Youth and Adults at Work
A vital element of life in the Dixie desert was physical work. Children, teenagers, and adults spent most of their lives doing hard labor. They worked with cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and especially horses. Horses were the key to life on farms and ranches, but also for riding to school and having fun. Both men and women did heavy labor and irrigation all of their lives except during times of serious illness. Many stayed at it until their death. Retirement was almost unheard of except for the disabled. Much of the work was with hand tools—shovels, plows, or axes when working the land, or washboards, cookstoves, or churns when working in the home.
The value of work was honored. Parents usually felt that teaching their children to succeed at physical labor was as important as having them learn in school. There were examples all around them of children who had to take on the work of their parents as early as age twelve if the parents were seriously ill or had died. If the children had the luxury of reaching the age of sixteen and graduating from the eighth grade, they needed to have the skills to take on full-time work. They needed quality experience with tools, animals, and crops to be ready for adulthood by then. Physical work was what adults did. Girls needed to be ready for marriage by age sixteen and the boys by eighteen. It was not uncommon for thirteen-year-old boys to herd cattle alone for several weeks. Girls often hired out as household help after that age.
Marriage for women did not always mean their work would be confined to the home. They usually maintained large gardens and often small farms if the husband was away at the ranch all summer. Husbands often died young because of accidents, and women had to become cooks or find some other paying job in addition to maintaining a home for the children—and there were often more than six children in a given family. Men spent their life at unskilled labor, with the exception of the few who went to high school or college or even the privileged who graduated. Those who graduated often became teachers. The other men worked on farms and ranches, but some worked on railroads, in mines, in road construction, or in custodial work. A handful became businessmen.
Most of the people in the western United States between 1850 and 1930 were wed to the land; manual labor was not unique. Agriculture was the dominant lifestyle in rural areas. The people in this story were just one part of that reality. The nature of the Mojave Desert, where these interviews were conducted, had its own uniqueness. The communities there, just south of the Great Basin (Utah and Nevada), were mostly distant from a railroad. That meant they had little contact with the rest of the nation. To sell their cattle meant driving a herd seven days into Nevada to reach a railroad. They also had to go to that railroad to buy tools such as plows. They were somewhat isolated because there was no oiled highway until 1930. There was no electricity or imported oil. Farming tools depended on muscles of numerous men and oxen.
Weather was especially challenging. Rainfall was limited to eight inches per year, making irrigation essential. Creating and regulating canals and ditches was central to their community life. Summers were very hot. Temperatures above one hundred degrees were standard for June, July, and August.
Range land was very important for ranchers. Because federal regulations were lax, overgrazing was common, eventually resulting in the Taylor Grazing Act in 1937, which seriously limited grazing and reduced the size of cattle herds. Cattle rustlers on the open range were a challenge. Among them were outsiders, some of whom came to the desert to avoid law enforcement elsewhere.
Ironically, the greatest challenge in this land of limited rainfall was flooding. Occasionally, there would be serious rainstorms in the mountains above Zion Canyon and Pine Valley. This would result in flooding in the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers. Sometimes, they would rise to ten times their normal height. Because these rivers were in the desert, their shorelines were just sand. The rivers would rise abruptly and expand widely and undermine the buildings of nearby communities and wash away growth from nearby farms. They were called hundred-year floods, but they sometimes happened every decade and still do.
By the time these interviewees were born, their parents and grandparents had found a way to survive in this desert land; but it was still a challenge for this next generation, who lived between 1900 and 1970. For example, there was a competition between school attendance and work. Children were needed on the farms, but teachers wanted them in the schools. Another issue was that there was little cash available. People raised what they consumed and bartered with each other for their needs. One example is that when fathers wanted to sell their products, they would fill a wagon and go peddling. Often, their products would include dried peaches or figs. They would drive as far north as Beaver, Utah, or the mining towns in Nevada. Generally, they would have to trade rather than be paid with cash. Interestingly, three banks were established in St. George after 1900, so some cash was obviously circulating.
Some venturous men ranged beyond the farming lifestyle and sought cash-paying jobs. This meant leaving their families to maintain the small farm and garden. Often, it also meant living in environments where gambling, alcohol, and prostitution were present. Church leaders urged the men to avoid such options, and most did; but these opportunities were alluring to young, unmarried men who did not own their own farm or ranch.
These are some of the main factors that challenged those whose words are in this chapter.
Andrew Karl Larson’s book I Was Called to Dixie is the classic book on life in early Utah’s Dixie. He devotes a dozen chapters to agriculture, raising cotton, and home industry. Some agricultural initiatives were taken before 1861, but the big thrust came with the settlement of St. George, specifically to raise cotton. The many efforts, including the construction of the cotton factory, are detailed by Larson; but the gradual decline came, especially with the end of the Civil War and the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in northern Utah in 1859. This then caused the Dixie-ites to be dependent again on their small farms. Some felt that raising fruit would be the solution. Larson wrote:
Cutting up the ripe fruit and getting it on to the scaffolds to dry was a big chore, sometimes . . . transformed into a social gathering. . . . Not all of the dried fruit went to Salt Lake City as the cotton had. Much of it found its way to the settlements in Iron, Beaver, and Juab Counties, while a considerable amount found its way to the people in Sanpete Valley. Sanpete had plenty of flour and potatoes as did the counties on the main road to Salt Lake City, and these staples were welcomed in exchange for dried fruit. Because of the long, hot summers potatoes did not grow well in most areas of the Virgin River Basin; hence this valuable food was gladly acquired by means of barter. . . . But when fruit became abundant, this article, with the molasses, cotton, and wine also in surplus, helped supply the needs for the things they did not produce themselves.
The wine industry has always been an interest to those reading about Utah’s Dixie. Larson gives a forthright explanation:
Many of the towns made considerable wine. The soil and climate of Santa Clara, St. George, Washington, Leeds, Harrisburg, Bellevue, Toquerville, and Virgin City seemed particularly well adapted for grape culture. Wine became one of the most common articles of trade, for it was an item that could readily be exchanged for other things. It was paid as tithing in large quantities, and not a few gallons went to the irrigation companies in payment of water assessments. Large amounts went to Pioche, to Silver Reef, and to the settlements north; but not an insignificant amount found its way into the innards of the inhabitants of the Cotton Mission, demoralizing the will of many otherwise good men, creating sots of those prone to alcoholism, and laying temptation in the way of the young.
Then Larson gave his summation:
But the wine industry came to a sorry end. The fact is that there were too many cooks making wine, and it found a place with silk and cotton in the graveyard of unrealized promises. The lack of a standard quality was perhaps the one big drawback. Almost everyone with a few grape vines made wine for his own use and a little to sell. They paid their tithing, too, with wine and were not always careful to see that the Lord’s tenth was the best; in truth, it was too often the poorest. So when people paid their tithes in wine, there were about as many flavors and qualities of wine as there were tithe payers. When some of the poor wine was sent north for sale, it did nothing to enhance the reputation of Dixie wine or its manufacturers. Moreover the problems of personal degradation and disorganization convinced the church authorities that promotion of the wine industry had been a grave mistake. The Tithing Office at St. George discontinued accepting wine as tithing and abandoned its own winepresses in an effort to discourage its further manufacture. Its use in the Sacrament devotions was abandoned in favor of water after the evil fruits of wine had so long been evident.
Larson continues and declares that a miracle then came—alfalfa. John T. Woodbury writes:
The coming of alfalfa was the greatest boon that ever came to Dixie. When it was first introduced, early in the seventies, it was cut with a scythe or sickle. But on the virgin soils the yields were at first heavy, and the feeding problem appeared in a fair way to be solved. William Lang had the first patch of lucerne and it was reported he was going to plant five acres of it. People wondered what he would ever do with so much feed, and how he would get it cut. The latter problem was soon solved, for right after the introduction of lucerne, they also introduced the mowing machine, and instead of breaking their backs to mow the lucerne, Isaiah Cox and Erastus McIntyre rode the machine and drove the horses to cut the lucerne. At first it was raked up with hand rakes, but later on the horse rake was introduced, and some of the drudgery of hay-making was removed. During the year 1874, the year of the “Order,” a number of pieces of land were sowed to lucerne, and since that time lucerne has been about the most important crop in Dixie.
The result of the coming of alfalfa was that livestock could be fed year-round. Milk, butter, cheese, and meat were available, and the cattle could also become an export product. Agriculture was king, but so was hard labor for all.
Nonetheless, the flooding problem had to be solved. Damming the Virgin River seemed to be the sensible solution, but the efforts to place dams in the Virgin River failed for years. Larson’s chapter 21 details the story. Some eighteen dams were built between the late 1850s and early 1890s, only to be washed away. This threatened the desire to make large-scale agriculture possible in the Washington Fields. The story of determination that kept the people of Dixie, particularly Washington, at the daunting task is legendary. They finally succeeded, expanding the opportunity for year-round alfalfa and cattle raising. Alfalfa thrived in the red sand if it got water, resulting in four or five cuttings a year. That same reality continues to thrive in Enterprise today, supporting a huge dairy industry.
The building of mills was essential to produce flour. Larson tells of one built on Diagonal Street in St. George by Easton Kelly and Samuel L. Adams. There is a similar story about Albert Petty in Springdale. Sawmills were established in Pine Valley and Virgin. David Flanigan “had noted the fine stand of yellow pine on the East Rim of Zion while hunting there with some friends; . . . he conceived the idea of lowering timber by means of a cable running from top to bottom of the breath-taking height.” Flanigan later implemented that dream in 1900. By 1906, he had lowered two hundred thousand feet of lumber to the foot of Cable Mountain, as it came to be called. Like the Washington Fields Dam, this was a miracle project of determination.
Most Dixie-ites engaged in productive farms and homes. Women made all the clothes for their family, sometimes spinning and weaving the cloth. They and the children raised and prepared the family’s food. Nonetheless, there were others who worked in the cotton factory, built dams, cut timber, built roads, and even manufactured wine. The isolation of the Mojave Desert caused them to produce all they needed, so they did.
All of this skilled work which Larson described was influenced by skilled labor in the pioneer period that occurred just before. Several scholars focused on their work. For example, Richard Oman wrote about Ralph Ramsay, who came to Utah from northern England. He worked on the Eagle Gate Monument in Salt Lake City and helped with the woodwork on the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ. He then moved to Richfield, Utah, to supervise the making of furniture. After that he moved to St. Johns, Arizona, then to the Mormon colonies in Mexico, and finally to Snowflake, Arizona. He trained people everywhere he went to make furniture. This is an example of utilizing skilled craftsmen to train locals. One of the interviews in this chapter describes how local chairs were made, and how they were also based on European designs.
Women were adroit in manufacturing skills, especially with fabric. Charles Lowell Walker records in his journal that women made carpets for the temple in time for the dedication on 1 January 1877: “The sisters are busy sewing the carpet and getting the screen ready. All are busy pushing the good work along.” Then Andrew Karl Larson adds a footnote: “The carpets for the Temple were, of course, made of rags woven on homemade looms. Discarded clothing was torn into strips which were then sewed end to end and wound into a ball about six inches in diameter. The sisters took care to see that the colors were arranged in a pleasing, artistic pattern. The balls were sacked in burlap bags or in seamless flour sacks made at the Washington factory.”
The presence of the cotton factory was of real significance for Utah’s Dixie. Brigham Young essentially sent the 1861 company to St. George to raise cotton, based on the success of an experiment of raising it near the Virgin River. People in Washington were devoted to that crop, and cotton fields were created in many places in Utah’s Dixie. Initially, the cotton crop was harvested and shipped north for sale. It was bulky and not easily transported. Once in Salt Lake, it did not attract many buyers. It became obvious that people wanted cotton cloth and not cotton balls. Brigham Young was a practical man and could see the reality. He knew that the residents in Washington County did not have the capital to build a cotton factory, so he decided to take a risk. He agreed to put up the money personally to have the factory built on the understanding that the profits from the sale of the cotton cloth would pay him back.
Douglas Alder and Karl Brooks wrote:
In September 1865, Young announced the cotton milling project and engaged Appleton Harmon to install the factory. The project was pursued with haste. Elijah Averett was the major stonemason, though many others helped, several of them from the Tabernacle building crew. John Peck Chidester, Hyrum Walker and August Mackelprang cut timber and hauled it to the site. The first floor of the structure was completed within the year and was dedicated 14 July 1866. The dispatch with which the cotton factory was completed was amazing, since at the same time the Saints were exerting efforts to build the tabernacle, construct dams, clear land, and build homes.
Machinery was freighted south and installed the last few days of 1866 under the direction of a Scottish convert, James Davidson, who had been sent to direct the project. Volunteers contributed their muscle for building a mill-race to bring the stream water to the waterwheel. By January 1868, the factory was in operation. In 1870 the building was enlarged by adding another story, a testimony to optimism.
The factory employed about forty men and the same number of women, mostly young. That was not the major impact. Instead, it was the opportunity it provided for cotton farmers to sell their crop. The future seemed bright, and then the intercontinental railroad came to Utah and soon brought cotton cloth for sale. Rather quickly, farmers shifted to raising alfalfa instead of cotton. For two or three decades, the operators of the cotton factory tried to adapt it to be a general merchandising operation, but it never really prospered even though entrepreneurs Woolley, Lund, and Judd managed it.
Another recent study is about raising cattle for slaughter. A lecture by John Alton Peterson focuses on the huge tithing herd that was maintained at the fort there. It was similar to several other herds of tithing cattle, such as one at Hebron on the west side of Washington County. It could be argued that these herds were organized to keep them away from federal agents, and Peterson presents that view; but they also had practical purposes. In the case of Winsor Castle, that herd became a major supply of meat, butter, and cheese to feed the two hundred laborers who were building the St. George Temple.
