Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back to School - Snowbird Style

After completing a mission in Switzerland and Germany in February 1991, Mom and Dad took their 5th wheel trailer out on the road to visit all of their kids. In July of that year they decided to take up temporary residence in Yuma, Arizona where Tom and Carol live.

Snowbirds love Shuffleboard!
some unidentified park residents

27 July 1991 – We rented a spot for our trailer in the Chaparral Mobile Home and RV Park in Yuma. It has a heated swimming pool and a clubhouse, as well as a washeteria. It is very close to a good grocery store and other shops and service stations. We rented it for a year for $1300. It is located a mile east of where Chuck and Carol live and a mile west to where the Stake Center is located.

Arizona Western College Yuma, Arizona

28 August 1991 – We enrolled in a Spanish 101 class at the Western Arizona College with Dr. Morgan as the professor. What a surprise it was to pay $120 for tuition, $38.50 each for our textbooks, and $17.75 each for our workbooks. Then we bought about nine tapes for our workbook study. I guess I got spoiled with the GI Bill paying for everything!

Dr. Morgan, our Spanish professor

Our class was room #106 - 2nd door from the right

In January, 1992 Lou and Leona registered for Spanish 102. One of the class activities that semester was a visit to a restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico.

Mission Dragon Restaurant Mexicali, Mexico

These excerpts from his journal give us a glimpse into the struggle Dad had choosing between TV and studying. How he loved watching the fights on TV!

8 October 1991 – Got our [Spanish] workbooks back, and I didn’t do well at all. Very careless about some things. Studied for our test in the afternoon and watched the fights all evening. Should have studied instead!

Studying with Hansi - Tom & Carol's dog

10 October 1991 – We got our test back today, and Leona scored 94 ½ points, while I only scored 76 ½ points. Should have studied instead of watching the fights!

Leona studying her Spanish by the pool at Tom and Carol's house

. . . and this may be my favorite journal entry [capital letters are part of the original - not added by this blogger!]:


Monday, April 14, 2008

This Old House

After the last post about Dad's childhood home, I learned that the little house at 1806 E. 5th Street is full of family history. And so the story continues. . .

Jess and Mable owned these three homes. Louis grew up in 1806 (center) and later lived there with his young family. Lou and Leona lived in all of these house at one time or another, and moved from 1806 in 1955 when they bought a new home.

While Lou was in the Navy for his second tour of duty during the Korean War, Leona lived in this little house at 1808 E. 5th Street with the four young boys. This house had been a chicken house at one time, but Grandpa Jess completely renovated the house so that Leona had a comfortable place to live while Lou was gone.

Leona remembers that the washing machine was in the bathroom. On one occasion when the twins, Tom and Don, were in the bathtub, they pulled a 10 pound box of laundry detergent into the tub with them. Now that's a real bubble bath. . .

This picture was taken after a winter storm. The snow had to be shoveled off the flat roof.

Because Jess and Mable owned three houses in the same block, they had a huge yard that was a real gathering place in the summer. During World War II, LDS soldiers who were stationed in Pueblo often came to the Butlers after church to hang out with the teenagers. Lou was in the service, but Leona, her sister Charlotte, and Lou's younger brothers (Delbert and Eldon) spent a lot of time with other kids from the church.

Mable wrote about this picture: "See I'm the mom so I have to enforce discipline. They are all good kids and we have lots of fun. That's Charlotte on top of the car [we see her legs] and Eldon is on his back." Leona is on the far right in the back of the group.

The Sunday group
Charlotte - back row, far right; Leona- next to Charlotte; Eldon - behind Leona; Delbert - standing in front of Leona

On the lawn at the Butler's home
Charlotte - far left, Eldon - center, Leona - far right
August 12, 1944

An afternoon picnic
Eldon - far left, (unknown), Leona - front, Charlotte - far right
August 12, 1944

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Early Childhood Home

In 1924, I moved with my parents to Pueblo, Colorado. Dad rented a house on East 4th Street, right across from the Fire Station. In Mother’s little notebook it says, “On September 3,[1925], the cars on 4th Street (which was a very busy street and also State Highway #96 through town) were honking and brakes were screeching when the Aunt looked out and that 2 ½ year old Pride and Joy was in the middle of the street with his sand bucket and shovel directing traffic!”

