Life Sketch of Owen Kenneth Ward by his wife Opal
Contributor: EileenLav Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Born September 12, 1915 to Richard Alvin Ward and Marinda Irene John.
Owen spent his growing up years in Sterling, Idaho, where his father was engaged in farming and contributed to the recreation of the community by building and managing a dance hall. Weekly dances were attended by every member of the family. This is where Owen learned to dance with his mother and sisters, whom he said never turned him down. Although, Hilda said she was a little skeptical the first time he asked her but when she got out on the floor she was surprised. He danced around just like he had danced forever, his comment was "I was born dancing." Whatever the reason, HE IS THE BEST.
He talked often of haying season when he and Hilda would mow hay (he says it seemed everything he did was with Hilda as a companion). This was done with a team of horses hooked to a mowing machine. He was so small he had to be tied onto the mower seat with a belt so he couldn't fall off, then he would follow behind Hilda while they made the rounds cutting hay. One experience he will never forget was when Hilda mowed over a hornet's nest, and the hornets decided to get revenge. With the hornets swarming around them, they ran their horses into the willows to try to brush the hornets off them, unhooked the double trees, or tugs so the horses couldn't run away with the mower then proceeded down to the river where they put mud on their hornet stings and lament over the trials of that experience. No matter how hard the day's work, when they retired for the night at their camp on the bottoms, after a good supper, he says he will always remember his father's famous remark --"It's a butterfly life." Sometimes Owen would wonder how it could be "butterflies" when he could feel hornet stings.
As a child growing up in a large family of ten brothers and sisters, he has many memories of special times. He remembers Harley wrestling on the kitchen floor with the little ones. He remembers having the responsibility of being big brother to Vyron and Floyd. He remembers one day in particular when his mother took time from her busy schedule to take him, Vyron and Floyd on a very special outing out through the meadow and rocks to pick May flowers. It seemed so special to him as it was time of his very own with a mother he loved so much.
He remembers his baptism as the day they hitched the horse to the one horse buggy and drove to the high line canal and proceeded to "dunk" him as he called it in the cold water. He isn't sure but it seemed they had to do it twice.
When their farm fell prey to the American Falls Dam, they left the Sterling area and moved to the Tyhee flats area near Pocatello to a new venture in farming. It was here he made many friends, among those he met was the girl who was later to become his wife. He tells of going to a church dance where on a lady's tag dance she tagged him and that was the first time he was aware there might be a girl he could really like. There were many dates, but dancing was the most memorable. Of course there was a dance every Saturday night, boys in their suits and girls in their prettiest dresses, those were very special times. Owen always liked pretty girls, little ones or big one and dancing gave him a chance to hold them and give them a little extra squeeze.
Owen was always one to set high goals for himself. One of those was that there would be a time when he would always be able to take his wallet out of his pocket and find no less than $100 in it. Through his resourcefulness he has accomplished this.
He and his best girl were married June 8, 1935 in American Falls and began making a life for his wife and later two daughters. Married life began during the depression and there were many trying times. But with all of our struggles and working together our love grew stronger. Owen was a hard worker and spent long hours on the farm. Sometimes, he would work all night and I would take him a hot bowl of wheat flakes with cream and sugar out to the field at two o"clock in the morning. It would be so cold, he would welcome a few minutes to sit in a warm car and eat something warm so he could work till morning when someone would come out to take over. We didn't have lots of machinery at that time so one tractor had to work 24 hours a day.
When Barbara was nine years old we built and moved into our new home all paid for. His philosophy has always been, don't buy anything you can't pay for and we have lived by that all our lives. He says he never forgot anything that had a $ sign in front of it. He has a very sharp mind and can figure in his head before his co-workers can figure on a machine. These factors account for his success in life. He is truly a philosopher and inventor. He was co-inventor of the first potato cutting machine and engineer in designing many other pieces of potato handling equipment and owner of MIlestone Equipment Company. He is a loving husband and father and an example to his business associates. He is a good provider and is proud of his family, his home and his many accomplishments
I would like to include a tribute that I wrote to his mother that expresses a few of my thoughts.
