The Childhood Recollections


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                My father, David Monroe Henderson, was born in Paris, Idaho, on September 30, 1883, and moved to Burlington, Wyoming, in 1900. His father, Hyrum Henderson, was born in Nauvoo, Illinois, December 4, 1840, and walked across the plains to Idaho when he was 8 years of age. My grandmother, Julia Ann Lindsay, was born September 9, 1849, in Pottowatamie, Iowa. Her parents, en route to Utah, stopped in Pottowatamie for a few years and raised crops for the pioneers crossing the plains during that period. My great-grandfather, Samuel Henderson, was born February 21, 1785, in Augusta County, Virginia; my great grandmother, Elizabeth Harris, was born December 13, 1800, in Greene County, Tennessee. They were married in Greene County, Tennessee, and moved to Washington County, Missouri, in the 1820s or 1830s and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after being converted by two missionaries who were boarding with them.
                In the late 1830s, they were driven out of Missouri by their neighbors, and settled with the other Mormons in Nauvoo. They were endowed in the Nauvoo Temple and also did baptisms for some of their deceased family members there. My great-grandfather, Samuel Henderson, received his Patriarchal Blessing from Hyrum Smith, the prophet's brother.
                My mother, Mary Anne Mclntosh, was born August 2, 1890, in St. John, Utah. Her father, William Abram Mclntosh, was born in St. John, Utah, September 18, 1859, and her mother, Nancy Lena Guhl, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 1, 1864. My great grandfather, John Mclntosh, was born August 17, 1824, in Dalhousie, Lanark, Canada, and my great grandmother, Caroline Elizabeth Caldwell, on November 3, 1827, in Bathurst, Lanark, Canada.
                All four of my grandparents and their families moved to Burlington, Wyoming, in 1900. My father was about 17 at the time, and said that after looking at all the sagebrush and dreary prairie, they were so disappointed that they “would have turned around and gone back to Idaho, if they hadn't been so poor, and it wasn't so far to go back."


                My father and mother were married April 11, 1917, and their first child, my brother, David Ira, was born April 30, 1918. I was born May 18, 1919, on our farm 2-1/2 miles southeast of Burlington. When my mother felt the time had come for my birth, she sent my father, in the horse and buggy, to her mother in town to bring her down to assist with the delivery.
                By the time my father returned with my grandmother, I had already arrived. My other brothers and sisters in order of birth are Julia Marie, Carlos, Marion, Reanous, June, Helen and Samuel. Samuel died when only two days old.
                In 1919, the year I was born, there was a severe drought in some of the Western states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Crops were very poor; wheat was worth $4 a bushel and hay $25 a ton, which were exorbitant prices at that time. The following year, however, good conditions prevailed and the farmers again raised good crops.
                While I was still very young, we moved to A.E. Schlaef's ranch two miles southwest of Burlington, where we raised some very good crops. At the end of three years we moved back to our own farm.
                Very few people had automobiles in those days; most transportation was by horse or by horse and buggy or wagon. My father and mother were both hard workers in the LDS Church, so on Sunday our family was nearly always found at Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting, which our parents always insisted that we attend. Some in the little town were either completely inactive, or partially so, and on some Sundays many of our friends were out playing baseball or off on some other activity. Almost always after Sacrament Meeting we would go over to my Grandmother Mclntosh's house for a visit with my mother's family and our cousins. She had an apple orchard and that was always a must to visit, particularly in the fall when the apples were getting ripe. For a period of time she had an old "billy goat" in the orchard, and one Sunday we heard the loudest wailing and went out side to see what was going on, and saw my younger brother, Marion, in the orchard faced by the billy goat. The billy goat would lower his head and start to charge Marion, who in turn would let out a bellow, which would stop the goat in his tracks and he would shake his head and hesitate. During one of his hesitations, Marion (Mern, we called him) turned and ran for the fence, going though it in a flash, leaving the seat of his pants on some of the barbed wire.