1806 E. 5th Street, Pueblo, Colorado
June 13, 1934

On December 1, 1925 (when I was 2 1/2 years old) we moved to a home at 1806 East 5th Street [in Pueblo Colorado]. We lived here until we four boys were all married and living away from home. It was a great place for us to live. There were about 25 boys and only three or four girls living in the 1700 and 1800 blocks of the street. We had a good time doing just about everything boys like to do. We had teams for baseball and football. We played tennis at the Junior High School. We went swimming at Hegler’s Swimming pool which was about 7 miles out of town, but we made it often.

"This is where I lived from about the winter of 1925 until I went in the service when I was 19 years old in October 1942"

We lived only about three blocks from the prairies where there was a baseball field and a dry creek. Up the creek about three miles were some cedars and hills where we used to hike on occasion. There was a nice little park a block from Park View School and one on East 3rd Street in the 1100 block. We only went there for games with a rival team.

Following a major winter storm

Our house was just about eight blocks to Park View Elementary School where I attended grades K-5 (and later became principal). We were about 12 blocks from Fountain Elementary (grades K-6) where we went for 6th grade and about six blocks to Park Hill Junior High where we attended grades 7 and 8. Centennial High School was about a mile and a half from our house.

The house after the front bedroom was extended to include the east half of the front porch

The area from the edge of the lawn to the house next door belonged to the Berrys who lived next door. They were very old, and my folks did lots of things for them. They gave us the empty lot between their house and ours for us to plant a garden. Later, they deeded the house to my folks and asked them to carry out their plans for burial, which the folks did. Dad put in a fence around the area from where the sidewalk would be (if there had been one) and back about half way toward the alley. There he had a sidewalk to get over to their house to check on them and to help out as needed.

As the family grew and Lou and his brothers married and had children, this home was still the site of many family dinners and celebrations. Do you have any memories of this family home?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Della Davis

Mixed in with Dad's personal and family histories, I found a short history of Harker and Della Davis written by an unknown family member, probably a granddaughter. Enjoy this insight into the life of a homestead wife in the early 1900's.

Della Davis with her daughters, about 1920 -1921
L to R (back): Edna, Mable (Lou's mother), Birdie, Augusta, Florence
(front): Rachel, Della, Marjorie

"Their first summer in Kiowa County, Charles (Harker) and his older sons worked on the Mill’s Sheep Ranch with Della as cook for all hired hands and both families. The older daughters cared for a flock of bucks and dry ewes at their home place. It was a hard summer, but enough money was made to begin progress on their own ranch. A six bedroom adobe house was built, along with an L-shaped sheep shed and a bunk house for sheepherders. A wash house, a garage, and several outbuildings were added. Adobe blocks were a good building material; they held heat in the winter months and helped insulate from the sun in the summer."

Della with the Jersey cow from son Floyd who earned it working for Mr. Mills on the sheep ranch.

"School and church were very important to the Davis family. At Kendrick they built a one-room school and hired a teacher for two years. Della was seldom able to attend church herself, but she had a great desire for her children to have religious training."

Weekly or perhaps twice weekly bread baking.

"Della ordered clothes from the Montgomery Ward catalog, and upon arrival, clothes were carefully marked for each child. She was a good seamstress, quilted, crocheted, and was a good cook and housekeeper. She often baked 15 to 30 loaves of bread at a time, and when hired help was to be fed, she baked twice a week. Water for cooking, drinking and bathing had to be hauled to a cistern near the house. Meals usually consisted of mutton, pinto beans, bread, some dried fruits. She made her own butter, cottage cheese, and hominy. She gardened when water was available; she raised chickens and turkeys."