To my husband's mother:
Just a note to let you know that we love you dearly. I would like to express my appreciation to you for my wonderful husband and father. Only kind loving parents such as you could have taught him the things which are so important to us as a family. His words of love, counsel and wisdom to his daughters have given them inspiration they needed to make them the lovely young ladies they are today. Even though quick spoken at times, his ability to humble himself, to ask forgiveness and to tell us how much he loves us and appreciates us endears him to us even more. His "I love you" and words of encouragement are priceless.
I want to thank you for the patience and love you gave to him as an example. We love you and may you always be happy.
Opal Ward April 1, 1984
Dad's 65th Birthday by Barbara
Contributor: EileenLav Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
September 12, 1980
On this occasion of your 65th birthday, mother wanted to make it special for you by asking all of us to write our memories and feelings. I would like to reminisce back through the years and bring back some of those special experiences that we shared together.
My earliest recollection of our little family, only three of us, you, me and mother for thirteen years, goes back to the little two room house in Tyhee next to Grandma Ward's. I remember having the measles and laying in the baby bed and missing my dance revue, Mrs. Ferguson was my dance teacher. I also remember turning circles in the kitchen, getting dizzy and seeing the room go round and round. I remember laying in my little bed and deciding that I would never tell a lie, a noble thought for one not over three, but that commitment at that time and your noble example of honesty in your life has been a strength to me whenever I have been tempted.
I next remember moving to Fort Hall. Here I remember standing out in the barn watching you milk the cow and how you would sing to the top of your lungs. I rode on the horse drawn hay wagon and stomped the hay as you pitched it up on the wagon with a pitch fork. We used kerosene lamps for light a night and I remember a beacon light flash through the house after we went to bed. We spent most all of our time together, you, mom and me. I never had a baby sitter. It seems that I went everywhere with you. As I got older, I remember mother buying formals and fixing them up extra pretty so she could go to the Gold and Green Balls with you. Either Colleen and I or Cheri and I would stay together as you went out on your dates. You have always loved to dance and and have been the best dancer on the floor wherever you were.
When we moved to the brown shingle house on Quinn Road, I remember building fires in the coal stove to keep warm and how cold the bedroom was. Mother would heat up the electric iron and iron my bed to warm it before I crawled in. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table and gagging on peas. Your favorite dessert was Mother's raison pie which you had to give up because of your stomach ulcers. Mother would send you out to the field with a thermos bottle full of cream so you could drink some every hour. That was the prescription for fixing ulcers.
I remember our outdoor toilet. It was always a little scary. In the summer, I would ride with you on the old Oliver tractor as you plowed and planted the fields around the house. Often I would go with Mother to take lunch out to you in the field. We would spread a blanket in the shade of the tractor and eat lunch together.
I remember being with you in the yard when you were repairing machinery. You would send me to the shop for a tool and I never knew exactly what I was going after. I remember how Mother and I would run to your aid whenever we heard your loud whistle. We had work horses. I remember using them as a derrick horse when unloading baled hay making large hay stacks in the back yard. I would sometimes go down in the field to head them up to the corral where they would be harnessed. You would tell me to stand to block the way so they would not try to escape. I would stand there, but when they would start running towards me and the ground would start to shake, I was too scared and I would move and you would have to go back to the pasture and bring them up again.
I remember when we got the new phonograph that cut records. When Vyron and Virginia or Ed and Melba and Cherie would come over, we would do little radio skits complete with sound effects. There was always a lot of fun and laughter and we, children, were always included.
I remember going to Pioneer League baseball games in the summer at the old Halliwell Baseball Park. Mother went often but I remember a few times that just you and I went together. I remember during Harvest Vacation laying in the car at the potato field and listening to the World Series on the car radio. I love baseball and the World Series to this day. It always brings back such warm memories.
My friends were always afraid of you because of your gruff voice until they got to know you better and found out that you were really just a pussy cat in lion's clothing.
