In the first stages of this winter, when the river started to freeze over Dave’s folks let their cattle water and they got down on the ice and it gave way. They lost around 15 head of cattle. Even though they got them out they froze to death. Some of them went under the ice and some froze to death right in the water and some after they got them out.
The children were growing very fast. Grace started to school while we were working for the Johnson’s. She went to a little white school house about half a mile away from home. She was such a cute little girl for her age and very responsible in doing things she was asked to do. She was my baby-sitter when I wanted or needed to go places. But David was just as mischievous as Grace was dependable. David had to be doing something all the time. One day about the time Grace started school my father and his mother came to see us so we were able to get this four generation picture.
In the summer of 1936 we found that the Spud Murphey place was up for sale by the owner, Mrs. D. M. Tait who lived in Pasadena, California. George Watkins had been renting it for several years and wanted to buy it. Dave wrote to Mrs. Tait and offered $2400 for the place. We got a letter right back from her and she said that Mr. Watkins had offered $3000, and that if we would split the difference she would sell the place to us instead. It seemed that Mr. Watkins has misrepresented the truth and taken advantage of her lack of knowledge of conditions. So Dave met her attorney in Helena and they signed a contract.
Dave then located a house out in the hills where he had been building reservoirs. The house belonged to Mrs. Zollicoffer. Most of the windows were broken out and most of the doors were gone, but Dave offered her $30 for it and she took it. So we moved it down on the place but didn’t get a chance to put it on a firm foundation. Instead we just blocked it up. We had become so involved with getting our spring planting done and all our crops in. we lived in a small house on the corner of Dad Rowley’s place. Then one day a big wind came and blew the two-story house off its blocking and some of the blocks went up through the floor. It completely ruined the house. So we had to postpone moving into our own place for a while longer.
Francis and Erma had been running the Thomas Everett place but lost the lease and didn’t have any place to go, so he and Dave made a deal. Francis took the west half of the Murphy place and he was to pay half of the cost of the place. It wasn’t long before Francis moved an old house onto his side of the farm and we lived in part of that house.
While we were living in this house I decided to go to an auction sale with some of my friends. My baby wasn’t due for another couple of weeks so I felt safe in going. It was late October and beginning to get cold. After I got home I fed the family and laid down to rest. At 8:00 p.m. that evening I gave birth to my sixth child, a very welcome little girl. It was 28 October 1936. She weighed about 8 lbs. and was an hour old when the Doctor finally got there. We decided to name this new daughter Margie but when Dave was up blessing her he named her Marjorie Ann Rowley. We were all thrilled with her and all wanted to take care of her. Grace didn’t feel so much alone now, as she had a sister whom she loved and cared for.
Since the first house we bought had been ruined, Dave made arrangements to get the buildings off the old Crawford dairy farm and we moved them down onto our property. We dug a full-sized basement, ran the cement and put the house on it. The other building included a granary and a garage (which Dave gave to Francis for helping) and some chicken coops. We got all these buildings set up on the place and when Marjorie was about a year old we moved into the first real home of our own. This was a wonderful thing for our family.
The plot of ground where we had to set the house was gumbo soil and in wet weather it would stick to our feet so badly that one could hardly walk. The old saying was that if someone would walk across the yard and find a place to clean his shoes off, he would have the starting of a good farm. It was hard to keep a house clean in wet weather especially in that kind of soil. The children were growing so fast and were so energetic and were always doing something and every time they came in the house they left a trail of this gumbo soil.
We always had a lovely garden and with our chickens and cows we got along fine. We had no barns or buildings for our cattle and with those cold winters it proved trying to us. Dave would go out to milk the cows and they would have frozen tits. The men would nearly freeze themselves before they would get through milking. All we had for our protection was a corral and some boards put up for a wind breaker.
As I said, we could live off the place but we had to have machinery and supplies, so we took out a loan with the Federal Security Association. We got our machinery to operate the farm and bought some more cows. But from then on we were under their supervision; however, we still enjoyed our new home and the security of being on our own. We were where our children could play and run on that which was ours. Our home was half a mile from the Branch Chapel where we held our services and other activities.
We were always active in the Church. I tried to instill in my children a desire and pride in attending to their Church duties. I started this when they were as young as two weeks. I worked in the Relief Society and was a Primary Teacher. Dave was teaching in Sunday School and MIA and was chairman of The Genealogical Committee.
In the summer of 1938 we found we were going to have another blessed event in the family. We were very happy and thankful. This would be our seventh child. Before the baby arrived we had some very cold weather. On 29 January 1939 the baby was born. It was 10 minutes past midnight and 40˚ below zero. Being in the middle of the night all the other children were asleep. Douglas heard the baby cry though and called out, “What’s pulling the cat’s tail?” he didn’t realize that at that moment another new soul had just breathed his first breath of life. This baby was a beautiful baby boy with red hair. It was our third red-head and we named him Hugh Alcorn Rowley.
