Leon William Adams (1909-2001)
Contributor: Todd Millett Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Leon William Adams (1909-2001)
This is the life history of Leon Adams: I was born in Monticello, in the year 1909, April 18th. I was born in the big brick house just across the street from the post office. I was the only one born in the brick house, of the eleven children of George and Evelyn Adams.
These are things I remember about growing up in the Brick House. My first birthday party that I remember, I was either 4 or 5 years old I only remember one cousin being there, her name was Mildred Hyde.
We used to always have a Christmas tree, and we'd open a few presents the night before Christmas and usually Dad would come out as Santa Claus, we used to have the Christmas tree in the big room called the Parlor. It was a large tree that went clear to the ceiling, the tree was decorated with tinsel and wax candles. The candles were a lot larger than the little candles we have today.
We had two ranches, one was at Verdure and the other was here in Monticello. In Monticello, there was a big hay barn, just northwest of the Brick House. There we'd haul the hay up from the fields west of town. The area where the San Juan Hospital is, we had a bigger barn. We'd fill it up with hay, and we'd bring hay down in the wagon to put in the smaller barn down at the house. The barn at the house wasn't really a small barn, it had places that would take about 15 cows, with mangers and stanchions for the cows. The cows that we had here were the milk cows and at the early age of 5, I learned how to milk, and it seems like after I learned how, there was never a time that they'd let me stop milking. We used to have cows that were, what you's call kicking cows, and you'd have to put chains around their legs to keep them from kicking over the bucket. This seemed to be my job, milking cows and it lasted until I was about 18 years old. Sometimes during the winter we'd milk the cows up at the upper barn, where the hospital is. During the time when I was milking cows we had about 12 big holstein cows, they had been bought at Logan and brought down to start a better and larger milk herd. Some of these cows would give up to 8-10 gallons of milk a day. When we were milking up to the upper barn, I didn't have any way of hauling the milk down, so I built a milk cart and I had an old brown horse called "Johnny" and I put some shelves on this cart and we put the milk cans in this little cart and I would haul the milk down to the house to the separator. We had an old separator, it seemed like I hated to turn the separator worse than milking the cows. It took as long to separate as it did to milk. In those days about the only money that we had was derived from the sale of the butter, cream and cheese that was made from this milk. I remember Mother used to make lots of home made cheese. The kids would help her. I remember the curd which we would press into the cheese. We like to eat this curd just before it was pressed into the cheese.
At the age of five, I'd have to drive the horses on the slips, I'd follow the men that would throw the hay on the slips while I'd drive the horses down he windrow. Some of the Pitchers would throw the hay where I would stand and so I had to jump off. I remember several times I jumped off in front of the slips and it would run over my legs, I never was hurt very bad.
All of the farming was done with horses and horse machinery at that time. If they'd get in a hurry and want to get something done while binding the grain, they'd put me on the horses to make them go faster. I started doing some of the plowing and harrowing at about the age of 8.
Someone told me this story, that at the age of two, Hazel must not have liked me very well, because she put me in a gunny sack and was going to drown me in the irrigation ditch that was just right by the house. But evidently somebody must have stopped her, because I'm still here. But I know later, Hazel would get me on the bed and try to smother me with a pillow even when I was seven and eight years old.
Later in my life, Hazel had a great influence over me and she spent a lot of time with me. My sister Hazel never let up on me, she kept after me until the day that she died. One of the greatest influences was when she got me to go to he Temple and be married in the Temple with Alice. Nancy was sealed to me and Beryl, but Jerry Ann couldn't be sealed, she had a husband that didn't approve of the Church. But now, she can be sealed to me, if her husband gives his consent.
When I was ready for BYU, Hazel sent me $20.00 a month to pay for my expenses, I was batching with some other San Juan boys. We'd bring a few things from home to cook, and with the $20.00 I still had enough left over to go to a picture show once a week.
Vaughn and his first wife Leah lived on the South ranch. They had a dog with a litter of pups. I wanted a dog so bad, I did get my pick out of his dog's puppies.
