1884 - 1974 (90 years)
||Aurilla Losee |
||29 Jul 1884
||Orderville, Kane, Utah
||1 Aug 1974
||Orem, Utah, Utah
||5 Aug 1974
||Springville, Utah, Utah
- History of Aurilla Losee Merrill
One nice day on July 29, 1884, a baby girl was born to Isaac Losee and Mary Miranda Davis, at Orderville, Kane County, Utah, named Aurilla. She was blessed by her father, Isaac Losee. This made a family of three boys and three girls. Later there came another boy, then a girl, and another boy making nine children for my parents.
When I was three years old we moved to Loseeville, a small town started by my grandfather, Isaac Huff Losee. The people named it after him. It was Loseeville on the maps, but my family always called it Clifton. It was a nice little town, but we had to haul our drinking water from the creek a mile away. We dipped up ditch water at the edge of the sidewalk in barrels for washing and such.
When I was eight years old, my father told us to learn that we were baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, and by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, so that we would know the real meaning of baptism. My Uncle John M. Allen baptized me August 22, 1892 in a pond outside of town. Then we rushed right back to Sacrament Meeting which at that time took up at 2:00 P.M. My father was bishop at that time, and he confirmed me the same day. There were several others baptized the same day.
My mother was sick a year, and my oldest sister, Mary Eliza, had lung trouble five years. We had Dr. Lewis treating her, but there didn't seem to be anything that helped her very much. The doctor said she had consumption, and there wasn't anything he could do to cure her. The doctor was a father to Permelia (Lewis) Tippets.
One day my sister said, "Father, I will get well if you will call the Elders in and have them anoint and administer to me every night and once a week give me a teaspoon of olive oil." So all the Elders thought that would be wonderful, and she was well in much less than a year. That was a great testimony to me, because the doctor had said there was no cure for her. She lived to marry and have a large family.
Another time she coughed and quit breathing for a little while; but before she got so she couldn't breath she said, "Call Will." Will had been ordained an Elder a few weeks before and was playing ball in the street in front of our home. While their hands were on her head, she started breathing. She was such a wonderful sister, I just knew the Lord would bless her and make her will. That and many more such things happened that strengthened my testimony.
My parents were very good to us children. Because mother and sister being sick so long, the rest of the children and I had plenty to do to keep us out of mischief. My work was to do the dishes, sweep the kitchen and large dooryard, and help tend the baby. I did nearly all the dishwashing from the time I turned six until I was nine years old. I sometimes wondered why I and one of my girlfriends had to do dishes while other girls played; but by the time I was nine and ten years old, we could really cook. Her mother was sick and her father a cripple, but we enjoyed our work and our play.
Our parents saw that we got to attend our Sunday School Meetings, Primary, and all the holidays. When we ran races, we beat everybody we ran with except one another. I couldn't beat her running nor could she beat me. They always made us run together twice, but we both always got a prize at the races.
We moved from Loseeville to Monroe, Sevier County, Utah, when I was about nine or ten years old. I liked the school, town, and people very much; but father's health was poor, so he went to Franklin, Arizona for his health. When he got a little better he wrote to my oldest brother, Isaac Elmer, and told him to sell everything and move the family down there, so Isaac Elmer did sell and move us all except my two oldest sisters: Mary Eliza who married Jacob Henry Rich and Sarah Ruth who married William Rich. They stayed in Monroe for awhile, then went to help settle Lovel, Wyoming.
We made many friends and had a very good time while there in Franklin. We all took active parts in church. I joined the Relief Society at age 16 years old. I was an aid in Mutual. The work of an aid was to get all the young people that we could to come to Mutual. One other girl and I were put in at the same time. It was a small town and we were lucky, because we got every Mutual boy and girl in town to go and never miss unless it was an emergency.
I met my husband in Mutual and about a year later we were married by Bishop Thompson at Richmond, New Mexico on September 9, 1901. We were very happy. My husband was Robert Wilson Merrill.
My mother moved to Thatcher, Arizona so the boys could go to high school, and we followed a little later. My oldest brother married a Utah girl, who taught school in Franklin one or two winters, and then moved back to Utah where her people lived and where he was teaching when he fell in love with her.
My husband and I went to Clifton, Arizona. My husband's brother took Typhoid fever. I took care of him for a while. The doctor said he would have to go to the hospital as I was pregnant and unable to take care of him. It wasn't long until I took typhoid. I went to my mother-in-law's to stay. Her baby also had typhoid, and at the same time the boy came home from the hospital. She called us her "bread and milk" patients when we got better, because we ate bread and milk while we were sick.
