Make your own free website on
Legacy of Ida & Dave, con't.

The worker swung the knife just like a hand axe, sinking the hook
into the beet, pick it up, hold the beet in the left hand, then with a chopping
motion with the knife he cut the green tops off the beet.  With a little
practice the "beet-topper" could complete the entire sequence very quickly,
the leafy tops falling in one place and the clean beet tossed into a row
smoothed off by an old triangular contraption called a go-devil.
Topping beets was not a particularly complicated task, unless you
would call muddy ground, or frozen ground, or snow, or beets covered
with fresh cow manure, complications. (Cattle ran freely in the fields in
the fall, eating beet-tops before the harvest).  It could be somewhat haz-
ardous, however.  If you ever talk with someone who "topped beets" for
any length of time you might ask to see his shin bones. Chances are you
might see a few old scars from the point of the hook; and if the scar is
not there the memory lingers.  Some even have scars on their elbows
where somebody else's hook went too far, and at least one thumb is now
missing due to a misdirected beet knife on the Nash farm.
The beets were loaded onto wagons by hand, and for several years
they were also unloaded by hand. The hazardous factor here, heavy beets
falling off the wagons onto unsuspecting heads notwithstanding, was wet
weather.  Rain or snow in October made it increasingly difficult to get
heavily loaded wagons off the fields.  In addition there was always the
concern that an early winter would freeze the beets in the ground before
they could be hauled to the Thornton dump.  No farmer could stand the
financial loss, but it happened occasionally.
When irrigation water came to the flat in 1917-1918 the farmers began
to grow a variety of row crops.  Sugar beets were the most logical crop
because there were several sugar factories in the valley and beets had been
grown successfully for several years. Warren Tingey began to experiment
with potatoes almost as soon as the water came, and by 1920 Dave began
to grow "Idaho Rurals," a potato with the color of a Russett, but the shape
of a Bliss.
Potatoes were a good cash crop and by 1921 they were building their
first potato cellar, or "potato pit" as they were generally called, just north
of the old barn. They hauled the timbers for the cellar all the way from
Maple Creek on the east side of the valley. In the late twenties they built
another cellar at Uless' corner.  Still another cellar was built in the late
thirties just south of the main houses.  A fourth cellar was built by Uless
in 1949 on the Berrett place.  They have since burned down, or collapsed.
The potato pits were huge affairs, perhaps one hundred feet by thirty-five
feet.  The floor of the cellar was approximately four feet below ground level
and heavy pole timbers were raised over it similar to the roof of a house.
The center aisle of the cellar was left wide enough to drive a wagon or
truck into it, and on each side there were bins to store the loose  potatoes.
Once the timbers were in place net wire was laid over them, then a
heavy layer of loose straw over the wire, then a layer of dirt over the
straw.  Later baled straw was used.  Such an arrangement kept the cellar
reasonably cool in the summer and kept the frost out in the winter, al-
though sometimes they had to build a small fire inside the cellar during
extremely cold weather.
It was difficult to raise a good field of potatoes.   Sugar beets were
easy by comparison.  Planting, cultivating, irrigating and even harvesting
had to be done at the right time and in a correct manner.  It was not a
skill easily learned.   Dave hired crews to harvest the potatoes.   At first
they used wire baskets and when they were full of potatoes they were
emptied into an forgotten contraption called a "shaker."
The shaker was a simple device mounted on two runners and pulled
by one horse, usually "Old Nell." It consisted of two layers of wire screen
inside a wooden frame, one layer approximately eight inches above the
other.   The potatoes were emptied onto the top and the size of the mesh
helped sort off the larger potatoes from the smaller.  The second screen
had a smaller mesh and performed the same task, sorting out extremely
small potatoes and clods.  The entire apparatus rested on a rocker-arm
and one man rocked the shaker and the potatoes tumbled into the appro-
priate sack.
