Sunday, June 17, 2012
Maybell Bennett Compilation
Maybell Bennett- compiled from her interview on William Albert’s 76th birthday.
Well, on October 9, 1901, my father, John Amasa Bennett (born 6 January 1875) and Geneva Coffin (born 22 August 1876) were married in the Salt Lake Temple. My father’s father was Thomas Bennett (born 7 January 1839) , and he came from England; and I don’t know . . . remember just what year it was, but he was borned in Lanchashire County, England and came to America in 1841 with his parents; he settled in Nauvoo. And his family crossed the plains with the Warren-Snows Company. I think they arrived in Salt Lake about 1852. And his mother was Maria Driggs (born 8 March 1846). She was born in Hancock County, Illinois and crossed the plains with her parents in 1852. I remember one thing that Grandmother Bennett used to tell of was that her older sister walked through camp fire one night and burned her feet. . . and her toes were all burned off. My mother’s father was borned in Bonaparte, Van Buren County, Iowa. His name was William Coffin (born 15 November 1846) and he filled a mission to the Southern States. My mother’s mother was Sophronia Elizabeth Hunt (born 27 August 1849), and she was borned in a wagon box in Pioneer Park Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the fifth child of Captain Jefferson Hunt (born 20 January 1804) and Matilda Jane Nease (born 1 January 1828). Captain Jefferson Hunt was chosen by Brigham Young to lead a company into California. I couldn’t give you all the details of his history. But Captain Jefferson Hunt is known throughout church history.
On January 26, 1903, I was born at Arimo, Idaho on a very cold night. My mother and father were working for John Evans, a big stock man there in Arimo. And father would go down and work for him during the winter—feed cattle and go back on his dry farm in the summer time. The dry farm was about three or four miles north of what is now known as Virginia. The doctor, I wasn’t born in a hospital as they are today, but rather the doctor came to a little two-roomed house. And Aunt Bell Evans, who later married Mother’s brother, was there to help take care of Mother.
I was the oldest child, and I had one sister that was a year younger than I. And I have four brothers: Parley, William, Casper, and Horace. But the way, William was a twin- - the other one died. My father built the house that we lived in and all my brothers were born in the old homestead.
Father would work there in Arimo during the winter, then we’d move back on the dry farm during the summer months and he farmed. I started school at a little log cabin when I was six years old. And when I was in about fourth grade, they built two schoolhouses in the same district. One was in the north end, one was in the south end. Or east and west which was you want to put it. I think it was known as East Virginia and West Virginia. In the fall of the year and in the spring of the year, we’d walk about a mile and a half. When the weather began to get bad, father would take us on horseback; and he’d also pick up one of our playmates, Phoebe Christensen. And father we three would ride on one horse. Then later in the winter when the roads would get worse and more snow, they’d take us to school on the bobsled. We had one teacher for the eighth grades. I don’t know that I ever skied to school; but I used to do a lot of skiing during school at recess and noons. And also sleigh ride down a hill. Our schoolhouse set up on a hill and we’d sleigh ride down that hill and go nearly down to our place which was just about a quarter of a mile from the new schoolhouse after it was built in the east.
I never played hooky from school. But my brothers did quite often. The lived in a different community that we did when we started school. In fact, I graduated from the eighth grade in the Virginia Schools. I started high school at Downey and then my parents moved to Rupert- - to the Minidoka Project - - And finished out one year in high school here in Rupert.
We’d had a lot of hard times there (in Arimo) and frosts and droughts and one thing or another; and they felt they could better themselves by moving to an irrigated project. They moved to the Minidoka Project November of 19 and 19. I was about 16 years old at that time. We lived four miles out on the Meridan Road and down the ditch bank. In a two roomed house and a family of six.
Things were much better here on the Minidoka Project than they were in the Marsh Valley as it was spoken of. In fact, I must have been about 13 or 14 before I ever went to the first show. We went to one circus before we come out here, I remember that. That was a big highlight. But there’s one thing that was quite interesting to the family, and that was when father and mother came home from Downey driving a new Surrey. I’m telling you that was really the pride and joy of the family. Much more so than a car is today. A surrey was a four-wheeled vehicle. It was black and had lights on both sides and was drawn by Father’s favorite team and had a black top on it; and we really were in style when we rode in that Surrey. Up ‘til that time we had traveled in a wagon.
