Oral Histories

Sam Taylor

b.1933

Sam Taylor

Q: What year would this have been?

A: It would have been about turn of the Century. He wanted to sell the paper and get out of it because he had other fish to fry. Clarence was a very bright man. He was of the firm opinion that a community without a newspaper was not a total community and he didn’t want to see the newspaper fold. So Clarence bought the newspaper from J.N. Corbin but Robertson was terribly busy as the county’s only attorney. So when Dad was 18, Clarence turned the operation over to him. That was in 1911. He was an immediate success, very popular in the community. He was asked by the Republican Party to run for the Legislature. But he wasn’t old enough to vote. He did have a 43-year stint as editor/publisher and was deeply involved in politics during that time.

Q: At that point, when Robertson bought the newspaper, was that when they changed the name from Grand Valley Times? When did that occur?

A: No. That was in the 1910 to 1920 era by the owners of the newspaper. It was owned by a corporation because Dad didn’t have any money to buy it and they just hired him as editor. The same people that owned the newspaper also owned the First National Bank of Moab of Utah. A year or two later, a new bank opened called Moab State Bank. They didn’t like the idea that the newspaper was owned by their competitor. So they convinced a young man named H.W. Cherry to start a rival newspaper here called the Independent. Well, there wasn’t enough business in Moab at that time for one newspaper, let alone two. Cherry realized that a year or two later and then the Moab State Bank closed its doors. It went broke. So Dad bought Cherry out and that’s where the Times-Independent came from.

Q: A combination of the two names?

A: Uh huh.

Q: Okay, how many kids did your Dad have?

A: Five. I’m the last one.

Q: And who are your brothers and sisters?

A: I had four older sisters. The youngest of the four was six years older than me, so I was pretty much raised as an only child.

Q: Can you give me their names?

A: Oldest was Cecil, then Miriam (she’s the only survivor), then Lorena, named after her father, really, and Sally. And they are all gone now but Miriam and she’s 84, living in Boise. We visit on the phone often.

Q: You say you were raised almost as an only child. Tell us about growing up.

A: Well, I didn’t have a mother; I had 5 mothers. 

Q: Where were you living at this time with your family?

A: We had a big home on Second East, between First and Second North. Still there now, the current owners have totally restored it. It’s a beautiful old home. They are landscapers by profession and they have made a real show place out of it. It’s on a huge lot – quarter of a city block. So I was raised in old town Moab. Born here – in the hospital – where the Canyonlands Inn now stands and delivered by old Doc I.W. Allen.

Q: What are your memories of Moab as a young boy growing up, the size of the town?

A: Great memories. It was between 800 and 1000 people, until I left to go to college it was the same size. Primarily agriculture. Livestock. A lot of farming here in the valley. Almost every professional person in town, the town’s lawyer Mitch Melich, and my Dad and all of the rest of them had little farms. They had to have something to supplement their income. So, until I went away to college, I had to milk a cow morning and evening. When I left for college, they sold the cow. And when we moved down to our little 9-acre farm, Adrien, who grew up kind of a city girl, wanted all kinds of animals. We’ve had pigs and chickens and sheep and geese. But I put my foot down when she said a cow. No way. I’ll never milk another cow.

Q: Were there a lot of kids your age at that time?

A: Seemed like there were. There were only 22 kids in my high school graduating class. Most of them are still here and we are all very close friends. And I had some marvelous friends, marvelous growing up experiences here. Playing up on the red hill or down on the creek bottom. Kids complain today about not having anything to do. I never had any problem finding things to do; there were too many things to do here. And when it got hot like it has been in this last week or two, we spent our time in the swimming pool, which came to Moab in the late 1930s, or at the power dam or in the creek. We stayed wet. And when we’d go home at night, the family would be gathered outside on the porch or in the back yard. It would be too hot in the house, no air conditioning.

Q: Did you sleep out on sleeping porches at night?

A: Uh huh, my favorite place to sleep was in our grape arbor. It was always cool in the grape arbor and I loved the sound of the crickets. I still love the sound of the crickets. It’s one insect that has a safe conduct pass on my mini-farm right now.

Q: What year did you go away to college?

A: 1951 

Q: You went to the service first? No, you went to college first. What was your intent when you went to college? Were you thinking of going into publishing?

A: No I was thinking of going into geology. I was a geology major and a music minor.

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