Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ida Lee Part 6~A New Home in New Mexico

Hello family and friends too! We are traveling back to 1906 today and big move in the Lee family's life. This is how our family became connected to the Farmington, New Mexico area. My dear Granny Ida had such acute attention to detail and such a great memory. She remembers who they stayed with and how those people were related to who, and where they were from...I must admit that I edited, or left out a
few of those details in this chapter and may in the future. I felt that while they were important to her, they are not vital to the story I am telling you. They are still in the printed copy which I plan to scan and put on www.familysearch.org soon. It's just a Lot of typing folks! I was supposed to get to her marriage this time but I have some packing and traveling to do this week. I'll catch you next time for sure!

In August my father's family in connection with the William Hamblin family, my brother John's and Rain's families moved to the San Juan Basin in New Mexico on account of Mother's health. She had severe case of arthritis and thought it might help to go to a warmer climate. This was quite an undertaking since practically nothing about the country was known to them, only what they had been told. They had quite a herd of cattle to drive through, so it was necessary to drive slowly. Where now it takes less than a day to go by car, then it took the three long weeks. Father decided to remain in Nutrioso with me as I had a contract to teach school that winter in Nutrioso. Mother and the children went on wit my married brothers. Frank was  a young man then and Garland a few years younger. With the help of younger brother Marion, they could drive the team and help drive the cattle. William Hamblin and family and Griff Cherry and his family went with them. Also Carl Hamblin, s young man who later became my husband. One day on their trip out, they came to a ranch house and stopped to get a drink of water. My brother Rain went to the well and drew up a bucket of water and was ready to take a drink when a lady at the house said, "Say, Mister, I wouldn't drink there if I were you. There was a man drowned in that well a few days ago." Rain looked at her for awhile and then with hes ready wit said, "Oh, that is alright. Had it been a woman drowned in it, it would not have been fit to drink." Again, showing his quick thinking and dry wit. (I want to know if he drank it! Oh, and ha ha, Rainey.)

This is the journey they took. You can see how long it takes by car today. Hammond is just west of Bloomfield where my brother Dean lives, and where I'll be spending the next five days! My parents retired and bought property in West Hammond and lived there for 23 years.
The blue dot near the top is the Four Corners area 
where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet.

They finally arrived at Hammond, a small town south of Aztec and just across the San Juan River from Bloomfield. They arrived there in time to get all the apples they needed to eat and dry, and Mother and the girls made use of their time in doing just that. They got settled in a house built by Pen Wiltbank, a former resident of Eagar, Arizona. But let me go back to Father and me in Nutrioso. My sisters Lillian and Margaret, who were married to Willard Hamblin and William Lund, had remained in Nutrioso. Lillian and Willard moved into the house with Father and me. We were not so lonely that way. In November their second child was born, a little girl named Edna. We enjoyed the winter, tho' at times we were lonely for Mother, brothers, and sisters. Rilla Hamblin, Willard's sister and my very dear friend then, and throughout the years since, came to stay with us when Lillian was confined. In fact she was there much of the time. She ranks first. Later she married my brother Frank and I married her brother Carl, which made her doubly dear. Our friendship was something very special to me and I am sure it was to her. As I sit here writing, my mind wanders back to the many happy hours we spent together. So it was with a sad heart that I bade her, my sister Margaret and Lillian and families, and friends of the St. John's Stake goodbye. I had enjoyed my year of teaching there very much. Many of those boys and girls are still alive but many have passed on. My brother Frank came back after Father and me in the spring of 1906, March to be exact. We did not know whether we would ever see these old friends again, also the cherished mountains we had loved for so many years. Arriving in St. John's the second night from home we stayed all night with Brother and sister Heap, our very dear friends through the years. Leaving the following morning, we arrived in Ramah, New Mexico where we spent the night with Brother and Sister Lewis. The roads were terrible owing to the melting snow. Father hired a man to help us across the Zuni Mountains because we were heavily loaded and it seemed at times we would have to unload part of our load, but after much difficulty we landed in Thoreau, on the front side of the mountain. We had very little difficulty (then). I had a bed in the wagon, Father and Frank made theirs on the ground. Not much of interest happened from there until we reached an Indian trading post belonging to a Mr. Moss, father of Fred Moss of Farmington. It had been raining real hard and Mr. Moss offered us one of his camp cabins which we gratefully accepted. After being out in the wind, rain, and cold it was so nice to be in a warm room again. Here we found Orson Eagar and his sister Josephine, from Eagar, Arizona. working for Mr. Moss. My brother Frank and I were invited in the house to play "Flinch", a game which was very popular at that time. We enjoyed a pleasant evening and it was very nice to see old friends from home out in the desert lands. Early the next morning we were on our way arriving in Hammond, New Mexico in a few days only to find that Mother, John, Rain and families had moved down on the La Plata River to a little town called Jackson, a short distance (north of) Farmington. We stayed all night with John L. Tenney and his wife Mary Ann. The next morning we continued our journey arriving in Jackson that evening, happy to be reunited with our loved ones once more after a separation of seven months. After much deliberation between Father and the boys it was decided that it was better for us to return to Hammond. Again the cattle were gathered and driven back up the river. We lived in the (Wiltbank's) adobe house. We found the people in Hammond very friendly and kind, but very much different from old friends in Arizona.