I have always known that you loved me and trusted me and that has given me the desire to be a daughter that you could be proud of.
Just a few years ago I remember a call to the hospital from you to me when I needed it most.. I had just lost a baby and was having serious complications. You said, “Just remember Honey, We can climb any mountain together.” That's the kind of special strength you have been to me throughout my life and I love you very much. Barbara
Opal Luella Miles
Contributor: EileenLav Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Life History of Opal Miles Ward
The summer of the year 1915 was a busy summer for Pearl Buttcane Miles and her loving husband, Lorenzo. They were building their first home - 2 rooms filled with simple homey furniture and filled with love, in Blackfoot, Idaho. In this special cottage, on September 4 1915 was born a baby girl, who they gave the name of Opal Luella. At the time they were sure she was a perfect gem, not knowing that as years went by they would wonder from time to time if their first impression was entirely correct. Many times I gave my mother a scare with childhood ailments and she would scurry across the road to bring her sister, Aunt Carrie, who in he wisdom would assure her that I would bring her many more busy, happy days.
I had four brothers and one sister to share my childhood experiences with and they were many and varied. We had a large apple orchard on the farm from which we kids certainly tried to prove the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the Doctor away" was true. When the first green ones were big enough to eat, we had our Mom brewing a good home remedy to take care of stomach aches it caused. as well as producing lots of summer as well as winter goodies to eat it provided a perfect place for we kids to play hide and seek, and living on a farm we had many places of "IT" as we called the seeker to look for us.
Each year when spring came we kids would prevail upon our Daddy to make our "stilts" to walk upon. They were various sizes depending on the size of the child. When we learned to control them and walk about, we felt about 12 feet high although they were only 24" to 36" off the ground, but when you are a child being bigger than anyone makes you feel mighty important. Riding horses was a must for farm kids so we learned to bridle and saddle our own pony, and ride him with the pride and dignity only a child can feel when he has his own way of transporting himself to the neighbors to play, or to ride past a boy's house to show off a little and hope he liked you as well as you liked him.
Mother and Dad taught us to work as well as play. We lived on a family farm and everyone did their share to contribute to the family welfare. We thinned, hoed, topped and loaded sugar beets - cut and picked potatoes - picked and sold raspberries, and it seemed that every year our bean crop would get rained on, so every winter we would have to shell and sort them before they could be sold, this all done by hand, needless to say it kept us busy all winter. We helped weed and grow a garden from which we canned our winter vegetables. Mother taught us girls by example as well as elbow grease how to keep a clean house and to cook. I still can feel the pride with which I would look at the rooms I had been assigned to clean on Saturday, which was cleaning day at our house. Our rug was a 9 X 12 which left about three feet of floor around the edges to keep polished. Oh how I loved to see that shine.
The "Old Swimming Hole" what memories that brings back. Each day at noon after lunch and before returning to the fields to work we had an hour when all kids in the neighborhood would congregate to have some fun. When we were little, we would watch the big boys dive off the diving board, and long for the day when we could do our thing and show off for the younger kids. When we heard our Dad whistle through his teeth -which we could hear clear to the other end of the 40 acres - w knew it was time for us to come home no matter what we were doing.
The first day of May was always a fun day for us. Mother would go for a walk with us, and we would gather wild flowers and put in little paper baskets that we had made in colored bright colors and take them to our favorite people in the neighborhood. The 4th of July - What a special day! We always had a new dress which mother had made us, and with friends and relatives we gathered at the local celebration. That was the one time of year we could have all the homemade ice cream we could
eat. Mother and Dad spent many a 4th of July night comforting kids with upset tummies.
We were blessed to have had the privilege of growing up on the farm. We knew the joy of children with baby animals, calves, colts, lambs, pigs, puppies and kittens, even watching baby chicks hatch. Mother set an incubator each spring in which she placed 12 dozen eggs all marked with a black spot on one side. Each morning and night we would remove the trays and turn the eggs in anticipation, awaiting the day they would start hatching - then stand in awe watching those little chicks pick their way out of the shell. We were taught the wonders of life that God gave to all creatures, that we must cherish it and to share ourselves with others that all might find joy and happiness.