My husband worked and sent his money home so the keep up expenses in his mother's home while they and I were sick. When Robert came home, we moved to ourselves. We moved to Thatcher. There our first child, a boy, was born to us January 25, 1903, named Robert Warren Merrill. We were so proud of him.
The people in Franklin and Duncan, and a great many in Thatcher and Pima, half of us had to use five pound lard buckets to cook in instead of kettles, little wood stoves to cook on, and heat our wash water. Not many even had reservoirs to help heat water, no washers, only those that ran with a hand lever back and forth. Most every one did their washing on an old-fashioned wash board event the ones who ran hotels and restaurants and had large families.
Robert got a job in Clifton so we moved there from Thatcher. When the baby was about five months old, we were in a flood. We lived in Chase Creek in the western part of Clifton. Clifton was divided as Chase Creek north Clifton and across the Gila River that ran through the town was east Clifton and south Clifton.
My husband worked for Bill Price hauling freight from Clifton to Morenci, but he decided to go about 30 miles from there to see about putting up an orange, lemonade, and ice cream stand at Duncan and Franklin, Arizona. He left in the morning and was to come back the next night about five in the evening.
While he was gone, there was a cloud burst at the head of Chase Creek. There was a rock wall along the bank of the creek down the canyon and mountain on the other side. The town was built along the canyon in the bottom and up the other side of the canyon. There had been the tailings of the ore such as ground rock which had been emptied into the little creek behind this wall for about twenty years. A cloud burst at the head of the canyon broke the wall. The wall came rolling down the canyon.
I was living in a little two room house. A large second hand store was almost against my house. The space between the two was so narrow that my husband would have to get off his bike and push it through to get to the back of the house. There was a large Bazar store the third house up the canyon from me. They all joined together except about three feet between my place and the next one, and it was nailed up between. My clothes line was fastened back and forth from the back of my place to the side of the second hand store, where it extended way back behind the back of my house. The flood swept the store and all the houses except two for a quarter of a mile as clean as a door yard; and the large home that stood was a Mormon family, my husband's boss.
People came from miles around and said it was a great miracle to see my little house standing and the others all gone.
During the flood I heard a noise and went to the door with my first baby in my arms to see what was wrong. There were people running down the street screaming. They ran in houses and on through the hill behind them. The end of the stream was a foot deep, a rod behind another foot deeper, and another with horses hooked to buggies, rocks rolling. I hurried and shut the door and put the baby on the bed where I set him up with pillows around him. He screamed with fright at first, but I told him to look at the pretty water. He started playing, and I ran to the back door to open it so the water could run out as it came in. As the front door opened, right on the ground and at the back, there was about three feet to the ground and no low windows in the back and no door knob on the back door. Before I got to the back door, the front door was opened. As I pulled on the top of the door, the flood which was thick with ground rock flooded in. My hand was fastened in the door. As I would pulled to open the door to get my hand free, the other hand would get caught. Clothes and flat irons floated at my feet. I pushed the clothes on through the door so the water could get through at the bottom of the door. An iron kettle floated at my feet. I pounded the door on through before I got loose. Our clothes were all washed away.
Before I got loose, the bed springs and mattress raised off the bedstead and floated to the middle door. I could see the baby sitting there with the bedspread getting in the water tipping the baby. I was afraid he would drown before I could get loose. I reached to the cupboard to get the butcher knife to cut my fingers off so I could get to the baby and hold him up as high as I could to keep him safe until the flood went down. I thought, "No, that won't help him, because I will bleed to death before help will come to him."
When I got the door open, the flood got smaller. I started cleaning up. Then I looked out the back door and hollered to a lady to break her window open. It was a screen window 9 X 12 inches. She took a little pick and tore it open. I waded in water nearly to my waist. The water just boiled up between the two houses until I could hardly walk. When she took my baby, I jumped up to the window and tried to get in. The screen clinged to my clothes. I was afraid to get back into the water to try again, so I just kept trying 'til I finally pulled through. When I got through and out on the porch to her house, a Mexican had waded across and got my baby and was going up the hill to safety. Mr. Price carried me across the stream. And I ran after my baby. The Mexican gave him to me.
We stopped at a lady's house and she loaned me a change of clothes. I stayed at Mandy Price's home that night and next day. Some friends from south Clifton came and took me to their place 'til my husband came. He heard about the flood, but the train was loaded with soldiers and they would not let him on it. They looked for it to be blown up before they reached Clifton as there was a strike at Morenci of 500 men. There were 300 militia men on the train and one was my brother, Warren. They went through Clifton and on 10 or 12 miles farther to Morenci, so my husband didn't get there until the next night.
