Much thanks to Marie S. Nielson, from Southern Utah University, who transcribed the audio in January 2000. Without her help, it is highly unlikely that we would have this story in text format today. There is a copy of the original transcription at Southern Utah University [OH 1099-T]
Russell Thomas McMullin (grandson of Lynn McMullin) retyped the text in April 2002 from a hard copy of Marie S. Nielson’s transcription. This was done initially to make the text more accessible to family members over the Internet. Russell made minor spelling and punctuation changes at this point, and wanted to check the accuracy against the audio. In May 2002, using the typed copy as a guide, along with the audio, he edited the text quite a bit. He changed the punctuation to be more faithful to the flow of the audio. He “uncorrected” grammar and spelling to match the colloquial speech. He also joined some words into contractions, and added many words which had been omitted (mostly minor, like “And,” and “So,” at the beginnings of sentences). This process has made the text more faithful to the original audio.
The audio was recorded by Richard Var McMullin (son) in 1970. Oscar Lynn McMullin died of cancer that same year.
Oscar Lynn McMullin
Born: February 7, 1892
Died: August 28, 1970
Tape 1, Side A:
This will be a story of some of the trips I’ve made between Southern Utah and Arizona.
First, I’d like to tell you about the trip I made from Leeds, Utah to Clay Springs, Arizona, in the latter part of December, 1924. I had made all preparation for coming out with a team and wagon by way of Lee’s Ferry. I had my horses all shod up and everything made ready, but the weather was so threatening, and getting so late in the season I decided that it might be best and safer for me to load an automobile with provisions and make the trip across, around by Needles, California. Well, the first day from home I think I came to St. George, Utah, stayed with my uncle and brother, and then the next day I think I must have left about on the 20th, 19th or 20th of November.
And, the next day from St. George I went to Needles, California and stopped there for the night. On my way from St. George to Needles I noticed some people walking along through the desert. And I felt sorry for them; decided maybe I should pick them up and give them a chance to ride. The first one I ran on to that was walking was a young fellow, I would say around 30 years of age; and a big husky fellow. But I had plenty of room in the front seat for him so I asked him if he’d like to ride. Course, them days things weren’t like they are now, it didn’t seem like, and I wanted to help him along, some way. But after I had gotten him in the car I hadn’t gone but a few miles until I came on to a real old, fragile man and his son walking along the highway. They looked like they were really destitute and poor. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t haul them all. So I just had to pass them up and go on with the hopes that someone behind would give them a chance to ride.
I had a cousin that I knew was behind me, who was coming from Idaho. And so I told this man that I picked up that I was expecting my cousin to catch up with me any minute ’cause I didn’t know what kind of a man he was, and I didn’t know what he might try to do, and I wanted to impress him that, if he should try anything, that [if] my cousin come along he would know the outfit and know who it belonged to. So he didn’t try anything. He seemed to be peacable enough. But, when I got into Needles, California, I had to find a place to stop, and a place to store my truck, cause I had…my.. not truck but my touring car, because I had it filled, loaded real full [of] our provisions. I had flour and meat of all kinds, bottled fruits and so on. And I had to get it in where it’d be safe so I went to a garage and parked my car in the garage and It began raining. It had been real dry on the trip until I got down to Needles. It began raining real hard and just a steady downpour of rain. And…so I knew I had to park the car in the garage, out of the storm. When I… I happened to know before I came to Needles, that there was a boy from St. George by the name of Snow, Rulon Snow. He was down there on a mission for the church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And He had a companion who was from Idaho. I’ve forgotten what town he was from, but I did know at the time. And so I was in hopes that I would find Mr. Snow, ’cause I hadn’t traveled much and I was rather timid and backward about getting around that way. And lo and behold, I had told my wife, she was out in Arizona at the time, I had sent her and the two little children out in September, and so I told her by letter that when I left, that every day I would write her a card or a note and tell where I was stopping, what town and what place, so that if anything happened that she would be able to start from there to find out where I was and what had happened. I thought that was a good policy and made me feel a little more safe, secure. But this man that I had picked up, when I parked my truck in the garage, he wanted to stay in it all night, and I told him he couldn’t do it. I said, “I’ve brought you this far, and I’ve give you a good lift, and I’ll have to let you go on your own now.” He insisted on me going to the hotel and buying a room and sharing with him, and I wouldn’t think of that. So I went up to the post office to mail this card to my wife, and on the way up I ran on to Mr. Snow and this other missionary. I knew Mr. Snow real well and I knew him as soon as I seen him. So I told him the circumstances, and I asked him what he thought I should do. He said, “By all means, do not share a room with that man.” But I wouldn’t have done anyway. But I shook him; I finally got rid of him. And I went and got me a room by myself.
