Saturday, July 9, 2011


LeRoy Nielson

Niels was born in Richfield 28 June 1882 to James Nielson and Christina Marie Smith.  LeRoy, James' grandson tells that James had been working as a stone mason on the Manti Temple many miles away.  When it was time for Niels to be born, James walked all the way back to Richfield to be with his wife Stina.

Niels married Ella Gilbert 17 June 1903 shortly after moving to Winter Quarters.  Their first five children were born in Winter Quarters.  Ella didn't like living in there in the coal camps.  She wanted live on a farm.  They moved to an eighty acre farm in Cedar View near Roosevelt in Duchesne County a year before their sixth child LeRoy was born 24 March 1918.  They lived in a two-room home with a dirt floor.  The water was drawn from a ditch running near their home.  The children slept in the barn.  This wasn't as bad as it sounds.  It was a dairy barn, clean and neat and it was warmer than the house.

This was probably a meager beginning but in a few years they gathered a large herd of cows.  It was a lot of work.  The herd had to be milked twice a day and cared for.  LeRoy began milking at the age of six.  The older he became the more cows he was required to milk.  As young as he was, he could still remember his grandfather, James, coming out into the Basin to visit them.  The farm was now becoming more successful and their future was almost assured.  Then came the drought.  Each year the land became drier and the water became scare.  All of the farmers were hurting.  The basin was declared a disaster area.   When the land could no longer feed the cows, the government paid them a few cents on the dollar if they shot them.  The ears of the cows would be taken to town to receive payment.

Norma said "Niels visited his sister in Eureka to tell of his problem.  He brought six cows into town to sell.  He only received twenty-six dollars for the whole herd.  It was terrible to watch Niels sit down and cry.  He needed the money so badly for his family."  The cattle must have been in poor shape.

The drought was bad enough but it was also the 1929 depression years.  There was no work to be had anywhere.  As they shot the cattle, they bottled what they could and ate what they could of the meat.

LeRoy remembers gathering free lambs from the sheepmen and bottle feeding them.  In the next few years, Niels left the farm in the winter months to work in the coal mines.  He would along bring horses from Price to winter on his farm.

Ella brought eleven children into this world.  Two of them, James and Elva, died as infants.

Niels had been bitten by a woodtick and suffered from the effects of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever for awhile.  He even spent time in the hospital.  The next spring he tried to cross a canal with the aid of a pole.  He fell in and when he finally got out he was cold and exhausted.  He never recovered from this.  He died soon after at the age of fifty-four years of age.  This was another terrible hardship for the family to go through.  Ella's son Joseph was only five-years-old.  The family then had to rely on the older children for support.

No comments:

Post a Comment