There were 13 large lumber buildings owned by the Bazar Company floating down the street in front of my place, besides many others. Many stores were almost completely emptied of their goods. Several people were found in the Gila River 50 miles below town. An ice box lodged between mine and the next house and a person was dug out of a drift against the corner of my place. The Lord blessed my baby and me.
All my fingers were cut twice clear though to the bone except my little ones which were cut once to the bone. The door had cut them. I couldn't use my hands but very little for about a week, but I was very thankful that my baby wasn't hurt at all.
When my husband came, he couldn't find any trace of me until nearly morning as nearly everybody had left town except cops guarding the property that was scattered all over the streets.
We went to Franklin to run the ice cream and soft drink stand on the 24th of July, 1903. We had a wonderful time visiting old friends.
My mother-in-law, who lived up the Gila River about 12 miles above Duncan and Franklin, took very sick; so we went and stayed there until she was able to be up and around.
Then we moved to ourselves just across the River, east of Duncan about three miles from Franklin into the only house empty for rent at the time. There were no neighbors except one a half mile north of me. I knew them, but there were deep washes between us with straight up and down walls which was the only way to get through. I did not know how to get through.
Robert was gone for a week when we first moved there and everything was strange and lonely. I was really scared, because there were many tramps at that time and the baby and I were all alone. Finally when my husband got back, his folks had moved down in town at Franklin.
There came a large flood down the Gila River. It just roared and logs and such were coming down the river. My husband's step-father said they were out of groceries and money, so my husband tied some money on himself and swam across to give his step-father some money. I was so scared he might not make it over and back. If one of those logs should had hit him, that would have been the end of him.
The Gila River is a dangerous one after a flood. We didn't dare drive across in a buggy or wagon unless we tried it out to see if there were any quick sand. Sometimes it would be in one place and sometimes in another.
I felt the Lord was with us. It was so dangerous trying to swim in that terrible river, but Robert felt it necessary. Oh I was so thankful to my Heavenly Father for his blessings. If it wasn't for my faith in Him, I don't believe I could of stood it; for I felt that only the Lord could save him.
After the flood went down and it was safe for us to move; we went down to Thatcher, the place where my baby was born. We lived with my mother for a while, and then we moved to Flagstaff, Arizona.
My folks all came back to Utah. My husband got work in the timber at Flagstaff, Arizona up in the mountains. While there another son was born to us on March 23, 1905. His name was Horatio Harris, the same name as my husband's father. How proud we were of our lovely son.
We lived in a boarded up tent. There was four feet of snow on three sides of the tent. We kept the snow shoveled from the front of the tent, but it was very warm in the tent. We had the door open half the time. It was just like a house only a tent top. We would get up in the night and sweep the ceiling of the tent on the inside so the snow would slide off to keep the top from breaking through. My husband got a job making railroad ties, stulls for the mines, and skiding ties.
We moved to another camp in a lovely large house, but one side was the railroad pump station with a large cistern of water under the house and reaching way back behind the house. The house was three feet from the ground.
While we were there, there was a cloud burst. We had a flood that was a half a mile wide on one side of the house and one-forth of a mile on the other side. Our porch was three and a half feet high and the flood was three feet high. My husband and I and the two children (one two years and the other about two months old) were in the house. It lasted a day and a night. There was a Mexican family close by just a little ways up the hill. Robert wanted me to let him carry me to safety, then come back and get the babies one at a time; but I just couldn't leave them alone. And yet if he had taken them across first, they would have been frightened of the Mexicans as they couldn't speak but very little in our language nor us theirs. So we decided to stay as long as the house stayed. The flood died down and we stayed until my husband's work was finished. The man who handled the other end of Robert's saw was a large stout man, but slow. Robert being so much faster than him, could beat him in lumber every day.
We had been living on the outside of town, but later on we moved in town. when the large earthquake at San Francisco came, it reached Flagstaff, Arizona. My second baby was sitting on the floor by a folding cot. One corner of the ceiling squashed down to the other corner of the floor. It cracked the mop boards and tipped the folding cot over. If I hadn't caught it and got my baby, I don't know what it would have done to him.
Warren, my oldest boy, was out playing in the sleigh. He said, "The sleigh began to rock, so I climbed out." Robert was in a wagon driving team, but he stopped until it was over. It struck again at 6;00 P.M., but not as bad. The first one broke many windows.
