"Little Houses On The Prairie"
Stories compiled by Roberta Maxfield in 1980
This little booklet is my attempt to show my love and appreciation to a wonderful family.
A little of it is from my faltering memory but the majority of
it is a compilation of the letters and tapes received from the
1st generation in answer to my letter which read in
part---"I have a very special request. The Stanbery's have a
reputation as interesting storytellers--but they are very remiss
when it comes to preserving those facts for posterity. Wouldn't
it be nice to rectify that one flaw in your otherwise flawless
characters?---Please send me some of those famous
"facts" with your Thanksgiving lists, your Christmas
letters your New Year's notes, your Valentines, your St Patrick
Stanbery cards or my birthday wishes. I'm enclosing a list of
places and their order (agreed upon by Mom and Uncle Stan)
As usual the 1st generation cane through. Lorraine was the first to respond with more later. Stan came through with two wonderful tapes (which I'm keeping). Aunt Dutch complained about me expecting too much from her--then proceeded to write a letter that I'm saving for her children (and she is never going to know the amount of postage due). Uncle Marty is fortunate in having his own private secretary because he talked and Aunt Prudy wrote. And Mom---in addition to her letters, received several cryptic phone calls for bits of information.
I love you all--you're the most beautiful family a person could have.
WHAT A WAY TO BEGIN THE NEW YEAR: January 2, 1896 in Stoddard, Missouri, Seebell Cornelia Mitchell and George David Stanbery were united in marriage at the home of the bride.
SEEBELL CORNELIUS (later corrected to Cornelia) MITCHELL, born June 13, 1871, was the oldest daughter of Eliza Jane Williams Mitchell and David Michael Mitchell. Eliza Jane Williams was probably born in Vermont and later moved to Ohio with her parents. David Michael "Mike" Mitchell was born in Mississippi, but somehow ended up in the Union Army. Wars can produce some good. Mike Mitchell was serving with a brother of Eliza Jane, With permission of her brother, Mike and Eliza began corresponding. The correspondence became a provisional engagement. They agreed that when the war was over, Mike would visit Ohio, and if they liked what they saw when they met, they would be married. They must have "like what they saw" for they were soon married. To this union were born William, Seebell Cornelia, Martin (who died as a very young man),Lenore, Rose and Ollie.
Eliza seems to be remembered for her "snapping" brown eyes and "very stern manner" which her grandchildren found a little frightening. Her "snapping" brown eyes may have been "sparkling" brown eyes as evidenced by a sofa pillow that Lorraine remembers. 'They had kept every love letter written each other during the war. After they were married, they shredded the love letters and stuffed a sofa pillow with them.' One other memory of the Mitchell grandparents that was shared by several "was the most beautiful yellow rose" that grew beside their home in Lowe (Winona).
GEORGE DAVID "DAVE" STANBERY, born January 20, 1871, was the youngest son of Samantha Oglesby Stanbery and Nathaniel Stanbery. Samantha was born in Malden (?) Missouri of half Irish and half "mixture" parentage. Nathaniel was born in North Carolina and proudly claimed to be "North Carolina Dutch." Nathaniel and Samantha were married in Missouri and soon became the parents of Van Buren, James, and George David. Grandfather Nathaniel died before Dave was a year old. Later Grandmother had two other marriages. First to a man named Ballard. Louise, Emma, Margaret and Hattie were born of this marriage. After Ballard's death she was married to a man named Price. (to the younger generations: remember that when the 1st generation speak of "Grandma Price" they are referring to their Grandmother Stanbery.)
TWO MORE BEGINNINGS: There were two major events while the couple were living in the Palouse country. MABEL SEEBELL STANBERY was born on January 28, 1897. ELSIE LORRAINE STANBERY (later to become Lorraine Elsie) graced their household on May 7, 1898. The two girls made their first bid for fame by being the only two children born with a doctor in attendance.
While in the Palouse country, Dad worked as a hired man, probably for other relatives who had heeded the "go West, young man" theme at an earlier time. But when homestead land was opened up in Idaho, Mother and Dad, as well as the Mitchell grandparents, were among the first homesteaders in Idaho County.
THE FIRST HOMESTEAD: In the fall of 1899 the folks drove a team and wagon from the Palouse country to take up a homestead in Idaho. No one remembers how many days it took, but when they got into "higher country"-probably around Winchester--they decided to camp for the night. It looked quite stormy, so Dad built kind of a shelter. In the morning they woke up to find that it had snowed during the night. They were able to build a fire and fix breakfast before heading on toward the Big Butte country and their first homestead (later known as the McGuire Place). A one room cabin was built before winter was too far along. There was no fence around the cabin so the range stock roamed right to the front door or wherever else they pleased. Dad had to store the feed for his stock under the house to keep the range stock out of it. The first winter was a real struggle. Both Mother and Dad worked for Jim Browning part of the time as well as keeping their own place going. The two little girls made quite a hit with the other hired help. The men may have had little girls of their own that they hadn't been able to bring out west as yet. Or perhaps it was because the two were so opposite--dark-haired, brown-eyed Mabel and very blonde, blue-eyed Lorraine (Hess). Anyway, the two little girls thoroughly enjoyed the attention.
The next spring the first son made his appearance. ROY DAVID STANBERY was born April 19, 1900. Before Dad had finished "proving up" on the homestead he decided that he had to get his family back to the Missouri-Texas area. Whether he was just homesick or whether he was just tired of the struggle to exist in the "untamed West", no one remembers. When you are only two years old or less, you are seldom apprised of family decisions, you are just expected to abide by them. Dad sold his homestead rights and the family of five moved back to Missouri.