Out at the Ranch, his first wife, Leah had some dinner all cooked and had made a pudding, she set it out on the old porch to cool, and when she went out to get the pudding, my pup had got into if and licked it up. Vaughn threw that pup a way out in the yard, didn't hurt him though. After that time, that dog wouldn't touch anything. This dog would do anything I told him to. He'd attack anything, he'd catch a pig, show him a chicken, he'd catch a chicken for you. I think that's the only do Mother loved. She just loved that dog. One time after the dog was grownup, there was a little pup came up there and I just wanted to see if Sacks would do what I'd tell him, so I thought I'd tell him to get this little pup, and I ways "Sock, get him" and Sock looked up at me and whined and then I said "Now, Sack get him", and he grabbed the little pup, but he didn't hurt him, but he sure didn't want to get after that little pup.
We used to have a lot of rodeo's and horse races. We used to have a track south of where the hospital is now. They had kind of a reservoir built and the track was on the dam of this reservoir. This one certain time they were having a rodeo and bull riding, I was irrigating, so I had my big rubber boots on, I came over to the rodeo and there was this big ole bull there. They gave me a pair of spurs to make the bull go. I put them on my rubber boots. I kicked the bull and it bucked into the reservoir, anyway I was still there kicking, and ended up winning the prize.
One time when I was 17, we didn't have any high school, two years of school was passed. My sister, Zola, was teaching school in Cedar City, so I went down to Cedar City to stay with her. Dad took me to Salt Lake and I was put on the train and went down to Cedar City to stay with Zola, we lived in a basement apartment in Cedar City. There was a fellow from Beaver, Utah, that came and boarded with us in Cedar City, his name was Greg Smith.
In Cedar City I was involved in sports, especially basketball and track. It was an agriculture college. Had a lot of agriculture activities. I was on the judging team for livestock, we went up to Salk Lake to judge with several other schools in the State and at the Judging School, we got 2nd place. I played on the high school track team. This track meet was held in Salt Lake just two weeks before the school closed in Cedar City. I never went back from the track meet to Cedar City. I came on home. Cedar City was a place that I really loved, I really hated to leave it.
During one of the celebrations we had here in town, I had a booth selling pop and hot dogs. I'd made some home brew, had it bottled, I sold a few bottles of this home brew, Lawrence Black and Horace Allred confiscated the home brew and took me to the Judge, Lloyd Hansen. He was the Justice of the Peace, and he fined me $10.00, but I never did pay the $10.00. When I went to Provo to school, I didn't have my certificate of graduation from the high school and Lloyd Hansen, he was the Superintendent of the Schools, he told me "I'm not going to give it you unless you pay the $10.00." Anyway he did give me the certificate and I went on to Provo to school for one year.
When I was going to school in Provo, the girl that I'd married, Beryl Harden was staying in our house here in Monticello with my mother going to high school. I'd known this girl, practically all her life and knew she was the one I wanted to marry. But there was an age difference between us, she was 17 and I was 24. But we decided to get married, and on November 22nd, 1932 we were married in the ranch home of Gilbert Pehrson, south of Monticello in an old log house. Bishop A. J. Redd and his wife were there, her Mother and Dad, Evelyn and George Adams, Gilbert and May Pehrson and his family, and there where two other people that were relatives of Gilbert's. Miss Vanda Hatch and Johnny Pehrson. I was married in the tuxedo that Donald had, I don't know whether he owned it or rented it. Anyway it didn't fit me and I rolled up the pant legs and pinned them up, must has been quite a sight. Right after we were married, we were raising turkeys at that time, and we went to Salt Lake, I guess that was her honeymoon. I had a truck and I went up to get a truck load of turkey crates. While we were in Salt Lake, we got the turkey crates all loaded on the truck and we met my Aunt Pearl Driggs and she wanted to come down and stay with her mother for a little while, she had a baby girl named Marilyn, she was but one or two years old. They came down with us in that truck.