I got a job nursing a neighbor lady. I took a wagon for pay as she was going to sell it to get money to pay me and we needed one.
Then there was a lady who needed me to go to her home in Pinetop with her and her little boy and her husband, Edd Hasting. My husband was to come later in our wagon. Edd assured him that he could get a job from the government. When Robert came to Pinetop, we went to Fort Apache where he got a job. He got a job for the government hauling logs to the saw mill, driving an ambulance for the officers, and hauling supplies for the soldiers on their practice march.
We stayed in the post Fort Apache about three years. I took in sewing and remodeling soldiers suits. I sewed the chevrons on their sleeves and did washing and ironing for 25 soldiers. All except three of the soldiers had white canvas suits. They hauled red clay for the stables. The canvas suits with the red clay on them was almost the impossible, but I got them clean. I got $2 a month for each soldier's washing and ironing.
We went to a dance every other Saturday night. For all the hard work I did, I had a wonderful time and made many good friends.
Officers don't usually associate with civilians, but I was invited to the lieutenant's mother's. I was a dear friend to their hired girl. The girl said to me, "I can't understand her loving you so much and inviting you to visit her. She won't even let me in her front room. You are the only one except officers and their wives that she will let in her front room and she invites you." Well I went and visited her twice. We enjoyed ourselves very much. She seemed so nice.
We went twenty-two miles out of the Fort to run the forest station for the government between Rice and Fort Apache. We served meals, furnished bedrooms, and fed the government teams and all transient people. We ran a commissary and a hundred head of cattle.
One day Robert had to vaccinate the calves, because they were so fat, to keep them from taking a disease called Black leg. He took the two boys, Warren (5) and Harris (3). He put overalls on Warren and rompers on Harris. They were the first pair they ever had. I always dressed them up every day nice enough to go to church. He gave Warren a lasso rope and told him he could rope a calf for him if he wanted to. Well he did. Harris got hold of the end of the rope. They both fell down and the calf dragged them around the corral until Robert got there. Robert didn't think that he couldn't rope it. I don't think they will ever forget the fun they had in their first overalls. The boys had much pleasure in hooking their dog up to their little wagon and going for a ride.
Some days no one came and then again the hotel was full. We sure had a rush. My husband tended the range cattle and milked about 15 cows and sometimes I rounded up the milk cows. My husband tended the children and he was a very good cook, so we helped one another. We had hired help part of the time.
We had a cellar in the side of the hill back of the house. We could keep our milk, butter, eggs, beef, and such for a long time. We never had a refrigerator at that time. I had a five-gallon barrel churn that we turned a crank to churn. We sold butter and eggs.
We had a large fire in our barn. The barn had farm tools in one corner and the rest was filled to the top with a year's supply of hay. The hay burned along with part of the stable and the farm equipment. My youngest child Horatio Harris (3) was in the chicken coop. I was quite excited for awhile, but we got him out safely.
We carried harnesses and sacks of grain out and my little boys would drag the harnesses on farther to keep them from burning. Some men came to help put it out. We got part of it put out. The wind generally blew up the canyon at night and down in the daytime. The fire lasted a week.
Our store and hotel was up the canyon from the fire. All that week the wind blew down the canyon, so we saved the house, store, granary, and chicken coop, but the corral and stable was partly there. The hay and barn were completely gone.
Robert discovered the fire when he went to put the milk cows in the cow corral for the night. The cow corral was about 150 feet west of the barn, stable, granary, and horse corral. He saw the fire when he got the other side of the knoll. He never stopped to come back the way he went, so he had to swim the river twice to get back, he was on a bronco horse, but he jumped off and left the horse standing outside the pasture until I got time to put it in the pasture. The horse was so tired that it didn't seem to get scared of the fire. When Robert left the children and I was alone. Ten minutes after he left, the flames were shooting out on all sides of the barn. It seemed to have started in the manger. It was most all Timethy hay that burned almost like coal oil. We stirred it to hurry and burn up before the wind started up the canyon to the house.
It was a great loss to us. We had $300 in personal hay for our private saddle horse and the rest of the hay was partnership hay for Robert and another man. They had bought it to feed to travelers and government teams. We ran the forage station for the government with half interest in the store and hotel.
We didn't dare keep meat in the house, on account of the mountain lions. You could hear one up the canyon and one down the canyon at nights. Part of the time it seemed one would call and the other would answer. My husband said they wouldn't attack us as long as we didn't corner them or have fresh meat in the house.
