Dave and Ida lived just a few miles apart and it was not difficult to become acquainted. Dave and the boys (his brothers and Chris Oliverson) attended weekend dances at the neighboring towns. Dancing was one of the most popular activities for the young people and dances were always well attended. Buggy, horseback and even bicycles took the boys to the dances. Their father had tried to teach them to sing, but unfortunately that excellent Welsh trait was lost on all three of them. In place of singing, their father turned to the next best thing, dramatics and dancing. All three of the Nash brothers were good dancers. Dave attended the dances in an "old claw-hammer coat" (Enos' term for the long, split tail). He could waltz, do a jig or Virginia Reel with the best. Years later he would take his own family to dances, or do a jig for them. He also had a musical talent that most have forgotten. He played the jew's harp. It was at such a dance at Coveville that Dave met Ida and began their courtship. From the beginning Ida was devoted to Dave, always wanting to please him; and in return he always brought a piece of candy or gum for her. They courted for at least three years, for Ida was young. Even then no one seemed to question the fact that they would eventually marry. They were finally married on that beautiful spring day, I May 1901: their wedding photo reveals a very handsome couple. The day after they were married they moved to Franklin where Dave ran the blacksmith shop with Ike. They rented two rooms in the old L.L. Hatch rock home, not far from the northeast corner of the park. Ariel was born in that home a year after they were married. Dave's sister, Estelle, was with Ida when Ariel was born and she relates this incident. Dave was in the room when their baby was born, but he got sick and had to run outside where he vomited. Later, when he returned to the room, Ida put her arms around him and said, "Oh Dave. You've suffered more than I have." They lived in the old rock house for two years, then they bought a stucco home not too far away (one-half block north of northeast corner of the park). They lived there until 1914. Four children were born in that home - Vendla in 1904, Paul in 1906, Uless in 1909, and Hazel in 1912. It was during these years that Dave was deciding whether he wanted to be a blacksmith or a farmer. Andrew and Ike were apparently trying to make the same decision. Andrew had tried blacksmithing Preston, Soda Springs, Pocatello and Rexburg, but was now ready to try farming again. Ike had received a good education and had worked in the blacksmith shop and on the Nashville farm. For the first eight years of Dave's marriage he worked primarily with Ike in the blacksmith shop and on the farm. Their father died in 1907, and in the fall of 1908, Andrew returned to Franklin from Rexburg and the three of them began working together as partners. The following spring they added to their holdings by leasing one section of land from the State of Idaho. By road this land was ap- proximately ten miles across the valley to the west, at a place called Roosevelt, located between the river and the railroad tracks. Eventually it would be called Linrose. They also gained title to the range land between Dayton and the top of the first range of hills to the west. The boundary to the range was north of Dayton approximately two miles, and the southern boundary went I south at least two miles south of Dayton. It was sold in the late 1920's or early 1930's. For a while the three brothers jointly operated both farms and the blacksmith shop. At some point, during the next four years Andrew be- came discouraged with the Roosevelt farming prospects and he separated from Ike and Dave. Andrew took the Nashville farm and Ike and Dave took the Roosevelt farm. It was during this time Andrew's wife, Oveda, died - December 1909 - leaving him with six children. In March 1911 he married Veroka Gill, a widow with two children of her own. A few years after he took the Nashville farm he turned it over to his son and moved to Preston where he went into partnership with Theo Petterborg. Their "Petterborg-Nash Chevrolet" was operated until Andrew's death in 1943. One major event took place before Dave and Ida moved their young family to the Roosevelt farm. On 26 October 1911, Dave left Franklin to fulfill a mission in Australia. He left Ida with four children between ages nine and three, and five months pregnant with their fifth child. Hazel. It was very difficult for Dave to go, and for Ida to let him go. Never- the less they both wished it. She has written, "When my husband got his call to go on a mission I knew that my prayers had been answered. I had prayed many times that he would go on a mission although it was a great sacrifice. It was a wonderful experience for both of us." Dave was gone twenty-six months, completing an honorable and suc- cessful mission. He spent the entire time in the state of Queensland, in towns with names like Brisbane, Toowoomba, Woollangabba, Rockhamp- ton,and Moorooka. Most of a missionary's time in those years was spent in taking care of the Saints and making the branches of the Church func- tion, not nearly as much proselyting work as missionaries now do. During most of the last year there, Dave lived in Woollangabba, a Brisbane suburb, where he served as Conference President over all the Saints in Queensland. (I lived in Brisbane and immediate vicinity in 1949, during the fist six months of my missionary days. I lived in the