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION: The year in Missouri would have been a total failure, but for the birth of their second son. MARTIN VAN BUREN STANBERY (later to become Martin Van) was born on July 4, 1901. There may have been something prophetic in his choosing this birthday. As our story progresses, you will notice that it is usually "martin to the rescue." He wasn't able to rescue the crops in Missouri from failure that year, so the family picked up their belongings, and what was left of their savings (if there was anything left) and headed for Texas where several relatives were living.
FROM BAD TO WORSE: Conditions in Texas proved worse than those in Missouri. When Dad saw his crop burning up because of hot weather (dry land farming depends on rains at the right time), he didn't even stay for harvest--if there was to be one. Their savings had been used up, but his honesty and integrity must have made an impression on his former Idaho neighbors. Without any security, but his word, he was able to borrow $100 from one of them and with that amount was able to bring his family and few belongings back to Idaho.
One of their most treasured Texas acquisitions had to be left behind. Lorraine and Roy had acquired a pet cat. They shed no tears for relatives and friends that were to be left in Texas, but "bawled our heads off" because the cat had to be left.
6&7 Lincoln Springs
THE NOT-SO-TRIUMPHANT RETURN: We returned to Idaho by train with Kooskia as our destination. We arrived but our belongings didn't. The household goods, bedding, kitchenware, extra clothes, etc. had been checked through to Kooskia, but didn't arrive until several weeks later. Uncle Bill Mitchell met us in Kooskia with his team and wagon. We stayed with them while Dad and Uncle Bill (in their spare time) cut logs and built the log cabin "down in the canyon." Uncle Bill hauled the lumber that was necessary from Kooskia. There were no roads at that time, so they took the wagon down the best looking areas trying to choose places that weren't too steep. Even then they sometimes had to chop down a small tree and chain it to the back of the wagon to act as an anchor so the wagon wouldn' t run over the team. Uncle Bill was a pretty good carpenter and did most of the actual construction with Dad cutting and hauling most of the logs for "a carpenter our dad was NOT." The furniture--table, benches, beds and cupboards were all homemade by Uncle Bill. He even whittled some knives and forks out of wood to use until our "checked through belongings" finally arrived.
The cabin was finally finished enough to move into and we were able to leave Uncle Bill and Aunt Lucy's. The moving was a neighborhood event with relatives and neighbors all coming to help. The weather was neither relative nor neighborly and certainly didnt help. It was RAINING and very muddy. In spite of the weather, everything was loaded onto a wagon and we were off--for a short distance. Going up a very steep hill the wagon got stuck. People piled out and started walking and sliding up the hill. The men unloaded part of the stuff and carried it to the top of the hill. The horses were able to pull the wagon with its lightened load. Everyone took the problems in stride and even managed a neighborhood picnic at the Spring.
We managed to survive. Dad worked wherever he could find a job. The next year things began to look up. We had acquired a cow, some pigs, chickens and were able to put in a garden. Dad carried the other food that was needed from Winona--such as 50-pound sacks of flour. After all it was only 2 or 2 1/2 miles.
LINCOLN SPRINGS: There were two homes on Lincoln Springs--"down in the canyon" in the log cabin where WILLIAM STANLEY STANBERY (later to become Stanley William) made an appearance on June 17, 1903; and "top of the canyon" where ELECTA MARIE STANBERY was born April 16, 1905 and died August 5, 1905. Then along came "Tuke" ERNEST NATHANIEL STANBERY (later to become Ernest Nathan) on October 20, 1906. The informants for this thing were a little young to remember just which place was which for some of the stories--so the Lincoln Springs stories will be all included in this section.
"WHEN MOTHER CALLED A COUGAR" (a severely edited version of the story that Stan wrote and that was broadcast on a Boise radio station. Mother never heard the radio broadcast because she could get only Lewiston and Spokane stations).
Father had taken up a canyon homestead in 1902. With the help of Bill Mitchell, he had built a log cabin in the canyon for his family--which now included Mabel, Lorraine, Roy and Martin. He had to work several miles from home part of the time, and came home only on week ends. One Saturday evening when Mother was milking the cows, the dog began to raise an awful fuss. The cows were so nervous that she had trouble milking. The dog became so agitated that he was almost beside himself. She thought that she heard "a nigger yell" coming-down the canyon. This was a long, piercing yell that carried a great distance, and was a way of father letting her know that he was on the way home. She answered the call. He answered back. She would return the call. He would answer back--but there was something wrong. The call never got any closer, and the dog was more wrought up than she had ever seen him. She finally left the cows in the corral and started to the house. She most not let the children see how nervous she was and she must also be prepared to defend them from "something" if it became necessary. There was no gun, not even a hunting knife. As she passed the woodpile, she picked up the ax and carried it into the house. The windows looked too fragile to slow down anything that could cause the dog to be so upset. She covered the windows with blankets. Strange, quiet actions. One of the children wondered why she had brought the ax into the house. This was a poser for a moment--but she replied that she thought that it might snow and cover it up. It was during late summer--but to them it seemed like a logical answer. She finally got the children to sleep, and realized that the dog had finally calmed down. Then she realized that Father might possibly meet whatever it was on the trail. She never got ready for bed, but did doze occasionally during the night.
