Table of Contents
My Own Family
The Big People
Maud S. Hunt
Annie May Marten
Ernst Tietjen's Story
Thomas Jefferson Hunt
The Martin and Summers Families
My Own Family
My Own Family
My first memories are of a wet spring. The snow was melting in Ambrosia Flat and the ground was very soft. Our old milk cow walked over the cellar and fell half way through and dangled until Mother chopped the boards around her and she fell through. We had a struggle to push her out the cellar door.
After that we moved to Kimatoh. An Indian girl, Lydia, helped take care of us. She was awfully afraid of rattlesnakes. I remember her showing us some snake tracks in an old abandoned building. That was before they killed the prairie dogs and rattlesnakes were numerous. One night Mother went outside with Tom in the dark. We soon heard her scream. She had heard a rattler, but couldn't tell where it was, so she didn't dare move until Dad took a lantern out there. Another thing about Kimatoh was the bad lightning storms. One day, a bolt of lightning passed down the barbed wire fence and knocked our toilet over.
Next year we moved to Bluff, Utah. Dad had an Indian Trading Post in Mexican Hat. At five I can remember being knocked down with a dish towel by Dad for stealing lemon-lime pop out of the store. I have memories of the constant roar of the swift and muddy San Juan. One night in Bluff and old drunk came to the front door and Mom moved us out the back to a neighbor's house.
When I was five, we moved to McGaffey where Dad worked for the Biological Survey, killing porcupines. Our neighbors, to my childlike mind, were terribly interesting. On one side lived Old Lady Neglar and her goose. When that goose got hold, he wouldn't turn loose. The old lady loved mushrooms. We often saw her cross the sty with a flour sack full of them, which she had gathered. On the other side of us lived a woman with a pet skunk. When we went to visit her, the skunk would crawl in and out of a hole in the floor. Wild skunks were certainly plentiful there. On many nights I remember Grandpa going out to the chicken pen after dark to kill a skunk. He used only a long board.
We had two favorite sports, the first of which was trying to catch one of the noisy, quarrelsome blue-jays. The older people would tell us that we needed only to shake salt on their tails. The other sport was digging gophers. If you found a freshly dug burrow, and had a good wrecking bar handy, you could usually rip faster than the gopher could dig. When you saw the dirt move a little, you reached your hand in the hole. The gopher would bite you and hang on. Once you pulled him out on the top of the ground, he was practically helpless.
While we were at McGaffey, our house caught on fire. Mom, Joe, Tom and I were out in the garden when we saw smoke pouring out the windows. Mom sent Joe running down to the Ranger Station for Dad while she ran into the house to get Wally who was asleep. When she got to his bed, he was gone. She couldn't see anything for the smoke. She yelled for him, and he called to her from the living room where he was sitting in a rocking chair. Picking him up, she ran outside. We rushed down to the Hargus well for water, but it was no use. In a few moments the walls fell in.
When we first lived at McGaffey, Joe and I went to school there. We had to cross a sty to get to the schoolhouse. Tex Hargus had a mean old red milk cow that would hook you. She wouldn't let us over the sty, so we often circled a quarter of a mile up the canyon to get around her.
Every summer Grandpa moved his cattle from the flats to McGaffey, and we kids went along to help. It was cold at night that time of year. I recall sleeping in the pickup one night with only a saddle blanket because there weren't enough beds. The stiff, sweaty, strong-smelling hairy saddle blanket was worse than nothing.
Joe, Tom, and I rod a lot with Grandpa. We made long circles to the hogbacks and sometimes our legs had all the hide rubbed off because the stirrups were too long and our horse trotted all day. Grandma usually packed us a good lunch and a few malted milk tablets to eat along the way. At noon we would stop at some spring, eat our jelly sandwiches, lay down on our bellies to get a drink, then move on.
When we got back in the evening, we would put the saddles in a little slab shed below the corrals. High ferns and wild iris were everywhere. We filled the water trough, turned a wrangling horse loose in the trap, milked the cow, and rode home in the pickup, holding the bucket of milk out the window. At home we would play the old phonograph.
Once a week we went to Gallup. The last thing to get was a 50 lb. block of ice. We wrapped it in several layers of tarp and rushed it the 25 miles home to the icebox. A dishpan had to be placed under the icebox to catch the water from the melting ice. We used the last of the ice to make ice-cream.
Water wasn't so scarce at McGaffey, but had to be heated on the stove. When we took a bath in the washtub, each one got one teakettle of hot water. The last one to bathe, of course had a half tub-full of warm water that had accumulated and that was luxury in its purest form. At that time, everyone had a rain barrel to catch water off the roof. The soft water was nice to wash one's hair, but it used to get red wriggle worms in it.
One of the interesting things Grandma had was a toasting rack. Four pieces of bread could be laid on the rack and the whole placed on top of the stove. Ordinarily, we toasted bread on the stove-top, and it had a really delicious smoked-in flavor. We used to mash the soft part of the bread down, then buttered it, to Mother's disgust.
I think we were beginning to modernize a bit, for Grandma had a gas iron. The old flatirons were always kept on back of the stove for emergencies, though. Even if they weren't used, they were nice to wrap in a dishtowel and put in bed as a foot-warmer. It seems that we had very few kitchen chairs. Almost everyone sat on benches.
We thought it was so much fun at nights at McGaffey to sleep on the screened porch, to picnic up at Turkey Springs, or to wander alone up Strawberry Canyon.
When the house burned at McGaffey, we moved to Thoreau, New Mexico where we spent the next four or five years. How ornery I must have been! I remember a little Mexican girl who used to come by out place, carrying two buckets of water. I would run out and throw sand in them and be off before she could do anything. One day her grandmother, an old señora whom I thought looked just like a witch with her black shawl wrapped around her, came storming out of the house with a razor strap in her hand, bent on vengeance. I dived for the shelter of the cellar. Not seeing me, she walked around and around the house, cursing in Spanish and telling what she would do if she caught me, but I stayed in the cellar until long after she had gone.
Wile at Thoreau, the war broke out. All the boys wore "Remember Pearl Harbor" sweaters and buttons. We grew victory gardens in school. Sugar, gasoline, meat, tires and shoes were rationed. We got one pair of shoes every six months, but grandma and grandpa gave us their shoe stamps whenever they could, and we managed somehow. Sometimes people went to the restaurants and got a little sugar in a paper bag while no one was looking. Statues of Mussolini and Hitler were hung in the streets in Gallup and people paid a quarter to take a shot at them. All dishes made in Japan were thrown out in the streets and broken in the frenzy of patriotism. Grandma had a beautiful bowl she wouldn't break, but we kids weren't supposed to tell anyone. The Germans were roasting carloads of Jews and Poles as fertilizer for their cabbages and every day's paper told of some new atrocity, of the horrors of hanging live people on meat hooks, etc. Every night at nine o'clock we kids had to be absolutely silent while news cam or while Mom and Dad listened to the compelling voice of Franklin D Roosevelt.
In school, we knitted blankets for the Red Cross. Every child had to contribute a 12-inch square block. Trains rolled by in an unending procession of troops, tanks, planes and guns.
When we first went to Thoreau, planes were a curiosity and when we heard one fly over, everyone left whatever they were doing and ran out of their house to watch the plane until it vanished, but during the war the skies were sometimes nearly blackened with planes. When Japan entered the war, everyone confidently predicted we could whip them in three weeks. We children drew pictures of Tojo and Hitler in the sand, then stamped them. Every extra dime we could rake up went for Defense stamps.
Two curious events stand out in my mind of our days at Thoreau. One of them was Mother's ever-so-delicious cinnamon rolls with pineapple and nuts on top with a layer of white icing. The oven of our old stove kept falling open so Dad made a notched stick to hold it up. So often the temperature gauge on our oven failed to work that we kept a spare one which we put inside the oven.
One of the Navajos who often hauled us a load of wood, was Kirk Endito. One day while we kids were eating lunch, Kirk went into the store at Jones, got a 22 rifle, and shot his wife on the steps to the store.
The other event was picking many colored beads off the ant hills and stringing them on a piece of screen wire. I'll never know how they got on those ant hills.
I went to the store one day to get something on the bill. Jones sent me home to tell mother we couldn't have any more credit. Mom bawled and bawled. Times were hard and we didn't have much, but she took the last cent in the house and paid him off.
From Thoreau we moved to Bluewater at a site now occupied by the Anaconda Mill. We called it Church and Harden. While we lived at Thoreau and went to school there, we spent a great many weekends at the Ranch with Grandpa and Grandma. Friday afternoon we left right after school. Dad usually had a bed fixed for us in the back of the pickup and the four of us covered our heads with the tarp or blanket to keep out the sometimes bitter cold. Every ten minutes or so we delegated one of the bunch to look out and see where we were.
I remember on incident on the way to the ranch. Each of us had a twine rope and had been looking for something to use them on. Suddenly the pickup stopped and we all peeked out. "Get him," Dad yelled, and we were out and after a badger. Although the badger had scarcely ten feet head start on us, he beat us to his hole, turned around in it, and came back to the top, growling and fighting. We were so disappointed not to have gotten a rope around that neck, but we weren't about to get too close to those snapping teeth.
By the time we got to the ranch it would be time to get the chores done. We got an old hat out of the hall, for Grandpa thought we were practically naked without a hat, and he got his old corduroy cap with the ear flaps and we went out to milk Bess and Guernsey. One of us got a little feed and put it in the hollowed-out log for the cows while another one got the eggs and another one filled a couple of moralls with oats and fed Chester and Jiggs and Big Red. Grandpa always knelt on the ground and milked into a ten-pound lard bucket. After he milked, he hung the bucket on the fence while we turned in the calves. As we crossed the arroyo on the way back to the house, we each took in a load of wood. Then there were the lanterns to set out on the porch, fill with gas, and pump. There were chips to get in, the stove to fill with kerosene, and two water buckets to fill from the cistern.
As we went into the kitchen, there was an old black water table by the door on which the water buckets stood. Grandma's father had hewn the logs of that table with an axe and we marveled at how smooth they were. Above the table hung a tin dipper. The water tasted so good out of that dipper. A round table stood to one side and beyond that was an intriguing pantry. As soon as the others were in the living room, I would sneak back to the kitchen on pretense of getting a drink, go through the curtain and into the panty to get a bite of coconut out of the box. I knew right where Grandma kept it and could unroll the heavy blue paper so quietly. Over against the kitchen wall was the stove, and next to it was a wood box which made a very comfortable seat. Behind the stove there was invariably a kerosene can with a potato over the spout.
As one went into the hall, there was a one hundred-pound sack of sugar in a corner. The sugar was packed in ten pound cloth bags. When opportunity afforded, I liked nothing better than to suck a little sugar out of the corner of one of those bags. In the living room, there was a couch which we reserved for Grandpa to lie on. It was covered with a beautiful Afghan. Above the couch hung a picture of a pueblo woman, her vase on her head. The picture was carved into a piece of white sandstone. A rather handsome desk which opened out into a writing table always fascinated us. Navajo rugs covered the floor. A picture of the Lone Wolf and some of Bruce Kiskaddons Poems on the Los Angeles Stockyard Reports adorned the walls. Grandma had covered the inside walls with wallpaper and her catalogue of samples of wallpaper, together with the box of agricultural bulletins which she kept under her bed, afforded us hours of satisfaction.
From one of the bare rafters a lantern hung. The light seemed so bright to us, since we had only coal-oil lamps at home. We had to guard constantly against moths flying into the mantles and breaking them. Next to the couch was the oil stove on which there was always a round pan of water to humidify the room. Back of the stove hung a world map on which the grownups kept track of the course of the war. The table underneath the map was occupied by a typewriter. I don't know how Grandma kept it operating with us kids around, but she had to, for Grandpa dictated a never-ending stream of letters to her while she typed. Beside the typewriter were a few V-letters from Duane, occasionally with some of the sentences censored. We had no idea where he was, only "somewhere in India."
A battery radio stood on a small end-table near the window, for every radio then had to have a substantial ground and a long aerial. Grandma always had a good supper fixed for us, and after supper Grandma Great (Edwina Summers) always did the dishes. Grandma had such pretty square plates with cactus and Mexicans and pottery designs, but the prettiest thing was her black porcelain tea pot. Water was ever so scarce, and after the dishes were washed, about a half teakettle-full could be afforded to pour over the dishes as a rinse. The dish water was taken outside and thrown on the ground to keep down the dust down. The dishes done, Grandma got a quart jar of cream and a dishtowel. Holding the jar on her lap, she shook it to butter while we played Chinese checkers and listened to the radio--Minnie Pearl, Grand Ole Opera, Geranium, and the Checkerboard Sisters, and finally the news. When the ten O'clock news came on, we children were forbidden to make a sound. Grandma Great sat quietly by the fire, sewing quietly on her quilts. Occasionally she told us stories of the civil war. On Sunday she spent all day reading her Bible.
At night, tucked into bed, the utter silence would be pierced now and then by a coyote howl, or, very faintly indeed, a lonesome train whistle at Baca, twelve miles away.
Next morning we were up at daylight. Grandma used to fix us animal-shaped pancakes for breakfast. There were always log-cabin shaped cans of syrup or bottles of Brer Rabbit Molasses. From the meal, we went directly to the 'old store', former living quarters which had been replaced by the new adobe house. It had been converted in to an Indian Trading Post. Behind the high counter were hard sugar cookies, dried apricots, rolls of plush and velvet, rolls of twine for use in rugs and for rolling up the squaws' hair, canned chili and peaches, crackers, some wool cards, a box of thread, squares of silver, turquoise, some #9 high topped squaw shoes, soda pop, and sheepherder coffee. There was no soap because the squaws washed their hair with yucca root, and there was not enough water to wash anything else. In an open fireplace in the store I remember popping corn in a long handled screen corn popper.
The back room of the store serves as a warehouse for groceries and cattle feed in the form of cottonseed cake. From the ceiling hung a huge wool sack, perhaps ten feet long and forty inches across. In wool season, we children got into that sack and tramped the wool down as the Navajos brought it in. Their smaller sacks were first weighed and they received their pay. Then the wool was unceremoniously dumped in on our heads for packing. To keep the mice from eating the horse feed, Dad had furnished us kids with mouse traps and paid us a penny for every mouse we could catch.
We got several gunny sacks, put about forty pounds of cake in each one, and loaded them into the pickup. Out in the pasture, Grandpa drove slowly around, calling the cattle. Meanwhile, we shook the cake over the tailgate and onto the ground. The cattle came running for miles to get some feed. When one of us occasionally fell out of the pickup, the others pounded on the cab until Grandpa stopped and waited for the straggler to catch up and get in.
On the way home we stopped at John Tash's hogan, but they were having a sing. The medicine man was in the hogan. One of my best friends, Juan Yazzie, was sick, and they were beating him with willow sticks to make him get well and drive the evil spirits out. John Johnson had been hired to sing, and how he could sing!
Grandma had bent her every effort to beautify their desert home, and had ordered rows of elms, which she hoped would someday shade the house and cut the wind. The next order of business was to haul water for the pitifully frail little trees. We went up to the windmill, about half a mile away. Every available tub, barrel, and bucket was pressed into use. We dipped the water out of the cow trough, along with an occasional water dog, filled the tubs and barrels, and bounced back to the house. When we got there, nearly half of the water had been lost. As faithfully as Grandma watered the trees, they never thrived, and it was a miracle that they lived at all, since the water was a strong Alkali.
The rest of the day was ours--to fish in the old tank for polliwogs using a bent pin for a hook; to play croquet; to go up the big ladder and play in the fine dry dirt in the loft; to go up to the windmill and look for speckled duck eggs; to go hunting rabbits, prairie dogs, or arrowheads. Grandma often went with us on those jaunts, joining with us in shooting at tin cans, helped us learn to ride our bicycles, and let us work in the store. Grandma was good to her Navajo neighbors, and often had some Indian family for dinner, or made dressed to give to the women, and the loved her for it. In the evening, perhaps, we would be entertained by having the fighting ram come around. He was always good bait for the men. They stood with a sack, loaded with a few rocks, and fought him like matadors. Sometimes they stood on the brink of and arroyo, and ram would fall in, but come out undaunted. In rare instances, the ram caught the teaser off guard, and then we watched a foot race to the nearest fence. Once the ram caught Grandma by surprise as she came into the corral. He knocked her down again and again. Battered and bruised, she finally crawled into the chicken house to escape.
In the summertime when it rained, spirits were high. Grandpa whooped and hollered. We kids climbed up into the loft to find out for the grownups where it was raining. After the rain, we had to drive out in the pastures to see which tanks had caught water. Invariable the pickup drowned out or else we got stuck in the mud and burned the clutch out, and walked home.
For a while, Dad worked at Smith's Lake in Al's store. The wooden counter had a number of small glass display windows about a foot square, and in each of them was a different kind of merchandise. We stole jaw breakers out of one of them. There was an old, dry-cell telephone in the store, and the favorite recreation was eavesdropping. One day Fat had picked up the phone to listen in on what promised to be an interesting conversation. "Hang up, Smith Lake," the operator snapped. He put the phone down quickly enough. *** I saw my last chicken pull at Smith Lake. A level spot down by the lake had been selected for the event. At one end of the course stood an open wagon. In the center of field the chick was buried, only the neck sticking out. Twenty or thirty Indians, bareback, and stripped to the waist, waited at the far end of the field. At the signal, they thundered down the raceway, bent low over their horse's necks. As they passed over the chicken at full speed, one of them swooped low and pulled the chicken out of the ground. I marveled at the strength in their legs, for sometimes only one foot was over the horse's back. Then everyone attacked the Indian that had the chicken, struggling, fighting, milling and throwing each other off their horses in an attempt to get the prize. All but three or four of the riders were finally unseated. The rider who threw the chicken head into the wagon won the race. In later years the sport was discontinued because it was too rough--on the men.
In April 1941, Dad and Grandpa went into the sheep business. I knew it was against their principles, and that the smell of sheep was a war cry to every cowman, but times were such that it was no longer a question of principles. There were 1200 of them, and I don't know which one was the dumbest. With the aid of 5 or 6 Navajos, we herded them to the mountains, several miles above Bluewater Lake. Joe and I drove the covered wagon part of the way. We learned quickly, just above Thoreau, that water and chamisa don't mix. We hadn't rushed the sheep off the chamisa soon enough after watering them, and Dad kept us counting sheep continually, and soon as we had finished counting the herd, we had to begin over.
When we got into the timber, we had to put rocks into tin cans and shake them to make as much noise as possible. Otherwise, the coyotes would have gotten into the herd--even in broad daylight. Upon reaching our camp, Tom and I were given charge of the dogey lambs, a herd which eventually grew to thirty head. Every morning and night we had to milk two cows and feed the dogies on the bottle. Even then we had to us a lot of canned milk. Every lamb had to be fed separately with a pop bottle and a nipple. Tom would stand outside the gate of the little corral to attract the attention of the group. Meanwhile, I jumped into the pen, grabbed a lamb, drug him backwards a few feet, and started feeding. The milk wasn't coming fast enough for the greedy little devil, so he yanked and yanked until he got the nipple off and milk all over me and him. If I tried to hold the nibble on, my hands took severe punishment as he bunted me with his sharp teeth. By then the 29 others had rushed me, and I was lucky it I didn't get trampled in the rush. Tom was in there fighting them off, but we knew it was no use, so we jumped outside and pulled one lamb over the fence at a time and fed him. Tom straddled the lamb and held the ears while I refilled and served. By the time we repeated this operation 30 times, we were sick of sheep, and it was a vast relief when we finally taught them to drink out of a pan.
We then had to herd the lambs a mile or two down the canyon to some vegas near the lake. Our patience being already at an end, we would catch and throw any lamb that wandered from the trail into one of the many potholes in the canyon bottom, but try as we would, we never got one of the lambs drowned. ***Most of the day while we watched the lambs was spent in fishing for minnows with our hands. About five o'clock we drove the lambs home. They never learned the trail. ***One evening we got home and left the lambs for a few minutes about seventy-five yards away from the house while we went to eat some watermelon. In twenty minutes we returned, only to find the lambs gone. We trailed them a few minutes then found the entire herd slaughtered wantonly, their bellies ripped open. When we got home, we found the only survivor at the corral, a little crippled lamb. A large patch of skin was torn away just below his ear, characteristic marks of killer coyotes.
We lived in one of the many log cabins scattered through that section of the country. Strips of wood had been nailed over the logs so that a triangular space was formed, ideal for pack-rats. Tom and I looked down every hole until we found one we wouldn't see through, which was a sure sign a rat was there. With Tom at one end and me at the other, we punched the animal this way and that until he finally shot past one of us. Then the chase was on with our black dog Short-stump after him. At night we would hear the rats creeping stealthily through the wall. The racket became louder and louder until someone threw a shoe. That quieted things down for fifteen minutes or so, then it began again.
