Victor LeRoy Oaks Written 1955-59
Contributor: finnsh Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Victor LeRoy Oaks was born the 20th of November 1905 in Maeser, Uintah county, Utah, the seventh son and the ninth child of William Hyrum and Janett Bethers Oaks. Seven more children were born to this couple making a total of sixteen children in the family. They all lived to maturity except two boys who died in the adolescent period of their lives.
He was born and reared in a two-room log cabin in the town of Maeser, with the exception of about two years when the family homesteaded property in the Roosevelt area.
His father was a farmer, trapper and produced lime and plaster for a living. With such a large family to support, all members of the family necessarily cooperated in the various enterprises. They tell many interesting stories about their trapping experiences.
The Oakses were always good friends to the Indians and strangers that passed their way. They took them in and fed them many times. When Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would rob banks they would pass through William Hyrum's farm and get fresh horses. By doing this they were able to stay ahead of the pose on their way to the Hold in the Wall hold out. They would leave a gold piece in payment.
The boys of the family slept out of doors or in the log grainery, which was a short distance from the house. Roy recalls that in the winter time they would warm themselves by the kitchen stove, loosen their shoe strings, etc. And then make a run for the grainery and jump into bed before they got too cold. They woke up to find snow on their beds at times when they slept outside. They slept three in a bed and since Roy was younger, he was usually in the middle.
He attended the Maeser elementary school up to and including the eighth grade, and then Uintah High School. They walked too and from school, a distance of at least a mile to the elementary, and two and one-half miles to the High School. Roy excelled in Arithmetic and spelling. he also recalls that he drew an excellent picture of a ship (the May Flower) when he was in the fourth grade. His teacher complimented him on it and told him to take it home and save it, that he would be proud to have it some day. But he felt embarrassed about it and destroyed it before reaching home.
He recalls that at Christmas time they set out bowls on the table for their gifts. In them they would receive candy, nuts and then their gifts would be hid in all kinds of places around the house and they would hunt until they had found them. That was part of the fun. They couldn't hope to receive many or big gifts. If some members of the family seemed too disappointed in not receiving some gift, they might receive some additional gift on New Year's Eve. Gifts always consisted of clothing. They were all greatful for what they had and enjoyed each other a great deal.
Roy had a pleasant disposition and was a leader in his group of friends. He did his share of boyish pranks and teasing the girls.
He related that one time when his pockets were bulging with all sorts of things, his Dad took him by the heals and turned him up-side-down to show a neighbor lady what he had in his pockets. They had a good laugh over it but Roy found it difficult to not hold a grudge toward that lady.
In those days boys wore knee dress pants. When Roy got his first pair of long pants and wore them to church, some kids made fun of him so he would not go back to church for almost two years until other boys were wearing long pants also.
The family got logs from the mountain, had them sawed and built a new home on the same lot, just in front of the old home. Eunice and Iris were both born in the new home.
Electricity came to the Oaks home when Roy was in the seventh grade. He recalls that as they plastered the kitchen in the new home, his older brother said they would let him help with the plastering. How proud he was and cli8mbed up to do his best on the job. But the place they had chosen for him to work was over an electric wire so that he received a severe shock. The boys got a big laugh out of that.
When they first got electricity in the home, people were afraid of it. Each time an electric storm came up they would have a switch thrown so that lightening wouldn't come in and burn the house down. The control switch was in the Oaks' attic. Weston went up there had worked a long time to fix a string on it so it could be turned off and on from down stairs.
Roy recalls that when he was small he and Lloyd spent most of the summers herding cows in the road. They were always without shoes all summer except to go to church. One summer day as Roy and Lloyd herded the cows, Mrs. Rudge drove by on her way home from town. She stopped and gave the boys twenty-five cents. They debated what to do with the money. They decided it surely would be fine to have some candy. They stopped the next carriage that came along the road going to town. There happened to be a man in it that they didn't know. They asked him to take their quarter to town and bring them some candy. He did and they all had a big treat that night.
When he was baptized, Nettie took him in the single buggy to the tabernacle in Vernal for the baptism. A brother Hardey, a member of the High Council, performed the ceremony. When we started home after this important occasion, a boy hit me on the side of the head with a snowball with a rock inside of it. It hurt a lot and I used some profanity about the kid. Nettie threatened to take me back to have me baptized over again.
When Weston, the oldest boy, finished high school the family managed to send him out to the Brigham Young University at Provo to College. He did well and when he finished there, he borrowed money and went to Philidelphia to medical school. After completing his work there, he and his wife spent a short time at Vernal with the Oaks family. The Oaks children were all quite impressed with their sister-in-law. They thought it was something when she took the broom and swept the kitchen floor to help out. She was having trouble with her shoe strings breaking. Roy and Lloyd took a nickel they had managed to save and went to the corner store and bought her some new shoe strings.
