Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hunting Strays Story by Denzlo Hancock


 “When the ranch north of Wickenburg Arizona was purchased in the fall of 1972, the sale contract included three wild steers which the previous owner had not been successful in rounding up. These were large crossbred animals which had been on the loose for a few years. They were shy, skittish, and athletic. They could climb and jump like mountain goats and run like mule deer. Dad and I went out one day in the spring of 1973 to see if we could locate them to bring them in. Signs had told us they were in the rough north east range of the ranch. The north eastern border of the ranch ran the length of a high mountain ridge until it came to the northern border which was also a natural border of cliffs, ridges and canyons. Dad was on Bonnie, a young, quick, surefooted, black Arabian mare inhibiting a number of characteristics and features similar to thoroughbreds and I was riding on Clyde, an older, stout, chestnut colored, gelding we had received from Aunt Mildred and Uncle Bill Anderson. Through the day we traveled up and down slopes and through and around a seemingly never ending landscape of obstacles including Silver Cholla, Saguaro, Catclaw, Yucca, Palo Verde trees, Mesquite thickets, Joshua trees, Ocotillo, Prickly Pear, rock slides, ravines, cliffs and boulders. As we moved further into the progressively steeper terrain the forbidding vegetation thinned out but only because it had fewer spots available to take root a midst the rocks. We rode down one very steep ravine and near the bottom we came to a drop off and saw the floor of the ravine about four feet down. Looking at this drop and the steep incline on both sides of this chasm I felt sure if we dropped to the floor of this gorge we would not get the horses back out.

I was an otherwise bold 13 year old at the time but we had only been on the ranch for a few months and most of my prior riding experience had been primarily on level ground with almost no rocks in Utah’s Uintah Basin. As I looked down into this hole, I questioned the wisdom of proceeding into this trap, as it appeared to me and I inquired, “Are you sure you want to go down there; what if there is no way out?” Dad told me to go ahead and assured me we would be fine and wanted me to jump the chestnut down into the bottom but I was happy when Clyde refused to go. Clyde simply sensed my reluctance and answered my lack of confidence with his own refusal. Dad then went ahead on Bonnie and she just hopped almost effortlessly to the bottom and then my horse willingly followed. We were now at the base of this ravine with no space for a running start to jump the horses back out so there was nowhere to go but down. We continued on down the ravine where we came to another drop off and again my heart sank as we prodded our horses down and continued further into the unknown. Eventually we came to a place where the only exit from the crevice was down a steep incline of a shale rock slide. Dad dismounted and tightened up the cinch to his saddle and seeing I was not following his example, he inquired; “Don’t you want to tighten your cinch?” His question was also a suggestion but I was already numb with trepidation and was afraid to get off the horse in this rugged terrain and at this slope. I simply said “No, I’ll be fine”. Dad made no reply but finished tightening his saddle and mounted up and proceeded down the steep mountainside. I followed and was leaning back ‘til I was almost lying on the rump of my horse to keep upright. I soon noticed the neck of my mount disappearing under the saddle and very soon I knew I was in trouble as my saddle was about to slide over the horses head. I called out to Dad for help. As if anticipated, he quickly turned Bonnie sideways on the slope as Clyde and I slid into them which stopped our decent. I don’t know how Bonnie managed to keep her footing but she was sure footed and held firm while I stepped off and adjusted the saddle and tightened the cinch. This was accomplished while Clyde sat on his rump. With the saddle secured we continued on down the mountain and I thought about and rehearsed in my mind the importance of carefully heeding not only the commands but also Dad’s example and quiet suggestions. I now realize there were many lessons; taught to us by permitting us to experience things for ourselves as long as we or someone else was not in serious danger.

It was late in the day and the sun was going down as we reached easier traveling and started on our way back home. It seemed like we did a lot in the dark in those days. The miles we had to travel were still new to us and as I followed along behind Dad I tried to dodge the obstacles we encountered. I would carefully listen for and then take whatever action I could to avoid whatever Dad would encounter on the trail ahead of me. It was scary riding along in the dark thinking of all the cactus, thorns and Catclaw we had passed earlier in the day. I pulled up to a stop when I heard a brushing and scraping of something and then Dad exclaimed “Wow! That nearly took my head off”. Dad had caught the limb of a thorny Ocotillo under his chin and its thorns had sawed their way through the front of Dad’s neck as his passing drug the spiked branch across his throat. For the duration of our trip home in the dark I vigilantly tried to avoid all of the passing obstacles and was largely successful. Dad was left with the bloody torn flesh, then scabs and finally scars as a reminder of our night ride together.


Later we were successful in rounding up those strays by getting them to mingle in with other cattle we had brought to the range.”

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wild Pets

During the spring of my third grade year I went out to the field where Dad was sending irrigation water into prairie dog holes to drown them out and discourage their infestation of our pasture. I showed up at the same time one very wet varmint emerged from his water filled home and I quickly grabbed him by the scruff of the neck before Dad could deal him a death blow with his shovel. I was so quick at the rescue that Dad could only watch in amazement and I am sure some amusement as I carried the rodent off to the house. I put him in a canary cage with some grass and weeds which I thought might look appetizing to a prairie dog, then the next day I carried him off to school for show and tell. During class he started moving around in the cage and the whole thing tipped off of the counter. Our normally boring class turned to pandemonium. When the cage hit the floor the top dislodged from the base and the rodent tried to make a run for safety with a bunch of kids running around him some laughing and others were shrieking. One brave young man was able to catch him but not being practiced at the proper method of carrying a wild varmint my schoolmate was promptly bitten but he held on. The excitement of the moment decreased when the critter was once again caged, the injured finger received a band aid, and we were able to get back to our regular school work but I believe most of the students were turning to check on the cage whenever the inmate made a move. At the end of school I sold the prairie dog to one of the fellows at school for fifty cents. I believed it to be a fair price for a wild, almost drowned, prairie dog which I had already been able to show off. The only problem was I got teased when I got back home because it seems I had sold a two cent critter for fifty cents but as it was pointed out, I had let him go in a five dollar cage.

When I was about twelve years old my older brothers were busy working with dad on some project so I had the responsibility to hike a short distance from home to turn the irrigation water into the ditch leading to our farm. While I was placing the temporary dam at the community canal diverting the water into our ditch, I happened to observe some nearby alfalfa waving, which revealed the presence of some creature moving through it. Always anxious for any possible excitement, I hunted around the area on a quest for adventure until I spotted a skunk which had been disturbed by my activity at the canal. The ditch from the canal to our farm was overgrown with vegetation close to the inlet and the skunk could have been hanging out in or around the ditch to find grubs and worms etc. It is likely the surge of water streaming into the inlet of the ditch flushed him out. I endeavored to keep a safe distance and keep him in sight while trying to figure out how to take advantage of this opportunity I had been blessed with.

To me this strikingly beautiful mammal didn't look too big or seem to be too much of a challenge and because I had heard tell of people making pets out of skunks I imagined myself with the most unique pet around. I figured if I could just safely capture him then I would be able to work out the rest later. Working back and forth I managed to steer him back over towards the ditch where I was able to get a piece of an old tarp over him.  Once he was covered I pinned down the tarp edges with my hands and knees; then worked to get full control of my prize. My utmost concerns were to keep from being bitten or sprayed so I worked cautiously to hinder him from using his natural defenses. Concentrating my efforts on both ends I was eventually able to get his head and tail secured. It took a considerable struggle to secure his tail and hind legs in my right hand and then, while keeping the tarp between us, I forced his head down between his paws and next I managed to secure his neck and front legs in my left hand. I must have been quite a sight heading home with my trophy.

When I arrived back at the farm with my new pet project I was able to perform a quick release of my double grasp as I deposited him into an empty rabbit hutch we had out back. My concerns were somewhat relieved with this completion of a major step resulting in an initial feeling of relief and victory. I then realized I had a scent of skunk lingering. As careful as I had been there was still a well deserved stench about me; especially where I had held his tail. Apparently, I realized, it is not possible to carry a wild skunk home in your bare hands without getting some stink of skunk on yourself. I went into the house to try to clean up. Mother wanted to know what in the world I had been up to. As carefully as I could, I related the story of my new found prize hoping she would fully understand and appreciate the attraction and value of my treasure. I told her I thought I could make a pet out of it and enveloped with an expression of concern she asked how big it was. From her question I seemed to suddenly have a revelatory moment and realized a small young skunk would be the easiest to train. I held my hands up about a foot apart showing her the approximate size of my skunk, strategically leaving out the length of the tail in my demonstration. I could tell she was ill at ease when she released a short gasp and it was obvious she was not at all comfortable with the idea, but she did not tell me to get rid of it. Perhaps she thought I would come to my senses on my own. I scrubbed my hands again and although it was better it took some time before I was able to completely rid myself of the awful odor.