In later years the wire baskets were discarded and the pickers began
dragging a burlap bag, "gunny sack", between their legs.  It was held in
place by a belt made of rope that was attached to a 2x2 length of wood,
approximately 18" long. The wood had a nail in either end and the sack
was hooked over the nails. Such dragging wore out the sacks rather rap-
idly and by the 1940's they began using wire baskets again.  By then two
pickers worked together, and once they filled their baskets they dumped
the potatoes into one gunny sack.  Such a sack weighed sixty to seventy
pounds and later it was loaded on a wagon or truck and hauled to the
potato pit.
The potatoes were stored in loose bins and during the winter months
a crew of men and women would "sort" the potatoes into appropriate
grades of "ones," "twos," or "culls." For a while the Nash's had their own
brand on their sacks. It was a picture of a pheasant with the words, "Nash
Brothers, Weston, Idaho."
Such a view of the potato business is brief and simple, but it was not
quite that clear-cut.  It does not make note of the nearly impossible task
of cleaning the rotting potatoes out of the cellar each spring, an odor
beyond belief, the choke of potato dust in the cellar when they are first
brought in, or the dreary monotony of standing over a conveyer belt for
hours on end sorting the spuds into three or four grades.
It would also be difficult to explain the peculiar knack of getting just
one hundred pounds in each sack, or sewing the sack just right and before
the next sack was filled, or  of piling the sacks in tight layers of three,
until the tier reaches twenty- five.  That equals eight tiers of three each,
leaving the twenty- fifth sack as the ninth tier.  You get that last sack
above your head, give it a gentle boost upward to set it on top of the
eighth tier.
Such days did have their compensations, however.  The equipment
used by the 1940's was electric and reasonably quiet, except for the creak-
ing of belts and chains.  It was not cold, even in the dead of winter.  All
in all it was a job conducive to a great deal of enjoyable conversation.
Before we finish with the spud business, perhaps we should mention
the year the Nash's grew purple potatoes.  That was 1948 when the gov-
ernment decided there were too many potatoes on the market. The entire
potato crop was put in the cellars, then the government measured the bins
and bought all the Nash's would sell.  The government paid $2.00 per
hundred pounds, then without moving the potatoes they brought gallons
and gallons of a bright purple dye into the cellar and proceeded to dye
all their potatoes.
Now that the potatoes were purple, and therefore unmarketable, they
resold them to the Nash's for ten cents per hundred pounds, and the live-
stock had a diet of purple potatoes all winter long.  As a matter of fact,
the Nash's also ate purple potatoes.  They did not look so good baked,
but once the pretty purple skin was removed they looked and tasted just
like any other potato.  There was also a certain amount of temptation to
resell spuds that the dye had missed.  A neighbor succumbed to that temp-
Sugar beets and potatoes were a staple crop for Dave and the boys
for years and years.  But things were happening on the farm other than
raising row crops.  1918  is a good year to calendar the changes.  World
War I was just ending and that fall LaMar was born, the seventh and last
child for Dave and Ida. Ariel was nearly seventeen, Vendla nearly fifteen,
Paul was just turning twelve, Uless was nearly ten. Hazel was approaching
seven, and Grant was just turning four. Dave for forty-two; Ida was thirty-
six.  They were a substantial family.  They had lived on the Roosevelt flat
for four complete years and had gradually added to the original farm

buildings.  Several sheds and corrals had been built at the edge of the
hill, including a good blacksmith shop.   Bill Hulse still worked full time
and dozens of others were hired for the summer and fall work.
There were very few families on the Roosevelt flat, but they were
practically all Latter-Day Saints.  The families built a small church house
for their meetings and by 1922 it was formally organized as Linrose Ward.
The name "Linrose" was a contraction suggested by Mrs. Emma Bingham
for the names of the two adjacent school districts, Lincoln and Roosevelt.
Dave was the first superintendent of the Sunday School during those years.
Earlier he had served as a Stake missionary and Elder's Quorum President.
Those were difficult responsibilities when they lived so far from the towns
in the valley.
