was just as surprised to see us. It was then that we learned that a group of people had homesteaded land about 20 miles east of us. We soon went to visit our friends. Among them were Terrys and Andersons, whom we had known in Fairview. Wyoming seemed a much nicer place to live after that. As often as possible we went to visit them and attended church, which was held in Charlie Terry's house. Those were redletter days for us.
Vonda was born while we lived at Lonetree, and dear Aunt Maggie Terry came and took care of us. If ever there was a sweet person, she was one.
Bennions wanted Sim to buy the Lonetree Ranch, but we felt that it would be better for all of us to be where we could go to church and where the children could be in a bigger school. A Mr. Fisher wanted to sell his homestead rights to a place in Coon Holler. (Why it was called that I have no idea.) Sim bought the rights, and in February 1919, we moved to Mrs. Luke’s one-room cabin to live while our house was being built. Sim was just recovering from the flu when we moved, and due to exposure he contracted pneumonia. We had no close neighbors, and I had no way to go for help so I know the Lord was watching over us as a Mr. Perkins from Burntfork (whom we hardly knew) came by to see how we were. Soon Dr. Tinker was sent for and our dear friends came to help. With the blessings of the priesthood and the good care of dear Aunt Lucy Anderson, Sim recovered.
On April Fool’s Day we moved into our home - only two rooms - but it was our own, and we were very happy to be there. Welby was born in May, and thus began our pioneer life. The following years were mostly happy ones - lots of hard work and many disappointments - also many rewards in seeing our lands develop into productive acres. There was so very little money so we had to grow most of our food. I will never taste peas as sweet and good as the ones we grew there. We shared each others joys and sorrows.
We all remember the good times we had in the little red schoolhouse, but soon our families grew until we had to build a new schoolhouse. Both of these served as church also. Many were the good times we had at the Pine Grove. I remember the first gathering we had there. My mother and Charley Terry decided that it was time we had a celebration, and I doubt if we ever had a more enjoyable one. I can remember the large pans of popcorn balls she made for the children.
By 1932 there were eleven of us in our two rooms. How we managed I have often wondered. Sim had worked in the timber and had logs and lumber to build us a new home. On my birthday in June, I celebrated by laying the first rocks for the basement of our new home. When it came time to have the threshers, I just couldn't cook for them in that little house. Sim said if we moved then it would snow on us, but move we did - and of course, it snowed! We were in the basement until the upper story was built. There was just the sub-floor above, with cracks between each board, so we were leaked on, but at least we had room to move around in without bumping into one another. Our last child, Peggy, was born while we lived in the basement; then that winter we burned clay and plastered the upstairs - and moved in! At last we had room enough to have some of the parties at our home. My father had done all the carpenter work on our home and built lovely windows where I could have all the houseplants I had always wanted. It seemed as though we were over most of our hardships, when Sim contracted tick fever and passed away.
We moved onto the homestead at McKinnon in the spring of 1916. We lived in tent houses that spring and summer. Jex was born in one of the tent houses in September. It was a cold early fall. My mother kept him in bed with her and his hair would be frozen in the morning by the breath of his mother. He was a strong healthy baby and it didn’t hurt him any. We moved to Lyman later that fall where my father had a job in a blacksmith shop. We youngsters attended school at Lyman. We moved back on the homestead in the spring of 1917. My Grandfather Petersen from Fairview, Utah, a carpenter, came out to assist in building our home that summer. We used the lumber from my father’s sawmill. Soon after our house was finished we held Sunday School there, also in Uncle Tommy's house. My father was the first Superintendent of the Sunday School and held that position until he was killed by a falling tree when he was working in the timber on January 21, 1925.
My father and mother headed the first committee to put on the first celebration at Pine Grove. This was a May Day celebration, which continued each year thereafter. The men cleared a place and made a road where we had access to this playground. My mother taught us how to braid the Maypole. She dyed old strips of sheets red, white and blue, sewed them together into long strips so we could braid the Maypole. Mother was on hand every year to supervise the braiding of the Maypole. Melva Stoker was one of the first May queens. At this celebration they had a program, ate lunch, had foot races, tug-of-war, and baseball games. As time went on people came from far and near to join in the fun.
Ward Conferences were great events with Stake visitors from Randolph and Evanston as guests. In these events we had a bonfire meeting each Saturday night either at our grove or at Uncle John Anderson’s place. We held our meetings in the schoolhouse.
The first year or so we walked to school. There was Merrill, Melva and Hilda Stoker, Nita and Jack Anderson, Dean May and I who all walked together. Later on we were provided with school wagons. This did help very much for the students and there was employment for the driver also. We had good times together. Lots of dances. Rowena Anderson played the piano, Fred Stoll played the violin, Archie Lamb played the guitar. Later on Bartley Heiner played the saxophone, Dean Terry the drums.
My mother loved to put on plays about once a year. We would take these shows to Manila and Lonetree. She was always progressive and would do many things to make McKinnon a better community. The last project she did was to build a fence around the cemetery. Jex and Mom built most of the fence but the plot owners furnished the material.
I went to the eighth grade in McKinnon but then was out two years before they added the first two years of high school there. This made it so May and I went through high school together. We went to Lyman for our Sophomore year and to Payson, Utah for our Junior year. Then back to Lyman for our Senior year. We took Normal Training that year and taught at McKinnon on a class certificate. We went to summer school at the University of Utah and to the B.Y.U. for two quarters. I taught at Lonetree and then at McKinnon from 1925 to 1931, the year I got married. May taught one year at the Linwood, Utah school. I don't know how many years she taught at McKinnon.
When we moved to Wyoming, our settlement was called Coon Hollow, then Terry Town, then Mountain Home. Finally, to settle on a name which was official the Ward authorities named it McKinnon.
Benjamin and Martha Ellen Hindmarsh Stewart and their children, Eldred age 9, Reva age 8, Benjamin age 4, Laurena age 3, and Jesse age 1, left their home in Lehi, Utah, to homestead in the southwestern corner of Wyoming in 1916. It took them ten days to make the trip with all their worldly goods loaded on a wagon and a buggy. They had two teams and a colt. They found a sagebrush flat without any water and not many people.
They pitched their tent and moved in. The following morning Father rode over to Gambles to let his cousin, Mrs. Ann Gamble, know that they had arrived. Shortly it began to rain. Mother and Eldred dug a ditch around the tent but the rain came down in torrents, filled the ditch and ran over onto all our belongings. This was our introduction to Wyoming.
We lived in a Perkins house, in Clyde Stewart’s house, and in Ed Aldridge's house before we finally got our logs cut and cured so Father could build the house on our homestead. We lived in a tent on the mountain above the place while he got the logs out. He made the outside walls, put a roof on and we moved in. This was one big room and my parents were able to give dances and parties there for a long time. They gradually improved the house as time and money became available. This is the house Lunk and Lorraine Jarvie now 1ive in.
We had no spring or water supply so we hauled water from up the hollow. In the winter we melted snow. It wasn’t long before the people built a canal. Gardens and crops were planted. My mother raised most of our food in her garden but she also raised beautiful flowers. We had chickens, milk cows and pigs.
Eldred, Reva and Benny went to school in Burntfork. I attended the first grade there. Later we went to McKinnon school in the little red building. Eldred drove us back and forth in the buggy before school bus wagons were provided. We finished our education in Lyman and Green River.
Father was a carpenter and built houses and other buildings for neighbors in Manila, Lonetree and McKinnon. Mother took care of the farm. She also assisted Dr. Tinker with more than one birth and sometimes was midwife on her own.
We had great times! The whole family went to dances and parties together. We children could bring our friends home anytime for our parents always made them welcome.
Father planted a large patch of potatoes, which he would take to Green River and trade for the groceries we needed for the winter. We enjoyed all day berrypicking excursions with the neighbors where we could play after we had filled our buckets with gooseberries, currants, serviceberries, or choke cherries. Mother would make jams and jellies, bottle some fresh and make juice for punch. We grew strawberries and plums so we really ate quite well.
Eldred joined the C.C.C. and enjoyed working in the forest making roads and keeping things cleaned up. He and Ellen Workman from Lonetree were married and built a house on father's farm. They took care of the place when father and mother went to Oakland, California for a year or two. When they came home Eldred and Ellen moved to Green River and Eldred went to work on the railroad.
Reva worked for Julian Nielsen taking care of his four children before she married him and they had another child.
Benny had lived with an aunt and uncle in Lehi part of the time but he died of a ruptured appendix while visiting here when he was seventeen. He is buried in Lehi.
Jesse joined the marines when he finished high school. He was on Wake Island when World War II began and spent several years as a prisoner of war in Japan. He married Catherine Calahan of Green River.
I, Laurena, married Ly1e Anderson, son of John A. and Lucinda Sanderson Anderson, in 1933. We herded sheep for his father and enjoyed roaming the hills and sitting on the peaks watching the sheep and other animals before we had any children. We were living on the ranch in a little house up the hollow from his father's house when Eutona was born in 1934. We leased the T.R. Anderson place but had to leave when his son wanted to live there. We lived in the old Anderson house on the Beach place after Father Anderson had built a nice two story home. Cleone was born there in 1936. Dad Anderson paid Lyle with thirty-two acres of land between his house and the Smith ranch. Father Stewart and Lyle built a two room house in the southeast corner of this property where we lived until Eutona was in the second grade. Lyle helped his dad and other ranchers in McKinnon and Burntfork and at sawmills in the mountains.
Sharon was born in 1940. Shortly afterwards we leased Clyde Stewart’s ranch in Burntfork and took care of Mr. Stewart for two years. Eutona and Cleone went to school in Burntfork where Norma Buckles and Lyda Husman were their teachers. Lyda lived in two rooms of the Stewart house at that time too. When Mr. Stewart’s son came to the ranch we moved to the Clark Place on Henry's Fork for a summer but were grateful to be able to move back into our own house and stay put for a number of years. David was born in 1944.
My father passed away in 1954 and we leased the ranch from mother and lived there for five years. We enjoyed the ranch very much and did well while we were there. Eutona was married and Cleone was going away to school. Bruce was born in 1958. Mother sold the place and we moved back home in 1960. When Bruce was five, I started to cook for the school. Lyle was janitor at the school for a while, then went to work for the county on the road. He spent weeks in Green River only getting home on weekends.
In 1972 Bruce and I joined Lyle in Green River where we bought a nice trailer home, Lyle worked for the county, Bruce went to High School and I got a job at Little America. Lyle died in 1974 and is buried in the McKinnon Cemetery.
I now have retired from Little America and enjoy having my garden and flowers around my home in Green River where my children Bruce, David, and Sharon all live close by. Cleone lives in Vernal and Eutona in McKinnon.
My folks moved our family from Morgan, Utah to the Hereford Ranch on Birch Creek in the Henry's Fork valley of Sweetwater County, Wyoming during the summer of 1918. I had just turned seven and at that age everything is an adventure. The high hills the Lincoln Highway #30 (now Interstate 80) crossed between Evanston, Wyoming and the Bridger Valley seemed very awesome to us in our old Reo Speedwagon. In fact, my father would back the car .up the steepest hills because the gravity feed from the gas tank under the front seat to the carburetor under the hood flowed much more freely in that position. Old Betsy would purr along in reverse to the top of the hill where we would change directions and proceed happily forward down the next incline. Even to this day, with modern fuel pumps and all, more cars run smoother downhill than up.
I attended school in Burnt Fork for several years under a very fine teacher, Lucille Luke (Lucille Hanks, then). I realize now how much more was expected of a schoolteacher in those days with one student or several in each of the grades one to eight. Each class had its recitation period on the front bench while all the other pupils were supposed to be studying, oblivious to the presence of others. Discipline was more of a problem under those conditions but I well remember how Mrs. Hanks was able to keep us all pretty well covered with an eagle eye.