We didn't have any children for the first five years, then Nancy was born, there was complications and Nancy was born Cesarean in Moab. Dr. Allen was the doctor. At that time he told her she had'=t better have anymore children, later he said we could. So two years later Jerry Ann was born and Beryl had a lot of complications with her. She moved to Moab to stay with Shirley and Al Scourp to be close to he hospital for a month or two months before the baby was to be born. The baby was born by Cesarean birth, at that time Dr. Allen said that was enough so he tied her tubes so she couldn't have any more children. We lived in the house with mother and dad for a short time after we was married than we moved to the old ranch house and lived there for several years. I operated the ranch and we raised grain, pigs and a few cattle. We lived at the old ranch house for several years before we rebuilt the house and fixed it up with electric lights and gas in it. We lived in Monticello in the winter time. One winter we were living in the old Ben Perkins' rock house that was on the corner where the Chevron station used to be. That winter, we bought us a new pickup, and Beryl and I went to the World's Fair in San Francisco. Nancy was one year old and Beryl's sister, Verna stayed in the house and took care of Nancy while we went to the World's Fair.
We were gone on that trip about a month, my mother was staying in Mesa at the Temple. Our trip to San Francisco to the World's Fair was really a thing of wonder for us. They had the World's Fair on an island that had filled out into the San Francisco bay. We'd go out there everyday and go through all the exhibits, some of them we'd go through several times. At that time they had a TV that you could see yourself speak in one room and go into the other and see yourself on TV. We stayed in a hotel on Market Street. I don't remember the name of it. But we had a beautiful big room. It cost us $8.00 a week, we had $250.00 with us when we left and we went on down in California and saw my sister, Faye and went over to Mesa and stayed there for a week with my mother before we went back to Monticello and I put a rack on the pickup and we brought back, probably 20 or 30 bushels of grapefruit and oranges to Monticello with us, and out of the $250.00 I think we had $50.00 left when we got back home.
On our trip to California, Arizona and the World's Fair we visited many places and saw how the other people lived. We realized that the old farm house was really something out of ancient history, we didn't have any water, no lights or anything. We decided that we'd fix up the old house. So we made a cellar by digging out from the old house to make the basement. In digging this cellar we found this one big rock, about 15 foot square and about 6 foot deep. We had to chisel that out with hammer and chisel. We had a horse that would pull the dirt out from under the house on a scrapper. Albert Scourp, my brother in law, was there helping me do this work. We finally got it done and about 2 months later we had he basement built and cemented in. We didn't have any electric lights out there at that time, but I did have gas lights and a gas refrigerator. We drilled a well so we could get some water we could use in the house. When we finally got the water at the place, Beryl was really a hard worker and she liked to see the yard in flowers and beauty. She fixed the yard up with trees and flowers and it was really a beautiful home.
I spent all my life as a farmer, the farming business was at times hardly enough to make a living. So I had to find other ways of making a living, I then got into the business of buying and selling livestock, which for quite awhile turned out to be very profitable. During that time we moved to town and I built the home which we're now living in. The total cost was less than $7000.00
We got into the mining business while we were farming, the mining business was quite profitable for awhile.
Beryl was very active in the community in civic duties and the 4-H program. I remember one year her group went to Salt Lake to the State Fair and they had several programs. I remember Jerry Ann won first prize in the judging and the winner was entitled to go back to the National Fair in Chicago at that time. Jerry Ann was too young and wasn't allowed to go.
I tried a lot of things to benefit financially, and I was in the mining business at the time Beryl and Nancy were killed. I had a mine operation in Green River, Utah, Nancy and her intended husband, he was working for us at that time. Nancy thought he could go up there and make a little more money than he was making at that time and they were going to be married in about a month. The first trip out of Monticello, we were out at the mine on a Monday, Kenny Bailey and Wayne Rasmussen came out to the mine with the news that Lariat Café had blown up and Nancy and Beryl and Jerry were in it. Nancy and Beryl were killed, but Jerry Ann was flown to Grand Junction to the hospital, she survived and wasn't hurt too bad. (She had a broken back.) Jerry Ann was in the hospital, she didn't know that her mother and sister had been killed for some time. We had the funeral in Monticello, but Jerry Ann didn't know anything about it. Her girlfriend took pictures of the funeral, she took several pictures and she gave them to Jerry after she got home. That was in August 1956.
