HOME LIFE AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
IN OUR FIRST home in Arizona we hung a beautiful motto in our living room. On its black background, entwined with sprays of wheat and flowers in color, are four gilt words: "The Lord Will Provide." (I purchased this motto in St. Louis about 1883 when I went there to buy goods for our Co-op Store.) When mother and I look at that motto now--for it still hangs on our wall--we gratefully acknowledge that He has provided, not only the wheat, but the flowers. In spite of the struggle that we have sometimes had to make, we have always had the necessities of life, and a spiritual abundance beyond what can be expressed in written words. It is true that we toiled early and late to gain a livelihood, and that our children worked hard along with us. I have been especially grateful to the Lord for the good wives He gave me. We were always blessed with the friendship of our good neighbors, and we were uplifted frequently by the visits to our home of the Church authorities who came to attend Stake Conferences. We felt the benefit of contacts with these cul-
tured people, and in the sum total, lived along as happily as most any family in the land. We had many financial reverses in our family life but we also had many blessings to offset them.
Summarizing our activities briefly, we had mail contacts from 1881 to 1918; we bought sheep from Barth Brothers in 1886-1887. When prices on wool and mutton went so low during President Cleveland's administration, we turned the sheep in on the purchase of the "Milligan Farm" from Henry Huning of Show Low. This farm, a
MEETING OF THE MAIL CARRIERS
section of land with the best water rights on the river, was located two miles southwest of Springerville in Round Valley and fifteen miles from the headwaters of the Little Colorado. Joseph and I at this time went into partnership and were known in business as "Udall Brothers."
We both liked farming, which in St. Johns had proved to be a failure due to heavy mineral water.
The Milligan Farm had good soil and pure mountain water. There were three Mexican houses and a burr grist mill run by water on the property. The farm and improvements were valued at $20,000.
About 1888, we moved our families to the "Mill Farm," as we came to call it. It was a great joy to me to have Ella and Ida and our children living near each other for the first time in our checkered experience. The Mex-
UDALL BROTHERS' GRIST MILL
ican houses with their thick adobe walls and many fireplaces were really comfortable except when the dirt roofs leaked, which was not very often. Thus began a long period of strenuous work.
For three or four years our crops were large. One year we threshed six thousand bushels of grain, and in addition had good crops of hay. Then came ten successive years of drought. Every year our crops, whether good
or poor, were freighted to Henry Huning's ranch in Show Low or to Fort Apache. In this way we made generous payments on the principal of our debt for the first few years, and then as one crop after another failed it was all we could do to live and keep tip the interest on the notes. In the early days when farming was successful we installed a new roller mill to take the place of the old burr mill, and had the valley grown its average crops of wheat our mill would have proved a profitable business.
However, the drought continued. In 1898, Joseph withdrew from our partnership and bought a home and some farmland in Eagar. Then in 1899, Mr. Huning took advantage of the situation and foreclosed the mortgage he held on the property. This mortgage covered the farm with its thousands of dollars of added improvements and better water rights we bad secured by building new reservoirs and ditches; with Dew fences, barns and roads, together with a modern mill. The law gave Huning all of this, and what was worse for me and mine, it gave him a deficiency judgment against us for over $11,000. I asked Huning in the name of justice to allow me more time. He had made a small fortune from the sheep we had turned to him, had prospered in his other business negotiations, and was in. a position to have shown sonic consideration to us had he been so inclined, but he was relentless in his decision. This meant financial ruin, not only for the time being but for many years to come; however, eventually we took care of every just indebtedness. Ella, Ida and the children meant much to me during this trying period. With their love, loyalty and help I endured this blow to my pride and in time we reestablished ourselves financially.
The foreclosure sale took place at the courthouse in St. Johns and the place was sold at auction to Huning for $8500, he being the only bidder. Huning and his coachman and lawyer left immediately after the sale and I knew intuitively that they were intending to reach the mill before I did and take possession--an illegal thing to do because the law gave me possession during the six months in which I could redeem the property.
