- Stella Cora Hill Hunt -
Other Hill Family Histories
The Life Story of Stella Cora Hill
Daughter of William Henry Hill, Jr. and Christina Sophia Johnson Hill.Wife of Purcell Byron Hunt
Born in Ora (Ashton), Fremont, Idaho
I was born in Ora, Fremont, Idaho on October 12, 1900. There isn’t any such place as Ora now, but it was close to Ashton—about ten miles away, where we had to go buy groceries. My sister, Leona, married Norman Kent and her mother-in-law brought us our mail. There was a church house with one room in Ora. We also had a tithing building where you could take anything—grain, butter, anything you had. Then we had a schoolhouse that had two rooms in it. Sometimes, if we had enough kids, we had two teachers. Once we only had one and he taught from the first through the eighth grade. The Hunts lived down not too far from us. Purcell went to school with Lavon, my older brother. That’s where we were married because I knew the bishop’s wife.
Thelma, Ray Hunt’s first wife, died there. She died when she got something when she was pregnant. They took the baby and laid it in her arms because the baby was dead, too. Aunt Florence came out and Purcell and I were going together then. He pressed all the boys’ pants to go to the funeral. We didn’t have any undertaker in Ora. The bishopric made the casket and the Relief Society lined it and made Thelma’s clothes.
Grandpa and Grandma Hunt had seven boys: Ray, Guy, Earl, Purcell, Lester, Melvin, and a little baby they lost called Vernal, and Eva. The little baby is buried up in Ora. They still have a cemetery. They haven’t got any water but a guy is supposed to keep the graves clean and mow the grass. When Mick went up there the last time, she said he hadn’t kept them up. They took water and flowers and cleaned Mother and Dad’s grave off.
Mother and Dad
My dad’s name was William Henry Hill, Jr. and my mother’s name was Christina Sophia Johnson. They always called her Christie. Dad used to joke about a nickname they gave her—Sapphire or something. Dad moved up to Ora and took up eighty acres and be broke that all up in sagebrush with a team of horses. He had a team and a hand plough. Then he kept adding to that until I think he had about a hundred acres. He died in July when I was eleven from typhoid fever. He was living with Verla’s mother and dad, Charles Ashcraft, in St. Anthony. Hazel stayed with us kids and sent us to school because none of us were old enough.
Dad was quite tall and thin. He wore a felt hat all of the time. He had one of those big, furry overcoats in the wintertime when he’d take us to the dances at the church house. He’d take us kids who were too little and make us beds on the benches to sleep on. Old man Hyde played the fiddle and there was an Annie Bowman, who was kind of crippled, who played the piano and her husband George sat by her and helped her pump it. Boy, and I knew when Purcell came to school. I remember one time when a whole bunch of us went to Marley where the Johnson’s had a big barn with a loft in it and they had dances. We had to climb the steps and some of the guys would get drunk and fall down.
Grandpa Hill had a moustache and black hair that was kind of balding. Lavon looks just like him. He’d play with us kids and make us swings. We played hopscotch and a game we called ginney. Dad would take a stake and whittle and the ends would be real sharp. Then he’d make a paddle out of a board and that’s what we played at school. We’d put the ginneys (little round sticks with sharp points) so far apart and we’d hit the ginney on this end and then hit it in the air. All of the kids had them. We’d choose up sides and then the side that hit it the most won the game. We played jacks, too, and I was real good at it.
Dad was president of the Sunday School and Mom worked in the Relief Society and also what they called religion class. I can remember Dad sitting on the corral fence and having us kids run and climb up to sit by him.
(Did your dad take things to the tithing building?) We’d butcher and then we buried the meat in the grain where it was cool so it wouldn’t spoil. He took sacks and sacks of wheat there. We called it the tithing. Mother made butter and we kept it cool in the well. We’d have the boys pull the bucket up and she’d put the butter in the bucket. There was one for water and one for cooling things. Dad brought out all the logs from the timber all by himself and built us a log house with a dirt roof. Under the ceiling was this factory cloth we called gauze. Twice a year Mother took this whitewash she kept and mixed it with water and got a paintbrush and painted the ceiling. Our inside was nothing but gauze and whitewashing.
