October 17, 1968
VOICES OF REMEMBRANCE FOUNDATION ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION
DIXIE STATE COLLEGE OF UTAH, ST. GEORGE, UTAH
claude sylvester rowley was interviewed on October 17, 1968 in Toquerville, Washington County, Utah by Fielding H. Harris, a representative of the Voices of Remembrance Foundation. He related his personal history of living in various parts of Arizona, Mexico, New Mexico, Idaho and Utah. His wife, Olea (Nielsen) Rowley, also participated.
FH: Would you please give your [full] name?
CR: [My name is] Claude Sylvester Rowley.
FH: [What is] your birth date?
CR: [I was born] June 7, 1896.
FH: [Where were] you born?
CR: [I was born in] Central, Graham County, Arizona.
FH: What was your father’s name?
CR: [His name was] John Sylvester Rowley.
FH: [What was] your mother’s [full] name?
CR: [Her name was] Eliza [Sildona] (Clemens) [Rowley].
FH: What are your earliest childhood recollections?
CR: [My earliest recollection] was a Christmas when I was about three or four years old. I [received] a little red wagon and that was really something special in those days. [At that time], boys all wore dresses until they were so old and then they put pants on them. I remember I was still in dresses when I [received] that wagon. That is all that comes to my mind [about] early life.
FH: Did you have brothers and sisters at this time?
CR: I had my two sisters, Mary [Eliza Rowley] and Effie [May Rowley]. [Effie May] fell in the fire in the fireplace and [was] burned severely. She died [August 30, 1897]. I do not remember [how old] she was [when she] died. Those are all [who] were older [than me]. I was the oldest boy. In fact, I was the only boy among the family of four girls. You can imagine what I went through up until the other boys came along. They are a lot younger than I am.
FH: How many children were there altogether in your father’s and mother’s family?
CR: Mother had a lot of babies and lost a lot of them. She mothered thirteen, but she [only] raised seven.
FH: Did she have a lot of problems?
CR: She had many problems.
FH: Tell about your [education] or what you did up until time [to go to] school. Did anything happen that was [very] important?
CR: That is a little early in life to remember. I remember being bitten by a dog one time when I went to my grandmother’s place. This dog was lying by the door asleep. I started to try to pet him and he reared up and took a hold of me. I still have the scar on my arm.
FH: Were you scared of dogs after that?
CR: No, it did not bother me at all. I never was afraid of a dog. I could talk a vicious dog out of it. I could handle them [quite well]. I had a special knack with animals, especially horses.
My [education] was sorely neglected. I remember a lot of things that I learned. The thing that I remember most is my ability to speak the Spanish language. I learned the fundamentals, how to conjugate the verbs in school when I was in the third grade. After that, it came natural to me. I had perfect control of it. I could talk Spanish as good as they could or better. My articulation was perfect. I can say words as perfect as any Spaniard or Mexican [who] ever lived.
FH: Where did you start [to] school?
CR: [I started to school] in Colonia Diaz, [Chihuahua] Mexico.
FH: Did your parents leave the [United] States when you were [young]?
CR: Yes, [I was] two years old.
FH: Can you remember any [about] that trip?
CR: No. I do not remember a thing of that trip, only as hearsay [which] is that my father had a freight outfit. He went to Mexico with his wife. His mother’s father was [William] George Clemens. They hauled a sawmill with them.
FH: [Did they have] all of the equipment to build a sawmill?
CR: All of the equipment went with him to build a sawmill. Dad had a boiler and a few other things on his outfit.
FH: Would you describe his outfit?
CR: It was a six-horse freight outfit.
FH: Was this one wagon or two wagons?
CR: It was two wagons and six horses. Dad always rode one horse. He rode the wheeler, like that one over there on his outfit, if he had more than four horses. If he had four he usually drove the wagon. He used to handle up to twenty, [like the] Twenty-Mule Borax outfit. He used to string them out as far as you could get them to go and sometimes put three [or] four wagons, if the country roads would permit it.
FH: Did he do a lot of freighting?
CR: Yes, he did that all his life. It is about all he ever did do except run a threshing outfit at harvest time down there. He nearly always had an outfit and ran [it] himself. The way they did threshing in those days and the way they do it now is a lot different. It was handled with horse-power. They had some twelve to fourteen head of horses on a horse pod. It was hooked onto sweeps that went around in a circle and furnished the power for the machine. Dad always had one of those and always ran the horse-power [to] give them the power. He was an expert with horses [and] teams. He could do things that other people would try to do and fail. I [received] a lot of that early training from him because I used to go on his freighting trips. When I was around ten years old he gave me an outfit of my own. I drove an outfit that had six horses and two wagons when I was ten years old.
FH: Not many men can boast of this.
CR: If you call it boasting.
FH: Or have it in their record.
CR: When I started to school I had one teacher [who] was especially dear to me because she took so much [time] with me. She was my Spanish teacher. I took to Spanish so readily that she took a liking to me and gave me a little extra tutoring. That is why I was so good at speaking Spanish. She could handle that language just like she was a native.
FH: Do you remember her name?
CR: It was Alice Whiting. She had a brother, Frank Whiting, [who] was a school teacher. Charles Fillerup was the principal of the school. He was sort of a demon. The [children] did not like him [and] he did not get along with them. He was the type of an educator [who] tried to force [the information] down your throat instead of trying to teach it to you. He would try to force you to learn it. It did not go over very [well]. The [children] all hated him.
FH: How many years of [education] were you able to get?
CR: [I completed] seven [years]. I passed from the seventh to the eighth grade. It was during vacation time between the seventh and eighth grades when we left Mexico and I never [had] any more [education] after that.
FH: What was the reason you left Mexico?
CR: [It] was on account of the uprising [Revolution] in the Mexican government. pancho villa was running wild. The Mormons were advised to leave. They left all the colonies from Colonia Diaz to Colonia Juarez, Colonia Pacheco and Colonia Garcia [Chihuahua , Mexico]. Some have gone back, but the town of Diaz was burned to the ground. None of the inhabitants ever went back [there].
[TAPE RECORDER TURNED OFF]
CR: [My] folks left the town of Diaz and went up on the ranch. They sold the place in town and bought a thirty-acre farm about two miles out of town. Dad moved us up there. We camped there for a long time and were still camping when we left.
Dad had old Mexican adobes. Adobes are building blocks. They are made out of mud and straw mixed together and dried in the sun. It makes a hard building block. They made them about twelve by sixteen inches by about four inches thick. He built a one-room house out of those adobe [blocks] and put a dirt roof on it. It still had the dirt floor. He did not have any lumber to build a floor.
Mother moved in there. She wet down that floor and kept it so hard and so clean you could not sweep a particle of dust off of it to save your neck. It was so clean you could eat a meal on it. It was like a board floor, almost like concrete. We lived in that shack for several years before we left Mexico.
Mother’s only sister [Matilda] and her family came to visit us one summer. Dad was out on [the] freight roads. While he was out on this trip, it stormed a lot. The roads [became] muddy. He [had] an extra heavy [load] and needed some more power. He sent word home by somebody [for] mother to send him another team. Aunt “Tildy” and Uncle “Wes”, that was Wesley Johnson’s family, had a boy about my age. [He] may [have been] a year older. The only way mother knew to get this team out was for me to take it. Bill [Johnson], my cousin, wanted to go along. She said, “No, one was enough. Two [boys] get out there together and they might start playing and would not get the job done.”
I took three of the horses. I had one mare with a saddle on and I had a team with a harness on. I had to pass through the town of Ascension [Mexico] which is across the river from Diaz and on the way to [Colonia] Dublan [Chihuahua, Mexico]. That was the rail-head where dad freighted from all the time [and was] about sixty miles away. It was about dusk when I went through this Mexican town. I had to go right on up the country over the foothills. The country was infested with cactus and oose. [Oose is a natural substance from yucca cactus.] It was a desert country. I was alone with these three head of horses and it [became] dark. [The] old mare that I was riding was trying to go back home all the time. I would fight her all the time to keep her on the road [and] keep her going the right direction. She wanted to go back all the time.
It [was] so dark I could not even see the road ahead of me. This old mare took advantage of me and left the road. I do not know how she did it. She [went] off the road. She thought she was going to go back. When I discovered I was off the road I did not know what to do because I was just a [boy]. My experiences as a [boy] had been quite extensive up to that time. Anyway, the practical thing to do was to stop. So I stopped, pulled the saddle off, tied my horses to a bush, took the saddle blanket for a quilt, made myself a bed and laid my head on the saddle.
This was pretty wild country. Off in one direction there were a couple of bulls fighting. If you ever heard two bulls fighting in the night it is something to remember! Off in another direction was a bunch of coyotes starting to bark. They are something weird to remember. There were a bunch of bulls off in the distance and one of them started to bray. I tell you, that was quite a night! As soon as it [was] daylight I saddled up the old mare, got on her and started looking for the road. I had not been over maybe 100 to 200 yards from the road all the time, but I did not know it. It did not take me long to find the road. I went on up the road and over a hill and down a slope and there was my dad. [Emotional]
I was a tickled [boy]! I know somebody else that was, too. [Emotional] I cannot tell that story without [crying]. It kind of hurts me. There was another fellow with dad. He had a six-mule outfit. His name was Levi Terry. When I came riding into camp, he said, “Are you all alone? If I had a boy like that I would give a million dollars.” [Emotional] That is all I remember [about] that man.
FH: About how old were you?
CR: I do not know exactly now, maybe ten years old. I do not know any [boys] now-a-days [who] could do it. [Emotional] As soon as we [were] squared around, dad hooked up all his horses together. The horses I brought out had not had anything to eat. The ones he had just had grass [to eat]. Only bladed grass grew in that country [area] especially in the rainy season, big, wavy sacaton [native bunch] grass. You turn the horses loose on the grass and hobble them out so they would not run off. You catch them up in the morning and give them a little grain, hook them up and go on. These horses I had had been tied up all night so dad gave them [some] grain. He hooked them on. That made eight head of horses he had on the outfit. The load he had on was not supplies for the town of Diaz. It was supplies for a cattle ranch [that] was up the river above Ascension. I do not know how far. It might have been ten miles. That is where he had to take this load, up the river to that ranch.
This cattle owner was named Lord [Delaval James] Beresford. He was an [Irishman]. I do not know whether [the title] Lord was authentic or whether it was something he had adopted. Lord Beresford was the man [who] owned this ranch. It was a big cattle ranch. Dad was loaded with supplies for them. There was an old Negro wench he had in the kitchen and she was a cook. He later married this old gal. [Florida J. Wolfe was his common-law wife.] Anyway, I remember so distinctly that she was there. I stayed with dad after I [reached] him.