But at any rate, Huning was trying to beat me to the mill. He went by Springerville and I, coming away behind him, cut across the mesa and reached the mill first. Will Slade was running the mill. I told him Huning would be there and for him to go on with the work and know nothing.
Huning came, his lawyer and the deputy sheriff with him. Johnson, the lawyer, came to the door and called, "Mr. Udall, are you there?" They all came in or stood in the doorway. I said, "Gentlemen, will you please step out? I am going to lock up the mill." I repeated this three times. Huning left and Johnson said to the deputy, "You are the sheriff, and you have a right to stay." Then he and Huning drove away.
The deputy and I both stayed in the mill all night; he having brought his roll of bedding slept on the floor, and I ran the mill. Mother sent me some supper and, needless to say, the folks were too anxious to sleep much that night. Next morning I wanted to get out and water my horse which was tied up near the mill.. I told the deputy to step out or I would lock him in while I went out. He stayed in and I locked the door and when I came back he had taken the lock partly off. Then he went out after some wood, and I attempted to close
the door. He saw me and ran up the steps and struck the big heavy door with the ax, with a look of murder in his eye. He backed me clear across the mill with the ax. I called, " You would not do that." It was a harrowing experience and I knew there would be bloodshed if I stayed on. His gun lay on his bed all the time.
About this time Ella and her dear friend Mary Cheney came over and insisted that I go away and they would hold possession of the property. Feeling sure they would not be molested, I left them there and sent a boy to Bishop Crosby to find some relief for us. Mother said that the deputy told her to go home where she belonged. She replied, "My place is here." The bishop went to Mr. Gustav Becker, who came up at once and said to the deputy, "Why man, you have no legal right in here even though you are an officer. What in the name of Heaven are you here for? You had better clear out." And he did.
But Huning was thwarted in one purpose--that of possessing the Mill Farm. My friends, John P. Rothlisberger, C. P. Anderson, John W. Brown and John T. Lesueur bought the property for the price of the judgment. They gave me the privilege of rebuying from them. I thought it unwise to undertake this obligation, for my prospects for paying for it were far from promising. But we decided to lease the property from them for a year, which gave us time to close up our affairs and to move away deliberately. John P. Rothlisberger bought the farm from the others. We were glad to move away.
This is the dark side of those years from 1888 to 1900, but that period too had a bright side. In the driest years there was enough water to raise good gardens, wheat for our bread, and to provide pasturage for our cows
and horses. We also managed to keep on with our mail driving and while we were burdened with debt and my good wives worked far too hard in cooking for hired men and rearing our family, yet we were together and we enjoyed many blessings, chief of which came to us in our children.
When Joseph and I took over the Mill Farm, he had Emma and little daughter, Nellie, and one son, Joseph. We had Pearl, Erma, Pauline and Luella. Then our boys began to arrive. First, Emma's Harry, then Ida's Grover and Ella's David--a trio. Then Ida's John Hunt, Emma's Earl, and Ella's Levi--another trio. Then Emma's Gaius, Ida's Jesse, Ella's little Paul (whom we lost); Ida's Gilbert and Don, and Emma's little Oscar who died in infancy, and Joyce. Then Ella's beautiful little Rebecca who lived less than a year. Emma had another son, Pratt, and her girls, Alta and Lula, after they moved to Eagar.
While living on the Mill Farm, Joseph's family and ours were like one big family. What a happy, happy group of children that old farm sustained! In many ways our farm was an ideal place for girls and boys. They had plenty of playmates, good Arizona sunshine, wholesome food and pure water. The children loved the calves, the chickens, geese and ducks, and most of all the riding ponies we provided for them. The boys monopolized the swimming holes, but the girls had swings, playhouses and many houseparties for their friends. Always there were interesting things to do in the big out-of-doors--the old mill, the flume and penstock, the pastures, the river all had their attractions. Our farm was in a beautiful country very different from the salt grass fields around St. Johns.
