I was born on November 6, 1909, a son of Charles Crawford Toyn and Ellen Kimber. I was born in the old log house that stood just east of the present Charles Toyn home, while this house was being built. Our home was located approximately four miles north from where the church and school now stand. I had an older brother, Alfred, and an older sister, Cora.
We were always a close family. Alfred and I had our own chores to do, including cows, pigs, chickens, milk cows, and chopping wood. Dad was there and we worked right along with him. When we were kids, we always had our saddle horses to ride on the place.
When school started in the fall of 1915, Ellis Wakefield, Ray Roberts, Oren Kimber and I started school. Because our birthdays came too late in the year, they sent us home. We were sure tickled, and instead of going home, we went up on the hill back of the church house and played all day.
I don’t remember much about school when I actually did start. In the little room we had a teacher named VanLouveny (spelling not correct). She was always after us not to chew gum. Sarah Roberts was in the same grade as I, and she was “always” chewing gum. One day she was sitting with her feet out in the aisle and the teacher said, “Sally, I wish you’d take your gum out and put your feet in.” We got a big kick out of that.
When I was about seven (1916) Dad was called on a mission to Australia. Uncle Elmer (Mother’s twin brother) leased Dad’s place and ran it while he was gone. Uncle Elmer, Aunt Annie, and baby Emily lived in the two west rooms of Dad’s house. When school started in the fall, we moved down to the rock house behind the school and lived there with Granddad and Grandmother Toyn (David Harry and Martha Jane Toyn). We lived with them during the school year and then went back to our home again the rest of the year. Alfred was old enough when Dad went on his mission that any time he could find work, he would hire out to try and help Mother.
While Dad was away, I trailed Uncle Elmer around to do the chores the same way I did my Dad. I called him “Uncle Pal.” I remember the separator was behind the kitchen door and I must not have been very old because Uncle Elmer said I used to go get my cup and catch the warm milk as it came out of the separator and say, “Beek-a-Muck” for a drink of milk.
Uncle Elmer was a good marble player and we would go out and scrape the snow off by the southeast corner of the house so it would hurry and dry so we could make a marble ring and play marbles. You always wanted to watch your knuckles with Uncle Elmer because he could surely shoot them. In the winter, Mother would let us draw a chalk mark on the floor, or we would play on the braided rug, and Uncle Elmer would get right down and play with us.
Uncle Elmer helped me build a little derrick on the front lawn and I would stack the grass from the lawn for the cows. While Dad was on his mission, we managed just fine. I remember the Armistice was signed ending World War I while Dad was on his mission.
In 1920 our family moved to Tremonton, Utah so Cora could go to high school. Alfred and Dad both worked at the Garland Sugar Factory. Mildred and I would wait each day for Dad and Alfred to come home from work. They wore blue denim jackets, and they would always have a piece or two of rock candy in their pockets. We lived in Tremonton for one winter, then moved back to Grouse Creek in the spring before school was out. I was in the fourth grade while we were in Tremonton, and I attended McKinley school. Our class was on the second floor and our teacher’s name was Mr. Rooten. He would get mad at us sometimes and threaten to throw us out the window. We also had a teacher named Ms. Paxton. There was a really rowdy kid in school and one day Ms. Paxton disciplined him by hitting him with a ruler. He didn’t cry, but the teacher started crying. The Principal came in and asked what was wrong. Ms. Paxton wouldn’t say. The kid said, “I’ll tell you. She hit me with a ruler, and when I wouldn’t cry-she did.”
We were neighbors to the W.A. Westmoreland family. Mother was just like a mother to those kids. Their mother had died. They spent a lot of time in our home. I don’t know whether it was the Westmoreland kids or Mildred and I that were exposed to the whooping cough, but whichever it was, we exposed the others so they had to quarantine all of us. We had to stay home from school. We weren’t sick so we had some good times. We’d go down and ice skate on the Malad River. We sure thought we’d buffaloed everybody!
One of the Westmoreland girls was named Estelle. We thought we were quite in love. We would hold hands and I would carry her books.
I remember I was invited to a Sunday School party once. We made taffy and set it outside on some rocks to cool. The neighbor’s hogs got into it. THAT WAS THE END OF THE TAFFY! When the party was over, I started walking home. I walked quite some time and knew I was lost. I had gotten on the wrong street. I was scared. Then I saw someone coming. It was Dad. He had come to find me.