We rode horses to school and they had to stand all day in a small shed until we were ready to ride them home again at night. I was fortunate in very inclement weather to be able to ride behind the saddle of Bartley’s or Bessie’s horse and they were the ones who were more apt to freeze their cheeks and fingers facing the frigid blasts which we sometimes had.
I was baptized in the old swimming hole just above the place where Birch Creek dumped into Henry’s Fork on our ranch. I can remember attending religious services in the old red School House where the new McKinnon LDS chapel now stands.
I also attended more grade school in the above mentioned Red School House under teachers Roena Anderson, Arthur Vance, Russell Lowell Morrell and Robert Hamblin. It was the cloak room or entrance hall of this building that my brother, Elwood, set on fire by poking lighted matches through a knot hole in the siding. The ammunition was furnished and struck by Eldred Stewart who always seemed to have an endless supply of matches with him at all times. There must have been a nice hot pile of matchstick kindling inside that partition before it burst into flame. It was also that very day that Elwood got his bottom tanned by Mr. Morrell while Mrs. Clarence Hickey, a teacher, grabbed the axe and chopped a hole well above the flame so it could be put out with a little water. Mr. Morrell just stood and rubbed his hands together chanting, "Oh, what will we do? Oh, what will we do?" I suppose his hands were still stinging from spanking my brother.
I later attended more school in the then new fourroom building across the road from Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Smiths post office, gas station, and store. I spent my first two years of high school in this building under the tutelage of Ernest Clayton. Immediately following that I went to the Lyman High School for the next two winters.
During my school years I had become very fond of a girl in my grade, Jessie Anderson. When she met and married a handsomer man in Lyman while we were away at school, and I waited for and fell in love with a younger woman, it led our neighbor. Mrs. Boynton, bless her soul to say, "When Reynold couldn't get Jessie, he waited for her cousin, Jean, but he surely robbed the cradle, didn't he?"
We learned to dance during our school years and I remember the fun we had at that sort of recreation. We danced after every occasion: ball games, school plays, MIA parties, almost any social activity. I believe Edith Deck was credited with teaching more boys and girls how to dance than anyone in our crowd.
On Christmas morning in 1932 Mr. John Briggs called to ask me to drive his car to Rock Springs. It seems that Mr. McGinnis, our neighbor, had swallowed his false teeth (upper plate). My brother, Elwood, went along and the three of us arrived post haste at Dr. Lauzer's office to find him outside waiting in the parking area. In all earnestness he said. "Mac, you look like you are really suffering, as a man would if he had swallowed his dentures and they were gnawing away at him from the inside." Of course Mr. McGinnis agreed with the doctor's diagnosis and added that he had the sore throat and esophagus to prove it. He said he was exhausted and would be only too glad to climb into a hospital bed. Dr. Lauzer could not keep a sober face any longer, so he informed Mac that his wife had called and said his teeth were home in the ash box of the kitchen stove where he had scraped them with the cedar kindling that morning while starting the fire. There was nothing to do but return to the ranch for a late Christmas dinner. Before we crossed the railroad tracks to turn south in Green River, Mr. McGinnis said, "Boys, why don't you drive me right on to the mental hospital in Evanston?" So you see, he had quite a sense of humor, but I often wondered how he ate his Christmas dinner that day.
To give you an idea of the age of prosperity in which we lived, I might say that I worked for $30 a month for my father on the ranch. Of course, we had access to many staple food items, which were products of the ranch. Early in the spring of 1935 I found recorded in my diary where Harold Brady paid me $10 for five days work for him on the Blue Bell Canal in which he owned some water shares.
In a community such as we had in McKinnon, we learned to share our neighbors' troubles and sorrows. There were very few families that were not touched by some measure of unhappiness and, in some cases, tragedies which took the lives of one or more loved ones. I have never been sorry that I was raised on a ranch but have been sorry many times since leaving that my children were deprived of those same experiences.
Some of the most precious experiences of my childhood were in the few years my family spent in Wyoming. The joys we had far exceeded the hardships we endured. The friendships and our association with our wonderful relatives are unforgettable.
Some of the things I remember best were the family picnics in the pine grove. We all picked service berries and choke cherries. From this we made jelly and jam. There were bright days of herding cows in the foothills and around the groves. One day we decided we would like to find a magpie, split its tongue and teach it to talk. We spotted what we thought was a nest in a quaking aspen tree. My sister. Gladys, climbed the tree but was surprised to find that the "nest" was a big porcupine. Our shoes wore out and our feet were sore from going barefooted so we made thongs out of the bark of quaken asp. We didn’t have a name for them then. We tied them to our feet with a string.
I remember how Grandpa Terry was always bringing someone home to dinner and Grandma Terry making the finest meals out of mere nothing. Our food at that time consisted of flour gravy and mush, thickened milk with bread and Karo syrup. Once in a while we had a special treat such as wild rabbit or sage hen. We also had vinegar pie or six quart pudding. But we had vicious appetites and everything tasted so good. To this day I cannot bear the taste or smell of Karo syrup.
The greatest pleasure I recall were the days we spent at the saw mill. My father worked at the mill and my mother cooked for the crew. We children would take long walks through the forest and enjoy the flowers, chipmunks and the squirrels, finding plenty of pine gum, and swinging on our huge swing on the side of the hill. I would practice swinging so I could turn and become very acrobatic. We had two ropes on this swing so two of us could swing at one time. We also would jump from a high position onto the pile of sawdust which was a real thrill. In the evenings we would build a large bonfire which we would sit around and sing songs, tell stories and pull stunts. On other evenings we would gather in the bunk house and play games. We would make shadows reflected from the lamp on a sheet. Everyone would practice and we entered enthusiastically in all we did which made everything so much fun. I remember going to Uncle Charlie’s to play with the other children and listen to Uncle Charlie sit at the organ and sing many old folk songs. We held Sunday School at Uncle Charlie's too.
Our first winter near Birch Springs we lived in a log stable. Our first Christmas it snowed so bad that Santa Claus had a hard time finding the single net stocking which hung in the center of the room on a log pole which helped to support the roof. But find it he did, and in the morning there was a toy for every one in the family in it. The next spring, my little brother was born in that stable.
I remember other things that happened out there that have enriched my life. I sometimes think my own children have missed so much living here in the city.
In my early married life I worked as a painter and paperhanger in Provo, Utah. I became restless in this trade and decided to follow my younger brother, Arch, and his family to Burnt Fork, Wyoming, to take up a homestead. With a wagon heavily loaded with supplies, my youngest brother, his wife, and I started on the five day trip. It was a tiring, hard trip. It rained most of the way. Only those who lived in that country in 1918 will know what the roads are like through the Wyoming badlands in stormy weather.
We lived in tents while we built our homes with logs taken from the steep slopes of Phil Pico . When our house was completed we sent for the rest of the family: my parents, wife, and three children.
Life was not easy. We lived through many experiences similar to those of the early pioneers. It was especially hard on the women. Neighbors were far away and there were no modern conveniences. Culinary water was obtained by digging in the hill. Water for the garden was carried by pail. We tried raising a garden some distance above the house where there was a small spring. We could fence the cattle and sheep out but the small pests, squirrels and chipmunks, could not be kept out and soon the garden was a bare spot, each tender green sprout clipped off before it had a chance to mature.
Land needed to be fenced but most of all a canal was needed. Each spring and fall we spent weeks camping out, sleeping on the ground, working with our teams and tongue scrapers. Then came the problem of building a dam at Lost Creek. First we tried to build a road through Burnt Fork Creek and up the mountain but this proved too steep and rugged. We decided to make a new route up Birch Creek. Years, weeks, days were spent with teams, Mormon scrapers, wheel scrapers, fresnos. and any other method we could find to move the dirt for our dam. Every Saturday night we would pull camp and return to our homes for Sunday.
We succeeded in building a canal that would carry a small stream of water and were much encouraged but our canal problems were not over. In many places the fine sandy soil would not hold water and it would seep through and come out below the hill. Quite often this happened during the night and time would have to be taken from farming, building fences and homes to again camp out while we repaired the canal.
Our canal company had a flood water filing on Burnt Fork Creek. We would use the early spring runoff. Many of the old-timers resented this claiming they needed all the water for their ranches. At times they would go to the head of the canal and turn out the water. We hired a canal rider to keep the water coming. There were some hard feelings when we came as a group to homestead, fence, and build canals on ground that had been open range for spring and fall grazing. There were some disagreements and a few fights. The land being what it is, the available water so scarce and the growing season so short, a 160 acre homestead wouldn't provide much of a living for a growing family.
Many of the families left our community for opportunity elsewhere. Like the pioneers of old, we had our joys and sorrows, small success and disappointments, but we prospered in faith. Our hardships and differences are held sacred to us, as are the good times we had together at the dances, home entertainments, plays, and fireside meetings. All these memories are part of us and will always be remembered with a softening glow. The fun and satisfying memories somehow become more important than the hardships and disappointments.
My family came to the valley in 1919 by way of Carter and Fort Bridger, Wyoming. That was the route in at that time. There was no road to Green River. There were five of us; my father and mother, a brother older than me and Zelda, my younger sister. Our homestead was in Utah on the state line where it joined my older sister's place in Wyoming. She and her husband, Simeon Brady, had homesteaded the year before so they were our closest neighbors.
That first winter the house wasn’t far enough along to live in so we wintered in the basement. It was a hillside house with the basement open on one side. It was a dirt floor, one window, and a blanket for a door. Rations were a mite scanty that first winter. We did have the basics of meat and potatoes. My mother would say, "You may have your choice, meat and potatoes or potatoes and meat."
Our homestead was at the head of what was known as Coon Hollow. That name is another story. But Coon Hollow it was for a long time. The postoffice and older community of Burntfork, were to the west and Terry Town to the east. This little valley of Coon Hollow is where the schoolhouse is now and extends south toward Phil Pico Mountain. We were at the head of the valley in a little nook facing south and protected from the prevailing west winds. My mother loved to grow a garden and flowers. Older residents said that vegetables could not be grown in that high altitude. My mother proved them wrong when she grew string beans, squash, corn. and sometimes tomatoes and her flowers would bloom inside in winter when no one else’s would.
My father and older brother, Wendel, were inventive. My father, usually known as Dad Triplett. built the first and probably the only flour mill ever in Sweetwater County. The building still stands where he made hot cake flour, a cereal, and white flour. It was named "Banner Hot Cake Flour" from the Home Milling Co. and, if not a tremendous success, operated for several years. Wendel had his ideas. He had the first radio in the valley, home made. People would come from miles around to listen to that wonder of the day. He bui1t an airplane with framework of wood but became discouraged with that and gave up before it flew, probably saved his life.
Coming to the valley, Wendell and I were sent ahead to Carter then to the Ft. Bridger - Burntfork route. At Fort Bridger we caught the mail truck, which also carried passengers, driven by Nels Hilrick in a Model T. Nels was part time postmaster at Burntfork too. He later moved to a cabin on Cedar Mountain, a landmark today, still there. I was twelve years old then.
My interests ran to nature and the mountains. I was fascinated with exploring and enjoying those beautiful Uinta Mountains and still am. One of my experiences was walking to school down Coon Hollow to the one room schoolhouse carrying my lunch. No school buses then.
After Wendel, Zelda and I grew up. we went our ways. I married the Queen of my life, Veda Meeks. She was born at Lonetree so we were both natives somewhat. Veda and I moved to Rawlins, Wyoming, where I had employment on the railroad. Leaving the railroad we moved back to McKinnon in 1946 and commenced the McKinnon portion of our lives. We raised a family of three boys and five girls. We loved our children, our home, and the soil. Those were years full of memories; like the two faithful work horses which gave their lives without pay, and the big bobcat John caught (It was as long as he was tall), and the many picnics in the hills.
