Family History Outline

Dad and Mother were married on October 31, 1907 in the Salt Lake Temple. Dad was 23 years old and Mother was 19. Dad worked as a streetcar conductor for those first years. After 4 years he took his young family to Tremonton, Utah where a new farming area was opening up by using the waters from the Bear river. However, Dad’s agricultural destiny was to be elusive. After a year’s effort, it was decided that that was not where they wanted to stay so they returned to Salt Lake City. At this time the Church had need of a leader to help rehabilitate some of the saints who had been driven out of Mexico and were being established in Moapa Valley of southeastern Nevada. Grandpa Hintze was called to lead the settlers in that venture and he took Dad and Mother and their young boys to add vigor to the program. It was a two-year stay for them as the colonies prospered. In the manner of pioneer prosperity, they were able to survive the rigors of heat, drought, dust, wind and scanty luxuries. The work Grandpa was sent to do was over and he and his son were released to seek their own fortunes.

Dad and Mother returned to Holladay for a while and then moved to Sugar House. Dad worked for Mutual Creamery for a while and then for ZCMI in the delivery depart-ment driving a horse-drawn wagon.

In the spring of 1915 they went to Hinckley, Utah where a new agricultural tract of the lower Sevier river gave promise to those who had pioneer blood in their veins. They settled northeast of town and considered themselves well-off because their tent was new. The tent was their home for the next year and a half. By fall Dad had built a board floor and 30-inch sidewalls to stabilize the tent against the winds and to raise the floor above the mud. Aunt Flora and Uncle Roy Sears lived in the tent next door, but they gave up before the first year was over and went back to Salt Lake City. Dad and Mother made use of their tent to have a little storage room to keep some of their supplies out of the sun and rain. They worked hard to take off the greasewood and rabbit brush and to make ditches and fences.

The first year was one of their “lean years”. Harold and Eugene were old enough in helping to herd cows, “drowned-out” gophers, weed beets, “deball” chickens, pull pigweeds for pig feed, and to pick up potatoes. It was a family assignment and all helped. Hinckley soil is like clay, you can sometimes run water on it for 15 minutes and then scratch down a half an inch and it would be bone-dry. However, when it does get wet, you’d better not be far from high ground. When the rains came and the chickens moved about in the mud, the clay would stick to their feet until it was necessary to carry some of the distant chickens back to the yard. After the clay ball on their feet became dry, it was necessary to break it off so they could walk about and scratch for food. That was called “deballing” chickens. “Drowning out” gophers was a sporting event as well as a survival-of-the-species battle. It was kill or be killed. Gophers ate anything green and made holes in the ditch banks. Water was lost many times for a week because gopher holes caused leaks and eventually “washed out” the canal. It was necessary to carry buckets and a shovel on patrol of the water channels. Water would be poured down the holes where gophers had disappeared and then as the gophers emerged from the hole they would be hit on the head. Then the hole would be filled with dirt to discourage future use. There were sometimes 8 to 12 gophers taken out of one hole. Poisons, in later years, practically eradicated the pests, but the human side didn’t seem to be winning the war in 1916 and 1917.

It became evident, even the first year, that Hinckley was no agricultural paradise. The first spring growths were promising, but the alkali from the soil began to rise as the sun grew hotter and the plants blighted from the mineral salts which appeared like frost on the cultivated ground. The family had eggs, chickens, potatoes, flour, mush, and milk from which butter was obtained. The butter and eggs were barter items as there was little cash. These were traded at the stores for coal-oil for the lamps, clothes, sugar, and other food staples. They usually sold the calves and pigs for supplies also. During these “lean years”, they had a pig drown in the “swill” barrel. Although it was felt an injustice to market the carcass, they reasoned it was too good to waste, so it helped in their food supply.

The second year the family moved in to town and Dad farmed some already drained land.

