Back to Table of ContentsMy First Ten Years in Farnum 1938-1948


This part of my life history will cover the ten year period from the time my parents traded farms with my Uncle Acil and we moved into the Farnum home, until I married Bonnie Marie Clark, July 21, 1948.

Richard Reed Hawkes, my brother was born, November 18, 1940, in Rexburg, Idaho.  David Weyerman Hawkes, was born, March 31, 1946, in St. Anthony, Idaho, just two and one half months before our father, Percy, passed away June 12, 1946.

HOME LIFE IN FARNUM

We were able to get everything moved down from our home in Horseshoe Flat to our new home in Farnum in time to be all ready for and enjoy the 1938 Christmas there.  This home had a full basement with a coal furnace that would heat the whole house.  On the main floor, we fixed three bedrooms; had a bathroom; living room; dining room; kitchen; and front and back porches.  There was a bedroom downstairs and a place to do laundry with a floor drain.  We had hot and cold running water, sewer system, and didn’t even have to go outside to use the bathroom.

It had a gas engine delco 32 volt generator that charged up a series of storage batteries to furnish electricity for the home.  We were lucky however, to have the Fall River REA put in a new modern electrical power line system in our Farnum/Drummond area in 1938-39.  So we came from our little 6 volt wind charger at the log cabin to this nice big home with modern electrical conveniences, all in a little over a year. 

With the new electric power we were able to make some gradual changes and improvements.  My mother never did have an electric range to cook on however, until she moved to Utah after I got married.  She cooked on the “Round Oak” wood/coal range that had been put in the home when it was newly built in 1919 by my Uncle Acil.  I remember well, before and after our meals, sitting around this stove or standing close by it to keep cozy warm.  We had many a pleasant family conversation in the kitchen around this stove. 

John McFarlin was our mailman.  He had delivered mail to our house since I was a little boy up on the ranch in Horseshoe Flat, sometimes with his team and buggy or sleigh.  Now, he still came by in his car or jeep from the Drummond Post Office.  He always had a friendly “Hello!” and would stop and talk for just a minute before going on his way.  From 1947 to 1953 I was John’s substitute mail carrier, whenever he wanted some time off.  When he retired, I took over his job for a few months in 1958 and 1959.  He tried to help me get on as permanent carrier, but someone with more influence got the job.  About that time, the Postal Service made a new route, that came out from Ashton to Drummond.

The phone company came out with a new phone system that would allow us to ring the number we wanted to call, ourselves.  There were still two or three people on each line, but it was much better.  I still can remember our phone number at Farnum was 0111R1.  If we wanted to make a long distance call we still had to ask the operator to do it for us.

We soon built a root cellar to house the fresh vegetables and some of the bottled fruit.  We had a few apple trees growing down the middle of the big garden south of the house.  We watered the garden and lawn with water from the irrigation ditch at the top of the hill.  Later we put a ¾ inch pipe all the way up the hill and into the ditch and had about 35 lbs. pressure to sprinkle the yards and etc.

There were many full grown Balm-of-Gilead cotton wood trees in the yard and out in the pasture south and west of the house.  They provided a lot of shade, but some were beginning to mature and die.  We had to take several of them out as the years went by.  Over the next 20 years, we took out all but the three cedar trees that were growing in the northeast part of the front dooryard.

I remember one tree just north of the house that had a big horizontal limb growing toward the east.  It was perfect to tie ropes to and have a swing.  On one occasion, a swarm of bees collected on the limb just above the swing.  We hurried down to George Kidd’s place and got an extra empty beehive he loaned us and brought it home.  We set it down on the ground by the swing and wondered how to get the bees to go in it.  It wasn’t long until one of kids gave a big jump on the swing and down came a big clump of bees right on the ground by the empty hive.  Soon some of them started crawling in the hive, and the others followed.  We thought we were in the honey business, but they didn’t make enough honey during the rest of that summer to carry them over the winter and they all died. 

We had a near tragedy happen that almost took the life of our father and mother.  My parents needed to go down the country to see a doctor.  They were invited to ride along with a neighbor who had just purchased a new car and was also going to the doctor.   He was showing off how fast the car could go and what a good driver he was as they traveled along.  My folks were pretty scared and tried to get him to slow down.  Just after they went through the steel bridge by the Del Rio Inn, east of St. Anthony, they were going 70 or  80 miles an hour.  As bad luck would have it, a wagon load of hay came out onto the road ahead of them at just the wrong time.  There were other cars on the road in such a way that to avoid hitting anyone else, the driver had to pull over the shoulder of the road and off into the barrow pit.  The only thing that saved their lives is that they landed in a water slough.  The bad part was that they landed upside down and the car started sinking down in the muddy bottom and started filling up with water.  It knocked my mother unconscious, but my father was able with great effort to get her head up above the water level inside the car and keep her from drowning.  Soon other people came by and saw what had happened and came to the rescue.  My mother revived during the rescue but came up out of the water with an old dead cat from the slough draped around her neck.  Soon after everyone was out of the car, it settled so low in the mud that water filled the interior of the car.  It was a miracle that anyone got out alive.  We all thanked Father in Heaven for preserving the lives of our parents.