The Oaks family did not own a car before their mother died. She was taken to Provo to the hospital by Joseph McKee. Later the Oakses purchased that car form the McKees.
It was a great shock to the whole family when mother Oaks died. (Nettie came home from college to take over the role of mother.) Nettie, the oldest daughter, took charge of the home. Roy had never been popular with her. He had been too much of a tease. Father Oaks had never been companionable with his boys and now with added responsibility he didn't concern himself with the older children. In less than a year after his mother's death, in July 1922, Roy felt not wanted at home to such an extent that he decided to leave. Roy left home and went out to Heber City area to his Uncle Zed Bethers' place. He was there for a couple of weeks. Then he managed to find a ride to California. An older brother, Ervyn, was married and lived in California. Roy caught a ride and went there. He worked with his brother and learned the carpenter trade. However, his training in other things while there was not so good. His brother smoked heavily, and coffee was served in the home. They never went to church. Ervyn had been a soldier in World War I and when Roy lived in his home in California, he had become a heavy smoker. His wife was not LDS they never went to church. Coffee was served every AM for breakfast and Roy learned to enjoy it. After a year of this Roy decided that was not the life for him. On the 22 of March 1923 he arranged for a ride back to Vernal. He swallowed his pride and went back to high school with younger students. Then in the fall of 1927 he went to Provo, set up house keeping in one room along with another fellow and they fired a furnace to pay the rent. He joined the National Guard and got work at the barns taking care of the horses that were a part of the Guard equipment at that time. He went to work at 4:30 in the morning and again after school at night. The pay was 25 cents an hour. He continued this type of activity for three years of college. In the summers his brother, Weston, asked him to go back to help his Dad on the farm. He said if he would do this he would loan him the money to pay his tuition in school.
At school Roy was a conscientious student, but very reserved and quiet. He didn't participate to any great extend in extra curricular activities because during high school he always had to hurry home to help do the chores. During college he was always busy working to sustain himself outside of school hours.
At BYU in September 1928, I met my future wife and companion, Rozena Ann Nelson. We enjoyed many pleasant hours together. We were married the 8th of September 1930 in the Salt Lake Temple. We spent the first nine months of our married life finishing college at the Y.
In June 1931 as we finished college, the country was in the depths of the depression. There were hundreds of people out of employment. I was not one of the few lucky ones to find a position, so we spent a year in Bear Lake, Idaho where I was employed doing farm work. Our eldest son, Hyrum LeRoy, was born there 4 October 1931.
We spent the next two years in Logan where I worked at the college and picked up a few classes. In 1934 we moved back to Provo where we bought an old home and remodeled it. With Weston's help I established the Provo Clinical Laboratory which I operated. I also received my Master's Degree from BYU in 1936. Our second son, Harold Rasmus, was born 20 June 1936 and our first daughter, Annette Rozena, arrived at the Utah Valley Hospital 29 November 1940.
We left Provo in April 1941 and moved to Vernal where we made our home for two years, then we bought a home in Roosevelt and I accepted a teaching position at Roosevelt High School. We also had about a thousand chickens to care for and two cows. Ferron Ross was born at Vernal 21 November 1942 and Charlene Ann arrived while we lived at Roosevelt, 1 Jun 1944.
In the summer of 1944 we sold our home at Roosevelt and moved to North Ogden our present home, where I began teaching for Weber County School District. It was war time and many government instillations had been established in Weber County. Houses were most difficult to find. We were blessed to locate a very old, rock constructed home with two and one-half acres of ground surrounding it. It remodeled beautifully and provided a lovely home and surroundings for us.
Our youngest daughter, Elaine ReNee arrived while we lived here. She was born 17 January 1948. She was an RH negative baby and it was only through a great blessing from the Lord that we have her with us. We were not so fortunate with out seventh child. She was still born 23 May 1953.
The LDS Church has been the greatest influence in our lives. Through activity in it we have enjoyed great peace and happiness. Over the years I have worked as teacher in the Sunday School, Priesthood groups, and YMMIA, Assistant Supt of the Sunday School, Assistant and Supt of YMMIA, General Secretary of the Aaronic Priesthood and of the Adult Aaronic, Stake Genealogical Committee Chairman, First Counselor of the Ward Bishopric, a member of the High Council, an ordained temple worker, and a Supervisor in the Ogden Genealogical Branch Library. I have worked in various positions in the scouting program for 36 years. I earned my Eagle badge along with Hyrum and completed five palms with Harold.
My Patriarchal blessing which I received in 1929 stated specifically that I was to teach in the institutions of learning. This has been my profession and I have enjoyed it. Even though many other positions pay better monetarily, none could bring more satisfaction. I receive a great thrill when one of my former students greets me enthusiastically and says in one way or another, "Thanks, you have helped me in my life."
When it was necessary I worked as a carpenter during the summer building homes and when we built our new church I was one of the night supervisors there during one winter and I spent the next summer helping to put in walks and finishing up the building and grounds.