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J. RUBE LASEN HISTORY continued


His farm was all covered with beautiful meadows and beautiful springs.
 He had that farm on the Cub River at the mouth of High Creek.  That was
his home on High Creek, on the hill.  It was the place that I told about
before where he built his two homes - one for my Aunt Elly and one for
my mother.
He was called by Card to go to Canada and he was in to Richmond. Cove was about two and a half miles from Richmond and he was in to Richmond to get his horses shod preparing to go to Canada because he had been called by Charlie Card to go there. Apostle Merrill saw him and asked him what he was doing. And he told him. Said he'd been called to go to Canada. He said, you're not going to Canada. You stay where you are. Of course Card was sent by the Church up there to colonize Canada and he called men to go and my father was one.
Old man Kingsford would always come to Fast Meeting and get up and bare his testimony. He'd get up to singing - a big long rigamarole that nobody could understand - just nothing to it. It was a lot of hot air. It wasn't any testimony at all. He'd go on and my father would tell him to sit down and he'd sit down. But one time he went on and he wouldn't sit down and my father jumped up on his feet and he said, "Brother Kingsford, you sit down immediately and don't you get up again". And that man humbled himself and sat down on that bench right now and stopped. He had a command that would make anybody mind when he spoke. I know I minded him when he spoke. That's all I knew. I knew him just enough that he meant what he said and I'd do it. He bet a companion once he could cut a log in two over a river in a certain length of time and he bet a week's cutting of ties that he could do it. The man bet him that he couldn't. He went out and cut that log in two in the time that was allotted him and got the ties.
We had very poor transportation at that time. There was no roads, nothing but a sheep trail, a road to pull camp wagons out on the desert between Price, Utah and the Utah-Colorado line, Mack, Colorado. I went in there on a passenger train. I didn't know anyone. I knew one man I had shipped with and I called him up but he didn't have anything. I was the first man who ever shipped cattle off the Western Slope of Colorado - west. They had always had their outlets east - Denver and on to the railroad markets of Chicago and Omaha. I went in and bought a string of cattle from a man by the name of R.E. Vickery. He was running a horse shoeing company. The first bunch of cattle I ever bought I bought from him and I never will forget it. I had an older man, much older than me, with me by the name of James Callon. As we were fording the stream on horses I found out what a good deal I could make during conditions which are a big factor in buying cattle and I never will forget it. We were fording the Colorado River on horses and I turned back to Mr. Vickery and I said I'm going to buy the cattle. We'll cut them at once and ship them. And the man that I was with, I thought he was going to fall off his horse into the river. He was sure frightened to see me buy that string of cattle. We bought around four or five carloads which would be around a hundred to a hundred and fifty head of cattle. We shipped them out and they did all right. The boys I was working with called back and told me to go ahead and buy more, that we were all right. So I moved on down to Delta and I started buying cattle there. I ate my Thanksgiving dinner at a ranch owned by Hy Thornley and we bought his cattle. They were wonderful cattle, very choice cattle. They used to come off that lush range, fat, ready for the market, ready to be killed and slaughtered. I was buying these cattle on the Denver market, less the expense that it took to get them to Denver, which made them well worth the money for me to ship west. The final outlet was in Los Angeles. I used to unload in Salt Lake and they would store them up there and sell what they could and then they would ship them on to Los Angeles. That was when I started in to buying real heavy and I bought quite a lot of cattle before I left to come home for the Christmas holidays which I told about. After the holidays I went back and went into what they called the Paradox Country out of Placerville. It was very rough country. When I was going in there on the train the railroad conductor tried to talk me out of going. He said that's a terrible country. He said there's more than one man in that country that's got more than one notch in his gun handle, if you know what that means. And I said, well I've never been scared in my life. I said maybe it's a good time to start in and maybe somebody can scare me. I went in there and bought a string of cattle to be loaded on the narrow-gage railroad at Placerville. They had to be driven out of Norwood. I bought around a hundred and fifty head of cattle. Snow storms got so bad we couldn't get them even to the railroad. The narrow-gage road was all tied up and we had to load them as soon as we got them into Placerville because we didn't have any feed. We'd have to unload at Montrose and go on to broad-gage and ship into Salt Lake. I bought this man's