Beulah Violet Blair (Leonard)
Marriage - 1929
We were married in Lewiston, Idaho on October 12, 1929. It was a Saturday and we were naive enough not to realize everything was closed; so it was late before we got a license. We never would have made it without Albert's sister Ruth and her husband. WSC and UW were playing the annual game that day and everyone was gone. We spent out first night in the Lewis and Clark Hotel in Lewiston. Then we went to Priest Lake for a few days before we went to Emida to start our married life. Soon after we got to the place we were approached by people from McGoldrick Lumber Co. wanting to put a spur line up thru our place between the house and the barn. We weren't sure what to do--the folks had gone to the lake; so we decided to go confer with them. It was late when we arrived at Snyders on the lake. We borrowed a boat there and started to go to the cabin. It was dark as any night I can remember and we were afraid we might run into some dead heads along the way, so we went back to Synders and spent the night. The next morning we went to the point to let the folks know what was up.
We were neither one experienced in making do, but determined. We had so much to learn. Our 9 years on the stump ranch was good schooling preparing us for farming later on in life. My first challenge was baking bread and we made hard work of it. The hard yeastcake didn't seem to work. We sat up all night trying to keep the dough warm. Finally Grandma Leonard came and got me started and I baked all of our bread for years. Churning was another challenge. We had a variety of methods--from a 1/2 gallon fruit jar to a regular stone churn with a dasher. Washing was done on a wash board--the clothes were boiled on the stove. After about six years we got a gasoline powered wash machine (That was when Clinton was a baby--pure luxury). Only it was difficult to start. At first we carried water from a spring, but Grandpa helped dig a well close to the house and that was great.
Being so far from family and friends was hard for me and I suffered home-sickness at times, but kept busy. We did things together. I helped cut and haul wood, haul hay, and hunt cows. I tried to milk but I was not good at that.
We started with one cow (Petunia) a black and white holstein. She had bull calves every year which didn't help us build a herd. Our first calf we called Nebacannezer. We made a pet of him. When it came time to butcher him it wasn't easy. We got a government bulletin telling how to do it. I held the bulletin and read it to Albert while he did the work. He did a fine job of it and we sold the carcas for $20. We had chickens all hatched under a hen. We cooked wheat, peelings, rutabagas, carrots and whatever to feed them (warm). They laid well in winter and I traded eggs for groceries. I got 50 cents a dozen which was an unheard of price. We raised geese and had quite a flock, but didn't know how to dress them. We had hogs and butchering was a big deal. We cured bacon and ham (by government bulletin) and made a lot of lard. I put sausage patties, after they were cooked, down in crocks with hot lard over them.
The big crash came about 1928. Banks were closed and money was nonexistent. We didn't realize we were poor because everyone was in the same condition. I think many young prople who were finding it hard to get by came back to Emida where living was less expensive. There were quite a few couples I can recall--most without a family and just getting started. Here are some of them:
Myrtle and Mark Derry lived near us when we first arrived. They had a baby 6 months or so named Ila Rose. Later a family named Roberts lived on the Parker place. They had 3 little tow-headed boys. Mr. Roberts had an attack of some sort and Albert took him to Spokane to the hospital. He died and left this young mother and 3 boys alone.
Del Brown lived off of our road. He and his wife had two daughters--Lolita McCurry and Myrtle Derry. They also had a son who had epilepsy. Lolita and her husband had 3 girls I think. They lived at the top of the hill going out our road. Her husband took his life. I don't remember why. For a small community there seemed to be a lot of tragedies. Dorothea Dawson and her husband were killed. Fritz McCulla was his name. A man who lived on our road named Helsing was murdered around Christmas time. He lived alone and his body was found in the horse manger where his horses were stabled--crime was never solved. It really shook us up and Albert kept a loaded gun by the door for some time (no locks). If anyone had come I don't know what would have happened.
Our road was never plowed or graded and there was no gravel. When it got wet the mud formed impassable ruts; so we traveled with our team of black horses (Nig and Coley). In winter it was with a sled. They always knew the way home and could be depended on to take us there even if we couldn't see the road. They gave us some exciting times. When son Albert was a small baby, Albert took me to town to visit. I went to see Mary Dawson (Cory). There was an incline from a board walk across a ditch. Albert got out to help me with the baby and they (Nig & Coley) ran away down the highway. A man who had a car took Albert down to catch them. They stayed right on the road and were slowing down by then. They ran away again when we went visiting a family that lived a short way on the Sanders road. It was a bright cold day--20 degrees which we didn't know as we had no thermometer. Nig said to Coley "I'm cold, let's go" and they did. They went into town and when some fellows tried to stop them they ran into the gas pumps. Coley got a small cut on her nose from the glass bowl on top of the pump and we had to pay damages.