farm for web

                In 1924 we moved to Orson Johnson's home in Burlington so my brother would not have so far to walk to school. We lived there only one year before returning to our own farm, which, at that time, consisted of 80 acres.
                In the fall of 1925 I started to elementary school. My brother and I had to walk a mile and a half to get to the school wagon every morning and back at night. It was a covered wagon with a pot-bellied stove for keeping us warm in the winter when it got quite cold. My aunt, Roah Dunsworth, was my teacher in the first and second grades; Mrs. Bruce Cottrell in the third and fourth grades. The only spanking I ever got in school occurred when I refused to act the part of the pig in the story of the Little Red Hen, in the first grade, when my aunt spanked me with an axe handle which had been fashioned into a paddle.
                I remember the first time I was permitted to go to the town of Greybull, about 25 miles from Burlington. Dad and my Uncle Marion each took a wagon and team of horses there to each get a load of coke for burning in the stove (for heating and cooking) during the winter months. It was an all-day trip one way. That evening we went to a silent movie, the first one I had ever seen, those with the words at the bottom of the screen. It was an exciting trip.
                I was baptized on July 24, 1927, in the Greybull River, about 2-1/2 miles south of Burlington. My father, the first counselor in the Bishopric, was Chairman of the Genealogical Committee in the Ward. My mother was a very interested genealogical worker and was a great help to my father in his work. They were very desirous of going to the temple to be sealed and to have their children sealed to them, and to do work for their deceased ancestors. They had planned to go to the Salt Lake Temple in 1927, which was the closest one to us, but were financially unable to do so. However, we were able to go in the fall of 1928. My older brother and I were old enough at the time to really get excited about such a trip and lay awake many a night planning and talking about that exciting trip. My father did not want to make the trip -- slightly over 600 miles one way -- in the Model-T Ford which we had, so he traded it with about 55 head of sheep and $175 to my cousin, Lawrence Todd, for a 1927 Chevrolet which had been driven only 2,800 miles. My father persuaded my uncle and aunt, Marion and Iva Henderson, to go with us and on August 16, 1928, we started for Salt Lake City, via Yellowstone Park.
                We had a minor accident in Cody, only 35 miles on the way. It happened in a filling station, because Dad was unfamiIiar with the foot gas pedal on the Chevy .On the old Model T's gas feed was a lever on the steering column. In making the right turn to go over the pit to have the oil changed, he saw he wasn't quite going to make it, so he meant to step on the brake and instead stepped on the gas pedal and the car leaped toward the pit. Fortunately, the front fender caught on the iron railing and kept the car from going into the pit. Only the fender was damaged, so we continued on our trip. In Shoshone Canyon and Yellowstone Park my father had his problems with the narrow, steep roads, sharp curves and yellow touring busses with their blaring air horns. But we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful mountains and other scenery. The first night we camped in a tent at Mammoth in the Yellowstone Park. The night was quite cold at that elevation, and we didn't get much sleep for thinking about the bears, etc. We went through West Yellowstone and down through Idaho and stopped the second night in Idaho Falls, the third night in Ogden, Utah, and arrived in Salt Lake city about 10 a.m. on the fourth day.
                First we found a campground to stay at, cleaned up and then went to see the sights in Salt Lake. The highlight for us children was Liberty Park, where they had boats, a zoo, etc. The next morning we went to the Temple and were sealed to our parents. It was a long day and the smaller kids got tired and restless, and were crying and fussing when the matron visited the children's waiting room. She made the comment, after seeing all the confusion, that "that should teach a man to be married in the Temple to begin with, before having all those children."
                The next morning we were accompanied by my Aunt Irene Russell to her home at Clover, Utah, about 50 miles west of Salt Lake City, where we visited relatives of my mother for a day or two. It was in the vicinity of St. John, Utah, where my mother had been born. On the 23rd of August we started home through the southwestern and central part of Wyoming, arriving home on the 25th. It had been quite a thrilling and exciting trip for all of us kids, but quite a worrisome one for Dad with 10 of us in that small car with all of our food, clothing, tent, camping equipment, etc. I still marvel at how we accomplished it.