cattle and gave him a check. I wrote on the check what it was for and that they were to be weighed off the cars in Montrose. I bought these cattle and came back into the hotel where I was staying. There was a doctor who was retired and he lived in Norwood. He was there at the Clark Hotel and he said, "Larsen, you've been out with a bad man". He said, "I've never seen a man that was as cross-eyed as him that was crooked". He said, "They're nearly all cross-eyed people as crooked as their eyes". I never will forget that. Well I said, I'm not afraid. I haven't paid him for the cattle. I paid him an advance on them but they're not my cattle. They're weighed off the cars in Montrose. I said I've got nothing to worry about. Well, he said, he'll never get there with them. I said, I don't care, I can easy stop payment on my check. But in the meantime the snowstorm got so heavy that we couldn't get them out and I had to lay there for a week. Finally I got the cattle out, took them into Montrose and the man I was getting them from said, I'll go up to town and order some hay. I said, oh that aint necessary to order hay for my cattle. He said I'm going to feed them and water them before I weigh them to you. I said, oh no you're not. I said these cattle are mine. They're billed from me to me and you've got nothing to do with these cattle. I said, you go see the sheriff and attach them and get yourself a lawyer if you want to get these cattle. I said that's what it's going to take to get them because they're my cattle. They're in my possession and they're billed in my name. He said, why I haven't signed anything like that. I said, listen, do you want to see a copy ? I said, where's your check ? Read it ! He said, I haven't got it. I sent it to the bank up to Telluride. Well I said, do you want to see a copy of it ? And I pulled out my checkbook and as luck would have it, I had a carbon copy in it and I had the exact duplicate to what I had given him. He shut up. We weighed the cattle. He took his money and I shipped them and they made me a lot of money. I made very good money on them. And that was my experience going into Colorado and buying cattle which was one of the turning points of my life; to show what a person can do when they're put up against it. And I just want to say this, one thing you should always do, pray to the Lord to give you experiences - make it tough for you, just as tough as you can stand, but not any more. And I've had those experiences in my life.
I never had any transportation for about two years after I had been buying cattle in there. I couldn't get a car in there. Finally they hired a man to bring a car in to me and he stayed there. That didn't work out very well, but we had very poor transportation. I would have to ride a caboose, ride with the cattle. In those days they wouldn't ship cattle unless you had a caretaker. I would hire a hobo or most anybody that would ride with them, just so there was somebody along. And then I would be able to ride back on a passenger train on the contract that you had signed to go with the cattle. In those days you had to have a shipper. Now they take cattle without shippers. You sign a release and they accept them that way. And I would ride buses. One night I rode an ore truck. I rode a horse into what they called the Horsefly Range and that was over the range that took us into the Paradox Country. I got in there and I had to be in Placerville at daylight the next morning. I had no way of getting in there. Someone told me there was an ore truck going through there. It goes through there every night. They travel at nights. It was hard rubber, no inflated tires and it was a rough ride, loaded with copper ore going into Placerville to load on the railroad train. And I rode in there, got in about two or three o'clock in the morning. I got me a room and I said don't wake me until six o'clock tomorrow morning. I said, wake me and then have some breakfast ready for me to sit down and eat. I said give me five minutes and then have that breakfast. The man was there waiting with horses, wanted them to wake me sooner but they told him I gave strict orders. I had to have some rest. I had been riding the range many, many miles and I was very tired. I went out with him and bought a big string of steers - beautiful country near what they call the Lone Coal. It's a beautiful range. Some of the most lushes feed that I've ever seen in my life grows on the Western Slope. Some of the finest cattle I ever bought in my life were on the Western Slope of Colorado. I wouldn't know how many I'd taken out but I'd say I took thousands out. I shipped a lot of cattle and I made a lot of money. I had a partner that lost a lot of money. I used to laugh and say, well I can make it faster than he can lose it, but I didn't. Finally I went broke the second time with him, with Del Hampton. We lost $36,000 and I had to pay that back. This is the second time I've gone broke. I went out by myself. I told him that we had to quit. We couldn't work together any longer. So I went out. After we had gone broke I paid off all the debts that I owed. It was hard but I paid them back. It was hard work. A lot of it was hard traveling, riding cabooses, riding railroad trains.
