DELTA COUNTY, COGENWEB PROJECT
LAURA PIBURN PACE
THE STORY OF MY LIFE
My Early Life in Colorado
My mother. Mary Elizabeth Fluke, was born March 21, l845 in Bedford County, Pa., known as the Keystone State. Her parents were Pennsylvania Dutch. My father, Thomas Benton Piburn, was born June 17, 1847 in Clay County, Mo. His parents were a mixture of Irish, Welsh and English.
I was born in Harrison County, Missouri, January 30. 1875. At the age of six we came by train to Gunnison, Colorado. My oldest brother, Emanuel, was born January 21, 1873, my oldest sister Zalida, January 18, 1879, Nellie Florence August 27, 1881. Charles Edward was born in Colorado - also George Thomas, November 18, 1886. Gertrude May was born October 4, 1891, and another brother. Harley Bradley, September 16. 1876 but died in his infancy.
I remember while crossing Kansas my father and Emanuel went out on the train platform - the wind was blowing so hard that my father lost his hat. He said - "dad burn wind too strong!"
His hair was standing straight up. The first chance he had he bought a new hat. He was very embarrassed not to wear a hat - now many go without one.
We had a small dog - a rat terrier - brown and yellow. We kids loved him so much that the folks decided to smuggle him through. They had a five-gallon wooden pail with lunches in it. They spread a blanket over the top. The dog curled up and the other half of the blanket was thrown over him. When the train would stop my father took the dog to the restroom. No one ever knew we had a dog
We first stayed with my grandparents in a little log house near Gunnison, Colorado. One day a horse kicked our little dog, and he died. We all had a good cry when we buried our pet.
We lived with my grandparents on the Tomeche River until the spring of 1882, when we moved to the town of Gunnison, Colorado. That was during the boom times. There were not many people, but plenty of work. Father worked in a smelter on the hill above where the Western State College now stands. He also worked at the famous Laveta Hotel and combination depot. He also cooked at the Marble Stone Quarry from where the marble was obtained to build the hotel.
Under difficulties he worked at the silver mine in Tin cup. An uncle, my motherís oldest sisterís husband was shot there. His name was Joe Preston. Aunt Tilda was left with five children to raise. His death remained an unsolved mystery. Only he and another man were together - whether it was an accident or a murder, no one has learned. Nothing was ever done about it.
In the early spring of l884 my father and Henry Fluke, motherís brother, came to Delta County, near Crawford. They put up a cabin on the homestead of Joe Preston, the slain uncle. It is now the Everett Porter place, on the Smith Fork River - now barely a creek. It was here brother George Piburn was born.
There were still a few Indians roaming the country. They were Uteís, and had homes at the foot of Needle Rock. The cabin had peek holes to see and shoot through, if necessary. Our dog Nailer followed the men as they worked and could scent the Indians and in some way let them know and they would rush to the cabin, but they were never molested.
In the fall of l884 father came and brought mother and us five kids from Gunnison over Black Mesa to the cabin among the cedars and sagebrush. We were two days on the road, which was only an Indian trail. Now it would be called a cow trail. We slept on the ground and camped out. The rear wheels were rough-locked with a log chain. A big pine tree was fastened to the back of the wagon to keep it from running into the horses. I can see them yet, with their feet braced and almost sitting down, their collars were up to their heads. What a winding, rough road that was!
In 1885 father put up a board shack of split cedars where the church now stands. We had bunk beds and not much room. We had venison, as deer were plentiful. Father, being a Civil War Veteran, had a pension of $33.00 per month - not too much to feed and clothe a family of seven.
Father built a smokehouse to cure the hindquarters of deer for future use. While the folks were away one day my brother Emanuel was in charge of watching the fire under the meat. He built the fire and went out to play. The smokehouse and meat went up in smoke and Emanuel got a thrashing.
In 1886 another place was built for us. This was across from the Smithís Fork, about opposite to where my present home is. It was a rock floor with a tent over it to serve as a home while a one-room cabin was being built of cottonwood trees, cut from the riverbank. We thought we had plenty of room for seven. On Nov. 18 George Thomas came along. I, being next to the oldest one of the kids, had a lot of work to do. I broke many dishes on that rook floor.
A doctor was located in Hotchkiss and he also had a drug store, The Robertson. It is still the only one in this town and it was a long way to reach it with a team and buggy. It was hard to get the doctor to come on horseback or with his team. My mother was a very good practical nurse and midwife. She treated people with pneumonia by steaming them with sagebrush leaves, on a board over a tub of hot steam. She greased them with a salve made from the bark of greasewood and pitch from a pinion tree, steeped or heated in fresh butter.
While mother was nursing, I had full charge of the house, I wasnít very old, but I guess that was the way I got my start in life. I remember father covering up a hen that was on the nest to lay. She was there three weeks before the hay was fed. She lived to come out, but didnít look like much - we called her "Old Haystacky."
In 1887 we moved to what is known as Piburn Flats, named for father. We had a two-room house there. Uncle Henry Fluke had homesteaded three hundred sixty acres of land. A later law forced him to cut it to one hundred eighty acres. He relinquished his rights to father. Thatís why we were there.