I tried to feed table scrapes to the skunk but he seemed content to stay withdrawn in a dark corner of the pen and I never saw him show any interest in the rations of food or water I offered. I started to realize the task of taming this skunk would be an extremely difficult if not impossible chore since he was not going to show any interest in what I brought to him.  I really could not call him my pet because he was not willing to acknowledge me at all or even look in my direction when I went to visit and feed him. A couple of days later the skunk mysteriously made an escape from the hutch. I realized immediately someone had released him as the door was unlatched and I was quite sure he could not have gotten free on his own. I suspect Dad had something to do with his freedom although nothing was ever mentioned about it. I figured if no one gave me grief about bringing home a full grown skunk then I would not complain about someone liberating it. The initial thrill of the capture had diminished significantly and by then his release really didn't matter to me and I was okay with him being gone.

Not long after the escape we started to systematically lose chickens from our coup. It was pretty clear our farm now had a skunk with a taste for fresh chicken and he was returning on a regular basis to feed. I had unwittingly introduced a wild skunk to our farm where he could come for an easy meal. I was justly given the assignment to stay up and protect our laying hens. Our chicken coup had a sloped corrugated sheet metal roof. Denzlo and I tried to rest on top of the shed while watching for the skunk to show up. We spotted him about the same time he was squeezing under the gate to the chicken run. Our excitement at seeing the predator caused us to make a bunch of noise on the galvanized roof while trying to get down. When we had gone up to the top we had plenty of light and were not in a state of excitement so ascending to the top was no problem. Descending in the dark was more of a challenge. At this time of my life, realistic planning ahead was not one of my gifts or a part of my regular routine. We had not planned out how to accomplish a speedy decent in the dark, or even think about it, let alone practice. The result was it took longer than it should have and once we reached the ground there was still a welded wire fence between us and the quickly retreating skunk. By the time I got over the sheep fence our target had gone under the next obstacle which was a barbed wire fence and he had made his escape into the concealment of the brush beyond.

Dad was incredulous at the notion of a couple of healthy boys who enjoyed running, jumping and climbing, allowing a skunk to waddle away from them and make his escape. I was surprised myself at how easily the critter had managed to outdistance his pursuers and disappear into the darkness. Not long after this I spotted our farm's new skunk during daylight hours in the hay field next to our home. While keeping an eye on him I had our 22 rifle brought to me and then we followed the skunk until he was a good distance from home where I ended his days and some of our troubles.

One day Alvin came from the back pasture and he was carrying two nearly full sized owl chicks he had withdrawn from a nest. Alvin and I had both practiced some with a home study taxidermy course and perhaps he thought one of us would be able to stuff these beautiful owls. They were quite large and nearly fully feathered but were still dependent on their parents for food. I immediately claimed the privilege of caring for them. I was able to secure some food for them but soon knew I was not doing a good job of it. I noticed the parent owls hanging around and so I put the young owls in their wire cage on top of our barn and for the next several days I observed the parents hanging around and bringing food to the chicks. After a couple of weeks I released the fledglings and they both easily flew away and landed in a tree nearby. I was happy they had survived their captivity and were now free.

The attraction I had for wildlife was inherited in part at least from Dad. There were occasions at the ranch when Dad brought home interesting wild critters including a young coyote pup which Robert Jensen penned up for awhile and then took with him when he returned home to Salt Lake City.  There was a desert tortoise which Dad carried home to show us and on one occasion he brought in a hissing and spitting wild bobcat on the end of his lariat. This was the predator which had been a real nuisance since we moved to the ranch as it had carried off our turkeys and some of our chickens. After the beautiful predator had been killed, I spent a couple of hours skinning it to make sure I did a great job including the head and paws.

One afternoon, Dad brought home a wild burro which he had roped while out riding the range. It did not take very long to tame her for as soon as she tasted a little grain she was only too happy to hang around. Within an hour of dad arriving with her on the end of a lasso she was eating grain out of our hands and we were taking turns leading and riding her around. Lacking an abundance of imagination we promptly named her Jill. The grain was all she needed to decide to stick around and wait for another opportunity to indulge in the nourishment we provided. We never had to pen her up as she seemed content to hang around in the ranch house pasture waiting for the next complimentary handout. She was an instant pet and was usually close by. We put a cow bell around Jill's neck which we used to lead her and whenever it was milking time for our cow we could hear the bell ringing as Jill came along to share the grain provided. Jill was never put to use as a working ranch animal nor was she ever saddled or put in a harness but with the leather strap and bell around her neck we were able to enjoy great fun riding and playing. She quickly learned her ability to trot under a low hanging branch of a Joshua tree in order to unseat her burden as the rider would hop off before being brushed off by the harsh desert vegetation so plentiful around the ranch house. When the ranch was sold, Jill's bell collar was removed and she was returned to the wild being left in one of the pastures on the ranch.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quills & Teeth


As a young man living in Roosevelt, Utah I was actively involved, along with my whole family in the culture, activities and practices of the predominantly Latter-day Saint community where we lived. Our family had moved to Utah from Arizona when I was only a few months old. A primary reason for the move was the fact of the three oldest children in our family (Irene, LaVerne, & Beverly) were quickly reaching marriageable age. Clay Springs, where we came from, was a small community in eastern Arizona and most of the families there were related to us and many of them were close relatives. There was enough of a concern about interrelated marriage and relationships to prompt a move. Once decided it took a couple of attempts until a final destination was decided upon and carried out. The Family first moved to Fredonia in Northern AZ in the fall of 1956 where dad tried to make a deal on a ranch near there. This was another small community with closely held relationships and close local attachments which proved to be an obstacle. There was enough resistance to making a deal on the ranch with a family from out of town to squash the hope of our securing the desired place there and the proposed deal fell through. Dad and Mom then searched around more and looked further north where they considered buying a dairy farm near Springville, Utah but after weighing the pros and cons, taking into account the completely full time commitment of running a dairy, and being concerned about being available to “Serve the Lord” the folks rejected the dairy idea and decided upon the home and 72 acre farm west of Roosevelt, Utah on Highway 40.

Growing up on a farm there was always plenty of work to be done but keeping kids busy doing what should be done was itself a tremendous task and an uphill battle which never ends. Dad did not like to see us kids wasting time after school watching TV. He tried to teach us by explaining that those people on the TV had made their fortunes and absentmindedly watching them was certainly not going to be of much benefit to us. He taught us by example and verbally tried to impress on us the value of getting busy and making our own way. One thing I clearly remember is not wanting to be found idle in the house when dad returned home from work. We had a large picture window in the living room at the front of our home and when Dad or sometimes Dad and Mom would turn into our driveway the TV or record player would quickly go off and those of us who had been wasting daylight would try to slip out unnoticed to get busy working on our chores. Now when I think of it, our hasty exit from the house when the folks came home at chore time must have looked something like cockroaches disappearing from an infested area when a light comes on. When the weather was pleasant we might not be wasting time in the house but could often be goofing off somewhere else on the farm or neighboring areas. One of those places was the swinging tree.

There was a creek running through our place called the Dry Gulch; we always referred to it as “The Gulch”. There was usually not much water running through it but there was always some. At times of heavy rains or snow melt from higher elevations the Gulch could run very fast and high. Where the creek made a bend along its path next to our farm there was a place we called the “Sand” where, in ages long past, the creek had deposited a nice beach like area which we would enjoy using for a playground.  At the Sand we could dig pits, bury each other, hunt for scorpions to torture by depositing then into a stirred up ant hill, practice long and high jumping and try anything else which might be done in a great sandpit. There at the edge of the creek at the edge of the Sand was a nice Cottonwood tree with branches hanging over the creek and we tied a rope to a large branch hanging over the water and would use it as a swinging rope. On occasion with weather conditions permitting we would drop into the water below to cool off.