Many skilled workers were involved both with the herds and with the temple construction. Quarrymen produced the stones for both the tabernacle and the temple. Many of them were apprentices, trained by mentors who brought those skills with them to the Great Basin. Adobe bricks had to be made for construction of many regional buildings such as the opera house, homes, and granaries. The adobe bricks were often made by women and children. Lumber was essential for all construction. Initially, the lumber was cut and milled in the Pine Valley mountains. By the time the temple was under way, that supply was gone, and mills had to be transferred to Mount Trumbull on the Arizona Strip. Robert Gardner was the key leader in both efforts. Again, most of the men had to learn that trade from those who had such skills before coming west.
The major point is that children grew up learning to work, but they had mentors who had mastered many skills in the generation before them.
Now let us turn to the interviews of those who were especially interested in work.
Della Elizabeth Steed
Della Elizabeth McCune Steed is an example of intergenerational labor. She was born in 1895 in Nephi but also lived in Las Vegas and Springdale. She served an LDS mission in New England and met her future husband, Glenn Wilcox Steed, there. She recalls some time of her youth: “I remember most that my father was an honorable man. He taught honesty and set the example for the rest of us. I thought he was the most wonderful man ever. He was a very lovable father. He always showed affection for us. When I was about seventeen, my mother was in the time of life when her health was not good. He had a crowd of twenty-five men on the ranch. They were putting a watering system for a place nearby that was being made into a little town. In our childhood [days], there was a spring that they had always hauled the water [from] for use in a great big barrel on a skid with a horse pulling it. They were tapping this spring and putting into a tank for this little community that was springing up over there. I went down and cooked for my father on this ranch. We had twenty-five men [working there]. I would make twelve loaves of bread every night and every morning. Many times I had to make a big square pan of baking powder biscuits to finish the evening meal. I spent that one summer there with my father working on the ranch.
“They killed a mutton every night besides the hams and bacon that they used. I learned to cook. I never [went] to bed before midnight, and I was up at five [o’clock] in the morning. I knew how to work. It was good training.
“My father was always wonderful. There was never a morning that he did not come in and put his arm around my shoulders as I was standing there with three or four fry pans going. He would come in and see that I was getting things ready and say, ‘My daughter, you do not know how I appreciate you and all you are doing.’ It was worth it.”
Walter “Walt” Wallace Bowler
Walter “Walt” Wallace Bowler was born in 1876 in England. His parents heard LDS missionaries and decided to cross the Atlantic and come to Utah. He described the trip on a ship with five hundred passengers, who spent most of the time below deck and in stormy weather. He was about six years old. They arrived in the US and traveled by train all the way to Utah and on down to Milford and then by wagon to Hebron. Zera Pulsipher Terry was a missionary in England and was the reason they came. They joined the LDS Church after they came. The family brought eight children with them. One had died in England before they departed. He tells of what happened after they arrived: “There were about a dozen houses up there [in Hebron]. The first place we lived [was] a little brick place down in the end of town, [just] before you leave town. Father had a shoe shop. He could mend a shoe. He used to make boots and shoes outright from beginning to finish. He did not have any machines. He sewed them by hand. All [of the] sewing, as we called it, was with a waxed thread. He had wild hog buckles for a needle. I have seen him take a piece of white cord thread, [which was] sewing thread for boots. [He would] wax it. [He] had it blacked up, [which] we called waxed. Then on the end there were these hog buckles. They were like a needle, but they were kind of forked. He could twist them together so he had something [to sew the shoes]. Then he would make a hole with what he called a sewing awl. He had a clamp. He would make a hole and he would put the stitches from each side through [there]. That made [a] chain stitch, [which was] like a machine stitch. He made lots of boots and shoes.
“He learned his trade in England. He started up with it again right here in Old Hebron. He was one of the men [who] were sent out to colonize [and] settle the outside places. They had a dairy up in Little Pine Valley, where the reservoir is now. I was [a] cowboy and tended the cows. They milked forty cows, night and morning. [They] turned them out [as there was] plenty of grass. [They] did not feed [them]. I would start [out with] those cows after they [finished milking]. [I took them] up over the other bottom [area]. That is where the big reservoir is now. [There was] big grass and willows. [It was] up along the point that they call Cave Canyon. Then [I] came down and had breakfast. Then I would take all the calves down and put them on the hill to graze.
“Father had a chance to buy a place down in old Gunlock. A man by the name of Joe Huntsman was going to leave there. He was selling his place. When we moved down there, I had one mare and colt and a nice yearling heifer. That was my earnings for two years. When I went down there, they went towards the payment on the place.
“We stayed there for quite a number of years [and grew] some cotton. I remember going and picking cotton when it was ready. We [grew] all kinds of vegetable garden [plants]. Talk about your peaches and grapes. Mother could not stand to see the peaches fall on the ground and go to waste. We had what you call scaffolds, and we cut the pit out of those peaches. [It] kind of split them up edge ways in rows, and [we] left them until they dried. We had dried peaches. [We] did not know what we were going to do with them. [We would] just dry them and keep them from spoiling.
“I remember so well some good news. A man by the name of Edward H. Snow had been to Salt Lake City. He found a market for dried peaches. Some people [there used them] to make brandy. It was a different kind of brandy.
“We used to get $4.00 a hundred for dried peaches. It took about 400 pounds of fresh peaches to make one [hundred pounds] of dried [peaches]. That is another thing that I remember so well. Mother had peaches in pieces of sacks. [She had them in] anything that would hold a bucket or two. The whole family worked all summer. When we were through, we had a whole ton of dried peaches. I remember when they took them to St. George. Mother went down [there and] they gave us $80 [for those peaches]. Mother carefully bought some sugar, some salt, and some spices, different things that [we] used. Maybe she bought a sack of flour.
“We used to [grow] what they called Dixie molasses. [It was] sorghum—that is sugar cane. I sat many a night [at the mill]. We had a horse-powered mill with steel rollers. That horse-powered mill had a sweep on it, and a couple of horses [were hooked to it]. [They would] go around in circles. We would have the rope tied to the horses and then to the sweep. They would pull the sweep, and the sweep would lead the horses. We would get [the] juice. We had what they called vats. [We would] put [the juice] in the vats and cook it. It would raise a green scum. We had what was called a skimmer. We would skim it and cook it and made Dixie sorghum. [That is what] we called it.
“I remember one time [that] my brother John and I took two thirty-gallon barrels of sorghum [and] went up north to trade [them] in for flour. We went to Cove Fort and over the Cricket Ridge Canyon into Elsinore, Annabella, and Richfield. We were peddling. John would drive the team. I would stop and go to each house and ask if they would like to buy some Dixie sorghum. They would ask the price. I would tell them that they could have a gallon of Dixie sorghum for a bushel of wheat or fifty cents. Lots of them gave us wheat, and [some] of them would give [money]. We sold out in Annabella and Richfield. Then we came back to Elsinore with our wheat. [We] stopped there and traded it in for flour. Then [we] were on our way home in December. It got cold and windy. We got out, took two quilts, and made us a bed one night. It [was very] cold, so we got a lot of sagebrush so we could keep a fire at night. I remember one night John woke me up. He found that one of the quilts had got a spark [on it] and burned our bed. Anyway, we went home with the winter’s flour. [We were as] happy as a bunch of meadowlarks! [We] had flour to last us all winter. That was something!”
Norma Bringhurst Empy
Norma Bringhurst Empy was born in Toquerville in 1912. She reports about raising fruit for sale: “Quite a bit of our living was made off of our gardens and farms, especially the big fig trees that we had on our lot. We had a big row of them up one side. We had them across the top and in the corner. We had what we called the big middle tree, and that tree was enormous. I couldn’t exactly say how many feet [wide] it was, but the circumference of it was tremendous. It covered a large area, and we lived right against that big black hill. There were many snakes. I never was afraid of them, because we were used to them. They used to come into our cellars. [There were] two or three kinds of snakes that Daddy would get disturbed with us if we killed them, because they cleaned the mice up and kept them down. . . .
“We used to have thousands of pounds of dried figs. The way we made our living was to make fig preserves [during] the summer. We used to have labels and ship fig preserves back east and all over. One year, we made 150 gallons. That is not pints or quarts, but gallons of fig preserves for the Arrowhead Hotel [in St. George].
“Our house [was] one of the poorest homes in Toquerville until after I was married. My folks never built a big home. We lived in one of the first houses that were built there. It was one big room with two lean-to rooms on it. I had to work; I couldn’t go out playing around like a lot of the children could. It was a congregating place for the town and all of our friends. They would come down while I was ironing or doing [other chores], and we would sing, laugh and have one good time. Mother was always making molasses candy and treats for us. We were husking corn, we were quilting, we were peeling peaches or we [were] drying figs. We would be out on the lawn under the trees working, and we always had a good time.”
Amanda Amelia Milne
An account of working in the cotton factory was given by Amanda Amelia Hannig Milne, born in 1883 in Washington: “I worked in the cotton factory [in Washington] when I was twelve years old. I went to work at 7:30 in the morning and worked until 5:00 at night for twenty-five cents a day. That was [the factory] pay. I had to work in the factory every day. My husband [to-be] was my boss. He worked in the [cotton] factory, [and my] mother worked there. I used to go down and see her. I met him at the [cotton] factory. He said the first time he saw me, I had white stockings clear up over my knees . . .
“We [were] married on 19 September  in Washington. We had a big reception. We had it up by [the] old home on the hill. We had one hundred [people that] were invited from St. George besides [the ones] we had here. We had a big cooked dinner [with] everything. We didn’t do [it] like they do now. They had all they could eat. Outdoors in the yard we had a big table with melons, peaches, grapes, and five gallons of good Dixie wine! We had planned to go to the [St. George] Temple, but [President William] McKinley was shot [on 6 September 1901] and died [on 14 September 1901]. The temple was closed so we could not [be] married in the temple. We were sealed there two or three days afterwards.”
Athole Jarvis Milne
Athole Jarvis Milne was born in 1877 in St. George. He lived in Washington, and many other places. He had eight siblings: four brothers and four sisters. As a boy, he worked for Tom Judd in developing La Verkin. Judd was also the superintendent of the cotton factory in Washington and Athole worked for him there. He tells about that work: “He [Judd] leased the factory. He planted a lot of acreage into cotton out in La Verkin. George and I would help. [He was] the one I would work with him so much. [He] was a few years older than me. We would plant cotton by hand. [The ground] would be furrowed out, and we would plant it, water it, hoe it, and pick it. I worked there [for] about three years, and then [I] started [working] in the factory [when] it [was] sold. We would work up in the cotton and bag it. I signed up as an apprentice to take that job. I was in charge of half of the machinery. I would start the factory up and oil the shafting and have charge of all the cotton right from the seed. [It would] go through the gin, gin the seeds out, and then got what they call a widower’s dowel. Then the lapper and they were ready for the cotton cards, where they would start by making the yarn. Cotton cards matted and did the assortment by yarn. Pitch it for the spinning frames. The spinning frames have to fix it and be ready for the looms [to make] it into cloth. They made a tremendous [amount] of it into cotton batting. ZCMI took every bit of the batting. That is where they got their cash.”
Next, his life took a major change. He went into the mines: “My brother George had been put in charge of Apex Mine as foreman. He gave me a job there. I worked there about half my life, I guess.” He worked there about twenty years and then went to the Goodsprings Mine in Nevada for six months, where he got a dose of lead poisoning and had to quit. That put him in a wheelchair for twenty years.
Lemuel Glen Leavitt
Lemuel Glen Leavitt was born on 23 January 1905 and lived in Gunlock, Las Vegas, Mesquite, and Ox Valley. He tells the story of agricultural work like so many others and what it led to: “We had several ranches. The first ranch we bought [was in] Pine Valley. [It was] the Whipple place in Pine Valley, and we were back and forth between there. Then we ranched a summer or two over [in] Grass Valley at Uncle Steve Bunker’s place. However, we had these other places. Sometime we [children], two or three of us, would be left there alone most of the time. [When] we moved back here, my dad took up a homestead [on] the Meadows, and we were there for a few years. Then we sold that and moved over to Ox Valley. We spent the rest of my life [there] until I married and a few years after there, just in the summers.
“My parents would come back here to Veyo and leave us all by ourselves there. I think it was a good life. It taught us a lot of things we wouldn’t have [learned] otherwise. Sometimes we were afraid all right. But nothing ever ate us up.
“I could tell you one little incident that happened. My brother [Cecil] and I (my brother [was] seven years younger than me) took a bunch of horses around and went to Ox Valley early one spring. We expected our folks to come [later]. I don’t remember now what happened that they didn’t show up. We didn’t have anything to eat. I think we had a small lunch, but we didn’t have anything [else] to eat. The next morning we got up, and they still hadn’t come. It was about twenty-four hours, and we were getting hungry. There was some flour there in a can. Of course, we didn’t have any baking powder. The only thing I could see was some flour. I said, ‘I might be able to make some hot cakes out of that flour that we [could] eat.’ So I stirred some up. There was no leavening effect in [the mix]. It was unleavened bread. We couldn’t eat it, so we threw it out. The dog wouldn’t eat it either! We have had some experiences that were a little bit funny.