And the next day, the next morning I left Needles, headed for Kingman and on out toward Flagstaff [Arizona]. And I think, as I remember, if my memory serves me right, I went from Needles up to, it could have been Peach Springs or Seligman, Arizona, and I camped there, got a room. And the next day I went on toward Flagstaff, and while I was traveling along the road, the roads, there was no black cap[?] at that time. The roads were just graded and graveled. And it come a terrible onslaught of rain. And in traveling through this terrible rain storm, my…the wheels, the front wheels were throwing water up onto the distributor, and I finally, the car stopped on me and so I managed to get it off on the side of the road to where it wouldn’t be in the road and travel. And a man from California, young fellow, came along in a car and he see I was having trouble, and he asked me if he could help me. I told him yes, my car had stopped on me and I didn’t know for sure what was wrong. So he said, he looked the car over, and he said, “Your trouble is a wet distributor.” He said, “It’s the wheels have threw water up on it ’til it’s so wet it can’t operate or function”. So he had a tow rope It was made of manilla [an alloy?] rope and inserted with steel wire. So he said if I wanted him to he’d hitch on to me and pull me on into Ash Fork. I told him I’d appreciate it very much, and I’d be willing to pay him. So he hitched on, and in hitching the tow rope on, he put it around the radius rod and around the axle, and the rope got all wet and when it drew up so tight, I couldn’t hardly steer the car, and he was taking me down the road about forty or fifty mile an hour. And I was never so glad of anything in my life when he got me to Ash Fork because I could’ve had a wreck very easily. And I couldn’t imagine what was the matter with my front end of my car, that it wouldn’t, I couldn’t steer it and make it work like it should. So we got into Ash Fork along about dark, and I put it in the garage, and it was a very cold night that night, I’d say. I don’t think it was quite zero weather, but it was quite cold. And this rope had frozen, got ice on it. And I didn’t bother to try and find out about the steering apparatus. That night I just put it in there, and parked it, and went and got me a room. And the next morning, when I got ready to leave, I told the garage man there that I wished he’d check and see what was causing my car to be so hard to steer. And he looked around and he says this man that towed me had cut the rope off, and took what he could of it, but this knot around the radius rod and the axle, front axle, was so tight that it wouldn’t come loose. So the man took acetylene torch and cut it loose and burned it off.
And there had come a snow storm that night. And it wasn’t too deep at Ash Fork, but it was two or three inches deep there. I then, I was the first person out on the road that next morning. I was anxious to get through to Clay Springs, and to my family, get through the bad weather. So I started on alone, and early in the morning, and the farther I got towards Williams, Arizona, the deeper the snow became. And just as I got to where I could top over the hill, just before I topped over the summit into Williams, the snow was so deep that the automobile was pushing snow in front of it. And I went as far as I could go without my chains, and I had a shovel, and I had good chains. And so I got out and shoveled the snow away from the hind wheels, and put the chains down and backed upon onto the chains. But I had quite an experience, something I hadn’t ever witnessed before. I went to buckle the chain buckles. I’d been wearing some big bear hide gloves, very warm and comfortable. But I couldn’t manipulate the buckles with those gloves on, so I had to take them off, and when I went to pick the chain up and buckle it, it stuck to my hands and I couldn’t hardly get it loose. It’s quite an experience, something I had never witnessed before in my lifetime. In fact, I hadn’t ever seen zero weather before, that I knew of. And so I got the chains on and the old car would almost climb a tree if it could get traction. It was a good old car, a [?]. I went on into Williams and I guess there must have been 200 cars parked there in Williams that was stranded in the storm. And there was me and one other young fellow, was in a 1923 model Ford. And he and I were the only ones that could travel the road. The big Pierce Arrows, and Cadillacs, and all those high powered cars at that time were stranded along the side of the road in the bog. They’d stayed off of the grade and couldn’t go. But I happened to have a good load on my car, and those chains on, and so I made it on into Flagstaff that night. And I went to Pine Hotel in Flagstaff and parked my car in the garage there, and got a room.
The next morning, well I’ll have to tell you about the icicles. The icicles at the depot were hanging from the eve down to the ground. And I think they were about as big as a person’s leg. They was the most peculiar sight I’d ever seen in the line of icicles. And, I think it was nineteen below zero that night there, what they said. The next morning I went to mail a card to my wife, to tell her where I was and that I was going to start on that morning. And as I went out walking on the pavement, my feet actually stuck to the pavement, my shoes. Then my nostrils froze up ’til I couldn’t hardly breathe; something I’d never witnessed before in my whole lifetime. So I got the, the old car was good to start. And it had lots of power. And so, it was so cold I put a quilt over the car when I first started it up, so it’d warm up, put a quilt over the hood. And I hadn’t gone very far ’til it got so warm I had to get off and take the quilt off. ‘Cause it warmed up in a hurry.
So I went on then from Flagstaff into Taylor, Arizona. I went to my sister-in-law, Rhody Wakefield’s place, and, well I didn’t know but what maybe my wife might be there. They did a lot of visiting back and forth, and I thought she might actually be down from Clay Springs. And so I stopped there to see if she was there. And so Rhody’s oldest daughter, Grace, she said she’d like to go on up to Clay Springs with me if I’d let her. I had plenty of room in the front seat for a passenger. So I told her she was perfectly welcome to go; I’d be glad to take her along. So we got up to Pinedale, and just before we got to Pinedale we encountered quite a lot of mud and I got through a big mud hole and then for some reason the motor stopped on me and it rolled back in. Well, it was in the bog so bad I was unable to put my chains on to get out, and it wouldn’t come out otherwise. So, we had to abandon the car and leave it there, and we walked up to Pinedale in about four inches of snow, four or five. And so I went to [old] Brother Thomas’s residence to see if I could get somebody to take us on over to Clay Springs. And he didn’t have any way to go, and it was getting dark. But he said he’d be glad to let us have a place to sleep, and stop over with him until morning. So we did. And he had a nice old saddle horse. The next morning he told me to get on that horse and go over to Clay Springs and get some help. There wasn’t any phone service between Pinedale and Clay Springs at that time. So I did. I went over, and my wife, at that time was, the children were staying with her sister Nell, and Ammon Hunt. So Ammon Hunt, and Wilford Perkins, and Ben Perkins, and Olly[?] Davis all got in a little truck that Ammon had. We all got in the truck and went over and got the automobile out of the bog, and I brought it over.
