Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Part 16
The Crash

Editor Note: As you read the following put yourself in my parent’s (your Grandparents or Great Grandparents) place. Leland is 28 years old and Clara 24 – not unlike the current ages of their great grandchildren Holly, Randy, Heather, Jamie, David, Amy, Jeff and Michael. They have a young family – the youngest, Leland A. less than one year old. They are just getting started in a career – in this case farming – and have many of the same hopes and worries we have today. ( The photo is of Leland, Bea, Alice and Leland A cutting up potatoes for seed about 1930)
And what follows will have a profound effect on their lives, not only for the next 10 years but will shape their attitudes about money, debt and banks for the rest of their days. So join us for a personal look at the Great Depression.

1929 is turning out to be a good year for the Cottles, thanks to some spring rains and plenty of sunshine the harvest is one of the best in recent years. Leland and Clara are settling into, and expanding, the original Cottle homestead. With 3 children (Alice, Bea and Leland A.) and a calling as ward Bishop – life is busy, but good. We pick up the story on October 28th 1929. Supper is over and the kids are outside playing in the creek. Leland and Clara are having a serious discussion.
Clara, “Lee, I think we should sell the wheat right now! It is a good price and you can freight it to Malad tomorrow.”
“I don’t know if that is the right thing to do. Wheat is down a little a little bit – remember back in 1920 wheat was selling for $2.45 a bushel and last year it dropped to $1.49 so it seems to me the price has nowhere to go but up. So I think we’ll hold out for a couple of days.
“Alright Lee, that’s ok with me, but at least take a few sacks of potatoes to market to sell tomorrow so we can have the necessary cash to buy groceries.”
“Clara, I’ll do that – we could use a little ready cash.”
So the next morning Leland heads to Malad with a load of potatoes in 100 pound bags. He finds the price for potatoes a little lower that he wants but nonetheless he sells his entire load and returns to Stone. Meanwhile Bea comes home from school with a story about some wild crash in New York. She is not sure if it trains or automobiles but it must be bad because the teachers are talking about it. She asks her mother why people would be jumping out of windows because of a car crash – it just doesn’t make sense to her.
Of course it is not a car crash, but the famous Black Tuesday Stock market crash that ushers in the Great Depression. The only source of national news in Stone is the newly purchased wireless radio and the news broadcasts are intermittent and sometimes difficult to understand because of the static. So it is a few days before Leland and Clara become fully aware of what has happened in New York and other large cities. The roaring 20’s come to a complete and sudden halt on October 29th 1929 – often called “Black Tuesday” - as the mighty New York Stock Exchange loses almost 40% of its total value in one day. This has a domino effect on the rest of the economy, although the market, in early 1930, makes several attempts to regain the lost value, people panic – consumer spending drops, factories lay people off, causing a further drop in spending (this is not a treatise on the depression but just a little background). Banks, most of whom have loaned more money than their assets, begin to call in their loans – the people, many of whom have run up large personal debt during the good time twenties – cannot pay back the loans on demand. Banks started to fail and the whole house of cards come tumbling down. Let us see how this crisis plays out in Stone, Idaho.