My father passed away June 12, 1946, in the St. Anthony hospital with a blood clot complication that had settled in his lungs.  My mother was just 39 years old and had just had her 6th child two and one half months earlier.  It was a great shock to all of us. 

After his passing, we made many changes in our life style and farming operation.  We sold the sheep and most of the cattle so that we could just raise the crops and continue going to school without having so many chores to do.  As the big barn was to the point of becoming weakened with age and perhaps not too safe anymore, we engaged John and Jim Brown to tear it down and haul it away just for the materials they could salvage from it.  We built a new cinder block shop north of the house and tore down the old farmstead house we had been using for a shop.  We moved two log granaries down from the “Benson Place” and used half of one for a small barn with stalls for a couple of milk cows and pens for the calves. 

FARMING AND OTHER WORK

We now had the home 80 acres where the house, garden, and barnyards were.  About 40 acres of this land was under irrigation, part of which was in pasture, and included our house lots.  We owned the “east 80” which joined the home place on the southeast.  In a year or so, we bought an 80 up by Whitmore’s place from Herbert Benson, so we called it the “Benson place”. 

A good sized pump house was located over the well and pump on the north side of our dooryard.  An old style John Deere two cycle engine was started by hand, that would run the pump when we wanted water.  It would pump the water through a pipe up into a water tank in the top of the house.  The water was then gravity fed down through the house to the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.  With the new electric power we soon had, we were able to put in an electric motor and pressure tank that would turn off and on as the water was used in the house. 

Not long after we moved to Farnum, the underground water table fell so low that many of the farmers had to have their wells drilled down deeper.  (About 1950)  Our well had been about 175 ft. deep, now we had it drilled to about 250 ft. and had plenty of water. 

Note: (The water level went down again in 1961 and we had to have it drilled to 425 ft. that fall and winter.  After we sold the place to Mark Albertson, he also had to drill it even deeper in 1981.  Our underground water table has gone down so that the household wells in our area have had to be drilled deeper about every ten years.  This problem is partly due to the underground irrigation wells being dug and used to water thousands of acres in Snake River Valley.  Also, we have had many years of below normal snow and rainfall.  We hope this trend is soon reversed and that we continue to have the water we need.)

It was a new experience in our life to learn to irrigate the crops in the field.  A neighbor showed me how to set up, level, and use a transit for surveying the ditches in the field.  He showed me that water will run along in a perfectly level ditch, but it will move along better if you give it one inch fall every 40 or 50 feet.  We would use small green willows cut from the ditch bank where they grew in thick patches, as markers.  We would use the transit to tell where to place these willow markers on a gradual grade where the ditch should be plowed.  After the ditches were plowed and the water turned in them, then we had to learn to put canvas dams in the ditch and turn the water out for a few hours to soak down a foot or so in the soil.  We had about 100 acres of land that we could irrigate. 

The farm machine shop was located just west of the pump house in an old frame house that had once been someone’s home.  West of that was a small frame grainery.  A huge wooden barn was located in the northwest part of the farm yard.  The main center section was a huge hay storage area forty or fifty feet long.  On the east side of the hay area, a lean-to shed had been added to house cows and horses; pigs and calves we housed on the west side in a lean-to that matched the one on the east.  The corrals and feed lots were located just north of the big barn.

The spring after moving to Farnum, we built a fine two room log chicken coop.  This was the first building project I had ever been involved in.  Father was very good with the ax and saw, and taught us a lot about building it correctly.  First we put in a good cement foundation, then laid the logs up and put on the roof.  The chicken coop still stands to this day and has been used for various purposes through the years.  I still have dreams of feeding the chickens, gathering eggs, cleaning it out, & etc. 

On one occasion when we came home late from town, we heard a commotion going on in the chicken coop.  I opened the coop door and made the one step inside to reach the light switch.  My foot came down on something very soft and it gave me quite a scare.  With the light on I found I had stepped in a soft mound of freshly dug dirt.  Then we observed a tunneled hole under the foundation of the big room into the smaller room.  We had put about 25 laying hens in that smaller room.  On closer inspection in the smaller room, we found more digging and mounds of dirt in the earthen floor.  In a moment, out of a eight inch hole came the head of a badger.  He had killed almost all of the hens and stored them in a huge hole he had dug in the middle of the room.  I hurried and got the 22 rifle from the house.  The next time the badger came up, I got a good shot off, and he soon joined the dead hens in the hole.  I got a shovel and covered over the whole thing and tamped it down tight.  I’m sure their bones are still there to this day. 

