Chapter 10: Alice Annette O'Barr
The Augustus Barto O'Barr and Lola May Peppers Family
HTML Version 2.0
copyright 1995 by Gerald L. O'Barr
The following was hand written by Aunt Alice in 1995, and mailed to Gerald O'Barr
on the fifth of January, 1996.
My parents were Augustus Barto O'Barr and Lola May Peppers. I was their 8th child, and the name they gave me was Alice Annette. I was born Dec 24, 1906, in Mesa, Arizona. Mother told me I was her "Christmas Cake." It was Christmas Eve and she had started to bake a cake, but didn't get it finished because of my birth.
We lived in an adobe house near what is now the intersection of Macdonald Street and Broadway. (Broadway in those days was called Creamery Road.)
My father and mother were converted to the Mormon (LDS) Church by Mormon Missionaries while living in Atkins, Arkansas, and they moved to Mesa in 1904 so their children could be raised in the church.
My father was a farmer. At one time he raised a large crop of sugar beets, and with others, started a sugar factory in Glendale, Arizona. It didn't prove successful, however, and it was decided at that time that the soil was too salty to produce good sugar beets.
Before I started to school, my parents moved to another home where they bought eight acres of land. This was about 1/4th mile East of what is now Broadway and Extension Road. This is where my early childhood years were spent.
I attended school at the old Alma School located on Alma School Road, near the rail-road tracks, about 3/4th mile from my home. As a cut-off, we often walked down the rail-road tracks to go and come from school.
My first grade teacher was a mean one. She often whipped me in front of the class "For talking out loud," she said. I would leave school and go home, and my mother would send me right back. So I hated school, but of course I had to keep going. I continued to dislike school until years later when I got in the 7th grade, and a wonderful teacher came into my life. She gave me a feeling of self-worth and courage. From then on my grades improved and I "tied" with another student for the highest grades, when I graduated from the 8th grade.
My father died March 6, 1910, when I was three years old. My brother, Gus, was only two months old, born Dec 21, 1909. How my mother "made it", to care for seven children, is a wonder to me. (She had given birth to nine children, but two had died.) There was no "Aid To Dependent Children" in those days. We had to make it on our own. Mother did washing and ironing for neighbor women, and we raised a large garden and always had chickens and a cow.
After a few years my mother married again, to Andrew Benton Clevenger. I have always been thankful for my step-father, for without him I wouldn't have my dear sister Lola, and my brother Ernest. I love them very much, as I did my other brothers and sisters. Mother's other children (oldest first) were: Ida, Arthur, Lewis, Dora, Parley, myself (Alice) and Gus. (Willie and Bertha had died.) Mother had another child with Mr. Clevenger named Ruth who died.
My mother and Mr. Clevenger (my step father) were both devout in the LDS faith, and they wanted very much to go to a temple where important ordinances are performed for families. The closest temple was in St. George, Utah. So they made plans to go and take us all. (However, Lola and Ernest were not born yet. Lola was born in Utah while we were there, and Ernest was born in Mesa after we got back.) Money was scarce and it would take a lot to fulfill this dream. But they sold a homestead that my mother had near Chandler and bought a team of horses named Kate and Nell and covered wagons. They got two other families to join with them (the Kaze family and the Merrills) for this wagon train trip to Utah. This trip became one of the most outstanding memories of my youth.
We left in March, 1915. It took about six weeks to make the long hard trip to St. George, Utah. There were several covered wagons, three families, and I believe each family had two or three wagons. And we had a buggy, pulled by our favorite horse, old Babe. My brother Parley usually rode in the buggy, driving old Babe. My brother Lewis drove one of the wagons, and my step father always drove the "lead" wagon in the wagon train. Our dog, old Buster, walked all the way to Utah. In fact, he walked farther than the horses did, for he would trot along faster than the horses until he got way ahead of us. Then he would look back and see that he was quite a ways ahead of us, so he would then trot back to meet us. Then he would take off again, and soon be way ahead, and trot back. This dog came back to Mesa with us too.
We endured lots of hardships on this trip as others have written about, so I will make this part of my life as brief as possible. The roads were rough and hills were steep, often requiring the men to double the teams and take one wagon over at a time. Sometimes we would have to make a "dry" camp, as water was hard to find. Our life depended on our horses and they had to have water. We hauled hay and grain for them, and often found some "grazing" for them at the camp sites. The men would "hobble" the horses and let them "graze" till morning. We always rested them on Sunday, never traveling on Sunday.
The first night out on this trip we made it to the Fairgrounds in Phoenix (on West McDowell.) Then on to Wickenburg, then into the desert. We could only travel about 20 miles a day. We crossed the Colorado River at Parker, on a ferry called Griggs Ferry, which took one wagon and team over at a time. I remember the deep sand the horses had to pull the wagons through as we left the river.
