Wilson and Sophronia Ellis Wilson and Sophronia are Merthan Glenn Ellis’ grandparents
Contributor: GerryRoberts Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Wilson Ellis was born December 7, 1870 in Salmon, Idaho, to George Ellis and Rosetta Wiggill Ellis.
As a young man Wilson was very ambitious and wanted to work, but work was scarce in Salmon. He found work in Wyoming in the hay fields for Rudolph Wolfley. Here he met Sofronia. She was born September 29, 1877 to Rudolf Wolfley and Magdalina Schirm Wolfley, in Randolf, Utah. Sofronia's mother died when she was 14. She quit school to take care of the home and children. She studied a lot to help educate herself and her siblings. Sofronia was a beautiful lady with a strong body.
After a short courtship they traveled in a covered wagon to Logan, Cache, Utah, to be married in the LDS Logan Temple. They chose October 14, 1896 to be sealed for time and all eternity. They, then, returned to Wyoming and worked hard until they had a good start.
They decided to go to California. They started out with two children, Orvil and Mae, wagons, horses, and cattle. They found a good deal and decided to sell their many cattle but were gypped out of all their money. They had to go stay in Shelley and farm to get another start. Here their third child, Glenn, was born. They soon moved to Riverside, Bingham, Idaho.
She stood by her husband, helped her children through hard times, sewing their shirts and keeping them clean and neat. She made many denim quilts from the boys worn overalls. Sofronia bottled everything she could get when they were in season, made beautiful flowers from cloth and wire, and walked around the neighborhood on gravel and mud roads to go teaching.
Sofronia taught her children the value and rewards of hard work and worked with them. She took care of the chickens, gathered eggs and prepared chicken for meals. She made head cheese for the family and many neighbors. For health and medicine she gathered sage, dandelion buds, also peppermint, yarrow, and strawberry leaves. There seemed to be a tea for every ailment even, though some were bitter and nasty. They built a house from wood they chopped and sawed, which soon started to grow. The next spring they put up a "lean to" shack. This was later used for a chicken coop after Wilson and his brother, Jerry, built a beautiful nice size cement block house. They made three blocks a day gradually putting them up as they dried and cured. This was done in any spare time from farming. It almost seemed like recreation. He also helped many neighbors put up their homes. They lived on an 80 acres farm on Pioneer Road, which is now where the Blackfoot Northwest Stake Center stands. The land was all sagebrush and weeds. The government gave a homestead to those who would plant groves of trees and orchards. This changed the desert. Teams of horse drawn machinery were used. Also much hand and back labor.
Wilson raised beets, potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, and hay. The beets were planted with a four row planter. They were thinned with a short handled hoe when showing three leaves. Then hoed twice and cultivated to hold down the weeds. At harvest they were dug one row at a time. The workers would top them by hand and throw four rows into one to make room for the horse drawn wagon. When the wagon came everyone would stop topping and load the beets to be hauled to the beet dumps, as they were called, which were situated on the railroad track. From here they were taken to factories where the sugar was made. There was a sugar factory in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Potatoes were planted with a one row planter. Someone would drive the team and someone would ride the planter so there would be a set in each hole. These sets were cut by hand and made sure an eye was in each set to make sure of a sprout. They were harvested one row at a time with horse drawn machinery and picked by hand in baskets then emptied in burlap sacks. They would then be loaded on wagons and taken to cellars. They were kept there until a fair price was offered.
The grain was cut with a horse drawn binders which would cut and tie bundles. The workers would then stand several bunches together with the tops up so as to dry for threshing. Most every farmer had a granary of some sort for storing grain.
Hay was cut with horse drawn mowers. A horse drawn rake would put it in rows. The men would make this into piles with pitchforks. When dry enough it would be hauled on wagons and stacked into large stacks by a derrick.
They raised cattle, milk cows, also pigs. Chickens housed in a chicken coop furnished them eggs and meat. They raised bees and extracted honey. They owned a small dairy. They used what whole milk they wanted and separated the rest. They made their cottage cheese and brick cheese. The skim milk was fed to the pigs. The cream was sent to the Blackfoot creamery in a double seated fancy white top buggy with a fringe on top. They would load some hay on the back for the horses and stay in town all day.
The children all learned responsibility. They had strong bodies and could outwork anyone. They had contests in the field to prove this.
Wilson did a lot of veterinarian work. He would travel on horseback to the farm animals. He loved to fish and did so whenever possible. He was fond of horses and did a lot of horse trading.
Indians traveling in wagons would stop and visit on their way to Salmon. Sofronia would feed them. The always sat on the lawn. The wouldn't go in the house. The would fill their containers with fresh well water. Sometimes Wilson would do a little horse trading. When the Indians came back from Salmon they would bring smoked Salmon. This was a real delicacy.
The water was left in the ditches and canals so the cattle and horses could get water in the winter.
However it would freeze and the farmers would have to chop holes in it so the cattle could drink. One day when the Indians came by, one of them was so sick and had such a high fever they feared he would die. He jumped in the ice hole and although everyone held their breath he did live.
Bathing was in a small round tub. Water was carried in and heated then carried out. In the
summer after working hard in the fields many would head for the ditches and canals for a refreshing swim. This took a lot of sweat and dirt off, besides being social and fun.
Wilson and Sofronia lived most of their lives in Riverside on the corner of Pioneer Road and
Riverside Road. This couple had nine children, eight boys and one girl.
Orvil Wilson Ellis August 28, 1897 married Lula Grieves
Mae Elizabeth Ellis November 22, 1899 married Chester Grimmett
Glenn Ellis August 8, 1902 married Nettie Turpin
Alfred James Ellis September 6, 1904 married Survella Knight
Rowsel Ellis December 9, 1906 married Alice Bitten
William Vaughn Ellis November 30, 1908 married Evalyn Goodwin
Lawrence (Smokey) Ellis December 29, 1910 unmarried George J Ellis May 18, 1918 married Lillian Taylor
Vear R Ellis September 4, 1920 married Loraine Stander
After an epidemic of a severe kind of flu many, many people died. Wilson got it and died January 10, 1929 at the age of 57, in Riverside, Bingham, Idaho. She married Hyde Yates the 22 February 1941. They were very happy after long years of being alone. They lived in a nice home in Yost, Utah. He had a sheep camp. They would go out in the hills and take care of the sheep. She said this was one of her happiest times because it took her back to her childhood days. Sofronia died at age 65 August 14, 1942, in Blackfoot, Bingham, Idaho, of liver cancer.
At this time his posterity is spread throughout the country and even in foreign countries and much too numerous to count.
The farm was split and George took the east half with the house and buildings. We, Loraine and Vear Ellis, purchased the west half and built a small home, barn granary, chicken coop, and dug a well. We moved ditches, leveled hills and hollows, and made a more beautiful farm. We lived there until we bought a larger farm in Moreland. The house and buildings were moved away. We sold the land. Now beautiful LDS Stake Center is located where our house and yard was, on the old Ellis farm.
SONG OF THE LAZY FARMER
This weather, with it’s threat of snow and temper’tures that drop too low, may suit the kids just perfectly but it’s a real pain to me. I s’pose it’s cause I’m getting old, but I can’t stand this kind of cold, if, when it’s zero, I expose my nose and ears, they’re quickly froze. No longer can my old legs lift me through a frigid waist-deep drift, and even if they could I’d sneeze so much my ancient lungs would freeze. My sense of balance has grown dull, a hog on ice is more graceful than me, I either break my crown or crash-land right where I sit down.
When winter blizzards blanket us with snow, it’s much too dangerous for me to venture out-of-doors to help Mirandy with the chores, and though I surely wish I could, I do not dare try chopping wood for fear I’d hurt myself and she a lonesome widow then would be. It’s foolishness for me to court such danger. I can best support the efforts of my loving spouse by staying safely in the house and keep logs roaring on the fire so when Miranda starts to tire, she quickly can thaw out and then get back to work outside again.
The Autobiography of Glenn Ellis Glenn Ellis married Nettie Mae Turpin Glenn is Merthan Glenn Ellis’ father Written by him a few months before he died of Amylotropic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) GLENN ELLIS 2-16-71
Contributor: GerryRoberts Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
For my Sons and Daughters and their Posterity:
I was born a son of Wilson and Sofronia Ellis in the year 1902, August 8, in the Idaho Falls country. The first I can remember was crawling out of a small ditch of water at about 2 or 3 years old for doing a dirty job in my pants. That water was pretty cold and I think it taught me a lesson I didn’t forget. (This was taken place in Basalt.)