The next morning Father cane walking in, and explained that he had just been too tired to walk home the night before. He tried to laugh off her fears when she told him of the night before, but he went down and examined the brush around the corrals. He wasn t laughing when he came back to the house. A mighty big cougar had been her unseen companion in the bushes, and had been answering her calls.
IT TAKES TWO TO "TANGLE": The three boys, Roy, Martin and Stan were creating their own entertainment. Roy was so creative that he fashioned a "set of harness" out of some ropes. The harness appeared to be complete, but was made for two animals and the only animal available was a good-sized calf. Roy had fashioned the harness, so of course, he was to be the driver. Martin being only a year younger, was able to see the folly of being harnessed together with a calf. Stan was even younger, so when Roy and Martin explained the situation to him, he saw nothing wrong with the arrangement, Roy got Stan and the calf "hitched" together somehow. Unfortunately, the calf didn't understand the arrangement as well as Stan had, and when Roy started to drive them, the calf got excited and started to buck and jump, Stan ended on the ground under the bucking calf. Roy didn t know what to do, but Martin had presence of mind enough to call Mother. Mother came to the rescue, got hold of the calf and did some "unhitching" before either Stan or the calf was seriously hurt.
EDUCATION BEGINS: Mabel and Lorraine began their academic careers in a loft above the Lowe (Winona) post office. A teacher named Dan Gibbons held a 4-month term there. Both started to school at the same time. It was considered too far for them to walk, and since Dad was farming quite a bit of "Indian land", the two girls stayed with the Mitchell grandparents while dad finished hauling his grain. When harvest was finished. the family Roved into a small house between the post office and their grandparents for the remainder of the term. Dan Gibbons may or may not have been a great teacher--but he did have a wooden leg which proved quite fascinating to his young students. (later when Roy and Martin were to begin their education, all of them walked to school. Perhaps the school was that much closer; perhaps their parents discovered that girls were stronger than they realized; or wan it because they had two younger brothers to "protect" them.
A "COUPTE OF BUNDLES!" Our speckled cow had twin calves, but instead of having them up by the house--she went out of her way to have them down in the canyon. Dad had to take hay from the stacks near the house down to her. One day he told Roy and Martin to throw "a couple of bundles" over the fence so he could put them on the wagon. Dad went on into the house. They had no idea how many a "couple of bundles" were since they were pretty small. In order to have enough, they worked like beavers, and by the time Dad came back they had "almost a wagonload of bundles" tossed over the fence. Dad was pretty disgusted and made them pitch them all back
STRAWBERRIES=SWEARING: Roy, Martin and Stan were in the garden behind the chicken house, supposedly gathering strawberries. Picking strawberries can be monotonous, and to break the monotony they were putting the strawberries on the bottom rung of a ladder and enticing an unsuspecting chicken to come and eat it. When the chicken tried to get the strawberries, the boys would swear at them and chase them away. They were apparently getting quite proficient at some of the more colorful and complex phrases when Mother came along. She was really furious. She warned them they "might as well stuff their backsides with straw because they were really going to get it," and started back to the house to get her switch. They took her literally. They didn't have any straw handy, but there was lots of dog fennel. They stuffed the seats of their pants because that is where mother applied her switch with the most vigor. When she got back, she grabbed Roy. It didnt hurt too much, but he pretended that it did. Then came Martin's turn. He had worn a hole in his pants and after a lick or two the dog fennel started trickling out through the hole. Mother started to laugh, and that ended the switching.
THE HOPPING FROGS OF IDAHO COUNTY: The overflow of the spring at the Lincoln Springs place had a choice selection of frogs. These stirred the inventive spirits of a couple of pre-schoolers --Martin and Stan. It took some time, but they managed to catch themselves some frogs, and then get some strings tied onto them enough to "drive" or "prod" them up the road to the house It was near noon--and they were called into the house for dinner. At 5 and 3 years of age the boys had no knowledge of biology or zoology , and didn't realize that frogs shouldn't be kept out of the water for any length of time. But what do you do with half-trained frogs--they couldn't just tell them to "Stay." There were some pails used for feeding calves near the back porch--so they put a pail upside down over each frog so the frogs couldn t get away. After the boys had finished eating they had several things to do that pre-schoolers find important. Eventually they did remember the frogs, and decided to continue their training by hopping them back to the spring where it was cooler. When they lifted the pails, the frogs looked like they had been fried in an oven--they were absolutely shriveled up.
FISHING & DRESSTAIIS: There was a shallow well on the Lincoln Springs place with boards across the top. To get water you knelt on the boards and dipped the water out with a bucket. And as mentioned above, It was also a good place to catch frogs. Martin and Stan were getting proficient at catching them. Tuke made up any lack of experience with extra enthusiasm. This enthusiasm, unfortunately, caused him to fall into the spring. Martin managed to get him by the dresstail and fish him out with no apparent damage to Tuke, his dress or the well. I have it on good authority that all of the "Stanbery boys probably wore dresses until they were in the fifth grade." (Dress tails are handy things to have-Martin also fished Velda out of the pond on the Buckingham Place--thanks to her dress having an adequate "tail" for him to reach.)