On the Fourth of July my sister Minnie, Edna Adaie, myself, and several other people went to Kline, Colorado to spend the holidays. My sister Dora and family were living in Kline as well as Joe and May Stayner (my brother Hyrum's widow), Sister Jayne Maxwell, the Eatons and Slades all former residents of Arizona and old friends. So it was quite a reunion there and we enjoyed it. I remained until after the 24th and worked for Stella Slade, a sister to my brother John's wife Ellen, who was expecting a baby. On returning home the month of August was spent in reviewing my studies and preparing to take the teacher's examination in September. Father and my brothers John, Rain, and Frank had obtained work in Farmington hauling rock for the new bank which was being built. Carl Hamblin helped haul the rock they used to build the old First National Bank building on Main Street. My father and sister Minnie were staying with Rain and wife who were living...north of the railroad station. I attended the Teacher's Institute for two weeks, boarding with Mrs. Agnes Currie. The teacher's examination followed the Institute and I received a teacher's certificate (for New Mexico). I received a position at Kirtland, New Mexico about eight miles west of Farmington. Brother john R. Young was the chairman of the Board of Trustees. As school did not begin until the 1st of October, my sister Minnie and I worked in the cannery at Farmington. The money I made there helped me to buy clothes suitable for school. My sister and I were very proud of the coats we bought with our wages.

I attended my first county fair that fall in Farmington. Carl Hamblin, my girlhood boyfriend, had come to the country when the folks came and was still (there) working with my father and brothers, so he too was able to attend the fair. This meant a lot to me as we had kept company off and on since I was twelve years old and he was fourteen. I knew if I ever married, he would be the one.After the fair we continued seeing each other and corresponded until we were married. When I went to Kirtland to teach, he remained in Farmington and worked in an apple orchard for a Mr. McCarty all winter. They lived in a large two-story building belonging to Joseph H. Dean, author of the hymn, "Before Thee Lord, I Bow My Head". The little adobe building in which I taught is still standing and whenever I pass by I have happy memories of that winter and the children in that school. On the day my school closed, Alden Hadden rode home with me and said to me, "Miss Lee, I want you to know that you are the only teacher I ever had who ever gave me a kind word." How grateful I was for those words. They made me very happy for I had prayed often that I might understand Alden and be able to win his confidence with kindness. I had been warned before I took the school that I would have trouble with him. Mr. Woods who taught there the year before said Alden was one pupil he had never been able to conquer. Perhaps he did not have the right attitude toward him, or enough kindly persuasion, instead of trying to conquer him. At any rate, he did not give me a minute of trouble. I had a little bay mare I rode to school. I had purchased her from Marcellus Hulsey of Nutrioso for $15.00 and brought her to the San Juan with me. She was the first horse I ever owned and (I) was very proud of her. This was a delightful winter.
Don Carlos "Carl" Hamblin
Ida's beau, and youngest son of Jacob Hamblin and Sarah Priscilla Leavitt Hambin

This is a photo of the San Juan County Fair in 1891. 
Look at all of that nice produce! See those huge watermelons under the table?
Every summer when we would take our children to visit Mom and Dad in Bloomfield (West Hammond) it was San Juan County Fair time!  I'll always remember now that this may have been my grandparents first official "date".

This is the little adobe school house where Ida taught in 1906-7 in Kirtland, New Mexico. My own mother took this photo in 1998. See the little school bell on top? I love to picture my short little Granny pulling the rope to ring that bell and call her beloved students to class. What a sweet attitude she had toward teaching, and the worth of each student.

So...we are off to our annual Ellsworth siblings reunion held this year at brother Dean's home in Bloomfield, NM. I love this time to re-connect with my sweet brothers and my sister Gena. Our mother is 92 now and still healthy and fun to play Farkle with!! It's going to be  great! See you next time!

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

I love reading these stories. So interesting and fun to read and hear about their lives. Thank you so much for sharing!