That night, we were camped out on the flat a little ways from the ranch house. Dad always had his own Dutch oven for cooking along the road. An old time freighter would have to. He was frying some bacon that night. He moved the frying pan [and] when he bumped it, it tipped [over]. He spilled hot, boiling grease on my knees. It peeled the skin right off my leg. He took me up to the house and this old Negro wench bandaged [my] leg up. I cannot remember anything else that happened until we [arrived] home. Dad took mother to task because she sent me out alone. She should have let the other boy go with me. But she thought she was doing the best thing [emotional] because she did not think she could trust the two of us together. That was something to think about because we were a couple of hellions, anyway. We used to get into a lot of mischief.
FH: When did you [serve your] military service?
CR: That [was] in 1917 [World War I].
FH: Was that [after] you came out of Mexico?
FH: Were you sixteen [years old] when you left Mexico?
CR: Yes. .
FH: [Can you] describe your home life in Mexico?
CR: Father was out on the freight road nearly all the time. He was hardly ever home. Mother had to raise the family and do the farm work with what help she [received] from me. The girls never did learn anything about outside work. She did not want them to [learn]. She tried to make ladies of them. She tried to generally give them the training in the house that they needed. She did a good job because they are all good cooks and good housekeepers. Mother was a stickler for work. In fact, she died [September 18, 1931] much too young. She just worked herself to death.
I was the only boy among these four girls. M y brother next to me, Vernon [Conrad Rowley], was born in that adobe house down on the farm. He is living down in Las Vegas [Nevada] now. I had to do all the outside work that mother could not do. We had a bunch of cattle and horses on the range. I had to look after them. Mother always kept a work team and a saddle horse at the house. One of my jobs was to ride the range along with a lot of other [chores].
FH: Did you have milk cows and [grow] a garden?
CR: Yes, we always [had] a garden. Mother [grew] all the food we ate.
FH: Did you have chickens?
CR: We had chickens, pigs and milk cows.
FH: Did you have to take care of all of these [animals]?
CR: Yes, with what help mother could give me. Some of the girls did not even learn to milk. She was going to try to go into the dairy business. Dad bought a herd of milk cows from a brother-in-law of his by the name of George Hardy. He bought a bunch of milk cows from him. Mother and I tried to make a dairy farm out of this little ranch. We had plenty of feed and the grass grew all over the country [area] like it was supposed to.
I was back to Mexico about two years ago, the only time I had ever been back since we left there. That Diaz valley was such a beautiful valley and the town was such a beautiful town. [The area was] so productive and everything grew abundantly when we were there. [It] has all gone back to its native state, [the] whole valley, except [for] a few farms right in close. The Mexicans are [growing] cotton on [the land] now. We had not thought of [growing] cotton. We [grew what] we needed for subsistence when we were down there. It looked so desolate [and] terrible [now].
FH: What did you do to have a good time when you were growing up there?
CR: We played the games that school [children] do. We played a lot of baseball. We had different games, marble games and such as that. I had one buddy [who] was the closest neighbor after we moved out on the farm. He was a lot smaller boy than I was. His name was Johnny Holden. We had [a] large pasture down below town that they called the Button Willow Ranch. That is where our cattle and horses all grazed.
[END OF TAPE ONE – SIDE ONE]
CR: They all grazed together. It was sort of a community affair. Everybody had to have their stock grazing together in that area. Johnny and I always had a saddle horse. We would go down to Button Willow Ranch and ride the range. We got quite a kick out of that.
One time we were down there, just the two of us, and we ran onto an old coyote that had gone down to the water hole and filled up on water. She was so full of water she could not run. We caught her and [put] a rope on her. We fooled around with her there awhile. She fought us and we fooled around with her. We left her for a minute to do something. We looked up and we had harassed her enough so the water had worked off and she was [quite] spry. We looked up and she was headed off across the flats with that lariat tied on her neck. We took off after her. Johnny was riding a little better horse than I was. I dropped behind and he stayed with her until he caught her. But she ran off out of the valley clear out into the foothills. There was a barbed wire fence [around] this pasture. She had gone under the fence. He had to find a place where he could get through the fence and then come back and pick up her trail again. He trailed her [nearly] all day. He was not going to let her get away with that rope. He caught up with her and [took] a hold of the rope, tied it to his saddle horn and dragged that old coyote to death. [Laughter] He was mad!
Anyway, it was way after night when we [arrived] home that day. Our mothers were getting anxious and worried. They did not know what had become of us. We did not usually take that long unless we were driving some cows with some young calves. [If] the calves would get tired, we would have to take it slow. There were a lot of times we were way in the night [coming back] into town. There was a bunch of us [youngsters] and we were all wild. That is the way [we] grew up. That was the only environment [we] had. The only thing [we] had to do was to get together and have fun the best way [we] could.
There was a wild bunch of bulls that ran out on the foothills and in the valley. We used to take our saddle horses and go around and look for those bulls. We would put them in the corral and then we would try to ride them. I am telling you, we used to have some great old times! We would catch one of them and somebody would get on the hair. They always grew hair long like a dog’s hair. We would get a full handhold of hair like a surcingle [when] riding a bronc. We would get on this bull and get a handful of hair and then they would turn it loose. We would ride it as long as we could. When we could not ride it any longer, we would let it go. There was nothing on it, nothing but us. We did not have to worry about catching it again so we just let it go. When we got on one, we would haze it outside out of the corral. We would ride him as long as we could and then walk back. [Laughter] That was about the biggest kick we had [besides] swimming in the old swimming hole in the irrigation ditch.
When we were there, this big [inaudible] spring up above town furnished all the water for the whole town, for all the farm fields and the irrigation. [The stream of water] split twice after it left the spring. This was one great big spring. This water boiled up out of the earth all in one place. It ran off in three big irrigation streams. They divided it once and half of it went across down to the Mexican community [and] they used it. The rest of [the water] went down to Colonia Diaz and it was divided again. Half of [the water] went in the town for gardens and the other half went to the fields for irrigating alfalfa and corn fields.
When I was down there two years ago, that spring had almost dried up. There was not enough to water a few acres of cotton. Why and where that water went is a mystery. When we were there, our culinary water came out of the ground. You could take a two-inch pipe and put a driving point on it, drive it down into the ground about twelve to fifteen feet, screw a pitcher pump on top of it and start pumping water out of it. That is [how] we got our culinary water. Everybody had a pump.
FH: Was it good water?
CR: Yes, it was good water. It was what we used. There was no plumbing of any kind. [There] was a pipeline.
FH: Do they still do that in [the] area?
CR: No. They dug some wells [for] the Mexicans to get water. They pull it up with a rope. Those wells are forty to sixty feet deep now. When we were there, we could get water at twelve feet and it was good water. It was all we had.
FH: There sure has been a change.
CR: It has. I do not know, [but] I attribute that to the curse that was put on [the land for] the way they treated people, the Mormons.
FH: Was there definitely a curse put on it by someone?
CR: I do not know. I only say that it was a natural act of God.
FH: That is interesting. Tell about meeting your future wife and your courtship.
CR: Maybe we ought to go back further and tell about leaving Mexico. It was after harvest time. They had harvested wheat. Dad had been out on the thresher running the threshing outfit. The way they handled [it] in those days was everybody would work on the threshing machine. They would do all the threshing and they would take a toll, so much of the grain for the threshing service.
FH: Is that the way they [received] their pay?
CR: That is the way they [received] their pay and that is the way the fellows who worked on the machine [received] their winter supply of grain, wheat for flour. They would take this wheat to the grist mill which was also a community affair. It was owned and operated by one person, but the way they would pay for the grist for the grinding of the wheat would be through a toll system the same way.
They had finished the harvest and the granaries were all full of wheat. I remember it had been a good harvest and dad had a granary there. We had moved into town when this uprising by Pancho Villa [began]. Everybody [who] lived out on the ranches was advised to move into town and not stay out alone. So we moved into town and were living in a house [that] was owned by my dad’s sister. She and her family had left that part of the country [area] and [had gone] back to the United States. They had left their house so we took it over and lived in it. It was a good house. It was one of the brick houses, one of the few houses that are still standing. It is just a skeleton up to a square. The Mexicans are using those houses; the ones that were substantial enough that did not burn clear down. They built dirt roofs on top of them and they are using them to live in now. That is one of the houses that is still standing [and] they are using.
One Sunday morning sometime in July after the harvest, word came from The Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] authorities for everybody to leave; not to fool around but for them to leave now. I never did figure that it was the Mexicans [who] had ordered us to leave. It was the church that advised all the people to get out of there. They held a meeting and they all [took] the wagons and teams and left. There was a detail of about thirty of us — boys, some adults, and some grown men who stayed back to look after things and keep things together because the people figured they were just going out across the border which was only eighteen miles to the corner of New Mexico. They figured they were going out there to stay a little while and then they would all come right back. Well, it did not happen that way.
There was a detail of about thirty boys. I was sixteen [years old] and there were a lot of others along the same [age]. I had two or three cousins. Some were older. There was none any younger than I was. I think I was about the youngest one of the bunch. We stayed there three days. We went around town and opened up all the pig pens and turned the hogs all loose, flew the chicken coops wide open so the chickens could come out. [That was] about all we could do. Everything that was under a fence we turned loose so they could have freedom because there were not enough of us to take care of everything so we cut it all loose. It was the time of the year the fruit was getting ripe and the gardens was ready to harvest. It was a pitiful sight with the hogs and chickens running loose in the gardens. Some of them [were] even knocking doors open and getting inside the houses. It was awful.
FH: [Was it] enough to make you sick?
CR: Yes. The Mexicans wanted to [steal] things [from] everybody. There was always a bunch of those rebels [who] we called banditos. That is a bandit. There was always a bunch of them [who] were renegades. They did not belong to any band. They were not directly connected with Pancho Villa, but they wanted to steal and plunder.
FH: Were they taking advantage of the situation?
CR: Yes. They would commandeer horses, guns and ammunition. That was [what] they needed to fight with, horses especially and guns. When the people all left they were ordered not to take any guns with them. There were not any of them [who] had any guns, dad and the family, none of the families. They left the guns cached down below town at old man [James Douglas] Harvey’s place. They were all cached there together. There was a whole buckboard load of them.