EVERY BOY NEEDS SOME TARGET PRACTICE: Mother had set some eggs under some hens--setting hens being the forerunner of a modern incubator. Martin, Roy and Stan discovered this wonderful cache of eggs. You couldn' t destroy "good" eggs, but they held them to their ears, shook them vigorously, and since the eggs were partially incubated, it was easy for them to "determine" that they were rotten They had a fine time using them for target practice against the old log building. Just as their aims were getting perfected, and the supply of eggs had run out, Mother came along. She was furious, They had ruined all of her setting eggs. She told them to get themselves ready because they were going to get a good threshing. She took them down to the house where he had a nice, little switch, She started with the old one--in this case, Roy--and gave him a pretty good shellacking. Then she grabbed Martin for his turn. Stan realizing that his time was coming next, managed to get into the house without anyone seeing him. In looking for a safe place to hide, he discovered a box under the bed in the downstairs bedroom. Being quite small, he was able to conceal himself. When mother started looking for him, no one knew where he was. They looked all through the house, then the barn, the chicken house, and Lorraine even checked the spring. Mother was becoming desperate, and Stan was becoming terrified. Dad was working away from home, but Mother had become so concerned that she had about decided that someone should go get him. She went through the house one last time. She had looked under the bed before, but this time she moved the box. He was exposed. Now he would really get it, but she was so relieved to find him that all he got was a scolding for not answering when they called him. Mother could whip when she had to, she didn't enjoy it at all, but felt that it was her duty, and she would do it whenever she had to.
9 WINONA IDAHO
WINOMA or LOWE (pronounced ow as in how now brown cow) and not LOWE (pronounced as oh in Oh, oh!) who lived on the Tunnell place.
Winona was quite a thriving community during the early settlement of the prairie. There was:
THE FOURTH OF JULY was also an occasion to celebrate. There was always a big "doings" of some kind, and ICE CREAM--somehow, someway, there were ice cream cones available for the FOURTH-there was no way to keep it' but somehow it appeared on the FOURTH.
GRANDPA "MIKE" MITCHELLS HOMESTEAD was just up the hill from Winona near Windy Hill. The church was built on top of Windy Hill on land donated by Grandpa "Mike." The building was constructed by members of the congregation. There was no regular minister, but when a "traveling preacher" would come by, there would be Revival meetings for a week or two. Sometimes Mother and the younger children would stay with the Mitchell grandparents so they could attend the meetings.
In the fall of l979 , in the "60 year ago" items of the Grangeville Free Press was an item from Winona--G D Stanbery had been the auctioneer at a box social.
FUNERALS AND PANTS: Mother had been staying with the Mitchell grandparents when Grandmother died. When it came tine to get the family ready for the funeral, Lorraine and Mabel were elected. "Experienced clothes" are sometimes just too "experienced" by the time they reach the third son. Mabel, who was about 9 at the time, decided that Stan needed something a little more presentable to wear than the "hand-me-downs" that he had. She tore up a pair of Dad' s old pants and made Stan a nice pair of slacks to wear for the funeral. Mother was quite surprised, but pleased.
8 Thompson Place
THE MAINATTRACTION was not the birth of another Stanbery. The Thompson Place was much closer to the Hopewell school--and there had been enough births so that being closer to school during the term was a prime consideration of the family.
SCISSORS AND CIVILITIES: Mother had borrowed some scissors from Mrs. Atwood, a neighbor who lived about 1/4 of a mile away. The older children were in school so Stan was given the scissors and the proper instructions for thanking her and expressing the proper appreciation of the loan. One-quarter of a mile gives a pre-schooler a lot of time for a lot of interesting thoughts and observations to pass through their mind. But he finally reached the house and knocked at the door. Mrs. Atwood answered the door and being a very friendly and talkative person, she easily got him a little confused, but he manfully tried to remember his mothers cautioning and said, "Mother says Welcome for the scissors." Thinking that he had really done a good deed, he went back home feeling elated Later he heard Mrs. Atwood tell Mother about it and realized that he had pulled quite a "faux pax."
9 The FIat
ANOTHER HOME ANOTHER BABY: VELDA VIOLA STANBERY graced the family with her presence on October 26, 1908.
OUR FIRST FIREFIGHTER: The stove pipe for the kitchen range went through a hole cut in the ceiling and on up through the second story and then through the roof. The hole in the ceiling was a little larger than the stovepipe, but no one used any protection around them at that time. (Could that be the reason that nearly all of the houses that the Stanberys lived in later burned?) The stove had been fired up to cook a large supper, and then adding a bit more wood later to heat the dishwater made things really warm. Mabel had just finished washing the dishes when she noticed something was wrong. The ceiling above the stove was on fire--so she just picked up the dishpan of water and heaved it toward the ceiling. It was enough to put out the fire.
ALEX BELL ARRIVES: Our first telephone! The neighboring farmers got together and put up the poles, the lines and installed the phones--on the wall, of course. Soon after the phone was installed Martin and Stan were at home alone. They knew that when the phone rang you were supposed to talk on it. They answered several calls before being apprised of the fact that they were supposed to answer only when it rang "one long and one short." Eventually the lines were hooked up with some of the other "farmer lines" and the switchboard was in Winona where Aunt Lucy or one of her girls acted as the operator and connected you with the other families on the prairie.
AND FINALLY: Moved from the FIat to the Buckingham Place in the fall. The first order of business was to prepare for the birth of MINNIE STANBERY (later to be "certified" as Minnie Mitchell Stanbery) on February 21, 1910. The first two children were delivered by a doctor and "Dutch" was to have that same honor. But choosing February for a birth in Idaho County was her undoing. The doctor couldnt get through the drifts. When it came time to name her there were not too many names left, so they decided to name her after the midwife who had delivered her. Any conjectures as to what her name would have been if the doctor had been able to get through?