At one stop we found the wells dry. We had traveled for two days and were almost out of water. We didn't have enough to water the horses and they were in desperate need of it. The men unloaded the lightest wagon, then loaded it with empty water barrels, gave the strongest horses the small amount of water that was left, and sent them on their way to find water. The rest of us waited and prayed. I remember our prayer circle, and how we had to hold to "faith" that we would be saved. Just before our horses "got down" the wagon showed up, loaded with water.
Food was scarce during the last part of our journey. We ate two meals a day. Sister Kaze often saved biscuits from breakfast and passed them out to us kids in the middle of the day. You can't believe how delicious those biscuits were! One day my mother passed pickled grapes all down the wagon train. (Some canned ones that she had brought from home.) Oh what a treat, to have a bunch of pickled grapes! I had only eaten two grapes when someone came shouting along the wagons, "Don't eat the grapes, they are full of glass!" We had to throw away our precious grapes. We found out later that they were not full of glass. It was crystallized sugar.
Lucy Kaze was about my age, and we were great friends. We would often ride in the buggy with Parley. One day we passed through a beautiful area of sand. The sand was different colors, pink, green, and other colors. Lucy and I thought the sand so beautiful that we had to have some of it. We got buckets and any containers we could find in the wagons and filled them with the colored sand. We loaded them into Lewis' wagon. But we didn't get to keep the sand for Lewis found it. He said, "My poor horses have enough to pull without hauling dirt." And he emptied all of it. We hated to loose our pretty sand, but we understood.
Once when Lucy and I, my brother, Gus, and Jimmy Kaze were walking behind the wagon train, as we often did, we found a loaf of bread on a rock. There was no sign of a camp near by. We couldn't understand how a loaf of bread could be on a rock in the desert. (I don't understand that yet.) But it was soft, like it was fresh baked. We divided it four ways and ate it. And it was delicious.
That night Jimmie Kaze became very ill. His father ran to our wagon shouting, "Brother Clevenger, come quick, Jimmie is dying." We all ran to their wagon. Jimmie was having a convulsion, and we thought surely he would die. We decided that the bread we ate was poisoned and that we would die too. But we decided not to tell our parents that we had eaten bread that we found. As it turned out, Jimmie was an Epileptic, and this was the first sign of it. He was soon over the bad "spell" and Gus, Lucy and I were greatly relieved. The bread we ate was O.K., a gift from heaven we decided.
We went through the St. George Temple on 29 April, 1915, and were sealed as a family unit to my mother, Lola May Peppers O'Barr Clevenger, and my father (by proxy) Augustus Barto O'Barr. My step-father, Andrew Clevenger, did some temple work of his own. April 29th was a happy day for we accomplished the purpose of the long hard trip to Utah, to go through the temple.
After our temple work was completed, we went to Enterprize, Utah, where we "share cropped" on the Holt Ranch. The Merrill family went back to Mesa, and the Kaze family went to Cedar City. We stayed in Enterprize to complete one crop, then went to Cedar City to be near the Kaze family. It was there on April 1, 1916, that my precious sister Lola was born. We stayed in Cedar City, planting and harvesting crops, and doing other work, until we had enough money for the trip back to Mesa. Lewis and Dora went to College in Cedar City. It snowed a lot and was very cold. We walked to school and really got cold on those long walks.
Once in Cedar City I helped my step-father plant potatoes. He would cut a potato into pieces and I would lay each piece in a hole he would dig. The eye of the potato had to be facing "up." I planted potatoes until I saw them in my sleep, but when they came up, they were so beautiful that we were proud of our work. When the plants were about six inches high, a terrible hail storm came and destroyed them all. My step-father hugged me and we cried.
The first job I ever had was in Cedar City. A neighbor lady asked mother if she could hire me for the day. Mother and I agreed and I worked all day for her. I washed, ironed, did dishes, and scrubbed floors. I worked till night, and walked home in the dark. She paid me a nickel. I pondered throwing it in a canal that I had to cross on the way home. I can't remember if I threw it in the canal, or gave it to my mother, but I knew I would never enjoy spending that nickel.
We came back to Mesa in our covered wagons, taking about the same route back as we had taken before. We got back on Dec 24, 1916. Our home in Mesa was rented, so we settled in Laveen, Arizona, where we raised a crop of cotton. the crop turned out good, and cotton brought a good price, but tragedy came to us there. Parley, Dora and Lewis all came down with typhoid fever. Gus and I took painful shots to keep us well. What a terrible time this was for our dear parents! Lewis died on May 6, 1917, the others slowly recovered. Lewis was only 19. We brought him to the Mesa Cemetery for burial. After Lewis died, my brother Arthur came and finished the cotton crop he had started.