“We used horses all our lives. My dad bought a truck when I was young [and I] learned to drive. When I didn’t get enough money farming, I began to look around for something to do and found a job driving truck. I did that for a good many years. Then I bought two or three harvesters, and I think I made more money with them than I ever had before or since. Then I got sinus trouble and hay fever until I couldn’t operate that equipment anymore. The [children] always used to say: ‘If there was a dirtier job, Dad would find it for us.’ We had a couple of hay balers, [and] they were dirty. We made some money at it, and the [children went] through school. We educated our [children] the best we could. When we couldn’t get them to go [to school] it wasn’t much use forcing them any longer. I have run most every kind of equipment that is made for farming and most all the types of trucks and a good share of the heavy and earth-moving equipment.”
John Sevy Thompson
John Sevy Thompson was born on 15 September 1892 in Tennessee. His parents joined the LDS Church, moved west, and settled in Panguitch, Utah, where he grew up and spent his life ranching. He served in World War I and later worked on many ranches in southern Utah. His father had a big herd of cattle but left the family on a trip and never returned. The family thinks he died on that trip, but they never heard. His mother tried to support the family, but John went on his own to work for ranchers as a young teenager. He tells of ranching from both the youth and adult viewpoint. After traveling the rodeo circuit for a while, he returned home. Then he had an adventure: “I stayed on that ranch. They all left me [at] Christmastime, [and] I was alone. Two of them were supposed to come back. I was just a [young fellow] then. I never saw another man from Christmas until the next [year] on 15 April. I had 300 head of cattle and fifty head of saddle horses.
“When they came back the next spring, they all looked at each other. John Black said, ‘Who is over there on that ranch with that boy?’’ They said, ‘I guess nobody.’
“The ranger, Rob Hall, came up one day. He said, ‘John, are you alone here on this ranch?’ I said, ‘I have been alone all winter long, Rob. I am up a stump now. I have the crops in, and I can’t water it over until I get rid of these cattle. I have 300 head of cattle here, and I can’t do a thing until I get rid of them.’ He said, ‘John, I will come up in the morning, and we will count them out and put them on the mountain.’ I said, ‘Okay, Rob.’ We counted them out.”
Thompson goes on to tell how he tried to make a living after he married Ina Alvery on 12 December 1922 in the Manti Temple. They later had seven children, but he was away most of the time seeking work: “I was cow punching and herding sheep for a long time. Then I cooked a lot. I cooked in the Army and I have cooked four years in the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] camp. I cooked in the summertime up here at Bryce Canyon. Then in the winter, we went down to Zion Canyon. I liked the work fine. I guess I would still be cooking if I could have taken it. I got sick down here when I was cooking. They sent me to the Veterans Hospital in Salt Lake City. The old doctor said, ‘Now, John, you get out in the open and you stay there. You have enough smoke and grease on your lungs to kill a horse.’ That is what put me to herding sheep. He said, ‘Get yourself a job where you will be out in the open.’
“I did that until they retired me. When I lived in Boulder as a young man, I did the hardest kind of work. I carried mail on mules for eight long years. I packed up fifteen head of mules every morning with parcel post [mail]. I carried parcel post on mules from Boulder to Escalante and from Escalante to Boulder, about thirty-six miles, once a day. One day I would go to Escalante, and the next day I would go back to Boulder. I did that every winter and summer.”
That work convinced Thompson to go to work for sheepmen. He spent most of the rest of his life herding huge herds, some having around three thousand head of sheep. Keeping them separated from other herds was his big challenge.
Ralston Virden Reber
Ralston Virden Reber was born on 22 April 1903 in Bunkerville, Nevada. He reported: “I completed eighth grade and went through one year of high school. Then one of my brothers, Clarence, went on a mission. Wages were small in those days, and my brother and I went off to work as teenagers. [We sent] our money home to the family. I was about sixteen. We spent five years like that, sending money home to the family, and kept [our] brother on his mission. Then I came home and started working with my father on the farm. They all worked on the farm until they [were] older and married. They all went on to farm [for themselves].
“I always liked farming. I had to learn to work hard as a little fellow, and I didn’t know anything else to do but common labor. As far as I went in school, I was a good student and I got good grades.
“I was thinking a while ago [about when] one of my brothers [Ira] was hurt. He was crippled [from what] they called infantile paralysis. I had been working for wages and had [about] $500 on hand. My mother and I took [my brother] to St. George and stayed there a couple of months. The money that I saved took care of the expenses. Dr. Harris, a chiropractor, gave him two treatments a day. That is to show you how [far] my money went. The two-and-a-half years that my brother was on a mission, a lot of my money went [to him] as well [as to] the home. I never regretted that.”
Ellen Hortense Hinton
Ellen Hortense (Spendlove) Bradshaw Hinton was born on 30 April 1893 in Virgin. She was one of thirteen children, and of these thirteen, twelve grew to maturity. She recalls their life in Virgin and Hurricane: “You bet we all learned to work. We had to. We knew what jobs we had and we had to do it. My dad had been sick for a whole year before we moved to Hurricane. Mother had a baby. The house was one that had been built for polygamists. The lean-to was just resting on the cupboard. The cellars were moldy and damp. We had chills and malaria fever, so they thought [since] people were moving to Hurricane, they would move down here too. They left everything up there and moved down in 1907 or 1908. It was the very beginning of Hurricane. There were not very many people here. Dad moved a granary down from up there. He tore down his old barn. The barn was made with square nails. We lived in the granary and had two tents that first summer. Dad was not very well.
“Before we moved to Hurricane, we went up to Kolob when we were children. We would go up there every summer [to] milk cows and sell butter. He would milk cows for different people. We [went] up there every summer for several years. When we came home in the fall, we would dry peaches. We [received] a lot of store credit from that, too. We would get wagon-bed loads and put [the peaches] out to dry. The sun would dry them, and then we would sulfur them. We had a big box. We would put the trays in this box, cover it up, shut it up and burn sulfur in there [for] so long. That is where we sulfured them.
“That was to make them white so people would buy them. The sun-dried peaches were [sour]. We went up there and milked so many cows. The old milk house was [made from] a lot of logs and [had a] dirt floor. The house we lived in was just one big room [with an] attic. I used to like to go up there.
“I will tell you how we used the water. We used to bathe in a number three tub. There were twelve of us and Mother and Dad. They would add a little water every time. The first one in the tub would have the clean water. Then the next one would have to warm it up a little to make it so he could bathe in it. We would all take a bath in that tub, and then we would mop the floor [with] that water. Then we would feed that water to the pigs. You will not believe that, but that is what we did. I knew when Dad used to come down here to work on the Hurricane Canal; he would come down the first of the week and stay all week working on the ditch.”
Rulon Anderson Langston
Rulon Anderson Langston was born in Rockville on 4 November 1898. He tells a great story about Zion National Park: “Yes, I drove a lumber wagon one summer when I was ten years old for Frank Petty from Zion [National Park]. [It was] the lumber shipped down the old cable off the ledge. He would pick it up down at the bottom of the cable. We would go from Rockville up there and get two loads of lumber [and] back to Rockville [in] one day. It would take us three days [to go down] to St. George to deliver it and [then come] back to Rockville. I was only ten years old, so I could not harness the horses, but I could drive them after he harnessed them for me. I remember one of those trips. My hat blew off in a whirlwind and it took two trips to pay for a new hat and shirt. I earned fifty cents a day. [I had to drive the] lumber wagon, too. I worked with him a lot with the cattle before I was in [my] teens. [I earned] fifty cents with the cattle or seventy five cents if I furnished my horse.
“Another incident I want to recall is about that time in my life, when Heber J. Grant [stayed with us]. They were investigating Zion Canyon to be made a national park. Heber J. Grant was affiliated with the Union Pacific Railroad. [He] was the one sent down to investigate the feasibility. Dad met him [in] Virgin with a team and buggy. He came up and stayed at our place one night. Then he investigated and went all over Zion the next day. He stayed with us again that night. The next day Dad took him back to Virgin to meet someone from somewhere else down the [Virgin] River. [He] met him there and took him down to Toquerville. That is the way he had of getting around. He was an Apostle and also visited the different stakes at the time. I was with him in the buggy. I was too young to do much of anything else. It was about that time in my life. I remember those river crossings. We crossed the [Virgin] River thirteen times. There were places that were rough and deep. That trip was instrumental in getting it to be a national park. It was finally [named Zion] National Park in about 1912. A few years after that, we built the road. I worked on the first road that was built into Zion [National] Park. I guess I was about seventeen. I also worked on the tunnel two different winters.”
Charles Merrill Hall
Charles Merrill Hall tells another story of labor, but not on a farm or with animals. It is about building the Hurricane Canal: “My father was one of the first ones to join the Hurricane Canal Company. He stayed with it through thick and thin. He was one of the main ones. Before it was completed I worked with him. He had the job of settling the canal. Maybe everybody wouldn’t understand what that means, but if they look at the canal they would know that it took a lot of know-how to get the water down here. I worked with him during the wintertime and helped to complete the canal after it [came] down here, [by] making the [laterals] and finishing the ditch on out around.
“The canal was built along the side of the mountain in gravel, not very much dirt. [They] just blasted through the solid rock. When the water would hit that, it would go through, just like it would through a sieve. That had to be fixed so that it [the canal] would hold water [and] it would run on down the ditch instead of running out and down the side of the hill. That was before cement [was] used. When they came to a place where the water would drop too bad [low], they would get cedar bark, dig down and plug it up with cedar bark. That was the best means they knew of then to get the water. I remember how tickled my father was when they found out about cement so they could cement over these bad places. They would get people to help, [from] anywhere around here, to haul in cedar posts that had a lot of bark, and then [they would] strip it off. They would load it on [wagons and horses] and bring it down here. It took about twelve or thirteen [years to finish.]”
Matilde “Mattie” Woodbury Reusch
Something needs to be included about the Arizona Strip, that area of elevated dry land just south of the Utah border and west of the Colorado River. It became famous as a ranching area, but life was tough there because of the lack of water. Ranchers often had to haul water to their homes and build small reservoirs to capture rainfall for their cattle. The area was settled largely by Mormons, but many itinerant cowboys drifted in and out. The kind of work here was almost completely ranching, and the families were spread widely apart, often on homesteads, but they ranged their cattle on federal land. Matilde “Mattie” Woodbury Reusch was born on 8 August 1890 in St. George, daughter of John T. Woodbury, a well-known educator. She married William “Will” Ruesch Jr. in 1916 in the St. George Temple. They had three daughters and two sons. She taught school in Springdale and at Dixie Junior High School and in Fredonia and Hurricane. She was used to being a teacher, but then they moved to a homestead on the Arizona Strip. It was a real challenge for her.
“Our life together was one of hardship [for] me. I had never been used to the kind of life he wanted. He and Charles Petty, a merchant here [in Springdale], and Ray Galbraith, an attorney from Salt Lake, got together and decided to take a homestead on the Arizona Strip. The other fellows couldn’t go out and live on it, so they got Will to go out there and live. It proved to be a very hard life for me because I had never been used to such difficulties that I went through out there.
“You had to live on the place for three years to get [a] title to it. Charles and Ray found they couldn’t do it. They didn’t have any residence requirements. After we had been out there, we decided it was too much to give up. So we took it up. The grazing entry was 640 acres, and the homestead entry was 120 acres.
“In the first years of our married life, when cars were very few and far between, we went to the sawmills up on Kolob [Mountain] from there to the dry farm up at Upper Smith [Mesa], and from there to the Arizona Strip. [We] lived in a dugout. [This kind of living was] very hard on my strength, health, and endurance, but I wanted to give my husband a chance to make good on the thing he desired so much. I used to do the best I could. I remember at one time we had to ride way out in the desert. It was a couple of miles on a horse. My first child, Rondo [Ruesch], was just a baby. He is the boy [who] lives up on the corner. I remember him saying, ‘What?’ one day when he was a very young child. We were leaving the sawmill. At the dry farm we still had a hard life because we had to live in very difficult places. [It was] difficult [for] me. I was not very old, myself, but it was hard on me. It was the kind of life to which I was unaccustomed.
“I went to the dugout and lived in that place. Do you know what a dugout is? It was a place dug out in the side of the hill. At each end there was dirt, and up behind us it was dirt. We later built a top story to it. I used to have to descend on a ladder. We had a stove in the bottom part. It was so cold that you couldn’t sit in the [area] below without feeling you would freeze. We used to churn milk from the cow. I would let it go sour. If I put it on the front of the stove, the bottle would break. If I put it on the back of the stove, it wouldn’t be warm enough. I made a wire suspension and hung it from the rafter above so I could get the warmth of the heat [vapors] that went up [from the stove] so the milk would sour. I would take the bottle and shake it until the butter broke.”
Ianthus Spendlove, born in 1905 in Virgin, captures the full life of folks in the Hurricane Canal region, particularly the later years of maintaining the canal: “When I grew up, we had lots of trouble with the canal. We always got by [somehow]. . . . [It kept] breaking. We did not have money in those days to buy cement, so we had to repair it the cheapest way we could. Some of those jobs up there now, they mix cement about one to fourteen compared to about one to four then. Some of those jobs are still there. . . . Money was scarce. . . . They call the canal one of the seven wonders of the world. . . . My dad spent fourteen winters [working] on that canal. My grandmother Isom owned a little store in Virgin. They bought their material from her. They claim that they built that canal with her sledgehammer and her wheelbarrow. . . . I spent every summer [up there] until I was married. . . . I was well acquainted with my grandmother Isom. My grandfather Isom was shot years ago [while] out on an Indian hunt with the Indians. He was shot with an arrow. He never got over it. . . . A group of them went together out in Escalante country. While [they were] there, he was shot. I do not know if they were hunting or what they were doing. It was an Indian [situation] of some kind. . . . [It was] unfriendly Indians. [They] made the attack, and he [was] shot with an arrow. It did not kill him right out, but the effects of that arrow shortened his life. . . . He was only about thirty-seven when he died. My mother and father had thirteen children. . . .All of them lived to maturity except one [who] died when she was a baby, [Alice]. The rest were all married in the temple except one or two.