Mom kept missing her embroidery thread until one day we found a nest on one of the rafters. It was absolutely beautiful with every imaginable color of thread woven through it.
One day Mom screamed for me. I thought a snake had bitten her and came running. It was only a rat in the cupboard. I lifted the rat out and he bit me. I dropped him on the stove which happened to be red hot at the time, and he really squealed. I think that rat left the house and never came back.
While we were there we sometimes went fishing in the lake. One evening we were trying to get the lead out of some 22 shells to use for sinkers. Tom hit a shell with a hammer and shot himself in the thumb. Fortunately it wasn't serious. Also I remember Dad hiding behind a tree and trying to scare Wally one night, but Wally wasn't afraid of anything.
One day up at the Navajo sheep camp, we watched a Squaw straddle an old ewe and cut its throat. The warm blood was given to the oldest man to drink. Old Pedro I think we called him. That sheep camp was where Tom learned to dislike chili. Those Navajos had chili in the potatoes, in the meat, in the bread, everything. I recall one boy asking for the jar of chili. It was passed across the fire to him and in so doing it was dropped in the water bucket. The boy quickly fished the jar out, dipped out a great heaping tablespoon of wet chili and swallowed it in one gulp.
At Rice Park, I think, we lambed. A lion came prowling one night and we called a lion hunter. Al came up with him and we sat up all one night listening to his exciting tales of Old Mexico and his capture by Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolutionary.
I remember we often went over to Fat's place which was not far away. We played fiddlesticks for hours. Aunt Tess had a coffee grinder with a little drawer to remove the ground coffee. When it rained in that country, even the horse tracks were filled with horsehair snakes. Next spring the sheep were high, so we sold them. Damn good riddance.
Our life while we were attending school at Bluewater and later at Grants was typical of what country kids did. We had between two and ten milk cows all the time, and they all had to be bilked before seven in the morning. We three older boys divided the milking and wood-getting chores among ourselves.
About 5:30 we had to get up and dress in the dark. We put on heavy coats because it was always cold in the winter, and the hour before dawn was coldest of all. I recount the usual morning milking chores: The first thing to do was single out a cow and try to get her in the right stall. Of course she knew where she was wanted, but she had a compulsive need to assert her independence and went in and out of every stall but the one you had chosen. As you bring in the feed, she practically runs over you and knocks you out of the way before you can get it dumped. The feed bucket now becomes a milking stool. Next, you attempt the hobbling operation, which means trying to throw a short length of rope around both hind legs in a sort of figure-eight twist, and draw the rope tight enough to keep the cow from kicking you and the milk bucket over. It the cow kicks at this junction, the idea is to slip the rope under the hind legs just as she lets go with a haymaker and draw it tight before she can recover her balance. A second type of cow is more subtle and won't move her legs together. You have to heave and pull with all your might. Just as you are tying the rope, she half buries you in the barnyard manure, some of which is bound to be fresh. ***At last you get the hobbles on, and by now you are dirty, bruised, and in an ugly mood. As you sit down on the milking stool, the cow, hobbled but unsubdued, commences a series of urinations and bowel movements calculated to dislodge even the most determined milker. After she has exhausted her resources, you continue the milking while she flips you sharply across the eyes and mouth with her nasty tail. Finally you can stand no more, and secure the tail to the hobbles with a piece of baling wire, but the cow considers this insult heaped upon injury and starts squirming and twisting. About this time the cow runs out of feed and just as you fill the bucket, she makes a run for it. The milk, of course, goes all over you. The cow is not satisfied, however, until she has stepped into the bucket and bent it out of place. The only thing to do is scream after her retreating form, stamp your foot in the manure, and return to the house empty-handed to get a cussing out from the grownups.
One person, meanwhile, has been down to the woodpile, a hundred yards away, to get four or five loads of wood for the day. We spent a little time each evening cutting the wood so that it would not have to be done in the mornings. A great deal of the time there is snow on the ground, and this makes the wood hard to find. You have to dig around in the snow, uncover a chunk and pound off the snow. The axe is always hopelessly lost, so that only ready-cut wood is available. ***With the chores done, we must eat, dress for school, and get our books and papers ready. Breakfast consists of hot cocoa, biscuits and gravy, and salt pork. Frequently we had steak for breakfast. After the meal, there is a scramble to get ready, and if one is missing a certain shoe or book, he is sure to accuse the others of hiding it out of pure spite. Everyone joins in the search for the lost article and finally locates it just where the now sheepishly-grinning owner had left it. Most of the time we walked the mile to the highway. We kept a small bottle of kerosene hidden at the bus-stop and would build a fire with tumbleweeds to keep warm. Sometimes when we forgot matches, we nearly froze, and had to stamp our feet, and more than once there were tears in our eyes from the bitter cold. **In the worst weather Dad took us to the highway in the jeep which was a real treat. There was room for only two on the seat, so the third had to sit on another person's lap. By accident, Tom always had something to do which occupied his time until Joe and I were in the car. Then he got to sit on top. Suspecting that it was more design than accident, we attempted, unsuccessfully, to thwart his purpose. If the person on top is sitting so that he is putting the person underneath in a cramped position, he can be forced to move by putting one's chin in the offender's back and rubbing up and down vigorously, a method we used freely. The only retaliation is to bump the person underneath in the nose with a quick toss of the head backward.
In the evenings we spent much of our time making and putting out coyote bait. We butchered beeves quite often for a nearby commissary which supplied the Indian laborers with meat. As a result, there were a number of entrails which we drug off several miles and uses as a base for our operations. We took little cubes of tallow and cut a hollow in them just the size of the little strychnine tablet. The sides of the cube of tallow were then mashed together so that the poison was invisible and well hidden. A number of these lumps of fat were placed strategically around the carrion so that any coyote that approached was likely to come upon and eat the lethal globule. We kept track of the number that we put out, and when we found one gone we knew we had a coyote. We then made a circle around the base with about a quarter of a mile radius until we found the coyote. There were a considerable number of animals in the district and we caught many.
To skin the coyotes we simply punched a basket ball needle under the skin and pumped in air with a tire pump. We then made a slit up each leg, and the hide fell off. We stretched the furs over a wooden frame and nailed it on. The nose and ears we salted and nailed on a board, which brought a bounty of fifty cents. We never made much money, but did a great deal of predator control.
There were in the area a number of wild dogs which were too clever to be poisoned. We had some fun roping them, and excitement ran high if we caught one. We had about an acre enclosed by a high fence and this they were accustomed to going in and out of frequently. One day we slipped around and caught a large black dog in the trap by shutting the gates. The dog, finding his usual escape holes wired up, went into a wild hysteria. We stood on the outside throwing chunks of wood at him and he leaped and tried to attack us through the fence. I was holding the gate and at last he rushed at me with such fury that I ran and the dog escaped.
A man in the country who had a large number of sheep one day presented us with a pet goat. He grazed with the milk cows, but was a constant plague to them. We had a very heavy bull which had got tender footed on the malpais and could move only very slowly. Also there was a large empty hole just back of the house which we were digging for a cesspool. The goat would torment the old bull until he angered him into chasing him, then would lead him to the brink of the hole and tease him some more. His motive was clearly obvious. He was trying to maneuver the bull into such a position that he would fall in the cesspool. Luckily he never succeeded.
One day we had a man cleaning the corrals and barns. He had laid his lunch on a box. The curious goat approached and decided to take a closer look at the sack. He was just starting to eat it when the man spied him and grabbed the bundle from him. For safety's sake he then put his lunch on a six-foot fence, but the goat was not to be defeated. He reared up on the fence to investigate farther and found he could just reach the top. Again the man looked around just in time and gave a loud yell to frighten the goat, but he defeated his purpose. The excited goat bumped the sacks just as the got down, which pushed them off into the pigpens whence they could not be recovered. The angry laborer tried to catch the goat, but he was unsuccessful, for "cat and mouse" was the impish animal's favorite game at which he was highly skilled.
While at Church and Harden, we had to learn to drive. Hay had to be hauled for the cows, and innumerable errands required u to be able to drive. We had an old Chevrolet Pickup. After hours of practice shifting gears, we got mom to go with us. The route she laid out was around a small hill, and flat enough so that we couldn't kill ourselves. Unfortunately for the car springs there were a number of prairie dog holes on the way. The combination hole and mound was enough to thoroughly bruise one's head on the car top. Throughout the ride Mom had a do-or-die look on her face, but looking back I don't know how she or the car withstood it.
I used to like to get a jam sandwich and hide up on the well tower and read or curl up in a wash tub with a blanket, a book and a pickle mayonnaise sandwich. We churned with a dash which seemed to take hours, but it churned lots of cream. We heated wash water in a tub outside. The flies swarmed us. Those were the days before DDT and once a day we shut all the windows and sprayed flies. Gasping for breath, we ran outside a few minutes then had to go back in to sweep up the flies and burn them before they came back to life. Every evening before supper the whole family got dish towels and made a drive on the flies. Near the door, someone opened the screen and we tried to drive more flies out then came in. I think the drive reduced the flies by about fifty percent.
I remember an all-night party there after the war, which began at eight and lasted until after sunup. Every room within sound of the music was used for dancing except the kitchen. About a quarter of beef was used for steak that night and at least a dozen cakes were consumed. One bed was used for coats, but collapsed about nine o'clock. The kids were bedded down in a corner of one of the back rooms, when they fell asleep from exhaustion. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed himself tremendously.
At Church and Harden, Dad worked as a weeding foreman in the carrot fields. I was later his paymaster. We sometimes had a crew numbering nearly a thousand Navajos. Each family contracted to weed a certain number of rows. As Dad named off the prices for each row, there was an invariable uproar. The old squaws jumping up and down, screaming their indignation and telling us what scoundrels we were to make them work so cheaply. Scolding and griping was part of their nature. The Navajo strawbosses walked up and down the rows lecturing the people with all authority. *** Early one morning, Dad and I killed a rather large rattlesnake in the field before the Indian workers arrived. I coiled the snake's body, covered it with my straw hat, and sat down until time for payment began. As the squaws gathered around me and started complaining and cussing, I would nudge my hat with my elbow 'accidentally' so that they could just see the snake. That stopped all arguments that day--everyone grabbed their pay and left.
In 1948 carrots were high, so we put in twenty acres in Rinconada, at the foot of Mt. Taylor. The cost of leveling the land and irrigating day and night with our limited supply of water was more than we had bargained for. To complicate matters, the ground baked on top so that the carrots wouldn't come through. To remedy this, Tom and I rolled tires up and down the rows of the entire 20 acres. In addition, fat tomato worms with spines on their tails invaded our 5 acres of potatoes and had to be pulled off by hand. I lived with Aunt Tess then and ran down to the farm and worked all day. **About that time we had to go back to school, so Joe, Tom and I rented a small cabin in Grants and 'bached' it. What a mess that was! We had only 30 minutes for lunch and Joe and I fought bitterly over whether we would have my 7-minute macaroni or his cold cereal. Tom lived with Grandma Tietjen a lot that year. He couldn't break an egg in a skillet without getting eggshells all through it, and I guess we didn't do so much better. **Stanley and Card had agreed to use their crew that year to harvest our crop, but as it turned out, no one had any crews. That year one of those rare events occurred: a good pinon crop. The Navajos reverted to their wild state, deserted the fields, and flocked to the hills to pick pinons. A few Mexican wetbacks were imported, but not enough to do much harvesting, and many people, like ourselves plowed the crop under for the cattle--an almost total loss.
That winter we were offered a job running a ranch for Kothman and Ringer at Datil, and on the 1st of January, 1949, we moved to the 'Drag A' Ranch, the old Ray Morley headquarters. Joe drove the jeep with our stove on it, lost the stove, and had to go back for it. When we got to Datil, it was snowing hard. I wanted to see the San Augustine plains, but since I was going back with Frank Childers, it was a long time before I got the opportunity. Datil was in Catron County. A tourist once said of the people there: "I never saw anyone so proud of what they haven't got." It was true. We had no public utilities in the county, no railroads, no telegraph, no telephone, no incorporated town, no banks, no hospitals, no library, no doctor, no dentist, no busses. We drove 63 miles to Socorro if we needed any of these conveniences too badly. The county seat was 80 miles away and often inaccessible for a week at a time. The courthouse was a remodeled bar with the stall gates still swinging.
We settled in an old log and tin house that had been standing since 1880. Its only redeeming features were a wood chute which held a two month's supply of firewood and opened onto the kitchen, and a secret room under the chute. The cattle were unacclimated and did poorly in spite of the tons of feed we hauled in our jeep over Monument Hill. There was no provision for heating the back rooms in the winter in most houses, and ours was no exception. I remember using eight or nine heavy quilts in the bedrooms and then it was awfully cold getting the bed warm. We often heated an old catalogue, a flatiron or a jar of water to take to be with us. At daylight everyone had to get up, and the one whose turn it was to build the fires got up a little earlier. Most of the time the fires had to be built with chips and paper. Even Mom would stand halfway across the room to throw a match as if she were using gasoline.
I went to Albuquerque to school that winter and the next five winters. Tom went half a year in Albuquerque; the remainder of his school he spent in Magdalena. When he and I came home that first summer, we went directly with Charlie Winstead to the Barker Place where I was given the job of cooking. Everyone else was rounding up for branding. I put on some beans, but the wind kept blowing the lid off, a situation which I finally remedied with a large rock. The beans got alternately soft then hard. About that time Jay McPhaul come by, drank some coffee and finally remarked cautiously that it was none of his business, but that he would pour hot water on the beans if he were I.
About noon Mom came by and we went down to the McCord place for dinner, combining our lunches. About 400 head of long horned cows were in the corral and Old Bud Criswell was standing in the gate flapping his chaps with cows flying by him on all sides. I learned later at first hand that there were a good many of those cows that would sooner run over you than look at you.
That entire summer we camped out, gathering the remnant, branding and moving to the mountain. Most of that time we spent at Stiver Springs, with only our bedrolls and a chuck wagon. I cooked, and when I got the dishes washed, rode out to help the others. They usually left Star for me and he was hard to get on. I often waited until it was good and hot and I thought he had the kinks out of his back before I tried to get on.
We were forced to fence the major watering holes as traps for the wild cattle. We often used "fly-trap" gates made of sharpened willows. We usually tried to get a "holdup" of several cows and drive the wilder ones into it and hold them until they cooled down. Ropes were used only when nothing else would turn a cow. There were plenty of adventures: One day Dad and Joe hit the trail of two wild cows and decided to stay with it until they caught the pair. The cows soon found that someone was on their trail and after several circles, broke through the neighbor's fence. On and on they ran, with Joe and Dad in pursuit. The cows ran through many herds of steers, but the riders could pick out the calf tracks and stayed on the trail. Finally they caught up with the two cows and calves, roped them, and took them to a nearby windmill where there was a corral. Then came the fifteen miles back to camp that night, their horses give out, but they were in high spirits over the capture. Next morning Dad and I went to bring the cows to camp. When we got to the littler corral, we scotch-hobbled the cows. Two of the cows got the rope between their back toes and we had to rope them and take the rope out of their feet. The wilder cow had long horns and she watched our every move until we got close enough, then she would make a dash for us. Hobbled as she was, she nearly got us more than once. ***Another wild cow was the Red Canyon Heifer. When Joe roped her, she whirled and gored his horse (Charley) in the flanks, but just once. Joe threw the rope over her and she hit the dirt hard. Next day Dad and I hauled her in a trailer to the Mountain because she was impossible to drive. Her calf fought just like she did. *** The Lake Mesa Cow was of another sort. Tom and Joe finally caught up with her at the Webster Place. In the excitement of the capture, Tom jumped his horse (Chile) off a ten-foot embankment. When Tom roped her, she made a run for him, but turned off at the last moment. *** Bearcat was another vicious cow. Joe, Dad and Cokie Apachito trailed her up a box canyon. When they caught up with her, Joe roped her by the horns. Accidentally he lost his dally and she jerked the rope out of his hands. The problem now was to recover the rope. The cow was so fast, though, and her horns tilted so dangerously that the other two were not anxious to 'tie onto' her. Dad climbed into a pinon tree, and the Navajo got the cow to charge him, thus bringing her within range of Dad's loop. They tied her to the tree, and Joe had just removed one rope when the cow broke the other and charged him. He ran for the nearest shelter, a four-foot high cedar shrub. To conceal himself, he got down on hands and knees, but the cow was after him. Around and around the bush they went until the cow, baffled, gave up and ran down the draw. *** Finally there was Blue Mesa, and fortunately for all concerned she was de-horned. As soon as she sighted a rider she was on the fight and would knock a horse down when she hit.
Unlike most ranchers, we lived on our summer range the year around and 'camped' on the winter range. Our winter camp at Grapevine was a typical two-room shack with a small tin 'jumping stove' in one corner. When a fire was built with pitch wood and with the air vents open, the roaring fire was almost too much for the light weight stove, and it rattled and shook at every joint. I never saw one clear the floor, despite the fact that many cowboys swore that they did. They were so popular, I think, because they got red-hot in minutes, and to a cold cowboy after a hard day's ride, that was what counted most.
A coal oil lamp was the only light. I remember one we had a Mexican Hat that couldn't have held more than a cup of kerosene and had a corrugate reflector back of it. It hung on the wall. A gas lantern was a real luxury. If there was any thing we children had respect for, it was the mantles on those lanterns. Although they wouldn't burn without a mantle, it was miraculous sometimes how well they did with only a fragment of one. If one of us accidentally jarred a lantern and broke a mantle, it was enough to bring all the wrath of the head of the house crashing down on us. There was always a scorched spot on the ceiling where the lantern hung. The only other furniture was a cook stove and the bed rolls stacked in one corner.
The wood cook stoves were temperamental affairs, and one had to know the exact combination of dampers, shakers and drafts to make them burn. Only one accustomed to the real uncertainty of mealtime on a ranch, though, could appreciate the convenience of the warming ovens in keeping meals warm for hours. They took armloads of wood and one had to remove the ashes everyday, but they were the center of family activity, especially in the mornings, and one of the comforts of home life.
Behind the stove hung a battered dish pan and a small string mop we used to wash dishes, while on top of the warming oven stood a stove crock of sourdough. A chuckbox was propped in one corner, the lid folded out into a crude table. An odd mixture of pie plates, granite iron dishes and huge black skillets were the only utensils in evidence. Outside of one of the north windows was a small screened box used for keeping milk and butter cold when the commodities were available. On the north side of the house hung a quarter of beef which we wrapped in tarps in the daytime.
There was only the house, a well, and a saddle and grain house at Grapevine. The creaking windmill pumped first into a barrel which in turn ran into a large drinking trough. Water for the house was dipped out of the barrel. The saddle shed contained only an oat barrel, a few wooden pegs for hanging morrals and ropes, a couple of saddle racks, a horse shoeing kit, a square can of woolfat and a bottle of distemper medicine for horses.
The principal duty of the line rider at the winter camp was to keep the ice chopped and the fences fixed. Extra time was spent in riding half-broken broncs until they were thoroughly gentle.
Our second year at the Drag A's in 1950 began a severe five-year drought. It didn't snow in the winter, nor rain in the spring. There was not enough winter feed, and in the spring the cows hunted in vain for something green. I recall the sickening sight of one of our cows rearing up on the trunk of a pinon tree and eating the needles. Not even the oaks leafed out the spring. Like everyone else we fed enormous amounts of salt and meal to keep the cattle alive. I had a one-hundred mile circuit which I drove every other day, putting out two tons of feed at a round. Many of the cows slunk their calves and the other didn't have enough milk to keep their calves alive. The days were hot and dry, and the wind came up just enough to blow the clouds away, but not to keep the windmills pumping, and the days between feeding were occupied with keeping the pumps running, often transporting an engine from one well to the next. The springs dried up one by one, and after each disaster, the whole family turned out with picks and shovels to try to revive the water, but to no avail. Cattle died of every known ailment and many unknown ones. Poison weeds were common. Injuries incurred in calfbirth were usually fatal. The "creeps" attacked cows in many parts of the country. All summer we had 3 or 4 sick cows in the corral, and they all died.