same church he lived in, and met two families who still remembered Dave after thirty-five years). Dave's mission years were busy years caring for Saints and for the affairs of the Church; but for Ida, "Dear Wife" she is called in Dave's mission journal, and the young family in Franklin, the two years were extremely difficult and trying. Ike and Andrew watched over Ida and her children, but it was still difficult. Dave had borrowed money to finance his mission as well as the needs of the family. Five young children inevitably get contagious diseases, and it seems they contracted every possible disease during those two years. In those days when someone had a contagious disease, the entire household was quarantined. Signs were posted and you could not leave the immediate confines. Even the letters they posted were fumigated. If they ran short of groceries, they would put a list in the mailbox, hoping a neighbor would pick it up and oblige them. Dr. States, the family doctor, spent many hours with the five young Nash children when they were ill, but as long as Dave was in Australia he refused payment. Colds and sore throats were always a problem, and pneumonia was always a threat. They did not have access to the drugs and tablet we have now, but they did have access to some remedies we have forgotten. When the kids got chest colds, Ida plastered their chests with snuff and lard. When they got bad sore throats, she wrapped a piece of gauze around her finger, soaked it with turpentine, and swabbed their throats; or if that did not work, she used a piece of bacon sprinkled with pepper and covered with coal oil. Sage tea found multiple uses. Dave returned to Franklin just before Christmas, 1913. "It was the happiest Christmas we ever had." Dave had never seen Hazel, Uless was just turning five and would have to become acquainted with his father all over again, Paul was seven and he could remember his father. Vendla was nearly ten and Ariel was nearly twelve. Their memories of those two years are strongest. The following spring, 1914, they all began a new venture when they sold the Franklin home, partly to pay the mission ex- pense and partly to spend full time at the Roosevelt farm. They moved across the valley to an isolated, dusty, dry, windy flat, with no conven- iences and no immediate 'neighbors. It was also three miles from any kind of store.
The Roosevelt farm was first leased in 1909, then purchased from the State of Idaho in 1912. It was known as the "school section," which means it was the last numbered section in that township (36 sections). The profits from the sale of this section were to be used to build a public school. The boundaries were one mile apart. The northeast boundary was at the crossroads just under the hill from Laron Bright's home, now Linrose Road and 800 South. The southeast boundary is the corner where Uless lived, one mile south. The western boundaries were a short distance west of the railroad tracks. The entire west side of the valley had very little water for irrigation, and dry farming meant very little financial return. In 1900 the farmers from Clifton, Dayton and Weston, all just west of Roosevelt, formed the Oneida Irrigation District and proposed a complicated scheme which would bring water from Mink Creek, several miles to the northeast, to the dry, western flats. There was much enthusiasm for the scheme and as a result most of the land was bought in anticipation of a good water supply. Unfortunately the plans were too complex and by 1910 the first water was barely reaching the Clifton farms, ten miles north. The farmers in- curred an increasingly high indebtedness to pay for the water system and it drove a good many of them out of the valley. The Roosevelt farmers were quite discouraged. The lease, and later the title, that the three Nash brothers obtained was exceptional, partly because it was the school section and partly because of Ike's influence. Ike was well-known in Boise. Later, he served as State Land Commissioner, living there for fourteen years. When the land was first leased (established in Ike's history of his brother Andrew) they were aware of the water problem and they had written in the lease that the State would pay all the water taxes on the section until water was actually delivered. This meant that for nearly eight years the State paid taxes while they patiently waited for the water. Inasmuch as they were the only landowners with such an agreement it is understandable why some of the neighbors bore a trace of resentment when the subject of those early years was raised. Most of the land was first broken up and plowed during the four summers before Dave went to Australia. The men would leave Franklin and spend a week or so at the farm, go to Franklin for a weekend and then return to the farm. At first they built a bower of willows and sage- brush, which served as headquarters for the working men. It was located under the hill directly west of the homesite and next to the little stream which provided water for the bowery camp. North of the bower a few hundred yards was a small reservoir which had been built by some Weston men, and between the bower and the reservoir they cut wild hay for their horses. The farm work took place on top of the hill from the bowery, and what a sight it must have been. The entire flat was covered thickly with gigantic sagebrush. Everyone has memories of the high sage they had to cut down. Enos Holden put it best, "That sage was so damned big that you could