Then we moved to Ogden two or three years after that. then we got better highways and I was able to drive a car in there after we got in Ogden. I went into the commission business and had a commission firm there and we did very well. I was still in with Del Hampton at that time when we went broke. And then I finally had to go and buy cattle. I had to go back to Colorado. It seemed like that was the only place I could make good money. I went back there and I bought a string of cattle but the only way the banker would let me have the money to handle it; he asked me what I was going to do with them. I said, I've got a good outlet with Cudahay Packing Company - a man by the name of Johhny Gorman. He said he'd try to buy any good cattle that I could get for him over in that country; which he did. He treated me very good. I shipped them in and I told him this is my life or death. I said if you let these cattle make me a little money I'll guarantee Johhny, to make you some good money on a deal. I said, I've got deals there that I can get and I'll make you good money. And he did. He had made so much money on them that the next time I went to Salt Lake (I was living in Ogden) he met me in the alley at North Salt Lake Yards. He made so much money on the cattle that I got him over in Colorado that he handed me a check for a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars in those days was like five hundred today. It was really worth that much the way the money value has dropped out of the dollar in the United States since this inflation is on. I did a lot of business. Cuduhays gave me a lot of opportunities and privileges. They sent me into Idaho once and they told me to buy hogs for them. They didn't make any deal with me. They said just go there and buy hogs. Do what we tell you to do - a man by the name of Mr. Nichols. I went to Idaho and I bought, I guess, 15 double-decks of hogs and shipped them in. The market was so bad that I called him up and said, you buy those hogs. That man up there is giving us trouble and I want you to buy those hogs. I refused to buy them. I got on the train and came home. It was a good thing I did because I would have paid more money there than they were buying them for in Ogden - by a dollar a hundred. When I got all through it was the holidays. He wanted me to be busy. He didn't want me to lay around. He said, this'll just be a nice little holiday job for you. While I was in from the country buying, I went up there and got these hogs. When I got all through he called me in and he wanted to know how much he owed me. I said I can tell you anything you want. I said, I don't care. You can turn me loose. He just turned to the bookkeeper and told him to write me out fifty dollars a car for hogs; which was a nice little sum for me. It was around five or six hundred dollars they gave me for buying those hogs. I've always had very good success. But there's one thing that I will always remember; it takes action and to take action it takes work. And that's the only way that I can say that I got along. It's been my health and my physical strength that I've had that I've been able to accomplish and do what I've accomplished. I have bought cattle all over the western part of the United States, from California east to the Nebraska line. To the Missouri River I should say and over into Nebraska and shipped. I know the cattle very well in that territory. I used to have a circuit that I would follow, buy cattle in the fall of the year and winter in Colorado. I'd move from there to California when the grass cattle started in the early spring and go through California from Southern California to Northern California - buy while the grass cattle were on there and then I would move into Oregon along in late summer, August and September, and buy cattle there until it was time to go back to Colorado again. And that was the way I operated for several years. There's one sad thing about it. I had to leave my darling wife too much and I used to pray the time would come when I could spend my time with my family and be at home. It finally arrived, but most of my family had gone by the time I could live at home in order to make a living for them.
We had a company, The Utah-Idaho Livestock Commission Company. I was in with Fisher and Bill Wyatt. That didn't last long. It soon broke up. I started a commission company of my own. I was in business with them for about a year and a half or two years. Then I started what was known as the J. Rube Larsen Livestock Commission Company. Fisher thought he could run a business against me with hired help. But I soon had all the business. He closed his doors. Somebody asked him what he got out of me when he bought me out (and he insisted that he buy me out) and he said, all I got was a telephone and a lead pencil. Now he said, I wound up even without that. I ran the J. Rube Larsen which was very successful for three or four years and then the Producers Livestock told me they were going to come in and I didn't dare buck them so In thought the best thing I could do was to sell out to them. I sold out to them with a very good advantage. I had enough money to buy our home on 17th East and 987 South. I bought that home on the profits that I got out of selling the commission firm. I worked for them for a year but I found out that I had been a free-lancer and that it was hard for me to work for anyone else. I told him my year was up and I was ready to quit. He insisted that I go on so I stayed on with him for another month or two and I told him that finally it wouldn't work. I said, I've got to quit. So I wrote him a letter and told him that I was going to quit, but he never even answered it. First of the month came which time I gave him that I was going to go. And then I went in for myself with operating. I was running the Producers, the entire outfit. I had a commission company in Los Angeles I sold out to them. I had a man down there by the name of George Tomlinson and Devon Levi running that at the time I sold out to them.