After we left Tremonton and moved back to Grouse Creek, I trapped muskrats and coyotes. I would check my traps every morning, take a gunny sack and put what muskrats that I’d caught in it, and just have time to get home, hang the gunny sack in the granary, eat breakfast, and catch the school wagon.
Billy Hadfield and John Hadfield used to drive the school wagon. It was an old covered wagon and we called it “the bander.” After I’d get home from school, I’d skin out the animals I’d caught that morning and stretch the skins.
My First Saddle….I had found a catalog that had a picture of a saddle in it and I wanted that saddle so bad! So every time I could work to earn a dollar I’d save it, plus what I’d get from my skins until I had fifty dollars, and I sent away and got that saddle.
My First Pair of Cowboy Boots…I woke up one morning and there was a coyote out in the field. I took Dad’s gun and crawled along the ditch about a quarter of a mile and shot that coyote. I skinned it, sent the pelt away and got $10.00 for it, and that’s what I bought my boots with.
I remember several stores in Grouse Creek over the years. Tom Thomas had one down below where Elden Kimber now lives, except on the west side of the road. Albert F. Richins had like a creamery in the rock house now owned by Merle and Clayton White. William C. Betteridge had a store where Jay Tanner’s new home now stands, which later burned down. Isaac Jorgensen’s store was just north of the Lou and Hugh Roberts old home. This store later burned also. Granddad Charles Kimber had a store just south of the Ted and Martha Kimber home.
When we were growing up, we would work like beavers to get our first crop hay in because we knew that between the first and second crop hay we could go to Cotton Thomas Basin for three or four days camping and fishing. Uncle Billie and Aunt Lindy Kimber’s family would often go with us. One time before we were old enough to have guns, we had flippers with us. Our flipper broke and Aunt Lindy cut the tongue out of her shoe to fix it.
One time on one of our outings, Byron Roberts was just a little guy, and he crawled down a badger hole. As I remember, they had a hard time pulling him out.
We were always close to our neighbors, Billy and Grace Hadfield, John and Pauline Hadfield, and Uncle Billie and Aunt Lindy Kimber and their families. I remember times when our folks wouldn’t go camping, and Eldred, Vaughn, Evan Kimber, and Alfred and I would take the team and go to the basin and camp. One time in the night, we had the team tied up and they broke loose. Eldred slipped on his shoes (and that was all) and chased the team, Old Maude and Brownie, about three fourths of a mile until he caught them and brought them back. We had good times, and caught lots of fish.
Our family and Uncle Billie Kimber’s family used to go to Meadow Creek and Poison Creek to gather choke cherries and sarvice berries. On one occasion our family, Billie Kimber’s family, and Aunt Ann Wakefield went to Meadow Creek in Uncle Billie’s wagon. Uncle Billie had a really balky horse pulling the wagon. We got our berries all picked and loaded in the wagon. Uncle Billie said something to that horse, he reared back, tipped the wagon over, and dumped all our berries. We had to pick them all up again. Boy, was Uncle Billie mad!
We didn’t have much money, in fact sometimes we didn’t have any, and at times we couldn’t even scrape up money for a postage stamp, but we never went hungry. We raised our own meat, and had our own eggs, milk, and vegetable garden and potatoes. In fact, I think we were better off than many people today. Dad gave Mildred and me a little piece of ground and we planted our own garden and raised quite a bit of stuff
I don’t remember butchering much beef, but we always had pork. We would butcher a pig and always hang it out over night to cool. Dad told me one time when we butchered, we hung the pig out as usual. The next morning one quarter of it was gone. Dad didn’t say anything to anyone about it. It went on for some time. One day a fellow asked if he ever found out who took his meat. Dad said, “Not until right now.”
Mother had a brother named Osborn (Oz). His wife’s name was Amy. After Amy gave birth to a little girl named Effie, she passed away leaving Effie without a mother. When Effie was one month old, Mother and Dad took her home to live with us. I remember Mother saying she was just like a little starved bird. Often I would get up in the night and heat her formula (Melon’s food). I would put it in a dish or small pan and hold it over the kerosene lamp until it was warm enough for her to eat it.
Effie always seemed just like one of our family. That’s the way she was treated, and she seemed just like one of my sisters.
Effie could run like a deer. One time when the Park Valley school came over for a track meet with the Grouse Creek school, Effie was in the race. She was running against a girl from Park Valley. She was ahead and she started slacking off. I could see what was happening, so I ran along the side of her and told her she better start moving because the girl was catching her. She took off and never slowed down again. She won the race. The track meet was held down at the old baseball diamond.
