JESSIE LAMB STEWART
(1888-1983) Daughter of William Lamb and Charlotte Grainger
HER LIFE IN HER OWN WORDS
Taken from the book, Jessie Lamb Stewart Her Life, by Monte Neil Stewart, grandson
I was born in Brigham City, Arizona, on Monday, 24 December 1888. My father, William Lamb, and my mother, Charlotte Grainger, were married in Toquerville, Utah, on 24 December 1887. They moved to Arizona after they were married, and I was born a year from the day they were married. We always celebrated the 24th of December along with Christmas.
My mother was a gentle, sweet, little and soft-spoken woman, very good-hearted and kind to everybody. She was a great seamstress and a wonderful homemaker, and she taught me all about the Gospel that I ever knew until I grew up. She was better that way than I ever was with my children. She'd call us to her knees every night, and we'd kneel down at her knees and say our prayer. That was just as regular as getting up in a morning. I think my mother is the one that instilled the religion in me. There never was a time that she would sit down with us that she didn't tell us some pioneer story or something to promote the Gospel.
I have often said that I was just like my father. I never had a bit of my mother in me -- she was so gentle and ladylike. I was more like my dad.
Mother loved flowers. No matter if in the desert or wherever we lived, she always had flowers. I can just see her now there in Alamo getting up in the morning and picking a bunch of honeysuckle and two or three roses and taking them to some of the neighbors that weren't well. She was always taking somebody a bouquet of her honeysuckle.
Dolly was born two years after me. I remember now, more than 90 years later something that happened to me before I turned two years old. It occurred as my family was moving from Brigham City to Toquerville. I got in the habit of holding my breath that whole time. If I wanted something, I'd hold my breath, and I'd always get it. They had the wagons loaded, and I wanted them to do something for me, go back for something. Father was handing me up to Mother. I said, "I'll hold my breath if you don't let me do it." He just took and pulled the plug out of the barrel on the side of that wagon and held me under the water. He held me under that barrel and let the water pour down to me, and then he handed me up to Mother. I never did hold my breath after that.
That was in the Fall, and we went to Toquerville. Dolly wasn't born until November, and I wasn't two years old until December.
We moved to Toquerville and lived with Grandfather and Grandmother Grainger, my mother's folks. I remember Grandfather Grainger playing with us children. He came home one day (he'd been downtown) and laid down on the couch. I even remember the couch. It was made with a print that looked like spools of thread on a brown-colored background. Grandfather Grainger laid down to rest a while. Grandmother called him to dinner, and he didn't wake up. He had died just laid down there and went to sleep. I remember Mother holding me up to see him after he was in his casket. And there I was only 20 months old; that was before Dolly was born.
My sister Georgina, called Dolly, was born while we were living at my grandmother Grainger's. She was just two years younger than I, and we grew up and were very close to each other all our lives.
Father bought us a nice brick home in Toquerville, and the grounds were lovely. We had roses, all kinds of flowers and fig trees. We loved our home very much. Since I was the oldest child in the family, I had many chores and things to do. Mother had her babies close together, and there was so much work in those days since there were no conveniences. I used to have to wash the lamp chimneys every morning and fill the lamps with what we used to call coal oil; they call it kerosene now. We used to brush our fireplace hearths every morning with some kind of whitewash. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was rocks they got out of the mountains, and they would pound them up and make whitewash. We would have to keep our fireplace hearths real white and nice. Then there were the brass buckets to scour. I wish we had some of them now. I used to take them out by the ditch bank, take some vinegar and salt, and scour those buckets till they shone like the sun. Then we had the babies to tend; Mother had Dolly, and then brother Billy. I had to look after them while she did the washing. She always had to wash outside. We had to heat our water in what we called a black tub. We would build a fire around the tub and heat the water. Then we had another tub we'd use the washboard in, and we would scrub all the clothes on the washboard. Then we'd put them in good, soapy suds with lye, and boil them to get them white. It took us many hours to do the washing in those days, and was so much harder than the convenient way we wash with modern washers and dryers.
They didn't have a law enforcement agency in Toquerville at this time, so they used to call Father to come if they needed any help. One day someone came running and said there was a drunken Indian out by the store and that he had a gun. They were afraid he was going to shoot somebody. Father jumped on his horse and went up, and when the Indian saw him coming, he shot at Father. The bullet went through the left side of his coat, but Father ran after him and caught him as he went through the creek down at the bottom of the lower town. He grabbed the Indian's horse by the tail and pulled himself up on it, grabbed the gun, and hit the Indian over the head with it.
The next day the Indian's mother came to my mother crying, and said her boy's head was cut and how terrible she felt. Then Mother showed to her Father's coat with the bullet hole in the side. The Indian's mother said, "You can sew up that hole, but I can't sew my boy's head up."
Once Father and Mother took us over to Rockville, a small town near Zion's Canyon. Father had business there, so it gave us a chance to have a family picnic. When we got up there, we spread our lunch out. I'll always remember that then Father went in a little store close by and came back with a can of salmon which cost fifteen cents. I had never heard of such a thing as that, but he opened the salmon and it tasted delicious. I've always enjoyed salmon ever since that little picnic.
We stayed in Toquerville until I was about 7 years old. Father then decided he would like to go back to Arizona, where he could always get work, so he sold our nice home, loaded up two big wagons, and we got ready to move back. Uncle Ben Grainger and Uncle George Grainger went with us. They drove one team, and Father drove the other wagon with six horses. I guess the horses were still wild, for they almost frightened us children to death when Father hooked them up. They would rear up and kick, and occasionally one of them would fall down, until Father could get them quieted down.
We traveled for days and days, it seemed like. As we'd go along, sometimes we'd get out and walk beside the wagon, and we would count the dead cows that were alongside the road. There must have been a drought, or something of that nature, for we passed so many carcasses of dead cattle.
When we went back from Toquerville to Tuba City, we went across the Colorado River. The river was frozen.
Physically, Father was a big man. He was about six three or four inches. He wasn't at all heavy or fat; he was just muscle. A beautiful built man, and I felt so terrible to think that pictures of him were are all burned when our house burned down.
As we were crossing the river on the ice on the way to Tuba City, Uncle Press had a wagon and team and had gotten across. Father started his team across. He was walking and Mother was in the wagon driving. The ice started to crack and just frightened us all to death. The wheels, the hind wheels on the wagon, went down about halfway, and he screamed at Mother to drive the horses, whip the horses, and he just took hold of the wagon and just lifted it up out of the ice. And they went across and got across all right.
Then there was a poor man who had a big herd of sheep, 2000 head of sheep, in the middle of the river just above us. They got frightened when the ice started to crack. The poor man just couldn't get the sheep to move. He took his vest off and he just whipped those sheep with his vest. My father ran back and grabbed one of the sheep and tied it on the bank of the river. When it bleated, they all ran towards the sheep on the bank. I remember the man took one of his nice lambs and cut its throat and gave it to Father for helping him.
We traveled until we came to a place called House Rock. There was a fort on this place that the Mormons had built for protection against the Indians. We were tired and needed to rest and play, so we stayed there a couple of days and then continued on to Tuba City, Arizona.
When we were two miles below Tuba City, we came to a fort. A family lived in part of the fort, and they told Father he could have the rest of it if he would fix it up. So Mother, with her talent for making a home out of almost anything, went to work. They cleaned it from one end to the other. It had one great big room with a large fireplace at the end, and one bedroom. When they got through with the place, we were really proud of it; Mother always took nice bedding, bedspreads, and housewares with her to make a home attractive.
One day Dolly and I were walking the two miles from school when six Indians came and stopped us. We were very scared. They just rode in front of us with their horses all in a circle. Dolly got behind me and started to cry. I told them we were Bill Lamb's children, and they had better leave us alone or he'd kick them all over the place. One of the braves said, "Let's go. I savvy his kick." It was the Indian that Father had booted out of our house.
While we lived in Tuba City, a big, tall, fine-looking brave molested one of the white girls going to school. They arrested him. It seemed like any time there was ever any danger, they always came for Father, no matter where we lived. The sheriff brought the brave down for Father to take to Flagstaff. I can't remember what was the reason that he couldn't go right then -- something to do with papers. Father tied this Indian to a pile of lumber we had out in front of the house. He'd carry the brave's meals out to him and fixed it so he could sleep on quilts. The brave was there a couple of days, I guess.
We had to walk two miles to Tuba City to go to church, but we soon got acquainted with the people there. They were very nice, sociable people. Uncle Ben, Uncle George, and Scotty Spillsbury also were there from Toquerville. They all played musical instruments and sang, so they were very popular in this little town. They used to have beautiful parties in that great big room of ours. They'd build a big fire in the fireplace, and half the people in the town would come down to our place to have fun.
There was a large Moqui Indian village just a few blocks from our house. We soon got acquainted with the Indians. They were very nice people, gentle and kind, and we made real friends of them. Father took us down one night to watch them dance their Snake Dance. Oh, how frightened we were! We stood on top of the house, and watched them wrapping those big snakes around their necks and waists. It almost scared us to death, but being with Father we knew nothing would hurt us.
Mother sewed white cotton pants and flowered shirts for the Indian men. Then she'd make the squaws great big, full calico skirts. One day one of the braves told Mother she was charging too much. Just as he said that, Father came in the door, grabbed him, and booted him all the way down the hill.
One day Dolly and I were walking the two miles from school when six Indians came and stopped us. We were very scared. They just rode in front of us with their horses all in a circle. Dolly got behind me and started to cry. I told them we were Bill Lamb’s children, and they had better leave us alone or he’d kick them all over the place. One of the braves said, "Let’s go. I savvy his kick." It was the Indian that Father had booted out of our house.
While we lived in Tuba City, a big, tall, fine-looking brave molested one of the white girls going to school. They arrested him. It seemed like any time there was ever any danger, they always came for Father, no matter where we lived. The sheriff brought the brave down for Father to take to Flagstaff. I can’t remember what was the reason that he couldn’t go right then – something to do with papers. Father tied this Indian to a pile of lumber we had out in front of the house. He’d carry the brave’s meals out to him and fixed it so he could sleep on quilts. The brave was there a couple of days, I guess.
The morning Father left with him to go to Flagstaff, Father just untied the Indian and told him to get on the wagon. He got up on the spring seat beside Father. Father didn't even have a gun or anything in the world to protect himself. My father never owned a gun. He thought it was foolish to carry a gun; you might use it sometime you shouldn't. Anyway, when he left I remember my mother crying SO. She thought the Indians would waylay Father going right through the reservation. But they didn't bother him at all.
When my father died, Tommy Stewart was working in the temple in St. George. He wrote a letter to us and I've always felt so bad that some of the children got it, and I didn't get to keep it. Tommy said that my father was the strongest man he had ever known in his life, and he had never seen him inflict a bit of his strength on anything weaker in his life. Father was the kindest man, especially to babies. He used to kiss them on the back of the neck and say, "You little Mormon, you."
I became eight years old at this time, and I wanted to be baptized so much I just lived for that day. It seems like I knew the Gospel was true as far back as I can remember, and it was very dear to me. I asked Father and Mother if I couldn't go up to Tuba City and get baptized, but they said that in December it was very cold, there wouldn't be any place to baptize me, it was frozen, and I had better wait until spring. So I didn't say anything more, but I went to Sunday School every Sunday with Grace Nebeker, a girl about twenty years old who lived with her folks in the fort. (When she married she became Grace Allen.) I slipped a dress and some other clothes out of the house on Saturday night, and carried them up the road a little way and hid them under a bush. The next morning when we went to Sunday School I told Grace how badly I wanted to be baptized. She said, "Well, we'll see." When we got to church she went and asked the Bishop if there were any way he could baptize me, and he said everything was frozen solid. I remember I started to cry, and he said he would see what he could do. He took an axe and took us up to the canal of water. It was just frozen solid ice, but he broke the ice with the axe and baptized me between two head gates. I don't remember it being cold because I was so happy to be baptized and to belong to the Church. It's been the dearest thing in my life ever since.
Father drove a freight line from Tuba City to Flagstaff and back. We always had to wait to get our groceries when the freight went through. So many times we were out of most everything before he could get back with the food from Flagstaff.
Once when Mother lost a little premature baby she became really ill. She couldn't eat much of the food that we had. I saw some currants along the fence and I knew how she loved them, so I slipped down, kept out of sight of the Indians, and picked some black currants and took them home. Mother was asleep, and I made her a slice of toast, cooked the currants and put them in a little dish beside the bed and awakened her. She never forgot how good those currants tasted, and I will always remember how she enjoyed them.
I've already mentioned how my mother, Charlotte, would tell us pioneer stories. Oh, she'd tell us everything. And every time she'd get anything to read she would read it to us; she was always such a beautiful reader. My mother was self-educated. I had seven school teachers boarding with me one time, and they were talking about spelling bees. I said, "Well, I'll bet you that you can't find a word that my mother can't spell." They laughed at me. So we made an appointment. Mother wasn't going to do it; but we forced her. They got dictionaries, and they didn't find one word that she couldn't spell. And then the same thing happened with Grandfather Tommy Stewart; it was over mathematics. The principal of the school got stalled two or three times over mathematics. We'd get Grandfather down there, and he'd straighten it out. You couldn't catch him on that. But my mother and her spelling, I'm telling you... In poetry she just was a great reader, and she'd just memorize so many beautiful poems.
While we still lived in Tuba City, Father brought me a mandolin from Flagstaff. The boys had taught me to play their mandolin, and I was very proud. one day all the cowboys were out by the corral, and I thought I would go out and sit on the fence and play a tune to impress them. So I went out and sat on the fence, and was just getting ready to play when I fell off the fence right on top of my mandolin, smashing it flat. Oh, how I grieved, and I didn't think it was fair -- I was just trying to show off a little bit!
Mother was reading in bed one night, and said she felt as if somebody was watching her. She looked up and there was an Indian looking through one of the port holes. He had to have been standing on his horse to reach up to the port hole. The Indians were getting quite hostile at that time, and we worried a lot about them.
One day the Indians marched all day long single-file. Down about a half a mile there was a raise in the road. You could see the Indians coming over this raise, and they were all riding on horses, no saddles, just on these ponies, and had their guns across their lap. And then about a half a mile up the road is another raise, you could see them going -_ coming over one and going over the other. The road was only a few hundred yards from our door. We got so frightened. Father used to get up in the morning, and if he could see the Indian sheep or cattle still on the side of the mountain and their wickie-ups, why, he didn't worry. But Mother kept worrying about it, and she was expecting another baby at this time.
Jim Emett at Lee's Ferry wanted Father to come and run the ferry boats for him so Father wrote and told him he would come. We moved from Tuba City down to Lee's Ferry. Uncle George and Uncle Ben were still with us. We had a good school there, and a very good teacher for the children. Besides our family there were a number of Emett children. The teacher's name was Miss Staker, and we were very fortunate to have such an excellent teacher.
At Lee's Ferry, we just had a two-room, lumber home is all. Uncle Ben and George moved there with us from Tuba City, and they had a tent. They lived and slept in a tent. We lived in these two rooms. The house had a fireplace, kitchen and dining room and everything together. I don't know how they all lived like they did in those days. Children didn't have a bedroom alone like we do now.
