Oral Histories

Ruby Ray Tangreen Zufelt

b. 1908

Ruby Zufelt

Back to the DeLong interview:

A. I don’t know what the reason was, but we moved to LaSal. Left the home and the cellar and the spring and moved to LaSal. Dad filed on a place there. We got quite a bit more ground and there was a little old log cabin. Just a little one room cabin. There was room for Mother’s bed and cook stove and a cupboard she had. We had to sleep outside. I said, “Let’s build an arbor over the front of it,” ‘cause I remembered going on a picnic when I was about four. The community had a picnic away from the house, down the canyon a little ways, and they had built an arbor with brush over the top. Of course they had the table under it, if it happened to rain. They called it an arbor. So Dad planted the posts and got the framework up, then he had to go away to work so we put the brush on it. We got it off the cedar boughs or whatever we could find, and we had a shelter to sleep under. It was real good. We kept the sun out and the rain, when it rained, so our bed was outside.

Excerpt from The Courting Years of Ruby Ray:

I turned sixteen the summer we were at LaSal. The Tangreen’s had a nice big ranch down the draw a mile or so from our place. Mr. Tangreen died in June. Mrs. Tangreen hired Mother to stay with Collin, who was about eleven, and take care of the chickens, milk the cows, etc.. Lucian had taken over the ranch after his father died and had to go back to Idaho and get his household goods and family. He had a wife and three kids.

Clarence came out to the ranch and brought his horses and was going to Indian Creek to punch cattle. Cowpunchers was the only thing back then. There were the heroes in stories and shows that were all about cowpunchers and how wonderful they were. I thought he was really something. He stayed around awhile, came to see me every night, sang cowboy songs and let me ride his horse. He had a beautiful gray mare that was a single footer, rode like a rocking chair. He left her there on the ranch to pasture and told me I could get her to ride any time I wanted to. I did get her and rode up Summit Point and spent a couple of days with a girl friend. Then I went on down to Ucola and spent a day with Dorothy Rasmusson. (It was) about the nicest time I ever had. Clarence wrote to me from Indian Creek and continued to write. He wrote nice letters.

Excerpts from The Early Years of Ruby Ray:

(When we lived at LaSal). . . in the draw there where that light thing is going up to the Far West uranium mine. . .we started to dig a well. Dad “witched” it (located water with a forked willow stick, a practice still used by some people today) and found where water was running. Then he built a “windlass” (a winch, worked by a crank, to pull buckets out of a well) . I dug the dirt and he pulled it up till we got down to bedrock. Then I pulled it and he dug the rock. But I got a blister on my hand and it kept getting worse and worse until I knew I just couldn’t hang on to that windlass. I said, “Mother, I don’t dare run that windlass today. I don’t think I can hold it. I’m afraid my hand is too sore and I’d drop the bucket on Dad.” And she said, “Well, why don’t you tell your Dad?” She wouldn’t tell him, so I got down to the well and said, “Dad, I don’t think I can run that windlass. I’m afraid my hand is too sore and I’d drop the bucket on you.” He looked at my hand. “My God girl, I guess you can’t run the windlass. Why didn’t you tell me you had was sore?” It swelled up and I got on the horse and went up to the town site at LaSal. I showed it to Mrs. Herring and asked her what to do for it. She said, “Well, put pitch gum on it.” So I put pitch gum on it and it swelled up clear around here and way up around my fingers and clear back down around my wrist. And the pussy blister wouldn’t come to a head. I could hardly hold the lines to drive the horses. We had to haul water from Big Indian. There was a mill there where there had been a copper mine. Elaine Skews lived there in the summer, and Dad was care taker.

When I was in the sixth grade, some friends asked Mother if I could go up and live and go to school at Blanding. They said they would keep me in school and she let me go. I went to school there in Blanding for two or three months. Then Dad decided to move out to Sego to go to work. Mother called me and told me to get on the bus at noon and come to Monticello. She met me and picked me up in a cart. Dad had taken and put a box on the front funning gears of the wagon and it was just a two wheeled cart. We went back to Monticello in that and every time we’d to over a bump, I’d wait for the next one, ‘cause we’d been use to riding in a wagon. Then he put the wagon back together and we went to Sego in the wagon. It took several days, quite a while to get there. Then he turned the horses loose on the desert and left the wagon and kept the damned harness. We had a big old box and kept the harness in that box. Turned the horses loose on the desert, abandoned the wagon and hauled the harness around and you wonder why.

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