Back to Table of ContentsThe Horseshoe Flat Decade 1928-1938


This part of my life history will cover the ten years from my birth to the time my parents moved to Farnum.

I, Percy Blaine Hawkes, the oldest child in our family, was born July 1, 1928, at Logan, Cache County, Utah.  My father is Percy Smart Hawkes and my mother is Ida Weyerman Hawkes.  I weighed 10 lbs., height 22 ½ inches, dark brown eyes, and brown hair.  Due to a serious streptococcus infection my mother suffered incident to my birth, we lived with my grandmother, Sarah Ann Hawkes, in Logan, the first nine months of my life.  After a priesthood blessing by Elder Matthew Cowley, my mother recovered after being very ill for about eight months following my birth.

HOME LIFE

In the spring of 1929, my parents left Logan and traveled with me to their dry farm home in Horseshoe Flat, located two miles southwest of Drummond, Idaho.  My father operated the 320 acres that his mother and father had homesteaded, plus parcels of State Land, making a sizeable farm with crops of grain to sell for a cash income.  We lived in the two room log cabin, my grandfather, Joshua Hawkes built about 1898 as they homesteaded    the land.  (Note: this history will have various page # references from the book Homesteading and Pioneering in the Upland Area between Fall and Teton Rivers, see pages 403-405 for homestead information.)

During the summer of 1929, my parents took me with them on a trip through Yellowstone Park.  We camped, toured the park, and had a wonderful time for about a week.  I was too young to remember any of the details of this trip, but I wonder if some of the sights and beauty we saw didn’t stay with me.  Perhaps that is why I still love to be out in nature so much.  I still get a great thrill as I am privileged to go to places like Yellowstone Park, Teton National Park, etc.

My brother, Lawrence Weyerman Hawkes, was born at home October 31, 1930, with Dr. Hargis attending.  Lloyd was born March 29, 1933, at Logan,  Norma Ruth was born August 17, 1936, at Logan.  As the family grew in numbers, a small bedroom was added on the east end of the cabin.  To make it still more comfortable, a two room frame house from the Cazier place was moved over and attached to the west end of the cabin.  (This two room frame addition was moved again years later and became the first home of Albert and Reva Whitmore.)

Our house and yards were on the east side of the road, two miles south of the Baird corner.  In front of the house was the Joshua Hawkes well.  It was about 35 feet deep and had been dug by hand in one day.  In the earlier days, after hauling water from Conant Creek for many years, the local neighbors all got together and selected this most likely spot to find water.  They were lucky and found it in just one day.  It was the only well for several miles and people stopped by as they traveled the road to fill their barrels, and containers, or to just get a cool drink of good water.  As a child this was our only source of culinary water.  We also used it to keep our dairy products cool.  Milk, butter, cream, eggs, etc. all were lowered on a rope to the water level where it kept things fresh and ready to use. 

Another way we had to keep things cool and to make ice cream during the summer, was to preserve the deep snow that drifted over the bluff to the south of the house.  This was done by covering it up with straw in the springtime just before it was ready to melt.  If covered properly it would last most of the summer for our use.

My mother was a very good housekeeper and homemaker.  Before marriage she had taken some training toward becoming a nurse.  The skills she had came in very handy in our home and also in the surrounding neighborhood.  Our home was located in the bottom of a very fertile low spot and was ideal for raising a good garden.  Mother not only raised many varieties of garden vegetables for our use, but planted many  beautiful flowers in and around the yard.  I can still vividly see the hollyhawks standing tall around the garden with the tiny hummingbirds poking their beaks into the flowers to get the nectar.  We also had golden finch and bluebirds in addition to the more common crows, blackbirds, hawks, sparrows, and etc. 

Mother did a variety of pioneering and homemaking chores such as: making soap, curing pork meat, canning/bottling fruit and vegetables, making bread & cottage cheese, making clothes and quilts, washing and hanging up clothes on the fence or wire line.  I remember watching her use two carding combs to card the wool from sheep to use as a wool bat in the quilts she made.  Speaking of quilts, one night mother came into our little unheated bedroom on a very cold night and asked if anyone wanted another quilt on their bed.  My younger brother said, “No, I am cold enough, I don’t want to have to warm up another quilt.” 

We were taught the gospel and how to be honest, virtuous, and get along together in the home.  We had a blessing on the food at meal time, and family prayer night and morning, each taking our turn at leading the prayers.  We were taught the stories from the Bible and the Book of Mormon on a regular basis.  We had Family Night that is similar to the present Family Home Evening of today.