Our children: John, Marle, Basil, Linnea. Priscilla, Mark. Christy and Iris grew up and have their own families now. We, Veda and I, have 41 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. But always our family enjoys returning to the scenes of our early years so we hold a Family Reunion every year.
I operated a sawmill during most of those 20 years at McKinnon but the sawmill finally did not pay out. Veda went teaching and I became a carpenter on the Flaming Gorge Dam. In 1966 I took over a filling station in Green River. This was a new experience for me but it did better than carpentry. I had the first ice business in Green River and was the first to sell night crawlers to fishermen. This was when Flaming Gorge reservoir was new and fishing fabulous. One year I sold 10,000 DOZEN night crawlers.
Since our moving to Green River, I have retained an interest in the valley and especially the historical values. The setting up of the Rendezvous Marker was a satisfaction for the part I had with it. I would like to see the Burntfork Cemetery cleaned up and renovated. There is much history on those gravestones. Mrs. Stewart’s house, from her book, "Letters of a. Woman Homesteader" needs preserving and the Terry Homestead has much history, RENDEZVOUS VALLEY would be fitting.
Some day Veda and I will rest at McKinnon with timeless Phil Pico our companion.
My mother, Zelda Triplett Brady, was born in Fairview in 1910. Her family left there when she was six and a half years old and moved to Jerome, Idaho, where they survived the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918.
They moved to McKinnon in 1919. Mom remembers that the day they arrived. Jay Hanks, who drove the mail truck, wore a headband made of beads that said, "I’m looking for a sweetheart." The family lived with Hortense and Sim for the time it took for their new house to be built.
Their house was just across the state line in Utah but the children rode horseback to attend the McKinnon School. Everyone had to furnish his own transportation at first but when the new school was built in 1925, they had a school bus which was a team and wagon.
She went through the tenth grade at this school. Roena Anderson taught her in several grades. Once she was reading such an interesting book to her class that they coaxed her into finishing it. which took quite a long time. Everyone was a little late getting home that night for she finished the book as the sun was going down.
Mom remembers that they had a school orchestra and music was very important to the community. There were lots of dances that always lasted all night. Most of them were in Burntfork in an old two story building, or in the Old Hall in Manila, or in the McKinnon School House.
When she was seventeen she moved to California where she lived for seven years. She married, divorced, and then moved back to McKinnon and married Dad in 1936. They had a ranch, sheep, and seven children; Annette, Annemarie. Ned, twins Bill and Bonnie, Winona and Marla. Mom now lives in Green River near some of her children.
My dad. Harold Brady, was also born in Fairview. In 1919 at age 21, he left there for McKinnon with a team and wagon, two cows, and provisions for a homestead. In the years he lived here he acquired approximately 1300 acres. He herded sheep for Gene Mackey and Henry Heiner. Worked very hard on the Bluebell Canal and raising hay and sheep to make a living for his family. He married Mom when he was 38. He had lived alone for a very long time. He passed away at the age of 66.
All of their children have roots in the McKinnon area. Annette, their oldest child, married Don Schofield and they are the only ones to maintain their residence here. Don drives the school bus, raises sheep and horses, and Annette worked for several years as School Cook besides raising a large family.
It is interesting to note that the children of Deborah Schofield Bergmeier, Don and Annette’s daughter, are the fourth generation of one family to attend McKinnon School.
My father was William (Mack) McGinnis. He was born in Polk County, North Carolina in 1878. As a young boy, he was brought to Manassa, Colorado by his family. He left home at the age of 14 to work on a ranch in New Mexico. Here he learned to speak Spanish fluently. After the ranch work petered out he started to work in the gold mines near Telluride, Colorado. He rode in and out of Colorado and New Mexico frequently. It was on one of these excursions that he met and helped a young man out of trouble. Having been a witness to a hanging of two horse thieves, he came upon the third one and helped him get away before the posse found him. It seems that his young friend had fallen in with thieves who had been stealing horses from New Mexico and selling them in Colorado. Then they would steal horses from Colorado on their way back to New Mexico and sell them there. My father and Elzy Lay became friends. Elzy later took my father's name when he was sent to prison in New Mexico because-they looked a bit alike.
Father married Allie King of Manassa and they had four children. The children were very small when Allie died and my father decided that he could not take care of them. He gave the three youngest ones to three of his wife's sisters and the oldest boy, William Jr., was sent to live with his parents. He left Manassa and came to Utah where he went to work as a barkeeper in Vernal, Utah.
While there he met and became a friend of Claude Johnson who became his partner in the horse business. Every one of the old timers can remember Silver, my father's horse, of whom he was very proud.
Father and Claude went to Robertson, Wyoming to visit Claude's mother and went to work as tie-hackers. They also ran whiskey to the tie-hackers. My father got a job as postmaster in Robertson where he met Adelaide Bullock Wall, a niece of Claude Johnson. Ad had been married for a short time to Darcy Wall and had a young son. Kermit. She also had a homestead at Lonetree where her parents had a ranch.
Adelaide had been born into a family that had been the first homesteaders in the Lonetree valley. If you visit the museum at Ft. Bridger, you will find a picture of her grandfather and his wife. Aunt Lizzie. Aunt Lizzie married Jared John Bullock after his first wife and mother of his children had passed away., Jared (Jed) Greene was the father of my mother. Jed and his brother married sisters in a double wedding at Burntfork. Jed married Mary Johnson and Harry married Nancy Catherine Johnson (Aunt Kate). They were married by my husband's great grandfather, Robert Louis Hereford, who was the Justice of the Peace.
My parents were married in 1922 and moved to the Birch Creek Ranch with their two boys, William McGinnis. Jr. and Kermit Wall. Birch Creek Ranch had been homesteaded by Dave Edwards. Willis Bullock had bought it and my parents got it in a trade for her homestead in Lonetree.
When they moved to the ranch they moved into a house in what we called the big wild meadow. The house was directly across, the creek from the John Briggs house, which is now owned by Bert Wilde. Our house burned in early 1923 so my parents moved their family to a sheep camp down farther on the creek. Jed was born before their house burned so they now had three boys, a sheep camp. and a tent.
Father built a two room cabin and later added on two more rooms. Mother milked cows and raised chickens and a good garden. She sold eggs and butter to all of the sheep men in the country at that time. I remember helping churn butter so she could sell it to Mr. Sheldon and Mr. Perkins. Mother was an ambitious lady who paid for the ranch and helped buy the Eubanks place in 1933 or 1934. They later acquired the lower part of the old Tom Welch Place. This was the place that was homesteaded by Robert Louis Hereford and acquired by Tom Welch. There was a spring on the property and Mr. Hereford built a house where the spring was.. Muskrat and mink were prevalent on the stream that came from the spring and on Birch Creek. My brothers had trap lines on both of these streams. There were many fur companies then to sell their furs to. They helped my mother pay for many things with the money they got from the pelts.
The flood in August of 1936 flooded our home. Mother lost all her chickens except one old hen that had roosted on the hill with her 13 little chicks. Many of the pigs and lambs were also lost. It took the county bridge out just below the house. Everyone on Birch Creek, Henry's Fork and Burnt Fork was hard hit. Because our house was ruined, we moved up to the Eubank's Place. It was harder up there because we had to haul drinking water, which added to all the other, things we had to do on the ranch. Many years we milked as high as 49 cows. Merry and I milked 13 cows each. We were always up early in the morning to milk, separate, clean the separator, carry in wood for mother, clean ourselves up, change our clothes and then walk to the road to catch the bus for school. The bus was usually a converted truck with benches on either side. We were totally busy and did not have any time to get into trouble. It was a good life.
In 1928 Dave Gillis and my father mapped out a route from Hoops Lake to the valley using Beaver Creek to bring it part way, then through ditches to bring the water all the way to the valley. He fought to get the water project going. It seemed like he was always gone to Cheyenne or Salt Lake or Casper to talk with people about it. He was victorious and, in the late thirties, his water project was completed. What fun we had at the dedication of the Hoops Lake Dam! Father worked for several years as water commissioner for that part of the country.
Father lost interest in the ranch when my mother passed away in 1945. It was sold to Austin Stevens and my father eventually moved to Green River where he passed away in 1950.
My father was a great horseman. He ran horses with the Will Stoll family. Many good horses were run from Cedar Mountain to the round corral down on Birch Creek.
All of the old timers remember my mother’s good pies. No one left our place hungry. The first thing she always asked was if you had had dinner. We always raised a good.garden and lots of potatoes. .In the fall my father would load a load of potatoes in the wagon and take them to people that he felt were less fortunate than we were. I can remember riding with him two different years to deliver them.
My parents had seven children. Five of us survived. They were Jed, Joy, Merry, Claude, and Trixie. Some of the happiest memories of my 1ife were while we were growing up.
by Joy McGinnis Twitchell
In the year 1914 Charles A. Terry, Jr. came in contact with a Mr. Brown of Salt Lake City who was trying to promote a land project in Daggett County. Charles, his father C. A. Terry Sr. and Thomas R. Anderson went to Manila, Utah, but found that this project promised much more than it was able to deliver. They moved up to the McKinnon area where they were able to build a canal to bring water on to homestead lands. Peter G. Wall was very helpful to them.
The Alphonzo Terry family consisting of his wife, Kate Birch and their two daughters, Frances and Norma, left Provo Bench in May, 1918 for Burnt Fork, Wyoming. With a team and wagon and a few cows they arrived a week later. Their first home was a oneroom log cabin built by James E. Elder on the homestead of his half brother, Charles Terry.
As all the land was entirely under sagebrush, the men of the settlement had to go elsewhere for employment which was chiefly haying jobs. Their trials were many but all the people were in the same category. Through cooperation and encouragement for one another they had many good times together almost as one large family. Their main objective at first was to get church organizations going and what recreation they could get through dancing and parties. Their setbacks were many but as the growing children matured they would not trade their childhood experiences for any other. Alphonzo’s health failed and in 1933 he moved back to Utah with his family of seven children.
Franklin D. White came to McKinnon in 1925 to establish residence on a homestead, if possible, that he might improve his station in life. When his family joined him in August of that year it was just in time to assist in building the new schoolhouse.
They found a thriving community of Latter Day Saints trying to keep the commandments of the Lord and raise their children in righteousness. They also found a good number of old settlers of the country who did not care anything about religion who delighted in harassing those who did. This kept the Saints on their toes and made them more united and dependent on one another. By so doing they created an atmosphere of love.
Things went along as most new communities do, hard times and easy times. The roads to the town of Green River were very poor, especially in winter months. One time in the late twenties the roads were blocked with snow so bad that we had to make the trip to town by truck for ninety miles on the ice of the Green River. As this was very hazardous very few trips were made. We learned to "stock up" on necessary supplies when the weather was more clement.
Shortly after Mr. White came to this colony, he asked one of the settlers just what they did for recreation in the summer and the answer was, "Oh, we play ball on that day!"
So things went along from year to year. We had marriages and happy times. We had deaths, sickness, and sorrow. I can now see the good of our lives out there. From those families who made all those sacrifices have come many good Latter Day Saints taking a leading part in the church in many parts of the country.
On June 1, 1938, the dam washed out at Beaver Meadows. This was a severe blow to the people. Many were so discouraged they were ready to give up and leave. After careful consideration the community got the courage to go ahead and borrow the money to start work to rebuild the dam. There was a small amount of water left in the reservoir so teams and men went up to repair the canal to furnish enough water for the gardens. A special Fast Meeting was called the following Sunday to pray for rain. The rain did not come immediately but before the summer was over, the natives were heard to say, "I wish the damn Mormons would stop praying for rain so we could get our hay up." We had enough moisture to raise pretty good crops.
