Personal histories of Ted and Zola Carlson as written by Zola Carlson and typed by Virginia Carlson with no changes to the text. Year compiled: unknown.
Personal History of Theodore Davis Carlson
I was born December 26, 1904, at the home of my Great-grandmother Sarah “Bob” Davis. My mother was Pheobe Jane Davis Carlson.
My father was in the sheep business at that time. At the time of my birth, my father came down with severe rheumatism. He was a good sheepman, but because of rheumatism, he sold his sheep. There was a mining boom at that time. He invested some money in a mine in Eureka. He made some money, so he invested all his money and lost it all.
My father purchased 15 acres and started farming. He built a one-room house with a lean-to on the back where the rest of his family was born; Eva, LeGrande, and Pearl. All four children used to sleep in one bed; two at the top and two at the bottom. He then built the home where LeGrande’s family now lives.
My mother was especially proud of our new home. It had three bedrooms, a kitchen, a front room, and a parlor. My parents always welcomed all our friends into their home. We had a player piano, and we all enjoyed entertaining our friends. My sister Pearl always said the piano was hers. When Mother died, she inherited the piano. After Pearl’s death, Eva purchased the piano from Pearl’s husband, Lew Osborne.
Our farm was not large enough to keep our family going. The high line canal was being built, so we purchased 30 acres of dry-land for $3,000 and planted hay. The next year we started to irrigate. The soil was loose, and it was very hard to handle. It was good soil, and the hay grew very well. The second-year we sold over $1,000 worth of hay from our second crop.
The next year, the grasshoppers came, and we thought we would lose our crop. We built a grasshopper catcher who took two ponies to pull it. It would catch two or three tons a day. We even got a herd of turkeys to eat them. After all this, we finally got a crop. This ground was very rocky. The whole family had to haul the rocks off. We needed a barn to hold the hay, so Dad, Gan, and I hauled all our lumber from Strawberry Valley, which took three days. It was very cold going up Spanish Fork Canyon. Ray Morby built us a large barn. Every year we would fill the barn with our first crop. Then we would have big stacks of hay in the field.
My father was doing very well, and we bought a new Ford Model T that had a self-starter. We had it about a month and one morning we went out to do our chores and the car had been stolen. We never did recover the car.
When I was a boy, I hauled beet pulp in the winter. This was used to feed the dairy cows.
My first job was working in Bingham Canyon building a cement highway for P. J. Moran. We had to dump five sacks of cement every five minutes all day long. We made about $20.00.
Every fall Dad and I would go up Payson Canyon to get our winter wood; Quaking Aspen. We would make the trip in one day. The binding pole that held the load on broke and hit Dad on the head and stunned him. This happened when I was coming down a steep hill. I was only about twelve. I was able to grab the reins and stop the horses. The Lord was with us this day. It was a terrifying experience.
When I was 21, my father and I bought 200 head of ewes from Bill Johnson. That winter we sent them on the desert with Lowell Mendenhall. They didn’t adapt to the desert. They didn’t do well or lamb well. We lost quite a few. We sheered them that year at Jericho sheering coral. After shearing, we drove them to Silver City. On the road to Silver City, a man hit the sheep with a truck. We lost about 20 head. That same spring, we bought 500 head of old ewes from Bill Brough. We lambed at the mouth of Water Canyon. It was poor lambing.
We hired Tom Baker to herd them for the first two years. We hired Dallas Davis to herd them for the next three years, and I moved camp and hauled supplies. That fall we brought the sheep home and put the sheep on our 30 acres. The sheep were bloated from eating too much green hay. We lost around 100 head. That winter we sent 300 head to the desert with Anderson Brothers from Fountain Green, Utah. The feed was poor, so we fed them corn.
On December 7, 1927, I married Zola Killian. We did not have much money, so I left for the desert on December 17th, and Zola went back to her family to live.