When we first moved to Farnum, we were still harvesting grain in cooperation with others, using the bundle wagons and threshing machine system in the fall.  (See P. 41-43)  My father was still the Bishop of our Farnum Ward and as a faithful saint, did not work on Sunday.  Some of the neighbors who were in our group who harvested together, decided to put my father to the test.  They planned the work in such a way that our turn to harvest fell on a Sunday.  They told him that he had to do his threshing on that particular Sunday, or he would be bypassed for the rest of the fall season, as they were moving the threshing machine up to the upper country and would not be back until winter set in.  Well, he was forced into it, and had to be out there running a bundle wagon with the rest of the crew, working on the ‘East 80’, which was located just north of the church house.  It was very embarrassing for him to look over and see the people holding church there without him.  That was the last year he worked in cooperation with any threshing crew.  He did his harvesting from then on by the new grain combine system, so he could be in control of his own schedule.  (See p. 43-44)

During this same period of time, even though very young, I was allowed to run the bundle wagon.  We had a beautifully matched sorrel team with a white blaze on the front of their head.  We also used them to ride.  We had worked them as a team for some time and they got along very well.  One fall, it was decided that the team and I were mature enough to go on the threshing crew up to Homer Jones farm to thresh peas.  The procedure was that each driver would take his team out into the field and go around to the piles of grain and load them on the wagon with a pitch fork. (See p. 41-43) The team had to be well trained to stand still while we were loading or unloading.  One time while coming up to the noisy threshing machine to begin unloading, something spooked the team and they gave a big jump and together started to run away from the area as fast as they could go.  They ran for about ½ a mile before I could get them under control again.  Then it took another hour to get them calmed down enough to come in again to unload.

In those days we used a ‘boat’ to haul the hay from the field into the barnyard.  The boat was a series of planks about 7 or 8 ft wide by about 10 ft long, nailed together and was dragged on the ground with a team of horse.  The advantage to the boat was that one did not have to reach up so high in the air to get the hay on the load.  This was pulled into the unloading area and then unloaded with a Jackson fork.  (See p. 46) It was 4 or 5 big steel tines fastened together on a hardwood frame with a tripping device that would release the hay with the tug of a rope.  Cables were used to pull the load up into the barn or a derrick was used outside for putting it in big stacks. 

These boats were handy to move rocks from the field, or to just haul anything you might want to roll onto it in one place and roll it off in another.

We had a fine strip of irrigated pasture about 8 or 10 acres big, that ran from the barn yards up to the ditch on top of the hill to the south.  We fenced it good with netting wire and then decided to get a few sheep.  My father went to the James C. Siddoway ranch in Teton City and bought 30 ewes that would have lambs in the spring.  We kept them for several years.  My father said that was the easiest money he ever made.  The sheep stayed in the pasture in the summer; in the winter they came down to the north end of the pasture where we fed them hay.  In the spring they had one or two lambs each, then we had them sheared as soon as it warmed up and sold the wool.  In the fall we sold the lambs and started all over again. 

I remember at 12 years of age that spring, Father took me down to Les Hill’s place.  He was a big sheep raiser.  Les gave me lesson’s in how to castrate and dock the lambs.  My father couldn’t do it, as he had false teeth and one needed a good strong set of teeth to perform the task.  Back home, my mother was shocked when I came in to clean up after docking our little band of lambs. 

That summer one of the sheep bloated and died down in the lower end of the pasture among the trees.  Since I had practiced roping from our saddle horse, I decided to just ride by the dead sheep one day, throw a loop on one of the legs that were sticking out, and drag the sheep out of the pasture so we could load it in the truck and haul it off.  I made the catch, quickly tied the rope to the saddle horn, and all went well, until the horse discovered what I had done.  He shied away sideways, pulling the sheep until it became lodged around a small tree.  Then the saddle tipped over sideways, and I fell off.  The horse pulled the rope taut and stood there stiff legged pulling away for all he was worth.  I hollered for help from the house nearby, and with great difficulty, we finally got the mess straightened out.

Our father was very good at butchering the animals our family needed for meat.  He taught us how to do it as we would watch and help him.  We learned how to kill and clean chickens, sheep, beef, and pigs.  After the pigs were killed, we put them in an open ended 50 gallon barrel of scalding hot water and sloshed them in and out and around until the hair was easy to scrape off.  Then they were pulled out on a flat surface and with sharp knives we would scrape all the hair off until they were smooth and clean.  Then we would finish butchering and preparing their meat into hams, bacon, sausage, pork steaks, and roasts.  Mother made head cheese from the meat from the head and other various parts.  Head cheese is comparable to lunch meat that we would use on sandwiches or for snacks.

One summer day, much to our surprise, a stray buffalo came down our lane from the north.  As it progressed south along our pasture fence line, all the livestock in the pasture south of the house, came running over to the fence to see this strange new critter.  They snorted and kicked up their heels and ran every which way in great excitement.  This was a buffalo from the Dr. Harlo Rigby ranch in Island Park that had strayed all this long way from home.  He went on by, but later was caught up the country and taken back to his rightful owner. 

