Edward D. Sr. Family Story Home
Durtschi Home
The Edward Durtschi Sr. Family Story
Chapter 6

THE FAMILY DISPERSED
LATE SPRING 1909 to 1917

        As mentioned previously it seemed a most remarkable thing to me that our whole family was living in Midway, with the exception of Elise who was living close by in Salt Lake City. And this with the fact that two of my married daughters had remained in Switzerland and later came here with their husbands. But things started to change as our family, one by one, moved again. This time, the move took us to a small valley up in Idaho. Settlers had been there for perhaps 10 or 15 years. Before that, only Indians and fur trappers had inhabited this area. So when my children started moving there, it was in the true spirit of pioneering.
        As already related, my son Edward Jr., married Elizabeth Mutzenberg on April 26th, 1909. Three weeks later Alfred, and these newlyweds left Midway for Teton Basin. Because of the snow, my son John took extra horses, and went to help them over Coleville mountain. But the roads were too bad. They had to return and start out again by way of Provo and Salt Lake City. They had three horses and all their possessions in a covered wagon. Before they left Midway, Elizabeth made enough doughnuts to fill a 50 pound lard can. And this tasty treat lasted throughout the two weeks it took to make the trip.
        "We arrived in Teton Valley May 14th," Alfred recalled. "We stopped on the west side in the Bates area. Elizabeth was a real pioneer woman, traveling from Utah to Teton Basin in a covered wagon. It was hard going getting started in a new country, such as Teton Basin was at that time. But she never complained. She was an excellent cook and housekeeper and played an important part in our early success."
        Back in Midway, John was in the fifth grade. The teacher said they could take an examination in arithmetic along with the sixth grade. Those who received high enough marks could be promoted, and John happened to be one of those who got high marks. That spring John was promoted into the seventh grade and after two weeks was promoted into the eighth.
        With my sons Edward and Alfred in Teton Valley, I had only Fred and John at home. It didn't seem long until they were working for other people and then going away to college.
        The farm my sons rented in Teton Valley was in the north end of the Bates Ward. It had a log cabin and a horse barn on it, for which they were very glad. There was no machinery on the property, so they went to Driggs, bought a hand plow, and started to work their land. They planted about 10 acres of oats and then it rained and snowed -- and then it snowed some more. This rightfully scared them. Just what kind of a cold, miserable valley had they come to? Edward and Alfred decided to leave and at least go to the lower valley, if not all the way back to Utah.
        Edward Jr. related, "I asked Elizabeth to fill the lard can with doughnuts again while I took off for Driggs to talk to the real estate man. We were heading back to Utah! In Driggs I told the owner that he could have the oats that were planted, for we were leaving the country.
        "He told me, 'Don't do that! I have a farm up here on the east side. I am taking a man up there right now. You had better come along, and in case he isn't interested, you may be.'
        "So Mr. Winger, the real estate man, took me to a place east of Driggs known as the 'Beckstead' place. This did not look very good to me. There was only a small, low house and no barn. Then the real estate agent got excited, knowing of a better place. And so he urged me to come with him to see the 'George Eddington' place with its' 160 acres. This farm was on the east side of the valley near the foot hills. He'd had it for sale for $6,000 for the past year. There was some meadow hay on it we could stack. He said that we could live on it for a year and generally improve it so it could be sold by the next year. It also had a better house. I told Mr. Winger I would have to check with my brother before I would decide to move or not. Mr. Winger told us if we wanted to buy, we could have it for $4,000.
        "When Edward returned home", Alfred stated, "He told me of this beautiful farm in the Alta area which was also referred to as Pratt Ward. Ed wanted to take me over the next day to see it. If it was agreeable with me, we would very likely buy it. So the next day Mr. Winger, Ed and I left Driggs heading east towards the farm. Finally, as we were coming to the foothills Mr. Winger said to me, 'Here is the 160-acre farm I was showing your brother. Before we take a closer look I'm going to take you up against the hill to show you a beautiful orchard. You will be surprised with what can be raised here.' Low and behold, it was a nice orchard. It really looked good. After we came back down to the farm he said, 'You can come and live in the house. You can have everything you can raise this summer. There will be 25 to 30 tons of hay you can put up, and all the grain you can raise is yours. I want you to take good care of it so when I bring people here as prospective buyers it will look good.'