Once when Forrest, Marty and I were down at the swinging tree we came across an unfortunate porcupine. The pitiable creature was not able to travel fast or climb high enough to escape our curious and tortuous efforts to chase, prod, study, and capture. I believe we were between the ages of 9 -12 and thought this interesting creature was our prize to be exploited. Although we had never before encountered one of these interesting mammals, we were naturally careful and seemed to understand the requisite nature of maintaining some distance. Our inquisitive nature caused this porcupine to climb out on a limb of our swinging tree until he was out over the water. A rake was secured from home and Forrest climbed up the tree and followed the newest object of our nature studies and by using the rake he forced it out onto the furthest reaches of the tree limbs until our victim was obliged to drop into the creek. This was a triumphant moment for we now thought it was possible to corral him and force him into a wire cage which had also been obtained for the occasion. Having accomplished his design to get the porcupine out of the tree, Forrest threw down the rake and started to come back down the tree. Meanwhile, the porcupine was not at all happy in the water and as quickly as a porcupine can he scrambled back up the bank of the creek and headed for the nearest tree which happened to be the same tree he was just forced out of. When Forrest looked around behind him, to see where he was going, he found the porcupine coming right up the same tree and then out on the same branch where he had been before and where Forrest was currently attempting to descend. Now Forrest was without the rake or anything else with which to keep distance between himself and the porcupine seeking to escape harassment from Marty and I at the base of the tree.  Forrest saw the distance closing and was then the one being compelled to give ground or in this case give tree trunk then branches until he retreated out to the slightest of limbs and twigs on the branch. There were other trees in the area and numerous other branches on this tree but the porcupine seemed to seek out and as if on a mission of retribution, he chose the same branch where he had been before. The next thing to come out of the tree and hit the water was Forrest.

After additional wildlife harassment and wrangling, the porcupine was caged and used as a quill harvesting venue; which quills had some market among fellow curious students at school. The quill business was ended a couple of days later when the porcupine mysteriously managed to “get away”. There is no doubt that Dad was an accessory to the escape. This was not the only time wildlife was aided in achieving freedom after being captivated by one of us boys.

Fast Offerings were contributions given by church members, usually associated with the once a month Fast by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which Fast was abstaining from food and water for a couple of meals or 24 hours and then contributing an offering to help provide for the needy and poor. In turn, those who received assistance were asked to contribute their time and talents to provide some kind of service to others. This provided a source of assistance where needed and was able to be allocated by the Ward Bishop without the receivers feeling like they were “On Welfare”.  Young men who were ordained to the Aaronic or preparatory Priesthood were assigned a group of homes to visit to receive fast contributions. Usually the fast offerings were gathered by car and the young men could be driven by a parent or an older priesthood holder. On some fast days when the climate was favorable the gatherers could walk or ride their bicycles. A couple of times I saddled our horse Chester and rode around to some neighbors to get in a little horse riding while completing my Fast Offering assignment. Horse Riding was not a regular Sabbath activity but I rationalized it must be appropriate as long as I was engaged in Church business.

Another time Forrest had a close encounter with wild life was on a Sunday afternoon when he was out doing his duty, as an emissary for the Bishop, gathering Fast Offerings. His route consisted of several homes within a couple of miles from home and he was walking along a mostly gravel and dusty road we called the Powerline road. One part of this road had a surface consisting of 2” to 4” cobblestones which were partially buried and made for a bumpy ride while driving over it and an unstable surface while walking over it. During his trek he looked up ahead and saw a badger come out into the open and continue down the road away from him. Not wanting this varmint or what he now considered his prey to get away from him, Forrest looked about and found a large rock and ran up behind this badger and lifting the rock over his head and then exerting considerable energy he cast it down on the badgers head. What happened next was not expected nor was Forrest prepared for it. The badger reversed his course seemingly turning himself around inside his loose hide and came directly on a frontal attack, charging Forrest as fast as a badger with a headache and a score to settle can lope. With the roles of prey and predator now reversed and Forrest freshly unarmed, he attempted a quick retreat. Stepping backwards as fast as he could in his startled state and trying to keep his eyes on the aggressor, he caught the heal of a shoe on the uneven surface of the road and found himself on his backside and on the same level as a fast approaching snarling badger; which had an attitude of reprisal. With this ferocious beast hissing and exposing his teeth now at his feet and Forrest on his back the only thing to be done was a hasty crab-walk backwards while keeping his eyes on the badger. In the moments that followed the badger gained considerable ground closing the distance between itself and Forrest’s crotch. It seemed for a terrifying instant being eaten alive starting with his “essentials” was an imminent possibility. Making use of every possible muscle to keep from being eaten and without a doubt sending a petition for help toward Heaven, Forrest kept up his crab-walk as quickly as he could flee and then when defeat seemed imminent, the badger broke off his pursuit. After a seemingly safe distance was achieved, Forrest gained his upright position and keeping a respectable distance he gathered up his Fast Offering envelopes and then leaving the badger to his own business, Forrest carried on. Now breathing a little easier but still shaken by this close encounter with humiliation and death he finished his route while counting his blessings.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

John Andrew Hancock




John Andrew Hancock (Andy) was Born Aug 31 1910 in Taylor, Arizona to Levi McCleve Hancock and Madora May Plumb. He was the eighth of nine children and the second of two sons. 

His father Levi McCleve Hancock was born in Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah August 31st 1862. His parents were Mosiah Lyman Hancock and Margaret McCleve. One story told of Levi in his early years was when he was living in a small rock home in Harrisburg. The family was having prayers one morning when Levi, a small boy at the time, spotted a mouse. He very carefully crawled along in an effort to catch the mouse. He was not successful in the attempt to catch the mouse but succeeded in amusing the rest of the family in he efforts. As a boy Levi worked hard to help his mother provide as his father Mosiah was away from home much of the time. Levi would do chores around home and for the neighbors whenever he could and would bring home vegetables, eggs, and chickens for his pay. When he was still a young boy the family moved to Arizona and settled in Taylor, where he grew up. As a young man he worked as a sheep herder. He left Taylor and rode horseback to the Gila valley where he worked for some time. He hired on with a Mr Mortensen to break horses. The passion Levi had for horses and the experience he received from his work with this large company in Southern Arizona, resulted in his becoming a very skilled horseman. He loved working with horses and was always kind to them and cared for them the best he could and his working them resulted in his being successful in breaking, and training them.  He developed good teams and later spent much of his life as a  freight hauler. He worked a freight route from a railroad freight depot in Holbrook down to Globe with a team and freight wagon. He was also very talented in many other trades and spent time as a builder and merchant. Levi homesteaded the old VD Smith place in Lindon Arizona but he never did prove up on it. It was there he met Madora Mae Plumb who he courted, and when he was the age of 31 they were married at Eden, Graham County, Arizona on the 26th of July 1893. Later with their first two little girls, Madora and Hazel, they traveled the Honeymoon trail to the Saint George Temple and were sealed on the 17th of September 1897. Levi had two young colts, and he took to breaking them to the wagon in order to travel to the Saint George temple. All of the neighbors who heard of his intentions to use the colts to go on their trip were critical of his intentions to use the young colts. They were convinced the trip could not be made with the resources he intended to use. Many friends and neighbors thought their little family was ill prepared for the journey and he was even told "those colts will never get you as far as theColorado River". His response to them was to ask if they would be willing to help him along when they saw him in need. He loaded feed for the team and enough provisions to last for the eight day trip to the Temple. The colts not only got them to the Colorado, but on to the temple and safely back home again. In fact, Levi ended up having less trouble than most and helped many of the others in the group along the way, and returned in the lead and in much better condition than most of the others. After their temple journey Levi was well known, and widely acclaimed as a skilled horseman by all who knew him.

While living in Eden in the Safford area, Levi and Madora became well acquainted with Andrew Kimball, the Father of the Prophet Spencer W Kimball. Andrew was the Stake president in Safford. When Levi started having serious health issues, they were counseled to get out of the heat and so they moved North back to Taylor. President Andrew Kimball would stop to visit and stay overnight with Levi and Madora when he was traveling north to attend General Conferences in Utah. Dad was given his middle name Andrew after Andrew Kimball. Once when Pres Andrew Kimball was visiting, he saw Dad and gave him a silver dollar because he was his namesake. The dollar was deposited in a savings account, but during the financial struggles during the economic crash of the 20's, the bank failed and the investment was lost.