I remember a most beautiful sight at Lee's Ferry, of Indians crossing on the ferry. The ferry was just a long old boat, they had an awfully long boat, I remember. The Indians put the ponies on the boat, part of them facing east and part facing west. I can see the Indians standing, holding their ponies, the horses drinking from the boat as it was going along. I remember my mother standing there saying, "Did you ever see such a picture!" Father ran those big boats across the river, and I've often wondered how he did it. There were no oars, so I guess they were run by cables across the river. It was exciting to watch those big boats crossing the river, with horses, wagons, and Indians. [Ed. note: See W. Rusho & C. Crampten, Desert River Crossing, Historic Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River 54-59 (Peregrine Smith, Inc. 1975).]
When we moved to Lee's Ferry, they drove the horses and wagons onto one boat, and there was a smaller boat that Mother and we children got on. We were halfway across the river when we found we had forgotten Penny, our dog. The dog started to bark, and all we children were excited at leaving our little Penny on the bank of the Colorado. By the time we got to the other side the dog had decided to swim over to us. He jumped into the river and started to swim, and we children were screaming, "Come on, Penny! Come on, Penny" When he got across the little fellow was just exhausted. We rolled him in a blanket, and loved him and fed him. He came out of it alright.
Father used to always be feeding the Indians. At this time we'd just got our supplies from Kanab and had one of those big round cheeses they used to have. A whole cheese wouldn't cost what three pounds would now. Father offered this Indian some cheese, and he said, "No, cheese chokes Indian's back side."
While my family lived at Lee's Ferry, I met for the first time my future father-in-law, Tommy Stewart. it happened soon after my mother gave birth to my younger sister, Gladys. Gladys was born on 18 December 1898, and Mother didn't get along at all well. She got really sick. Sister Emett was the mid-wife, and she took good care of Mother, but it just seemed she wasn't getting better. She kept telling Father that if she could get an Elder of the Church to administer to her, she knew that she would get well. Brother Emett was a good Elder of the Church, but he was on the freight trip, and there was no one there that held the Priesthood.
Mother got so bad that her left side was completely paralyzed, and they thought she wasn't going to live. They sent someone to the school house for us three children, Billy, Dolly, and me, and told us our mother was dying and for us to come home. Instead of coming home we went up a little canyon from the house. There was a big rock that we used to play on, and we went there and all knelt down and prayed to Heavenly Father to spare our mother. Then we went on down to the house; Father had us kneel down with him, and he placed his hands on Mother's head and gave her a beautiful blessing. Of course, he never administered to her. He pleaded with the Lord to spare her for her family's sake.
Brother Emett had heard while traveling that Mother was very ill, and he had hurried home. He stopped his freight outfit right out in front of the house, and even though he was covered with dust, he came right in to Mother and administered to her. From then on she started to get better.
One day Father came home and said he'd moved an outfit from Kanab, Utah, across the river, and there was a big camping area at Lee's Ferry up above our place, with a camp house, stable, and everything for horses. He said that Tommy Stewart had an outfit going out to Nevada to the Pahranagat Valley. Father asked him if he would come down and bless the baby. When Brother Stewart came down we were so happy to see him. He was a wonderful man, and we had heard about him for years. He had been President of the New Zealand Mission, and we had heard many things about him and knew people who knew him. He blessed Gladys, and administered again to Mother.
When he came in he brought two pounds of butter, a bottle of tomatoes, a bottle of plum preserves, and several other things. He said he knew how it was out in the wilderness with no place to buy groceries, and he just thought that perhaps we would enjoy a few extras. I'll never forget how we put those things up in the cupboard so nobody could bother them, and we could keep them for Mother. She started to get better then. I've often wondered about the time we met Tommy Stewart; little did I know that I would become part of his family in the years to come.
Mother got better, but the baby didn't seem to do well at all; she just cried all the time. Mother asked Father to take us to a town where there was a doctor who could help the baby, so Father decided to quit his job at the ferry. He loaded our belongings onto the wagons again, and away we went.
We traveled until we came to a little town called Pahreah, by Cannonville, and we camped outside this town. There was man who had a ranch there. He had a nice lumber house, and an orchard and garden spot. He had corrals and a barn and chickens and hogs. He wanted to sell his place to Father but Father said no because he was going on to Fay, Nevada, where his brother Press was living.
So we went on, and we had traveled only a few miles, but the baby was still crying and Mother was completely worn out. She said, "Will, let's turn around and go back and buy that little ranch, and see if we can't do something for the baby." Father turned around and went back and bought the ranch. I've often wondered how he bought it, but he must have saved some money, because he did buy the ranch and we moved into the house. It was just heaven to get into a house again. Soon the baby started getting better. Father got us a little pony, and Dolly and I would ride the pony to school every morning. We just thought we were in heaven having a horse to ride, and we could go to Sunday School and Primary and all the things we loved in the Church.
Our place had an apple orchard, and we used to gather the apples and put them in barrels to keep.
Grandfather Lamb wrote to Father and said he wanted to come out from Toquerville and be with us for the winter and summer. Father thought that would be good; he could come out and raise us a good garden and help take care of the ranch, so he had Grandfather move out. There was a little cabin up on the hill just above our house, and Father and Mother went and fixed it all up for Grandfather. He came out, and we were so happy to see him. He did raise a nice garden, and Mother bottled the vegetables and fruit.
By the time Gladys was two years old, she had gotten well and strong. Carlton was born then, and Mother got along fine. Father got a letter from Uncle Press from Fay, Nevada, wanting him to come out. Uncle Press had taken a contract getting timber for the mines, and he knew what a help Father would be, so he wanted him to come and help him get this timber. Father left his family with Grandfather Lamb and went to Fay to help Uncle Press.
We loved to hear Grandfather Lamb tell about the early days. Brigham Young called him and his brother and their families from the Salt Lake Valley to go down to Dixie to help settle it. We used to love to hear him tell about the pioneer days, and what they all went through.
We gathered our apples in the Fall, put them in barrels, and stored them in Grandfather's cabin. one day, after Father had been gone for a few weeks, Grandfather called me to come up to the cabin. I had grown to love Grandfather -- we were real buddies. I went up to see what he wanted, and when I went in I saw something I had never seen before. Grandfather had made a still by placing one washtub on top of another and puttying them together. He had the apples boiling inside, and he told me that the cattlemen and sheepmen came so often that he thought it would be nice to have some little thing to treat them with, so he'd made this still and was making a drink. He was all worn out from looking after it, and he told me it I'd watch the still long enough to fill two of the bottles while he got some sleep, he would give me a dollar a bottle for it. He got a little pension from the Black Hawk War, and he always had a little money. So he went to sleep, and I watched the still. It took a long time to fill one bottle; it was just kind of a little drip, and then it would run, and then drip and then run a little. With the second bottle I got a little tired, so I filled it about half-way with water, then I awakened Grandfather. He paid me the two dollars, and I went home and told Mother about it. She was very upset and wrote to Father.
One day, a week or so after this had happened, a buckboard drove up in front of our place, and out jumped Father. He didn't even look at us children or Mother, but grabbed an axe out of the back of the buckboard, and up the little hill he went. In a few minutes it sounded like Boulder Dam had broken loose; I had never heard anything like it. Tubs came rolling down the hill, mash all over the side of the hill, and pipes flying. I felt so sorry for Grandfather, but I didn't know what to do. I wished I hadn't told on him, but anyway Father did what he should have done.
Uncle Ben and Uncle George had gone back to Toquerville when we bought the ranch. They had taught Dolly and me to play the guitar and the mandolin. Then they taught us lots of songs, and we used to sing and play our music. When the cowboys and sheepmen would come, Father was always so proud to have us sing and play for them. We thought he was being so foolish, but now I think if our little grandchildren could do that, how proud we would be. Of course, they can do a lot of things now that we couldn't do then.
Father got restless when he got back from Fay, and he could see he couldn't make a living on the little ranch, so he decided we would move again. In those days it seemed like they didn't think anything about moving from one place to another, so they decided to go back to Toquerville. How happy we were to get back among our loved ones, our girlfriends, the Church, and everything we loved so much.
We rented a house this time. I was just getting to the age when I wanted to be out with the boys and girls going to parties and having fun, and we certainly did. There was Aunt Rhea, Aunt Ethel, Clara, Florence, and all of our cousins there. Dolly and I did enjoy ourselves so much. The first boy who asked me for a date was Willie Bringhurst; he asked me to go to a party with him. I asked Mother if I could go, and she said, "Yes, if you will mix the bread you can go." (We used to mix our bread at night in those days, and bake it the next morning.) So I hurried and mixed the bread, covered it all up, and got ready to go to the party. How excited I was. The next morning when Mother got up to put the bread in the pans, it hadn't raised a bit. She found the yeast out to one side; I hadn't put it in because I was so excited over this date. How I was scolded for wasting all that flour!
We did have so much fun. The 4th of July was a great day, with the Marshal Band out playing, and all the girls in their new dresses, marching in the parade with little flags. In the morning at 4 o'clock there would be guns blasting and giant powder going off. What a thrilling, exciting time we had! We enjoyed the schools there and the Sunday School so much.
We hadn't been there very long before Father went to Cedar City and got a mail contract, driving the mail from Cedar City to St. George. The only thing to do was to move us to either Cedar City or St. George, so he moved us to Cedar City. We moved again, but we were happy up there.
The normal school then was so much fun. They had programs all the time, and quite a few of the Church came down and we'd get to hear them speak. I remember one conference we went in to Cedar City. B.H. Roberts spoke, and Mother was very interested in his talk. Then someone snapped their watch shut, and Bro. Roberts said, "Well, I guess it’s time to quit, I hear someone snapping their watch." Mother was so upset, for we could all have listened to him for hours. When we got home, Father said to Mother, "Charlotte, you were the prettiest woman at conference and you had on the loveliest hat." Mother thanked him; it pleased her for women to receive compliments once in a while, especially from their husbands.
I was in the eighth grade then, and I got along just fine in everything but arithmetic; oh, I did have a difficult time with arithmetic. MY compositions were so good that the teacher put them on the two blackboards. The punctuation and all was correct, and I was so proud, but arithmetic just about had me wild!
Aunt Clara and Uncle George Grainger were living there then, and she was taking in boarders. She boarded lots of school teachers, and I used to go and stay with her once in a while to help her, and I asked the school teachers if they would help me with my arithmetic. They said, "Yes. It's Friday, and if you will do our ironing, we'll help you Monday with your arithmetic." So I ironed all day for the four teachers; I remember Aunt Clara helped me iron shirtwaists (they were all starched in those days). But Monday when they tried to help me, there wasn't one of them that could do the arithmetic. They were teaching the lower grades, and they didn't know as much about it as I did, so I had done all that ironing for nothing. I did go to my teacher then, though, and explained it to her, and she helped me, bless her heart.
Just before Thanksgiving I was brought home from school really ill. Mother put me to bed and got the doctor, a wonderful Dr. Middleton. He worked in the Salt Lake Clinic for years, but he was practicing in Cedar City then. He said I had typhoid fever. He did everything he could, but it seemed I just didn't get better. I was in bed all winter long, and nothing seemed to help. Mother and Father got so discouraged with me. I just remember how terribly sick I was. I couldn't sleep at night, and I'd get poor Mother up, And while she was getting whatever it was for me, I was trying to think of something else so she wouldn't go back to bed. To think of how cruel children can be! But I just wanted her company. I guess she never did get any sleep.
Father had gone to Fay to see about work. He came home a time or two and was so upset about me, and he stayed for almost a month with me before he'd leave. one time he said he was going to take me to Fay. Mother started to cry and said, "Jessie will die if we move her." He said, "She's going to die here." (I heard them from my bedroom.) So they made a feather bed in the back of the wagon and fixed this nice bed for me and hauled me to Fay, Nevada, like that. From the time we got there, I started getting better, and my appetite was getting better, and I remember we'd been there for quite a while. I was sitting on the front step of our place and had Dolly and Billy carrying pebbles; I was making them walk from the house to the gate. I heard my father say, "Charlotte, come here quick." I remember Mother coming to the window, and I heard him say, "That's the first sign of ambition I've seen in her in six months." I thought that he thought that I was lazy! He found out that he'd hurt my feelings and how sorry he was!
When I was so sick in Cedar City, I thought I was going to die. There'd been several funerals go by our door out in the road, and I'd think next Saturday it will be for me.
When I was so sick there was nothing seemed to help me. Bishop Bringhurst from Toquerville (a great friend of the family) sent a big bottle like a 7-Up bottle, a large bottle, full of wine 100 years old. And in the bottom it had a handful of rusty nails. He said he knew if I'd take a spoonful of wine everyday and get the iron from these rusty nails that they would help me. I remember they used to give me a spoonful of that and a little water. Mother'd fix it in a little water so it wouldn't be strong at all. I'd drink a little of that wine everyday, and I guess it did help me. But, my, the way we had to live and the things they have nowdays. The young people don't know half how they should appreciate all these things they have now, the shots for the children to keep them from getting these terrible diseases.
One morning in Fay, Mother sent me down to the post office with letters to mail real early. I got down there, and the flag was at half mast. I wondered what in the world was wrong. I asked the postmaster what the trouble was, and be said that President McKinley had been shot. [Ed. note: Pres. McKinley died 14 September 1901.1 And what a shock it was. I thought the difference from today when they shot President Kennedy; I saw the whole thing on television.
I've always had sympathy and lots of patience with our girls at fourteen. I thought there was nobody in the whole wide world as beautiful as I was. When I would go downtown I thought everybody, and especially the boys, were just admiring me and thinking what a gorgeous creature I was. My thinking soon matured.
Father was one of the bosses of the gold mine. He never did work underground, but always had a job above ground. We stayed in Fay, Nevada, for about five years. (I was sixteen going on seventeen when we came to Pahranagat Valley.) The mine was going to close down, and the bosses came to Father and asked him if he'd take the gold (they called it "amalgum"). It was in large, deep trays, and they wanted him to take care of it until they could get the bosses from the East. They didn't want the miners to know there was danger of the mine closing, or there would be trouble.
Father took our kitchen floor up, fixed a place under it, and put the trays of gold under the kitchen floor. He covered them with some kind of oil paper, and kept them until the bosses from the East arrived.
Uncle Press and Aunt Mary had a large boarding house. They had two girls Dolly's and my age, and we used to have so much fun with them. There were many children in Fay about our age, and we used to sleigh ride and skate with them. The main street was straight up a hill for about a half a mile. Everybody had sleighs, and we used to go to the top of the hill, go down as fast as we could, and then we'd climb back up. There were no cars in those days.
The miners had a bunkhouse on the street that we had to pass as we slid down the street. After we would go home, they'd carry ashes out of their stoves and put them out on the front of the walks so they wouldn't slip when they were going to work. After they would get to work, we'd go and carry buckets of water to pour over the ashes, and it would freeze solid and be as slick as glass by the time we were ready to sleigh ride again.
We also went sleigh riding in the big sleighs. They had a place in Fay that rented horses and large sleighs with bells. Some of our friends would rent the sleighs and we'd go for rides; it was so much fun. It was just like the stories we read in books.
We had been in Fay about two years when Press was born (that was our youngest brother), and that made our family four boys and three girls. My oldest brother Billy was such a fine boy and helped the family so much. He was always right there when we needed him. Dolly and I tended babies most of the time, it seemed. Gladys cried so much, and Carlton held his breath and scared us to death. Dolly and I loved to play jacks, but whenever we started to play a game, one of the babies would start to cry. We'd get so upset with the "little brats," as we called them!