just see my curly head sticking up above the sage when I was on my long-legged horse." From what Ariel, Vendla, Paul, Uless, Tom Smith, and Laura Atkinson had to say, he was entirely correct. You could park a sheepcamp under it, you could get lost in it, and it undoubtedly inspired much cussing because it all had to be grubbed out. At times there were as many as twenty men working to clear it off. Ike has written that they cleared 400 acres during the first summer. They hitched three horses to each end of a long iron rail and dragged it through the sage to knock it down. That was the first step. Then they had to use an axe, a shovel, or whatever they had, to get the roots out. It was a discouraging task, but the sight of such high sage suggested good soil underneath. It was. Sometime prior to 1914 they built a small cabin under the hill for the men to live in. Later it was moved to the top of the hill, but considerably south of the site picked for their permanent buildings. Still later it was moved to Ariel's farm. The foundations for the old cabin are still at the top of the hill (1968). If you dig around a bit, directly west of the old Reuben Taylor home, you might find a memento. When the work was hardest Ida would drive to the cabin with the children and cook for the men. Dave's sisters all remember the old sage- brush bowery, and his oldest three children remember the sheepcamp and cabin when they were under the hill. They also remember the numerous hobos who came down the railroad track for a meal, and the violent thun- der storm which killed Billy Moore, one of the hired hands. For those of you who have never see the farm, it is situated on flat land. Toward the west end the land drops off into a small valley approxi- mately one quarter of a mile from rim to rim and 120 feet in depth. The little stream runs through the middle of the little valley and the railroad track is just under the west rim. The tempo changed considerably as soon as Dave returned from Aus- tralia. By then the farm was a full-time operation for Dave and Ike and it was decided that Dave should move his family to the flat to operate it. The farm belonged to Ike and Dave jointly, but Ike worked for the State and spent most of the next few years in Boise while Dave took respon- sibility for the farm. They drew up a partnership agreement that divided all costs and profits equally between the two. Part of the cost was a monthly wage of $80 paid to Dave. By the 1920's this amount was raised to $150 per month. They also kept their livestock within the partnership agreement, except for a few horses. Dave kept Nett and Bally, and Ike kept Maud, Baby, Colts and Buster. Ike owned some additional property west of the railroad tracks and the partnership also operated it. The agreement established a method of dividing the farm if they ever wished it, even to establishing a method of choosing neutral judges to perform the division if Dave and Ike could not agree on the division (each was to choose a man and these two would choose a third, and these three would divide everything). Fortunately Dave and Ike worked well enough together that they did not need to invoke that provision when they even- tually divided. (I have a copy of the 1914 partnership agreement). As soon as the decision to move was reached they hired a carpenter, Fifield from Weston, to build a home for Dave and Ida at the top of the hill. When school dismissed in June 1914, they moved into their new house. If it was Dave's responsibility to create a farm out of a dry sagebrush flat, then it was Ida's responsibility to create a home in which they could be content. She had not wanted to make the move to the edge of nowhere, but once there she spent countless hours making the home and yard a beautiful, pleasant place. She found hours, between caring for five chil- dren, with two more to come, and cooking for huge numbers of field hands. Dave and Ida planted shade trees all around the home, boxelders, pop- lars, and cottonwoods. They also planted a large fruit orchard directly east of the house, and Ida kept all those trees alive by laboriously carrying water to them in a bucket. How tiring, and how many hundreds of trips she had to make. The water came from a well Dave had dug next to the house. It was fifty-two feet deep and provided the best drinking water on the flat. It also doubled as a cooler for milk and butter. The old barn came next, and it came all the way from Franklin where it had been used as a woolen factory by Edmund Buckley. They tore it down board by board and rebuilt it, complete with wooden pegs for nails. They placed it at the edge of the hill, just a few yards northeast of their new home. In the loft they put a tank large enough to hold at least 4,000 gallons of water. Now the barn is gone, burned to the ground. The water came from under the hill somewhere near the old bowery. They used an ingenious apparatus called a water ram to get the water to the top of the hill. It used no electricity, but it was based on the principle of utilizing the ramming force created by falling water, to push additional water up the hill. A 120-foot-long pipe, known as the drive pipe, was filled with water. As it filled the water pressure built up, valves opened and water was forced into the uphill pipe. When the ram pipe filled and the pressure slacked, valves automatically closed to stop the water in the uphill pipe from coming down again, and the water was drained out of the ramp pipe by another valve. Then the