We used to go up on the hill west of our house and Effie and I would go sleigh riding. I built her a toboggan out of a piece of tin, and we would go sailing. It’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves.
When Effie was old enough, Oz would take her with him during the summer and she would cook for the hay crews. Also, when Mother and Dad went to cook for the shearing crews, Effie would go with them.
Albert Ballingham had a contract to re-shingle the schoolhouse. I was helping him. Usually I just worked on the ground helping them and getting stuff for them. But for some reason, I had gone up on the roof. Bill Shaw was up there, and asked me if I wanted a rope. I told him I didn’t think I needed it. The two-by-four that I was standing on came loose and I started sliding down the roof. I remember I had Bert’s saw in my hand and I carried that saw all the way to the ground. The eaves of the schoolhouse were nineteen feet from the ground. I fell all the way and landed on my feet on the hard ground. No bones were broken, but my legs and feet were black and blue clear up to my knees. I remember sitting on the north porch at home with my feet in Effie’s lap, and she would rub my feet and legs for hours. After I started getting around a little on crutches, Dad and I went to Ogden to see an exhibition boxing match with Max Baer. It was held at the stadium in Ogden and we sat out on the grass and watched. We stayed at the old Broom Hotel and I recall going up and down the stairs on my crutches.
When Effie was old enough to go away to school, she went to Brigham City and stayed. On some weekends Dad would go to Brigham and when Effie got out of school he would bring her home for the weekend and then take her back to Brigham on Sunday.
In later years, Rhea and I, with Effie and Ronald, went to San Francisco. I remember going over the Golden Gate bridge. Effie was always quite a cut up. She was a lot of fun to be around. She would always come up with something crazy to say.
I remember not long before Effie died and I called in at their home in Brigham she was having so much trouble with her hands, she asked me to cut her meat up for dinner. She suffered terribly from rheumatoid arthritis, and I think that is finally what killed her.
I remember when the Indians would come and camp just northeast of the dugway and help dig potatoes. We traded deer skins for pine nuts, and they would take the deer hides and make gloves. Many times when we came home from church, we would see a team of horses turned out in the alfalfa and it would be Old Indian Jack.
I remember watching Indian Jack shave. He had about six whiskers on each side of his chin. He would get hold of one, stretch it out and cut if off, and then another. That’s the way he shaved. The rest of his face didn’t have any whiskers at all.
Indian Jack was sure a good shot. I would set up little rocks for him to shoot at. This was before I ever could shoot a gun. One time, I wasn’t very old, and the Indians were camping west of the lane. Old Jinny, Jack’s squaw, had a fire and she dug some hot coals out and put them in a big flat straw basket, then she dumped in the pine nuts. Then she would keep throwing them in the air and catching them, and that is how she would cook the pine nuts. I was sitting there watching her and I was wearing a big old felt hat and when Jinny finished with the pine nuts she grabbed my hat off and filled it full of pine nuts. I carried them home. I was about five years old. I thought Indians would eat badgers, so when I killed one I gave it to them. Old Indian Jack turned it over on it’s back, poked its stomach and said, “too fat.”
I would sit by the fire and watch Jinny sew gloves. She would have a piece of rawhide in her mouth chewing on it while she was sewing. When she ran out of thread, she would take the rawhide out of her mouth and sew with that piece and put another piece in her mouth to chew and keep pliable until she needed it. She sure made some pretty gloves.
I remember when Dad bought his first car, a Model T Ford, from Jode Lee. One year we took the Model T Ford and went on a trip to Portland, Oregon to see Uncle Tom and Aunt Marie Toyn. There were the six of us, Mother, Dad, Alfred, Cora, Mildred and me, plus all our camping equipment.
Years back, Dad used to play the violin for dances. At that time, I remember sitting on the bench and watching. I was too young to do anything else. My Grandad, David H. Toyn, would sit on a chair on the front of the stand and call the square dances. He always had a tambourine and would beat on his knee or on his head. The floor was filled with sets of square dancers.
I’ve heard Winfred Kimber tell about my Granddad and Grandmother, David Harry Toyn and Martha Jane Davis. He said “Grandmother never did get out very much. In those days, they used to have masquerade dances. Everyone got ready and went to the dance,then Grandmother got dressed up in her costume and went to the dance. She danced with old and young alike, and no one knew who she was until the unmasked. Everyone was so surprised.” Grandmother was a big woman, but was very light on her feet when dancing the old dances with Granddad.