We had nothing to farm with except our physical strength and the $35.00 monthly pension. We were all a hardy bunch and able to exist. Sagebrush was grubbed and cedars cut. A garden was planted. There were ample vegetables. But pies and cakes were rare. We had an abundance of corn bread
We dried greens on a string and also dried corn. We had pumpkin butter galore made with honey. Mother made everything by tens, fifteen and twenty gallons, including pickles. She and Emmanuel fished - there were no laws to restrict catches. A twenty-gallon barrel was salted down. We were well supplied with venison also so had plenty of food for the winter. At first we had only one milk cow, but later we got more. Our beds were straw ticks on boards. Mother had one feather bed and pillows she had brought from Missouri. She got some ducks and later we had better beds.
As time went by there were improvements. We got a team off oxen and clearing the land became much easier. (Before we used grub hoes.) The oxen ranged with the cows and I had to wrangle every night. They went for miles and it was some trek for a young barefooted girl. I only had one pair of shoes, which I saved for Sunday school. When I found the cows I led an ox by his horns and rode him home. What a treat from having to walk back.
Our clothing was limited as was everything else. I was fifteen years old before I had a dress made of any material except flannel. A new dress made of cotton costing five cents a yard made me feel like I was all dressed up. We rolled our hair up on rags to curl it. I worked for Mrs. Sam Hartman for three dollars and fifty cents a week to buy my first cotton dress. I was up at 4:00A.M. and never got to bed until 10:00 P.M. Time passed without many changes.
On October 4th , 1891 a new baby girl, named Gertrude May, arrived. It was a cold day. We sent the kids three miles on horseback to Clear Fork to get grandmother Fluke to come, but the baby came before she got there. Father acted as midwife, and I was his helper. I shall never forget that day. I might add that Gertrude passed away in 1942, May 5th. Brother Chas. Edward passed away June l4th, the same year.
I Become a Young Lady
When I was sixteen we celebrated with a dance. They were called "Kitchen Sweat outs." We took the bed down and moved everything out of the room and had space enough for one set of eight to dance quadrilles or square dances. It was a heap of fun.
In my young days I was what they call popular these days. I taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, was President of the Literary Society, etc. When I was seventeen a young man (not only one) became smitten on me. He was my senior but the folks gave consent for me to marry him. He owned a ranch below Crawford, where Butlers now live, known as the Old Marion Yarnell place. It was named that for him.
While I was still in school another young man came into my life. My engagement with Marion was broken. On May 23rd, 1892 I was married to Daniel Franklin Pace. We were both born in 1875, I on January 30th and he on December 13th, making me nearly a year older. His parents, Richard Augustus and Serepta Ann Pace, came to Crawford from the North Fork Valley to work on a ranch homesteaded by Andy Hice, known later as the Dick Robinson place, near Needle Rock on the north and not far from the Smith Fork River on the south. Three Hice brothers homesteaded land in Paonia. Gib, the only one of five boys kept his and died a well to do fruit farmer. Frank and his brother Bert were tending this place above Mo. Flats while their folks were working for people at the "State Bridge," between Hotchkiss and Delta, on the Gunnison River. It was an overnight stopping place for travelers to Delta and Montrose.
The first store and Post Office in Crawford were where the Drug Store now stands. One room for store and Post Office, and two small rooms for living quarters. It was owned and operated by Mrs. Thai Ong, formerly Mrs. Zimmerman. She had a son Floyd who was a great help to her; She freighted her groceries from Delta with a team of horses and a spring wagon, taking her three days for the round trip. There were no knick-knacks, and very little canned foods - mostly dried vegetables. We cooked our own and were healthier than people are today.
I was working for Mrs. Ong when she planned a trip to Delta for groceries. Frank and I decided to elope. I rode with her in the spring wagon and he went on horseback, as there was only room for us two women in the wagon. We left bright and early. Her team of horses were fast travelers. We arrived at the State Bridge about 2: 00 P.M. to spend the night. We decided to go on to Delta and get married that day. His father took us on in his buggy. He was one witness and Mrs. Jeffers, the justice of the peace, was the other one. All was fine. My wedding dress was a blue ground flowered challis. It wasnít elaborate but nice for those days. I had made it, but not for this occasion. I also had a nice pair of white gloves.
Our Married Life Begins
When we arrived back at State Bridge my new mother-in-law was cleaning house. I washed windows, scrubbed woodwork until time to get supper. We spent the night there. Mrs. Org came on her way back to Crawford. We went along, the same way we went down. It was late when we got to Crawford. I rode behind Frank on his black horse to the Hice ranch, near Needle Rock. It was a ride I shall never forget. We were both tired and hungry. There wasnít much to eat. Bert and Frank were batching. They had two good milk cows. Milk and cream were everywhere. Bert had made biscuits, eaten, and gone to milk. He left the oven door down and the dog ate the biscuits. I made some pancakes and we ate our fill and went to bed.
Later we moved to the Frank Robinson Ranch. I was a busy bride for many days. We didnít have much to move. I had bought a cheap pin-on type watch. I traded it to Ma Pace for a straw bed, two pillows, a small four-hole cook stove, and enough quilts to keep us warm in the summertime- just had what we could get along with.
The house was a two-room log cabin. The kitchen had a dirt floor and one small window. My furniture was wooden boxes nailed to the wall and stacked on top of the other, and served as my cupboards and storage places. I made curtains out of flour sacks, embroidered then and crocheted edges on them and they were quite clever.