Father decided to buy some land and make a new home in Pahranagat Valley. This valley was the place that Tommy Stewart was enroute to when we lived in Lee's Ferry. Dad sent for Uncle Ben to come and move us down there, He and Horace Slack came with large wagons after us. We were all ready to move again, and moved to Alamo, Nevada in 1905.
Tommy Stewart had bought the large Pierson ranch and colonized it. There were a few houses on the ranch. Uncle Ben had bought some land, so we put our tents up on his land until we could get a home built. Father soon got some land and put a large bedroom on it. We children all slept in the tents. We liked the little town of Alamo.
When the boys found out there were some new girls in town, they were eager to meet us. The boys used to come down to the ranch and bring Uncle Ben the mail all the time. Then they'd try to get to see us girls, but we wouldn't come out. And so we'd been there maybe a few weeks when we went up to Alamo. Uncle Lon Stewart had a home up there and had a house on it. And he had his daughters Myrtle and Edna there. They had invited us up. We hadn't been there (it was Sunday) very long until, oh, I think there were 14 or 15 boys all drove up, young cowboys on their horses. Every boy in Pahranagat Valley had heard we were coming to town, so they all came.
Dave was the first one I saw. He and Dolly played the guitar, and Myrtle and the girls sang. We all sang songs and entertained the boys. And before we left, they told me they were having a dance. They had a big open-air pavillion in a big grove of trees in Alamo then. Johnny Richard's father, Old Man Richards, used to play the violin and his daughter played the organ. They'd just play all night while the young folks danced. So we went to the dance with Myrtle and the girls in the next day or two. Again the boys were all there. Dave kept dancing with me, and dancing with me, and before the dance was out, he told me they were having a big 4th of July celebration up on the Gardner Ranch. He asked it I would ,go to the celebration with him, and I told him yes.
Mother was such a dear, and loved to dress us up and make us look nice. She had made me a long white dress. The hem was three inches wide, and there were two-inch tucks above the hem, the skirt was full, and the bodice was trimmed with lace. It would be in style right now, with the long, full skirt. I had blue a ribbon sash around my waist, and a large white leghorn hat, with yellow daisies with blue centers, and blue streamers.
When Dave drove up he was in a beautiful little surrey with a fringe around the top. it was shining and looked so lovely. The horses were black, and they shone just like the buggy. He got out of the buggy and started towards the house as I walked out the door. (He later said, up until he died he never could forget the picture I made that morning.) He wasn't used to seeing girls dressed like that out on the ranch. We went in the buggy up to the Gardner ranch, and it was a beautiful place for a "dude ranch." Mr. Gardner was a wealthy man, and had bought this ranch for pleasure. He had beautiful horses, a dance floor, and a big ranch house with tables full of food. He had a race track where he had trotting horses. I'll never for get those beautiful horses trotting around that race track. I had never seen anything like that before.
It seemed we danced all night and had such a wonderful time. I had never been out with such a handsome young man as Dave was. He had big brown eyes and curly hair. I never did forget how handsome he looked that night. Little did I know that someday Dave and my sons would own that Gardner ranch, as they now do.
We lived two miles from Alamo. Dolly had a boyfriend, too, and he and Dave drove a buckboard when they came to see US. The harness had chains which hooked onto the single trees. When they came around the Pierson knoll, we could hear those chains rattle. It made our hearts race to have our beaus coming to see us. Of course, we'd be all primped and ready for them, but we didn't have anyplace to entertain the boys. We'd just have to go and sit in the buggy, or go out and sit on a log, or a rock or something, and entertain each other. That went on quite a while, and it started getting real cold. Then Mother wouldn't let us go out courting like that. It was too cold. We just had to have a place to entertain our boyfriends. Uncle George and Uncle Ben had raised a field of corn. They told us that if we'd help them shuck their corn, they'd make us a sitting room. They said they would have it done by next Saturday. We shucked corn all week, until our hands were so sore we could hardly use them. Friday morning they started on our sitting room. They put a lumber floor down, and lumber sides with a window and door. Then they put a tent on top for the roof. Mother let us put a carpet down she had bought from the store. They put a stove in the corner for heat. We had a table and chairs, too. Our lovely homes now could not compare with that one lone room we called a sitting room. The boys came down Sunday evening, and how thrilled we were to have a nice place to entertain them in. But then Uncle Ben opened the door and put a big mattress down on the floor for his "bed." How he loved to tease us! We soon ran him out with the broom.
These nice homes we have now aren't appreciated half like that little room was. It was our "setting room."
Before we got our setting room, we'd go for rides. We'd almost freeze to death riding around. So this night Dolly said, "Well, I'm going to fix this tonight." And she got a great big rock and put it in the fireplace. Then she said, "When we come home, it'll be hot, and we'll wrap that up in paper and put it in the foot of our bed." (We slept together.) So when we got home, oh, we were freezing. We got in bed and went right to sleep. The first thing I knew was my dad was grabbing us and grabbing the cover, and I could hear him saying, "They're so damned in love, they'd lay here and burn...." And we'd set the bottom of the bed afire! Paper caught fire and burned into the mattress and started to burn. Oh, I'll never forget that!
We had to ride horses everywhere we went. We'd put a strap or a piece of heavy material around the horse, and get on sideways. We'd hold the strap, and ride as fast as the horse would go. The only problem was to keep in horses; we'd get two for us, but in a few days some of the men would take them.
Once some boys caught some wild horses, and Father bought a little mare from them. We put her in the corral and in the pasture. No one bothered to break her. It went an for three weeks, so Dolly and I decided we'd break her ourselves. Dolly could throw a rope as well as her brothers, so she caught the mare, we got a saddle on her, and I got into the saddle. The rope was still around her neck, with a loop around her nose. She bucked real hard for a few minutes, and then she stopped. She seemed to understand how we needed her. Dolly led her up to the house. when the folks saw us, they couldn't believe their eyes. Father scolded us, but we saw a little twinkle in his eyes. No one borrowed that horse.
After that we could go as we wanted to. We could always get another horse from someone, and we learned to ride like Indians. Mother finally made us divided skirts, which helped a lot, and we started to ride astride. After we got the skirts, Father bought a little buggy which used only one horse, and we liked that. One day we drove the buggy to town to get the mail. When we stopped the horse we noticed that there was water on the ground. We went inside and stayed and visited, and when we went back out we got in the buggy, and Dolly turned the horse around. The wheels were frozen in the water, and it broke one of the shafts. We were scared to death. Dolly drove, and I walked and carried the shaft up to Uncle David Stewart's home. He wired the shaft together, and we went on home. We were afraid Father wouldn't let us use the buggy again, but the next day he had it fixed as good as new and didn't say a word to us.
Dolly had a nice boyfriend, Lath Allen from Arizona, so with the two boys we really had fun going to dances and parties, riding horses, and just anything to pass the time away.
Father got a contract in Delamar to get timber for the mines, so he rented a home, and he and Mother took the small children to Delamar. They needed money to build a home in Alamo, and to fix up their farm. They left Dolly and me to look after the farm in the valley.. Dave hauled hay to Delamar, so he was gone most of the time. I was very much in love with him by this time, and was always glad when he got back.
Dolly and I just had the time of our lives. We got a little place by Ben, and we didn't have anything to do but court the boys. Ole Anderson said he thought it was a shame for Will Lamb to be up there in Delamar working like he was and those two big strapping girls of his down doing nothing but riding horses. Dolly went down; she said, "I'll go down there and just tear his head off for saying that about us." And she went down and asked him what he said that for. She was going to give him the dickens. He said, "Well, ain't it the truth?" She turned and came home.
On another occasion, we'd been swimming all day at Ash Springs and having a picnic. Ethel was with me then. She'd come from Provo down to be with us and visit with us. She fell in love with Omer Stewart, Uncle Lon Stewart's son. They were going together. Omer and Dave got mad at us for something -- I don't remember what it was. They said, "Well, come on, let's go." So we went and got in the buckboard, on the back seat. Dave got in the front, with a span of mules pulling this buckboard. In a few minutes, here came Omer carrying half a dozen big old gunny sacks wet; he'd just dipped them in the spring. I thought, "What on earth!" He threw them at our feet in the buckboard. When Dave took out, he went right up over the hill, didn't stay on the road at all. Omer stood up in that buckboard and beat the mules with these wet gunny sacks. The buckboard would just go up in the air. Ethel and I both got to crying, almost scared us to death. Ethel called them all S.O.B.'s! I was too religious to swear!
Mother started taking boarders in Delamar to help out with the living, and she sent for Dolly and me to come to Delamar to help her. We had a wonderful time there; it was a mining camp with many fine people. We enjoyed Delamar, after the quiet little Mormon town of Alamo. There was a large dancehall, with good music and lots of boys. We were very popular and were the belles of the ball.
Dave was hauling hay from the valley, so I got to see him very often. He grew more handsome each time I saw him. When the hay was all delivered, Dave and Omer moved to Delamar to work. They went down in the mine for a day, and then my father got them a job on top. We were afraid of the dust from the mine.
When Captain Delamar, who owned the mine, started to mill and grind the gold ore, it was run dry so the dust was very bad. They tried to get him to put in a wet process, but he said, "Mormons are cheaper than water." At one time there were forty-five widows in St. George as a result of the Delamar dust.
Friel was from Eagle Valley, and he boarded with us. He was just a good ol' Mormon boy and just a friend. He wouldn't a had me and I wouldn't a looked at him. Dave was hauling hay and wasn't there that night. I went to the dance with Friel. And when the dance was over, we started home. The main street was lighted with electricity from the till. And he said, "Jess, if you'll let me put my arm ,round you from here up to Joe Vietta's Saloon, I'll buy you the biggest box of candy in Delamar." And 1 said, "Yes, I'd to see you put your arm around me. I'll knock you through the wall here." Or something like that. But he just begged me. And my dad, oh, my dad was insulted at him the next day when he went downtown and they told my dad that
There was a big bet of $50 that there wasn't a man in Delamar that could put his arm around me. And Friel thought that he could do it; he bet that. He lost his bet! He lost his $50. The men that had this bet going were all stationed watching.
On another night in the dancehall, this Joe Vietta came in with a big tray with little tiny glasses of wine, full of wine and he went down the opposite side and everybody took little glass of the wine and drank it. Aunt Ethel and Dolly were with me then, and Aunt Doll said, "I might drink it." She'd tease me. And I said, "Don't you dare take a -rap of that," and of course I knew she wouldn't. But when they came by we refused it. And the men just almost tore that building down clapping their hands. Joe had a bet up that he could get us to drink. See how careful we had to be?
Dave and Omer boarded with Mother, which pleased me very much. By this time Dave and I were very much in love and had become engaged to be married. One day Dave came with two horses and asked me to go for a ride. We rode about two miles to our favorite spot; this was a lovely grove of trees with a large rock with a seat in the side of it. We loved to sit there and watch the town, and the activity that was going on. Dave had a little box with my engagement ring. When he opened it and put the ring on my finger I thought it was the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen. He had paid $100.00 for it, and that was an unheard of sum in those days. The diamond was small, but it sparkled and looked like the morning star. How I loved that ring. I couldn't wait to get home and show Mother and Dad.
When Father saw we were really going to get married, he said I was too young. Father said, "Why, you're too young to take on responsibility like that." And he said. "I think the world of Dave, and I couldn't ask for a better boy in the world." But, Father said, "You go up there to Brigham Young Academy to school one year, and he can go to Tonopah, (Dave and Omer wanted to go to Tonopah and work), and in the Spring if you both feel the same, why I'll give you my blessing and do all I can to help you." So Mother wrote then to Aunt Mary, and I went up to Provo.
I registered at school, gave my name, and said I was from Delamar, Nevada. In those days anyone who came from a mining camp was surely a sinner. The next morning I went to school with my cousins. They had devotional each morning. When President Brimhall got up, he said he had heard there was a girl from Delamar, Nevada, and he wondered what on earth had brought her to the Academy. Imagine a girl from Delamar wanting to go to a Church school. He asked me to come to the stand and tell them why I came to the B.Y.A., and also to tell them about the people and the mines in Delamar.
I was scared to death. And I just said to my cousin Cyril, "I can't do that." "Sure you can. Sure you can." He stood up and helped me up and started me towards the pulpit. I went up to the stand. This was in front of the whole student body. I can just see President Brimhall sitting there; he thought I was some kind of a menagerie, I told them I wanted to be near the leaders of the Church and to learn more about the Gospel. I had always been very religious and never had the chance to associate with the Church leaders in any way.
At B.Y.A., I took sewing, English and piano. But I wasn't as interested in my classes as I was in the Church.
At that time I also had my first chance to go to General Conference in Salt Lake City. My cousin and his cousin were going up- Frank had his sweetheart, and his cousin had his wife and boy, and Frank asked me to go with them. So I went to conference with them. And I never will forget the wonderful time. Of course we could get in the Tabernacle then without any trouble at all. We spent three days there in the Tabernacle; we had rooms someplace, we girls did. We ate out and had just a lovely time.
How I loved to go to conference in Salt Lake. How I enjoyed seeing President Joseph F. Smith as he walked onto the stand. He was a tall, straight, and wonderful looking man. I always loved the story about him when he crossed the plains with his mother as a boy, and had so many hardships. He had to take the place of his father, as his father had died when he was a child.
Also, that was the winter that Apostle Smoot took his seat in the Senate. We all went down to the depot to meet him. He was in a buggy; I have never seen such a funny buggy. There was no top on it, and it went down real close to the ground with seats on either side. It was pulled by a big white team with black spots on it, I remember. We followed that buggy. He went into the auditorium and spoke. And, oh, such a sermon as he gave. Before Brother Smoot got through with his sermon, he was down on his knees in front of the flag, speaking to the flag, and he was so powerful that we all stood up, everybody in the audience stood up. He spoke with such power. And He was so thankful that he could have his seat in the Senate.
Oh, so many beautiful experiences I had that Winter. I don't think that college graduates who fill the full four year term now ever get out of it what I did in that one year.
That year in Provo I thought if I could just have my patriarchal blessing how wonderful it would be. I'd been there quite a while then, and so I made an appointment with Bro. Jones. The girls wouldn't go up with me to get my blessing. They weren't interested; I don't think either one of them had a blessing. I know Ethel didn't. I used to talk to them all the time, preach to them, that they weren't saying their prayers. They'd never say their prayers. And they'd make wild dates with the boys, blind dates, I mean. And things that I never could imagine girls doing. And then the boys used to sneak to the neighbors and play poker and do things like that. Then they'd get upstairs (they all slept upstairs), and they had cards. They'd get these cards and keep them hid under the mattress, and they'd get up there and play cards. Their dad would have died if he'd a known. I went to make their beds one morning, and I found this deck of cards. I said to them, "Your father would die." They said, "We know it. That's why we hid 'em." Best boys that ever lived! All filled missions, and such fine boys. But just boys, you know. They had to do something.