First, we only had one room and then Dad got better work at Ashton building a hotel. He was a carpenter and a mason and a bricklayer. That’s where he got typhoid fever from drinking the water. No one else got sick because they took him to St. Anthony to Edith’s mother and Charles. I can remember he’d built us another room. Mother sold rice and beans and coconut and stuff like that, enough to buy some lace curtains for her parlor. We had quite nice furniture back then that they got second hand from Utah. Dad was building the hotel.
They raised hay, wheat, and milk cows. We first had a cream separator that you mixed so much water in with the milk. Then we’d turn it and the water would sink and the milk would come to the top. The water would come out of one faucet and the cream out of the other. Then we got a better one that you didn’t have to put water in. I remember we had to take the cows out the North gate and turn them up on the hill. We had a little horse we called Pokey. He was white and I and Lavon would have to ride up at night on him and get the cows and put them in the corral.
(Did you go to church all of the time when you were young?) You betcha! Dad used to take us to school and church in a sleigh and a white top buggy. We were the first ones to buy a white top buggy. In the wintertime he had the sleigh with just a pair of horses. We were the first ones on the line and every kid would go out to ride to school with us. After Dad died, we walked lots of times. The snow would get so deep and get crusted so we could walk to school and Sunday School over everybody’s fences.
Dad used to hunt great big, white rabbits and he always said “God bless the man who invented water gravy.” Once he killed a rabbit and it was just full of boils and so we couldn’t have any more rabbits. Then he started raising his own rabbits. We had big gardens and we didn’t have a lawn. We just let the grass grow and we’d stake the horses there and they’d eat the grass.
After Dad died, they brought him back and put him in the parlor. Two men sat up with him because they said if the cats smelled him, they’d come in and eat him up. We had quite a few cats and a big German collie. I did see him because (I remember) his arms were skinny. All old Doctor West gave him to eat was a little can of meat they bought and boiled, and he drank pitchers. They starved him to death. They didn’t know what to do for him. Then my Aunt Flora, my dad’s sister, came up. Vesta was just little and Mick was the baby. They can hardly remember Dad. The carpenters and bishopric made his casket and the Relief Society women lined it and made his temple clothes because he and mother went through the temple.
Mother was kind of mean sometimes. She always cleaned and when we’d go to Sunday School and religion class, she walked. We all had to walk in the summertime because the horses got too tired. She walked to parent’s class. She made her own soap out of those rinds and stuff off the pigs that Dad killed. She took those flour sacks that had Yellowstone Special on them and she bleached them and made our pants (bloomers). We didn’t know what bras were then. We all had flour sack underwear until they started getting yardage in at the store. I know Mother wore corsets all the time, though.
I remember how I got my first name. Dad was up in the timber and someone had written Stella on a tree. When he came home he said he knew what we’d name this baby. She asked where he’d ever thought of that name and he said he saw it cut in a tree. Then Mother said they’d put Cora in the middle. That was his sister.
Mother sang with the Singing Mothers in Relief Society and she sewed for all of us. When we got bigger and Hazel and Edith left, we had two great big wash tubs and two washboards and the girls had to take turns. We waded snow in the winter clear to our waists and hung our clothes and brought them back stiff as boards. She had those folding clothes racks to hang the clothes on. We folded up the sheets and ironed everything else. Mother was quite heavy with gray hair. She wore it combed straight back with a bun in it. She was beautiful. We didn’t even know what glasses were either.
I never once saw Mother spank one of us kids. She was a wonderful cook. I liked her dumplings. She’d mix bread and then get a kettle full of hot water and she’d take some of the bread and roll it. When the water got boiling, she’d drop these in it. When they were still kind of doughy, she’d take them out and split them open and we’d put butter and jam on them. They were the best things you ever tasted. LeAnna still has to make them for Dean. She also made carrot pudding and suet pudding. She would make suet pudding with raisins and nuts and put it in cheesecloth and drop it in the hot water.
Mother had to have her ovaries taken out. The doctor came right to the house and did it. Every time she sat down it hurt her so bad. Finally, we got Doctor Arkis from Ashton to come and he told her she’d better have them out or she’d have cancer. I think Leona and Hazel and Edith were married then. We told her to have them out and go to bed. She had to stay in bed about a week. She said, since we couldn’t cook, who would do the cooking? We said if the boys couldn’t eat what we cooked, they could go hungry, “by helly!” That was her favorite saying. So Doctor Arkis came over and did it right there in her bed.