My mother was so bitterly opposed to my marriage that she didnít have anything to do with me for over a year, in fact, she disowned me. We lived less than two miles apart - surely not three.
However, that summer June 22nd, 1894 when a baby girl, named Leafa Mae arrived she became friendly and gave me a few things to help out. I had no doctor for this birth. My grandmother Fluke and my father were the attendants. A tough time I had -Frank had gone to Gunnison with a load of oats for a neighbor. It was all over before he returned. My grandmother stayed with me. She hung a white flag on the clothesline for father. He kept a close watch with an eagle eye and came quickly. When Frank came he looked as big as an elephant to me. I was about gone but I soon recovered and was up and going strong again.
We had a good crop that year. Father gave us a cow so we had lots of good milk and butter. We raised a fine garden and had plenty of food. During this time the in-laws had gone to Montrose to work for a cattle company managed by A. K. Stevens. His brother, P. T., was manager of a land and cattle company in Fisher Valley, Utah- located abort ten miles east of Moab. The man working for him was leaving and Frankís dad wanted him to take the job Ė pay to be thirty- three dollars and fifty cents per month.
We Migrate from Place to Place
In April 1895,we pulled up and went to Utah. There was only a very rough dirt road into the ranch. The man who left took his things by packhorse to Cisco, Utah. We met him there and packed in likewise. We unpacked at the Rio Grand River and were ferried across in a boat by the mailman. The horses swam across.
The trip was a tiresome two days and I was glad when we reached our place. The Post Office was thirteen miles up a canyon; seven miles to reach the valley with open scenery to the La Salle Mountains the rest of the way. I carried Leafa on a pillow on my lap on our way and was about half asleep, the pillow fell off, and scared the horse and he jumped and threw us to the ground. We fell so near a big bunch of cactus that I felt so fortunate to have missed - would have been some job pulling out those thorns.
When we arrived the people were very nice to us. They stayed a month and then we took over. Frank ran the ranch and I raised a garden and canned fruit. The orchard was entirely too large. I dried a big seamless bag of peaches to keep them from going to waste and couldnít take them when we left.
One day I went to the garden and forgot to shut Leafa in the house. I always found her sitting at a small ditch with her feet in the water. This time I thought I would teach her a lesson. There was a deep hole above with a waterwheel and a trough. We used a barrel churn at night, but it was so hot the cream would not churn. I picked her up, took her to the hole and stuck her head into it. She was a scared child and never went near the water again. A grown man with the mind of a six-year-old child lived in the area. He liked to play with Leafa. He carried everything you could imagine in his pockets. He sat on the floor like any six-year-old kid would.
We had a big shepherd dog and he was quite a companion for Leafa His name was "Yellow Eyes". These were the first two words Leafa spoke. Soon she was saying many. It was a great pleasure to me when she could talk. She was a busy child, and has been a busy woman all her life. As she grew up cooking was her pride. She kept house and cooked for hay men at the age of ten. I worked as a man outside most of the time, besides managing the house.
Our main pastime on this ranch was horseback riding over the place on Sundays. Leafa always took her nap. We locked her in, and when we returned she was up and playing with her toys. She never cried and that was good for me as I would have had to take her and that would spoil our fun. I had my riding horse. I also had a sidesaddle I sent to Gallop & Frazer in Denver for. I still have the saddle and have received much pleasure. I like to ride and would yet if I were where I could do so.
Many funny little things happened - too numerous to mention. Frank was shocked one day to find a dead milk cow in his blacksmithís shop. She had bloated and gone in there to die. He bought a two-year old colt and decided to break him to ride one Sunday. A young man working on the ranch went along and snubbed the colt to his saddle horn. All went well for quite some time. The colt was calm and rather lazy. Frank used a quirt to urge him along. One time the horse got it under his tail and clamped down on it. Frank couldnít get his hand loose. With every jump of the colt he went higher and higher. Finally he fell off and lit in front of the colt. By now the colt wasnít even snubbed. After a chase we caught him. Frank mounted him but he hung his quirt on the saddle horn. We rode home in a very peaceful mood. The colt became very tame and ride able.
We stayed until the September of 1896. The hay was stacked with an old fashioned derrick. For the threshing the grain we used a horse tread thresher. We packed out a different way. A man on the Dolores River, who worked at the ranch at times, brought us out through Unaweep Canyon. It was only a cow trail like the road we went over going into the place. We stayed at his place all night. The ground was covered with the biggest watermelons and no one to use them. We packed out with an empty trunk and camped at White water. The next A.M. I had to repack and take the train to Montrose. Frank brought the horses. His folks were going to Cebolla Springs to work. We went along and stayed two months.
Frankí s dad bought eighty acres of land on Missouri Flats. I drove the team and Frank brought the horses. We paid $800.00 for a one-half ownership, which was our entire savings. We finally owned it all. Five acres were in alfalfa. We were with the folks one month while the neighbors turned in and helped build a one-room cabin -10 x 13 feet. We were glad for that much.
We again had no furniture. Boxes nailed to the wall and tiered up provided us with what we had to keep house. On Jan. 13th, 1897, another baby girl, Myrtle Reana Alberta, was born (Reana was later dropped.) I didnít have many clothes for my babies- what I had I made out of flour sackís and washed them out after the babies were put to bed. They were always clean the next day.