        Alfred continued, "The weather had cleared, and when we arrived back the next day from 'the home place' in Bates, the birds were singing in the grove of trees. It was a thick grove because it wasn't until a week later that we found we had close neighbors! The place had a nice two-room log house with a shanty," Alfred added, "We were really happy that we could take possession of the farm. We went to work and plowed and planted about five acres of oats. It was all very beautiful country. Mr. Winger went to Boise for 10 days. Every day he was gone we worked the farm and became more interested in it and were truly satisfied to call this home.
        "As we started farming, we could hardly wait until we could buy it. This surely was the place we wanted to live the rest of our lives. There were only 25 acres under cultivation, so here was the place we could make the desert blossom. We were able to buy the place on the 11th of June, 1909 for the sum of $4000.00. We paid $500.00 dollars down and planned to make $500.00 payments a year. And we took over the $1600.00 mortgage."
        Ed had been in America long enough to get his naturalization papers. So he and Elizabeth returned home to Midway to appear before the district judge in Heber, Utah on the 9th of August. I had more cattle than I could handle on my small farm in Midway. So I gave Ed eight cows and some heifers to take back with him to give them a start with cattle. Alfred remained in Teton Valley to take care of the farm. Then he went down to Sugar City to meet them. He came prepared for two, one-night camp outs. It would take three days to take the animals from Sugar City to Driggs.
        The oats Ed and Alfred raised had to be hauled by wagon about 40 miles to St. Anthony. They earned from between $1.00 to $1.25 a bushel for them. (There was no railroad service to the Basin until 1912.)
        As Ed and Alfred wrote and traveled back to Midway they gave the rest of the family living in Midway glowing reports of the country. They told of the beautiful jagged mountains, the pure mountain streams, the lush green foliage on the creek banks, the heavy fruit-laden orchards, and the fertile farmland. Not only was the land inviting, but they told us of jobs to be had and opportunities for acquiring land. As they continued to tell us of this land they instilled in the rest of us a desire to move there also. During the next 10 years, a large part of the Edward Durtschi family migrated to Teton Valley. By the early 1920's, Mother and I, with five of the children, either were living or had lived there. Only Emma and Elise with their families would not at one time or another live in Teton Valley. Emma remained throughout her life in Midway with her family. Elise lived out her life, with her family, in Salt Lake City.
        On September 24th, 1909, a baby was born to Caroline and her husband Fred. This was their long wished for son, Emil. The Feuz's now really felt they needed a home of their own. Rudolph Kaufman was still working the mines to feed his family. But now with the lure of inexpensive land he eagerly left those mines. Then he and Fred Feuz actively prepared to move to Teton Valley. Caroline remembered, "So we packed everything again, and somehow got a team and wagon. The Kaufman and Feuz families arrived by train at Rexburg and were met by the Durtschi brothers. We then journeyed by wagon to our new homes east of Driggs. We felt lucky we could go to Teton Valley with Rosa and Rudolph. East of Driggs, we found a very small cabin near Ed and Alfred's farm. That was where we settled. We were happy to have our own place, modest as it was."
        Ed and Alfred's farm was on the Idaho side of the state line between Idaho and Wyoming. Rudolph filed on a homestead up in Spring Creek Canyon, about a mile east of the state line in Wyoming.
        Rosa recalled those early times in Teton Valley, "Rudolph worked for Eli Hill in the timber and on the sawmill. Our family lived in one room of his house. Rudolph and Fred Feuz cut timber in North Leigh canyon for Eli. They walked home on the weekends to Spring Creek, a distance of 10 miles or more. They also cleared sagebrush land for Andrew Larsen in Darby for $1.00 an acre. Their only tool was a grubbing hoe. This was a tool with the handle mounted at right angles to the cutting edge. It weighed about 4 pounds in the morning but seemed like 40 pounds by the day's end.