Dad and Mother decided to abandon their farming fortunes in Hinckley in the fall of 1918 and so they sold all of their possessions and bought clothes and train tickets to Salt Lake City. Mother and the younger children went on ahead by a few weeks so that a new baby could be born in more favorable surroundings. When the last possessions were picked up by their new owners, Dad and the older boys caught the midnight train leaving Oasis for Salt Lake. They arrived and found Mother at 756 East 2nd South with the house quarantined with influenza. Dad and the boys went to Holladay where Grandma Hintze and her household were as yet healthy. It didn’t stay that way very long. Once the flu got started, it spread through the entire household except for Uncle Leslie, who became the male Florence Nightengale with no one to spell him off. Beds were lined up in the large living room so as many as possible could be near the wood stove. No one in that house was taken by the “grim reaper” but his percentage in the city and the nation was very high.

During the summer of 1919, Dad farmed the Hintze property in Holladay and raised, among other things, watermelons.

In 1920, Dad took a job as watermaster in Metopolis, Nevada, and while he lived there most of the time alone, Mother and the children did join him for a few weeks. That reclamation project was on its way out due to drouth conditions which offered Dad no promise of permanent work, so they did not stay longer than August.

In 1921 Dad and Mother made another, and somewhat successful, farming effort. That spring, Dad took Harold with him and moved via railroad box car with horses, cattle, lumber, and supplies to Elberta, Utah. He had to accompany the live-stock during the trip to see that they got water enroute and to calm the animals during the trip. He and Harold unloaded their belongings on a siding north of town and drove the animals south past the store and schoolhouse two miles to a farm which Dad had leased on shares. In a grove of trees they pitched their tent and assembled a frame house which they had brought with them. When it was finished enough to accommodate the family, the rest of them came by automobile. The road was oiled as far as Sandy and then through the city of Provo, but was only graveled and graded the rest of the way. The move was accomplished by repeated trips in the Ford with the box on the rear. Mostly it was an all-day trip one way. Sometimes it took a day and most of the night. Flat tires were the biggest problem. They soon learned all of the garages along the route and memorized their sequence and at which point in the journey it was closer to walk ahead or to backtrack when they ran out of patches or boots for the tires. On one trip they were stalled for a few hours at the point of the mountain, near the present prison site, because the south wind was more than the car could move against.

Elberta was, and still is, the site of most of the families fondest memories. One could write about heartaches over crop failures when the flume broke, or the fun of horse racing, making apple cider, watermelon busts, camping trips, and friends. The family learned from the good and the bad experiences. The people in the little community were to eventually become their people, and they were never to know again the hopes and ambitions, the heartaches and failures of so many people who became so much a part of their lives. Because Elberta was settled by “outsiders” from Nebraska who had come to Utah about 1$90-1900 with the promise that they could live in Utah without mixing with the Mormons, it was not the typical Utah town. Naturally when the Mormon family began to move in and get settled, there was some feeling of hostility by the townsfolk. When Dad and Harold spent the first Sunday there, they attended the only Sunday service in the town. It was a community church conducted by a minister from Provo. Dad had inquired if they would be welcome to attend, and after some consideration were invited to visit the next service. Dad instructed Harold to, under no circumstances comment on anything he saw or heard which he didn’t understand. This was real wisdom on Dad’s part. While the family experienced some persecution at times, the family followed Dad’s advice of keeping mum and eventually the strangeness between the outsiders and the Mormon family began to wear away. They were spoken to outside of the church services and eventually were invited to a town social.

Before the summer was over a new Mormon family (the Penrods) moved into the southern part of the valley called Verda. Dad and Brother Penrod found that the family living in the “company” ranch was an inactive Mormon who could be activated, so they obtained permission to organize the Verda branch for the three families. The family withdrew from attending the Protestant church and started their own services 3 miles south of Elberta. The company house became their place of worship. Other families, Mormon and non-Mormon came in the next year or so. However, because there were more non-Mormons, the school teacher had to be a Protestant to preserve the isolation demanded by the earlier settlers. School was at Elberta and all 7 grades were in one room with one teacher. A student moved over a row each year. Always one could review previous year’s lessons as the teacher worked with the lower grades, and preview next year’s classes as she taught the bigger kids. There was always plenty of time for each student to recite, so no one could escape a day of unpreparedness.