We experienced the taste of cold water from a granite dipper hanging on the pump from which we got our water and before that, even drawing water from a well in a bucket attached to a rope hanging over a pulley. Oh how good that water was on a hot summer day! We knew the frustration of trying to bathe in a round tub with our knees up under or chin. Each one taking their turn on a Saturday night, so we could make it to Sunday School on time the next day. We had a pretty black buggy with red wheels and a trust black horse that took us to Church and Primary each Sunday and Tuesday. One of our special church activities was our annual Children's Christmas Day Dance - how pretty we though
t we were in our new Christmas dresses. Of course, we were all decked out in the jewelry that Santa left for us the night before under our tree decorated with popcorn, and cranberry garlands we had made and with real cantles that we could light on Christmas morning and other homemade ornaments. Quite a beautiful tree we had to admit.
We enjoyed many family and neighbor outings where we would take our bedding and food up the canyon and cut our winter wood supply and haul it home on horse drawn wagons. It was usually a three day outing. Then in winter we would take excursions to the river to cut ice to store in our ice house where we would keep our milk, cream and meat cold in summer and used the ice to make ice cream almost every Sunday.
We followed the beaten path many times to the out house where we could spend quite a little time looking at the catalogue (which was for sanitary purposes) especially when it was dishtime. Course when it was dark we ran all the way out and swore that someone was following us. We could never tet in the door of the house fast enough on the return trip.
We saw the wonder of that ball of butter being formed after churning cream what sometimes seemed like forever. Then Mother would work all the buttermilk out of it and form into 1 pound bricks, which along with the eggs we gathered from the chicken coop each evening, would be taken to town on Saturday and traded for groceries. This was always their time together alone. They did their shipping, took in a movie and we kids waited patiently on our best behavior because that was the night they would bring home a sack of candy for us - if we were good!
I attended school in Blackfoot through my junior year in high school. I experienced riding a school wagon to school, sleigh runners would be attached to take us through the snow drifts in the winter. One time when the horses were unruly the sleigh tipped over and all of us kids were crying so the let us go. It was to school at 9:00 and out at 4:00. We could have supervised play on the school grounds until the school wagon came. I remember two teachers especially - Miss Jones, who stood with her back to the door jam so we had to pass in front of her to go out to recess. We had to excuse our selves as we went by of else we couldn't go out to play. This was to impress on us the value of good manners. Course every once in a while some rebellious child had to spend recess at his desk. Then there was Miss Vaughn, who made me promise that I would not take algebra again if she passed me. I attended Blackfoot High School until my Junior year then moved to Pocatello, where I graduated in 1933. These were depression years and we were taught to sew our own clothes, help can fruit and vegetables for winter and to work when we could to help out. I tended kids for our bishop Sam Dunn for 50 cents a day and was glad to have the chance. Our recreation was home and church oriented. I remember practicing for M.I.A. winter plays and riding to practice in a horse-drawn sleigh which came and picked all of us in the play up, took us to the church and home after. We warmed bricks to put our feet on to keep warm. I remember thinking I hope I play the part as well in real life, Ha! Ha! There were Gold and Green Balls, which were the highlight of the year. One of the girls was picked as queen, and of course we all wanted the chance. I never had the privilege but served as an attendant once. On one occasion the boys didn't know who to vote for, so they all cast their votes for their make believe choice "Goldie Green" - trust them.
It was at a church dance that I met my future husband. He says I was the aggressor, tagging him on a tag dance. Whatever the situation, I think that I was the winner. We were married June 8, 1935 We worked hard and through trial and error built a strong and loving marriage. When our first little girl was born, we were so happy and marveled at the miracle that we had created through love. We dressed her in ruffles and showed her off to anyone we could get to listen. We entered her in a baby contest where she won first prize in her division. Owen worked for $1.00 a day for Clark Concrete for a couple of years then went to work with his Dad for two years, Then we moved to Fort Hall where we began to farm with Willis and started to gain our own independence. Owen and Willis worked together many years and we seemed to make progress. When Work War II came along, Owen wasn't drafted because they needed farmers who could contribute to the war effort by supplying food. So that was his assignment.