In the spring of 1897 the hard work began. The land was sagebrush and cedars. We raised a garden, had a milk cow, and were able to get along - we did as few young people would do today.
That summer Myrtle had Cholera Infantum, an intestinal disease, and we almost lost her. She had spasms. A neighbor drove to Hotchkiss to get a doctor, but he refused to come. Frank went to try to persuade him but the doctor still refused. Frank met a man on the street that told him a new doctor had just come to town the night before. This doctor came to our place in a buggy drawn by a team of iron gray horses. We lived on the edge of a steep hill. I shall never forget how white with foam those horses were. We felt Dr. Micklejohn was sent by the Lord to save our baby. She has been our pride and joy.
Myrtle was a small child until she was twelve years old. Her hair was so light in color that we nicknamed her "Cotton Top". She was a bottle baby and enjoyed it until she was sixteen months old. One day while playing on a harrow she dropped it and it broke in many pieces. She gathered them up in her dress and asked me to "fix it. Later she found another bottle, put the nipple on it, held it up to me and said "more milk". Those were her first words. She soon took to a pewter cup her grandmother Piburn had given her and began to drink from it.
Myrtle was her dadís "boy". She got his horse for him, piled hay for the pigs, and enjoyed most to sit astride his neck with a leg on each side. She was always combing his hair. Outdoors is where she liked to be, but washing dishes she hated. Leafa was my helper in the kitchen, but she hated to dust.
Along about 1900 we had a small stack of hay in a makeshift of a barn. The top was covered with willows and bark from the posts. We used it to shelter the cows and horses, and hung our harness in there also. Frankí s dad came one day to shoe horses [and] to go hunting. They lived where Basil McKissen later lived. Banker Brown owned it and they were renting. Pa was smoking and set the barn on fire and it burned both the hay and the harness. It was late fall and we were surely wiped out for the winter. Pa Pace gave us hay for the stock and we pulled through the loss.
As time went by the in-laws bought a place above us on Mo. Flats that Mr. Ford had homestead. He sold it and the folks bought from the new owners. He had married a sister of the mothers of these two mothers of Ira Turner and the Hice boys, making them cousins. There were several of them. Many years later the folks sold the ranch to McSherry and moved to Delta. Pa Pace passed away May 30, 1928. Ma later married a man by the name of Lockhart. She outlived him and Died on July 30, 1950 at the age of 96.
The E.A. Brown ranch was later bought by Bob Head and his wife. She was a Howard and lived neighbors to us for many years. She was a grand woman and worked outdoors more than in the house. It was poorly kept. She had married at the age of eleven and had her first child when she wasnít yet thirteen years old. This child, a boy, died in infancy. They had two sons later and both grew to manhood. Bob was a fiddler and played for our dances called "Kitchen Sweat outs". He liked to gamble and spent many nights away from home gambling, then slept all day while Ella did the work.
An uncle of Ira Turnerís, "Yankee Smith" as he was known, put up a building across the Smith Fork, where the old Stithem house later stood. Now Norman Shoemaker owns it. This was the first amusement hall where many gathered to dance and enjoy many types of entertainment. There was a store built across the road by Ed Browning and Bert Crawford. Edís sister Effie, taught school at the "Old Pankey" schoolhouse where Terry Deutsch lives. It was the Dan McIntyre home many years ago, after the schoolhouse was razed.
Leafa went her first term of school to Effie Browning in the old Pankey schoolhouse. Effie later married Bert Crawford. They lived in two rooms behind the store. Their first son, Marion, was born there. I took the girls with me on horseback to see him when he was two days old. Later, when the town of Crawford was being settled the store was moved across the river. It was first used as a meat market, then our first bank, then a grocery store by Carl Wilson, and now Fred has a General Merchandise Store in it, this being the only one in town. There have been too many changes for me to enumerate them all.
In the early part of 1902 my parents lived in Hotchkiss. Both brothers, Chas, Edward and George lived with them. They were practicing hypnotism and trying it on everyone who would concentrate. The crazy things they did were funny and it was hard to believe it wasnít all put on.
We were there to greet my sister Nellie and her very young baby girl. Brother Emanuel had driven to Lake City with his team and buggy to bring they home. It wasnít a very happy reunion. Her baby was born out of wedlock. The father disgraced the two girls, who were chums. He married the other one and left my sister to shift for herself. I might add that the other baby was never born, due to a miscarriage.
My sister scrubbed floors, but kept her baby. At the age of four Dollie was given a father. My sister married Gus Goodart at our home. He raised Dollie to womanhood, along with three half brothers, Frank, Clark and Glen. Only Clark now survives. Dollie is married to Homer Snyder and has two girls and three boys
In the early 1900ís Hotchkiss had its first train tooting into the valley. We went down for that celebration. Soon after, the railroad put on an excursion to Ouray, Colorado Ė truly the "Little Switzerland of the Alps". A cousin of mine, Mary Bopp and her two girls, Clara and Helen, went with Leafa, Myrtle and me. It was surely an exciting event for us all - never having kids on a train before. Leafa was rather frightened and told me that the clickety-clack of the wheels kept saying Ė "the train wonít wreck." We arrived home safely late that night. We packed a big lunch and went for our evening meal with a sister of Maryís
I think it was the fall of either 1908 or Ď09 that the "G.A.R." held a reunion in Salt Lake City, Utah. My father had lied a year on his age to get into the service - he was only sixteen but said he was seventeen. This, as you know, was the Civil war. Several of us went for the event. It was a gala affair. My brother lived in Salt Lake City after his discharge from the Navy. He had a Mormon girl friend by the name of Jennie Cook, whom he later married. In addition to the convention, we made a trip to Lagoon, in Ogden, to swim. Also went out to the Salt Lake Pavilion where there were many concessions and amusements. The salt content of the water was 17%. I was holding Leafaís head up by the collar of her bathing suit. A lady began talking to me, and I forgot to lift up when a wave swept over her head and she almost strangled to death. My youngest sister, Gertrude, had a like experience.