Playing Tricks on Dad
Before Dad died, he chewed a plug of tobacco every Saturday. That was the only bad habit he had. One day, Lavon and I got one of his plugs and dug out little holes in it and put cayenne pepper in it and filled it back up. That was the plug he got when he came home from work. We had a home comfort stove and an armchair. He pulled the chair up to the stove and he took one bite and spit it out. Then he pulled out the ash pan to inspect it. He never said a word about it. I sat there and watched and he got out his knife and picked out the pieces and scraped out the cayenne pepper and went on chewing. If he’d a whipped Lavon and I it wouldn’t have hurt us nearly as bad.
We had about four beds in one bedroom and us kids all had to sleep together. One night Dean and I were having a pillow fight and we heard Dad coming into the bedroom. It was dark because we didn’t have any lamps lit. We just had coal lamps then. One of my jobs was washing the globes and keeping the lamps full of coal oil. Dad couldn’t see where Dean’s head was but he came in with his little paddle and paddled me. Dean ran and jumped in his bed with Lavon and went clear under the covers. He’d called us to settle down three times.
Lavon and Dean
Once when Mother wasn’t home, Lavon tied the tails of two tomcats together. Mother had clothesline in the kitchen and we threw the tomcats over the clothesline. What kind of mess do you think we had when we got through? Water—their own. They peed all over. I guess they ran out of water because we cut the string and opened the door and we never saw them again.
Mother had setting hens and we had an old log chicken coop that Dad built before he passed away. Mother went out one day and her setting hen was gone with all of the eggs. We had a little old stove in back of the granary. Dean had stolen the hen and all the eggs, put her in the stove, and shut the door. We never did find her until she got to stinking. She was in there about two weeks.
Christmas Presents and Dolls
We didn’t have great big things at Christmas. Once I got a table set and chairs and a little set of dishes. Mother typed and when she got paid, she bought us dolls. I remember my last doll. Oh, she was pretty. She had gold, curly hair. I was in a play and we had to have dresses like Japanese girls. Mother made my dress and then she made my doll a dress like it because we had to dance and sing and hug our babies.
Then I had another doll just for Christmas and she made a pretty dress for it with petticoats. When I was in about the fifth or sixth grade, Purcell came up to see Lavon. I was playing with this doll and they teased me about playing with her so I tied a string around her and Mother made a bonnet for her and I hung her on the wall. I knew that was my last doll. I went to school and Mother had a quilting bee. Some of the ladies brought their little kids and one of them saw my doll and Mother gave it to her to play with. She busted it. I don’t think I ever cried so hard in my life and Mother cried too. She said, “You know, I never once knew you thought so much of that little doll.”
The Organ and Singing
After Dad died, we coaxed Mother to move her bed from the parlor down to the basement where we all slept. We had an organ, one of those old fashioned ones, in there and we had some kind of library tables. Leona and Edith played the organ. Mother sent for a thing that showed you how to read notes and a metronome to keep time. She tried to teach Verna and I how to read notes. Verna and Edith were beautiful singers. Nearly every Sunday, Edith or Leona had to play the organ. They couldn’t read notes, but they played the songs. They wanted Edith and Verna to sing in church once. I wanted to sing so bad, they said I could join in the chorus and I did.
We didn’t have any electricity in our home. We just had lamps with mantles. We got a telephone that you wound up and a hundred people were on the same line. We also had a graphaphone with a horn on it. My favorite songs were mostly Sunday School songs. When we married and moved from Detrich to Carey, they gave us a going-away party. Howard Pitman’s first wife, Gene Nelson (he was our bishop), and someone else sang “The Old Rugged Cross.”
I remember Grandpa Johnson, my mother’s dad. He came from Denmark, from Johannsen. He was quite heavy and bald-headed. I saw him when I went to Utah right after Aunt Cora died in St. Anthony. He said I looked so much like Aunt Cora. Uncle Heath was her husband and he wanted someone to go with him back to Utah, so I went. Mother made me the most beautiful dress.