Every cow on the range that gave more milk than her own calf needed was mustered up to feed the many dogies. We had between eighteen and twenty head continually. Every rider was on the lookout for baby calves with the telltale black noses that told the story of their mother's death. We spent hour upon hour teaching their calves to suck, pulling their tongues out and pouring the milk down them when all else filed. Mother was so superior about her ability to teach a dogey to suck that I spent many a frustrating hour holding up some damn calf to a cow rather than admit to her that I had been unsuccessful. If I couldn't do it, she could and often did. I accused her of taking over my charges when they were just at the point of learning to suck, but I was not very convincing. When all 18 dogies were turned into the corral at once, it took the skill of a bullfighter to separate them into their proper stalls and see that they got their share. The older the calves got, the more dogied they looked, that is, the fatter in the middle, and the poorer on both ends.
The second year only served to uncover the ravages of the first. Even the pinon trees died in great numbers. Then whole hillsides of pines turned red, and that made us sick.
Jerry was seven when we came to the Drag A's, there being eight years between him and Tom, the next older boy. He was one of those few persons to whom riding was as natural as walking, and from the first he was expected to do all the work of a grownup. Sixteen hours in the saddle was nothing to him. I tried several times to take him on a circle long enough to make him give out or complain, but I was always the loser. His horse was always the freshest because he carried the lightest burden, and I've always maintained that a rider tires at the same rate that his horse does.
Jerry lived to tease and aggravate his older bothers until they lost all self-control. With Joe, it was checkers. Jerry was a very skillful player while Joe couldn't 'play worth a hoot'. Jerry's supreme triumph was to lure Joe into a game and beat him disgracefully. One could see the wrath gathering on Joe's face until finally he exploded, knocked the checkers across the room, and grabbed Jerry by the hair and shook him as a dog shakes a rat. Jerry, meanwhile, could not control himself for laughter. I have to confess here that Nez and I once spent three solid days, sunup till sundown, practicing checkers (while Jerry was off on a visit) to avoid being humiliated in a like manner. *** A sport of which I was once the victim came after a long day's ride and on our way home. Jerry would get directly in front of me, obstructing the trail until I turned out. If I stopped, he stopped, and if I tried to go on, he stopped me. Oh for a quirt! I couldn't keep my temper and threatened to beat him, but I knew and he knew that I couldn't catch him. At length we arrived at the waterlot gate, and there both of us sat, glaring at each other. I wasn't about to open the gate and let him get a head start of me. The gate was a hard one to open, and believing firmly that he couldn't open it, I whirled and started for the other gate, about a quarter of a mile away. I thought I had him that time, for he sat glumly a moment, then jumped down, opened the gate and shut it as easily. When I reached the corral, he had unsaddled and disappeared and I knew he wouldn't show up until Mom and Dad came home that night.
From old Bud Criswell, Jerry acquired a 'way' with wild cattle that we all envied. I used to marvel at how a kid of his size mounted a big horse. With his short stirrups and the horse's height, it was something of a trapeze accomplishment, but with the aid of the saddle strings and a two-foot piece of rope tied to the saddle horn, he managed. *** The one point on which Jerry was vulnerable was his horse. An insult to his cutting horse--desperately as he might try to conceal it--made him hot under the collar, and one who made such a remark might expect in turn a retort not fit for print. He had an old gray pacing hose and a couple of roan mustangs in his string, and between the three of them, it took the best horses on the ranch to outrun him or out ride him. I once took advantage of his vanity to get sweet revenge. The whole family had gone for a ride up to Madre Mt., and since there weren't enough saddles, I borrowed from a neighbor the only thing available, an old McClellan "pack saddle." I also had to take the only horse left, a big brown 'puddin-foot' work horse. When we started home, I took the lead down the mountainside with Jerry close behind. I was determined to hold that lead at risk of life or limb. Somehow, the old workhorse could roll like a rock down hill. Jerry kept trying to get ahead of me, but couldn't make it, and I won the race on a workhorse. I never dared show anyone, though, the bruises that McClellan gave me on my legs that day.
There were a number of lions on the ranch and one evening we were sitting around the fire at Mrs. Cleaveland's telling lion stories and talking over some recent tracks that had been sighted up the canyon. Suddenly the dog and cat got in a fight outside the door, and Jerry dived under the table. He hasn't yet lived down the uproar of laughter that followed. ***Jerry's diminutive size and sense of humor earned him the nickname of "Little John." On one occasion, he and I were riding together in Gooseberry Canyon. A horsefly got on his horse's belly and a moment later he had been thrown from his horse. I jumped off to see if he were hurt. "Number four", he said as he looked up and grinned. That meant the fourth time he had been thrown. **At home, we children were given the freedom of the kitchen, Jerry loved tapioca pudding and was trying to make some one evening when I came in. Inquiring about the puzzled look on his face, I asked what the matter was. "It says here to add the remaining milk," he said, "I know what canned milk is, and cow's milk, and goat's milk, but what the hell is remaining milk?"
Tom was a dark, bashful, and extremely handsome kid. Being near the same age, he and Joe and I fought constantly. Joe was always the boss until one day down at the corral he and Tom went at it. That fight lasted a couple of hours, and at the end of that struggle Tom emerged, if not the victor, at least the uncontested equal. He continued to grow in size and strength until he weighed 220 lbs. He gained a wide reputation for his strength. When we unloaded a truckload of cottonseed meal, Tom usually carried two one hundred pound sacks. I saw him flank a two year old horse on one occasion. He mastered a horse more by his strength than by his skill. His was an indomitable temper, and when a horse bucked with him, Tom flew into a rage. When it was over, that horse would know he had the worse end of the deal and was sure to bear the long raking marks of Tom's spurs.
Unlike the rest of us, he was neat and precise in what he went about to do. He kept good care of his tools, and acquired no mean ability at welding, at mechanical work, and at carpentry. He was a favorite everywhere because he worked hard and was by naturally always cheerful and generous. As I mentioned before, he was strong willed and no one, not even Dad argued with him when he though he was right.
In his high school years he got up long before daylight, did the chores, and made the one hundred-mile round trip to school daily. He was quite capable of and did care for 800 cows alone for months at a time. Not having time to wash, I have seen a ten-gallon cream can tied in the back of his pickup, containing soap, water, and his clothes. Next day the clothes would be rinsed in the same way and the third day dried. He was a careful house keeper and a good cook.
Joe was a wild, reckless, carefree cowboy. Because he so enjoyed life and living, people flocked around him to enjoy it with him. He was a natural comedian. A master of dialect, he always had something funny to say. His friends were innumerable and for hundreds of miles around people knew and loved and admired Joe Tietjen.
Although he took many a prize at the local rodeos for riding and roping, I don't think he ever entered with intentions of winning or competing, but only for the sake of amusement. Doubtless it was his sheer abandonment at these sports, his total disregard for his own safety, as much as his skill, that impressed the judges of those events.
He drove a car like he rode a horse, and frequently it was a miracle that he survived. I think he and dad often came in conflict because exactness and precision and method were so important to Dad and so unimportant to Joe.
From the beginning, Joe watched over us kids, guarded us and fought our battles. No one could have been more generous, kind, or forgiving. ***It was with horses, though, that Joe truly excelled, and was a born bronc breaker. Horses that would roll their eyes and snort when I approached the corral fence let Joe walk up to them without a look up. Horses that bucked with everyone in the family seldom made an effort to do so with him. He usually had half a dozen broncs that he was breaking, and an hour or so each evening was occupied in that pursuit. It usually fell to my lot and Tom's to help out. Horses weren't broken by love or petting, but by acquiring a healthy respect for their riders. Joe wasn't cruel, but he was stern. The horses were first roped, a hackamore tied on, and pulled around on horseback until they learned to lead. If they kept fighting, they were snubbed to a post (or a burro which could inflict more punishment and be even more stubborn than a post) for a day or two. Saddling the horse came next, preceded by a long process of flapping a saddle blanket on and around the horses' back and neck until he stopped flinching. Once the horse was saddled a number of times, he was ready to ride. We lead the saddled bronc around the corral a number of times, then Joe would hold the bronc's ear to distract his attention and climb lightly into the saddle. Then he tried to keep the horse occupied or bewildered long enough to get a firm seat, then let him go. If he felt outmatched, which was seldom, he tried to hold the horse up, or else we snubbed the bronc so close to our own horse that he couldn't buck.
We took a few rounds around the corral, then out in the open. It was better to keep a fast trot or a lope than to let the bronc think. After these circles were repeated several times, Joe went out on his own, though one of us usually went along to assist in an emergency. Often he went to a soft arroyo bottom to ride some knot headed horse that bucked persistently. Somehow, not being able to see out of the arroyo kept the horse from bucking and under this disadvantage the bronc took plenty of punishment from spurs and quirt if he did not stay in line.
For horses that pawed, we had another treatment consisting of a rope tied to one front ankle, thrown over the shoulder, and passed through a ring strapped to the other front ankle. The person holding the other end of the rope could then jerk the horse abruptly to his knees whenever circumstances demanded.
Most of the broncs Joe rode ten "saddles" and turned them back to their owner, for a fee of $25.00. At finishing a bronc off, at putting a reign on him, at teaching the horse to cut cattle, or training him for roping, Joe was equally adept.
Finally, Joe loved children. He could laugh and tease and joke with them just as he did with adults, and was the idol of every kid that knew him.
When I returned from the Army, I took a job teaching High School at Ramah, New Mexico. I had been there several times with Joe and I thought it among the choice spots on earth. There were such beautiful girls there and everyone had such fun at the dances.
Mother and Dad moved there to send Jerry and Sheryl to school. While there I met and married my wife, Geraldine Bond. It was indeed hard to choose one from among the seven beautiful sisters. A pretty brunette, Christine Wilkins, milked half a dozen cows morning and evening and drove them by our place on the way to the pasture. Tom saw her, fell in love with her, and took her as his bride. Jerry, our kid brother, followed suit when he met Nelda Lambson. I think all he could see at first was her fabulous long auburn hair, and he soon found he could not part with its owner either.
Not so long afterward, a petite, vivacious friend of Sheryl's Beverly Wilhelm, went with her to visit the kids in Alaska. While there, she captivated Joe as well as the rest of us, and they were married a short while later.
True to their heritage, all three brothers were imbued with that same restless spirit that drove their ancestors constantly westward to tame the wilderness; that same love of cattle and out-of-door life; that same loathing of civilization. They felt they were being "run over," crowded and "pushed around" by the rush and hustle - bustle of modern life. With no west left to go to, they went north to Alaska. When I last saw them in 1962, they were settled happily with their families in Homer---pioneers to the last.
We first heard of Uranium in 1950 when paddy Martinez picked up some sandrock on a road that was being built near Haystack Mountain. The lemon-colored streaks in the rocks interested him, and he went to Fat with it. The rocks proved to be Uranium Ore. The rest of the family couldn't have cared less. Who had ever made a cent at mining? Meanwhile, Fat went to see Mr. Hemmingway, the commissioner for the Santa Fe Railroad, to obtain mineral leases from him, since the Uranium was located on land to which the Santa Fe held mineral rights. The deal was made and there remained only the papers to be signed when Mr. Hemmingway died suddenly of a heart attack. No further action was taken for sometime. Fat tried to interest the Santa Fe in the discoveries, but was ignored.
One day the Santa Fe appeared suddenly on the scene and began drilling and excavating with such vigor and confidence, that we, the owners of the land began to seriously doubt if we had any rights on it at all. Theirs was a very bold front. They told us we could take $2 an acre and get out if we didn't like what they were doing. On Al's advice, the Berryhill-Tietjen-Elkins group who owned land around Haystack hired Bart O'Hara and Charlie Murdock from Denver as lawyers. The fighting Irishman informed the Railroad that they had no right to the Uranium since (1) it wasn't a mineral but a fissionable material (2) the government had never given a Uranium to the Railroad specifically, not even knowing of its existence at that early date. This was convincing enough to cause the Santa Fe to sue for a quick claim deed to the Uranium. After a suitable length of time a compromise was worked out from which the group drew $90,000 and 3% royalty. That was a lot of money at the time, but scarcely enough to pay for the large debts the drought had left us. In the meantime, enough excitement had come out of the affair to attract a number of other prospectors to the area.
The settlement with Santa Fe came April 4, 1952. Meanwhile at the Drag A's, we had written to Dan Hayes, who was a manager from some Uranium outfit in Utah. He described Uranium bearing formations, etc. Mother sent to Albuquerque for me to buy a Geiger counter. I don't know how we raked together that much money ($107.00) for such "foolishness."
In 1953 Tom and Jerry had stayed out of school to help Dad build a small tank at Yegua. Mother was in Albuquerque with Joe, since he was having a nose operation. In building the tank, they found some uranium, and continued to prospect in every spare moment. Mom bawled when they went prospecting on her birthday and Joe brought her back a hot rock for a present. By then we had hog hold of Jay McPhaul and Adrain and agreed to a three-way deal.
That year we tramped for days and staked a lot of claims at Ambrosia, mostly upon the mesas. Interest drew to such a pitch that uranium was the sole conversation, all day, every day. Everyone carried their favorite "hot sample" in their pocket comparing it to others', bragging about it, and refusing to tell where it came from. We studied formations as intensely as if they had been matters of life and death: Gallup, Mesa Verde, Dakota Sands, Lucerno, Morrison, etc. Gladdus decided to build the foundation of a new house with the rocks but couldn't interest anyone else.
We wrote K and R about the uranium and they sent another Geiger counter. In 1952, Steinberg came onto the Drag A's to drill for water (secretly to get 1/2 the Uranium he found). Since a lot of the Uranium on the Drag A's was on R. R. land, Kothman and Ringer, Dad, and Jay McPhaul agreed to pay Murdock and O'Hara 1/4 of what they could get on R. R. land. In the spring of 1954, Steinberg and Mellen figured out to buy the Drag A and a percent in the Uranium. We told Mellen about the K&R-McPhaul-Berryhill-Tietjen deal, and he was going to get every rancher in New Mexico in on the deal. In July we organized Redco with Steinbergs, Mellon, B.C., Karl, Jay, Ed, Adrian, and Dad. Each got 22,500 shares which later split into ten for one, or 225,000 shares for each stockholder. Drilling continued on the Drag A until November. Bill Tipton had been hired as a Geologist, and how difficult he could be! The rigs were then moved over to Ambrosia, but drilled only 250 feet, since the uranium that had previously been located there was on the surface or very near it.
By January, 1955, Dad moved back to Bluewater and took a job with Redco as field manager for $150.00 a month. Joe bought a new car that Christmas and Jerry got a new saddle. B.C. had bought Tom a pair of $40 boots, and Dad got a $180 bonus. Mom wrote that it was the best Christmas they had had in years. April 1st the big strike came on Disart Section 11. Meanwhile, we had staked hundreds of claims, among them a lot of Sennotobich's that had run out. Red Jensen stayed on the claims that summer, doing assessment work. The claims were farmed out to several outfits. In July, the claim jumpers (Coupe, Fuska, Benedict, Redbeard, etc.) took two shots at Red while he finished assessment work in Rinconada. By December of that year, Adrian wrote for their 10 kids to ride the bus from Ambrosia.
In the spring of '56, the claim jumpers came in force. Redco hired Frank Childers, Fat and Howard Lambson to hold them off. We believed that Mellon, McDaniel, and perhaps others in Redco to be in on the conspiracy. The telephone wires in Bluewater were tapped. About the 20th of May, Gus Rainey was hired as a guard. Slim Cox had been a guard for a few days and got in a fist fight with the claim jumpers, when he and Gus met some of them and told them off. Gus said Cox could have whipped four of them, but there were five, so he let Cox fight them a little before he got out his gun and stopped it. *** About this time Redco hired some old jailbird for a surveyor. He slept so late in the mornings that Gus once threw some firecrackers under his trailer to wake him. He came out 30 minutes later and asked Gus who had been shooting at them. Redco had provided Gus and some others of their crew with walkie-talkies. The claim jumpers got some radios also and kept calling Gus and telling him they were moving in on the north side, or the west, or whatever, and claiming they were watching his every move and were going to kill him. *** Gus rode a mule because he claimed he could tie the mule outside his trailer window and no one could sneak up on a mule.
One night Fat captured Fuska while trying to sneak in on our claims. He had driven his rig through the gates with his lights off. Fat took him up to Adrain's where he was questioned, threatened, and released. By now two or three claim jumpers were being arrested every week and everyone on both sides were packing guns with the intent to use them. One morning as Gus rode up the canyon, he was ambushed from the top of the mesa. One bullet went through the fork of his saddle, and only by pulling the mule over a steep arroyo bank was his life saved. The officers of the law were friendly, but the law itself was helpless and outmoded, not having been modified since Gold Rush days. In one instance papers were sworn out for us, but the Sheriff conveniently lost them. *** On another occasion, a claim jumper and his wife drove a cat across our property and onto some claims up in Muerto Canyon with the intention of doing assessment work. Next morning the pair walked over forest land and off the Mesa. Gus was waiting for them at the caterpillar and told them, at gunpoint, to get off. The claim jumper told Gus to go to hell and charged with a butcher knife. Gus told the claim jumper to kiss his wife goodbye, but the fellow kept coming. After Gus's first shot tore a part of his boot away, however, he changed his mind.
About this time of year I came home on furlough and went with Dad out to Gus's trailer. Gus had captured two claim jumpers that morning and had them handcuffed to a tree. Gus and I stayed to guard the two while Dad made a quick trip into Gallup to swear out papers. At the trial a couple days later Joe and Howard had captured some rattlesnakes and were going to put them in the claim jumpers car, but we finally talked them out of it. The judge upheld us on the ridiculous grounds that the claim jumpers, in the act of pulling their trailer house into the claims, had damaged the range land by getting dust on the grass. The judge ordered the claim jumpers, accompanied by Charley Winstead, to remove the trailer house. When Coupey and Fuska returned for the trailer houses, Dad and Charley let them through the gate. As soon as they were through, they gunned the motor and went on. Charlie shot their tires off, then pulled the two out of the jeep and escorted them back to town. In the ensuing court trial, Fuska and Coupey alleged that they were "maliciously, wantonly and willfully attacked and beaten by the defendant with his fists and that the defendant fired shots into, upon and against the pickup truck in which the plaintiffs were riding, and that as a result they suffered permanent fright, great mental and physical pain and anguish as well as embarrassment and harassment all to their damage in the sum of $1500.00." Needless to say, they lost their case.
Each of those in Redco were to secure all the claims they possible could for the corporation, and none of them were permitted to get claims for themselves by agreement. George Mellen obtained the Roundy section for himself in violation of this agreement. Because he was so crooked, the others in the company decided not to press charges and would let him have that section if he would get out of Redco. Mellen accepted the offer and sold his interest in that section next day for $250,000.
The first thing I can remember is my Dad coming off a mission in Old Mexico. He was very thin and brought me a Mexican Maguey rope. He was there with Bishop Smith of Snowflake. I was possibly four years old. I don't know whether he ever got over the Malaria, and came down with it when he got wet and cold.
My next memory was moving out to the old adobe house the next year. It was Roundy's old place across the road from Henry Elkin's place. My mother had taken out a desert claim on the place while Dad was on a mission. We called it the Lower Ranch. Fat and Embert were already there when I went there. I told them I could ride any calf on the ranch. They took me out to the corral and tied a red handkerchief around my neck and put me on. The calf threw me and cut a big gash in my head and Mama whipped Fat and Embert for putting me on.
They had had a severe drought and Dad had some cows over on the Rio Puerco this side of Albuquerque. When they brought the cows back, there was Bill Collister, John Tucker, Almy and a Negro, and when they got there, Dad went to Grants and brought them a keg of beer. They had it wrapped in sacks sitting in the shade. Then they had a rodeo. The Negro got on a blue horse which ran away with him.
Next year we moved to Bluewater. I didn't go to school. The wagon loads of people coming from Mexico put up their tents down by Roundy's house. There were the Whettens, Merrills, Maritineau, etc.
We got advance notice of how hungry they were. Cal Hakes was Bishop. Dad killed some beeves and brought them in, then went to San Rafael to get some flour and groceries. It was a lot bigger than Grants then. Someone had met them between Los Lunas and Bluewater. All everybody talked about was whether Pancho Villa or Corenzo (who had charge of the government troops) was winning. When the subject ended, they wanted to know who had seen the last ghost in the country. That's the only thing I can remember where Dad might have stretched the truth. He was a ringleader in it.
The next spring they decided to build a dam just above Andrew's where the sand dikes went across. Dad was financing it and the old Mexico People were to farm that valley with the water. That was known as the old Chadrick place. I watched the dam go out before it was finished. Mother was feeding the men who were rushing back and forth with little slips trying to hold the dam. We saw a hole break in the bottom of the arroyo. All shouted, "she's gone fellers!" I remember Embert starting to run across the dam, and Dad running to stop him because the horse might have broken thru. It was about the 5th of April. The Lillies and Snowballs were all in bloom. They must have had earlier springs then.