WATER, WATER, WHERE?: There were two dry wells when we moved there. One had been abandoned, so we filled it in. The other had water in the spring, but it dried up in the summer. Dad had another well dug, but it always dried up when it was really needed. So for the most part of our lives we hauled water from somewhere. Kept a barrel on a stoneboat and usually hauled water from the Hayes spring. We kept a heavy burlap bag over the barrel, and put a tub upside down over that. Some of the water always sloshed out, but we got to the house with most of it. Also had a heavy barrel on four wheels that was hauled out to where the threshing crew was working in the fall.
THE RITES OF SPRING: We all went barefooted as soon as summer came and didn't put shoes on again until it was time to start school in the fall. One early spring day--the path from the house to the road was "almost dry" --Stan and Velda decided the time had come to shed the shoes. They were having a great time running up and down the "dry path" and avoiding the snow and mud puddles until Mother caught them. She knew that they would soon die of pneumonia if they weren't treated promptly. She had heard that "onion tea" would ward off colds, so she cooked some onions until they were syrupy and put sugar in it to make it "taste better". It was just too much to drink. Stan managed to get his dumped outside and Dod soon followed suit. Maybe just cooking the "onion tea,' did it, but they didn't catch cold.
EVERY TEACHER NEEDS A BIRTHDAY BANQUET: Linny Harclerode, one of the teachers at the Hopewell school was especially liked. One year some of the older girls (7th and 8th grade), including Mabel and Lorraine, decided to surprise her on her birthday. They arranged for the food, concealing it in the woodshed or in some old "double-seats" that were setting outside of the schoolhouse, and for decoying the teacher so they could get everything set up. The teacher apparently didn't detect anything unusual (must have been a great bunch of actors). At noon Oscar Sheldon and Jim Patterson were to stage a fight. She was very strict and didn't allow anything like that. Marguerite Yates (the local tattletale) was sent in to "tell on them." She came out of the schoolhouse just fuming. The boys kept their "fight" moving further from her until they were through the school yard fence. In the meantime, the older boys had gotten the "double desks" into the schoolhouse and formed a table. Her husband had arrived and tied the door shut so they could finish all of the birthday preparations. Poor Linny was fit to be tied. She threatened to get the ax and chop the door down, and just might have done it, but some of the mothers had arrived. After being let into the school and being reminded of whose birthday it was, everything else went fine.
A COOKWAGON, A COOK & A HELPER: Fall meant harvest. Harvesting was done by stationary threshers. It took several men to operate the threshing machine, at least 2 men for every "bunnel" wagon to haul the shocked bundles to the thresher, some sack sewers, and at least one roustabout or flunky to make up a threshing crew. This meant a crew of 15 to 35 men and these men had to be fed three times a day. At 16 Lorraine was elected to be THE cook wagon cook one fall. Menu planning wasn't difficult. Breakfast was mush (cereal), biscuits, steak or bacon and sometimes fried potatoes and always coffee--no juice or fruit. Dinner at noon and supper after dark had the same menu--meat (lots of boiled beef), vegetables, always potatoes and usually beans, oodles and oodles of coffee and sometimes dessert. (Ever wonder how "crunchy" an apple pie might be if a 6-year old prepared the apples?) A cook wagon accommodated a small, wood-burning range, a storage bin with a board or two for "counter top" and maybe a couple of shelves. The eating area had benches and "higher" benches for tables. There was the water-barrel--no running water and no refrigeration.
The family, realizing this was quite a chore for a 16 year old, sent along a helper, 6-year old Velda. Because there was no way of keeping it they had fresh meat only when it was sent out on the stage from Cottonwood to Winona. Someone would be on hand to pick it up in Winona. This was every day when the "cookhouse" was operating. On this day the only thing ordered was a side of bacon So they put a saddle on Veldas pony so that the package of bacon could be tied onto it. At six years of age, she couldn't reach the stirrups to get on, so they lifted her into the saddle and sent her on her way. In Winona the bacon was tied onto the saddle and she started back Everything went as planned-for awhile. The hot sun caused the bacon to melt enough to come through the paper wrapper and it finally got so slick and greasy that it slipped out of the strings and fell into the dusty road. Now the package was coated with dirt. She got off and retrieved the bacon, but then she couldnt get back onto the horse. She started to walk and carry the bacon, and lead the horse. She had to pass Dane Atwood's house. "Aunt Dane" saw her predicament and came to her rescue. She Tied the bacon onto the saddle, lifted Velda onto her pony and sent Velda on her way. "I had never liked Aunt Dane much, 'cause she had to kiss you every time she saw you, but she was my pal after that."
When the thresher is moved, the cook wagon is next. Ask Lorraine or Velda what happens when dinner is already started, and they decide it will be all right to move the cook wagon, if they do it very carefully. Somehow "careful" wasn't enough.
LOANED OUT: While they were in grammar school, Lorraine and Mabel were never hired out to help the neighborhood women, but during the busy times of the year the girls were "loaned out" to help with cooking, housework or childcare and usually a combination of all three. It would have been a breach of ethics or etiquette to have offered to pay them.
SCHOOL HAS MANY SURPRISES: We always had a lot of chores that had to be done before we could leave for school. When we got to school it was always in progress and we just went in and took our seats. One of the unexpected bits of knowledge come one morning when they arrived earlier than usual. Velda went in and took her seat, but the others stayed outside. She was quite surprised to learn that there was a starting time for school as well as a time to end the day. She had always supposed that everyone went in and started studying as soon as they arrived at school.