Mother and Sewing
We had lots of ribbons and dresses. I think Joni has that dress Mother made me. I called it the Peter Pan dress. It was white with red polka dots and she put red ribbon on the collar. Then she curled my hair and put red ribbon in it. One time Mick’s Primary had a play and Mick was a little flower. Mother made her a dress and she got crepe paper and scissors and curled up the paper and made flowers and put them all over Mick’s dress. Mick’s still got that.
One time, Mel Bowman and Ada went down to Chester—between St. Anthony and Chester—and contracted for putting up hay. Dean went and a neighbor cooked and I rode the horse. I helped Ada do the dishes at night and Dean worked in the fields. He wasn’t very big to hay but he could lift it onto the haystack. Ada paid me pretty good, 15 or 20 cents a day, so I took my money home and Mother made us all a dress with the money I earned.
Grandpa and Grandma Hill
I lived with Grandpa and Grandma Hill one summer when I went to Richmond, Utah. They lived in a little log house. He took care of the cemetery and I used to go up and help him. Grandpa Hill always had candy in a jar. His name was William and hers was Isabelle. She was a little woman but, boy, was she neat and clean. She made their temple clothes. He bought a plot for her and they’re both buried in Richmond. So are Grandma and Grandpa Hunt. I’ve got a picture of Uncle Pete (mother’s brother) and Grandpa Johnson. Mother had lots of brothers and sisters. We’re all named after Mother and Dad’s brothers and sisters. Grandpa Hill was tall like my dad. Grandma was a little short woman. They didn’t have any children at home when I knew them. For a living, he just took care of the cemetery. Maybe they’d saved up money.
Dad and the Threshing Machine
Before Dad died, he and Bishop Andrews and Newt Anderson went in together and bought a threshing machine. When it came, the other two backed out so Dad took it all himself. He hired a guy to run the engine and he ran the separator. They went all over the place threshing grain. I remember him telling about a place where the woman cut the bread so thin it took two slices to make one and he didn’t want to go back so he just ate one slice. About all they had to eat were potatoes and gravy because the people were so tight they didn’t feed the threshers very well.
I think that Dad didn’t have the threshing machine equal, and I think that’s one thing he lay and worried about when he had typhoid fever—not knowing how he was going to pay for it. But the outfit he bought it from was good enough to take it back and we didn’t have to pay for it.
We had lots of crickets that summer. They took boards and put tin up to the sides of the boards and scattered them through the sagebrush back of all our places. Then we’d take cans and put rocks in them and put wires in the can and we had cow bells and any kind of noise and we herded the crickets up on the boards. We’d build a trench beside the boards and when the crickets got up on the tin, they’d slip and fall into the trench and we’d cover them up. I only remember having them that one year. It was terrible. You’d be walking around shaking these cans with rocks in them and you’d just smash them. We’d go back in the sagebrush and get them. They called them the Mormon crickets. The seagulls came the next year and took care of the crickets. That’s because we had the good church and everybody was paying their tithing.
Everybody had these cricket boards and there were acres and acres of them. When the crickets were gone, they told Dad if he’d gather up all the cricket boards, he could have them. So Lavon and Dad went and got all the boards on the wagon and then we tore the tin off. We pulled the nails out and that’s what he built a great big shed out of to put the threshing machine in.
When Purcell and I were going to be married, Lavon had left home because he was tired of farming. We sold the ranch and I stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Hunt one year. The Depression came on and I remember Melvin went out to cut down tumbleweeds to feed the horses because we didn’t raise anything. My mother was the only one who was out of debt and didn’t lose anything. We sold our place to George Thatcher. When we went to St. Anthony, Vesta went to two years of high school.
(Did you like school?) No! I was good in arithmetic and numbers but I was a poor reader and I hated geography. I think we went seven months and if we wanted we could have gone to summer school. Mick wasn’t too bad in school. We had one teacher we called “long-neck.” He had a wife and baby and lived in one room of the school. One Halloween a bunch of us kids went down and knocked the baby’s milk off the window and threw rocks at his house.
Instead of report cards, we got a long piece of paper with A, B, C and what we were taking. I generally got an F or a C. Flora Higby got the best grades. Vesta must have gotten the best of us. We sat with the girls on one side and the boys on the other. There were about twenty kids in school at once.