A year or two following the reservoir failure were very hard years for the people. The depression was on and the loss of crops made it very hard. About this time the homesteads were being sold to make larger units; one neighbor would buy the other out and another would buy both places. Schools became a problem and church activity lessened. This was a good time to move to where our children could have more educational advantages.
I didn’t know much about McKinnon until 1920 when we moved there. We lived there until the fall of 1923 before moving to Manila. We lived in a three room log house which my father had built just southeast of the present church, just east of the bend of the old road.
The schoolhouse was where the church is now. It was a two room red schoolhouse. Roena Anderson taught the first to sixth grades. Leonard Christensen taught the sixth to twelfth grades. Roena was my teacher. She was my favorite teacher of all the teachers I ever had.
My best friend was Wesley Smith. We were together all the time. His father was Alvin Smith. He was the store keeper, post master, and dentist, if you needed a tooth pulled. He pulled one for me. It wasn’t painless, but he got it out. Smiths lived in the store, which was across the street from the present school house. The building is still there.
Cliff Anderson, my teacher's husband, lived over the hill from the school. Sometimes Roena rode a horse to school and sometimes she brought her babies to tend.
The school was the community center. Church was held there. Lamont Pulham was the Bishop. He lived on the south side of the road 2 or 3 miles east of McKinnon. Arch, his brother, lived close by.
The Terrys lived closer to the road than the Pulhams. They had a big family. As the children married they lived near their parents. The area was called "Terry Town". Fonzo Terry lived in a dugout. He had a truck and made lots of trips to Salt Lake. He did freighting for the area. If you wanted anything hauled, you asked Fonzo.
The Stokers lived under the hill from the Terrys. Johnny Anderson, Cliffs father, lived closer to McKinnon but on the south side of the road also. Back toward McKinnon lived the Tripletts, Ben Stewart lived where Lunk Jarvie lives now.
Up Birch Creek lived Zeb Edwards. West of McKinnon lived Henry Heiner to the north. Melroy Luke lived about one half mile west of McKinnon on the south side of the road. John Briggs lived southwest of McKinnon. Tom Welch lived farther west on Birch Creek where Jon Wilde lives now. Claude Sadlier also lived on Birch Creek. Lee Russell and Grandma Sadlier lived Southeast of Tom Welch. Mr. Eddings lived west of McKinnon on the north side of the road. Every one except the Smiths and the Robinsons lived on ranches out side of McKinnon.
We didn’t have much for entertainment. I do remember the May Day celebrations held at the Pine Grove. We went to the grove by foot. I learned to braid the Maypole. They taught us at school and I really enjoyed doing it. They also taught us to dance at school.
Wesley Smith had an old roan mare. I didn’t have a horse, but we rode his double. Wesley and I liked to torment his sisters, Lovina and Lucille, who were being courted by Austin Stevens and Elmer Swett. Dan Smith was just a little boy and his sisters, Doris and Eva, were older than he was.
David Austin and Lovina Smith Stevens were early day residents of McKinnon. Lovina was born in Manila but grew up in Coon Hollow when her parents, Alvin and Sarah Smith, moved to the old Showers place. Austin was born in Salina, Utah, and moved to Linwood with his parents, David Edward and Kate Kenney Stevens, while still a young boy. He went to school in the State Line School with Mrs. Tinker as his. teacher. His parents leased the Larson property at Linwood and his mother ran the hotel or boarding house there. "Life here was very interesting. The large house served as a hotel where Mother's good cooking helped make it a stopping place for distant ranchers, travelers, and sheep-men who were in the area in the winter. There were several rental houses on the property, an old Smith and Larson store building and a dance hall. Down near Henry's Fork, just across the Wyoming line there was a saloon called the "Bucket of Blood" which was very popular in the winter times. We milked cows and sold butter and eggs at the store. Mother continued to sell butter there after we lived in Burntfork."
Austin's parents leased the Zeb Edwards place on Birch Creek. He trailed horses and cattle through Brown's Park to Vernal and back again when this property became available. Austin worked for the Terrys and as a ranch hand for Tom Welch.
Austin and Lovina were married in 1921 in a double wedding with her sister. Lucille, and Elmer Swett. Their family were amazed at this match. "How Austin and Lovina ever took up with each other was always a mystery. Austin was about the most bashful young man and Lovina was the life of the party. Austin was a real cowboy from his big cowboy hat, fancy shirt, Specially made chaps, down to his ornate cowboy boots, with a big fancy gray horse he was so proud of. We have wondered- if maybe she was attracted to that beautiful saddle horse. Any way they made a go of it and lived many happy years together."
They set out to make their way in the world, first at Buckboard where he worked on the road and she cooked for the crew. They leased the Hutton Place for two years where their first son, Calvin. was born. Lovina was very ill at that time but survived and so did her son. They moved to Green River trying to find jobs and he went to work for Mr. Jacobucci clearing the ground for the football field for the High School there. Austin worked at the electric light plant in Green River for a couple of years. Their second son, Thurman, was born while they lived in town.
They decided to come back to the country and leased the Stoker place (near Charlie Terry's) where they lived when their last son, Donald, was born. They were unable to make a living on a waterless 160 acre place so they traveled back to Linwood where they ran dairy cows. Because of a bad drought when the government bought the cows, they left Linwood and returned to the McKinnon area.
They bought the Aldridge place and a small band of sheep. They bought the Eddings place from Joe Sheldon and added the lower Welch place and the McCarty and Eubanks places while still running sheep. They lived there several years, going gradually from sheep to cattle.
Because their youngest son, Donald, had asthma and hay fever so bad, he wasn’t able to live in the country so he and his mother stayed in Rock Springs. Austin let his son, Calvin, have the place to run and he moved into Rock Springs going to work in the Blairtown coal mine for a couple of years. He worked on the County road crew also, before he had to take over the ranch again.
Donald is known to most of the people of McKinnon as an excellent CPA in Rock Springs. He probably knows more about our business affairs than we do.
Austin and Lovina sold the ranch to W. W. Smith and Sons who later sold it to Modesto Mendicoa. Dale and Deanna Blood .are leasing it and living on it at the present time.
Lovina must have brought Austin out of his shell because, for several summers after they relocated, to Mesa, Arizona, he spent summers working as tour guide and "dude wrangler" for outfits in Jackson Hole and Pinedale
Lovina died in Mesa of complications following gall bladder surgery in 1965. She is buried in Rock Springs. He still lives in Mesa with his second wife, Vi, and thoroughly enjoys his life there with his neighbors, garden and shuffle board tournaments.
Harry William and Florence May Hallett Katzmyer lived in the Burntfork/McKinnon area all of their married life until 1976 when they moved to Salt Lake City.
Harry was born in Shawno, Wisconsin in 1894. He was educated there and worked mainly in the lumbering/timber business. He served with the United States Army during World War I. During his army service, he received an ear injury that caused a hearing deficiency for the remainder of his life. He said it was Hell to not be able to hear for people thought you were DUMB, but dumb, he wasn’t.
Harry moved to the Burntfork area with his mother and some family members to join two older sisters who had come to Wyoming to teach school.
Florence was born in Elva, Idaho, in 1904. She lived with her family in the Evanston, Melbourne, and Burntfork areas. She was educated in the local schools where one of her teachers was Harry's sister, Lucille. Her mother and Stepfather, May and Arthur Hallett, owned a small ranch at Burntfork.
Harry and Florence were married in 1922 in Manila. Utah. They lived at different times in the "Old Hall" at Burntfork, the "Dave Shack" and on the "Hutton Place". Ben Katzmyer, Harry's brother, homesteaded the place just across the state line in Daggett County, which Harry and Florence acquired in 1937. Their only daughter, Edith, was born while they were living on the "Hutton Place". Florence moved to Green River during the school term for two years to enable Edith to attend High School. Edith graduated from the Green River High School but spent her last two high school years living with friends.
In about 1970 they sold the Utah property to Albert Wilde and bought a small place in McKinnon from Zelda Brady. They lived there, closer to neighbors, until, for health reasons, they moved to Salt Lake City in 1976 to be nearer their family. The property in McKinnon is now owned by Edith.
Harry and Florence were both hard working and earned a living in various ways including: buying and selling live stock, farming, raising sheep, canal riding, cooking at the McKinnon School, building fences and gates, lumbering, contracting hay jobs, raising chickens, and much more.
Florence was an excellent horsewoman, and Harry an avid walker. Florence rode horseback, both for work and pleasure and Harry walked. They went on many mountain pack trips with friends. They were both active participants in the original building of the reservoir at Beaver Meadows. Uncle Ben was the cook at the campsite and I remember riding horseback there many times. They took many fishing trips to the Uintas, (both starting out horseback, Harry returning on foot) with the Gambles, Stolls, Becks, Bennions, and others.
After the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam, Harry and Florence also fished in that vicinity. After Florence's health didn't permit her to participate as much. Harry continued fishing and boating with zest.
Harry will always be known in the area for a "string of fish" and being a friend to everyone. Florence will be remembered for an equal "string of fish", open door and terrific meal for anyone who stopped by.
While living in Salt Lake City, they continued in the same vein as at McKinnon; friendly, charitable neighbors, always being helpful to others. Harry learned to travel by city bus and toured the Salt Lake Valley and even Wendover. Whenever anyone from the area from Manila to Bridger Valley was a patient in any hospital in the Salt Lake Valley they could expect a very welcome visit with Harry.
The pride of their lives was their family; daughter, Edith; granddaughter, Judy; grandson, Bob; and all five great grandchildren, Tom, John, David, Kimber1y and Douglas. Edith married Thomas Welch, son of a prominent family of the Burntfork area.
Harry and Florence are buried in the McKinnon Cemetery (home). The children will always have roots in the McKinnon area and consider it a special place.
GLEN AND DORIS WALKER
Although the Glen Walker Family Chapter wasn’t made until later years in McKinnon, it is a part of the history of the community. Doris had been a part of it from the first, as can be read in the Alvin Smith story, but, other than playing for a few dances and an occasional weekend, Glen’s part in the drama of McKinnon began the first of January, 1931, when he was hired to finish the school year teaching, in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades when one of the teachers failed to return after the holidays. Incidentally, Glen and Doris had become engaged at Christmas time, and that seemed a very practical coincidence for him to come to teach at McKinnon and board and room with the Smiths. He has claimed through the years that he had to try out Doris’s cooking before he wou1d marry her. She must have proved herself, as they were married May 27, 1931, in the Salt Lake Temple. After a short honeymoon to Idaho they went to Laramie, where Glen attended summer school and then went back to teach in McKinnon again. This was the pattern for the next few years. It seemed it took all winter to pay off the loan for the last summer school. Outside of teaching one year in Burnt Fork and one year in Farson, Wyoming, the next 15 years were spent by Glen in teaching from all grades one year to various grades, ending up at the high school and being principal of the school. Under his supervision school lunches were commenced in the school.
Their three oldest children, Norlan, Glenna and Owen, were born to them while they were living here. In the spring of 1938 Glen and Doris bought the business and ranch from her father, Alvin Smith, and the next ten years was a mighty busy time for this young family. Both were very active in the many organizations in the church. Glen .was bishop and scoutmaster and Doris enjoyed being Beekeeper both in McKinnon and stake-wide.
Glen was president of the canal company for a number of years. He had 264 acres of farm land and cleared part of that from sagebrush. At one time he had a wonderful alfalfa crop that yielded one hundred tons of baled hay for the stockyards in Green River, besides enough to feed his own stock. He was grain king that year - threshed 4000 bushels of barley. He also ran an ambulance service to the hospital 65 miles away on a number of occasions. He especially remembers the time he ran a race with the stork - when Zelda Brady had her twins. He played drums in an orchestra, which furnished the music for all the dances in the country. This being a big part of the entertainment then it was about a weekly job. Basketball was also a great sport, and Glen coached the school team as well as MIA and the town teams. He refereed many games.