Well that’s the experience I had in coming out with the automobile. And had I started with my teams, I would have frozen on the road because there was a lot of cowboys and sheep men, and Indians, and so forth that froze out on the Navajo reservation, along through that route. So I was grateful for deciding, that I had decided to come by automobile and wait ’til spring to make the trip with my team.
[trip with horse team]
And so I went on in there and the next spring, in about the fore part of April, I took the bus and went back to my home town to get my team and wagon, and the rest of our furniture and provisions. I had all the load I could pile on a big three and a half Peter Shepler [?] wagon. But I had a splendid good outfit, and the wagon was brand new. My horses were all brand new horses, and sort of broncos, but they were, they weren’t old horses, cripples or anything. So, I spent a couple of days loading this wagon. I had to put things in, and then take ’em out, and rearrange the loading so that I could get in as much of my stuff as I could. But I had to finally leave with my little bit of my furniture.
And so I had made arrangements with my cousin. He was a boy about 16 years old, and I’d made arrangements for him to come along with me and then I’d send him back by rail, back to home. But when it come to the show-down, he backed out and it left me all alone. So my brother-in-law had a pure-blood English Shepherd dog that he wanted to… they didn’t need her, so he told me to take [Polo Hoots?], that was her name, take her along, she’d be company for me. And she’d give me a warning if anyone tried to get around in the night or any time. So he tied her, he put a rope on her; tied her under the front axle of the wagon. When I got my teams all hitched up and everything, they was all full of life and raring and tearing to go, and I had to let ’em go. I didn’t want to get ’em mad and have ’em get to acting up on me, and so I just let ’em go. I knew before I got to Arizona that they’d would be willing to slow down, which they did.
But the first night I had to camp at LaVerkin [Utah]. That was only about 14 miles from where I started from. But I had boughten a little trailer, a little old rear-end to a little light buggy from my cousin, and I thought it would do to feed my horses in, haul my hay and grain. But it broke down. One of the wheels was just ready to fall down when I got to LaVerkin. My father, however, he was with me on a horse. He come out quite a ways with me. So he and I stopped in LaVerkin, and we camped there. And a man there by the name of Henry Gubler, he had the rear end of a big Studebaker spring wagon that he said he’d sell to us, so we bought that and put the frame on that big axle, and big wheels, and we had to take a little time to get that done. Then the next day we went up the Hurricane hill, in Hurricane [Utah]. And my father went up to the top of the hill with me, on the horse. And after we got up there, then he said he would have to go on back because he had quite a ride to make back home.
Tape 1, Side B:
So, then I came on out and I guess I must have come on out to somewhere around Rattle Snake Spring. As I remember, I camped at Rattle Snake Spring that night, and I was all alone. And the next day I started out toward Fredonia [Arizona], by way of Short Creek. And as I pulled up a hill, one of those big Yellow Ways, was a big bus line that runs from Salt Lake City, out to the Grand Canyon, they passed me on a real bad place and got my horses quite excited. I was afraid maybe I was going to have trouble, but then I got by. Got up to the top, out of the canyon, and it was noon then. I was where I could see Short Creek, but I didn’t get over there. So while I was nooning, there was two young boys, about fourteen, sixteen years old, came to my camp, and lo and behold, one of them was my cousin. His name was Ralph McMullin. He was a son to my Uncle Frank McMullin, my father’s brother. And so, I think they were out hunting as I remember, probably hunting rabbits or something. But then after dinner I hitched up and went over to what they call the Cane Beds. It is a place where there is a ranch there, and some people were living there. And so they let me camp at their ranch and water my horses.
Then, the next morning, I started for Pipe Springs. That’s where the big government monument is, there at Pipe Springs, where they had the big barracks and place to fight the Indians. And I went there and I stayed there for noon, and I filled my water barrels up there. There’s a nice spring of water there. In fact, the spring of water comes right out from under the fort. They built it over there so the Indians couldn’t poison the water. So, I came then from there, over to a little east of Fredonia, but I hadn’t started up the Buck Skin Mountains. I just camped down in the low land there for the night. And the next morning then I hitched up and started for Jacob’s Lake. But I was all day long going from that place near Fredonia up to Jacob’s Lake. I never got to Jacob’s Lake until after 1:00 a.m. in the morning. The terrible drag up that mountain, ’cause I was loaded heavy. My horses were fresh, but they were working in good. I didn’t have any trouble with them. Then there wasn’t anybody, there was a forest station, forest ranger station there at Jacob’s Lake, and the forest ranger wasn’t there when I got there. There wasn’t anybody there. So I just took my bed roll, took it in on the porch, and made my bed down right by the door. And I didn’t know when he come, he come in the night sometime. But I was so dead to the world; I didn’t know when he came. So I stayed there that night.
Then I went from there. The next day I went from there down on over the mountain to House Rock Valley, down to the ranch there and the spring at the bottom of the hill. Stopped there for noon, but on the way down the mountain I met a man from Salt Lake City. He had a big team of, one was a big mule, and the other was a great big horse for a team. he’d been out on the reservation to buy jewelry and blankets and what not, pottery. And then there was a little Model-T Ford along with him. And they were making it up the hill pretty good it looked like, when I passed them. Anyway, this man that had the little Ford truck was a man that was living on the Lee’s Ferry Ranch down at the river. And so he told me to go to the ranch and feed my horses and all. I went on down to the ranch there at House Rock, and hadn’t been there but a little while, unhitched for noon, and here come the little boy on a horse. He was with that outfit. He come down and said that his father wanted me to come up with a horse or a team and help him get on up the hill. So I went on up, took one of the best horses I had, got on it, and rode it up there and pulled him up the hill. I didn’t have to pull the Ford, but it was the man that had the team that had to be pulled. I pulled him on up. And so he wanted to know what he owed me. I said, “You don’t owe me anything.” I said, “I’m a long ways from home. I haven’t got much finance, and I don’t know how much help I’m going to have to have before I get through.” And I started to go over to get on my horse to go back and he throwed three silver dollars at my, hit me on the back of the legs, and he jumped in his wagon and run off the road. So I naturally picked the dollars up and put ’em in my pocket. And I’ll tell you, it was a blessing in disguise. When I got over the gap – I had to – well, I’ll have to tell you – I’m going a little ahead of my story. But from that House Rock Valley ranch I went down nearly across the valley for the afternoon. I camped out a little bit north of Badger Creek, or Soap Creek, for the night, and I was all alone. Next morning I got up early and went down to Badger Creek or Soap Creek for noon.
