Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ida Lee ~ Part 7 An Innteresting Wedding Day, Travels, and Tragedy

My father and brothers were working on the bank in Farmington and before I went to Kirtland to teach school. My brothers set up tents down by the San Juan River south of Farmington in the cottonwood trees. These were fine for summer months as the tents were floored and sided with lumber. Rain and Rhoda's first baby, a daughter, was born there April 30, 1906. They named her Leta. Aunt Miley Adair was the midwife who attended Rhoda. They were very proud of this chubby little baby. In the fall they moved into town and continued hauling rock for the bank. By spring they were all homesick for Nutrioso, which would always be home to them. Especially was Rhoda anxious to see her mother and sisters and our two sisters, Lillian and Margaret and their families.

At Christmas time, Carl came and took me to Hammond (because she was teaching in Kirtland) so we could spend time with the folks. We enjoyed the festivities of Christmas very much. Before I went back to school, the family had decided to return to Nutrioso, as Mother's health had not improved any, and I suspect, they were homesick for home, old friends, and the beautiful White Mountains. Carl and I planned to be married before they left, and go with them. My school was out the last of February. School terms in those days were only five or six months long. We were married March 12, 1907. Quite a story was attached to this marriage. We had made plans for the ceremony to be at our home, with Bishop Tenney officiating. All guests had been invited. When we went to Aztec to get a marriage license, we found that it was not legal in New Mexico to be married by a bishop. The Justice of the Peace in Hammond, J.A. Hipler, was then consulted and he had to be in Aztec the next day and could not be present oat our wedding at 2:00 p.m. So before 7:00 the next morning we went to hes home and were married by him. This made it legal, but as not to be cheated out of the wedding w had planned, had another ceremony at 2:00 which was more sacred and more binding than the one performed by Judge Hipler. I shall never forget how my little sister Eva cried when I was married and I couldn't understand why when I was so happy. Carl had a job making ditch for Joe Mangum about five miles west of Hammond. I spent the week there living in a tent and sleeping on the ground. I guess this was our honeymoon. After the job was completed, we, in the company of our parents, brothers, and sisters, and married brothers and families headed back toward Arizona. On reaching the Zuni Mountains, the men obtained work cutting stulls. (timbers used in mining excavations) Feed was good for the cattle so we decided this would be a good place to spend the summer.

This is the First National Bank building on Main St. in Farmington. All through my life, whenever we have driven by it while on vacation there, my mother would point it out and tell my that her father, grandfather, and uncles had helped to build it.


Now back to the Zuni Mountains. So they set up living quarters and spent their time hauling stulls for the rest of the summer.  In September Father's family, Rain, Rhoda and little Leta left for Nutrioso in order to put the children in school when it started in the fall. John and family stayed with us for awhile longer and when we left for Salt Lake City to go through the temple, John and Ellen moved to Ramah, New Mexico which was their  home for many years. We rode from Kettner to Thoreau on a logging train and rode in the cab. From there we went to to Holbrook in order to make the trip with other LDS people from St. Johns and Snowflake Stakes. We went through the the temple and were married for time and all eternity October 2, 1907. Now we felt that we were really married. We visited many historic places in Salt Lake and attended General Conference of the Church. Joseph F. Smith was the President at the time. I remember what a grand man I thought he was and how happy that I had now seen a true prophet of God, a living Prophet. His book "Gospel Doctrine" has been one of my favorites during the years since then.

On returning to Kettner, we decided to go back to Nutrioso. Carl's mother and sister Mary had moved to Eagar but they still owned the little Johnny Brown home in Nutrioso. His brother Dudley and wife were living in the two rooms of the house so we moved into the other two. On January 17, 1907 our first child, a little girl, was born two weeks premature. She was stillborn and had been dead for about two weeks. This was a sorrow and disappointment to us, for we had looked forward to a baby of our own. In March the house we here we lived burned down. We were both away at the time. I had hung my bedding on the line to air and had gone down to my brother's place in the other end of town to see about my MIA work. Carl was in the upper fields plowing. He saw the house in flames and took one of the horses out and rode home. I had not been feeling well that morning when he left and I told him I might lie down, so naturally he thought I was in the house. He broke the door open and smoke came piling out and when it had cleared enough so he could see inside, and that I was not there, he went around to another part where his brother lived. Dudley was not home, but his wife was, and she did not know the house was burning. Friends came to help and most of their things were saved, but the only thing saved from our home was the Winchester rifle and the quilts that were on the clothesline. We lost my wedding ring, which I had taken off just that morning and hung on a nail above the wash stand, also my wedding dress (which I had made), all our pictures, wedding certificate, and many, many keepsakes we had both collected through life. Our Patriarchal blessings and many other things which cannot be replaced were lost. Some might call them "trash" but they were priceless to us and could never be replaced. We were grateful that we had each other and were young and strong and we could get material things again, but not those already mentioned. We hated losing our books more than anything else.