                At the beginning of my fifth year in school, I was doing very well scholastically, so I was promoted to the sixth grade and I completed two years of school that year. The next year my older brother Ira and I raised three acres of Great Northern (navy) beans. We were able to get a good price for beans that year, 6 or 7 cents a pound, and we netted about $320. We bought our own clothes and also invested in 400 chickens and a milk cow for each of us.
                After working for more than a year on a new chapel in Burlington, it was finally completed and dedicated in the fall of 1929, by Elder Richard R. Lyman of the Council of the Twelve. The chapel was full that night with most of the membership of the Ward and a number of investigators. Elder Lyman was a favorite of my father, and it was a great disappointment when Elder Lyman was excommunicated from the Church just a few years later.
                In November of 1929 my mother became quite ill and had to be taken to Billings, Montana, for an operation. It was a real blow to all of us, and especially to my father, when she passed away during the operation. She left my father and eight children ranging from my older brother, who was 11 at the time, to my youngest sister, who was only 2. Bruce Cottrell, who had just returned from his mission, was one of the speakers at her funeral. It was one the saddest times of my life, and for years after that, all funerals were very difficult for me. She was buried in the cemetery just north of Burlington on November 25, 1929.
                The years that followed were quite difficult for my father. However, he worked hard and faithfully at raising his children. And although several well-meaning aunts and uncles of ours tried to get him to let them take one or two of us to raise, he insisted on keeping us all together as a family, for which we were all very grateful. My Aunt Iva baked bread for us and I remember for years going to her house through the fields about three quarters of a mile away and carrying back about 10 large loaves of bread not too long from the oven.
                As we became old enough to learn, at the age of 5, we were taught to milk and do the other chores. Until we left home to go to college we had regular chores including milking cows night and morning. We also raised beans and grain and hay all of those years and summers were quite busy. We spent most of the summer hoeing beans, cutting, raking, piling, hauling and threshing them.
One summer, we rented 160 acres from another uncle and had 60 acres of beans, which we hoed twice during the summer. My father and my Uncle Marion and us 5 boys would leave for the field around 6 o'clock in the morning and get back around 6:30 in the evening. We took our lunch with us, and generally after lunch we would engage in games of an athletic nature taught to us by Uncle Marion or Dad. This relieved the monotony of the long days hoeing in the hot sun.
                I always enjoyed the fall threshing season. We traded threshing with all of the neighbors, and for about a month we would thresh from the fields or stacks. And if the machine ever broke down, there would be a big gathering of all hands to lift bean bags or some other pastime of an athletic nature until the machine was back in operation. Also, everyone outdid themselves in feeding the threshing crews, and it was always like Thanksgiving dinner. Even though it was hard work, I always enjoyed that time of year. I will never forget some of the characters associated with the threshing season -- particularly one William Jackson, commonly referred to as "Dirty Bill." He always wore rubber boots, summer and winter. When someone asked him why, he said he didn't lose things from his pockets when they got holes in them. He was always talking. While on top of a stack of beans or grain during threshing, he would have his mouth in someone's ear, talking constantly while throwing beans or grain into the feeder of the thresher. They always said he would "backtrack a threshing machine 10 miles to get his supper." He thought nothing of walking 25 miles to Basin or Greybull and back in his rubber boots, if he needed something he couldn't get in Burlington.
                The years of 1920 to 1930 were years of prosperity in our area. Many of the people went into debt buying land, homes and things they didn't need in some cases, hoping to pay for it all with crops at high prices, which they thought would continue. However, following the stock market crash in 1929, many were left with sizeable debts and low farm prices, and many had a very difficult time. In the fall of 1928 and 1929, for example, we could get from 9 to 10-1/2 cents a pound for Great Northern beans, which was a very excellent price. For several years after that we could only get from I-1/2 to 2-1/2 cents a pound, which would just about pay for the cost of raising them.