We stored our root vegetables and some bottled food on shelves in an underground storage cellar just east of the house.  One day my father came in and told us that there was a baby alligator out in the root cellar.  He said he had captured it and put it in a glass jar.  We were apprehensive but inquisitive.  We crept down the cellar stairs and found as he had said, this very much alive creature.  That was our first experience with the very common salamander.

We had a wooden granary in which we kept a supply of seed wheat for the next year’s planting.  In the fall season after the pork meat was cured, smoked, and wrapped in waxed cloth, it was stored down in the center of the bulk wheat bin.  It kept very well until we needed it to eat during the winter.  Then we would go out and reach our arm down through the loose bulk wheat, until we found a piece of wrapped meat.  Back in the house we would take off the wax cloth wrapping, and with a knife scrape off any mold.  If the meat was too salty, it would be washed and soaked in cold water for a while until it was ready to be cooked.

Family tradition has it that when I was very young I would go out in the chicken coop, find and then eat those delicious black stink bugs that infested the building.  I guess there were worse things that lay about in the coop I could have eaten.  I do remember the barn with the hay pile nearby, and the outhouse with the two size holes.  Yes, my brother Lawrence, did somehow get himself stuck down in the area below the biggest hole.  It was with great difficulty that he was extricated and cleaned up.  I’ll tell one on myself right at this point. My mother was having a very difficult time trying to potty train me.  I was getting old enough to know better she said, so she warned me the next time it happened it would be up to me to take care of the whole problem by myself.  Well, it happened!  She said, “Ok, you go get the round bathtub we take our weekly bath in by the kitchen stove.  Put some of this warm water in it.  Then take the messy clothes off and clean yourself and your clothes in the tub of water.”  Needless to say, that was the last time I ever made that mistake.

In about 1933-34, a cloudburst came through our area while we were all away to town.  When we came home we discovered that a great flood of water and mud had come down through the swale where our house stood.  It had come into the house and left several inches of mud all over the floor.  The water had been about two or three feet deep, but had somewhat subsided.  It had filled all the cabinets and chests of drawers full of muddy silt and stained whatever was inside.  After a long hard clean up period, my father built a dirt dike around our whole place on three sides and back uphill toward the barnyard buildings so that the floods could not hurt us again.

We always had a fine Christmas tree that we had gone out in the forest, or over on the river bottom, and cut down and brought home.  We had a joyous time exchanging the gifts from each other and receiving something from Santa Claus.  In those days there were no electric lights to buy to put on the tree.  We didn’t have electricity as we know it today.  We had a windcharger up on a high tower near the house.  A propeller caught the wind when it was blowing and turned the shaft on a small generator that would charge up a battery.  From the battery we could have a light globe in each room as long as the wind blew enough.  Anyway, to decorate the Christmas tree we used strings of popcorn, some ornaments, and real wax candles with a flame on them. 

On this particular Christmas Eve, about 1936, my brother Lawrence wanted to dress up and be Santa Claus.  So everyone joined in helping to outfit him with what we had on hand so that he would look the part.  He, of course, had a cotton beard and mustache covering his face, with only his eyes and nose showing.  As we proceeded to enjoy the evening, he came too close to the tree and the fire from the candles ignited the cotton on his face and costume.  All at once he was a ball of fire!  My father quickly threw him down and rolled him up in a throw rug to extinguish the flames.  Soon the fire was out, but it had severely burned the skin on his face and ears.  Mother had some tannic acid burn salve on hand.  She applied this to the scorched skin and we all prayed he would get better without having any scars.  Many weeks later he healed up and was blessed to not have any visible scars.

Lawrence seemed to be the one to have the bad luck at times.  On one occasion he somehow contracted scarlet fever.  He was very sick for some time.  The doctor came and treated him and put a quarantine sign on our house.  We were not able to leave our place or have anyone come there for two or three weeks.  Lawrence was now all better.  The doctor came again and checked us all and gave us a clean bill of health.  We then had to put on all clean disinfected clothes and go and stay with Chester and Neva French for two or three days while the officials came and fumigated our home and every thing in it.  When we finally returned, the house smelled funny for a few more days and finally the siege was over.