One summer, as a teen-ager, I was employed as the Conant Creek Canal Company ditch rider.  I rode from our Farnum home to the head of the canal about 3 miles east of the Nyborg ranch where the water came out of Conant Creek.  It was 11 miles one way.  My job was to look for any water that might be leaking out of gopher holes or seeping through the bank, and fix it.  Then I would take a reading of the official water marker just north of Drummond and report it to the canal officials each day.  I rode a horse up the ditch bank on a trail, having to open and close many pasture gates along the way.  I had three different horses to ride so that I could alternate them each day.  I learned to love riding horses more than ever that summer, even though I got tired, I didn’t get tired of it.  Each day I rode through what is now the “Camp Henry” site just west of Nyborg’s house. (See p. 29-30)

In time we acquired a herd of about 30 head of dry cattle which we would put on the range each summer.  One summer, we put our stock with Les Hill’s cattle and drove them up to Squirrel Meadows.  Neal Hill and I did the driving.  The first day we made it as far as the Burkhalter ranch on the Reclamation Road.  We were able to leave the cattle herd and our horses in their corrals and come home to sleep.  The next day we were driven by car to the Burkhalter’s and were on our way again.  Thanks to two very good stock dogs we were able to make it the rest of way on the road through the Targhee Forest to the cowboy cabin in Squirrel Meadows before sunset.  We slept in the cow herder’s cabin that night.  Early in the morning he cooked a good breakfast for us, except that the old bacon grease he used to cook the eggs in was rancid.  While riding our horses the 25 miles back home the next day we both got very sick in the stomach.  We would ride awhile, then get off and throw up for a while, then walk a while, and then repeat the whole cycle over and over again.  It was a memorable trip though, take it all around. 

I started working for Walter Clark (See p. 127) on his 1000 acre ranch in Highland when I was 14 years old.  As we had less land to operate and the other boys were getting big enough to do much of the work, it was decided that I could make some extra money for the family this way.  I got $100.00 per month and room and board. The money was turned over to my parents to use as they saw fit.  This was a great time for me to learn to work.  Walter was a good teacher and taught me how to operate the RD-4 Caterpillar tractor and other tractors and machinery he had.  I was taught how to repair and adjust the machinery when it would break down or wear out.  I got some experience in construction work as he was building his home, shop, granaries, and other farm buildings at that time.

After my father’s death in 1946, I stayed home and operated our farm with the help of my brothers.  We began also operating the Lee place which was State Land in upper Hog Hollow, which was about 120 acres.  There was a 40 acre plot in the southwest corner of this place that had never been broken out of native sod.  During the summer and fall, I used a WC Allis Chalmers wheel tractor and a two-bottom plow to turn this virgin sod into farming ground.  I may have the distinction of having broken up the last parcel of native soil in this upper valley.  We planted it, and the rest of the Lee place, into fall wheat the next year, and harvested it the fall of 1948, soon after we were married.

With this WC Allis Chalmers wheel tractor we were able to pull an eight foot disc, or 4 sections of harrow, or a 12 foot grain drill, or a 12 rod weeder.  We purchased an Allis Chalmers combine with a cutter bar of 6 or 7 feet wide.  We could pull it with this wheel tractor also.  There was a mower attachment for cutting hay, and we bought a side delivery rake.  We raised a variety of crops then on the irrigated farm: hay, wheat, barley, peas, oats, etc.  We hired someone to bale the hay for us, since we never did own a baler.

In November of 1947 we purchased a new Chevrolet 1 ½ ton heavy duty truck from Hemming Motor Co. in Ashton for $2,700.00.  During the winter months we built a new wood and steel grain bed on it.  We were able to haul grain, coal, hay, and all kinds of things with it.  It was wonderful to have a nice new truck to replace the very old one we had had for so many years.

SCHOOL DAYS

Since we knew we were moving to the Farnum home, we started school in Farnum at the beginning of the school year, even though we didn’t move until the month of November.  I started as a fifth grader, with Dorthea McLane as my teacher.  Ruth Marsden Bratt also taught that year, she probably was Lawrence’s teacher.  My sixth grade teacher was Margaret Moon (See p. 263); 7th, Jennie Ritchie; and  8th, Ruby Hammond Schofield (See p. 334, note Melvin Hammond, who is now a general authority of the church).  There are some good pictures, etc. of our classes and school house on pages 9-12 of the Homestead book.

There was a teacherage for the school teacher and his family to live in on the school acreage.  Also a horse barn or stable for people to put their animals in when they drove or rode them to school.  Their was an outdoor well with a hand pump to get our drinking water.  (See p. 411)  How we would get to school would depend on the weather.  Sometimes in the winter, it was with the traditional covered sleigh.  Other times we skied, or had our dogs pull us.  Sometimes we walked through the fields, or around the road.  It was about 1 ½ miles around the road from our house to school.  Occasionally we got to ride in a car.

All eight grades were taught in the same one room.  There were about 15 or 20 kids in the whole school.  Ardella Rogers and I were the only ones in our class as we graduated from the 8th grade in 1942.  There was a good sized room on the east half of the building that we used as a gym when it was too stormy to go outside and play.  I studied hard and got A & B grades in elementary school.