I know we ran lots of races. That was my second year I was on a ranch. I don't remember riding much when I was four but when I was five I wrangled horses every morning as far as Casamera Lake which was our horse pasture. There was a spring up above there where we got water. We had a barrel we filled with water and plugged. It had two by sizes mounted on the flat ends of the barrel and a bale that hooked into holes in the two by sixes. A horse pulled the barrel then and it rolled. On wash-days, Dad left a man there to haul water. He would bring in one load, dump it and was back after another. On the other days, we kids hauled it.
When the dam washed out, some of the settlers left that spring, and some the next. I remember the Mangums coming to visit us, also the Swatzels. It was a real show. Dad killed a beef. The Mangums were special friends of both Mom and Dad. The Mangums were either coming or going to Farmington.
We branded over at Grandpa Berryhill's ranch one day. We called it Phil's Lake Country. Evidently we moved back to Bluewater for school again. I went to school that year and Deborah Neilson was my teacher. During the winter some of the Colonists went back to Mexico. The war must have been over.
They had school in an old two room log house that was the church house. I remember seven or eight inches of snow on Easter Day. The next summer we moved to Tuck Spring. The Berryhills used to spend all day over at Tuck Springs washing. I can remember hunting arrowheads and turquoise in those old ruins. By then Dad had a bunch of sheep, about 25. If we hit our horse over the head or didn't do just right, we got so many days herding sheep. I was six then. We chased jackrabbits on Sunday. There were 300 or 400 Indians after one rabbit, each with a cedar club about two feet long. It was supposed to make it rain. They would all holler like dogs when they got after a rabbit. If your horse fell down, you might be run over. By then I was good enough rider and mounted on good enough horse I could often head the rabbit and turn him into the crowd if the rabbit was too fast for the Navajos.
They had built the old schoolhouse in Bluewater by now and in the 2nd grade Lena Harding was my teacher. Milton's oldest sister. That year saw the Texas people start coming. The Jolly's came and there was talk of the drought in Texas. Dad was kind of like a Navajo and didn't like to stay in one place very long, so we spent the next year on the west of a red knoll about 2 miles from Prewitt. Dad's sister May had homesteaded there and we helped her live it out. That year I made my first trip to San Juan for fruit. We had two wagons and teams. All the kids except Fat went to help put up fruit. We went over in August and came back in late September. Mom worked us like saddle horses bringing in fruit. Dad went as far as Ojo Alamo, 40 miles from the river, then Mom drove one four horse team and Josephine drove the other two horse team. Embert and I herded the work horses. The Indians were all our friends. Our one worry was fording the river at the junction of the Gallegos and San Juan and we had talked about it for days. The first peach I saw I ran and grabbed it and downed it. It was hard as a rock. In thirty minutes I had an awful belly ache. We saw some funny boxes which Mom said were bees. We couldn't see any harm in turning it over so Ina and I ventured it and ran. I got stung all over the fingers. Mosquitoes ate me up in spite of the peach resin I rubbed on my face. Mom would send Embert and I ahead to some point and we would build up some coals. Part of our job was to pour water on the oak wheels in the morning so they would swell up again and at night we greased the wheels after we hobbled the horses. There was just a certain distance you could pull the wheels off by the top, then smear the axle with grease on a stick. We kept one horse staked and the others hobbled. One of us watered the wheel and the other got the horses in the morning. The rule was the drive through every hard bottomed mud hole along the way. Dad brought back another team, but Mom had put up too much fruit honey and barrels of cider, so Dad had to buy another wagon and team, Dick and Fred, the black and white team, from the discontinued mail route and we headed back with three wagons. When we got into sandy country, Dad took one of the four horse teams, but Embert drove otherwise. Dad scouted for his cattle and visited along. Everything was rosy as long as Dad was there and everybody sang and shouted, and it was a picnic on the way back. When we met anybody or Indians we stopped and talked.
We finished the winter on the flat and Dad had his dad and Amos drill a well over at the Elkins ranch and we built a shack there. We stayed at home and with the occasional assistance of some old girl we got a little schooling. This was to be the headquarters and we were going to settle down and stop moving around. We got up two rooms and moved over there the next spring. It was the first well in that country. We hauled water over to May's homestead and got it as near the house as possible and siphoned it into the house. It was the next thing to running water and it was very up-to-date. We plugged it with a stick when not in use. I remember getting a wagon load of provisions and merchandise we had ordered from Montgomery Ward. There was baking powder, coffee, clothes, and etc. I wanted to feel of it and smell everything. There was a whole case of shells.
We still had the sheep. A Navajo herded them when we behaved and we ate them when we were out of beef. That was the first year I remember selling any cattle. We had 1,000 to 1,500 big steers. We kids and Navajos herded them in the day and penned them at night. There were coal black ones, spotted, and everything you can think of. McNurny bought them for thirty dollars a piece. He was a special friend of Dad's. There was no forfeit. His word was as good as his bond. In October we started with the steers to Bluewater. About the county line Doc Cantrell, L.R. Gochring, Bill Turner came by in a car and Fat, Embert, and I and the Navajos went on while Dad talked. He asked them where they were going, and they said "Hell Joe, don't you know hunting season opens tomorrow?" Dad unsaddled, hid his saddle in the rocks and told us to pick it up on the way back. He told us to go on, that he'd send Almy to help us. Hunting wasn't so good on Mt. Taylor for deer, so they came back and caught a train to Old Mexico. McNurney hadn't settled up with my Uncle, so when Dad got back, he went to Montana to collect the $30,000. Probably McNurney wanted to force him into a visit. Dad died the next year when I was eight.
Dad hired someone to teach part time again that winter and we lived in the shack he had built there at the Elkins Ranch. Dad was hauling lumber o the Pueblo Bonito ranch where we were building a house also. Paul Herrington was helping with the house. It was about a 65-mile trip north to Prewitt. When spring came, we were pumping a lot of water at Prewitt. Fat was staying at Pueblo Bonito and seeing about his share cattle. I made one trip with Dad out to Pueblo Bonito on a horse named Snowball in one day. Dad led him part of the way.
That fall they went back to the river. Dad told Fat and I that he wanted us to have the ranch. He wanted us to work hard and have high moral standards and he wanted me to be baptized. Josephine stayed with us while the others had gone over to the river. This was in 1918. Dad went to get his physical at Crownpoint. Paul Herrington and some other fellow was with him. On the way back they saw a lot of water coming and knew they'd have to hurry. Dad lifted the back end of the car out while the other two put rocks under it and they got out. He got sick the next day and lay in bed that day. The next day they brought him back to Thoreau and put him on a train for Albuquerque to the Lovelace Clinic. Paul Herrington called Bill Collister to meet him at the train in Albuquerque but he didn't get the wire in time and Bill found Dad about an hour later wandering around delirious. He took him to the hospital and they operated on him for locked bowels. He died three days later of gangrene. He was brought back to Bluewater and was buried.
From there on, Almy took over the operation of the ranch. We had a drought and moved our cattle out to Pueblo Bonito in the fall of 1918, a winter everybody can recall because of the deep snow. Our family lived in a two-room shack and an adjoining tent. Bruno, a Navajo and Almy lived in a bunkhouse there. Almy went back to Bluewater after a load of grain and a well machine. He returned with Amos and Wilford Young. They camped at Borrego Pass and Satan's Pass was snow and ice. Next morning they talked about rough-locking the wheels, but Almy argued it would be better not to rough-lock, but to just keep the horses out of the way of the wagon. Amos and Wilford wanted to drag a tree. Almy reached down and whipped the horses. He made the first curve, then the wheel hit a pinon knot and broke the wheel and turned the 3000 lbs of grain over on him.
Wilford and Almy drove up behind, saw the wagon wheel up in the air. Almy had his back and neck broke. They loaded him in the wagon, had an Indian watch the grain and headed back to Bluewater. That was about the 19th of January. They phoned Crownpoint and got Barbers to come tell us. All but Embert, Fat and I went to Bluewater.
Several hundred people in Gallup died of the flu that year, the first outbreak in the country. People were dying so fast that they had to get tractors to dig the graves. Fat was 13, I was eight and Embert was 15. We had about 3,000 cattle we were looking after part of which were Bill Tuckers. We had 182 herd of saddle horses. One of us herded the horses since we had no horse feed while the other two rode. We ate chicken feed that was boiled wheat and round lumps of corn sugar which resembled tapioca. We had no milk or salt but finally got the chickens to lay and ate the eggs without salt. The Indians quit working for us since there had been two deaths in the family. All we had to play with were chico brush stick horses. Why we did that when we had all the horses I don't know. We claimed we passed another grade that year. Once I was chopping ice eight miles from home and fell in. I rode home at a jog trot in the foot deep snow. When I got home, Fat had to take me off my horse. I ran pus down my legs from being frozen.
O1O cattle co., Coog Pits, John Tucker and we were each responsible for cutting sign and watching certain parts of the open range. Fat and Embert found the tracks where about 1,000 cattle had been taken out. They followed the tracks two days then came back to notify the other cattle companies. They told Fat and Embert to forget it until the next spring since they were so short handed and there was so much snow. Incidentally some of the cattle were recovered the next spring through the deputy U.S. Marshall, Charlie Hagar, Clair Hassell, men from 010 company, Alton Livestock, etc. went with the Marshall. They went into Colorado, north of Chama, New Mexico, to recover them. Peg-Leg Carter and Hinksley had stolen the cattle. They tried them, but the crooks disowned the burnt cattle and were acquitted. The cattle were returned.
Old Man Charley Doonan's stepson came by about ten o'clock to tell us that his father, who owned the Pueblo Bonito store, had been murdered by Indians. He gave us a key and wanted us to go stay with the body until he could get the law. Embert stayed and watched the horses while Fat and I went to the store. It was two days before the law got there. Since Doonan had been shot thru a window, we dared not pass an open window and crawled on hands and knees under the windows. It was better than getting out of jail when the law got there.
We had a March thaw that left the ground bottomless with our cattle poor. We pulled as many as 50 cows a day out of the bog. We teamed up together and used two horses to pull with. On the 15th of April my folks returned with Rowdy Hakes, the first man they could get. They cooked salt pork with gravy and biscuits that night and they had brown sugar. After three or four months of wheat diet it was a real feast.
We then hired Chalk Lewis, who had been working for the 010, to manage our outfit. We hired another man, Louis McCemick, whose father had an interest in the ranch. We were still pulling bog. About that time, mother decided she couldn't run a cow outfit and sold the cattle with the exception of 25 milk cows, six saddle horses, and the Pueblo Bonito Ranch. We moved back to Prewitt where I first met the Berryhill family, who lived on an adjoining ranch. Sam Lewis quit before we got there. There were dead cattle everywhere. We must have lost half our cattle. We tried to salvage the hides which were bringing nine and 10 dollars apiece. Mother sold 1072 head to Frank Woods who had a ranch south of Farmington. We sold 560 head of stock mares and geldings to Bill Miller of Snyder, Texas, and the 172 head of saddle horses went to the 010 cattle company. That kind of ended that deal. Mother bought 100 head of polled Herefords and put us to milking the 25 milk cows. The most any of them gave was a gallon and a half a day since they were all Herefords. They were pretty sorry. We peddled milk to the highway and railway crews which I hated.
An old Dutchman, Whettenburg, whom Dad had financed in the cattle business, died. He had never paid Dad back. There was some kind of a little hearing and we went after the cattle. John Tucker had them on shares from the Dutchman. After we paid John Tucker, there were around 250 head of cattle. That kind of put us back in the cattle business. About that time Mark Elkins came into the country and he and Mother went into the steer business together, and he was to get 1/2 the profit for managing the Prewitt Ranch. It got dry and the price of cattle went down and Mark went back to Texas. I took over at 11 years of age. Fat was working for Chalk Lewis at Pueblo Bonito.
Chalk and McKemick had bought that ranch. I ran two gas engines and stayed at the old Joe Padilla Ranch (now known as the Mark Elkins Ranch at Rinconada). I cared for about 250 steers and 250 cows. 1919 and 1920 were both really good years. We mowed hay everywhere for our saddle horses. It was the spring of 1921 when we went into the steer business and the fall of 1920 when we got the Cows.
The fall of '21 Mother made a deal with Chalk Lewis to take over the outfit again and we moved to Snowflake, Arizona to go to school. The War Finance had a mortgage on everyone's cattle but ours. War Finance leased a lot of land in California and demanded that everyone send their cattle out there to save them. Mother sent ours too, though W.F. paid the freight on our cattle. In California the foot and Mouth disease broke out in the spring. When we paid the freight and got $13-14 a head, we were all but broke. Mother was about the only rancher who didn't take out bankruptcy. When we got out of school that spring, we began looking for a few remnant cattle. We finally collected about 50 head. Some of our pet Saddle horses had died. The next year I ran off and went to horse wrangling for the 010 cattle company. I worked there in the summer and went to Snowflake in the winter until I was 17 when I quit in my junior year. I bought a few cattle, and shortly after Edna and I were married. In 1930 the estate was divided and I got out with $4200. I bought 1/4 interest with Grandpa Berryhill in the MAY company. Adrian had a 1/4 interest and Grandpa and Grandma each had 1/4 interest. We bought 720 acres from Branson and leased the balance of the Ambrosia Lake Ranch. There were about 720 cows in the company. We had the McGaffey permit for 500 head. Adrian and Grandpa decided to run tho cattle and after we moved the cattle to McGaffey I went to work for the Highway Department driving a caterpillar and pulling a grader. The Big Snow fell the 19th of November. I worked about a week longer helping clear roads when grandpa sent word that I had better come home. They were going to have to start feeding cattle. Joe was born that fall, Edna, I and Joe moved out to the Buck homestead house. Jack Cooper, Jabe Smith, and a Hobo called Ioway, all stayed in that one room that Winter. Edna cooked for all of them on one of those little cast iron cook stoves. It wouldn't cook on the bottom. We couldn't haul water and Edna melted snow for all the cooking and washing. I took over the job of relaying a ton a day of feed with a four horse sled from the trucks at Red Rock point four miles from the ranch. It took me until seven and eight at night to do this. The others fed the cattle, pulling smaller sleds which carried four sacks of feed behind a saddle horse. That went on until the 6th of February. The nights ranged from 10° to 30° below Zero during that whole time. On the 6th we got a warm wind and rain. We tried to feed them 2lb a day. When the thaw came, the cattle started dying in the bog and we rode the bog which lasted until about the 1st of April. We had lost half our cattle & the early calf crop, and were $17,000 more in debt. Then the depression hit. All we had to sell were the late calves. That fall we sold our calves to Henry Jameson for 3.75 a hundred or about $9.50 a head. The depression was on in a good way then. All the wells went dry and I stayed long enough at the ranch to build two big tanks, the one above the windmill by myself and the one about a mile to the south of the ranch on the way to Ambrosia. I put most of the summer in on that. It didn't rain that year. I went to Bluewater lake to skid logs. The others helped skid and load props and Adrian looked out for the cattle between loading props for the mines in Gallup. The balance of the summer I worked for Jonie Payne who had the contract under Breece Lumber Co. I was gippoing under him (Skidding and loading for a commission.) Payne got the money and went to old Mexico when they scaled the logs and paid him. All I had to show were the feed bills on the teams. Edna was staying over at McGaffey with her family. I went back to McGaffey to help skid props. The Bureau of Biological Survey moved into McGaffey to kill porcupines and I got a job with them about the 15th of December. They paid $125.00 a month, a really good job in that day. As an ordinary hand I killed as high as 22 porcupines a day, more than anyone else. The 1st of April I got a foremanship killing prairie dogs on the Navajo reservation running Indian crews. That lasted until 1936. I got an appointment as district supervisor in the Kimatoh area near Farmington. I didn't like it because all you did was tell lies and didn't do any work so I only stayed five months. They wrote letters to tell you not to do this or that but say you did. You were supposed to be telling Indians how to take care of their stock with daily reports.
The next year I decided to sell my interest in the ranch and cattle to the Berryhills and buy the store at Mexican Hat. The family lived in Bluff and I lived at the store. We operated that about a year and a half but a minor depression hurt the Indian and sheep business. I got sick and had blackout spells and couldn't drive a car over the bad roads so decided to give it up. We lost everything we had and moved back to Thoreau in the fall of 1938. Elvin Lewis, Duane, and I took on a job skidding props for Tex Hargus at Long Park. The snow got four and five feet deep there and the only way we could cut was shovel out around the trees and they were so frozen that they were hard to cut so we didn't make any money there. Duane and Elvin kept logging but I went back to work with the Biological Survey on the 1st of April. (Now the Fish and Wildlife.) We had signed an agreement we would be responsible for fires. Some logger started a fire and we lost what we had made. Duane and Elvin were also skidding and loading under Johnny Redosovich. It took all we had coming and everything we could rake up. That ended the deal. The winter of 40-41 Chalk Lewis, Frank Childers, and I prospected, and staked claims on what is now the Navajo Fluorspar Mine.
Elvin went to Mexico (pack and horseback) with Hurst Julian. Duane went back to the ranch. I worked for Fish and Wildlife thru 1941. In the fall of 1941 we went to work for Al Tietjen at his store at Smiths Lake. Fat and Jim Pullen worked there too. I stayed there until the 1st of April. Grandpa Berryhill and I borrowed $8,000.00 and went into the sheep business. Duane had gone into the army. We stayed with that for one year until the following April and doubled our money, and I went to work at Church and Harden driving a cat and plowing at night. In about two months I decided to quit since I couldn't sleep in the daytime. They offered me a job running Navajo Crews weeding and I took it. That fall Adrian, Duane, who was still in the army, and I decided to buy the land out around Haystack. I continued to work for Church and Harden through 1947 and got to be Assistant Harvester and the Main contractor on the weeds. We built a home on the site, of the Anaconda Mill about July of 1947.
In the winter of 1946 we drilled a well out at Rinconada and farmed it in 1947. It cost us $14,000 that year. Broke again, with the exception of 57 head of cows which we sold to Adrian, we took a deal with Kothman and Ringer running the Drag A's. We took what money we had to run us a year and went to Datil in January of 1948. We lost about 100 head of the 780 to start with since the cattle weren't acclimated.
We sold Fat the ranch about 1950. He had made only a small down payment, Fat agreed to give me half of Uranium for the other part of the ranch.
In the early 1900's Mother's parents came into the New Mexico Territory from West Texas. They came from a now oil-rich county whose courthouse at that time was an old dugout that could not even boast of rock-lined walls. Like so many Texans of that early era, the Berryhills were cattle people. Grandmother Berryhill recalls she spent her honeymoon cooking for the men on that long dusty cattle drive into New Mexico. The only fuel was the dried bleached cow chips that lay scattered here and there over the great staked plains and grandmother had to drag a feed sack over the open prairie, gathering them for her campfire. Then with only a chuck box as her kitchen, she prepared the meals. That night as a tired drooping little figure pulled off her bonnet and brushed a wisp of hair back and crawled into the wagon, a few sobs escaped her lips though she tried hard to suppress them. She had not believed her new life would be so hard. In due time, though, she grew accustomed to it, and "was as proud as anything" of an apron full of cow chips.
They settled in what is now Western Valencia county in New Mexico. Very few settlers inhabited that broken stretch of semi-arid country, as it had always been the uncontested domain of the Navajo.
Grandmother stayed by herself most of the time with only her small children. All day the only sound might be the creak of a rusty windmill and the only event, the coming in of a few old cows to water. Nor were loneliness and isolation the only things a ranchwoman had to take in her stride. Many times, when a foot or two of snow lay on the ground and night with its icy winds settled about without the return of the men, there were long hours of worry. Anything might have happened to them. At other times when the men were gone, heavy rain fell and the arroyo between the house and corrals ran full. Then, knowing the water would run most of the night, grandmother would pull off her shoes and wade across the muddy torrent because the milk cow had to be tended. There were rattlesnakes everywhere and once one of the children was bitten, but a freshly-killed chicken applied to the wound saved the child's life.
It was there on the prairie and among the cedar covered mesas that mother, three of her brothers, and a sister grew up.
Mother writes: "I was born in Seminole, Texas. When I was six months old, my family moved to Tatum, New Mexico where my Dad had a ranch. When I was about five years old, my oldest sister Thelma passed away which was a great sorrow to my mother. She didn't think she could stand it, but later she had a new baby boy who was just six years younger than I. He seemed to help Mother forget; I shouldn't say forget, but to go on."
My Grandfather Martin died just a month or two after Thelma, which made it hard for mother. Thelma died just before Christmas, so that has always been a hard time of the year.
