I, Lorenzo Lee, having been born of goodly parents, was born on August 23, 1897 in Marion, Cassia County, Idaho to Joseph Bracken Lee and Mary Ann Mecham Lee. I am the seventh child and the sixth son.
We lived on a small farm in Marion, which is now the northwest part of Oakley, Idaho. We lived there for about seven years. My Lee grandparents lived about one and one-half miles from us, so many times we were privileged to visit my grandparents, also Uncle Danny and Aunt Julia McLaws, who lived just a few steps from them. Uncle Danny McLaws was a hard worker and always had a marvelous vegetable garden just a short distance from my grandparents’ house. He also had about every kind of fruit tree. He also was a beekeeper, in fact, an all-around pioneer.
In January 1900, my grandfather, Isaac Lee, passed away and was laid to rest in the Marion cemetery.
Our neighbor to the north was Ormas Bates, whose wife Sarah was a midwife, and she took care of my mother when I and my younger sister and two younger brothers were born. They were a great couple. Many times I went with my father to watch them butcher pigs in the fall of the year, and at threshing time I would always be in the wheat bin pushing the wheat back so as to make room for more wheat.
Mary Ann, Edward, Casper, Lester, Alfred, Lucius, Joseph V., Hannah Bell, Mary Ellen, William and Lorenzo Lee
In the fall of 1902, after we had put our hay and grain up near our barn and sheds, a fire started in the haystack which burned all our hay and most of the barn and sheds. The next fall, 1903, I believe, my folks decided to sell out and go back to Grouse Creek, Utah where they had lived before going to Idaho and where my mother’s parents and brothers and sisters lived.
When we arrived in Grouse Creek, we lived in an old house that at one time belonged to my Uncle Danny McLaws. We lived there until the next spring, then Dad leased what became known as the Willard Hales ranch on Etna. We lived there until 1908. I was baptized in the old Etna reservoir, along with Ross Warburton and Viola Shaw on August 11, 1906. We then moved to Grouse Creek and lived in an old log house Dad bought from Charles Kimber.
At this time, Dad had a sawmill which he moved up in the timbers east of Grouse Creek, and it was my job to take the snake horses up in the timber and the older boys would hook the horses to the logs they had cut, get them out on the trail, and I would take them down to the mill, unhook them from the logs, then return for another drag.
I went to school in Grouse Creek from 1908 until 1916. Then in 1918 I registered for service in the Army, but did not get a call.
In 1919 I worked for Wallace Ward with the sheep. The fall of 1920, I went to work at Montello, Nevada for Southern Pacific Railroad Company and in the spring of 1923 returned to Etna to finish proving up on a homestead. In the fall of 1923, I had been working at Lucin in the coyote holes, as we called them, a rock-crushing plant operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. On about the first of December 1923, I thought I would work with the sheep for Thomas Thomas until the next spring and then return to the railroad, but I stayed with Thomas for six years.
In 1929 I purchased my Dad’s farm in Etna, and in the fall of 1930, Mrs. Orilla Lucas invited me to come to Logan to meet a girl she thought I might like—and I did—Drucilla May Morgan. We became engaged and set the wedding date for March 15, 1931, but her father was in and out of the hospital from December 1930 until March 15, 1931 when he passed away, so due to his condition, we postponed our wedding until May 7, 1931.
We were married in the Logan Temple on the above date by Joseph R. Shepherd with William H. Carter and William M. Webster as witnesses. We then went to live in Etna, Utah.
On February 25, 1932, James Robert, our first son, was born at Logan, Utah. Drucilla stayed with her mother at 534 North Main Street in Logan, Utah. After a few days, she returned to Etna where we existed for another two years, when our second, Gerald Lorenzo, was born on February 3, 1924 at Logan, Utah. While Drucilla was in Logan, Jim and I stayed on the ranch at Etna. These were the most wonderful years of my life, to live with Dru and the two boys, however miserable for Drucilla.
In the summer of 1937, Drucilla became quite ill carrying another child. The only doctor near Grouse Creek was in Montello, Nevada, so we took her there to get care from Dr. Belnap. While there, Dru and I stayed with my brother Bill and his wife, but soon Dr. Belnap realized he couldn’t do anything for her, so he advised us to take her to our own doctor in Logan, which we did. On September 26, 1937, infant Lee was stillborn (a boy).
Drucilla remained in Logan for thirty days with her sister, Melba Johnson. I kept Jim with me and Gerald was cared for by Grace Hadfield. When Dru came home, I went and picked up Gerald and the three of us met Dru at the Etna Post Office. As she attempted to take Gerald, he turned from Dru because he had forgotten her, and of course, this caused tears to come to Dru’s eyes.
On June 29, 1939, another boy was born, Richard Morgan, and for the next three years, we lived on the ranch at Etna. In the winter we moved to Grouse Creek for school. Dick, being much younger than Jim and Gerald, was not able to ride horses like the two older boys, and because of it, he missed the greatest part of ranch life.
In the summer of 1938, I, my brother Frank, Edward Frost, William C. Betteridge, and John Hadfield, bought two summer bands of sheep from the Utah Construction Company. In 1942 work was hard to find and money scarce, so I came to Ogden, Utah to work in the southern Pacific railroad shop. I returned to Etna the first part of March and the next fall I sold out everything and returned to Ogden, back in the shop.
I hired out as a boiler maker helper, then was stepped up to a boiler maker, which included the brick work in the fireboxes of the old steam locomotives, and at this time I was secretary of the boiler craft for five years. Then the diesel engine came in and our crew of eighty-five boiler makers and helpers was reduced about 50 percent. Some of the men were sent to Roseville, California, but I was very lucky. Mr. Mumford came to me and told me that he would keep me on as a machinist helper.
After about three months, another cut, and this time I was transferred to the painter gang at the car shop. There I became secretary of the Carman craft for about two and one-half years. This group consisted of about 100 men. On May 11, another cut in forces came and I was to be terminated, but the painters began to take their vacations, so I asked if I could take their places. After all the painters returned to work, the boiler makers started on vacations and again I was given the chance to fill vacancies. Then on November 9, 1962, I retired from the railroad.
After about a year and a half, I bounced around here and there for a job. Then I was asked to be financial clerk at the 16th ward and was given the job of custodian for the ward. These two jobs lasted about eight years. Lou Clarke worked with me for about four years and after he passed away Leland Dopp worked with me until about 1972, at which time I retired from that job.
My hobbies are gardening and mining.
From August 1, 1945 until 1974 we lived at 598 West 24th Street, Ogden, Utah. My beloved wife, Drucilla, passed away on August 12, 1973 and on February 9, 1974, I married another fine lady, Athelia Wheatley Wight, whom I had known for a period of about thirty years. I consider I am the most fortunate person in the world to have the two most wonderful women in all the world.
Now I have five daughters, Marion Wight Demler, Beth Wight Gibson, Charlene Wight Smith, Lorraine Wight Hales, and Janet Wight Taylor. I have nine grandchildren, thirty-two step-grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and twenty-one step-great grandchildren.
Lorenzo passed away at age ninety-four on August 16, 1992. He is buried in the Logan City Cemetery.