In the spring of 1928, we rented a house from Neilie Olsen and bought $500 worth of furniture to furnish two rooms on credit. We paid for the furniture that Fall when we sold the lambs.
Our first child Keith T. was born at home on December 25, 1928.
In 1929, The Great Depression came and money was tight, but we managed to get by with farming and running the sheep in 1930. In the first two years, we ran the sheep along Strawberry River. We had two good years. In 1932 we moved to Trout Creek, and we lambed there until the 20th of May.
In 1932 my Dad’s appendix ruptured at home. I was in the west desert by Eureka. He survived. There were no antibiotics then. He did go back to herding the sheep at Trout Creek that summer. I stayed in Salem and farmed. That summer on Trout Creek, Dad got tick fever and was a very sick man. He had to come home and was in bed for quite a while.
In the summer of 1934, he went back to Strawberry Valley. He had a heart attack and died. His horse and dog never left his body. A search party of 100 men from Salem searched for his body. This happened in August of 1934.
That fall I had all the responsibility of the sheep.
We moved to Aztec, New Mexico. We built a new home on the ranch around 1946. I hired a carpenter for $500. The outside was never completed. We lived on the farm, clearing trees, costing about $3,000. The Indians had a drought, and a partner and I bought 100 head of ewes from the Indians. We bought these sheep in the Spring and sold them in the Fall. I made a profit on this venture.
We sold the ranch in 1950 and moved to Springville, Utah. Before we moved, we had an auction sale. We sold machinery and cows. We sold everything but the tractor, corn planter, and four Holstein heifers. Two of the cows died after we got here from shipping fever.
We rented two homes while in Springville.
I rented 10 acres and farmed onions and celery. I then got a job at Geneva Steel in 1951. My job title was ingot shake out in the foundry department. I worked in this position for 19 years until my retirement in 1970. In the fall of 1954, Zola’s mother died, and we purchased the Killian home at 410 West 300 South, Salem, Utah, where we still reside.
Since moving to this home, I have made new improvements. New soil was hauled from the mountains and grass was planted in front. I put net wire fencing around 2.5 acres. We built a patio with block fencing. Ron and Gene helped with the cement and blockwork. The front porch was closed in to make a bigger front room and two bedrooms. A cement floor was added to the garage. Landscaping continues to improve each year.
While I lived in Salem, I was active in the Lion’s Club. I used to cook breakfast on Salem Day; which I enjoyed doing very much. Also, I was a member when the present Lion’s Club building was constructed.
I ran for City Council but was defeated by Allen Woodhouse. In addition, have always exercised my privilege to vote and have never missed casting my vote in elections. I used to count votes in the elections in New Mexico.
In December 1977, Zola and I celebrated our Golden Wedding anniversary. A reception for friends and relatives was held at the Ward cultural hall.
I was honored on my 70th and 80th birthdays by my children.
I have been retired for 15 years now and have enjoyed my retirement years. Also, I still farm ten acres of barley and corn and have 20 head of sheep along with caring for my 2.5-acre lot. I have enjoyed good health and always have some projects to keep me busy. Furthermore, I recently had cataract surgery on my eyes which has improved my vision.
When I moved to Salem, I became more active in the Church and quit smoking Camel cigarettes.
I was a counselor in the Elder’s Quorum. Additionally, I served as a counselor in the Sunday School and then became Superintendent of the Sunday School. Shirl Hanks was our Bishop at that time. This position really helped me grow as far as addressing the public. Later, I became the High Priest group leader and enjoyed my active involvement in temple work.
I spoke at Dallas Davis’s funeral. Also, I dedicated my brother-in-law (Ernest Neiderhauser’s) and my brother (LeGrande’s) graves.
I baptized my granddaughter, Lisa.
Personal History of Zola Killian
I, Zola Carlson, was born of goodly parents in Salem, Utah, on May 15, 1908, in a little red brick home. It was just south of the Ammon Stone home. It has now been torn down. My parents later moved up Loafer Street on the left-hand corner lot, just below the Salem Canal.