After the cotton was sold, we moved back to our old home in Mesa, the house on Creamery Road (now Broadway.) We walked to the Alma School, on Alma School Road near the railroad tracks. I think I was in the 5th grade that first year back in Mesa. I graduated from the 8th grade from Alma School in 1921, then on to Mesa High where I graduated with the class of 1925. We used to sing, "Freshman, Freshman, man Alive, We're the Class of 25." We walked to and from school for there was no such thing, in those days, of busses taking students to school.
My brother Gus and I were partners, raising rabbits to help buy our books and clothes. We sold every one we could raise to the old Coffee-cup Cafe and another restaurant in Mesa. We picked grass along the ditch banks at night to feed our rabbits. We also worked in the fields a lot, picking cotton or doing any field work we could find. We often walked to the Experimental Farm, near Alma School Road and Main Street, and would work there until dark.
We did our home work by coal-oil lamps as we had no electricity. Mother would clear the table after supper, and we would do our home work on the kitchen table.
One time I remember my little sister Lola getting a job for a day, helping a woman with house work, I think. "Now Lola can buy her something nice, maybe a new dress," I thought to myself. But do you know what this little sister did with her money? She brought home a new broom that we needed, and a cake to share with all of us.
Times were really hard. Parley drove a "milk" wagon, and Arthur worked at the Dams. There is a picture in a Mesa School Book "Our Town" showing Arthur and a few others with President Teddy Roosevelt when he came to the valley to dedicate Roosevelt Dam. My step-father worked hard. He plowed the fields and planted crops on the 15 acres that we had. He was a good black-smith and he always had several hives of bees.
He took us on lots of camping trips into the Superstition Mountains. It would take us about two days by wagon and team to get into the mountains, but we loved these camping trips. We would bring back wood for the winter, and wild honey. My step-father loved to hunt wild bee hives, and he was always prepared with smokers and masks to get some of the honey. We also took trips to the homestead that we had near Chandler. (This was before we sold it to go to Utah.)
My step-father was a good hunter and usually supplied us with "game" to eat on our trips. Once on the way to the homestead, he stopped the wagon and took a good aim at a rabbit sitting out under a bush. I saw this and yelled at the top of my voice, "Run little rabbit, run!" He ran, and we didn't have rabbit for supper. Needless to say, I wasn't very popular that night.
My parents always saw that we celebrated holidays. We always had a dime for the picture show, and a nickel for a red soda pop. My dear mother always had new dresses for us girls on Easter and Christmas. Dresses she would make with her own hands. I remember once when my step father rented a "Surrey" to take us to the State Fair in Phoenix. This was a two seated buggy with a top that had a fringe all around. It was just beautiful and we really went to the Fair in style.
Now I'll tell you a little story of faith and prayer that I learned when about 12 years old. After we got back from Utah and lived in Mesa again, the Kaze family stayed in Laveen to raise another cotton crop. They lived in a small house about a mile off the main road which was Base-line West of Phoenix. A small dirt road led to it. (Of course all roads were dirt roads at that time.) I wanted to ride my bicycle to Laveen to see Lucy Kaze and spend some time with her. From Mesa to Laveen is a long ways to ride a bicycle, but my mother finally let me go.
I don't know what time I left, but I knew I had to find the small dirt road "turn-off" to Lucy's house before dark. I would never be able to find it in the dark. I made the trip just fine for awhile, but suddenly it began to rain. The dirt road got so muddy that I couldn't ride my bike, I had to walk and push it. This went on for hours it seemed and the mud got deeper and deeper, and it was getting late and I was scared.
Finally I pulled off the road and knelt by my bicycle in the mud and rain, and prayed that I could some how find the road to Lucy's house before it got dark. Then I pushed my bike back on the road again. I went just a little ways and I came out on a beautiful white gravel road firm and hard. I jumped on my bicycle and could really "fly" on this fine new road. Just before dark I found the "turn-off" and soon was at Lucy's house safe and sound. They gave me a big welcome, and Lucy's mother had a good supper fixed. It was just potatoes, gravy, salt pork and biscuits, but it was very good and I was thankful to be there.
My parents came for me a few days later. I told them about the fine gravel road, but all we found on the way back, was a deeply rutted old muddy road. Then I knew. The gravel road was just for me, an answer to my prayers.
