William Owen Tucker

Bill & Jane Tucker
Bill & Jane Tucker

I was born in Salt Lake City on January 12, 1916 to William Owen Tucker, Sr. and Nellie Blanche Pitts, so you see that my correct name is William Owen Tucker, Jr. as it is on the records of the Church. The house I was born in was built by my great grandfather, Steven Tucker who arrived in the valley October 5, 1862.

It is an old adobe structure and it is still standing on 8th South between 4th and 5th East. My paternal grandfather was Steven William Tucker and he was a member of the Salt Lake City police force for many years. He was still on the force when he died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 61 years old. My paternal grandmother was Eliza Kazai Wardell. She was a daughter of George Wardell who was in the advance company of scouts who arrived in the valley on July 21st, 1847, three days before the arrival of the main body on July 24, 1847. My maternal grandfather was Joseph Beeden Pitts who was born in Nottingham, England in 1848. My maternal grandmother was Ann Eliza Evans who was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1852. She died at the age of 40, leaving a family of six boys and four girls of which my mother was the baby of the family.

My father was employed by the Royal Baking Company as a delivery man, driving a team of horses on a delivery wagon. After the arrival of the Model T truck, he was one of the first drivers on them. He drove the bread truck to the mining town of Bingham until his death at the age of 34. The doctors said his kidneys were destroyed by the constant vibrations brought on by the dirt roads of the time and the harsh ride of the truck. My mother’s death followed four years later at the age of 38. The doctors said it was a blood clot, but my mother’s sisters said it was nothing more than a broken heart.

We had moved into a new home on Redondo Avenue, which is about 2000 South between 6th and 7th East, a few years prior to my father’s death. At his death, we were forced to move to Garfield Avenue, which is about 1800 South between 6th and 7th East. We lived there for several years as renters until the house was purchased by LeRoy and Flora Hintze Sears. That had quite an impact on my life, for about 8 years later I was to marry their niece, Jane.  I was a constant companion to young Roy Sears, both being the same age, so I knew Harold and Eugene for quite a few years before I knew there was a Jane. The Sunday ritual was me being a member of the Sears family and riding out to Holladay to visit with the Hintzes or out to Taylorsville to visit the Mackays. So I feel like I have been a member of the Hintze and Sears family since I was a young boy.

When the Sears family purchased the home we were renting, we moved to 180 South and 7th East. We lived there several years until my mother’s death. So being orphaned at this time, myself and two brothers were placed into foster homes.

I was 12, Howard was 8, and Ross was 6. I went to live with the Crowtons, known as Uncle Will and Aunt Cass. Aunt Cass was my mother’s sister. Ross also went with me to the Crowton’s to live. Howard went to live in the home of John and Minnie Deardorff, known as Uncle Jack and Aunt Minnie. Aunt Minnie was also my mother’s sister. Except for about one and one-half years I spent in the CCC camp, I lived with the Crowtons until Jane and I were married. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 12, 1935. I remember going through the Temple that morning. Jane’s mother and dad had driven up from Elberta for the ceremony and I remember Jane’s mother cried a lot, for it left a void in her life. After leaving the Temple, Jane and I & her mother and dad went to our apartment on South Temple. There Wayne and his girl friend, Donna, had fixed lunch for us. Our apartment was small but the price was right. Furnished and all utilities included, we paid $15 per month. It had to be cheap as I was employed by C. N. Corruthers as an apprentice mechanic for 25 cents an hour. We worked 9 hours a day, 6 days a week. The company had an old Packard limousine that was long as a truck. We called it “Big Bertha”. It was jet black, but it sure did hold a lot of people. One 24th of July we loaded “Bertha” up with food and bedding and 13 adults and headed for Provo Canyon for the holiday. The Hintze family drove up from Elberta and met us up the canyon. For the beverage line, we took 2 gunny sacks of home-made root beer with us. It was so powerful that when we opened up a bottle, it squirted out like a volcano and went to the top of the trees. We were lucky to get a mouthful or two out of each bottle. Wayne and Eugene were the makers of this brew. After bottling it, they put it in a tin washtub to age. They covered it up with a quilt and put it in the attic of our basement house in Holladay. Several days had passed and we were eating a meal when we heard a loud bang. In a few minutes we heard another and then another. Wayne hollered out that our root beer is exploding, it’s too hot up there, it should be in a cooler spot. He ran up in the attic and grabbed the tub of root beer and headed for the spring on the run. After running part of the way, the exploding stopped. Wayne stopped running and very carefully sat the tub on the ground and very cautiously lifted the quilt. Guess what? A couple of more bottles let go with a roar. Wayne grabbed up the tub and started out again. Again Wayne stopped, lifted the quilt and bang, it started again. This process was repeated 3 or 4 more times before he reached the spring. Needless to say we lost part of that batch.