At first the news of troubles in the Stock Market seems remote and far away, and not likely to have much effect in rural Idaho. But things change quickly. Remember that discussion about whether or not to sell the wheat in the fall of 1929 because the price had dropped to $1.59 a bushel. Well, by late 1929 the price is 0.90 cents and before Leland can sell in the spring of 1930 he is lucky to get 0.49 cents, less than one third the price he turned down six months ago. Leland also reports that the price of potatoes drops so low that they are not even worth hauling to market and he just feeds them to the pigs. All this happens so suddenly that there is little chance to prepare. People lose homes and farms and the unemployment rate goes as high as 30 %. Welcome to the Great Depression!
It is a double worry for Leland and Clara, for as well as solving their own financial problems, Leland, as Bishop of the ward, is heavily involved in the plight of ward members. Take, for example the Wren family, while not members of the ward they live in Stone and so Leland feels it is his responsibility to help them as well. Mr. Wren is unemployed and to top it off suffers a broken leg and so is laid up all winter. Leland hauls wood to keep the Wren house warm, takes some of his own wheat to Malad to be ground into flour so Mrs. Wren can bake bread and even goes to Holbrook to get some hay Mr. Wren is owed and brings it back to use as he feeds the Wren cattle, all this while trying to keep his own farm running.
Early one evening while Lee is “separating” (skimming the cream from the milk – sort of an early forerunner to 2% milk) the neighbor boy comes running into the barn screaming, “Come quick, my little sister has swallowed a sucker, stick and all!” Leland jumps in his car (the neighbors have no car) and heads to the neighbors where he finds a grief stricken mother and a frightened little girl with a broken sucker stick in her hand and the sucker and other half of the stick in her throat. Leland grabs the girl and heads the 36 miles to Tremonton and the nearest doctor. A few hours later he returns with a happy smiling little girl in the seat beside him, with a sucker in her mouth! Leland said he bought her the sucker after the doctor busted the one in her throat while removing it and she felt sad at the loss because her family could only afford one candy trip to the local store per month.
Early in the morning of March 6th 1931, the day of the annual ward reunion, Clara says, very calmly, “Dad, I don’t think I will make it to the reunion today, I think I’m about to give birth – but don’t worry I did make the salad for the reunion.” Since it is early in the morning and the ground frozen Lee can still travel on the normally muddy roads to get Mrs. Carter, a practical nurse, who arrives just in time to see Clara cuddling newborn Wallace in her arms. Leland worries if everything is alright but Clara just tells him she is fine and to get on his way to the reunion, because no ward reunion would be complete without the Bishop (Doesn’t this sound just like mom?)
(Editor: I am stopping here and this will be the last installment until Fall when I will have much more about the Cottle Family and the Depression – good times and bad. So have a good summer, thanks for all the excellent comments – to Steve and Alice thanks for the pictures and stories– I will use them in future episodes. And remember I welcome any and all stories, facts or photos relating to the Cottle family.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some Great Insights