Well things must have gone along pretty well till I was 3 or 4 years old. Then I was old enough to start doing a few odd jobs like helping drive the cows to the pasture an we had a lot of fun. We made one mistake when we got ready to round up the cows to take them home to be milked we forgot to shut the water off. That night that little stream keep washing bigger an bigger and the next morning it had washed the whole bank out. The men on the ditch couldn’t figure out
how that ditch washed out. I knew but they didn’t ask me. And I wasent about to tell them. But sure made me feel bad to think I caused so much damage.
Them was lonely old days. Nothing to do only watch the old cows. One day we decided to have some milk so we got one old Jersey cow that was gentle. So we was on each side of her having some milk. It tasted pretty good. My old Dad was a pretty smart man I found out after the canal break. He keep pretty close tab on us kids. I don’t know where he come from but got right up to us and saw us kids sucking that old cow. He just pick me up an gave me a right good spanken. That night I went without my supper. Them days milk was the staff of life. Mother would make butter and cheese to sell to get a little money to buy other food we needed. Mother made most of our clothes.
We moved to a place just east of the Idaho Falls sugar factory on Willow Creeck. That was where my brother Vaughn was born. That was where I was taught to stay on a job till it was done. Dad had two or three acres of spuds to harvest. It was different than the way we harvest spuds now. Dad would plow them out–then us kids would dig the spuds out of the loose ground an put them in a basket when the basket got full we would dump them in a sack. Well it was fun for awhile. When the fun was gone I went to the house. I had enough spud digging. Dad was a man of few words. He came to the house an got me by the ear and lead me out to the spud patch. He told me I was to stay there till the days work was done. From then on I never left a job till my days work was done.
That was about the time the grass looked good in California. A man talked my father into going to California. Dad was always a pretty good trader, especially horses. He all ways had a good string of horses. We headed for California in a camp wagon and a trail wagon. It seems like every day Dad would have one or two new horses in his string. I remember crossing Snake River at Glens Ferry below Twin Falls on a ferry boat. We got as far as Nampa Idaho. That was the time the biggest earth quake that ever hit California. It was at San Francisco, 1906, where we were headed for. When Mother and Dad heard about that it scared them out. So they turned around an came back to Blackfoot. Dad rented a farm between Firth and Shelley, called Minroe. All there was there was a beet dump an spud cellar. That was about 1908. I was six years. I started to school there. We went to school at Basalt. We had a two and a half mile walk. In all kinds of weather. Some days we would have our fingers an feet frozen. But we got used to it and we keep going. We lived there three years. It was there my brother Lawrence was born. He was just learning to walk when we moved to Moreland. We move into a little log one-room house with a dirt roof. The house was built out of green cotten wood trees. The next spring there were green leaves grew out on the walls.
Dad bought the old Tom Lindsay farm one mile north of Riverside. He built a new one long room house out of lumber covered with black tarpaper on the outside and cheesecloth glued to the board wall and then paper over the cheesecloth on the inside. We lived in that house till 1917. We built a new house out of cement blocks that still stands.
That was the time of the first world war. I was fifteen years old. That was a bad year for me. I
was stricken with a bad deases we called it rheumatism them, which I have found out later that it was rheumatic fever. I was bed fast from March till July, then it took me a month to get back on my feet again. I was in the eighth grade at that time. I wasent able to graduate with my class. I quit school. I have been sorry ever since. I wasent able to work much that year.
The next spring I was feeling fine so I went out an got a job plowing with an old hand plow. We called them foot burners. I worked till we got the crop in. By that time the sugar beets were ready to thin. I an my three younger brothers would thin Dad’s beets. Then we would contract fifty or sixty acres of beets for the season. We would thin an acre apiece a day. That would buy our school clothes and keep us in spending money. I didn’t go to school so I worked all the time. I bought me my first horse for sixty-five dollars. It was a real nice saddle horse. I keep him for two years and by that time I began thinking of the girls, so I sold my saddle horse and bought me a buggy horse and a new buggy. It was a horse my brother-inlaw Chester Grimmett, had raised an broke to a buggy. This was my only sister’s husban. She was just older than I an her name is Mae. She is sure a fine sister. Since Mother died she has been the mother to all of us boys.
Getting back to this buggy hose, his name was Flint. He was black as coal with four white stocken feet. He was a high spirited horse. He was a best looking and the fastest horse on the road. In the winter when the snow came I had sleigh runners to put on my buggy and sleigh bells on my horse. You could hear me coming for a mile.
In the year 1920 I met a little girl at a Thomas dance that really took my eye. I had another girl at the dance that night but wasent long getting a date with her. Her name was Nettie Turpin. I never look at another girl from then on. We went together for about a year. Then we decided to get married in the fall. There wasent much work right then so we went up at Island Park to work in the timber to make me a wedding stake. I work real hard for two month get out cellor timber for a man by the name of Starkweather. He own the place where my brother Vear lives now. Starkweather was come home from Salt Lake in a car and he got hit by a train an got killed. So there went by wedding stake. But October the eleventh came when we planned on getting married and we left the beets the tenth and Dad took us to Logan and we were married the eleventh and back in the beet field the thirteenth and that is where we spent all our anniversarries except last year and I wasent able to work so I took Mom out to dinner.
Well getting back to our young married life. We had several disappointments. The first year I rented a place in Morland. It wasent to good a place so we didn’t make much that year. I bought a team of bay colts that were 3 year old. I broke them good an I hauled beet pulp that winter for cattle feeders. I got one dollar a ton for loading it with a scoop shovel an hauling it five miles. I made two trips a day and four tons to the trip. That was eight dollars a day for me and my team. That was pretty good money in those days. I would leave home before day light an get home after dark. So the little Kidder (that was Mom’s knick name) spent some pretty lonely days.
On December 7 we had a little girl born to us. And that happend on my father’s birthday too so he should have the honor of naming her. So he named her Ruth. She was a cute little rat. We
really injoyed having her in our home. She was lots of company for the little Kidder to play house with. I rented a place the second year close to Dad’s. It is the place where Lynn Wolfley lives. It was a nice place. We done fairly well the next two years. I was able to buy some cows to milk and figured we was sitting on the moon. The second year we were there we had a little boy born to us. We named him Merthan. That winter Ruth got the hoppen caugh. She had it very bad. And the little Kidder had to stay home all winter with two little kids down with the hoppen caugh. And me gone all day hauling pulp. By spring she had had it. She couldn’t sleep nights and worried over the children. The little Kidder’s health wasent too good after Merthan was born. She had a bad gorder on her neck. The doctor said she couldn’t stand to have any more children.
That spring it looked like we were going to have a good year. The crops looked good. We even felt like we might be able to buy a new car. Along about July or August the white fly hit our beet crop and the leaves turned black and died. I never harvested a beet after doing all that work. We felt pretty blue that fall. An then there was a guy by the name of Molen came to Riverside and wanted a bunch of farmers to move up to Montana to settle on some land that the Great Northern Railroad was developing. They were putting water on it and they wanted it settled with Morman farmers that knew how to arrigate new land good. The Railroad Co. agreed to ship us up there and loan us money to put our crops in an money to buy cows or sheep with and give us three years to pay it back in at a low rate of interest.
Well that sounded pretty good to a lot of people in Riverside. There was about ten young familys decided to go that next spring and we were one of them. That was the main talk of the town–go to Montana and get rich farming.
Well all the men went up early to get settled befor the familys came. We took our cows, chickens, and horses and furniture upon the train that was quite an experance. We were three days getting up there. Those freight trains didn’t move very fast. Well we finely arrived and the place didn’t look to good. So this man that got us to go up was a pretty nice fellow and he told us to look around an get a place we did like as long as it was where the Great Northern Railroad was. So I and a friend by the name of Wallace Hawks went looking around. We found a good place that had been farmed for years at Sims, Montana on the Sun River. We figured it would be big enough for both of us. That first year. It had a four-room house on it that we could have two rooms each to live in. We got all settled and sent for the familys. Well they came a day early so we wasent there to meet them. There they were stranded an didn’t know which way to start walking. All they new was the Tom Clark ranch. They felt pretty blue. A fellow came up to them and ask if he could help them. They told him the name of the place and he knew where it was so he brought them home. They were sure a sight for sore eyes. Each had two small babys and they had all been crying. We were just eating supper when they walked in. And this man that brought them home turned out to be one of our best friends.
