MEMORIES OF ALTON
Contributor: GreatLakes0928 Created: 3 years ago Updated: 3 years ago
I, Shelly, found this story while going through my mother, Judith's, files. I am so glad Pam kept her mother's, (Bernele) wishes and gave her a copy. I have fond memories of our family going to Alton with Uncle Clinton, Aunt Bernele, Pam and Chris. I remember Pam and I swinging on swings laughing and giggling. It was a real treat getting to know these cousins for the first time.
After reading this story I have one request... pretty please find the picture of Uncle Clinton's initials carved in the tree so we can attach it to this story.
Dear Aunt Judy,
After my father passed away, my mom came across a story
he had written. She says she never knew about it (at least she
can’t remember, which is more likely). The story is “Memories of
Alton”, I'm not even sure when during his life it was written. She
gave all us kids a copy of the story. Last month when her kidneys
were shutting down and she knew her time was short she gave me
a list of wishes she wanted me to get done for her and I promised
l would. One thing that was very important to her was that I
get a copy of this story to you and Colleen.
With everything going on I have not even read it yet myself
but she is sure you will enjoy it. I don’t know how often or if you
even went to Alton, but I did several times and I loved it.
Bernele is no longer “actively” dying, but still it could be
within the next month or so. She rallied and has just been
hanging in there and is impatiently waiting. She is bedridden
and not able to do much of anything. I hope all is well, and hope
you enjoy the story.
MEMORIES OF ALTON
I remember that our family made a couple of trips to Alton when I was about 1 1 or
12 years old. One trip we took included mom and her ﬁrst four children. Elmer
Roundy came by to pick us up in an old car, (it wasn’t old then) and we were very
much surprised that we could get all the way up to 30 miles and hour. Needless
to say it took us quite awhile to get there. I remember that mom had purchased
four pair of brown keds for myself, Maxine, Dorain and Colleen and we would line
up our feet in the back seat; all eight feet in a row according to size.
My memory is getting dim but I think that we pulled up to Uncle Ervin and Aunt
Hannah‘s place ﬁrst. We were welcomed whole-heartedly by them. I remember
that they had a player piano that we loved to watch. Colleen remembers that you
had to step down or up from the porch to go inside and she stumbled often.
My ﬁrst impression of Alton was that it was fertile, with crops growing
everywhere. The ﬁelds were loaded with sugar beets, corn, alphalfa, etc. There
wasn’t a lot of bare ground showing. Grass was aplenty growing around the
homes and barns. The view was magnificent. As we approached we could see
Alton down in the valley, a very beautiful setting with pink cliffs to the east. The
road we approached on was not the same as the one they have now. The road
was on higher ground and farther to the north. Uncle Ervin and Aunt Hannah
treated us royally. I remember visiting many other families but I have two visions
of going to Alton and I don't know which trip was which.
The second trip that I can remember we stopped at Bryce Canyon on the way
down. On that trip we arrived in Alton in the wee hours of the moming at Uncle
Lauren and Aunt Viola’s place. Mom said let's not wake them up so we slept on
their front porch until dawn. It gets cold in AIton during the night but we
managed. They were put out because we hadn’t awakened them. We also stayed
with Uncle Pole and Aunt Zelpha for a couple of days. This was some months
before their home burned to the ground in the middle of the night. Clyde
Roundy, their oldest son became a good pal and friend. I remember while at
PoIe’s place looking down on a dance that was going on during the weekend. It
must have been in the recreation hall of the Church. Everyone seemed to be
having a real enjoyable time. Many of the town’s folks were there with their
instruments to provide the music.
I had noticed a cute young girl, with red hair, who was apparently waiting for
someone to ask her to dance. I kept wishing that l could go down and ask her to
dance but, if you know me, I'm bashful. I have regretted this ever since. She was
so cute. lsn’t it strange that I would remember something like this?
I remember visiting with Uncle Thel at the post office and gathering around at the
grocery store in conversation with others. There was an old Victrola phonograph
that we would listen to. One recording that comes to mind is “Lucky Lindy”
which was about Lindbergh’s ﬂight over the Atlantic to France in his “Spirit of St.
On any trip l always felt like I was on sacred ground as we approached Alton. I
guess it was because of mom and the stories she used to tell us children and
how much she loved the place, Upper Kanab included.
I have a faint glimpse of memory that we, as a family including dad, went to Alton
for a short visit and then on to the Grand Canyon. l think we probably took in the
other parks in Southem Utah on the same trip.