After we had been there about three days, a bunch of these banditos sent word in that they were coming in after those guns. They [learned] some way that [the] guns were there and they were coming in after them. When we [received] word that they were coming in, we started preparing to leave. We kept a sentry posted up between the Mexican towns of Ascension and Diaz as a watchman. The sentry came riding into town all excited and said, “They are coming! They are coming!” All he could see was a big cloud of dust. It sure enough was a bunch of those rebels coming in after those guns.
We had [the] guns loaded on [a] buckboard and a team of mules hooked onto it. We all had our favorite saddle horse. I rode a three-year-old colt. It was hardly bridlized and was hardly broken to lead. I rode that horse for seventy-five miles nonstop. This three-year-old colt of mine [came] through that trip easier and in better shape than most of those old horses. A lot of those fellows were riding [horses] that had been broken and were experienced horses .
Those Mexicans rode into one side of town and we rode out of the other side. They issued each one a rifle out of that cache of rifles and plenty of ammunition. [They] said, “If anything moves or anything looks suspicious, you shoot and shoot to kill.” As [boys] we had always had a gun. We could use a gun like a trooper. We stood up in our stirrups with that Winchester across the front of the saddle and rode in a gallop for eighteen miles. We never did see any sign of any Mexicans or anything like that. It was in the night. We left out of there about sundown and when we rode across the border there was a gate we went through at the corner ranch. We were all tired. As soon as [were] across the border we stopped and [thought] we could rest. They would not dare follow us and they never did. The next morning, [after] we had rested awhile, [we] let our horses graze a little. We did not have anything to eat. We did not have any provisions [or] any supplies. The folks had all gone on to Hachita, New Mexico. That was on the railroad [line]. It was the old El Paso and Southwestern Railroad which has been abandoned and taken over by the Southern Pacific [Railroad]. Anyway, there is no railroad there now. The town of Hachita is about like the old town of Diaz and is about deserted. It was about seventy-five miles to Hachita.
FH: Why was it deserted? Were they still concerned about the Mexican bandits?
CR: Kind of. Hachita never was a very big town, anyway. It was inhabited by ranchers and cattlemen mostly. It is wonderful cattle country. They graze year round. They do not have to feed anything and the grass grows abundantly all over that big flat country [area]. It is a great cattle country. To this day, that is what it is used for; is grazing and raising cattle. There are still a few people who live there. They have a school, a store and a [United States] Post Office. That is about all [there] ever was. When we were there, the [United State] Government took over and we were refugees from Mexico. The government took over, fed us and furnished tents for us to camp in and furnished supplies and rations as long as we stayed there.
When we were on our way out there, there was a big cattle ranch. It was called Hatchet Ranch. You can see the Hatchet Mountain and the Hatchet Ranch is still there. When we [came] to this ranch, the owners took us in and fed us. I think they cooked about a quarter of beef steak. Anyway, we sure filled up on beef steak. I relished that. I appreciated that meal about more than any one I ever had in my life.
FH: You were ready for it!
CR: Yes, we were. [It] was along [about] the middle of the afternoon when we [arrived at] that ranch. We had not had anything to eat since we had started, maybe, about noon. I cannot remember whether we had anything to eat the day we left there or not because everything was all so exciting [while] we were getting ready to leave. For a [boy] that was quite an experience.
FH: Did any of the men [who] stayed there have actual contact with the rebels?
CR: No. We all kept ahead of them. They never did catch us. I think the reason they burned those houses down was the fact that we had outsmarted them and [were] ahead of them. [We] got out of there with those guns and they were mad about it [so] they just set fire to everything that was left there. That was the biggest mistake they ever made because, even though the people [did] not go back, those Mexicans could have moved in there and taken advantage of those houses. They did not know how to live in a decent house, anyway. All they had were little old adobe shacks with dirt floors and roofs like the one we had on the ranch.
FH: They would not appreciate it.
CR: Another little experience that I remember so vividly was a robbery the Mexicans tried to pull off in a co-op store. [There were] a bunch of local Mexicans around over the country [area] there. They thought they would take advantage while things were exciting and pull off a robbery. This happened sometime before the exodus.
This bunch of Mexicans [broke] into the store some way. The store had a big adobe wall built around it. [The wall] must have been ten to twelve feet high. It had broken glass stuck all over the top of it so a person could not climb over it. I do not know how they got in. Next door was a two-story house and there was a woman in one of the upstairs bedrooms. She saw some activity over in this store yard, [they were] striking matches to see what they were doing [when] they were inside. So she gave the alarm. She told somebody and they spread the alarm up and down the street. They did not bother [the intruders] while they were in there.
When those fellows left there, they were loaded with goods. When they [were] down about a block or half a block from the store, then all hell broke loose. There were men hiding behind all the trees and in the upstairs of the houses. They opened fire on those fellows. They killed the whole bunch except one and he was wounded. He crawled off down in the brush and I think he died later. This fellow [who] was wounded was a brother to a Mexican who had lived there in the colony with the Mormons. They had all befriended him. They had furnished him work. He worked for the people there and that is the way he lived. He had a ranch up the river and was a brother to one of the fellows [who] was in this robbery.
FH: How many Mexicans were there in this robbery?
CR: I cannot tell you exactly, I think there were five or six. They really shot them up.
I do not think a Mexican ever tried another robbery in that old section of the country [area] after that.
FH: Did they ever try to get even for [the robbery]?
CR: No, I am coming to that. There was retaliation. The brother of this man [who] was wounded and died, I knew [him] well. He had worked for my dad. He worked scrubbing brush [and] digging ditches. We were very friendly [and] he had a ranch up the river above ours. Our place was about halfway between town and his ranch. It was the James [Douglas] Harvey place where the guns were kept. He had a ranch up there adjoining this Mexican’s place. They had always been friendly, but when this brother [was] killed in [the] robbery, in retaliation this Mexican, Rosario Gonzalez, killed old man Harvey up there on his ranch. He beat him to death with a shovel. Two of his boys were there. One of them was witness to the killing. After the Mexican did this dastardly thing, he skipped out.
[END OF TAPE ONE – SIDE TWO]
CR: They did not know where he went. One of the boys stayed there with his dad and the other one got on a horse and rode to town for help. Our place was the closest one to him. Dad happened to be home that day.
FH: Was this Sarah [Agnes] (Harvey) [Hardy’s] father who was killed?
CR: That is right.
FH: She is my neighbor.
CR: That is down in St. George [Washington County, Utah]. [George] Gile Hardy’s father-in-law, James [Douglas] Harvey, was the man [who was] killed.
Our place was the closest one to him and that is where the boy [came] first. He rode his horse so hard [that] it gave out. He could not go any further. We always had some horses there. Dad told me, “You get on a horse and go on to town and spread the alarm. T will go back up there.” He took his gun thinking he should always carry [his] gun. When he [was] up there, he could not find hide nor hair of this Mexican. If he had caught a glimpse of him he would have shot him on sight.
I rode bareback nearly all the time when I was a [boy]. Dad had a saddle, but he kept it with him all the time. When I did my riding, I rode bareback. I was riding a horse bareback before I could even know how to ride a saddle. I went on to town and gave the alarm. Inside of two hours, every able-bodied man that had a horse or any transportation at all or had any way of doing it was out. They were all out looking for this Mexican. They all knew him. He was personally known to everybody in town. They knew who they were looking for. The [boys] knew who it was and they witnessed the murder. They knew who did it, but that man was never seen again. No white man in that country [area] ever caught a glimpse of that man again. He just faded out and got away. Nobody ever saw him. He knew what would happen if any of them did see him because any one of them would have shot him on sight. They would not have hesitated a minute.
FH: [Did] he take off for places unknown?
CR: Yes. I did not know you knew Sarah Harvey. [George] Gile Hardy’s dad is George [William] Hardy who was my dad’s brother-in-law. He married one of dad’s half-sisters [from a] plural marriage. He was the party that dad bought [the] herd of milk cows from [when] he was trying to make a dairy farm. So everything connects up.
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CR: I feel and I have heard others express [the same] feelings, that the reason people had to leave there [Mexico] was because they were ordered to do so by the head of the church. I think that is where the order came from. It did not come through Pancho Villa or any of the Mexican generals down there [who] were [doing] the fighting. I do not think they ordered it at all. I think it was the advice of the church that caused [us to leave].
FH: They were concerned for your lives.
CR: Yes, they were concerned. They did not know but what any day a band of Mexicans would decide to declare war on the Mormons down there and open fire on them. I think it would have been a good thing if they had. I know there would have been a lot of Mexicans killed and there might have been a few of the Mormons, but it would have taught them a lesson. Those Mexicans could not have taken those Mormon Colonies, not by force. There was no way in the world they could have done it because they were all fighting men and they all knew how to do it. They were mad at the Mexicans. The feeling I had is that it would probably have taken the whole Mexican Army to have taken those colonies because there were too many good fighting men there. They all had plenty of guns and ammunition.
FH: How large was the colony?
CR: I could not estimate how many there were in all those colonies because I did not have anything to do that much. I hardly ever went to one of the other [colonies]. The one where we lived I would judge was a town of about 1,500 to 2,000 people.
FH: It was a good-sized community.
CR: Yes. There were a lot of horses and cattle left there, too. We had a bunch of them, one especially. I had an old gray mare, the mother to the colt that I rode out of there. She had another colt [that] had just been born. It was about two days old when [we] left there. It was a thoroughbred. It had been bred from a thoroughbred race horse. The people went out to El Paso [Texas] and bought this horse. He was in a race there and broke his ankle. He was so far ahead of all of the other horses in this race that, after he broke his ankle, he got up and finished in third place with a broken ankle. He was a high-blood horse. Dad and two other fellows, John Pierce and I do not remember the other man’s name, went to El Paso and got this horse and brought him home. They loaded him on a railroad car and brought him as far as the railroad station called Gufman, northeast of Colonia Diaz. They brought him that far. They had a team and wagon there and fixed up some racks on the wagon bed. They loaded this horse on the wagon and hauled him into Diaz.
They kept him there until his ankle healed up. He was always crippled. It was always crooked. That horse could sure get out and move! People were breeding their saddle stock to this horse and I had one colt out of this old gray mare. She was really a brood mare because dad had raised three head of good horses from her and another stallion that he had and he knew she was good. This colt was about two or three days old when they were ordered to leave. Dad started out with her leading this colt beside of her. They [were] out part way to the border and this colt gave out. They had the wagons all loaded.