I attended the first semester of high school in Ashton, and then transferred to Rexburg, where I graduated in 1946.  Several of the young people from our area went to Rexburg High School about this time, because Ashton did not have seminary, band, typing, and several other extra-curricular subjects that many of us wanted to take.

On moving to Rexburg, I lived at the Beth Orme Archibald residence, rooming with Reo Archibald.  Then I lived at Hattie Muir’s place for a while.  Then I stayed at Mertie Mortensen’s on College avenue, (She is Max Mortensen’s grandmother).  The last year or so I lived at Lucinda Fisher’s boarding house where I got acquainted with Louis Rassmusen, Jack Strong, Hiram White, Boyd Stallings, Dean Fisher, Herbert Morris, Bill Egbert, who also lived there in the same house.  All these were homes of widows who took students in for board and room which was about $35.00 per month. 

I had a wonderful and growing time at Madison High School.  I met many very wonderful friends and was active in seminary, choir, stage plays, & played trumpet in band & orchestra.  I took the lead part in several school plays and was stage manager for 2 or 3 plays.  I was able to have our family car much of the time in the winter, as the roads up to the ranch were snowed in anyway, so my folks let me have it often.  I remember when my Dad and Mother would come to see me at school or the boarding house, that as they left they would both give me a kiss.  That was a surprise to my associates to see me give my Dad a kiss.  That was just normal procedure in our family. 

By the time I was a Senior, I had enough high school credits, as did several other students, that we were allowed to take some afternoon classes at Ricks College.  I was able to get a whole quarter’s worth of college credit earned that year.  I graduated from Madison High School in Rexburg, May 24, 1946.  

In September 1946, I registered at Ricks as a freshman and went to school there for two quarters.  So, with the credits I had earned at Ricks while a Senior in High School, I had a total of one year of Ricks College credit.  I then stayed out of school to operate the farm as my father had passed away earlier in June of 1946.

FRIENDS & RECREATION

Ashton, Idaho, was famous from 1917 to 1954 for hosting the American Dog Sled Derby.  It was held generally on February 22nd, which was George Washington’s birthday, a national holiday.  People came by the thousands to see it.  The Union Pacific railroad would bring people from the big cities of the east and other places across the country, in Pullman railroad cars, which furnished meals and sleeping berths right on the train.  They would pull into Ashton a day or so before the race and fill the town with people.  In addition, local people like us, and people from the western states came from long distances to watch the event. 

I remember going to Ashton with my parents as a child whenever it was possible, to see the dogs pulling sleds around the track going as fast as they could run.  This, together with my first hand experiences with Ed Smith the school teacher, and Lloyd Vansickle, who married my cousin Alta, made me want to have dogs pulling me too.  When possible, I would have my dog, Prince, pull me on skis, to school at Farnum.  All went well, until one day I came out of school and found my dog dying of strychnine poisoning.  I always believed that a man who lived nearby did this cruel deed. 

Sometimes in the winter, several of us would go down to the Fall River bridge, and with big treble hooks, snag a few whitefish, and bring them home to eat.  In the winter, their meat was firm and delicious. 

It was fun to go down on Conant Creek on webs or skis in the winter and hunt ducks.  Sometimes I went alone and had a great time.  Not often did we get any ducks, but just had a good time walking around the canyon, seeing what was there.  Once in a while you could see a snow white rabbit, or a weasel, just before it scurried off in the brush.  We would often go cross country skiing.  I remember skiing home from a party at Harold Bratt’s house late one winter night.  It was about 10 degrees below zero, but I bundled up in warm winter clothes, hat, and gloves.  By the time I reached home, to my surprise, I was actually sweating down under all those layer of warm clothes.  We loved to go out skiing in the moon light.  Sometimes you could see jack rabbits hopping along across the field in front of you.

In the springtime as the snow began to melt off of the fields, the ducks and geese would come out of the sky and settle down in the field to pick up the moist plump kernels of wheat or peas that had laid over the winter on the ground.  We would get the guns and try to sneak up close enough to get off a good shot.  I don’t ever remember bringing home any dead birds, but it was an exciting activity.

After we moved to the Farnum house and had electricity, we kids were given permission to use the old Maytag gas engine that had formerly powered the washing machine.  We built a go-cart and mounted this engine on the rear of it in such a way that it would furnish enough power to make the cart move along about as fast as you could walk.  If it had much of a load on it you had to give a push to get it started or aim it down hill.

I remember going to a music teacher, Belle Lupton’s, home for a party.  The party was for all her piano students.  As we were seated on either side of a long table eating a luncheon, the kids were trying to see who could outdo each other with the funniest story.  Just after I had taken a big mouthful of chocolate drink someone said or did something really funny.  Well, I burst out in laughter just at that moment and sprayed the contents of my full mouth across the table and made a direct hit on the person opposite me.  It was perhaps the most embarrassing moment of my life!  I really apologized to them.  I took piano lessons for about a year and then gave it up.  I did practice off and on through the following years and can play a few of the songs from the hymn book.