In 1945 we built our new home, all paid for, and moved in in November. I used to walk from room to room and wonder if this house was really ours, until then we had an out house and carried our water in from an outdoor pump and heated the house with a coal stove. Can you wonder then that it was like a fairyland to me?
In 1949 another miracle, our second daughter joined our family. We named her Geraldine. Oh how we loved her. She was the most beautiful baby in the world, of course. And her big sister, Barbara, had a sister all her own. Again the sewing machine was busy. I love making clothes for my little ones, with ruffles, lace and ribbons, never caring one moment how many hours I would spend ironing them.
We lived a typical farm life. Up early and to bed when the work was done. We farmed row crops, hay and grain. First with a team of horses and horse-drawn equipment then slowly we added tractors and other mechanized equipment. We worked together at times when there was worked we girls could do like driving truck under the combine, or hauling hay, driving derrick horse, and sometimes driving tractor, or moving hand lines when necessary. A fun trip was when we packed a picnic lunch and went out to the field to eat with Daddy. We bought and fed cattle, bought sheep in the fall and fed them off the beet tops and alfalfa fields and sold on weight gain. We all spent some fun nights sleeping in the sheep camp so Owen could watch the dogs from getting into the sheep.
Gradually we went more and more to potato farming, then Owen and Willis bought and sold potatoes, then we increased our farming operation with the start of 2W Farms. We survived a disaster in 1954. A hail storm destroyed our 2W Farm crops and a $10,000 hay stack burned here on our home place, but being survivors, we never gave up. In 1961 Owen, Merthan, my brother and Scott Brown started the Milestone Business with the first successful potato cutter which they invented. They traveled all over the U.S. selling and delivering the cutters to get started. Due to health problems, Merthan sold out and later Scott sold also. Owen and Tanners have engineered many advances in potato handling equipment. The business has been good to us and afforded many opportunities to travel the U.S. and abroad. We have been to 27 foreign countries and 47 of the 50 states.
We have been blessed with health and happiness, a family who has brought us happiness, and grandchildren we love and who share their love and families with us. We have spent 53 happy years together. Truly God has blessed us.
OPAL MILES WARD - November 1988
Willis' life as recorded by himself.
Contributor: EileenLav Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I; Myself. Before I was myself, my daddy was Richard Alvin Ward and he lived in Woodruff, Idaho. My mother was Irene John and she lived in Portage, Utah, which was just five miles across the valley from Woodruff.
And the story is that whenever the Woodruff boys started to foolin’ around with the Portage girls there was always bad times. So it was kind of difficult. You pretty near had to fight your way in to get a Portage girl. Dad had a problem or two when he was trying to court mother. But they finally got together.
Dad worked on the ranch with his father (George Ward). They had a dry farm and some irrigated ground and some cattle on a quite sizable ranch. Dad was put in charge of the ranch a few years after his father passed away. So he was the oldest one there left with Grandma. When he got married he just went on running the farm. When it came time for me to come into the world, Mother went back over to Portage to her old home with her mother. The same house that my mother was born in, but it was remodeled a little. That was the start of my life.
When I was six months old, my daddy’s younger brother was old enough to take over and take care of [their] mother (Eunice Alice Niicholas). He wasn’t married yet. So my father and mother decided to move to the Snake River in the country which now is known as Sterling. At the time that they moved there it was known as Otis, Idaho. There was just a little post office and there was only about seven or eight families in the valley across the river where Mother and Dad settled.
Going back a ways now, to talk about my grandfather. Daddy’s father was killed in an accident while he was stacking hay. Father was just eleven years old. He had older brothers, but they were all farming and ranching together, they all had cattle and sheep, and a lot of dry ground and a lot of irrigated hay ground.