In the summer of 1939 Dave bought a good high-roofed barn from up north of Zurich for $250, and then hired Carl Dolovan to move it down on the farm for us. Dave had the foundations all poured and ready and they set the barn right on the foundations. Dave then fixed it up. He made half of it for the cows and the other half was fixed to handle two teams of horses and a grain bin. It also had a hay loft which held almost enough hay for the whole winter. When we bought the house it didn’t have many cabinets or working space, and I needed more. Dave looked around at some that other people had and then built a lovely set of cabinets for me. We had a nice kitchen sink, although we didn’t have a drain for it. I used to keep a five gallon bucket under the sink to catch the water and then the kids would dump it for me. We didn’t have running water so there wasn’t too much danger of the water running over.
To be continued…
Aleene Sumsion – Daughter-in-Law: Son Ralph’s (34) wife
Archie Harold Alcorn 97) – Brother
Bert Lund Murphy – Brother-in-Law: Sister-in-Law Verda’s (88) husband
Cheryl Jeanette Smith (12) – Granddaughter: Daughter Grace’s (10) daughter
Clark Alcorn (91) – Father
Clayton Alcorn Rowley (35) – Son
Coral Lorraine Bolton (28) – Son-in-Law’s Mother: Donald’s (9) mother
David Alcorn Rowley (32) – Son
David Lenn Judkins – Grandson: Daughter Marjorie’s (36) son
David William Rowley (30) – Husband
Deon Eugene Judkins – Grandson: Daughter Marjorie’s (36) son
Dollie Cook – Wife of Maternal Uncle: James Jr’s (228) wife
Donald Eugene Smith (9) – Son-in-Law: Daughter Grace’s (10) husband
Donald Eugene Smith Jr (11) – Grandson: Daughter Grace’s (10) son
Donna Diane Smith (13) – Granddaughter: Daughter Grace’s (10) daughter
Douglas Alcorn Rowley (33) – Son
Dwain Eugene Judkins – Son-in-Law: Daughter Marjorie’s (36) husband
Dwana Kay Judkins – Granddaughter: Daughter Marjorie’s (36) daughter
Emerson Adis Rowley (89) – Brother-in-Law: Husband David’s (30) brother
Erma Thornton – Sister-in-Law: Brother-in-Law Emerson’s (89) wife
Fannie Marie Weaver (Aunt Fannie) (229) – Maternal Aunt: Mother Harriet’s (92) sister
Grace Davis (86) – Mother-in-Law
Grace Harriet Rowley (10) – Daughter
Grant Alcorn Rowley (39) – Son
Hannah Davis (210) – Husband’s Maternal Aunt: Mother-in-Law Grace’s (86) sister
Harriet Ann Weaver (92) – Mother
Hugh Alcorn Rowley (37) – Son
Hugh Francis Rowley (87) – Brother-in-Law: Husband David’s (30) brother
Hugh Thompson Rowley (85) – Father-in-Law
James Albert Weaver Jr (228) – Maternal Uncle: Mother Harriet’s (92) brother
James Sheldon Nelson Sr – Wife of Maternal Aunt: Fannie’s (229) husband
Jesse Verl Alcorn (99) – Brother
Joe Ben Smith (27) – Son-in-Law’s: Donald’s (9) father
John Joseph Everhard – Son-in-Law’s: Donald’s (9) stepfather
Joseph Lorenzo Alcorn (96) – Brother
Karen Andrea Goe – Niece: Maternal Aunt Melva’s (98) daughter
Kurtis Wayne Rowley – Grandson: Son Ralph’s (34) son
Leonard Clark Alcorn (93) – Brother
Lillian Alcorn (31) – Self
Lillian Lorraine Smith (3) – Granddaughter: Daughter Grace’s (10) daughter
Margaret Jeanette Alcorn (224) – Paternal Aunt: Father Clark ‘s (91) sister
Marjorie Ann Rowley (36) – Daughter
Marjorie Elizabeth Snyder – Son-in-Law’s Stepmother: Donald’s (9) stepmother
Marvin Ballard Alcorn (95) – Brother
Mary Catherine Hammons (218) – Paternal Grandmother: Father Clark’s (91) mother
Mary Francis Alcorn – Cousin: Brother Archie’s (97) daughter
Mary Gregory Askins – Sister-in-Law: Brother Archie’s (97) wife
Melva Alcorn (98) – Sister
Myron Nelson – Cousin: Maternal Aunt Fannie’s (229) son
Pamela Rowley – Granddaughter: Son Douglas’ (33) daughter
Ralph Alcorn Rowley (34) – Son
Robert L. Goe – Brother-in-Law: Sister Melva’s (98) 1st husband
Ronald Steven Smith (14) – Grandson: Daughter Grace’s (10) son
Rosina Weaver (Aunt Rose) (469) – Mother Harriet’s (92) maternal aunt
Royal James Rowley (205) – Husband’s Paternal Uncle: Father-in-Law Hugh’s (85) brother
Scott Calvin Rowley – Grandson: Son Douglas’ (33) son
Sharon Lee Rowley (38) – Daughter
Verda May Rowley (88) – Sister-in-Law: Husband David’s (30) sister
Vonna Ensign – Daughter-in-Law: Son Douglas’ (33) wife
Walter Illith Rowley (90) – Brother-in-Law: Husband David’s (30) brother
William Douglas Rowley – Grandson: Son Douglas’ (33) son
William Vernon Alcorn (94) – Brother
William Weaver (457) – Maternal Great-Grandfather: Mother Harriet’s (92) father