Every little colt that we ever had was killed except the last one. We saved it by having two hunting dogs. Robert turned the dogs loose before the colt was hurt too bad, and followed the lion. It climbed a tree and jumped from the tree on a ledge right by the tree. He couldn't get the dogs to leave the tree but only for about a minute, then they went back to the tree. We saved the colt. It belonged to a friend of ours. The mother of the colt was scratched up pretty bad. The owner gave the colt to us for saving it and it's mother, but we gave it to his little boy as we were afraid the lion might attack again. We didn't want it hurt again.
There was a lion trail right by our cow corral where the lions would come from the mountain down to the river for water. It was good our corral was so high or our calves might have been attacked by lions. I never did feel scared as long as we never kept fresh meat. We always had from one to five dogs scattered around the place, but we only kept two tied up.
With all our hard work, we enjoyed ourselves very much. Sometimes a lovely bunch would come in and sometimes our friends that we hadn't seen for sometime came. Many came just to visit.
There were many turkey nests back of our house. Flocks of wild turkeys as many as fifty flew over our house at one time and lit on the side hill, feed around a while, then flew somewhere else. They looked so pretty and didn't seem to be frightened of us at all. It was against the law to kill them, and I didn't like turkey meat very well anyway.
Robert hired someone to run the hotel for one day so I could go help drive a bunch of the cattle across the river to the salt ground. I knew I could do it as good as hiring a man for the job. I wanted to get away from the house awhile anyway, and Robert wanted me to go. While on the cattle drive, there was a flood. The river was so deep that the cattle didn't want to cross it. When we got them to the river, some would run back especially two twin calves. Their mother crossed but they ran back several times. My husband said, "I guess we will have to give up." But I told him that I wanted to try once more. He was afraid I would get hurt I think.
There was a large sycamore tree with a bank of dirt under it. I turned on one side of the saddle and guided my horse up on the bank on a gallop. It was the first sycamore tree I had ever been under, and I thought the limbs would bend like a cottonwood tree's limbs would. The limbs were stiff and took my left sleeve right off. There I was six miles from the house. I was so embarrassed. We had come around the mountains and hills to keep from swimming across the river six times which we would have to do on our horses. It was only about a mile from home straight through. We finally got the cattle all across.
My husband said that we ought to drive them on up to the salt grounds. When he went into the water, he had no idea I would follow him. I knew my horse was a good swimmer, so I followed. I forgot that I had spurs on and I wasn't used to them. As the horse was starting to swim, I got up on the top of the saddle so not to get too wet. I hit the horse with my spurs and he gave a lunge and went under, but came right back up. I only got wet up to my knees so we went on. I didn't mind getting wet, but what I was afraid of was that the horse might drown.
Robert told me that maybe he'd take me to the other salt ground just to show it to me, but he told me not to follow him unless I was told to. He crossed and said that it wasn't bad but that we better be getting back home as we didn't want to swim all six crossings. So we crossed the one crossing from the salt ground, and then we went around the six mile trail. We sure had a good time, but I was embarrassed with part of my waist torn off from me.
One time Robert and three other men were breaking in some bronco horses. Warren, Harris, and I went with him to the bronco corral and watched all the men ride the horses. Robert had six horses to break. The other boys had more. It was quite exciting. One of the men, Bill, was the best rider in Arizona and Wyoming, and he said he had never ridden a horse as hard to control as the one we saw him ride. The horse would jump in the air and kick with both hind legs before it hit the ground. Bill said that they were the hardest jolts he had ever got.
The river where we carried water for washing and such was just a little ways north of the house. Sometimes we fished from the river. There were lots of fish in it. Many times Robert would ferry the transient people and their belongings across the river. There was one place teams could cross if the river was down, but there was a swift under current that would sweep them off their feet. Someone would have to hurry and cut the horses loose or else they would drown.
We moved back into Fort Apache. Robert was a meat cutter in the butcher shop. While in the Fort my third son, Don Leonard, was born on March 20, 1909. The doctor was out of town on a call and the nurse was sick in bed. Therefore, Robert went a mile the other side of the fort in a buggy to get another nurse. We never had a car then and had never seen but one. It was when Harris was a baby. I never rode in it, but Robert did once I think.
I got the hired girl to put quilts and pillows around me so I wouldn't fall over. I sat up that way and tied and cut the cord before the doctor or nurse got back. I was thankful to my Heavenly Father that I knew what to do. My baby was so cute and we were so proud of him.
