History: David William Rowley

Francis got home that fall about harvest time, then went to work for the gravel company. He met a young woman named Erma Thornton. And it wasn’t long before they were married. They lived on the place with Dad and Mother.

We farmed the Lohman place for two years. A couple of years I went out with the Walters’ Brothers Company Threshing Machine from farm to farm threshing their grain. It had been bound in bundles with a binder. I had a team and wagon and would load the grain out in the field so it wouldn’t slide off the wagon and lose part of the load before I got up in the thresher. Then I’d help spike it into the feeder rack on the threshing machine. In spiking you always laid them in head first and always straight and even and on my side of the feeder. Then the heads would always go in first and the kernels would be shelled on the inside of the thresher. I had been working for them a couple of weeks when the spiker who would climb on all the wagons on his side of the thresher, got sick. The Walker boys came and asked me if they got someone to handle my team and wagons if I’d spike for them.

I was getting $7.99 per day for myself and my team and wagon. They were going to hire a man to handle the team and wagon for $5.00 per day and then they would pay me $6.00 per day and $2.00 per day for my team and wagon. I told them if they would get my brother. Emerson who was working on one of the adjoining places, then I would do it. So they got Emerson to drive my team and I went to spiking for the rest of the season. Though I only made a dollar more a day it gave Emerson a job where he was making quite a bit more than he was at the other place.

In March of 1926, Taylor Butler, a member of our Branch, came and wanted me to go and work for him on a sheep ranch. He needed me to help lamb out a lot of sheep. We had some canvas topped lambing sheds where we have a lot of pens about four feet by five feet where we would put the ewe and the lambs to help them get acquainted. This was done until the lamb was big enough and healthy enough to fare with his mother. I worked on the night shift most all the lambing season. When it was nearing the end of the laming season and the grass was beginning to grow they asked me to take a herd out on the nearby range, so I did. I herded those sheep for several weeks. The Butler’s were really good to me. Sister Butler would bring out cooked goodies such as cakes, pies and most of the bread I needed. I had a couple of very good sheep dogs which sure helped in caring for and herding the sheep.

One day I got a letter from my Mother in Harlem, Montana, where the folks had moved and rented a farm from Roy Colgrove. They didn’t have the crops in and it was getting late so Brother Butler told me to take some horses of his and go down and help them get the crops in. the Butler’s said they would like to have me come back for haying and I told them I would.

I took four head of horses and went to Harlem where the folks and I helped them get the crops in and then went back up to Clear Creek to help put up hay for the Butler’s. They had a lot of hay and we worked it most of the summer.

To be continued…


History: David William Rowley

Dad had some skin cancers on his face neck. He had heard about a man in Saint Anthony, Idaho who could remove them. So on his way to Montana he stopped there and they were removed. It was an herb remedy that this man had gotten from the Indians. It was applied in the form of a poultice and after a few days, when the poultice was removed, the cancers came with it. Dad had them in a bottle, roots and all. He had been given a jar of black salve to apply where the cancers had come out. He had some of it for a long time and it would heal any kind of wound or sore. Dad was sick from the treatment for a week or so. He went back for more treatments a couple of times, then he seemed to be all right.

Mother, Verda and Mary Galloway, Hugh’s wife, came up on the rain. The wind and dust was blowing very hard when they arrived and Mother cried. She never learned to like Montana. Her heart kind of stayed in Idaho. She would get homesick every once in a while and Dad would let her go back to visit with her relatives, since Verda was old enough to cook for the rest of us. Sometimes Dad would go with her. Several times Emerson went with her as well as Verda a few times and Walter, also. Francis went back to Idaho to work sometimes, but I never did get to go back and I really wanted to.

We got seed potatoes and other things to Zurich and put in a crop. Francis had a girl he liked in Idaho so he went back and worked there that summer. I thinned 15 acres of beets, mostly alone and it was very hard work.

A brother Barnes of Chinook was a field agent for the Utah Idaho Sugar Company. He came out to see us right after we got there and signed us for our beet acreage and found out that we were members of the Church. He told us they held meetings in Zurich. We tried to be there as often as we could. Winfield Hurst was the branch president and was a fine president.