On returning home from New Mexico, Father had purchased the old Frank Alger home, across the creek and east from our old home. It was not as large nor nearly as good a house as the old home but it was the best they could do at the time. They later added two more rooms which made it more comfortable. Rain and Rhoda bought the old Burgess home and were living there when we arrived in Nutrioso. Their second child, Thomas Arvel, had been born there. After the fire we stayed with Mother and Father until Carl could build another room on the log house. It was still standing on the property that the house that burned was on. This spot of ground was where Grandfather Brown's house had stood and the water well was still there, only needed cleaning out. Willing hands were ready to help and the cabin was soon ready for occupancy.


Below is a map of where the family stopped on their journey back to Nutrioso. It was here that the men worked freighting for the mining operations nearby. It's very green and I can see why their cattle had plenty of grazing. The yellow dot at the top is Thoreau township which still exists today, largely because of natural gas mining. When Carl and Ida left to go to Salt Lake City they rode in the cab of a mining train (Cool!!) to Thoreau. I got curious and Google-searched "Zuni Railway" and am I ever excited to show you what I found...

Squeals of delight!!!! This is the actual Zuni Railway train that ran between Kettner and Thoreau! This trestle bridge is in the canyon. This is the EXACT train that my grandparents took and in the photo below this one you can see why they rode in the cab.

 It was either ride in the cab or sit on the logs! Look Lucas! The choo choo has a "hot!"

Looking at this vintage map showing a larger area, we can see the very, very long journeys the family took. Hopefully, by clicking to enlarge it you can see better what I've added. Near the Four Corners area you can see a purple dot. That is Farmington, where the family went to help Grandma Lee's health. You can see they traveled in a south-easterly direction to end up in the Kettner area (green dot.) I'm not sure why they did this as they went up the AZ/NM border to get to Farmington. The red dot is Ramah, which also still exists. This is where John and Ellen Lee moved to. The blue dot is the town of Zuni (named after the Zuni Indians) and just across the border a ways is Nutrioso. Holbrook, AZ is the orange dot and from there the temple group headed north, I assume by wagon. There were trains in the area in 1906 but it only ran from Holbrook to Flagstaff and not north.

I have some questions to ask my Granny Hamblin when I see her again someday. One of those would be, "Why, when you were so detailed in you life story about every little thing, did you just sweep over your courtship with Grandpa?" They had known each other for most of their lives and she called him her "childhood beau". Did he ever pull her hair or dip her braids in an ink well at school? Was he ever disinterested and leave her longing for his attention? The story of their courtship is pretty much non-existent. Only their date to the San Juan County Fair and the story of their wedding day were written down.  My Grandpa was a quiet man but so loving and sweet, according to my mother, so I am sure there were little stories here and there of him and her courting, but maybe that was too personal to her. Mom did tell me that when the Lee family moved from Nutrioso to Hammond, NM that Grandpa picked up and moved too. "He followed her there!" my Mom laughed. So obviously, he wasn't about to live without her near! I love the wedding day story and how they had two ceremonies, one legal and one for the family. That was completely unplanned but necessary. That's what happens when you put off getting that marriage license until the last minute! I have also wondered why there were no pictures of Ida and Carl either on their wedding day or from those first years together. When I was typing about them going to Salt Lake to be sealed in the temple I thought to myself," why didn't they have a wedding portrait done while they were in the city?" They probably did, but the fire at their home in Nutrioso would explain the loss of such things. This makes me very sad.  I also wondered why they didn't just go to St. George, Utah to the temple there. It would have been much closer, but I thought that the experience of attending General Conference for perhaps the only time in their lives would have been a strong draw to Salt Lake City. They traveled with a large group of people from Arizona to Sal Lake, most going for their temple work, some for Conference.

I found a few old photos of Salt Lake City from that era.  It truly must have seemed like "The Big City" to Carl and Ida! Electricity, Trolley cars, and three and four story buildings!

Below is a photo of SLC taken in 1907.

This is Main Street in SLC. You can see the trolley tracks in the middle of the street.

This is the First National Bank in Farmington, NM in more recent days. Many people question why there were Nazi swastikas built into the rock and brick work of the bank. Those are actually the Navajo symbol for luck! They are in the reverse direction of the swastika and were put on the bank building decades before WWII. Still, it gives many people a moment of pause when they first see them.



Next Time: Five little girls, and some amazing stories of how the Holy Spirit lead and prompted my grandparents.
Oh, and am I the only one who noticed that the midwife's name was "Miley"?

1 comment:

URFAVE5 said...

I just LOVE reading these stories. I too wad very sad that there wasn't more about their courtship. But it's evident the love they had for one another.