Father bought the farm we lived on and later lost it. He just couldn’t make the payments, paid too much for it. This was 19 and 19, 20, 21, during the Depression. We moved to Acequia; and while they were living in Acequia, in the winter, I went to school. It was the second or third year we were out here I went to Links Business College in Boise. And I later came and took my first position at the Albion Normal School. Worked there for one summer and then came down to Rupert back home. And I came home on a Friday night and I started working for the irrigation district on a Tuesday morning and I worked there until 1931 when I went on my mission. Some people were going to business college at the time. Some of them were taking their high school first, but I felt that I would probably get to earning money and could help the family more by going to business college first rather than taking four years of high school- - which I shouldn’t have done. I’d try to keep myself with the money and I helped the family out when they needed it. I got $60 a month. With that $60 a month, I bought a car. It was a Ford Model T. All you could afford, but it was a good car. I was quite independent at that time. I started to work there in about 19, I think and 24; and worked them until March of 1931. I received my call to go into the mission field to serve as a missionary in the East Central States with headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky. When I first went into the mission field, my assignment was to the mission office; and I remained there for fifteen months. And from there I was sent into West Virginia South District, and I completed my mission there. I was deprived of a lot of experiences in actual contact with people; but I also had a privilege that many missionaries don’t have, that of associating with the president who was Miles L Jones. I was the only one in my family to go on a mission. My parents approved of my going. They were willing. . .the family was willing to sacrifice and help keep me there. I think my mission run me somewhere in the neighborhood of around $900. The two years, travel, coming and going. It was about a year after I returned from my mission that I married your dad.
Minidoka Stake was made a stake it was part of the Blaine Stake and I think it was 19 and 24. I was put on the stake MIA board as secretary; and I traveled back and forth to board meetings and took care of my church duties until 19 and 20 when your dad was put on, in the Stake Elder’s quorum. And then he and I and Sister Brewerton traveled back and forth to board meetings once every week. This was before my mission. I had met Father in Acequia long before because I was a Sunday School teacher at the time that he was serving as Sunday School superintendent. He support the teachers and insisted I go to union meeting once every month .
William tells – at one time we had a group of young men that was unruly- - terribly so. And they couldn’t hardly be handled. The bishop couldn’t hardly do anything with them and neither could the superintendency then. They got unruly and . . . throwed one or two of ‘em out and tore one ‘em’s shirt. . .got into a scoff with the parents and anyway, it was all cleaned up and washed out; but we had a pretty good Sunday School. A big one for a long time. I used to weight about 165 or 170- not much taller than I am now. I didn’t whip no boys—we just shook ‘em. We didn’t whip anyone. Just grabbed a hold of ‘em a good shakin’ and asked ‘em where they thought they was and who they was. They come back to Sunday School, every one of ‘em but one; and I’ll tell you he was and that was Ivan Stokes. I don’t know if he ever came back to church, but he sure likes to set down and talk to me when he sees me. So I guess it wasn’t too bad.
We were stepping before I went into the mission field. Father decided that he’d wait while I was in the mission field, which he did. Occasionally he wrote. I had my diamond before I went into the mission field. It was one year after I returned from my mission that we were married.
For our courtship, we didn’t spend the money that you spent going back and forth to Salt Lake (talking to Bert) and over to Burley and Twin Falls and elsewhere. We spent out money going back and forth to church and that’s about all it amounted to. In fact, we didn’t have the money to spend that you used to have to spend. They had dances in Acequia and we’d got to a dance. It didn’t cost too much to go to a dance at that time. And we’d go to Acequia and have a good time and had the church activities and the plays and one thing and another. I didn’t participate in many of the plays. ‘Cause I was on the mutual Stake Board. I did participate in one called “Saintly Hippocrites and Honest Sinners” and that was put on by the stake on a stake basis for the benefit of the new tabernacle. At that time we were meeting in the Wilson Theater and the show was first put on in the Wilson Theater. I took the part of the minister’s wife. That was before I went on my mission.
Father asked my mother and father before he asked me to marry him. I think it was on Christmas Eve that I got my ring.
William says: Well I ask her if she would, thought that she could get along and if she didn’t think that I was too old for her at that time; and we talked it over because she was . . .
I was 28 when I went into the mission field. . .
I was 48-49 It’s along in there somewhere.
We were married 8th of March 19 and 34 in the Logan Temple. That happened to be my grandmother Bennett’s birthday. We went from Rupert to Logan on the bus, then on down to Grandpa Packham’s in Ogden. We were gone from Thursday and Sunday. We got off over near the Predmore farm. As we got off the bus, there was Pat and Mel . . . to meet us there. And then while we were getting off and getting our suitcases, the ground just opened up and people just sprung up. There was a multitude there. It was the understanding we’d be met there. . . that Mel would meet us there; and of course, he and Pat had it all planned what they would do. He might be able to tell you a little bit more and it would be more interesting to know how they carried out their plans.