I was asked to teach a class in Sunday School which I enjoyed very much. The students were thirteen and fourteen years old. Emerson was in my class. We weren’t there very long when I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. I know our Heavenly Father helped me because it was one of the best talks I ever gave on faith and works.

We had all been going to Church in Zurich, but it was quite a ways to go so in the summer of 1925, the members from Chinook decided to organize a branch there. They had received permission from the Mission President and with his help they formed the Chinook Branch. In order to have a song books it was decided that each member was to bring a dollar to the meeting.

I had thinned a lot of beets for Dad, but he had so much expenses that he couldn’t pay me. I had worked for another man, too, but he couldn’t pay me either. I felt so bad that I couldn’t raise even one dollar. I was walking along to Church the next Sunday, with my head down and feeling really bad about it. The road was freshly graveled; in fact there were piles of gravel that hadn’t been spread out yet. I glanced to the side and there on top of one of those piles was a brand new shiny silver dollar. It was almost impossibility for anyone to have lost it there by heavenly means for me in my hour of need. I picked it up and went on my way rejoicing and was able to do my part in buying the hymn books.

To be continued…

History: David William Rowley

While going to seminary I knew that my turn was going to come to open with prayer and I was so scared. When it did come, I couldn’t say a word. I just stood there opening my mouth but nothing was coming out. Finally Brother Fisher reached out and touched me and said, “Just say amen,” and I did. I wasn’t able to stay in Seminary till school let out so Brother Fisher had me make up the lessons and send them to him. He then sent me my certificate and a very nice letter. I’ve never seen him since, but I’m still grateful for the time I had in his class and the things I learned there.

When we moved to the Webster place Dad gave Francis and I a couple colts. Francis whip broke his colt. He could call him out of the pasture and even if the colt was clear at the other end he would come to Francis when he called. He later became a very good work horse. His name was “Snip.”

On the Webster place a tree had been allowed to grow really close to the back porch. Its branches were beginning to life the shingles up off the roof. One day when the folks were gone, Francis and I sawed into the tree until it was bout ready to fall. Then I went and got a team to help get it the rest of the way so it wouldn’t fall on the on the house.

I hitched the chain way up in the tree and then to the back of the sleigh, as it was winter time. Then I got into sleigh to drive the team. This was Francis’ team and when I spoke to them instead of starting out slowly like my team, they jumped and lunged and I went so high in the air that I didn’t know when I was going to come down. When I did I lit on my head and I thought I had broken my neck.

Francis stood back and laughed till he couldn’t stand up. This made me so mad and I said, “Yea, you’d laugh even if it had killed me!” I suppose it did look funny to see the sleigh and me shoot up in the air that way, but I was hurting too bad for it to be funny. I hurt for several days, but was grateful that I hadn’t broken my neck.

In the spring of 1923 my cousin, Charles Galloway, came to our place and he and I went to Salt Lake City to work. We had very little money so we caught a ride on a freight train. I had never done it before and it was a dangerous thing to do. In fact it was a dare-devil thing to do. The train, after some trouble in Pocatello, Idaho took us almost to Hyrum, Utah. From there we took the Bamberger on into Salt Lake. The Bamberger was a big street car.

I worked for the Jacobsen Construction Company doing work on several different buildings, including some chapels and on the Salt Lake Temple grounds. It was a different kind of life for me, but I liked it.

One day I got a letter from Mother telling me they were moving to Montana and wanted me to go with them. So I quit my job and went back to Idaho. I have sometimes wondered what turn my life would have taken if I took a load of stock, machinery and furniture in a boxcar on the railroad. Dad and the other boys came up in a ford car and we got there ahead of them. In fact we unloaded the boxcar and moved everything out to the farm two miles east of Lohman, Montana, before they finally got there.

To be continued…

History: David William Rowley


Another time I was in a wagon going up to the flat where we farmed and was leading another team. I was just above the Call place when a big rattlesnake crossed the road in front of me. I stopped the team and saw the snake going down a big gopher hole. I had nothing to kill him with but hands, so I reached to grab his tail. Just as I reached out, his head came up out of the hole beside his tail. Well, needless to say I didn’t grab the tail and I felt pretty blessed that I had seen his head before I did have a chance to get the tail because I would have been bitten for sure.

