Monday, April 27, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Lizzie's Aging Husband

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Lizzie and her daughters.
The story of my maternal great great grandfather's sister Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues….   (The beginning of Lizzie’s story can be located here.)

Now at a time when things are going along quite well for the new community and life has become a bit easier for most of them, it is sad to report that things were not going that well for the Shepherd family.  As Lizzie's husband Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd advanced into his seventies he became more and more irritable and unpredictable in his behavior.  One evening Florence and Burton Prettyman stopped by the Shepherd Ranch and were caught there in a heavy rainstorm.  They moved a straw tick from their wagon and prepared to stay over night.  Sometime during the night, father got up and was going to set the house afire.  When Burton took hold of him and spoke to him he did not even remember that Burton had been there earlier.  Burton put him back to bed and talked quietly to him for awhile.  Often after this, the children would carry their straw ticks out and sleep in the haystack during the summer weather.

About this time Carl had a very bad attack of boils.  He had three or four large boils on the back of his neck.  They were very sore and made him hurt all over.  He had stopped work and come into the kitchen and sat down in a chair feeling very ill.  In the meantime the calves got out of their pen and in with the cows and were nursing all the days supply of milk.  When father saw this he became enraged and rushed into the house to get Carl. He was carrying his irrigation shovel.  Carl saw him raise the shovel, mother yelled, and he jumped out of the chair just as his father brought the shovel down with such force that he split the chair in half.

Another day Rollins Don Carlos came into the house from the fields and went to the water bucket for a drink, but the bucket was empty.  Lizzie was sitting at the sewing machine and did not get up.  He took the bucket and went to the irrigation ditch for water.  When he came back he sat the bucket down and took a drink.  Then he took the heavy water dipper and began to beat Lizzie over the head with it.  Her cries brought Carl on the run from the barn with the pitchfork.  He told his father to quit or he would use the fork on him.  Rollins Don Carlos knew that Carl meant it.  Carl and his father got along well for the most part.  It was Carl who stayed and cared for him longer than anyone.

Late in the summer of that year Lizzie's son Laffe and a man by the name of Will Hawkins went over near the Yellowstone area and worked on a cattle ranch for that fall and winter.  Laffe got very homesick and wrote a poem, which he mailed home, to his mother.

I wish I had a clean shirt
I wish I had some shoes
I wish my little grey horse was fat
and I didn't have the blues.
I would go back home again
and there I would remain,
I never would punch cows
for the old L.C. Ranch again.

With two of the older boys away and only Carl to help him with the ranch work, Rollins Don Carlos became very discouraged in the fall of 1903.  He arranged to mortgage the ranch for a thousand dollars and decided to make a trip back to Beaver, Utah where his brother was living.  Before he left he went to a lawyer in Burlington and had a legal paper drawn up conveying all the personal property, farm equipment and livestock to Lizzie.  Their daughter Valie also believed that he had a formal bill of divorcement drawn up at this time.  Lizzie sewed the money into his underclothing and the boys took him by wagon to Basin, where he took the train to begin his journey to Beaver.  Rollins Don Carlos was happy to see his brother again and remained with him for several months.  He was still in Beaver when his brother Marcus Lafayette Shepherd had a heart attack and fell from a load of logs on February 5, 1904 at the age of nearly 80 years.  From a book on Beaver history, J. F. Tolton said of him "Marcus L. Shepherd: Philanthropist, Church Man - One who loved God adn served his fellowman."

