Oral Histories

John William (Jack) West


Jack West

Well, being the first farm out of the Jordan narrows, it put the farm at the end of the road that was into that area. It followed the canal bank most of the way from the end of the Redwood road into Bluffdale. It just followed the canal bank out to the farm. And that was the end of it. The farm next to us on the north was where mother had lived. Dad was on the one on the end, and mother was on the north (the Miller farm). Because of their proximi­ty, they got acquainted and then they were married and lived there until we moved to Ogden.

But, as I mentioned, Dad had really worked and he was a great guy. That’s one reason I was able to get out of going to first grade. He spent a lot of time, and they both did, but Dad was really interested in nature and the outdoors. He was a real gentle guy, really nice. Heck, I don’t know, just a great guy, everybody liked Dad. I never heard of anybody that had an argu­ment with him or anything. And Mom was the same way. She was 7 years younger than Dad, but she was a real gentle gal. They had a lot of hard work on that farm. Boy, I remember that. When possible, they would do the washing outside. They had a stove outside the house that they could heat the water on. They used the old scrub board and boiled stuff to get it clean. Oh, it was horrible world. And, of course, as part of the farm we had chickens and turkeys (just about everything we needed for survival).

By 1923, when I was seven, it was obvious that the farm would not support our family, Grandma and Gene. In the meantime, Uncle Jack Jones (he was the Superintendent with Utah Power and Light Plant in Ogden) arranged for Dad to have a job which was up Ogden Canyon patrolling the pipeline. It was an old wooden pipeline they had to patrol seven days a week to make sure there were no big leaks in it. It was six foot in diameter inside. It was old and getting rotten. So we moved to Ogden and, by fall of 1923, I started school in Ogden.

At that time the Bamburger ran a train up into Huntsville, up Ogden Canyon. I rode that to school every morning. Of course, I was always twenty minutes late. I would ride it down and catch the street car where it hit Washington Avenue, and it went onto to Mound School Fort, but I was twenty minutes late every morn­ing. But, I made it in good shape. And, as I say, Dad had to patrol that pipeline. In fact, the first winter we were there we lived in Ogden Canyon in a little old rented house. Boy that was rough going. We didn’t have a car or our own transportation. We had to come down on the Bamberger, or if Uncle Jack came up in his car. But, within the next couple of summers, I don’t remember, I went back to the farm. I was 8-9 years old. I was big enough to help them, so I started going back as soon as school was out in the spring. That weekend they’d take me to the farm, and the weekend before school started in the Fall, why, they’d come and get me. And one of the outstanding things was that, when they left me, Dad had shaved my head right off. Not shaved, not with a razor, but clippers, as close as he could get it. And, then during the summer my hair would grow back in. He would bring just hand clippers during the summer and trim my neck. But the only way I could comb it was back, and that’s the reason I developed this pompadour style. I don’t think there was any mirrors around, and there was nothing to hold it down, but really that’s what started that.

Q: So, was it your idea to get that hair cut?

Well, it was the only way you could take care of it. You would have to walk three miles down to Riverton to get a haircut. it was just easier for me to handle. They did that up till, oh, I don’t know, until I was twelve or thirteen, fourteen years old. They would leave me in the spring, and pick me up in the fall, and my hair would have grown back in. Yeah, it worked out pretty good.

Boy, I just took over. By the time I was ten years old I was driving a team, cutting hay.

Q: So who was still on the farm?

Gene, Dad’s younger brother, and Grandma, my Dad’s mother, were still on the farm. They lived there. And I would go down and stay and help them on the farm. Boy, I tell you, it was a helluva lot of but I did.

Q: What was your grandmother’s name?

My grandmother’s name was Adelaide, Fullmer was her maiden name. She was a Fullmer, one of the old Fullmer family. And, of course, she married Grandpa West who died in 1907, long before I was born. Boy, I sure missed out on that part of our history because I don’t know if he did a lot of farming himself (he was a carpenter) or whether he left it to the kids and was carpentering.

Q: What was his name?

His name was Alma Henry West. He was the old generation. Yeah, he was born in Salt Lake. He was only 51 when he died. Yes, 51 years old when he died. It was 1907, and I never, of course, knew anything about him and didn’t find out any of that history while I was there. I don’t know why.

Then in the winter, even starting then. It was Christmas vacation, they would take me down to the farm if it was only a week or ten days, to help Gene out.

Read the other Oral Histories