Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alice Kemp Anderson and Thomas Henry Cottle

Alice Kemp Anderson Cottle

Alice’s dreaming of her past life comes to an abrupt end as the white topped buggy driven by Thomas Henry Cottle hits a deep rut. She looks about and asks herself, “Am I doing the right thing?” Only a month ago she had resigned herself to raising her daughter, the love of her life, as a young widowed mother, keeping house for her Father and siblings; when, “a cousin working on a dam, the Stone Reservoir, tells about meeting Thomas Cottle, a recent widower, with 4 small children. He mentions Thomas is looking for someone to care for the children and keep house. So, I make inquires, Thomas agrees to an interview, he comes to Malad in a white top buggy, likes what he sees and here we are, on the bumpy road to Stone.” – And on the bumpy road to a new adventure for Alice and 5 year old Clara.
Clara recalls that first trip by saying, “When mother tells me we are going to Stone, the only stone I have ever heard of is a peach stone, and I wonder if Stone is just one big Peach Orchard!” When Alice and Clara arrive at the house the children (Leland 9, Loretta 7, Dewey 5 and little baby Ella) are all “neat and clean, the house in good order with supper ready on the table.” But Clara is most upset that baby Ella is not there, but is in Snowville with an Aunt Ettie. Clara does not see her for three days and as Clara remembers, “She is so sweet, and I love her dearly and with all the kids around Ella never wants for a baby-sitter.”
So, Alice settles in as housekeeper and nanny for Thomas Henry Cottle in late June of 1910. By November she is, “married in the Logan temple to Thomas Henry Cottle.” From this union came three more children: Charles, Charlotte and Sterling. So now there are eight children, a growing farming operation and life seems good. Alice once again thinks, “This is my life and life is good, I have a large family, a loving husband and good provider with whom I can enjoy a long and wonderful companionship.”

Thomas Henry Cottle, born in Plain City in 1877, married at 21 and widowed at age 33, is feeling pretty good about how things have turned out. Alice, his second wife, is a good housekeeper and a loving spouse, and while he loves all his children, little Clara is the apple of his eye. He continues to build up his cattle herd, adds some more barns and corrals, even adds onto the house; much needed now there are 8 growing children to house and feed.
Clara has fond memories of her step-father. “He is a very kind and loving man and I remember there being a lot of happiness in our home.” Sometimes he would take Loretta and Clara with him to Malad on church business, an all day ride in that beautiful white buggy, and Clara remembers all the fun. As they walk down the main street of Malad, “Loretta would tell me, ‘now Clara I’ll hold on to Papa’s coat and you hold my hand’ and then Papa would start walking faster and faster - then stop right quick - and if we weren’t holding on tight we would just keep right on going. I know he was just doing it for fun, but Loretta just kept getting a tighter grip on that poor coat and by the time we returned to Stone that coat was in a sorry condition. I don’t know how Mother got out the wrinkles.”
But Thomas demands respect from his family and they know when he means business. Clara recalls, “I can remember times when Loretta and I would be helping Mother or supposed to be helping and we would start bickering. One time I remember Loretta gets very angry. She is lying on the floor, crying, kicking her feet in the air. We hear the outside screen door open and shut and know that Papa is coming in. Loretta stops crying, jumps to her feet, and believe you me (one of Clara’s favorite expressions) by the time he gets in the house the table is set and ready for the food. Not an angry word is spoken. He just looks at us with a knowing grin – we get the message.”
“Another time we are all setting at the table and Mother is very emphatically telling us all what we are to do, AND SHE MEANS IT! Her fist comes down on the table with a loud bang, we all sorta jump. Silence for a couple of minutes then Papa gets up and crawls under table, everyone looks on. ‘Oh, I just wondered if that bang broke the table’ he says with that slight grin. Everyone starts smiling, even Mother, and we finish dinner with good feelings.”
So life is good! What can possibly go wrong? Tune in four weeks from today and find out. (I’m taking a little break to visit a warmer clime)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alice Kemp Anderson Cottle Negus (and how she got all those names)

The story thus far: Henry Cottle, born in Dudley, England, joins the church and comes to American with his wife Elizabeth Bartel, 5 children and his In laws. While crossing Wyoming in route to SLC (1866) his wagon is attack by Indians and both In-Laws and one son are killed and his wife kidnapped by Indians – never to be heard of again. Henry settles in Plain City for a time and his family settles permanently. Henry dies in San Francisco in 1972. One of Henry’s sons, Thomas Edward (1850-1908), Mel’s Great Grand Father, is one of the first garden crop farmers in Plain City. His Son, Thomas Henry, Mel’s Grandfather, marries Ella Neal, moves to Stone, Idaho and takes up ranching. Ella (1878-1910) dies shortly after the birth of their 4th child and Thomas Edward is left with four young children, Leland T., Mel’s father, being the oldest at age nine. We are diverting from Thomas Edward’s story for a short time and talking about Alice Kemp. Now it is on with the story, much of it in Alice’s words (anything in quotations).