Then I started another one when I went into the sheep business with George Veder in California. We had a very good year down there. I was over there for a year. It was very treacherous but it turned out to be a good year for us. It's a long story I don't want to take the time to tell. But we did make good money. He wasn't entirely honest with me so I sold out to him and came back and organized the Utah Livestock Commission Company with Marv Larsen. The Basques were very fine people to have as herders. They were wonderful people. We bought a lot of sheep. One time the range got so dry we had to make preparations to haul water to our sheep. It looked like we were going to burn right up. And about the time it looked like the disaster was going to hit us; and it looked so bad to me that I went and took out a $36,000 life insurance policy to protect me an any loss that we might have in California. But the rain finally came on the 30th of March which was Easter, one year when Easter came in March and I never will forget it. It was raining to beat the band. It was Easter and George Veder and I went out and he looked up and the rain was just pouring down and he said this is raining pennies for us. And we had very lush feed. We had lambs that weighed over a hundred pounds and they were very fat - all on grass. Those sheep would never move. They'd just eat and lay down. There was plenty of moisture on the grass and we had some beautiful sheep. Turned out to be a very good year. We run around 7000 head of ewes. We really had a chance to clean up and make a lot of money. We contracted our lambs for 11 cents. We had some others bought. We sold them at 11 and before we got through we had orders for sheep, we went up and paid as high as 12 cents or 13 cents a pound. So had we held on to our lambs longer we would have made considerable more money. But as it was it turned out very good because we had some very fine lambs. I sold out to him and came back to Utah and that was when I opened up the Utah Livestock Commission Company with Marv Larsen.
I run that for two or three years I guess and then I bought a farm out west of Lagoon in Farmington. That's how I started doing business with the Davis County Bank. I had two accounts. I had very wonderful credit with Mr. Crandall of the Bank of Salina and I opened up another account. I used that for my trading account. I used to ship a lot of hogs in those days. I had an unlimited order with James Allen for hogs. In fact they had to have a thousand or two thousand hogs every week and that was a big job to buy those. I used to buy most of them from the Idaho schools. I did all my business by telephone and wire which was very good business. And Marv Larsen was running the commission business. It didn't work out very good. The Second World War was coming on and that stopped me from buying hogs for Allen. They only allowed me $15 a car. It was government regulations. I called Allen and told him it was impossible for me to buy hogs at that rate and he said you'll have to put it on as expense. They allowed me a good fat expense account to keep on buying hogs. I got involved in my farm out at Farmington, a farm I had bought from Dick Barnes and I finally gave up the hog buying. They wanted me to go to Omaha which I did. I went and bought a few hogs there and visited some of the auctions. But when you're not there to look after your business, it's impossible to do. I bought some hogs, quite a slug of them at one time and I'm sure they gave me a very bad deal. They added on the weights. The hogs didn't dress out and it was really very bad for me because Allens were very dissatisfied with the way I handled it and they quit buying hogs from me; which I didn't want anyway because I had the farm and I was wrapped up in that. It took a lot of time and I tried to do too much of the work myself. Short labor, no help, the war was on and my boys were in the service. Lou was married then. He worked on the farm. But I tried to give my boys the same privileges that I'd had myself - to give them responsibility and I think they can all say that they appreciated it. John had the least experience on the farm. He was on a mission and soon after he got off his mission he went in the service. And at that time I guess I was getting pretty well to the end of farm life and I finally sold it. Lou had some great experiences out there. But he left to go to school in San Francisco and I guess it was the hard work that I gave him that made him decide to do something else which was a very fine thing. He wanted very much to follow in the livestock business. I gave him a lot of opportunity. I sent him to Oregon to buy sheep. He had a great experience there. I used to send him to Colorado to buy lambs and hogs. And I used to send him to Idaho so he had a lot of experience out of it. J.R. had some very fine hard working days on the farm which he enjoys looking back at more then he enjoyed doing it while he was there because I used to give him the works; cutting down the brush, hoeing the corn, and raking hay. And it was a good thing he had it because it taught what hard work would do for him, what responsibility would do for him; which I'm very thankful he had the privilege of doing.