After I graduated from High School, I wanted to go on to College. My folks couldn't afford for me to stay in a "dorm", so I knew I would have to find a job in Tempe if I wanted to attend Tempe State Teacher's College and become a teacher. So I decided to go see the head of the College. I took my High School Diploma (with its honor seals for good grades) and insisted that I see Dr. Matthews. I finally got to see him and told him of my desire to become a teacher, but that I would need a job to be able to attend school in Tempe. After talking to me awhile, he turned to the telephone and called a lady named Mrs. Steele. He told her about me, and sent me to see her.
She was a lovely lady with a beautiful home, and a daughter, Ruth, a High School student. She told me I could live with them and go to school. All I had to do was help her with the house work. She was prominent Socially and gave lots of big dinners so I had plenty of work to do. But I had my chance for a College education, and was treated like one of the family with these dear people. I had only one week-end off a month, and my brother Arthur would usually manage to come and take me home for that week-end.
After working and studying for two years (which was the time it took to get a teaching certificate in the 1920's), a teacher came to me with some disturbing news. He said, "Alice, you are not going to graduate because you haven't taken 'Constitutional Government' and it is a required course." How could this have happened. I had good advisors, I thought, on what was required. There was no way I could go to summer school, and I needed to start teaching in the fall.
This was just before graduation when final exams were being given. I didn't know what to do, but finally decided to talk to the professor who taught that course. He was an understanding man to whom I will always be grateful. He told me that if I would come and take his final exam, and pass it, he would give me the needed credit. I asked for something to study. He gave me a hugh book. I told him I couldn't study a big book like that, so he gave me a smaller book, saying that it contained all the information I would need. Well, I didn't sleep for two nights. I just studied "Constitution." Then I took the test and made a passing grade, not a high grade, just a "passing" one. But I was thankful to that instructor and to my Heavenly Father for helping me through that upsetting problem.
Through my High School and College years, I had a dear friend named Mabelgene Millett, whose companionship added greatly to my happiness during those years. We attended Summer School together in 1929 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
I graduated from College in June of 1927. My dear Mother and other relatives were there to see me graduate. It was a happy night.
At that time my sister Dora and her husband, George Smith, were living on the Mexican border at a town called Sasabe. George was a border patrolman, and was in charge of the Sasabe port of entry. There was a small school there, and Dora, being on the school board, helped get me the job as teacher in that school. So in the fall of 1927, my brother Arthur drove me to Sasabe where I lived with Dora and George and started my first job as a teacher. I got $160.00 a month which was a real good salary at that time. I had all eight grades in one room. It was a real challenge to learn how to teach a group like that, but I soon learned how, and it was a happy year.
Dora had two little boys named Lewis and Jack. I taught them how to read, and their daddy George would be amazed at all the things they learned in school at such a young age. They both went on to go to College. Lewis became a teacher, and Jack worked on the border like his father. Dora was in charge of the Post Office there, George was head of the "Port of Entry" into Mexico, and I had the school, so together we had a lot of responsibilities there.
We had lots of good times in Sasabe, for we planned "basket suppers" and dances that we held at the school house. The Dude Ranch, "La Osa," and a large cattle ranch called "Bunos Aires" was near by, so we had lots of friends. It was in Sasabe that I met Zane Grey (the Author) and George W.P. Hunt (Arizona first Governor.) These two men were friends and often came to the La Osa guest ranch, and would visit us at the Customs house (Port of Entry) where we lived.
Dora and George were transferred to Nogales the second year I was with them, and I finished out the school year living in the school house. It was a lovely new building with a kitchen, bathrooms and showers, which they built for us during my first year there. The County School Superintendent, Mrs. Daniels, seemed to like me, and she visited often in the little old adobe "shack" that was the school house when I first got to Sasabe. She helped us get a new building, and she let me come into Tucson and pick out most of the furnishings for it. I had Mexican and Indian children, and children from the Dude ranch. They were lovely students, and they loved me and I loved them.
Fifty years later, after Dora and George were dead, I was invited back to visit that little school and attend a graduation. I accepted the invitation. My sister-in-law Edith O'Barr and niece Colleen Petersen and husband, Nolan, went with me to this reunion. They honored me (and my guests) with a lovely dinner and a stay at the La Osa Guest Ranch. Three teachers now teach at this school, where I taught alone. Seeing this school brought back happy memories, but made me sad too for so many of the people I loved there had died.
Because my sister no longer lived in Sasabe, I left there. I taught one year in Tucson, then came home to Mesa to teach. The job I got in Mesa was at the Alma School, the same school where I had been a student. My parents had moved from the old place on Creamery Road to a new place on Alma School Road. I had but a little ways to walk to school. I taught the 6th grade for awhile, while their regular teacher was off, but my permanent job was the 5th grade and girls athletic coach. Albert Huber was the boys athletic coach and 8th grade teacher. Orin Fuller was the principle. I liked my job at the Alma School and taught there for five years, 1930 to 1935. I lived at home during those years, and helped the family all I could.