So Dad just stayed and worked on the ranch with the other boys, and as they got older, the older ones got married and left and eventually, my father took over the management of the ranch with Grandmother, for several years before he was married. He stayed on the ranch for almost two years with Grandmother, and then his younger brother Arthur was old enough to take over. So, then he moved over to Sterling.
My grandfather on my mother’s side was James J. John. He was married to my grandmother whose name was Mary James. They were from South Wales. Both of them were born and lived in Wales their younger part of their lives. When they were in their low teens they came across, but they never knew each other until they got here in the Salt Lake Valley. That’s when they got acquainted with each other. Then they migrated to the Malad area.
Grandpa John’s father had several sons and they all settled there in that one valley. They all owned ranches there, and they did for a long time after I was married. Several of the John family still lives there. Grandpa had a quite sizable dry farm. He raised dry farm wheat. He also had some irrigated ground that he raised hay on. He raised barley, grain and oats. He was quite a trader. Washakie reservation was just five miles south of where he lived, maybe a little more than that. He always had a little cash, so if the Indians needed any money, they would bring whatever they had to sell to Grandpa, and he would buy it and give them cash. He came to quite a reputation for being able to do that. And most of the time it was a cow or a calf or sheep or something, and he would use the grain that he harvested to feed the stock and he would fatten them up and sell them. And he made quite a reputation of being able to take care of the Indian’s needs, money wise. They respected him and loved him for what he did.
My grandmother died and Grandpa remarried. He retired when he was quite young yet, and moved to Logan (Utah). I think around thirty years, he and my step-grandmother officiated in the temple before he passed away. He died when he was eighty-six or eighty-seven years old. He sold the ranch, and they sold it on a contract, and my step-grandmother’s nephews bought the ranch. They paid them so much a year, and so they had a good income all the rest of his life.
He had a little bunch of chickens and a garden at his home there in Logan, Some of us grandchildren had the privilege of staying with them as we went to college and BYU, and of course, Utah Agricultural School. So several of us had an opportunity of spending a year or so with Grandpa. I had that privilege for one year.
My grandfather John had a special philosophy. If he said it once to me he said it a thousand times, “Save your nickels and dimes, and your dollars will take care of themselves.” I never forgot that. It is true. That’s what he did and I guess that is why he was able to do the things that he done. He was careful how he spent his money.
He had a terrible failing, while he was on the ranch, of overfeeding his horses oats. They were so wild you couldn’t hook them up to a buggy. You had to tie them down, pretty near, to get them hitched up. When you finally did get them hitched up you had better be ready to drive, because they were ready to go. He had some real nice animals. When I was down visiting as a kid I was always scared to go in his barn. Those horses were terrible. He treated them like little kittens or dogs and special fed them and everything.
He was a great person. Great man. I would like to have had the same opportunity with my Grandfather Ward as I had with my Grandfather John, but I didn’t have that privilege.
Going back to Sterling, at first it was Otis when we first moved there, and then they changed it to Tilden, and last, Sterling. At that time we had a ranch up on the hill, and then we had ground down on the bottoms by the river, [in] which we grew wild hay. We had a pretty sizable ranch. We put up a lot of hay. In the summertime, we ran around a hundred to a hundred fifty head of cattle there. Outside of a month or two in the early spring, we turned them out on the desert for awhile, and then we brought them back on the ranch and they would stay right there for the rest of the summer and winter.
We always milked a bunch of cows. They were mostly roan derm and red derm cows. We didn’t ‘have any special dairy cattle, but we milked all of them that we wanted. We milked what we needed and let the calves have the rest.
Going back to my real young days, I can remember living down in the bottoms when we first got the place. It was a two-room log house with a dirt roof, and slabs for floors. They were just logs laid there. They were chinked. They were chinked in the cracks of the logs and then they put mud in there to seal them up so they could stand the weather. They didn’t stay sealed all winter. I can remember waking up one morning and across the foot of my bed there was about a foot of snow that had come through during the night. My brother Harley was just a baby.
That was an exciting thing. I thought for sure we were going to freeze to death with that snow in there, but mother would come in there and say “That’s okay, we’ll take the snow out. We’ve got a good fire going.” Mother says I was too young to remember anything while we were in the bottoms, but I can tell a few things that happened.