Anyway, about my patriarchal blessing, I fasted for two days and prayed that I could get a good blessing. I prayed that he'd be inspired to give me the right kind of a blessing I wanted. I started this 15 blocks from my home; I started when the sun was quite high. When I got there, I went in and Bro. Jones called his daughter. She came right in. Sweet girl. I've often thought how patient she was. We had prayer, and then he gave me my blessing. And, oh, such a wonderful feeling that I had while he was giving it to me. When we got through and her taking it down in longhand, it was almost dark. And I asked him how much I owed him, and he said, "Oh, they usually gave me a dollar for the paper." So I gave him the dollar.
I remember going out the front door and stepping down off of the steps, and that's the last thing I remember until I got to our kitchen gate, back gate, of our home. I either came to, or my feet hit the ground, or something. In later years I talked to Grandfather Tommy Stewart about that, and he said that it could very well be that I didn't touch the ground going home those 15 blocks. He said, "It could very well be that you were carried away in the Spirit." And he said, "That's the way we're going to be on the other side. That's how we'll get from place to place." I remember standing by the gate, leaning on the gate, just so overcome that I had to stand there for quite a while before I could go in the house.
In Provo, we used to go down to the skating rink. The boys would take us down, Ethel, Florence and the cousins; we'd go down. This fellow Erickson worked there and put skates on the customers. He put my skates on one night and offered to help me skate, so he did. Every night that we'd go, he'd help me skate. Then there were dances in between I and he'd be still working there. Oh, he'd just dress so nice at the dances. I'll always remember his pants, how pressed they were, and his patent-leather shoes. He was a handsome fellow, and all the girls were just crazy about him. And of course that made it all the nicer -they'd be glaring at me every time we'd go by some of them. And I just -- you know how girls are -- they like to think they're flirting a little bit. Well, any way, we felt pretty well acquainted. I went down to my cousin's house one night while she went to Mutual. She told Erickson I was over there with the children. I was at the table studying, and a knock came at the door. I opened it, and it was him. He came in, and I tried to get him to go; I told him that I had lessons to get, and I didn't feel good over us being there anyway. But he wouldn't go. And after a while, he got up (we had a round table) and he started round the table towards me, and I went around the table, and he grabbed me and kissed me like I'd never been kissed in my life. I just almost killed him, fought him off, and told him to get out of there and leave.
Prior to that, I had been thinking (and my cousin kept telling me) how nice it would be if I'd marry him and stay up there instead of coming back to the desert. So I got to thinking how nice he looked, and I'd compare him with Dave and his cowboy boots and overalls, and I got to thinking, "Well,maybe it would be kinda nice to get somebody like this." Anyway, after he left that room that night, I went into my bedroom, and I knelt down and I prayed to the Lord and asked Him if He'd forgive me for my waywardness and that I'd ever given a thought to anybody like that. And, oh, I prayed, and then I went to bed and went to sleep. I dreamed I was married to Erickson. He came to tell me good-bye, he was going someplace, and I looked down at his patent-leather shoes and his lovely pressed trousers, and I raised my head up, and he reached over to kiss me good-bye, and his head turned into a snake's head, and a forked tongue ran out of this snake's mouth. And I threw my head back and there was just an oval picture of Dave -- smiling Dave -- just as big as a large window. You can imagine my feelings. And I never questioned ever again. But that's the nearest I ever came to going astray.
This Erickson fellow went on to get some girl in trouble, and they had him in jail. They wrote to me after I came home. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
One of the great experiences that I had in Provo occurred just at the time I was leaving, when my Uncle James Duffin called me in. Uncle James Duffin had been there all winter, and I don't think he'd ever spoke twice to me. He just didn't bother with the young people much. He was always preaching, away on some kind of a mission, but the night before I left to come home he said to me. "Jessie, come here a minute." I thought, "Oh, my goodness, what have I done." And he pulled me down on his lap, and he said, "I want to tell you something." He said, "When your mother wrote and asked Aunt Mary if you could come up here and spend the winter with us, I said absolutely not. With all of these boys of ours and bring a girl like that into the home." He knew my father wasn't active in the Church, and he didn't know what kind of a girl I was. He hadn't seen me for years. And I can see his viewpoint, just how maybe I'd felt to bring some girl into my family of boys. But he said Aunt Mary cried for days, and he finally said, "Well, we'll just give it a try, I guess. Write and tell her she can come." He said "We'll watch her; the first crooked move she makes, she'll have to go home." So he said to me, "You were eavesdropped, you were watched through the keyhole, listened to through the doors." He said,"I watched every move you made." He said, "The first thing I found was you chastising Florence and Ethel for not kneeling down and saying their prayers and for making blind dates." He said, "I see you out with my boys preaching to them about different things and teaching the Gospel to them." And he said, "I can't understand it. I never will understand it. It's the funniest thing to me that ever's come into my life that a girl like you from a mining camp and a father that isn't active in the Church, and you'd come up here and have to preach to my children that have been raised like they have." You can imagine how pleased I was that he just praised me and praised me, and kissed me. I get up, and I was crying by then, and left and went into my bedroom.
One thing I want is to tell my posterity to be loyal to one another. I think that the greatest thing in the world is loyalty, and that is why our Stewart family has gotten along so good together -- they have all been loyal to each other. I don't know any of the cousins that haven't been loyal. They love each other and would do anything in the world for each other. And the greatest thing in the world is to live the Gospel to the full extent. And another thing is to always be prayerful. I drove an automobile after Daddy died for all the years -- about 30 years, I guess -and I never got in that car in my life but before I started the engine, I didn't bow my head and ask Heavenly Father to watch over me as I went on this little journey where I was going. And I wonder if we do that enough now. The Lord says to pray over your flocks and your crops and pray over everything. And I always think of Bro. Lee at Lee's Ferry. He said in the 50 years he ran the ferry that he never lost a boat. But he said that was his prayer night and morning that the Lord would watch over his boats. And I wonder if we do enough of that nowdays.
I have a strong testimony of the Gospel. It's been the greatest thing in my life. I know it's just as true as if I'd been with the Prophet Joseph when he received the records. I couldn't know any more or believe it any stronger than I do now. I've had so many beautiful experiences, and the Lord has shown me and given me so many testimonies of the Gospel. If you'll just be prayerful and always honor the Priesthood; that has been a hobby with me. I've told so many people, young girls, young married girls that weren't getting along just maybe as good as they should, the trouble was is because they weren't honoring the Priesthood and making the husband the head of the home. I think that's one of the greatest things in the world. You don't have to have bosses in the family or anything like that, but you do have to have a head to make things go right. And I know that the Lord will help you if you'll just live and give Him a chance.
When I returned from Provo in April of 1907 to Delamar, Dave was still in Tonopah. He'd been in Tonopah all winter, he and Omer Stewart. I'd been home about, oh, a week or two when he came from Tonopah. I'll never forget him driving a buckboard up there from Tonopah to Delamar, how thrilled I was to see him, and how thrilled he was to see me. My father could see from then on that we were still very much in love. And so we started getting ready to be married.
At that time we were part of the Moapa Stake. I suppose Delamar was in the Moapa Stake; I don't know whether they even considered it as part of any stake. Alamo was in Moapa Stake. Dave worked in Alamo in those few weeks and months before we got married.
We were married the 30th of June in 1907. We were all ready to go to the temple, and the president of the stake sent a horseman from Moapa Valley up to Alamo to Grandfather Tommy Stewart to tell him that the temple was closed. already gone down from Delamar to Alamo to be ready to get married. My father and mother'd also gone down. And when we got that word, Grandfather Tommy Stewart said, "Well, we must just go ahead with the wedding and be married and then go to the temple as soon as it is open."
I felt terrible about it. I'd always planned so to be married in the temple, but Grandfather's advice was very good. So we were married on his lawn by his home. Grandfather married us. He was a Justice of the Peace.
Before this, we had ridden horseback from Alamo to Hiko to get our marriage license; 18 miles we rode to get that marriage license. I guess it was the last one that was ever issued in Hiko before they took the county seat from US. I remember it was a little old man, Louie Stearns; he had a little office there in Hiko. I never could figure how in the world it was that Hiko could be the county seat. But it was, and we got our license, and went, and Grandfather married us on his lawn. The two families were there. Would you believe we had us a big party after? I remember they served watermelon, and I never could figure how in the world on the 30th of June that they'd have ripe watermelon; but they did. Grandfather Stewart had raised beautiful watermelons.
At the wedding Dave wore his suit. He bought a nice suit in Tonopah, and looked lovely. I wore a white dress, no veils or anything like that in those days. And we didn't have showers and presents like we have now. There wasn't a store that you could've bought anything. But my mother made some beautiful quilts and pillows and a feather bed.
I will tell how my mother and I were able to make the feather bed and feather pillows. Bill Reader used to kill ducks all the time and send them to Delamar to sell. But he had to take the feathers off before they'd buy them. So he came and asked my mother if we'd like to pick 90 ducks killed in one day on Reader Lake. Held like them picked as soon as he could because he had to get them to Delamar. So my sister Dolly, Mother and I worked all day and almost all night picking those ducks and getting all the down off of them. We got enough off those ducks to make this beautiful feather bed and a couple of pillows. Mother made it for Dave and me. It was a beautiful thing in those days. Also Mother and I sewed carpet rags, and made a nice, brightcolored carpet. We had it woven in St. George and shipped out to us.
We stayed for two days after the wedding with Sumner and Jenny. We then went to Delamar with a team and wagon to get some furniture for our new home. Dave's brother, Will Stewart, gave us a cook stove -- wood burning, of course. Mother gave us a folding bed. We got a table, chairs, dresser, and cupboard in Delamar.
Before we were married, Dave bought a tent, a boardedup tent (lumber was up about 4 feet) with a board floor, then the tent formed the roof. It must have been 30 or 40 feet; it was a large room. That was our first home. We put the bright new carpet down, our furniture in, the cook stove in one corner, and our feather bed on the folding bed (when closed up it looked just like a big dresser). We hung curtains at the windows. How proud we were of our first home. Our beautiful homes now couldn't compare to that one big room that we moved into when we were first married. We fixed this little home up real nice. It was one of the nicest places in town. We lived there until Gerald was born. Then the Delamar mining camp shut down. All the houses in this mining camp were for sale. Everyone in Alamo bought one of these homes and moved them to the valley. We bought a house for $75.00 and moved it to our lot where the hotel (as you call our home) now stands. The people had to leave Delamar, so they just gave their homes away. Our home had a living room, dining room, kitchen and a large bedroom and porch. We papered the rooms and carpeted them. All of our children were born there except Gerald.
Dave was always so good in trying to make things nice. He brought a big wooden tank from Delamar and put it up on stilts. He got a pump and engine to run it and took our old hand pump out and put the new one in and piped the water into our kitchen. When Dave turned the first water into our home, it was more exciting that when they drove the Golden Spike in the West. Well, from then we put in a bathroom water heater, added two more bedrooms and built a large sleeping porch for the boys. We made a lovely home. Our place had the only bathroom in town so they sent all the Church people to our home when they came to visit the Ward. I loved that. We raised our family in this home until it burned down. We then built the one you call the hotel. Through it all, no family was ever happier than our family. We lived with love and unity all through the years.
After our wedding Ethel had come down from Provo to be with Mother, her sister, and Uncle Ben, her brother. She and Omer Stewart were going together, so the four of us had some good times together. Dave and Omer were working on the ranch, getting more hay up for sale.
When the Temple opened, I couldn't wait to go and be sealed for time and all eternity. In September 1907 we took my mother and went to St. George and went through the Temple. It took us three days to travel to St. George in the covered wagon, and three days back. What a difference there is now, when we can drive from Alamo to St. George in three hours instead of three days.
When we found we were going to have our first baby, we were very happy, and on 5 May 1908 our first son Gerald was born. I took sick with Gerald. Dave was out working. He had to go to work, so he took me down to my mother's and father's to stay while he was out of town. The baby came a month sooner than we thought it would, so Dave wasn't home. My brother Billy got on a horse and went up to Alamo two miles away and brought Tommy and Mary Ann back. They stayed with me all day and all night, and Gerald was born the next day. We didn't have the help we have now; we didn't have ether or anything to take the pain; we just had to suffer it out. My mother said she thought she'd go crazy, seeing me so sick and all. She'd look at Tommy, and he'd be reading a book. That was all that kept her going, Tommy Stewart. (Grandfather, we called him.) She said she thought as long as he could read a book, I must be going to live.
Mary Ann Udall Stewart was the one that delivered my first baby. Aunt Macy, the wife of great-grandfather Levi Stewart had gone to Delamar to wait on a woman. She was going to take care of me. These people were in bad shape up there and wanted her to come up so bad that she went up there and thought she'd get back in plenty of time. That is why Mary Ann had to do it. She did a very good job, and we got along fine. Gerald, was born at Mother's and Father's; they had a home down by Reader Lake.
Gerald was seven pounds. I remember how I felt after it was all over and they handed me that little baby. I surely was happy. My brother, Press, was just 4 years old. I remember when Gerald was born Press stood looking at the baby with his hands in his pockets of his overalls, and he looked up at Grandma Lamb, and he said, "Mama, I wonder it he knows what we are." And Mother said, "I hope not!"
Dave came home in a couple of days. I convalesced well. Mary Ann never let us touch our feet to the floor until our babies were 14 days old. Mary Ann, Tommy Stewart's wife, was a wonderful nurse, and she was a stickler for sanitation and cleanliness. She was one of the most perfect women I've ever known. She had some little odd old-fashioned ways that some of the daughter-in-laws didn't like; but I just loved her so much.She was with me for all my babies. Aunt Macy, Levi Stewart's wife, delivered Irene; but Mary Ann delivered all the rest of my babies. And what care I got. I can just see her now, get that baby washed and bring it to bed, and put it in the little bed, and then comb my hair -- I had such long hair -- and she'd part my hair arid put it in two big braids over my shoulders. And then she'd always put a blue ribbon if she could find one on the end of the braids up a ways. She'd get me all fixed up, and then she'd always stand back and see if I looked all right. She was a fanatic on sanitation. She was so careful and had everything sprayed. She had some kind of sprays if the children got diarrhea or anything. The wash, the toilet bowls and everything that they used would be sprayed. She never let scarlet fever or anything spread. She was a wonderful woman. I loved her just as much as my own mother. The last words she ever spoke to me before they took her to the hospital, as she put her arms around me, were, "Oh, Jessie, you've always been so good to me." That meant so much to me I think that's why my daughter-in-laws have all been so good to me is because I was to her.
When Gerald was six months old, Dave and Omer went to Tonopah to get work. They got a job hauling water for the people there. They had a wagon pulled by horses, with a large water tank, and they would haul water all over the city. Water was scarce then, and they had to have water in addition to what they could get in the pipes. When they had been there a short time, Omer came home. He and Ethel had arranged to be married. They were married, and the day after their wedding Omer took Ethel, his bride, and me and the baby back to Tonopah on the train. There was a railroad going to Tonopah from Goldfield and the mining country out there. What a joy it was when the train pulled in and Dave was there to meet us. How happy we were to see each other.
They took us to the home they had rented; A large home with several bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, and living room. When we got there the dining table was piled with food -- ham, cheese, and all kinds of canned goods. They had bought everything for us girls to cook with. What fun we had the next day getting our cupboards in order and fixing our home.
We thought the water tanks were the largest things we had ever seen, and they did look large to us, with the boys sitting up on the high seats with the big tanks behind them. They would be like toys beside the big tanks they have nowadays.
Aunt Ethel was a wonderful cook and she used to plan our dinners. Such meals I will never forget.