As soon as the children were old enough they learned
to work. There were many chores to do, weeds to pull, and finally for the boys there were horses to drive in the field work. The children walked to school in Eagar. Our rule was that during the school season, school must come first. Sometimes it was difficult to get so many off on time, and one of my most amusing memories is that of seeing Luella, tiny golden-haired girl that she was, taking Grover and David, her two younger but larger brothers by the hands, and resolutely pulling them along through the big field, about one mile between our home and the schoolhouse, so that they would not be late.
The mothers managed things very well. They kept our homes attractive. They provided good books for the children and read to them. There was music and song in our home and this added joy and color to our lives, and to the community in which we lived, which reminds me of an amusing incident: Fred W. Schell, the principal who worked from daylight until dark to put our Eagar school On the map, was dangerously ill with rheumatic fever--so ill that for weeks the slightest movement of his muscles was excruciating. One night our youngsters, thinking they would cheer their teacher up, went to his bedroom window to serenade him. Nellie played the guitar and the chorus of small Udalls sang their favorite song, "The Dear Old Slave Has Gone to Rest." Poor Mr. Schell racked his poor body with alternate laughter and screams of pain!
Our Church went along as usual. I had many public duties in connection with my office as stake president. Often my work took me away from home, but we enjoyed our labors, and rendering service was our privilege and blessing.
I was elected to represent Apache County as a member of the Council of the Twentieth Territorial Legislature which convened on January 16, 1899. It was a most interesting and valuable experience; and incidentally--unlike some of my descendants--it was my first and only elective office. I thus gained an insight into affairs of state, and also parliamentary procedure, that stood me in good stead later in life. The council was composed of 12 members (8 Democrats and 4 Republicans), with Hon. Morris Goldwater of Yavapai County as president. There were 24 members of the House, with the budding young lawyer-statesman, 24-year-old Henry F. Ashurst of Coconino County serving as Speaker. This legislature was the last to meet in the City Hall of Phoenix. The new capitol building, estimated to cost $100,000, was then in the course of construction on West Washington Street.
My legislative experience gave me an opportunity to make many fine new friends. Among other notables with whom I served were Hon. George W. P. Hunt of Gila County--later seven times governor of the state. Sidney P. Osborn, also destined for the governorship, was our Senate page boy. My hotel roommate during the session was our old friend, Representative W. W. Pace of Graham County.
My committee assignments included: counties and county boundaries; irrigation; and agriculture. I was also appointed on the select committee to make an official visit to the University of Arizona. There were 69 measures enacted into law. Among them were the following Acts, viz:
The assessed valuation of the territory at that time was some thirty-one million dollars. The average land value for taxation purposes was $1.56 per acre. The General Appropriations Bill totaled $51,048.96, which doubtless prompted a later state historian (Col. McClintock) to comment: "The session was notable throughout for an exceptional degree of conservatism and a record for economy was made."
Withal it was a most enjoyable interlude in my busy life. All my associates in the legislature treated me with the utmost courtesy and consideration. Possibly this legislative service of mine may have influenced my three sons, John, Jesse, and Don, to later aspire to and become members of the state legislature of Arizona.
In the autumn of that same year Pearl went to Provo to attend the Brigham Young Academy. Our good friend Fred W. Schell, the principal of our school, made it possible for us to let her go. As I have already explained, our finances were low. He realized this and urged repeatedly that we accept a loan from him (saying that
Pearl could prepare to teach, and after getting a school could return the money). I finally accepted a loan of $100 from him and gave him my note for the amount. This I was able to pay back within a year. The next winter dear Aunt Becky in Nephi came to our rescue and advanced money to Pearl, which she paid back during her first year of teaching. We have always been thankful we let Pearl go to Provo, for she brought back to us the spirit of that - unusual school. For the want of a better name I have often called it the "missionary spirit," because it reached out to inspire and help us all to strive harder for the better things of life.