On top of this, they had a small store and service station and Doris was postmistress. As the business was in the one part of the home there were no set hours and, from early morning until midnight, they would be pumping gas and giving out mail. Theirs being the central phone, most long distance calls went to them to be delivered to outlying families, Glen hauled commodities for the store from Rock Springs, which meant that he spent Saturdays going to town over all kinds of roads - some of them mighty poor.
In 1946, when Owen was two and a half years old, he was run over by a heavy station wagon used for a school bus. His lungs were crushed, and they filled with blood. He was rushed to the hospital 65 miles away and spent four days in an oxygen tent fighting for life. Through the blessings of the Lord he was able to win that fight. 1947 saw Norlan suffer with tularemia from a horsefly bite and Doris have to go to Manila to the health nurse for shots each week. The next February, Glen had to rush Doris to Rock Springs, through a horrible Wyoming blizzard, to be delivered of their second daughter who did not live. Hers, was the third body buried in the new cemetery her father had worked so hard to establish while he was on the bishopric.
In September of 1947 they sold their place and business to Reulon Ashby and they moved to his home in Vernal where they spent the next 22 years. Their last chi1d, David, was born while they lived there. In 1969 Glen retired from the post office and they moved to Farmington, Utah. They lived in Utah longer than they did in McKinnon but their busy, happy years here afford them many fond memories and they keep their early friends in their hearts.
Orson Behunin was born at Clawson, Utah in 1908 the fifth of ten children. His mother died when he was 10 years old. His father took care of his family with the exception of a year, which they spent with his dad's sister. His father, John, worked hard to keep his family together and still make a living. By the time Orson was 13 or 14 he started working in a sawmill where he worked for one or two summers.
Then he came to Wyoming. Orson and his brother, Mel, came over the mountains about 1927 or 1928 horseback with pack horses to work in the hay fields at Lonetree for Owen Bullock, Harry Buckley and the Hickeys. Orson would save his money and send it home to his father.
Orson’s father, brother Dick, and sisters, Hattie and Emma, moved to Lonetree to the Owen Bullock ranch where they spent the winter.
Orson married Christena Slagowski in December of 1930. This was during the greatest depression our society has ever known. In the spring Orson went to work for Joe and Cal Hickey at $50.00 per month.
Orson and Christena lived in various places in the Henry’s Fork Valley for the next year or so. He quit Hickeys and went to Manila where leased half of the Birch Springs Ranch. He then leased the Cobb ranch at Manila and worked for the forest service for a month. He worked on the Spirit Lake Dam. That winter the government had a program to cut down on cattle numbers and they had to get rid of the cattle plus some that had died on alkali water.
Orson then leased the Ike Edwards place owned then by Lee Russell. This place was west of Becks, Gambles, Sadliers, and Ellsworths. They were all good neighbors. They would visit each other, have dinners, make quilts, go hunting and have celebrations at the Alkali Grove. They stayed five years on the Ike Place and then Orson bought the William Stoll place, first leasing it in 1939 and buying it in 1940. Roy Perkins lived to the west, his place joining the Stoll place. Roy Perkins was very good to Orson and helped him get started.
They had six children. Donald married Hellen Harvey, Shirley married Val McAllister, Bonnie married James Jorgenson, Karl married Deanna Taylor and bought his mother-in-laws ranch at Mountain View, Myrna married Jim Lupher and they have a ranch in Mountain View and Geri married Lloyd Lofton and lives in Green River.
Orson was elected President of the Sweetwater County Farm Bureau about 1945 which office he held for about 9 years. He was instrumental in bringing the REA into the Henry's Fork Valley. He received a pin in 1969 from the Wyoming State Farm Bureau recognizing thirty years of WFB activities., He served on the Soil Conservation Service board and received a USDA service award for 15 years of service.
He prospected for uranium in 1955 - 56 for a group of businessmen from Green River. He staked 24 claims, which he eventually sold to Western Nuclear Uranium Company. He was a member of the American Mountain Men who meet once a year, live, dress and cook like the Mountain Men of old. He was known as Gray Beard.
Orson was killed in a car accident in March 1975 as he was on his way to Salt Lake City to make arrangements for the funeral for his sister, Hattie. He is buried in the McKinnon cemetery.
Christena still lives on the ranch at Burntfork, which is now owned by their son, Donald.
Donald Behunin, son of Orson and Christena Slagowski Behunin was born and raised in the Burntfork area. After his "tour of duty" with the army in Korea, he came home, married Hellen Harvey (daughter of Bert and Katherine Rounds Harvey of Bridger Valley), worked on building the Flaming Gorge Dam and other construction jobs for about five years. before he and his family settled on the old Brady Place. He and Hellen raised their four daughters on the ranch.
The whole family took part in the hayfield, moving cows, and whatever else needed to be done. They all enjoyed working together.
The girls, Brenda, Wendy, Valree and Christy all enjoyed the same interests. Raising 4-H steers, riding horses, moving cows, rodeo and school sports. The girls all attended the McKinnon School for the first eight years and then graduated from the Manila High School. They were all rodeo queens at one time or another.
Their ranch home burned to the ground in July of 1978 when they lost everything. With lots of hard work and the help of the community it didn't take long to get another home moved in.
Brenda married Steve Douglas of Manila. They have three children; JoLynn, Bo and Jessica and live on the ranch near her dad. Steve is employed by Rhoone - Poulenc in Green River but the whole family enjoys life on the ranch. Moving cows to the summer range is a real family affair., Their children go to McKinnon School and are kept out of trouble in the summer time by being involved with rodeos., 4-H, steer roping, and HORSES.
Wendy and Bruce Christensen and their four children; Rusty, Bryan, Heather, and Brittney live on the Birch Springs Ranch in Manila. This keeps Wendy’s family busy.
Valree and Rowdy Muir and their children Ty and Carly live on the ranch in Burntfork near Grandma Christena. He is employed by the Forest Service. They help out on the ranch as needed whenever possible.
Christy and John Rogers and their daughters, JaNel, Candice, and Cassie, live in Vernal where John has his own Well-Head business. They are all doing very well.
Hellen was killed in a car accident in July of 1980. Don still lives on the same place enjoying the company and help of his twelve grandkids.
Al came to the Manila area at twelve years of age. He attended school there for a time before his parents moved to Lyman. He joined the chorus in the Lyman High School and really was a pretty good tenor. He thought he had things under control until his first solo performance in front of a great number of people. He stood up to sing, looked at the audience, and nothing would come out. He swore that that problem would never be a problem for any of his kids. It was the reason visitors to his home were treated to performances by his children at very young ages.
Al was a timberman. He learned to saw lumber in Idaho and spends his time in the forests yet. He ran a sawmill with 15 employees at Hickerson Park soon after he and Merle Johnson were married. He drove the first car down Birch Creek Canyon while the CCC was finishing the road. He remembers that it was an old Nash touring car without a top. He also remembers that the crew working on the road were not exactly happy with his trip.
Al and Merle bought their.place on the Birch Creek road at the mouth of the Carter Dugway from Heber Bennion when Judy, their oldest child, was ready to start to school. Alton Beck drove the pickup school bus to take the Beck’s and Elmer kids to McKinnon School. Sure, they lived in Utah and the school was in Wyoming but, so what! All of their children,; Judy, John, Nola, and Jim, went to the McKinnon School. When they all got into school Merle became a teacher there and she taught for many years.
The neighbors on Birch creek were very congenial. Al speaks very highly of the Alton Becks, Larence Becks, Louis Stoll, Art Hallett, the Katzmyers, and Tripletts. Much visiting was done and these people became the audiences for his children's performances.
This wasn’t a bad idea at all for all four of their children are talented musicians. Roena Anderson helped Nola and Judy sing, harmony because they COULD if they knew how.
Merle retired from teaching in 1972 and died in 1988. Al , at 80 years of age, is still cutting posts and spending lots of time in the timber. He enjoys visiting with his son, Jim, in Texas in the wintertime.
In 1940 I came to Burntfork armed with a teaching certificate and very enthusiastic about my first year of teaching. As I traveled the dirt road from Green River to Burntfork I thought I was coming to the end of the world. As I came down the hill into Henry's Fork I suddenly thought, "What a beautiful valley!" All of my misgivings left me and I fell in love with this country.
I sought out Willie Welch who was a school board member whom I found at Tom Welch’s home. Willie found me a place to stay and I lived with Jerrine Rupert who was also a school board member. Jerrine, of course, was the daughter of Eleanor Pruit Stewart who wrote "Letters of a Woman Homesteader". Jerrine was living in the Stewart home with her father, Clyde, so I moved in with them; and paid board and room out of my $90.00 a month salary.
I was suddenly thrust into an entirely different world. Jerrine had two brothers, Calvin and Bob, who visited that fall and this "school marm" was the recipient of many jokes at their hands.
Jerrine went to Philadelphia in 1940 where she married Frank Wire and where she remained the rest of her life. I moved in with Anna and Cleo Terry who had the Stewart place leased. Cleo was the son of Charles Terry and Anna was an Erickson from Lyman. They had four living children, namely, Charles, Ronald, and Shirley, whom I taught that first year, and Cleo Ann who was a baby. They lost a baby while they were on the Stewart place.
Lyle and Laurena Anderson leased the Stewart place the next year. Laurena was the daughter of Ben Stewart and Lyle was the son of John A. Anderson. I taught their daughter, Eutona, the second year. Earl Hanks drove the school bus.
The second year of my teaching, I moved into part of the Orson Behunin house. Orson and Christena Slagowski had purchased the Will Stoll place and Christena still lives there.
The first year I taught I had five grades. Some of my students were Donald, Shirley, and Bonnie Behunin; Gene Gamble; Patsy Fisher; Percy, Reta, and Ruth Hanks; Ina Marie Eddings; Trixie McGinnis; and Charles, Ronald and Shirley Terry.
When I first came here, we carried water from the creek, had no electricity, and the roads were still dirt. When it rained it was almost impossible to go to Green River as a lot of that road was clay. We used gasoline or kerosene lights and some people had a 32 volt plant attached to huge batteries, which supplied them with power. Our telephones were mounted on the wall and everyone was on the same line. Different coded rings such as three long rings and one short were assigned to each family. When your code of rings came through, you answered and everyone else could "rubber" if they so chose. The lines into the valley were strung on telephone poles, fence posts and anything else that kept the line off the ground.
When our road to Green River was finally oiled, it was fantastic! Then the road from Lonetree to Manila was oiled and this brought a big change to our community. It brought lots and lots of traffic through our area because of the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area.
The coming of electricity through R.E.A. in the early fifties changed our way of living completely. We now had a freezer to put our butchered beef into. We no longer had to use iceboxes. We had obtained the ice by cutting huge square blocks of it in the winter out of ponds and putting it into an icehouse under many layers of sawdust. This kept it through the summer to be used for homemade ice cream and iceboxes. After the R.E.A. came through, many people drilled wells, installed electric pumps and now had water in the house. Hand pumps had been used prior to that.
Through the efforts of Jim and Lela Gregory, and Harry Buckley of Lonetree, and Don Porter of Lyman, we now have television. Everyone In this area donated a certain amount of money in order to bring T.V. into the area.
The method of haying gradually changed from horse drawn machinery to up-to-date balers and hydraulic stackers. Tractors replaced horses in the hay field. Cattle, for the most part, are hauled from one place to another in trailers drawn by four wheel drive pickups or hauled many distances in semi trucks over oiled roads.
We now have an up-to-date telephone through the efforts of the Woody family of Mountain View. Dial phones have replaced the old crank telephones that hung on the wall.