Before I began my first year of teaching at Alma School, my brother Ernest was starting the 6th grade. This was to be my class at first. But I was ill, and couldn't be there at the very beginning of school. Ernest would come home and tell me how mean the kids in his class were. (I could tell he was terribly worried about me teaching them.) And I was worried too. In about two weeks I was able to go and begin my teaching there. I was concerned how Ernest would respond to me as a teacher. but as I walked home that first day after school, Ernest caught up with me. He took my hand, smiled and said, "Alice, you walked in there like a real teacher." I could see his fear was gone, and I think that is one of the best compliments I ever had.
While I was teaching at Alma School I bought my first car, a Chevrolet sedan. It was brown with orange wheels. The boys teased me for picking out such "loud" colors. I paid $800.00 cash for it. The salesman said it was unusual for anyone to pay cash for a car. "Most people bought 'on time,'" he said. We were all happy to have this car, and I didn't have to walk to school anymore. It was a 1934 model. I drove it for 10 years and sold it for $300.00.
Also while teaching at Alma School and living at home, my sister Lola had married, and she and her husband, Geddis White, lived with us. Lola was such a blessing to us all, always helping mother with the work. It was here that their first child, Raymond, was born July 7, 1933. He was a precious child who won all our hearts. But this little one drowned when about 14 months old, which left us all broken hearted.
Through the years I had several nice boy friends, but I put off getting married because I felt that I should teach for a few years and help my family. But one day my cousin, Gladys Horsley, brought a young man she knew to my home to meet me. His name was Ted Sliger (Theodore William Sliger.) On our first date he said he was going to marry me. I didn't think so at that time. We went together, and broke up several times. I knew Ted for about three years before we did get married. Friends went with us to Phoenix where we were married on Sept 10, 1935 by Justice of the Peace Harry C., Westfall. Friends of the Alma Ward Church gave us a nice reception and lots of gifts. We drove my little Chevrolet and went to the Grand Canyon on our honeymoon.
When we got back, I moved to the desert to be with Ted where he had a service station and taxidermy shop. This was at the corner of Main Street and Bush Highway. (Bush Highway is now called Power Road.) We bought a little house from a Homesteader for $125.00 and had it moved and set-up behind the service station. This is where we lived. I helped Ted in the station, while he spent a lot of time "mounting" heads for hunters, as he was a skilled taxidermist. Ted's mother and sister lived near. His sister, Ruby, taught school in Mesa. His father was dead.
Tragedy struck us on that first Christmas Eve, Dec 24, 1935. (My 29th birthday.) The service station burned up, and we lost everything except the little house where we lived. Ted was in a back room of the station which he used as a taxidermy shop, heating wax over a gasoline stove when it exploded. His hands were badly burned. His rings had to be cut from his fingers. Rough times were facing us for a long time.
First we put up a "make shift" fruit stand beside the road and sold oranges, cactus candy, and cactus marmalade which we made. Ted had a homestead at the corner of Bush Highway and McDowell road, 160 acres covered with cactus, so we had no trouble getting the few barrel cactus that we needed for the candy.
The fruit stand was a temporary job, for our plans were to get another business. Ted didn't own the land where the station burned, he only had a lease on it. So we began to shop around along Main Street (Apache Trail) for a piece of land we could buy, so we could start over. Ted had no cash, but the Shell Oil Company dealer, Ronald Ellsworth, said he would loan us enough to buy a few acres if we found what we wanted.
All the land East of Val Vista Road to Apache Junction was desert, and was owned by homesteaders in those days. Charlie Mitten's Homestead was just one mile West of where we were, and he was willing to sell ten acres to us. He also said that we could buy the rest of his homestead as we were able to do so, which we eventually did. (This took us many years, however.)
After we got the land, we wondered how we were going to build a building. I had a little money saved from teaching school. One day when I was in town, I noticed that they were tearing down the old Irving school building. It was made of bricks and a sign said, "Used bricks, $5 a thousand." I told Ted that I had found our building material, and that I had enough money to buy them. We had these bricks hauled out to our desert spot, and at night we would sleep there on cots, so no one would steal our bricks. A man came along one day, saying he was a brick layer, and that he would "lay-up" these bricks for $5 a thousand. He got the job, and it wasn't long till we were in business again. We moved our little house to this new location. It has been re-modeled several times, and is now a part of our main business buildings, but it still is my home today.
Our nearest neighbor was a mile away but we made many friends who lived in scattered areas of the desert. Among them was an artist named George Fredericks (Smokey) and his wife Allen. We would often visit them in their desert home. Smokey would show us his newest paintings, and we bought many from him.