And then after I hitched up, then I went from there on up to the Lee’s Ferry Ranch. I got there just as the sun was going down. And they had quite a bit of that nice alphalfa growning. And so they took a scythe and cut all the feed that my horses needed, and fed them good. I had filled up with hay at Fredonia, but it took so much to feed those five head of horses that I was out. So the next morning, just as the sun was coming over the horizon, I started and went on up to the landing where they was operating the ferry boat. And I got up there and the man there running the boat was named Ches Moon, and he had been around, over around Pinedale and Clay Springs and he was on old logging, he drove logging teams and he was a good teamster. But he was a running this ferry boat and so he and I were there all alone. Apparently, there was no one else there. I didn’t see anybody else. So we went down to the edge of the river. The river was just booming; oh, it was the most scary looking piece of water I’ve ever witnessed in all my life. I’d been over the ocean; I’d been over Mississippi, all of those big rivers. But I hadn’t ever seen anything that looked so treacherous [as] that Colorado did [at] that place.
So, this ferry boat had a tail gate on each end. And they just let them down and I drove right across it and up onto the boat with the four-horse outfit. I just left them standing on the boat all hitched up. And I had a little filly, a little filly a following along. One of the horses was its mother. And it followed along. It was real good about getting on the boat. And so when we got across the river he let the front tail gate down, and I tried to drive up the bank, but the horses couldn’t think about pulling it up the bank. So, we took one of the horses off. And they had a big, a big mandrill, a big axle or something, a big round piece of steel that they had drilled holes, and put it down in the solid rock to tie block and tackle to. So he had a big block and tackle. So he put the big block and tackle on this here steel post, and put it on the end of the tongue, and I put the old, we put my old broke mare, the one that was the best trained, I put her on there. And away we went up the sand bank, and sand bar and we got up on top. And so I didn’t know what the road was ahead of me. I knew it was bad. Now this man suggested that I let him go with me. He said, “If you want me to, I’ll help you drive your outfit up the hill.” I said, “I’d really appreciate it if you would”. But this colt, if you’re all familiar with horses, why it would get in front of the horses when they’d stop to rest. And then when they’d go to start they’d have to push the colt out of the way. So I had to get the colt behind the outfit and then see that it didn’t get ahead, so it wouldn’t be in the way. And this man took the lines and drove the outfit up the hill, and one place he was going ’round a little curve when the right hind wheel began to slide off’n the ledge. I thought, “Well, I guess the outfit’s gone”. And you know, he pulled them horses up the hill so hard that he pulled that wagon back onto the road. There was just room enough for the wagon to stay on. And oh, it was a treacherous sight to look at that river down below us. And so, anyway, we got up the hill. We got up to the top and come to what they call the Lee’s Backbone. It’s a backbone of earth that, oh it’s a tremendous high thing, and it’s narrow, just wide enough for a team and wagon to go down. So he said to me, he said, “Well, come on now” he says, “you get up here, and take the leaders lines”, and he says “I’ll take the wheelers and the brake, and we’ll go down the hill”. So we went down the hill. I never was so glad to get down over a piece of road in my life. I’d been driving in rough country all my life too, but nothing like that! So, we got down to the bottom of the Lee’s Backbone and so he went back. He walked back. It wasn’t too far. Probably a couple of miles, or such a matter.
So I started on, and I hadn’t gone but a few miles ’til I came to a real steep, smooth grade in the road. It wasn’t rocky or sandy, but it was just so steep and long that the horses just didn’t have strength enough to pull the load over the, over the hump, over the top. They’d get it within four or five feet of the top, and then they couldn’t take it anymore. They didn’t balk. They didn’t refuse to do all they could. They did everything they could, and I’d back down, take another run at it, and they’d get so far up there, and that’s as far as they could go. So I decided that, I had a pick and shovel, that I’d make a grade around the edge of the brow of the hill that might not be quite so steep. So I worked like a dog. I was ’bout choked to death. The horses were too, because I had been from the time the sun started to come up and I was ’til one o’clock that night getting over to Navajo Springs, which is only six miles. So I tried to pull around this new piece of road I made, and I’d get about a certain distance from the top of the brow of the hill, and they couldn’t go any further with it. So I didn’t know what to do. I knew if I threw my stuff off’n the wagon I couldn’t get it back on. And so I decided to get one of the horses and I went over on the brow, on the side of the dugway by the river, and I could see a man over in the Lee’s Ferry ranch irrigating alfalfa there. He was a man I guess that let me have the alfalfa when I camped there that night. So I tried to whistle at him and holler at him and do everything I could. I was on a white horse and I thought he’d see the horse over there on the side of the river, but he didn’t. And I was about choked. My horses were about choked.
