Oral Histories

Deone Skewes

b.1920

Deone Skewes

A: Mr. Green was one of the founder’s of Moab’s First National Bank.

Q: He was the banker that supposedly carried a gun?

A: Yes. That was Harry Green. And, so they were two of the towns pillars. My grandfather also was. He built the big Ranch House down there — or had it built.

Q: Well, then your father was the Sheriff?

A: Yes.   Dad was a newcomer though. He came from California.

Q: Oh. An outsider.

A: This was in the early 1900s. He and his father were interested in the big Indian mines.

Q: Oh, he was involved in that?

A: Yes. And he met Mother.

Q: The Indian mines, when there were copper mines out here?

A: Yes.

Q: Not the uranium?

A: No, uranium they didn’t even know about then. They knew about it but they didn’t think it was worth anything.

Q: Well, we have pictures of the copper mine established when it sounds as though they got it all fired up but it never produced a lot of copper.

A: It didn’t. It wasn’t too successful. I know there was Senator Smoot, Sen. Reed Smoot, way back and his brother Harlow, who they called Brownie, and they were friends of Dad’s. Dad was sort of a foreman out there.

Q: Was he also Sheriff at the same time?

A: Not at the same time. He became Sheriff a little later.

Q: According to Grand Memories or something, he led this hazardous life as a Sheriff and then he was out climbing in the orchard and he fell.

A: Out in back of the house. He was up in a tree, pruning at the ripe old age of 72 and Mother went out to tell him to stop it and get out of that tree immediately. She went back into the house and apparently he fell out of the tree. Two little school boys saw him fall out of the tree. 

Q: Did the fall kill him or did he have a heart attack?

A: They don’t know whether he had a heart attack and fell and broke his neck or whether he had a heart attack in the tree and … they didn’t know which came first, you know.   Anyway, these two little boys, I believe one of them was Tom Stocks came running in our back door to the telephone. Mother didn’t know what these kids were doing in her house.

Q: Were you there?

A: No, I was in Salt Lake. And, of course, they were calling the equivalent of 911, whatever that was then, you know. But that’s what happened to Dad.

Q: So, Dr. Allen came over to see him.

A: Oh, you bet. Dr. Allen made house calls.

Q: Was your mother worried about his being a Sheriff ?

A: Oh yes. There were some pretty touch and go things happen here. You know there, at one time, there were two escaped prisoners from the penitentiary, they were also murderers. They were in there for murder and robbery. They escaped and came down here. Dad caught them and things like that you would be bound to worry. But he had some wonderful experiences.

Q: So how long was he Sheriff, more or less?

A: I think over 22 years.

Q: Oh quite a while. So he was out at the copper mine before that?

A: Yes. That was early on, you know. Before 1910.

Q: Was he an Engineer?

A: No, he wasn’t.

Q: So, do you have any dogs or cats or birds?

A: No. Allergic to feathers, fur all that sort of thing.

Q: But you have plants?

A: I have plants and cross words, you know.

Q: You like cross word puzzles?

A: I don’t have pets. You just get attached to them and you die.

Q: Well, you got any comments to make about Moab at this stage ?

A: Well, not really. Not really. I will say it is not like it used to be.

Q: Well, it sounds like when it used to be so small that everybody knew everybody and trusted everybody.

A: Yes.

Q: What about the economy? Lots of t-shirt shops and have you gotten involved with the people in the river running or the biking?

A: They didn’t bike then.

Q: No, but I mean now. Are you involved?

A: Not in a thing.

Q: Do you think it is a good thing to have instead of mining,

A: Well, there is going to be something.

Q: Well, there has gotta be something.

A: And, I guess the biking is alright.

Q: As far as the Council members, three or five or seven, County Council Members, do you care how many there are?

A: No, I really don’t. Because they will do whatever they want whether I like it or not.

Q: Oh well, you can vote for the ones you like.

A: Oh, I always vote.

Q:   Oh that’s good.

A: Yes. I always vote.

Q: So you are in the City so you vote for the City people too?

A: Yes.

Q: Well, both the City and the County have gotten managers since the early days. So, I suppose any town that gets big enough they have to have somebody to run things.   Aside from the elected people who make the decisions.

A: Well, I suppose.

Q: It’s nice to have a business manager, I guess.

A: I can remember the days when people did that sort of thing for no salary and just out of civic pride.

Q: And I suppose, maybe the council members divided up the chores of what to do and did it.

A: Yes. Those days are gone.

Q: How do you explain that?

A: I don’t know. Maybe it’s called growth, I don’t know.

Q: Do you think the people have changed as far as free work?

A: Some individuals have changed a lot, you know.

Q: Well, you played the piano for free, except you played for dinner, but outside of that…

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