This was the happy childhood memories that I remember, lawn, pretty flowers, big barn, barnyard, and orchards with all kinds of fruit trees—apples, peaches, cherries, apricots, and prunes—which my mother always canned every summer for the winter supply. We also had black raspberries and red currants for jelly. I loved to help her pick the fruit for canning.
I, being the oldest girl in the family, with my brother Byron who was older than I, next was my brother Glen, Beatrice, Hazel, and Marjorie.
My dad had horses to do the farm work; cows for the boys to milk for family use, to drink, and to make butter. I would always watch my mother molding out the butter in 1 lb. chunks. I helped with the churning of the butter. The churn had a long handle we used to push up and down. I was always glad when the cream stopped splashing, and the butter came and left the buttermilk to drink. Mother always liked to serve buttermilk with little green onions and hot biscuits for supper in the summertime.
Dad always raised a good vegetable garden and chickens. We used to sell eggs to the store (Salem Merc) for groceries. Also, we could sell butter if we had more than our family could use.
We pulled our drinking water from a deep well with a bucket on the end of a rope.
Mother had a way to cook a chicken; cut up into small pieces and make a thickening to pour over it that was delicious.
Dad had an old white horse (Jim) for us to ride to take the cows to and from the pasture every morning and evening. When I got off him to let the cows in through the pasture gate, he always stepped on my foot if I didn’t watch it.
In the summer we worked on the farm and in the winter when we weren’t in school, we went sleigh riding and ice skating on the pond and also swimming in the pond in the summertime. I used to love to ride a bicycle down Loafer Street to the store to get groceries for my mother.
The winters were cold, and we walked every morning one mile to school on the hard-crusted snow.
We had a coal stove to cook with and a coal heater in the front room. We also had coal oil lamps for our lights at night. It was always my job as a girl to take out the ashes in the morning, clean the lamp chimneys every day.
I loved to go to my Grandma Killian’s house, who lived just one block North of us. She lived alone and I almost always stayed with her every night. She made the best homemade bread. I always hoped my mother would let me stay for breakfast, not all the time, but once in a while, she would. Grandma always used to invite our family to her house on Dad’s birthday—November 1.
We, as a family would most always be digging sugar beets on that day. Dad plowed the beets a row at a time, then we, both boys and girls, would top them; also Mother would help. Often they were topped and laid on two big rows, piled high. Dad would drive the team of horses and beet wagon down between and we would load them on the wagon by hand until the wagon was filled. Then Dad would drive them to the beet dump downtown where they would be weighed and dumped in a train and taken to the beet factory to be made into sugar.
Castella was a great place to go in the summertime. It was a resort up Spanish Fork canyon. I remember one Sunday, Dad hooked up the buggy and horse and put a small board across the front for Bea and me to sit on. Then Dad and Mother would sit in the seat, and we went up to Castella to spend the day. Oh, it was such a fun trip.
Raising sugar beets was one of the main crops Dad raised in the spring. We would have long rows to block with a hoe and crawl on our hands and knees to thin them. We used to make knee pads to keep our knees from getting so sore. My brother Byron was a fast thinner. He was always in the lead. I used to get discouraged so far behind that he would say, “Hurry up and I will help you.” So he would “thin” back down my row to meet me.
We always tried to make enough money thinning beets for the other farmers, after ours was finished, to spend on the 4th of July. That was the day when we could have all the goodies, soda pop, ice cream, popcorn, and candy we wanted.
Now, as I was growing into my teens, after graduating from the ninth grade in Salem School, we would go to Spanish Fork to high school. We had to walk down Loafer Street to the train station to catch the train to take us to Spanish Fork to school. The Junior and Senior Proms were the two big dances of the year. I loved to go to those because I always got a new dress for the dances. Mother always made my clothes. She was a good seamstress. We used to go in big crowds to the dances, a carload of boys and girls. We used to change dances with all the fellows. Dancing was a great amusement.