                In addition, we were always short of water during that period, and many years we only raised a part of a crop of beans which had to be irrigated nearly once a week to mature properly. Or, if we didn't "burn-up" from lack of water, there was a good chance of getting hailed out, or having some other catastrophe. With all of these problems, my father got a job "riding ditch" -- i.e., regulating water for the farms under the Farmers Canal Co., seeing that each farmer got his share of the water. The job didn't pay much, but did assure him of a meager certain living. It did mean that he was away from home from around 4:30 in the rooming until 10:00 or 11:00 at night for many days of the summer while people were irrigating. With eight children at home, you can imagine some of the problems we had. Nevertheless, we lived through it. My father had the patience of Job, I am sure.
                I will never forget the day one of our big turkeys got in the yard. We had a large garden inside the fenced lot, and someone had left the gate open. When we discovered the turkey in the garden, we went after it and tried to herd it through the gate out of the lot. We had little success and finally it went into the open door of the house, with us after it, hoping to catch it and take it out of the lot. The turkey, with us in hot pursuit, spotted a window and thinking it open took wing and flew through the window, glass and all. We then went to town and got another pane of glass to put in before Dad got home and discovered what had happened.
                On another occasion us boys got in a scrap in the house and Ira chased Carlos outside the house trying to catch him, and when coming back to the house, spotted smoke coming from the roof. We quickly got a couple of buckets of water and were able to put out the fire, which had originated from a burning ember of wood from the chimney. We burned wood and coal in a wood/coal stove in the kitchen. I also will never forget those years growing up in that country log house. First, we had two large rooms, each 16 foot square. One was the living quarters, kitchen, dining room, etc., the other the bedroom. We only had a wood/coal stove in the living quarters, and no heat in the bedroom. Later, Dad added a lean-to addition with a porch and another large bedroom on one entire side of the house (32 feet long) to give us more room.
                In the winter it got quite cold -- sometimes as low as 30 degrees below zero. We would get our pajamas on in front of the warm stove and run and dive into bed and pull the covers over our heads to keep warm. In the morning Dad would get up early, start the fire and after the living quarters were warmed up some, we would get up, run to the kitchen and get dressed in front of the stove.
                Many mornings water in the house would be frozen when Dad would get up. We had no running water. We had an outhouse about 100 feet from the house, a pump in back of the house for water. The stove had a copper reservoir for heating water. For the first few years, I can remember Mother did the washing on a scrub board. Then Dad got her a hand-operated washing machine, in the shape of a half-moon with a handle which she would rock back and forth, and there was a wringer on the back of it. Finally, we got a gasoline engine-driven Maytag washer. That was sheer luxury. Clothes were ironed with hand irons heated on the stove.
                We had no refrigerator, but built a cooler in the shade of a tree, made of a framework with canvas enclosing it. It had a pan of water on top with cloths from it going down the sides from which the water dripped on the outside canvas of the cooler, keeping the food inside cool. We also had a cream separator, for separating the cream from the milk, from which we made butter. With eggs from our laying hens, we traded at the local store for some of the few groceries we needed. We always had a beef or hog fattening to butcher, so we never went hungry all those years. However, many nights we had bread and milk.
                Dad became a very good cook over the years, though. He made the best biscuits I have ever eaten, and he generally made a big pan of them for breakfast. When we would come home from school on cold winter days, he would generally have dinner ready for us, frequently including a big cake, made in the largest pan that would fit in the oven. During the winters, at Thanksgiving, at Christmas and on Saturdays, we would generally be in the woods over at my Uncle Marion's cutting up trees, sawing with a two-man saw and splitting it up for burning the next summer.