That winter they was having a convention in Florida, Jerry Ann had her back in a cast but we took a two week trip to Florida. There was 60 people from Utah that went on this trip. We sit up in a chair car, but Jerry Ann couldn't sit up so we got a berth for her and I was in the berth. We went to Miami to the Convention. On one of the trips in Florida, we went to Cuba. That was the time Castro was first landing in Cuba with a few men to start his revolution. At that time the people of Cuba didn't think anything about Castro, they didn't think he had much support, but it didn't take long till he had taken over the Island of Cuba. When we came back to Miami, they we went to New Orleans and spent three nights in New Orleans. Of all the cities, I was really impressed with, was New Orleans. I think I was impressed with it more than any city I've been in.
Beryl had told me several times that she wasn't going to live to be past 40. We didn't think about it very much, but she told us that several times. Just a while before the explosion, Nancy told me I'm going on a long vacation.
I never did get over my desire to do different things to find out whether I could make more money. I got into a wrench deal, and at the time it looked very good. I made two trips to Japan on this wrench deal to see if I could get it manufactured over there. I signed a contract with a Japanese firm where they'd make 500,000 of these wrenches at a certain price, I gave them a small down payment of only $5000. They did spend a lot of time and effort seeing if they could build this tool to fill the contract. Then they sold a few wrenches and found out that they couldn't build them for the price they'd quoted me, but I found out the Japanese people were very honorable. They said would fulfill that contract if I wanted it done, but they couldn't make it so it would be feasible. So they gave me back the money I'd gave them, and I'm sure they spent several more times more that I gave them. One time that I was over there, I was staying in the Okra Hotel, I went in the lobby one morning and who should I see but Charlie Redd was there. I was happy to see Charlie, I'd see somebody that I thought I could talk to, they'd be from Sweden or Norway and they couldn't speak any English either. But with Charlie, he was just as happy to see me as I was to see him. We spend several hours together on different days. He'd wake up in the morning and he'd want me to come up and have breakfast with him, and we'd reminisce about things that happened in Monticello and San Juan County. One time we got to talking about Donald and he said, "What is Donald going to do with his money?" "I told him that I'm sure he's going to put it a safe place." Then he got to telling me about my father. He said, you know, your father was a great man, he could have been a millionaire, but he was too good hearted. Charlie Redd wanted to buy some pearls, the people I was dealing with knew some of the pearl dealers there and they made an appointment for us to go up and see them. Charlie bought several beautiful pearl necklaces, but he didn't have the money on him, they said they'd be glad to take his check, cause I'd told them about Charlie Redd, what a great man he was. I think the next day, Charlie and his wife left to come to Portland, Oregon, to a meeting he had with an insurance company there. I stayed in Japan about two weeks longer and came back by Hawaii and I stayed in Hawaii before I came back to Long Beach. I wasn't very impressed with Hawaii, I was really impressed with Japan. The Japanese were very accommodating. They tried to please you in every way they could.
After Beryl was killed, I was really lost. I run around like a chicken with his head cut off for several years. Didn't seem like I could settle down.
After about 8 to 10 years of running around to single with no purpose in mind, I decided it was time to settle down. I met my wife, Alice Fox. About 12 years ago she had lost her husband who died from cancer, we liked to do a lot of things in common. Then July 11, 1975, we were married in my home in Monticello by Bishop Kenny Bailey. Those present were my daughter and her family. He ring bearer was Kelly Harold, the maid of honor was Felicia Harold. We were later married in the Salt Lake Temple. Alice and I have had several years of very happy dealings. We have traveled up into Alaska and been to Canada twice on fishing trips. We go to California and spend a lot of time with my sister and daughter in California. I bought a mobile home in California. We can go and take the motor home and then spend some time doing what we want to do in California. We also like to do work in the Temple, we go to the LA Temple and have for several years. We'll be going this year to spend more time in the Temple and visit my sister and daughter and our friends in California. We also have spent several months in the winter time in Old Mexico where we love to boat and fish. We are going there this winter, probably January of 87.