The Burntfork school consolidated with McKinnon and then McKinnon consolidated with Green River. Supervision of the schools was removed from a County Superintendent to the Green River Superintendent of Schools. The office of County Superintendent was done away with. Our 7th and 8th and high school students are now bussed to Green River, Manila; or Mountain View.
Reed and Elizabeth Hanks were living on the original Hanks land but when Earl married Velma Youngberg of Lyman, they moved into the Roy Perkins home. Earl now owns the Hanks and Perkins ranches.
Dan Jensen owned the Logan ranch, which he purchased from Dave Logan. He lived on the ranch for a while and then his son, Emery, took it for a whi1e. It has changed hands many times since then. Various owners have been Birnell Olson, Gardiner, Charles and Bertha Meeks and now Lavell and Wade Stephens from Coalville, Utah own it.
Willie Welch, son of Tom Welch, lived on the Gillis place then owned by Tom Welch.
Grandma Lillian Stoll was 1iving in the George Stoll, Sr. home with her youngest son, Louis. When Lillian Stoll was first married to George Stoll, Jr. she lived in a home south of the parish house. When the George Stoll Seniors passed away, Lillian and George Jr. moved into his parents home right on the road. After she passed away and Louis was killed in an auto accident, the ranch was run jointly by Fred Stoll and Alta Gamble. Fred’s son, Don, now owns the lower part of the ranch and lives in the old home. Alta Stoll Gamble owns the upper part. Glen and Julie Iorg now own the middle part. The old original Stoll Jr. home burned down. No one was living in it at the time.
Frank Eddings (Poppie) and Ina Eddings (Mommie) were living in what was called the parish house. Their granddaughter, Ina Marie Eddings, lived with them. Frank Eddings once owned the Voorhees Pearson ranch and was also a freighter traveling between Casper and Rock Springs,
Harry Hudson was living .in a cabin behind the parish house. At one time he owned some ranch land now owned by Francie Anderson. Harry sang at funerals and also played the violin. He was a bachelor and from whence he came, I have no idea.
John Behunin, Orson’s dad, married Ina Eddings’ sister, Doll, when both of them were quite elderly and they lived on the Gamble ranch where he raised a beautiful garden.
Our school at McKinnon now consists of grades K - 6 with two full time teachers and one kindergarten teacher who teaches half a day. The enrollment is now 33 students.
Some of, the people living here at the time I came here in 1940 were as follows:
Tom Welch was still on the Welch ranch with Fred Welch and his wife, Alice Memovich Welch. Tom had a home in Green River where his wife, Molly Stoll Welch, resided. Tom’s grandson lived with Tom and Molly to attend high school in Green River.
Will and Ida Sadlier Stoll lived on Indian Springs Ranch which Ray Stoll, their son, owned. It was on that ranch that the school picnic was held every year. The school picnic was a community affair and everyone attended. Kenneth Stoll and his wife, Grace Switzer Stoll, lived on the ranch in later years. Ray sold it to Dr. Hughes of Salt Lake City who now maintains it as a fishing and hunting resort.
Orson and Christena Slagowski Behunin had purchased the William Stoll place in 1940 and Christena still makes her home there.
The Fisher’s were living in the old Voorhees Pearson house probably renting it from someone. Later Austin and Lovina Smith Stevens moved there when they purchased the place. Austin and Lovina moved there after living in the house about one half mile west of McKinnon and south of the road. That place was lived in -- by Glen and Mabel Warby, Calvin and Ethel Stevens, Bert and Yvonne Lamb, and Glen and Isabel Kidman. William McGinnis owned the property at one time as did William Smith of Brigham City who also purchased the McKinnon property. William Smith sold to Modesto Mendicoa who not only purchased the Pearson place but also the lower end of the Tom Welch property. Dale and Deanna Blood are now living there in the old Pearson house.
William McGlnnis and his family were living in the house on the point of the hill on what was called the Eubank place. He and his wife, Adelaide, are written about in the McGinnis history which is enclosed.
John and Florence Meyers Briggs were living on what was known as the McCarty place when I came here. Their son, Dick, married Gladys Benson, granddaughter of Peter Wall, and they were living on the old Hutton place. Jack Briggs married Allowee Heiner and they were living in the small house near the Briggs home. Gladys and Dick started to build a new home but before it was finished John Briggs sold his place and the entire family moved to Montana. Harold had married Pina Heiner who died and then he married Joann Christensen. Hugh wasn’t married at the time they lived here. The John Briggs property changed hands several times before M. R. Wilde and Sons from Croydon, Utah purchased it. The Wildes also bought the Lee Russell place where Jon Wilde now lives. Theron Wilde moved the house that Dick and Gladys started over the hill, finished it and added on to it and it is now the home he lives in. Bert Wilde lives in the original John Briggs home.
Harry and Florence Hallett Katzmyer were living in the home south of the Hutton place. They sold their place, to the Wildes and purchased the home and several acres near the McKinnon Church from Zelda Brady. Harold Brady had built this for his family. Florence and Harry's daughter, Edith, married young Tom Welch. The Katzmyers moved to Salt Lake where they have since passed away. They are both buried in the McKinnon cemetery.
After Jex Terry, son of Chasta and Charles Terry, married Delores Ylincheta, he moved into the old Terry home where they lived for many years. After they left here, Bill and Emma Cox moved into the Terry home. They had been living in a home north of the highway from the Terry place. Their son. Bill and Beth Terry Cox, lived in a home near theirs until they left here and moved to Orem, Utah. Bill and Emma sold the ranch north of the highway to LaRay and Pauline Hymas Sadlier. Their son, Billy, sold the Terry property to Jack Baggs who now lives there.
Henry Heiner and his wife were still living on the Heiner place in 1940 but they sold their ranch in 1946 to Cliff Anderson whose family still runs it.
Many of the smaller places have been purchased by larger landowners as it takes a much larger ranch now to make a living. However, this area is still primarily cattle ranching. It is a way of life that many city people envy. Our neighbors are there when we need them and are always willing to give a helping hand for branding or quilting; for haying or trucking. We still have the cattle roundup in the fall with neighbor helping neighbor. We hope our valley will always remain the same as it has for the last hundred and fifty years.
Birnell and Nora Averett Olsen came to McKinnon from Price. Utah in 1942 after Birnell became acquainted in the valley when he traveled here with a sheep shearing crew for a few years. They came in the spring of the year and their kids vividly remember the mud. It was everywhere that year. They moved to the "Clark Place" on Henrys Fork with their five children, Norman Cheryl, Lorraine, Arnold, and Linda. They had previously lost a small boy before moving here.
Birnell then bought the Munn and Boynton places and they moved onto the Boynton place. They sold these places to Henry Heiner who later sold them to Cliff Anderson.
They bought the Logan Place from Mr. Jensen and they moved there with their family. While Birnell was running the ranch, Nora cooked at the school lunchroom and ran a school bus. She was very efficient at both jobs. Bad roads didn’t daunt her in the least. They sold the Logan Place to a Mr.Goodfellow and purchased the McKinnon Store in 1952.
Birnell took a very active part in the community. He was on the school board and it was through his efforts that the McKinnon water line was developed. He was very adamant about everything being legal while he was on the board. He died in 1956.
Nora took over the store at that time and disposed of the Russell property which Birnell had purchased. She sold that place to Carl and Cleora Allen of Vernal who, after a few years, sold it to M. R. Wilde and Sons. It is now owned by Jon Wilde. Jon and his family still make their home there.
Nora was a very accommodating storeowner and postmaster. If she didn’t have what someone wanted she ordered it and it was here next time around. She was awakened many times by people who just had to have gas or something else immediately. With her "green thumb" she beautified the grounds around the store and postoffice, planting flowers and trees and a lawn enclosed with wagon wheels. She lived at the store until 1972 when she moved to Vernal where she still lives tending her beautiful flowers.
Their children have gone their separate ways. Norman married Veda Briggs, daughter of Eli and Mary Nelson Briggs. They lived for a while on the Logan Place and worked for Goodfellow. Norman then went to work for Northwest Pipeline and they moved to Big Piney. He retired and they live in Marbleton in the summer and St. George, Utah, in the winter months.
Linda and Cheryl married and moved to Price, Utah where they raised their families.
Arnold worked on the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam and then went to work for Northwest Pipeline. He lives in Green River where he is still employed by Northwest.
Lorraine married Alonzo (Lunk) Jarvie, son of Tom Jarvie whose family played a prominent part in Brown’s Park history. Tom married Alice Finch and purchased the Solomon Place on Henry's Fork. When Lunk wasn’t working on construction, he worked on his father’s ranch. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict and saw service in Germany then. He worked for Birnell Olsen on the Russell place where they lived until Birnell died and the place was sold.
Lunk then worked for the Bureau of Land Management on the Flaming Gorge Dam where he was a cement inspector. When the dam was completed, he went to work for Northwest Pipeline where he worked for 22 years until he retired. He and Lorraine purchased the Ben Stewart ranch in 1960 where they have resided ever since. Lunk drove back and forth to the gas plant almost every day and ran the ranch with Lorraine's capable he1p.
Lunk and Lorraine had two children. Carol Lynn was born in 1951 and attended grade school in McKinnon and high school in Green River. She married Randy Terry, son of Jex and Delores Ylincheta Terry. They lived in Vernal and had two children when Randy died there. She later married Doug Gardiner of Vernal and they still live there having added twin daughters to their family. Carol Lynn is known for her wonderful laugh, sunny outlook on life and for the fact that she is a very talented poet.
Craig, their son was born in 1960 and he also attended McKinnon grade school but graduated from Manila High School. He was an accomplished welder, having made original grill guards and garden gates, as well as the more mundane jobs of welding pipelines, gas tanks, and broken axles. He died in Manila in April, 1990 and is sadly missed by his horde of friends. His knack for making friends easily is envied by many people.
Lunk and Lorraine are noted for their hospitality and the warm welcome given their visitors. They and their families have been an integral part of our community.
Bertha and Clarlie Meeks moved to Burntfork in 1956. They purchased the Logan place from Joe McDonald who had purchased it from a Mr. Goodfellow. Goodfellow had bought from Birnell Olsen, father of Lorraine Jarvie.
Bertha and Charlie were no strangers to this area as Bertha was the daughter of Asa and Mary Anson Rounds. Her grandfather, John B. Anson, was an early Burntfork settler. Charlie was the son of William Charles Meeks, old-time Mt. View and Lonetree resident.
Their twin daughters graduated from Mountain View High School the year the family moved to McKinnon. Marlene attended Ricks College and then got her degree in nursing from Idaho Falls. She later married Robert Acevedo and had four children. Arlene attended Central Business College in Denver. She went to Idaho Falls where she met her husband Howard McCabe. She has since continued her schooling in Idaho Falls and has become a high school teacher. Arlene and Howard had four children and adopted another after their baby gir1 died.
Bertha and Charlie's son John graduated from Manila High School in 1960. He also moved to Idaho where he also married but had .no children. Bertha raised her sister Catherine's son, Ronald Harvey, who also graduated from the Manila High School. Ronald has never married but lives in Evanston, Wyoming.
Bertha and Charlie were an integral part of our community for the 27 years they lived here taking part in Church and Community activities. Their children and grand children are very important to them and they had them with them on the ranch whenever that was possible.
Charlie had a band of sheep which he knew how to handle single handedly and ran them on the Bald Range. With irrigating, haying, shearing, docking, lambing, etc. he was kept busy. Charlie was never too busy to go to church, visit with a neighbor, play with his grandkids, or take them hunting or fishing. He loved social activities and always said he wasn’t much of a dancer but he sure liked to hold the girls while they danced.
Bertha drove School bus and cooked for the school kids for a number of years. She was a big help to the teachers and the kids all remember her participation in their baseball games during recess. She really loves to "put on plays" and could talk lots of us into helping her for road shows or wedding showers.