So I decided that the only thing that I could do was make it a matter of prayer. I stood by the horse and I offered up a prayer to the Lord to help me, that I had to have help. And when I opened my eyes and got through praying, there was a man that I’ve never seen before, nor since, coming up the dugway afoot. He came up there and he says, “Are you in trouble?” I said, “Yes, if I was ever in trouble in my lifetime, I’m in trouble now!” “Well,” he says, “We’ll see if we can’t help you out.” So we went on over to my outfit and he helped me unload. He was a nice, big, husky built fellow. He was a man, I’d say, about 60 years old. I don’t know who he was, or where he come from. Only I know, when I uttered that prayer, and looked up, there he was, coming up the dugway. And so we unloaded, and he helped me get the team up the hill. After we got up over the little hill and I was all right, I could go on. He helped me put the stuff back on the wagon, and I didn’t have gumption enough to ask him who he was. And he didn’t ask me who I was. So I don’t know who it was, but if the truth could be known – if it could – I wouldn’t be surprised – it could have been one of the three Nephites. I don’t know who else it could have been [voice is tearful]. But he didn’t tell me his name, and he didn’t ask me what my name was, and I didn’t ask him. And I thought afterwards, after he left and I started out. I looked back and I didn’t see him. I don’t know where he went, but I couldn’t see him. And I had bows and covers on the wagon, and I had to look around over the wagon cover to get to see, but I did look to where he was and see if he was a going back the road. And I couldn’t see him anywhere.
So, I come on up then to Navajo Spring. By that time it was one o’clock in the morning when I got there. So I was all this time making six miles distance. And then I made my bed down, I unhitched, and I took the cow trail up to the spring, away up in those red bluffs, up to a pretty little spring of clear water, and my horses was almost famished for water, and I was too. I went up and filled my canteen, watered my horses, and came back down, rolled my bed out on the ground and went to bed. And I didn’t know what happened ’til sun was coming up the next morning. When I got up, I had, I’d put a bell on one of my horses, and I also had hobbles on three of ’em, and they were way down nearly to the river trying to go back home. And there was hundreds of head of those old mean-looking Navajo bulls, and steers, and cows, and there wasn’t a tree or anything to get into if they took after you, so I was kind of worried about going down to get my horses among all those cattle. But I made it. I went down and got them. I wasn’t afraid after I got on my horse, ’cause I could get out of the way. But the only way I could have gotten away from any of those cattle if they had charged me was just to lie down in a wash or something, or lie down on the ground.
So I got ’em and started on up toward Bitter Seeps – Tanner Well. And it was a terrible rough road and a terrible grade up there, just worked my horses awful hard to pull the wagon up there. I got up to almost, well I got up to Bitter Seep, and then I turned off and went over to Tanner Well. And while I was going through a nice little valley there – smooth sailing – all of a sudden my horses just jumped like the lightening had struck them, began to run. I had a good brake on the wagon, and I had four horses on then. Them little gray mares was out on lead. And they just were just scared to death about something. And all of a sudden here come a couple of Navajos running up the side of the wagon on horses, just as fast as they could make their horses go. One of ’em was a bad looking man. He looked like he’d just leave kill you as not. So I didn’t know what they were going to do, but I didn’t try to act scared or afraid. And they wanted to know where I was going, and I told ’em. And they said they were going to go over to, they wanted to trade horses with me. And they wanted to… and so I told ’em I didn’t have any horses to trade, that I needed my horses. And so they said, well, they was going over to Kanab and trade for some horses over there. And they started back the road. Instead of going back to Kanab they circled around, gathered up about a hundred head of cows and horses and run ’em over to the Tanner Well, around and around about way, and run ’em down into the water.
And they made it so bad that my horses wouldn’t drink it, and I couldn’t use it without boiling it. And I didn’t have any water. So, I had a barrel on the side of the wagon, but this barrel, in coming around the ledge of rock on that dugway, it hit the ledge and broke one of the stays in the middle of the barrel. So my water leaked out that I had, that I’d loaded at Lee’s Ferry. So anyway, I had to use the water some way. I didn’t have any to cook with, without boiling it. And so, they come on there. After they run their animals down in the water, then they come over to where I was camped. And I’d been told by a man that grew up at the Lee’s Ferry, he knew how to talk Navajo, and he knew their customs, and their ways. And he told me, before I left Leeds, how to treat those fellows to get help from ’em. And so he said give ’em their dinner, and he says, “They’ll tell you the truth about the road.” So I did. They laid down on their stomach in the sand while I was getting dinner ready, and I give ’em their dinner. And the one of them seemed to be quite well educated and quite a civil sort of a fellow. So he told me all about the road. So I hitched up then and I went up toward the Cedar Ridge. I started for this [?] up part way between the Tanner Well and the Cedar Ridge, and it became dark on me, and I had to camp. And I spent a terrible night because I didn’t know whether they’d come and try to steal my horses or not. I had such good looking horses and I was afraid they might come and try to run ’em off and steal ’em, leave me stranded out in the desert. So I didn’t sleep much that night. I slept back in the little trailer on top of the grain and stuff, but I didn’t sleep much.
So, the next morning, then I went up through, to The Gap. I got up to The Gap for noon or there about. Oh, this three dollars that this man had given me for helping him up the hill on the other side, on the other side of the river. Well, I asked them if they had some hay. My horses had to just graze on the brush there that night, night before. And they said yes, [side B ends]
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they had some baled hay. I said, “How do you sell it?” They said said, “Three dollars a bale.”. They were just little old bales, weigh about 45 pounds. So, that three dollars that the man gave me bought me a bale of hay to noon my horses on. So I went on towards a little place call [?] Willow Spring, down toward Moenkopi. There was a pretty little pond of water there.
