Oral Histories

Ruby Ray Tangreen Zufelt

b. 1908

Ruby Zufelt

That was the sixth grade. I went a little while in Blanding and then we went to Sego. We were there till Christmas, then Dad got disgusted with the mining company, ‘cause they paid once a month. They give you script to use in the store and charged you double price for everything, then when your check come there wasn’t enough left to be worth while, you know. . . . And Dad was pretty dissatisfied. After Christmas he had enough check to move on.

Dad was funny. We got on the train then and went to Provo. . . . Aunt Stella lived there. We stayed there two or three days, then we took the train to Leeds. I can’t remember, but anyway we went on the train to Leeds, then took the stage to St. George. Leeds was as far as the railroad went. We took the stage to St. George, hauling that big box of harness and all of our worldly goods, which wasn’t much. We got a hotel room and spent the night. The next morning Dad went down and looked around town. And we got back on the stage and went back to Leeds. Dad decided St. George wasn’t the place for him. There was no work

At Leeds we got back on the train. Someone on the train told Dad that there was work in Oasis. So we got off in Oasis and spent the rest of the winter there. We thinned beets all summer, and Dad went to Salt Lake and got a Model T car. We got around in that to different beet fields, to thin beets. We all worked all summer. Mother was pregnant with Jenny, so she didn’t work much. We camped in a little shack and just lived and worked hard. Then we moved on. We got in that little old Model T and started back to LaSal. Had to walk up most of the hills. The car wasn’t running very good and dad didn’t know anything about it. We got to Monticello and the tires wore off. Of course we didn’t have enough money to buy any new ones, or get any second hand ones, so we went on rims and it rained like heck. We all huddled up in the car. Vern got under it and slept on a quilt. We huddled in there until morning. Then Dad walked on up to Bradford’s and got them to come and get us in the wagon. They took us up to their place and come and got us in the wagon. They fed us a good breakfast and took us on to the ranch. There we were.

From the sixth to the eighth grade, we were there on the ranch. School was in the old Fuller house about two and a half miles away.

Back to the DeLong interview:

Dad went away to work and mother rented a house uptown for ten dollars a month, which some people had just moved out of. She set us up at the town site, where we could get to school comfortably, and I went to school that year. Took the eighth grade just to get to go.

Q. Was that LaSal?

A. Yes. Next year, just about the time school started, Uncle Charley came by and Dad went with him to go find work. They went over out of Denver. Then he wrote and said if we wanted him to support us, we’d have to come where he was. We got the corn harvested. We had this big field of corn. Dad had worked for Prewer, up to LaSal, during the summer. I guess he borrowed Prewer’s equipment, because he had a plow with handles that you followed with the reins around your neck. But he had a riding attachment, a seat and two wheels. Well, I plowed about twenty acres with that, then one day it caught on a big old bush I had to get out. While I was pulling the bush out from the plow, there was a rattlesnake in the rear of it. I had to walk back to the house to get a shovel to kill the rattlesnake.

Q. Ruby, I’ll bet you were scared.

A. Well, I didn’t like snakes, and I’d killed a few of them, but he was asleep and never did wake up. Didn’t think about taking the single tree off the plow to kill him with. I had to walk back to the house and get a shovel. Anyway, I plowed that field and dug a trench to plant the corn in. It was kinda like a cultivator, but just had one blade on it, so we made furrows, and planted the corn. I can’t remember if we borrowed a harrow, but we harrowed it in. Anyway, we planted a field of corn and then had to weed it all summer. I could hoe two rows while Vern hoed half of one. We hoed the corn all summer and got it cut and shucked. We raised quite a good patch of beans. I think we had fifty or seventy-five pounds of beans.

Q. That’s dry beans?

A. Yes. After we got ‘em thrashed, Dad made a flail. It was like a big stick, and he fastened a rubber string along it, then tied another piece of wood, about this long, like a handle. That piece of wood fell flat with that flail, so we got the beans all pulled in on a cart, then hit them with that flail. It did a lot better job than walking on them or anything else we knew of to do.

Q. That was the only way you could shell the beans?

A. Out of the pods when we got ‘em finished. We had about seventy-five pounds of beans and quite a big stack of shucked corn, all harvested and ready to go. Then we got a letter from Dad saying he wouldn’t send any more money back to San Juan County. If we wanted him to support us, we had to go where he was. He was out of Denver, about twenty miles north. Lucian bought this corn we had shucked, and Mother canned some peaches. Lucian took Vern out to get a load of wood, then took him to Moab and sold the wood. I went to the store and bought a case of fruit jars. We ate some of the peaches carrying them home on the saddles from the store, which is about four miles. Now, what we couldn’t eat Mother canned. She had to sell them to Lucian, too. We got a little money out of it, not much, but it helped us along the trail.

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