Oral Histories

Lloyd M. Pierson

Lloyd Pierson

I should have dug a trench through the shell mound at Desoto Memorial. Desoto was about 24 acres on Tampa Bay. Most of the mound was stripped off so they could throw the stuff on the roads for gravel. The Colonial Dames had put a big monument on top of what was left of the shell heap. I should have run

a trench through that.

From there, Appomattox. I don’t know why they sent me there, a damn Yankee. They were doing the Civil War Centennial there and it was barely organized.

J. It sounds like you may have got your interest in history there.

L. Dale got some interest. I’ve always had an interest in history. I found out much about Camp Verde when I was at the Castle. It was an army post along the Verde River. I found out it was kind of mosquito-ey. A pioneer family by the name of Wingfield lived in Verde. Howard was a pot-robber and Marian and I catalogued his collection. They finally set Camp Verde aside as an historic park. I did the history of Camp Verde. We were there when Jerome became a ghost town.

After I integrated Appomattox I became quite a controversial character. The first time I ever had more than one job offered to me. My friend Zorro who was in Washington, he’s the one that had to handle me. He says, “We have a job in Jordan, a group going over to do some work at Petra. Your family will stay in Athens.” They got over there and caught in the Seven Days’ War, that’s what happened to them. They had another job as manager of the New York City Group. They had one out west in Omaha as archeologist. They had promised the Bureau of Land Management they would find them an archeologist for two or three years. Zorro got in trouble too, wound up in Alaska.

J. So the BLM was back here in Moab?

L. The BLM was in Denver which I understood it was to be a Washington office experience. One of the guys who worked with me at the Arches was in Denver. We moved in with him for a while and I told Marian to go buy a house. Used my GI bill to buy a house. The BLM was something else. As the only archeologist for the BLM for a long time, I did almost everything. I didn’t do any excavation but I did a lot of survey. The best one was when I got to come over here. I surveyed the Four Corners Power line that was coming across. The state director jumped on the power company because the company had come and said, as they usually did, “We’re running a power line here. Period.” And the state director said, “O-o-oh no you’re not.” First time it ever happened, but this guy was kind of a hard-headed character. So they said they were going to move off the line that they had. I went down to check it out. The guy that had the contract to survey the line had a range pole that must have been about 25 feet tall. He had a radio and he had some kid with the range pole and he had his transit and he could see over the pinyon and juniper. I found the kid out there and told him who I was. He told the guy with the transit who I was. The guy with the transit told him, “Don’t talk to him.” He was mad about something. That was one of the jobs I had.

J. Did you go back to the Park Service?

L. One Monday morning for about an hour. That’s another story. I retired from the BLM. I saw a lot of the West and Alaska while I was working for the BLM.

J. Did you come back to Moab to settle?

L. Marian’s parents were here. We liked Arizona. They screwed up the Verde Valley when they paved the road to Phoenix. Everybody and their brother decided to move up to get out of the Valley of the Sun. It was pretty clobbered up. We liked Florida. We had fun down there, but pretty expensive, but not if you knew where to go and didn’t want to live on the water and have a boat and do all that sort of stuff.

J. What year did you move back here?

L. In 1975. We bought that lot from Dr. Mayberry and we moved up on the hill We could look out there and see about three houses, Mann’s and the one across from us, Johnny Sparks, and Louie Kesida’s who started the subdivision. That was about it.

J. What do you think about the changes?

L. If you’re going to be a tourist town , you’ve got to take care of the tourists. It’s just a matter of controlling the development. I keep seeing houses popping up on the cliff near mine. I don’t like that. We were up on Johnson’s Up On Top one time. Ray Tibbetts was all hot and bothered, wanted to move the airport there from where it is now. They have problems with the Mancos shale, and always will have. It became too rough for the Frontier pilots. Well, the old one in the valley was the same thing; it was too rough for the Frontier pilots. The wind would blow them off the runway. But they got the idea they would put one up on Johnson’s Up On Top. I figured out that when they would come in to land, they would come flying right over my house. I didn’t retire to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to some stupid airplane going over. They said they’d only be only small planes. I said, “Horse manure. It won’t be long until 2-engine, then 4-engine planes will come.”

J. Do you think you talked him out of it?

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