Monday, June 9, 2014

Ida Lee Part 3~ Going Away to School.

My youngest brother Claude, was born on the 14th day of October, 1889. Four days previous, October 10th, my sister Margaret Lund gave birth to her first child, Guy, in the same log cabin  where I was born. It was still standing by the side of the newer house. I shall never forget the night Claude was born. Orson Wilkins, a young man from the church, was leaving for a mission. He was the son of Lucinda Wilkins, my first Primary President. The family lived on a farm about three miles from town at the foot of the mountains west of Nutrioso. The young people of the ward were going to the ranch to see Orson and have a little party. Rain, my brother, was very reluctant to go as the folks were depending on him to go to Alpine to get Sister Jepson, the midwife, who was to take care of Mother and deliver the baby. At last Rain was persuaded to go. About ten o'clock the party broke up and as we were on the way home, Rain drove out in an opening where he could see out house. A light was burning brightly in the kitchen window. Without a word to anyone He began putting the whip to the horses and it was a wild ride from there to home, where we found out that which we suspected. Mother was in labor and my brother-in-law William Lund, my sister Margaret's husband, had gone for Sister Jepson. Needless to say, there was little sleep around our house that night. Lillian and I went to bed in the small house whee Margaret was in bed with her new baby. It was hard on her, for just four days previous she had gone through the same ordeal giving birth to her little son. Mother had a very hard time. There were five years between her last confinement, Eva, and Claude. Sister Jepson arrived and was with her the rest of the night. The baby didn't arrive until morning, a fine healthy baby boy, making the 14th child for my parents and 8th brother for me.

It is 9.3 miles from Nutrioso to Alpine, AZ, then back again. With a baby coming I am sure there were nervous moments on that ride with the midwife. Claude was the 14th baby born to Lucinda. I would have been worried that he would come quickly. I wonder what the trouble was that made it such a long labor. At any rate, Lucinda was very blessed to have come through 14 home births in log cabins with only midwives attending. Very blessed!

Pictured below are Ida Lee & her sister Lillian Lee.
 This photo was taken at the turn of the century in 1900. 
Ida was 16 years old, Lillian was 18, but smaller!
This is how Ida appeared at the time of the following story.

In the fall of 1899 I went to Thatcher to attend the Church Academy there. Will and Ella LeSueur went also. We went with Aunt Rachael and her son, Uncle Ralph Lee. I think the most lonesome night I ever spent was at Black River. We arrived there about 10 o'clock at night and the river was roaring below us. It reminded me of the days not so many years before when my dear brother had been swallowed up in those angry waters. After fording the river the next morning, Ella and I walked down the river and found the marker and empty grave which was Hyrum's resting place for a short time. We arrived on the Gila River the 26th of August, the hottest day I had ever experienced in my life. The river was up and we were so hot and dry and no water fit to drink. How my mind wandered back to my little home in the mountains and the many cold wells and springs.

I attended school until Christmas. There were many of my former friends and relatives in school there. Dudley Hamblin, Emma Bell Brown, John Lytle, Jennie Lee and Nettie Pace, who were my cousins and Katie and Will Pace's children (who had moved there from Nutrioso). This kept me from getting too lonesome. This was when old friends seemed very dear to me. Brother Emil Maeser, son of Doctor Karl G. Maeser, was the principal of the academy. I do not remember all the teachers but I do remember one because of his kindness to me, was Professor John Nash. I want to mention here, that one of my very first teachers, Emma Coleman, was there attending school. This was an inspiration to me for it exemplifies the fact that one never gets to old to learn. Her hair was snow white, but she was as alert as ever.

At Christmas my father and mother came down to spend the holidays and I could not let them return home without me. I had only been gone from home a little over four months, but long enough to find out just how much my home, parents, brothers, and sisters, meant to me. I loved the school but was just too homesick to stay. We camped in Clifton New Year's Eve. That night Warren Tenney from Nutrioso came to our camp and took me up to see the smelter and showed me a lot of interesting things. I did not see it in operation as it was closed on account of it being the beginning of a new century. We left Clifton early the next morning and traveled up the Blue River, which one has to cross many times before leaving it. We saw many men and boys who were there freighting mining timber to Clifton. I was glad to get home again, but sorry to leave school in Thatcher.

I have looked in vain for a photo of the LDS Academy in Thatcher during that time period. The school was established in 1898, so it was only a year old when Ida attended. The Gila Academy was started in Thatcher in 1911. Was this the same school, just renamed? One of the Gila Academy's most famous graduates was Spencer W. Kimball, 12th Presidentof The LDS Church.  There is a nice paragraph about Professor John Nash that I found in "A Portrait & Biographical Record of Arizona" by Chapman Publishing. It sounds like he truly was a very well-loved and kind man. I'm glad he helped Ida with her homesickness! If you would like to read this short paragraph, click here. For some reason it starts in the middle of the paragraph but scroll up to the previous page. It's a nice little biography.

Here is a map of Arizona showing Ida's journey to school. The red dot at the top is Nutrioso, the very zig-zaggy Blue River that they had to cross so many times is in blue, The mining town of Clifton is in orange, & Thatcher is marked by Google Maps. What a journey! It is just over 154 miles and would only take us 3 hours today. By horse and wagon I'm sure it was more like a week! Clifton is a copper town as is nearby Morenci. Poor mountain born Ida nearly died of heat in her first days in Thatcher. I don't blame her, missing those cold water springs of Nutrioso. Every time I visit Arizona I miss my icy cold tap water that comes all year 'round and tastes so good!

Next time:

Ida tells of her religious training, 

stories of wild beasties, and

her first job!

Now, just for fun!
I wanted to see what the outside world looked like at the turn of the century. Ida had lived her entire 16 years in that tiny valley in Apache County. Her only connection to the bigger world may have been the occasional Sears~Roebuck catalog or newspapers. I wonder if Thatcher seemed like a big city to her. I had some fun looking at advertising posters from this time period. I thought I'd share some with you.

Powdered Baby Formula

 Morton Salt

 Campbell's Soups, six servings for 10 cents? Those were the days!

 Did you know that flour will do this for you?

I want to be her, bake like her, must buy this vanilla!

Uncle Sam for the Nabisco company!

Safety Razor, really?
This is truly frightening!

Politics. 1900 was an election year. 
It looks like "The Great One" as he is known in our house, was up for re-election.

Four tints, who needs more? Have you been down a cosmetics aisle lately?

Ahh...the ever popular minstrel show. Sorry Billy, the afro is not cutting it for me!

This is one I'd loved to have seen!

Oh, those crazy Ringling Brothers! How'd they get those bears to wear boxing gloves??

And last of all, every woman's necessity...the corset. 
Ida and Lil are wearing them in the photo of  above; you can tell by their shape. 

This one shows the progression of a Lady's shape over the first few years of the new century. Can we all take a big breath girls?!

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

Love reading about this sweet lady. My heart broke for hearing of her homesickness. My grandpa Jerry use to speak often of being 18 yrs old in the Navy and being so homesick he didn't think he'd survive. I've never done well being away from home either and no wonder mine and Brian's children don't like to be away either. Sounds like they come by it rightly!

I loved seeing all the pictures too. I for one am glad were pass corsets. Yuck!

Thank you again for all your sweet comments on our blog.

Love you!!!!