One winter the Roy Sloss family decided to go south for a few weeks on a vacation trip.  They asked my folks if they would stay in their home and watch over things while they were gone.  We would drive over to our ranch about a mile away and do the chores twice a day as usual, but spent most of our time in their home while they were gone.  It was located just under the bluff where Kyle and Arlene (Sloss) Farley live now in the summer.  I can still hear in my mind, the clear sound of the train whistle as it came over the cold winter air the 2 or 3 miles from Drummond.  Sometimes our folks would take us for a train ride from Drummond to Ashton or St. Anthony.  It was a thrill of a lifetime to ride the train! 

In addition to farming, my father was a very good carpenter.  He knew how to sharpen all kinds of tools and showed us how to do it.  He built many pieces of furniture, end tables, piano bench, etc.  He made wooden skis for us to use in the winter.  Father was also adept in music.  His mother died November 3, 1934, in Logan.  We were later blessed to have her upright grand piano in our home.  He was able to play familiar songs with both hands by ear.  He would just sit down and start cording around, get the melody started, and soon be playing very well.  We would all gather around and sing while he played.  He had a good sense of humor and always tried to see the bright side of a situation. 

When I was about 9 years old, Father bought a stringed instrument called a mandolin.  He learned to cord on it well, and we would sing along as he played it.  I had a desire to learn to play it also, so he taught me the cords.  I picked out a few cowboy songs and learned to play and sing them.  I thought I was part cowboy now, and so mother made me some chaps and a cowboy vest.  I dressed up in this costume with neckerchief and all, and they took my picture playing the mandolin.

The telephone we had was the old box style that hung on the wall.  When you wanted to call someone you stood up to it and cranked the handle on the side.  Soon the operator would say, “Number please!”  Then you would tell her the number of the person you wanted to talk to and she would ring it.  She would stay on with you until she was sure that you were connected to the party you had called.  We were on a party line.  That meant that there were several neighbors hooked up to the same line you were on.  When the phone rang, you had to listen to identify the number assigned to your home.  It may be a long and two short rings, or two longs and a short ring.  There were sometimes eight or ten people on a line, all with a different coded ring.  But, you all could hear everybody else’s phone ring.  In fact, if you wanted to, you could pick up the phone and eavesdrop in on the other people’s conversation.  Some people did just that, and seemed to know everything that was going on in the neighborhood.

OUR WORK ON THE FARM

The method of dryfarming in those days was to summer fallow one half of the farmland each year and plant the other half into wheat, barley, or oats.  Summer fallowing meant to plow the ground in the fall or spring and then disc or rodweed it whenever the weeds would appear.  This would keep any plant life from growing and using the moisture that had seeped into the ground from the winter’s snow and what rain came during the year.  We received about 12 to 15 inches of moisture each year on the average.  The soil is a volcanic loam and is of such a quality that it holds the moisture very well from one year to the next.  Using this method, it provided two years moisture for each crop that we would raise.  So, we rotated each piece of ground by planting one year and summer fallowing it the next year. 

Sometimes we planted winter wheat.  This meant that we would plant the wheat in the fall of the year usually in September, on the ground that we had summer fallowed all that summer.  The secret was to get the seed down through the few inches of dry dirt into the moisture that lay just below it.  My father, being a progressive farmer, took the advice of his Uncle James Webster on Rexburg Bench, and tried the first deep furrow drill ever used in our area.  It worked out so well that many of the local farmers followed his example and began using them.  Instead of planting the grain in rows 7 inches apart and not too deep, it would plant the grain twice as thick and deeper in 14 inch rows.  It left a deeper furrow that would also help collect the rain water and direct it down to the growing plants.  I loved to see the young wheat plants coming up out of the ground and stooling out to make nice thick rows.  (See early farm machinery p. 46-7)

As children, we had many opportunities to learn real work.  I remember a particular field of summer fallow with few weeds on it, and not worth going over with the tractor and rodweeder. Father suggested we take garden hoes in hand and spread out a few yards apart and walk around the field traveling in a systematic way around and around the field, killing the “now and then” occasional weed before it could go to seed and contaminate the rest of the ground.  In a matter of a few hours work we had the job done and saved much time and expense of doing it with the machinery.  Yes, we got hot and tired, but we knew it was the right way to do it under the circumstance.

At first we farmed with horses, the same way everyone did in those days.  When I was nine or ten years old, I remember driving several horses hooked together as they pulled a spiked tooth harrow.  As I was harrowing on a 45 degree angle crossways of the field, I had to be very careful of not turning the corners too sharply or the harrows would stand on end and scare the horses or tip over.  My mother was worried that I was too young to be out there alone doing that, but my dad thought I could handle the job alright and I did. 