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Tape 2 – Side A:
So I stopped there for the night. I give ’em a good grain, feed of grain, but they only had a little bit of roughage. I had to keep ’em tied up there. The next morning I started out. I never got in such bad sand hardly in my life. And I didn’t know whether it was going to get worse or not. But I got started out through it and I had to keep going. I couldn’t turn around. I had to stay in the road, in the wheel tracks. And If it hadn’t have had good horses and hadn’t have known how to handle ’em, I wouldn’t have ever got through that little stretch of road from that Willow Spring over to Moenkopi Wash. So I got over there and it was noon then, again. And I pulled out on the mesa there and crossed the bridge, I crossed [across?] the wash. [I] pulled up on top of the mesa and there was some pretty good grazing, grass. It wasn’t green, but there was a lot of dry grass and some green in among it. So there was a Navajo came along. He seen me and he come over. He wanted his dinner too. So he took my horses out away from the road and hobbled ’em out where they could eat while we was getting our dinner. So then, after dinner, well, he went and got ’em for me and helped me hitch up. And then he went on toward Tuba City.
Well, I went on down the road toward Cameron, and as I was going down off’n the mesa, towards the bridge, well, there was a car coming toward me and they stopped and pulled out of the road. And there was three men got out of the car, and I didn’t know what they was up to. I didn’t know whether they were going to hold me up or what. But I went on. When I got up to where they were, well, I stopped and passed the time of day with ’em. And they, come to find out, they was three young fellows from New York. They were out on a vacation, a touring trip. And, they had a camera and they wanted to take the picture of my outfit. And I told ’em they could, to go ahead. But I told ’em I’d like to have ’em send me a picture, one of the pictures if they didn’t mind. But I didn’t ever get a picture. They might have lost my address or something. So I went on down to Cameron, and there was just the one bridge there then. And it was getting sundown, so I started across the bridge and one of my horses, the worst bronco I had, she became frightened about that bridge. It made so much racket when the wagon and horses went across it. She almost pulled me off down over the ledge. I couldn’t hold her [in?] the road. I was afraid I was going to have the outfit all bursted up. Finally I got her turned so that she didn’t run us off. And I pulled up on the, kind of on the side of the hill there, by the Cameron station and unhitched for the night. It was getting dark then. And my horses was terribly thirsty. And I asked about water, a place to water my horses, and they told me there was a place, a well down on the side of the hill, and it was getting pitch dark, and I couldn’t see where I was going. I just had to get one one horse and let the rest follow down the trail. I took a bucket down and a rope so I could get the water out. But I couldn’t get the water out fast enough for ’em, and the most of the horses went right on down to the river. And there was a big hole of water by this edge of the river. And it was all quick sand. They was so dry and thirsty they plunged out into it. One horse got in over his back and I thought he was gonna die. I didn’t think he could get out, but he did. He managed to flounce around and get out of that hole of water, quicksand. So I give ’em their water, and watered ’em, and went back up. And I don’t know whether I had any hay – I guess I didn’t have hay – I just fed ’em grain. I had to tie ’em up there. I didn’t turn ’em loose. So I was, my little horse that was following, this young colt…
Could I get up now and set up a little while? [Pause to rest. He would soon die of cancer and was not feeling well here.]
I will now go on and try and finish the story of my trip from Southern Utah to Arizona. [I went to? At?] Cameron, Arizona, where the bridge crosses, this little place is located on the edge of the Little Colorado River. After I had watered my horses and got them back up to the camp, back to my camp, I had been wanting to put shoes on the little horse that was following because I hadn’t put shoes on her yet. And her feet was becoming real sore, and she needed to be shod. She needed to have shoes on to finish the trip. So I, got the, I had the shoes on hand, everything on hand to shoe my horses with, whenever they needed it. And, so after I finished… while I was shoeing this horse, there was a man and his wife, they were from California. They had been out to the Grand Canyon. And they were camped in a little tent right close to where my camp was. So he came over and watched me put the shoes on the horse. I don’t know whether he’d ever seen a man shoe a horse before or not, but he seemed quite interested. And, so after I got the shoes on the horse, I was putting the shoes on by the light of the campfire. And it was dark, and so after shoeing the horse I decided I’d have to get my supper. So I cooked my supper on the campfire as usual. And this man, he stayed around and seemed to be real interested in me, and what I was doing. I don’t suppose he’d ever seen a person cook a meal on a campfire before. So, after I ate my supper, we talked and conversed with one another for quite a little while. And, finally, it must have been around ten o’clock when he decided to go to his camp. He was just a little ways from where I was camped. And, when he got up to go to his camp he threw a dollar bill down, and I told him, “No”, I didn’t want that. I said, “I’m all right”. And, so, I tried to get him to take it and he got turned around and gave me another dollar bill. And I thought it was a quite an unusual thing. But the Lord, I know, was guiding [crying] it ’cause I needed it ever so bad. I needed it worse than I thought I needed it. But I had money back home that I had left with my father to take care of. But I didn’t want to have it all on my person, in a case of that kind, so I brought what I thought was sufficient to see me through. Because I had all kinds of provisions – eatables – and I had grain for my horses which I had brought from home. And all that I need to buy was roughage, like hay, for the horses besides the grain.