        Along about this time Rudolph got the cart before the horse. As partial payment for his work, Eli Hill gave him a wagon. He gladly accepted it even though he had no horses. However, before too long this was taken care of as Eli Hill paid him for his work with horses and harness. It was a roan team named Pearl and June. Rudolph had now earned for his family their first team, harness and wagon by the strength of his muscles and the sweat of his brow. His determination and sense of responsibility had again moved him forward.
        Besides working with Rudolph, Fred Feuz also worked away from home on a distant sheep ranch for several months. He walked miles every Saturday night to spend a few hours with his family. Then, far too soon he had to leave. Early Sunday afternoon he started back to the sheep camp.
        Ed and Alfred were only carving a scant existence from the land. They needed extra money to make the farm payments. Ed stated of this time, "The income from the farm was meager, so Alfred went away to work in the winter. He got a job in Sugar City next to the sugar factory working for a cattle company. He hauled sugar beet pulp to 300 head of cattle. Alfred had to give them all they could eat and hauled from 25 to 35 tons of pulp to them every day. For this he was paid $1.33 a day and his board, which was $40.00 a month. There was a $1,600.00 mortgage on our farm which could not be paid off for ten years," Ed continued, "This meant we had to pay $160.00 interest each year. Alfred worked hard for four months to pay the interest on the mortgage. On the other money we owed, the interest was 8%. And this was how we spent our first winter in Idaho. (Winter of 1909-1910.) During this winter, Elizabeth bore our first child, Bertha Margaret, on January 28th 1910."
        In 1910, Ed and Alfred rented their neighbor's farm. About 60 acres of it was under cultivation. From this farm, they put up about 45 tons of hay and about 400 bushels of oats. Half the crop was theirs. This was a great help to them in providing feed for the cattle, for there was not much hay ground on their farm.
        During the spring and summer of 1910, Caroline planted a vegetable garden large enough to feed her family all year. Her daughters, Lena and Emma, helped herd their uncle's cows. In the autumn, Caroline and her children picked up potatoes and gleaned grain on the Durtschi farm. And Alfred and Ed gave them enough grain to feed their few hens and themselves. Each family had a large garden, and it was either work or starve. In those days, there was a lot of interdependence. Everyone helped each other to survive. No one was an island unto themselves and the families of my children freely gave to one another. Because of this, each family profited and was able to survive.
        Socially, these were trying times for my children and their families. Some of the neighbors were heartless and refused to accept them as their peers. They ridiculed their homemade clothing and broken English. It seemed the people grasped each opportunity, great or small, to embarrass them. "When we were asked to offer a prayer in church meetings," Rosa said, "Some members were greatly amused at our efforts to find suitable English words. If we spoke in Swiss their laughter was unconcealed." Of my children living in the valley, none were oppressed worse than the Kaufmans. Their children, too, were harassed and ridiculed by other children, so the Kaufmans hesitated to mingle as they should. "Although these conditions brought about a gradual withdrawal from church activities," Rosa continued, "Our faith in God and in Jesus Christ remained firm, and our testimony of the Gospel remained strong. An honest tithe was always paid although it was not always paid in cash. The year Rudolph received horses instead of cash he asked the Bishop if he would accept homemade cheese. And thus was the tithing paid that year.
        "In later years, to avoid further embarrassment, some public demonstrations of faith were discontinued. But all were encouraged to continue scripture study and prayer within the family or in private. When we did go to church, the white top buggy was washed and cleaned and each person was dressed in his best.