Grandpa Levi was a freight hauler (by team & wagon) during the time that Grandma Hancock was in Gallup New Mexico, serving as a nurse for Aunt Evy.  Aunt Evy had a broken hip in an accident she was involved in while on her honeymoon. She had been on a teeter totter with Uncle Lee Morris and during some play was injured when she fell breaking her hip. The physicians treating her wanted to amputate her leg but Grandma Madora Mae would not let them amputate. The physicians then said she would need 24 hour care until she healed. Grandma Hancock then agreed to be Evys’ nurse. She moved in with her in Gallup New Mexico, and stayed with Aunt Evy for the duration of her healing. Evy was also pregnant during much of the  time she was recovering from her hip injury. She was having such a dreadful time with nausea that  she could only keep down about a teaspoon full of food at a time, therefore Grandma Madora fed  her a teaspoon of food at a time and was her full time nurse during her recovery. Grandma Madora fed her and cared for her every need until  she recovered sufficiently enough to go home. Although Aunt Evy walked with a limp for the rest of her life; her leg was saved due to the persistence and care given to her by her mother.

Dad has repeated the story of a miraculous event. One time, while Aunt Evy was in the Gallup hospital she had an open infected wound following a bout with the affliction of typhoid fever. The festering wound was fevered and  abscessed . An unfamiliar dog came into the room where she was and came up to her and licked the wound until it was clean and then left and was never be seen again. The wound healed and Evy recovered. The strange dog had not been known beforehand and was never seen again.

During this time Dad was about a twelve year old boy and spent much of the time by himself on the ranch near Clay Springs. The highlights of his lonely stay were the visits from his father Grandpa Levi. Passing through with produce and other freight from the freight train in Holbrook, Grandpa would sometimes stop briefly and drop off a piece of salt (side) pork for dad and on a rare but delightful occasion he would leave a few bananas. Lily & Orpha were staying in Snowflake and attending school during this time.

As a boy Andy Hancock went with His Mothers brother, Uncle Press Plumb and they spent time together for a full winter trapping season in the Young Arizona area. With Uncle Press as a teacher, Dad learned the trapping trade. Although Uncle Press was not a very active member of the Church; Dad thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent together, and for the rest of his life Dad used his trapping skills to his advantage against the varmints and predators at Clay Springs, Roosevelt, and at the H Diamond ranch north of Wickenburg.

One night Dad and Uncle Don Jackson were acting up and causing mischief. They mounted their horses and each had a chicken for sound effects and started around the community. Nearly everyone owned chickens and depended on those chickens for part of their living. The two would ride up near a henhouse and make some noise including pulling feathers from the hens they had to cause a commotion of squawking.  Their intrusions got dogs barking, and then there were gates slamming, chickens squawking, and hooves pounding. These pranks would stir the homeowners out of bed, then they would move on to the next farm. They made a large circle around the community and caused a great deal of chaos and even heard some gunshots. The Brewers (Smith, Ted, Rex, Kim, and Ed) got together and tried to catch the chicken thieves in the act and spent considerable effort without success. The troublemakers did not steal anything, but peace and sleep, and left nothing but a few feathers and hoof prints but the next morning the tales of lost chickens to chicken thieves was prevalent among the storytellers who were going to some length to outdo each other with their tales of thieves in the night.

Driving along a road with his son Loren; Don Jackson started laughing as they drove past one of the spots where he remembered an experience of a wild adventure among some cedar trees. Uncle Don told Loren, about a wild game he and Andy used to play. He was reminded while driving through this area of an event in this spot where Andy had experienced some serious trouble. As young men, Andy and Don Jackson had a challenging game they called rope and ride. They would play this dangerous and wild game while riding out on the range. When they would come upon a wild range cow; they would chase it until one of them was able to get a rope on it. The challenge was that when one got a rope on it, the other would have to ride it. In this particular spot, Andy had been trying to stay mounted on a cow while she was running and bucking through the cedars trying to unseat her burden and nearly tore Andy to pieces in the process. The pain and suffering was not in vain as it gave Uncle Don lots of laughs at that time and again whenever recalled, for the rest of his life.
 When traveling with the family in August of 1956 in a flatbed Ford truck we broke down in the dessert near Navajo bridge on  the Colorado river on Hwy 89 in northern Arizona.  Fortunately the rest stop there had water and a restroom.  The truck was loaded with peaches. It was very hot and the only shade big enough to get in was the shadow of the truck; which had a large anthill right in the middle of it; making the shade unusable. Although she did not complain, mother was eight months pregnant with Greg during this trying ordeal in the desert. Dad caught a ride to Kanab and ordered a transmission out of Salt Lake and picked up some groceries.   When the transmission came to the shop where he had ordered it they delivered it to us.  Dad then installed it. With Dales help it was put in and then the family was able to return home to Clay Springs.  We were stranded there for close to two weeks. Dad and some of the kids used some of the time to climb the Vermilion cliffs overlooking the Colorado river. While stranded there, Irene (about 15 years old at the time) wanted to take a picture of a couple of Indian boys only to be told that they expected to be paid for the sitting. Of course she had little or no money to spare so the picture taking event did not take place. Irene also decided that she wanted to get a suntan in order to appear more beautiful. She rolled up her pant legs to above her knees, to expose them to the sun. When her legs got too hot she would run them under water to cool them off then she would go back into the sun. As could be expected she received a severe sun burn and her legs had swollen it seemed to the size of her waist. Irene says "we were sure happy to be on our way home". When she returned home Irene could hardly walk because her legs were so burned and swollen, but she was the chorister in Primary, and she needed to fulfill her responsibility; she did so and led the music with her legs spread far apart because of the swelling and pain. Labretta recalls the comical scene Irene portrayed as she suffered through leading the music while trying to minimize the contact of her legs with each other or the fabric she was wearing. Labretta laughs whenever she retells this story and Irene is quick to point out she was just a teenager without much of a brain. One boyfriend, Cecil Perkins came to call on her while she was in this state; but she was so embarrassed that she refused to see him.

The Rattle Snake  Irene was with mom and dad while dad was working on a gate at the ranch near clay Springs when mother wanted to rest in the shade of a tree. She found a perfect spot to sit only to find that a rattle snake had already occupied the shady spot. Either the snake or mother needed to find another spot to rest. Since the snake had gotten there first; mother went and found another location to relax.
The Polygamist Accusations
Shortly after moving to Utah Dad and Mom had traveled back to Arizona for a time to take care of unfinished business. While they were gone, the school kids started getting a lot of questions at school. Labretta was in the lunch line with her brothers and sisters when Mr. Blain, the Principal called her into his office to interrogate her. He also pulled her out of her class, out of the hall, and back in from recess. Labretta spent so much time in his office being drilled for information it ended up with her being brought to tears. He questioned her and kept drilling for information regarding her family which he suspected to be a polygamist family. Labretta did not even understand what a “Polygamist” was, but told him over and over again that she had only ONE mother and one father who drove a truck and he was usually on the road working to provide for the family. Mr. Blain seemed very sure that Dad was off visiting his other families.  Labretta returned home very upset and in tears after one particullarly traumatic and humiliating day at school. Irene jumped into the family car (an older Desoto) and drove to the school. She found Mr. Blain and declared to him that she was old enough to be responsible for the welfare of all the kids and continued giving him a piece of her mind; telling him clearly that her father was off working and that he did not have another family. He had used the excuse that the school kids ran out of money or credit with the school lunch program. He also threatened to call the authorities about the suspected polygamy ties. Irene dared him to do so, which of course if he did, nothing amiss was found. Labretta was never able to feel comfortable in Roosevelt after that, and took the first opportunity she could to get out of town for good. The family had indeed just recently moved from Fredonia in Northern Arizona which is close to the polygamist community of Colorado City, and the large number of children in our family added fuel to the fires of gossip. Some of the gossip heard by Irene included comments about the long line of kids at the Hancock home waiting for and boarding the bus to school. Those kinds of comments along with the temptations to prattle led to some hurtful speculations.

Labretta Remembers
While living in Fredonia, Labretta sold more raffle tickets for a school band fund raiser than any other student. She had a metal Band Aide box which she carried with her and used to hold the tickets and into which she placed the money she collected. Her prize for her efforts of going to, what seemed to her, every house in town, was a small container of animal crackers or something like that. She had previous experience selling. In Clay Springs after Dad brought in a load of whatever produce was in season from his trucking routes some of the load was distributed locally. Labretta tells about how the kids were sent out to sell or give away goods, moving from door to door, pulling a wagon laden with produce or other goods. It is doubtful that she was asked to seek money for the goods she was sharing; Cousin Reba Chlarson tells how all the kids would gather around when Uncle Andy came into town to see what he had brought for them. In the summertime he was known to bring a load of watermelons back from the valley and the kids would literally have a watermelon bust. They would throw a melon from the truck breaking it on the hard road, eat the heart out of it and then go for another one.