Well that turned out to be a pretty nice farm. We done fairly good that year. During the summer we got pretty well acquainted with our neighbors. And they had a small branch of the church there. We all went to church every Sunday. We met at an old fort Shaw. It was called the Sun
River Branch. All the Mormons in an area of fifty miles came to this branch. We would take our lunch and have pot luck every Sunday. We drove horses on a buggy for a while. Then I bought an old Model T ford for fifty dollars. I fixed it up an put a new top on it an give it a new paint job. Then we went to church in style. We even drove it to Great Falls a few times. Great Falls was fifty miles east of where we lived. But that old ford chuckeled right along.
Well we met some friends from up at Ferfield on the bentch that came from Baysalt by the name of Earl Kelsey. They were good Mormons. He was our main preacher on Sunday. Anyway the Mormons decided to make up a carivan an go to Cardstone Canada to the Temple. And Kelsey ask us to go with them. They were pretty well to do. And they had a big Chrisler car for us to go in. By the way he was the Sunday School Superintendent an we were his counselors. So we were pretty close friends.
Well there was around fifty couples went. We left our babys with a very good neighbor across the way. She offer to tend them for us. She wasent a Mormon. But a very good neighbor. Her name was Mrs. Nocks. She took real good care of them. We were gone about ten days. While we were in the Temple the Stake Patriarch came up to mom and I an said if we would stay over till Monday he would like to give us our patriarchal blessing so the Kelseys was willing to stay and while we waited we went over an went through the Prince of Whale Hotel. It was sure a pretty hotel built on the edge of a big lake. Well we got our blessings given to us. And those blessings have been a guide for us to follow through the rest of our life. Mom was promiced her health would be better and she would live to be a rememberance to her childrens childrens children. We both had a good blessing to live for. In mine it said I would never be rich in worldly good but I nor my posterity shall never want for food.
Well the second year we rented a place upon the Farfield bench about twenty miles from Simms. It was a big level country and I rented two placed about a mile or two apart. I had a pretty crop of wheat on the one I didn’t live on. It looked like I was going to make good that year. My Dad an Mother, Vaughn and Mae came up that summer to see us. Dad just bought a new Osmobile car. It was sure a pretty car. Dad liked the country an figured I had made a good move when I went up there.
Well that fall I had made arrangements to buy a new grain binder to cut my grain with. It was only a few days after that we got the darnest hail storm you ever saw. It just ruined all my crop of grain. I never harvested a kernal of grain. I cancil out my new binder that year and went out an russeled a job to live on. We felt pretty blue. I even let Nettie and the kids come home for a visit that fall. She stayed for a month an picked up spuds for a little spending money. Dad thought a lot of her.
That winter Dad got sick and died. That was quite a shock to us. We came home to his funeral. When we left up there it was the first part of January an was still warm an nice weather. And when we got down here there was two foot of snow an colder than blazes. We stayed a week or ten days. And when we went home winter had struck Montana. Everybody was snow bound up
there. We were three days getting from Great Falls home an about froze to death. When we got home we was broke. I went out an russeled a job hauling bale hay loading it on box cars. Boy was it cold. I hauled hay at fifty degrees below zero that winter for five dollars a day for me and my team. But it keep the wolf from the door that winter. That spring I had a lot of crop to put in so I bought an International tractor so I could get my crops in good shape so I could make up what I lost the year before. We also built a new church at Simms where we lived the first year we went up there. We were quite busy that summer building the church an farming. Well it looked like we were going to do pretty good that year. But when fall came again we got another hail storm to wipe our good crops out again. We felt pretty blue, having two crops wiped out in succession. When we went up to Montana I told Nettie if she wanted to come back in three years I would bring her back and that was the third year for us. Mom never mentioned it till the next spring. Kelseys came over to visit us. And break the news to us that they were coming back to Idaho. And they wanted us to ship back with them. Mrs. Kelsey was coming in just a day or two. So we made up our minds in a hurry an Mom an the kids came with her. Earl and I stayed. We had an auction sale to sell our livestock an our machenery. That was the last of March. My brothers got busy an had me a good place to rent when I got here. It was the old Joe Williams place. It was a good place. Mom made some big promices to me if I would bring her home. She said she would have another baby. Well when we came back I brought my tractor back and one team of horses and furniture. What little we had it wasent much. And we lived with my mother that summer. I farmed her place that year. It was a tuff year. In the peak of the 1930 depression. You couldent borrow any money at the banks or anywhere else. So I got my crops in early an I got a job plowing spud ground with my tractor. I had about the first tractor in the country so I had plenty of plowing to do. I had my brother Rowsel plow through the day an I plowed all night. The only time that tractor stopped was the time it took to gas up an grease it. We keep it going 24 hours a day. Some of those nights were pretty cold for me but I kept going. We would plow close to thousand acres every year.
Well the next spring I rented the place where my brother Vaughn lives now. And then March 21 the little promist child was born.
This is an abridgement of our trip up to Montana I should have put in. We left Blackfoot the last of March. There was my brother Lawrance and my brother-in-law Chester Grimmett an Wallace Hawksan an myself. We shipped up on a freight train. We had two car loads. On our way up we left the car door open and some of our chickens got out. We had the whole train crew chasing chickens. After we got them all caught we had a big chicken dinner in the cabbuse. It was a pretty nice crew on the train. We made it up to Butte Montana the first day. Whenever we stopped in a town Lawrence an Chester would have to hide. The inspector came to check all the cars. We were only aloud one man to each car. The train crew didn’t care. We unloaded all the cows an horses at Butte for the night to feed an water them an milk the cows. We had quite a time getting the cows to stand while we milked them. We had about twenty head. We were planning on going out an having a time on the town that night. But by the time we got the cows milked our desires had all left us. So we settled down an went to bed. We pulled out quite early the next morning and made it to Great Falls that day. And we had the same thing over again only the cows didn’t give much milk. We went to Fort Shaw the next morning where we met our
destination. We was the rest of that day and the next day getting moved. Chester came back on the train and Lawrence stayed up there with me that summer. We didn’t care too much for the setup they had for us there at Sun River. So Hawks and I an Lawrence went out looking around for a better place. We went up to Simms about ten miles up the river. There we found a pretty nice place big enough for the two of us. It had a four room house on it. So we had two rooms each to live in. We were all a little crowded but we managed to get along that summer. Lawrence worked for both of us that summer. We raised sugar beets, spuds, grain, an hay. That year was our first experience with potato bugs. We would have to mix flower with paris green an put it in a thin sack and walk up an down the rows shaking it on the bugs and when they eat the spud leaves it would kill them. Lawrence stayed with us till that fall. Then Dad, Mother, Mae and Vear came up to see us and they brought Lawrence back to go to school.
On this place there were lots of chock cherrys an sarvesberrys and we had 2 or 3 jelly crabapple trees on the place. So we had plenty. Nettie mixed chockcheery and crabapples an that made the best jelly I ever tasted. People that came up to visit us tells us how they injoyed Mom’s fried spuds, jelly, an hot biscuits for breakfast. The Bowmans, Gurneys and several others came up. It was a very nice summer. But a hell of a winter. We would have 2 or 3 weeks of nice warm weather an get our blood thinned out. Then we would get a cold wind from the North an freeze the cows teats an about freeze everything to death. There was one night we had two car loads of people come in on us about frozen to death in a bad blizzard. There car got stuck in the snow. We couldent put them all to bed so we kept a hot fire an they set up all night. We gave them something to eat an by morning the storm let up so we went out an hitched the horses up an pulled there cars out of the snow an got them on there way home. This was a common accourance up there in the winter for us. Our place was the farrest place out toward the desert. So we got them all but we didn’t mind.
It was a beautiful morning, warm an nice. I hurried an took Ruth an Merthan over to mother’s place an got mother to come an stay with Nettie while I went to Moreland on a horse to call the Dr. Lindsey’s store was the closest phone. The Dr. just about came too late. Mother an I was sure worried. When the Dr. came it was soon over with. And we had a cute little girl. We named her Marilyn. The Dr. named her after a movie star that had just died.
There was six years between Merthan an Marilyn an she should of been the most spoiled child. But she wasent. She was always cheerful an had a smile for everybody.
We lived on that place till 1935. Then we bought the place where we live now. That fall we had more trouble. I had a bad atact of pendisides. I didn’t go to the hospital in time an they broke an scatered all through my body. When they operated on me the Drs. said I never had a chance to live. Dr. Call said well I will swab him out an give him all the chance I can. Well it was four days befor I new anything. Then I began to come out of it. I was in the hospital twenty-one days. The Dr. said the only reason I made it was that I had lived a clean life an I was tall an thin on surplus fat.