My mother was a wonderful fisherman and from the time I was small she would usually take me with her when she went fishing. She would let me try to fish and tell me stories mostly about the gospel. That was where a lot of the foundation for my faith was laid. I had a wonderful mother who worked so hard and was so fast with her hands. I helped her with the garden in Meadow Creek. We also fixed a place for the lambs in a natural cave under a big boulder near our yard. We also made a swimming hole in the creek where we had a lot of fun.

One spring day when I was up on the flat, I found some flowers. I have never seen their kind since. They were a lily-like flower of the purest white, about as big as a man’s hand. They had the loveliest fragrance I have ever smelled. I wanted my mother to see them so badly that I picked some and hurried home. By the time I got them to her they were withered, dropping and dead. She could still smell the lovely fragrance; however, I called them my ‘Lilly of the Valley!’

One winter I think it was 1917, we had a lot of snow, it was about seven feet on the level in the canyon where we lived. It would drift into the canyon from the flat above us. If any of the stock would get off the feed yard or off the road they would get stuck and we would have to pull them back onto the yard or the road.

One day Francis and I decided to go up on the flat and hunt wild chickens. On the way back we were walking along the top of the canyon when we saw a crack opening up in the snow. We were both on skis and as we saw this crack we got off it as quickly as we could, but it kept opening up until it developed into an avalanche. It fell over the cliff of the canyon and covered the road about 15 or more feet deep. We were sure thankful to the Lord for helping us detect it and getting out there in time.

My cousin Ralph, son of Uncle Ralph (Dad’s brother) stayed with us for a while on the dry farm and we became great pals. Once when Ralph and his brother Joe were visiting us up on the dry farm, we were resting beside the creek. They had both gone to sleep in the sun. it must have been about noon, there were no shadows. I looked down and saw a big fish just lazing along the edge of the water. I put my hand noiselessly in the water ahead of him and waited until his gills were inside my open hand. I quickly closed my hand and even though the fish came to life in a hurry, I had him. The boys woke up and were really surprised.

To be continued…

Journal: Grace Harriet Rowley

I also remember when my Grandma Grace (Grace Davis) died from a goiter in 1935. At that time in history, it was common for the body to be kept in the house until the funeral. I remember wondering what was wrong with my Grandma, why didn’t she move. I did not understand that Grandma had passed away.

I also remember when Grandpa Rowley (Hugh Thompson Rowley) went to get Uncle Walter (Walter Illith Rowley) from his mission. He brought back the most beautiful necklaces I had ever seen. The necklace he gave me was a beautiful blue. I cherished it for a long time.

Great Grandma Alcorn (Mary Catherine Hammons), Grandpa Clark’s (Clark Alcorn) mother was a special Grandma, she used to keep bread and jelly in her dresser drawer.  When David (David Alcorn Rowley) and I went to see her we felt special because would give us a piece of bread and jelly from her dresser.

My Grandma Harriet Ann Weaver died in 1922, 6 years before I was born. When I was older Mom (Lillian Alcorn) let me wear her ring to school. It was either garnet or ruby. While I was at school the ring was stolen. I remember how hard it was to tell my mother that the ring had been stolen, but my worrying was for nothing; mother was very understanding. Thank goodness we found out who had the ring and were able to get it back.

My Mother was a beautiful seamstress and made me beautiful clothes. She also had a wonderful singing voice. Mother had pretty auburn hair. Once when I was about 12, I got sick and mother took me to the doctor. I don’t remember what was wrong. But I had to eat boiled egg shells. Mother would boil the egg shells until they were brown.

I grew up during the depression and things were tough to say the l east. When I was about eight, I was invited to go to a birthday party. We didn’t have money to buy a present so mother made a batch of fudge and I gave that for a present. The other kids laughed at me. They thought it was so funny. That was not easy to take. My mother was a wonderful cook and made the best fudge.

Christmas was a special time of year for everyone. The trees would have candles on them and we would string popcorn. Mother would make homemade candy and goodies. Most of the presents were handmade too. Mother would sew clothes and Dad (David William Rowley) would make toys. We sang together as families and would go on horse drawn sleigh rides when there was enough snow. It was a wonderful time of year with many happy memories. When I was 12 or 13, the boys got a bike and I got a silver watch.

On Sundays the families would get together and make homemade ice cream. It was a wonderful blessing to have family close by and we did a lot of fun things together.