Greg's Memories
When Greg was about six, the family traveled to Clay Springs from Roosevelt to attend a family reunion. Greg joined his cousins; many of them youngsters like himself for activities and games. One of the games engaged in was a snipe hunt. While he was going through a field looking diligently in the dark night for a snipe; in a 
thorough effort to find one, he turned over a board and was surprised to hear a rattle. Unsure of what a snipe sounded like he decided not to try and grab whatever it was. Latter when he told his story to his brother, Alvin told him that he probably had not heard a snipe. After some ageing and further experience he now knows he had a close encounter with a rattle snake.


Scattered Sheep
One morning during breakfast someone yelled there go the sheep!!! Our Flock of sheep were moving past the house and headed out toward the highway. Quickly as possible, efforts were put in place to head them off before they were able to get to the road. The driveway at our home had a large loop with an east and west drive. The sheep were moving north on the east drive and Cory got on the west drive and was sprinting to get ahead of them. Seeing their escape threatened the sheep accelerated and ran right up onto Highway 40 into the path of a Greyhound bus. We lost half a dozen head in the ensuing splattering. Many of the transit passengers became ill at the site of the carnage. There seemed to be mutton parts everywhere you looked. Because Utah is a free-range state, and because we had a "Sheppard" who was present and attempting to control the flock it was determined that Greyhound was liable for the accident and ended up paying for the lost sheep.

Tractor vs. Truck Wreck
I was at home when someone knocked loudly on our front door and as soon as I started to open the door a man rushed in and at the same time was exclaiming; "there has been an accident, I need to use your phone". I directed him to our phone in the hall and listened as he called emergency services and reported a tractor/truck accident. After the call, Pamela and I talked with him; and from the information we received it seemed as though it was not our family members in the wreck. Cory, Forrest, & Marty had just left the yard with the tractor and mower to go to the back field to do some mowing. This man told us there were two boys involved in this wreck so it was initially thought to involve some of our neighbors. When it became clear that it was our family we did not know what had become of Marty. Later Marty was found in the kitchen eating a bowl of bread and milk and had no idea about what had happened. When asked where he had been, he said he had gone out the back way to open the gate ahead of them. The creek was in a flood stage so the tractor needed to be driven around but Marty had been sent to cross the steel foot bridge over the Gulch to open the gate between the Mathews farm lane and our property rather than ride on the tractor with the other boys. Cory may have been inspired to not allow Marty to ride on the tractor with he and Forrest as they had to travel about 3/4 of a mile down the highway. When they failed to show up at the gate and Marty had waited for what seemed like longer than necessary he just came home. The steel foot bridge spanning the creek Marty crossed was put in place after dad had brought home several tons of steel from an old bridge he worked to disassemble at Flaming Gorge and used one of those steel beams to span over the Dry Gulch creek we called the Gulch.

Cory was driving and Forrest was riding on the tractor with him when they were involved in a wreck on Friday June 18th 1965. They were hit by a pickup truck being driven by Dale Dawson with a passenger Fred Rasband. Both vehicles had been traveling west when Cory made a left turn onto the Buss Matthews farm lane and was struck by the truck broadside just in front of the rear wheels. The driver of the pickup apparently had not noticed the tractor turning left and attempted to pass it on the left. At the point of collision both vehicles were off of the highway and on the left (South) side of the road.  The result was the tractor being broken into several pieces and the truck flipped and landed upside down over the roadside ravine ending upside down and the bed of the truck was over the top of Forrest. Cory had also been thrown from the tractor and was laying in the weeds nearby. Forrest remembers Buss Matthews being on the scene and helping to pull him from under the truck bed.
Before Emergency vehicles arrived, dad came upon the accident and helped extract the victims from the wreckage. He was told "the one boy there is dead" dads’ reply was "He is not dead". Dad then proceeded to lay his hands on Cory's head and gave him a Priesthood blessing. All four accident victims were taken to the hospital in Roosevelt and the two men were then transferred to Salt Lake City hospitals. Cory and Forrest were treated for head injuries, lacerations and abrasions and tested for skull fractures. The officer investigating the accident was Patrolman S Duane Richens, and he was assisted by County Sheriff George E Maret and Roosevelt Patrolmen Jay Houtz. 
Initially it was somehow concluded that the accident was caused by Cory but in court during testimony, dad testified of how the accident occurred and drew a representation of the accident scene showing just how the vehicles were moving up to the collision and the result was a more favorable judgment than initially thought. Sometime later Duane Richens came up to dad and admitted that his initial conclusions regarding the cause of the accident were in error.

Part of an interview with Mother:
Tell us about Forrest and Cory getting into that accident on the tractor.

A:  Honey, I didn't see it.  I wasn't there, they got on the tractor, and went up and they had to get over into the pasture.

Q:  They had to go across the creek.

A:  They drove across the street and...

Q:  They said they were clear off the street when...

A:  Well they were because there was a road turned off there.  They had turned into that cut off there to get over across the canal.  The Gulch comes under the highway, and they had to get on the other side.  That guy, just come on through there with that sunshine in his face, and he saw that tractor and he kept on trying to go around it an’ swept those kids right off.  They were clear off on the other side of the road.  I wasn't even at home; I was at Irene's doing my laundry.

Q:  I know Pam and I were home.  I opened the door, and that guy ran right in the door. 

A:  You and Pam were there then. 

Pam:  He said there was an accident down the street with a tractor.  I knew the boys had just left on the tractor, and it scared me to death.

A:  Who came after me?  Somebody come after me in the car.  I got back but dad had come from work the other way and went on to the accident and got off.  He recognized who it was as soon as he saw it.  He stopped and leaned down there and just in time to hear somebody say, “Well that one's dead.”  He said, “No, he isn't.”  He crawled down in there with both of them, and gave both of them a blessing under the tractor because they were in bad shape.  He was real mad at that guy that said they were dead, no their not.  Anyway, I just remember him saying that.  I didn’t get down there in time to see much of what was going on.  It sure did scare me.  They were in the hospital for three days. 

Pam:  I can't remember mom.  I called somebody. 

Q:  We thought there were three of them, we thought Marty was with them but Marty had been sent the other way across the creek to open the gates.  Marty waited there for them, and when they didn't show up he came back to the house.  He was sitting there eating at the table, didn't even know anything about it, because he had given up on them. 

A:  I remember that part.

The old vehicles we had….Cory….

Forrest, Marty, Greg and then later, Denzlo and Levi, brought in some income hauling hay and in this line of work we were able to help with the family expenses.  Forrest was the first to be offered a job with our neighbor and first customer, Lawrence Brighton. When Brother Brighton asked if Forrest knew of any other young men who could be hired to help haul in his hay, Forrest suggested his brothers. With the idea of the brothers working together on this venture Lawrence suggested that we try it for awhile to see how it went. He was satisfied with our work and other arrangements were never necessary. On some of the harvests we were accompanied by others who were hired by Forrest. Lynn Lemon was one who was one of the best hired hands who helped us on some fields. The contract price for hauling hay for most of our customers was $.06 per bale to get the hay from the fields and stacked neatly in stacks in the hay yards. I remember Forrest making every effort to insure we made the haystacks neat, straight, square and tall. We also had discussions at home regarding the enormous haystacks we constructed and there were comments regarding how good they looked. We would rise very early on the days we were hauling and work until mid day. After lunch, if we were not behind or pressed for production, we could take a nap and be at ease until it started to cool off again; then we would go out and work until dark. We counted it a good productive day when we put up a thousand bales in a day. I believe our best days were twelve hundred bales. Lawrence was a truck driver as well as a farmer and he had a bad back which was greatly irritated by spending so much time driving. While he was able to do much of the hay baling, it fell to his wife Afton to do a great deal of driving the hay baler. Afton was not nearly as experienced as her husband and she did not check the weight, compacting, dew content and readiness of the hay to be baled. As a result we were often given bales which were much heavier than they should have been; after a while we began calling all of the heaviest bales "Afton bales". When we would gather haul and stack an "Afton bale", we had more than earned our 6 cents! Initially we hauled hay using the equipment provided by the customers until Marty built a hay trailer at his shop class in school. This trailer was built to specifications to be primarily for hay hauling. His trailer was entered into a fair, and  he won a Grand prize best of show ribbon. With this award winning trailer we were able to bring in considerably more bales per load, and thereafter always used this trailer for our hauling until we left Roosevelt. Upon our moving to the ranch in Arizona, the trailer was sold to Lawrence Brighton.