Well we had just bought this place and a big Dr. bill facing us that fall. But luck was with us. That fall I had 20 acres of red clove seed that turned out real good and I got a good price out of it. That paid my place payment an my beets an grain paid all my expences so we felt pretty good. We even had a little money left so I decided I would remodel the old house that winter. We put water in the house and a bath room in. Also a floor furness in the front room. We also plastered the whole house. That spring we slept in the damp house after plastering it. An Mom had a face parralices. One side of her face was terrible. Marilyn was just small an she said Mama you look like popeye the sailor. That really got us all. I took Mom to Dr. Call, my Dr. in Pocatello, an he said she needed a female operation. So she was operated on an it took 2 or 3 months for her face to clear up. But she came out of it okay. Things turned out pretty good for us after that. In 1937 we bought the place out where Merthan lives and we bought us a new buick car. Merthan had grown up to a big boy by then an he helped me do the farm work. We put many long days on the farm. We built ditches on fills on the place out there and got 80 acres under cultivation an water out of the 160 acres. That was good. It was a good place. Then the war II broke out an Merthan had to go in the service at 18 years of age. He was in his senior year of high school. He joined up in January. He had enough credits to be able to graduate. So in the spring I had to go stand in his place to get his deploma. He went in the navy air corp. He went to Farrigut Idaho for boot training. After boot camp we had him home for about a week. And then he went to Mimphis, Tennessee to school. He went from there to Hiwaia and we never seen him again for 2 ½ years. He spent all his time in Pacific ocean, mostly in Guam. He was a supply man. I think he flew supplys all over the Pacific.
We couldent hire a man anywhere to work on the farm. So all the help was my girls. Ruth was married so all I had was Marilyn. She was a good little worker. She done a lot of the tractor work. She was only 14 or 15 years old. Ruth came an help me a lot to. Between the three of us we got it done. Mom and all of us worked in the beets thinning, hoeing, and then in the fall Mom and Ruth pulled the beets and I hauled them. I was able to get help to top them. Then I quit raising beets. And went to raising spuds. They were easier to raise. Marilyn was my main help. She would lead the crew picking spuds or anything she done. We had Thelma’s boy Jay with us for a year or so. He was Marilyn’s age. He help me too. Jay got some boxing gloves for Christmas. So him and the neighbor boy wanted me to put the gloves on an fight the two of them. I told them okay. We went outside Christmas day. It was a nice day. There was a little skift of snow on the ground an while we were boxing I happened to step back an stepped in a little hole an broke my leg. I went down an two kids right on top of me. They were giving me blazes. I finally got them to realize I couldn’t get up so quit beating me and help me in the house. It sure hurt. I went into the doctor an he put a cast on my foot an ankle an leg up to my knee. And told me to stay off from it. And there I was with fifteen cows to milk. My first thoughts was Merthan. How I wish he was home. We went into the Red Cross to see if they could do anything to get him home. They said they would do all they could. Boy they done plenty. Merthan was stationed at Guam an he was on a plane over at Japan delivering supplys. When he got back at base his officer told him to pack his bag. He was headed for home in 30 minutes. He was home befor we new it. He got a 30 day leave, and he spent the rest of his time in San Teago. He was out for good in May. It sure seemed good to have Merthan back home. I am getting ahead of myself again. I forgot when Gerry came in the home. In the spring of 1940 our three children was getting pretty well grown. Marilyn was in school and Mom had a lot of free time on her hands. So she said she was going out to look for a job. Well I didest like the idea to well. So I got my old head to thinking. Mom was in good health by that time. And I came up with an idea that I thought was better than hers. So I went to work on my idea and about 9 months later we had a little boy come into our home. Mom didn’t like it much at the time. She figured we were too old to have any more family. But when he came that all left. He was sure a cute little baby. Black hair an eyes. We were sure proud of him. Ruth was married at the time. And she was pregnant with Jeannie. I think Ruth was just a little bit envious of Gerry. She spent most of her time home here with us tending Gerry. But it wasent long till Gloria Jean came and she was as blond as Gerry was dark and just as cute. Gerry and Jeannie were more like brother an sister than Uncle an Niece. Gerry was always quite an independent little guy and as smart as a whip. He weaned himself at a year old. And he made Merthan take over taking care of him at the table an he just dogged Merthan’s footsteps till Merthan went into the service. And Mom never mentioned to go get her a job anymore.
Along about a year after Merthan got out of the service he got to think a lot of a cute little girl named Vonnie Elison, one of LaMar’s cousins. They desited to get married and Merthan was always good to stay home an help me farm so I sold him the farm on the desert. And we worked together as long as I was able to farm.
Along about 1948 we decided to go on a trip with the Loffgreens down in Old Mexico. We left Gerry with Ruth and LaMar. He had started to school so we couldent take him with us. While we were gone Ruth an Vonnie wanted to change our house around a little so they moved the furniture around. And Gerry dident like it when he came home from school. So he told them to put it back the way mom had it. They could see he ment businesss. So they told him they would take him to the show, thinking he might forget about the house by morning. So they went to the show and when they come home he said alright let’s get this house back they way Mom had it. And he wouldent go to bed till they put they house back in order. He thought what was good enough for Mom was good enough for him. His mom done most of the raising of him. I was farming so much ground I didn’t get to be home with Gerry too much of the time. I have wished since I had spent more time with him. Gerry was always a very studious kid. Whatever he done he done well. He never cared for farming but when I put him on a job I new it would be done good, whether he liked it or not.
Along about 1950 we started to build our new house. I done it myself. I started in the spring an finished it up by Christmas. That was quite a busy year. I really worked hard. I run the farm an worked on the house whenever I had time. I done a lot of the house at night. I remodeled the old one and then added on several places. I made some mistakes but it turned out pretty good. And has been a good warm home with all of us living in it.
Well next will be about Marilyn. She an Darwin met and started to going together quite steady. I got acquainted with Darwin when he worked in a grocery store while he was in high school. It seemed like I was one of his special customers. And I took a liking to him and when they started going together I thought that was just all right. He was in the navy at the time and he was stationed at Treasure Island at San Francisco. We made a trip out to see him an of course took Marilyn an Gerry along. It was a nice trip and we injoyed it very much. Darwin showed us a good time. Well it wasent long till he got a furrlow and came home and they were married in the Idaho Falls temple. He had a year or so left in the navy. They lived there till he finished his time in the service. They had a little girl they named Tammie by that time. We made one or two trips to see them while they were there.
Well our family got down to one little boy of our own. Nettie’s sister Thelma took sick an so we took her two children to live with us for about a year. That was Deanna and Bobie Berndgen. Bobie was the same age as Gerry and Deanna was 2 years older. They were very nice kids to have in the home. We got along very well with them. They even seemed like our own.
Darwin decided to be a dentist. So he went back to school. He went to Pocatello, Logan, and finished up in Portland Oregon. We made several trips to Portland to see them. And we injoyed every one of them. After Darwin got out of school they settled in Grants Pass, Oregon, where they still live. They had five children when Darwin got out of school (Now there are six.)
When Gerry got out of high school and in collage we started taking the winters off. We went to Mesa, Arizona for three years. Then LaMar got sick and had to leave this cold country so they sold out and moved to Hemet, California. That was such a nice place to winter in. We have been going down there for the winters. We had Blake, Ruth’s oldest boy live with us through the summers to help me on the farm.
Gerry went to collage one year at Logan, Utah. And then he was called on a mission for his church over in Ireland for two years. And when he got home Blake worked for Merthan one year and Gerry helped me on the farm. That next winter Gerry met a little girl in collage by the name of Kathy Simmonds. She was a very nice girl. We grew to love her and her folks they lived in Lewiston, Utah. Well that spring Gerry and Kathy got married in the Logan Temple and they worked up at Jackson Hole that summer. And Blake helped me on the farm. We had some good times together for 2 more years. Blake went to collage 1 year. Then that spring he went on a mission for the church. His mission was in the Great Lakes Mission. He labored there for 2 years. He came home the last of March. I was sick so I couldent farm so I called Blake and he didn’t loose any time getting here. He really worked hard getting the crops in and the manure spread. He fixed up all my correls and pasture fences. That was a big load off my mind. All that time the Dr. dident know what was the matter. My speech was going and so was my legs.
I went into the hospital and they took xrays of me and found I had a large tumor under my collar bone. I went back into the hospital the first of June and was operated on for this tumor. I felt a lot better. But the Dr. said that wasent all my trouble. They figured I had Mythan Gravas, a bad disease that they haven't found any cure for yet. This winter I heard they had a drug that would put it in a dormant stage so it wouldn’t get any worse. Well the Drs. in California tried this drug on me an it didn't work on me.