“We owned a herd of cattle. We would have a sale of [the] cattle the following year. [We would sell the] yearlings sometime in the spring. [We] would get about $25 a head for a yearling. I was farming. . . . We made our own pleasure in those days with horses, ballgame, [and] rodeos. Especially at Christmastime, we would spend two weeks horseracing and dancing. One winter, especially, the Indians came in and had a hogan over here where Lindon Bradshaw now lives. They had a big camp there. They would play their sticks on big tubs. They would make their regular noise that they would make at their [pow-wows]. . . . They would dance and make their own music by rubbing sticks on a tub. . . . They would chant as they played.
“I raised fruit in the early days. [I had] strawberries and a garden. Then, on the side, I had this spray business. I used my boys to help me do custom spraying. In later years, the [Hurricane] Canal Company wanted me to run the water for the company. On 9 June 1948, I went to work for the Hurricane Canal Company. . . . The day I took that job over, every ditch on the flat and the canal was clogged up with mud. We had an extra lot of rainy weather, [and there was] that old jumbo mud from Long Valley [Kane County, Utah] country. . . . I stayed with that job for seven summers. I quit in June 1955 [and] went [to work] up on the [Smith] Mesa [Test Site]. [I] worked for Coleman Engineering [up there] for five and a half years. . . . I came back here and went to gardening. [I have] been raising tomatoes and gardening since then.”
Rowena Whitmore Bundy
Rowena Whitmore Bundy also gives a view of life on the Arizona Strip. She was born on 26 February 1894 in Springville, Utah, and lived in Sunnyside and Vernal before coming to St. George and Mount Trumbull. She bore ten children, one of whom died at birth and another as a young child: “We had an awful time after we left and went out where the cows grazed. There was more curd in the milk, and we had to have something to dissolve the curd or it wouldn’t digest. We had quite an experience trying to find what would work for her. We tried first one thing and then another. I felt like I couldn’t raise her because I couldn’t find any milk that would agree with her. I remembered when I worked for the doctor that they fed their babies Millen (a grain-type) food. We [had] the fellow at the store on Main Street order Millen food for us, and we tried that. It worked wonderful with her, so we raised her on Millen food.
“We didn’t have any work [employment] out there, and we had to go in debt for a lot of things. Then he went up to Zion National Park to work and paid off the bill. We had a struggle out there on the Arizona Strip because there was nothing for you; there was no work or anything.
“Ada Adell was the next child, and she was born in St. George. She did all right, and we went back out to the Arizona Strip with her. Most of our eleven children grew up out there. It seemed like times became harder out there every year. It was drier and drier until we couldn’t raise anything to speak of. We moved to St. George when the twins were eleven or twelve years old. We were the first ones to move to St. George from Mount Trumbull. My husband was trapping for the US government or for the state. My children went to school. The oldest boy was old enough, but they didn’t have his grade out there. So we moved here and we have been here [St. George] at this little place ever since. My husband and I together with the boys built it. I worked for seven years in town at the Milne Motel and helped to give these younger ones a better education and the necessary things that they really ought to have. He went to Las Vegas to work down there, and that was the way we got the money to build the home and fix it up.”
James Bundy was born on 13 October 1887 in Wallace, Nebraska. He lived with his parents in Mexico and had to leave because of the revolution led by Pancho Villa. After several attempts to settle in other places, his family ended up on the Arizona Strip. He had been working at the Grand Gulch Mine: “We had to haul water from Pigeon Spring [Arizona Strip] down to the mining camp because there was no spring down there and we needed to have water for the cow. We loaded up and moved out to Mount Trumbull.
“While dad and I were freighting out there it rained. We could see the clouds and thunder and lightning further on east from the mining camp. A bunch of the fellows, six or seven of them, drove out there with their families with them. Anyway, [my wife] was along. When we got part way out there, they wanted to still go further east to what they call Hurricane Valley [on the Arizona Strip]. We divided up the hay and grain that we had for all the teams so they could go further on and they went on out. They went all around the country [area] and decided that was the best they had seen. Dad said wherever grass would grow he could [grow] grain. We thought that would be a good country [area] to move into. We did not have any machinery. In the beginning, we planted corn because we could cut that with a hoe and shuck it. Afterwards, we planted grain in the fall of the year. It was hard wheat grain [winter wheat].
“It was good for the work we did, because all we did was plow up the ground and sow the grain and harrow it. [We did not irrigate.] When we harvested the grain, you could still see the tracks of the harrow, so that was how much we did with the ground after we planted it. We never got a very big crop, but we got all we earned. All we did was plow and plant it and harvest. We never did have a binder out there. We finally came in and got a header and took [it] out there.
“We went there in 1917 and stayed there. We still have a homestead out there. My brother and James G. Bundy, our second boy, and [Vivian August] “Pat” [Bundy], my brother, are about the only ones left there. There are folks like ours [who] had children, and some of their [children] have homes out there, but nearly all the families have moved out. They [became] discouraged when the Taylor Grazing Act was passed [on 29 June 1934]. Those whose holding [had] used the public domain were entitled to some government ground, and those [who] did not have much stock and just had the homestead were not allowed out on the public range. That discouraged them the [most].
“If we had alternated the crops [we might have had] two seasons in the ground. I still think they could have [grown] grain. There was work they could get on the outside. They could not run cattle or sheep on the public domain because they had not used it. Most of them only had a milk cow and [a] few head [of cattle] around the pasture. Most of those at the colony had a homestead, and there was not enough [land on them] to [raise] livestock on to amount to anything.
“We had five children when we [came] to the valley, and when we left there we had nine. Two children died. One of the little girls drowned, and the other one died of pneumonia, a baby. The little girl was two years old when she drowned. [Denven LaVar Bundy] was the first one born [at Mount Trumbull]. He volunteered as an aviator.”
Frederick Cross Hoyt
Frederick Cross Hoyt lived in Orderville and herded one thousand sheep at age thirteen. He also worked in a sawmill, as well as in sheep shearing, dairying, and hay raising: “We were not [in school]; we had to be out on the ranch making a living. We didn’t have [life] like nowadays: you could not travel fast. I helped my father [at] the sawmill when I was nine years old. He would roll the logs on, and I would run the saw. My father was a millwright and was good at mechanics. They always had him run their saw and mill. He did the rolling [of] the logs on the carriage, and I would saw them. It was just above what they call Black Rock Canyon in Long Valley [Kane County, Utah]. We worked on another [sawmill] that was across the valley. That was [Nelson] MacDonald’s mill. [Later], we worked on Clyde Roundy’s mill. That is where I broke my first horse. I pulled the horse over on me. It was just a yearling colt, but he came over on top of me. Father asked me where it hurt. I told him my arm hurt. When I started walking off, he started to laugh at me because I was limping when it was my arm that was hurting. My aunt [Mary] Ellen [Meeks] Hoyt was there, and she got after Dad for laughing at me when I was hurt, but that didn’t help it any.
“I didn’t get much [education]. I was always good in mathematics, what we used to call arithmetic. I could always tell the teacher the answer to the problem. By the time she was through, I had the answer. I couldn’t write it on the board so that anybody else could get it the way I had. I could work [the problems] out, but they would not give me any credit for it because I couldn’t tell them how I had done it. There was one girl in the school who was the best in mathematics. She tried to write her [problems] on [the board] and keep up with me, and she could not do it. She would get 100 percent, and I would not get anything because she could write it down.
“That is the way [education] was, and that is what it is. It isn’t what you know or what you can do—it is how you do it. They didn’t want you to go to the farm. They came back to how I learned how to add. I learned it myself. They are teaching it now in the schools. [With] the decimal system I could add up six rows of figures. I could figure them up and get the right answer.
“I have had a lot of outside experience. When I was thirteen years old, I was out south and west of Orderville. They took me out there and put my sheep camp at what they called a Mail Trail. [The other camp] was near Cub Spring. [The camps] were about six miles apart, and I had 1,000 head of sheep. They went off and left me there for thirty days. They left enough food, but I ate too much and ran out, so [I] had to kill my own mutton. I would go from one camp to the other and stay one day, what we would call dry, out away from it, and come back and water. The next day [I] would go back over to the other camp.
“One time when I was there, I was coming in a little after dark and my sheep were watering. All at once, my dog came as fast as he could run [and] ran right into my tent. I did not have any gun [and] did not know what it was that scared him. A little while after that, a bobcat was making a [terrible] noise. I thought it was a cougar. I did not know then that the cougar doesn’t sound like that. The bobcat will make a big noise when he is around, but the cougar does not make [any] noise. They are more sneaky than that. I did not spend a very pleasant night.
“My father always sheared as many [sheep] or more than a lot of [men]. He freighted and that is where I [received] some freighting experience. He would take one of us boys each time he went to Marysvale. One year I made three trips to Marysvale and up on the divide with wool from Orderville, It took us about ten days to make the trip. . . . My mother was a hard worker too. She did a lot of work. I know more about her than I do about my dad because she was always there [at] the dairy. She used to ride the horses sideways [sidesaddle]. She would help us with the cows and dogie lambs. She was the main one with the family. She practically raised the family. She used to drive the teams out and drive them back. She rode horses, milked the cows, and made butter and cheese. She was strong and healthy practically all of her life. She did most of the teaching of us. We were always taught to pray and to depend on the Lord rather than anything else.”
Della Humphries Hardy
Della Humphries Hardy was born in 1908 in Virgin. Soon thereafter, her family moved their house to the new town of Hurricane, down the Virgin River, where the Hurricane Canal had just been completed. She tells about her work life there: "I started when I was about nine years of age to tend people's children and [do] housecleaning. I remember from twelve [years of age and] on, there was one special family that I worked for. They lived about two blocks from the schoolhouse. I would hurry home at noon and fill their black tub. They had to heat the water outside. I would fill this tub with water and put the wood and chips around it and get it all ready to strike the match to it. I would start the clothes. If I had time, I would go home and eat dinner. If I did not, I would rush back to school. I would hurry up there during [our] fifteen-minute recess and strike the match and get the water heating. When school was out, [which was] thirty minutes later, that water would be warm [and] hot enough to start washing. I would take that [load] out and use the suds and start it going. I would put on another tub of water that you would have to boil the clothes in. They would all have to be boiled and run through another [cycle of] suds and then rinsed twice. Lots of times, in the winter, I would be washing until ten o'clock at night outside. I remember one place [where] I worked, they had sickness. They had a big washing to do.
"I remember this one of them had a boy [who] was sick. She sent for her brother to come from Salt Lake City. He was a baby doctor. They were going to have to take the baby to St. George and operate. I got up about seven o'clock that morning and put the water to heat for the wash. While it was heating, I [fixed] breakfast. While they were eating breakfast, I changed all the bedding and changed the children. I got them up, bathed them and put them in clean clothes. It was on a Saturday morning. While they were eating breakfast, I did this and then I made up the beds, cleaned up the rooms in between and then back to the clothes. I would run back and forth putting clothes in and out of the washer and hanging them on the line. Then I cleaned up the house. [I] mopped and waxed the floors. As the clothes dried, I brought the one that could be ironed in and folded them down, and then I started ironing.
"In between all of this, [the sick] boy had to have hot turpentine packs on his abdomen. I would hurry in and take these hot packs into her. I do not know if you have had any experience with turpentine. If you do not keep it stirred good [and] you put your hands in it, it blisters. So I had blisters around all my fingers. I remember how that hot water hurt [when I was] doing the wash. I had an enormously big washing that day. After I got the clothes dried, I started ironing.
"Her brother and [others] came in about dark. I fixed three meals three different times for them. When her brother came in, it was ten-thirty and I was still [working]. He had gone to the place and got to sleep as he was [worn] out. It was about ten-thirty when he came in. I was still ironing. He said, 'How long have you been here?" I said, 'Since seven o'clock.' He thought seven o'clock at night. He said, 'That sounds like a late time to come [to] work, is it not?' I said, 'I mean seven o'cock this morning.' He was flabbergasted! he said, 'You mean to say that you have been working here [all day]? What have you been doing?' I told him. He went into his sister and derided her for it. He said, 'This girl tells me she had been here since seven o'clock this morning.' She said, 'We just had to have it done. I knew you were going down there to take the baby for an operation, and I had to have this work done up and this washing and ironing.' He said, 'My dear sister, could you not have gotten two girls to come?'"
Lydia Amelia Barlocker Hunt
Lydia Amelia Barlacher Hunt was born on 18 August 1893 in Toquerville and lived in Leeds, Harrisburg, Enterprise, and Washington. She gives a picture of fruit peddling with her father: “Peddling was the way my father made a livelihood. He would pick [the] fruit off of our trees. On our lot we had melons and grapes. Grapes were quite a thing in those days. My father used to make wine. We had a big barrel of wine and had it on the side of the wagon on a little platform that stood up and had a spout on it. All the way up [to Cedar City] he would peddle wine. The men would come out to his wagon and buy a glass of wine or a bottle of wine that he had for sale. We had big fifty-gallon barrels. That is the way he made a livelihood because he didn’t work much.