We worked long hours in our new store and service station to pay back what we had borrowed. We worked ten years without a vacation. These were the days of the great depression and the C.C. Camps. Many people walked the roads and asked for food and were never turned away. Ted moved his little homestead house to our new place to use as a taxidermy shop, and if hunters didn't want to "mount" the animals they killed, Ted would buy them (or do other taxidermy work for them) and began to build up his Museum. This Museum now has over 400 specimens and is well known as Arizona's largest Wild Life Museum. We named our new place "Buckhorn" after the mounted animals.
We hauled water for four years from a well two miles away, before we had enough money to drill our own well. When we drilled our own well we struck hot water. I have often said, "We struck hot water and have been in 'hot water' ever since." We tested this water and it showed a large mineral content, very much like the water at Hot Springs, Arkansas. Neighbors and friends encouraged us to start a bath house so people could bathe in this healthful, natural, hot water. So in 1940 we built a small bath house with only four tubs. People kept these tubs busy, and it wasn't long until we had to build more tubs, and dressing rooms, and finally massage rooms as well. Many people told us how much better they felt after taking these baths, so we felt we were doing the right thing, to make this water available for bathing.
We also built a small Motel (with a Government loan) to take care of those who wanted to come for the baths. We added "Mineral Wells" to the name "Buckhorn" so now our place was called "Buckhorn Mineral Wells."
In the late 1940's Ted and I had an interesting adventure in the Gold Mining business. A mining engineer named Alfred Strong Lewis came to us one day and told us that he was living on the Goldfield Mining property (at the base of Superstition Mountain just east of Apache Junction.) Records show that this was a rich mine at one time. Mr. Lewis said that he knew there was still plenty of gold in the old claims there. With him and three others (Hugh Nichols, C.C. Waterbury and Tom Russell) we formed a mining company and bought out the old miners claims. We put in a mill and "strip mined" a small area. It produced a lot of gold. We made gold bars and sold them to the government for $32.00 an ounce. (All gold had to be sold to the government at that time.) These were happy and exciting times for us. Newsmen from the New York Daily News became interested in the mine, and ran a full page story in their paper with beautiful pictures of the Mountain and of the mine. Robert Allen, the author of "The Story of Superstition Mountain and the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine", included the story of our Goldfield operations in his book. We once helped the Mesa Chamber of Commerce take a large tour group through the mill to see our operation and the rich ore that we had on exhibition there. The ore was white quarts with wire gold. However, with the low price of gold, we could only make enough to pay our bills and the employees, so we finally discontinued the operation. After Ted died I sold my interest in the mine.
About 1958 we sold the back part of our 160 acres to Joe Farnsworth and his sons, keeping only the frontage on Main Street. They built retirement homes on this land, calling it "Dreamland Villa." This was the start of their huge building industry. They now build over 500 retirement homes a year.
National publicity came to us in 1947. The New York Giant baseball team was scouting the area for a new location in the West. Looking for anything that would influence them to decide to come to the Valley, the president of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce brought them to see our place. They liked our facilities and the fact that they could take the baths here, before the opening of Spring training each year. They came every February for 25 years. (Until they built their new place in Casa Grande) They moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, and were then known as "San Francisco Giants," but they still came to our place every February. After the Giants moved to the Valley for Spring Training, other ball clubs followed, and the Cactus League was born.
About 1961 they went on a "good will tour" of the Far East and took us with them. We spent a week in Hawaii, a month in Japan, and a week in Hong Kong. (The wives of the players all went along.) They played base ball in many of the big cities where we went. We were really welcomed everywhere for base ball was loved by everyone, it seemed. Ted and I have many happy memories of this tour. We visited Hiroshima where the bomb was dropped in 1945. The city had been completely re-built, with only "Peace Memorial Park" showing the destruction that was done.
A woman who was looking at pictures there had tears in her eyes. She asked me if I was going to cry too. I told her that I wasn't going to cry because I had just toured Pearl Harbor where hundreds of our service men lay dead because of the Japanese attack there, and this bomb, as tragic as it was, put an end to the terrible war. On the wall at Peace Memorial Park, I read a letter from President Harry Truman to the Japanese Leaders, saying that if this bomb wasn't big enough, we had a bigger one.
On a beach near there I found a service-man's "dog tag" in the sand. The name "Boter" was on it. Since we had a man named "Boter" working for us, I brought it home. It belonged to his brother, who had lost it there. He was delighted and amazed that someone would find it there, and bring it back to him.