They brought so many beautiful theatre productions to Tonopah and Goldfield from the East. The boys didn't care about it, so they'd take us to the theatre, and they'd go to the prize fights. I remember they brought "Cripple Creek," "Sign of the Cross," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to the town. They had the stage fixed in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" so that there was real ice for the woman to jump onto to get away with her baby.
The boys took us downtown after we had been there awile. we all had to wear hats and gloves in those days. Dave bought me a beautiful blue suit and hat and gloves, everything to match. Aunt Ethel selected a brown outfit. She looked so beautiful with her brown eyes and brown suit.
Dolly came out to visit us, and the three of us used to take the baby in his buggy and go downtown to shop. People would ask which was the mother of the baby, and they never did give me credit for being the mother -- they always thought it was Ethel or Dolly.
That's where Dolly met Omer's brother, Uncle Clair Stewart. They married and raised a wonderful family.
Here is a story of something that happened in Tonopah that I think will be worth a lot to the girls. I'd gone along for almost all winter, and I got sick, and I didn't know what was the matter of me. I just kept getting so sick in the morning. I didn't know that you could get pregnant when you had a nursing baby. It never entered my head of such a thing. So the boss's wife came in one morning and asked me what was the matter. I told her I didn't know; that I'd been so sick. And she found out and said, "Why, you're pregnant!" And I said, "Well, maybe I am." She said "Well, I'll go right up home. I've got a couple of little black pills I can give you. You'll be all right by a day or two. I take them every little while when I get pregnant." And I said, "Oh, no, I wouldn't take anything like that." I didn't like to hurt her feelings, but she came down the second morning with these pills. (I hadn't told Dave anything; I was afraid to tell him.) And I told her, "No, I just as well tell you that I belong to a religion that doesn't believe in anything like that. If I'm pregnant, I'll go on and be happy about it." And, oh, she just begged me and pleaded with me, saying what a fool I was.
I've often thought if I'd been weak and taken that and not had Irene and that beautiful family of Irene's, just what two pills might have done! Thank heavens I was strong enough and had faith enough through our religion that I was never tempted to do anything like that.
When I told Dave about it, he swore if she showed up again what he'd do. So we stayed in Tonopah until just before Irene was born. Then I went home. Dave stayed on for a little while, and then he came.
During that year in Tonopah, Ethel and I were just like sisters. We still are. She's in a rest home out here now, the sweet little thing. To think that she hasn't got anyone to take care of her. Hortense is gone; she had malignancy. They have her in a beautiful place, but not with her folks. I call her every day. We've always been just like twin sisters. She was my mother's youngest sister, a year and four months older than I am.
After being in Tonopah a year, Dave and I moved back to Alamo. Ethel and Omer went back to California where Omer's people were. When we came from Tonopah we moved into two rooms of Sumner's home, and lived there until we could get a home of our own. While we were there, eighteen months after Gerald was born we had our beautiful daughter Irene, who has always been such a joy to all of us.
Sumner's and Jennie's place had two extra rooms they'd fixed up for any of Tommy's boys until they could get a home. Irene was born in Jennie's big livingroom. She put a bed in there for me when the baby was born. That's how we lived in those days -- just do for each other and love each other. Jennie and I lived there and reared our great big families; we lived there and raised all those boys and our daughters. And we never had an unkind word in our life over the children or anything. We'd hear them fighting or crying, and she'd run down to the corral, and I'd run up there, and we'd separate them, or whatever it was, but we never had a cross word. I love Jennie just like my own sister.
When we found out Delamar was going to close down because it had run out of ore, we felt badly about it for it had run for many years. They called everybody together, and told them they were going to have a big party and dance. it was the last one that would be held in Delamar, so everyone came. We were all dancing and having an enjoyable time when, at 12 o'clock the band began playing "Nearer, My God, To Thee." The lights were all run from the power from the mill, and the big whistle that always blew at 12 o'clock started to blow loud as it usually did. The band played and the whistle blew, and the lights and the whistle started getting dimmer and dimmer. The whistle stopped blowing pretty soon, and everybody was in the dark, and the women were all crying. It was really sad to think that after all the years that Delamar was a thriving gold mining town, it had to close down. People all had to leave their homes just like they were.
They left people in charge of the homes, to sell them for whatever they could get out of them. So everyone in Alamo bought one of the houses in Delamar and moved it to the valley. They would take them down in sections, and load them onto the hay racks and haul them thirty miles to the valley.
Dave and I bought the little home of our neighbors, which we had always liked. It had two bedrooms, a big living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. Dave hauled it down with his brother's help, and we erected the home and were very pleased with it.
I remember getting the home up, the roof on, and the windows and doors hung. We started to re-wallpaper and fix it all up, and we worked night and day to get it done for Christmas. We ran out of money like we usually did, and had to have more wallpaper. I remembered while we were in Tonopah Dave gave me a lovely Eastman Kodak, so we traded this Kodak to Will Stewart for wallpaper from his store.
I remember there was a carpet on the bedroom floor, with big, bright flowers around the border. The center pattern was worn off, so my mother came down, and we cut that rug into four equal pieces. We turned the pretty, bright border, put it into the center, and tack it down, and the bed and dresser and furniture covered the part that was faded and worn. We thought it was the prettiest carpet that we had ever seen.
We got our home fixed so nicely -- it was really lovely. There were many windows, and we managed to get curtains to make them attractive. We had carpets on most of the floors, which was a big help.
Cyril, our second son, was the first of our children to be born in our new home. How wonderful it was to have a nice warm home when we had our third child.
Dave worked on the range most of the time, and I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't been for my little sister Gladys who stayed with me at night. She looked like an angel when she came each day after school to help me with the children. Grandmother Mary Ann Stewart always came if the children were ill.
With three small children to take care of, and with Cyril and Gerald ill so much of the time with colds and childhood diseases, I had my hands full. Two years went by, and I found our son Gilbert was on the way; I was upset for a day or two, but when he came he was such a lovely baby and so good and always smiling that he was dearly loved.
Irene wanted a baby sister when Gilbert was born, so she was real upset, and two years later when Alden was born, she wanted to throw him out in the street! But he was such a beautiful baby, and pretty enough to be a girl, that she soon wanted to keep him. So life went on.
When World War I came along I worried myself to death that they'd take Dave. Of course they were taking everybody. My cousin from Mesquite, Myrtle had been married a short time when they took her husband, Howard Pulsipher. And, oh, they just had such a time with Myrtle, they didn't know what to do with her. That was Uncle George Grainger's daughter. So I wrote a note down to her and told her to come to Alamo and spend the winter with me, which she did. And, oh my, we just saved her life. She came up there, she was such a beautiful girl, and she stayed all winter with us. Her husband got home safely from the war, and they raised a beautiful family.
Dave was gone all the time, still working out on the range. For the first 25 years of my marriage I slept on my elbow with cots and baby buggies and cribs and everything all around me, and with all the children sick, getting the whooping cough and these diseases, and not a light in town. The nearest light was a little kerosene lamp down the street to Madge Pace's. It was the only light. All the light we had was this little old kerosene lamp. And I burned that lamp. To this day I can't go to sleep without a light. After my children came, I never slept a night in my life without a light.
When Myrtle came up, she was so happy to be with us, someone cheerful. They had a big Democrat rally. And, of course, Dave wasn't home, and so we decided we'd go to the big dance in the old town hall. I wore one of her dresses, and it hit me just above the ankles. We were used to wearing real long ones. And she wore one of mine, and we went to this big ball. Of course, we just danced all night long, all during this big rally. Democrats from all over the country were there. And Aunt Mishie (she was way lots older than us girls) was there. All us young girls just about drove her crazy. She thought all the time we were going to hell; if we didn't act just like she did it was wrong. She was an old maid school teacher when they were married, she and Uncle Will; she was seven years older than Uncle Will. A wonderful woman. And she had more good common sense than all us girls put together, but we didn't think so. So she came over to the dance hall, and I saw her looking through the window. And the next morning she came down and, oh, she did lecture me. Dave was out in the hills working, and Myrtle's husband in the Army in World War I, and us girls getting out and acting like that! I told her, "There was a Democrat rally last night, and there's going to be a Republican rally next week, and we're going to that, too." I said, "If Dave thinks I'm going to sit home here and him gone all the time with me waiting for him to come home, he's just off his base." I just talked like that to her. She thought I was ruined for life.
When World War I ended, we all came down with influenza. I remember I was in bed, and all the children, the most of them, down. And Grandma Mary Ann Stewart said, "Where's Cyril?" I said, "He's hauling pumpkins." He'd raised some pumpkins out in the lot. And I said, "He didn't look very good to me when he was in here. I wish you'd see where he is." She went and got him and brought him in. He was hauling these pumpkins in the little express wagon and putting them in the little building we had there. She got him inside, and his face was flushed. She took his fever, and he had a fever of 105 and was out there hauling those pumpkins in. Of course, she put him right to bed then. The whole outfit -- Dave was down with the flu. Oh, we were sick.
Mary Ann Udall Stewart never lost a patient. She nursed half of the town there, and Aunt Lillie Brown nursed, too. She lost one patient. We lost just the one patient in Alamo
Because our place was nicer with the bathroom, whenever Mary Ann wanted to show off the little luxury, she'd always come down and bring her relatives and have me fix dinner for them. It didn't matter that it was maybe sometimes at 9:00 at night. They wouldn't get in from Caliente or wherever they were driving; and she'd come with these relatives. One night, she came with Will Schofield and his wife and 3 or 4 or 5 of their little girls. Oh such beautiful little girls, and Josie his wife is such a lovely woman. She kept those little girls in curls and ribbons, I'll never forget. I told Grandmother we were just filled with every bed, and she said, "Oh, you'll find a place." So I told her, "We have one man here in a room waiting for a phone call, and if he gets the phone call, he'll leave. And then we'll have that one room, and we'll just have to make beds in there on the floor for the children." So he got the phone call, and he left. I remember Dave went in with me to help change the bed and help get things ready. Oh, he was upset. It was about 9:00 at night, and I'd just fixed dinner for them, supper, and had them all eating. We went in to change the bed, and I remember Dave took the sheet and gave it a flip and swore. As he flipped the sheet, he said a swear word. I said, "Now listen." He said, "People come in at all hours of the night and expecting people to take them in!" I said, "Now listen, Dave, we're not doing this for those people. We're doing it for your mother. And you just straighten up there and help me get this room ready!" I often think as I look around and hear the girls today complaining about doing this or some little thing, I can't understand it. To save my soul, I can't understand why the difference. I never gave it a thought. I was there to do for everybody that needed help, or a bed, or a meal, long before I ever started the hotel. My dad was just the same. He drilled that in, that hospitality, to us until we were just trained for it.
I also had quite a relationship with Tommy Stewart, my father-in-law. He used to go out to the trash dump and go through the cans to see what we were buying and what we were spending, and he'd come in and tell us how much cheaper a good mess of beans would've been to've took them fresh out of the sack. I used to kid him a lot; and I could always get next to Grandfather Tommy. He'd kinda chuckle a little bit. Ask him a question, and he'd walk up and down the room for five minutes with his hands behind him before he'd give an answer. There was someone there one night and he got arguing with them because they thought that girls shouldn't marry until they were older, not too young. Tommy told them that some girls are mature and were ready to be married at 16 and 18 and like that. Pretty quick he said, "Well, we'll leave it up to Jessie here. What age do you think a girl should be when she gets married?" I thought a few minutes, then I said, "Not until after the change of life!" Grandfather Tommy wouldn't crack a smile; he just got up and walked up and down the floor, but Grandmother Mary Ann just laughed!
If I didn't happen to get to Church this day, why Tommy always came down to see what was wrong, why I wasn't to Church. I'd see him coming, and I'd get a magazine and lay it on the table someplace where the first thing he would see was that magazine; he'd pick it up and get to reading; he'd forget all about asking me why I wasn't there! Oh, I learned Grandfather Tommy Stewart, I'll tell you.
He'd tell you about his missions to New Zealand. He used to talk for hours about his mission, tell me all the details, and he used to tell me things that I know he'd never told anybody else in the family. He'd a given anything in the world to have lived until he'd gone back to New Zealands again. A man of great faith. But he wasn't a bit better man than Grandmother Stewart was a woman, I'll tell you. He got a lot of praise that she didn't get as being a woman; but, oh my, what that woman didn't do for people.
I was President of the Mutual and, it was hard to leave my babies and go to Mutual at night. After a year they put me in the Relief Society Presidency, which was easier for I could go in the daytime.
Gerald and Irene had started to school. I used to go to Mother's to sew for the children, as I had no machine. One day a family was leaving and wanted to sell me their Singer sewing machine. It was run by treadle, instead of electricity like machines of today. I wanted it so badly, but it cost $15.00. Dave wasn't home and I didn't have a cent, so Mother gave me the money to buy it. I put the sewing machine by my dining room window. I remember getting up during the night and striking a match to see if I had dreamed it. I was so thrilled -- I sewed everything we had from then on. I have always stayed with Singer sewing machines because I loved that one so much.
We sewed all our curtains and made our quilt blocks. Everything we had was homemade. We had no interior decorators in those days, or color schemes. Most people today can't hang a picture without having a decorator to show them where to hang it. We prided ourselves on keeping our homes clean and lovely.
After Alden was born, making our family four boys and one girl, in August two years later, Alma Neil was born, a fine boy. We were very happy with our beautiful family. We had added a big sleeping porch for the boys, and a nice bathroom. Dave got a big water tank from Delamar and put it up on stilts, and bought a Fairbanks and Morris engine to pump the water into the tank. He piped the water down to the kitchen. When we first turned the water on in the kitchen, it was like driving the Golden Spike when the railroad was finished in Utah. All the neighbors were there to see the first water piped in Alamo. We had the first bathroom in Alamo, so the Bishop would get me to take the Church leaders who came to our Ward. That thrilled me very much, as I loved to do for them.
We had the Presiding Bishop come and stay with us one time. I had the home nice and clean, and supper cooking on the wood stove. He was tired, and wanted to rest before we ate. I fed the small children and put them to bed, and after he had rested awhile, I called him to come and have his supper. When he came in he sat down and looked around and said, "Sister Stewart, it is so quiet and lovely here. I wonder if the Savior wouldn't like to come and tarry with us tonight." That has always been a sweet memory to me. I have always loved our Church leaders so much; I remember them all since President Woodruff.