Alice Kemp Anderson Cottle Negus (and how she got all those names)
Alice reflects back on her young life as the buggy bounces along the rough road between Portage, Utah and Stone, Idaho. What, she thinks, will happen next in a life that has not gone as she might have expected. Alice’s parents are born in Norfolk, England in the early 1850’s. They join the church, come to Zion and settle in Lewiston, Utah in the north part of Cache Valley. Alice is the third of six children. Alice remembers being left alone to tend her brothers and, in the process of making a fire, dropping, “a hot stove lid on my brother’s hand and he was badly burned. I took my bother to Mother, who was next door, and I believe I will always remember how kind my mother was to me on that occasion and I soon felt better. I think I was crying harder at the time than Sam.”
Alice completes grade four in Lewiston but that is the end of her formal schooling. The family moves to Portage and Alice takes on various jobs to help support the family. This she did until age eighteen.
But for Alice: “Life is more than work. We have plenty of parties and I have lots of dates and attend a dance at least once a week. At one dance I meet a tall, light handsome man named Charles Anderson. He lives in Salt Lake so I go there to work so we can become better acquainted. Two years later we are married (1902). We cannot get married in the temple because Charles does not pay tithing. Our first child is born dead, and we both felt so bad that Charley says we must pay our tithing and go to the temple (sealed in 1904). Another child comes to brighten our home- another little girl, we named Clara, after my sister, but this one is very much alive – and our home is filled with love and plenty of material things. After four years of complete happiness Charley suddenly becomes very sick and in a few short days he is dead.”
So a sudden change for Alice - left alone with a 16 month old girl and no visible means of support. So she moves to Portage (In Utah, but close to Malad, Idaho) to keep house for her Dad (mother has recently passed away), her two brothers and a younger sister. Of this difficult time in her life she writes, “I sure got a lot of joy and comfort out of my little daughter Clara.” She settles into a routine and believes this will be her lot in life – to take care of her Father and her siblings and raise her daughter as a single mother. Boy is she mistaken!
To be continued next week

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm all for giving Craig and Kristin a big Cheer. The Super Bowl Candy Pool is a hit. It keeps the game interesting and fun for all. Thanks for going to all that work. In fact - Hip Hip hooray!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Goodbye Plain City: Hello Stone

Goodbye Plain City; Hello Stone
Thomas Edward (Mel’s Great Grandfather) lives a good life in Plain City, continuing to expand his produce farm and his family (12 children in all, with 4 dying in infancy). He works with his brother William and many of his progeny live in Plain City today. TE died March 8th, 1908 is buried in the Plain City Cemetery. Now, let’s get on with the story.
Thomas Henry Cottle (Mel’s Grandfather) is at a difficult crossroad in his relatively young life. He is the oldest son of TE and as such it is expected he will take over the family farm. So he works his whole life toward this end. He meets Ella Neal when her family travels from Snowville, Utah to Salt Lake City for general conference and stays overnight with some Plain City friends. It is love at first sight and in November, 1898, just 7 months after their first meeting they are married in the SLC temple. Thomas Henry rents a small home in Far West, UT, close to Plain City and the family farm. He continues to work on the farm but he is bitten by the cowboy bug (a malady that continues in some members of the family to this day). Why hoe carrots, or spend hours under the boiling sun thinning onions – then going home smelling l such a way that you bring tears to wife when you hug her? Why indeed, when you could be sitting on hill astride a beautiful roan stallion viewing the valley below, dotted with fat cattle, your cattle. So Thomas daydreams more and more. Then in 1901 a healthy baby boy is born into the family – the first child and first son. Christened Leland Thomas after his father and grandfather he starts his time on this earth. Thomas Henry believes the time has now come to make his dream come true. The crossroad is fast approaching and if he does not act now it will soon be just a blur in his rear view mirror and the cowboy dream will be dead and he will spend the rest of his life buried in potatoes and zucchini squash.
So acting on a tip from Ella’s family, and almost sight unseen, he purchases a “ranch” in Stone, ID a small town just over the border from Snowville, UT. It is a wide open prairie, with only a few settlers in what is called the Curlew Valley stretching north from Snowville toward Malad, ID some 50 miles away. There are few roads and fewer neighbors. Thomas Henry loves it, but Ella, not so much; she has fallen in love with the more “civilized” Plain City area and makes the move somewhat reluctantly.
As with many dreams, reality is somewhat harsher. The property contains a one room home, with a sod storage area built on the back. To start with, the “ranch” livestock consists of one milk cow, two pigs and a dozen chickens, all making the trip from Plain City. The first winter sees record low temperatures and lots of snow. One of the pigs gets lost in the snow and freezes, but at least it is found in time to provide cured hams, bacon and lots of lard (grease) for the family to live on. They survive that first winter, and began to put down roots. Thomas adds a real room to the house, a baby girl, Loretta (1903), joins the family. Thomas is able to trade work for a couple of cows and life moves on. Dewey (1906) comes next and the years roll by. Then the unexpected happens! In April 1910 Ella gives birth to a second girl, Ella Harriet, and all seems well. However, shortly after the birth, mother Ella starts to feel weak and unable to carry on her daily tasks. She tries to shrug it off, but not only does she have little energy, she starts to have stomach pains. Ella takes to her bed, with just enough strength to nurse little Harriet. Finally, Thomas sees no choice but to seek out a doctor. The closest certified physician is in Tremonton, some 30 miles to the south. It takes a long day’s ride to get the doctor and then a second day for him to return. The news is not good; it seems that Ella is still suffering from the aftereffects of the recent child birth. He tells Thomas to make Ella comfortable, give her aspirin for the pain and fever and wait. She will either recover on her own – or not. Unfortunately, it turns out in the worst possible way. On May 6, 1910 Ella Neal Cottle, 32 years of age, passes away. Thomas is left with 4 young children, the oldest, Leland is just nine and the baby, Harriet is 1 month old. Thomas is a long way from family – trying to build a ranch and take care of a young family. What to do? (Photo taken from the Stone Cemetery looking across Curlew Valley)
To be continued