slow process was repeated again and again. It sounds complicated, but it was really very simple. In the process it raised the water 120 feet in height through 765 feet of three-inch pipe to the top of the hill. In later years they hooked the car to the ram in some manner to speed the rather slow process. Also in later years, before electricity came to the flat, Dave bought a generator for the house to take the place of lamps and lanterns. (I have the blueprints for the water ram. I recall seeing the old pipes at the creek when I was a boy, but I never understood what they were for). In 1909 the brothers planted wheat in the land they had cleared. For the next few dry years that was all they could grow. The more land they cleared the more hired men it took to harvest the grain. By 1914 and 1915 they needed upwards of twenty men to complete the harvest. Old pictures show several teams of horses pulling the old grain-headers which cut the grain and dumped it by belt into the huge header-wagons. The cut grain was then hauled away and put into stacks. In the 1920's Ike and Dave cooperated with some of the neighbors, Bill Heusser and John Hobbs, and bought a horse-powered threshing ma- chine. It worked by hitching several teams of horses to a large windlass, and by driving them around the windlass they provided the power to thresh the grain. Ariel remembers how tiring and dirty it was to spend hours and hours hauling the separated straw away from the machine. Bill Hulse and his wife, Lottie, moved to the farm the same spring Dave and Ida built their house. When the big house was built they moved the cabin to the top of the hill for the Hulse's. Bill worked for Dave and Ike for more than fourteen years and Lottie helped Ida cook for the hired men. Charles and Hazel Gill lived there and also helped, and by the 1920's Arthur and Einore Moser were helping. Ida, with the various help- ers, worked innumerable hours cooking over a wood stove, mixing bread in a tub, curing hams, making head cheese or mixing her own lye soap. There were always so many hired men to feed they simply washed the dishes and placed them back on the table for the next meal. Both Enos Holden and Bill Hulse mention the huge meals that were always served. Ida worked hard for the men and took pride in her accomplishment, but that first summer if 1914 she would not wait on the men at the tables. She worked at all the other tasks, but not before the men. That was the summer before Grant was born. Ida always kept a kind of proud spirit and temper in her home that was noticeable. Her refusal to wait on the men that summer was part of it. Her insistence on shade trees and fruit trees, from the beginning, is another part of it. Several people have men- tioned the charm and friendliness of Ida's home, always five or six vases of fresh flowers, always good food, and always an open hospitality even for hired men. Ida made extra butter for sale in Weston or Preston, but the only horse she could use for the buggy drive to town during the busy season was an old horse with a huge club foot. Ida never drove "Bally" into town be- cause of his misshapen foot. She tied him up on the edge of town then carried her butter to the store and the provisions back, rather than be em- barrassed by the old horse. Bill Hulse remembers Ida of those years as, "...a fine woman. None better. She helped anyone." Bill also remembers the night Grant was born in November 1914. No doctors were available so Dave went to Preston for help and Bill took the buggy up Weston Creek for Mrs. Fredrickson who acted as a mid-wife. As Bill remembers, he made it back in time. As a matter of fact, Bill seems to have been quite devoted to Dave and Ida. Paul remembers that whenever Dave or Ida went anywhere with the horse and buggy Bill waited up for them to take care of the horse upon their return. Bill was still extremely fond of them in 1966 when we talked to him. From the time Dave and Ida moved to the farm they were also in the livestock business. They started off with pigs. They had pigs, pigs, and more pigs, as many as six hundred. The pigs ran free in the grain stubble or in the sagebrush, usually living in the huge stacks of straw, but some- times someone had to herd them. Paul and Uless remember doing this. They built several straw-roofed farrowing pens for them under the hill. When they were ready for sale they drove the pigs to the Weston railroad, approximately three miles away (have you ever tried driving a herd of pigs?). By 1918 or 1919 they went out of the pig business; but before they did it seems that Dave had developed a mighty pig call, and others had developed a healthy respect for some of the biggest boar pigs. One weighed nearly 800 pounds. By 1917 the farm was undergoing a significant change as the grain fields were turned into sugar beet fields, which coincidentally brought the end of the free-roaming pig business. The Oneida Irrigation Company finally got water to the flat and they began to grow row-crops. Sugar beets were the first row crops planted, then potatoes. Dave was not the first to grow sugar beets. H.R. Bingham remembers hauling beets to Cornish before water came, but before long the Nash's were raising more beets than anyone in the valley. They hauled the beets by wagon to the Thornton station just northwest of the Nash reservoir. That trip involved the delicate task of moving a heavily load beet wagon down the hill at the north end of the reservoir, then up the other side, pulled by two teams