Oscar met us in Hotchkiss with the team and buggy. He was working for us. There had been a terrific rain and hailstorm the day before. The bridge nearest our way home was washed out, and we had to go a long way around. When I looked over the garden, I was heartsick. The corn stalks were in shreds. The tomato vines were also beaten up.
An exciting time for Leafa in the fall of 1910 was a trip to New Market, Iowa with her grandpa and grandma Pace. Both of them had many brothers and sisters living there. She had just turned "Sweet Sixteen" in June and had such a pleasant time seeing all the aunts, uncles and cousins. Am sure there were between twenty-five and thirty She also saw the "Little Red Schoolhouse" where her dad went his first term of school. She went via horse and buggy six miles to stay all night with a cousin and family. She was put upstairs to sleep and almost froze in bed. The next morning she was so cold riding back that six miles that she had to be carried into the house.
The following spring, in May, we really suffered a big disaster. It was a very chilly day and we were all sitting around the kitchen. There was no fire in the living room heater, but thatís where the fire started. By the time the smoke came through the closed door it was too late to do anything. There was no water in the ditch. Frank had it turned on the field. Everything was gone. Myrtle grabbed a burning chair and also a roller towel, half burned. She was panic stricken and had to be held to keep her from re-entering the house.
When we had our big fire, May 14, 1911, a second cousin of Frankís, Ersa Pace, came by to visit us on her return from California. This particular day she wasnít feeling well and didnít even have her shoes on. She had on her housecoat. She had money in the bookcase and cried for Oscar to get it. He threw a towel over his head and dove in after it. Mother had just had us take her trunk out to the granary or all of her clothes would have gone up in smoke. We think a rat in the attic may have touched off a match, but how did a match get there? This mystery was never solved. We had no insurance, and no one gave us any handouts. Guess they were all too hard up to contribute.
It was fortunate that Oscar and his father were building us a new house on the northeast corner of this forty acres. The old house was off the road and we had a private road up to the main road. It now belongs to Harold Deutsch. We did have a granary with very little grain in it. We sold it for $1.00 per cwt. We cleaned out the place to live in it. We used the stove that went through the fire, sent to Montgomery Ward for a few things we needed. I cooked and served dinners to the carpenters. Thanks to our God - He helped provide a rough way through it all.
By August 1911, the house was near enough finished so we could move into it. We couldnít afford much furniture, but bought what we could from Frank Drexelís father-in-law, Caleb Maher (Kale for short.) He owned a place near where was later the Crawford Telephone Office. I bought two chairs and a stand table, never have varnished them and have now used them for forty-four years and they are still nice. By Christmas day we had a lovely farm home. Here in the living room, under a big white bell, Leafa and Oscar were married by Rev. Austin, in the presence of fifty guests - all relatives, except minister and his wife, and Alice Campbell. She was their former teacher and she played the wedding march. Aunt Ann Adams helped me prepare food all the day before, and the guests were all served a sumptuous reception dinner. I remember it snowed about two feet that day and evening. Many of my relatives came from afar and remained over night.
My Life now Centers Around my two Grown Daughters,
Leafa and Myrtle
In the fall of 1912 Leafa and Oscar drove down to the old Frank Davis ranch on Cottonwood to pick and pack peaches for Paul and May Foster. They pitched their tent and got ready for work that following morning. That night it froze all the fruit. A hard blow for newlyweds!
They came back to the ranch and Oscar worked. That Fall I took Myrtle and went to California. I put Myrtle in school in Old Town (San Diego) where my folks lived. That winter it was quite cold in San Diego. It froze the water at The Plaza. Which was such a beautiful spot for tourists. My brother told us the cops wouldnít let tourists take picture, which was not very good advertising for the city.
In 1913 Frank sent Leafa and Oscar, with two teams of horses, to work on the overland Reservoir, above Paonia. Colorado. Oscarís uncle, Jack Boardman, had the contract to build it. Myrtle and her second cousin, Clara Bopp, rode horseback all the way to visit them.
In the fall of l913 Leafa and Oscar rented the Bob Head ranch. He had sold it. Then my troubles grew worse. Frank had had an affair with my brotherís wife for years and it finally came to a head. He moved out and was married to her in December, l9l4. In the division of the property I got the lower forty acres with the house, and he got the upper eighty with no house. Of course, he built a new home on it, and every time they went anywhere they drove past my place. Leafa and Oscar were near and I had Myrtle - otherwise I doubt if I could have survived it all.
I had a big adjustment to make. Even though Iíd done plenty of outdoors work. I had many obstacles to overcome - hiring men was a problem. I went into the sheep raising business. First I went in with Sam, later I sold, but I had enjoyed working with the sheep.