In the summer, Melvin Benson and I and other kids of the neighborhood would saddle up our horses, and go out to Hog Hollow, past the Roger’s Ranch.  We would take a lunch, stay all day, and pretend all sorts of things as we rode through the hills and vales.  We pretended that the little mound like hills were old Indian burial grounds.  We never found anything to substantiate that belief, but that was OK.  We would make willow whistles and toot on them.  We also had flippers that would shoot small pebbles at things as we went along.  These flippers were made of a crotch of willow or chokecherry wood, to which were fastened two rubber bands which ended with a leather pouch to hold the pebble.  It was great fun to see who could come the closest to a target.

We had two sorrel horses that looked very much alike.  They had white stocking feet that just matched each other.  Our father worked them as a fine looking team on the sleigh or trailer.  One of them was named “Ted” and he was my favorite horse to ride as a saddle horse.  I trained him to jump over poles that were not set too high in the air, and to let me rope calves from off his back.  I had a lot of fun and thought I was somewhat of a good cowboy when I was working with him.

When I was about 16 or 17 years old, I got permission to go in the late summer, on my horse Ted, 35 miles to the east and stay with my cousin Gene Hawkes, who was stationed on Hominy Butte, as a U.S. Forest Service Fire Guard.  I rode my horse, Ted, and wore a 22 pistol that I borrowed from my cousin Raymond Hawkes.  I thought I was ready for any adventure.   A few miles into the Targhee National Forest, I came around a curve in the road.  My horse gave a big snort and with his ears pointed straight toward some unknown object, started side stepping away, as fast as he could.  When I got control of him, I just caught a glimpse of a black mother bear and her two cubs hurrying off in the opposite direction. 

I rode up through Squirrel Meadows where I had helped with a cattle drive a few summers before.  Before dark I arrived at his cabin sight, only to see a little black object coming down through the grass as fast as it could run.  Yes, I thought it was another cub bear, but it was his little cocker spaniel dog.  Gene and I had two or three wonderful days together up on this mountain.  If you look at the Teton Mountain Range, Hominy Butte sits just in front of, and west, of Survey Peak, which is the northern most mountain of this range. 

Each day we would spend several hours inside the fire tower scanning the horizon for any signs of smoke that might indicate a new forest fire.  When we spotted any new smoke, Gene would immediately get on the phone and call headquarters and give them a reading on the instruments he had there to help locate the fire.  There were a lot of fires in progress that summer as it was very dry. 

I left very early in the morning the third day to come home.  I took a new route home down the Jackass Road, on past Walter Clark’s ranch, and home through Drummond.  When we got to the top of the hill south of our home in Farnum, and Ted saw that he was on the last stretch of the trip, he broke into a run, even though he was very tired from having travel 35 miles that day.  Home at last, I took off the saddle and he laid down in the dirt the way horses do, and rolled back and forth and then got up and shook his body vigorously to finish his dirt bath.

CHURCH ACTIVITY

My father was the bishop of our ward for two more years after we moved to our new home in Farnum.  While he was still the Bishop, he ordained me to the office of a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.  He was released Nov. 17, 1940.  He later ordained me a Teacher and a Priest as I became older. 

Our family was always very active in the church, holding various jobs and callings.  After my father was released as Bishop, he was called to serve on the Yellowstone Stake High Council.  Mother held many offices in the ward, including the Primary, Sunday School, and the Young Woman’s program.

During those years I was active in the Boy Scout Troop with Milton Orme as our scoutmaster.  I went to Treasure Mountain Camp of the Tetons each summer and earned my Brave, and Warrior rank in the Indian Lore program as a boy.  I remember the Legend of the Tetons given by Vernon Strong, Chief Rising Sun, our scout executive.  I earned the rank of Star Scout before our leader moved away.  After that there was no more activity in scouting in our ward. 

Through my teenage years, I slept in a bedroom in the northeast corner of the basement with my brothers.  I had a wooden chest/trunk that I kept my valuables in.  On the inside of the lid I fastened a picture of the Savior when he was young, perhaps a teenager himself.  Each time I would raise the lid to get something out, I would see His picture.  I am sure this gentle reminder had a positive influence on my life, and helped me try to continue to live a good life .

I had turned 12 on July 1, 1940, so I was able to go to camp and be initiated in Papoose Creek, which was having to lie down in the icy cold water that was only 18 inches deep, until I was completely covered, like being baptized, only you had to do it on your own.  My father was still Bishop that summer, so he went with us.  I was happy to be with him, especially as it was my first year at camp, and I had never been away from home alone as yet.  We hiked up Lightning Mountain, which was just north of camp.  I remember how tired and hot I got that day.  At the end of the week we had a special tepee ceremony where with others, I had a red feather stamped on my chest and received the rank of Brave in the Indian Lore program. 

During this same month on July 21, 1940, I received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a Deacon by my father Percy Smart Hawkes.  I was also installed as the secretary of the Deacon’s quorum in our Farnum Ward.  Later, I was installed as 1st counselor with Gerald Nyborg as President.  W. G. Baird was our Deacon’s Quorum Advisor, and Lee Angell was our member of the Bishopric.