Denzlo remembers: “When Afton first started bailing, the rows were not always bailed so we could get the tractor and trailer down between the rows, so the bales had to be rolled out of the way before we could even get through with the tractor and trailer. The number of bales brought in per day depended largely on how far away the fields were from the stack yards. Sometimes we had the trailer so loaded that the tractor would pop a wheelie at the slightest incline so our loads had to vary depending on the road back to the yard. I also remember the fun we had trailer surfing on the way back out to the fields. I was driving tractor for the Brighton’s before I was tall enough to set in the seat and put my foot on the clutch at the same time.  I would steer the tractor down the row until it got to the end, I would then stand on the clutch with both feet because I was not heavy enough or strong enough to keep it down with one foot. Bruce Brighton would then come turn it around and point down the next row and off we would go again. I dumped them off the trailer more than once trying to let the clutch out easy. I thought I was big stuff. I can’t remember who Bruce’s friend was. It may have been Lynn Lemon. I remember eating lunch with them on those days; it was the first time I ever tasted store bought chicken pot pie.”



Stubs was verbally abused behind his back by the students passengers but as I remember him now.... 
The Red Skelton show was a popular event during the Roosevelt years and although we didn’t have a TV it was well know after awhile. When Labretta first heard of it she pictured a human skeleton painted bright red……
Labretta almost killed Levi three times: She left a hot iron setting up on the ironing board where Levi was able to grab the chord and pull it down onto himself, leaving an iron V shaped brand on his back…. 

While visiting southern Utah near Zion National park Where Dad and Uncle Hugh were working on a construction project for Jim Wardle, Labretta was driving the two toned green Ford Station wagon with Mom and the little boys. Levi was standing in the back seat of the car when Labretta had to apply the brakes for some reason and Levi toppled over and hit the floor head first. The “church key” can opener on the floor opened up Levis’ skull just as it was designed to operate. “I had to hold little Levi while the doctor sowed up his head without any pain killer”.
Labretta had the hall closet duty where the linen and the boys briefs and t-shirts were stored     … those boys were so messy..I remember crawling up the closet shelves like a ladder and hiding on the top shelf behind the linen. It was a perfect hiding place during games of hide and seek or to just disappear for awhile. Although it was great to hide there I do not remember ever trying to straighten out the clothes and linen when exiting his nest. It is no wonder that Labretta found it challenging to keep that closet straighten up. This was the same place that Chikie hid after being wounded by our cat ?patches?+
Labretta: Daddy was always telling me if I didn’t smile my face would freeze that way. As the oldest kid at home I would not allow Alvin to take the 22 out hunting I was the oldest and felt I had the right and duty to keep gun (sibling) control. Alvin was not at all happy with my bossy attitude.

Greg remembers being bossed around by Alvin when it came to pulling weeds at our Potato Patch garden. No doubt Alvin had proper motives but it was not possible to take his commands with a smile. Those rows were long and while crawling through the vegetables and weeds, most often, with the soil being damp, we were tormented by the gnats, mosquitoes, and biting flies. With hands often caked with mud we ended up with mud all over our arms and face as we swatted or brushed away the pests in an attempted to protect ourselves while pulling weeds.  
Patches was our calico cat. She had several litters, and was a very good hunter. She was quite resourceful and was able to gain access into the house through a number of different entry points. Mom and dad did not allow cats in the house and when she was found inside, it was a matter of survival for the cat to retreat as quickly as possible to save herself from serious affliction. She was loved while she remained outside of the house, but she was terrorized when she was found within. Patches was content to remain out until the weather turned cold then she would try her best to slip in whenever and however she could.  Once summer after Patches was credited with preying on our crop of rabbits, and to solve the problem, dad took her with him to work and dropped her off about 40 miles away and left her there. After a couple of months she showed back up at our farm in Roosevelt and looked fit and strong but she did have a bit of buckshot or BB rounds under her fur coat. She enjoyed laying in the warm sunshine and one day found a comfortable warm spot to rest in the rear window of our family car. Once, the car was started up while she was resting above the back seat. She shot through the slight opening in one window as though she had been shot from a cannon. Apparently she had no desire to go on another long car ride to be left so far from home.
   
Mr was Labrettas' white Persian cat she brought to our Roosevelt farm from Salt Lake. A Safeway Customer had Mr and could not keep him so she shipped him to Roosevelt. Although we loved Mr, he was not nearly as good as Patches had been at catching mice around the farm. Mouser or not, he was white, fluffy, and fun to have around. Even a seemingly useless cat can provide company and much entertainment for young farm boys. I remember conducting experiments with different cats and kittens. So impressed was I at their ability to land on their feet I tried them in different challenges including holding them upside down and dropping them from an elevated position such as standing on a stool all the way down to two inches above the floor. The ability of cats to turn in the air and land on their feet so impressed me that I found it necessary to increase the difficulty by attempting to throw the cat in a spinning motion. Still able to land feet first, greatly increased my appreciation for a cats acrobatic abilities. The experiment s continued until I got scratched up and tired of the game.

One of the visiting grandkids took a batch of kittens into the outhouse and dropped them down into the slurry below. When I became aware of it I was horrified and had no idea how to help these kittens in this condition of being up to their ears in crap. I got Forrest and with some baling wire attached to a gallon can he was able to execute a successful rescue.   
Dad and Mom led the family in prayer every morning and evening. In addition to our kneeling morning and evening prayers, the family would gather around our table at mealtimes and a prayer of thanks was always offered for our food. We were also encouraged to say our morning and evening personal prayers. Once after I had been asked to offer the prayer during our family prayer, and when I finished, dad asked if I knew what I had said. I was not sure what he meant by his question so I just said no. I was then asked to pray again and told to think about what I was saying and to be sure to remember who I was praying too. Since that lesson and experience, I have been better at offering more sincere and meaningful prayers. Dad would use stories and personal experience to teach lessons. He enjoyed the saying whose author is unknown to me but it is "The prayin’est prayer I ever said was down a well on my head". This little jingle reminded me of the importance of always praying with heartfelt meaning. We were often told to remember to say our prayers and taught to be attentive and aware during our “saying our prayers” and to keep a prayer in our hearts at all times.

Once in Roosevelt when I (Greg) was about 14 years old; I was walking with dad out through our garden. He commented on how wonderfully blessed we were. Looking around I could see a bounty of wonderful vegetables growing all around us in our huge garden. Dad suggested that we should kneel right there in the garden in prayer and give thanks for our many blessings. I remember being touched by the expressions of his deep gratitude and at the same time I wondered if perhaps we might be seen and I surely did not wish to be caught out in the field praying in the daylight. I was spared any embarrassment; as we were not seen as far as I know, and I cannot recall the words of the prayer, but the prayer of gratitude expressed by dad on that occasion, taught me the value and need to express gratitude and left an indelible, testimony strengthening feeling that will not be forgotten.


Dad often did contract work to provide for the family while living in Roosevelt. One his many talents was his great skill of removing large overgrown trees from customers’ yards.  Dale was working with dad once when he was attempting to remove an old large tree that had grown up close to a house and which a customer hired him to be remove. Cutting this tree down was very challenging and dangerous because of the size and the position it held next to the customers home. The rope being used to secure and keep the falling tree in check was not rated for the task at hand. Although dad was very skilled at falling a tree right where he wanted it; this job was more difficult than usual. Dale remembers a lesson he learned during this particular job. While Dale was in the process of working in preparation for this removal, he found himself alone. He walked around the corner of the house looking for dad and found him kneeling in prayer.  After praying about the task, and great effort, the tree was successfully removed without loss or harm and Dale was given an example of praying over ones work and he knew of dads faith in Gods ability and willingness to help when we are in need.
  
In Clay Springs Dad would sit up and keep overnight vigil with the body of deceased persons until the burial. While growing up in Roosevelt and Wickenburg I spent much compassionate service time with Dad and knew of many other times when he was on an errand to help those who were disabled or in need of compassionate service. When there was a need, he would volunteer to visit, sit with, and otherwise care for the terminally ill he became aware of.  

Grandpa Levi would build caskets in Clay Springs and he used a cinch knot in his freight business which dad taught to me. He called it a casket hitch. The casket hitch is tied by starting with a slip knot and then turning the bight (the slip knot loop) of the knot through the overhand knot a second time. This added more friction when tightening and kept the knot from getting too tight to easily untie. Then the end of rope is extended around the rail you are tying it to and back through the loop of the hitch. With the added leverage the rope was pulled tight with a pulley like effect and enabled one to tighten and better secure a load. Dad was very good with ropes and knots and used them daily in his work.