It seems like our family has always been quite musically inclined. – Cora played the piano and the accordion, Mildred played the piano, and Alfred played the guitar and had a really good voice, if you could ever get him to sing.
When we went to dances in the Model T Ford in the winter, we would have to put a lighted lantern under the cars to keep the radiators from freezing. When we got to Elmer Kimbers on our way home, we would open the petcock and by the time we got home, the radiator was drained. The old cars had lanterns on each side of the windshield, and you would light them whenever you wanted light.
I don’t know how I earned the money, but I bought a Model T Ford Roadster for $150.00. It was a one seater, and I bought it from Philbert Lind. It was lambing time down at the Jackson Ranch, this side of Montello, Nevada so Vaughn Kimber, Wallace Betteridge, Alfred and I took our beds and went in my car. We got down there and Bill McMillan was the sheep foreman. He said that they needed two of us at the Eighteen Mile Ranch so Vaughn and Wallace stayed at the Jackson, and Alfred and I went up the Eighteen Mile to feed sheep.
Bill McMillan came to me the first night I was there and told me that he had a lot of “bum” lambs that the mothers wouldn’t take care of. He told me I could make a lot more money if I would take some lambs home and raise them. So the next day I built a rack for the trunk part of my car and loaded as many bum lambs as I could get in, and headed for home. Alfred stayed to feed sheep. I kept the lambs in the old chicken coop and they would sleep with the chickens. I made some troughs for them to drink out of (I didn’t feed them on the bottle) and I’d mix some of the corn meal that Mother had in with their milk and they grew and got so fat.
Sam Simpson ran a lot of sheep and he would put mine in with his herd and take them to the summer range. The lantern that now hangs in the kitchen in our home was the lantern I bought for lambing time. Some times I’d have to go to the barn two or three times a night. I ended up with about fifty head of sheep. I traded them to John Hadfield for about twenty head of yearling cows and that’s how I got my start in the cattle business.
I would go over to the UC (Utah Construction) and work in the shearing corrals, separating sheep and putting sheep in the pens for the shearers, keeping six in the shearing pens for the shearers. Some times Mother and Dad would go cook for the shearers and the hay crews.
After working in the shearing corrals, I then went down to the Kimber Ranch where I first started shearing. After that, I was just a regular part of the crew and would contract out for shearing. When Bill Betteridge decided to quit shearing, I bought his shearing outfit. I also would go on haying jobs and hire out to set nets for $3.00 a day. We had a lot of fun on those jobs, but we did a lot of hard work, too.
I bought me a saxophone, and taught myself to play. I used to set out on the front porch and blow on that saxophone and the dog would sit and howl. I went to Ogden to take music lessons on the saxophone. The first night I got through lesson #9. I was playing them by ear and didn’t know anything about the notes. The teacher got mad and said not to come back again. That was the end of my musical training. I played music with Leona Carson, Elwood Wakefield, Claude Wakefield, Lyman Kimber, and Don Wakefield. I also bought a banjo and we would dance on the cement floor in the basement of Grace Hadfield’s home.
Some of the kids had a band. Lyman Kimber, Ronald Ballingham, Elwood Wakefield, and Inez LaVern Barlow. Later there was Pearl Douglas, Carl Warburton, Mark Warburton, and Don Wakefield. It seems like Grouse Creek has always been lucky enough to have a good orchestra, which has brought a lot of pleasure and enjoyment to our community and surrounding communities. Many times we played for nothing and the most we ever got was $25.00 each and $25.00 for gas when we went to Wendover and played for the American Legion. For many years I played in the orchestra with Raida Kimber, Ivan Kimber, Grant Kimber, Lyman Kimber, and sometimes Naomi Kimber.
I remember when Ivan, Grant, Ernest and Oren Kimber, Dell Warburton, Ted Kimber, Ferd Krosch (the school teacher), Carl Warburton, Herb Tanner, Arland Wakefield, and I went by horseback over to Almo to play basketball. This was in the winter. We rode as far as Lynn, and Ferd Krosch was so crippled up that we went up to Philbert and Cora Lind’s and got their team and wagon and Ferd went the rest of the way in the wagon. We beat most of the games we played. We played Almo, Elba, Yost, and Malta. We sure had a lot of fun. There used to be a swimming hole in Almo and it had warm water. We would go swimming in it when we would be there playing ball.