We got word that my husband's sister, Margaret, had lost her husband. He passed away leaving her $1,000 in debt, with about a thousand head of goats, and some wood. We went down to Franklin, Arizona to see what we could do. By the time we got there some of the goats were lost. We spent all we had except a team and wagon. We paid the hired men wages and board, furnished the goat shearers, and I went and cooked for them, we got $60 or $70 of the wool money. The rest we did for free and was glad we could help.
While in Fort Apache, I bought many Indian curios such as hat bands, belts, necklaces made of beads, moccasins of buckskin trimmed with beads, hair ornaments, hair quirts, and such. I had my front room walls pretty well covered with Indian ornaments. I sold most of them to help pay expenses.
Robert hauled wood and peddled it out to help pay the herder his board. It was a real hardship for sometime. We had no real furniture except a bed, a cot, one chair, a table, and we sat on boxes. Our cupboard and wash stand was made out of boxes.
We sent Margaret to Idaho where mother was. Robert sold his watch and chain and everything that we just didn't have to have. I went out nursing and Robert went to farming. After Margaret sold her goats and paid off her bills, she was a widow at 20 and a mother of four boys. She lost her first boy when he was a small baby.
We stayed in Duncan most of the time. My health got bad apparently because I was over worked and too sympathetic with my patients. This was making my heart weak. The doctor told my husband that it would be better for me to stop on that account, and yet he was the first one to come after me to take care of a typhoid case. He said the patient had a very slim chance to live, and I was the only one she would have. I went and she got well.
My health kept getting worse, so my husband took me to Morenci, Arizona. Then from there to Kaolin and Overton, Nevada. He told me not to let anybody know I had been nursing, but if there was anything he could do to help, he would. He farmed the first year, then started hauling ore from the Grand Gulch mine to Saint Thomas, Nevada. I was under the doctor's care about two years.
When I got feeling fine, I took active part in church. I was president of the Primary, teacher in Sunday School, secretary in Relief Society, gave the lessons several times, a Relief Society teacher, and I also led the singing. I was an aid in Mutual at age sixteen. I joined the Relief Society at sixteen in Franklin, Arizona and have been a teacher in nearly every place I have lived since. I went to all the dances in town. A large crowd would gather two or three times a week. We would all go down to the Kaolin Reservoir to go in swimming. It was one-half mile from our home. The men had built a room for the women and one for the men to dress in.
I was blessed with my fourth son, Rulon Thayn Merrill, born June 19, 1916 at Koaolin, Clark County, Nevada. My mother just seemed to idealize all my children. She made so much over our baby. After she passed away, we missed her so very much.
My youngest brother, Don Ellis Losee, the only one not married, went to war during World War I. Father was working in the Manti Temple at the time, so my mother-in-law wanted us to come to Declo, Idaho. I thought we ought to go as she wasn't getting any younger. I thought she would need us. My health was not good up there, so we didn't stay only about three years.
We got word from father, Isaac Losee that he wasn't expected to live. He had got word in a letter that he had lost $13,000 through the man that was taking care of his sheep and money. I went to Provo where he was at the time and stayed until he was up and around and seemed well. The boys and I went to Wellington to visit my sister, Sarah Ruth Rich. We had a lovely visit. We were going back to Idaho when I got word that father had gone home to Manti. When he helped a calf over the fence so that it could go in the barn out of the storm, he took a back set and took pneumonia. He sent for me to come to Manti which we did. The doctor said cheerfulness and to keep his mind from his trouble, as the only thing that would cure him. I fed him on the prettiest dishes five times a day just a little at a time.
He lived eight years more and later sold out and moved to Orem. When he got all right, I took a cancer and small pox case in the same town. I had my two youngest and my oldest boys with me. My husband kept the second boy, Horatio Harris, in Idaho until his job was done there. I sent the boys except my baby to my brother, Warren's, until my job was done. Then Robert and all but my youngest boy and myself went to Warren E. Losee's on Provo Bench. We joined them a little later.
Our family all move to Wellington, we bought a farm about five miles out of Wellington, Carbon County, Utah. We liked the place very much. The climate and people were wonderful. Unto us our fifth son was born, Freeborn Losee Merrill, born September 10, 1922. We were very proud of our five boys.
Freeborn took cold and had a nervous stomach. The doctor said if we crossed him, we may lose him. So I took special care of him. If he got upset, he would start vomiting. He gradually got over it after a long struggle.