In the summer of 1915, before I had sheep, Leafa, Myrtle and I went to the Pacific Exposition in San Diego. We took a day and stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado to have my sister. Zalida (Lida) and her baby, William Roy, accompany us. She had fallen and sprained her ankle and couldnít carry him. My youngest sister, Gertrude, met us in a taxi at the depot. The folks lived in City Gardens - a Short distance from Old Town, in North San Diego. We went under a bridge that proved too low for the taxi and the top was taken off. No one was hurt.
We spent such a grand time. Took in the fair at Balboa Park, had an excursion boat ride to the Coronado Islands in Old Mexico, went out on a glass bottom boat and saw ocean life - too beautiful for words. Worst memory was that Myrtle was so seasick from the boat ride that she couldnít go, nor even eat a bit of the delicious lunch we packed and took along. By the time we neared the harbor she began to perk up and feel better. My! The good garden, goat meat and chicken we did enjoy. I might add that in 1916 a big flood came down the valley and completely ruined the folksí place.
From our visit there we went to San Francisco to the Worldís Fair. Leafa went two days ahead and stopped off in San Jose to visit with Oscarís Aunt Mattie. We all stayed a night with her and her husband. That Worldís Fair left never-to-be forgotten memories. Besides being greenhorns from the farm we had a very annoying experience. My folks had so many delicious blackberries that I canned several jars and packed them in the trunk among the clothing. Something went wrong and a jar broke. The juice leaked even through to the outside of the trunk. When I went to check it, the man at the ticket window said "What have you in there?" and he wouldnít check it. We were all about in tears when a freight handler said, "Give me your ticket." Iíll never forget that man. He brought us the baggage check. Not too many things were damaged as I had used our older clothing to wrap the jars.
In December 1916, we almost lost Leafa. She had a very serious operation in Paonia. Colorado. It was a happy Christmas day when the doctor first gave us any hopes she would live. She had suffered a ruptured abscess.
Oscar and Leafa were living down under the hill from us, having bought the Ed Turner ranch from Frank, who had acquired it. It was a bad deal for them. In the first place the water rights were too little and Oscar wasnít a farmer at heart. When Leafa had to give up the hard ranch work they took their possessions to Crawford and had a public sale. On March 17, 1912 they left via train for Imperial Valley California, where Oscarís oldest brother and his new wife lived - Elmer and Minnie.
In 1917 and 19l8 the influenza endemic was raging everywhere. I did a lot of practical nursing and never had the flu. I also brought many babies into the world and assisted doctors who were called in. Many births were in the homes.
The fall of 1917 Myrtle taught her term of school on Missouri Flats. Oscar and Leafa were running a ranch and she stayed with them. The fall of 1918 she accepted a teaching position in Kenilworth, Utah. It was during the cherry season that Leafa drove my car to pick some cherries for canning. The battery was low - the car died, and Leafaís right wrist was broken cranking it. This made her decide to go back to school. She had been out eight years.
She went for six weeks to brush up on arithmetic, took the County examinations and failed - in arithmetic. The blow to her was that she already had her contract, pending her certificate to teach. The fall of 1919 she went to Gunnison for the full term or school. In September of 1920 she taught in -Missouri Flats.
Soon I was alone to run the ranch. Myrt1e was only home during summer vacations. Around 1924 she and "Haagi" came home and Oscar and I went with them to visit Leafa in Gunnison. Coming home Haagi was driving over Black Mesa. He took his eyes off the road and left the road, the car falling against a very small tree that barely kept us from going thousands of feet to the bottom. Oscar was the only one hurt. He jumped to the upper bank and a rock fell on his hip. He came to pull me out as we were upside down in the car. He said to me "Ma Pace, come out those arenít angelsí wings you hear flapping, it is only the gas dripping." What a remark at such a time.
The marriage between Haagi and Myrtle came to an end. Oscar and Leafa moved to Latuda Utah in the fall of 1923. Leafa taught school in Standardville and she and Myrtle taught together in Latuda their last year there. The big avalanches in the spring of 1926 wiped the check house into the canyon. My sisterís husband, Gus Goodart was killed, as was also the stable boss. The snow came down the mountainside and filled houses with snow. I was in California at that time as my mother had passed away, and I couldnít get back.
In April of 1927 four cars of us - Oscar, Sam, Pierce and Lester Gingrich, and my car, left for California. We took camp equipment with us and had a real nice trip, meeting to eat and sleep in a chosen spot,
I returned in my car in the spring of 1927, with a friendís son driving my car. We were snowed in for two days in St. George, Utah -a very unusual thing for that country. Sam and Myrtle remained in California, as did Leafa and Oscar. However, Sam and Myrtle came back and ran the ranch in 1927. They were united in marriage in 1926.
Leafa and Oscar were in California when his brotherís wife, Minnie, gave birth to their first boy, Elmer A. Junior. The date was Jan. 29, 1929. In the Fall Leafa and Oscar returned to Colorado and Leafa taught school on Lamborn Mesa, near Paonia. She lived in the teacherage with another woman. Oscar underwent surgery in Salida, Colorado for adhesions. As soon as he was able to work, he went back to California. His father was very poorly and he stayed and helped care for him. Sam also went but returned before his fatherís death as he had so much care of sheep and the ranch. Their father passed away April 1, 1931. At this time Leafa and Myrtle were both teaching in Crawford. They taught the next term.