We met many famous people through our associations with the Giants. Besides well known sports figures, we met many movie stars and others who would come for baths, to be with the Giants. Ty Cobb, Dizzy Dean and his wife, Leo Dorocher and Lorrain Day, Don Ameche, and Joe DeMaggio are just a few I will name here. Harry Truman's sister, Mary Jane, spent six weeks with us, while he was President, and said her arthritis was greatly improved. The President called us many times to see how his sister was doing, and he and Ted would have long telephone conversations. He once told Ted that if he ever needed anything just let him know. Through Mary Jane we net the President's daughter, Margaret Truman Daniels, when she came to Phoenix to star in the play, "Goodby My Fancy." We had courtesy tickets to the play, and to dinner afterward with Margaret and Mary Jane.
Besides operating our motel and baths, Ted and I established and ran a U.S. Post Office from 1956 to 1984. It was known as the "Buckhorn Post Office" and was a busy place. We also had a Greyhound Bus Depot from 1942 to 1972. At first we had to make our own electricity but in 1942 the Water Users brought electricity to us. Others could connect up to this power line. The availability of electricity, and our developments, brought fast growth to the area, and Ted and I became known as "pioneers" of East Mesa. We were annexed to the city of Mesa in 1974.
We were married about nine years before our first child was born. I think this was due to the fact that I suffered with undulant fever during those years. It is caused by drinking unpasteurized milk. An artist friend, Arnold Krug, who lived in a small room here, and spent lots of time with us, got undulant fever too, but he did not survive it. The treatment consisted of taking "shots" over many years, which were painful, and would cause big kernels under my arms. I would quit going, then I would have to start over at a lower dose. I finally gave it up completely, deciding I would rather die than take any more of those shots. But I guess I had had enough, for I finally got well.
Our first baby was born Jan 19, 1945, a girl who we named Marilyn Alice. That was one of the happiest days of my life. She was so beautiful, with dark hair and violet eyes. But I didn't get to take her home very soon for I got kidney infection and had to stay two weeks in the hospital. Little Marilyn lost weight while there, but responded and grew fast after I took her home. My dear mother stayed with me and helped me for awhile.
For awhile it seemed that one child would have to make up our family, but four years after Marilyn's birth, our son, Theodore Newton Sliger (Teddy), was born on Dec 28, 1948, another happy day for us. Both of my children were born in Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. Mesa had a small hospital called "The Southside Hospital," but the doctor we chose lived in Phoenix, so our children were born there. They were healthy, happy children and brought lots of joy into our life.
We took the children on lots of trips to the White Mountains, where Ted loved to go because of the lakes and streams and good fishing. We finally bought a house in Pinetop in 1973.
My sister Lola and I once took my son Teddy, and her son, Bobby, on a bus trip all over the U.S. It was an LDS tour and we saw many historical places of the church. We also saw new York City, Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Chicago and other interesting places. Our brother Arthur joined us on this trip.
Another interesting trip was when a group of us went to New York City to see my Nephew Gerald O'Barr graduate from West Point. Going on this trip were Gerald's mother and father (my brother Gus and his wife Edith); Gerald's sister Colleen Petersen and her husband Nolan; my mother (Lola Clevenger); my daughter Marilyn and me. Other relatives of Gerald's came from Colorado. This was my mother's first plane ride. We asked her if she was afraid on the plane. She said she was more afraid of the cab ride into the city than she was of the plane ride. We all had a good trip and were very proud of Gerald for graduating from West Point Military Academy.
I took Marilyn with me on another trip in 1971 to Europe. The reason for this trip was to attend the Golden Celebration of the Soroptimist International Association that was held in Rome. I was president of this Club in 1957 and '58, and was chosen to represent Mesa at their meeting in Roam, where we spent five days. Also on this trip (with 18 others) we visited London and Paris, and went to Germany, Holland, Denmark, and Switzerland. We saw many beautiful things in Europe: among them the Vatican Museum; Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, his Pieta and his David; and the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
When I was in High School I spent several summers with my brother Frank and his wife Ethel in Los Angeles. He was a police officer there for many years. Ethel was a good cook, and taught me a lot about cooking. Recently I found an old recipe she had given me. It called for 5 cents worth of hamburger. (That wouldn't be much at today's prices.) My sister Lola went with me on one of these trips. We went by train, and it was always an overnight trip. sometime that night a nice appearing man came and asked us if we would like to play cards with him and his companion. Since we were going to sit up all night anyway, we accepted their invitation. They were interesting men. We laughed and talked for hours. Had to be warned by the conductor to keep quiet. They taught us some card games that were fun to play. Just before we got into Los Angeles, they told us who they were. The man who asked us to join them was a detective and the other man was his prisoner, a bank robber, being taken to a prison in California. They showed us that he was shackled with chains to his seat. Even tho we had done nothing wrong, we decided not to tell Ethel and Frank about our night on the train.