We also had Annie Kerr for a teacher. She wasn’t married then. They lost everything in the Depression. The old folks moved to St. Anthony and sold their ranch to the boy George. When Mother died, we wanted Annie to speak at Mother’s funeral because they worked together in Relief Society. We finally located her and brought her down in a white top buggy. It was a big buggy, tall with four wheels and two seats. About six could ride in it. It had a white canvas top. Kerrs had gotten a black top and it had lights on the side.
Before Hazel got married, she went with Mel Bowman—before he married Ada. Leona was going with Eliot Catrell. Lavon and I were coming home from school one night and we decided to tell Leona and Hazel that we met Mel and Eliot and they were going to come one night to take them to the dance in Ashton. They got all dressed up and combed their hair pretty and looked real nice. The boys didn’t come and they didn’t come, so I sneaked in the bedroom and Lavon said he thought I’d better tell them. He told them we never saw the boys and Leona keeled over. She fainted! That’s when Mother should have whipped us, but she and Hazel just sat there and looked at us. Mother used to say, “Stella was a mean little kid.”
Then there was another time—I did this all by myself. Verna and Leona had been up chopping grain and then they went in to lay down. They said their backs were about to kill them. I told them to pull up their clothes and lay on their bellies and I’d rub them. They asked what I’d use and I said alcohol. I got some Watkins liniment to rub them. Then I went to the washbowl (we just had big, white washbowls and pitchers) and there was a bucket of water there, so I got a washrag and wet it with cold water and went in and washed them. They really jumped up out of that bed!
I first got interested in Purcell when we were going to school. He wasn’t interested in me, though. I was about in the eighth grade and he used to come up to see Lavon. He and Lavon would go to Chester, Marysdale, or Ashton to get their girls. I went with one boy from Chester for a long time. We used to dance at a hall in St. Anthony. Mostly on dates we went to dances. I used to go with Guy, Purce’s brother, too. One night Edith was there after Charles died. Guy had a team of black horses and Mother had bricks she’d heated in the oven to put in the buggy. We took blankets and bricks so we wouldn’t get cold. Before we got to Chester, the horses were white with frost—it was so cold!
We were married in St. Anthony by the bishop on Edith’s lawn. We had quite a few people there. Ray and Sarah were there. They gave us that green dish set. Sarah and I started picking peas in St. Anthony. We picked out the bad ones. I picked peas for a long time.
Purcell came up one Sunday and I had gone to Sunday School, so he knew I was around. I’d knocked the heel off my shoe and I was sitting on the porch trying to nail that heel on. We’d been going together a long time when he asked me to marry him. The next night he brought me a pretty opal ring. I didn’t have a diamond. We just had a lawn reception. Edith had lemonade and cookies. We didn’t have a wedding cake—we didn’t know what they were.
Our honeymoon was going back up to Mother’s and starting to work on the ranch. We moved Mother to St. Anthony after the Depression. Dean went to St. Anthony and started doing carpenter work. Vesta and Leona and I were married. Hazel was dead. Edith was married. Verna and I stayed with Edith and worked in a seed house. We took turns staying home one day and helping do the washing and mending. Then Dean met LeAnna Fisher and they got married by the bishop. Lavon came back and met Afton and they got married by the bishop. We had moved back out to Ora and I was living in a little house.
(What attracted you to Purcell?) He was a good dancer and he was good looking and he kept his clothes pressed and clean. He had one shirt that I was hoping he would wear out if we got married. It was silk satin, striped, with lace ruffled down the front and around the cuff. I told Grandma Hunt I hoped she’d scorch it. He liked to dress up. You never saw him when his pants didn’t have creases that could cut like a knife. His ties were always just perfect and his hair combed straight back.
I don’t know what he liked about me. Maybe I was a good dancer and I could sing then. I used to like to play around. One time before we moved off the ranch, I was going with a guy from Marysdale. He had a black top buggy and two horses. I quit him and I hadn’t liked him for a long time. One Sunday Lavon and Purcell came up to our place and here he came. I didn’t know what to do so I told Lavon to go tell him I wasn’t there. He said he wouldn’t do it so I said I would. I went out and told him that he knew the way he came and he knew the way back and not to come here any more.