When I was six years old, we moved to Baca, New Mexico. It was just a store and Railroad Station.
"Our ranch joined the Tietjen's ranch. One year we went to school at a one room school house located at the Tietjen's place. My brother Adrian, my sister Velma and myself, would ride our horses to school, which was 10 miles from our place. We only had two horse, and saddles so, being the youngest, I always had to ride behind the saddle. Every morning, they would have a horse race to see who would get there first and the one always lost who happened to have me on behind the saddle. I just couldn't stay on as good as if I'd had a saddle of my own. Anyway being, the youngest, it seemed I always got left behind in everything."
Every night mother's legs had the skin worn off, but that is how she and many other youngster learned to ride.
In the summertime and on weekends, mother had to make a hand along with the men. Besides helping with the roundup and moving to the mountains, it was her duty to ride the range and throw stray cattle out of her Dad's pasture. Andrew's cattle were particularly offensive about not staying home and how mother hated the daily task of throwing out the circle F's!
Because of these tasks, Mother did not learn to cook until after she was married, though her mother had won the reputation of setting one of the finest tables in the country. She remembers one day when her mother and father had gone to haul wood in the wagon. For months she had had a secret yearning to bake a custard pie. She got out the recipe book and turned to the page she knew by memory, stirred up the pie, and put it into the oven. She had not taken enough pains to keep a hot fire, however, and just as the pie was nearly done she heard the squeaking of the wagon wheels. What would they say! She grabbed the pie out of the oven, ran out the back door and dumped it behind a bush and rushed back to clean up the mess just as her mother entered the front door. The older woman glanced from the open oven to the pantry and then to the flour-covered figure holding the pie plate. "Oh Edna," she laughed, "Why didn't you finish it?"
Continuing her narrative, Mother writes: "When I was 12 years old I took typhoid fever and pneumonia and spent fifty days in the hospital flat of my back. When I recovered, I had lost all my hair, and I couldn't walk at all so had to learn all over.
We lived in Bluewater a couple of years for school, then moved to McGaffey where my dad had taken over the 6A Ranch to run for the bank."
When the bank took over the ranch, the former owner threatened to kill Grandpa. During the roundup, a group of cowboys were encamped at an old log cabin on the ranch. Every one wore guns because of what the man in his anger might do or have done. One former occupant of the cabin, an Indian trader, had been murdered there. Knowing the house was haunted in addition to the other problem, the men slept with one eye open. About midnight a stealthy sound came from the back of the cabin, and the men were instantly awake, six-shooters drawn and ready. There came to them quite clearly the sound of someone walking around to the door. It was pitch dark and the men were tense, waiting for they knew not what. The thing stepped on the porch and fumbled at the door. One Man demanded in a shaky voice: "Who's there?" The only answer was the fumbling at the latch. This was too much for one man and he fired through the door. There was an awful piercing scream, a low groan and a thud. The men waited, breathlessly for a few moments, the only sound being a few low moans and feeble kicking noises. "Good hell almighty, you killed him," said another, and cautiously opened the door. In a pool of his own blood, dying, lay a wild pig. ***Resuming her narrative, Mother writes:
"Although our ranch joined Jeff's family's, we never thought of going together until the year before I graduated from high school. In fact, I always thought of him as being my brother's best friend but certainly never as a sweetheart, although he spent a lot of time at our house."
When Dad was eighteen, he had two girlfriends who were keen rivals. He had a pair of silver inlaid spurs which were highly treasured possessions. One of them he named Clea and the other Edna, which led both maidens to embarking on petty larceny, Edna trying to throw Clea away and Clea trying to dispose of Edna. Needless to say, Edna won.
She had no easy time, though and recalls, perhaps with a tinge of jealousy, that "one time when Jeff was about 18 he was camped on Mt. Taylor and went into San Mateo to the store. All the people who lived there were of Spanish descent. There was a new teacher, a young white girl, and she told Jeff she was glad there was one white man and he said he wasn't, that his name was 'Steve Garcia', so she tried to describe him to a woman, telling her about the blue eyed Mexican boy named Steve Garcia whom she liked so well."
At least once, however, the tables were turned on her suitor. Mother says: "when Jeff was about 17 years old he was living at the McPhaul place on the Zuni mountains, The Will McPhaul family lived there and a bunch of people were visiting them, so they all decided to go to a country dance at the Bascal place which was about five or six miles from there. Jeff got all dressed up in his clean white shirt to go to the dance. The horse Jeff was riding was a bronc, so they yelled at him to "let us see you ride him," so Jeff, thinking he was quite a bronc stomper, kicked him out. He bucked right towards this slough of mud that the hogs had been wallowing in. Jeff thought he was going to buck right across it, but instead he bucked up to the edge and turned right back, and Jeff landed right in the middle of the pig wallow, white shirt and all."
After mother finished high school she writes, "I decided I had better go on to school and take a business course so I could make my living in case this was ever necessary, so I sold all my cattle to pay for my business course. My father had given each one of us children one heifer calf when we were ten years old and then when they had a calf-if it was a steer-he would trade us a heifer for it and of course-if it was a heifer calf-we kept it. In a few years time we had a start to do with as we pleased. About March of 1930 I had run out of money, or nearly so, and hadn't completed my course. Dad called me and said for me to come home; that my sister Velma was in the hospital, and mother had her baby girl Betty Lou, but Mother couldn't take care of the baby and stay with Velma at the same time and Velma was very sick. That ended my schooling. I stayed with Velma for several weeks until she was out of the hospital and getting on her feet at home. Then her sister-in-law came from Texas to spend the summer and help her. Jeff and I decided we would be married that fall if he could get his business settled enough so he could. On October 11, 1930 we were married by a Justice of the Peace in Gallup, New Mexico. Velma and Adrian were the only ones at our wedding. We went to Holbrook, Arizona, then on to the Grand Canyon for our honeymoon. When we came home, my Dad offered to sell Jeff and I an interest in the ranch and cattle, at which time Adrian also bought and interest in the ranch with us and Dad.
I went on living at home and Jeff got a job on the highway, he was gone quite a bit, and I have always felt like we would have learned more and been happier at first if we could have had a home of our own. Mother was always so sweet and all, but it would probably have been to my benefit if I had my own home and house work to do, and learning to cook, for when I finally did start learning to cook I had a little baby to take care of and had to cook for three or four men.
Joe was born on October 7, 1931 in the hospital in Gallup; just a year after we were married. In November there came a big snow and everyone calls that the winter of the Big Snow. About the 1st of January, Jeff quit his job and went to the ranch to help take care of the cattle, so I went with him, and that was our 1st home - a one-room shack with a little tiny wood cook stove. We had to melt snow for our water, so of course it took three-fourths of my time dipping snow and melting it on top of the stove for water. The men were gone all day but I had to prepare their meals on that stove and really didn't know anything at all about cooking. Oh what a time I had! Joe would cry about half the night, and he had a cold and couldn't throw it off. I've always wondered if Joe had had a better start in life if he wouldn't have had better health. Jeff and I were both just kids you might say. We all lived through it some way and the snow finally melted in February. We lost over half of our cattle. In the spring Jeff and I moved to Ambrosia Lake, where we had bought some land from Mr. Branson. There were always some stray cattle on our place. Jeff would pen them, and I would turn them out for him to ride. Then he would run them out of our pasture. I think he secretly hoped they would get back in so he could ride them again, and of course they always did.
Gary was born on Oct. 12, 1932 just one year after Joe. He was the sweetest baby. Of course he had to be, as Joe still cried every night, most of the night. If Gary hadn't been good I don't know what I would have done. Anyway for their Christmas that year I spent our last dollar. I bought Joe a little red wagon and a tricycle. He wasn't big enough to appreciate them but of course we wanted our children to have everything.
I sometimes want to cry at how foolish we were, I guess we just weren't grown up our selves. In January President Roosevelt closed all the banks, and with losing so many of our cattle, and everyone out of work everywhere, we had the great depression. One thing our family never had to do without was plenty to eat all that time. We had to do without money and lots of other things. In September of 1934 Tom was born. Before he was born, Jeff had gone back to work for the Highway and had moved me to Bluewater, next door to his mother."
Wallace was born in 1936 while mother and Dad were still living in Bluewater. Jerry was born in 1942 while we lived at Thoreau, and Sheryl Ann was born while we were living at Church and Harden in 1944. It is a painful duty here to record the tragedy of Little Wallace. When he was nine years old, he was riding with Joe. A few days before, he had found one spur and was so proud of it that he wore it constantly. Something, perhaps the spur jabbing him, caused Wallace's horse to run away with him. As the horse passed under a low-hanging limb of a pine tree, the boy was knocked out of the saddle. His foot caught in the stirrup and would not come out because he was wearing a pair of shoes. The frightened horse drug him to death. He was a sweet child and had a gentle, easygoing disposition. Freckle faced, always smiling, he was afraid of nothing. When there were errands outside that needed doing after dark, it was usually Wally that went when some of the older-ones were afraid. After his passing, there was such a gap in years between the oldest three and the youngest two children that we called Jerry and Sheryl the 'little family'. When Sheryl was born, she was a real joy to Mother because she was the first and only girl. I'm afraid that her brothers not only spoiled her, but they teased her mercilessly. Sheryl always loved children, and they liked her.
One other incident in mother's life will serve to illustrate the life of ranchwomen, the very real danger that they sometimes faced, and the characteristic courage in dealing with that danger. One night my mother was staying alone at the ranch with only the two youngest children, eight and six years old respectively, to keep her company. Just at sundown a strangely clad figure came walking up to the house. Now anyone walking in our country was regarded with suspicions but mother, seeing how tired the man was, decided to fix the meal which he asked for and to let him sleep there that night. As the man sat down to the table to eat, he began relating the events that had happened in the last few days. He said that his horses had escaped and was somewhere in the Datil Mountains. Mother listened with a shadow of doubt beginning to form in her mind, for the Datils were all within our range and fenced off on all sides, thus making it extremely unlikely that someone's horse should get away and go there.
The man continued his story. He claimed he was hunting the horses then he came upon the ranch house. Anyone hunting horses on foot in midwinter is apt to be out of his head, for it is hard enough to catch a horse on horseback. Furthermore, this stranger did not have even a coat to protect him from the sub-zero temperatures of our nights. But mother had recalled one other thing as the man had stood at the door, he had no bridle!
Mother determined to really find out what the visitor meant by these insane acts and asked him how he would catch the horses if he found them. This was easy enough. He had trained the horses he said, to come to him by offering him chewing tobacco and then slipping his belt around the neck of one horse. The tobacco idea was something unheard of in our country because no legitimate rancher had the time to train his horses to such nonsense. While it was true that we sometimes caught a horse with a belt in an emergency, it was impossible to ride a horse with only one's belt. This man was crazy. Mother's alarm grew with every wild and implausible escapade the man related. Carefully she concealed her thoughts and showed the man to his bed, whence he retired. When mother went to bed, however, she took the precaution of loading her shotgun and standing it at her bedside. Perhaps half an hour later she awoke and heard the man moving around in the kitchen. What was he doing in there? What weapon might he find in the kitchen. What if he got outside and she would have to lay awake all night, listening, waiting? Quickly she made up her mind to put the man back in his bedroom and force him to stay there rather than to let him outside, not knowing where he was or what he might be doing. "Get back to bed, you, I have a shotgun on you," she commanded. "I'm not doin' nothing'," he complained. "That's all right, get back to bed like I said." "OK, lady, I'm goin'" Few men would have disobeyed a desperate woman with a loaded shotgun, and this man was no exception. He promptly went back to bed.
There was nothing to do now except guard her prisoner, lest he be more cautious in his next attempt and not awaken her. The children were scared and kept begging her not to kill the man. So my mother sat there all night, with the shotgun across her knees. I am glad to say she did not have to bring the gun into play. Next morning a trucker with a load of feed took the man back to Magdalena where it found that he was indeed insane.
The Big People
Grandpa Joe Tietjen stood a full six feet seven inches in his stocking feet. One cocky but diminutive cowhand, when he saw Joe for the first time, exclaimed, "Good hell almighty, ten feet of timber without limb nor woodpecker hole!" The Navajos, his closest associates, called him Hosteen Nez, the Big Man. The name was applied in those and the following years to the entire family, for of the father and four boys, two were six feet three inches tall, two others were six feet four, and the last, as I have mentioned, was my Grandfather.
But perhaps the story should more properly begin with his boyhood. His father, Ernst Albert Tietjen, as a missionary to the Lamanites, brought his family to the wilderness land of the Navajos in order to bring to these primitives his beloved gospel. From infancy, Joe and his brothers were among the Navajos, and throughout his early life, they were practically the only companions he knew. From morning until night he fished, hunted, and played with them. His brother Amos relates: "We used to run with the Indian Children. When the squaws would call the Indian children in to eat, we would go right along with them. The squaws would make a bread from green corn cut from the cob, and put it in the fire to cook. When it was almost done Alma and I would gather around with the rest and open our mouths like little birds to be fed. The squaw would dip her finger in and feed the children. We would be among them, squaw fingers and all. We used to play with the Indians. In fact we lived with them, all except sleep there. Pa never liked us to say away from home at night. When about twelve years old we spent most of our time out in the flats, building big bonfires(to sleep by). Sometimes we forgot to come home at night. Once Mother (Emma O) got so angry because we did not come home. She had said she would whip us if we were not home on time. This time we were later than usual. When we arrived home, we saw Mother preparing switches (through the window). We didn't have enough courage to go in and face the music. It was winter. Alma climbed up by the chimney to stay warm, and I went to the wagon shed where I had made a play house with gunny sacks. Here I stayed until about two o'clock. Then it got so cold, I found a window open and sneaked in and got into the clothes closet. By morning Mother's heart had melted. She had heard Alma whimpering up on the roof and had coaxed him down."
Because of all this, Joe learned to speak the Navajo language as probably few white men have ever spoken it. Old George Barbone, a Navajo who knew him well, told me that Joe Tietjen knew Navajo words that many of the Navajos themselves did not know. The old-time Indian Traders say that whenever Joe talked, every Navajo around gathered to listen in amazement, and that only by the color of his skin could they themselves distinguish him from one of them.
The title, Hosteen Nez, implied far more than mere physical stature. Joe Tietjen might well have brought to mind a feudal lord. He owned at one time around three thousand head of cattle and almost that many horses. His cattle roamed the open range as far south as Quemado and north almost to the Colorado line, a range that stretched across half the state.
Dozens of Indians earned their livelihood by taking his cattle 'on shares'. When occasionally Joe caught a Navajo stealing his cattle, he is said to have made him work at the ranch instead of arresting him. If it so happened that the man's squaw and children were out of groceries, he often gave them money and food which amounted to more than the stolen cattle. His benevolence paid off well, for no matter where his stock wandered, he could be sure that some Navajo would keep a watchful eye on them.
In talking to an old Navajo recently about the old days, a mist came into his eyes as he told me: "When Hosteen Nez was alive, all Navajos and the Big Man were brothers. We played together and there was never any trouble." Hosteen Nez was--there is considerable evidence to indicate--one of the most beloved and respected men known to these Indians. Never was he too busy with the ranch work to sit down on the ground with a bunch of Navajos and talk half a day. He was their mediator with the Government and with the Civil Authorities. Aunt Rene remembers his being in conference with the Indians at Crownpoint for several days. Another document, "The Ramah Navajos," by John Young, treats of his extensive negotiations in their behalf.
There is a great open flat near what is now Prewitt, New Mexico, which stretches from Pintada, at the edge of the red mesas, to Chavez, an old water station for the railroad, and back again to Haystack Mountain. While the Big Man was alive, every Sunday would see somewhere near five hundred Navajos gathered on the wide plain for the weekly games. It was the belief of these red men that chasing jackrabbits would bring about the much needed moisture. The sport was a favorite of both the Navajos and Hosteen Nez, and began as early in the year as the horses were fat and continued until the summer rains fell. The riders scattered out in a thin line around the flat and rode toward the center. Every man was armed with a cedar club two feet long which was used to hurl at the jackrabbit when he got within range. It was a fast, exciting race that sometimes saw a rider killed, for these rabbits have been clocked at 50 mph. So plentiful were the rodents that nearly every Navajo had one or more of them hung at his side at the end of the chase. Next came the horse races of which Grandfather was extraordinarily fond. It was no wonder that from his herds of mares he was able to draw some fine racers and cutting horses. As the races went on, the horses were traded freely back and forth. Last on the list came the footraces. Most of the Navajos are natural athletes and there have always been some outstanding footracers among them. In view of this fact, it was something of an accomplishment that so large a man as grandpa should be able to outrun most of them. Once a good-natured argument started over whether Hosteen Nez could out run a certain Navajo. The challenge was promptly accepted and half a dozen others lined up for the race as well. They had taken off their rawhide moccasins. Much to their surprise, the Big Man gathered up their footwear and held them. They were not a little deflated when he won the race, still carrying their moccasins. Another sport indulged in by grandfather was running in the snow, a tradition among the Navajos. An old-timer remembers seeing him and several Navajos strip down and run about a mile and a half, rolling in a snow bank every hundred yards or so.
Old Joe, as he was called, was never known to sleep after the sun rose and would not permit anyone else to do so. To the spectator, he was an odd sight, for when he was astride a horse his legs sometimes reached nearly to the ground. He was impatient with a horse that tried to buck with him, but he never mistreated them. At least once, though, his temper got the better of him. He had his Sunday clothes on and was going to church. The streets in Bluewater were muddy from a heavy rain the night before. The little bay horse he was riding threw him, with the result that his clothes were ruined. He rose up, drew back his fist and hit the horse alongside the head with such force that the animal was knocked as flat in the mud as his master had been a moment before.
There are many stories of Joe's almost unbelievable strength, of which I give only one, written by L.R. Goehring.
"I first met Joe Tietjen right after I came to Gallup in 1915. I was an officer in the bank and often consulted him about loans in his section and he always gave me information that could be absolutely relied upon. He was a good friend of mine. I always considered Joe a successful cattle man even though there were no pasture fences and he had to run his cattle on the open range where he was bound to have some losses. Of course his cattle strayed and at roundups he sometimes brought in steers that were 5, 6 or 7 years old. He was an excellent horseman and always went on the roundups with his hands. Joe was 6 feet 7 inches in his stocking feet and the strongest man I ever saw. I have seen him take hold of the rear bumper of a Ford car and lift it up out of the mud so that brush could be placed under the hind wheels. Once on a hunting trip we got stuck in a mud hole near Bluewater. Joe hitched a rope to the car but couldn't budge it with his horse. So he went to Bluewater and got a block and tackle. We sunk a post in front of the car and hitched a rope to it and three of us pulled on the rope but couldn't budge it. Joe took hold of the rope by himself and jerked the car forward about two feet so we got out without further trouble. Joe was the best sort of hunting partner and I went hunting with him several times on Mount Taylor. He was always congenial in camp and was a good shot so we always come home with deer and turkey. On the hunt of which you have a picture there were six of us in camp and we come home with 18 turkey and a deer. The law at that time allowed us three turkeys each. Joe killed a nice big buck about a mile from camp and brought it in on his shoulder without dressing it first, whistling as he walked along. Joe's sudden death in the prime of life was a real shock to me."
At roping, then a sport in which the animal was roped, tied, and branded, the Big Chief of the Navajos held his own with the best. He never whirled his rope, but used an overthrow. On one occasion, while riding his favorite horse, Floss, he roped and branded a calf in 45 seconds. It was at hunting, though, that he acquired a skill unmatched by white man or red. It has been claimed that at trailing no one in all the country could keep up with him. To see a deer in the Zuni Mountains at that time was a rare experience, and tracks indicated that there were only three or four on the entire range. Dad remembers that he and his father once sighted some deer, but were without their guns. They went back to camp and Joe set out, rifle in hand, promising to bring back one of the deer. At noon the next day he returned with a big buck on his shoulder. It was the custom, every fall, for him and his brothers to hitch up a wagon and team and go farther south, sometimes to Reserve, to spend several weeks hunting.
Joe's younger brother, Almy, however, was the horseman in the family. Six feet four, he weighed only 185 pounds. It is said that he sat very straight in the saddle and a little to one side. No matter how hard his horse bucked or how dangerous a spot he got into, he never lost his smile, and no horse he ever encountered was quite his match. Whenever he had finished with a cow or steer he had roped, there was no tying it down to get the rope off. Instead he pulled the animal up to him, often times with one hand, and accomplished his task without dismounting. It was partly this brute strength that helped him master a horse so easily. Once he got hold of a horse's ears, the animal was all but powerless, and, recognizing in this man a superior being, squatted down meekly. Whenever you heard of an outlaw horse coming into the country, the horse was sure to be given to Almy to break. Almost always he had finished the job in a week or less. He was so active on his feet that he could quit a horse at full speed and jerk him down as easily as if he were a three-month old calf.