I recall another time. Dad had butchered some pigs. I remember he got up early to milk the cows. He had a few cows to milk and told mother to just stay in bed because it was pretty cold. He built a fire in the old range that we cooked on and said that he would cook breakfast. So mother did that, she stayed in bed till he got through milking. He came in and she was going to help get breakfast and he said “no”, that he wanted to be left alone because he wanted to fix it.
So he got some of the spareribs that he had taken out of one of the pigs and separated all of them and put them in a big bread pan, I called it. Mother used to bake bread in it. Then he quartered potatoes on these spare ribs and then put them in the oven. The thing that I remember is that I never had eaten anything so good in all of my life. When he took the spare ribs out of the oven and poured the grease off of them and made some milk gravy, that was one of the best meals I ever ate as a child.
I always remember that. I told Mother and she said, “You just can’t possibly remember that. You couldn’t have been three years old.” I don’t know how old I was but it really stuck to my mind.
Then we moved up. And Dad finished proving up on a hundred and sixty acres up on the bench, up on the hill. This was a homestead that Father had taken from a fellow whose name was Tilden. He had started to prove up on it, and if I remember right, the story was that he either got sick [or wanted] to get out of it and not finish proving up on it. But I think he turned it over to my father for one hundred and fifty dollars. Dad and Mother finished proving up on it, and that was one reason why they moved up on it, because they had to live on the place that was being proved up on. Of course, it was covered with sagebrush. There was nothing up there except for a two-room log house with a little shanty built along side of it, at the time.
Dad still farmed, and put hay up on the bottoms along the river, and took care of the cattle. On the hundred and sixty acres, we had some low ground on it that had a creek run through it, and there was quite a bit of pasture coming from along the creek. So we had our milk cows pastured there along the creek. We eventually got the hundred and sixty acres fenced. I think it was mostly fenced when Dad got it, but then we finished it.
Then, early in the spring before he had to start haying, he would start railing the sagebrush and cleaning up the ground up on the hill. I can remember when I was just past five years old there was still sixty to seventy acres that still had sagebrush on it. Dad had planted some grain on the other ground that he had cleared off, and the sagebrush was about cleaned up on some of the ground.
I can remember railing sagebrush with an old sagebrush rail that was hand made. It was about eight feet long and would make a swath about eight feet wide, and it took four horses to pull it. I began railing that sagebrush before I was six years old. Dad and Mother would be burning the brush as it piled up. It always worried Mother, and I remember her always scolding Father for letting me drive those four horses on that rail, but it was good for me. It was some of the best experiences I ever had. It was dusty and dirty, and sometimes you couldn’t tell what you looked like when you came out of there, but it was good. It was good days.
Describing the rail, it was a piece of a railroad rail, eight feet long, and they had punched holes on the out end of it. And Dad had taken some big bolts, and bolted some logs that projected back from the rail that held it on the sage, and some across it to hold a kind of a wooden frame to hold the rail. When the rail got too loaded with brush, it would lift these logs up and dump the brush out, and then the logs would pull t back down into shape. It was quite an ordeal. I was privileged fifty or sixty years after that to break some sagebrush out here on the desert, and I don’t think we had a better outfit to do it with than they had way back in those days, seventy years ago.
So that was part of my life until I was about six. At that time I went to school in a little old red top schoolhouse. That was what we called it. It was a frame building, just one room. I can’t remember how big it was, other than that it was big enough to hold eight grades. We had one schoolteacher. She taught eight grades of school. So, you can imagine how much attention each grade got in a day’s schooling, but it was good.
[The] first schoolteacher was a young man who was just about ten or twelve years older than I was. He was about sixteen or seventeen. He taught the eight grades of school in that one room. His name was Marion Jackson. I knew him all his life. He lived at Aberdeen. I got into the potato business in my later years, and he worked for a man that was in the same business in Aberdeen. We had a very close relationship pretty near clear through his life. He has been gone for several years now, though. But anyway, he was teaching boys going in the eighth grade that was twenty and twenty-one years old. He had a rough time because the other boys were older than he was, and a lot bigger, and made it miserable for him.
