Contributor: kara.mcmurray Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
This is taken from a recording we made of my Dad, Wilbert Cammack, telling us his life story in 1977.
My father's name was Francis Cammack. He was born in England in 1879, the second child of a family of 3--George, Francis, and Edith. With their parents, they all joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1893.
My Mother was Sarah Edna Atwood. She was the fourth child in a family of eleven. Her father was born in Murray, Utah. Her Mother was born in England and when she was seven years old, her mother and three children joined the Church and came to the United States. At the age of seven, my grandmother walked all the way across the plains to Utah and helped push a handcart.
I was born January 19, 1910--the 4th child in a family of eleven. We lived about a mile from Spanish Fork, Utah in an area called Leland Ward. I went to school in Spanish Fork for the first four years. The 25-acre farm was not enough to make a living, so Father worked at the flour mill.
When I was eight years old, I was baptized in the Leland swimming pool by my cousin, Earl Beck. In the spring of 1919, Father sold the farm in Utah and we moved to Darlington, Idaho. It was called the Lost River Country. The farm Dad purchased had very poor soil and poor water rights.. It was necessary for Father to go away to work in order to make a living.
When I was in the eighth grade, Father went to run a flour mill at Bellvue, Idaho. Mother was expecting a new baby. There were no doctors in the area at that time. Mother went to Spanish Fork, Utah and stayed with her sister, Aunt Lula Beck. That left five children home alone for about two months during the worst part of the winter-- Rulon, 18, Edna 17, Henry 15 (he was working and living with another family). I was 13, Mary 9, and Melvin 7. Mother took Otter and Loa with her because they were too young to go to school. I was not late or absent once during the school year.
When I was in 9th grade, my brother Henry returned to school, and we finished high school together. Henry and I played basketball and enjoyed going to school. We graduated from Mackey High School in 1927 and I had the honor of being the valedictorian of our class.
I worked for my Uncle Bill Atwood and Henry and I had saved money to attend college in Pocatello, Idaho. We had taken the entrance exams, but about the same time there was a heavy frost and the crops were ruined. It was necessary to give the money we had saved to our parents to help feed the family.
My Dad rented a farm and moved the family to Pingree, Idaho. I started working for E. S. Buchanan in the Pingree store in 1928. Ab out this time I met Eunice Ward at a dance. We went together and were married January 24, 1930 in the Logan Temple. After we were married, we lived at Pingree and I continued to work in the store. I was making $60 a month and raised to $80 a month after getting married. This was during the time referred to as the "Great Depression". On March 1, 1931, times were so tough that Buchanans had to lay me off. We were expecting a new baby so we went to Pocatello and stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Ward. Our first child was born March 21, 1931, at Pocatello, Idaho. She was a cute little girl and we named her Rodonna.
We rented a farm at Pingree, but didn't have much to work with. We did have some milk cows and got about $5 per week from our milk check. That is all we had to live on. I worked out when I could get a job, but the going rate was $1.25 for 10 hours of work. The sugar beet company paid 35 cents per hour.
On February 17, 1933 our second child was born. We named him Ward Wilbert. We were snowed in, but the doctor was able to come from Aberdeen to Pingree on the train, delivered the baby, spent the night with us and rode the train back to Aberdeen. His total bill was $35.
In 1935, we purchased a 40-acre farm west of Riverside, Idaho. We farmed and worked at different jobs. We were active in the Church and had a lot of different positions. I was president of the M.I.A. and served as a counselor to Bishop Hyrum Wray. I was on the Wilson School Board (later became part of the Snake River School District), and worked parft-time at the Triple A office in Blackfoot.
We had a child born in 1937, but she was dead at birth and is buried in the Riverside-Thomas Cemetery.
In February of 1939, we went to the Worlds Fair in San Francisco. Grandpa and Grandma Ward and Eunice's sister, Hilda and husband, George went with us. It was the first time any of us had ever seen the ocean.
On July 13, 1939, our 4th child was born. She was a cute little roly-poly girl, and we named her Elaine. On June 21, 1942, our next child was born. He was a robust little boy and we named him Farrell Devon.
In 1944, we decided to quit farming and go into the dairy business. We moved to Blackfoot and purchased a dairy on Airport Road. We lived there 1 1/2 years then purchased a dairy from Verl Horrocks and moved into the home at 498 South Fisher, Blackfoot Idaho,
In 1954, I was put in as Stake Sunday School Superintendent and served for ten years. In 1964, I was elected a State Representative to the State Legislature. I served in that capacity for 4 terms or eight years. In April, 1972, I was appointed Magistrate Judge for Bingham County.
At this time, our four children are married to excellent partners. Rodonna to Ted Katseanes and they have 6 children--Angella, Richard, Tom, Alan, Kris and John. Ward to Ardith Ogden and they have five children--Kev in, Bryan, David, Annette, and Michelle. Elaine to McKell Crawford and they have four children--Leslie Ann, Van, Chase and Catherine (5th- Cache born in 1978). Farrell to Eunice Johnson and have two children--Andrea and Scott.
"It has been a good life"
Continuation of Dad's life by his daughter, Elaine Cammack Crawford:
Dad did not talk a lot about his growing up years. I know they were very difficult financially. He described their home in Lost River as a log home having two rooms separated by a curtain. One room was their parent's bedroom and the other room was the kitchen. The children slept on the floor of the kitchen. During the winter they would often wake up in the morning with frost on their blankets. He said they had bread and milk every night for supper--cold milk in the summer and hot milk in the winter. Whenever you would ask Dad what he would like for supper, he would always answer that a little bread and milk would be just fine.
Being able to adequately provide for his family was very important to Dad. He was a hard worker. After purchasing the dairy, he got up at 4:30 a.m. to deliver milk and was often sitting at the desk doing the book keeping for the business after 9:30 p.m. Rodonna and Ward ran a milk route before school and Mother would run the bottle washer in the dairy. Farrell and I just had to help out during summer months when hired help were off for vacation. Dad had a lot of compassion for people. When helping with the monthly statements, I would complain about why he kept delivering milk to people who owed him several hundred dollars. He would reply that they had a large family and would pay him when they could.
With only a high school education, Dad became a very successful business man in Blackfoot. He once showed me on the books, that when he made a commitment to pay his tithing was when the dairy started making money. He also showed me how saving money to buy a new truck saved him enough in interest to buy a new truck every 3-4 years. He never had a credit card and discouraged charging anything.
After serving in the State Legislature from 1964-1972, he was very happy at being appointed Magistrate Judge for Bingham County. He served as Judge until 1980 when he had to retire at age 70. He was the last lay magistrate judge in the State of Idaho. Judges are now required to have law degrees. In 1981, he was elected to the Blackfoot City Council where he was serving at the time of his death on April 4, 1985. Over the years, Dad served on committees for: Agriculture, United Campaign, Boy Scouts of America, Bingham County Red Cross, Idaho Housing Agency, Southeastern Idaho Council of Governments, Legislative Committee of the American Association of Retired Person and Region 6 Mental Health Advisory Board. He was a member of the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club and served as President. In honor of his many years of service, the city of Blackfoot renamed Triangle Park, Cammack Park.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my Dad was tolerance. He knew everyone in Blackfoot. He treated everyone with respect--whether you were the Mayor or the town drunk. I loved Dad very much. He always made me feel very special.