When Cora and Philbert first got married, I went and stayed with them. They had a horse up in the pasture that they couldn’t catch. Several of the guys and I went up and relayed him until we finally got him caught. We took him down to the corral and Philbert gave him to me. I broke him by riding from Lynn to Grouse Creek. We did quite a lot of fishing while I was staying there. One winter Philbert and I went up to the Lynn Reservoir and he broke a hole in the ice and told me to fish there and he would go break another hole for himself. I caught a fish and it was so big I couldn’t get him out of the hole so I just had to sit there holding him while Philbert came and chiseled the hole bigger so I could get it out.
One of my favorite people was George E. Ballingham. I remember right after electric fences came out, George decided he was going to get one so he could teach his cows where they belonged. He got the fence and I was going to help him fix it. We fed the chickens and then pounded the posts around and strung the wire. The chickens would go up against that fence and it would knock them over. It tickled me so much just to stand there and watch George and listen to him laugh. I felt real close to George and felt like one of the family. I worked a lot with him helping him hay, and driving mail for him. When he died, I really missed him not being around.
It seems like it was always the custom when the “school marm” would come out we would all take our turn dating them and having parties at different places. After this I started dating Rhea (Paskett), whom I later married. The first time I went with Rhea we went in Granddad Kimber’s old Buick sedan. I don’t remember who Oren was with, but he with us and we just rode around.
Once when I had been down seeing Rhea, I was leaving and we were walking out from Rhea’s house, toward the gate, when I asked her to marry me. She didn’t hesitate at all, nor did she go back in the house to ask her Mom and Dad. Dad and I were up in the old blacksmith shop when I told Dad we planned to get married and asked him if he and Mother would go to the temple with us. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to get married. I told him “yes” and he said, “We’ll make arrangements to go with you then.” Rhea and I went with Dad, Mother, and Effie to Logan in Dad’s car to get married. We were married on August 29, 1935 in the Logan Temple. After our temple ceremony, we decided to go to Clarkston and visit Martin Harris’s grave. When we left Clarkson, we went to Brigham and stayed at the B Hotel that night.
We had made arrangements with Mother and Dad to live in one room of their house. I believe we still lived with Mother and Dad when our first baby, Marlene was born. Later we moved into Billy and Grace Hadfield’s house and rented the two west rooms from them. We next lived in the old rock house behind the schoolhouse. A lady school teacher named Miss Brown stayed with us for a little while, then we bought the house by the cemetery.
When we lived at Grace Hadfield’s house that one winter, we got a loan from Farmer’s Home Administration and bought seven head of milk cows. We would separate the milk and ship the cream to Ogden on the train. We would sell five gallon cans for $3.00. With this money we bought Rhea’s sewing machine for $109.00, which we still have.
Rhea always insisted that I go deer hunting. We not only enjoyed the meat, but she knew that I enjoyed hunting. She would milk all seven cows while I was hunting.
The first home we owned after we were married was the one down by the cemetery. Dad went to Brigham with me to get the money. It cost us $500.00. We bought it from Em Gilbert.
Rhea used to go with me quite often haying or shearing and she would help cook.
When I took Rhea to Brigham before Marlene was born, we bought a Model T Ford from Jack and Vonda Whitlock. I took her to Shorty and Ev Betteridge’s home in Ogden and left her there. I remember she was sitting on the front step crying when I left. She then went to Brigham and stayed with Josie Kimber or Pauline Hadfield until Marlene was born, then Ed and Pearl Harris brought Rhea and baby home in Ed’s brother’s Model T Ford.
When Rhea and I got married, Dad and Mother gave us thirty acres of land. It cost $500.00 for the materials and to pay the carpenter to build our house. Wellie Richins was the carpenter.
I worked at the quarry at Lucin for about two weeks.
I guess I’ll always remember when Mother went blind. The sink was under the east window in the kitchen. Mother and Dad were eating, and I sat on the sink. Mother said, “If I didn’t know that was you, I wouldn’t know who it was.” About two weeks later she went down to the old outhouse and when she came out she was wandering around and I asked her what was the matter. She said she was lost because she couldn’t see. She had cataracts on her eyes and until they got “ripe” there was nothing the doctor could do. She was blind for some time until she had them operated on and then could see well enough to crochet, sew quilt tops, etc. It was while she was blind that I built the railing up the steps to the porch so she wouldn’t fall off them.