The second year I got a lady teacher a young woman who probably became one of the greatest influences of any other than family, such as my mother and father, in my life. She taught two years there in the wintertime and then she went back to art school. I think one of those summers she went over to Europe for two or three months to study.
She fell in love with a not too young of a man that was a rancher there, and finally was married to him, which was against everyone’s wishes, because no one thought it would work. But, it did work. He lived in the bottoms with his three brothers and one sister. The three brothers weren’t married at the time, and after he got married, then the other brothers got married. And they all married schoolteachers. The sister that was left married a [brother-in-law] to another sister that had married before. Their name was Driscoll. Tichert was what her name was when she finally got married. The moved to Cokeville and he became a great livestock man. He has one of the finest [herds] of cattle in the state of Wyoming.
We became very good friends. I and my brother Owen bought their calves and fed them for years. I don’t know how many years, but for a long time. We bought their cattle and run them in a corral feed lot.
I was privileged to speak at her funeral just about two years ago. Her husband still lives, and he is ninety-one years old and I visited him on his last birthday. He was in fine shape in fact when we stopped. Nyle and I, and our wives stopped and seen him about two months ago and he is still doing fine.
He finally had to give up his horse and can’t ride much anymore. He has just about given up on his garden also. He always raised a beautiful garden. It is too hard for him to get around, and he goes out and keeps his grand kids straightened out. His youngest son runs the home ranch that they had when they moved out of the bottoms. They still run cattle, which is a pure bred herd, as well as a commercial herd, also. They still raise Hereford bulls.
When I was eighteen months old my brother Harley was born. Mother and Dad had just moved up on the hill in Sterling. It was September, and Father was putting up hay down on the bottoms, down on the river, which was about three miles from where, we lived. He had a young man working for him. He knew that morning when he went to work that Harley could come anytime. And so he left this young man who was fifteen years old, [a] neighbor boy, to stay there with a saddle horse, so that when Mother told him, that he was to come and get father, and he was to pick up a midwife. That’s what they were called in those days because they didn’t have doctors in those days. The midwife was a grand old lady by the name of Pugmire.
Well, the boy went down, but he got mixed up with some neighbor boys about his own age on the way down. He left to get my father at 10:30, but he never got there until 3:30. Father unhooked the horses from the mowing machine and hooked them up to the buggy and went to get Sister Pugmire. When they finally got there, Harley was already born. Mother had taken care of him. He was clean and all washed up.
Milestone of Blackfoot, Idaho Published in the Potato Grower Magazine September 2009 Issue Published online: Sep 07, 2009 Potato Equipment Tyler J. Baum, Editor
Contributor: EileenLav Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
In 1961, Merthin Miles, Scott Brown and Owen Ward made a commitment to build a seed cutter they believed would change the potato industry. Through their energy and resources, along with hard work and many trials, the Milestone seed cutter became a reality. The first product built by Milestone-and the principal machine manufactured to this date-has made Milestone one of the most outstanding potato handling equipment manufacturers in the world.
The company used to be two separate entities: Milestone and E.M. Tanners, which was a contract manufacturer for Milestone. Ward owned Milestone until his passing in 1991. Mitchell and Lynn Turner, who have both been employed at Milestone since the 1970s, bought the consolidated company in October of 2007. Being that it's a small company, Mitchell admits, "Everybody's got more than one job, including me and Lynn." Their spouses even work there, which has been a positive thing for the company.
Milestone's first big breakthrough was the 24-inch wide seed cutter, which replaced the work of 20 men. Milestone hasn't looked back since. With increasing production needs, Milestone has expanded the capacity and accuracy of its seed cutters. In 1990 they introduced the first 60-inch seed cutter, capable of cutting 40,000 pounds of seed potatoes an hour, and in 2001 the first 72-inch cutter, which has the capability of cutting 55,000 pounds an hour.