Many of you know and have met Kristin's sister Allison and her family, including her son Brandon. Brandon has done real well in his life and it's easy to admire him; and because I do admire him I wanted to share some of his story with you all. The best way for me to do so is to direct you to a couple of web postings. The first is from Brandon's blog: on the occasion of his thirtieth birthday he posted "Life Lessons I've Learned in 30 Years." I find myself thinking that perhaps it should be required reading.

The next is an interview of Brandon on Jet Set Citizen, an online magazine that touts itself as "Celebrating Global Citizens in Pursuit of an Excellent Life." Although the article is a little more about living abroad, there's enough of Brandon's personality and attitudes to make it especially interesting for those of us that know him.

Take a few minutes with these, I really think you'll enjoy reading about him.

Life Lessons I've Learned in 30 Years

Interview with Location Independent Entrepreneur Brandon Pearce

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Ok family, I know we all have our own blogs, but  I am thinking I need to see more of what we are up to!!! ummmm(BRENT AND JODI)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Missionary Service

Part 15 Missionary Service
Leland and Clara (fall, 1928) agree to accept a challenge given by a General Authority to have Leland serve a short term mission to Texas, even though their family now number 5 (2 girls and one boy) and it will mean someone else will be looking after the fledgling dairy herd and associated chores for six months. But both feel this is something that this is the right thing to do.
That fall Leland works extra long hours to have everything in readiness for his time away. This includes harvesting all the crops and getting in enough wood to last through the winter. This is no small task, since wood is used for both cooking and heating. One day, while cutting logs in Black Pine and with his wagon almost loaded with logs, Leland decides to make one more climb up a steep incline for just a few more logs to top off the load. As he is returning, ax in one hand, rope slung over his shoulder dragging the logs behind, he loses his balance and slips and slides –feet first –into the wagon wheel. His leg, the ax and the iron rim of the wheel making contact simultaneously. It stuns Lee for a moment, but he quickly recovers and looks around to assess the damage. The snow is already turning red and his leg feels sticky wet. He gingerly pulls up the pant leg and what he sees is not good. A long red gash goes starts just above his ankle and snakes upward toward his knee and blood is flowing. He quickly grabs his ever present bandana (handkerchief) and ties off the worst of the bleeding. Then, since he is alone, he determines he must get back to Snowville and a doctor ASAP. But, and if you knew Leland this makes sense, he takes time to load (injured leg and all) the rest of the logs before climbing on the wagon seat and heading to town.
The doctor tells Leland the cut is not too deep, but does need stitches. It should heal without any trouble. Two weeks later Leland leaves for the mission home in SLC. The leg is still bothering him and, in fact, is quite swollen. As soon as he reaches his destination those in charge take one look at the leg and send Lee directly to a hospital where he spends the rest of his Mission Home “experience.”
However, when it is time for his group to leave for the El Paso Texas Mission, Lee is ready. Clara even travels from Stone (thanks again to Uncle Sam and that Studebaker), with 3 month old Leland under her arm, to see him off. After a tearful goodbye, Leland is on his way! On the train, that leg starts to act up again and upon arrival Lee once again finds himself in the hospital. Lee is discouraged! He is trying to do what is right; he wants to serve the Lord – why is this happening to him? A few days later a visitor appears by his bedside, none other than Elder Melvin J. Ballard a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He is in town for a district conference and the Mission President tells him about Leland so he decides to make a visit. The first words spoken by Elder Ballard are, “Elder Cottle, I have a blessing for you.”
To which Lee replies, “I’ll sure be glad, I getting tired of hospitals.” Elder Ballard then administers to Leland and, in Lee words, “I felt the healing spirit and felt the infection begin to leave my body immediately.” He feels so good, that by the next day he is out tracting (that’s right, even in the 20’s missionary knocked on a lot of doors). He continues to work hard and fill an honorable mission. Of that time, Bea (the oldest daughter) remembers that every time a letter came from Dad it was a red letter day and the whole family gathered around as Mom read the letter out loud.
In the spring Leland returns and picks up right where he left off. The farm is in good shape, thanks to Clara, who, in best sense of word, is a true “Farmer’s wife.” First Leland is called to the Curlew Stake High Council and then three months later – at age 28 – as the bishop of the Stone Ward. It is a good summer. The forecast is for good commodity prices in the fall and there is plenty of rain and the crops look good. Things look so good that Leland purchases a new 1929 green Ford Sedan. To top it off, Mr. Canon (remember that land Leland wanted) shows up at the house one day and tells Lee he has saved the land for him and it is his if he wants it. Lee snaps it up. It looks like things are going so well that Leland can finally realize his sustainable farm ownership dream. After all, what could go wrong now? Tune in next week to find out

Sunday, May 9, 2010

1 year in england who wouldve thought

Hello the Cottle family

Yes I am still alive. and I've still stayed over on the other side of the pond... England is great - I'm excited to be here to experience another summer - its soo beautiful... and i'm starting to get used to all the rain!

Had some really good adventures this last few months - gone to the beach 3 times already - in one year, amazing!!

Mom and Holly are coming for a visit in 2 weeks, and i'm most excited about that. I'm going to miss you Theresa (and I understand the no money thing - i dont have any myself :P And we're going to miss you grandma as well - but I hope that your knee gets better)....