He had grandmother [Mary Ann (Gadd)] Rowley with him because there was nobody else to look after her. Grandfather [John] Rowley had died several years before that. He died fairly young. Grandmother was alone so he [took] her and all of her things, mother and all the [children]. There was not room in the wagon. They could not pick that colt up and haul him along so they turned the old mare loose with this colt out there in a little place with an old salt lick. He picked a place where she had feed and water and turned her loose. I never saw hide or hair of her or the colt afterwards. Some Mexican got a saddle horse because this was a horse colt that had been gelded and he would have been a dandy. I thought so much of that [horse]. I was looking forward to the time when I could ride that colt. He would have been a dandy. Some Mexican really [had] a mount [in] about three years.
FH: Where did you go after you came out of Mexico?
CR: We stayed there at Hachita quite a while waiting to see how things were going to shape up [to see] if we could go back.
FH: How do you spell Hachita?
CR: It means little hatchet. H-A-C-H-I-T-A. A-C-H-I is axe. Hachita would be hatchet. [The Spanish word “hacha” means small axe or hatchet.]
We stayed there, [but] they had no feed for the horses. They had all the horses which were owned by the people all together. There were big grass flats out all over the country [area] in the outlying districts from Hachita. They cut those horses loose out there in that grass. There was a detail of men assigned each day to herd them, to keep them bunched up so they wouldn’t stray off and get lost. There were two men, sometimes three men in the detail, like in the service standing guard, herding those horses to keep them together.
You cannot imagine how many [horses] there were grazing on those flats. It came my time to herd. I was out there with another fellow by the name of Wally Galbraith. He is the man [who] was the sentry that brought the word into Diaz that the Mexicans were coming after the guns. He was about five or six years older than I was, but he was kind of a nincompoop. We were out there herding these horses, the two of us, and for some reason or another he wanted to go back to town. He left me there alone with [the horses]. All I could do was just sit on my horse and ride around. If they started to stray off, turn them back.
Somebody had some horses out there and they brought them back to the herd. I was there alone. When they brought these horses back in, one of them had a little cowbell on. There were a lot of them that had bells on them. They used that as a means of keeping track of them. Five or six head of them came running in, busting into the herd and the whole cockeyed herd stampeded. I guess there must have been 1,000 head of horses. They all stampeded [and] there was not a thing I could do. They stayed together pretty well for a little way, then they started to fan out. All I could do was ride to town and give the alarm. I [went] in and told some of the men those horses had stampeded. They [became very] hostile at me for letting them go. I said, “How do you think I could hold them when they stampeded?” They wanted to know where my partner was. They had me on the spot. I had to tell them that he had gone into town [and] was not there. I would not have told them he was not there, but they pinned me down and I had to. He caught hell. Do not think he did not!
I guess they spent at least a week [rounding up those horses]. Some of the fellows had horses out there [and] were using them for this and that and they congregated. It was all the horses there were and they went out hunting up these horses. This was a saddle horse of my own to bring them all in and start assembling them. Soon they had plenty of horses to ride. Everybody [who] could sit a horse and was old enough [went] out and rode the hills and ranges, gathered up those horses and brought them back. I believe they [found] them all. I do not think they lost any of them.
I had a little incident happen while I was herding those horses. I was riding this gray pony of mine. His name was “Pony.” We brought him out and he died of old age over here at Blanding [San Juan County, Utah] after we [were] out of [Mexico]. He was not a very big horse, but he was one of the best horses that dad ever had. He was not dad’s, he was mine. Dad gave him to me when [the colt] was born. He gave me the old mare and he was born after he gave her to me. He was my horse.
I was riding this pony. He was a three-year-old colt and I had a lasso rope. I had the dang thing tied hard and fast to the [saddle] horn. That is the way everybody rode the range in those days in that country [area]. The lasso was tied hard and fast so they could not get away. I was fooling around and was herding the horses into the trough. The way they got water was through windmills sluice. It turned around over the flats and then they had big water troughs there. We were herding them into the water. In this particular bunch that I was hazing around there, there was a big three-year-old mare. She was non-broken, never had a rope on. She was from bronco and she [was] kind of in the way. I had my rope coiled up in a coil and I threw it at her to kind of haze her back. When it straightened out she stepped in it and the loop closed in on her hind foot. I had that big mare by the hind foot and she was wild. I had that rope tied solid on the saddle. [Laughter]
If you do not think we had a tussle for awhile. I did not know what to do. I could not handle her. This pony did not give any quarter either. He held his ground. It finally turned the saddle sideways. The cinch was a little bit loose and I went off. All I could do was let them fight it out. When the mare finally stopped long enough so that I could get the rope off the saddle, the saddle was turned down on the side of the horse. He was standing there holding that mare and she was out full length of that rope. Her hind legs [were] stretched out there holding it [the rope] and she was standing still, too. I [stood] up and cut the rope loose and turned her loose with it. It was still on her foot. She ran around there until finally the loop came loose and she stepped out of it and I [had] my rope back. I had me a tussle there all by myself. There was not anybody there to see that either. [Laughter]
FH: Where did you go from Hachita?
CR: Dad [became] restless. He could not take it any longer. He could not stay there and eat government food out of cans. That is about all we had — canned goods [and] canned milk. I remember that old Eagle Brand condensed milk. We could hardly stomach that. We could not take that kind of food. One of dad’s brothers, Uncle Jesse [Noah Rowley], died about a year ago [October 27, 1966]. He was ninety-two years old.
FH: Where was he living when he died?
CR: He was living in Mesa, Arizona. He lived there all his life after we came out of Mexico. He went over to Tucson, Arizona and [took] a job on a big ranch there. Dad kept his horses. He had two or three head of horses in that bunch. Dad kept his horses there with ours. Uncle Jesse [had] a job on this ranch. He also got a job for dad so dad could come over there and go to work. We hooked up those teams on [the] wagons and loaded the family in the wagon and headed for Tucson. We trekked from Hachita over to Tucson by team. We followed the railroad. There were roads of sorts. There was not much of a road. Now-a-days, there is a big super freeway across through there. We went out on this big ranch in Tucson. It is a big company called Tucson Farms Company. It was south of town adjoining the San Xavier [del Bac] Mission, a big Catholic mission out there called the San Xavier Mission. These farms were between the mission and [Tucson]. When we went there, it was nearly all a big forest of mesquites. They had about 300 Mexicans and Yaqui Indians working there.
The fellow [who] went over there and [found a] job first was Charles Fillerup. He was educated. He was the school principal at Diaz. He was married to a cousin of mine [from] a plural marriage, his second wife, named Eva [Fillerup]. She is still alive and lives over [in] Blanding. He went to Tucson and was superintendent [at] this farms company. He [had] Uncle Jesse come over there and he put him in as sort of a sub-boss to handle the Mexicans. Uncle Jesse filled a [LDS] mission in Mexico City and knew the Spanish language. He [spoke] it fluently. He is one of the [men who] got me started. I [received] a lot of my pointers from him on the Spanish language. That is [why] he got that job — because he had the language mastered.
When dad [came] over there they put him in charge of the stock, the mules and horses. They must have had seventy-five to a hundred head of Missouri mules, big mules, and all in the corral together. They [had] dad feed and water the horses and take care of them. When he [started], those mules and horses all had big sore shoulders and big sepsis on their shoulders. They were not doing [well] at all. They were poor and worked to death. It was not a month after he took over until he had those horses all putting on flesh [and] had most of those sores healed up. He made quite a reputation there, how he took over that big bunch of stock when they were so down and out and brought them up. They were doing good work and were all in good shape in about a month or two after we [arrived]. [The] big shot owners of that company came out and remarked about what a wonderful job he had done. He made a good reputation.
Another brother of dad’s, Uncle “Jim” [James Albert Rowley], was a blacksmith. Uncle Jesse [Rowley] was a blacksmith, too. They hired Uncle “Jim” to run the shop, shoe those mules and do repair work on the machinery. I was young then, but I [received] a lot of pointers in blacksmithing and horseshoeing.
Dad never could get along with his brothers too long at one time. He was the oldest one in the family, the oldest boy, the same as I was. They tried to work together, he and his brothers, several times and they could not make it. I never did know exactly why, but I can see why because his brothers wanted to take over and be the boss. He did not think they should because he was the oldest and, anyway, he knew more. He forgot more than they would ever know about the practical ways of life. So they split up on that ranch. When [the] company could see that the brothers could not get along together, they fired Jesse and kept dad as foreman. Then they fired Fillerup. They got rid of him. Finally, dad wound up with the whole spread. When he [had] the spread, I took over the corral, feeding and watering the horses.
That was a job for a sixteen year old [boy]! I had to pull all the water up out of a well with a rope and pulley and pour it into a string of troughs. I had to stand there hour after hour and pour that water in there for those horses and the mules to drink, especially when they would come in out of the fields all thirsty. I would have the troughs full and I could not any more keep them full than I could fly. They would drink it up faster than I could pour it in. It would gradually go down. They would all get a drink. Then I would have to fill the troughs up again. I stood there hour after hour after hour pulling that water out of that well with a rope. My hands [were] chapped, raw, bleeding and there was blood running down the rope [from] pulling that water out of there. I had to feed those horses maybe fifteen or twenty bales of hay every day and about five, six, seven sacks of rolled barley which was the grain we used. Every day of the world I had to get up about four o’clock [in the] morning and start drawing water because, by that time, they would have those troughs empty and they would all have to have water before they went out to work.
[END OF TAPE TWO – SIDE ONE]
CR: I had to get up and fill those troughs up with water and then pour six or seven sacks of grain out in the feed troughs for them before they hooked them up.
FH: How long did you stay there?
CR: We stayed there a year. Mother [became] anxious to get her family some place where there were not all Mexicans. Now there is where I [received] the foundation for my knowledge of the Spanish language because I hardly ever spoke English while I was there. There was one other white family there. There was a school teacher [who] taught school in the San Xavier Mission. He had two girls and his wife. Those are the only white folks [who] were there. The extent of my conversation was in Spanish. Mother never learned to talk Spanish. She did not like it and never would learn it, did not care anything about it. Once in awhile I would forget myself and she would ask me a question and I would answer in Spanish. She rode me out! I had to get up and [leave] because she did not like it. [Laughter] I did not do it intentionally. I did not try to do it because I knew how she felt about it. It was a slip of the tongue sometimes. When I left there, in a year’s time I knew the Spanish language from the top to the bottom. We left Tucson after a year’s time. That was quite an experience for the family on that farm in Tucson. Alta [Rowley], my sister, probably told you about some of that.
FH: A little.