Alamo was quite a community to live in. One of the big events was when Will T. Morris, a school teacher, formed the Literary Society. I don't think it was literary, but he had a picnic every time and a big celebration. They invited everybody in town but they didn't invite one of the Stewarts, except Uncle Will Stewart and Aunt Mishie. Morris just invited the intellectuals of the town. They were all so intellectual. We didn't like that very much, so we undertook to get even with them. We put signs all over the town about them, and Aunt Jennie and I made valentines (she was a good artist), and we wrote this one song to the tune of "Sweet Marie." I don't remember the verses, but I remember the chorus. And then we put on the top of an envelope "Try this on your piano" and we put this song in. The next morning after they got this valentine, we could hear this "Sweet Marie" -- they lived just a block away, and they were really trying it! The chorus was:
Dear Will T, dear Will T, Listen now to me. You are a failure for sure. If you expect to reach the top Let your egotism drop. Oh, you surely are a flop, Dear Will T. They sent up for the Justice of the Peace to come down. Aunt Jennie called me to the window (we were living in the same house), and she told me to come quick. I looked out, and Johnny Richards was in front of their house. Will T. ]ust lived cattie-corner from us. Johnny Richards was on the tallest horse I ever saw. And he had a tall cowboy hat on, and he had these things on his stirrups that were leather that hung almost to the ground. He just looked like a judge. They called him and wanted him to do something about this. He said there was nothing he could do about it. So they had conference and the president of the Stake came up; and they held a court over this deal. But anyway before this, there was a great big event coming off that night, this Literary Club was meeting in the old town hall. Uncle Sumner was coming down just at dusk, kinda walking fast, and I said, "What are you doing?" And he said, "Well, you'll see." He said. "I went up there and put cayenne pepper all over the hall floor and the seats." Well, you know, it wasn't long till they got in there and got the piano going and the dancing, and they all wore long skirts in those days. And in a few minutes you never heard such a racket! And all this sneezing! Well, that broke the Literary Club up. That was the finish of it.
But the president of the stake came up. They took it up to Grandfather Tommy Stewart in his big living room he had then. He had great big heavy drapes they bought it in Delamar. There were the two rooms together; they could pull these drapes and make separate rooms. Marjorie, Grandfather's little girl, was about 12 years old then, little slender thing, and Aunt Jennie and I gave her 50 cents if she'd get in these drapes and listen to this meeting they were having and not to let them know that she was there. We wanted to know what Grandfather Tommy did. Well, she did, and they had this meeting. She said that the president of the stake said, "Well, I can't see a thing in the world about any of this that we could do anything about." He said, "There isn't a word against the Church or against the Bishop or any of the leaders or anything." He said, "I can't say a thing in the world." Marjorie said to us, "After they left, Daddy just walked up and down the floor, and his shoulders just shook laughing!" He could see the joke, but he wouldn't let anybody know!
Oh, the times we used to have in that little town.
Four years after our fifth son Neil was born, our sixth boy Harold came to us. We were as pleased as we were with our first. Now if we could only have another girl. By this time Irene had given up hope of having a sister.
There was no four-year high school in Alamo, only a junior high. The county high school was in Panaca, seventy-five miles away. How we dreaded sending our children away so far when they were so young. After the tenth grade, Irene and Gerald left to go to Panaca. They boarded with a family the first year. The second year the boys rented a place, and boarded with three or four more boys and cooked for themselves. Irene did the same thing the second year with girls. She and Gerald graduated in 1927. After two years Cyril and Gilbert also went to Panaca to high school.
So we had four children over there to high school at once. It was terribly hard. They had about $10 a month from the family, and that's about what they had to live on, just about $10 a month. They worked all the time while they were there, helping the farmers; they had big gardens and loads and loads of vegetables every place you looked. The boys batched it and cooked their own meals. Will Schofield's boy, Bill, and Cyril and Gilbert all were there at the same time. They all lived in this one room; they had their three beds there. The Schofields would send food over, and they had a tablet -- this was Bill Schofield's idea he was a (businessman) -- they had a sheet on the wall, and anything his folks sent, he'd write it down and the value of it. And our boys started doing the same. I'd send bottled fruit and stuff over to them, and they'd write it down. I sent one time a big cut of venison ribs. They went to write it down, and Bill said that it was out of season, and he wouldn't pay for it. So Cyril said, "All right, if you don't pay for it, then you don't get to eat any of it." So the next day Cyril got up and put a big kettle of these ribs on to boil and they went to school. Cyril got home early and he filled it full of vegetables -- carrots, and onions and potatoes -- and he said when Bill Schofield came home from school, he could smell this big stew, and he looked in the pot, and he said, "Well, I guess I'll pay for it!" They wrote down then how much this venison cost. And that's how they got along.
They rarely were able to come home from Panaca. Gilbert got so homesick one time that he started out, and he just was determined that he had to come home. He started out and walked down to Caliente, and there was somebody freighting. He got on this freight outfit and rode to Alamo. Oh, Dad was upset because he wasn't to school. Gilbert said he thought he'd a died if he hadn't gotten home. And that's how they were. They just couldn't get home, only just once a year.
Then Neil got polio. The children had the measles while the boys were in Panaca in school. I took such care of them. I remember letting him go to the bathroom. I just put his houseshoes on and guarded him; I was so terrified of him having a back set with measles; we were scared to death of them. And this day he went to the bathroom, and when he come back, he said he'd like a sandwich. I fixed him a little sandwich. He ate it and went to sleep. And he didn't wake up; he was in a coma. He just laid like that for days and days and days. Grandmother Mary Ann Stewart kept nursing him, ministering to him and praying. You can imagine how frantic we were. He finally regained consciousness. They went to turn him over to fix his bed and told him to move his legs. He said he couldn't move his legs. You can imagine the horror that that was to his father and mother. He was just as paralyzed from his waist down as he could be. I'd feel under the calf of his leg, under his knee, and those cords were just like a dish rag. Of course, we had him administered to. And Uncle Will Stewart, bless his heart, I don't know what I'd a ever done in the world without him, he was all that kept me going. He'd administer to Neil; and he kept telling me he was going to be all right. "Jess, he'll be all right."
We had the doctor from Pioche come, and of course there was nothing he could do. So I just sat with a bottle of consecrated oil and rubbed his legs and rubbed under his cords and prayed; just sat day after day after day with that boy. We'd lift him out of bed to make his bed, and his legs were just like it was on a string, like a little doll's. And one day, I said, "Neil, can't you move your big toe?" And he'd say, "No, Mama, I can't; I can't do it." And after awhile (it seemed just ages to me) I asked him one day, and there was just a flicker of his big toe. Then I got to thinking that maybe I imagined it. But I got deeper under there and I could feel the tiniest little bit of tension. Just enough for a flittering moment. I just kept right on with that prayer and rubbing this consecrated oil, and finally that just started the tension coming a little in the cords, and he got so you could see his big toe move. That's the way the feeling came back into his legs.
That was when Gilbert came home from school on the freight truck, and he told me several times, "Mother, when I went in the door into our home, it was the first time in my life that I ever saw our home in disorder of any kind." He said, "It didn't look like our home. It didn't look like you lived there anymore." I'd completely forgotten the home. But I just put all my time with Neil.
We had a round table in the dining room, and when he could, Neil'd lean on the table and drag himself around and try and make his legs work. I know one time Dave carried him up the loft and turned the tin tub upside down (the boys were playing ball) and set him on the tin tub to watch the boys play ball. We watched him out of the window, and after a while, he got over onto his stomach, and up enough that he was walking around that tin tub -- trying to walk around. And the first time that we let him go back to school, he'd gotten so that he could walk good enough that he could go by being careful. We let him go back to school; and the first thing he did was go out and try to play football and he broke his shoulder. The CCC camp was at Ash Spring. Dave took him up there to a doctor when he got the shoulder broken. The doctor made an airplane splint in the blacksmith shop and put that on Neil and held his arm way out here. We took him to Salt Lake City like that. The Salt Lake Clinic asked where on earth we got that splint. We told them from this government doctor, and they kept that splint to use and make the same kind. They said it beat anything they ever had heard of for broken shoulders.
Neil became spoiled. I being a mother like I was, those boys weren't allowed to speak a cross word to him. "You dare to speak ornery with him or be ornery with him, or you dare lay a finger on him.... "After all I'd gone through with him, they'd better leave him alone!
One day I wanted Neil to go up and tell Uncle Will that the water wheel had stopped. Neil told me he wouldn't do it; so Gerald just came around the corner. I had a little piece of hose in my hand, and it was just about as big as my little finger. I just handed this to Gerald, and I said, "Gerald, you'll have to take care of this boy. I just can't take it any longer." And I went in the house. To hear Neil tell it now, his shirt was cut clear every place that hose hit right, into the skin. It did him good.
Then Neil and Alden had a fight. I was over to my mother's, and they got into a fight in the bedroom. Alden made Neil's nose bleed; and, oh dear, what a time we had. But after that, after the two brothers had taken him over, we never had any more trouble. It was all clear sailing from then on! And I think he's turned out to be the sweetest. He always was before, just my pride and joy, but you can just spoil a child like that. Doesn't make any difference which one it is. But I always spoiled mine when they were sick. I couldn't help it.
Another time Irene and Alden had typhoid. Grandmother Mary Ann Stewart nursed them. She stayed with us most of the time, but she was called someplace and didn't happen to be there when they were so bad. And Dave wasn't home, as usual. I'd been up night after night after night with the children. So I sent up this night for Grandfather Tommy Stewart to come and administer to the two children. He brought Brother Riggs with him, and they came down. Grandfather looked at the children and felt them and talked to them. And then they went off kind of in the corner of the room and were whispering to each other, the elders did, and Grandfather came over, and he said, "Jessie, we've consulted, and I think it's you that needs to be administered to tonight instead of the children." He said "We're going to adminster to you first." I had never given it a thought about myself, you see. They sat me down and gave me a blessing before they adminsitered to the children. That's mothers for you.
We worked hard to get a four-year high school in our little town, and also the Boulder Dam power. We still needed the highway from Vegas to Caliente, so all together we had quite a time with petitions and taking trips to Reno, and doing everything to get these three things done.
About this time a great event occurred in our family -a baby girl was born to us. We named her Caryl Lucinda (Cindy). What a joy she was. She was a beautiful baby. Irene was seventeen years old when Lucinda was born.
I will tell how Dave was injured. He was out on Kaibab Forest, working. Gerald was with him; he used to go with his father all of the time in the summertime. Dave saddled his horse and got on it, and it started to jump stiff-legged before he hardly got on and seated. The horse started towards the camp. Dave told me, he thought, "I know I'm going off this horse; if I can just get to where the"...he could see his bed that he hadn't rolled up yet... "if I could just get to that and fall on that bed." Well anyway, the horse threw him off. The cook there went to him; he thought that Dave had fainted. He couldn't imagine him being thrown from a horse, the rider he was. But whatever happened, it tore him all loose inside from his liver. We found out after six years; they operated on him after six years. He never was strong and well after that. He was deputy sheriff for several years, and he enjoyed that. That was one thing he could do. Also after our home burned down, he and the boys built our home that we have there now, that big home that we have. But they had help, and Dave didn't do the hard parts. Gilbert came home from his mission, and he was a big help. All the boys worked together, and they hired some help. We happened to have our home insured, the one that burned down (I guess the only one that was ever insured in the Valley). But we fixed it up, and it was a real nice home. We had nice furniture, so we took out insurance on it. So that helped us build the new one.
But Dave couldn't even lift a pitcher of cream. He couldn't do anything. For six years I don't think he lifted his shoes. You can imagine with the family we had and all the children and no wages coming in or anything; that's why I say that people just don't realize storing some food -what it means. I had always had loads of bottled fruit and vegetables and pickles and things like that.
I remember two weeks we didn't have even the dust of flour in the house. And I wouldn't let Dave know; I'd always tell the children, "Now don't let Daddy know." He was in bed most of the time. "Don't let Daddy know we're out of flour. Don't let Daddy know anything about this or that." There was no help. If my father'd been alive we'd had flour. And I'd have starved to death before I'd a asked for credit at one of the stores because we didn't have any way to pay for it.
But we got by. We had fruits and vegetables. I remember Cyril coming home with a sack of flour, 50 pounds of flour on his back, one evening. He'd gone and worked for somebody and got a sack of flour. Gerald came home one night with 25 pounds of sugar. He'd worked and got enough money to get this sugar. Gerald was working, and he'd wanted a wristwatch so bad that it was just pathetic. For years, oh, if he could just have a wristwatch. And so he was helping some of the men on the county road. He happened to be in the store this day and the fellow came in selling wristwatches. He sold Gerald one for $20. Gerald had to pay $1 a month on it. He came home with this wristwatch on, and if you ever saw a kid lit up and thrilled -- he was just walking on air, he was so thrilled. He came in and showed us, and he said, "I know I shouldn't a bought it, Mother, but it was such a good price." And I told him how thrilled I was, which I was, and he went on and, oh, everything was that wristwatch. One day, maybe a month later, he came in and said, "Mother, I sold my wristwatch." And I said, "Well, what for?" And he said, "Well, Alden and Neil came in the store up there. Both their overalls had holes in the knees. Their shoes were worn out. I just thought, 'What a selfish human being I was to buy this watch when $1 a month would buy them a pair of overalls.'" And so held sold that wristwatch. That's the way Gerald lived all his life; and that's the way all of them lived. I've always said that is what's made my boys like they are -- always looking out for each other. Those boys would take a shirt off and give it to the other.
They used to buy hair oil to put on their hair. it cost 10 cents bottle, a little red bottle. Oh, if they could just get a bottle of that hair oil to put on their hair and make it lie down. And so they got to stealing each other's hair oil. Harold got him a new bottle, and he knew that Neil'd get it, so he hid it in the back of the water jacket. But before he hid the oil, he took the oil out and put red furniture polish in the bottle instead. Neil got ready for a dance, and he hunted and hunted for this Lady Jean Hair Oil. He finally looked in there and found it. He just took it and put it on over his hair; and the first thing, why, it just broke his hair off. Oh, my, when he discovered what Harold had done! I helped him, we did everything, and, you know, he didn't even get to that dance. That just ruined his hair; we couldn't get it out! That curly hair of his anyway! And that's the way those boys lived.
During the Depression and after Dave was injured, we went to Salt Lake City with Dave to take him to the doctors there. Cindy was just young, just two years old. I took her. A cousin, Pearl Nelson Udall, had a beautiful home there, and she was a doctor. She took us, and we went right there and stayed. She'd go every morning and work, I'd stay and do the housework, and so happy to do it. We'd spent what money we had and didn't have a nickel of money and Dave in the hospital. This day I didn't even have a dime to get up to the hospital; and I couldn't carry the baby, so I borrowed 10 cents from Uncle Joe Nelson to go to the hospital, to take the streetcar. But then I just made up my mind I'd have to walk; I couldn't borrow that. I just prayed that something would happen that we could get the money. One morning, I was standing by the kitchen window washing dishes over the sink there at Pearl's home. The postman used to blow his whistle and cross back and forth across the street, and I could hear him blowing his whistle as he'd get to the different houses. They'd always come out and get the mail. So he kept coming and coming, and I kept watching and watching, and after a while, he turned into our place and blew his whistle. I went out, and he handed me this letter. I went back in and opened it, and it had a $60 check in it. Come to find out Uncle Clair Stewart and Ern Higby and Hector Nesbitt and all the men had a picture show. Everybody that came donated to this picture show for Dave, to help Dave and me up there. They got $60. Some of the Stewarts were awfully upset to think they'd do that. They didn't think they should have done that. They thought it was more like charity, you see, and they kind of chastized Uncle Clair about doing that. But I'll tell you nobody'll ever know what that $60 meant. It lasted me all of the rest of the time there. Dad was working for Johnny Adams when he was injured. Johnny Adams paid the hospital bills; that was all paid. And Johnny Adams got money for us to get home. Dad was never sick from then on, but he was never strong and well again.