We paid $3,000 on our farm, built a three room home on it, and stable, corral, calf pen, pig pen, and a lamb pen which was partly fenced, alfalfa, trees, and a chicken coop. We were doing fine when they put in a large reservoir and taxed us $2.000 for water in advance before we could use any of that water. We had already paid $40 assessment each year on what water we were using, besides helping clean the ditch. Everybody had to pay for so much water for each acre of ground. Well, we didn't need it as there was a large wash which ran through our place that we couldn't farm, so half that water would have been enough. Besides about 25 acres of our land had clover and such that grew with out watering.
One of my boys and my husband took the flu and was very bad. It was some time before they were strong again. There was only one boy large enough to work and keep us going, as our oldest boy married about two years before. So Robert said, "I have gone my limit. I could easy finish paying for the place, but why pay for it when they are sticking us for the extra water that we don't need." They never even gave people a chance to vote for it. It was a great help to those that could farm all their land and that didn't already have any water. So we just moved off the place. It seems like we could never get back up again, but we kept the payments up on our place for sometime thinking that the way may open up. We could pay for the reservoir water, but finally gave up.
We moved to Price so that Harris and Leonard could go to high school. Robert got a job on the mountain towards Roosevelt. While he was driving a team hitched to a wagon with a rack on it, he had an accident. He had his hand on one of the rack stakes and held the lines with his other hand. He was driving through the hills over rough road and a tree fell on his hand mashing his hand right over the stake. It stuck part of the stake right through is hand. It looked like he would never be able to use it for very much. We took him to Doctor Winters. His had got all right except for the scars.
Robert's brother, Austin and brother Leonard had moved in Price to work in the mine at Sunnyside for a while, but finally they went back to Idaho. While in Sunnyside, they worked with my sister Ruth's husband, William Rich. They didn't stay very long as some of the men nearly got killed. Robert worked there a little while, but I talked him into quitting. He heard the wall start to crack, but got out in time. If he had of stayed, he would have been hurt. Robert and William, I think, were the only one's right where the cave was, so they decided that we ladies were right. They got another job.
Robert finally went to work at the sawmill on the head of Indian Creek. We moved up there. We sure enjoyed the nice spring water. We only had two rooms and a porch. There was love in our home, so we enjoyed it very much.
Robert made me a table, little Rulon made his dog a house, and all together they made what they called the scenic railway out of planks which were 2 X 6. The railway ran down the side of the hill toward the creek. It was about 40 or 50 feet long. They made a sleigh to go down on it. It had a steep start, a dip, then on out to the end where you had to jump as it was about two or three feet from the ground. I rode it once to please the children and so did my husband. The sleigh was short; so if a grown person rode on it, they would have to hold their feet up close to their body. When it jumped the loop, if you straightened your feet out, the sleigh would go out from under you and you would come back down on the plank on your crooper bone. For the children it was just right. When it left the track, it came back on the track a little ways down.
My sister, Olive, and her children came up to spend a week with us. They sure enjoyed themselves. One day I made a lot of pies. We didn't have all our things up there, so I rolled the pie crust with a two quart fruit jar. The children stood watching me. They asked me what a turnover pie was and how to make it. So I decided to make them one. I said, "three more rolls and we are done." Just then I guess I pushed on the bottle a little harder for the bottle crushed cutting my left wrist. The blood shot out as my pulse beat about the size of my little finger. I said, "Get me some cold water, and a clean clothe, and a handful of table salt." I said, "It wouldn't take long to bleed to death like this." I didn't get excited. I started for the door. There was a chair by the door on the porch; and by the time I got to it, there was the washdish of cold water, clean clothe and salt. My husband grabbed me before I got quite to the door and sat me down. As I started to the door, I put my right hand under my left hand to keep the blood off the floor, but it ran out all the way. It was only about six feet to the door. Strange as it seems, I was so weak if it hadn't been for Robert helping me I don't know how I would have got in the chair.
We put a large handful of table salt on the cut, lifted the clean cloth out of the cold water, and wrapped it around my wrist. The water was almost ice cold right form a cold spring. The cut was one and a half inches one way and one inch the other way. It was a three corner hole.
In a little while I took the rag off to see if there was any glass in the cut, and to get it out if there was. My husband put another handful of salt on it and said, "Anything bleeding like that couldn't possibly keep from washing all glass out." It only bled a few minutes. The salt stopped it almost at once.
My husband wanted to take me to Price to the closest doctor which was forty miles. I told him that there was no need, because I had the bleeding stopped and the glass was all out.
He went to the car and fixed four tires. I had help to get to the bed from the chair. I rested or tired to rest while they were fixing the tires. This was the only time in my life that I kept lifting my hands to my head and start to pull my hair. I hurt so bad.