of horses. Sugar beet growing also meant the necessity of large crews of men. Much of the key harvest work came during cold and wet fall weather and this necessitated building better housing for these crews. Sometime in this early sugarbeet period they built a frame house just south of Ida's home, for the hired hands. Around the same time they built a house immediately north of the home for Ike and his wife, Amanda. The frame house which was built for beet workers eventually provided a different kind of dividend. It provided a home for all the boys when they married, usually one couple in the west end and another couple in the east end. Uless lived there for just a few months, but the other brothers lived there in turn for several years. Eventually a basement was built under it. The entire house accidentally burned in the late 1940's. When they were first married, Uless and Paul, then later LaMar, also lived in with Dave and Ida for a few months until houses became available for them. One house was not enough for the hired hands, so Dave brought a one-room house all the way from the Nashville homestead. It ended up on the southwest corner of the farm, and if its walls had voices it too would have a story to tell. Some Hindus lived in it first. They were directly from India and worked for Dave by contracting the hand labor on the beets. Their customs were strange. They had weird pipes, a weird ceremony which included killing a yearling bull that had no blemishes, a prayer closet in the house, and a penchant for wild fights. Dave had to face four of them at once when he became angry over some sloppy irri- gation practices, and they became belligerent. He had to use a club to bluff them. One of the Hindus, John Kahn, lived a winter with Dave and Ida. After the Hindus left, some Mexicans lived in the corner-house for a year. Then, in November 1929, recently-married Uless and Sabina moved there. By then. Bill Hulse had built a leanto on it, and two addi- tional rooms were added. Uless and Sabina lived in it until 1948 when they moved one mile north to the old Berrett farm. Later, the corner-house was lived in by a countless number of Navaho Indians, complete with their own religious ceremonies, some lasting all night. In the 1970's new owners razed the house, barn, sheds, trees and gar- dens that Uless and Sabina built. Not even a stump is left to indicate that the corner was once my home. It is unlikely that present and future generations can ever appreciate the finer points of growing sugar beets. Nowadays a tractor plants six rows of seed at a time. The seed is even a special seed so that too many beets will not grow in the same place. A tractor cultivates the beets through the summer and in the fall a few tractors and trucks and one huge harvesting machine completes the work in record time. The labor is not necessarily any easier now, but it certainly takes a lot less of it, and it is obviously different from the Twenties and Thirties, and even the early Forties. Then the land was plowed, harrowed and planted by horse-drawn machine and usually by the boys. Ariel recalls that the field was so long, paralleling the irrigation canal that angled through the arm, that he could plow no more than two rounds in the morning and two in the afternoon. The harrowing process was equally long and tedious. Dave made a little two-wheel cart for Ariel to ride in. It followed directly behind the harrows and was hitched to the front end of the harrows with a goose-neck tongue. This enabled Ariel to ride rather than walk as he did the har- rowing. All this work was tiring, including the difficult task of planting straight beet rows, and then "thinning the beets with a hoe that had a very short handle. The end result was a person all bent over, sometimes on his knees, crawling up a row of beets, whacking at them with one hand on the short-handled hoe and using the free hand to pick out any "double beets" or weeds that the hoe missed. The novelty of the task wears off in a short time and even a few hours of it leave a memory that is not likely to be erased. How glorious it was when I came down with red measles during one spring beet-thinning time. Summer work with sugar beets was not particularly difficult, unless you count the first few summers when Dave and the boys were first learn- ing how to irrigate. (Dave built his first ditches with a spirit-level, and they were just as accurate as if done surveyor's tools.) Harvest time could be much more difficult. There was always a threat of bad weather from an early winter. Because of this it was necessary to keep large numbers of beet workers until the fields were cleared. Once again, just as with the earlier grain crews, Ida cooked for the beet workers. By now she was cooking three meals per day, baking bread twice a day; and housework centered so much around the meals. Wanda remembers helping Ida cook for twenty-seven men the second year she was married. Dave grew sugar beets for nearly twenty years before the first tractor came to the farm, thus all the labor was by virtue of horsepower or man- power. At harvest time the mature beets were loosened from the soil by horse-drawn machinery and then the beet workers would "top" the beets with an odd-looking knife. It was a heavy knife similar to a long butcher knife, with a cloth strap on the handle which was wrapped around the worker's wrist for added support. The other end of the knife had a long, curved hook, perhaps two-three inches long.
THE ROOSEVELT FARM