Well the Drs. down there wanted me to go through the clinic at Loma Linda hospital an see what was wrong with me. I went through the hospital and they found out I had Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which was a rare disease they have no cure for. It is a diesease of the nerves. It isn’t so bad to live with any more than my speech is gone an I am very weak and my legs are gone. I can hardly walk. I have a magic slate I do all my talking on. Brent, my grandson a brother to Blake, will be with us this summer to do our farming. Next year we will probly rent the farm. I have all my business taken care of. So I have no worries. We went to Gerry and Kathy while I was in California in Feb. and we lived with Ruth & LaMar this winter. Ruth an Marilyn are here with us now. And Darwin is bringing there family this weekend to see us. So I will be able to see all of my family within the last month or so. Merthan and his family are dropping in on us every day or so. It has been a good winter for us. I see my brothers an sisters quite often too. All Mom and I do is feel thankful we have such a nice family. They are all so thoughtful and considerate of us. Mom is the greatest little woman. She waits on me hand and foot. Ruth an Marilyn are painting and house cleaning this week. It sure looks nice. It has been a wonderful week. We sure have injoyed it. And little Tina has showed Grandpa how to play checkers an cards a new way. She has a way of her own and she makes all the rules her way. We have a lot of fun.
This is another abridgment to put in how LaMar came into the family. He came home off his mission. And he was called to speak in conference one Sunday. And we heard him. He gave a very fine talk. And Ruth was having trouble with her boyfriends. First one and then another and I didn’t care to much for any of them. After hearing LaMar speak I told her if she had a guy like LaMar Elison I would say she had something. Not thinking it would ever happen. But one night she happened to meet him. And she came home and she said she had a date with that Lamar Elison. Well she got along pretty good with him that time and she had another date and so on. It wasent long until she came home one night with a ring on her finger. We figured that was just one of her jokes she was pulling on us. She was always pulling some prank on us. So we didn’t pay any attention to her that night. But the next morning we looked a little closer an found out she wasent kidding. And Ruth was just in her senior year in high school. We sure dident like that too well. But she wasent long to tell me what I had told her not long before. So I shut up. If she would wait till she finished high school. She told us she would finish her high school. But she dident know how fast a talker LaMar was and neither did we. Well it wasent long till she came home and wanted to know what we would say if she got married in Sept. 5th, 1941. She had just got started in her senior year. Mom was sure sick. She tried to talk them out of it. But LaMar was still a pretty good talker. We couldent talk them out of it. I still thought LaMar was a pretty nice boy so I dident say too much. They got married in the Salt Lake Temple. We went to the Temple with them. LaMar’s folks went with him. After they were married they left on there honeymoon in the Elison car. So LaMar’s folks rode home with us. Stan and Mom quarreled all the way home. Mom was pretty bitter about Ruth not finishing her senior year in high school. But LaMar was a nice boy and we thought a lot of him. And we have never been sorry. They have raised a nice family. So what more could we ask for.
Vear Ellis History
Contributor: GerryRoberts Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, September 4, 1920 to Sophronia Wolfley and Wilson Ellis. My father was born and raised in Salmon, Idaho. My mother was born and raised in Star Valley, Wyoming.
In 1910 my father went to Wyoming to look for work. He found a job working for my Grandfather Wolfley and that's how he met my mother. After a few years they fell in love and a marriage date was set. They traveled to Logan, Utah to be married, which took about three days. I can remember my brother, Bishop Vaughn Ellis, kidding her about where Dad slept at night. Then, her being Dutch, would say "Why you silly goose, he slept under the wagon". They returned to Wyoming where they farmed and raised cattle and horses. After a few years, they had accumulated a herd of cattle and horses and decided to go to California to make their home. Over several years, between Star Valley and Blackfoot, seven children were born to them. During those years, they farmed ground along the way and raised cattle. When they reached Riverside in 1918, they thought they had better settle down and make roots. The farm they settled on is the land the Northwest Stake Center now sits on. The farm consisted of 68 acres. Here my father built a block house. George and I were born here which made eight brothers and one sister. That's how we came to be here. They never did make it to California.
We had a heaterola that we lit only on Sundays. Heaterolas are large cast iron boxes that we put a log in and it warms the house. We put this heaterola in the room where my father was when he had a serious flu. He died about a week later This was in 1927 and he was 57 years old. I was eight years old. My father left an $8,000.00 mortgage on the farm, which was a large amount of money at that time. We all had to work hard, milk cows, and do any other work that would help bring in money. I would work long hours thinning our beets. Then I could go out and earn my spending money for a bicycles, clothes and whatever else we felt important. When I was 10 or 11 years old I had enough money to order a bicycle from the Montgomery Catalog. When it came in to the train depot in Blackfoot I walked all the way into town to get it. I had some tools with me and put it together there on the dock so I could ride it home.
I was a mischievous youngster. My father would take George to town and I was always left home. I knew they would get a little treat in town and I felt left out. My mother did a lot of sewing and I liked to sit under the sewing machine. One time I thought about taking the scissors and cutting the belt a little. I thought and thought about this trying to figure out how to clip the belt and then get out of the room before Mother caught me. I finally decided to try. I clipped the belt but didn't make it out the door before Mother caught me. She really gave me a spanking.
I had a cat that would lay under the stove in the kitchen. When Mae would come over my cat would have to go outside and Mae's bull dog would get to lay there. One day I found my cat by the door and snuck it into the house. When the cat saw the dog, it took off and the dog and cat were chasing around the room with Mother and Mae trying to catch it and the dog messing all over them and the house. I kept pretty quiet the rest of the day.
I was educated in the Riverside Grade School and Moreland High School. As a senior in high school other kids had their dad 's cars to drive and I decided I was going to have a car. I worked hard thinning beets, hay jobs and whatever other odd job I could find. Good pay then was $2.00 a day. In the fall I had enough to buy a new Ford Deluxe which cost $999.00 cash. I was so proud of it, mostly, because I earned the car myself and it was paid for.
I met my wife, Loraine Stander, in high school and we were married April 2, 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple. The first date Loraine and I had together was when some girlfriends of hers wanted her to ask me to this party. We had fun together, both bashful and didn't talk much. I would see her a lot at dances with other boys. One night I took a girlfriend to a church dance in Thomas. We were dancing and I saw Loraine there. She was so pretty. My date was Connie Cook. She had been going with another boy. He saw her there with me and it made him mad. They began to talk mean to each other so she asked if I would take her home. So I did. I couldn't get Loraine out of my mind so I went back to the dance and we started dancing together. It was so much fun. I asked her if I could take her home. This was the starting of our romance. Connie married and lived in Van Nys, California.
When we first started going out together in high school Loraine and some other girls went out to Mackey fishing with us boys. Loraine and I were fishing a small creek on my brother, Rowsell's, farm We wanted to cross the creek and I had boots on so I was going to pack her across the creek. I had Loraine in my arms and was starting across the creek when I slipped on a rock and we both sit down in the water around our waists. We sat there laughing at each other. We kissed and this was the first time I felt a bond between us. We got out of the creek and laid on some hot rocks to get our clothes dry. It was a fun day.
When we were dating the young men and women had an overnight camping trip up to Island Park. Three couples were going together in my new car. We thought it would be fun to go on to Yellowstone National Park after the outing. The girls got permission from their parents to go. We spent three days and nights in the park. The girls had their tents and the boys had theirs. One morning we all cooked a good breakfast of ham, eggs, and hot cakes. We sat down to the table having the blessing and here came a big black bear. Loraine said to us to slap two pans together and it will leave, so we did. The bear came across the table after us and we all piled into the car and watched the bear eat our breakfast. It was a fun three day trip. Marion Callister and Arvel Draper were the other two young men with us. Marion Callister has been a judge in Boise courts for a long time. Arvel Draper has an insurance company in town. When we get together we talk over the good times we had together.
We built a small two room house where the stake center is built now. We started our married life here. We had a few cows and one big sow. When this big sow furrowed, she ruptured herself in having nine little pigs. The sow died so Loraine raised these little pigs on a bottle. For about a month, every two hours, they would run up to the house to eat. Then she finally started feeding them out of an open pen.
At this time, I worked in the sugar beet factory in Blackfoot at night and farmed and milked cows in the day. After two years we bought another farm that watered out of the Highland Canal. To buy this desert farm we sold our two room home which I built and our lovely new car that we had so many fond memories of in our courting days.