I gained my first real testimony of the gospel at the age of 13 years old, while on the second year hike at scout camp.  Gerald Nyborg and I decided to be the first ones up on Table Rock mountain, as our troop made the trek that year.  He was first and I was second.  We went on over the Table Rock top and down a few hundred feet to Inspiration Point and looked straight down for almost a mile.  We could see a horse pack train below that looked just like ants crawling along they were so small.  We could look across the chasm to the east and see the Grand Teton mountain and the other peaks that form the Teton Range.  It was a marvelous sight!  As we climbed back up to the top of Table Rock and looked out to the west over the Teton Valley and the Upper Snake River Valley and the beautiful scene before us, I felt the Spirit of the Lord come upon me in such a way as to give me the feeling that God and Jesus Christ had made this beautiful earth.  With these thoughts also came the knowledge that the gospel was true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  I will never forget the impact of the feelings and the message I received at that time.  It has been a guide in my life ever since.  I thank the Lord for these beautiful mountains and have enjoyed going back many times to this same spot with other groups.

Back at camp again, I received my Indian lore rank of Warrior in another special Indian tepee ceremony administered by men who held the rank of Chief. This time I had the emblem of an arrow stamped on my chest.  (In later years as an adult leader I earned the rank of chief and was named Chief Hilltop.)

The third year at camp I went on the Golden Eagle hike which took two days.  We carried a pack board with a sleeping bag and food, etc. the entire time.  We camped up high on the Golden Eagle Pass that night.  I remember how delicious my can of chicken noodle soup tasted that night.  We slept on a huge flat rock, but were so tired we didn’t feel how hard it was.  On the way home, as I crossed the creek, walking on a big slick log, I slipped and fell down.  I didn’t fall off the log, but the sudden jarring, broke one of straps on my backpack.  The backpack slid off and fell down in the creek and was floating away down the stream.  I had to hurry across the log, and run down and fish my soaking wet backpack out of the stream.  Back at camp the next night, I was so hungry I ate, and ate, and ate.

August 10, 1941, I received my Patriarchal blessing at the home of Abraham B. Hillam, who gave me a most wonderful blessing.

As a young Aaronic Priesthood youth, I was asked to give a talk in one of our stake priesthood quarterly conference meetings.  My folks helped me prepare it well, and I was able to give it in a good way.  After the meeting many of the brethren and youth congratulated me and said I would make a good speaker when I grew up.  That made me feel very good. 

In 1944 I was called to be the president of the Teacher’s Quorum and served until July 15, 1945, when I was ordained a Priest by my father.  I was soon called as the second counselor in the YM Presidency in the Farnum Ward.  I had graduated from seminary in Rexburg on May 21.  H. Lester Peterson was our seminary principal.

The custom in those days was to hold a stake conference every three months.  We always had a general authority from Salt Lake City or one of the members of one of the general boards of an auxiliary.  I remember during each of those conferences of listening to the speakers and having thoughts go through my mind to the effect, that I would try to live a better life and do all I could to help roll forward the work of the Lord.  I would leave the conference built up and ready to live the best I knew how.

I was ordained an Elder and received the Melchizedek Priesthood by Ivan Crouch January 25, 1947.

In 1947, I was sustained as the President of the Young Men’s Mutual in Farnum Ward.  I attended the MIA June conference in SLC and stayed with Farrel Gunnell and family for those few days.  I rode the city bus system and had a really enjoyable experience.  Farnum ward was dissolved on January 11, 1948.  I was then resustained as YM President in the Marysville Ward and served there until 1953.

That year we decided to make a float for the 24th of July parade in St. Anthony.  We got a flat bottom hay rack on a 4 wheel trailer and built a scene of the crickets coming to destroy the crops, etc.  We had the growing crops and the crickets, with sagebrush around the edge of the trailer.  It looked quite authentic.  Several of us dressed up in old pioneer costumes and acted out the part of early saints in trouble with the crickets.  We won first prize!

Speaking of prizes, that is the year a girl named Bonnie Clark was chosen as Yellowstone Stake Centennial Queen.  She was dressed up in a white gown and rode on a special float built for her and her attendants.  I had met her at Ricks College the winter before and taken quite a liking to her.  So of course when her float went by, I was all eyes for her and didn’t kill many crickets for a while.

As we were courting, Bonnie and I sang in the Yellowstone Stake Choir.  We enjoyed going to practices in the old tabernacle.  E. O. Rich was the director.  It just happened that the soprano and tenor sections were seated side by side.  We made sure that we were seated right on the dividing line of the two sections in such a way that we were right together.  This drew some interesting comments from the other singers and Bro. Rich.

(See pages 1 to 6 for a year by year record of the Farnum Ward.)  The ward finally became so small in numbers because of families selling their farms and moving away that on Jan. 11, 1948 the ward was discontinued and the memberships sent to the Marysville ward. 