One of my favorite places to go when I got cabin fever was to visit Mary Anderson. I probably was a nuisance, but it was so necessary for me.
When we got our gasoline powered wash machine, Albert was about 4 years old. He always wanted to help. We were feeding clothes into the wringer. I guess I wasn't watching. He ran his hand into the wringer almost to the armpit. I got really shook up and reversed it instead of releasing the pressure. His poor arm looked flat and I was so frightened. I grabbed him and ran out to tell Father what I had done. He left his horses (Babe & Queen) and came running to console us and the horses ran away scattering wood all across the meadow.
Albert did many things he wasn't trained to do to get a bit of money to keep us going. He worked in the woods sawing. He walked to town to catch a ride to get to work by 7 A.M. He had done his chores--milking, etc. before hand. Then repeated the process in reverse in the evening. He bought a gravel truck on time and worked on dykes in St. Maries in 1934. When that job was done, he rigged the truck to haul logs. He and his cousin Gene Leonard took a gypo job about half way to St. Maries. They cut logs for Blackwell I think. He used our black team with a friend on a W.P.A job widening curves etc. on the Sanders road. President Roosevelt organized the W.P.A. and the C.C.C. camps. There was a C.C.C. camp above us and they came through our place with their truck loads of kids--17--18--19 year olds.
Bill and Laureen Clute had a store for a bit, but closed out. They lived in the back with their 5 kids. Martha was the oldest. Bill and George were the boys, then there was Patsy and another small girl I don't recall.
Much of the visiting I did before the children came was by foot (3 miles). It was just a good walk. There were a few parties given (pinocle and 4-handed Cribbage). I remember walking to town in the morning and finding about a party that evening and walking back to the party. After Albert was born it wasn't as easy. Frank and Cora Derry were very good to us. Frank came out to help with the chores sometimes when Albert was gone. I remember Cora came to help me dress geese, but she really didn't know much about it either. I still have some pillows I made out of the goose down.
In the fall we bought sugar and flour for the year. I used one sack, 100 pounds, of sugar to can fruit for winter. The other sack was used during the winter. We didn't buy much in the way of groceries. We raised our own vegetables, meat and I remember having a lot of rutabagas. I got so tired of them I never want to see another one. Reading material was very precious. We took the Chronicle and the Saturday Evening Post. The continued stories in them were just great. Father was a good reader and read whatever he could find to me while I did my housework. Sometimes I got caught up in my projects and let things go. One Sunday we saw a team and sled coming through the gate which was 1/4 of a mile away. I sure got excited because I was not prepared for Company. It was Mae and Charlie Williams and their children. I sure scrambled to feed them. I thought I'd never get dinner ready (I had been embroidering blocks for a baby quilt for Albert). Albert was born June 12, 1932 at my Mother's in Medical Lake. We went to her place in May (early) and I waited a good month. We had a doctor from Reardon and his wife, who was a nurse. Albert was very tall and thin. But without any prenatal care he was healthy. Clinton came on February 15, 1936 (my 26th birthday). He was such a fat pretty baby.
Mary Anderson gave me a shower before Clinton was born. It meant so much to me. I learned to knit just before Clinton was born and made many baby things. I still have a lovely bonnet Dorothea Dawson crocheted for Albert. Young Albert was always busy. He wanted to work. (He hasn't changed) He would say "Come on, Daddy, let's go work." On the end of a crosscut saw he really wasn't much help, but it made him happy.
I remember our gaggle of geese took off down the creek clear to Emida. When we got word they were there, we went after them. They wouldn't swim back but had to be driven. We had a scrub bull that gave us a lot of trouble. He ran loose and the neighbors didn't appreciate him with their better bred cows who were also running loose. Ed Dawson corraled him and they had quite a time loading him onto our pickup stock rack. Ed was pretty impatient and gave him a good jab with a pitchfork and the truant bull went over the top of the cab and took off--free again!
Bill Lowry carried the mail daily from St. Maries to the Post Office which occupied a corner of the local store ran by Allen and Lillian English. Mr. Lowry lived in a room he had partitioned in a corner of his barn. He lived alone.
My sister and her husband Don came to see us often in the summer. Sometimes we had native pheasants that we hunted. I skinned them and put 10 or 12 in a roaster and basted them with cream. They were good. We made ice cream with ice Albert put up.