Then my Dad and two other men (Ross Hanks and Roy Taylor) bought the Salem Show House from Andrew Peterson. It was when the silent pictures were here. I sold tickets at the show house. We always had the shows on Saturday nights. There was a player piano, and popcorn could be bought at the Salem Merc next door. A big crowd, laughing and good times for all.
At this time, I met a young man named Theodore (Ted) Carlson, who had a Model T Ford to take me in. And could he ever drive fast, especially up and down Loafer Street… My mother always feared for me to ride with him.
Then one night while we were at the show house and my brothers were at home doing the chores, our house caught on fire and burned to the ground. My mother was thankful to the Lord that it happened before the boys got in bed and that they were safe but exhausted from carrying all they thought was valuable from our house.
We had to stay at our Aunt Martha’s house that night. The next day my Dad put up a tent to put our belongings in and then rented a house nearby for us to live in.
Now I was courting Ted more and more and soon became engaged to be married.
On the 7th day of December 1927, we went to Salt Lake City to be married in the Salt Lake Temple. Just the two of us caught the early morning train to take us up to Salt Lake. After we had been married, Aunt Margaret and Uncle Tony invited us to their home for supper. We stayed that night in the New House Hotel and came home the next morning on the train.
My husband was in the sheep business with his father, and after a week of married life he went out to take care of the sheep, and I stayed with my folks. When he got a chance to come home, he rented two rooms for us to live in. He then bought all new furniture for the two rooms which consisted of a bedroom suite, rug, and curtains, kitchen stove, breakfast set, cabinets, floor covering, and curtains. I was so happy to have all these new things to start housekeeping with.
This house was on the East side of town. A year later in this house, our first son (Keith) was born. We lived there for about five years, then moved just north of the church in the old Engberg home.
Keith was the first grandchild on both sides. Moreover, he was not five and a half years old, and twins were born to us (Duane and Blaine). Keith was so happy to have some brothers; he felt alone with his father gone so much of the time taking care of his sheep.
My mother and sisters helped me care for the babies. They were a big chore until they were two years old; from then on they were a joy and fun for both Ted’s family and mine. Grandparents on both sides love to spoil them. They were adorable, and everybody loved them. They were always putting on a show for the family.
Grandpa liked to see them put on the boxing gloves and invite a crowd to watch them. He also liked to watch them make paper airplanes and throw them in Grandma’s light fixtures. Then they would have to stand on his shoulders to get them down before Grandma came. They also danced across the stage for Santa Claus to get a bag of candy.
Grandpa Carlson used to come every day to play ball with Keith and take him in the car with him. He always told me how smart he was.
When Blaine and Duane were four years old, we moved across the pond in a house that we rented for $10 a month. It was here that Keith learned to milk a cow. We had a small barn and three head of cattle.
One night I told Keith he would have to learn how to milk a cow because Ted was away with the sheep and it was hard to get someone to do it for me all the time. Keith came back from the barn with a bucket of milk. I was talking to a man by the name of Jack Eastman, a fellow that bought sheep pelts from my husband. He said, “That boy sure knows how to milk a cow.” And I said, “how can you tell?” He told me by all the foam that was on the top of the milk. So from then on Keith’s job was to milk the cow until we had five head and Ted sold them.
This herd of cows started from one young heifer my father gave us when we got married as a wedding present.
Now that we lived close to the pond, Blaine and Duane were always the first kids to walk on the ice when the pond froze over. One day a man came to the door and asked me if I knew the twins and Don Cole were out on the pond in a boat without any oars?
Their daddy was still kept away from home with the sheep, so with the three boys to care for, I was kept busy. Then when Blaine and Duane were six years old and ready to start school, we were blessed with another son, Eugene.