Visiting the cemetery was a favorite thing for me to do. From there you can get a
clear view of the valley and beyond to the pink cliffs. I remember Uncle Pole
relating some hair-raising experiences he had up near those cliffs. Especially
one experience when he was up in that area late in the season deer hunting and a
snow storm came up and gave him all kinds of problems including even whether
he would get back alive or not. Pole was known for his deer hunting out of
season. He didn’t pay any attention to the seasons. He needed food on the
table. Aunt Zelpha always had plenty of venison around, dried or otherwise.
When I was about 15, l believe, l was given the opportunity to go to Alton. This
would be about 1936. Mother had arranged for me to go down for a few weeks
and spend some time with my cousins. A man by the name of Adair offered to
take me to a place on the highway just south of the summit and someone would
be there to take me the rest of the way to Alton. l only had to give Adair $4.00 for
the trip. The bad part about this was that he would have to stop at various towns
along the highway to drop off produce at various grocery stores. That was his
business; delivering produce up and down the state. Needless to say the trip
took a long time.
Mom had arranged for me to stay with Uncle Pole and Aunt Zelpha. l was glad
because Clyde and me had become pals on a previous trip. Clyde was a happy,
golucky boy but he was also a big tease. He was always cheerful and
mischievous at the same time. When he died ﬁve or six years later of an infection
it shook me up terribly. He had a horse named “Bisty” that we used to ride on all
We would do things that normal kids do in the summertime. Do the daily chores,
take our turn at thinning beets, hauling hay, milking the cows, etc. We also had
time for fun. Like I said Clyde was a tease. His older sister, Melba, would always
get a soaking when she retumed from a date or whatever. Clyde and me slept on
the second ﬂoor and Clyde would have a cup of water ready for Melba as she
came in the door on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. There was a window right over the front door.
Melba could get pretty angry and she could take care of Clyde but he would just
Aunt Zelpha always treated me royally. Anything I wanted to eat she would
prepare, including venison burgers. She prepared and packed a lunch for Clyde
and me one day to get us started on a trip that I will always remember. We
climbed on Bisty and started up the trail or road through Upper Kanab and way
beyond that. Clyde had only the one horse and naturally he got to sit in the
saddle with me behind hanging on to him for support and I tried to make myself
as comfortable as possible.
On the way through some birch trees we stopped and I carved my initials into one
of the trees. “C.H.”. We then joumeyed further east and ran into some sheep that
were being tended by a Heaton man. I can’t remember his name, but he had
retumed from his mission just weeks before. We had helped him haul hay to his
barn in wagons just a week before. Many years later, my wife Bernele and me
located that tree with my initials on it and took a picture of it which we have.
Well, anyway, that was part of what we did while at “East Fork”. That is what the
place was referred to but I never found out what it was the east fork of?
One reason why Clyde chose to take me to East Fork was for the ﬁshing. There
was a stream of about three to four feet wide and two or three feet deep. We
hadn’t taken any ﬁshing gear except ﬁshhooks, worms and a little line. We had a
knife to cut poles. This one day we caught forty to ﬁfty ﬁsh. They were small but
tasty. Mr. Heaton made up some sour-dough biscuits that night and we had a
feast of those biscuits and the ﬁsh. Contentedly, Clyde and I slept peacefully
under blankets around the ﬁre while Mr. Heaton slept in his tent wagon.
The next moming Clyde and I got on Bisty. Wow, that is when I found out how
sore I was for not having a saddle to sit on. Clyde traded off once but not for
very long. We had the awful experience of killing many porcupines. I could never
take the lead in something like this but I followed. Apparently porcupines and
sheep don't mix. I did ﬁnd out that porcupines do not throw their quills. I had
heard that they did and we approached them head on. While looking for
porcupines I walked while Clyde rode. I had to have time to heal. Later on in
years I met that Mr. Heaton and he remembered this trip very well.
Uncle Pole was a ﬁsherman and that is why Clyde was. We used to walk from
Alton to a creek that ran parallel to the road where Highway 89 is now. That
would be about six or seven miles from Alton. The name of the creek was Acey’s
creek. The road we hiked along was a different road that is there now. It was
farther north and up and down to the creek. We never did have much luck ﬁshing
that creek. Maybe one or two ﬁsh but not enough for breakfast. We walked back
doing what kids our age do, throwing rocks at birds and animals, etc. We walked
over to Acey’s creek at least twice while I was in Alton. We had to race each
other to get back soon enough to do chores.