Zeann was born. Zeann came to us January 27, 1943, just before we moved to the desert farm. At this time we took an old 1933 Chev in on the trade of our new car and I also bought a 1940 4-wheel Ford truck. I loaded the truck with our furniture consisting of a new bedroom set Loraine's dad gave us when we married (and we still have), our front room heaterola, and kitchen table and chairs we bought for $35.00 (we still have and we have loaned them to some of our children and also friends children till they could do better). We still have a lot of our wedding presents and have fond memories of them. Loraine was still in the hospital with our baby and I wanted to be all moved in our home before she was able to leave the hospital. I started out to the desert farm with our load of furniture. In the night a flood came in from the desert and filled a swail in the road that was too deep to drive the truck through. I sat there wondering what to do. Gail Taylor bought a new diesel tractor and was just coming back from pulling another car through the water, so he pulled me through the water which was about four feet deep. It didn't get in the bed of the truck. I had the furniture moved in and straightened up when Loraine and the baby came home. We bought a new kitchen cabinet and a baby crib for Zeann. I worked at the sugar factory at night and cleaned the yards and house in the day time. There was a lot of ponds of water in the fields and the ducks came in the field by the thousands. We lived on roast duck, fried duck, duck soup, and bread and milk from the cows I milked in between shifts at the sugar factory. When spring came I prepared the farm for planting with horse drawn equipment and worked long hours every day to get the crops planted when they should be. I had a big hay field in the bottom of our farm which was 3/4 of a mile from our house. The sage hens came in every night to eat the new alfalfa. I would run down to the hay field to tend the water. That summer we lived on sage hen and loved every meal. They were so good from eating the new alfalfa. I could see where I could make a better use of water, which was short, by changing ditches and making some fills. I hired a carryall and leveled some fields and made fills from the dirt. I also had enough money left over from the harvest to buy a new tractor.
I bought the new Allis-Chalmers tractor for approximately $700.00. The grain binder was approximately $450.00. The grain binder would cut the grain. The straw was cut about 3 feet long. The grain would go between two rolling canvases and into a bundling machine. When the bundle of grain got about a half way through it would tie twine around the bundle and kick it out on a platform. The platform was on a spring so the weight from the bundles would trip the platform when it was full and leave piles of bundled grain. The farmers would stand the bundles up on end with the heads up. Several bundles of grain together were called a shock. These would stand there for several days until the grain kernels were dry. Then it would be loaded on wagons and hauled to the thrashing machine. The grain would be bagged in 100 pound bags. The grain binder would do about 10 - 15 acres of grain in a long day. I would be paid $6 or $7 an acre when doing custom work.
In the spring I made new ditches across the fills and these made the irrigation so much easier. I could get a lot more land irrigated. We still lived on sage hens, baked and fried depending on young or old. Loraine could always fix them so good.
The war was on at this time, but they left some of us to farm. We would use the German and Japanese prisoners of war to help us farm. We would pay them just the same as our men, but we had to go to Rockford for them. They had tents and guards there. Loraine would go to Rockford for them in the old '33 Chevy every morning and take them home at night while I milked cows. One morning she had the car full of men and the steering rod fell off. she couldn't steer the car and ended up in the borrow pit. The German prisoners were good to help her with the car. It worried me to have a pretty wife having to haul the prisoners. It sure helped me in a time of need.
Here is when I realized the Holy Ghost was with me at all times. I was building a fill to shorten my ditches and, in doing so, the tractor slipped off the fill and rolled down over me. When I realized what had happened I was sitting on the side of the field and my tractor was down in the bottom bent all to pieces. I sat there a long time trying to figure out how I got out of all that without being crushed to death.
In 1945 they took us farmers into the service. Dean Wheeler, Jack Hatch and I and our wives drove to Salt Lake to have our Patriarchal Blessings given to us because there was not a Patriarch here. On the way home we were talking about our blessings. Dean and Jack's blessing stated their achievements would be great if they lived the commandments of the church. Mine said I would gain many blessings in the church by living the commandments and also have to work hard for them. Mine did say I would retain my full faculties through this life.
Ross Anderson left for the service he had a pretty Pontiac 1943. We have always been close friends with the Anderson's so they sold us the car at a price we could afford. There were no cars being made. The crops were good that fall so I bought a new grain swather. After I cut our grain, I cut the neighbors grain to pay for it. It was a good investment. The next spring was one of our sad summers. I was cultivating beets with the tractor along the side of the house. Zeann would run down the lane to the end of the beet field so I would pick her up and take her back to the house. After several times I knew I shouldn't be picking her up. She was so cute and talked to me and I enjoyed having her with me. At the end of the row I took her in the house and went back to work. The next time I went to the other end there she was. I picked her up and put her on my lap but this time her little foot hung lower than other times. When I stopped on the lift to pick the cultivator up her little foot caught in the lift. She screamed and there was blood all over. I looked to see how to get her foot out. I couldn't take it apart in any way. I figured the best way was to trip the lift and it would release her foot. It was the worst decision I've ever had to make. I knew I had to do it so I pushed the trip. Zeann screamed again. It released her foot. I picked her up and headed for the house. Loraine wrapped her foot in a towel and we started to the doctors in Blackfoot. The doctor and nurse cleaned the foot with alcohol and started tying tendons to whatever he could that was left. He saved 3 1/2 toes. Sulfur drugs were new then. We kept the drugs on the wound day and night to save the foot. Zeann was so good and pleasant through it all.
In the fall I worked on the government Navy building and milked cows and did chores when I got home early in the mornings. I made $100.00 a week that was big money at that time. I was able to farm that summer. In the fall I was put in A-1 so I knew I would be drafted in the spring. Dean Wheeler and I worked on the Navy building that winter. I sold my farm machine and cows and other crops ready to go in the spring. My brother Glenn rented the farm. I moved Loraine and Zeann into Moreland and rented part of the Lindsay house. At this time Loraine was expecting Peggy. I left for Camp Hood, Texas.
Jack, Dean and I drove to Salt Lake to enter the service. We were all in a line, Dean, Jack, and then me. The officer came down the row and said "Army, Navy, Army". I ended up in the Army. I went to Camp Hood, Texas. Loraine moved into Moreland and lived in part of the old Lyndsay home. They needed servicemen so bad we were only trained for six weeks and then shipped overseas. When it was time for my platoon to go, I was put into a mechanics school for another six weeks. I was ready to go over the second time when our daughter, Peggy, was born. The Red Cross made it so I could come home to see our daughter before I went overseas. Lynn Wolfley and I were in Camp Hood together and didn't know it. While I was in Ford Ord, California waiting to be shipped overseas, the war was about to end. They discharged all the soldier with two children.
Returning home I was broke. We were paid $6 a month. We were really paid $17 but the rest was sent home to Loraine. At that time the government was giving servicemen $200 to stay in the service. I was pushed into a crap game in which I won $50 which I sent home to Loraine.
When I got home, there was no machinery and no way to farm. I sold the farm and bought a small store in the middle of Riverside. This is where Scott's are now. We built a bigger store and a home next to it. Here the two boys, Ron and Lonnie, were born to us.
One time playing ball I fell and ended up with a bone chip in my knee. It began to bother me so much that I finally had surgery and had the bone chip removed.
I knew the Holy Ghost was with me when a friend and I flew to Ogden for some parts. On the way back we circled his brother on a dry farm and then started for home. His brother said we went out about two miles toward home and then turned around and tried to land on the grain field. The plane went down on a rock ledge and broke into a lot of pieces. The motor and wings were scattered all over. My seat and I rolled about a 100 feet into rocks and sagebrush. The brother, Mr Miles, found us both alive. Melvin lost his leg. They told me I was battered up so bad they couldn't recognize me. They took us to a Catholic Hospital in Pocatello. When I woke up in the hospital after a week of being unconscious, there was Bishop Clifford Wray and his father, who was bishop at that time, standing beside me. It was so wonderful to know that they cared.
Through the year of 1949 I was in and out of the hospital. My wife tells me how the community helped her run the store and take care of things. That winter I was sent to the Veterans Hospital in Van Nuys, California, for plastic surgery and a skin graft on my nose and body. That was the winter the Moreland area had the worst winter on record. When Loraine wrote to me she would tell me the stories of the snow. The snow was in 10-15 feet drifts and would reach the telephone wires. There would be a lot of people walk up from Thomas. They would get groceries in the gunny sack to carry home. Then the storms would come up and they would have to stay overnight with Loraine. While I would read the letters from her I would be laying out on the grass sunning. Shirley Temple came up with the guides while I was there. She would try to cheer us up but I had bandages all over my face and I wasn't too excited about it. After my skin grafting Connie Cook, the girl I went to the dance with and later danced with Loraine, would come to the hospital and take me to the interesting places. Also to her place for dinner. My face was all bandaged up and I wondered why she would come and take me out sight-seeing. It was fun. We reminisced the good high school days. It was good for me to have someone there to help pass the time. Other times I would get on buses that would go around the city of Los Angeles for 30 or 40 miles then bring me back to the hospital. I enjoyed the letters from my wife. The graft on my nose was bandaged and had to be kept wet at all times. At night every nurse that passed my bed would give my nose a squirt or water. In the morning my clothes and bed would be wet. In the day time I had to pack a little bottle of water with me to squirt my nose and keep it wet. The doctors said it was very important for me never to sneeze. Once I couldn't help it and it blew some of the flesh away. This is why it is deformed. A complete operation would have fixed it but I didn't want to stay any longer.