All the neighbors felt sorry for me because I didn’t have a girl. But since the three other boys were in school, I was happy with the new baby to care for.
We always looked forward to the summers so we could go to the mountains to be with Ted. The boys liked the outdoors life as did my husband. There, Keith would bring the horses to camp for his Dad, and we all had horses to ride. My husband now had a 1,000 head of sheep; which kept him busy the year around. In the desert in the winter and mountains in the summer. Range conditions were getting worse.
We now bought our first home. It was up on Loafer Street (the old Albert Taylor home). My husband remodeled it, fixed it really comfortable and on the ten acres of land joining it, he built a new barn, and chicken coops. The twins also had a little white pony named Tony that their Grandpa Killian got for them from Uncle Floyd.
The boys were growing up, and one more son was born to us, Ronald. When Ronnie was 1 ½ years old, my husband couldn’t get enough range for his sheep to summer on. So he sold our home and property in Salem, 30 acres of land, 80 acres of dry-land which he bought from Uncle Tony Engberg and the sheep herd. All he kept at this time was the dry-land, and we moved to Aztec, New Mexico to buy a larger sheep outfit.
When we left Salem in the Fall of 1942, Keith was in the ninth grade, Blaine and Duane were in the fifth grade. My husband was very happy with his new sheep outfit. We liked our new home. The boys made new friends. We all made new friends and neighbors, and everyone was really nice to us.
There was only one thing that was missing in our lives, that was we found ourselves in a town with only three Mormon families, and the nearest Mormon church was in a town fifteen miles away. For the first time in my life, I found out how much the Mormon church meant to me. I took the boys and drove to Farmington, New Mexico, fifteen miles away to attend church. I’ll never forget the feeling I had, even though I didn’t know a soul in there, I felt at home.
Blaine and Duane were called “The Little Mormon Boys” at school and Keith’s closest friend was a Methodist. There was every other kind of church in town you could think of except an LDS Church.
Soon LDS families from Arizona were moving in, and it wasn’t long until a small branch was started in Aztec. We held our meetings in the O.D. Fellows Hall.
We had cottage meetings in our homes, and soon we were like one big large family holding all the organizations in the church, with everyone busy. The members were all active and happy.
Now a new son, Gerald, was added to our family. He was a happy and good-natured blonde-headed little boy. As he grew up, Keith was his pal and went with Keith everywhere. Grandma Carlson came out to help us when Gerald was born.
At this time, we had moved from town out on the ranch (160 acres of land). We were all very busy with all the livestock to feed and care for, the crops to plant and harvest.
The oldest boys were in High School, Gene, and Ron in grade school. The boys rode the school bus five miles into town to school.
Fruit to can meals to cook, and the family to care for kept me busy. The boys loved the life on the ranch—lots of space for them, horses to ride, ducks to hunt. Down on the river was a place to hide Easter eggs and have picnics and fun among the big cottonwood trees on the river bank.
I was now expecting my seventh child—it was Christmas time, and I hoped to be home with my family for Christmas. Keith’s birthday was Christmas day and his Dad’s birthday the 26th, so I wanted to be at home.
Christmas was over early the next morning, I went to the hospital, and we were blessed with a baby girl born on her father’s birthday. She had six brothers waiting for her at home.
At that time, she was the only girl baby born in the hospital, all the rest were boys, so they called her the “Little Queen.”
I was happy to have a daughter. I always thought if one doesn’t give up, they will get what they want, so at last, we had a little girl to adore and love.
But, oh, what a time she would have. The boys to tease her, and that they did. The younger boys would as Duane and Blaine were enough older that they would stick up for her when the others teased and hurt her. They loved and adored her. She used to cry for them to come and help protect her.
At this time our oldest son, Keith was called on a mission to Old Mexico. He left when Marilyn was only two years; he didn’t know his little sister.
With Keith in the mission field, we all had to work hard to keep him there. But we received many blessings and looked forward to his letters.