FANNY WASN"T FRACTURED: When Martin was about a 7th grader he was assigned the chore of moving the cattle to the Scott place in the canyon. Tuke was to go along and help (the second grade curriculum apparently included driving cattle). Martin was riding Brady and Tuke was on faithful, old Fanny. At times driving cattle isn't too entertaining, so Tuke decided to try riding while standing up. It was great--until he fell off Martin got him home, and they finally decided that a doctor was needed. The doctor was the center of attention. It was the second time that most of the family had seen a doctor-the first was the whooping cough. This time a broken arm was the diagnosis. Broken arms weren't allowed to interfere with school, but since it was the right arm in a cast, it did interfere with his writing ability. For some reason the teacher decided that he should try writing with his left hand. Tuke refused to co-operate, and was finally threatened with spanking. That was too much. Martin stood up, looked the teacher in the eye and said "Don't touch that boy." Tuke never learned to write with his left-hand.
THE SEAMSTRESS: Mabel continued to show remarkable talent as a seamstress and for creative design. Our only source of fashion knowledge or ideas was the Sears and Roebuck catalog. She could look at a picture, then made her own patterns and then make up the item. At first the neighbors were coming to her for help with their sewing problems. Then she started going to the neighbors (Harclerodes, Seays, etc). She would live with them for a week and sew up a stormplay clothes for the children, school clothes, dresses for the women, shirts or whatever was needed. She got her room, board and sometimes as much as $5 for the week. People began telling the folks that she should have a chance to develop her talent. Aunt Ollie found a good dressmaker and tailor in Lewiston who agreed to let her serve an apprenticeship. After finishing grammar school, Mabel was able to stay in Lewiston with Aunt Ollie and served a two-month apprenticeship that summer. She was to come back to Grangeville for high school, but was soon married to Andy Hayhurst. After she was married she continued to sew for the neighbors, but then it was on a "neighborly" basis, so her professional life as a designer-dressmaker was while she was still in grammar school.
HORSES: The first horse that Dad had that the kids could play with was ROCK. He had a bad knee but we could hook him to an old sled and drive around. Roy was the oldest so he usually got to drive.
QUEEN was probably next. We could ride her, but she had a bad hip and if she laid down on her left side, she couldn't get up. Then we had to put ropes on her legs to turn her over so that she could get up.
DOLLY, PET and ROANIE were some of the next Stanbery transportation. ROANIE was quite an adventure. You never knew if you were going ahead, back or sideways. She could walk or trot all right, but if you let her start galloping--she went sideways, practically had her front feet in one track of the road and her hind feet in the other track. Then she would fall down about every hundred yards. If she started to gallop, you just jumped off because she was going to fall down before long. We finally gave up trying to ride her and used her as a work horse. We sometimes drove her on a buggy or sled. She was all right if you kept going, but if you stopped very long she would start running backwards. She got us in serious trouble several times and broke the tongue out of one buggy.
There was a nice little pacer called FANNY, a real joy to ride.
DAISY AND DAVE were probably the first team that we drove to school. Brady and Pinto came later and were probably driven to school the most. The horses that were taken to school had to stand outside in all kinds of weather until the neighbors pitched in and built a barn.
Dad's favorite saddle horse was named TED. Dad rode him for years. TED had a beautiful running walk that really covered the ground. He could go for miles that way, and that is how dad usually rode him.
Then there was BAY BIRD and GREY BIRD: Ask Velda what GREY BIRD, wind broken, driving single and a garden event have in common.
A MOVING EXPERIENCE: As more of the children became ready for high school it was decided that the family should have a place in town during the school year instead of having so many children boarding in town in order to attend high school. About 1912 or so THE MOVE took place. The trip into Grangeville with a team and wagon took from daylight to dark. Dad decided that was just too hard for the whole family, so he hired Bill Yates to haul us into town in his 7-passenger Studebaker. Bill came over early one morning and we all piled in. We were in Grangeville in an hour or so. Riding in the car was just like magic. We moved into the Shaffer house. It was a good-sized house, all on one floor. There were sliding doors into the living room but they were kept shut most of the time in the winter because we didn't keep that room heated. There was also a bathroom. Outside there was some kind of shed where we were able to keep a cow, and of course, the inevitable wood shed.
SCHOOL IS SHOCKING: Lorraine was about a Junior in High School and had become a little more sophisticated than the rest of us so she didn't have the academic and culture shock that the rest of us experienced en masse. The country schools of Winona and Hopewell that we had attended were only in session from 4 to 7 months of the year. There were usually 20 to 25 students from first grade through eighth grade and one teacher for all grades and all subjects. To complicate matters there was usually an outbreak of something--measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, etc--so several weeks were lost to illness every year; and a few days were always lost because of bad weather. In town there was a teacher for every subject and everyone was way ahead of us academically. From Stan's notes "They would be studying things that I hadn't been exposed to at all--so we had to do some scratching--it really kept us humping." The County or State exams (no one seems to be sure) were THE THING. Your education could be considered complete when they were taken. The year Stan was to take the eighth grade EXAM the family was quarantined with the measles for 6 weeks. The other students reviewed and took the exams while the Stanbery's were in measles quarantine. Stan wasnt interested in farming and wanted to go on to high school so the superintendent got some special exam papers and gave him the exams in his office. (He passed the exam, but didn't offer to tell his score.)