Yes, we were truly blessed in our children during those trying years, for like the Child in Judea they "grew in stature and wisdom," just as I think God intends all children should.
In the spring of 1900, after Huning's foreclosure, we rented a small house in St. Johns and Ella moved there. She and the children looked after the mail horses and the express business and with the help of a widowed friend, Mrs. Cheney, grew an excellent garden on our lot in St. Johns. (Largely through Ella's teachings, Mrs. Mary Cheney joined the Church and was a faithful member until the end of her life.) We had a good crop of fruit on the lot that year and kept a cow which supplied the family with milk. Ida and her children stayed on the Mill Farm and kept things going there with part-time help from me. It was a dreary year for us in many ways, but it had a bright spot. It was in December of that year that our Academy was dedicated. In the spring of 1901 we moved the rest of the family to St. Johns, renting another house for Ida. For two years we had very "close picking"
but the words of our "Motto" still held true, and through the blessings of the Lord we managed to get along. The way opened for the children to go to school, the older ones attending the Academy. Pearl, was teaching in the District School of St. Johns.
In Ida's birthday book are found a few items of family history not elsewhere recorded. After her long sojourn in Utah she returned to Snowflake where she lived until 1888, then she lived on the farm in Round Valley for a year. The danger of the polygamy charge being revived made her stay in Round Valley somewhat intermittent and it was Hot until the year 1893 that her permanent home was made with the family in Round Valley.
FROM IDA S BIRTHDAY BOOK
Entry of March 8, 1903. Forty-fifth birthday. We are on our homestead at Hunt in Section 18, T. 14 N., R. 26 E., where we located the preceding April, leaving Pauline, John H. and Jesse with Aunt Ella to attend school. Papa, Grover, Gilbert, Don and I came and pitched our tent under a cedar and made a corral for our cows from cedar brush and a coop for our fowls out of screen doors and horse blankets. Our only luxury was a well, fifteen feet deep with plenty of water, Our only hope of obtaining water for irrigation was to "reservoir" the flood waters on the Little Colorado, ten miles above; St. Johns was twenty miles distant. Our nearest neighbor, Harris Greer and family, lived one and one-fourth miles from us. My husband and the boys worked on the reservoir through the winter and spring to the amount of $600.
Grover had a sunstroke and barely escaped with his life, We camped out six weeks and then moved into a lumber house with a good floor and roof. We tended the mail station and raised poultry. In February daughter Pearl had smallpox. Our family in St. Johns were quarantined but no one else
took it. My birthday found me confined in bed with a three weeks sick spell. Brother G. H. Crosby, Sr., visited us and gave me a Patriarchal Blessing.
March 8, 1904. Forty-sixth birthday. We are on the homestead with fifty acres of land fenced, and mostly plowed. Our house enlarged, good cellar built, comfortable stables, yards, etc., for animals, and two good neighbors (Brothers Freeman and Farr) close by, with prospects of others soon. Reservoir proved a success and one crop of grain and hay raised. A school district has been granted us and my daughter, Pauline, is teaching the school with an attendance of eighteen pupils. She taught part of the time in our own house. During the winter we were visited by dear father, David Udall, and Aunt Rebecca from Nephi, and sister, Eliza, from Mexico, remaining with us some months. This birthday found me toothless, having had them all taken out in February by Dr. Woolford, preparatory to having some new ones.
March 8, 1905. Forty-seventh birthday. I spent the day in traveling from our ranch home (now a post office called Hunt) to Snowflake in company with brothers John, Taylor, and Ross, who were going home from the Udall reservoir work to attend the celebration of my father's seventy-second birthday, March 9, 1906. It was a grand affair, given by the ward to their bishop, who had served them faithfully for twenty-six years. Held in the stake house, with refreshments served to everyone present. The ward presented him with a large armchair for each home, also a beautiful satin banner with motto, "John Hunt, Bishop of Snowflake. The right man in the right place." There were original songs, essays, and speeches, and everything went lovely and made our father feel well.