As the grain grew and matured in the summer so did some wild rye plants.  As they would have ripened faster than the grain we planted, and the wind would have shelled out their seed onto the ground, we had to go in by hand and pull these plants up.  That was another case of walking a few yards apart down through the field of maturing grain and reaching out now and then to pluck out the offending plant.  There was no other way to do it.

We usually had good crops that would yield about 30 to 35 bushels to the acre, but once in a while the frost would hit the low spots, we called swales, and then the kernels would not develop in the head, and so nothing was there but chaff in the fall harvest.  We also had an occasional hail storm that would come through the area and pound the grain down and ruin it.  The biggest problem was the low price we received per bushel when it was time to sell the crop.  On one occasion, my father had several thousand bushels of grain in storage in the elevator in Ashton.  The price was extremely low but was coming up a little each week.  So, it was decided to wait a few months and perhaps get a premium price and be able to pay off all the bills and have some money on hand for the coming year.  All went as expected, the price did go up and up.  But all of a sudden, overnight, the price took a terrible drop, more than anyone would have ever guessed.  My parents were heartbroken over the money they had “lost.” 

As we lived on the end of an irrigation ditch, we sometimes encountered some trouble from the people who irrigated their land above us.  We did not irrigate our crops, but did use a few shares to irrigate the garden, and yards.  The rest of the water went across the road into a pond to water livestock, etc.   I remember on one occasion, a neighbor upstream from our place came down in a huff and accused my father of some imagined water misconduct.  He was a known rabble rouser, and said if my father would come out in the road on neutral ground that he would fight him.  My father called him by name and told him that he would not lower himself to come out and wallow in the dirt with such as the likes of him.  (My father had a good physique and could have easily beaten him.)  The man immediately calmed down and apologized to him.  They settled their differences and were on good terms from then on.

My grandfather Joshua Hawkes and several of his sons helped to dig the Conant Creek Canal from 1896 to 1903.  (See pages 25 to 28 and picture on page 47)  It was believed that crops could not be raised in this area without water, so with great effort over many years they dug the canal together with other farmers of the area.  Later it turned out that very good crops could be raised using the dry farm method, so many farmers including the Hawkes family, let their water shares go back to the company and relied solely on dry farming methods.

I remember in the summer of getting up very early in the mornings to go with my dad and brothers to the timberland 15 miles to the east to get loads of dry pine wood for fuel for the winter ahead.  We hooked up a team of horses to a 4 wheeled trailer that had been made from an old car frame.  Father was a very good woodsman and could cut a large tree down quickly with his sharp double bitted ax.  We enjoyed the trip because of the beautiful scenery, the picnic lunch, and just the adventure of being with our dad on that kind of a trip.  This wood was stacked in a huge pile at home.  Later, a man with a circular saw rig would come.  They would start the gas motor that turned the blade and then block up the wood, so we could split it to burn in our wood stoves. 

We had several milk cows, chickens, and pigs, in addition to the many horses which did the farm work.  After a few years my father bought a tractor.  First he had a wheel tractor with sharp steel lugs on the back wheels; then he bought a track type tractor.  (See early tractors on page 48-49)  We continued using the horses along with the tractors for many years.  We were able to ride some of the horses.

In the fall of the year after the crops had all been harvested, we had a community free range custom.  By agreement everyone would let their livestock loose to graze the countryside until winter came.  After arriving home from school, it was my job to ride one of the horses out and about the area listening carefully for the sound of the cowbell.  When and if I could find them, sometimes a mile or two from the house, the trick was to herd them gently back home to be milked.  As a result of this exercise, I became very fond of riding horses and of roaming around on the rolling hills and vales of the whole area.

After milking the cows, the buckets of milk were poured into a cream separator.  We took turns turning the handle that powered the gears that turned the centrifugal mechanism that separated the cream from the milk.  Like magic, the cream came out a spout at the top part of the machine, and the skim milk came out the lower spout.  There was much more skim milk than cream.  The skim milk was fed to the calves or pigs.  Also, Mother made cottage cheese from the skim milk.  The cream was stored in 5 gallon buckets and kept as cold as possible until we could deliver it to the creamery.  The usual method of delivering the cream was to take it to the railroad depot in Drummond, where it was transported by train to the Nelson-Ricks Creamery in Rexburg.  As we shipped the full cans out, our empty cans that had been shipped back were there waiting for us to pick them up and take home again.  The creamery company would send us a check regularly in the mail to pay us for the cream we had sent them.  This money was spent for needed groceries and other supplies.