Rhea and I had a good life. There is no getting around that. I don’t know how come she waited around for me, because a lot of the time Ed and Pearl, Don and Siegfried, and Ella Nielsen (the school teacher) and I would always chase around together.
We never had any serious quarrels or anything like that. We would always talk things out. Rhea used to go over to help cook on the hay jobs and I would work on the hay crews. Any time we wanted to purchase something, we would always talk it over first and we would decide for sure what and how we intended to pay for it. We were always active in the LDS church. I served in all of the organizations, was in the bishopric for five years, also served as ward clerk under five bishops, held positions in the Sunday School, and was dance director in the MIA with Rhea for many years. We would always attend church together, and as our family came along, they would go with us. That is one thing I remember about my Mother and Dad. They never sent us to church-they always went with us.
We would often sack our grain and take it in the wagon to Oakley to the mill and exchange it for flour and Germaid cereal. When we got to the Blue Hill, we would have to unload half of the load, take one half to the top, and then go back and get the other half.
Rhea was having some health problems and we decided to go to St. Anthony to a doctor but before we going, we went to the Logan temple and they gave Rhea a blessing. In the blessing they practically quoted word for word some of the things that were in her patriarchal blessing. We then went to St. Anthony. He treated Rhea, and was successful in his treatment. The doctor’s name was Dr. Richards. I was a bit skeptical about the doctor. I went up to a policeman on the street and asked him what he could tell me about Dr. Richards. He said, “I’ll tell you this, practically everyone in this town owes their life to that man.” That put my mind at ease from then on.
We took out a loan from FHA and bought ten black angus cows. It mushroomed until we had about forty or forty-five head. It was at this time I started having back problems from lugging bales. The doctor said I had to quit it. I was quite a few years after this that I actually found it necessary to quit working the ranch.
I drove our personal station wagon to transport kids to and from school for years. After this they gave us a school bus. I brought the first school bus into Grouse Creek and drove it for twenty-three years, and was only late two mornings. People said they could set their clocks by the school bus. I also brought the first combine into Grouse Creek and we were the first to have electric heat in our home.
When Devon was born, I really didn’t have any problem picking him out at the hospital. He was such a big baby. When I brought Rhea and Devon home from the hospital, the girls wanted to name him “Hickety Pickety” after a game they had. They didn’t feel that any name was too good for their new brother. The girls had whooping cough and were staying with mother and dad. They had to look at Devon through the window.
I really liked Ed Harris from the first time I met him. There was just something there that I felt for him. I guess I’ve felt closer to him than anybody else I’ve known. He’s always been great to just sit and talk to, go fishing with, go for a drive and cook our dinner in the bake ovens (it was never fancy, just fried spuds, scrambled eggs, and probably some canned meat), but it always seemed to taste better that way, and just to share some special times with.
Ed was a lot like my nephew, Charlie Toyn. You would be out in the hills and he would look in some direction and say, “I wonder what’s beyond that hill, or I wonder where that road would take us?” Over the years we have found out answers to our many questions as Charlie had been so good to take me many places when I could no longer go by myself.
When Ed Harris was teaching school in Grouse Creek, he and Pearl lived in the green house. We were always partying. One night we decided we wanted some squash. We went to the Bill Betteridge home. Ed went in and when he came out he had a big banana squash under his arm. Another time we wanted some beef and went to Edward Frost and asked him for some. He came out of the other room carrying a hind quarter of beef. He laid it on the table and gave Ed the butcher knife and told him to cut off some steaks. Mr. Frost seemed quite offended when we offered to pay him.
Rhea and I spent a lot of time with Ed, Pearl, Bill, Fern, sometimes Don Wakefield, and sometimes Silvano Siegfried (school teacher for the little room). We had a lot of good times together.
One day Ed Harris and I decided to go for a ride so we went over Pine Creek and down Muddy Canyon. Up on top of the mountain we decided to stop and have dinner. While I was cooking dinner, Ed went and dug up a couple of little pine trees. (We planted them at the George Paskett home in Grouse Creek and at the present time they are still surviving.) We had our dinner and made it down off the mountain. We came to a big wash that had a bog in the middle. We could see the tracks where a vehicle had gone through it, but had no idea how deep on how bad it was. Ed got out, I backed up and gunned it. We made it through all right. It was a good thing we did because the mountain we had just come down was too steep for us to ever make it back up. We continued a way further and met up with Chet Kunzler from Park Valley. He said he had water on his field and that we had better take another way home, because he didn’t know how muddy it would be. Well, we went the way he told us not to go and got in the middle of it and got stuck. We put the truck in reverse and both of got out front and pushed. We finally got out. We laughed a lot about it. Isn’t it funny how a person remembers the simple and dumb things that we do?