In 1983 they sold the ranch to LaVel and Wade Stevens of Morgan, Utah. and moved to Blackfoot, Idaho to be nearer their children because Charlie’s health wouldn’t permit him to stay at this altitude. Their son, John, died in June of 1984 in Idaho. Bertha kept Charlie alive for five years after they moved away. They wintered some years in Utah’s Dixie and Charlie got to do as many things as his failing lungs would let him. He always had a positive attitude and it made life lots easier for everyone. He passed away in December of 1988 and Bertha still lives in Blackfoot.
Glen Warby, 1900-1988, was born and raised in Manila, Utah. He went through the eight years of school, which was available then and learned to work at an early age. He went with his family to Bountiful, Utah when his father became a bricklayer there and worked at many kinds of jobs for about five years. He moved back to Manila in 1925 and ran a pool hall for a time. It was here that he met and married Mabel Katzmyer who had come from Butternut, Wisconsin with her mother and younger sister, Velva Jean, after her father died. Her older brothers and sisters, Ben, Harry, Lucille and Etta, were living in the Burntfork area where the girls taught school and the boys ranched.
This young couple moved to Green River where Glen went to work on the U. P. railroad. During the depression he was laid off the railroad and they returned to the Manila area where they were able to at least grow a garden. Glen worked at anything he could find to put food on the table for their growing family. They had two boys and two girls by this time. Jerry, Keith (Rudy), Glenda, and Darlene.
They were happy to return to Green River when he was called back by the railroad. The work on the railroad wasn’t as much fun as ranching but it certainly paid better. During World War II the railroad was a necessary part of the war effort and Glen willingly did his share.
They bought a home, had two more girls, the youngest of whom only lived one year, and saw their five children grow up, finish school and marry before they again returned to "the country".
In 1957 Glen left the railroad and bought a small ranch in McKinnon where he raised sheep, grew a garden and became active in community and church activities. Glen loved to visit and thoroughly enjoyed his grandchildren. Getting them to sleep wasn't always easy when Grandpa threw a sheet over himself and attacked their bedroom window. Grandma was lots quieter than he but was always there with warm cookies, a hug when needed, bum lambs to help feed, and wonderful warm quilts stitched with love. She was Grandpa’s right hand man until the time he got the truck stuck in the mud and asked her to drive the tractor to get him out. She willingly climbed onto the tractor and did just as he told her to make this monster move that one. When she shoved the tractor into gear too fast and damaged the transmission without moving the truck, Grandpa started yelling at her, of course. She calmly climbed down stalked into the house and quit tractors forever.
Mabel and her sister., Lucille Luke, didn’t pay too much attention to mechanical things. When Glen and Melroy had similar pickups, Lucille left the house to go home and climbed into a truck. Melroy left by the other door and got into his truck. They both sat waiting for the other for about fifteen minutes, one in front of the house, the other in the back, before anyone noticed what was going on. They sure got teased about it for a long time.
Glen and Mabel stayed on the ranch for ten years before "retiring" to their mobile home on land west of Green River. Mabel died suddenly three years later. Glen later sold his property to a grandson and lived in the Senior Citizen’s complex until he died in 1988.
The name Washam for that part of the Henry's Fork valley where the creek joins Green River was named for David Washam an early day homesteader in that area. By 1916 the following homesteads had been taken up there:
David H. Washam, Robert Swift, Shadrack J. Large, Ida Franklin, Rosina E. Solomon, Oliver J. Wade, William Nelson, John Wade, John T. Despain, Jr., George Potter, John and Melissa Despain, Sr., Richard Son, James Twitchell, Thomas Quireing.
Most of these were close along Henry's Fork. There were many more added later. Rosina Solomon was the widow of George Stephens but after his death she married George Solomon and proved up in her married name, as did Melissa Despain after her husband died.
Many old timers like Charlie Stewart and John Stouffer used these older places. The Mackey Sheep Company bought the property Mr. Stouffer had and set up headquarters there. John and Ratie Searles were hired as caretakers. They were there until John died of tick fever in 1935. (He was bus driver at the time of his death.) Ratie and her son, Verl, and her brother, Wilford Tolton, continued to look after the place for many years. Mackeys sold out and Ratie and Wilf bought a home near Manila.
The John Wade property belonged to Willard and Ida Schofield for many years. The Charles Stewart place was owned by Johnny Son and wife, Enola McCarty, until his death. She later married Bill McCoy. Mackeys bought the place when they parted and both moved away.
Ida Franklin homesteaded what was later known as the Dewey Lamb place. She moved to Green River in the early twenties.
The little log house Dick Son used for the postoffiee for many years was still here not very long ago. It was used for many different things after the post office was moved to the M. N. Larsen store at Linwood. It was an icehouse, storage shed, and even a chicken coop. One of the mail carriers was drowned in Henry's Fork near the Despain place while Dick was postmaster. He is buried in Manila. Charlie Stewart and others carried the mail from Burntfork down to Son’s place, on to a place in Manila and a Post Office at Antelope just north of Neff's.
Keith Smith ran the Linwood post office after Marius Larsen moved to his new home above Manila. This was in the old Smith and Larsen Mercantile at Linwood that we all knew. The McCartys, George W. and his son, John, were carriers of the mail for several years. They had homesteaded at Burnt Fork (where Bert Wilde now lives). George was the father of Mable Despain Adamson.
The People’s Canal Co. was formed to help bring water from the creek to the bench land. The headgate and dam were built on the Ida Franklin place and the canal was 8 to 10 miles long. Mrs. Franklin was able to water two large areas from it and the next weir was at the Despain place, some five miles downstream. This was what made it possible for the country to be improved. Credit goes to George Solomon, Keith Smith, M. N. Larsen, Ed Tolton, Dan Nelson and also to the people who helped to keep it going through the years. Later people like John Ylincheta and the Reed brothers and the owners and operators of the Smith property all had some influence on the improvement of the canal.
When the State Line School was in use many of the teachers were: Doctor Fay and Mary Tinker, Ruth Steinaker, Arvella Stephens, Neils Pallesen and in 1905-6 Billy Pearson came down from Burntfork and boarded with the John Despain, Jr. family to teach there. When it was about to close, the Washam District formed a plan and built the Green Lumber School House on the corner of the Despain property. Verda Stewart and Erma Collett were some of the early teachers there.. Verda rode horseback from Manila on a horse called "Babe". She was a wonderful teacher. Dr. Tinker taught at this school when it was first built. Sadie Chandler, who later married Charlie Lazzell and moved to the Mackey place, taught here. Children rode horseback from miles around to attend this school. Some of the families were; Riggs, Potter, Despain, Large, Son, Searles, and Slagowski.
In 1925 Hillary and Charlie Workman built the new big schoolhouse and it was later enlarged when in 1927 the people of the District moved the Green School House up the lane and added it to the new building. Some of the teachers who taught there were: Mae Terry, Eva Voss, Ruth Landis, Ann Annala, Erma Collett Slade, Martha Balkerschat, Beatrice Mason Iverson, Agnes Marshall Briggs, Hillis Hill Steinaker, Evelyn Darling, Helen Weaver, P.H. Walling. Ann Noble, Opal Walker, and Elease Elmers.
School board members were burdened with many problems but the following people did the best they could: Bertha Potter, Charlie Large, Tom Jarvie, George M. Stephens, Elma Walker, Ratie Searles, Frank Adamson, Rodney Schofield, Josephine Lamb, and Vena Swett.
School-bus drivers included: John and Verl Searles, Owen Walker, Ray Blackham, Fon Slagowski, Dewey Lamb, Rodney Schofield, Burl Potter, Don Larsen, and Bill Nelson.
General elections were usually held at the school house and here are some of the people who helped as judges and clerks. Bertha Potter, Frank Adamson, Ratie Searles., Charlie Large, Tom Jarvie, Fon Slagowski, Esther Larsen, Vena Swett, Rena Pallesen, Mable Adamson, Charlie and Sadie Lazzell, Enola Son, Ruth Jarvie, Barbara Potter, Wanda Cook and Elma Walker. In the early years a constable was also employed to help with elections but that was discontinued after a time. Some constables were Charlie Lazzell, George Despain, Charlie Lowe and Owen Walker.
Mable Adamson usually fixed lunch and supper for the Judges and clerks on election day.
There were many sheep companies along Henry's Fork. J.B. Smith bought the John Despain, Sr. place as a home base and Keith Smith (no relation) was at home in Linwood ranging his sheep into the Uinta Mountains. Weston Blake got the place at Buckboard .to work from. Jack Ringdahl ran his sheep near Cedar Point after buying the Horse Ranch from Joe Sheldon. Cliff Anderson and his sons, Morris and Lloyd, bought from Jack Ringdahl and ran sheep from the top of the Baldies to the town of Green River. They sold this outfit to Ray Cook.
Neighbors on the Charlie Large place were Ed and Minnie Finch Mass. Their boy, Ralph, attended the New School as did the George Shipp family. George’s brother, Charlie, was a friend to everyone before they moved back to Fort Collins, Colorado. Charlie and Beulah Twitchell Lowe lived at the Clarence Riggs place near the Son place. Later George and Mrs. Yohey (parents of Mary Ruble) lived there. John and Mary Swett Despain (he was a son of John and Mable Despain, Jr.) bought the Dick Son place and started a family but his early death caused Mary to sell to her brother and his wife, Tom and Vena Swett. They had it until 1968 when they sold to Tinkers and moved to Green River.
Many people owned the Jim Twitchell property Just above Manila: Dewey and Josephine Meyers Lamb, Claude and Etta Katzmyer Bingham, Curtis Slaugh and wife, Clarence Riggs and wife, Charlie and Sadie Chandler Lazzell, and Tom and Wanda Cook.
The first meeting of the M and L Homemakers Club was held at the Mable Adamson home when the club was formed. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest homemaker clubs in the county and is still an active organization.
Frank Adamson became a Wyoming Deputy Sheriff in 1926, a position he held for several years. He said it was "No Pay, No Credit!" It caused too many problems.
When Blakes had the Buckboard place, they had Milton and Otey Benson as caretakers. She was a good teacher. She taught her own two children and one or two from across the river at the Holmes place. Howard and Dan Iverson worked for Blake. They enjoyed dances, etc. in Manila and Linwood. Dan married our school teacher, Beatrice Mason, and Howard married Ora Schofield of Manila.
Mrs. Solomon moved to Green River after her husband came up missing. Her son, George M. Stephens, had been active in things at Linwood and he went to work on the railroad until he retired. He was a Sweetwater County Commissioner for a time and many credit him with urging the improvement of Highway #530 from Green River to the Henry's Fork area.
Sarah Eliza Jolley Potter died in 1891 leaving her husband, Elijah John Potter, with seven small children; a tiny baby girl, Timothy one year old, Wallace 6, Walter 8, George 10, and two older girls, Emily and Myrtle. Mr. Potter found homes for his girls but insisted he'd have no stepmother to cuff his family around. He managed to provide for and raise his four young sons as a close-knit fami1y.
Tim grew up with his brothers helping Dad in the timber as that was what made it possible for them to stay together. They moved many times and Tim went to school in many different places, never finishing a year in any one school. He and his brothers worked hard and played hard and were always ready to try anything once.
This family stayed together until the father died in 1908 and Wallace, Walt and Tim looked for other kinds of work but George stayed in the timber business. Tim started working with sheep in 1909 and learned to love it. He worked for a short time on the railroad but chafed at the lack of freedom he'd always known so went back to herding sheep, which he stayed with one way or another all his life.
Tim met Bertha Nelson, daughter of Daniel and Matilda Warby Nelson, at a dance in Manila in 1913. Bertha was born and raised near Manila where her father was a farmer and blacksmith. They faced parental disapproval in 1914 when they decided to be married. She was 16. He was 24 and had lost his first wife and baby two years before. Reason enough to disapprove?
