Don William Boulter autobiography
Contributor: cbarnum Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
DON WILLIAM BOULTER
1904 - 1986
Autobiography written by Don William Boulter in January of 1958 at his residence in Sutton, Alaska.
When I was about three years old my mother passed away. The only thing I remember about her was sitting on her knee which I enjoyed. We lived at Lindon until I was about four years old, then my father, John Amber Boulter, married for the third time. My new step-mother was Amelia Hardman, her maiden name had been Sandgreen. Amelia was the mother I knew best as she was the one that brought me up. After this marriage the family moved to the farm of Mrs. Hardman which was north of Pleasant Grove in the Manilla ward. I started school in Manilla, the school house being about 3 miles farther north where the Manilla Ward Church now stands. I walked to school this distance most of the time, winter and all. I remember the teacher I had until I was in the fourth grade, she was Helga Swenson. Then the farm was sold and the family moved to Pleasant Grove where father purchased a meat market and grocery store. Here I grew up in a town of about two thousand.
In the fourth grade in Pleasant Grove school I had a teacher by the name of Florence Harper. We called her "saucer eyes" and I well remember how she would put her foot to the floor when angry. Then my next teacher in the fifth grade was Bessie Newman. I liked her and got along better that year. Your mother was in that class and we continued on through school in the same grade. Other teachers I remember were Mary Gleason, Viola West, and in the eighth grade we had two men, George Larson and Ernest Rasmusson.
From the age of twelve to sixteen I worked during school vacation in the sugar beet fields, thinning and weeding beets. When I was about fifteen I remember I contracted the thinning of beets for eight to twelve dollars an acre. When sixteen I worked for the Pleasant Grove Cannery Co.. There I drove a two ton Studebaker Truck. I used to haul the women workers to the cannery out at Orem, Utah. These workers came from American Fork and Pleasant Grove. I hauled tomatoes to the cannery all day then would take the women home again at night. We worked long hours in those days.
At the age of seventeen I quit school and went to Bingham Canyon to work at the Utah Copper Co., it is now the Kennacott Copper Co. I worked there for a couple of years. Then I took a trip to California with three other fellows in a Chevrolet Automobile. We went over the Midland Trail and as we traveled the gas got higher and higher. We would not pay that price for it so first thing we knew we had run out of gas. About twenty-five miles on the Utah side of the Donner Pass we ran out. We walked a long distance to a ranch. Seeing he had some barrels we thought they were gasoline but on inquiring we found out they contained kerosene. We took about five gallons of kerosene and carried it back to the Chev. and dumped it in. There was just enough gas to get it started and we ran on that. Going up the Pass it did not have enough power to make it up hill so we pushed the car over the pass and then coasted down the other side for miles, about twenty, then we came to a service station where we filled the car up and went on our way. Our tires were bad and once we stuffed straw in one of them to keep going.
I worked at different jobs in California, driving truck, (that was when I dumped the gravel on the street car track by mistake), then worked for a lumber company. At Christmas time, 1923, I went home. I had spent part of the summer and fall and part of the winter there.
I went from there to Idaho to work on a farm along with Golden Peay. We found work at Ashton Idaho up near Yellowstone Park. From there I went to work at the Copper Mills at Magna, Utah where I roomed with Oral and Weston Hales. I left the Mills and went to Bingham where they paid better wages. I worked for the Utah Apex Mine which was an underground copper and lead mine. While working there (1928 I think) I was in an accident in the mine and injured my back. I was in the hospital in Bingham Canyon for about two months then wore a big heavy cast about five months. Mother and I had planned to be married in June that year but we put our wedding off. We sold our furniture and my Red Ford (1927 two seated Model T).
In the fall when I was released from the Doctor's care and got rid of my cast I went to Chicago to attend the Coyne Electrical School. I stayed there until January. I was so homesick I could not stand it any longer so I came back. When I got to feeling better I took a job with the Bingham and Garfield Railroad and stayed there until we were married in June 1929, then Mother and I went back to Chicago. Mother and I had been in the Temple all day, (12 June 1929) a wonderful experience. We took the train the same evening, the Denver and Rio Grande, and went to Chicago. That trip was our honeymoon.
I finished my course at the Coyne Electrical School and then obtained a job as refrigeration mechanic for a while but then the depression came on and I was laid off. I worked as a door to door salesman for a while and anything I could get.
In 1934 we bought a green Nash car, good condition, for about $150.00 and I drove to Utah with what belongings we had. Mother was already in Utah. Along with a friend of ours, Earl Strong and his wife, we set up our own Refrigeration Repair Business. We were doing pretty well but Strongs decided to go back to Chicago, so we gave up the business and went to California.
We lived with Aunt Jane (sister of Don W.), or I lived with her and Mother went to work doing house work for a Jewish family. I finally found a job out in the desert and we moved to Daggett, California. There I worked helping to run a power line up to a gold mine. When that job was finished we moved back to Huntington Park, California where I worked at the Western Pipe and Steel Company.