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Plain City Years

Plain City Days: The Next Generation
A quick Genealogy Note
Henry Cottle (1822-1872) = Mel’s Great Great Grandfather;
Thomas Edward Cottle (1850 – 1908) = Mel’s Great Grandfather;
Thomas Henry Cottle (1887-1918) = Mel’s Grandfather;
Leland T Cottle (1901 – 1990) = Mel’s Father

Thomas Edward is somewhat preoccupied. The year is 1877. The place is Plain City, Utah – a farming community some 20 miles northwest of Ogden. Unlike his father Henry, Thomas or TE as everyone calls him, does not have a desire to roam about the countryside. While he works his father’s freight wagons as a youth he soon makes the decision to settle in Plain City, and while still hoping to hear some word about his mother, he gets on with his own life. In 1872 (age 22), after acquiring a small farm he courts and, marries (November) a local girl, Flora England, who, like TE emigrated from her native England to be part of Zion.
This brings him to his present day problem. He has a growing family, including little Thomas Henry (Mel Grandfather) the second child in the family and the first boy, but he has very limited income from his small acreage. In the past he has tried several crops - wheat, barley and alfalfa, but to make money on those crops he needs lots of land, something he is lacking. As he ponders his dilemma, he overhears Flora talking to a neighbor lady and complaining about the problem finding fresh vegetables to feed the family. “One must go all the way to Ogden, waste an entire day, pay a fortune, and still come home with poor quality carrots and lettuce. It’s a crime.”
Bingo! A light went on! TE started that very day to convert his grain fields to vegetable crops, particularly, carrots, onions and strawberries. And while an acre of wheat produces little income, an acre of carrots – WOW! Although carrots and other vegetables mean a lot of hard labor – that’s what kids are for, right? His own growing family (eventually to reach 12 children – 4 who died in infancy, including the 3rd and 4th babies who were born just a year apart and each lived on 1 year, little John who lasts only 3 weeks and the 11th child Violet, just 6 months) plus the neighbor kids could be put to work to plant, thin, weed, water and harvest the crop. Add to this the rich loam soil in the Plain City area is known for growing great gardens, so why not just bigger gardens? This is an idea whose time has come. It didn’t happen overnight, however, after a some trial and error, and lot of frustration and hard work, TE produces some of the first commercial vegetable crops in the area, and before long he is not only producing food for local folks, but freighting carrots and onions into Ogden, via special Ice Box wagons. His reputation grows, soon other farmers in the area convert to this type of farming and it remains a staple crop to this day (In fact, Craig and Roger have supplied some of the child labor mentioned above almost a 80 years after TE). A special treat is the strawberries. TE does not truck them to Ogden, but invites people to come and pick their own, for a fee, of course. And once someone tastes a fresh ripe Plain City strawberry, they are hooked for life. There is one other farming innovation that occurs about that time – Aspeargrass. People harvest the strange looking spear shaped green plant, growing along ditch banks and fence lines, when the tender shoots first pop above the ground each spring . TE and other farmers began to replant the shoots into fields and grow them as sellable produce. They also discover that after cutting, if the shoot is placed in a cool water tank it continues to grow, enhancing the flavor and increasing the yield. So the Aspeargrass industry (Jean has spent considerable time placing those spears into the water tanks to provide family income during the 1060’s) thrives and continues to do so this day. And all this started because TE needed additional income for his family.
Continued next week