CR: She would not remember it so much. She would remember the school teacher and those girls. They associated with them quite a bit because that is all they had [for social contact]. The girls never did learn much Spanish either. Mother wanted to get her family out away from the Mexicans and into a community where they could live their religion and she could bring her family up in civilization, she called it.
[There] lacked a lot of civilization where we were. There was nothing but Yaqui Indians and illiterate Mexicans. They were all illiterate. They had no education. Those Yaqui Indians came out of Sonora [Mexico] down there. You have heard of the Yaquis [who are] the most savage bunch of Indians that live out of doors yet today. There are places down there in Yaqui Indian country where there are Indians [who] have never seen a white man. There are sections of that country [area where] there has never been a white man. There has never been one come out of there. A lot of them go in there, but they never come out. They kill them and they stay there. They do not let them out. There is rich ore country down in there, rich gold and silver mines that the white folks cannot get a hold of because those Indians will not let them in and will not let them out if they get in there.
We headed from Tucson to Blanding, Utah. That town was called Grayson at that time. Later on, they had a contest there to change the name of that town to the name of Bicknell. Now there is a Bicknell [Wayne County, Utah] up here. That is the community that won the contest. It was supposed to be for a library. They won the contest, [but] Blanding, or Grayson, was so close a runner-up that Bicknell said, “Since you were a close competitor we will give you the library, too, if you will name the town after my wife’s maiden name,” which was Blanding. So they changed the name of Grayson to Blanding and [received] a half a dozen novels. That is about the extent of [the] library they [received] out of it. I like the name of Grayson a lot better than I do Blanding. Everybody else did too. I think some of the authorities, the people [who] thought they were the authorities, like Ed Thompson and a few of them; they were in favor of it so that is what they did.
[First known as Grayson (after Nellie Grayson Lyman, wife of settler Joseph Lyman), the town changed its name in 1914 when a wealthy easterner, Thomas W. Bicknell, offered a thousand-volume library to any town that would adopt his name. Grayson competed with Thurber, Utah (renamed Bicknell) for the prize. Grayson was renamed Blanding after the maiden name of Bicknell’s wife, and each of the town received 500 books. — Wikipedia]
We were exactly thirty days on the road from the day we started from Tucson until we [arrived at] Blanding. Our horses were all fat and in good shape when we started out. They were not too bad off when we [arrived in] Blanding. It was winter time for the people [who] left Hachita and headed for Blanding. You should get a hold of some of them and get their story because they went through hell. They were in snow coming across those Mogollon Mountains in Arizona on the way to Blanding. The horses all [became] poor and some of them even died along the way. They went through hell a lot more than we did because we came through in the summertime, or was it early fall, and our horses were all in good shape. When they came through, their trek was even longer than ours because they were over quite a way east in New Mexico — clear across the State of Arizona and part of New Mexico.
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CR: After we [arrived in] Blanding, winter set in. [It] was a severe winter with deep snow. The people [who] lived there [grew] some hay, but they did not have hay enough to feed a lot of extra horses. So a bunch of them got together. There was one young fellow there [who] took [the horses] down across the San Juan River on the [Navajo] Indian reservation where there was plenty of grass and kept them there for the winter. They paid so much a head to winter the horses down there.
Dad sent all his horses down there. I do not think he kept any [at] home. He went to work for the cattle company there, Nielsen Brothers. He worked for them and sent his horses all down across the river because he did not have any feed for them. When they came back in the spring they all [had] poor skin [and] could hardly walk.
[Dad] decided he was going to leave Blanding anyway. [His] brother, James [Albert], and George Hardy had gone up to Oakley, Idaho. They said [it] was a promising land up there and good country [area]. By letter they enticed dad to come on up there. I took a job in Bluff [San Juan County, Utah]. Bluff was a little town down on the San Juan River where the Hole-In-The-Rock [Rockers] immigrants settled when they came there.
They took those horses, as poor as they were, and headed for Idaho. I had a job with a cattle company, [the] K-T Outfit. My experience down in Mexico [of] riding the range bareback helped a little. [This] was my first experience [of] punching cows. It was a big cow outfit. I was staying with [the] Butts family. When they [were] ready to go [to Idaho], they just pulled out and left me there to work. I followed them later.
My oldest sister, Mary [Eliza], had left Hachita and [she] went up north with grandmother. Grandmother did not stay there very long. They went by train up to Provo [Utah County, Utah] or Salt Lake [City, Salt Lake County, Utah]. My sister was there in Salt Lake [City] working for somebody, Apostle [Matthias Foss] Cowley, I think it was. I think I stayed down in Bluff for four, five or six months after they left, [then] I took the train and went up to Idaho. We only stayed there a year. Dad was not satisfied there either. He was having a terrible hard time. He had a family on his hands and no money and was having a hard time making a go of it. He decided he would go back to Blanding. So he and [his] brother, James [Albert], decided to come back down to Blanding with us. In the meantime, he had gotten a hold of a plug team to pull a wagon. We trekked from Oakley, Idaho back down to Blanding with my team. That took another month or more out of our lives. That trip was not too hectic a trip.
FH: What time of the year did you get back into Blanding?
CR: It was in the summertime.
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CR: I [started] a job with the [Utah] State Road [Commission] and worked for a man named Dave Black. I did road work for about two years until 1917 [when] World War I broke out. When we declared war on Germany, everybody was talking about the draft [that had just] come into being. [Everyone] was trying to figure out a way to get out of the draft. Me, I did not care. One day in town there was a bunch of us fooling around together. They had been telling us that if enough [men] enlisted voluntarily it would cut down on the draft; there would not be so much draft. So a bunch of us [came] together there and said since there are so many of these [fellows who] do not want to go and we do not care anyway, why not a bunch of us enlist and relieve the situation. There were thirteen of us [who] decided to enlist in the [United States] Army. No, there were not thirteen at first. We wound up with thirteen afterwards. There were nine of us in that first bunch.
I guess I was a big instigator of the whole thing. It was my fault. There was a bunch of the [fellows who] came along and threw in with us. There were two of us, Charley Hardy, me and Homer Black [at] first. We decided to go in the [United States] Army. Everybody was having a terrible time about it. Nobody wanted anybody to go, actually. When we decided to go, they decided to give us a big party. They were going to give us a big send-off. They organized a big dance and farewell party the day before we were to leave. That party and that dance, I will never forget. All the ones [who] had decided to go were called on to talk or do something. The only thing I could think of was to sing a song.
FH: Had you been singing quite a bit by this time?
CR: A little, not much. The song I chose was Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight. I stood up and sang that song and, when I [was] through, there was not a dry eye in the house. [Emotional] We had quite a time that night. We stayed up all night. None of us went to bed. Our best girls, we thought they were our best girls, were crying on our shoulders and all that.
Zeke Johnson had a pretty good car, one of the first Buicks that came out. He hauled us to Green River [Emery County, Utah] to the railroad point. We stayed there in a hotel that night and went on to Salt Lake [City] the next day.
At that dance before we left town, there were four or five more [fellows who] joined the bunch. They [had] the fever and the spirit and decided to join up. We went on to Salt Lake [City] and there were some of the boys [who] could not pass the physical examination and were turned back. Douglas Galbirth was one of them and he felt so bad about it.
We passed the examination. We went into the field artillery which was the 145th Field Artillery. That was the Utah National Guard originally but it was a cavalry outfit. It was among the bunch that went to Mexico with General [John Joseph] Pershing when he went after Pancho Villa. We did not go down there because it was all over with. They converted that cavalry unit into [a] field artillery [unit]. They assigned it to the 40th Division, the 65th Brigade. It was a horse-drawn cavalry unit because it had three-inch American guns. They were training with those guns and had horses for our transportation. We did not know anything else. They had cavalry horses and they had artillery horses. The cavalry horses were single mounts and the artillery horses were broke to harness. They pulled the guns.
They mobilized this camp, this 145th Field Artillery, in Salt Lake [City] up on the flat just below Fort Douglas, just east of Fifteenth East [Street] and Eighth South [Street]. They had a tent camp there when they started training. I was so expert at having horses that I landed out at the stables with the horses. There was a special buddy of mine, a fellow by the name of Jimmy Wheat. He was my chief of section and he was stable sergeant. In watching me [and] how I handled the horses, he picked me out as his personal orderly. I stayed there and helped him with the horses. Each battery would send a detail of men out to groom and handle the horses every day. But he had to have somebody in charge of them to supervise. Jimmy delegated that to me.
Some of those army officers I swear they were the most ignorant people I ever knew in my life. They were supposed to be educated and supposed to know all about how to handle artillery horses. They did not know any more about horses than a two year old [child]. I was out there one day grooming a horse along the side. He stepped on my foot. I had to push him off, try to get him off every way I could and I could not. I reached up with this other foot and I kicked him in the gut. I kicked him as hard as I could. He jumped right off my foot. Standing back behind me a little way was one of those shave-tailed lieutenants, an officer. He turned me in for kicking that horse. They called me on the carpet. I was abusing a horse. That was one thing they would not stand for was abuse. They did not know what abuse was. I [received] a week’s penalty. I had to take a gunny sack and go around in the gun park and pick up the horse manure and put it in this sack. That was my penalty for kicking this horse. I told them, “What is a man to do? How are you going to get a horse off your foot if you cannot do something to him?” They did not know any answer to that, but they did know I had no business kicking that horse and that was it. I took my penalty and went around with a stick with a spike on the end of it picking up papers and horse turds. [Laughter]
When they [were] ready to move, they shipped the outfit to Camp Kearney in San Diego [California]. When they were ready to go, the veterinarians [who were] on the job there, discovered there was a [inaudible] broke out among those horses. That was a very contagious disease among horses and supposedly deadly so they quarantined that bunch of horses. They had already had orders to entrain for San Diego. I do not know how they drew the names of the men to stay there and look after the horses while the rest of them went to San Diego, but I was one of them. They were supposed to have drawn lots. None of them wanted to stay there. They all wanted to go to California. Some of the [men] [who] were drawn traded with [men] that would rather stay in Salt Lake [City] and had homes there. A lot of these people in that outfit were from Salt Lake [City] anyway and this was a Salt Lake Unit. It was A Battery and it was a Salt Lake [City] Unit and that is the one we were in. All nine of us [were] in the same outfit that came up from Blanding. Incidentally, we stayed in that outfit and went clear through the whole campaign and came back together. We stayed together all the time we were in the service for two years.
FH: Did all of you come back?
CR: All of us came back.