When their father returned to the ranch in the early spring of 1904, he brought a velvet bonnet for each of the little girls and a China doll.  Edna got a brown bonnet, Addie a red one and Valie a blue one.  Not long after though Edna's had her taken by some older boys to tease her and they dropped it into the outdoor toilet.  The China dolls that Edna and Addie had, each had back hair that was painted on.  Soon Claude ran one of these through the cog wheel on the wringer of the washtubs.  Claude was always full of mischief.  he loved to get the key to the big eight day clock that hung on the wall.  he would change the alarm and set it to go off in the middle of the night.  Mother tried to keep the key hidden and often scolded him for his pranks, but he did not change.  The doll that Valie had was a smaller doll with real blonde hair.  She cherished this doll until she was past twenty year sold.  Then one day while she was cleaning out her trunk and had laid it on the bed, Claude came into the room and up to his usual mischief picked up a marble and flicked it at the doll.  The marble struck the doll's head, causing it to break all to pieces.  Valie felt very bad about it for she had kept it for so many years and it was the only keepsake she had from her father.

Sometime early in the year of 1904 Carl Shepherd, age 19, married Marry Anna Montana Abercrombria (Caldwell) who was born December 18, 1876.  She was 28 years old. Annie had come to the area with her parents, but she was living in a small house on the place just below the Shepherd placed.  Annie had been married to James Caldwell and had four children.  They were Melissa Caldwell (who had died prior to their marriage), Brazilla Caldwell, who was about 8 year sold, James Caldwell, who was about 6.5 years old and Ira Caldwell, who was still a baby.  Carl left the ranch and moved to a small house with Anie and her family sometime in the early part of 1904.

Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd was now past 74 years old and he was tired in body and spirt.  He had been saddened by the passing of his brother and could feel that his own years were limited.  He did not have a great deal to show for all his years of hard labor.  He had mortgaged the ranch and signed away the livestock and all the farm equipment to his wife.  The two boys, Earnest and Carl, who had worked so hard with him on the ranch for ten years had left to establish homes for themselves.

**It is believed that if the Shepherd families had combined their resources and gone ahead to homestead and to acquire more land in this fertile area, that their lives might have been very different.

However it was a time of change for Lizzie too.  She was just past 43 years old and still a strong and vigorous woman.  To be continued......

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ More of Lizzie's Family Stories

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Lizzie and daughters

The story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues....   (The beginning of Lizzie's story can be located here.)

One humorous story concerning the three little girls happened about this time.  In their Sunday school attendance they had been hearing much about the power of prayer.  The greatest hope of these three little girls was to have a fully equipped playhouse of their very own.  They knew that their folds did not have any way to provide them with such a luxury, so they decided to make it a matter of prayer.  They swept and cleaned a place under a large tree for the playhouse to be placed.  Then they set about to pray.  They prayed and watched, and often got up real early to see if their prayers had been answered during the night.  They even imagined that each cloud might have a playhouse hidden away inside it.  One afternoon the folks went to town for groceries and the girls were left with an older brother.  They wanted until earnest had gone about his work, (or so they thought), then they knelt down around the big wood box in the kitchen and prayed for the playhouse.  They each took a turn praying in a most fervent manner.  When it was Addie's turn to pray, she brought her fist down on the wood box and said, "And I pray that our playhouse will come down, plunkety, plink, flunkety, plunk."  Outside, Earnest and his friend, who had been listening to them, were doubled over with laughter.  And of course the story got passed around the family.  Soon the girls decided that a playhouse was not the thing to pray for.  But in later years, they enjoyed telling and retelling this story on themselves.

But Edna did have one of her childhood prayers answered in a very dramatic way, and it always strengthened her to remember it.  One day the family was getting ready to go to town.  The children were not often taken along, but this day they were told they could go.  So everyone hurried around to get ready, but they could not find the baby's shoe.  After looking everywhere else with no success, Edna decided that it must be in the bed covering so she carefully shook them out but to no avail.  Not knowing where else to look, she crawled in under the quilts and began to pray that she might be able to find the shoe there.  In a few minutes she crawled out to look on the top of the covered, but there was no shoe.  Then she dived right back down under the covers again, and began to pray that much harder.  They next time she came out to look, there was the shoe, as she had prayed that it would be, on the top of the quilts.