With the growth of the Verda branch and the increase of settlers in the south end of the valley, the school board set up a school in Verda with a Mormon teacher. This left the Protestants to hold their own school in Elberta. Mormon families, being usually more prolific than their Protestant counterparts, soon became the dominant group and finally a combined school was formed with a new school house to be built between Elberta and Verda. It was to be a modern school with two rooms instead of one, and two teachers. It had taken a long time and much patience to get the Protestant group to abandon their isolation, but their decline in numbers coupled with their loss of majority permitted the new school to be built. Verda disappeared as a community and Elberta school became the center of Mormon Church activities and the only school in the valley. The Protestants still held their own Sunday services in the abandoned school house in the north part of town.

Christmas was always celebrated with a community party. Everyone was invited and always attended. The school house was the scene of the affair and included performances by the children of the school in song, recitation and plays. Always there was a period of games and dances. The most popular dance was the “Tucker Waltz”. Married folks, teenagers, kids, all were given equal time in the Tucker Waltz for one systematically changed partners every 2 minutes until each boy and man had danced with every girl and woman at the party. Some of them could really dance and no young girl was unpopular because she hadn’t had a chance to learn to dance. Elberta had but one “orchestra” in this period, and thank goodness she was always good-natured about donating her talents for the enjoyment of her townsfolk. She was the Protestant storekeeper’s wife, the postmistress, and the only person in town who could play the piano. The school room always held a native pine tree, cut by an assigned townsman and decorated with popcorn strings, candy canes, cutouts, and net stockings with nuts and hardtack candy inside. An angel or a star was on the topmost tip. The candles were lighted and the lanterns were taken outside for the short time the candles could be safely burned. This period was always used in singing “Silent Night”. Santa then made a brief visit and as each person left the party to get into a buggy or car or just walk home if home was within one half mile or so, they were given a sack of candy and nuts to eat enroute. These parties never varied except to encompass new ideas to improve their spirit.

Elberta showed great promise for a while as orchards were planted and-produced fruit that was widely marketed. A railroad spur was necessary to provide a means for loading and transporting the peaches, apples and pears that grew there. (The town derived its name from the Elberta peach.) However, weather conditions began to change and what had been an abundant water supply began to dwindle. Trees and orchards began to die for lack of water. Farming and ranching became a precarious business and breadwinners were forced to abandon farms and look elsewhere for a livelihood. The mines in the Tintic mountains (Dividend and Eureka) were going strong and Dad, along with others, commuted there to work digging for lead, silver and other minerals. The dreams of a permanently successful farm once again faded and were not realized. However, before the end of the Elberta experience came, growth had taken place to where it was possible to organize a Ward and Dad was called to be its first bishop. Under his leadership a meeting house and recreation hall was constructed which became the center of social life for the valley, non-Mormon as well as Mormon.

In the fall of 1936, Dad and Mother left Elberta and moved to Taylorsville, Utah. Here they moved into a modern home with running water, electric lights, a central heating system, and an inside toilet; luxuries which fast became necessities, but which they had done without for most, if not all, of their married life. Dad still tried to do some farming but once again was thwarted from achieving much success. The soil was fertile and there was ample water but most of the ground was infested with morning glories which choked out the crops. If it wasn’t that it was something else. One year the acid effluent from the smelter at Magna poisoned and killed his only attempt at growing a commercial bean crop. It was necessary for him to supplement his inadequate farm income by working at other jobs. Vacuum cleaner salesman, laborer, watchman, dairyman, chemical worker and working for hire on more successful farms were some of his activities.

Dad and Mother lived in several different houses in the Taylorsville community. They eventually realized one of their fond dreams – that of owning their own home, which they had built. After living in a basement house for several years, they were able to build the complete house and they lived their remaining years in relative peace and comfort.

While fame and fortune escaped their grasp, their greatest, and only really desired goal was to see their large family all grow to become honorable citizens and, above all, to stay true to the faith that they had labored so hard to instill in their (the children’s) hearts.