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CR: All nine of us [who] left Blanding at the same time [were in] the same outfit, this 145th Field Artillery. It built up quite a reputation, all of us getting in there together and all staying together. Boys [who] left Blanding from then on requested that they get in the same outfit and a lot of them did so that it built up to thirteen members from Blanding in the same outfit. When we came back, we all came back together. None of them were killed.
FH: Did you see a lot of action?
CR: No. We never did get into the hot of it. We were ready to go in when the [World War I] Armistice was signed. We only spent six months overseas in France and we were among the last ones over there. When the armistice was signed [on November 11, 1918], we were the first ones shipped back. They had to make room so they could keep moving. They brought us back first.
FH: You had a little protection.
CR: We wanted to get up front. We were all anxious to get up front. After we [were] over there, they changed the outfit from light field artillery to heavy field artillery. The horses [were taken] away and [they] gave us tractors, big trucks and big guns, 4.7 guns. We were anxious to get up there and see how everything worked. We were an expert, crack outfit. We had the reputation of being the best trained artillery unit in the whole United States Army, but we never did get to show any of it. We were kind of sore about that. We all came back. There were a few [who] died of the influenza in France.
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FH: Did you go right back to Blanding?
CR: Not right away. The rest of the [boys] all went to Blanding, but I stayed in Salt Lake [City] for awhile. My two sisters, Alta and Mary, were there. I think she [Mary] was taking nurses training and Alta was there staying with her little girl. Mary [Eliza (Rowley) Stevens] had a little girl. When I left and went home, I took Alta and this little baby girl [Aurelia Rodgers] with me. We went to Blanding. This was in the wintertime. We went by train to Thompson [Grand County, Utah] and then we took the stage. The mail was hauled by stage. They just started hauling the mail by automobile. They had an old Model-T Ford which [was] supposed to have isinglass curtains on the sides. Never any of them ever fit. They would not keep out any wind anyway. We just about froze. That little baby, my niece, she [was] pretty cold. Alta about froze to death herself trying to keep the [baby] warm. We had quite a trip to Blanding from Thompson.
I went back to work for [the] road boss [who] I had worked for before right after I [came] back. Immediately, I started to work for LaSalle Livestock Company. Leo Redd was one of my war buddies. He had gone through the campaign with me and his uncle Charley owned LaSalle Livestock Company. He went over as ranch foreman and [had] me go over and work on the ranch. I did not stay on the ranch very long until Dave Black came along. He was going to build some roads between old LaSalle [and] Paradox Valley [San Juan County, Utah].
[END OF TAPE TWO – SIDE TWO]
CR: I went back to work for Dave Black [for quite] awhile. He [had] a contract to build a road down by Kane Springs [Grand County, Utah]. I went down there and set up camp for him. I worked there a long time. [Then] I pulled out and left the country [area] and went to Salt Lake [City] for two years. [I] never wrote a letter to anybody. Nobody knew where I was, my mother, my dad, nobody. None of them knew where I was. Finally, I [became] tired of it [and started] working for an oil company. I came back down to Green River out on the San Rafael Swell. I was drilling a wildcat well. They shipped that job down. I went back to Salt Lake [City]. I thought it was about time I was going home and so I picked up and went home.
I walked in after two years and they had never heard from me. I walked in on them. That is about the time I met my wife [Olea (Nielsen) Rowley]. She tells me, and the rest of them [say], that she saw my picture while I was in the [United States] Army before I came home. She asked my mother if she could have me. [Laughter] So they had it all cut and dried before I [came] back! [Laughter]
FH: Were you willing?
CR: It did not look like too bad a deal! We had a short courtship. I fooled around. I went with most of the girls in town, but she suited me. She was about right. She was not like most of the girls. She had had a hard life herself — about like mine. She was born in Mexico. Her folks [Carl Emil and Emma Jean (Stevens) Nielsen] came out to Bluewater, New Mexico and were there for awhile and [then] decided to move to Blanding. They came by team from Bluewater, New Mexico over to Blanding while I was gone.
When I came back, I found her there and she was very friendly and very chummy with my sisters. She almost lived at our place because her mother was the only doctor they had in town for years. She was a midwife and brought about a hundred percent of the babies into the world [who] were born in [the] town during that time. She was responsible for all of them. She was responsible for all of [my children] except one [who] was born in the hospital.
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CR: — organized soil conservation camps. They built one in Blanding. That was the Division of Grazing Camp which is now the Bureau of Land Management. I joined this camp as a, they called them the Arian, that was [a] local experienced man. I was not exactly an enrollee. I was one of the local experienced men and I took over the blacksmith shop in that camp. They had a lot of horses hired from the different people around the town that owned good work teams. I had to do all the shoeing of the horses for them.
I left that camp and joined the camp at Moab [Grand County, Utah] which was a soil conservation camp. I was not merely in there; I was one of the executives. I was a camp blacksmith. That is where I [received] most of my blacksmithing experience. I stayed with that camp and moved my family from Blanding down to Moab. I was in that camp from 1937 to 1939.
Then they transferred me up to Tremonton [Box Elder County] Utah to another soil conservation camp and I moved my family up there. That is how I started moving around so much. I never could find a place to light. When they disorganized the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] camps, I was assigned the duties of closing up those camps. I closed the one at Moab and I closed the one at Tremonton. I had charge of the tools and equipment. They hauled nearly all that [equipment] back to Salt Lake [City] and stored it in a warehouse. Where it went to from there I guess it was [to] somebody’s pocket. [Laughter]
The last transfer they wanted me to go back down to Price [Carbon County, Utah] to a camp down there. They were not ready to close it up yet. I knew that would be another part of the program. I would have to close that camp, too. When I say close the camp I do not mean I had charge of the enrollees, it was just [the] tools and equipment that I had the responsibility of. I told them I was through with the CCC. I did not want any more of it [and] I resigned. But I felt sorry about that ever since because I could have stayed there [as] I had enough seniority. I think I could have transferred from being a CCC camp blacksmith into some civilian part of the program. I think I could have still been working for the soil conservation service. I am too old for that now, but I would have retired with a lot more substantial retirement than I have now.
When I left the CCC it was wartime. World War II had been declared so I went down to Hill Field [hill air force base, Utah] and went to work as a general mechanic. I stayed there all through the war. The only title they could give [for] that job was general mechanic because they did not have anything set up for a blacksmith or a welder at that time. I was doing blacksmithing and I was learning a lot about welding at that time. I started welding in the CCC camp. I had an acetylene torch in my hand ever since I started [welding] in 1937. But I never did any arc welding until after I [went] up to Tremonton where they had one. They did not have one in those other camps. That is where I started arc welding.
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CR: They did not have an arc welder down there at that time in those camps, just the acetylene. When I [went] up to Tremonton, they had a portable welder there and I started using that. I picked it up fast. I started welding at Hill Field and I was about one of the best blacksmiths they had ever had there. I did most of the blacksmithing, tool sharpening and welding on the side and mechanical work — what there was to do.
When the war ended in 1946, they had a reduction in force and they laid me off. They gave me a transfer from there down to the Ogden [Utah] Arsenal [Weber County]. I went down there and looked the situation over. I decided I did not want any more of this. I told my wife, “I do not want to work for wages anymore. I am going to try and do something else.” We moved from there down to Panguitch [Garfield County] Utah. I rented a blacksmith shop there [from] Mr. Pendleton. He died and left his shop and all the equipment there and they had nobody to run it. I took it over and ran the blacksmith shop there for about a year.
We moved from there down to St. George. My oldest daughter [Mildred Rowley] had had rheumatic fever. She was not well and so the doctor advised us to take her to a lower climate [to] give her a chance [to improve]. We moved down to St. George for her. I started this blacksmith shop up there. I sold my place [in] Panguitch which I bought when I first came down there. I used the money to buy blacksmithing equipment to start a shop down in St. George. Gus Pendleton was already established there and had the business all sewed up to where I could not break into it. I could not make a living there so I had to give that up.
Rather than give it up entirely, I went to Hurricane [Washington County, Utah]. I [had] a little shack there that belonged to a fellow by the name of King [who] had a welding shop there. I set my tools up there and started to work. That did not pan out too well so I went up to Cedar City [Iron County, Utah] and [had] some floor space in [the] new International Harvester Company building built there [by] Lehi Jones. I set my shop up there in his new building. He gave me full access to it and I [had] a wonderful business there for awhile. I [had] all the farmers coming my way. Lehi Jones was already in the International Harvester business and knew all those people. He just took it over and collected all my bills for me and paid me the money and I did the job, set the price, how much it was. I did not have to keep any books or anything. At the end of the week he would write me a check for what I had coming and put it on his books and collect it from the farmers. He took my word for everything. It was the best setup anybody ever had. I did not have to worry about collecting any money.
I took a job with the [United States] Forest Service. The forest supervisor there was a special friend of mine [whom] I had known over at Moab. He [gave] me a job there building some kind of a tiller for the forest service for reseeding. I made good money off of that [project].
My brothers came along. There was a sawmill over at Kanab [Kane County, Utah]. It was a [quite] good-sized deal. It had gone broke and the fellow [who] owned it could not make a go of it. The mortgage was owned by the Bank of St. George [and] the Pickett Lumber Company. My brother, “Vern” [Vernon Conrad, heard about] it and [contacted] them. They offered it to us if we would take it over as is. We did not have to dig up any money to make payments on it, but we had to take it over and take over the indebtedness and we would go from there. They would not market all the lumber. The Pickett Lumber Company wanted all the output anyway. They did not force us to sell it all to them because we had a little local market we could take care of.
That was the biggest mistake I ever made. That is the last big one that I made. I should never have left that shop I had in Cedar [City] because that would have been the beginning of my career right there. I could have made good there. I could have made a good living and saved a little money, I am sure of it.
We [started] that sawmill. After we [started] it, the forest service over on Kaibab [National] Forest closed us out. They pinched us down. Whiting Brothers was so big there that they [had] the timber all appraised and advertised in such large bids, thirty-five million feet [of lumber] all in one bid, and we did not have the capital to handle that much timber. The bank would not let us have that much money. We had to move right off the Kaibab Forest. We found some privately owned timber up in Cedar Mountain up on the Muddy [River]. [Inaudible] We took our logging equipment up there and cut that timber out, hauled it down to Kanab and sawed it out. Then we found this field of virgin pine up here in Orderville Gulch [Utah]. Part of it belonged to [the] Brinkerhoffs in Glendale [Kane County, Utah] and the rest of it was BLM [Bureau of Land Management] timber. We went up there, made a deal for that timber, built some roads in there and moved the sawmill out of Kanab.