Some of the best riders in the country admitted that Almy could be roping and cutting cattle off his broncs while they were still having to tie up a foot to mount their own. The acknowledged fact that he could get more out of a horse and get one through the brush faster than any of them made him, in their estimation, one of the great riders of the Southwest. One of his habits that might have gotten a lesser man into trouble was to reach down and untie his cinch just as his bronc was about to quit bucking and dismount, taking the saddle to the ground with him.
There was another side to Almy. He was a born practical joker and not a few men dreaded him because of it. He loved to see someone have to ride for his life on a bucking horse. A horse that didn't buck in the morning was likely to get a bucket or a cowhide thrown under him or a red bandanna flung in his face to encourage him. Clair Hassell recalls that when he was just a boy he was riding with Almy and came upon a bunch of roan mares. Kid-like, this boy was admiring one well-built animal and Almy generously offered to give the mare to him. "She's an awful good saddle mare," Almy asserted, although he well knew that she had never been ridden. The two managed to drive the bunch into a crack in a bluff and Almy roped the mare, skillfully choking her down until the boy could saddle up and get on. He explained away her wild actions by saying that she hadn't been ridden in quite a while, which all seemed plausible enough. Once free, that old mare bucked and pitched all that day and all the next. The boy had to ride her, for he had turned his own horse loose. Every time the roan mockey 'broke into', Almy would jeer: "Now how do you like her, now how do you like her?"
Fat remembers that when he was twelve years old he had been assigned a little bay horse with a salty reputation for the next day. Not at all sure that he could ride the horse if Almy was around, he arose at 3 A.M. hoping thereby to elude his tormenter. Sure that they were unseen, the pair was just sneaking out the gate when there came the never-failing tub, rolling like a crack of thunder under the bay pony. Another show had been unwillingly staged.
My father remembers once when the saddle horses got away in the mountains thirty miles from home. A group of wild horses sometimes came in to water at a certain spring which was surrounded by a small trap. Almy roped a ten-year-old original stud from a tree. He sat my father, then only eight years old, on the fence. He saddled and mounted the stud and let him buck until he was momentarily tired. Then he came by, pulled Dad on behind him, and headed home. Before the two of them reached home that night, they wished mightily that they had kept a closer guard over their saddle horses. They made it home all right, although the horse gave out and they had to walk the last mile or so to Bluewater.
One final incident is indicative of Almy's character. Dad, Embert, Fat, and their Dad and Almy were building fence out in the Pintada country. Unknown to the others, Almy dug a hole under the wagon and stood a crowbar in the hole so that the bar leaned backward and just touched the bottom of the wagon bed. When the crew got into the wagon to leave for home, the pull of the team jerked the wagon three feet straight into the air and down again with a jolt--to the utter consternation of all concerned.
Maud S. Hunt
We lived out in Idaho. It was kind of desert. There was a caravan of gypsies came by who wanted to name one baby girl. None of the people would consent because they were Mormons, but Mother consented, and they named me Maud S. Hunt. Until I grew up, I had lots of the dresses these gypsies gave me. In fact, Josephine wore two of those dresses when she was a baby. I was born in Payson, Utah, in the fall of 1880. My earliest recollections of my mother are that she rode a lot and lived an out door life. She was born October 23, 1860. My father was born in Sacramento, California. The last time I saw my father was when we lived in Idaho. He was on his way to Tucson, Arizona and it wasn't long until he was supposed to have been killed by Apaches. I couldn't have been more than three and a half. He stood in the doorway and had a black, bald-faced horse with white stocking feet. He said, "Baby, I'm comin back to get you." Mother's name was Martha Marinda Manwill and Father's name was Thomas Jefferson Hunt. I remember once seeing great-grandmother Shumway. I had one sister, Matilda and a brother Thomas Jefferson Hunt. Mother was married the second time to William Noble Miller at Bood River, Idaho. The oldest girl was Susan. The oldest boy was George Macon, and the second was William Alonzo. They were just five years apart from us. I more or less raised these half brothers. After we left Dixie, Utah where we lived, we went to Showlow and lived a year, then we went to Pinetop and I really learned what life was there. I was eight years old. Mother took in washings and nursed. My brothers and I lived way out in the mountains alone, where we milked cows and sold the butter, but not the milk. (While at Pinetop, Grandma Tietjen tells of tending cows when she was nine years old and of seeing a herd of cattle running over a nearby hill. She hid between two logs and none too soon, as a party of raiding Apaches drove her cattle away with the others. While going to school at Pinetop, Arizona, she remembers the capture of Geronimo. Heavily guarded and chained hand and foot, the Marauding Apache whose name struck terror to the heart of every white settler in the South West was being taken to Oklahoma. Despite his chains, he raised himself out of the wagon and snarled at the children.) Continuing her story, Grandma says, "about this time the family decided to go to Utah with a bunch of other people, but when we got to Farmington their teams gave out and Miller took his teams and helped the others on to Moab. The next year we went to Hesperus when I was about sixteen. Mother didn't have very good health then, and work was scarce. We just camped there and a man named John Brown came down and said to me, "Well Bud, do you want work?" He thought I was a boy. I said, "what do you want me to do?" "Pick up potatoes," he said, "Have you ever done that?" "No, I never saw many potatoes, but I can sure do it." When he found out I was a girl, he said, "I'll give you $2.50 a week." I told him, "no, I prefer to work outdoors" and they put me with one of the best potato pickers they had. I stayed with him two days, and he said, "I couldn't keep up with her," and from that time on they called me Bud. After digging potatoes I went with the threshers that fall. My brother Tom didn't like that work, but I did. I made as much money picking up potatoes as my step father did. We went back and forth there until I came to this country.
We were having a drought and mother went up on the La Plata and bought a stack of hay. We had a family council and it fell to me to go up on the river and feed this herd of milk cows. We had 96 head. That was the first I ever heard of Mormonism. I had been around Mormon people before, but that was where I was really converted. They sent two missionaries in there. I was staying at the Bishops, who was named John Biggs. The girls asked me if I loved to read, and I said yes. When I came back to my tent, they had left some cheap yellow backed novels. I told them I wouldn't read those, that my stepfather had taught me not to read trash. When I came back from feeding, Sister Biggs, who was President of the Relief Society, said "I've got you some good books. I guess you're not too good to read our mutual book." I had a most enjoyable time that winter. At that time they had what was called the traveling library of the Mutual, and we read and discussed those books. Then they brought in the two missionaries who called me Sister Hunt. They thought I was a convert. The second time they called me that, I said, "I never did go under a false impression, and I'm not a Mormon." So they decided to convert me. We had what we called a "slide" and I rode it and fed 96 head of cattle. When the oldest elder came up to the slide I said, "Do you want to help pitch hay?" He said he guessed so and climbed up. I told him the best place was in the middle of the slide. We hollered and the cows came running. I was driving a brown team and when I yelled, they began to run, and we were really scattering hay. I looked back and saw the elder crawling out of a snowdrift. After my second load of hay was put out, I came back to the house, and the oldest girl, Eva Biggs, said to me, "Didn't you know better than to throw that missionary in the snow?" But from then on, they tried a different approach. They saw that I went to Mutual, to Sunday School, and to Primary. I was converted, but not baptized until Joe and I had been married about a year.
As we got ready to leave the San Juan, with our 96 head of milk cows, there was a Tom Bryan who had 160 head of big long horned steers and we came with him and Tom Herrington, his partner. It was so dry and hard for the cattle. When we got to the divide, the cattle were thirsty and wanted to go back to a water hole. That evening the kids were going to play a joke on Tom Bryant. There was a horse in the bunch called old "Jim Tietjen" which had belonged to Joe Tietjen. The kids turned all the other horses loose except old "Jim Tietjen." They took him up the canyon and tied him up, making it look like his rope had been broken. He was a mean horse and no one dared to ride him. The kids were going to see if Tom Bryant would ride him after the other horses. Next morning when we woke up, all the horses and the cattle were gone. We climbed a high bluff and with some strong glasses I had, we saw the cattle stringing along.
The Herrington kid said to me, "We didn't know we were pullin' such a trick." I said to the kid, "you drag my saddle up the canyon." He drug my saddle up there and saddled the horse. He gave me two biscuits with a piece of bacon, and I was on my way after the cattle. No one else knew I was following the herd. About noon some Navajos came by, and Tom Bryan and Herrington tried to hire them, but they wanted $1OO to follow that herd. Paul hummed and hawed and finally told them that "Sis" (as I was called) had gone. They wanted to know how she went, and he told them that I had ridden old "Jim Tietjen." I followed the cattle. Old Jim Tietjen was a fast traveler and I caught up with the herd about dark. Then I had to trail them back to the divide and got in about midnight by driving the cattle fast. I had a dog called Cute that would ride on the saddle behind me. She was better than three men at driving cattle. She never barked but bit their heels.
When I got back, everyone was excited. I guess I was the first one that had ever ridden him, but I had grown up on a horse and had ridden since I was three years old. I was 17 then.
We camped at the mouth of Bluewater Canyon. Joe Tietjen was supposed to come up and take over the Bryant herd. When he got there, I was the cowboy of the outfit because our horses were poor and give out and I rode Old Jim every day. When I came into camp there was Joe Tietjen and his brother Almy. The next day I had to help gather the cattle. I thought that when he got the cattle that I would never see him again, but we moved back up to Thoreau and camped there. While we were there, I was sent over to the Medler Ranch to buy hay. I was scared to death of dogs. I walked up to knock on the front door and out came a bulldog. I didn't even knock, but just ran in and slammed the door. It was always a joke, and Mrs. Medler used to laugh and say "That woman doesn't even knock. She just walks in, slams the door, and stands with her back to the door." We then moved to the mountain where Joe had taken Bryant's cattle at Dan Valley. We had been there about a week when Joe came over and asked Mother if he could board with us. She said she guessed he could. Edy Tietjen came over to see Joe, but he wouldn't get up to see her, so she had to stay overnight. She was so scared to be staying with a bunch of "outsiders" but I remember hearing her tell her mother that "they had their beds covered with tarps but when they rolled them out, there were the nicest white sheets, and she gave me a nightgown that was embroidered." She was so surprised that folks that lived like that had things decent. My stepfather was determined that I was going to be a "lady" and insisted that I learn to sew, to knit, and do all that fancy work, so I had embroidered the night gown.
When I had first met Almy, he was just a little feller and had a big cut on his head, so that he wore a red handkerchief over it. After we lived at Dan Valley, Grandfather Tietjen came up and stayed a week with his son, but I imagine he had really come to look me over. Then Tom McNeil came along and stayed nearly a month with Joe. Joe and I were married the 4th of July 1898. We had six children. Josephine the first baby was kind of a pet. I was determined that none of my children would carry a nickname, and although Joe had an aunt Josephine whom they called "Phine." I wouldn't consent to that, so they called her Josephine. The second one was Embert Lehi. He was sick from the time he was born, and was the only small one in the bunch. When he was three he had spinal meningitis and never grew until he was eleven. It left him crippled and his hearing was affected. He never learned to talk. I got a correspondence course in lip reading and taught him to read lips. He lived until he was nearly 22 when he was killed. The next one was Volton Shelton. Joe nicknamed him "Fat" because he was so fat when he was two years old that he couldn't run and would fall down. Ina wasn't like the rest and didn't like riding, and all she wanted to do was play the organ. I had bought an organ and when we moved out to Pintada I had arranged for Bertha Elkins to teach. I thought if she learned how, the rest could learn with her, but the others wouldn't take lessons unless they could take them individually. It cost me something like a $100 a month. Fat learned to play the Organ. Ina was good and took right to it. Jeff learned to play the mandolin. All but Gladdus got a musical education. Embert played the violin. When Bertha came down, I asked her to teach Embert. She said she couldn't teach him because she didn't know sign language, but that she wouldn't charge a penny if she could teach him anything. She gave him organ lessons since we had no pianos then. Finally she said she thought Embert ought to have a violin. She would come down early in the morning and stay all day. Embert took right to the violin and Bertha said that I ought to send him away to study.
The next one was Jeff, and he was the fighter of the family. He played the mandolin. All my kids were good at music, and they gave a music recital in Bluewater. The baby was Gladdus, and she was such a little puny thing. Gladdus never seemed to like music, but I had May Childers as a private teacher, and Gladdus learned to read at four years like an eight year-old, and could spell as well. Fat claimed May Childers tried to pound things in through the top of his head. May was just Gladdus' ideal.
Josephine spent three years in Snowflake in school. All the kids but Josephine got their education in Bluewater. Of course I moved to Snowflake two winters so that they would get better schooling. It was kind of a church school. Then they boarded with the Ballard family in Snowflake when I wasn't there.
Josephine married Tom Elkins and they had 10 children. She was never very well or very strong, but raised a big family. They lived right on my home place and lived with me most of the time. Fat married Tess Childs and they had two girls. Ina married Mark Elkins and they had seven children. Jeff married Edna Berryhill and they had six children. Gladdus married Adrian Berryhill and they had two girls.
Our "home ranch" was Pintada. We summered in the Zuni mountains. We lived everywhere.
When Gladdus was just a baby, Joe was deputized to bring in a Navajo Criminal. After about four hours, Joe sent a Navajo back and sent for me to come to Chavez in the wagon, although I didn't understand quite why. There were 1500 Navajos there. We sat against the side of the pump house for a long time. I had brought something to eat for Josephine. The children were all huddled against me and the Navajos were so thick we could hardly see through them. They didn't believe we could call the government (whom they called Uncle Sam) in. Finally the Chief sent a Navajo boy with me over to the telegraph office, and he whipped a trail for us through the Indians. The operator was hid under the table. I told him to get up and call the captain at Wingate, since they always had troops there. When we contacted the captain, he knew there was trouble and said, "What do you want?" I called the Captain "Washington", and told him there were six white people and nine children surrounded by Indians and we wanted to know if we couldn't get some help. "Yes," he said, "go back and tell the Navajos I have got four box flats and 780 Negro troops and we're coming." He yelled that a dozen times on the phone. If there was anything the Navvies were afraid of, it was the Negro troops. The interpreter ran back yelling to the Indians. Old Piscinte, the chief, jerked me up and put me on a barrel in front of the Indians and told me to talk. I told them what "Washington" had said. Joe interpreted for me. I told them that the first train would not have the Negroes on it, but that the second one would. When the first train came, the Indians hit the Navajo and pushed him and pulled him and threw him in the caboose. By the time the caboose was out of sight, not Navajo was to be seen, not one. That was the first Navajo to be arrested in this country.
The ranch was at what was called the "Red House." Then we moved to Baca because water was easier to get there. When Joe passed away, we had lots of cattle, but that winter was an awful winter and we lost 1500 JET cattle. Snow was a foot and a half deep all the way to Pueblo Bonito.
I have a 35-year certificate as a Sunday School teacher. I served 14 years without a break as a Relief Society President, but what I really loved was the Primary. I worked as President of the Mutual. Most of the time I held two positions.
Joe Tietjen was a man who labored a great deal among the Indians. His work and his interests and everything were with the Indians. When the first World War broke out, the government wanted to draft the Indians, but they refused.
Joe went and held what the Indians called a "powwow". They talked for two days and nights to see whether the Indians should be loyal to the United States. Joe told them, "You're Americans, you belong here and you don't want the Germans to come in and take over." The next morning 160 Indian boys volunteered to go into the service.
Joe stood 6' 7 1/2 inches in his stocking feet. When we were married, he weighed 187 lbs. When he died, he weighed 215. He had light brown curly hair and blue grey eyes. He was neither light nor dark. He was a very serious man. He was very kind. Ina was the only one he ever spatted. She sassed him and he slapped her on the seat. He was a cattle man, and never farmed. I don't think he could have planted a hill of corn. He went on a mission to Mexico. Gladdus was born after he came home. He was on the mission nine months before he came home, and was never well after that, and everything seemed to go wrong. He died of internal injuries received while lifting a car.
When we moved to Bluewater, Emma C, still lived in Ramah, although part of the Tietjen family lived in Bluewater, Emma O was short and fat and was a "Muddy-Blond" complexion. Grandpa Tietjen was tall and rawboned and dark. All his life, Ernst was a missionary and miner. He was a natural born miner.
(Ernst Albert Tietjen got into the cattle business by buying the remnant of the Box S Cattle Co., the American Cattle Co., and the Acoma Land and Cattle Co. Joe and Tom McNeil were helping him gather and the gathering went so slow that Joe took the deal over from his father.)
After Joe passed away, we had lots of trouble, and my oldest boy Embert was sick. I felt so blue and was sitting at the breakfast table after everyone left. All at once a little short, heavy set man, rather greyed, stepped in. No matter who they were, we always asked people, "will you have something to eat?" He sat down and just waited. I said, "oh, this food has been blessed." Then he ate a very hearty meal. We didn't have much, but we did have eggs and bacon and milk. He drank three glasses of milk. When he got through, he said, "Thank you. Thank you Sister." Then he startled me when he laid his hands on my head and gave me a blessing. That was when I realized he was something more than ordinary. He said to me, "Your son Embert will be better." After that I had the idea of teaching him to read lips.
One stormy day before this, a Navajo was at Prewitt. A horse had knocked him down and stomped him and broke three ribs. He was laying on the floor moaning and this man came in, put his hands on the Indian and blessed him. He then told the Navajo to get up, that he would be all right. This Navvie didn't think he could, but he did get up and walked around. Of course it created much excitement. Mrs. Prewitt was very religious and was a Methodist Minister although she was a lady. After this man talked to the Indians, he just stepped out. The Indians were very excited and put an Indian boy on a horse to find where he had gone. They followed him over to my house, and the man came out and disappeared. He did a lot of visiting among the Indians. Up at the mouth of the canyon, an Indian boy had been bitten by a rattlesnake. The man blessed him and he got well.
"I know the gospel is true. Many times I've knelt by the bedside of my children and others when there were no elders and they were healed."
If Grandma Tietjen (Maud Hunt) sometimes appeared to be of a stern and unbending nature, it was a reflection of the harsh discipline which frontier life had imposed upon her at an early age. Beneath her occasionally rough exterior was a heart of mercy and kindness. Whenever anyone in the community was ill, "Aunt Maude" was sure to be there with her skill and knowledge of pioneer medicine. If the sick person's chores needed tending, she milked the cows, chopped the wood, fixed the meals and in general could be relied upon to do everything necessary until recovery.
Grandma was thoroughly capable of handling a man's end of the ranch work, and for some time after Joe Tietjen died she did just that. She rode, she hitched the horses and drove a team, she milked cows and sold the milk and butter for a living, she irrigated for the fields, cared for the gardens, chickens and everything imaginable. She could bake really excellent bread and made a delicious soft cheese. Her house had about it a lure of mystery. There were so many interesting things stacked away. As children we were particularly fond of a huge box of assorted spools she kept under her bed. She made good vinegar taffy and I remember hoarding away a few pieces under the ladder that led to the loft. In that loft was a fascinating box of rubber stamps with all sorts of animals on them.
Annie May Marten
In 1957 Grandma Berryhill and I went back to Comanche county, Texas where she was born. That part of the country stands almost as she left it over 70 years ago. It is thickly wooded with brush and low trees. Possum and Raccoon hunting are still favorites there. The people still live much as they did in her day. While the house grandmother had lived in had been torn down, we visited a house of her aunts just across the field which was little changed. There are miles between houses, and she pointed out where the Shrums school house had stood and that she had gone there through the eighth grade. She then walked the four miles to the Lillies to a private school and went through the tenth grade there. She recalls seeing one boy hit another boy in school. The instructor piled ten books on the offender's head and made him stand in the corner an hour. The people in those days ate many of the same things they do today: Okra, black-eyed peas, corn bread and cracklins, ice tea, and fried chicken. They are most hospitable.
When grandmother was eighteen, the family moved to Barstow, Texas, where they rented a farm and raised cotton. She had a reputation as a cotton picker and remembers picking 300 lbs. one morning. They stayed almost three years at Barstow, then moved to Snider in Scurry County, where they continued to raise cotton. She met grandpa there and says: "He thought he was a cow-trader, but he raised cotton, too. He had been gone a year and a half from home working on a ranch. He came back to visit his folks when I met him. Mr. Wellman owned the farm on which we both lived. Our folks didn't like our going together. They did like Marvin, though. Two years later we married and went to Seminole where we filed on some land and lived until 1912, when we moved to Mexico. (The people in Texas still call our state Mexico.) The year Edna was born we bought land in Tatum after selling eight sections at Seminole. We bought three or four homesteaders out. Grandpa helped build the court house at Seminole which was a dugout. He was chairman of the county commissioners in Chavez County and signed the check to build the present day court house in Roswell. We came to Tatum in a hack, which was a two seated buggy, and drove the cattle up there. In 1918 we came to McKinley county when Duane was five months old."