“When we went on this trip from Washington City, [we went] up through the country near Leeds. There, it was nothing but a sand plot. We didn’t have any highways or good roads. There was so much sand that the hubs [of the wagon wheels] would go down in [the sand]. We had a balky horse that wouldn’t pull your hat off. Father made me get out of the wagon and ride this horse and gave me a stick to hit him with. I would hit him to get him to go, and he just sat back on the tongue and wouldn’t pull an inch. We had to unload so [the] horse could pull the wagon out [of the sand]. He finally pulled the wagon out, and then we had to carry the fruit up the hill to put in the wagon. We had quite a trip.
“When we would go through a town, my father would have me get in the back of the wagon. We had a wagon cover on the wagon, and I would sit in the back and the boys couldn’t see me. When they would see a peddler coming through town, they would think they were going to get some melons. They would all line up so they could take the melons one after the other one. I sat in the back with a quirt [whip] in my hand. They would climb up in the wagon. By the time they [climbed up] in there to grab a melon, I would hit them on the hand with this quirt. When they found out somebody was in there, they didn’t bother us anymore. They did that with all the peddlers. A lot of times if [the peddlers] didn’t have anybody in their wagon, they would steal all [their] melons [and] they [wouldn’t] have any melons left.
“One time dad was cutting grain. We had about an acre or two acres of grain in one of the lots there where we lived. He was cutting the grain with a scythe, and I was bundling it up and tying it. [We were] too close to each other, and he cut a hole right in the bottom of my foot, along [the] side of my foot. He hollered for mother to come and help me to the house. I was laid up for a while and had to sit with my foot up. Mother doctored it with home remedies, and I dare not tell you what they were!”
Samuel Kendall Gifford
Samuel Kendall Gifford was born and raised in Springdale. He tells the story of the famed Cable Mountain there and his work on the cable: “Mr. [David] Flanigan built a sawmill on the Zion Ledges, and they hunted over the ledges. Brigham Young had made the statement that the time would come when lumber would come off the ledges, and it would sail like a hawk down the ledge. He said, ‘I don’t know how it will happen, but it will happen.’ The Flanigan brothers [David, William, Aaron and Ron] were determined to see that this was carried out. They hunted the ledges and put three bailing wires on the top and let the wire down over what we now call Cable Mountain. [When] the wire would strike a tree limb, they would shoot the limb out of the tree with their gun until the wire was down to the natural slope of the hillside. They [would] drag it down and then let the opposite side down. They built this around some big pulleys. [They put] pulleys at the edge of the ledge and put the same kind of frame down at the bottom. It was an endless cable of 3,700 feet in length. Eventually, they added two more wires.
“My father and William [Robinson Crawford, Oliver Gifford and Alfred Stout] bought the sawmill and put in a 5/
“[While] they were building the lodge [at Zion National Park] and the homes around here, lumber was sent to St. George and Hurricane and Kanab and different places. During this time, we worked [at] the sawmill. Frank and Charles Petty bought the sawmill, and continued it. I worked for the sawmill. Later my brother-in-law, [Dave] W. Lemmon, bought the sawmill and I [continued] to work for him. We would go up with bobsleds and [take] the lumber over to the sawmill at the top of the ledge. Sometimes we would stay weeks at a time just running lumber down the cable. A lot of lumber came off the top.”
William Brooks was a transitional person in Utah’s Dixie. He mastered farming and then dry farming and eventually mining and other industrial activities. He eventually became the sheriff and later postmaster of St. George. His first wife was Nellie Marie Stephen Brooks, who died in 1932 after bearing six children. His second wife was Juanita Brooks, who had lost her first husband. They then had four children. William was born in St. George in 1891, one of twelve children. His father was George Brooks Sr., a farmer and a stonecutter with Edward L. Parry for the St. George Temple. His mother was Emily Cornelia Branch Brooks. He attended the Fourth Ward school to the seventh grade, worked on the family farm, and eventually attended both BYU and Utah Agricultural College. He reports on his wide experience:
“I never [had] a job except at home. Father had a big family, and it required our help. My brother [George Brooks] was older than I. He and I never went to work for anybody but [our dad] until we were in our twenties. I had quite a lot of [education]. I had nearly all of the grade [years]. Josephine Jarvis and Edith Ivins both took an interest in me. They gave me all the breaks they could. I [had] a lot of [education] in the grades, but I never got through the eighth grade at that time. We farmed all the time. We took up land with the companies that took up land, and George and I worked out [in] the farmlands. I was old enough to run a team and worked [for] the [Washington Fields] Canal [Company]. [We received] script for water on those projects. We worked a little twenty-acre farm there.
“It was located in Washington Fields [and was] a very successful project. We [received] seven acres from the old land, and then we [received] twenty acres from the new land. We worked our twenty acres up; we cleaned the fields and stayed there a reasonable time and got plenty of water. We made the farm profitable in our days while we were at home. The family kept coming just about as regular and systematic as any family ever did! We could keep track of each other’s age by the number of children. We knew their ages. Generally, we had plenty to eat; always had plenty to eat. We had good food [and] had a good garden. We had our cows to milk and our horses to ride. We had plenty of milk and butter. We always had good food.
“I went to Modena [Iron County]. That was [so] I could help George with a little school [money]. He knew that I was getting $40 every month. That was all I got for three years. I had a good top wage [that] I was paid there. I worked for my uncle, Brigham James Lund. He married one of my mother’s sisters. He didn’t favor me when it [came] to the job. I worked for him out there and did what I could. The first year I was at Modena, I sent father 3,000 pounds of flour, and I repeated that the second year. I saved a little bit of money too, impossible as it would seem. I [used] my money to help Father and Mother a little bit, and helped provide for them. [The] business of stonecutting had been outgrown [run out]. There were not public buildings [being built] to speak of, [so] he went to Manti and worked on the Manti Temple. Father had a big family, all girls and quite dependent. They worked out in homes and were all fairly efficient cooks, like their mother was, and seamstresses. The oldest girl, Emma [Brooks] Ashby, went to work for the [newspaper editor]. She was a printer [at] Dixie’s newspaper [Washington County News]. She worked there for a number of years and [received] $1.00 a day. Mary [Brooks] became a very expert housekeeper. She worked [at several] different places, where she became an efficient housekeeper.”
Brooks then tells the long story of how he accompanied his brother George to BYU. He did a year of high school there at Brigham Young Academy. They earned their way through school at twenty-five cents an hour. They rented a place with five rooms in it for twenty dollars a month and had three of their sisters live with them. They went out and picked potatoes, apples, roots, carrots, and turnips. They considered it a year of comfort. William became associated with Dr. John A. Widtsoe and Dr. Lewis A. Merrill and learned about dry farming. He worked for them too: “I went to Nephi with them and [started] the Utah Arid Farm. He had 20,000 acres of ground in Dog Valley, east of Nephi. I went down there in the summertime. He had horses at the time [because] there weren’t any dry farm instruments. [This] was a part of my schooling at the time. In the winter I went back to Logan [Cache Valley]. I wasn’t making enough money, [so] I went to Pioche [Nevada]. It was for school purposes. I had a good summer in Pioche, [and] I [was paid] $2.50 a day. It was good wages, and I worked [in] Pioche all summer. I had some good times there.” He then tells of another venture running the Chilean Mill, a gold-mining operation. There, he learned to run engines. Then he went back to BYU.
Charles Herbert Knell
Charles Herbert Knell was born on 25 February 1886 in Pinto and went to school there until the eighth grade. He also completed a year of high school in Cedar City. He reports, “I had a good dad. I thought he was one of the best men [who] ever lived. He was quite a prominent [person] in Pinto. He led the choir. He ran a threshing machine, [and] that was quite a thing [to do] in those days. He took the threshing machine all over the county [area] and threshed the grain both at Grass Valley and Hebron. Enterprise was just starting about that time, so he didn’t do much threshing in Enterprise. He went to Pine Valley quite a lot besides going to Grass Valley.
“Dad and I got along well working together. I worked for Dad, and we had our property together. [I] worked right with him, and we both took care of the family. In fact, I bought the home that we lived in. I helped pay for [it], and we had cattle [together]. We worked together all the time. When he died, he willed everything he had to me. He had other children, but I had worked with him and owned property with him. Anyway, he made his will out to me, all of it.”
Clarence Jacob Albrecht
Clarence Jacob Albrecht was born on 7 April 1904 in Fremont, Wayne County, Utah. He gives some important insights into herding sheep: “When I was about thirteen [years old], I [had] my first job herding sheep. I will never forget how big I was because this man suggested I furnish my own horse and saddle. He would give [the horse] all the grain it would eat. I even had a six-shooter strapped on my saddle. When I went out to this sheep herd, I was [fairly] cocky! About the first mistake I made, I was going to see that my horse, who hadn’t been accustomed to eating much grain, had plenty. I hung a couple of gallons on him, and the horse ate more than he should have eaten. He was quieted then and wouldn’t eat any grain for ten days afterwards!
“I had only been herding sheep about two weeks when a [bad] storm came up. Another herd of 3,000 mixed [in with] ours in one draw. My herder and the other herders from the other outfit just moved my camp down [to] what they called Long Hollow. [The camp was] off under a cedar tree, and then they went to town to get help. If I had known anything in the world, I would have lost that whole herd of sheep. But I pushed them down. There was a ridge there, and a few sheep ran down. The storm [was] right behind them, really heavy. When I [was] down there, my camp was on the ground. Just being a green [boy], I spent all the rest of the day trying to get my tent up. I finally learned that I would have to chop the limbs away and push this back up into the big cedar trees and then anchor the back to where I could hold it long enough to get [the tent] up. It was probably a blessing in disguise, because if I had ever started doing anything with those sheep I would have lost them all. But the fact that they were just turned wild, they went on down and crawled up under the cedar trees and brushes where they could. The next morning there was eighteen inches of snow on my tent. Out of about 6,000 head of sheep, we lost 125 head. So it was kind of fortunate that I didn’t know anything. . . .
“A blessing in disguise is right. There were some hard days in the future because these sheep were just ready to start lambing. We had 6,000 head in one herd. They had to be separated. There was lot of loss because of this. I went from there to the lambing ground and spent the summer on top of Boulder Mountain herding sheep. I believe this was the only time in my life where I ever saw it rain every day for thirty-one days. It did [that] year on top of Boulder Mountain. Every afternoon we would get a good rainstorm. It was not easy to herd sheep in those days because you had just a small district. There were other herds all around you. Nearly every day somebody would have to go in the corral to separate [their] sheep from the other fellow’s sheep. You really had to tend to business to herd sheep in those days. . . .
“Yes, the sheep were all branded and marked. When I talk about separating, they went through a chute. As they came through, you would have a dodge gate that would dodge the one fellow’s [sheep] in one corral and the other one in the other corral. You would have them all separated, and perhaps, the next day you would have to go back in the corral and separate from another herd. The herders [who] just didn’t take care of business knew that they would have to go in the corral and get their sheep in a day or two. This was not good for the owners because you had the ewes weaned away from their lambs and quite a lot of dogie [orphaned] lambs in those herds because of this. One old man used to say to us, ‘It is always necessary to pay attention, but the sheep will stay separated if the herders will. You will get the herds mixed first, and then the sheep get mixed. . . .’
“There were lots of coyotes in those days. I recall one time we had forty-three sheep killed one night. You really had to watch [for] coyotes every day. We always had a herder and what they called a camp-jack, a fellow [who] moved the camp. This was all done by mules. I learned when I was thirteen to tie the diamond hitch and fasten these packs on . . . Towards night, when he knew about where we were going to [be], I would go up and shore the camp up and get the supper ready for the herder. . . .
“There were lots of experiences there. You learned to do a lot of things. Like in every walk of life, you did a lot of things incorrectly. One of the things that was a must was to take care of the animals and the packs. I received one wonderful expression. I went up on top of Boulder [Mountain] to herd for this man, and he was with me. When he rode up to this camp there were pack saddles, blankets, hobbles, and everything strewn all over the ground out in front of the camp. I observed that this owner of the camp just looked around. I thought I detected some disgust in his actions. We had lunch, and then he went over to his other herd. He left me there as the camp-jack. The next day, when he came back, I had hung all these pack saddles and hobbles up and had pieces of bed tarps wrapped around these so they were kept out of the sun and storms. I received the finest compliment in the world. He took me off to one side, and he said, ‘I am so happy that you observed what I observed. I appreciate you taking care of these things.’ This was a big boost in my life and something I have always tried to teach as I [grew] older and had sheep of my own. I always told the fellow that I wanted him to take care of things. This man said to me that day, ‘You can have anything you want to eat in this camp. Just order it, but I want you to take care of it. We can buy anything if you take care of these sheep.”
Erastus Snow Gardner
Erastus Snow Gardner was born on 10 January 1892. He said: “I have been [a rancher] all my life, ever since I was big enough to ride a horse, [since] I was about three years old. [Later] I had a little gray mare, one of the best little animals [there] ever was. She was a speedy little animal too. I had gone to the upper field to get some cattle out of the field that shouldn’t have been there. [There was] a neighbor [who] was just a little younger than I was in a field higher up. He saw this little mare standing in the field for a long time and he came over to investigate. When he got there, I was sitting on the ground with my arms around her hind legs. I was unconscious [and] didn’t know anything. He [put] me on the horse and led her home. Just before we got down to my home, I regained consciousness enough so that I could remember him bringing me home. I have had some narrow escapes.
“I remember when I was a boy, there used to be roundups bringing the cattle from the winter ranges. There used to be a lot of cattle owned around Pine Valley. I remember as youngsters, we just about lived to see [the] cattle come over the ridge into Pine Valley. They would string over that ridge for hours. We youngsters would go down to the lower end where the fields were and climb up on the fence to watch them come into town. They would bring the cattle right up into town [to] separate, [and] each man [would] take his cattle from there.