I remember well the great bands of sheep that would be brought into our country after the crops had been harvested.  Each band would have from 1000 to 1200 sheep in it.  The band of sheep were followed by a sheep camp wagon.  It was something like a pioneer covered wagon where the sheep herder lived.  (See p. 298)  The herder always had a good horse or two and two or three good sheep dogs that were trained to herd and protect the sheep.  Once in a while my father would take us out to visit the sheep herder.  I remember how happy they were to see and talk to someone.  They would just talk and talk and talk because they were so lonesome for someone to visit them.  They would stay a few days in one location until the sheep had eaten all the feed that was available, then they would move on to another farm.  The owner of the sheep outfit always came by and paid the farm owner a little money for letting the sheep eat on his place.  Sometimes we would see 8 or 10 bands of sheep go through our part of the country in one fall.  Les Hill was one of the sheep owners. 

I remember the mountainous straw piles that were left in the field near our barnyard, from the great thrashing machines that came in the fall.  The farmers would cooperate together and help each other haul wagon loads of bundles from the field into the thrasher.  The wheat was sacked off the side of the thrasher and taken to market in town.  The straw was blown up into giant piles and used later to feed horses and some dry livestock that were not giving milk.  (See p. 41-43 & 51)  Sometimes the livestock were just turned out in the winter to forage from these straw stacks.  Then they would go to work and eat their way into the side of the stack, forming a huge hole or cave like place.  As a kid, it was great fun to go out and romp around in these straw stacks with the holes and caves and pretend all kind of adventures.

SCHOOL AT DRUMMOND

I started the first grade in the fall of 1934 in the Drummond Elementary School at the age of six.  Miss Dorothy Rogstad was my first grade teacher that year.  The next spring she married George Baum, who operated a local mercantile store and gas delivery business.  He delivered gas to our farm for the tractors and the car, etc.  (See p. 54)

I remember well my first day of school in the big three story brick school building on the southwest side of Drummond.  Our room was on the middle floor, in the center room, on the south side of the building.  I got out of my seat and did something out of order.  The next thing I knew, Miss Rogstad had me by the ear and was escorting me along back to my seat.  Well, I learned to be a good student, get good grades, and to mind my business in school.  Yes, I liked Miss Rogstad and still do.  On the positive side, I remember the teacher telling us that everyone who had a clean desk, inside and out for a whole week would get a very good gift.  I was surprised the next Monday to find I was the only one that had qualified.  The teacher gave me a model airplane glider with a string attached to the end of one wing.  By holding on the string I could whirl the plane around in a circle and it would take off from the ground, fly perfectly, and then land again.  I have never seen one like that again.  It really worked well. 

For good pictures of this school, my school classmates, and Miss. Rogstad, see page 14-16, in the book Homesteading and Pioneering in the Upland Area between Fall and Teton Rivers.  On the top of page 15, I am in the first grade.  The bottom picture shows me in the 3rd or 4th grade when Janice Jessen was my teacher.  My brother, Lawrence, is also on the front row and was in the 1st or 2nd grade. 

At recess we would go outside and play on the giant strides, swings, or other playground equipment.  When recess was over the teacher would come outside and ring a hand bell.  It was about 6 or seven inches in diameter and had a wooden handle on the small end of the bell.  If you behaved very well in school, on occasion you were privileged to ring the bell for the teacher.  Sometimes we would bring little toy cars, trucks, and tractors and play in the dirt.  If it were stormy we played ball in a big basement room on the north half of the building.  There was a room down there on the south side that housed the big coal furnace that heated up the water that went up through the pipes into heat registers that heated the building. 

One of the highlights of my 4th grade year was leading the rhythm band.  Glen and Lucille Baird had come to teach that year and were very good musicians.  They taught us to play the different rhythm instruments.  Two or three of us were also selected and trained to stand up in front of the band and beat out the time.  Page 16 shows the uniforms that we wore.  (I am not in the picture as it was taken the following year after we had moved to the Farnum School.)  Anyway, I remember in the School Christmas Program of 1937, that I got to lead two or three songs that the rhythm band played.  It was a thrill, even though I was quite nervous. 