I had planned to go on a mission when I reached the age of 19.  By then, and being the oldest child, I was taking my father’s place in the family farm operation.  Mother and I talked it over with one of the general authorities as he came to a stake conference in St. Anthony.  He said under the circumstances, he would advise me to get married in the next few years and then later on in life when my children were grown, I could take my wife and go on a mission as a couple.  Well, that is the way it turned out!

In my mother’s personal history, she made this statement, “Blaine has had all the privileges of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he also has enjoyed the blessing of being able to understand and accept truth.”  I do thank my Father in Heaven for my very good parents, and brothers, and sister, and for being able to be a member of His church and take an active part in it.

COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE

It was while sitting in a Ricks College class in November 1946, that I just happened to notice the profile view of one of the sweet young things on the other side of the room.  I was impressed with what I saw, and asked Margaret Lewis, who I knew as President William J. Lewis’ daughter, to introduce me to her.  Well, she did, and I found out the girl, Bonnie Marie Clark, was from St. Anthony.  I had met her older sister, Betty, before somehow, or knew who she was, but I had never seen Bonnie to my knowledge until we met at Ricks College.

After getting better acquainted with her at a Ricks College Girl’s Dorm open house evening, I decided that I definitely wanted to date her.  The only problem I had in doing that is that several of the seven other boys that lived with me at Fisher’s Dorm, got the same idea about the same time. 

I had our family car during that period of time and we eight roommates would all crowd in it, and go to a dance or whatever activity was going on.  To limit the competition I was having, I said one night as we were going to a dance in the 4th Ward church building by Ricks College, “let’s all meet back out here in the car after the dance, and go home together, and don’t bring any dates along, because there is no room for anyone else.”   All went well as planned, we were all in the car after the dance except for Bill Egbert.  So, we waited a while for him to come.  To my surprise he finally came out of the building with Bonnie on his arm, walked right over to the car and they both got in the back.  Then he had me do the driving while he took her home to the Girl’s Dorm.  I had to wait out in the car while he walked her in and said goodnight.

You can bet when we got home the two of us had a long talk.  I told him that I was serious about dating Bonnie and maybe more serious than just dating.  He informed me that he had the same intentions, and so may the best man win.  Well as luck would have it, he was on the Ricks College basketball team.  A few days later the team went on an extended tour up into Washington and Oregon and stayed for a couple of weeks.  As you may guess, while he was gone I got busy, and by the time he got back he was too late. 

Bonnie had quit school and gone home to work as a secretary at the Associated Seed Co. in St. Anthony, as her sister, Betty, was quitting work to get married.  Anyway it all turned out in my favor.  On December 1, 1947, I took Bonnie for a ride in our brand new 1947 Chevrolet 1 ½ ton farm truck we had just purchased.  I gave her an engagement ring, and she accepted.  We then drove back into town and found her parents in the Rialto Theater seeing a picture show, sitting down on the very front row.  We just went right in and Bonnie showed them the ring.  I did get in a bit of trouble with them for not having asked their permission first.  But, I talked my way out of that.

We set our wedding day for July 21st and arranged for Betty and Morris Waddell to go through the temple with us the same day.  We continued to have a good courtship through the next few months.  On my birthday July 1st, while still at Bonnie’s home after a date, her mother said, “You don’t look so good, you had better stop at the Doctor’s office on your way home and have him check you over.”  It was true, I didn’t feel so well.  I stopped in Ashton and went over to Dr. Kruger’s home as it was after hours.  He checked and poked here and there in my midsection.  Soon he told me to call my mother out to the ranch, and tell her I would be staying in the hospital in Ashton that night and would be having my appendix out the next morning.  Not to good of a birthday present!

Later, I asked the Doctor if we should postpone our wedding plans for July 21st.  He assured me I would be OK by then, but he was wrong.  I was still quite sore and tender, but we went ahead with the wedding plans anyway. 

We were married July 21, 1948, in the Idaho Falls Temple.  We both received our endowments that day, and then were married by the president of the temple, David Smith.  Betty and Morris were also sealed together that same day.  After the weddings we all went over to the Hotel Rogers east of the temple in Idaho Falls and ate a fine dinner together.  We ordered trout. When Bonnie saw those trout eyes looking up at her, she would not eat the fish.  So, I had two trout and drank a lot of water as I remember.

We took the family car, a Plymouth 4 door sedan, and pulled a small travel trailer that my cousin Ray Brown loaned us, on our honeymoon.  We went to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.  We had a very good two week trip and returned home to the ranch in time to start harvesting the winter wheat out on the Lee place.


Home + Historical Summary + Horseshoe Flat Decade + First Ten Years in Farnum + First Home on the Farm + First Quarter Century + Golden Years + Ancestry from Adam Hawkes + College Credits + Tribute to Bonnie + Humor + Tribute to Walter + Percy & Ida Hawkes Farm  + Contact

 If there are any additions or corrections that would make this more complete please send them to  P. Blaine Hawkes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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