“Ranchers from the whole southern part of the state would ride together on the ranges to gather their cattle. They would separate their cattle at what they called [the] Magotsu [Creek] corral [and] take them to the different towns from there. We would drive all the cattle that belonged to Pine Valley into Pine Valley, separate them and each man would take his cattle to his summer range.
“We had bears that would kill any amount of cattle. They had hunters come in and hunt bears. They finally killed one, and the other one left, but he [had] killed thousands of dollars’ worth of cattle.”
Joseph Hills Johnson Jr.
Joseph Hills Johnson Jr. was born on 28 July 1891 in Johnson, Kane County, Utah. He lived much of his life in Tropic, but after his marriage to Mabel Watson, he moved from job to job. He tells his story of work: “Father had a few cows, thirty [or] forty head of cattle and horses. He had a stallion that I had to stay right at home and take care of for several years. From that time on I had the responsibility of the family. It took a long time, [but] my hands finally [were] better. The left hand, the one that was frozen so hard, I could just rattle the skin on the fingers after the swelling went down. The skin had not contracted again like it was in the first place [before] it had been swollen. My fingers were smaller like I had a glove on my hands.
“I started out quite early several years before [my father died], when I was thirteen years old. Father was out in Nevada, freighting. He had a four-horse freight team for about a year. I ran the farm [that] we had about two miles from town and, with the help of a helpful neighbor, managed to get the crops in and harvested. I worked one day on our place and then one day for him for the use of his team. Then when it came time to cut the hay, he [held] things together and I cut the hay, raked it, and hauled it with his borrowed team. I worked one day for the use of the team and then had the use of it a day for myself. That is the way I started out farming.
“We had good crops for a few years. Before Father died, we went to the East Fork Mountain [Garfield County] on a ranch with a dairy herd. We had a herd of cows and we ran the dairy there for several years on what we called the East Fork, what we called the Flat Bottom, the old Beaver Co-op Ranch. There I milked as high as thirty cows [daily]. [My] mother made butter and cheese. [We] sold that. [We] put butter in barrels and crocks. There wasn’t any sale for milk or cream, [so] we just had to convert it into butter and cheese. We did that for three or four years, moving to the ranch in the summer and back in the fall.
“We would take the cattle with us, and in the winter we took them to a lower altitude, lower country, where we wintered them. Then we [took] them back to the side of the mountain in the summer. After Father died, we continued that. We tried a little farming on the East Fork Mountain, but it wasn’t very successful; the season was too short up there. After his death, we didn’t farm any more, but we did stay with the ranch for several years.”
After his marriage, Joseph had to take up many jobs: “I just tried anything I could find to do. I was away from home [a lot]. I farmed during the summer and then, about the time we had to pay taxes, I would have to leave home and find a job somewhere [to] earn enough to pay the taxes and the bills. We had to settle up and make enough so that we could farm again the next year. I was never able to make enough money to do anything. I had to work away from home, most of the time, to just keep farming.
“I went down to Gunnison [Sanpete County] to the sugar factory [and] worked there [during] the sugar campaign for three or four months. Then I went to Bingham Canyon [Salt Lake County], and I worked there for two winters as a boilermaker. Another winter I was in the building trade [doing] plastering and general building. I did that part of the time. I did most everything a few months at a time, and then I [would] go back home and take care of the farm. After we were married I bought a place in Bryce Canyon. We lived and [had a] dairy there for five or six years. Most of my family were born and raised there on the ranch. We lived there during the summer, [and] when fall came [and] school started we moved back into town.”
Mary Ann Weaver Judd Allen
Mary Ann Weaver Judd Allen gives the story of work from a youth perspective: “At the age of thirteen I went with my father and my five-year-old brother, ‘Frank’ [Weaver], on a peddling trip with a team and wagon. [The trip] took two weeks [to go] up and back to Beaver [and] Minersville [in Beaver County] and [other] northern settlements to sell produce. When we got to Cedar City, Dad was bitten by a spider, or something, that poisoned his foot. The doctor [took care of it] and told Dad to return home. [Dad] said that I could drive, [and] at my age I could do it. I had never driven a team—only out in the [desert] above Washington City to gather cactus for firewood. But I went on with him. He was determined to go, so we went on, and I drove the team. I had never unharnessed a horse or harnessed one, but I made the grade with a little help from some of the people [where] we stopped to camp. The men would come out and help. [We were] in many storms, and I used to figure the drops were as big [as] silver dollars. They would come down so big. One of the gentlemen would come out and say, ‘All right, little girl, you get in the wagon, and I will take care of this.’ He would unharness the team and put it away.
“On our way back, we stopped up by New Harmony, just out from [it] a ways. I had to put the nose sacks with their grain on the horses at the back of the wagon, and I had to make a campfire to fix us supper. The coyotes would come so close with their big bright eyes a-shining. I would still have to lead the wagon and the fire. Dad used to say, ‘They won’t hurt us as long as there is a fire around.’ But there was no fire down [at] the creek where I had to lead the horses [for] them [to] drink. I was just petrified all the way down the creek and back. I saw the coyotes out from the campfire. I tied the horses up and put their nose sacks on. I thought, ‘ Now I just won’t venture out [because] it is dark, and they might come for me.’ So I went back and crawled over the bed in the back of the wagon [over to] the little peephole out of the covered wagon. I reached down and [took] the nose sacks off of the horses. I got one and dragged it through [the] peephole in the back, but the other [nose sack] fell. I knew the horses would tromp it to pieces during the night. So I had to go out and get that nose sack, [and] I had to face the coyotes. But [they] didn’t bother me.
“As we came along the road, in places there would be a great big snake almost as big as my arm. I would scream, ‘Oh Dad, there is a big snake.’ He said, ‘Stop the team.’ I would jerk on the reins and stop the team because it might be one [who] would bite the horse and cause trouble. Dad would tell me to wait until [the snake] crossed the path, and then I would be okay. On this trip, going up past [the] Sevier River, going through the valley to Circleville, the river was down below. Nowadays, it looks not much bigger than a cow trail, the road that we had to drive over. [As we were traveling], I saw a buggy coming. I was so scared that he was going to push me into the river [that] I stopped the team and started to cry. Dad said, ‘Don’t cry. Something will happen.’ It was the mailman with his buggy and team. He drove up the side of the mountain, put on his brake, came and drove Dad’s team past the road so he could pass me. [Those] were experiences that I had at the age of thirteen when I didn’t know too much about anything, but I learned to drive the team, face coyotes, and had all of the troubles that I had. It was quite an experience.”
Rhoda Hafen Leavitt
Rhoda Hafen Leavitt lived in Bunkerville, Nevada, where she was born on 19 January 1906. She tells about children working to fill in during an emergency: “When I was a young girl, I was not quite twelve when my father had to take my mother to St. George to have a baby. She was going to have my second-to-youngest sister. Hazel was her name. [They] had to go in the wagon all the way and had to stay there awhile [after] they [arrived]. [The baby] was not born as soon as they thought it was going to be. While they were gone, the whole family came down with the mumps: my older brothers, Luther, Alfred, Oak, and then all the sisters. There was myself and Rose, Grace, and Ruby. They all had the mumps and were all sick but me. I took care of all [of them], and at the same time we had the threshers [who] were going to thresh our grain.
“I was only twelve years old, but my girlfriend from across the street, Bishop Earl’s youngest daughter, Vella Earl, came and helped me. [There was] a big crowd of men [who] had come there to eat. We two [girls] cooked dinners for them. We were sitting down for dinner one day, and my uncle sent his daughter up to help us. She was a grown girl out of college. Charity Leavitt was her name. He sent her up to help us cook the dinners. I can still remember how impudent and sassy we were when she came in there because we had [the men sitting] down at the table eating. She said, ‘My dad sent me up here to help you cook for the threshers.’ I said, ‘You can go right back home because we do not need any of your help.’ I remember how embarrassed she looked, but I did not think how awful it sounded. She walked out, and we did not have any trouble cooking for those threshers.
“I remember we were barefooted. We did not have any shoes. We were twelve years old, but we had more fun cooking those dinners for the threshers. I do not know how many meals, but [there were] a lot of them before they [finished] all [of the] threshing.”
Fay Emanuel Anderson
Fay Emanuel Anderson was born on 10 July 1899 in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, but grew up in Overton, Nevada. He tells of his father: “He was a hardworking man. [He] had quite a farm. [The work] was all done with horses. [It was] slow work. I used to run the horse on the bailer for him. They did baling then a little different than they do now. He would make little strips of wood [and] smooth them out so he could write the weight of the bale on—then he would put it under the wire. [He would] weigh the bales as they took them off the baler. When he sold it, he would just look at that slip. That was what they had to pay for. They sold it by weight. I remember when he was threshing. We used to have the threshers come. They would stay maybe a week at a time and do threshing for us. I remember all those threshers and how they did [that work]. I had to get up in the straw and take care of the straw. Mother cooked for the sheep shearers in the spring. We had the sheep-shearing plant right on the farm. When we came down here, he sold 3,000 head [at] $2.00 a head. That was in 1908. In 1912, they were $20 a head. We sold our farm for $6,000. In 1912, it went for $32,999
“I worked in the shearing corral when I was eleven and twelve. [I would] carry the fleeces. We had a big long board floor with pens on each side. They would put the sheep in there. The fellows would shear them and throw the fleeces over the fence. I would gather them up and haul them to where they sacked them. [There was] lots of wool [that] would escape from the fleece. I would have to sweep that floor about three or four [or] maybe six times a day. [I had] to keep it cleaned up. That was hard work.
“It did not hurt me to learn to work. I had trouble with my back several years ago. The doctor took some x-rays [and] said, ‘You have lifted lots of bales of hay, haven’t you?’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t, but I have handled a lot of wool or fleeces.’ He said, ‘You better quit work. You will be in a wheelchair.’”
Lloyd Berdell Jennings
Not all the people who lived in rural Utah followed the agricultural lifestyle. One such person is Lloyd Berdell Jennings, who was born on 24 January 1897 in Levan, Utah, near Nephi. As a young man he went to Amboy and Los Angeles, California, in search of work. He found it in the shipyards: “I accepted a job with a dry dock company as a paint foreman. Sometimes we would call for as many as 2,000 men or 3,000 men when they painted these ships. They would lift the ship out of the water [and] start on the keel of the boat scraping to clean it before we painted it. Then we would paint it and let it right back down into the water. By the time we had cleaned all of the shells and so forth off of the hull and had it painted with red lead, it would be back in the water. Half of the crew was on top sanding, cleaning the deck and the railings, and would paint and varnish everything on the top deck.
“This was an unusual job for a man [who] came from Levan! It was the biggest worry I ever had in my life. I enjoyed it as long as I was there. I never stayed too long. Then we moved back to Las Vegas. That was where I started in the building business [as a] contractor. While we were living in Las Vegas, our baby boy Jesse was born.
“I had a lot of experience in repair work around these plants. I felt that I was capable of building a house, [so] I started building houses. I recall the first house that I built in Las Vegas. It still stands, and was the first house I ever built. Later, construction at Boulder Dam started, and I went to Boulder City and did some contracting. I built their first community church in Boulder City.
“At the same time I was building that, I built the North Las Vegas school. I was doing quite a lot [of] work. Our home burned down. We built a new home down in North Las Vegas. We had it finished only just a few months, it was a frame house, and it burned up. My wife had always been asking me to move back to St. George. After this happened, I gave up building in Las Vegas, and we moved back to St. George. In the meantime, I had bought a lumberyard that had gone out of business. I bought all of [the] lumber and his hardware. [So] I hauled it to St. George and started building here. I had enough lumber and hardware to build four of five homes, [and] I didn’t have to buy [any] material. That gave me a boost when I built [houses] and sold them. That got me [started] in the contracting business in good shape in St. George.
“When we came to St. George, I [also] built [the St. George Café]. It is now [known] as Dick’s Café. I guess I just bought it to give my wife [Georgeanna] a job because she [operated] it for about two years before we sold it. It proved to be quite successful. It was a good thing. She did a nice job of running it. During this time, I got started in the contracting business. One of my first contracts was the [St. George] city and [Washington] county jail. After that, I built a good many homes, and then [did] some commercial work. My son, Leon, was in high school. He loved this [kind of] work and was very efficient [for] a boy. He could do good work as a carpenter. He worked with me all day building the jail and any work that I was doing. When he was out of school, he would be right with me. Later on, we started a little store. We had a little hardware store and started selling building supplies.
“Here in St. George, right where it is now, [was] J & J Mill and Lumber Company. When [World] War [II] came, we couldn’t buy lumber, so we bought a sawmill. We bought a small mill that was producing about 5,000 or 6,000 feet [of lumber] a day. My other boy [Julian] was running some cottages [the Dixie Motel] that we had built, and [Leon] was running the gas station. Later, we bought [a] sawmill, and Julian took over the sawmill. We found that it wasn’t profitable to run this sawmill. We decided to build a larger mill, and that was at Hatch town [Garfield County]. We operated that for a couple of years and found [it] wasn’t profitable. The boys wanted to expand and build a bigger mill. So we moved to Virgin and put in a mill that could cut from 50,000 to 70,000 feet [of lumber] a day. The timber [came from] Cedar Mountain. We operated that mill for about two or three years.”
Anson “Andy” Perry Winsor, III
Anson “Andy” Perry Winsor, III, born in 1879 in Hebron, tells a story of combining farming with merchandising in Enterprise: “We homesteaded some dry farms over on the desert and then I started my home here. I have lived in this granary up here. I had paid for this ground during this time. I bought the different parts of this field that I now own from the family. This homestead, where our home is, was separate from the original homestead. I paid my father for that while I was working at these smelters. I was clear of debt and owned the ground, but I had no money. I landed here with $16.00. I worked over here on this dry farm and did work for others who had homesteaded there to pay for our living.