Grandpa Levi died of pneumonia. He had been working at the mill and was involved in an explosion. The fine grain dust exploded and after that he was not able to continue working there. He died from related complications.

Grandma Mae “Fetch me my satchel and I’ll give you a copper”.
One time Irene, at the Mountain Star ranch was getting a lesson from Dad. She was quite young and did not understand what see could have done to cause the serious rebuke
At the Mountain Star ranch where dad and mom had lived before moving to Miami. During the remodel the family lived in a tent out in the yard.
While building fence at the MS ranch and dad would blast some of the post holes. Irene would be playing and then Dad would quickly grab her up and carry her to safety after the fuse had been lit.

Irene:
Christmas at the Mountain Star Ranch. Dad was not home because he was “out working” and Mother was talking with us about Santa Clause then Dad popped up in a window his dressed up costume and scared me to death.
Dad would get us up on his lap and we would enjoy feeling his face and playing with him and when he had had enough,  he would keep smiling at us but start pinchin us to get us to make us squirm until we were uncomfortable enough to get down.
Irene: Saturday we would find and shine our shoes and line them all up to have them ready then we get some water in a tub and all take turns getting a bath. I was usually towards the end because I helped get the little ones bathed.
Forrest won a blue ribbon with his entry of the Hereford cow. The Cow was even displayed standing on the winning flatbed trailer in a parade through town during the Uinta Basin Intermountain Convention. 
The heard of sheep bred so they were lambing in the coldest part of winter. Lambs were brought into the house to keep them alive and then taken back out later to try and get the mother ewes to accept them.
I remember when the older kids would bring their friends to our home it was obvious that some of these friends had different dress standards than was acceptable to Dad. At least once, Dad went into the kitchen and got a dish towel and spread it over the exposed knees and legs of a visiting young lady. Following that example and perhaps to prevent Dad from doing it again, I remember  one of my brothers providing similar cover for one of their visiting friends by giving either a dishtowel or a sofa arm cover for her legs. Dad did not talk openly about sexual relationships but he was firm in standards of protection from sexual misconduct and many lessons not verbalized somehow got communicated. I know the spirit of truth had a lot to do with teaching those things which were not spelled out.

Jerry Campbell, a close friend in Clay Springs struggled with a stuttering challenge when he was nervous. He was often found hanging around and spending time with Labretta and once he and Labretta were playing in a shed when Dad came in unexpectedly and saw the two kids. Shocked at the intrusion Jerry looked up and sounding very guilty stuttered: “we were just ki-ki-ki-ki-kis-  ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-talking”.

Cory had rheumatic fever when he was young and mother carried him around……
Wayne and the refrigerator……
Wayne and the chimney…….
One afternoon, Dad brought home a wild burro on the end of a rope. We were able to give her some grain and within an hour we were riding her while one of us led her around with a handful of grain. The grain was all she needed to decide to stick around. We never had to pen her up and she was happy to hang around waiting for the next handout. We named her Jill and she immediately became a pet. Jill was never put to use as a working ranch animal and she was never saddled or put in a harness but with a rope around her neck we were able to enjoy great fun ridding and playing. She quickly learned that trotting under a low hanging branch of a Joshua tree would unseat her burden. When the ranch was sold, Jill was left in one of the pastures on the ranch.
While living in Clay Springs Irene was on a walk with one of her friends and Dale had a habit of following them everywhere they went. In an effort to git rid of him or at least teach him to leave them alone when she told him to go, Irene tied Dale up to a cedar tree with bailing wire. Dale was very young and does not remember details but he does know it happened. However cruel or innocent it was at the time, it was remembered and although Dale obviously survived. He has used the experience to his advantage at times, by repeating the tragic tale. It may be one of those stories that got bigger and more horrific with the telling but still remains a fun part of our family folklore. 
In the Clay Springs home the room out in the front of the house had been a store. There was a wall called the Midwall between the store and the house.  While mom and dad were on a trip hauling a load of lumber down to the valley, Irene and Dale enlarged the opening in the wall between the front room where the old store had been, and the fireplace room. Using a hand saw they opened up the wall. Dad exploded when he saw what they had done, but he quietly laughed later while talking with mom about what the kids had done.
Thanksgiving dinner cooked on a campfire outside at ClaySprings…….
Dad put up a tree on Christmas Eve. Irene and Lavern were very concerned because nothing was prepared for Christmas but they hugged each other and went to bed. The next morning oh what a sight! There was a tree up and decorated, oranges, apples, candy, and the tree decorated with presents including, briefs, t-shirts, & socks. Such a Christmas could not be equaled. Dale was even shown tracks out through the snow where Santa had brought the tree in from the woods.
Family trip to SLC to the Wrestling match….biggest family won a turkey.
Dad would encourage us to clean up the yard by telling us we could have a bonfire if we would get all the leaves, limbs, trash, etc. and then in the evening we would light the fire and play kick the can……..
The old climbing tree on the farm had steps with titles and names for the younger boys....... and the last title was member and the name on the bottom step was Denzlo.




Poems Dad used to recite:
  
The Hell Bound Train   anonymous 

A Texas cowboy lay down on a barroom floor,
Having drunk so much he could drink no more;
So he fell asleep with a troubled brain
To dream that he rode on a hell-bound train.

The engine with murderous blood was damp
And was brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp;
An imp, for fuel, was shoveling bones,
While the furnace rang with a thousand groans.

The boiler was filled with lager beer
And the devil himself was the engineer;
The passengers were a most motley crew-
Church member, atheist, Gentile, and Jew,

Rich men in broad cloth, beggars in rags,
Handsome young ladies, and withered old hags,
Yellow and black men, red, brown, and white,
All chained together-O God, what a sight!

While the train rushed on at an awful pace-
The sulphurous fumes scorched their hands and face;
Wider and wider the country grew,
As faster and faster the engine flew.


Louder and louder the thunder crashed
And brighter and brighter the lightning flashed;
Hotter and hotter the air became
Till the clothes were burned from each quivering frame.

And out of the distance there arose a yell,
"Ha, ha," said the devil, "we're nearing hell"
Then oh, how the passengers all shrieked with pain
And begged the devil to stop the train.


But he capered about and danced for glee,
And laughed and joked at their misery.
"My faithful friends, you have done the work
And the devil never can a payday shirk.

"You've bullied the weak, you've robbed the poor,
The starving brother you've turned from the door;
You've laid up gold where the canker rust,
And have given free vent to your beastly lust.


"You've justice scorned, and corruption sown,
And trampled the laws of nature down.
You have drunk, rioted, cheated, plundered, and lied,
And mocked at God in your hell-born pride.

"You have paid full fare, so I'll carry you through,
For it's only right you should have your due.
Why, the laborer always expects his hire,
So I'll land you safe in the lake of fire,

"Where your flesh will waste in the flames that roar,
And my imps torment you forevermore."
Then the cowboy awoke with an anguished cry,
His clothes wet with sweat and his hair standing high.

Then he prayed as he never had prayed till that hour
To be saved from his sin and the demon's power;
And his prayers and his vows were not in vain,
For he never rode the hell-bound train

 
 
 
The Lane County Bachelor

My name is Frank Bolar, an old bach'lor I am;
I'm keeping old batch on an elegant plan.
You'll find me out west in the County of Lane;
Starving to death on my government claim.
My house it is built of the natural soil;
The walls are erected according to Hoyle.
The roof has no pitch, but is level and plane,
And I never get wet till it happens to rain.
Then hurrah for Lane County, the land of the free;
The home of the bedbug, mosquito and flea.
I'll sing loud her praises and never complain,
While starving to death on my government claim.
My clothes they are ragged, my language is rough;
My bread is case-hardened, both solid and tough.
The dough it is scattered all over the room,
And the floor would take fright at the sight of a broom.
My dishes are dirty, and some in the bed
Are covered with sorghum and government bread;
But I have a good time and I live at my ease
On common-sop sorghum, old bacon and grease.
Then hurrah for Lane County, the land of the West;
Where the farmers and laborers are always at rest.
Where you've nothing to do but sweetly remain,
And starve like a man on your government claim.
How happy am I when I crawl into bed,
And a rattlesnake rattles a tune at my head.
And the gay little centipede, void of all fear;
Crawls over my pillow ind into my ear.
And the nice little bedbug, so cheerful and bright;
Keeps me a-scratching full half of the night.
And the gay little flea with toes sharp as a tack;
Plays "why don't you catch me?" all over my back.
But hurrah for Lane County, where blizzards arise;
Where the winds never cease and the flea never dies;
Where the sun is so hot if in it you remain,
'Twill burn you quite black on your government claim.
How happy am I on my government claim;
Where I've nothing to lose and nothing to gain;
Nothing to eat and nothing to wear;
Nothing from nothing is honest and square.
But here I am stuck, and here I must stay;
My money's all gone, and I can't get away.
There's nothing to make a man hard and profane;
Like starving to death on a government claim.
Then come to Lane County, there's room for you all;
Where the winds never cease and the rains never fall.
Come join in the chorus, and boast of her fame;
While starving to death on your government claim.
Now don't get discouraged, you poor hungry men;
We're all here as free as a pig in a pen;
Just stick to your homestead and battle your fleas,
And pray to your Maker to send you a breeze.
Now a word to claim holders who are bound for to stay;
You may chew on your hardtack till you're toothless and gray;
But as for me, I'll no longer remain,
And starve like a dog on my government claim.
Then farewell to Lane County, farewell to the West.
I'll travel back East to the girl I love best.
I'll stop in Missouri and get me a wife And live on corn dodgers the rest of my life.