The church house was an extremely sparse building, with no central
heat, and not even an organ.   For several years Bill Heusser loaded his
own organ into a wagon every Sunday morning and took it to the church,
then brought it home again that evening.  The church house also doubled
as a grade school.  Ariel, Vendla and Paul attended school there that first
fall, and the others attended in their turn.  Both Paul and Uless remember
the kids that went to school there were mean.  The Nash kids were ex-
ceptions, of course.  For a few years, 1916-1919, Dave and Ida boarded
the school teacher.   The teachers were James McQueen, Ruby Moore,
Mrs. Bradbrook.  Names from the Thirties included Wanda Mortenson
(my teacher for four years), Everett Turner, Mr. Huffman, Halvor Berrett,
Claude Howell, and Mrs. Robinson.
By the early 1920's Linrose was ready to build their own school house
and they built a two-room brick building on Nash property, directly across
the road from the church house.  This school housed all the Linrose chil-
dren until 1946 when it was closed. Since then it has been demolished,
Linrose Ward has been merged with Weston Ward, and the church has
become a private residence. Its location was Linrose Road, 1/2 half mile
south of 800 South. I spent eight years in that school, and I have nothing
but good memories of it.
The grade school was satisfactory in spite of the "mean kids," but
when Ariel and then Vendla were ready to attend high school or college
it  was  not  completely  clear  what  should  be  done.     The  solution  to  the
problem was expensive but desirable, the children were to go to school
in Logan, thirty miles to the south.  For the first two years Ariel lived in
the Larsen home during the school year.  Then, around 1920, when Paul
was in the eighth grade and Uless was in the fifth grade, Dave bought a
five-room cream-colored brick home on the corner of third east and Center
Street in Logan, just over the hill  to the east, from the center of town.
Each fall Ida and the children moved to Logan for the school year.
Some fall and spring weekends might be spent on the farm, and some
winter weekends Dave went to Logan, yet it meant weeks of separation.
When Paul and Uless were in high school they played football and bas-
ketball.  It seems they were pretty good.  Vendla recalls that Dave came
to Logan whenever the boys played in a game, and that he never missed,
regardless of the weather.
There were additional changes evident by 1918. It was that year, per-
haps a year earlier, that Dave and Ida bought their first car.  It was an
Overland, and what an adventurous day it was when Ike drove them in a
horse and buggy through Weston Canyon to Malad to purchase it.  Dave
and Ida proudly drove the Overland back through the canyon and Ike
raced them in the buggy.  Admittedly the roads were not so good in
those days, and Dave may have been a bit cautious with his new machine;
at any rate, Ike and the buggy won the race.
The Overland gave the Nash family a most pleasant convenience. The
family had always gone to Weston or Preston for supplies in a buggy,
usually behind "Old Bally", or "Net".  They had made dozens of trips to
Franklin by buggy, occasionally in mid-winter.  In winter, the buggy be-
came a sleigh filled with kids, straw, and heated rocks.
The Overland obviously made these trips simpler.  Dave fixed the
running boards so they could store additional gear on them and off they
would go.  By the 1920's the Overland was taking them on annual trips
to Bear Lake over the old buggy road, and even as far away as the Black-
foot River for fishing.  The Overland was the first car driven to Willow
Flat, a campground in the mountains northeast of Franklin.  These trips
were a pleasant break in the summer work and they always looked forward
to them.
Such motor-driven travel had its advantages, but there were a few
problems too, especially after having driven horses most of the time. More
than once Dave pulled back on the steering wheel and hollered, "Whoaaa!"
And more than one gate was knocked down because of it. The rear end
of a shed was knocked out when Dave's long gauntlet gloves, which he
always wore, caught on the throttle lever. In later years the Overland was
replaced by an Oldsmobile, then a Studebaker.  Chevrolets came in the
There was another, very expensive change, that took place around
1918. The canal system built by the Oneida Irrigation District was finally
completed and the first water reached Linrose.  Consequently, the State
of Idaho quite paying the water taxes on the land Dave and Ike had pur-
chased.  At the same time, the irrigation district was forced into
bankruptcy because of the extremely high construction and maintenance
costs it faced, and because they could not pay off the constructions bonds
that had previously sold.