Mel says: Well, to start out with Dad used to run a potato sorting crew and we were sorting spuds over in the Predmore cellars right by the river bridge; and there was quite a crew of us that had worked with Dad for several years. And so we as a potato sorting crew decided we was going to find out when they were coming home. When they left, we didn’t know. But, Pat somehow found out when they were going to come home; how he found out, I don’t know. But anyway we got the crew all together and went over there at the river bridge; and then when the bus got to the river bridge, why, they got out, and all this crew that Dad had worked with all winter. . . and there in the bar pit waiting for them when they got there. But we got a little surprise on that ourselves. About that same time, Bob Robbins who lived in Poctello and was a drummer was just coming down the road and he knew them too. And so instead of us getting ahold of ‘em why Bob got a hold of ‘em, put ‘em in their car; and then we had a quite chase to catch ‘em even after that. But, we finally caught ‘em in Rupert there and dressed Maybell up pretty much and put a horse collar on Dad and had him pull Maybell around the square a couple times in a little wagon of some descriptions. We had a merry time. I’m not sure what kind of time they had. I never did ask ‘em. Perhaps Maybell could answer that.
Maybell-- Well, I think we enjoyed it as much as you did. Anyway, all they were after was for us to give ‘em a dance, which we consented that we would do, which was customary at that time. And about two weeks later, or three, as soon as we could get the hall, we gave a wedding dance.
William-- The little pull around the square was very good. I pulled her all the way around once and part way again; and it was Bob that did rode up to the side of us, wasn’t it, and he said, “you’ve done enough. By grub, you’ve done your share. Now get in here.” And we got in there. And first thing we knows we was out there to Carl Firch’s again.
Maybell-- All they wanted was to say that we’d give ‘em a dance. I believe it was Dad who drive us home.
William-- Yep, it was Grandpa Bennett. And finally he caught up to us there to Carl Firch’s and he took us home. It was quite a deal. Everyone was looking for an excuse for a dance. Everybody that got married—they had to have a dance. And the house was crowded that night ‘til they couldn’t dance. I never seen so many people in all my life - - from all over this project come to that dance.
The potato crew involved in this little trick was from Newcomb’s outfit ; Sandy Winton used to buy spuds all over the country and I run the sortin’ crew just like they do today. And I done that for two or three. . .three or four years, wasn’t it? I guess longer than that. I’d work in the spuds with ‘em. But then I was kind of overseer. I oversaw the crew, didn’t buy any spuds.
After the short honeymoon, we lived on my place up in. . . North of Acequia. Mel, Rena and Ruth is all that were still home. Lea was married and lived in Twin Falls.
Well it was just tough pickin’s. You just couldn’t sell. . . I sold tons of wheat and all I got for it was forty cent a hundred. And that wouldn’t even pay your taxes and water. Hay for three dollars a ton. Potatoes for two bits a hundred. For quite a long time I use to haul it (crops) down to old Fatty Wiseman, we called him. He … a man that weighed about three or four hundred pounds, and he had a little shop here right there where Associated Bean Warehouse is- - just a little place there; and he’d buy ‘em and run ‘em over to Hans Shaker. They didn’t have this kind a equipment that they have now to handle stuff with.
Maybell—Geneva was born the next February 1st in Acequia on the old farm. Dad was there at the time that she was born; but the second of third day after she was born, he went to work for the Laidlaw and Brooke. . . had to earn some money to pay the doctor bill. The doctor bill was $35. Then one of my missionary companions, Mae Hansen, came up and stayed with us. Of course we had a good time together and a good visit and she didn’t charge us anything. We had labored together in the West Virginia South District. She was living in Tremonton at the time. And the fall before I was married, I went down and spent about a week with Mae.
Geneva weighed six pounds. She was named Geneva Mae after her grandmother Bennett and Mae Hansen.
About a year later, my big son Bert was born. It was a joyous occasion. In unison, the doctor and the nurse, which was Sister Kent, and your dad said, “It’s a boy!” All together in unison. Immediately, of course, we knew his name would be John Albert, named after his dad and after his grandfather- - John Albert. And we called him “Little Bert”- because he was little at the time and because we called his father Bert. It used to be “Little Bert” now it’s “Big Bert.” And then it got to be “Old Bert” and “Young Bert”. When he went into the mission field, it was “John”. When Bert was little, he didn’t have a cradle or a bassinet of anything like that. Those things were out for the Stevenson family. So we put ya in the rockin’ chair. He used to sleep, I’d pull it right up by my bed and one night it was terribly, terribly cold and you got terribly, terribly cold. And we took ya and put ya in bed with us and thawed ya out. Mothers’ didn’t put their babies in another room or in a bassinet. They slept with their mother and dad.