The Cattleman's Prayer

Now O Lord please lend thine ear,
The prayer of the Cattleman to hear;
No doubt many prayers to thee seem strange,
But won't you bless this cattle range?

Bless the round-up year by year
And don't forget the growing steer;
Water the land with brooks and rills
For my cattle that roam a thousand hills.

Now, O Lord, won't you be good
And give our livestock plenty of food;
And to avert a winter's woe
Give Italian skies and little snow.

Prairie fires won't you please stop,
Let thunder roll and water drop,
It frightens me to see the smoke,
Unless it's stopped, I'll go dead broke.

As you, O Lord, our herds behold—
Which represents a sack of gold—
I think at least five cents per pound
Should be the price of beef year round.

One more thing and then I'm through,
Instead of one calf, give my cows two.
I may pray different than some others, but then
I've had my say, and now amen.

 
The Educated Feller (Zebra Dun) 
 
We was camped on the plains at the head of the Cimmaron
When along comes a stranger and stopped to argue some,
Well he looked so very foolish when he begun to look around
For he seemed just like a greenhorn just escaped from town.
 
We asked him had he been to chuck, he said he hadn't a smear,
So we opened up the chuckbox and said he could eat right here,
Well he filled up on some coffee and some biscuits and some beans
And started right in talking about the foreign kings and queens.
 
All about the foreign wars on the land and on the seas
With guns as big as steers, and ramrods big as trees.
About a feller named Paul Jones, a fightin' son of a gun
A fighter and the grittiest cuss that ever packed a gun.
 
Such an educated feller, his thoughts just came in herds,
He astonished all them cowboys with his highfalutin' words
Well the stranger kept on talkin' till the boys they all got sick
And begun to look around to see if they could play a trick.
 
Well, he said he'd lost his job up on the Santa Fe
He was goin' 'cross the plains to for to hit the Seven B.
He didn't say how come it, just some trouble with the boss
But asked if he could borrow a nice fat saddle horse.
 
Well, this tickled all the boys to death, we laughed way down our sleeves
We said we'd give him a fine horse, as fresh and fat as you please.
So Shorty grabbed his lariat and he roped the Zebra Dun
And we give him to the stranger and waited for the fun.
 
Now old Dunny was an outlaw, he'd grown so awful wild.
He could paw the moon down, he could jump a mile;
Old Dunny stood right still there, like as he didn't know;
Till the stranger had him saddled and ready for to go.

 


When the stranger hit the saddle, then old Dun he quit the earth, 
And started travelin' upwards for all that he was worth, 
A-yellin' and a-squealin' and a-having wall-eyed fits.
His front feet perpendicular, his hind feet in the bits.
  

We could see the tops of mountains under Dunnys every jump,
But the stranger he was glued there just like a camel's hump.
The stranger he just sat there, and twirled his black mustache.
Just like a summer boarder waitin' for the hash.
 


Well he thumped him in the shoulders and he spun him when he whirled,
And hollered to them cowboys, "I'm the wolf of the world!"
And when he had dismounted and once more upon the ground, 
We knew he was a thoroughbred and not a dude from town.
  


The boss he was a-standin' there just watchin' all the show.
Walked over to the stranger and said, "You needn't go.
If you can use a lariat like you rode old Zebra Dun;
You're the man I've been looking for since the Year of One!"
 


And when the herd stampeded he was always on the spot,
And set them off to nothing, like the boiling of a pot. 
Well, there's one thing and a shore thing
I've learned since I've been born:
Every educated feller, ain't a plumb greenhorn.
  









LITTLE TIM Author Unknown

"Yes, I'm guilty" the prisoner said,
As he wiped his eyes and bowed his head.
"Guilty of all the crimes you've named,
But this here lad is not to blame.
'Twas I alone who raised the row
And Judge if you please, I’ll tell you how.
You see this boy is pale and slim,
We call him Saint, his name is Tim.
He's like a preacher in his ways,
He never swears, or drinks, or plays,
But kinda sighs, and weeps all day,
It would break your heart to hear him pray.
Why Sir, many, and many a night,
When grub was scarce and I was tight
No food, no fire, no light to see,
When home was hell, if hell there be,
I've seen this boy in darkness kneel,
And pray such wards as cut like steel.
Which somehow warmed, and lit the room,
And sort of chased away the gloom.
Smile if you must, but facts are facts,
Deeds are deeds, and acts are acts,
And though I'm as black as sin can be,
His prayers have done a heap for me.
They make me feel that God perhaps,
Sent him on earth to save us chaps.
This man that squealed and pulled us in,
He keeps a place called Fiddlers Inn,
Where folks, and snides and lawless scamps,
Connive and plot with thieves and tramps.
Well, Tim and me, we didn't know
What to do, or where to go, and so
We stayed with him that night,
And this is how we had the fight.
They wanted Tim to take a drink,
But he refused as you might think.
He told them how the flowing bowl
Contained the fire and killed the soul."
"Drink! drink!" they cried, "this foaming beer;
Twill make you strong and give you cheer.
Let preachers groan and preach of sin,
But give to us this flowing gin."
Then Tim knelt down beside his chair,
And offered up this little prayer:
"Help me dear Lord" the child began;
As down his cheeks the big tears ran.
"I've done my best to do what's right,
But Lord, I'm sad, and weak tonight.
Father, Mother, plead for me;
Tell Christ with you long to be."
"Get up you brat!" The landlord yelled
“Then like a brute...he hit the lad;
Which made my blood just boiling mad.”
“No, he h'aint no folk nor friend but me.
His dad was killed in sixty-three.
Shot at the front where bursting shells,
And cannons sing their songs of hell.
Where muskets hiss with fiery breath,
And brave men fall to their tone of death.
I promised his father before he died,
As the life blood rushed from his wounded side.
I promised sir, and it gave him joy,
That I'd protect his darling boy.
I simply did as his father would;
Helped the weak as all men should.”
“Yes, I must have hurt his head,
For I struck hard at the man that's dead.
I knocked him down, and blacked his eye,
And used him rough, I'll not deny.
But think of it judge; a chap like him;
Striking the likes of little Tim.
If I've done wrong, send me below,
But spare the son of comrade Joe."
"You're forgiving him,
And me?"
"It's a fact!"
"God bless you!" "Come Tim; let's go."
 

Taken from the wall at the Flagstaff City Jail

Thanksgiving day 1930
Arthur A Welch
  
To the boys and girls of Flagstaff


I'm sitting alone in my cell on my bed, 
With nothing to think of but time ahead,
But the past I must think of too.
I'm only a boy of seventeen,
But a mans life I have lived for three years,
And now I'm regretting the things I have done,
And my eyes are filled with childish tears,
But tears don't help, It's too late to regret.
I've made my mistakes and must pay.
Five years is the least I can get on my charge.
Think what that five years will mean.
For a deed that was done and can't be undone,
By a boy that could have been clean.
Just think how you wrong the ones that you love,
And a mother so proud of her son.
If you stay by the right, God will help you along;
It's a thing that I never believed,
But now I pray to Him every night in my cell;
He hears and I'm greatly relieved.
I'm through with my story now boys;
To words from my heart take heed.
Some day you'll be glad I told you this;
Don't change from a flower to a weed.