Purcell liked to race horses and run races. He and Lester used to win all the foot races on the 24th of July. Lester could beat him by just a little bit. He played baseball, too. When Dean was the baby, I had a little pushcart and I and quite a few of the girls used to push the babies down to watch the baseball game. They had a team in Ashton and we used to win all the games. I couldn’t run. Verna could outrun me a city block.
Bea and Ronda
Purcell liked to box and teach his kids to box. He put the boxing gloves on Bea and Ronda and Bea could beat the heck out of Ronda. Then he got a little bigger and he walloped her one night when Bea wouldn’t box. Purce was looking for a boy when Bea came along. I wanted a girl and I was going to name her Velma, but Purce said that sounded too much like Thelma and he knew a girl at home named that that he couldn’t stand. I don’t know where he got the name Beatrice, but he named her. She’s the only one who didn’t get a middle name.
I was a good cook because Mother taught us. She sewed so I didn’t really learn to sew. When I lived in Buhl, I bought a Singer sewing machine and my neighbor, Mrs. Walcott, helped me tear apart a suit I had (blue, covered with beads) and we made a dress for Bea.
I made all of Mildred’s clothes. When Bea was born, they wore those long dresses and Mother helped me make them. When she started walking, one of Mrs. Weatherbee’s girls made her a little pink bonnet out of ribbon. She ruffled the ribbon with scissors. I bought her a pair of black shoes and I put pink ribbon in them to lace them up.
When Ronda came, they weren’t making those dresses. I used Bea’s baby dresses. When Donald came, we thought he’d be a girl. I could tat with two shuttles then. When Donald was three months old, all his dresses had tatting. I made it around the skirts and petticoats.
Purcell Gets Typhoid
Purce was working construction around Malad when Don was born. They had to haul water there in big tanks for the horses and they drank it, too. That’s how he got typhoid. Mitch put him in the hospital and Grandpa Hunt and I went down to see him.
When Donald was born he weighed twelve pounds. I had a midwife and she just gave me a little ether. I was staying at Grandpa and Grandma Hunt’s and they knew this Mrs. Brown in Chester where we had to go to church. She had nothing to do so he got in the buggy and went to get her. I almost died. I could just feel myself sinking. I asked Grandpa Hunt to kneel down and pray for me and then I delivered.
Donald was three weeks old when Mitch sent word up. Then you had to lay in bed three weeks. When you got up you were weaker than ever. One day I said to Grandma Hunt that there was something else in my stomach. I thought maybe I had another baby. I could feel something. I said, “Please let me get up!” They had nice hot water that they piped out of a can. She said she didn’t think I ought to. I said it wouldn’t hurt me if I slid out of bed and I passed a big clot of blood. If it had stayed in there, I would have gotten infection or something. Nowadays, a girl goes in the hospital, has her baby, and goes home the next day. I stayed in that bed 14 days. I stayed in a long time with all but Keith and Mildred. Then I had a doctor.
Mother Came when Keith was Born
Keith was born in Buhl and Vesta brought Mother out and Mrs. Croft came and helped with Keith. She had two girls the same age as Ronda and Bea. Then I got up after just a day or two. When Mother came, she played with Keith, bathed me, changed my bed, and Mrs. Walcott had a washer and washed my clothes. Mother would go out to my garden and cut the lettuce and get bacon grease and wilt it and eat it with vinegar and salt. She just loved it.
Move to St. Anthony and Morgan
We move to St. Anthony from Ora and Mother made Don a little sailor suit. I have a picture of that standing on Edith’s porch with Verla holding him. She made Beatrice a dress and Ronda a suit, too. Then we moved to Morgan, Utah. We moved seven times in one year because Purcell was on construction. The night Edith Ellen was born, we left for Morgan, Utah on the train. Then Purcell came and got me and the kids (I only had three) in the wagon. We bought some groceries and moved out in a brick house in Morgan. He was working for Mitch and Jeff and they were making a tunnel through a big mountain for a train to go through.
I was scared to death to stay alone way out there, but I did. I just tried to keep busy. One night Purcell was coming home down through that tunnel when the train came. He said he saw the light coming and all he could do was squeeze up against the side. There was just room enough between him and the train so he didn’t get hurt. We had a little car, a Model T or something, that I drove to a store about four miles away to buy my groceries. He came home on the train when we were living there. One night I didn’t know he was coming and it was snowing so when he jumped off the train, he jumped into the snow and had to walk home in it. When he got home he was soaking wet. I got up and made a fire (we had coal) and he took his clothes off and got dry.