Another year later and my little red-headed boy was born. We were living down here at Rupert on the place down where Mr. Saffle lives now. . . just a mile out of Rupert. And it was on a Thursday night that Bud was born. And Uncle George’s wife and Dr. Trahoon were there. And here come the little red-headed boy, and I said, “He don’t belong to this household.” The doctor said, “well I don’t know about that. . .” “He don’t belong to me.” The doctor said, “Well, I don’t know about Bert, but I know he’s yours!” But if I had been in a hospital, I would have been terribly worried for fear Bud wasn’t my baby. But being at home, I had to claim him! But . . . we still like him and like a lot of him and wouldn’t trade him off. He had quite a bit of hair. His hair was just as red then as it is today.
William- - Just the way. . . ‘cause the doctor. . . it was sure funny. Yep, just as red. And when the doctor picked him up and said, “It is red.” And I said, “Well, no wonder it is. You’re the mother! You just gave birth to him so. . . you’re the mother!”
Maybell- -We wanted a name that was short, and our milk hauler was Bud Eldridge, and we asked him how he liked his name and he said, “Well, if you’re goin’ to name him ‘Bud’ you might just as well call him ‘Bud’. And Sister Butler said, “Maybell don’t ever put ‘Bud’ on the church records.” But, anyway, we chose “Bud” and we gave him the name of “Lavell.” If you didn’t want the name “Bud,” why he could change it to “Lavell.”
William- - and the reason that was done, was because we didn’t want ya called “Red” or “Sandy”.
Maybell- - or “Freckles.” If he hadn’t have been called “Bud” he’d have been called “Red” or “Freckles” or “Carrot-top”. But he was never nicknamed.
Maybell - - I had a terribly hard time keeping you (Bert) out of your dad’s boots. You was always wanting to irrigate and carry the shovel; and one night while I had gone to American Falls with a Sunday School class, you went out to help turn the water and didn’t do anything but fall in the ditch. You went to the house and your big brother, Mel, had to take care of you. But you didn’t want your mother to know that you had fallen in the ditch. Well, fortunately, you wasn’t hurt or anything, but you could have very easily drowned.
One experience I’d like to tell. When we were living down on the other place, you kids were. . . it was fall of the year and you three kids were out playing. You didn’t do anything but climb up on the haystack. Daddy had cut out one square and fed it and then he just filled in there with some loose hay. And, Bud fell down in this hole and Bert came running just as hard as he could. “Mamma, Mamma, Mamma. . .Bud!” When I went out and climbed up on the stack, there Bud was, reachin’ up his head. “Take a hold of my hand, you can reach me!”
Another time Bud lost his bottle and Bert and Geneva had to go out around the haystacks and find it so he could go to bed.
Mel used to like to play with you kids a lot. And he used to hide you around in the different places in the house, even into the dresser drawers and the washers when you were little kids.
Bud- - I remember one time when Bert and I fell into the tub. When you was. . . and we had to take a nap that afternoon while our clothes died out.
Maybell - - We were selling milk to the co-op and the kids’ hat came up missing; and I couldn’t find them high or low. I think maybe they might even have had a jacket or something. I couldn’t figure out where those hats and caps and coats were. Searched the house over. . . inside and out and all around. The next day when the milk man came, to my embarrassment he held those things up! Mmmm. . .imagine! Coats and caps and things in the milk!
We prospered a little and we set back a little bit and we finally. . .
William—We’d have our set backs just like we had this year. Some years were better than others.
Maybell- - I’m tellin’ ya, the dollars never rolled down the bean rows; we had to push ‘em down.
Mel was home working for part of the time and working for every Tom, Dick and Harry he could find to work for. He got married in 1940, (7 December 1940.) And then they stayed with us one winter and Mel worked here and there and finally they moved to town. He married Gwen Robbins.
About Mel getting married, Maybell said, “ They went down to. . .they run away. Her folks didn’t know anything about it. And they was going to keep it for a secret for. . . “ Gwen said her mother knew. “Her mother knew it, but her father didn’t. And they was going to keep it for a secret for a while. So, of course, they came back home on a Saturday. They were married on a Saturday and came back home Saturday night. And Sunday morning bright and early, I think it was, wasn’t is, that Brother Robbins sent for Mel. . . ‘cause he’s run away with his daughter.” Gwen said it was Monday morning, her dad had read about it in the paper on Sunday while he was working at the Sugar Factory.