My father had always lived on the range among the cattle. He told Uncle Will Stewart (they were going out on this big roundup) that if he'd let him go out just for the trip, he'd cook for them -- Father was a good cook on the campfire. Of course, Will was tickled to death for him to go. So Father got ready to go, and as he came by our place, Dave and I were out on the lawn. They were about ready to leave, and Father came by and stopped and visited a few minutes with us; he had his coat and a little bundle of clothes of some kind. As he went to leave, he shook hands with us and said, "Well, Dave, I'll see you on the other side," and left. And we didn't think anything about it. Dave said, "That's a funny thing for your dad to say." And I said, "Oh, that's just Dad."
He was thrown from his horse. One of the cowboys got sick, and Father said, "Well, I can help brand those calves or catch them." He got on the horse, he'd done it all his life, and was lassooing the calves and helping out when his horse started to buck. It threw him off and hit him right on the shoulder. The first thing he did was go into this terrible agonizing pain; they wanted to take him right to Las Vegas. But he said, "No, my time's come, and I want to get home to Charlotte and the family." So they brought him home, and he just suffered agony all the way home. When they got him home, he just sunk into his big chair and looked just like death. They got him in bed, and he only lived about an hour after they got him home. But he did see my mother.
I never saw anyone take anything as hard in my life as Dave did my father's death. I had to comfort him. And I remember he just couldn't get ahold of himself. one night I went out to gather an armful of clothes and came back in, and Dave was sitting there just sobbing by the table and had his head on the table just sobbing. And I said to him, "Dave, it's my father, not yours; and here I am trying to keep you up. I think it's terrible you taking it like this instead of helping me out." And I'll never forget him looking up at me, and he said, "I don't know what I'm going to do without him." But Dave just idolized my dad, and my dad did him.
We finally got our senior high school. What a joy that was. Gilbert had his last year in Alamo. He was in the first class to graduate from the new high school.
Also during the 1930's Dad had mortgaged his land down below town, 10 acres of land. It was during his sickness and many hospital bills; he'd gotten money that he had to have and he used the land as security. Then Irene (who was just 17) said that she'd teach school and pay this mortgage off. Dave said, "Oh, you can't do that, Honey." She said yes she could. So she applied, and she got this school up above Caliente, Carp was the name of the town. There were just three or four families there. The woman she stayed with when she went up to teach school was a great big, heavy, fat woman who lived in a big farm house with corrals all around, and no screen doors on their house. The house had just bare floors; she didn't have any coverings on her floor. And she was just real ornery with Irene. She used to make Irene scrub these floors, and the flies were so bad that she couldn't bake half the time. She said she kept canned tomatoes in her bedroom, and she'd open those and eat it to keep away from the flies. This lady would tell Irene that if she didn't scrub the floors and do the washing and big ironing she had, why she'd fire her because she wasn't 18. Well, the poor child almost went frantic, she was so lonesome and miserable. She came home for Thanksgiving, and I remember Dave took her back (he had a little Ford car), and when he got home, he told me he couldn't of felt worse to've left her in a cemetery than he did on the job she had up there teaching school. And that's the kind of a time she had, along with the older boys, working and trying so hard to help support the family.
Irene was working in Las Vegas when the Boulder Dam was built. She was working in the Oasis Cafe, where most of the men boardea. She fell in love with a young man from Seattle, Washington, an engineer whose name was Ross E. Woodward. He was a fine, handsome man, with a very nice personality. She brought him home to meet her family. We all fell in love with Ross. They were married, and he took Irene back to Seattle. How badly I felt to have my little daughter taken so far away. But seeing Irene so happy helped a lot.
Gerald was called on a mission a few months before Irene was married. He had met a lovely girl from Salt Lake. Her name was Mildred Linck. They decided to get married before he left for his mission, which they did. Gerald went to the Southern States Mission, and filled a fine mission there. President Callas was President of the mission, and how Gerald loved that man. Mildred came and stayed. some time with us while he was away. We did enjoy Mildred, she being our first daughter-in-law. Her mother was very ill while Gerald was away, and Mildred spent most of her time with her.
When Cyril and Gilbert were missionaries it only cost $40 a month. Ross and Irene kept Gerald in the mission field. He was called on a mission, and Irene was going to help keep him there. When she and Ross decided to get married, she told him that she had to keep Gerald in the mission field. I think his in Florida only cost about $25 a month. And Gilbert's and Cyril's was $40 a month. Dave kept that all right.
One morning the school teachers got up to go to a convention in Las Vegas. They called and said there was smoke coming from the roof of our home, and we found that the house was on fire. There was nothing we could do -there were no firefighters or water close by. All we could do was get our furniture out. Irene, while working in Las Vegas, had sent us a beautiful couch and chairs and so many lovely things to put in our home. We got most of our furniture out, and also our clothing and bedding were saved. our home was insured for a few thousand dollars. Dave and Vernal Stewart, his cousin, went to Los Angeles and bought lumber, cement, doors, windows (everthing that went into our home as it stands today), and brought it home on one large truck. The largest load ever to leave Los Angeles. They took pictures of it as they left for Nevada.
How our boys and their father worked building our new home. They had some carpenters, of couse, who helped them out. After the home was finished, I started a little hotel called the Stewart Hotel. I decided that I had to do something to help support the children. The boys and Irene couldn't do it all; I had to do something to help get food. So I started this little hotel. The duck hunters used to come up from Las Vegas and get Cyril and Gerald and Gilbert to go out with them and hunt duck. They'd bring them home lots of times for lunch. So we started this little hotel. And after I started that, we got more almost than we could take care of. Times weren't so hard, and we at least had food enough.I remember right after we'd built this new home, there was a peddler came along with oranges; he had a great big load of oranges. And we seldom ever saw an orange. I got a case of oranges from him and had them in the kitchen, and, oh my, how those children were! I went to Relief Society, and when I came home the case of oranges was gone. I looked around; I couldn't see them and wondered where they put them. I heard some laughter and talking, and I went out, and they were out back at the celler we had where we kept our separator and things. They had this case of oranges out there, and they'd gathered their buddies up, all the boys had, and they had their buddies out there and into this case of oranges. I just stood and looked at them and thought, "My, isn't that wonderful." I didn't care if they ate every one of them, I was so thrilled to see them so happy and so liberal. My boys were always so liberal and they still are.
After we got our new home built, the wife of Paul Stewart, my younger brother-in-law, got real sick. She had pneumonia. There was just nothing that you could do, not for pneumonia in those days. Only just nourish and take care of it. So they sent for me, and I went up the morning that she got so ill. I stayed there with her. Her mother was my father's mother's cousin, and her father was my mother's cousin. So we all felt like we were related. I stayed right with her, and they had a doctor from Pioche, but there was just nothing he could do. If I'd hold her in my arms, she'd take the medicine; but I'd try to get away from her. This one night they said that I just had to come and get something to eat and rest for a little while. I did, and it wasn't very long till they came for me. I went back, and the last thing she ever said to me, looked up to me, and said, "Jessie, you've always been so good to me." Those are the last words she ever spoke to me. So when she died, they decided that the baby (15 months old, a little boy) would go to Grandmother Mary Ann Stewart. We took Lila, and Uncle Will Stewart took Pauline, and Marion took Maxine, the oldest, (Maxine was the oldest, then Lila, then Pauline, and then Ethel.) And so they distributed the four girls around.
The first morning that Lila came down, I went to the back door. She called to me, and she had a big long wicker baby buggy -- an old wicker baby buggy. And in the buggy she had an old hound dog just sitting in the bottom of the buggy and an old sack of clothes and her shoes and the last doll her mother gave her for Christmas. She said, "Aunt Jess, I've come to live with you." And of course we were all crying. But we took the little thing in, and how we loved her. And to this day she was one of the sweetest little things. And before three months were over, I had every one of those girls. They'd come and cry and just plead with me to let them come and live with me. They wanted so to be together. So we took them. We kept the four girls until Aunt Irene came down from Seattle, and she had a youngster then -- she had Skipper Ross -- and she wanted to take Maxine back with her to Seattle, which she did. And we kept the other three; we took them through high school. I enjoyed every minute of it. Those girls were so dear, and I felt so sorry for them. And every time I'd get to being tired or feeling a little sorry for myself, I'd think of what their mother said to me, "You've always been so good to me." And so I took care of those children -loved them, every minute of it.
Cindy tells me to this day that she was neglected to those girls. If anyone was neglected, it was Cindy because she had a mother, and my heart just ached for them. But they helped me so much -- they just helped with the hotel; they were the best little workers.
And Uncle Paul, bless his heart, I loved him, too. I was always awfully close to Paul. Paul was one of the odd ones in the family, you just never knew just what he was thinking or going to do. But he just loved Ethel, and when she died, he lost all hold on life. He had to have somebody help him along. And we surely did try.
After I'd taken in Paul's girls, it wasn't long until my older brother Billy was killed. He was thrown from a horse. He and my younger brother Carlton were riding in Tonopah. They'd been out gathering cattle and they just had ridden in and could see a rodeo in progress. When they got up there, there was a young boy from Salt Lake that was all dress up in a cowboy outfit but didn't know anything about horses. There was a bunch of race horses that they'd just brought, in, standing there in the corner of the corral. He went and jumped on one of the race horses, and it started to run, and my brother Billy says, "My goodness, that boy's going right down towards that corral full of bronco horses." He just whirled his horse and tore after this boy. He headed the boy from the bronco horses, but one of them hit his horse and just turned it over and hit him on the back of the head, and he never did come to.
He left a big family of children. Wanda didn't like it much when her daddy was gone. And I told her that she could come over and live with me. So she came and stayed with me for quite a while. She was such a sweet thing. She calls me now and tells me I was her second mother. All the good things she knows in life I taught to her! Oh, it was quite an experience rearing all those children.
Oh, I had a dozen others. Little Ann came and lived with me a winter or two. I remember Floyd Lamb, bless his heart, used to come over when he was just a youngster -that was before his father died -- and he used to come over so many evenings, and he'd always say, "Jess, tell us pioneer stories." And I used to sit and tell those youngsters all the pioneer stories I knew or anything that I'-d read. And Floyd kinda got lost in the Church; but I think he still believes in it just as much as he ever did.
When Lila grew up to the age of graduation from 8th grade, there were about five or six girls graduating from 8th grade. They used to make a big fuss over them in those days -- as much as they do for high school now. And these girls were all having long dresses made out of organdy, different colored organdy. The storekeeper had gotten a whole bunch of organdy in all different colors -- pink and blue and yellow and white -- and just in dress lengths. And Lila cried to me this day that all the girls had their dresses, they were getting them made, and she didn't. I didn't have a nickel in the world that I could go buy this organdy, and I wouldn't ask for credit for anything because I didn't have any way to pay it. It was when they was clearing the highway in from Las Vegas up through the valley, and the boss was named Brey. He came this evening and asked me if I knew any lady that he could get to do his laundry, and I told him, "Oh, I should say I do. I know a lady that'd just be tickled to death to do it." So he had a pillowcase just full of laundry, and it was about 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Carmel's Josephine told me if I could get the organdy and get the dress made, she'd make some little ribbon rosebuds to go around the little sweetheart neck. So we had the dress all planned if I could just get the material. So after Mr. Brey left this big sack of laundry, I tore right up to the store, and if it'd been my own child I wouldn't ask credit, but I asked if they'd let me have a piece, and I'd pay them day after tomorrow, and they let me take it. So I went right home and that night I cut the dress out and sat up most the night sewing. But before that I did his washing. I got that washing hung out, and then I cut out the dress and sewed so that we could get it done by Friday night. The next morning I ironed the laundry and put it all back in the bag that he had his clothes in, and he came and gave me $2.50. 1 tore right up and paid for the material. Josephine got the little rosebuds made; I went right over and told her I'd got the material, and she made these little pink and blue rosebuds, and it was just a darling dress when we got it finished. And so Lila had her little long dress along with the other girls. That's how we used to manage.
When Gerald returned home from his mission, Cyril was called to the Northwest Mission. He filled a fine mission, and just before he was released, Gilbert was called to the same mission.
Before Gilbert left, he met a girl who came with Irene on a visit to Alamo. Her name was Mary Martin. After Gilbert's mission was over, Mary came down and they were married in the Logan Temple.
After Father died, this left Mother alone. They built her a little home across from us. How happy I was to have her near me. Uncle Ben, her brother, came to live with her, and we were so glad, for she needed someone with her. Uncle Ben was loved by the whole family, especially the children.
Cyril came home and fell in love with our first grade school teacher, Fay Whitwer, and they were married. They had two lovely children, Charlotte Lynn and John David. They lived across the street from us, and Cyril worked for the highway department. We could see they were not happy together, though. Cyril moved Fay to Las Vegas and bought her a nice home there, but things weren't any better so they got a divorce.
Glenn Jones was elected Clark County Sheriff about this time. He chose Cyril for Under-Sheriff. Cyril enjoyed this work very much. He made a fine looking western sheriff.
We were getting along fine when the Second World War broke out. Alden and Willard Stewart were the first two that left. Alden became a Navy corpsman with the Marines in the South Pacific. We felt so terrible when they went to Ft. Douglas. After they got up there, they sent their clothes home. Alden sent his suitcase home. I unpacked it and hung the clothes in the closet -- slacks and shirt and a sweater. Anyway, they had a dance the next night, and Dad was sheriff then and he always had to go to the dances. So we were at this dance; and I was just sitting there dying thinking about Alden -- we hadn't gotten over his leaving yet. And Harold came by with his partner, just waltzed by, and he had this outfit on that Alden had sent home! I'll never forget it. He was about the same size then. And you know, I thought I'd die. I had to get up and go home. I couldn't stand it, it was such a shock to me to have that little beggar there in Alden's clothes!
Neil was in Reno, and he was taking the R.O.T.C. I knew that he'd have to go. So when they finally took Neil they started in over the radio that they were going to take the 18-year-olds. And I said to Dave one night, "If they take Harold (he'd never been away from home a night in his life hardly), I never could stand it; I'd die if they take him. He's just out of high school." But they took him. Then he went overseas; he was gone over three and one-half years. Alden was gone four and one-half. Neil went to the European Theater, and then he came home. He said, "Well, I've gotten through the European Theater, Dad, but I don't know about this other." They were sending him to the Pacific. But before he'd gotten to fight in the Pacific, they'd stopped the war.
But I'll have to tell about when Neil was taking the R.O.T.C. I went to Reno, and I'd heard about this girl that he was going with, Velma Heaton, and I'd heard what a society belle she was. I thought, "She'll never do for Neil. We don't want any society belles in our family." And I went up to see and to go to this ball; Neil'd invited me. Uncle Clair had the newspaper, and it had Velma's picture in it -- such a beautiful girl. And he says, "Isn't she beautiful?" And I said, "No, I don't think she's very pretty!" We went to the ball and here was Neil all in uniform, this big dance for her, and we were kinda up on the stage up higher, and the colonel went and got Velma. She was Queen of the Ball. He went and he waltzed with Velma; it was just beautiful. They went around at least a couple of times, then he just took her over and presented her to Neil. Then they went on. I couldn't help think how lovely they looked!