The Christmas program and party was held upstairs in the big auditorium that had a stage and dance floor.  After the program Santa Claus came and gave out treats to everyone.  Then the chairs were lined up around the edge of the hall, Glen and Lucille Baird played the piano and drums while Frank Bratt played his violin.  We had a good community dance for several hours.

In the winter, we were transported to school in a canvas covered sleigh pulled by two horses.  (See p. 47, Mother & I ) It was like a covered wagon only mounted on a bob-sled or double bob-sled instead of wheels.  The interior of the sleigh had wooden benches down each side and a small wood camp stove with a chimney up through the canvas roof which provided the heat.  It was quite cozy inside as we drove along, listening to the crunch the snow made on the steel runners of the sleigh. 

This school bus, as it was called, would pick up the other neighborhood children as it progressed toward school and then bring us home again in the afternoon as school let out.  Who drove the school bus was determined by the men in the community submitting a bid to the school board.  The lowest bidder usually got the job for one year.  He had to provide his own sled, trailer, or car to pick up and deliver the kids to and from school.

The sled road or trail the horses followed was marked by slender willows cut and poked in the snow every 100 ft. or so at the edge of the road.  When the winter storms would come and blow away every trace of where the road had been, the horses and drivers could manage to find it by following the willow markers.  Sometimes the sled road was on the county road and sometimes it was out in a farmer’s field.  It just depended on the depth of the snow and which was the best route to take.  In the spring and fall we were taken by automobile or a four wheeled trailer, as the road conditions improved or deteriorated.

Sometimes if the weather was good, I would walk home alone the three miles from school through the fields in a southwest direction.  I loved to walk so I could pass by the east side of the cemetery hill, and then on south, so I could explore the groves of quaking aspen trees.  I could find where the deer had made their beds in the thickets and slept overnight.  Each grove was situated just north and under a bluff of ground that rose up 30 or 40 feet in the air.  I would go up through the thickest part of the grove where nothing had been before, pretending I was in a thick Amazon jungle blazing a new trail.  It was challenging and made me work hard to get through and up to the top of the hill.  I would come out a little scratched up but having the feeling of accomplishment.

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND FUN

It was in these years with friends at school and church that I learned to get along with others, and endure teasing from the older kids I met.  It was then I learned to know something about good and evil.  There were kids who had come from vulgar and evil backgrounds and also many who came from very good homes.  On rare occasions my folks would let me go and play at some of my friends’ houses.  I remember of playing in the dirt piles at their places with toy cars, trucks, tractors, and machinery.  Boy, it was fun making roads, bridges, etc. and moving the dirt around!  

John and Jim Brown, our closest neighbors lived just across the street to the west.  (See p. 112 Homestead Book)  John had married Ella Carlson, who in a previous marriage had several sons, one of whom was Raymond.  He was just a few years older than I.  We would often ride our horses together.  In the fall we would sometimes find a patch of wild chokecherries.  We would stop and fill a container and take them home, where my mother would can/bottle them whole.  Later, we would take a bottle of the canned berries to our wooden shack near the pond under the bluff, and on the little stove we had, we would scramble some eggs, cook some bacon, and eat a bottle of those tart but delicious berries.  Our shack was made by planting four poles like posts in the ground, and nailing old boards to them for sides and more boards across the top for a roof.  We had many a good time in this shack pretending it was a fine log cabin and enjoyed entertaining our other neighbor friends in it.

Up the road a half a mile or so, lived the William and Leona Miller family.  Bert was my age, and Betty Lou was younger.  Bert had a fine pony and a bicycle to ride.  If you would treat him just right, he would consent to let you ride his bicycle.  As we did not have one at that time, it was a great privilege to get to use it for a few minutes.

At the Baird corner up on the main east/west road lived Blaine and Ella Baird.  Bernis, their oldest child, was a year older than I.  She reminded me of Shirley Temple, the famous child movie star.  Actually, I was in love with both of them.  If I could see a movie with Shirley Temple in it, I was happy for several days just thinking how cute she was.  But, if Bernis would smile at me at school or church, I would forget all about Shirley Temple for the time being.  If I were sitting behind Bernis in church and she didn’t notice me, I would give a little tug on one of the long curls of her hair.  Then all I got was a frown. 