That took about a year out of our lives. All that time we were not making any money. We were going into debt a little deeper all the time. We finally [had] it set up and [had] a good mill built there. What they wanted me for was my ability as a repairman, my tools and equipment, for repairs, welding and blacksmithing. None of us made a dime off that sawmill. In 1950, we had a fire and it burned out. We lost the whole thing overnight. We walked out of that place with our shirt on our back.
While we were there, my wife had been doing a little managing, which if she had not done, we would have been worse off than we were. We bought a lot of good turkeys and a lot of fruit from Adam Lee down in Virgin [Washington County, Utah]. She took [it] up there and canned them and put them in bottles [jars] and fixed them all up for our use [that] winter. She had a lot of bottled [canned] fruit. We had a big stack of [food] there and somebody stole [all of it]. They just walked off with the whole works, bottled turkey and fruit. They stole everything.
That is about the time we had the fire and we went out of there without anything to eat and no job, no nothing.
We moved back down to St. George. Most of my tools [were not] in the fire. I [still] had them [and] I tried to make a living with them again. I was so hard up that I sold them for about half or a third of what they were really worth. I sold them to Jennings down there. They just stole them off of me because I had to have a little money. I went to work for the Jennings for awhile.
Incidentally, we made a deal with “Vern.” He was supposed to be the business head of the outfit anyway. They bought the rest of the timber that he had and moved another mill in there on the same site where we were. I hired out to them. I went back up there and sawed out the timber. My wife [worked in] the cook shack while I was there. That is where I used my own tools after working for them. When I left, I did not have any tools and I did not have any money.
When we moved back up, I could not find a job. I could not get it going. I went down below the Colorado River below Davis Dam [Laughlin, Nevada] on a clearing and leveling job. I had learned to operate heavy equipment, caterpillar, bulldozer and carry all. So that was another one of my occupations. I could not get it going very well. I was despondent and discouraged. I took to drinking. I was drinking heavy. I was having a terrible time fighting that damn booze. My wife [was] discouraged and told me I had to quit. I left that job down there. We were living in an old army trailer down on her mother’s lot. I had maneuvered around and [bought] an old car, an old second-hand Pontiac. We loaded everything we could on that car and headed out for Salt Lake [City]. One of my boys, [Victor] Leon [Rowley], lived there. We went up and moved in with him. I tried selling motor club memberships for awhile. I was not any good as a salesman. I could not make good at that.
I saw an advertisement in the newspaper [that] they wanted help at Hill Field. I went up there and made application and went back to work at Hill Field. That was in 1954. I stayed there until the spring of 1958. I guess it was in the fall of 1957. They kicked me out of there on [a] disability discharge. They said I was no longer of use [or] any service to the government. I had outlived my usefulness. [Laughter] From then on, I went from pillar to post. I guess that is about all there is to it.
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CR: We decided to do something to make a living that would not be such hard work. We had to make it a little easier way. We went back to Detroit [Michigan] and took a thirty-day course in hotel management. We had quite an experience there. My wife and I both went back. They offered me a hotel back east, Allentown, New York. [It was] a little old walk-up hotel in [the] mining district there. I said, “No, nothing doing. I want a hotel out west here somewhere. I want one out here.” “We [do not have] one out here.” They did not have as many hotels out there. This was a Milliner Hotel system. They did not have any out here. I said, “I do not want anything like that so I am going back home.” They paid me wages while I was back there. When they paid me off there, I had money enough to get back home on.
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FH: Tell about your family.
CR: First there is Jack. He is the oldest. We went to work for Indian Creek Cattle Company over there on the ranch. I took the job irrigating the hay ranches over there. They had a lot of acres to irrigate. I worked myself to death over there.
I moved my family over there. A little later on, my brothers, my dad and I went in together and we contracted putting their hay in the stack for the Indian Creek Cattle Company. I moved my family over there and we camped over there in a tent. We were camped behind the bunkhouse in a tent and the [children] were playing all around there all the time. We had three [children] then. Jack was the oldest. They [were] fooling around and [went] down in the cellar and found a box of giant caps. They played with those things. I do not know where their mother was at the time. Anyway, they were playing by themselves out behind the camp there and on the porch of the bunkhouse. They had this box of caps and a box of matches and a ten-pound lard bucket. They were trying to get those caps to go off.
They had been out to town to a Fourth of July celebration. They had seen all the [children] shooting off firecrackers. They thought those were pretty looking firecrackers they had in that box. They were trying to set some of them off and they did not know how. They were using matches. Finally, they [had] one of them inside and it [became] hot enough and it went off in Jack’s hand. He had it in his hand. He lost three fingers on his left hand.
Dellas [Rowley] was the next [child]. He was peppered with those little bits of brass all over his face and hands and in his body. The owner of the ranch, Al Scarp, had a Buick car there. His nephew, Jimmy, was a very good friend of ours. He took us to Moab to the hospital — the boy [whose] hand [was] shot up. When we [came] to Moab that night I took this second little boy to the hotel and got a room. She stayed at the hospital with the other one. I undressed him to put him to bed that night. I turned his pants upside down and thirteen of those giant caps rolled out of his pocket. [Laughter] I rode in the back. It was one of these cars that had the mother-in-law seat on the back, rumble seat. I rode in that back seat and held this little boy on my lap and she had the other one up in front with the driver. I could have fallen through the floor when I [took] those caps out of his pocket.
That’s Jack’s experience. That is how he started out in life.
OR: He was five years old.
CR: He [Jack] went through high school and graduated in Moab when I was in the CCC camp there. He was always a brilliant student.
[END OF TAPE THREE – SIDE ONE]
CR: [Jack] could not get in the [United States] Army because of his handicap. He did not have enough fingers. The CCC was still going [so] he enrolled in a CCC camp [in] Tremonton. He went up to Harrisville [Weber County, Utah] above Ogden at the mouth of Ogden Canyon. He started tracing for fun and took a liking to it and turned out to be a draftsman and an architect. He is making a very good living at it. He married Josephine Williams. Her parents live in Kingman, Arizona.
FH: How many children do they have?
CR: They have six children. Their oldest one is about ready to graduate from college now and is engaged to get married. The next one has graduated from high school and has finished a course in hairdressing. She is working in Salt Lake [City]. The others are school [children].
FH: Who are the rest of your children?
CR: The next one is Dellas. He was in on that cap blast. He went into the CCC camp the same time Jack did. He was a little young. I had to prevaricate a little bit on his age to get him in. [Laughter] He was better at drafting and tracing than even Jack was. They were both taking the same course [and] he was the better of the two. When the CCC ended, he and Jack had to take a plane. They left home and went to Los Angeles, California.
We made a trip down there. We did not bring Jack back. He did not want to come, [but] we brought Dellas back. When he came back he said, “I do not like that country down there. All there is down there in Los Angeles is Arkies, Okies and Negro-loving prune pickers.” He tried to get in the [military] service, but he had had a touch of rheumatic fever when he was a youngster [and it left him] with a damaged heart. He could not get into the service. He tried the [United States] Navy, the Army and Marines and could not get [into] any of them so he [joined] the [United States] Merchant Marines. He put in a hitch in the Merchant Marines during [World] War [II]. While he was in the Merchant Marines, he swabbed decks and painted the hulls of those ships so much [that] he learned to be a good painter. When he came out, he [found] a job as a painter and has stayed with it ever since. He is a painting contractor.
FH: Is he married?
CR: Yes, he married Margaret McDaniels from Farmington [Davis County] Utah. They moved out to Sacramento [California] and they have five children. She had been married before and had one [young] boy. They still have him and four other [children].
FH: Who is the next [child]?
CR: The next one is [Victor] Leon [Rowley]. He served a hitch in the [United States] Navy during [World] War [II]. He was on the USS Pennsylvania, one of the world’s biggest battle wagons. He was on it when it was torpedoed the day [the government] was negotiating peace terms with Japan. It was the very day that the peace treaty was signed. They limped into port. I think they had to lash it to two other ships to get it into port. They repaired it and then decommissioned it and used it for a target ship in the Marshall Islands. They used the “Pennsy” as a target ship and blew it up. He stayed right with that ship until they decommissioned it. Then [he was] shipped back to Honolulu [Hawaii]. He came home from there and was discharged.
FH: Did he marry?
CR: [He did] not [marry] right away. He was with us on [the] sawmilling venture [and] helped us out quite a bit. I think he married while we were fooling with the sawmill because he came down here. We lived at Rockville [Washington County, Utah] one winter while we were [working the] sawmill. He came down there and stayed with his wife. They lived down [in] Rockville. They went back up to Salt Lake [City] and he started to work for Eaton Metal [Products] up there. He had been around me enough and learned a little bit about welding. He started welding and is still doing it. He is one of their top men at Eaton Metal [Products] in Salt Lake [City] now. He has three children, two boys and a girl.
FH: Who did he marry?
CR: He married Fawn [May] Dana. Her folks [Oscar and Mary Elizabeth (Prince)
Dana] originated down here in Dixie [St. George]. Her grandmother owns a house [in] Middleton [Washington County, Utah] now.
FH: Who is the next one?
CR: Collins [Rowley] is the next [child]. He married Dorothy Messer[from] Cedar City. Her folks still live up there. They have two fine daughters and a boy. He went in the [United States] Army during the Korean Conflict and went to Alaska. His wife went up there and stayed with him. While he was there, one of their girls was born there. She was divorced and had a [young] girl [when] he married her. One of [their] girls was born in Anchorage, Alaska. They came back and he started school. He went up to Logan [Cache County, Utah] and he went [to] USU, Utah State [University] and graduated. [He] took a job teaching school at Cedar City. He specialized in industrial arts. He taught junior high school for two or three years. Then he [received] an offer [to teach] down [in] Mesa, Arizona. He moved his family down there [and] finished up his [education]. He went to Arizona State University at Tempe and [received] his master’s degree last year. He [received] a special grant to go to Ypsilanti, Michigan to a special school. He had a special scholarship and he went back there and spent [a] summer back there. They live in Mesa now.
The next [child] is Mildred [Rowley]. She is the one that was sickly. She had rheumatic fever. I took her to St. George. She married Alden [Gifford] Lemmon. They have a little sawmill up in the mountains there. It is up in [the same area] where we were. They were a failure too, just like we were, in the sawmill business. They moved out, left here and went to Henderson, Nevada. They stayed down there for a long while. She had three boys. One of them died. Their marriage was not too successful. They had a lot of trouble and finally divorced. They remarried and stayed together a little while and divorced again. I do not know where she is now. She worked around at odd jobs down there all the time. The last I heard of her she was supposed to be headed to Florida to get married again to another fellow. I do not know where she is, whether she is down there now or whether she is back. I do not even know whether she actually went or not. I have not heard from her since we were down there about a month ago. One of her boys graduated from high school a year ago. The other one I would rather not talk about. I will not say anymore about him.