Before I finish my story I would like to name just a few of the fine and devoted people who have helped us over the years here at the Buckhorn. Elna Sowder worked side by side with Ted and me in our office for 35 years. Myrtis Gann has taken care of the bathers in our Bath House since 1958 and she is still here at this writing, Dec 1995. Wilma McCain Shape, was another devoted employee for many years, as was Nettie Nicholson, Agnes Jensen, and Eddie Nordquist. Jose Chavez came in 1969 and is still with us. Dorothy Farr joined us in 1992. Miguel Jimenez started here in 1972. Silvia Chanez and her mother, Maria, have worked faithfully here since about 1981. I love these dear people for they are like "family" to me. My son Teddy has helped us here ever since he finished College, and has been especially helpful and devoted to me since his father died eleven years ago and we decided to continue to run the business. My daughter, Marilyn, helped us for a long time as secretary in our office. She is now married and lives in Phoenix. I have a grandson, Todd Culbertson, from Marilyn's first marriage.
Another person who was a part of our organization was my sister-in-law Ethel O'Barr, my brother Frank's wife. Frank died in 1938, and several years later, Ethel came to live with us here at the Buckhorn. We had a restaurant called "The Buckhorn Dining Room" and Ethel managed it for many years. She did such a beautiful job and served such good food that it was a very popular place. She is remembered with love.
Several plaques hang in our office that have been presented to us by local newspapers. One reads, "Buckhorn Mineral Wells, the best place to get soaked." Another reads, "The Buckhorn Wild Life Museum, the best Special Interest Museum." Another reads, "The City's most beautiful neon signs," and another from the Phoenix Chamber of commerce honors the 50th Anniversary of our membership.
A few years ago I was nominated for "Business Woman of the Year" and enjoyed (with other nominees) a lovely dinner and program at the Arizona Biltmore. I didn't win, but it was nice to be nominated.
My husband Ted was always supportive of the church but didn't join. However, in the summer of 1984 he told our home teachers that he was ready to join, just as soon as he was feeling better, he said. (He suffered with diabetes and wasn't well during the last few years of his life.) He died Nov. 9th, 1984, without having joined. I did his Temple work and was sealed to him in the Mesa, Arizona, Temple on Nov 14th, 1986. Gerald O'Barr was the "proxy" for Ted.
Ted received many "write-ups" in newspapers and magazines during his life, and he was listed in "Who's who in Arizona" shortly before his death. We had 49 years together. They were years of hard work, but we accomplished many things that we wanted to do, and we were happy and devoted to each other along the way.
When my mother was about 80 years old, she divided up her 15 acres of land, and gave each of her children a piece of it. My brother Joe gave his part to me (It joined my piece.) He said it was because I had paid the taxes on the property many times. All he wanted me to do was to see that he was buried in the family plot in Mesa when he died. This was done when Joe died in 1967. His sweet wife, Aurora, who is Catholic, was agreeable to this.
I sold my part of this land, and with the help of my brothers and sisters and in- laws, we built mother a new home, where she lived happily for over ten years before she died. Lola's husband Geddis White, who was a building Contractor, built mother's lovely new home, charging me only what his materials cost him. We all helped to furnish the home, and we spent many happy hours visiting mother there. She planted lots of flowers, and a lovely garden, and shared her produce with us when we came to visit. She died Aug 7, 1969, at age 94, leaving a great void in all our lives.
I have always loved the Lord, and believed sincerely in prayer. My Church work has covered many years, with many different assignments. I worked in the primary for ten years as a counselor and teacher's trainer. This was when my children were small. They both graduated from primary. We attended what was then called the Superstition Branch. We often let Elders from Mesa hold Cottage Meetings at our place. I bought a station wagon so I could gather up children from the homes out here in the desert, and take them to primary. We held our meetings in some old barracks that were moved out on Crismon Road for us to hold meetings in. Later we became a "Ward," the 12th Ward, and Ted and I helped, as we could, to build a beautiful new building on Crismon Road.
I have been secretary of the Sunday School, and of Relief Society, both Ward and Stake, and I was Jr. Sunday School Coordinator for several years. I found great joy in my church work, and it brought me closer to my Heavenly Father and to my own family.
I am now 89 years old. My 89th birthday was Dec 24th, 1995. Last year, on my 88th birthday, my sister Lola and all her family came to Mesa from Payson and gave me a lovely birthday party. Relatives from Mesa joined us for this affair, which I enjoyed very much.
I am writing this soon after my 89th birthday. I am thankful for all my blessings and for my good health. I am thankful to my mother and father who had enough courage and faith to give up their home in Arkansas, and bring us to the beautiful Mesa area. I want to say to my dear children, and to my dear relatives, that I love you all with all my heart.