Across the street from Bairds, lived Hazen and Helen Hawkes and their family.  Margaret and Alta were several years older than I.  Emory and Gene were more my age.  We spent a lot of time with this family as they were related to us.  Hazen’s father and my father were half brothers in the Joshua Hawkes polygamy family.  So, as cousins, we did a lot of things together.  We went on picnics, fishing trips, etc.   We did not have the money to buy a lot of table games, so on one occasion we got some paper, cardboard, and other things together, and made a monopoly set, patterned after one that had been borrowed from someone else.  We had just as much fun with that or more, than if it had been store bought. 

Our favorite winter activity was being pulled on skis behind a horse.  One person would saddle up their favorite horse and then tie a rope around the saddle horn.  The person on skis would hold on the end of the rope and away we would go.  It was extra fun to build a jumping ramp of snow and take turns to see who could jump the farthest.  Sometimes we could jump from 20 to 30 feet depending on how high the jump was, and how fast the horse was running, and how good we were on skis.  When our parents would go to town or anywhere with the team hooked to the sleigh, it was fun to tie the rope onto the back of the sleigh and ski along behind.  If conditions were right we could weave back and forth across the sled track something like the water skiers do now days. 

Sometimes a big snow and wind storm would come and block the roads and railroads, and everyone was snowed in for several days or weeks.  (See page 36)  There were no snow machines or snow planes invented yet.  The only way to go was on skis or webs.

Instead of the plastic sleds and round flying saucers we have today, we would get the big grain scoop and slide down the hill.  We would sit or kneel in the wide metal scoop shovel part and have the handle sticking out in front of us as we tried to guide it down the slope.

In 1936-1937, Edwin O. Smith and his wife, Elda, taught school at Farnum.  We were not going to school there, but we knew them through our activities at church.  They became good friends of my parents and would occasionally come from the teacherage, where they lived by the school, to visit.  Ed Smith got interested in dog sledding that winter.  He took an old school chair and a pair of old skis and somehow combined them together and came up with a makeshift dog sled that would carry his wife and two young children.  That winter he would oft’times make the five mile trip from his place to ours with several dogs working in tandem, pulling him and his family to our place.  After a good visit, they would return home, sometimes in the dark.  That was the beginning of my life long interest in the dog sledding hobby.  I began to have my dog pull me on skis and later in life I had many full fledged dog teams.  My cousin, Alta Hawkes, married a famous dog sled driver, Lloyd VanSickle.  (See p. 34 & 188) Through the years, he gave me a lot of encouragement and instructions.

For fun sometimes we would go and walk across the railroad bridge north of Drummond.  (See p. 35)  We were told it was the highest bridge in the world when it was built in 1909.  It was later rebuilt using steel trusses.  It took a lot of courage to walk across the railroad ties that were spaced a few inches apart so that you could look straight down and see the Conant Creek running below you.  Also, there was the danger that a train might come along while you were out in the middle of the bridge.

On the 4th and 24th of July, we had a rodeo and celebration at the Farnum Church grounds.  East of the church, on about 2 acres of land, was a baseball diamond, and some holding pens for the calves that we used to turn out one at a time and see if they would buck or not.  Usually they did, and we were lucky if we didn’t get thrown off in the dirt.  We would practice at home in our own barnyard with the calves we had, so that we could do our very best in front of a crowd.  I remember riding calves in the rodeo a few jumps before landing on the ground.  Later, we would play ball, run foot races, have a pot luck lunch, and just have an all around good time with our friends.

With these celebrations we conducted a small parade, so that those who wanted to, could show off their horses, saddles, chaps and spurs, etc.  One summer, my mother made a wreath of yellow wild rose blossoms to put around the neck of the horse I rode.  It was beautiful, and I was the proudest one in the parade, unless it was my mother who watched from the sidelines.  I will always be grateful to her for making that day so memorable to me.

You would be interested to turn to page 122-123 of the Homestead Book mentioned earlier, and read more details of these celebrations and an Indian attack that happened one year right in the middle of the festivities.  (It even shows a picture of the Indians.)

OUR CHURCH ACTIVITY    

When I was five years old my father was called to be the Bishop of our Farnum LDS Ward.  The church house was four miles west of Drummond and also two miles north and two miles west of our house. (See p.2-5)  On many occasions I would go with him to church or to town in the sleigh or in our Model T Ford car.  (See p. 49)  I remember how when it was rainy weather, the roads would get soft and have deep ruts in them.  On one occasion, we were coming down the two mile lane from Baird’s corner.  My dad and I were going along at a good speed in a deep set of ruts.  I don’t recall the reason why, but all at once the car gave a lurch and went sideways and tipped over on its side in the mud.  We had to climb out through the now upside doors and walk home in the rain to get some help.  Later the neighbors came to our aid.  Four or five men put their hands down in the mud near the top of the car and with one big “heave ho,” stood it right up on its wheels again.  My dad got in and drove it home.