“I rolled snow into an old cellar. Up in Father’s stackyard, he had an underground cellar, and I rolled snow into that and packed it with straw. Then [my wife and I] made ice cream on holidays out of that [snow]. That started us in the ice cream business. When the snow was gone, I shipped in ice from Milford and places like that [to] make ice cream. We stayed in the ice cream business for twenty-five years.
“She was a natural businesswoman. She was a success. We would get so tired and work so many hours that I would go into a barbershop to get my hair cut, they would have to wake me up when [the barber was] through. I would go sound asleep. We would leave there some mornings at four o’clock in the morning. We built this house during the time that we [lived] there. We built this house in 1926. We wanted to [leave] the farm. We had the farm paid for. We put down the first deep well in this valley. We pumped that well [for] sixteen years before they put down another well. Now this whole valley is perforated with wells. No one would believe that the water under there was worthy of putting down a pump and pumping it out. Our farm [has been] a success from the day we put that well down to this very day on account of that deep well.
“She was the business manager. The only money I ever lost was my fault, not hers. I put $1,600 into a gyp [gypsum] mine over [in] Cedar [City] and lost every cent of it. I put some in a dairy proposition over there and lost that. I took [some] stock in the Iron Commercial and Savings Bank in Cedar [City] and lost that. She objected to all of this. Still, I wanted to be the big [fellow] or thought I could boost our income faster by taking this stock. I lost it all, and every bit of it was contrary to her wishes. If I had minded her, I would have never lost any money.” Nonetheless, he was completely out of debt when interviewed.
Leah Bundy Jensen
Leah Bundy Jensen was born in 1922 and lived much of her life on the Arizona Strip at Mount Trumbull. Her young life was also filled with hard work: “As a child, I thought my dad was quite hard on us. He made us work. A lot of times it seems like my cousin’s dad didn’t keep them busy. They would go off for a joyride or something, but we always had corn to hoe or something. He always had something for us to do. We were always kept busy, and I thought he was kind of hard on us. But as I look back, I don’t know what more I could say, what appreciation I could show my dad than to thank him for [teaching] me how to work, because it has really been a blessing to me to be able to know how to work.
“In the fall we would take our cattle down next to the Colorado River. My older brothers had gone to [military] service, so it was just myself and my younger brother, Newell [Bundy], who was two years younger than me. We had the job of driving these cattle down. It was about fifteen [or] twenty miles or [maybe] more. I don’t remember just exactly how far it was down there, but it took a long, hard day to get [there] from down into the canyon.
“We stayed there. We had to stay down there because we had to see that [the cattle had] water. There were big sandstones down there with pockets of water. We had to dip [the] water off into tubs for the cattle to drink. There was [water] down in Frog [Spring, but it] is a very steep trail, and the cattle didn’t like to go down there. When the water in these sand pockets went dry, we would have to force them down. It was a steep trail, and they [would not] go unless they had to go.
“We pushed them down in there because it was so steep. I have wanted to go back. I haven’t been back there for [at least] thirty years. I think back [about] all the daring things we did that winter. I know we would go down into Frog Canyon (a short way, we thought) rather than go down the trails when we didn’t have to take the cattle down. We would put our feet against one side of the sandstone and our back against [the other side]. I know it was around forty-five or fifty feet we would go down [in] this way. We would have to go back up the trail, but we could get down.
“We would have a packhorse with a pack on. We would take our food down. We would come out every two or three weeks. One time we stayed down there [because] we couldn’t leave the cattle on account of the water shortage. We stayed down there. We laugh about [it to] this day! We stayed down there a week after we had run out of all our groceries. [We had] flour and canned milk and I would make lumpy dick. It tasted like this old-fashioned wallpaper paste. It didn’t lump too well.
“I would stir it until it was too smooth, but we lived on that for a week before we could come back out and get supplies. . . . We never were afraid or anything. We always had something to do. We had to look after the cattle, we had to water them and check on them. There were about 150 of them.”
Lola Belle DeMille Bryner
Lola Belle DeMille Bryner grew up in Rockville, where she was born on 1 May 1901. She also attended a two-room school there until the eighth grade. Her story reflects a more feminine tone: “The Virgin River played an important part in our lives. We irrigated our farms; it was our drinking water, and we used it for washing [clothes]. We really had to be on the lookout when [a] flood [would] come to see that we had sufficient water to drink—[water] that was pure. If we failed to do this, we had to drink water that tasted like driftwood. We would have to settle [the water], and sometimes it was hard to settle.
“Washing [clothes] was a tremendous job for our large family. We had to dip up the water in tubs. When it was muddy, we had to dip it from one tub to the other to see that it was clear [so that] our clothes would look nice when we washed them. We scrubbed the clothes on a washboard. My mother made her own soap from waste fats and lye. I learned to wash [when I was] young and scrubbed the clothes on the washboard. [I had to] do all types of hard work because I was the oldest girl in the family. I was also baptized in the Virgin River, and this was [an] important [event] to me.
“Not many nowadays have learned the art of baking bread, but in my mother’s day, if you didn’t bake bread you just didn’t have bread. There wasn’t a store [where] you could buy a loaf of bread or cakes for the family. They had to be made so, if we failed to bake, we failed to have bread. If we didn’t have bread, we had to borrow from our neighbors. I remember many times borrowing a loaf of bread from our neighbors, and when we baked we paid it back [to them].
“There were eight children and Father and Mother. So we baked bread, and Mother made lots of cornbread that we dearly loved. I remember many a time in the evening eating cooked cereal because we didn’t have [any] bread. We also had to make our own yeast. We always had milk and eggs. Mother made lots of butter, [and] we had butter and eggs to sell. [To] keep things cool in the summertime was a problem. We made a cooler by [putting] a little box on top and making shelves and putting a screen around it. [Then] we put gunny sacks in the water [and put around the box]. The water would drip down around it and would keep it as cool as one could keep in the heat.
“We were always busy; there was always something for us to do. I always had to hurry home after school in the fall and help shuck the corn that my father [grew]. It was always put in large ricks [stacks]. We used to play and crawl through those ricks and play games, but we also had to shuck [the] corn when we were older. We saved the very nicest of the silk shucks of corn that was silky and soft. Mother had large sacks that they were put in. She made what was called ticks [coverings] for mattresses and the shucks were put in and put on our beds.
“I was the oldest girl in the family and learned to do all kinds of work and was a hard worker. When I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen, I worked in the homes for people. [When the] mother was ill or had a baby, I would take care of the family. I would do the washing, cooking, [and] everything. I was paid $1.50 to $2.00 a week for this work and was very happy because it enabled me to buy a pair of new shoes or something that I was badly in need of. I know one time I saved my money and bought my mother a beautiful white spread for her bed. I was proud of [it].”
Gordon Wallace Mathis
Gordon Wallace Mathis was born in St. George on 21 December 1887 and tells his story of young adulthood. He was quite like Lloyd Jennings, an entrepreneur in the early twentieth century: “When I [arrived] home [from my mission to England], I started to work again for Nelson Mercantile Company. The manager and stockholder, Will Nelson, wanted to sell out. I finally decided to buy his stock and his home on Mount Hope [in St. George]. I borrowed the money under my dad’s signature and [purchased his] home up there. It wasn’t modern by any means. We started out there. We had a couple of hundred chickens, three or four milk cows, bathed in a number three tub [and] no inside toilet. That is the way we started.
“[The Nelson Mercantile Company] was in very bad shape [and had a lot of] debt. It was a rough row to hoe for a long while. I worked hard. I usually started to work at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning [and stayed] sometime as late as 10:00 at night. Then [I would] come home and milk cows, wash eggs for market, and make butter. We had four lots. We were farming part of them too. We really put in some hard labor. But, in time, we got the business back on its feet [to] where we would buy merchandise and take [a] 2 percent discount. From then on, it started to prosper a little.
“In the meantime, my father had bought some stock [in the company from] one of the other stockholders. In the stockholders meeting, I was made manager of the corporation. I managed it for five or six years before my father and I together had acquired all the stock of the company. Then the Depression of 1929 hit. It was very severe. It wasn’t so hard on trading business, but my father was in the livestock and land business, and it was hit very hard, especially livestock. [There were] not [any] sales for expenses and operation had to go on. So, actually, the trading business kind of helped support the livestock business. People had to eat, [and] we had a good trade by that time.
“In 1931, we decided to incorporate. We [put] our stock together, and my father put his land and livestock together, and we formed what is known as the Mathis Market and Supply Company. From then on we got along [fairly well]. We prospered. [There were] a lot of hard roads, but we finally got out of debt and out of the Depression.
“Now we [have] branched off into a lot of different fields of endeavor, in addition to the ranch, farming, and livestock. I was manager of the trading part and my other brother [Reed] helped with the cattle. I first went into [the] ice manufacturing business. Our basic [products] were meat and grocery.
“I was quite successful [manufacturing ice]. [This] was before we had refrigerators. We had to deliver ice [to the homes]. Then I [added] ladies’ ready-to-wear [clothing] to Mathis Market and Supply Company. My wife managed that department for some time. We used to go to market and buy ladies’ ready-to-wear [items]. We managed well [at that]. Then we went into [a] family shoe store, the Red and White Shoe [Store]. Prior to going into either [of] these businesses, we [were] in the cold-storage locker business. We had 380 individual cold-storage lockers. [Those] were about the first [lockers here]. [Frozen food lockers] were just starting, and it worked out very [well]. Then we [got] a Frigidaire appliance agency [and] stocked appliances. I was overseeing a lot of businesses, but I had good help and [was] more or less successful. [We had] a lot of ups and downs but [were] successful in [the end]. I had thirty-four years [of] business experience. Then I decided to lease the market, meat business, and locker business to my son, Jack [Mathis].”
Powell Johnson Stratton
Powell Johnson Stratton’s story is just the opposite of Gordon Mathis’s. Though Powell was five years older than Gordon (having been born on 20 May 1883), his life was almost in a different century because he was riveted to farming. The Powell family lived in Virgin, and they were distanced from the consumer society of St. George. Powell tells his story: “I went to school in Virgin and completed the eighth grade. I went to Cedar City and started high school, [but] only went one year. My father was a farmer, and I followed after him. I [farmed] all the [rest of] my life. I enjoyed the school as far as I could [go]. We were poor people, and we couldn’t take advantage of things that we would have liked to. I went back to the farm to help my father. We didn’t have any [equipment] to work with. It was nothing like it is now. Everything had to be done the hard way.
“We had a lot of trouble from floods. There were times [when] some people lost everything they had in the floods. The [floods] didn’t affect us at all. My dad picked his farm and [then] planted a bunch of cottonwood trees right above his farm around by the [Virgin] River. The river ran right around his farm [and] the cottonwood trees protected his farm. He had about fourteen acres of land, and he farmed every inch of it. It was irrigated farming, and it was good farmland. Those trees grew up and protected his farm.
“Of course, we had to work hard. There were six boys counting me and six girls. There were twelve children in the family. That created a lot of work out there. We had to have a lot of [food] out there to raise all of us children. We [grew sugar] cane and made molasses. We would take [the] molasses north [to] the farm country of Cedar City and trade it in for clothing, flour, and [items] like that to get along with during the winter. We hauled it up there with a team. We would be gone about a month. We would do that in the fall. We would make [the] molasses, load it, and [haul] it away before [the weather was] too bad.
“After mother had six or eight children, she went blind all at once. It came on that quick. I was just a [boy] and would lead her out to the outhouse because there wasn’t any [inside plumbing]. I would lead her out there and back every time she needed to go. My health wasn’t very good when I was a [boy], so my dad wouldn’t let me [work] on the farm. Instead, I would stay home and take care of my mother. Her eyesight came back just as quick as it went. They didn’t find out why because there were no doctors. They had one doctor for the whole river [area]. She was blind for about three months.”
Vincent Elias Leavitt
Vincent Elias Leavitt was born in 1899 and lived in Bunkerville. He dealt with the issue—farm or work for an employer: “We have lived right here ever since our marriage (1924). [We] came home and I went to farming. We were married in November, and the next July I went to work for the Nevada Highway Department. I worked for the Highway Department until two years ago . I worked ten years, and then I was off ten years. Then I went back and worked twenty-one years. I farmed and dairied those ten years. I hauled milk to Las Vegas.
“I enjoyed the highway work more. I was foreman for the maintenance in this part of the state. Being [the] foreman, I had to run all the heavy equipment—the loaders, the tractors, and the trucks. When I first went on there, everything was done with pick and shovel. When I [was] done, everything was done with machinery. [There] was a big difference, about a third of the work [that] it used to be. [We had] a lot more roads to maintain and [received] a lot better wages.”
Grant Woodbury was born in St. George on 18 April 1898. As an adult, he had many jobs: “I went to Lynndyl, Utah, and [found] a job there. They put me in the stationary engine room. I didn’t know anything about it but they put me [with] another [fellow] for a week or two [and] then they turned it over to me. I stayed there for six months, but I wasn’t cut out to be bossed. I got along fine with the superintendents and the workmen there, but I couldn’t stand the inspectors that they sent along the road. They [would] come in and say, ‘You do it this way.’ They seemed like they all came on my shift. I had to see them in the afternoon and at eleven at night. One would come one day and say, ‘This is wrong; you do it this way.’ I would just get it changed, and the next one would come in and say, ‘This is wrong; you do it this way.’ I got fed up.