        "There was some levity in our lives and in the community for someone had attached to the Kaufman homestead the name "Gugger Hora". This was the name by which it was known and referred to until recent times. This was a Swiss name which translated into Cuckoo Mountain. They laughingly said no one but a cuckoo would live up there in that brush. The proper Swiss name is 'Gugger Horn'. It refers to a high place where a sweeping view may be obtained. Perhaps the slight modification of the word and the jovial translation indicates the friendliness which prevailed among our families as we worked together to make homes for ourselves in this beautiful valley.
        "Through industry and thrift," Rosa continued, "Conditions began to improve for the family. Land was cleared, crops were planted, and livestock was now found on our place. And, of course, there was a garden. I taught the children what I knew about gardening. They learned what to plant, how to get the maximum yield and how to preserve the matured foods for future use. We managed our garden so it produced the major part of our food requirements. The children also learned, just as I learned as a child in Switzerland, to take personal interest in the livestock. Each chicken, pig, horse or cow was important. Not only were we interested in them from an economic perspective but we tried to have compassion for all living things. Our livestock, like our family, did not long remain uncomfortable if we could prevent it."
        During the fall of 1910, Alfred again needed to leave the valley to find work for the winter. He'd had his fill of feeding cattle in Sugar City and decided to go to Utah to work in the mines. This would be a lot easier work and the pay was better. He'd receive board and $2.00 a day for 8 hours of work. But before he left, he and Ed had to build a much needed horse stable. Because of this, Alfred was not able to leave for Utah until Christmas time. Then when he did leave he visited for two days with Elise and her family. "I arrived in Salt Lake on Saturday night," Alfred recalled, "And on Monday night the Swiss people had a big Christmas party, a nice program and dance afterwards. During one part of the program, a quartet of Swiss Yodlers performed. They sang most heavenly. While they were singing, I was particularly struck by the pretty girl singing with the beautiful alto voice. I asked the fellow sitting next to me who she was. He said her name was Ida Aeschbacher. Though I wanted to, I had no chance to get acquainted with her at that time. I had to remember too, that I had come to Utah to earn much needed money to pay debts, not to be wife-hunting. I went home to Midway fully expecting to get a job in the mine in the canyon of the Midway mountains. But I was too late. There were too many men looking for work. Suddenly, I was wishing I was shoveling pulp in Sugar City."
        On my farm in Midway I had hay for sale but there was no demand for it here. So Alfred hauled several loads of loose hay 15 miles over a mountain to Park City. One ton was all a team could haul as it was a long hard pull.
        As spring approached, Alfred got ready for his week's journey back to Idaho. I gave him a team of colts that had just been broken. On the 9th of March, he started out for Idaho with them. "They pulled my buggy," Alfred remembered. "I stayed the first night at a farmer's home at the head of Weber Canyon above Ogden. He had two young sons, the older one was about 23. We had prayer together before I left in the morning. This young man asked the Lord to bless me on my journey and keep me safe.
        "Before I drove off, he sold me some hay for the colts. Then he warned me about the train which came up the canyon at a certain time. He said there was a place in the canyon where the road was very close to the river with a steep cliff on the left side. A train track ran very close to the river where the young colts could give me trouble if the train happened to come while I was in, or near this dangerous place. I thanked him and started on my way. Sure enough, the train came along as he said. The colts were surprised by this huge black monster that came puffing up the canyon. But I was in a fairly safe place so we got along all right.


        "I was going down the dangerous stretch the young man had warned me about when, to my surprise, I heard another train pulling up the mountain. I couldn't turn around because the road was too narrow. The cliff was to my left, with the river dropping off to my right. The big black locomotive rumbled noisily toward us as it belched smoke and steam. As it drew near to us on the track next to the river, the colts snorted and balked. There was no place to go but drop into the river if I lost control of the horses. So I jumped from the buggy and held the colts by the bridles. As the train passed, the colts reared up on their hind legs, lifting me off my feet and into the air. But somehow we were miraculously saved from destruction and I was able to continue. I thank God for the prayer of that young man that morning.
        "Another exciting and almost impossible experience with those colts happened when I got to the Snake River Ferry Crossing near what is now Lorenzo. There was no bridge, so everything had to be ferried across the river. Those animals didn't care much for the idea of getting on the ferry. I even thought of blindfolding them, but I didn't have anything to do it with. After much persuasion we guided them onto that flatbed. I hung on to those animals for dear life. How we ever made it across the river without losing those young inexperienced animals overboard will always be a miracle to me. The Lord has come to my aid many, many times when I felt the cause was lost.
        "I drove to the Hirschi home in Salem where we were always made welcome. Edward was there to meet me and I was sure glad to see him.
        "I had a chance to work for a farmer in Darby for a few days for $1.50 a day and dinner. Then the snow melted, and we started to break up desert on the 15th of April. As it happened, we were able to rent a sulky plow and some horses so we could run two plows. That spring we were able to break a considerable piece of tough desert sod. We raised a pretty good crop and got the grain all stacked. But because of continual storm and snow we were unable to thresh it until Christmas and after."
        In the fall of 1910, Caroline's husband Fred had gone hunting in Jackson Hole. He was very impressed with the endless herds of elk and wildlife of all kinds. Caroline told, "He brought home, not only enough meat to last the family all winter, but also a determination to homestead there. As soon as possible, he went back to strike a claim on a piece of land. The children loved to hear him tell of that beautiful valley, and how much like Switzerland the mountains were. He returned again and again, hiking for miles until he found a view of the Tetons that was overwhelming. He wanted this spot. Years later, we wondered if he hadn't just stumbled over those Spread Creek rocks which forever after surfaced with every plowing.
        "The winter of 1910 found the children and myself busy carrying wood to keep warm," Caroline continued, "Fred made skis for the children. Happily we remember the long narrow boards softening for weeks on end, in the hot water reservoir of the stove. When they had softened enough, Fred fashioned the first of many such pairs of skis for our children. At three years old, little Emil took off on a trial run across a snow covered field only to fall off the slats. His proud father had to wade out through deep snow to rescue him again and again."