The farmers had invested too much money in the system to abandon
it, but they could not possibly afford an additional bond issue.     The prob-
lem was solved when Amalgamated Sugar Company offered to take over
the entire bonded indebtedness of the irrigation district if the farmers
would agree to organize a new company and sign individual mortgages
with Amalgamated Sugar Company in the amount of $50 per acre of
irrigatable land.  The cost was overwhelming to the farmers but it did
solve the problem of the old bonded debt and the farmers did need the
The newly created company became known as Twin Lakes Canal Com-
pany and the farmers signed the mortgage with the sugar company.  Ike
and Dave signed a mortgage totaling $30,318 at seven per cent interest.
In 1922 they paid off the mortgage by borrowing from the Federal Lake
Bank at five and 1/2 per cent, paying off the sugar company in full. It
seemed a sensible solution at the time, and it was, but it proved costly.
Most farmers were unable to pay the principle of the sugar company mort-
gage, and finally the company wrote the mortgages off as uncollectable.
Dave had already paid them in full, yet still had to pay the Federal Land
Bank, in full.
In spite of debts or hard work or isolation, the 1920's were pleasant
times on the farm.  The shade trees were growing and the orchards were
producing under Ida's constant care. She was busily engrossed in church
work in the little community of Linrose.  She had a player piano.  Her
lively, enjoyable personality was unchanged.   She enjoyed the farm and
was quite proud of it and her home.
Dave rode the fields on a beautiful black horse as he worked and
supervised his three older boys. They had to learn how to build irrigation
ditches that worked properly and they had to learn how to irrigate row
crops.  Dave was straightforward, and disliked silliness, but he was not a
stern father or taskmaster.   If the boys built a crooked fence, they did
once, he made them take it down and rebuilt it.  If they planted crooked
beet rows they were chided. He did not swear much except an occasional
"dammit" or "son-of-a-gun-of-a-seacook." He chewed tobacco, but he did
not drink liquor. He had chewed tobacco before he had gone to Australia,
and by the 1920's he was chewing tobacco again. In later years he smoked
a cigar.
Around 1925 Dave went into the sheep business in a big way. They
had raised cattle just after the pig period, but now most of the range cattle
were sold and they began building a herd of sheep that eventually num-
bered about 3000 ewes.  They built several sheepsheds under the hill on
the east side of the creek, replacing the farrowing sheds.  There they fed
sheep through the winter and each spring the ewes bore their lambs.
The sheepsheds were used only for the spring lambing. They were
quite long, completely enclosed, and roofed with canvas.  There was an
entrance at each end and a long aisle down the middle of the shed.  On
each side were small pens, just large enough for one ewe and her lambs.
Most of the lambs were born outside the sheds, perhaps in one of the
open-sided, straw-roofed boweries, or perhaps they were born on the open
The men hitched one horse to a small sled that held four small cages.
They traveled the hillside and gathered all the ewes with their newborn
lambs and took them to the sheds. After two or three days in their private
pens they were moved to larger corrals holding several ewes and lambs.
It was, and is, a beautiful sight to see dozens of lambs, two or three weeks
old, cavorting and gamboling about in a kind of group play as they run
about their corrals, skidding by their mothers, or sloshing through grain
troughs or melting snow.
Once in a while you saw a lamb that seemed to be wearing a pull-over
sweater.  If you looked closer you would see that it was so.  These were
lambs whose mother had died or did not have enough milk for one of a
pair of twins.  The men took a newly dead lamb, carefully removed its
pelt and fit it over the orphan.  If it were done properly, and in time, the
lamb could be successfully passed off to its foster mother.  And if you
looked carefully around the sheds you might notice drying pelts from the
few ewes that inevitably died each winter, or a small pile of dead lambs
at the end of each shed, all frozen together in happenstance.  They seemed
to disappear each spring as the snow and ice melted.
If you listened at all you could hear a continuous cacophony of worried
ewes bleating for lost lambs, and lost lambs plaintively pleading for lost
mothers. All of it was punctuated several times each day by steam engines
pulling freight, easy going south, but straining going north.  The railroad
was barely two hundred yards away, on the west rim. If you listened more
closely you could hear the running creek, wind rustling through the trees,
and dozens of colorful but tiresome magpies perched on the shed roofs
or in the surrounding poplars, waiting to get at the carcasses that were
usually there.  Then, once in a while, you could hear a faraway shout
from the top of the hill, "Daaave! Ooh Dave!  Dinner time!" That was
Ida.  Or if it came from one of the men it was likely, "Yoooh down there!"