CHARLIE the DRAKE: Out on the ranch we had always had geese, but somehow we also managed to acquire a couple of Mallard ducks. One belonged to Stan and the other to Tuke. To Stan a duck was just a duck. To Tuke any animal was a personality. This Mallard personality was named Charlie. Charlie followed Tuke around like a pet dog. When we moved into town Tuke refused to leave Charlie behind--so Charlie came to town with us. Tuke rigged up a little two-wheeled cart with shafts made to fit Charlie. Then he would harness Charlie to his cart and they would go walking down the street--Tuke in the lead and Charlie right behind him pulling his cart. Today people would be taking pictures--back then people just stopped and stared.
11 Shaffer Place
OUR BOY EDISON: Moving into town also brought the wonders of electricity. We didn't know exactly what it was or how it worked, but we did know that you didn't get too intimate with it. One day when everyone else was gone, Stan decided to do a little experimenting. He took a table fork, wrapped a towel around the handle--he had heard that electricity can get pretty hot--, climbed up on the old iron range, unscrewed the light bulb from the drop light in the kitchen, and very cautiously pushed the fork up into the interior of the turned on socket. A shower of sparks burst forth. The towel apparently insulated the handle enough that he wasn't hurt, but the tines on the fork were never the same. (Note: It was Martin, not Stan, who later worked for Washington Water Power)
12 Gorum Place
SECOND YEAR IN TOWN: There was a big, old house on Idaho Avenue owned by Nels Swanson. It rented for about $25 a month and had a big barn, buggy shed, chicken yard and about 2 acres of ground, trees and flowers. We lived there about 2 years before Dad found that the "old Swede" would sell it for $1500 cash. The Stanberys didn't have that much petty cash. Granddad Mitchell was living with us then and still had some of the money left from selling his Winona place to Bert Morse. He wanted to just give it to Mother (he was living with us most of the time and she always took care of him when he was sick.) He finally convinced her to take it. There was also enough money left for a small house for Uncle Bill and Aunt Lucy but they never lived in theirs and finally sold it.
A HARD WAY TO GET RICH: Everyone in town seemed to burn wood. Logs were brought into town and delivered to the front door. Then someone would come around with a buzz saw and sawed them in lengths for the stove. Stan soon had several customers who were willing to pay 50 cents a cord to have the wood put into the woodshed and ricked. Some of the people would even pay an extra l5-25 cents an hour to have it split and stacked. Then one winter the A & F Store had a lot of stored potatoes that had started sprouting. Stan was hired to dump all of the potatoes, break off the sprouts and put the good ones back into sacks and sew them up again. (Stan' s notes--"there were a lot of sacks") They then offered him a job after school from 4 p.m. til 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7 am til 9 p.m. . During the summer the hours were changed to 7 am til 6 p.m.
THE FOOTHILLS: While we were living in the Corum place Dad sold the Buckingham place and bought the foothills ranch, although he continued to rent some of the Indian land in the Winona area. The Fordam Place at the foothills contained 160 acres--some farm land, some trees and some pasture. About 10 acres on the north end were rented out to a slaughterhouse for $10 a month. Their building was located on the land, so we continued to rent it to them. We lived at the foothills during the summer months, and then Mother would move back into town with the children that were attending school.
THE FLU of 1920: No one knows just where it came from--but people began getting sick--had high fevers and other symptoms that doctors could only diagnose as "the flu" in those days. Sleeping two to a bed probably helped spread it, It went clear through the family, with Martin being about the first and Mother the last to get it. Alvin Mitchell, who had served in some kind of nursing unit in the army, was with us. He and Tuke never did get it so they were our nurses. Alvin did a real good job of looking after us. Tuke was sent to the drugstore and did the other errands. We were supposed to be inside, but someone had to go for medicines. Neighbors, the ones who weren't ill, would bring food to the front door, set it on the porch and. then get clear back in the street and yell. Everyone was afraid of the flu and had every reason to be because many people were dying from it.
Dad had been feeling feverish for some time before he came down from the foothills. He was put to bed in the downstairs bedroom. The doctor had told him that he was to stay in bed. but when he would get to feeling a little better, he would get up. Then he would get worse again. Eventually he went into double pneumonia. Doc Stockton came by several times a day but there wasn't much he could do. Dad passed on February 2, 1920.
THERE ARE A IOT OF CHANGES: Lorraine had just started the second semester of her Junior year at Berkeley U of C. She came home when dad died and didn't go back. Losing the breadwinner changed a lot of things. In the spring Mother, Martin and Roy moved to the flat to put in the crop. There were about 320 acres of land that was farmed and about 220 acres of pasture. We ran about 20-25 head of cattle and probably had about 30 horses. It takes a lot of horses to farm that many acres. The Indian land was rented on a cash basis and during a drought year didn't produce enough to pay the rent, so Dad would borrow from the bank and pay them back during the good years. He was probably renting more land than he had teams and equipment to farm, so when he died there were a lot of accumulated debts. Mother was a good manager, and was able to pay off a good many of the debts. She let the Indian land go and later was able to sell the Foothills ranch and square up the rest of the debts and keep the house in town.
Meanwhile, Lorraine, Stan, Tuke, Dod and Dutch moved to the foothills with the younger ones finishing school. It was several miles into Grangeville but the school bus in those days consisted of eight sometimes reluctant Stanbery feet--there was neither windshield wipers for rain or skis for snow.