So, the next morning I started out from Cameron, and I must have pulled up some 15 or 20 miles. It was a real heavy grade and it worked my horses quite hard to pull the load up that grade toward Flagstaff. And so when I got, began to get sundown, I came to a road camp where they were building the highway. And I asked ’em about where they thought I could find water for my horses. There wasn’t any creeks or streams on that route. And so, a lot of times, the horses, people traveling through would lose their horses on account of their choking to death, such a long stretch between water. So they told me where there was a place, a ranch that, it was, I think the ranch they call it Rimmy[?] Jim’s ranch, some old cowboy that had a big ranch there, cattle ranch. So, they told me where to go, how to get over there. So I went over there and he treated me real nice. He give me some fresh beef that he had in his locker that he had killed for his own use. He gave me some nice steak. He give me permission to water my horses. I don’t think I had any, I didn’t have any roughage, they just had to graze on the grass. And I had grain for them. The next day I got up real early and pulled up toward Flagstaff and just before you go over the summit, going toward Flagstaff, there was a road took off to the left, down into those big volcanic hills. And I didn’t know where it led to for sure. I just figured it led to some ranch. So I thought I’d take that road and see if I couldn’t find someplace where I could find feed for my horses. So I did. I got to the ranch and they had a big nice barn and stable, had it full of nice oat hay. And they made me real welcome. I asked them if I could buy some feed, ’cause I had that two dollars and then I had maybe two or three dollars besides, left from what I left home with. So, the man just put my horses in the stable and fed ’em all the hay they could eat. And they invited me in the house to eat with them, eat supper; treated me real nice. So the next morning when I got ready to leave, well, he said, “Pull that little cart [car?] up along to the side of the barn”. And he throwed that thing, throwed oat hay down there, and filled it plum full of nice oat hay. And when I tried to pay him he refused. He wouldn’t think of taking pay for it. He was so glad I had came and stopped with him. It was just him and his wife, a young fellow that was taking care of the ranch. I guess it belonged to some wealthy man there in Flagstaff. But, anyway, I left there that next morning. I got over to what they call Winona. Winona is out on the east side of Flagstaff. I stopped at Winona that night and I had that, all that hay to feed my horses there because there wasn’t any other feed. And the next day, I went from Winona down to the Canyon Diablo. I think it’s the canyon more near Winslow. And I got there to the other side of Diablo a little ways. And it became late, and I felt somewhat alarmed. I seemed to feel like there might be a little danger. I was close to the railroad and there was quite a few hobos, or people trying to get [by?], or getting rides on the train. And I felt prompted to pull off of the road, and pull over in behind some ledges. The little valley where there was some good grass for my horses. And I didn’t feel comfortable that night. I felt like I was, I might be in a little danger. So I didn’t sleep too awfully good.
And, the next morning, everything was all right. I got my horses, and hitched up, and started into Winslow. I got in Winslow long about, I think it must have been about two o’clock that day. And when I got in Winslow I knew I didn’t have only a little bit of money left. I had seventy five cents left. I’d had to spend money for something and, anyway. I tried to find my brother-in-law, and sister-in-law. They were working there, Lyman Bates and his wife Maggie. They were having a big celebration of some kind there in Winslow that particular day. And the street was lined on both sides. The streets were narrow and they were lined on both sides with cars so thick that it was almost impossible to drive a team through the town between the cars. My horses wasn’t used to automobiles and things like that, and so they was kind of skiddish about getting through. I was worried about maybe having a flare-up or something. But anyway, I couldn’t find Mr. Bates. I couldn’t find anyone that knew where he lived, or even knew him. Because I figured if I could find him, I maybe could borrow ten dollars or something from him, to get me home, out to Clay Springs. But, all the inquiring and everything, I just couldn’t, I couldn’t locate him. So I drove on down the street and there was a man coming along the sidewalk after I’d gotten out of the traffic, and out of the crowded section. And I stopped and asked him if he knew where there was a feed yard, where I might buy some hay. He said, well, he didn’t know for sure, but he thought if I’d go down about a block or two on the east, and then turn to the left. He says, “I think there’s a feed yard there.” But he says he wasn’t sure. So I did. I went down and did what he told me to. And sure enough, there was a big feed yard there. And it belonged to the Babbitt brothers. And, so I told… they had plenty of hay. And I told him I’d like to buy some hay for my horses. And he said how much did I want. And I said, “Well, how much do you sell it for, for the bale?” He said a dollar and forty five cents a bale. Well I said… I broke down and cried. I couldn’t help it. I said, “Would you mind breaking a bale?” I said, “I’ve only got seventy five cents and I’d pay for half a bale.” [crying] He looked up. He said, “Mister, you go and get you a bale of hay.” He said, “Don’t feel bad.” He said, “You’re perfectly welcome to it.” He said, “You can give me what money you got.” So I gave him my last penny and got a bale of hay, and put in the little cart, little feed wagon. So, he said, “Don’t feel bad.” He says, “I’ve been in the same boat.”. He says, “You’re just welcome to it.” So I put it in. I knew that I didn’t have near enough hay for the horses; they were so hungry and desperate for feed.
And so, I know that the Lord was watching over me all the way because I started out from Winslow to cross the river. And I was going out on the other side of the valley to camp. And I knew I couldn’t camp with a team and outfit in the city. So I went to cross the bridge where it crossed the Little Colorado. And I had never met only one team of horses on the whole ride up to that time, and that was the team I pulled up the House Rock Valley hill. So, lo and behold, when I crossed the river, across the bridge there was this nice bale of hay. It had been broken. They had fed a flake or two. And there is was, right to the side of the road. [crying] So I, there was nobody there or nothing. It was just laying by the side of the road. But there had been a person camp there with a pair of mules. I could tell from the tracks, it was a team of mules. And they had either forgotten the hay, or else the Lord had them leave it there for me. So I picked it up, put it in the cart with the other bale of hay, and I had all the hay that my horses could eat that night. And they did eat it all though. They ate all the hay.