Move to Ogden, Buhl, and Marley
We left there and went to Ogden. Grandpa and Grandma Hunt and Guy were there. Our car was so worn down we had to stuff gunny sacks in the tires because we couldn’t afford tubes. Guy came down—he had a pretty good car—and he brought us back to Philer. I didn’t have any furniture yet. Guy was working for Mitch and Jeff who had a construction company. We moved into a brand new house but the furniture hadn’t gotten there yet. When the furniture came, we moved to Buhl. I have some of Grandma Hunt’s furniture now. The library table belonged to an old couple we rented from. We bought it from her in Buhl. We bought that and some old chairs and beds. Then we moved to Marley where Mildred was born.
I had a graphaphone with a lid on it. It broke and I gave it to Bea. She has it in her basement and she uses it as a cedar chest. Mildred had a doctor and was born in a big white house. I had sent back and got some drapes and pretty curtains. We lived in the big house and Ray and Sarah lived in the cement house. Irma and Mildred were about the same age. Bea and Ronda started school there. Donald started in Buhl. I had a bed and we slept in the bedroom downstairs. There were two bedrooms, a front room, and a nice big kitchen. I cooked meals for eight and, when Mildred came, Mitch came and stayed with me. I had a nice bed fixed up for him when he got there with white sheets and a nice bedspread. He was really surprised when I said I had his bed ready for him.
Mildred and Raising the Family
Mildred was the crossest, meanest baby I ever had. She was sick and we almost lost her. I was waiting for Grandpa Hunt to come from Ogden to bless her because he blessed the others. She got sick and I took her to Shoshone. I tried to nurse her but when I took her to Shoshone I found I had to put her on the bottle. One day Ray said, “You’re going to lose that baby. If you want me to, I’ll bless her.” So we went to Richfield where we went to church and he blessed her. She started getting better and my sister Mildred left.
I had eight men to cook for so I made a bed in a rocking chair for Mildred and I would rock her in it while I cooked and washed dishes and packed water from the canal. It was in the fall and the canal had frozen over just a little bit. Bea and Ronda had gotten away from me and were going down to the canal to go skating and fell through the ice. I just happened to see them. I had to wade out in the water to get them and they were just going over the falls when I got them or I wouldn’t have Bea and Ronda today.
We got a whole bunch of apples and buried them in straw in our rock cellar thinking they wouldn’t freeze. When we went to get them in the spring, they were frozen a little so I thawed them out and made apple butter. I had apple butter all over the place in pints and quarts.
I rocked Mildred with one foot while I did dishes and cooked. She was still cranky and Bea got so tired of tending her she’d run outside and run away. A train went by that house and the kids would walk on the tracks. Don remembers being scared of falling through because the ties were so far apart. Dad would go out and shoot ducks and pheasants and we didn’t have a deep freeze or fridge so we’d hang them on the back porch and freeze them. When we wanted them we’d bring them in and thaw them and they tasted just like wood.
We moved to Buhl on a ranch in an old house. I swore I wouldn’t live in it, but somebody heard me say it and Mitch moved me in. It didn’t have any cupboards so Dad made me some but he didn’t put boards across the front. We had an old wooden door and every time the door slammed, some dishes would fall out and break. My cousins, Leland and Dewey, gave me a pretty set of goblets for my wedding and every one of those fell out and broke before Dad made some boards for those old cupboards. Dad was working in the potatoes with Clea Park’s dad. She married Mel Barton who used to live in Baker, Oregon.
There was a little schoolhouse next to the ranch. Mitch Jr. and Flora hitched a horse to a buggy and took Ronda and Bea and Don and went to Washington School. We had two houses in Buhl. One was downtown. I dressed Ronda and Donald in blue and white striped overalls and always had Bea clean. People couldn’t imagine how I could wash on a board and hang out clothes and iron with an old flat iron and keep my kids as clean as I did and have flowers in my garden.
That’s where I gave you three swimming lessons at a pool in Buhl. They had a lifeguard and it didn’t cost anything. That was during the Depression time. It was a WPA project. The Walcotts and the Cunninghams lived in Buhl. Dean and Mitch and Jeff made the road from Richfield to Carey. They hadn’t had a road. They blasted rocks and cut holes through so they could build a road through the cliffs of rocks.