The basement house we had in Holladay was home to Jane and I, Wayne and Gene. It had an outside toilet and our source of water was the spring running out of the mountain. It was several hundred yards from the house and the water had to be carried into the house. Of course, every morning the bucket was empty and the first one to wash had to fetch water from the spring. It seems like Wayne was the first one up every morning and I can still hear him muttering to himself, “Son-of-a-gun, that doggone bucket’s empty again.” We lived as a family in this house until the Hintze family moved from Elberta to Taylorsville. Jane and I followed a short time later and moved into what was known as Grandma Bennion’s apartment. This was upstairs in the old Bennion home on 4800 South.

After several years in the Bennion home, we built a little slab home in Holladay. We called it our slab home-for that is what it was. The outside wall was made from slabs of pine from the lumber mill. We bought an entire truck load of slabs from Grace Anderson Hintze’s father, who worked in the mill at Ephriam, for the sum of $5.00 and then hauled them to Holladay. It was somewhat drafty in that house but we had a big Heatrola stove and a big kitchen range to keep us warm. This also had an outside toilet and we hauled water from the Tolman home across the street. The Tolmans were the parents of Jennie Tolman Hintze so we have known Jennie since she was a young teenager. It was while living here that Loralee was born.

After several years we moved to Salt Lake on West Temple between 5th and 6th South. I was employed at Specification Oil and was able to walk to work, which was only 2 blocks away. We lived in this apartment for about 2 years, when a change in employment brought us back to Taylorsville.

Eugene operated the Utah Oil station on the corner of Redwood Road and 4800 South and lived in the big old brick home behind it. We rented 2 rooms from him and we were quite comfortable. It was a combination kitchen and family room and a bedroom. The reason for this move was I got a job driving a truck for the construction of the arms plant on Redwood Road. The pay was about $135.00 a week which was unheard of at that time. I was on that job until the plant was completed. I was then sent to Geneva to drive truck for the steel plant which was just starting construction. This made another move necessary. This time to Elberta in the old Patten home.

After much redecorating and remodeling, this old home made a beautiful and comfortable place for us. But again, the toilet and water was outside. I drove to Provo for 3 years in a car pool and wore out 2 cars, got to know the members of the rationing board by their first name, for you couldn’t buy a gallon of gasoline or a tire without coupons or stamps. We were very happy and comfortable for 3 years and we finally was getting ahead. We got a letter from Jane’s mother saying there was a new home on 4800 South that had been lived in for less than a year. The man had been drafted and had to leave. After about 3 weeks of legal work, we finally purchased our little gray house on 4800 South. Shortly after this, Vaughn was born and joined our family.

After several years of complete contentment in this home, we were approached by Sherman Fredrickson, who was the proprietor of the local lumber yard, to purchase his new home that he had nearly completed. This was to be his dream home but due to his and his wife’s age, they decided not to move in due to the large number of steps in this 2 story house. With Fredrickson’s help we were able to move into what we thought would be our last home. After a time we were joined by daughter Cyndie and son Dale. But after 34 years in this home we moved to Centerville, Utah. Hopefully this time we can say we are finally settled.