After several years, we got restless and tired of the store. We wanted to do something else. In 1955 we sold the store and bought the Harrison Ison farm east of us. There we built another big home. We subdivided the land into building lots. We sold President Monte Bowman his lot and built Schwabedissen's home on another lot. Eldon Felt bought another one.
About this time I had surgery on my ear. I was in the hospital in Idaho Falls and after the surgery I could hear all the noises and sounds from the other rooms. While I was in the hospital from this surgery my brother, George, was killed in a train wreck. I wasn't suppose to turn my head and my brothers were afraid to tell me about the accident. George and I were very close. They decided to give me a blessing and then tell me about the accident. I knew something was wrong when they all came in, but I saw Loraine and knew she was alright. This was in 1961. Carlie was a small baby about 6 months old.
My mother was left to make a living to pay off a mortgage on the farm when my father died. As kids we would have to do our work and then after the beets were thinned and other work done we would go work for others. I liked to work for Mr. Barclay, Sr. because the work was always good. When we got done, Mr. Barclay was always there to pay us and he also gave us a good bonus for the work we had done. At this time, Al Smith was the operator of the farm.
Mr. Barclay was always a great one to visit with us. After I had sold the lots of the Harrison Ison farm, I didn't have much to do so I would joke with Mr. Barclay about buying his farm. One day when we met on the street in Blackfoot, I said, "Mr. Barclay, are you going to sell me your farm today?" He said, "Yes sir. Let's go over to Mr Furchner's office and make up the papers." He said, "Don't tell my sons until all the paper work is done." This farm has been good to my family and me. It has given us work to do and many learning experiences.
My wife has always been active in church jobs and I started taking more interest in the church. I was Priest's group leader and Sunday School superintendent. Most of my jobs have been with the church farms and buildings, just the way my blessing stated - if I work hard I would accomplish these things.
We rented a small place out on the desert and planted spuds there along with George. George went down to get more seed and Loraine and I stayed out there and finished planting the spuds. She rode on the planter while I drove the tractor. I hit a lava rock and she went flying in the air and landed in the spud box on the planter. I didn't know if she would ever get on the planter again. She was bruised all over.
My wife and I have been blessed with eight children, six girls and two boys. Their names are Zeann, Peggy, Ron, Lonnie, Debora, Mary Jan, Carlie, and TaRhea. We have been able to send those that wanted missions on missions and all through college to get a good education.
When the wards were divided we were put in Moreland 4th Ward along with a lot of neighbors. We had been in Riverside Ward for most of our lives. Bishop Wray was our Bishop. I was called to be the High Priests group leader at this time. I didn't feel at ease with this job because I didn't feel knowledgeable about the gospel.
It was around 1979 that President Marcum wanted to meet with me in his office. I wondered what job he would want me for at this time. We had our stake center built and the recreation center done. I met with President Marcum and he asked me to be on the High Counsel. I said, "President, you don't know me very well, do you? " He said, "You bet I know you and you can do these jobs." I was given the extraction program to start and the genealogy program in the West Stake Center; I was to be the PFR over the buildings; I was over the custodians in the three buildings in our stake; I was over the beautification of the outside grounds; and I was to do all the ordering for all the church building. In working with the Presidency, I have been able to build my testimony of the truthfulness of this church and the love I have of the gospel.
I would like to say a little more on how I know and love the spirit that is always with me. Through the number of close calls I have had with death, I know I have been protected for a reason. I would like to mention a few of the close calls:
In our younger years, Dean Wheeler, Stan Goings and I were on Henry's Lake fishing. We were out on the lake in a small rowboat when a terrific storm came up. We had caught our limit of fish and were heading in for shore. Two of us were bailing water from the boat and the other was rowing. We weren't making much headway when our oar broke in half. About a half mile from shore, we could see our wives and friends on shore, but they couldn't do much to help us. I know that the Savior helped us to shore that day.
Another time was in Australia and New Zealand. We had just stepped off the boat from a tour of the islands when I felt someone put his arms around my shoulders from my back. When I turned around, there was President Lambert. I was so thrilled, after three weeks, to see someone from home, especially to see President Lambert. We hugged each other right there on the dock. This made my day.
Another time I know my guardian angel was with me. We flew to the Tahitian Islands which were very pretty. The next day we were to go up in the hills to where the headhunters had killed their prisoners and would eat them. I was tired and didn't want to go. So Dean, Geri, and Loraine took the bus and went. I laid down on the beach for a while and then decided to take a bus into town, which was about five miles away. Everybody there spoke French. I got on the bus and went to town. I took the number of the bus so I would get the right one to come back to the hotel. After looking the town over and the fish market and different places of interest, I looked up the number 8 bus which was supposed to take me to the hotel. Their buses were more like wagon with seats or benches. I thought I was going back to the hotel but instead we started up through the jungles. The bus would stop at different little jungle villages with a lot of little huts, pigs, and naked children. After about ten little villages, and ten or fifteen miles from the hotel, the bus driver said, "Everyone off" in French. I got off, not knowing where I was. I saw a cab driver there and asked him to take me to the hotel. He talked in broken french. He said he would take me there but he wanted four dollars. We started out and went further up into the hills and jungles. When we came to a small hotel he said, "This is it", but it wasn't. I got out and he left. I sat there on the pole fence wondering what to do. I said a silent prayer because I knew I was in trouble and soon along came three girls in dresses. I said, "Do you ladies speak English?" One said, "Yes I speak several languages." I told her my problem and where I should be at and where my hotel was. She studied me for a while and then said, "Oh, that rich man's hotel". She said, "I'll show you how to get there." We walked about half a mile. "We'll have to take a bus into the town again." she said. While we were waiting for the bus an old pickup loaded with kids came along. She talked to them in French and then said to me "Come and get in with them. They will take us back to town." So the three girls and I crowded into the back of the pickup and started toward town. I knew I would never get out of that pickup alive. They would go around those winding curves so fast. I could look down a hundred feet over the cliff. We finally made it back to town. I was about a nervous wreck. She took me over to where I was supposed to catch the bus and talked to the driver in French. She said, "This is the one that will take you to the hotel." She said I needed to give the driver fifty cents. I had given all my money to the cabdriver and all I had was English money. I asked her if I had time to run over to the bank and the bus driver said no. She gave the driver fifty cents from her pocket. He did give me time to get her address so I could sent it back to her. I made it well worth her time. I'm so thankful for the spirit that lady had and I know she was sent there to help me.
The most wonderful experience was when Loraine and I went to Honduras to get Carlie after her mission. It was a thrill to visit so many people she had taught while on her mission and to see the strength of the gospel of the Honduras people. It was a blessing to us to find in every station where we would catch a bus, taxi, or plane, we would meet members of the church waiting to see that we got on the right flight without any trouble. They were so thoughtful of us that was a blessing to be there.
The fun trips we looked forward to ever fall:
After our crops were out, several couples would go out to Dean Wheeler's ranch at Pahsimeroi for a few days. The men would get up early and walk down in the hay field. There would be a herd of deer feeding in the field. We would all pick out a deer and when it was light enough to see our gun sights we would all shoot at once. We would have to do this two mornings to all get our deer. After breakfast of hot cake, potatoes, ham, and eggs, we would go to the river and catch fish. In the evening we would go to Challis and sit in the hot pools. After this we would go back to Dean and Geri's home and have a hot turkey or goose dinner and then play games that evening. We miss these good times as some of our friends pass on.
