Alpha N. Betteridge

I was born on January 16, 1906, in Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah, the first child and daughter of James William and Emily Ness Betteridge.

We lived thirty miles north of the railroad at Lucin, Utah and travel by team and wagon was very infrequent. The nearest hospitals were in Brigham City and Ogden, so Mrs. Mary Hadfield, a midwife,  was in attendance at my birth.

My parents at this time lived in a four-room house constructed of logs. It had a dirt roof. Two of the rooms were occupied by my dad’s brother, John and wife Nell, with their four sons. My parents occupied the other two rooms.

Later they moved to another log home of three rooms and a “lean to,” about one mile or less from the first home, and close to the church. The church was also constructed of logs. For as long as I can remember, Dad was janitor, and it was his responsibility to keep the fires in the two wood-burning stoves going whenever needed. Every Saturday he would spend most of the afternoon chopping wood in lengths to accommodate the two  stoves. The wood was provided by the male population of the community, who every fall would take team and wagons into the nearby hills and bring loads of cedar wood to be stacked in the rear of the church. Enough would be hauled from these hills to insure a supply for the winter.

We always looked forward to the celebrations and holidays. The small ward utilized the talents of the members for community entertainment. Three-act plays were common, especially during the winter time.

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Grandpa and Grandma’s house, with uncles, aunts and cousins were traditional. Masquerade balls were also popular. These would involve the adult population in the evening while “character” dances in the afternoon would be great fun for the children.

A new church, constructed of native sandstone, was completed in 1912. It boasted indoor plumbing, a definite improvement over the “outside” inconvenience. Modern plumbing was also added to the four-room schoolhouse, which too, had been built of sandstone some years earlier.

Two horse drawn vans (we called them “bandwagons”) transported the children to school depending on the distance. One van picked up the children on the north end of the “Creek” and a second van picked up the children on the south end. Dad and his brothers, John, William and Edgar, together with Grandpa Betteridge, at this time, owned and operated a general  merchandisestore, W.C. Betteridge & Sons. Very often it was the center of activity. It was the place where world problems were settled and items of gossip were traded.

Prior to this, Dad, his father and three brothers owned a ranch. It was called the Pilot Peak Ranch, and took its name from the nearby mountain and land mark “Pilot Peak,” in eastern Nevada, not far from Wendover.

My playmates during the first through fourth grades were my cousins, and other relatives. It seemed we were all one big family.

On September 16, 1915, around midnight, the store caught fire. Grouse Creek had no fire fighting equipment so there was no way to fight it. Two wagon loads of newly purchased merchandise had just that day been hauled from the railroad at Lucin, unloaded and piled inside the store to be put away the next day. It was a disaster. A lot of credit had been extended, but most people came through and paid their honest debts. The cause of the fire was of an incendiary origin, but guilt was never proven.

A second store was established in a small log building fifteen or twenty feet away from our house. This second attempt lasted only a short time and as a result, W.C. Betteridge & Sons dissolved the partnership.

Mother and Dad moved to Provo in April 1917. Dad had purchased a thirteen-acre farm. One of the reasons for the move was the belief that educational opportunities would be greater in Provo, than they would be by remaining in Grouse Creek.

That summer was a first for everyone in the family. It was the first time we had ever picked strawberries, raspberries, peaches, or any kind of fruit. We had never seen tomatoes, cucumbers, squash or grapes growing. Dad had never harvested anything other than hay, grain or potatoes. Even the horses had to get accustomed to a new way of life.

There was enough alfalfa on the farm to insure hay for the horses. Dad planted enough acreage in wheat for us to take to the flour mill. Acres of tomatoes were new to us, also their care and cultivation. Our peaches were contracted to a buyer, but the various kinds of apples were an off breed variety and not much called for. There was a lot of weeding to be done with the “row” stuff that was grown, and we were kept busy all summer long.

We had our fun times too. In the summer we played games with the neighborhood children and in the winter there was sleigh riding, candy making and other social activities.

Grandpa Betteridge came to visit us just after school started the first fall we were on Provo Bench. My parents consented to his request that I go back with him and finish the school year in Grouse Creek. It would be just like going home, although I knew I would miss the rest of the family.

I didn’t get the least bit homesick while living with my grandparents that winter, as all my cousins and friends were close by.

I graduated from Provo High School during the 1927-28 year.

The winter of 1925, I was fortunate to obtain seasonal employment at the Utah County Assessor’s and Treasurer’s Office, doing clerical work. I started working for the Telephone Company on February 13, 1928. In making out the application for work at this time, I was asked to stay at least two years. Little did I realize that those two years would stretch into forty.

In the meantime, other members of the family had moved from Provo Bench to Salt Lake. The opportunity came for me to transfer to the Telephone Company there. After Operator, I became Teacher, Supervisor, State Traffic Payroll Clerk and later, Secretary to the State Traffic Manager.

After serving in the latter capacity for nine years, I was transferred to the Skyline Chapter of Telephone Pioneers as Area Supervisory Assistant. I retired on March 1, 1968, with forty years of service.

Mothers’ health began to fail and she passed away on June 11, 1953. Dad passed away on April 10, 1961.

Eileen, my sister, and I kept the home.

Retirement gave me more time for work in the Church. I and Eileen enjoy traveling and have been to many parts of our country as well as Canada, Mexico, Hawaii and England. Much of the time it was with other members of the family. All of us enjoy traveling together.