Gwen says, “I met Mel through my father. He was workin’ for my father with the sheep at one of my uncle’s place. And we had only gone together about two months and when we decided to run away and get married. And as for the family, I didn’t know Maybell or dad very well; but since we’ve been married, I’ve learned to be quite close to ‘em and I think as much of Mel’s dad as I do possibly my own dad or maybe more sometimes. And as for Maybell, I think she’s been real good to us kids. And as being a step-mother to Mel, I think that he couldn’t ask for a better person. In fact, we feel that’s she’s been more of a mother to us than a step-mother. And I’ve learned to love all the kids, the little kids of the second family.”
Rena was married 28 December 1941.
Ruth graduated from the Dee Hospital and then married in August 1942.
Geneva was married 15 April 1954. She married Charles Doane.
Maybell- - we didn’t feel we was losing her; we felt that we was gaining another son.
Charles tell: “the first time I met Geneva or the first experience I had with her was at Sunday School. And at first I didn’t know very much about her folks- - even up to the time that I married her, that I didn’t know too much about her, that I didn’t know too much about her folks, or that is, I hadn’t been very closely associated with them. But I might say since I have married that there isn’t a better family that I figure that I could’ve married into,. Or a mother and father-in-law or for her brothers and sisters. And I might say that I truly do appreciate them and for all the help they have given in my family. They’ll never know the . . .the comforts that they’ve given us in our times of need or the love that I have for them. I don’t think that I love anyone more than I do my mother and father-in-law. Not even my own. They have truly been a second mother and father to me.
Bert went into the mission field. While Bert was in the mission field, he got his “Dear John” from Karen Campbell. William and Maybell went back East to return with Bert. They took the train, “the City of Portland” to Chicago and met Bert in Detroit. Maybell said, “it was a very enjoyable trip, when we met out son there we were very happy.” That was William’s first trip back East. William said, “The furthest I’d ever been eat was to Green River and that was with a trailer load of cattle. “ Then went onto travel down to Huntington to where Maybell had served her mission. They attend Sunday meetings at the Huntington Ward.
Bud was the next one to get married. He married Myrna Jane Griffin. They lived down south of town. And then a great thing happened a little grandson.
Myrna said, “I met him in seminary. I was taking seminary with both Bert and Bud, and he happened to set him down by me. I don’t remember exactly. . . We went to the civic auditorium to a dance festival. And I met you there, that night. And I was really impressed. I used to. . .when I started going with Bud, on Sunday afternoons. We moved to Burley right after I started going with him and on Sundays he’d come to my place and spend the afternoon. And then in the evenings, he’d come home and help his father milk the cows. And I used to come back with him, and that’s how I got to know his folks. And they have truly been a second mother and father to me, too. They’ve really done a lot for us, too. And I don’t know how we’ll ever be able to thank them for all that they’ve done.
Bert was the last to marry. He married Elaine Ann Greenwood, 5 February 1959.
Elaine said, “I met Bert on a blind date on 30th of May. I think that the first place we went was Indian Springs swimming. I had a date with him the next night. I think the only reason he asked me to go was because I was the only girl left in town! The rest of ‘em were married, and I don’t think he wanted to sit home! Anyway, I think it was on the 4th of July; we were going to have a picnic, and we brought the stuff here to the house to fix it. And as I remember, they were snipping beans in the kitchen. Or shelling peas? Something like that. I don’t know. . .things just went on and on and I came up here to stay and the 4th or 5th of October, Bert and I were engaged. I guess that was about four months after we met. And four months after that, we were married. And I would really like to say that the Stevenson’s have, the little bit of time that we have. . . Bert and I have been together and the few times that I’ve Been up there, that they have really been wonderful to me. I couldn’t have ever asked for better treatment from anyone. “
William concluded: I hope you take the work along with each and every one of you. . . hope to see me and to be here tonight, and I’ve enjoyed it. And if I’ve ever said or done anything that you haven’t liked, I’m sorry. And I’ve tried to teach ya the right way to go.
Maybell concluded: I remember one time when I spanked you. . .no, you hurt your find your finger or something. I said, ‘Well, that’s what you get for not minding your Mother.” And you said, ”well, can’t you kiss it better?” So I kissed it. We’re happy with our family. We hope that you’ll always be where you come see us and visit us often. We want the grandkids to feel the same way.