I worked down at Palisades for one summer. I worked long enough there to get a pass on the train, and Rhea and I took our kids, Marlene, Gail and Devon on the train down to Sparks, Nevada to visit my sister Mildred.
Dad and mother were in Brigham at the hospital. They called for us to come because mother was going to be operated on and it could be serious. Aunt Louie (mother’s sister) and I went to Brigham. Cora and Mildred were there, but had gone to Effie’s. Dad told me that I better go get them. They came to the hospital and it wasn’t too long after that mother passed away peacefully in her sleep. We were all there. I felt that my prayers had been answered in so much that it was my prayer that if she couldn’t get well and if was the Lord’s will that she might be taken. She told me earlier that I should go on home so I could drive the school bus, that everything would be okay. I had a feeling that she knew she wouldn’t live and was letting me know that it was all right.
We chose the casket and made whatever preparations necessary and then caught a ride home with Fred Jewkes. Fred was the BLM foreman building government fences all over the Grouse Creek area, at the time.
I really missed Mother because she was the one that I could always talk to. Dad was getting older and just was not that easy to sit and talk to or discuss things with, so it was always mother that I would go to. Mother passed away on January 28, 1955. I shoveled a lot of snow trying to shovel a path into Dad’s place for the viewing. Mother’s funeral was held on February 2, 1955.
After the funeral services were over, Dad went with Mildred to her home in Sparks, Nevada and stayed for some time, then back to Brigham and stayed with Effie. From there he went and stayed in Lynn with Cora, Dwain and Margene. I’ll never forget the first day he went back home after Mother had died. We walked in the front door and Dad walked straight to his and Mothers’ bedroom. After this, Dad stayed off and on with us, but he also liked to be in his own home. Eventually he got used to being alone and wanted to stay alone. It worried us because Dad’s health was not very good either, but we could understand his wanting to be home. We figured out a signal so we would know when he needed help. He would turn the light on the north eves of his house. We could see it from our place and would keep watch for it.
On July 16, 1957, Dad had been having a heart spell and nothing we could do seemed to help. He finally said that maybe we should take him to the doctor and see if he could be relieved of his pain. I told him the car was ready whenever he wanted to go. I suggested he use the bathroom first before we left. When he came out of the bathroom, he stood and leaned on the piano for a minute. I walked over to him and asked him whatwas the matter. He said he didn’t know. I took his arm and we walked outside. He spit on the sidewalk and it was bloody. He said, “I don’t know what this means.” We put him in the front seat of the car which was parked in front of the house. Rhea leaned over and put her arm around him to put a dish towel up to the window to keep out the sun and he just laid his head on her arm and was gone. It was just like that’s what he was waiting for.
Lyman Kimber said he would go over and tell Cora about Dad and have her bring her station wagon over so we could put Dad in it to take him to town. We waited for a while and she didn’t come so we drove over toLynn to her home. We transferred Dad from our car to a mattress in the back of her station wagon and Cora, Rhea and I took him to Felt Mortuary in Brigham City, Utah. He was interred at the Grouse CreekCemetery on July 19, 1957.
I remember getting ready to go to the Kimber ranch for the family reunion on July 19, 1958. It seemed strange that Devon just stayed close to Mom and me instead of going off to play. That night at the dance, LeGrande Kimber and Devon were sitting on the bench by Rhea with their arms interlocked. I went to the stand to get ready to play for the dance. We played one tune when Lyman called for me to come down.Devon had just slipped off the bench and was lying on the floor. They gave him artificial respiration then we moved him out in the lobby. I leaned over him and said, “Don’t leave me.” But I felt at the time that he was gone. We took a door off and used it as a stretcher to take Devon to the car. We put him in Junior Kimber’s station wagon and took him to Burley to Dr. Sutton. Dr. Sutton told us it wouldn’t have mattered if the room had been full of doctors – there wasn’t a thing they could have done. He said Devon was gone when he slid off that bench.