With the help of his brothers and her uncles, they eloped to Green River, returned to "face the music" and proved Daniel wrong. He came to accept the fact of this marriage and became very close to this couple for the rest of his life.
Tim and Bertha herded sheep, bought property on Henry's Fork, added to it with a homestead, bought the Large Place, kept the hotel at Linwood cooking for 18 men at a time, worked on the People’s Canal, worked with sheepmen Keith Smith and Joe Sheldon, and had 13 children. Their first son died at 10 days but they raised 12 fine, honest children.
Lafe was killed while in the army. Fon married Doyle Slagowski and lived nearby with her family. Eleanor married Ray Blackham. Burl married Hertha Twitchell,. Von married Donna Burton. Reva married David Beckwith and moved to Denver. Rena married Allen Pallesen and also stayed in the Manila area. Everett married Barbara Killian from Birch Creek. Dee married Donna Twitchell. David married Kay Youngberg and they live in McKinnon. Louis married Pat Hamilton and they live in Ft. Bridger. Vernon was married to Sharon Roberts.
Tim and Bertha became active LDS workers, going through the temple in 1929, working in MIA, scouts and relief society for many years before Tim became bishop in 1944. They were both known and honored for the good examples they set for everyone who knew them. They both worked on election boards and school boards, nicely balancing the laws of two states and making life for the people of the whole area better.
The first private school was at the Phil Mass ranch where William Pearson was hired as a tutor for the Mass children. The first public school was located at Burntfork, Wyoming when District #8 of the territory of Wyoming was organized on September 10, 1877 to be known as "Henry's Fork Joint District with Uintah County, Utah." The trustees for the district in 1877 were John B. Anson, George Stoll, Sr., and W. H. Mass. George Stoll was the person largely responsible for securing the school for the use of his own children and the Anson and Widdop families. It was located on land now owned by Donald Behunin. It was made of logs, of one room about 16 x 18 feet. It had a plank floor with a dirt roof and was heated by a large wood stove. Drinking water was packed from a spring. It operated six months a year. There were nine pupils in 1877 and enrollment never rose to more than twelve. Early teachers were; Mark Manley, Robert Hereford, and William Pearson, each of whom taught for $50.00 a month. In disciplining the children Mark Manley made the statement, "Since hickory was not available, birch was uti1ized."
This school was followed by schools in various places. One was a quarter mile east of the Burntfork school built in 1924. Pupils played baseball using balls made of buckskin wrapped around a core of cork. Another school was in the Episcopal parish house at Burntfork and was taught by H. E. McMillin, who believed in the liberal use of the hickory (or birch) stick.
The next school was on the Vincent homestead, which is now. the Anderson ranch. This school continued in operation until 1900. According to the County Record Book, the cost of educating one pupil in Sweetwater County in 1896 was $2.70 a month.
In 1900, according to the County Record Book, District #5 was divided into two districts. District #5, Burntfork, and District #14, which became the McKinnon district. Outlying districts such as Burntfork had to resort to conducting school in the summer because of a lack of available teachers for the winter months.
Following a fire which destroyed the 6th school, a new building was built in 1924. It was used from 1924-1946 when it closed because of the dearth of teachers and declining enrollment. Burntfork children are now transported to McKinnon.
This concludes the history of the Burntfork Schools.
The school at the Gamble Ranch was organized in 1897 for residents of Utah living in the area of Birch Creek. This operated for two years and was attended by children from the Chase, Wyman, Stoll, and Gamble ranches. Enrollment reached as high as fifteen pupils.
With the division of the districts into #’s 5 and 14, the Coon Hollow School, just north of the present McKinnon School, was established. It continued until 1916 when a new school was built in McKinnon. Mr. Neils Pallesen taught at Coon Hollow in 1905 where he met and married one of his pupils, Dora Pearson, daughter of William Pearson.
When the Coon Hollow School became inadequate for the needs of the area, a school was constructed on the site of the present Church at McKinnon. Children in District #14 attended the McKinnon School from 1917-1925 when another new school was built where the present McKinnon School is now. This building was of board lumber, about thirty or forty-five feet in size, and painted red. It was heated by a coal stove and divided with a canvas partition. In 1924-5 there were 85 students. That school was used from 1925-1974 when the present school was built. It was noted in 1933 the electors voted an eight and one-half mill levy in order to raise $1500 needed to meet expenses.
On June 14, 1950 a special election was held to consolidate Districts 5 and 14. In 1955 District #14 was incorporated into District #2 which is the Green River District and is now supervised by the Superintendent in Green River. Prior to this, the schools at Burntfork and McKinnon had been supervised by a County Superintendent of Schools.
Many teachers have taught in the schools in this area. To name them all would take several pages. To name a few, there were: Mae and Veloy Terry, Opal and Glen Walker, Agnes Marshall, Bartley Heiner, Merle Johnson Elmer, Anna Collett, Lucille Luke, Roena Anderson, J. D. and Julia Harper, Margaret Olsen, Norma Gamble, Robert Hamblin and Gertrude Hickey. A complete roster of all teachers in Burntfork and McKinnon is found in Don Baxter’s account of the schools in this area written for his Masters thesis.
About 1935, the McKinnon School initiated hot lunches largely through the efforts of Roena Anderson and Glen Walker and have continued ever since. McKinnon School offered first through tenth grade for a number of years but now has only K - 6th, as the older children are bussed to Manila or Green River daily.
The first public school in the Manila - Linwood area was on the Dick Son ranch about three and one-half miles north of Manila in Wyoming. Then, in December of 1899, a District #12 of Sweetwater County was organized and a school was established about six miles northwest of Manila on the south bank of Henry's Fork. Children from the Slagowski, Wade, and Stouffer ranches attended here from 1900-1908. William Pearson began teaching there in 1900. In 1908 the school came to an abrupt end with the incorporation of smaller ranches into the Mackey Land and Livestock Corp. and the school became the property of the latter.
About one month after the organization of District #l2, District #13 was established near Washam.
One of the most interesting schools in this region was the one built through the cooperative efforts of Sweetwater District #13 and Uintah County District #17 in 1904. This school was located on the Utah-Wyoming state line about three and one-half miles due east of Manila and one-half mile west of Linwood. The ridgepole of the building was laid directly on the 1ine so the southern half of the school was in Utah and the northern half in Wyoming,. There were long recitation seats and much more dependence on formal recitation and drill than in modern times. The hickory stick was the prevailing form of discipline and one story tells that in one of the states, corporal punishment was frowned upon while it was, more or less, condoned in the other. So all the teacher had to do was to escort the recalcitrant pupil to the appropriate state, just across the room, to administer whatever discipline he felt necessary for the situation. Hilda and Rulon Anson graduated out of the eighth grade, one sitting in Utah and the other sitting in Wyoming. Dr. Tinker and his wife, Mary E. Tinker, both taught in this school.
In the summer of 19l0 the citizens of Washam decided to build their own school on ground owned by Mrs. Frank Adamson. This continued in existence from 1910-1925 and in 1926 was moved about one-half mile directly west to a place on property owned by Tim Potter and attached to another school building constructed in 1925. There were two rooms in this school. Some of the teachers there were: Erma Collett, Mae Terry, Agnes Marshall, Bessie Finch, Julia Harper, Otey Benson, and J. D. Harper.
At the present time, all Washam children attend the Manila Schools.
The foregoing history of the schools in this area was copied almost verbatim from Don Baxter’s Master’s thesis. Don taught History, English and Typing in the Manila High School in 1952-3 and to him we owe a debt of gratitude,.
I will have many stories to tell you unless they have all slipped my mind
The past brings me here at the present. I stand here among all of my friends
Some of you knew me a long time ago, some didn’t know me back then
I’d like to tell you of past times and the way that things were then
About a house and a family who lived there that no one will see there again
Life is for the living. We live a while, then we die
But some things live on and on and on
They get better as time goes by
Today as I stand here among you, I shall let my thoughts wander back into time
There is an old house sitting alone in a meadow
You’ve seen it as you’ve drove by
And you’ve asked yourself these questions:
When was it built and why?
Was it a young family who built it?
Or was it a single man who dreamed as he built of a beautiful wife and a family of his own?
No, neither. This was a widow’s homestead. The house was to be her home
For herself and her unmarried children who didn’t yet have homes of their own
It was built by three brothers who loved her and wanted to have her close
To the land they had settled for themselves so they could help her out the most
No one knows of the trials she bore or the lonely sad life she led
Only the old house could tell you that, and it has never said
Over fifty years she lived there, the old house watched her die
As much as she loved it, she left it, but that is the way with life
Five generations all living once and some are still alive
As long as they live, the memories will live
The old house will never die
The years number just one hundred since the cornerstone was first laid
Since people moved in and went on with their lives for the next five generations ahead
That was the time when the new house was smiling, It’s clean face was turned to the sun
It slept through the night and dreamed lovely dreams and couldn’t wait for the morning to come
Then it heard the crowing of the roosters, the people we stirring inside
The women were up getting breakfast, the men were all getting ready to ride
There was gear to put together and hay to cut and a grave to dig close by
There was pies to bake and butter to churn, always somebody in need
There was floors to scrub and clothes to iron and a newborn lamb to feed
Everyone was busy, the minutes how they flew!
There was a funeral at the next ranch and a baby was overdue
Now the new house sits in the morning sun and it listens awhile to the work being done
It hears a song and some laughter and some gossiping, just for fun
It’s so proud of itself, just sitting there, it thinks its work is done
But little does it know of the heartaches in the days to come
Of the heartbreak and the screams of anguish it will hear before its days are done
The sounds of a running horse coming up the lane to bring the news
And prepare those working inside that the men would be in before noon
A boy had rode out that morning whistling a happy tune
He’d accidentally shot himself, they’d be bringing his body in soon
The house hears the sounds of sawing and hammering with some alarm
But in the years ahead, many times it would hear it
There’s a board coffin being built in the barn
It will hear the screams of a young girt in first labor with only the family there
Some things were done with hot water, but most were done with prayer
The new house heard a baby’s first cry and thought its work was done
When someone said to a girl in a bed, "You have a beautiful son."
The house saw many new babies and had love letters hidden away in it’s walls
There were parties with ice cream and music and weddings held in it’s halls
With the ladies in home made dresses and the men in their patched overalls
The house has seen glad reunions and it’s heard some sad good-byes
It’s seen the men go off to war and watched women wait and cry
It’s heard the singing of birds; a little canary named Pete
It’s heard curses and jokes and things plain spoke we wouldn’t want to repeat
It’s been home to dogs and hundreds of cats and even Teddy, a sheep
A moonshine still, a pail of swill, some ducks and pigs to feed
There was magic between its walls for a bunch of little kids
Always cookies and plenty of milk and a kiss and a hug apiece
There were violets to be picked by the springhouse
And the outhouse was all covered over with vines
The walks were all lined with pansies, the wind sang a song in the pines
The joys balanced out the sorrows, the sun outlasted the rain
The house has outlasted the bodies of those who never will come there again
Now the old house leans in the meadow and watches the twilight come
Although its walls are sagging, it’s work is not quite done
It has always been home of the homeless, a habit it just can’t break
It now shelters cattle and horses and many bales of hay
It also shelters many small creatures who called this house their home
And as long as the house is still standing, they will have it for their own
Now the old house rests in the night time
If you visit, you’ll think you’re alone
But if you listen you’ll hear secrets whispered
About the ones that are gone
The spirits there are still living
Amid the mildew and rust
But the meadow and the memories will still be there
After the old house is dust.
(This poem was written and presented to a Woodtick Reunion on July 24, 1986 by Fern Lamb Greenhalgh Ferrero)