We entertained one cold Sunday with a sled party. Albert brought the guests out in the Bobsled. Then the people coasted down a hill and across the meadow. It was such fun. I fixed a chicken dinner. We had a card party after fixing our old log house up with wallpaper and we were so proud. Mice were a real problem and they nibbled holes in the new wallpaper while we tried to ignore the chewing sounds. Some fun!
We had a big snow storm on December 21, 1933. There was 27 inches on the level--no wind. It was beautiful. We were sure there would be a white Christmas but it began to rain and rained it off before Christmas. That was when St. Maries had the big flood. Our meadows were a lake and big trees were washed out. The highway to St. Maries was new and where they had changed the bed of the river along the way to St. Maries the river reverted to the old channel and washed the road away. We went to Spokane for Christmas by way of Sanders through Tekoa.
There were 3 Griffith brothers--Joe and Bert, who were bachelors and lived together. Ed Dawson lived near them. He had no wife, I guess she died. Bill Dawson's wife was their sister. Harry and Edna Griffith lived a couple of miles beyond the rest. They were good friends of Albert's folks. They had two daughters--Mae and Myrtle who married Williams brothers. The Dawsons had two girls, Lillian and Dorothea and a son Cory that I recall.
Vernice and Don had a Hudson car they drove up and would all go shooting squirrels which was fun and there were a lot of them. Our little "Brownie" dog liked to hunt. She would put up the small pheasants and keep them until we could shoot them in the head. (A necessity because they were small.
There was a family named Van Phillips who lived just a bit out of Emida. He hunted Bee trees. He frightened me when he arrived on our porch suddenly when I was alone and had the door open. He wanted a container to put honey in. It was soon after Helsing was murdered and I was jumpy. He must of thought I was weird. He brought us a nice jar of strained honey when he returned the pan.
There was a band of sheep that were driven up thru our place each spring into the hills beyond us. For the privilege they would bring us part of a sheep they had butchered for Camp. That was really all the mutton we ever had.
While our time in Emida was not quite 9 years, we have so many good memories of it.
I don't find any good place to stop with this. I remember the Middletons who lived out of Emida. Mrs. Middleton was an aunt to the English family--Lois Shook, Allen, Neil, and Bob. The Middletons came from the East somewhere. They built a house with a concrete lower story used for a cellar and the upper story was their living quarters. I don't think they had a family.
Albert's cousin Beulah Leonard who had been married to Floyd Leonard (He passed away) lived in Santa, Idaho. She was a wonderful cook and had boarders. We often dropped in on her (no telephone then) and she always welcomed us. She had a son Gene, and a daughter Boots McCrea, and a daughter Dorothy (Sharwat, who lives in Pullman now). It meant so much to have relatives near that didn't seem to mind us under foot. Babe and Veva Leonard and son Charles also lived near Santa and sometimes we visited them.
It was always difficult to make ends meet and have the necessities. We had a small herd of cows eventually and more milk than we could use. So we bought a cream separator from Montgomery Ward. Then we had cream to sell. When we had a can full (5 gallons) we took it to Santa to be shipped by train to Spokane. The small cream checks were used to pay for the separator and also to buy the gasoline washer.
Albert tells me that when he and Gene Leonard gypoed, it was for Russill and Pugh not Blackwell. So I'm corrected.
Myrtle Williams and her father Harry Griffith were fishing on Benewah Lake in a home made boat of some kind. It came apart and they were both lost. It was so sad. Paul Derry was killed when a load of logs rolled on him. He left a wife and an unborn child.
It was a few years after we left Emida that electricity was brought in. What a difference that could make.
My oldest Sister, Minta, married Tony Edwardson after the death of her husband. They lived in Santa too. Minta's daughter, Catherine, was ten or so when they were married. Tony was very good to Catherine and Minta too. Catherine married Wayne Seaman. Tony died from a ruptured appendix. Wayne was in the service for several years. They now live in Casa Grande, Arizona, near their daughter Mary Ann. Wayne Seaman was from a large family. We became good friends with Lester Seaman and his wife, Jessie. Jessie lives in Couer d'Alene now.
When our son was six years old it became apparent that we would have to move. We liked Emida and our friends there, but there was no way to get him to school. So we decided to move to Farmington where Albert's folks offered us their land to rent. It was a big understaking. We moved all our stock and belongings in our pickup truck. There was no house here and after much thought we bought an old house in Farmington and moved it to the flat where we live now. We remodeled it constantly for 17 years before we tore it down and rebuilt. By that time Albert was married and in the Air Force. Clinton was at WSU and Jay was in seventh grade and 13 years old.
And so, that is the story of our first few years in Emida. They were good years and I think we profited from the experience.
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