History: David William Rowley


Just to hear these words gave a guy the shivers all up and down his back. They had set up for it on the edge of town. When the train arrived and they unloaded the elephants, their skins must have been awfully tight and dry, for they broke away from their handlers and made a dash for the water in the river, dragging chains and all. They jumped over that solid rock ledge and into the deep hole below the bridge. They really had a time, diving clear under the water and squirting water fifteen or twenty feet into the air with their trunks. They wouldn’t come out until they had finished their play and had their skins sufficiently soaked with water. They had just come up out of the river and the circus men had them under control when our family came along on our way to the circus. Of course we heard all about what had happened. This was before we moved to the dry farm and I was quite small.

When we first moved to the dry farm we lived up on the bench. My Aunt Charlotte (mother’s sister) had filed a claim too and had built a small cabin just like ours. We later moved down on the Meadow Creek because it was easier to have use of the water there than to haul it up the steep dug way. (My mother had a runaway hauling water there, see her history.) Then, too, we could convert the stream or part of it out into our garden. Our Aunt Charlotte had left by then, so we moved her cabin, as well as ours, down to the new location. We left a space between the two cabins, which Dad made into a large room. This gave us a big house or those times. Since it was the largest home around the Church meetings were held there.

We had two classes in Sunday School and since I was too old for the small class, they let me join the adults. Ralph Hoggan had just returned from a mission to Hawaii and he was a very good teacher of the Book of Mormon. As a result of his teaching, I became so interested in this book that I read it through in a very short time and Brother Hoggan used me as an example for the rest of the class. I thought then and I still think that it is the best book I have ever read.

While walking along a mountainside one time, we came across a rock slide. We saw a rattlesnake and a blow snake fighting. The blow snake had a hold on the rattler right behind his jaws and had his body wrapped around that of the rattlesnake. The blow snake would tighten up and then stretch and was pulling the rattler apart. It was kind of gory to watch.

To be continued…

Journal: Grace Harriet Rowley

Grace’s History written by her:

I was born on September 20th, 1928 in Harlem, Blaine County, Montana. My parents are David William and Lillian Alcorn Rowley. I am the oldest of nine children.

Some of my early memories are that we lived in the same house as Grandpa Hugh Thompson Rowley and Grandma Grace Davis Rowley. Uncle Francis (Hugh Francis Rowley) and Aunt Erma (Erma Thornton), his wife also lived with us, it was a two-room home, and one room was the bedroom and the other the kitchen and dining area. It was a crowded but a happy home.

When we got our own home Daddy put a basement foundation in and then the house was put on top. It had two bedrooms upstairs, Margie (Marjorie Ann Rowley) and I shared one and Mom and Dad had the other one it was divided by a thin curtain instead of a door. I remember Daddy staying up at night reading, Daddy always loved to read. The boys slept downstairs. I was about years old when we moved into this house.

One time when it was about Halloween I remember that the boys were playing out in the wheat field. Daddy didn’t like the boys trampling the wheat so he went out and started to make scary noises and it scared the boys so bad that they ran into the house. Doug (Douglas Alcorn Rowley) lost one of his shoes. We knew later that it was Daddy because when he told the story he was crying and Daddy could never tell a funny story without crying.

When I was about thirteen, Daddy found a rattlesnake by the barn door. He picked it up by its tail and broke its neck. Snakes usually travel in pairs and a few days later he found its companion.

Grace Davis Rowley, my Grandmother had long black shiny hair which she wore in braids. When I was young I thought she was an Indian. Whenever David (David Alcorn Rowley) and I did something wrong we would go out and get a willow and take it to Grandma. She would laugh so hard that she wouldn’t spank us.

Grandpa Hugh Thompson Rowley was a very gentle man and he was very good with kids. One time when Grandpa was in Butte, Montana he heard a young lady calling for help. A man was attacking her. When Grandpa went to help her, the man hit him right below his eye, which was always red. Later they did surgery on his eye because he had cancer in that spot.

In 1945, I met Great Grandpa David Peter Davis. I only remember that he was really old. He had white hair and a long beard.

Grandpa Clark Alcorn, was a produce trucker. Sometimes he would bring us fruit so that we canned for the winter.