Millard Dewey Rooks History
Contributor: Nana5667 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
This is the personal history of Millard Dewey Rooks who was born on January 23, 1911. His parents were William Jackson Rooks and Emma Obelia Leigh. He was born in the town of Ebro, County of Washington, State of Florida. There he resided until the age of eight weeks when they moved to Vernal, Utah. His parents were converts to the gospel.
Some of his early memories: I remember putting his arms around dad's leg at church and upon looking up found it wasn't my dad. Climbing up to the attic outside stairs to snitch some chuffies which tastes similar to peanut butter and grows in the ground, and falling down the stairs (which wasn't to sneaky). I remember a neighbor boy climbing a tree to a bird nest and holding a bird for me to see. As I looked up it pooped in my face. While living in Vernal we had a once-eyed pony which we kept tied up. I "wet" on its foot so it stomped and took my big toenail off and I still have signs of it.
As told by Millard:
When we moved from florida to Vernal we came from Florida to Watson, Utah, by train and then to Vernal by wagon. When we left Vernal to move back to Florida we traveled in wagons to Watson where we rode a narrow gauge train. The first peanuts I ever tasted were on that trip South. Vernal had no railroad so when we lived there Watson, Utah, was the closest shipping point. All freeight came in on wagons drawn by horses. They came right by our home. Sometimes there were four, six, or eight hitches and two or three wagons tied together. They pu a catepillar to pulling wagons, probably there about six wagons. It had to be loaded with fuel and as I remember it didn't "pan out".
I remember the first car, a Model T Ford, that came to the Uinta Valley. Some doctor had bought it. We knew for weeks it was coming. We were watching long before it arrived to day it finally came.
Dad, Mother, and children-Edna, Hazel, Alma and I, with some friends, traveled to Salt Lake by wagon where Dan and Mother were married in the temple and we children were sealed to them. Just being a baby at the time I don't know how long it took for the trip. It is about 185 miles from Vernal to Salt Lake on the highway we have now and in 1911 it was probably better than 200 miles. It took about three weeks for the round trip.
Some of my childhood memories before the age of eight include riding with Dad when he was mowing hay. A coyote showed up in the hay. He was catching grasshoppers so Dad asked if I wanted to get off and watch it. I probably wanted to rest a bit so I got off and sat in the hay. It came close and when it saw me it reared up. It scared me so I ran for Dad and the coyote ran the other way.
I can't remember when I began to ride a horse. Some of the neighbor boys and I would take the family's cows out in the sagebrush to graze. I can't remember how we separeted them when we came home.
Dad bought a new buggy and boy was it shiny. I remember going to town with Mother and her leaving me in the bugy while she shopped to long. I don't remember how old I was, but I wet my pants.
We lived five or six miles from Vernal and Dad would hitch the horse to the buggy and Mom would give me a list and a wallet with money. I would driver to town, stop at the hitch rail at Ashton's General Store and someone would come out and tie the horse. I gave them the list and the money. They always gave me either some black licorice or a ginger cookie about six inches in diameter. They put the purchases in the buggy, untied the horse and I went home.
When I was about eight, we moved back to Florida where I began my formal education. The family then engaged in farming and continued in it as long as any of the children were at home. It was a good life and we had parents who loved us and taught us the principles of the gospel. I was just a normal kid and tried most everything, some good and some not so good. I cultivated corn in the nude, swiped watermelons and sugar cane, hunted coons and possums, and sometimes put them in the some neighbor's mailbox. We had all the watermelons and cane we could eat at home, but it was fun to eat someone else's (at least we thought it was).
I was kind of on the sickly side, had fever and chills, and probably T.B. according to an x-ray which shows scar tissue on my lungs. Fever is caused from the affects of Malaria which is caused by mosquito bites.
When I was about sixteen, my brother Hazel who was eight years older than I and myself drove back to Vernal in a car. I went to work for two brothers named Knapp who had ranches a few miles down the White River from Rangely, Colorado. I don't remember how long I worked before I quit him, but Ross, my cousin, stayed on. I got my wages, but Ross lost quite a bit in back wages when Mr. Knapp went broke.
About this time my Uncle Archie Rooks and his son-in-law Bill Slaugh contracted to build two sump or waste ponds for the Raven Oil Co., at Rangely, Colorado. Bill Slaugh, Russel Rooks and myself worked three or four weeks at this job. About this time I received a bad burn all over my body from a natural gas explosion touched off by a cigarette being lit. We were in the shower at the time. I was in bed about a month. My sister Alma and her husband Everett Goodwin came to visit me and I returned home with them to Blackfoot, Idaho. This was in 1930. That was when I first met Jennie Turpin who has been my wife for the past 41 years.
I returned to Florida in 1932 and stayed until 1934. I made a round trip to drive some of Uncle Johnnie's family to Vernal, Utah, to visit Uncle Archie and then on to Salt Lake where they had their temple work done. I went on to Blackfoot to visit Alma and Everett and Jennie. We went to Salt Lake. Then I returned to Florida and Jennie returned to Blackfoot. The next year brought me back to Blackfoot, Idaho.
On September 24, 1936, Jennie and I were married in the Salt Lake temple and from this marriage have come seven children, three boys and four girls. This is the greatest gift that can come to parents in this life. We had our ups and downs and farmed as our children grew up.
In 1947 I underwent an operation for a tumor at the base of my skull and was in the LDS hospital in Salt Lake. I wasn't able to do much work for a year, but through Mom's good management and the help of her brothers and a brother-in-law, Glen Taylor, and also some good neighbors we got by. As soon as I was able to work, I stated to clean the Rockford School house and driver a school bus. Hennie and the children helped clean the school house. Later we farmed and continued working for the school district for sixteen years. I was then offered a job as maintenance superintendent. I took the job and we quit farming. Mom and the kids took over the school house job. When the kids grew up, I quit driving school bus and helped Mom clean the school. We did this for another sixteen years until I retired at age 65 and Mom retired at 62.