“One night they took [the engine] out and didn’t put any coal back in it, brought it back in, and put it on the turntable. The pipe fitter didn’t arrive. I was just dragging lower and lower all the time. Finally, come eleven o’clock, the gaffer [foreman], who was taking the other shift, didn’t show up. When the pipe fitter came in, he climbed up on top of the dead engine and opened the valve, [and] my steam went out just like that, that big old rusty boiler down there. I knew what the matter was, [so] I ran down through the machine shop just [to] make sure. Sure enough, there it was. I climbed up and closed the valve down and put some coal in the fire box, went up and shut mine off, and put us all in the dark. Everybody was off work. Nobody was working, only me. I worked on it until midnight chasing back and forth through the machine shop with a coal oil, not kerosene, coal oil torch, that was all I had.
“A little after midnight, the foreman came in; he saw [that] everything [was] dark. Of course, the first thing he does is to hunt the stationary engineer up. When he found me I was up on top of the boiler about thirty, thirty-five feet in the air. I got the steam back up and the water back in the boiler to where it was safe. He started to cuss, and I started to cuss too. I was just as mad as he was. But he was a nice fellow, and when he saw that I was mad he waited until I got down. When he saw me, he knew I shouldn’t be there. He asked me where the gaffer was, and I told him I didn’t know; I [had] never seen him. He wanted to know what the trouble was, and I told him. I went down and opened up the other locomotive in the line and got things [moving]. He got a hold of the coal boy, and he got the gaffer right quick. After the gaffer got there, he sent the coal boy down to the stationary engine room and told me that the superintendent wanted to see me.
“I went up and he said, ‘Have you had your supper?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Go up to the cook shack and get something to eat and then come back.’ So I went [and] got something to eat and came back. When I went in the office he said, ‘I would like you to stay all night, but you don’t have to, but I would like you to.’ After that, I could get anything I wanted from them. But I couldn’t stand the inspectors [who] came along the road, so I quit.
“I came home and bought me a little truck, a 1917 Model T [Ford]. [I] made a truck out of it, and I spent twenty years trucking on the road. I couldn’t say I really liked that. Once in a while you would have a trip that was enjoyable, but most of them weren’t. I did it because I had a family to feed and I had to [work]. I had lost my truck and couldn’t find a thing to do. I tried to get on with the WPA [Work Projects Administration]. They took my name all right, and they came to tell me to go to work. [But] just the day before, I [was lifting] a couple of bales of hay to feed the cows that we were milking. The bale of hay broke [open], and I landed across the top of the board fence on my ribs and broke a couple of them. The job that they had [for me] was [using] a pick and shovel job in the rocks. I told them I couldn’t go.
“After a while, I got a chance at a job in the [Hurricane] high school. It was the first year of the brand-new high school. Believe it or not, [it paid] $30.00 a month. The WPA offered $42.00 [a month]. The wife and I talked it over and decided to take it, in preference to the $42.00. We [thought] there was a chance of something better there, and there wasn’t on the other job. I worked one winter there, and the next spring the superintendent came to me, a fellow I was well acquainted with, had been for years. He said, ‘Grant, would you like that other elementary school?’ I said, ‘I sure would.’ So they gave me $80.00 [a month]. I worked there [about nine years].”
Leamo West Peterson
Leamo West Peterson was born on 6 December 1903 and lived in Panaca and Caliente, Nevada. He gave an extensive interview about his work life at many jobs, of which some are cited here: “I was fifteen years old when I went to [work on] the railroad; I told them I was twenty-one. The first time the road master came along, I heard him, but I tried to keep out of his sight. He said to Hugh Edmondson, the boss, ‘How old is that [fellow] over there.’ He said, ‘He said he was twenty-one years old.’ He said, ‘You know he isn’t twenty-one.’ The boss said, ‘He told me he was.’ ‘You know he isn’t. You have him get a minor release from his parents and a release from the school board, or let him go.’ I knew I couldn’t get it, so I had to go, that was all. I went back again after school was out and worked there. I was working there in the fall, [but] I wasn’t going to school. My parents were having a lot of trouble with sickness.
“My dad bought a pair of horses, and he said if I wanted to drive them I could drive them and he would drive the other team between the times I was going to school, but he wanted me to go to school. My parents wanted me to have an education in the worst way. They did everything possible for me to have an education. I guess I was too sympathetic. My mother was sick for twenty-one years before she died. My dad was pretty near a pauper when she died. He had spent everything he had, his cows and everything, to try and help her, and he couldn’t do it. I felt like I should help them instead of helping myself.”
He tells of some work while he was still going to school. “George and Joe Woodbury had a bunch of cattle and a big farm. The first job I ever [had was] working for them herding their cows. We went to school, at that time, for half a day. I herded their milk cows along with our cows over on the hill for ten cents a day. Getting them out of the corral for ten cents a day was better than just herding ours for nothing. The first two times they gave me the dollar in a check. I thought, My gosh! That bank will think that [fellow] is making a lot of money! I was that young. That was before I was even fifteen years old. I was just going to grade school.
“I used to haul gas from Enterprise to St. George and [from] Lund to Enterprise for cars. They did not even have trucks then. I took some [youngsters] with me down there one time. I was only fifteen years old. We were selling gas tanks, and the gas leaked out. You know what hot gas will do to [a youngster’s] bottom. If I didn’t have a mess by the time I [arrived in] Enterprise. Those fellows sat on those barrels and played around with that gas, [and] it got on their pants. I played it that way all the time in the summertime and when I wasn’t going to school.”
During the summers, Leamo began wandering, mostly hitching rides on freight trains, looking for jobs. He had many adventures. He went to Delta, Enterprise, and Caliente. “My brother Delbert, the brother just younger than me, and I went there one time. We heard about a job over there. We went over, [but] they did not have any work any place. They had a bunch of mules over there. They had eighty broke mules, and they brought down eighty raw broncos from Salt Lake City. We tried to get a job, but there weren’t any jobs for youngsters. We went to the [railroad] depot and stayed there overnight. We went down the next morning. They wouldn’t give us a job. We went down at noon, and that [fellow] said, ‘[Expletive], get those [fellows] out of my hair. Put them [to] doing something.’ We went to work for them. They would take two of these bronco mules and put them with two others and start those old teamsters out. If you know what those old teamsters were, they were a pretty rough bunch.
“[They] put two broke mules with two broncos [and] started out [with a] Fresno [scraper]. Pretty quick, those mules would take off, and those skinners [were] going as fast as they can go. They would just throw the line there and go. Let them go, and the way the boys were riding I round up mules and when they would get away from that Fresno. We went down the canyon and worked down there for a while. I got a rock in my eye one night, and I was afraid I was going to go blind, so we quit and went home. We had a few dollars to us. We had to get a doctor to get the rock [out of] my eye.”
Isaac Loren Covington
Here is another unconventional story for the time. Isaac Loren Covington was born on 20 February 1885 in Orderville. His father was a polygamist with three wives and about thirty children, and he served six months in prison for practicing polygamy. Loren went to eight grades in Orderville and became a plasterer as well as a farmer. He took up sign painting, but on the side he did landscape paintings. That is where his love was. He went to BYU and found out about professional painting. He says of his life: “I have farmed. I have worked at plastering, painting, decorating [and] sign painting. I have never been out of a job. I did some Work Projects [Administration jobs] during the Depression. One [job was] painting murals inside the [state] capitol. Dean Richards and I [worked at] that. They said if they could have [the WPA] up there, they could have it here. So they sent me to work on the [Washington County] courthouse and the public library. I did a dozen or so murals for them down here.
“I have no idea [how many pictures I have painted]. It would be up in the thousands. I have painted over fifty murals for churches, including one in the [St. George] temple down here. “They are scattered from Los Angeles, up in Canada, eastern [part of] Colorado, [in] New Mexico, along the west, [and] in Salt Lake [City].
“I have done scores of pictures of Zion Canyon. I just select a place, sit in a spot, [and] paint about the same time [each] day [and] get it a little further developed. Sometimes it will take [only] the one day’s work.”
These were mostly manual laborers. There were a few merchants and teachers, but most were working the land, irrigating, herding animals, raising and peddling fruit, or hiring out. Cattle ranching became a major part of the southern area. Raising alfalfa was a complement to it and occupied many families. Some herds grew large, and some people even tried to live on a homestead or ranch away from the villages. Men became expert tool workers and repairmen and craftsmen. Some became craftsmen such as shoemakers or mechanics. Several men hired out to build roads or labor in mines or work on the railroad—often as a temporary effort to raise money.
Many girls and women did domestic work for hire; some cooked as a job or took in washing. A score or more of them worked in the cotton factory. Many youth had to substitute full-time for ill or deceased parents, running the farms and ranches or maintaining the home and meals. When mothers did not have to take in work for pay, they sometimes undertook running a dairy and making cheese for sale. A few ran a bakery from home, selling or trading their goods. Some worked part-time in a café. A few taught school, either part-time or full-time.
Considering these realities, it is not surprising that parents placed a strong emphasis on teaching children and youth to work. Boys were expected to help with the harvest in the fall and the planting season in the spring, as well as full-time work in the summers. Some sought jobs far and wide. Youth in these interviews praised their parents for their devotion to work, usually modeling themselves after their parents. The boys started serious work at age nine and often took on a man’s work by age eleven or thirteen. Boys sometimes took care of a herd by themselves at these ages. Others worked with their fathers and became partners with them for decades.
Clearly, work was the center of these people’s lives, often until their deaths. They valued it but lived modestly.
 Andrew Karl Larson, I Was Called to Dixie (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1961).
 Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 345–46.
 Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 348.
 Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 349. For more information on winemaking, see Olive W. Burt, “Wine-Making in Utah’s Dixie,” in Great and Peculiar Beauty, A Utah Reader, ed. Thomas J. Lyon and Terry Tempest Williams (Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 1995), 923–30. It focuses mainly on Toquerville.
 John T. Woodbury, Vermilion Cliffs (St. George, UT: Woodbury Children, 1933), 21–22. In this source, Woodbury talks about “lucerne,” which is another name for alfalfa.
 Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 270–71.
 Richard G. Oman, “The Homemade Kingdom: Mormon Regional Furniture,” in Nearly Everything Imaginable: The Everyday Life of Utah’s Mormon Pioneers, ed. Ronald W. Walker and Doris R. Dant (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1999), 157–74.
 A. Karl Larson and Katherine Miles Larson, eds., The Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, vol. 1 (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1980), 439.
 Douglas D. Alder and Karl F. Brooks, A History of Washington County, From Isolation to Destination (Springdale, UT: Zion Natural History Association, 2007), 63–64.
 John Alton Peterson, “Brigham’s Bastion: ‘Winsor Castle’ at Pipe Springs and Its Place in the Great Game,” in Juanita Brooks Lecture Series St. George, Utah: The 33rd Annual Lecture (St. George, UT: Dixie State University Press, 2016). Peterson delivered this Juanita Brooks Honor Lecture on 23 March 2016 in the St. George Tabernacle.
 Della Elizabeth McCune Steed, VOR File 69-009.
 Walter “Walt” Wallace Bowler, VOR File 69-121.
 Norma Bringhurst Empy, VOR File 69-126.
 Amanda Amelia Hannig Milne, VOR File 69-036.
 Apex Mine also featured a smelter. The mine was located on the Shivwits Indian Reservation.
 Athole Jarvis Milne, VOR File 69-035.
 Lemuel Glen Leavitt, VOR File 69-168.
 John Sevy Thompson, VOR File 69-181.
 Ralston Virden Reber, VOR File 69-068.
 Ellen Hortense (Spendlove) Bradshaw Hinton, VOR File 70-002.
 Rulon Anderson Langston, VOR File 70-058.
 Clarence Merrill Hall, VOR File 69-186.
 Matilde “Mattie” Woodbury Reusch, VOR File 68-022.
 Ianthus Spendlove, VOR File 70-071.
 Rowena Whitmore Bundy, VOR File 68-032.
 The first little girl mentioned was named Cleo Fern Bundy, and the baby was named Mabel Lavell Bundy.
 James Bundy, VOR File 68-040. James’s volunteer service as an aviator included service in the US Air Corps during World War II.
 Frederick Cross Hoyt, VOR File 68-071.
 Lydia Amelia Barlocker Hunt, VOR File 69-118.
 Samuel Kendall Gifford, VOR File 69-004.
 William Brooks, VOR File 68-101.
 Charles Herbert Knell, VOR File 68-052.
 Clarence Jacob Albrecht, VOR File 68-042.
 Erastus Snow Gardner, VOR File 69-018.
 Joseph Hills Johnson Jr., VOR File 68-027.
 Mary Ann Weaver Judd Allen, VOR File 69-108.
 Rhoda Hafen Leavitt, VOR File 69-078.
 Fay Emanuel Anderson, VOR File 70-065.
 Dick Hammer owned and operated Dick’s Café for many years.
 Lloyd Berdell Jennings, VOR File 68-034.
 Anson “Andy” Perry Winsor, III, VOR File 69-119.
 Lumpy dick is a traditional pioneer recipe and is essentially a lumpy boiled pudding.
 Leah Bundy Jensen, VOR File 69-070.
 Lola Belle DeMille Bryner, VOR File 68-015.
 Gordon Wallace Mathis, VOR File 68-036.
 Powell Johnson Stratton, VOR File 68-119.
 Vincent Elias Leavitt, VOR 69-062.
 Grant Woodbury, VOR File 69-006.
 Leamo West Peterson, VOR File 69-060.
 Isaac Loren Covington, VOR File 70-001.