Edna had a firm testimony that prayers could be answered.  One summer day about this time the girls were amusing themselves at a game.  Lacking toys for fun, they had turned a wash tub upside down in the yard.  They would take turns crawling under it while the other two beat a good drum rhythm on the top of the tub.  The noise soon became very annoying to their father and he shouted for them to stop the banging, but they were having such sun, they paid little attention.  Valie was under the tub and Edna and Addie were beating good strong strokes, when their enraged father came around the corner carrying his pitchfork.  The girls were fearful of their father's temper.  Valie stayed right where she was under the tub, Edna ran as fast as she could and hid between the house and the cellar.  Addie took another route and sneaked through a hollow log and into the house where she stayed under the bed until her mother got back home.

Another day soon after this, Addie and Valie decided that they would run away from home.  They had crossed their own fields and gone through the fence down on Corn's place and were hiding in the sagebrush.  When they saw their mother running towards them with Bart under her arm, Valie said, "Oh, we better run. If she catches us she will give us a good whipping."  But Addie felt differently, "No," she said "We had better go back, something is wrong." And something was wrong.  Lizzie had been scrubbing the floor with lye water.  She had set the can and measuring spoon on the table and Bart who was just beginning to crawl had gotten into it.  Lizzie quickly washed out his mouth again and again. Although the lye had burned his lips and the inside of his mouth quite badly, he was not seriously harmed.

Valie can remember going to visit her sister's family one summer day.  Florence had taken a large empty wooden box and spread a quilt onto it for a playpen for baby Burton.  As Valie bent over to say hello to the baby, she saw there was a large snake in the box with him.  They quickly scooped the baby out and were relieved that it was only an old blow snake.

The family of Florence and Burton Prettyman also continued to grow.  The following children were born to them in the next few years:  February 11, 1902 ~ Forest Mansford Prettyman Burlington, December 27, 1903 ~ Sarah Talmer Prettyman, April 13, 1905 ~ Leonard Murrel Prettyman.

Crops continued to be good on the ranch.  After the spring planting was done, Earnest and the other boys would take jobs hauling freight to bring in extra money.  They hauled the first telegraph wires, cross arms and insulators from Cody down to Thermopolis, Wyoming.  Claude went along with earnest on this job.  In the Spring of 1903, Earnest hauled freight quite frequently to Thermopolis and began to save most of the money he was making.  For Earnest had decided to get married and he needed the money for a wedding stake.  One June 8, 1903 Earnest Wiggett married Mary Golda Kinnamin, daughter of James Aaron Kinnamin and Eliza York.

Earnest was twenty-two that year and Mary had just turned fifteen, having been born June 3, 1888.  They rented a small place further north of Burlington and went there to live.  Valie can remember a small tin trunk that Mary kept clothes folded in.  They had no closet, but Mary always kept her house very neat and clean.

Pioneer Day!

One of the highlights of the year for all the populations of the Burlington Ward was the 24th of July Celebration.  (Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24 in the state of Utah, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers.)  The youngsters looked forward to this for weeks.  It was a full day of fun.  There were horse races, foot races and for the boy, sack races and three legged races.  They had a ball game going all day and other games for everyone to enjoy.  A long table was set up under the shade of the bowery and the lunches the ladies had brought were put all together on this big table at noon.  There was fried chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, slices of tomato, and the ward furnished a large barrel of lemonade, which was a treat for the young children.  There there were all kinds of cakes and pie for dessert.  It was a great day of good food and good fun for all.  Later in the afternoon when everyone was resting from the games, Claude and Eugene Praetor began to fist fight.  As Eugene was to remember years later, "Not because we were mad, we were the best of friends, but just to entertain the group."  Valie remembers that one of the ladies looked up at the boys and said, "Who is fighting?"  Mrs. Praetor replied, "Oh, it's my Gene and that Shepherd kid."

To be continued....

When working on your own ancestral research consider this suggested list  of questions to ask parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunt and uncles.