Daughter Pauline still taught our district school. The preceding year had been a very hard one on our nerves. We were obliged to keep our boys out of school to drive mail, although they were only fourteen and sixteen years of age. The three older boys (Grover, David, and John H.) drove from Holbrook to St. Johns (seventy miles) for many months. In
August our reservoir was washed out by heavy storms and we lost all our work and our beautiful lake of water stored for another year's crop. We got our grain off the land before the flood covered it, but our garden (just ready to use) was all washed away, except cane from which we made molasses after the water had run over it for one month. Our boys had the high waters to contend with in their maildriving and had to risk their lives nearly every day in crossing rivers and flume at Woodruff. The heavy rains and floods continued all through the winter of 1904 and 1905.
(End of Ida's entries.)
Pauline and Luella said, for they had stood helplessly by and seen their fences washed down the creek or buried in mud several times. This was too much for even their pioneering spirits.
In the summer of 1903, while Ida and Pauline were busy as bees in Hunt, Ella and her girls in St. Johns decided to undertake paying off a $750 debt hanging over our city lot in St. Johns. I had turned this property over to Brother Joseph B. Patterson as security for money I borrowed from him to settle some of our outstanding accounts. In May after school closed, the girls out of their salaries paid Brother Patterson one hundred and twenty-five dollars and told him of their plans to pay off the note that summer, asking that he say nothing to me about it. He was touched by the spirit of their plans and when he gave them their receipt he took off all interest due on the note. Then began a new business in the Udall family and in the town--that of establishing an ice cream parlor. The previous winter had been so mild that there was no ice stored in St. Johns, but there had been plenty put tip by Beckers at their store in Springerville. Ella and the girls decided to have our Mexican mail-driver bring to St. Johns a hundred pounds of ice each day. They rented a big cool room in a Mexican house on Main Street and opened the parlor, much to the satisfaction of the townspeople. It was amusing to me at first to see them launching forth with such enthusiasm, but later it worried me because I thought they were working too hard. Ella, of course, was the head manufacturer and business manager. Our Levi, of twelve years, poor lad, was chief chore-boy. The ice cream was made and frozen at home and then ten gallons at a time were put into Levi's red wagon and
hauled to the ice cream parlor. I often joked the girls about what they were doing with all their money and then wound up by saying I thought perhaps it was enough for me to know that they looked prosperous and well dressed and that I had seen no grocery or other store bills all summer.
Little did I dream that Ella and the girls were making substantial payments every week on that note to Brother Patterson. When my birthday came the following September and they presented me with the canceled $750 note and the deed to our much-loved city lot my surprise was so complete that my knees shook and I could not find my voice.
In July 1906, after the floods in Hunt of the previous year had washed away our financial prospects, Ella proposed that we temporarily close our home in St. Johns and that she and the girls go to Holbrook to make a home for the boys at, the end of the mail line. That year the government schedule was so arranged that the older boys spent their nights in Hunt and Holbrook. Ella thought that perhaps by going to Holbrook, she and the girls might do something in a financial way to help us along. It seemed the wise thing to act on Ella's plan and very soon they moved to Holbrook. Almost immediately after they reached there the proprietor of the Apache Hotel asked them to lease his property for a year and operate the hotel. With much reluctance I consented to their taking his offer. Then began another strenuous year for them. Pauline and Luella taught school the next winter. Pearl and Erma assisted their mother in the hotel and again Levi was the "porter," "chore boy," and head "dish washer."
Previous Chapter: VII My Years
as President, St. Johns Stake
Next Chapter: IX Miscellaneous Items of Historical Value
Main | Contents | Book Cover | Title Pages
Published by Arizona Silhouettes