When spring lambing was nearly complete it was necessary to perform
a couple of minor operations, minor unless you were a lamb. Long-tailed
lambs had to become short-tailed lambs, and male lambs had to become
wethers.  It was usually an assembly line process involving several men
and whatever grandsons were big enough to hold a lamb steady.  The
lambs were herded into a small enclosure, caught and held tightly by all
four legs, then off came the tail very quickly and efficiently.  Sometimes
they were seared off with a red-hot chisel, or simply cut off with a sharp
The male-lamb-to-wether operation was a bit more complicated, and
also unbelievable to most people.  The lamb was held tightly on his back,
then the operation was performed by cutting off the tip end of the scrotum,
carefully pressing the scrotum back of the two testicles; and then, while
holding them in place, the man removed the testicles with his teeth!  It
was done very quickly, then he spat the removed testicles off to the side
or perhaps into a bucket for what would later become a plate of fried
"rocky mountain oysters."
Odd as it may appear, the system was efficient, and antiseptic for the
lamb, if not for the man. A few such operations gave one a rather bloody
appearance.  It was much worse if the lamb should happen to have had
the scours. It was said that a boy was not a man until he could successfully
perform that operation.  The lamb?   For the most part he wobbled off,
laid down for a while, got up, and to all outward appearances, forgot about
it.    Now,  both  operations  are  performed  with  tight  rubber  bands.
By May the ewes were sheared and they were taken to the spring and
summer ranges. There was a major loss one year when the newly shorn
sheep suffered and many died because of a late spring snowstorm.  For
many years the Dayton hills, which the Nash's owned, provided the early
spring range, and Cottonwood, Toponce and Robbers Roost north of
McCammon provided the summer range. By the 1940's there were fewer
sheep and they summered them around Twin Lakes. In the fall the lambs
were driven to the railroad yard in Weston, loaded tightly into freight cars
and shipped to Denver, Omaha, St Joseph, or even Kansas City for sale.
Dave or one of the boys went with them.
Such large numbers of sheep meant hiring full-time sheepherders.
Some last a short time - Dick Stewart, Oley Morris, George Lewis - but
one lasted a long time, Roy Hulse. Roy stayed with Dave for years, and
everyone liked him. Paul and Uless often stayed with Roy in the summers,
and by 1928 Grant was old enough to spend part of the summer with the
sheep.   Alton, Ike's son, also spent a few summers with them.
Uless particularly remembers the summers just before he married. In
1927 they were driving the sheep from Swan Lake through the hills and
beyond Lava Hot Springs to the Toponce summer range. Roy was quite
sick for several days and could do nothing.  Roy's boy Bud, age twelve,
was there but he had been kicked by a horse and could also do nothing.
They kept moving toward Lava, but one of the pack horses fell into a
ravine and scattered their gear. Through it all Uless did triple duty. They
were all relieved to see Dave, Paul and "Fat" McGinney drive up from
Lava to meet them.  Roy named that spot "Camp Welcome". As Uless
says, "Most of what happened is in between the lines.  It's a trip worth
$10,000 of experience, but I wouldn't give a dime for it over again,"
(written in 1930's).
In the summer of 1991 I drove Dad (Uless) to Camp Welcome.  He
had not been there for nearly sixty years.  Nothing remains of the camp
they built, and it took us a while to find the right creek, and bend in the
creek, but we found it.
Uless also remembers later that summer when Roy was gone for a
few days. They brought a "dirty old crowbait" who had not taken a bath
in ages.  He had a favorite dog that he even let eat out of his plate with
him.  Uless was supposed to sleep with him, but a smelly saddle blanket
was preferable.
Uless also relates an incident that was characteristic of Dave.   They
had been losing some sheep, so Dave took Uless along to find them.