So I got up the next morning early and thought I’d try and get up to Holbrook that night, which I did. And so, before I got to Holbrook though, it became noontime and I didn’t have any hay for my horses. I did still have a little few feeds of grain. So, I stopped at a little ranch, before I got to Joseph City and they had a little stack of hay in there. So I went in to see if I couldn’t get some, a fork full of hay for the horses. And I couldn’t find anybody home. They’d apparently gone to town. So I just unhitched my horses out in front and went in and took the pitchfork and brought a fork full of hay out to load in. And, I figured I had to have the feed, and I figured that whoever it was, I’d send ’em the money for the feed as soon as I got home. But I was expecting my wife and children, Dan and Inez, and Ammon Hunt, my brother-in-law. He was, they was supposed to come and meet me there, along there somewhere. And so, because I had been writing these letters where I stopped.
They knew that I was getting close. And, so they did. They came while I was nooning there that day. And so, he fixed up everything so that I could have plenty to get home on. I got up to Holbrook that night and I stopped at Babbitt brothers where they had a feed yard there in Holbrook, and the man that was working for Babbitts, he had a family, and he had a nice big milk cow, and he fed her there. There was lots of bales of hay would break, and they couldn’t sell ’em. And he’d feed the cow what he could feed of it. And they had a lot of extra loose hay there, so I bought hay there. And I think I bought a bale. It was already baled up, and then he gave me a lot of the loose hay, just gave it to me. And I filled this little feed cart plum full of hay. And my horses had all they could eat that night, and I had the feed cart plum full of hay to go on with, up toward home. And also, I was able to buy a little more grain there. I got it through Ammon Hunt. He was dealing with Babbitts and running a store. And so he made arrangements for me to get all the feed I needed or anything. So then, my wife and my two children, my two eldest children, they were the only ones we had at that time. They stayed and come with me on the wagon.
So, we got from Holbrook up, oh, I would say two-thirds of the way to Snowflake. And we camped by the roadside for the night. And we had plenty of feed for the horses. I think I had put a little water in the barrel, and had a little water for ’em. Then I got up the next morning, we did, and went on up to Taylor for noon. We nooned there, had a early noon. We got there in pretty good time. [side A ends]
Tape 2 – Side B:
So after dinner we started for Clay Springs and we made it up there. It was a big drive for the horses, but they were getting stouter. But by the time we got to Clay Springs they was getting quite tired. But we made it there. And so, that was the end of our trip. We made it all right. We didn’t have any trouble.
But, I’m certain that God was watching over me and helping me because the things that happened don’t ordinarily happen that way. It just seemed like it was so unusual the way things happened: that man giving me that money, and then turning right around and repeating the thing again. And I hadn’t told him that I was in bad circumstances. I just told him about the dangerous road I’d come over and so forth. But he seemed to figure that I was having quite a struggle. And so, I guess the Lord must have prompted him to give me an extra dollar after he’d given me the first dollar. And I just tried to get him to take it back, but he wouldn’t. And, everybody, every place I stopped, everybody just treated me as good as they possibly could.
So this hay that I got at the Joe City [Joseph City], at that little ranch. I didn’t know who the ranch belonged to. So, when I got into Joe City, I seen a man by the name of Shelly working. He was hauling fertilizer out onto his land, at the side of the road. So I stopped and asked him who owned that ranch down there. He said it belonged to old brother Hansen, and he was a quite a wealthy rancher there in Joe City, and a good LDS man, and he had plenty of money. But I went and I asked where he lived there in Joe City, where his residence was. And he told me where it was, and I went up there and stopped to tell him what I’d done, that I’d went in and took a fork full of his hay, and then just as soon as I got home I’d pay him for it. And I couldn’t find him home. There wasn’t nobody home. So, later on I found him at Snowflake. He’d come up to conference. And I went and told him what I’d done, and I’d like to give him something for the hay. And he said just to forget about it, that it didn’t amount to anything, was just glad that I’d got it. And, so, I’m sure that if people try to do the right thing, they’ll be blessed. And I was certainly blessed on that trip. If I hadn’t have been, I don’t know how I’d have made out.
But anyway, I got through perfectly all right. And, so, that’s an account of the trip that I made from Southern Utah to Clay Springs, Arizona, as near as I can remember. I might state this: I did mention the little dog that my brother-in-law tried to give me because my cousin had gone back on me on coming along with me as company. And he thought the little dog would be company for me. But he put a rope on her, and tied her under the wagon by the wagon axle, and he tied it a little bit too loose, and she pulled her head through the loop and got away. And I didn’t have a chance to stop and get her again. We had to go on with the horses, were acting so fractious and raring to go because they were so fresh and fat, and I just had to let ’em go. And so I didn’t bring the dog. I just came all alone. Didn’t have a weapon of any kind on the wagon. No gun or anything for protection. But I made it all right. Before I got to, I met the second team and wagon, just before I got to Holbrook. It was long about where that big reservoir is there, east of Joe City. There was a man coming along, coming toward Joe City with a four-horsed outfit and wagon. So he, I didn’t know who it was at the time, but I finally got acquainted with the man, and got well acquainted with him. It was a man by the name of Bushman. And he was coming into Joe City from his ranch, out at Dry Lake. And so he stopped and he wanted to trade horses with me, but I didn’t have any horses to trade off. I had some of the best horses that were ever hitched up, and I didn’t need to trade them off. And so I went on in to Holbrook and stayed that night. Then, on home. The next two days seen us at home in Clay Springs. And that’s as near as I can remember. It’s an overall report of the trip, trips that I made between Southern Utah and Arizona.