They performed an autopsy on Devon to find the cause of death. The doctor told Rhea and I, “I have no answer for you. Every organ was perfect. Your son was the most perfect specimen of a man I have ever seen. All I can tell you is you were lucky to have had him as long as you did, the Lord needed him again.”
I don’t remember much about what happened after that. I remember standing in front of Payne Mortuary in Burley, Idaho, leaning on a big pole. Mrs. Payne was there with me. Rhea and I went to J.C. Penny and bought a new suit for Devon. The viewing was at Payne Mortuary in Burley, Idaho. Many friends and relatives came. There was a viewing at our home and the funeral was held in Grouse Creek.
In 1991, Rhea once again began to have some problems and found a lump in her breast. As time passed and she could see a difference in it, we called Gail and asked her to call Dr. Hannum and set up an appointment. Gail went to the doctor with us and Rhea had an exam and mammogram. The doctor came in and told Rhea that she had breast cancer and he wanted to schedule surgery to remove the breast. We called Marlene in Yuma, Arizona and told her and she made arrangements to come home when Mom was operated on.
It was a traumatic thing for Mom, as I guess it is for most women, losing a breast. She had to go for radiation and chemotherapy. As time went on, she ended up losing her hair and wore a wig. She would get so tired and sick from the treatments. She tried to space them so she could come to Ogden and have her treatments and then go home for three of four days before she would have to come back again. One thing seemed to lead to another, she ended up getting infection where she had the surgery. It seemed like no matter what they did, they couldn’t get it contained. Dr. Hannum said to me one day while we were in the Doctor’s office. “Arch, this infection Rhea has is just like a grass fire in Grouse Creek.” We all know what that is like. They just could not get ahead of it. The doctor in charge of the Cancer Treatment Center told us she had given Rhea larger doses of radiation than she had given anyone, and they just could not get ahead of the cancer, it was spreading and growing so fast. While we were still able to be home, Kenna Tanner and Raida Kimber would come in all the time and help Rhea with dressing the incision, washing bed clothes, etc. Marlene came and stayed for some time to help take care of her mother. She was a real blessing to us as she took over all of the duties of the house along with taking care of Rhea and me. When the infection got so bad that we knew there was no other choice, Marlene and I took her to Ogden. We went straight to the hospital, after checking Rhea’s condition, the doctor told us things did not look good and we had several options. We could take her back home (however, we had not been able to take care of her at home. That was the reason we came to Ogden), we could put her in a home where she could be taken care of, we could put her in the hospital, or we could take her to Gail and Jim’s and stay with them. We chose the latter. The girls made arrangements for nurses to come to the home and take care of bathing, changing dressings, medications, etc. Marlene continued to stay to help take care of Rhea.
We brought Rhea to Ogden a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving 1992. Rhea continued to stay strong in her faith and as cheerful as possible, even though she was in extreme pain most of the time. She would still sing and try to be very positive and up beat with everyone. The doctor told us the only thing they could do was to try to keep her as comfortable as possible. The nurses and aids were extremely kind and tried at all times to make things pleasant for her. We certainly owe them a debt of gratitude.
Of course we didn’t want Mom to die, but there was such a peaceful feeling came over Gail’s house when Mom did pass away the evening of December 4, 1992, that it was just like she was letting us know that everything was okay. She passed away on her 78th birthday, and we commented on what a birthday party she must have had on the other side. Her funeral and interment were in Grouse Creek on December 9, 1992. She really left an empty spot in our lives and in our hearts.
After the funeral was over, I went to Yuma, Arizona with Marlene. I lived with Marlene and Jack until the following April, when Gail came to Yuma and brought me back to Ogden to live with her and Jim. From then on I would spend the winters with Jack and Marlene and Summers with Gail and Jim. During the Summers whenever possible I would spend time at home in Grouse Creek.
On November 6, 1997, my 88th birthday, the girls surprised me with a birthday open house. Marlene flew in from Yuma and really surprised me. It was great to have her here to visit for a couple of days. Marlene’s daughter, Brenda, also came with her two children from Green River, Wyoming and stayed with us. Many relatives and friends stopped by to visit and wish me a Happy Birthday. It was good to see all of them and visit with them.
I wish I could go home to stay, however, with my health the way it is I know that is impossible. I love and appreciate my family and friends … thanks to all of you who take care of me and help to make my life enjoyable.
Archie passed away February 15, 2000 and is buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.