Purcell wasn’t home when Keith was born on June 23rd, 1930. I had a doctor and Mother stayed with me. Mrs. Walcott was with me until Mother came. We, the relatives, handed down maternity clothes. When Keith was born the kids waited out in the street for the news. Purcell was hardly ever home. He never saw Keith until one of the guys he was riding with out in Kanab, gathering up wild horses, went out and told him he had a baby boy. I think Keith was about four or five days old before Purcell saw him.
We didn’t have much because he didn’t get big wages. Of course, things didn’t cost like they do now. He always sent me money. The kids all wore black stockings then, even Bea and Mildred, and they all needed shoes. By the time I went around and bought them all shoes and stockings, I didn’t have much left. I bought me a pair of shoes once and they were too small. I thought they’d exchange them and give me a bigger size, but I’d tried them around the house and they wouldn’t exchange them—they kept them. So I only had one pair of shoes to wear to church.
Uncle Enoch blessed Keith and I never did get his birth certificate until he went to Moscow.
Grandpa and Grandma Hunt
I loved Purcell’s parents. When Grandpa Hunt died I couldn’t go. We were in Detrich and I was driving the school bus. We started to make a rock ledge around the yard and we made a cow barn out of ties and calf pens out of chicken wire stuffed with straw for wind breaks. Ray came and told Purcell his Dad died. He had a hernia and they couldn’t get him to go to the doctor. Before they got him there, it broke. Ray came on the train and brought Purcell back. I can see him walking through the gate with his dad’s slippers and robe and railroad watch. Grandma sold the home in Ogden to Dick and Eva and they built on. They built a little house down below for Grandma Hunt to live in. When she got back, Purcell took Verna and I to take care of her because Eva and Dick were working.
Grandpa and Grandma Hunt farmed and had an orchard. He grew purple grapes and white seedless grapes. He had all kinds of fruit trees. He was short and nice looking with a moustache. They lost everything in the Depression and moved to St. Anthony where he hauled water out to some people’s cabins. I was up there one day and said to Eva and Ruby, “Let’s get your dad to cut his moustache.” We asked him to for two or three days and one day he went out back and when he came out it was gone. The reason he wore it was because his lip turned up. He was the funniest looking guy! He scared Eva to death.
Grandma Hunt was real swell. She had a stroke. When she and Eva couldn’t get along she wanted to come and live with us. We didn’t have much of a house in Detrich, but we went down to get her. We had a guy working for us and I made him a bed in the kitchen. I fixed some wire and strung sheets to separate bedrooms and she stayed with us until she decided she wanted to go back. She was pretty, slight built, with pretty, dark hair. When she got real sick, Verna and I went down again. I think Earl and Purcell took us. She got so bad we called the whole family. Cloyd and Bea came and Ronda and Betty. Don was in the service. We got a picture of all of us and one of the grave.
My mother had been dead a while then. She had a heart attack. The doctor told her to drink beer so Dad got her some. She drank a little glass but she didn’t get better. We took her back to St. Anthony but Mick had sold her home and there was no place to stay, so she stayed with Mrs. Camp, Leona’s mother-in-law. I went to the funeral and then I went to Ashton and stayed with Vesta and Johnny. Mother had a beautiful grave. Don sent her a pin when he was in the Navy. She kept it on her coat. I got that and some of her plaques. They (Vesta and Edith) sent me Mother’s great big beaded purse and a plate and a plaque that were broke when I got them. She still had an organ and Dean’s oldest boy got that. Leona gave her dishes to the Relief Society women in Ashton. Mick and Jim took her cupboard.
I’m putting names on everything I have. I had Grandma Hunt’s butter dish and shaving mug with the horse on it that looked like Red Bell. Mildred took them. She had a nice china closet to put them in. I haven’t got anything that isn’t old. I bought the dinette set when we had the stove with coal on one side and electricity on the other. I used to go to Betty’s to bake bread. Dad came home one day and saw a sofa and big chair. He asked where our milk chair was. He liked the new chair because it was big and it reclined. Alma, Mary’s sister, helped me pick it out. Dad loved to sit in it. I only had to write one check for it.