FH: Alright. Who is the next [child]?
CR: The next one is Claudia [Rowley]. All the girls married poorly. They married skunks. Her husband [Marshall Ray Byrns] was about the most worthless [fellow] I ever knew. He was a fly boy from Nellis Air [Force] Base [in] Nevada. He would come here to St. George on weekends. That is when we were living here in St. George. The first thing we knew she had run away to Las Vegas and they married. It was one continual hell for her from then on. He was no good. She had a pair of twin boys. Her mother went down to Henderson there when they were born. Right shortly after they were born, he picked her and the [boys] up and skipped the country back to Louisville, Kentucky. That was where he was from. She was back there with him and his folks. They were treating her like a dog. She could not stand it so she wrote home. [Emotional] Jack, his mother and Dellas went after her. Jack had a new car. She came back to Salt Lake [City] and he followed her. She had a family and never could make a go of it, [so] she divorced him. He pulled out and [we have] never heard from him since. We do not know whether he is still alive or not.
FH: Is she still in Salt Lake [City]?
CR: No, she [lives in] Henderson. She married another fellow in Salt Lake [City], Ray Evans. They did alright. They lived together good for awhile. They [came] down [to] Nevada. He [had] a good job. He still has the job, but they could not get along so she separated from him and [is] divorced. She dropped out of high school and married. She only went to the second year of high school and [then] dropped out. Now she has decided she needs that [education] so she is going to school again. She has four [children] now. She had the twins and then she had another [child]. This [fellow went] back in the [United States] Air Force again and her third baby was born at the Hill Field hospital. After they [came] down here to Henderson she and Ray had another [child]. The last one was Ray Evans’ boy and hers. She is trying to go to school. She [is] on state welfare down there and they are putting her through school. [It is a] new vocational training school down [in] Las Vegas. They are doing a good thing for her [and] she is taking advantage of it.
Then there is Barbara [Rowley]. We call her “Bobbie.”
OR: Leo is [the] next [child].
CR: Leo? There are too many of them! [Laughter] Leo was born in Blanding. [TAPE RECORDER TURNED OFF]
CR: Leo was the last one grandmother delivered. He married Carol Davis [from] Salt Lake [City]. His mother went with him and they went to Las Vegas and [were] married. Their marriage did not pan out either. They separated. I guess she was not much good either because he found out that she had already been married. Her divorce was not final and she was not even legally married to him at all. They separated and live apart. He lives down in Las Vegas. He has been there with us all the time and so when we moved up here he stayed down there. He was a high school dropout, too. He dropped out when he was in the tenth grade. He has been sorry ever since. He served a hitch in the [United States] Navy during peace time. But when [the United States] Congress passed a law to give peace time veterans a chance at [the] GI Bill [of Rights for veteran’s education] he [decided to take] advantage of that. He is going to the vocational school [in] Las Vegas. He is taking a course in refrigeration [repair]. He has a job [with] a construction company [and] goes to school nights and works on the job in the daytime.
There is Barbara [“Bobbie” Rowley]. She [sort] of went astray too. She married a no-good fly boy from Nellis. They transferred him to Lackland Air Force Base [in] San Antonio, Texas and he dragged her down there. He was mean to her. She had a baby girl. This baby girl was born premature and lived in an incubator for three months. They finally got her out and she has come out of it. “Bobbie” could not get along with him either so she left him and came home to us. We sent her the money to come home. She had [the] girl while she was still in Texas. She brought her and came back to Las Vegas. She lived with us for quite awhile, then she [found] an apartment. She [has] a good job there. She is cashier at [the] Stardust Hotel. She [works in] one of those cages there in a casino. She makes good money. We kept the little girl for quite awhile while she was getting squared away, settled and getting on her feet. Now she has the little girl. The little girl just started to school this year. She does not know where her husband is either. I think he was transferred to Korea soon after she left [him]. He married another girl, a Spanish girl from down on the border. I guess that is about the size of it.
FH: After this lifetime of experience would you counsel your family?
CR: The trouble is I never learned anything.
FH: You have had the [education].
CR: I had all the experience and I never learned anything.
FH: But you had the [education] of a whole lifetime. As you look back on it, can you profit by your experiences? Can you give counsel to your family?
CR: I can look back on it and see all the mistakes that I made.
FH: You ought to be able to counsel [them] very well.
CR: I do not know how to tell them to keep away from me because they more or less followed in my footsteps anyway. I never was very religious and none of them are either.
FH: Do you think they should change that?
CR: I would like it if they would, but I do not know how to tell them to do it. One boy, Collins, [who] married a Messer girl up here, is a school teacher in Mesa. He is the only one of the whole bunch [who] has any religion [and] practices it. He is going a long way himself.
FH: Do you think if they changed, their life could be better than yours?
CR: They have a chance to make a better life than mine was spiritually if they would. I think one thing that tapped me off when I went in the [United States] Army I considered myself the black sheep of the family. The other [children] were quite religious. Mother was very religious. I would say she was overly religious, maybe a little bit fanatical. The [children who] took to religion were the ones that she catered to most. I became] mixed up with a wild bunch too young and started some bad habits like smoking cigarettes. She morally detested that. The last thing she said to me on her death bed was for me to quit cigarettes.
FH: Did you do it?
CR: I went out of that hospital, went out in the street and threw a can of Prince Albert [tobacco] and a book of [cigarette] papers over the fence into the lot. [I] never touched another one.
FH: If you did that, you could probably do the rest of the things she would like you to do, too.
CR: I have not done it, though.
FH: Have you some plans [for] that in the future?
CR: Yes, I think so. I have not been a wicked man. I have just been a careless man.
FH: It should not be so hard to change to the way you want it to be.
CR: I know my wife would like to go through the temple and so would I, but we had such a hard row to hoe. Maybe that could have been changed if we had paid a little more attention to religion and not so much [to] worldly things. We have not been paying a full tithing all our lives. I understand that that is one of the requirements. You have to be a full tithe payer in order to get a recommendation to go to the temple.
FH: That means you can start now.
CR: I guess it has already started. My wife paid some tithing last Sunday.
FH: Maybe with her assistance you can get this worked out.
CR: I think we will. One of the big things that is wrong with me, the thing that has hung in my craw so much of the time, is the fact that the way the rest of my family, my brothers and sisters, are on my back about this religion. They have razzed me, hounded me to death about it and made me so disgusted that I would not do anything about it. It is their fault as much as mine. My sister, Mary [Eliza], has been on my back continually. She has tried to live my life for me. I was not about to take that, but [live] the way I wanted to.
FH: The way I see it, this is the thing you should do. Now that you realize what the situation is, you should make up your own mind.
CR: That is what I have been doing. If I had let them make up my mind for me, I would have been a long ways from where I am. About going through the temple — that is the thing they have hounded me about all the time. That is the one big thing that has kept me away from it. My brother’s wife is over backwards with religion. She is a Leavitt from St. George and you might know her mother, Grandma [Mary] Leavitt. She is in her nineties now. Anyway, she has had more to do with that than anybody.
[END OF TAPE THREE – SIDE TWO]
CR: Every time I get around her, she preaches religion to me and I resent it. They said, “Anytime that you get ready to go through the temple we will all [be] there and go through with you.” That is the very thing that I do not want.
FH: That makes you feel upset. The thing for you to do is work it out on your own.
CR: I will not have it that way. I tell them when I get ready to go to do that, I will do it myself. My wife and I will go there and do it by ourselves. We will not ask help from anybody. That is the thing that has hung in my craw through all my life, the way my brothers and sisters have tried to run my life for me. That is the thing that has kept me away. This can go on record of me saying that and I do not care if they all get to hear [it]. That is the way I feel about it. They have had more to do with keeping me away from it than they ever [had] bringing me to it.
FH: You must understand they surely had good intentions.
CR: I suppose they did. I suppose they did, but they had a funny way of going about it.
FH: [Do] you have plans and hopes for the future in this direction? This is important.
CR: Yes, I think so. We have to get it done before we die, anyway. But the [children], I do not know whether we will ever get them all together and get them to the temple or not. I do not think so. I do not think they will ever make it.
FH: Take care of what you can.
CR: Jack has his family up there and all the [children] go to church. His wife is very religious. I do not know, I guess he thinks he is too busy. He is mixed up there with the Lions Club and is a member of the city planning board. He is about the busiest man you ever saw with his work.
FH: I suggest you do not shortchange your [children]. Give them a chance.
CR: I am not going to try to change them.
FH: I said do not shortchange them. Do not cut them short.
CR: Oh no.
FH: Work this thing through yourself and see how they come around.
CR: I know they will not do it. I know they will not change for me. They never have listened to me.
FH: Time can do a lot of things.
OR: Perhaps [inaudible] someday.
FH: Do you love your family?
CR: Very much. The worst heartaches I ever had, and I mean heartaches, [is] the way those girls have done. Not one of the three of them turned out so good.
FH: They still have time.
CR: They have a bad time.
FH: They still have time to change.
CR: Yes, they have. I do not know whether they will or not.
FH: Maybe they will now — especially if they see your feelings. I think this is important.
CR: I would very much like to see them do a little something about it. [TAPE RECORDER TURNED OFF]
CR: Well, [children], I think maybe I will put a little postscript on my recording. I have not anything especially to say except to endorse everything your mother has said [emotional] except for one thing, a rather special message for Leo. [Emotional] Leo and I never could get along. I do not know why, but I never could talk to him. Every time I undertook to do it, we would both get mad and it ended up in a quarrel. He never would listen to a word of advice. I think it is time he was doing something like that. From the time he was a small boy he was the same way. He never listened and that is one of the reasons why he is the way he is. [Emotional]
I want to endorse what his mother said about finding a LDS [Latter-day Saint] woman. [Emotional] This woman that you were infatuated with, [that you] think you are in love with, will never divorce her husband. She will never do you any good. She has never brought you anything but harm, and heartache to me. I have spent many, many nights sleeplessly worrying. [Emotional] I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I love you even though I have never been able to do so before. [Emotional]
I want you to straighten up and come around and do the things that we would like you to do. I guess this is about all I can think of for now. God bless you and goodbye. [Emotional]
[END OF TAPE]