When you go stay at someone’s house with a cousin, if there are any other
cousins around, there is a chance for some jealousy. Well, that happened and
Paul Roundy, son of Lauren and Viola, wanted me to move to their home and
spend some time with him and so I did. I can’t remember too much of what we
did besides the chores except we did try to ride some young calves that were in
his corral. That is not easy. I remember a time when Laura, PauI’s older sister,
was on a horse along the road that led to a barn and I was on another horse and
somehow the horses started running away down that road. I was really scared
since I was hanging on my horse’s saddle horn off to the side. Laura quickly
turned her horse into mine towards the barn to get it to stop. I was hanging on
for dear life. I think she saved it. I had the opportunity to train a couple of lambs
how to drink from a milk pail while staying with Paul.
I remember going with Uncle Ervin to his ranch one evening to milk his cows.
That would have been the old ranch in Upper Kanab. He had a dozen or more
cows to milk and I wasn’t much help. It was dark when we returned home.
I remember that Uncle Carter and Aunt Bess had two sons, Raymond and Donald
and that they were always ﬁghting, each other and others. I did my best to avoid
any such confrontation.
I knew where Donalvin Roundy lived but didn't have much to do with his family on
this trip. I remember the front door was on the west. Maybe l’m wrong. Dee was
older than Clyde and me and I remember him but it wasn’t till many years later
that I really got to know Dee and Martha and what a great couple they were.
I didn't say anything about Clyde and I going swimming in the reservoir several
times. There was even a diving board there. I don’t know if that water was used
for drinking or not. One of us dove off the board and the water wasn’t too deep
and hit our head in the mud below. I think it was Clyde.
One thing that I am ashamed to tell is that I declined an opportunity to give a two
and a half minute talk in Sunday School. That has weighed upon my mind heavily
all my life.
Clyde had a cheery nature and laughed when he teased others. I can remember
getting soaked from milk while he was milking the cows. He had a petty good
I was happy to have the opportunity to join with many other people in town in
their annual trek to Duck Creek. l can’t remember if it was on the 4th or 24th of
July but it was a lot of fun riding in those wagons. It was a fun day. I remember
that Clyde put his hand quietly under a 12-inch trout and scooped it out of the
creek. Someone in the group had trout for dinner that night. We played some
great games before having to rush back to get the chores done before dark. I
understand now that the Kanab Stake was involved in a lot of those trips to Duck
One thing I know about the people of Alton is that they know how to celebrate a
holiday. They are very patriotic and love their country. They seem to thrive on
those terriﬁc holiday gatherings. In our later years there we thoroughly enjoyed
being there among the pines. At that altitude the nights were cool and it was just
great to visit with good people like Dee and Martha. What they did for us we can
We made several trips to Alton with our trailer during the Summer months with
our two youngest children with us some of the time. Dee and Martha allowed us
to hook up to their water and electricity when we were there. In the evenings we
enjoyed being entertained in their home with Dee telling us stories about family
and the town. Martha played old tunes on the piano which was also very
entertaining. I think we even sang some of them as a group.
Actually, we were there so many times and attended church so often, most of the
people knew us and called us by name. We enjoyed attending Martha’s Gospel
Doctrine class which she presented each Sunday. She was very well versed in
the gospel and made the class very interesting.
At one time we considered buying a lot from Lorena but at that time there was a
water shortage and the town wouldn't allow any new people to buy property. It
just seemed as though Alton was home to us even though we were Salt Lake City
By the way, I stood up in a Fast and Testimony meeting in Alton during one of our
last visits to Alton to apologize for not accepting the assignment to give a two
and a half minute talk in Sunday School many years ago.
We will never be able to thank the people of the community and especially Dee
and Martha for their friendship and kindness to us.
Whenever we stayed in Alton, Bernele and me enjoyed driving up to the old
Roundy ranch. We remember the silver maples where Will had his home and the
yellow roses farther east and across the road that mother used to talk about. We
felt we were on hallowed ground walking around the skeletons of homes and an
an old blacksmith shop. We really enjoyed our time with Uncle Pole at the ranch.
We regret that because of our age we will probably never pass that way again
unless we will be able to do so in the world of spirits.
I have never know of a man who is so kind to animals as Dee was. I used to
watch him when he fed his horses. One day I asked if he would saddle one up so
I could ride around the town to bring back some old memories. I rode up and
around the reservoir where Clyde and me spent some time.
My memory is getting dimmer each day but this is what I do remember about
If I could remember my name I would put it down! Oh Yeah!
Clinton D. Hale