                Mixed in with all the work and chores etc., there were fun times also. When there was a lull with the crop work in the summer time, Dad and Uncle Marion would take us fishing up the Shoshone River above Cody, or up the Greybull River or up Paint Rock Creek or Shell Creek. We loved those fishing trips, and although we were never very good fishermen, it was an opportunity to get up into the mountains "away from it all." At that time I thought I wanted to become a forest ranger. We never did get to go hunting for game, though. Dad was fearful of us getting hurt in a hunting accident or something like that; and, besides, hunting season always came during school times.
                On July 5, 1931, I was ordained a Deacon. Later, when my brother Ira, who had been president of the Deacon's Quorum, was ordained a teacher, I was set apart as president of the Deacon's Quorum. Elder Melvin J. Ballard, one of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Burlington and talked to us on the evening of May 12, 1933. He gave a wonderful sermon and the chapel was filled so that many had to stand.
                I graduated from the eighth grade in the spring of 1932, and that fall started to high school. Mr. Frank Kraus was principal, and Miss Westwood and Orville Johnson were the other teachers. Total enrollment in high school was only around 35. During my first year in high school, I took drama under Orville Johnson and while a sophomore and junior I took part in a number of plays, which I thoroughly enjoyed, although I was so shy and bashful. I marvel that they were ever able to get me to do it. I also played basketball, as center, and football, as end and punter. Since we had such a small school and had just started a sports program, our win record was not very spectacular. I thoroughly enjoyed sports, but never really excelled in anything. However, in my junior and senior years I was pitcher on the baseball team, and did quite well at that. I had a good fast ball and a good drop and curve; my only problem was consistent control. In my senior year, I got my control in good shape. I thoroughly enjoyed high school, having good teachers, interesting subjects and good friends, so I hated to see it come to an end. I graduated second in my class with a scholarship to the University of Wyoming, which paid all tuition and fees for four years.
                In the summer of 1934, interest in genealogical work grew in our ward with the result that the Ward chartered a school bus to take a group to Salt Lake City to do Temple work. My brother Ira and I wanted to go and do baptismal work for the dead and had remembered our earlier trip so well that we decided to go. I got a job roguing beans for $2.75 a day for the Associated Seed Growers and earned enough money for us to make the trip. We left for Salt Lake City on August 16 via Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole. We arrived in Salt Lake City, and our first sight of the city was from the mouth of the canyon east of the city after dark, and the thousands of lights in the valley was quite an inspiring sight to us at that time. The first day in the city, my brother and I and others went to the temple and did baptisms for the dead. We spent the next four days enjoying sights of the city, swimming in the lake at Saltair, Wasatch Springs, etc. We also spent time in the Genealogical Society, learning how different parts of the library functioned. We made the trip home in 1-1/2 days.
                During the winter of 1934 and 1935, we had regular genealogical classes. We tried to accomplish work in research, and my brother was successful in obtaining quite a bit of information on the Lindsays and a chart of their family back to Adam. (Note: I have since found that it has a few missing links in it.) He obtained all of this information from Irene Anderson, a cousin, and Lois Anderson, her mother.
                In the fall of 1936 I started to college at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I had earned $72 that summer after buying clothes and a few other essentials. I had an apartment off campus with my brother and two others from Cowley, Wyoming, who were members of the Church, where we were able to do our own cooking, laundry, etc. My $72 lasted about a month. By then I was able to get a job on campus under the National Youth Administration (NYA) which paid 35 cents an hour, or $15 a month, for 50 hours of work. This consisted mostly of pick and shovel work on the University grounds. I generally worked two afternoons a week and four hours on Saturday. Work went on regardless of weather, and several times we were digging ditch in 10-degree weather. I was enrolled in Mechanical Engineering the first year. However, at the beginning of my second year, I decided to switch to civil engineering, because I could save money in not having to buy books (i.e., I could use my brother’s books from the year before). Also, the dean of the Civil Engineering College and the professors were much more progressive and capable than those in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
                I really enjoyed my four years at the University of Wyoming. I liked my subjects, I enjoyed the fellows I lived with.
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