* * *


        My son John had a bad accident in 1911. He was just finishing the eighth grade with only two weeks before graduation exams. A horse he was riding fell through a hole in a bridge in Midway. John recalled, "I was coming at a fast trot on a big horse that liked to go fast. The fall threw me off, and then the horse and I went end over end. The horse caught one of my legs that was still up in the air and laid it right over my head. By the time the dust settled, we had both been knocked unconscious. After my senses returned, I had to slap the horse to get him up and off of me. The horse was still dizzy, yet it finally managed to get to its feet and stumble along. I could see that my right leg was lying up alongside of my head, and that it was broken badly. So I started calling for someone to help me. It was in the evening at twilight, and the neighbors were all eating dinner. A boy from town happened to be walking along the road. He helped notify the neighbors, and my brother-in-law, who was living only a block from there. They carried me over to his home and called the doctor.


        "There was no hospital to take me to. The doctor started sawing lumber to box my leg in. It took six men to pull on my leg so that the doctor could set it. The doctor hung a 15-pound weight over the edge of the bed for six weeks to keep the bone in place. It took three more weeks before I could get up and start using crutches. So it was a bad final exam, and said I couldn't take it. However, I had good enough grades so they let me start high school without taking the school exam. The accident happened in May, and I was on crutches all summer, and still on crutches when school started in the fall. So the first year in high school I was called 'The little crippled boy'".
        Of course, all of this time Clara and John Burgener were living here in Midway renting a farm. One day the Bishop asked them if they would move in with an old man who was deaf and otherwise in bad shape. The Bishop said he wouldn't live much longer, and s _o _m _e _b _o _d _y _ had to take care of him. The Bishop concluded by saying that they could buy his house and lot of five acres for a small price. Then it would be theirs when he died. He had a son living in California but he wouldn't take care of his father. They felt badly for the old crippled man. With only goodness in their hearts, Clara and John moved into his house. They fixed it up, cleaned it, and fed him at their table. He ate as much as two men and soon began to improve and look better. Clara did his washing and her husband, John, made their payments to him. Clara also spent hours writing for him. They ended up living with him for seven years.
        At this same time up in Teton Valley, two grandchildren were born. In Fred and Caroline's little cabin above Driggs, Walt was born June 12th, 1911. Two months later on August 9th, little Flora Emma was born to Ed and Elizabeth.
        Alfred spent the winter of 1911-1912 working for $40.00 a month herding sheep in Clawson for Ernest Taylor. The next winter, he found himself milking cows and feeding sheep for Ernest's brother, Bill Taylor, the banker, for $45.00 a month. It was not now hard for him to find a job. Word had gotten around that he always did a good job. I was proud of all my children, of their industrious natures, and giving attitudes.
        During the summer of 1912, Caroline and her husband Fred were kept busy preparing to move to the Wyoming homestead near Jackson's Hole where Fred had built a log cabin to receive them. Caroline stated, "There was sadness in leaving Teton Valley where we had a home and family. There was Alfred, and Ed's and Rudolph's families. Quick good-byes were said, as everyone was too busy for much visiting. I'm sure the children also loved getting together and they would also miss their cousins. We had come to America largely to be close to family, and this move meant leaving family again. I knew our get-togethers would now be seldom and I would miss my family very much. We did have one advantage, and that was Pete would be there. As you will remember, my husband's brother, Pete, had lived in Jackson's hole for some time now. It was going to be nice for the children to get to know him.
        "We moved to Jackson Hole during the last part of August, 1912. The trunks were packed, and the little Singer was hoisted onto the wagon with all the family. Then the team was hitched up and we were off. Pete rode a pony and drove the cattle. They consisted of three milk cows, two heifers, and two calves. Sometimes little Lena was allowed to ride the pony and drive cattle. The children loved camping up along Moose Creek and Teton River. Emil had a little accident the first evening by squatting on a step ant pile. He was painfully bitten which made it a bad trip for him. The second day he begged to ride on the high driver's seat with his father. At one place on the road the wagon lurched into a deep ditch. As the wagon wildly swayed, Emil tumbled down in front of the wheels. Only a well trained team responding instantly to his father's frantic tug on the reins saved his life.
        "Once we were over Teton Pass, the road ran west of the Snake River and crossed the dam at Moran. The last night out we camped near the dam, and were frightened by a terrific thunderstorm. The storm spooked and scattered the horses. It took Father and Pete one whole day to find them.