My first thoughts of Alfred and his wife, Survella, was after my father died: I was about nine or ten years old. (1931) Alfred farmed west of us on a dessert farm. One day he came home and borrowed the potato planter and wanted me to ride the planter to make sure it planted the seed right. After work in the evening we would go swimming in the pasture swell that was filled with water warmed from the sun. I didn't see much of Alfred for many years. He moved to northern Idaho on a ranch. There his wife died. For some reason Loraine and I couldn't go to the funeral. After he bought a big trailer home and came to see us. About 1960 he parked his trailer home at our place and went visiting the brothers and sisters from here. We really got close together again. He was so much like my dad, easy to be around. He had sugar diabetes at this time. Alfred went back to Bonners Ferry, Idaho to his farm and died in the winter in the 1970's. All the brothers wanted to go. Glenn was in Grants Pass with his daughter. Vaughn and Evelyn drove there in their car. I had cows to milk and could only stay one day, so we hired a small plane to take us. Lawrence wanted to go, but he had this drinking problem. He said he wouldn't drink any beer if we would let him go with us. We landed in Mackey and picked Rowsell up then took off for Bonners Ferry. The wind was blowing hard from the north and we couldn't make any headway so the aviator took the plane down in the Salmon River Canyon to get out of the wind. Soon we ran into a snow storm and we couldn't see anything. He started the plane in a circle to get up out of the canyon. We finely come out above the clouds. It was late in the afternoon and we were about out of gas. We thought we had better give it up. Lawrence did drink several bottles of beer and he had to go. He did bring a quart bottle with him. Lawrence and Rowsel was in the back so Lawrence turned around, got his quart bottle out to relieve himself. Rowsel said the bottle was filling fast and no stopping. When the bottle was about filled Rowsel took his hat off the catch the rest. We all started laughing. The bottle tipped over. It was an experience we never forgot. We landed in Boise, filled with gas, and was soon back in Mackey, then back home to milk cows. We called Glenn and Vaughn in Bonners Ferry, who were so worried about us. I know Alfred knows how hard we tried to be to his funeral.
(from Loraine's history)Vear and I were fishing on the Mackey Lake in the summer of 1985 on a beautiful warm summer day. Little did we know of the strange circumstance we would experience that day. Being nervous in boats because of a near drowning years before on the same lake, I usually found many things at camp to enjoy, such as hiking, cooking crocheting, games and visiting. The weather was nice, not even a breeze. The lake was like a mirror. Vear insisted that I go out in the boat and try my luck at fishing. Reluctantly I went after making him promise he would immediately bring me back to camp if the slightest breeze came up. I will admit it was enjoyable. I loved the scenery and catching fish is an exciting sport. After a time I noticed a few little clouds beginning to form but nothing that should worry anyone. We continued to enjoy our fishing spree. A breeze was starting. The clouds were forming fast. We were aware a storm was coming our way. Although it was just starting to sprinkle lightly, we weren't anxious to quit. We noticed all the boats going in. Vear kept his promise and we started back to shore. We had been close to the opposite side of our camp. As we headed for shore the storm came fast and furious. The waves became high and splashed over the boat. The rain poured down. It became quite dark. Although we could see the shore and our camper and set our course, the wind increased and kept blowing us down from our course. We had a canopy on our boat but I still covered my face as the rain and splashing seemed to keep hitting us. All of a sudden Vear frantically yelled and asked if that was a head or a log. I jumped to my feet. When the waves parted again we saw a man screaming for help. Then the waves swallowed him again. Vear started in his direction which was the way the wind had been blowing us. We knew he couldn't last long. We came as close as we dared and cut the motor. Now to get him in. It was difficult to get close. Vear reached for him several time. The waves would pull him away. It was apparent he was getting weaker. All of a sudden a wave brought him right up to the boat. We each grabbed an arm. We decided he was at least 300 pounds with wet clothes on. It was all we could do to hold him to the boat with the storm raging. We repeatedly tried to pull him in the boat and he tried to help himself with what little strength he had left. We looked for other boats but none were in sight. We looked at each other with a sort of a hopeless look. We didn't know what to do, such a helpless feeling. I shall never forget his big blue eyes pleading for us to save him. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer asking for help to save him. Vear calculated that maybe while we were down between waves he could reach down and grab his belt. He worked with the waves and when we were deep down he was able to grab his belt and as we were tossed on top of the waves, with strength he didn't know he had, pulled him in the boat. His feet were still hanging out, but his head was down in the boat and the water was coming from him. As he choked and coughed, we tried to get him to tel us if anyone else was in the water. He seemed too exhausted to talk, but we shook him until he told us no one else. We again headed for shore. We asked where his boat was. He answered there was no boat. He kept mumbling and thanking God for sending us to save him. This went on for some time. We finally asked what he was doing out in a violent storm like this. He said he was swimming in the beautiful still water and the storm came up and blew him out. We asked if he was training for some competition. He told us he was on his way to the Veterans Hospital and was trying to find himself. Of course we had to comment that he nearly lost himself. He was fully clothing, even shoes and jacket. As we reached the shore the storm began to subside. Men that were watching us on shore helped us get him out of the boat and helped him stand on solid ground. We helped him up to his nice new model car. He was very weak. We asked if we could help him with dry clothes and he said he had clothes to change in the car. He said he would be fine now. We went back to the group of people that helped us get him out of the boat. When he had his dry clothes on he came from behind the car door and laid over the hot hood of his car. The wind quit, the sun come out hot. It was a nice day again. We thought we would go up and see if we could help him any more. He slipped off the hood of his car, waved good-by and drove off. The rest is still a mystery to us. If he ever reads this article we would want him to know we think about him and feel confident he has found himself because of the fateful way he was saved. There must still be something more in this life for him to do. He did say he was from Montana.
After the war was over and our gang of eight couples decided to go out to a small lake in the mountains of Pahsimeroi Valley (1950). We all met at the ranch of Earl Jones, Jerry Wheeler's dad. Early in the morning the men gathered their fishing tackle to ride in a pickup up to the trial that took us up to the lake. We had two horses in a trailer, to pack our food and tackle. The trail was steep so we tied ropes to the horses tails. One man rode each horse and three of us hung on to the ropes from the horses tails. The valley and mountains were so pretty that early in the morning we could see so many wild animals and could look all over the valley. After climbing about a mile up to the lake, we found the raft we would ride was out in the middle of the lake. The lake had this thick green tulius all around the lake shore for about 150 feet out in the water. We knew someone had to swim out to get the raft so we could get out the other side of the tulies to be able to fish. So we gathered up eight straws to see who got the short one who had to go after the raft. I knew before we drew straws that I would be the one to get the short straw. Sure enough I got it. I found me a log about 10 feet long to hang onto while I made my way to the raft. I took off my clothes down to my garments and started to make my way through the tulies toward the raft. The other seven men cheering me on. When I reached the outer edge of the tulies I could see down in the water along way and no bottom. the water became freezing cold. I kept hold of the log and paddled with one hand toward the raft. Finally I reached the raft. I was so cold and numb from the freezing water, I could hardly get up on the raft. I finally rolled onto the raft. It felt so good to lay there on the warm raft and to think how close I had come to not making it to the raft. The men was worried so they told me to rest there for awhile, but to rest fast, joking. I tied the ropes I had drug out to the raft and the men pulled me and the raft back to the shore. After dressing, we all got on the raft and pushed our way out to the edge of the tulies to fish, the fish were good size. We caught our limits fast. After we returned to our camp to a big dinner that the wives prepared for us and an evening of fun around the fire. In the morning we had a god fish breakfast and returned to our homes.
As the physical frailities of life begin to take over I find my physical body in need of repair. In 1993 ? I ended up in the hospital for repair of hernias and prostate cancer. The cancer was a worry but they caught it early and were able to take care of it. They didn't catch all the hernias so a few months later I went back in for more repairs. They put in a mesh netting so the hernias wouldn't tear out. In December of 1995 I was tired of a sore foot so I went in to have the bone spurs removed from my heal. This was done on an outpatient basis at the hospital in Idaho Falls. The hardest thing about the surgeries is my spirit is still active and wants to keep busy. It's hard to stay down and listen to the doctors orders when there are so many things to do and build. Lifting is one of the things I wasn't supposed to do.
I have enjoyed building and creating many things. I built cupboards for some of the neighbors and many of my grandchildren. I also built little toys that I see in magazines. It's fun to get one and then build them for people special to me. I learned many years ago to build small picnic tables. I would go to Washington or building places in Idaho Falls or Pocatello and pick up their extra pieces of wood and use them to build. I made many picnic tables for family and friends. There were so many small things that I wanted to make or Loraine wanted built that I bought a saw to cut them out with.
We have had the responsibility of taking care of Grandpa Stander for many years. In 1994 we added the responsibility of Monte Sohm. He has been in the hospital in Jackson, California and we were made the legal conservators of his estate. It is challenging to meet with lawyers and understand the legal system. We have enjoyed the people in Jackson and have made some good friends. They are kind to us and we appreciate their friendship.
I helped Mae put in a bathroom. Glenn and Vaughn were suppose to help but never made it. Mae's son, Dell, came to help. He helped dig the cess pool and rock it up. Chester wasn't able to do anything. He was an invalid for 15 years before he died.