to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(Cottonwood history continued from last week)
Some would have it that the depression came on and lasted during the early 1930’s but, in reality, the depression must have come on by jerks off and on during most of the 20’s too. Was visiting with one of our older lady friends who was born in the early 20’s. She was one of the middle children in a family which had fifteen children. This family learned to care for one another at an early age and each one had their own chores to do. It was just the way it was – they learned to share, no matter how tough it was, someone else had things just as bad or worse. “We got by and helped the neighbors too.” The work on the farm was endless and when each child got old enough they went to work for some others to help “set the table” and keep all the wheels turning! Talk about “salt of the earth!” This is how the early families survived and how backbones were made. These people – throughout our area, set the example for all of us and we are proud to be their descendants!
About this time around the hill, the good sisters were in the process of building the “blue rock” Convent. Another labor of love which marks years of perseverance tending to God’s work. This new convent building has been one of our most beautiful tributes and landmarks. Thousands of people have had the privilege of attending Mass in the new convent and listen to the owners sing their office. It is only fitting that these women of God have such a base for their extended labors of love. Those of us, and we are many, share a lot of good memories with these nuns from school, church, the hospital and every day life. Close your eyes and remember how many times our paths crossed in the last 100 years or so. We all were in these years of history together!
As these communities grew, constant problems with water and sewer developed. Seems like I can remember the never ending sound of well drilling as the hammer rode up the derrick and the thud as it dropped. The pick and shovel did the rest! Neighbors would often go together on solving this problem. At one point Cottonwood dug a water line from about 4½ miles west (the head waters of Cottonwood Creek) and built a reservoir from which water was piped back to town. This was the main supply of fresh water for years and was altered several times to meet current conditions through the determination of men like Harold Simon and his dogged efforts to solve our water problems. Through the years we managed to have good water in a sufficient amount to satisfy our fire safety needs.
The lust for gold tapered off through the years but mining, it seems, will always be a part of our history. The beautiful mountains that surround us have always been a main attraction. The people who live here and many who come to visit take part in sightseeing as well as the pursuit of hunting and fishing. Most of the people who make their home here in central Idaho have been bitten by the Idaho bug and once it’s part of you it lasts for generations!
During the 1920’s it wasn’t just the farmers who had tough times. Keuterville, Ferdinand and Cottonwood business houses were forced to close and in some cases many individuals who had stock in these various business houses lost at least part, if not all their savings. Even the good sisters at the convent lost part of their savings.
At times some farmers went back to using horses as they couldn’t afford the expense of fuel at the time.
“The ups and downs were sure to get better. We’ll cut a few expenses, send back the new machine and try it again.” How many of you remember this speech at the family table? Then came the market crash in 1929 and sure enough, more belt tightening as even coffee and sugar were taken away. We here in farm country have our local gardens and we drank barley coffee to go with our “mush.”
Letters from cousins in the cities painted an even worse picture. “Poor dad he don’t say much and seldom smiles – I heard him tell mom we can’t pay taxes again this year.” Ready of not, here comes the 1930’s. The tough got tougher and we settled into our way of like, like always, making the most of what we had.
Our railroad was pretty well the end of the line, but, we can remember the hobos coming to town and the small fires they built along the line on the south side of town. When they saw things weren’t any better around here they usually caught the next train going north.
The next meeting of the 150-year Committee will be this Thursday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Prairie Community Library. Anyone willing to participate is invited to attend.
This appears to be a family get-together with lots of Seubert, Jenny and Hoene children shown.
The Ally Uhlorn Farm in the early 1920’s. Ally is at far right. At left is Clem Riener.
Joe Uhlenkott brings grain into town with his new Yuba tractor. The building directly behind the tractor is Hoene Hardware.
Seubert and Jenny families and children in about 1926.
A demonstration of Majestic Ranges in Dec. 1915 at Hoene Hardware.
The Sisters used to ride in the sleigh wagon in the middle of the winter going back and forth to twon?
John Jenny operated the school bus to the Academy?
Square dancing was about as popular as modern? Yo Ho! Grab Your Partner! Remember the colorful dresses and the class teaching square dancing? Leo & Mayme Toennis, Verl & Alice Chicane, John & Lilly-Ann Lustig, on & on?
Most clubs had special entertainment in conjunction with the meeting? Music, story telling, poetry…
Electricity and the telephone came on? These were two things that took awhile before almost everyone had them. I asked one of our older citizens about when the first got a radio – she replied “What’s to get? We had to get electric first!”
Some of the baseball games at Cottonwood, Greencreek and Ferdinand? Most of the games were held on Sunday. Seemed like every family was represented!
The roller skating held at the gym or hall in all three communities?