"Della introduced her children to home remedies: tobacco juice for bruises and ringworm, onion and honey boiled for colds, mustard baths for spasms, mustard and spices for pneumonia. She was mid-wife on occasion, learned how to care for and cure eczema cases, and she set bones."

She gives new meaning to the term 'working mother!'

Friday, April 4, 2008

Louis Butler Pedigree Chart

So who are all these people we've been reading about? Surely they are connected or related in some way, but it's hard to keep track of them all. In order to eliminate some confusion, I'm posting Louis Edward Butler's pedigree chart. It only shows parents in each generation, but from time to time I'll post the family group sheets that represent each branch of the family.

So as you read and enjoy these stories, check the pedigree chart and family group sheets to see how these pieces fit in the puzzle!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Homesteading in Colorado

Since many of Lou's childhood and young adult memories are about spending time at the Davis ranch in Haswell, I'll set the stage for those posts with his summary of his Davis grandparents. I have included some of this information in a previous post, but this entry from Dad's history is a good overview and adds some interesting details.

Harker went to live with his Uncle Norman Patterson in Pueblo after his mother (re)married in 1880 to John Arnold, and he was working as a “cowpuncher” when he met and married Della. They then traveled by covered wagon, a trip of two weeks duration, to reach his Uncle Norman’s home in Pueblo, Colorado with the intent of spending the winter before going on to the Northwest. Harker worked at the CF&I Steel Mill and helped his uncle in the dairy business. Liking the latter, he bought an interest in the dairy and they decided to remain in Colorado and start their family.

By the fall of 1890 they were living in a large tent which they had floored and built the walls up about six feet. In 1898 there was government land to be homesteaded east of Colorado Springs, so Harker filed on 160 acres northeast of his brothers’ places at Ramah. Charles and Della stayed with Jim in his two bedroom house while they finished their adobe building. Harker called for the square dances which they would hold in their home; this was the only social life in the area.

After their eighth child was born, Harker decided he needed a more profitable means of making a living, so he bought a band of sheep and moved to Kendrick while Della took the children to Pueblo to stay for the school year. The ranch was 7 miles north west of Haswell, about 90 miles east of Pueblo on Highway #96. Starting in the spring of 1906, herding, lambing and shearing became a way of life for the family for years to come. Harker built a one room cement building and hired a school teacher for two years. He and Della always had room for others to live with them. Her 15 year old sister, a 9 year old distant cousin of Harker’s and Jack all shared their home at various times.

The land is fairly flat with gentle rolling hills, and it is quite often very arid land. Some years they would get good rainfall in the spring, and invariably someone would decide it was a good place to farm and would plow up a lot of the prairie. Maybe they would get a good crop that year, but the next year it would be very dry again and the wind would blow all of the top soil into Kansas and Oklahoma. I remember seeing the tumble weeds pile up against the fences and then the sand fill in around the weed so you could drive a car right over the fences. My, how Grandpa used to get upset when some farmer would buy a good piece of prairie grassland and plow it under. I can’t print the words he had for them!

Harker and his model T - 1915

In 1910 they sold the place at Kendrick and settled at Fountain, Colorado to be near schools and church. On 1 April 1914 Harker sold out at Fountain and moved to a sheep ranch at Haswell, Kiowa County, Colorado. They became pillars of the community, worked with the school and helped build the Community Methodist Church. The home they built at Haswell was of adobe covered with plaster. They purchased their first automobile in 1915, a Model T Ford touring car. I remember hearing my mother talk about learning to drive this new car to take the younger children to school. It was quite a trust for a young girl at that time. There were very few cars at that time, and to have one was quite a big deal. Of course, I do not remember this car, but I can remember the Model A Ford which he used to drive to Pueblo when he and Grandma came to visit.

House at Haswell - about 1920

After arriving at Haswell, their 14th child arrived, Rachel Caroline, in 1915. Their family was now complete and in spite of all the difficulties and the lack of doctors at times, they managed to raise 13 children to be adults. So Haswell was a time for raising the children and seeing them become independent and out on their own.