Five days after my eighth birthday, on Monday, July 6, 1936, I was baptized by my father in Fall River.  Stillman Whittle was renting Hans Nielsen’s farm by this river.  Stillman was my father’s 2nd counselor in the Bishopric.  There were 5 other kids baptized that day also.  We used to visit this family often and play around their outbuilding and farm yards.  I was confirmed the next Sunday the 12th of July, at the Farnum Church by my father Percy Smart Hawkes.

At the age of nine I was fortunate to be able to join the cub scout program in our ward.  I rode a horse the four miles to cub meeting and then home again, sometimes as it was getting dark.  My mother reports that often I would be singing so loud on my way home, that if there had been anything to be afraid of, I would have scared it away.

In those days we did not have custodians who would clean the church, build the fire to warm the building each Sunday, etc.  The Bishop and counselors and their families somehow ended up with that job.  Others would help on occasion, but most of the time we ended up going to the church to do these chores.  We had a huge wood stove in the meeting house on the main floor and a smaller wood heater in basement that would heat the classrooms down there.  The main floor was one big open room with a raised platform on the north end for those who were conducting the meeting and doing the speaking.  During class time, a series of curtains were pulled in such a way as to divide up the room into various classrooms.  It would take over an hour for the heat to come out and make the rooms somewhat comfortable, so if it were too cold, you were obliged to wear your coat for a while.  By the end of the meeting time, it was cozy and warm, and people would usually stay around and visit a while before making the trip home. 

The sacrament was served in trays much like the ones we use nowadays.  The water tray however, had small glass cups which had to be cleaned and polished each week.  Venna Bratt Copping gave me one of these small sacrament glasses that we used to use, as a keepsake, which I value very much.  It now sits in our china closet.

In those days and as now, we were often in need of a good rain storm to water the crops as they were growing in the summer.  On one occasion in a very dry year, it was decided to have a special prayer as church meeting was starting, asking the Lord to provide moisture for the crops.  William G. Baird, a prominent member of the ward, was asked to give the prayer.  He gave a wonderful prayer and did ask the Lord for moisture.  Before the meeting was over and people went home, a huge cloud bank came over and a great amount of hail came down, followed by some rain.  For a long time, people kidded Brother Baird, and told him to be more specific about what kind of moisture he asked for.

We had a good group of faithful saints in the Farnum Ward.  They enjoyed being together and had many activities, such as the Relief Society 17th of March socials, picnics, outings, and the like.   See pages 2-6 in the Homestead book for pictures of the church, and the people, and some of the activities. 

THE MOVE TO FARNUM

When I was 10 years old and starting the fifth grade, my father and my Uncle Acil Hawkes, decided to trade farms.  We lived in Horseshoe Flat and had a lot of land.  Some of the land we farmed was State Land and it was being put up for sale by some of our not too friendly neighbors.  We were not in a financial position to pay a big bid price for it, and Uncle Acil was.  He had a big beautiful modern home situated on 160 acres of deeded land nearer the school and church in Farnum.  About 40 acres of it was irrigated with pasture for livestock and a good yard of trees and out buildings.  The plan was that he would move up to the place we lived on and build a new house and granaries and improve the place with enough money that those who would bid on the State Land sale would not have enough money to pay for the improvements and still buy the land.  That is exactly the way it worked out.  It was a good trade for both families.  We had much less land, but we had a wonderful new modern home to live in.  On December 15, 1938, we made the move to the Farnum home.

In thinking back about this first ten years of my life, I am grateful to my Father in Heaven for allowing me to be born of such good parents, and to have had the privilege of being located in this most choice and beautiful part of the world.  It was there that I got my roots in life that formed my character and personality for the rest of my whole life.  I learned to work, to love my family, and to appreciate other people.  My activity in the church, the lessons taught in Sunday School, and hearing the testimony of those good people, gave me a strong foundation in the gospel on which to build a testimony later in life. 

The thoughts and record of my parents and brothers and sister, Norma, about their life and times during this period of time, are on pages 192-200 in the Homestead book.  Lawrence was 8 years old, Lloyd was 5, and Norma Ruth was 2 when we made this move.  This was a great time in our lives!


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