When Robert finished fixing the tires, he said, "Let's go down for a few days to be on the safe side."
He intended to take me all the time, but he let me think he had decided not to go, until he got the tires fixed.
"Well if it will make you feel better, I will go." I said.
So he took me to Doctor Winters, the one that doctored his hand. I stayed down there for a week. On the way down, we stopped at a spring and poured more cold water on it; but it never bled any more. The doctor said if we hadn't done what we did, I would have died in a few minutes.
I finally got all right. Of course, I can't hardly bare to have anything press on it. For all the bad luck we had, we loved each other. Where there is love in the home, there is happiness. If you are depressed, play you are happy and you will be laughing with the rest. I guess it takes the bitter to make us realize the sweet blessings that the Lord has blessed us with. We have five wonderful boys.
We got word from Warren and Rhoda Merrill that they were expecting their second child and wanted me to stay with them when it was born. Then I got a job nursing Albert Jile's wife. She was very bad, but got well from that spell. Then we moved out here to Springville as there were so many Greeks and Mexicans moving there in Price. We stayed here in Springville a while, ran a café, then went to Spanish Fork. Robert sold fish for a while, then ran a farm. Later he worked in a gas station for Rulon Gull for two and a half years. Then we came back over here to Springville. He worked on farms and for the State Hospital seven and a half years.
According to the new law, men 65 and over couldn't work. Robert just lacked two weeks from being 70 years old, so he was laid off. The doctor said that he was the best man thy had ever had on that ward. He didn't know what they would do without him. It hurt Robert to think that he was too old to work, as Governor Lee stated. We bought a piece of ground, built a home on it, and it was to be our home in the beautiful city of Springville from then on.
My fourth son, Rulon Thayne, was killed by a land slide at Morro Bay, California, December 28, 1944. At the time he was living at Colton, California. He had a lovely wife, Frances McCormic, and two lovely children, a daughter, Beth, (9) and a son, Glenn Rulon, (7). We all missed him so very much. And may I always live to be as perfect as he was.
Before the land slide, he was running the rock crusher, grinding rock for cement, and such. He had just finished for the day when the boss told him that a little car was off the track and asked him to help put it back on. While they were putting it on the boss hollered, "Look out." They all ran but one man who just stood like he was frozen. Rulon ran to get him and threw him in a pond of water. This was the only place as there were rocks all around. It saved the man's life, but Rulon was caught before he could run away. It caved in his right jaw and side. He lived for four hours but couldn't talk.
They said that there was a boulder about 300 pound and one about 1,000 pounds. One of them touched him enough that it caved his right side in. If he hadn't stopped to throw the one man to safety, he could have saved himself. They all got to safety except him.
About eight years later Rulon's wife was taking her daughter, Beth to be married when they were in a car accident. Beth's shoulder was broken, Glenn had a couple of broken ribs, and Frances had her neck broken in two places. This paralyzed Frances' whole body except her mind which is very clear. She keeps up her correspondence with me to let me know how she is getting along. She has four grandchildren which she enjoys very much. We love her so very much.
My husband Robert Wilson passed away December 13, 1955 just sitting in his easy chair. Harris's wife, Millie, was in the kitchen cleaning chickens. Their two youngest children, Barbara and Mary Alene, wanted to watch television. We let them. One sat on a chair and the other on the floor playing and watching television. Robert was sitting in the chair watching them and went asleep. He wanted me to come sit by him and rest. Well I did after I cut four chicken legs in two. Then I went back and sat by him. His head was tipped to one side and asleep so I said, "Darling, let me straighten your head up, it will make you have a kink in your neck that way." He was dead. Millie and I worked with him. We called the doctor but it was too late.
He never made a sound. When he usually had a heart attack he made a low grunt. If I was asleep, I could hear him and wake at once. The doctor said that when they are sitting up sometimes they don't make a sound; and if he had been right there, he couldn't of done a thing for him.
I miss him so very much, nobody knows how very much. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father, for the privilege of having him with me as long as I did. May the Lord bless us all to be worthy of meeting him in the next world. Robert and I were sealed to each other in the Salt Lake Temple on January 27, 1943 of which I am very proud and thankful; because if I live worthy, I will have him hereafter.
With love to all,
Aurilla Losee Merrill
||29 Aug 2011 |
||Robert Wilson Merrill, b. 4 Jun 1879, Smithfield, Cache, Utah , d. 13 Nov 1955, Springville, Utah, Utah (Age 76 years) |
||9 Sep 1901
||Richman, , New Mexico
||14 Apr 2009 |