The day the Berryhills arrived, Joe Tietjen's funeral was being held and they recall seeing hundreds and hundreds of Navajos mourning the death of their best friend.
An incident or two is indicative of the life those pioneer women led. On one occasion my grandmother was staying alone at the ranch house. A man suddenly appeared at the door and stepped in without knocking. Dirty ragged, haggard, unkept, everything about him was suggestive of extreme hardship. His voice was scarcely audible, and his speech was in monotones. The huge, redfaced, man commanded: "Gimme somethin to eat." There was nothing to do except feed the stranger. She cooked a meal, the man just sitting and staring at her during the whole process. While he was eating, she went to her bedroom, got her 22 rifle and slipped out the window. She hid in an arroyo some fifty yards from the house, but her collie dog, Happy, thinking this was great fun, began to jump and play around the bank of the arroya, betraying her presence to any who might look that way. She finally captured the dog and held him. The man stayed several hours in the house, and then went away without further incident.
The other incident occurred in Thoreau, New Mexico, one of the wild shootings characteristic of both the frontier and of prohibition days. Whalen was a lumberman who worked in the Zuni Mountains and who occasionally rode down to Thoreau, the nearest town, for relaxation and entertainment. Thoreau was then a very prosperous little town, and boasted several hotels and as many saloons. My grandmother lived directly across the street from one of the saloons which was serving as a gambling house since the bar had been removed.
In the dimly lit back room of this bar, containing several pool tables, Whalen got into a poker game with two Mexicans and a White Man, all three of which were secretly engaged at that time in distilling spirits for an occupation. The game was progressing a little too smoothly and it was not long until Whalen became suspicious of the other three and after the next deal he caught a mistake. "You slipped that card, you damned four flushing ____." The already tense group was galvanized into action and all four fired at once. A stray bullet shattered the kerosene lamp, the only light. Whalen tried to duck under the table, but was wounded while doing so. The lumberjack got out of the saloon and ran over to grandmother's house. At that hour, everyone was asleep, but all were awakened by his insistent cries of "Lemme in, lemme in!" A lamp was lighted and Whalen was admitted through the back door, bloody from head to foot. "My God, help me, I'm killed; they shot me." Grandma took him in and fixed a bed after bandaging his wounds. "Put out that light," he kept warning, "they'll come over here and kill me!" No heed was paid to him and a light was kept in the kitchen all night. In the morning my grandmother removed the bullet. It had entered his neck and went down his back. He was well enough to ride his horse back to the lumber camp that morning, not thinking it advisable to remain in the town longer. Both of the Mexicans had been killed in the storm of bullets and the other man had been shot three times. Next day the dead were hauled away in the back of a wagon, the other taken to his home.
Grandpa Berryhill was very business-minded. Agreements even with his children were written out and signed - a policy that always proved to be wise.
When we children were riding with him, he made up rhymes as we went along and sung them to us, a poetic ability inherited from the Bynum family. He loved a good joke and no one laughed more heartily than he when one was told.
He was always active in county and community government and served on numerous boards and committees. He liked people and could get acquainted with an ease that was unusual among cattlemen. After he retired from the ranch and lived in Albuquerque, I think he knew well everyone within a three-block radius.
Grandpa was one of the old-timers who had a hard time, getting used to those newfangled contraptions. When they got their first passenger car, they had plastic seat covers. When we got in the car, we nearly always got a shock from sliding across the seat. Grandpa would get impatient at me because I couldn't find the loose wire which he knew must be causing the electricity.
The first day they had the car, Grandpa got something out of the car pocket before going into the house. An hour later he went out to the car to get, something else. He came back and told Grandma that the light in the car pocket had been on for an hour and he couldn't turn it off, and that every time he opened the car pocket it was still on.
Ernst Tietjen's Story
Ernst's mother, Ida Fredricka Kruger, says she was born in Mecklenburg, that part of East Germany which borders on the Baltic Sea and on Denmark, famous as a farming country. She was an orphan at two years of age, and when she was fifteen she left school and her grandmother taught her the dairy business. She says, "When 18 years old, I left her (grandmother) and went and superintended dairy and housekeeping for Mr. Baron Von-Molgen and while there, I formed the acquaintance of August H. Tietjen, who was the steward, and another man. I rather think the latter suited me best, but I was undecided which one to accept. One night I had a dream that August H. Tietjen was the right one. I was married to him on the 22 day of October 1847." The following day the young couple moved to Sweden.
When Ernst was nine years old, he tells, "My father and I having been to market and just returning home when we seen a large crowd gathered around two American boys, throwing things at them and mobbing them. My father drove up as close to the two boys as he could and told them to run toward the river. My father picked them up and brought them home where they remained some time. This was the first time they had ever heard of Mormon people. My father at this time was baptized, but not my mother."
Ida had her doubts about Mormonism. She says, "I felt very much opposed to it, thinking they were the false prophets that I had read of that should come, for I had been a Bible reader. When my husband was baptized, he got the spirit of gathering to Zion in Utah, where the Saints had settled. I did not want to be separated from my husband, so I prayed to the Lord. I would go ahead and get baptized and if it was right I wanted him to give me a testimony, and if it was wrong, I wanted him to forgive me. As soon as I was baptized and had hands laid on my head for the gift of the Holy Ghost, I received a testimony, and began to preach the gospel to all I came in contact with. I thought that when I could see it that they could see the gospel truths that the Elders had preached. They that had been my friends now turned against me to be my enemies. They told evil things about me and would not speak or believe the truth. I read the scriptures in their true light. I saw fulfilled what the Lord had prophesied, that signs would follow them that believe." Their oldest boy, Ernst Albert, had a disease of one of his eyes, and he lost his sight in it. The doctors couldn't do anything for him, but recommended that he go to the city where there was a river that had some mineral qualities which if he could bathe his eye in might help, so he went to this city as the boy wanted to do this, but the father took him to the Elders of this new church and had him administered to and his eye was healed instantly.
Ernst recalls, "On account of the persecution I received a school because my father was a Mormon, my teacher in school advised my parents to keep me out of school, so I had but very little school, although my father was a very wealthy man and could have afforded to have given me a good education." In fact, the entire family was persecuted. August Henry tells the following: "During the two years we were in Sweden, we housed and defended the missionaries many times. One night in particular the missionaries were holding a meeting and a mob started to break up this meeting by throwing rotten eggs and breaking windows and making such a noise. I was a trustee and in charge of the hall where the meeting was. The mob was soon squelched and the Elders spirited home until the disturbance was over. In the spring of 1859 we made ready to start for Utah."
The Tietjen family sold everything they had but a few clothes and bedding. On April 1st 1859, a company of 355 Scandinavian Saints sailed from Copenhagen (which is about 20 miles from Helsenberg, Sweden). They went from there to Greensborg, England, then to Liverpool, where they were joined by English and Swiss emigrating Saints. A total of 726 souls sailed from Liverpool on the 11th of April 1859, on the William Tapescott. Ten Wards were soon organized on board, 5 Scandinavian and 5 British and Swiss, with a president over each. His duty was to see that the voyagers fully adhered to the observances of cleanliness, good order, etc. The voyage lasted only 31 days. There was one death and 19 couples were married on board. Dances and instrumental music as well as congregational singing helped the Saints pass the hours on board ship. Elder Neslen, as a general president, recorded that it was quite a task to take charge of a company speaking nine different languages and with different customs and peculiarities. Upon arriving at New York, the group was pronounced to be the best disciplined and most agreeable that had arrived at that port in the memory of the government officers and doctors. The bulk of the Saints took a river steamer to Albany, then went to Niagara Falls by rail, then to Windsor, Canada; Detroit, Quincy Illinois; St. Joseph, Missouri; then up the Missouri River by Steamboat to Florence, Nebraska, now Omaha, where they arrived 25 May. The Saints were soon organized into temporary districts and branches. Three companies of handcarts were organized and left the 9th of June, followed by an Ox-cart company which left the 25th of June and arrived in Salt Lake City the 15th of September. The handcart companies were met by thousands of people led by local bands. Ezra T. Benson gave a welcoming speech, followed by a bounteous feast. (From the "Land of the Midnight Sun", by Albert Zobell). We can imagine that such a reception did much to lighten the hearts of August Henry and his family.
Of their journey from Florence, Ernst Albert writes: "We fixed ourselves out with an ox team to go from there to Salt Lake. This was quite a trial especially to my mother, for all her life she had had plenty and had never known what want was. My father had been counseled to give all the money he could spare to help the other poor saints so they too could gather to Zion, which he did willingly. We had a distance of 1000 miles to travel with our ox teams, with our other brothers and sisters who had left their home the same as we.
On the way the things they had became too heavy so they had to unload some of them. There was one thing in particular they had to unload, a cook-stove. They hated very much to leave this but later some of the men and teams that were sent back to help the Saints get to Utah picked it up and brought it to them, which they appreciated very much. It has been said that this was the first cook stove in Utah.
Ernst continues, "We arrived in Salt Lake Valley all right. We did not suffer for food on the way, as my father and I were both good shots, and we usually had meat. My mother was a good cook, so our journey was a pleasant one. While at Salt Lake City, my father took a contract of burning charcoal. The trees or logs were piled up high like a mound and dirt was thrown on top and all around them. After a good fire had been started under them, this dirt was placed on them so that the fire would only smolder, but never burn big. After a certain length of time we could uncover these logs and they would be charcoal used for blacksmith work. My father took me up into the mountain and built three or four of these charpit beds, as they were called, and left me there to watch them. I must not let a hole get in them, for if I did, they would burn up and only ashes would be left, so with a shovel and my little roll of bedding and a box of food, father left me there alone. I think I was about twelve then. My mother was a wise mother, she knew how lonesome and lonely her boy would be up there and maybe afraid, so she put a German Book of Mormon in my box of food for me to read. I read it and I did as Moroni said in the 10th chapter verse 4. I did this and there alone in the mountain with only myself and my heavenly father, I received my first testimony of the Gospel that has remained with me all through my life."
After a few months in Salt Lake they moved to Goshen at a place called Sandtown, where August Henry thought he would engage in farming, this being his trade, but the land wasn't very good. It didn't suit August, so after 8 years he moved to Santaquin where he engaged in farming, but he was never satisfied because the land wasn't as good as in Germany or Sweden, but he toughed it out as long as he lived which was quite awhile, he being in his seventies. They had quite a hard time building up a new country and he was quite sick a good many times, probably from appendicitis. Karl G. Maeser offered him a teaching position at B.Y.U., but he refused, saying that he could starve as well elsewhere. Ernst's mother says, "Our means we spent as we were counseled to do in helping the poor to immigrate, and for other donations, and the rest we lost, so we came down to know what poverty was. I had never known what it was to be poor until this time and it was quite a trial to me. But all the time my faith strengthened in the principles of the Gospel. Nearly the whole of the first year that we were in this country my husband was sick and we had to sell our clothing to buy bread. I had to work very hard to take care of my family and we had to make most of our clothing. Three children were born in Utah. Since that time, with work, we have enough to get along very well, and have enough to make us comfortable." August Henry was never repaid for the money he had given to the Immigration Fund, and he could scarcely conceal his disappointment at times. Among other things he made shoes for a living.
We return to Ernst's narrative. He writes, "I was called when 16 years old on my first mission to drive a team of oxen back to Nebraska City to bring emigrants over from there to Salt Lake. I made four trips back to Omaha Nebraska for the Saints who had left their homes for the gospel. We had many things on our trip that were not very comfortable, one of the men had the misfortune to loose one of the burrs of his wheel so we had to travel very slow on account of the wheel kept coming off. We also had a very sick little baby about one year old. He was so sick that he could not stand the jolt of the wagon, so the mother walked each day and carried him on a pillow. At night I would go out and hunt a rabbit and bring it in for this mother to stew for the baby, as that was all he would take. He lived, though, and when grown became one of Utah's most famous judges, judge Erik."
Little did Ernst know that the baby was to become his brother-in-law in later years. Mrs. Ivy Gentry tells the following: "Joseph H. Erickson, my father, was born in 1864 in Oslo, Norway, and was the youngest of seven children born to Englebret and Olena Olsen Erickson. Not much is known of his father except that he was a hardworking man and was baptized into the Mormon Church a few years before he died. Grandma Erickson's grief was deepened by the drowning of one of her little boys. When father was about two years old his mother decided to join a company of emigrants coming to Utah which she had been told was a land of milk and honey. She wished to bring her children to Zion to mingle with the members of the Church which she had embraced. So she sold her home and what jewelry and silver she had to get the means for the long journey. When they reached Denmark, where they were to embark, she found to her dismay that she had not enough money for all of them, so she was obliged to leave her two oldest daughters (one of whom was Emma 0.) twelve and fourteen years of age, behind until she could earn enough in her new habitation to send for them. They went back to Norway and stayed with neighbors and friends and worked for a living until the time came--years later--for them to come to Utah. They arrived in New York after a long and arduous trip on the ocean. From there, they traveled by train westward to Council Bluffs. Here they were met by wagons from Salt Lake to take them on to their destination. (This was the group with which Ernst Albert had been sent on a mission.) My father, who was the baby, was desperately ill and could not endure the jolt and rumble of the wagon, so grandma had to carry him. She walked all the way, sometimes holding an old black umbrella over him to keep off the blazing sun, for it was summer now and the heat on the plains was almost unbearable. When her arms ached she would suspend him from her back in an old shawl much like the Indians do. She trudged along, day after day, and sometimes became so tired she lagged far behind. The captain reproved her and urged her to let the child die because no one felt he could possibly get well. She was told she was only retarding progress by hanging onto him. She refused, of course, and assured them that she would make out all right if they cared to go on ahead without her.
When the company arrived in Salt Lake, Grandma and her children were sent south to Provo to make their home. Father was better and recovering fast. Their first home was in an old deserted school house. Grandma hung old pieces of rugs over the broken windows to keep out the cold, for it was early fall. Before long they moved south to Santaquin where they had a more comfortable home. Grandmother worked from daylight until late at night weaving carpets for she had brought her loom from Norway and also her spinning wheel. She took in washings and sewings to earn enough to support her small children and save to send for her daughters as she had promised.
(Judge Erickson, the baby, served as county attorney for two years at Richfield, District attorney for 8 Years, Judge of the 6th Judicial District for eight years and died in December 1948 at the age of 84. We can't help wondering if Earnest Albert had any idea this baby would someday be his brother-in-law. Emma 0. and her sister did not come over until Solomon Petersen came to Norway as a missionary, later married the older girl and brought her to America. Sometime afterward he sent money for Emma O. to come to Zion. No wonder, then Emma O. sent for her cousin Emma C. She knew how it felt to be left alone in that distant country.) From "Treasures of Pioneer History", Volume 4.
Resuming Ernst's account in his journal, we are told that, "in 1873, I met Emma O. Erickson. She was a girl from Norway: I asked her to go to sacrament meeting with me. I had been keeping company with a Holaday girl, but one evening I called to see her and she was sitting at the table playing cards, with some other young folks. This surely caused me a sorrow for I knew here was our parting of the way. They invited me to join them, but I declined and never went back to see her again. While at meeting, Orson Pratt was the speaker. All elders set on the stand, so I could see Emma 0. Erickson from where I was setting. He spoke on the principle of Celestial Marriage. As he spoke it seemed that Emma O.'s face was white and beautiful and just shone with purity, with his sermon and the truth of it. The beauty of Emma O.'s face thoroughly convinced me that Emma 0. was the right one for me to marry. Some time after this we were engaged. One Sunday afternoon as we were out walking, she told me that she had a cousin over in the old country that she loved very dearly, and I had to promise to help her so she can come to Zion. She had me promise to help her as soon as we were married. Soon after we were married, she said, "Won't you please give me the first money you get so I can send for my cousin Emma C. Christian Peterson so she can join me here in Zion." Of course I promised her I would. Emma O. Erickson and I were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City by Daniel H. Wells and, true to my promise, the first money I made after we were married was working on the Utah Southern Railroad, and strange as it may seem I had worked but a short time and had made $80.00 and sent it to her cousin Emma C. Peterson."
A humorous sidelight here is that Ernst's brother, Charley, married the Holaday girl and she made a wonderful wife. Charlie went on a mission back to Sweden and became well known there for his outstanding work. While there, some of the Tietjen family in Germany sent for him to come see them, but forbade him to mention religion. He remembers that they were soldiers, and rode huge white horses in the king's army.
The occasion for Ernst Tietjen's missionary call to the Indians is told by Anthony W. Ivins who went to Savoia as a missionary: Ivins writes in his journal "In 1876 Ammon Tenney and R. L. Smith left the Mexican settlements near El Paso, traveled up to Rio Grande to Isleta, remaining there sometime preaching, then traveled west to Zuni where they remained for some time, baptizing many of the Indians. Soon afterward they were released, went home, and the Indians drifted back into their old ways." Andrew Jenson, the Church historian, continues, "Elder Lorenzo Hatch accompanied Daniel H. Wells and party on a visit to the Little Colorado River in 1876. On the return of the company to Utah, Elder Hatch met President Brigham Young at Kanab, Utah, and during the interview, President Young called Brother Hatch to return to New Mexico to take charge of the Indians who had been baptized among the Zunis a few months previously by Ammon Tenney and Robert L. Smith. Elder Hatch responded to the call, and with his family left St. George for New Mexico, 25 July 1876. Near Kanab he was joined by John Maughan and family and these two families then traveled by way of the camps of the Saints on the Little Colorado River to Fish Springs, in New Mexico, about 6 miles southwest of the present site of Ramah, where they stopped a few weeks, then moved to San Lorenzo (probably what is now Tenaja), a Mexican village situated about 15 miles southwest of present Ramah. Both families wintered at this place, laboring during that winter among the Indians and Mexicans."
In that same year, Sam Young tells us that "President Brigham Young wrote to Ernst Tietjen and asked him to go on an Indian mission. In this letter he used words something like this, '... locate as near the heart of the Navajo Indian Country as you can, learn their language, their habits, their customs and ways and teach them the gospel and a better way to live...' Early in the spring (one day after his marriage to Emma C.) Ernst Tietjen in company with several others packed up their horses and went to where Tuba City now stands, and there Ernst spent the summer making adobes and helping build the first houses to be built in that place. That fall the party returned home."
The Church historian continues thus, "Early in 1877 Luther C. Burnham and Ernst Tietjen, missionaries to the Navajo Indians, arrived at San Lorenzo. Brother Hatch located them in Savoia Valley where Jose Pino, a local Navajo leader, pointed out the most favorable location. They built a house about 6 miles north east of the present Ramah, while Elders Hatch and Maughan raised a crop at San Lorenzo and the two families moved to a neighboring valley and located at a place called Savoietta. John Hunt joined Lorenzo Hatch at San Lorenzo in 1877 together with Elders Burnham and Tietjen."
Anthony Ivins wrote: "23 February, we traveled ten miles to Fish Springs where the Zunis have a farm. It is a beautiful place, the land is rich and the water good. One hundred families might be sustained here." Jenson says that "Soon afterwards, Nelson C. Beebee arrived with a company of Saints from the southern states, mostly from the state of Arkansas, they having been counseled to settle (perhaps on the strength of Ivins' report) in New Mexico. This company of Saints consisted of 100 souls and came through by teams. Some of them stopped at Savoia while others went on to Joseph City. One of these brethren had contacted smallpox while passing through Albuquerque and owing to an epidemic of smallpox, and for other reasons, the winter of 1877-78 proved a very hard and unpleasant one for Elders Hatch and his fellow missionaries, as well as for the Saints from the Southern States. Hatch reported in October: The mission numbers 116 Zunis who have been baptized and 34 Navajos.' Nor was this their only harvest. Blacksmithing had earned a thousand pounds of corn from the Zunis while nearly 40 acres under cultivation yielded wheat, corn, beans, potatoes, and other produce. These provident measures proved insufficient that autumn when nearly 100 Arkansas converts drove up, straining the Mormon cupboards so severely that Lorenzo Hatch sent most of the newcomers to Joseph City to avoid a famine." That winter, I am told, the Indians were remarkably solicitous of the welfare of their white brethren. Many times they brought deer, turkey, and other game off the mesa and left it a hundred yards or so from the settlement, not daring to come nearer on account of the dread smallpox.