I was in the commission business at North Salt Lake with the Utah Commission Company at the close of the Second World War and the government was performing a lot of experiments at the Dugway Proving Grounds. They wanted goats and they wanted pigeons. They knew I was in the commission business and someone gave them my name and they called me up one day and asked me if I would buy pigeons and I said yes, I think I can furnish them. He said we want 3000 pigeons. And I said, I'd better come out and talk to you. So I went out to the chemical works out south of Tooele and I made a deal with them to furnish them these pigeons for a dollar and a half apiece. I had to almost sit on Marv Larsen to get him to keep still. I said, you leave this to me. You let me make this deal.. I said, I'm sure they want these pigeons very bad and we can get a lot of money out of them and I said it's going to cost us money to get them. We finally filled the order for 3000 pigeons. The way we did that, we sent a man with a truck, fixed up a truck with net wire on it so he could put the pigeons in and he would go to different towns all through the southern part of Idaho and Utah and would get ahold of the Boy Scouts and would give them 25 cents a pigeon to catch them. Well they used to go out in the barns at night with a lantern and scare the pigeons out of the rafters and they would fly into the light and they'd have a net and catch them that way. And we finally filled that order. We did a pretty nice job. The man that bought them came from Maryland here. That's where their headquarters were - in Maryland, and gave us this order for the pigeons. They wanted more pigeons but I think we cleaned out the cupboard pretty well and I didn't want any more of it. So they wanted goats. And I sold them goats. We could buy them in Southern Utah. There was a lot of them in Southern Utah and we bought a lot of goats for them and took them to Dugway Proving Grounds. Well they didn't know anything about where they'd get their feed so they finally bought their feed from me and I was in the feed business, buying feed to feed these goats. I sent them grain and hay out to feed them and grain to feed the pigeons. We used to send a big truck out there and take care of it. And then the Canadian Government wanted goats and the United States Veterinary that was buying the goats from us, he gave them my name and they contacted me. So I shipped I guess, oh I don't know, several hundred. I shipped four or five hundred - double decks of goats to Canada. The last goats I shipped up there wasn't a very pleasant deal. I bought them in Texas. There were none left in Utah. I bought them in Texas and I thought they'd come through Salt Lake where I could see that everything was all right. But I insisted on the man that he get inspection and he got local inspection which was all right for the United States but he had to have a United States inspection to get them over the Canadian line. They went through Denver and we could have had a U.S. inspection there, but I didn't know about this. I went on a trip to Alaska and these goats were in transit and they got to the Canadian border and they couldn't go over without a U.S. inspection and there was no U.S. inspector on the border there. And they laid there for a week and they were burning the wires and the telephone up knowing what to do. The man in Ottawa, Canada was a very fine man. He was the one that was handling the business. He said, well I'm going to arrange to have them brought over he told my hired man Monte Hatch. And they let them in. When I got back, why they'd had all this trouble but it was all over with. They accepted the goats but I didn't have any money. So I immediately called the man on the telephone. He said, well, they were held there on the border for around ten days - two weeks. He said it ran a feed bill up pretty high. I said send me the bill whatever it is. I said I realize that I'm to blame and I'd be very happy to pay the bill. I said so send me the check for the goats less the feed. Well he sent me the bill. He had cut the feed bill in two. He said they felt they were to blame so they were very nice to me. They paid me for the goats and half of the feed bill which I was very thankful for. I had a great experience selling goats to Canada as well as the United States. So I haven't only been a livestock man, I've been a bird man and I'm still trying to fly.
I was in the auction business at North Salt Lake and that was a pretty hard up-hill business because I had too many people working against me. I was in the commission business and then I bought out the auction business. I had to pay for it. And I was going along pretty well but they wanted somebody they thought could get more business out of (the stockyard management) and they said they were going to allow another commission firm. I was on the board of directors of the stockyards and they were going to allow another commission firm to open up and I protested it. I voted against it. It's on the records, on the minutes now. I told the, I said, I want that to go on the record. They sure didn't want to put it on, but they had to. I knew my rights. But they allowed the Producers to open up. I wanted Wednesday as an auction day and they wouldn't give it to me. They finally gave Wednesday to the Producers and they still made me go on Friday which was a very poor auction day and I could see it wasn't going to work and I sold it out to a man by the name of Cossad. He paid me part of it and I took a note for some. He went along and he was paying me and finally the auction company or the Utah went broke and they lost around $20,000 to $25,000. I had one man come up to me and they said they were sure glad that I got out of the Utah before it went broke. I said, listen brother, I said the Utah would never have gone broke had I been there.

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