They found some corrals belonging to a man named Rancher, and in the
corrals were some of their sheep with the brands altered.   They were
standing near the corrals when Rancher came up to them with a six-shooter
strapped to his side, and his hand on the pistol.  Dave told him that some
of his sheep were lost and Rancher said that he had not seen them. Dave
got mad and told him that his sheep were right there in the corral. Rancher
half pulled his pistol from his holster and threatened to shoot Dave if he
did not leave.  Then, as Uless remembers, Dave said, "If you weren't so
damned crazy, I'd take that six-shooter away from you and beat hell out
of you."  Rancher put his gun away, and Dave got his sheep.
Sheep, potatoes and sugar beets were part of the farm, but the heart
of it was the alfalfa fields.  They cut a little wild grass north of the old
sagebrush bowery, but it was never enough. Dave was the first farmer to
try raising planted alfalfa, and when they found they could successfully
raise it, "haying time" became the central task of the summer's work,
involving about twelve men, and leaving no more than ten days between
the first and second cutting, and between the second and third.
The task of cutting, curing and stacking hay is done now with one
man and three machines - swather, baler, hay-wagon - but how different
it was them.   The alfalfa was cut with a horse- drawn mower.   They kept
two and sometimes three mowers busy.  After a day the downed alfalfa
was moved into long rows by an awkward machine known as a hay-rake.
It  consisted  of wide-  diameter  iron  wheels  with  a  row  of long,  curved
tines fastened to an iron bar that ran between the two wheels.  Directly
over the tines is a hard, iron seat for the driver.  The rake is balanced by
a single horse which as a kind of third wheel.
The horse plods around the field and the driver presses a trip'-lever
with his foot.   The lever locks onto a ratchet mechanism on the wheels
and the tines, which have been gathering the mowed hay, rise in unison,
"dumping" the hay into a pile.  The rake goes round and round the field,
always dumping the hay even with the previous round.  If it is done cor-
rectly then the field will be raked into long and more or less parallel rows
of curing alfalfa.
A day or so later, when the hay is drier, the same rake returns to the
field, this time straddling the long rows of curing hay.  Once again the
tines rise and fall and the long rows are bunched into separate piles of
hay call haycocks.  This process of "hunching" is slow, and tedious.  In
order to avoid making the haycocks too large it is an almost continuous
process of hitting the trip-lever, waiting for the tines to rise with the turn
of the wheel, the tines dropping and then hitting the trip- lever again.
When the tines reach the top of their arc they strike the bottom of the
iron seat with a jarring motion, and every step the horse takes, the two-
wheeled rake sways.  Round and round the field!  Sway with each step,
trip the lever!  Brace yourself for the jolt when the tines hit the seat, then
again when the tines strike the earth!  Stiff, aching bones come with the
When the fields were bunched then the haying became a group task.
The hay had to be hauled to the stackyards for winter feeding. For several
years Dave and the boys used "slips" to haul the hay.  A slip was simply
a number of boards laid side by side and nailed together, so that if held
on end it looked like an oversize barn door.  They hooked a team of
horses to the slip, sliding easily over the stubble in the alfalfa fields, like
a giant toboggan.
The youngest sons and grandsons drove the slips to the field where
two men pitched the hay onto the boards with a pitchfork. When it was
loaded, perhaps eight to ten feet high, with a young driver perched pre-
cariously on top of the hay , or on a front corner of the slip, then the
team was driven to the stackyard where the hay was stacked. One of the
first work experiences I personally recall is Victor and I driving those
slips.  We were six years of age.
A large wooden derrick was the key factor to stacking the hay.  Very
few of these are still standing, and probably none are still functioning.
The derrick frame was a Danish-immigrant invention, consisting of heavy
timbers laid in a square.  Another timber was laid through the middle of
the square and this became the base for the "king pole."  The heavy king
pole was placed vertically, then braced to various points on the outer
square.  On top of the king pole was the "boom pole".
The boom pole was really a long pine tree, much longer and thicker
than a telephone pole.  Approximately one-third of the distance from the
heaviest end, the boom pole was fastened solidly to a heavy metal swivel
which was set in the top of the king pole.  The large end of the boom
pole was held close to the ground by a chain tied to the cross brace on
which the king pole was fixed.

Next Page
Previous Page