In 1932 Leafa and Oscar went back to California. Myrtle continued to teach. We were busy with the sheep. In May of 1935 Oscar left for Alaska. On July 29,1933 Myrtle gave birth to a fine baby boy whom they named Ted Franklin. Oscar came home from Fairbanks in time for Christmas. Leafa rented a house and we had a happy time having Oscar with us.
In 1936 Leafa and Oscar bought a home in Inglewood, California. That Christmas Myrtle, Sam, young Ted and myself came out to help them celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Ted was at his sweetest, walking and beginning to talk. Leafa took Myrtle and me to the Rose Tournament in their model T Ford so as to take no chances of possible damage to their good car in the traffic jam. We left the men to take cars of Ted and watch the roast. Ted fared all right but the roast was burned to a crisp. Donít remember what but we did have something to eat. Our stay was much too short due to the pressing work at home.
The coming Spring Leafa gave in to Oscarís wishes and in May they headed for Fairbanks by boat. Oscar stayed in Alaska for ten years before coning out, but he sent Leafa out in l939 and 1943. In August of 1939 her father passed away.
I had the trip of my life when I went via bus over the new Alaska Highway, in September 1941. We went through the excitement of "Pearl Harbor." Oscar was called upon to help fortify the radio station and was gone for thirty-six hours.
I couldnít begin to tell about all the good times - with playing cards, and meeting so many nice people. We collected so-called rags, which I cut in strips, sewed and wound, into balls. Leafa paid for my tuition to weave the rags into rugs, at the University of Alaska. I bundled up and rode out there on a bus. Some days were mighty airish. I made over a dozen rugs.
Among some of the interesting things was playing with three of the cutest puppies born in July, to fill out Oscarís dog team. He already had five, and I had some rides behind them. I even rode the rototiller that Oscar had rented to plow his garden for spring planting. They had many home grown vegetables and I got to help Leafa make some of the best sauerkraut I ever ate We cured it by the wood furnace and it was ready to can in one week.
The good visit ended earlier than I had planned. The security, with every window covered so no light showed through, and transportation getting so uncertain (the World War II situation), I decided to fly out in February; I had never before been on a plane. It was a Government Transport. At first I was very nervous. We had a long layover in Juneau. I was glad to be back "in the States." My experiences are treasured memories.
In 1944 it came time for me to sell my home. This I did to Harold Deutsch. So many advised me to sell, but it was not easy to make a decision after forty-seven years of work, sorrows and joys that had come my way. I bought a log house built for Everett Porter many years before, by Oscarís father. Many people had lived there, including- the Zeldenthuisí and the Sandersonís. It was located not too far from where the old schoolhouse set overlooking the Smith Fork River. I went to school there before we moved to Piburn Flats.
It was surely a change for me and more hard work, but I was healthy and able to work - did much remodeling between times I set out rose bushes, Iris bulbs, strawberry plants and raised a lovely garden every year. Time never hung heavily on my hands. I had my own car and still have a driverís license to drive, and am now eighty-two years old as I am writing this.
Leafa came from Fairbanks in November of 1944 I went to Dunsmuir, California to meet her the day she arrived from Seattle. My sister Gertrude lived there for years. She had passed away May 8, l942. My brother, Chas Edward, died June 14, 1942. Sister Lida was there keeping house and caring for Henry. He was Gertrudeís grandson. His mother was Lucille Edwards.
We had a lovely visit and could see Mt. Shasta, snow capped and towering high above us. The Sacramento River skirted the town and was good fishing. Soon we headed for Long Beach and visited with Mrs. Gingrich. Leafa went home to Alaska in the spring of 1945 and I returned to Crawford to my home. (Mrs. Gingrich-Leafaís mother-in- law)
Myrtle accepted a school in Hanford, Calif. and was again alone and busy. In September of 1947 Leafa and Oscar flew out. They had spent three months on the Yukon and upon their return from there they learned Oscarís mother was ill. They bought a Chevrolet car in Inglewood, California. When Oscars mother improved they drove to Crawford. We had some very nice rides - among them was a trip to Aspen, Colorado. Oscar had lived there during his young life and his brothers. Pierce and Harry, were born there. Of course, everything was changed but he spotted where they used to live and took many pictures. We had a fish dinner in the famous Jerome Hotel. Aspen is now a big Ski Resort
In April of Ď48 they returned to Alaska. When they came out again that fall they bought a pickup. They drove to Colorado and bought a small Aljoe travel trailer in Grand Junction, Colorado. They took me to Hanford to spend Christmas with the folks. Mrs. Gingrich came up and we had a grand time together. Since it was vacation time, Sam, Myrtle and Ted went with us and we stayed together until it was time for Myrtle to go back to teach
We had also gone to Mrs. Gingrichís home in Long Beach, where six of the seven Gingrich brothers got together for a reunion. Pierce was the only one who didnít come. He was in Palisade, Colorado. It was so nice the brothers could all be together for the first time in so many years.
In 1949 I had a lovely trip with Oscar and Leafa into Mexico, for six days. We stopped in Albuquerque for two days and drove into Nogales to enter the border. We stopped in a trailer court over-looking the Gulf of Lower California. We were so close to the water that we were lulled to sleep by the waves lapping on the shore. We waded, hunted shells, and did a lot of bargain shopping. We also had a trip into Obregon and saw sights on the way
One of the funny sights was a naked little rascal coming out of the brush, and another was a little boy lying on his belly drinking out of a ditch where pigs were cooling off not far above him. How could they live like that?