Pictures will come soon - just a bit busy at the moment. In church I am in the Young Women's Presidency, and I most recently got called to be the YSA rep for my branch... they both require a lot of time... Oh well less time for me to get into trouble right?
Speal soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Part 14 - A Bride Once Again

Part 14 – A bride once again

“No, I don’t want to meet another man; two marriages are enough to last any one woman for a lifetime.” Alice Cottle is speaking to her sister-in-law (Thomas Henry’s sister) Anne Cottle Stock, who is trying to convince Alice to meet her recently deceased sister Flora’s husband, now a widower.
“Come on, just meet him, he is a nice man and seems so lonely since my sister Flora’s death.”
“No, I just don’t have time for any man tomfoolery, just now. I still have 4 children to raise, a farm to manage, I’m in the Relief Society Presidency and just plain too busy!”
“Come on,” Anne counters, “Do it as a favor to me, and I know how much you like to dance.”
“Well alright, I guess just one dance won’t hurt – and I have been itching to try a couple of the new dance steps, by the way, his name is John, right?”
And so it is that Alice Kemp Anderson Cottle meets and is courted by one John Negus, who's marriage to Flora Elizabeth Cottle (Alice’s sister-in-Law) ends with her death in 1926. Things progress rapidly and on September 15, 1927 Alice, age 45, adds Negus to her name as her and John are married in the Logan temple for time. As they began their life together John still has three children at home and Alice four.
But how, you ask, does this affect Leland and Clara? All this time Lee is planning and skimping and thinking of ways to get a good farm of his own, he is currently renting Alice’s farm, the old homestead, and working odd jobs to try and save a little money to purchase some good land. Well, as it turns out, John Negus wants Alice to move to far away Bear Lake, Utah where he has some commercial interests and is also the base of operations for his sheep herding business (he was also in business briefly with J.C. Penny, but saw no future in that retail sort of nonsense). So Alice offers Leland a chance to buy the home (Thomas Henry homestead) place and wonders if he and Clara would be interested? Would he be interested! It is a dream come true, a place to call their own. This is a piece of land big enough to make a living for his growing family, a place that he can put down roots. Just name the price. The farm consists of 120 acres, part irrigated and part meadow, to which Leland purchases 60 more acres of dry land.
And so, in late 1927 Leland and Clara, along with the two young girls, Bea and Alice move to the home place, sell the dry land farm and settle in to a life as a farmer in the thriving little community of Stone, Idaho. Believing that this would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and the place in which they would spend the rest of their lives.
Two events took place about this time that would help shape Leland and Clara for the rest of their lives. (1) To supplement his income Leland took a part time job as a ditch rider with the Delmar Canal Company. What is a ditch rider you might ask? His duty is twofold. First, each day, he travels on horseback, the canal from beginning to end looking for problems that might keep the water from flowing properly; such as a log jam, moss build up or something that might cause the water to break from the canal - such as a colony of rodents of one sort or another burrowing into the bank and weakening it thereby causing “canal breaks” (Dad always quipped that when the good Lord said no cussing he made an exception if such cuss words were aimed at gophers or dairy cows). And second to make sure that no one is stealing water; that is diverting water when it is not their turn (much more about this later on). It seems that Lee has a good way about him that not only stops the theft of water but doesn’t make a lot of enemies for the Canal Company (do I smell a career path here?). (2) In 1928 Leland, the stake Elders Quorum President, and Clara attend a stake conference where a General Authority makes a plea for “short term” missionaries – men who could leave their families for six months to preach the gospel. On the way home neither Leland or Clara say much, but as they drive into the yard Lee said, “You know Clara I thought that GA was speaking directly to me.”
Clara replied, “So did I!”
And so with that brief conversation life changes once again. The very next Sunday Lee goes to the Bishop and volunteers to be a short term missionary (Editor’s note; for anyone who knows my parents this is a typical response when called to do something in the church, the answer, without any big fuss, is always yes – as we will see many times in the coming installments.).
Lee sells two of his prized cows to raise the necessary money, and 17 year old brother Charlie (who did not go to Bear Lake with his mother Alice), agrees to milk and do other chores while Lee is away. Lee also has his eyes set on purchasing another 40 acres adjoining the farm so he goes to a Mr. Cannon, the owner, and asks if he will hold it for another six months before selling. Mr. Cannon replies, no, it is now or never. Leland never waivers, saying being in the Lord’s service is much more important than any piece of land. And so, join us next week as Lee heads of on his mission – or does he, that axe accident might put an end to the whole mission thing. Tune in.