They'd taken three of my boys overseas. They were going to take Gerald; and he had the 3 or 4 children. I came down from Alamo to Las Vegas, and Gerald was getting ready to go to Ft. Douglas. Mildred was sick; she'd made herself sick crying; and the baby was sick. And I never saw such a pitiful family. They were taking him into the Army. I went home, and at this time I had gotten my three boys' pictures all in frames, all in their uniforms, all handsome youngsters. I got in the car the next morning, and took Dad's briefcase and didn't tell him a thing. I put these pictures all in this briefcase and went to Pioche. There were three men on the draft board, and they all had different offices. And I went to each office and just sat those pictures up on the desk. Then you can imagine the rest that I'd say. Somebody said I could talk my way into heaven; I don't think I can do that, but I sure talked my way out of that Gerald going into the Army! They finally told me that if I could get a certificate that Gerald's wife wasn't well, that they wouldn't take him. I went right down to Dr. Denham and told him the situation; and he wasn't five minutes writing out a certificate because Mildred had been under his care. He thought it was the most outrageous thing he'd ever heard. So I just took this back to them, and Gerald didn't have to go. Gerald told me not long before he died that he never knew that story.
I felt in my heart that my boys would all come home safe. I felt that they'd come home. I'd wake myself up praying for those boys. Talking and praying right out loud in my sleep for those boys. And I tell you I used to lie down at night and wondered just where they were and where their heads were lying, if they had a bed. Oh, it was a terrible thing. I tell you it was awful to go through.
Having his boys in the war about killed Dave. He was one that wouldn't say anything. He wasn't well; and I had him to worry about, too, trying to keep him cheered up.
When they came home you hardly knew them -- they were so changed. Alden would sit for hours at a time in front of the fireplace and never say a word -- just looking into the fireplace. I used to take some sewing, or something, and sit by him and visit a little with him, and he'd hardly say a word; his eyes were sunken way back in his head. And Neil came home, and every time anybody spoke to him, tears'd come, that's the way it affected Neil. If it hadn't a been for Velma; why of course she was a big help with him. But the other boys weren't married. When Harold came home, all he wanted to do was have a little one-seated car and get in that car and either go to Pioche or Las Vegas or Caliente or someplace to dance!
We'd try to get Harold to stay home, not chase like that. We were afraid that he'd leave. This one time he went to Las Vegas, and went downtown and Cyril and Gerald went after him. So they found him, and he was in one of these places, and he was standing there with a glass of beer in his hand. He was drinking this beer, and they got ahold of him and took him out of the back door and was taking him home to Gerald's. Just as they went out the back door, there was a fellow standing outside of the door. And as they went by Harold doubled up his fist and hit him right under the chin and knocked him headlong. When Cyril and Gerald got Harold to Gerald's home and laid him on the couch, Gerald paced back and forth lecturing and scolding Harold and telling him how horrible his conduct was and how he ought to be ashamed. Harold just looked up and said, "Oh, it's not so bad for a deacon." That was the way he was. He was the trial of our lives when he got home for a little while!
This one night, I said to Alden, "Alden, can't you keep Harold from going into Pioche tonight?" And he said, to, don't give a damn where he goes. I wash my hands of him, and I don't care." And he went into the bathroom. I was going over to my mother's; when I went out of the serviceporch door, Harold was leaning up against the laundry tray. His big arms were folded. I said, "Harold, Alden wants you to come into the bathroom; he wants to talk to you." He said, "If he wants to talk to me, he can come and talk to me." And I said, "Oh, for my sake, Harold, I wish you'd go in and see what he wants." And heavens, I didn't know if he went in what would happen, but I went on to my mother's. When I came back, I think quite a while, I asked one of the girls where Harold was, and she said, "He's been in the bathroom with Alden ever since you left!" I don't know to this day what they talked about or anything, but I don't think they've ever had a cross word since.
It wasn't long till they all got straightened out. Harold went to Caliente on one of his trips, and brought a girl back from the dance. I'd seen her with one of the other boys, and I could tell she'd been drinking. I said to Harold, "Where did you meet that girl?" And he said, "A fireside!" That's the kind of a time we had! I told him, "One of the boys had her here the other night, and she was drinking," You know that he only danced with her once and they took her back to Caliente, and that was the last we ever heard of that girl!
Oh, it was a joy though to have them in the home, even though you did worry about them. But Carma came along, and Alden got to going with Carma. She was one of the sweetest girls in the world, and that just saved the day when he and Carma got married. We went down to Arizona to the wedding. They were married in the Arizona temple. And at the reception, such a lovely brunette girl walked across the floor and went to sing a solo in the party. I said to Carma, "Who's that lovely girl? I'll bet she's engaged or married." She said, "No, that's my cousin." I said, "Oh, I wish I could get her for Harold." She said, "Well, maybe we can. We'll invite her to come up to Alamo, and maybe Harold can meet her." So, of course, I didn't say anything, but I'd forgotten about it. Then one day Sister Nelson called me and said that the two girls were in Las Vegas and needed a way home. So I went and told Alden about it, and he said, "Well, Harold's down there and coming home this afternoon. He could bring them." So that's what they did. Then he and Erlene started to go together. And that's how he married Erlene. Dear, dear girl.
I've been awfully lucky with my daughter-in-laws. I've got six of the loveliest girls in the world.
There were lots of bleak times -- especially during the war. One night, Dave was pretty down and discouraged, and whoever else was there in the home was down and discouraged. I got to thinking what had to be done to cheer everybody up. Ross was in the service, and Irene had come from Seattle with her family, and they were all there. And we had school teachers; I boarded all the school teachers; I had seven school teachers boarding with me. Dave was sitting so lonesome looking at the fireplace, and I whispered to Lila, and I told her to put the record on the Victrola, "Get Along, Little Doggie, Get Along." And I went in the closet and got Dave's chaps, and his cowboy hat, and gunbelt -everything that the cowboys wore, and put his boots on, and took the lasso rope -- he always kept all his outfit hung up just as neat as a pin -- and I went in (Lila put this record album in the middle of the front room floor there) and started to dance. They were all in spasms, all but Dave and he said, "It's not a damn bit funny." He could see the funny side, but he wouldn't let on! Oh, the things we tried to do to get by. I always tried to look on the bright side.
Also during the war, we decided to remodel the house and paint and put down new carpet. So we sent to Sears, and we got inlaid linoleum -- that was wonderful in those days, inlaid linoleum. We had it cut just to fit the rooms. We had four or five rooms downstairs. We got five pieces of linoleum. The girls painted the walls, and their bedroom they painted a pretty yellow. And so Dave said, "Well, now, I'll go look after some cattle. When I come back, I'll put that linoleum down." The girls were anxious to get their room finished. And after he left, Irene said, "Mother, we could put that down." She said, "Just as well as waiting for Dad to do it." You couldn't stop Irene when she decided something, and I was about as bad. So she went down and put paste all over the floor -- this brown linoleum paste all over the floor instead of putting a little down like it should have been. She put it all on, then she got me to come, and we got the linoleum and got it in. She took one side and I took the other. And just the minute the center of the linoleum hit the floor, well then we couldn't move it. And we twisted, and we turned, and we got the paste all over us and all over the walls. And we were right in the middle of it when Dave came down the stairs. He looked in there, and he was upset. "I've worked mules all my life but I never worked two so stubborn in all my life as you two stubborn jackasses!!! Get outa here." And we got upstairs, and Irene said, "Mother, I never saw my daddy mad before in my life."
Gilbert's and Maybelle's oldest boy Darryl was just a little fellow about eight or ten years old, and he called me to the kitchen door one afternoon. My grandchildren got to thinking that I could make anything in the world they wanted me to. He called me, and I went out the kitchen door, and he'd drug an old cowhide, had a rope around it and he drug it from the deseret. And it was just all curled up and hard as a rock, just like they lie after they've been there for years. He looked up at me and said, "Grandma, I wondered if you could make me a saddle out of this!" I said to Dave when I went in, "I'd give anything on earth if I had money to get that little fellow a saddle." But I couldn't, and I explained to him that it was too hard, and I was just afraid he'd better take it back. So he trudged off dragging this old cowhide, and tears running down my face, I know!
Randy was another of Gilbert's boys. He came home with a package of candy cigarettes, and I said, "Randy, that's terrible." I said, "You surely wouldn't eat those things." I said, "it's just terrible!" I said, "I'll bet Heavenly Father'd just feel terrible for you to keep those." And I talked to him and he threw them away one by one! He walked out behind the car broken-hearted! But he did it.
Dave was never well after he was injured on the range. It give him high blood pressure and a bad heart. He knew that he wasn't going to be with us too long; we'd just go on one trip after another to Salt Lake. Then the doctors finally assigned him to a doctor in Cedar City were he could go for his monthly checkups; it wouldn't be so far. We used to go over there. So this night (we were going the next morning over to Cedar City), I'd washed my hair and fixed it so could be ready to go. While my hair was drying, he said, "Let's drive up to Neil's." Cindy was in Reno, and Jimmy was just a baby and we were keeping him. We were the only ones in the house; the first time since we owned the home that we were alone there. Most of the boys were on the range. So we went up to Neil's and Velma's. (Jimmy says he can remember coming home, his grandpa had him in his arms against the steering wheel. He remembers Dave reaching down and putting his head against his and saying, "Grandpa's going to teach you to drive when you get to be a big boy. I'll teach you to drive.")
We came home, and Dave said, "Let's listen to Chet Huntley." We had a radio. Then he said, "We better get to bed so we can get up early for Cedar." So we listened to the news and went to bed. Dad's bed was in one corner, and mine was in another corner. And after we went to bed, I kept coughing because I'd washed my hair and then gone out. I'd try to keep from coughing so I wouldn't wake him up. But I couldn't. It was just 12:00, and he said, "I've got some cough drops over here in this little drawer in this dresser. Come and get one; maybe that'll stop your coughing." He said, "You shouldn't a washed your hair at night, Honey." I took a cough drop, got in bed, and just went sound asleep. At 3:00 a.m., I heard him say, "Jess!"-just quick like that. I switched the light on immediately, and he'd gotten up out of bed and put his feet on the floor and then he fell back against the wall. I tore over to him; and of course my mind went just as blank, and I couldn't think of one thing in the world. I knew there was nobody in the house, and I couldn't even remember that Neil was home and Harold was home. I just sat there holding his hand, just dumb, that was all. All at once, just right over that bed, just like a pillar, there came down over the most heavenly messenger or spirit that you could ever imagine in all the world. I just relaxed and went so calm; and all at once, my mind cleared, and I thought, "Well, Neil's home, and Harold's home." Harold was just across the street. I sat there for just a few minutes wondering which one to go for, and then I just jumped up and ran across the street barefooted and just ran to Harold's back door and screamed, "Harold, Dad!", and then ran back. And then, of course, he come over.
Marion said when he opened the service-porch door and came in that that spirit met him. And we called Berkeley Bunker down here in Las Vegas to come and get Dave. He said when he opened the livingroom door and came in that that spirit just hit him. The whole house was full of that spirit. And I felt that. That was to me the thing that kept me going -- that was the biggest comfort in all the world.
Dave always felt he wasn't nearly as good as his brothers because he didn't fill a mission. He stayed and worked and helped pay for the ranch. He always thought because he couldn't preach that he wasn't a good Mormon like they were. It was such a comfort to me, and I know it would be to him -the Lord was pretty well pleased with him to send that kind of a messenger at his going. And that's always been such a comfort to me. I often wondered whether it was the Holy Ghost or whether it was someone came for him, or what it was. It was a wonderful testimony.
After about a year, the boys took their families and moved to Las Vegas, and went into business, which has done very well. Jim and Cindy stayed with me, and then Jim went back to B.Y.U to finish school. I stayed with them in Provo until he was through, and then we went back to Las Vegas to live. We have been there these many years. The boys bought a nice, large ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, where we spend our summers.
When we moved to Las Vegas, the boys bought me a new Pontiac car which I did enjoy so much. I drove my car until 1977 when I decided I wouldn't take the driver's test again, the traffic had gotten so bad in Las Vegas. I never had an accident all the time I was driving, which I was thankful for.
In 1969 I was chosen Mother of the Year for the State of Nevada. Velma, Neil's wife, was President of the Relief Society, and put my name in for Mother of the Year. There were several Catholic women and two other LDS women running. I was so proud when I was chosen. We went to Los Angeles and were entertained for several days there. We then went to Salt Lake City and were entertained widely, including at the Lion House. My two daughters, Irene and Cindy, and Velma were with me. What a glorious time we had!
Another great treat in my life was a trip East. The boys asked Irene to go with me to the Hill Cumorah, the Kirtland Temple, and all the places we have read so much about. They said they would pay my expenses. I had always dreamed of seeing all the places where the Saints had suffered so much. Gerald came with beautiful luggage for me. We went and what a lovely trip we had, touring all the places of Church history. Then we went to Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, New York, down to Florida, and then back to Las Vegas.
A year later Irene and I went to Hawaii, which was a lovely trip. Aunt Rhea, one of my dear cousins, came to visit me many times. She and I took a trip to San Francisco to visit my grandson John and his wife Connie. We also went to Seattle to visit Irene and Ross. They took us up to Victoria, and what a lovely time we had on this trip.
The children are all so good to me. There is nothing they don't do for my pleasure. I have lived with Jim and Cindy since Dave died. The kindness they have shown me I haven't words to express. No one ever had six sons and their wives like mine, and the same goes for my two darling daughters and their husbands. The Lord has been so good to be through my life.
I have always been grateful that my children have all been willing to work, and to do as they were asked in the Church. Gilbert and Jim and Neil have all been Bishops of their wards. Alden has been in the Stake Presidency in the Moapa Stake and in the Las Vegas Stake.
Three of my boys filled missions, and the other three went into the armed services instead. I have had nineteen of my grandsons go on missions. I just went to church for the farewell meeting of Dean Brown, my first great-grandson, to go on a mission. He's going to Chile.
I don't think there has been a church built in Las Vegas in recent years where my boys haven't done all the cement work and poured the parking lots and driveways. They have done all that work with their machinery for the churches. It pleases me so much to see them willing to help build up the Church in these last days.
I have loved to sew these many years. My grandchildren think I can make anything on my sewing machine.
A great sorrow came to us in 1969. Two of Gilbert's fine grown sons, Darryl and Gordon, were killed in a plane crash. And Cyril's only son, John David was killed in an explosion in 1972. This made three of my wonderful grandsons who were taken. I was so thankful that we lived when the Gospel was restored, or I don't know how we could have taken things like this. I'm sure these boys are working with their grandfather, like they had worked down here. They were such wonderful boys.
My ninetieth birthday came on 24 December 1978. My children gave me a beautiful party at Spanish Oaks Reception Center. About three hundred guests came to honor me. Some guests came great distances to be present. It was a wonderful evening of renewing friendships with relatives and friends. The highlight of the evening came when they presented me with a quilt made up of ninety-four blocks.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household,
and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Each block was painted by a great-grandchild, using his own idea. Anne Lillywhite Stewart, Monte's wife, and Velma pursued this project, doing the great amount of work required.
I want to bear my testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel. I have known it was true ever since I can remember. It has meant everything in the world to me. I wonder sometimes how people can get along rearing large families without having the Gospel to guide them.
I have lived a full, rich life, and have great pride and love for my beautiful, prolific posterity. I leave them my blessing.
Jessie became ill with her last illness in early August 1983. She stayed several days in Star Valley Hospital, then was taken to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. She died peacefully in the early morning hours of Sunday, 14 August 1983. At the time her large family was all together at a family reunion and as she wanted them – united on 17 August 1983 she was buried next to her beloved Dave in the Alamo, Nevada cemetery.