It was while we lived in Huntington Park that you arrived, Virginia. That was the high-light of our lives. But apartments were particular and we were not allowed to stay there after we had a baby so we moved into Los Angeles. We had many happy times in California with Aunt Orals and Aunt Marys (sisters of Grace) as you will remember. We moved several times while there. Finally we moved in with Aunt Oral and Uncle Weston and Mother went to work for a movie actor as I was out of work. Later we moved to Huntington Park again and Aunt Marys lived with us. Then we built our home in South Gate and on May 21, 1940 our son Don arrived. This was another highlight in our lives. We lived in South Gate, California (8984 Annette Avenue) until August of 1945 when I left for Alaska. I arrived in Anchorage on Labor Day, September 6, 1945. Then in 1946 my family joined me and we lived for a while at Eska, Alaska then moved to the homestead at Sutton, Alaska.
I had never held any positions in the church until after I was married. While in Chicago I was secretary of the Sunday School. In South Gate California I was 1st. Counselor in the Sunday School, then 1st Counselor in the Elders Quorum Presidency and worked as a home missionary until I left for Alaska. In Alaska we were instrumental in getting the Home Sunday School started and have worked in the Branch here ever since. Was Presiding Elder from about August 1947 until next spring when the Branch was organized. Then I was 1st Counselor to Branch President Clifton Grover. Later I was also Sunday School Superintendent. I served in Branch Presidency also with Stewart Durrant and now with Ethan Peay. Have been on the Boy Scout Committee, Branch teacher, Y.M.M.I.A. Superintendent, and worked on the Building Committee all the while we were building the Palmer Branch Chapel.
As time goes on I gain a stronger testimony of the Gospel. This is a great and marvelous age we are living in. As I look back over my life I see that many blessings have been given me. I still enjoy everything especially my fine family. Time is unfolding much in this last dispensation of the fullness of time. I have done well here in Alaska and hope to do better as I go on. This has been an outstanding summer with Virginia here to visit us along with her friend, Mary Barnett. Also Roy and Rena Foutz and Ethel and Ethan Allen and Don being with us all summer.
I wish you children, Virginia and Don, success and happiness in life and I know you will have it if you will stay true to the Church and its teachings. Your Mother and I are both happy that you have chosen an L.D.S. young man for your husband, Virginia, and I wish you much happiness in your married life. This is where the pay-off comes to a parent when his children live good clean lives. Signed: Don W. Boulter
Following written by Virginia Boulter Grundvig:
My father, Don Wm. Boulter, (at the age of 62) and Mother moved from Alaska to retire in Victorville, California in 1966. They purchased a lot next to Oral and Weston Hales and built a home. While living in Victorville they served a temple mission at the Los Angeles Temple. Later they decided to return to Utah Valley to live and purchased a lot in Alpine, Utah on the Alpine highway. They built a house which they moved into early in 1970. Here they lived the rest of Don’s life. Don spent much of his time caring for his yard and gardening. He had fruit trees, raspberries, rhubarb, and a vegetable garden. He had purchased a water turn from the irrigation company and used the irrigation water from the ditch at the front of his property to water his lawn, trees and garden. He enjoyed taking grandchildren up American Fork canyon for picnics and went camping and fishing in the Unita mountains with the Grundvigs.
During this time of residing in Alpine Don and Grace had several good trips; traveling to Hawaii, Samoa, South America, Mexico and back to Alaska on vacation. Don also traveled with the BYU Football boosters to BYU games around the country. Don and Grace accepted a call to serve a full time mission to Tennessee Nashville Mission in April 1978. They both served as ordinance workers in the Provo Temple for eight years. Don died November 1986 (age 82) after being ill for over a year with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
My Father, Don William Boulter, never completed High School but he was a good worker and provided well for his family through the skills he learned so that he could obtain good employment. He learned to weld and worked in Building Ships for the Navy during World War II. He used his welding skill when working at Jonesville Coal mine in Alaska. Later in life after he was retired, he read and clipped poems and thoughts out of magazines and newspapers which contained ideas to which he could relate. He used these thoughts in talks he gave in Church Meetings.
Following is one of his thoughts which he typed on Mother’s typewriter.
“Although we were in Alaska twenty one years, and looked in awe at that majestic mountain McKinley towering twenty thousand, three hundred & twenty feet, then to read about the green rolling hills in Vermont and the White Granite Mountains in New Hampshire, and the green rolling hills of Tennessee, also the Great Smokey Mountains, where we were. But the grandeur of the mighty rugged peaks of the Rockies surpass them all.
“Shape ourselves, the joy and fear
Of which the coming life is made;
And fill our future atmosphere
with sunshine or with shade,
The tissue of the life to be
We weave with colors all our own
And in the field of destiny
We reap as we have sown”.