I went back to Calif. with Leafa and Oscar in January, 1950 Oscarís mother passed away, and my oldest brother Emmanuel, passed the same month. [Further research has revealed that James Emanuel Piburn died Dec.30,1950 and not January of 1950 as Laura indicates.] Oscar and Leafa went to Hanford and I went home. -They left for Alaska from there. They had, however, gone with Marry and Flo to the Colorado River for a camping trip before they went north
The Alaska kids left their trailer in Fairbanks and came on their next trip to California with a new pickup. They left their Aljoe in Alaska and bought a Columbia trailer in Grand Junction. Colorado. They went back in the Columbia but later in Alaska sold both trailers.
When Oscar and Leafa next came down from Alaska in the fall of 1951 they came to Crawford to see me. I wasnít feeling well so didnít go with them to Albuquerque to visit the Cantralls this time. They bought a big trailer there and drove over to Mesa, Arizona where Gus and Nellie Pace were living in a mobile home for Gus health sake. I came over to visit. I came in January for baths and visit. I went back to California. Gus passed away early in February of that year.
Thereafter Oscar and Leafa took me back home, parked the big trailer on the premises and went back to Fairbanks. Yes, the folks came down again and they came to see me in Crawford. They bought a lovely airstream trailer and I went with them to spend the winter in California. I was far from well and didnítí t enjoy much of anything. In fact, I had gall bladder surgery in the early summer.
When the folks went back to Alaska in the spring of.1953, Oscarís brother Donald and wife Ruth went back with the folks in their pickup and trailer.
The fatal time came for Oscar when he and Leafa were returning to California in 1953.They had previously bought property in Cardiff by the Sea CA. and planned to build their retirement home. Oscar passed away on the Alaska Highway, 163 miles from Dawson Creek right where the Alaska Highway begins. Leafa was alone for Seventy Ėtwo hours, with their outfit, before Sam could get there to join her She was near a road camp and had shelter in the home of a lovely couple - the man was a maintenance man for that area. It took Leafa and Sam five days to bring the outfit to Samís ranch.
We all experienced a twelve-day ordeal before the funeral was held as the body was lost somewhere.
In 1954, before Leafa built her home in Cardiff, she brought my brother George back to Colorado for first his first visit in many years. Myrtle, Leafa, George and I rented horses and rode up the river to fish above the Timer Davenport Ranch in a lovely place above Paonia, Colorado. George was not in good health and went home on bus. Myrtle went back with Leafa in her car. They visited with Pierce and Frances Gingrich in Ramona, since Leafa had not yet started her house in Cardiff.
In 1955 Leafa began to build a home on one half of their Cardiff property and I went out to visit her while Harold and Grace were helping her with the building, and I got to "batch" with them all.
I went back to Colorado in March of 1955. Georgeís wife passed away in May [submitter states that Jennie Piburn (Cook) actually died April 19, 1955] of that year. In June, George brought Leafa back to Crawford. They took Florence Patterson and went back to where we had had such a good time the year before. However it rained and they stayed only one night. On the way home a bearing went out in Georgeís car. He became ill and went on the bus. Although he came back later for the car, he wasnít able to drive back alone, so Myrtle drove the car for him out to California and returned by bus to Colorado. George entered the navy Hospital and passed away in October of 1955.
I am not crippled, have good eyesight. My greatest handicap is my hearing. I inherited this tendency from my father. His hearing was very bad. Six of the seven children had bad hearing. I carried on as usual in 1956, but in 1957 I suffered a stroke. Leafa came to be with me, and during this time she suffered a strangulation hernia and spent July 4th in the Delta hospital. By August we had both recovered satisfactorily and I went to California and spent seven months with Leafa.
We had many nice times together. She took me to Los Angeles and bordering towns to spend six days with friends. We also had many card parties. Iím so glad I can do so much yet. My saddest time was when Ted and Jeannie were married in Denver, Colorado on November 23rd, 1957 and I couldnít be there. Sam and Myrtle will come for me in February 1958 and I will return to the home I love and begin my summer work in my flowers and garden.
Written by Laura Pace in 1957 and 1958 while living with Leafa in Cardiff by the Sea.
Postscript by Leafa Gingrich
In October 1958 mother suffered another stroke much worse than the first one. With the help of Charley and Juanita Harris, mother learned to walk and feed her self. She could always talk, but could no longer write. This gave me added sorrow. The Harrisís operated a convalescent home in Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Mother lived until April 6th, 1960. Her sister Zalida passed away November 30th, 1960. Thus ending the last of the family.
My sister Myrtle and I married brothers. I was married in December 1911 to Oscar E. Gingrich. And Myrtle and Samuel Gingrich were married March 13, 1926. At this time Oscar was critically ill with double pneumonia, and two doctors worked all might to save him. Mother was there nursing him as I was teaching at Standardville, Utah. This explains why there was no wedding reception for Myrtle and Sam.
We two couples moved back to Latuda, Utah to work. The mines began to operate. We were able to rent adjoining apartments located at the base of the mountain where the avalanches (nine in number) killed Uncle Gus Goodart and the stable boss (as mother told about.)
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