THE INS AND OUTS OF TEACHING: After Dad died Lorraine continued to stay at home. Since Stan was finishing high school, Mother had a small conference--herself, Lorraine and Stan---If Stan went to Summer School in Lewiston he would qualify for a "third grade certificate" which would enable him to teach in a rural school. Then with his help and help from Mother, Lorraine would be able to go back and finish college. Since he had no other plans, the whole idea seemed all right. It was time to take the Preliminary exams to get into the program and he didn't have time to prepare, but he managed to get through them. Summer school was a nine week course which met six days a week with nine subjects every day. It was one of the hottest, most strenuous summers of his young life, but with Aunt Ollie's encouragement (as well as her room and board) he managed to make it through. Teaching was all right, but not exactly what he wanted to do the rest of his life. Looking around, he decided that the only things that he was qualified for was the postal service or the railway mail service. He took the exams for both, and scored high enough that he was soon called by the postal service.
13 Grandview, Washington
SHADES OF PALOUSE: Back in the State of Washington with two daughters, but how times had changed. Mother, Dod and Dutch moved to Grandview in the fall of 1924. They worked in "the fruit" which meant that they picked grapes in the fall, cherries in the spring, sorted apples at the Big Y, stamped prune boxes as they came down the conveyor and other exciting jobs connected with orchards, packing houses and cold storage plants. All of this for .35 cents an hour or so much a bucket or box.
THE MIMES: They lived in several houses during the times they were there, the most memorable being the Parks House. It was very close to the neighbors, and the kitchen windows faced each other. While cooking or doing dishes, Dutch and Dod entertained themselves by imitating people-the way they danced, the way they walked, any unusual mannerisms were enough for them to put on a show. They didn't realize how talented they were until the neighbor next door was telling Mother that they had quit going to the show. Seems they would turn out their kitchen lights and sit and watch the show being put on next door. After that the girls pulled the shades before they put on their act.
$185 or EDUCATION PAYS OFF: Lorraine was finally able to go back to Berkeley, California and finish college. And then her first PAYING job. She was the Rural Supervisor of San Benito County, California for the next four years working out of the office in Hollister and was paid the huge sum of $185 per month for 12 months a year. She was the envy of her classmates who were teaching school for about $150 a month for 9 months a year.
She also met Alf Bowden who was a master mechanic with Associated Oil. Alfred Tully Bowden and Lorraine Elsie Stanbery were married in San Jose on October 16, 1926.
15 Corum house
SHIRLEY ELDONNA: In February of 1927 it was back to Idaho. Mother worked as a cook on a sheep ranch until fall. Dod boarded with Howells and went to high school. Dutch stayed with Mabel and Andy and went to school at Winona. Mabel had two children, Wayne and Barney, but Dutch was there to help bring Shirley Eldonna into the world in April. When summer arrived Dod moved to Mabels and Dutch went to town to visit with friends. Mrs. Howell became ill, so Dutch ended up spending most of the summer cooking for boarders. That fall she and Pearl Gorsuch were to cook for Pearls dads threshing crew, but it rained so much that Dutch gave up and went back to town. By then Mother, Dod and Martin had moved back into the Corum house. That fall on October 5, 1927, Velda Viola became Mrs. Bert Edward Seger.
COFFEE AND TEMPERS: Minnie was a little small for her age, and the old granite coffee pots were almost as big as she was. While she and Roy were staying with Mabel and Andy, it got to be great sport for Andy and Roy to ask for more coffee, then just before she got the pot up high enough to pour, they would turn their cups upside down. One time too many-and her "temper flared up a might," so she pulled back the neck of Roy's shirt and poured coffee down his neck. He was ready to whip her--but Mabel told them that they had been asking for it and came to her rescue. You may have noticed that at weddings and other affairs if Minnie is ask to pour, she is never allowed to have an old, granite pot.
GRANDVIEW HAS MORE THAN APPIES: Dutch continued to go back to work in the fruit. While there she met Raymond Hall, her girl friends, boy friends, anyway there were a lot of "friends". By the next fall the friend and the boy were just friends. It took Ray three years, but Minnie Mitchell became Mrs. Raymond Hall on December 21, 1932.
SUMMER of 1931: Dutch had held various jobs working in people' s homes as babysitter, cook ,etc, but in the summer of 1931 she applied for a job at Penney's. She went to work the day after putting in her application. It was quite a change. For the first month she hated it, and then ended up loving it.
(ADDENDUM:) After Ray was drowned, Dutch continued to live in Grangeville and work at Robert's Variety Store. The neighbor across from her had a drinking problem. She looked out the window one day and saw the neighbor and a handsome young man taking her cow for a walk. Supposing that both of them must have had a little too such of the hard stuff, she went out to stop them. They were both quite sober, and just taking the cow up to Mrs. Reids where the grass was better. A couple of years later she and the young man, Orin Thomas Reid were married on October 19, 1943.
By 1934 all of the chicks had left the nest and the depression was really depressed. The depression didn't keep the big, old Corum house from needing more and more repairs. Edwards were living in the house at 207 South B but needed a little larger house, but not as big as the Corum house. Pearsons had a bigger house than Edwards, but their growing family needed an even bigger house. Pearson was a carpenter, so the repairs on the Corum house were easily corrected by him. So on one day three moves were made--Mom to Edwards two-bedroom house Edwards to Pearsons house and Pearsons to Mom's house. It was quite a day--that evening as Mom was stomping about trying to unpack, she surveyed the mess and informed the world that the place was so small "that there wasn't enough room to cuss a cat." That is pretty small, but she lived there until she died, and always had room to entertain her grandchildren.