Despite this fact, those were days and men of great faith. Preston Nibley records in his "Missionary Experiences" the story of Llewelyn Harris who arrived in Zuni the 20th of January, 1878 on his way to the Mexican settlements to preach the gospel. "Brother Harris was awakened in the night by the cries of the Zuni family with whom he was staying. Their little girl was dying of smallpox. He administered to her and she recovered. In the succeeding days he visited about 25 families a day, healing their sick. The disease spread rapidly and in one day he administered to 406. A Presbyterian minister persuaded a medicine man to circulate lies about the missionaries, saying they were healed by the Devil. Next day Brother Harris went to Savoia Valley where he remained three weeks. All except 5 or 6 to whom he had administered for smallpox recovered completely."
Ernst informs us further that, "The following year I came back to my family. I brought with me an Indian boy from Ramah, N. Mexico to help me learn the Navajo language. In 1878, I left Santaquin, Utah with my two wives and children for Ramah, New Mexico with an ox team; the road was long and rough. Emma C. ran along with a stick to hit the leaders on the nose so they would stop when the wagon pushed on them or we might have had a run away downhill. There was not a town then at Ramah; my brother Joe who had come with me and an Indian called Sam and myself started the Ramah Dam and also built the first house in Ramah and planted the first trees there which we had brought from Santaquin, Utah.
Sam Young recalls that "In 1880 Ernst, with a scraper made from scraps he had gathered at Fort Wingate with one yoke of Oxen began the work on the Ramah reservoir and moved to the present location of Ramah. He had an awfully hard time while at Savoia. Food at times became so scarce that your grandmother, Emma C., had to take the children and go dig wild potatoes that grew in that country and eat them."
At a quarterly conference held at Snowflake in June 1880, President Jesse N. Smith reported that the little L.D.S. settlement at Savoia had been called in on account of Indian troubles. Most of the Saints had gone to St. Johns. All left except Ernest Albert Tietjen, which practically ended that place as a settlement of the Saints. Brother Tietjen finally moved his family away also, about 1885. When Andrew Jenson, asst. church Historian, visited Ramah in 1894, there was nothing left of the former settlement called Savoia. Only Ernest A. Tietjen and John Hunt remained (after the recall) to carry on the religious work, supporting themselves by freighting and selling wool from the Navajo's sheep. (We can imagine that Ernst's five trips across the plains stood him in good stead in this venture.) In Ernst's journal, we read, "I did a great lot of missionary work among the Zuni Indians and had many true friends there. On one of my missionary trips out among the Navajos I baptized 40 Navajos and could have baptized more but there was no one to leave there with them to continue teaching them in the gospel. Among those I baptized was Lameback Charley, Cho Gosepino, and many others. In 1888, while out on the Navajo Reservation I converted and baptized 100 more Navajo Indians. It seemed that they were hunting for the truth. There were also other missionaries sent among the Indians (about 28). We were called to St. Johns, Arizona for Conference by Apostle Brigham Young Jr. Each one of us arose and were asked to tell what we thought about the Indians. Well, some thought them very filthy low in a moral way, and that we were just wasting our time trying to preach to them. Finally Apostle Young turned to me and said, 'Well, Brother Tietjen, you have not said anything. What do you think?' I then arose and said, 'Brethren, I think we see just what we are looking for,' and sat down. The room was quiet; they knew it was the truth, for if they were true missionaries, they would be so busy in the Lord's work that they couldn't find fault or see other people's faults or failures."
"Faced with incipient defeat along the Little Colorado, the Church Authorities called several families from Sunset to revive the New Mexican outpost. Almost at once the new settlers chose Tietjen as presiding Elder and selected teachers and a Sunday School Superintendent. Then moving a few miles south of Savoia, they laid out a townsite and irrigation ditches, named the village Navajo, and by winter more than half the families were living on the location. Administrative duties proved irksome, and in 1886 Tietjen resigned as bishop to devote more time to the Lamanites. A 3-year attack on the crops by grasshoppers (1888-90) proved far more serious. In the midst of these difficulties, Ramah faced extinction when an eviction notice in January, 1885 arrived from a neighboring cattle company which had bought the townsite from the railroad. Urging the people to exercise their faith and prayers that the hearts of these men might be softened, the Mormon leaders conferred with the ranchers. The latter demanded $10 an acre for the Ramah Section, But Bishop McNeil, deeming the price exorbitant, told his flock to build up and improve their surroundings in defiance of the gentiles. Ignoring the danger brought another eviction notice in 1890. This time McNeil appealed to Salt Lake City, whence came funds with which the Ramah Land and Irrigation Company bought the land. President Wilford Woodruff sent word that the Ramahns were all called to stay there and help make that purchase--an indefinite sentence when they had barely been able to survive. Finally the Church authorities agreed to accept an equivalent amount of work on the dam as repayment. At a stake conference in January, 1900, Apostle Grant read a release from the First Presidency of all who were called as missionaries to the St. Johns Stake, releasing them to go elsewhere if they so desired. The Saints in Ramah combatted Satan in whatever guise he assumed. S. E. Lewis condemned gambling in every form. Horse racing came under this ban on a number of counts. Counselor Bond spoke to those that were in the habit of betting on horse races and said it was wrong and against the principles of the gospel and encouraged all who had been in the habit to try and quit it. In 1886 Bishop Tietjen denounced horse racing in the streets--it was not safe. Professor Clyde Kluckhohn has suggested to the author that the comparative absence of gambling among the Ramah Navajos might be traced to Ernst Tietjen's influence on Jose Pino. The Rahmans in 1882 were equally certain on the subject of 'us coming here as Indian missionaries' but as the years passed, the objective became blurred in their minds--but not in those at Salt Lake City. Apostle Brigham Young Jr. stated flatly in 1887, 'We calculate on this place more than any other as a nucleus for the Indian Mission.' (The entire above paragraph has been taken from an article, "History of Ramah", by Irving Telling, which appeared in the Utah Historical Quarterly in 1953.)
Ernst recalls this interesting episode in his journal: " in the summer of 1884, I was called by Apostle Brigham Young Jr. to go over on the Reservation. Some kind of difficulty between the Indians and Lot Smith. It seemed that he had been very overbearing to the Indians--running off their sheep and horses and not allowing them to have their own watering holes and pastures for their sheep and horses. Brother Lewis Burnham and myself started at once by team to see what could be done. One evening when we had camped, a Navajo rode into our camp. I talked to him for a while and told him we had been sent to see if we could make peace between the Indians and Smith. I asked him if he would tell the other Indians that we wished to hold a council with them the next evening and hear their story of their trouble with Smith. The next evening about 25 chiefs and warriors met us at the place appointed. This is the story they told: 'Lot Smith owned a store and had a large flock of sheep and horses. He was a man who dearly loved raising fine horses. The year before had been very dry and there was a shortage of water and feed, and Smith had done all he could to make it very unpleasant for the Indian's sheep and horses so that there would be plenty for his. After running off the sheep and horses, he told them this story to frighten them so they would not dare to come back. He Smith said one day he was going along and saw 'tremendous large' snake tracks in the canyon. "I run onto it, and it was the biggest snake--about 20 feet long and large enough to swallow a horse whole. Soon after this, one of my sheep herders went up in there, and the snake 'chased him'; he left his horse and fled for his life on foot, but the snake caught the horse and swallowed him whole." So of course the Indians were afraid and while the Indian's sheep and horses died of hunger and thirst, Smith's grew fat. Finally one brave Indian ventured to go (up the canyon) and find the truth of the story. He found it was only a story to scare the Indian. After hearing the Indians' story, we told them that they could meet us over at Mouencopy where we would hear both their story and Smith's. The next day we arrived at Smiths and told him what we had come for. He just smiled and said 'Let us hold up this afternoon. Meanwhile, I would like to show you folks and the Indians my very best breed of horses. So he sent one of his boys after the band of horses. When the boy brought in the horses, he corralled them in a large round pole fence. Smith took his rope and caught one fine horse and commenced to show us his fine qualities, leading him around the corral. Some way the horse got more slack of the rope than Smith intended and whirled and kicked Smith in the stomach. All of the Indians just laughed at him. We picked him up and carried him to the house. He was unconscious. After 2 hours he rallied to and sat up. About two O'clock he sent word to us that he was ready to meet us. In a short time he came walking very slowly with the aid of a stick and one of his wives, while the other one carried a large rocking chair for him to sit in. When everything was ready, we called in the head chief of the Navajos to tell his story. He arose and said, "We Indians have nothing to say. We believe the great Spirit has punished Smith enough by having his own horse kick him for the pay of telling us Indians such a lie and we wish to be friends with Smith if he will not mistreat us anymore." Smith consented to this, so we had them shake hands as a token of their friendship... From all we could learn, the Indians tried very hard to live up to our counsel, but Lot Smith was a very hot headed man and did not always live up to his teachings. One day he got in a dispute with an Indian and in it his temper got the better of him. This so enraged the Indian that he watched for his chance to get his revenge on Smith."
In connection with Grandfather's account, we have this tragic note recorded in McClintlock's 'Mormon Settlement in Arizona": "On June 20, 1892, the Indians at Tuba City turned their sheep into Lot Smith's pasture. Brother Smith went out to drive the sheep away and while thus engaged he got into a quarrel with the Indians and commenced shooting their sheep. In retaliation, the Indians commenced firing upon Lot Smith's cows and finally directed their fire against Lot Smith himself, shooting him through the body. Though mortally wounded, he rode home, a distance of about two miles, and lived about six hours when he expired."
Of his family life, Ernst records this heartbreaking episode: "In December, 1884, Sarah Amanda was born. She was light complected and rosy cheeked. While plowing in the fields, I would see Sarah coming across the plowed land hopping and running. She was so beautiful and I said to myself if anything should happen to her I don't think I could stand it. She came up telling me her mother had dinner ready. Taking my hand she chanted to me as we walked back to the house. On the evening of May 2, 1889, I was at Emma O's place just a short distance from Amanda's reading my paper when I heard some one cry, "fire". I ran out only to see Amanda's place all afire and Sarah in it. I wanted to run in and get Sarah, but three men held me back. They formed a chain line with buckets and passed the buckets of water in that way from one to the other until they had put out the fire. They chopped a path through to Sarah's crib. Amanda had put Sarah to bed and asleep and had just stepped out across the street to the church house to watch them dance for a while when someone called fire. This, of course, broke up the dance. Jim Hatch and Amanda were the first ones to go into the house after the fire had been put out by water. Sarah was burned just a small spot on her forehead but the smoke had strangled her to death. This was my greatest trial, for oh, how I loved this little girl. She was my pride and joy. Amanda it seemed, could not get over this great shock, and on Dec. 30, 1893 she died."
From Sam Young's Journal, we learn of the remarkable faith as well as the physical endurance that characterized those pioneers: "In 1887 the Manti Temple was completed and opened for general endowment work. Brother Tietjen at Santaquin wrote to Ernst and asked him to come to Santaquin and go with the family to Manti and do the family work and sealings. In those days it took nearly a month for a letter to go from Santaquin, Utah to Ramah, New Mexico. Ernst wrote to his father and told him that he would be at Santaquin at the desired time. In the late spring of 1888 Ernst prepared to walk from Ramah to Santaquin. At this time he was too poor to have horses. His equipment consisted of two small sacks. In one of these sacks was a shirt and change of underclothes and in the other sack was a little bread and some dried meat, and as for money, he had less than a dollar in cash in his pocket. One of his neighbors was taking a team to Ft. Wingate and Ernst rode with him. At Ft. Wingate it was decided that the neighbor had to go 12 miles further. Out in the flat and about half way between the railroad and the bluffs on the north side of the valley were some wagons camped for noon, and it was easy to see by the location of the wagon camp that they were going to the San Juan River, so Ernst told the neighbor goodby and walked over to the wagons. He soon learned that he was welcome to go with them as he knew the road and Indians well. On reaching the San Juan, he went to L. C. Burnham's who lived on the north bank of the river and was Bishop of the Burnham Ward at Fruitland. Brother Burnham, in settlement of a small account let Ernst have six pieces of lumber and some pieces of 2x4 and some nails. With these, Ernst made an open boat and one morning set adrift on the San Juan headed for Bluff City, 90 miles down the river. Ernst drifted or paddled down the river until he reached the place where Shiprock now stands, drew his boat up on the bank and soon found a camp of Indians whom he had known before, and spent the night with them. Next night he pulled his boat ashore where Anhath now stands and again spent the night with the Indians. The next day about 3 P.M. he reached Bluff City. Apostle Brigham Young was there with a buckboard, but the buck board was loaded to full capacity with Brother Young and supplies for the trip to Pleasant Creek. Brother Young was willing to wait one day for Ernst to find a way to go with them. Ernst next went to Bishop Neilson and bought a 44-caliber Winchester. This gun was a new model and was considered to be the outstanding make of guns. The price of the gun was $20 and of course was bought on credit. Ernst took the gun and crossed the river and soon traded the gun to an Indian for a good pony which the Indian delivered to Bluff City. The horse was packed with bedding and other things which made it possible for Ernst to ride in the buckboard. The coop gave him some groceries in exchange for the boat, and the trip was continued to Pleasant Creek. While there, some of the brethren traded Ernst a 2-year old steer on the Bluff range for the horse. The steer was to be turned over to the Nielson people. In a few days the party reached Santaquin. ...When the family temple work was done, word reached Ernst that a man with quite an outfit was passing some 50 miles away on their way to northern Arizona. After the man learned that Ernst was acquainted with the road and the Indians, he put Ernst to driving a team for his passage to Snowflake. From there he rode with some of the visiting authorities to St. Johns, and with some neighbors attending conference to Ramah.
Thomas Jefferson Hunt
Thomas Jefferson Hunt (Grandma Tietjen's father) was born in San Bernardino, California, and his early years were spent in Huntsville Utah. His mother died when he was nine. He grew up following the cattle and sheep on his father's ranches in Cache Valley, Idaho. He married Martha Marinda Manwill at the age of eighteen and lived in Blackfoot, Idaho and Payson, Utah. In 1885 with his wife and two young children (Maud S. and Thomas Jefferson) he went to Arizona to seek a fortune in the gold mines. Leaving his family in Showlow, Arizona, he went to Tucson to find his fortune but instead met his death. His wife, weeks later, received word that he and four other men had been attacked by Indians. Thomas and one of the four men were killed. They were buried somewhere in the mines in unknown graves near Tucson.
Thomas Jefferson Hunt's father was Charles Jefferson Hunt, Captain of Company A of the Mormon Battalion. The Battalion made the longest infantry march in history. Jefferson's two wives and family accompanied him as far as Santa Fe, then went north to Salt Lake, by way of Pueblo, Colorado. The battalion doctor gave the Mormons medicine for fever which the men believed was poison, and one of them died from it. The four hundred men in the battalion marched from Nauvoo, Illinois to Santa Fe, New Mexico, then south along the Rio Grande and west into Mexico near Nogalles, then to Tucson and finally to San Diego. Jefferson was reunited with his family in Salt Lake, then returned to California for further provisions for the Saints. He was back in Salt Lake when the crickets devoured the crops and when the gulls came. He was called to help colonize Fort Utah, now Provo, Utah. He led the largest party of the Forty-Niners to the gold mines in California. He was a representative to the Territorial legislature from Iron County where he and Addison Pratt had discovered iron, guided the first Mormon pioneers to plant a Mormon Colony in San Bernardino, California, ran a mail route from Los Angeles to Salt Lake, was a representative to the legislature from Los Angeles County, and is known in history as the father of San Bernardino County.
Jefferson often went to San Francisco. On one occasion he went to meet the coach bringing in Addison Pratt and Amasa Lyman. He inquired of bystanders if they had seen a couple of Mormons get off the stage. They said no, and in strong language informed him what they would do if Mormons did arrive on the stage. Jefferson silenced them by saying, "I'm a Mormon clear round to my backbone and it's a long way round!"
The San Bernardino Colony was recalled to Utah for the Utah war. At its conclusion, Major Hunt went as an aid with Brigham Young to meet the peace commission. He founded Huntsville, Utah. The Indians in that valley were troublesome and disposed to steal the cattle and harass the settlers. When one band of Indians told the settlers to leave the valley or they would pollute the water, Captain Hunt told them that at their first suspicious act he would burn all the water in the canyons. They looked incredulous. Where upon he seized a dipper-full of colorless liquid and burned it before their eyes. The Indians, unaware that the dipper held alcohol, resumed friendly relations for a time.
One story of Captain Hunt tells of a visit to Huntsville made by Brigham Young. Jefferson offered to take him around the countryside on one of his fine horses, bareback. Jefferson held out locked hands as a step for Brigham to mount and hoisted the President onto the back of the horse. He could not resist the temptation to hoist him so far that he was thrown clear over the horse's back and onto the ground. The same story is told in Oxford, where Jefferson later lived. While it may be true that Jefferson actually "legged" Brigham Young clear over the horse once, it is unlikely that he would have dared to do it twice.
Another story has it that Jefferson was roofing a house with Charlie Grow. They were pounding nails when suddenly Charlie heard swearing that turned the air blue. When the swearing stopped as suddenly as if had begun and Jefferson was heard to say, "Lord forgive me for swearing but you would have sworn just as loud and long if you had hit your finger as hard as I did."
Jefferson helped settle Oxford, Idaho where he lived during his later years. When asked by a well meaning neighbor why he hadn't kept a journal of his eventful life, Jefferson said." Hell, I've been so busy making history I haven't had time to write it." (I am indebted to Pauline Udall Smith's work, "Captain Jefferson Hunt of the Mormon Battalion" for the above information)
The Martin and Summers Families
Jonathan Norman Martin (Grandma Berryhill's grandfather) came with his wife Sarah Minerva Jacobs from Pontotoc County Mississippi to Kaufman County Texas, then to Comanche County when Grandma's father, Jefferson Davis Martin, was sixteen. While Jonathan was clearing land for farming, a tree fell on him and killed him. Sarah Jacobs was of Scotch-Irish descent and had a spoon which came from Ireland. She persuaded her grandchildren to take medicine from it. In those days, the children often had to wear a string around their neck with strong-smelling assefidity tied to it to ward off disease or illness. Grandma Jacobs was a "shouting Methodist" and any argument from her son, who was a fundamentalist, was enough to put her to shouting and walking on her tiptoes praising God. The bonnets then had tails as long as the skirts, and both drug the ground. Jonathan taught his grandchildren to read by memorizing the letters in the family Bible.
While in Kaufman County, Jefferson Davis Martin met and married Edwina Summers. She was not only beautiful, but was possessed of a gentle disposition which made everyone love and admire her. Eddy's sister, Mag, though, had a violent temper, and would try to embroider but would get so angry she would throw the scarf, embroider hoops, and all out the window.
Edwina's father was Charles Jona Summers II. He was a blacksmith by trade. As a young man he participated in one of the Indian Wars and was captured by Indians.
Among his experiences while a prisoner is told the following: Once when he was exceptionally hungry, and the aroma from the big earthen pot filled with stew, smelled so good, he ate his fill and later learned that it was dog head stew. After a few days, one of the braves led him out into the forest, gave him and old broken gun, and pointing westward, told him to go. As Charles Jona walked away he could almost feel an arrow in his back but none came zipping through the air. Unknown to the Indians, he carried a message through the lines sewed in his moccasin sole.
During the war with Mexico, when Texas called for help, Charles Jona was sent to their rescue. At the close of the war in 1836, he drifted to Eastern Texas, and on June 12, 1849, was married to Mary Ann Coyle.
After his marriage, Charles Jona Summers again took up his trade as a blacksmith in the town of Elysian Fredds, Texas. In 1860, the Civil war broke out, and Charles Jona Summers and his blacksmith shop were conscripted and forced to work for the Government. His wife and children resided on a farm near Cartage, in Panola County, Texas.
Mrs. Summers kept an old Negro Servant to help her on the farm. Old Mose could plow, cook, and card bats and rolls to spin into thread for weaving cloth. He did all this and more. He taught the older children to work and help look after the smaller ones. Edwina tells that as a girl she helped drive a wagon with supplies for the soldiers. After the war, in 1869, they moved to Dallas county where they lived near Terrell, Texas, until the father died November 15, 1873.
Edwina used to tie grandma to one end of a rope, throw the other end over the rafters and tie Aunt Minnie to the end to keep them from "killing" each other. Another means she used for discipline was to hand each of the sisters (who had been nicknamed Tuffy and Spitfire because they fought so much) a switch. She then made them whip each other. When they stopped, she whipped them both with her own switch.