        "The day was bright as we drove through some Golden Aspen for a first look at the new home. It was wildly exciting for the children to see a small unfinished log cabin sitting in the tall sage brush. But this joyous feeling was not necessarily shared by all. Lena recalls, 'Who knows what thoughts Mother had, as she looked at this small log cabin. I do remember running from the bright outdoors into the small dark room. Mother was tacking up a false ceiling of cheesecloth to the beams to keep the dirt on the roof from sifting into the room. In answer to my questions about this, Mother laid down the hammer and burst into tears. That was the only time I ever saw her weep.'
        Caroline added, "No time was wasted. Fred and I worked from dawn to dark building a shelter for the cows, a small log chicken coop and corrals. During all this, we spent hours grubbing sagebrush for next spring's planting of a garden and field.
        "On September 27th, the children woke up to find a new baby. Albert had arrived during the night while they slept. Fred left in the morning two days later to drive the team over Teton Pass to Victor. He had to get winter supplies for the cabin and some most needed windows. He had put off making this trip for several days, waiting for the baby. Now it was high time, as winter was upon us. There was eight inches of new snow. As Fred battled the snow on his trip, I made a new path through it toward the corral where I was milking the cows. Inside the cabin, Lena was watching the children, and taking special care of the new baby. Above all, she kept stuffing wood into the kitchen range. When Fred returned with the supplies, he was surprised to find that the little stove, heating the windowless cabin, had consumed over half the wood he had cut for the winter."

* * *


        In October of 1912, the railroad was completed through Teton Valley and rail service started in November. At the same time, my son Alfred's long wait for citizenship finally arrived. On the 12th of December he rode the new train from Driggs to St. Anthony. At 5 o'clock in the morning when he left, the temperature was 20 below zero (F). He had to appear before the district judge in St. Anthony with two witnesses to receive his naturalization papers. David Herschi of Salem and Herbert Flamm of Rexburg were his witnesses. Both were missionaries who had come to our home in Switzerland. Alfred told me he was so proud to be a citizen of the United States.
        In January of 1913 I received a late Christmas present in the form of a grandchild. Hilda Clara was born on the 22nd to Ed and Elizabeth. Rudolph and Rosa's little Ida was also born this year.
        After that first hard winter in Jackson Hole, Caroline's husband Fred and his brother Peter built a room and a half onto the house. Fred was skillful at building things and constructed all their furniture of pine boards. With the windows full of Caroline's ever-blooming geraniums, who needed interior decoration?
        Early in June of 1913, Fred Feuz got on his gentle saddle horse, then put his daughter, Lena, on behind. After riding four miles he enrolled her in school. Because of the rigorous winters, and lack of good roads, school was only a summer term. The second morning, Lena hiked the distance alone to the little Wolff school house. Each term another sibling joined her. Soon there were several of their children hiking and enjoying school.
        Summer came and left us. That fall Alfred went to work for Ether Taylor (called Ephriam by everyone), a brother of the other two Taylor boys Alfred had worked for during previous winters. "He wanted me to work for him on his ranch," Alfred told us, "So when we had finished harvesting, I went to work for him. He was a fine man to work for. After Christmas, a young man came along and asked for a job. I told Mr. Taylor that I would like to go home as we had a lot of work I would like to do. So he hired the man and let me go. We badly needed a place to put the hay and cows, so we went to work to get out timber to build a barn. In the spring our brother Fred came home from college where he had taken a course in carpentry. So here was a chance for him to practice. He did a very good job.


        "At this time I began my activity in the church," Alfred added, "I was put in as teacher of the Theological class in the Pratt Ward Sunday School. To teach that age group was, in my opinion, most difficult. I felt it was beyond my ability. I would have refused if it hadn't been for one thing. I received the Priesthood on November 10, 1906. I considered it a great blessing. On my way home that night, I promised the Lord I would never refuse whatever I was asked to do by those in authority over me. I have kept that promise to this day. I would have liked to have refused because of my inability to speak the English language. Fortunately, the course of study was the Articles of Faith by Talmage. The students seemed to be interested and the response by the class was good. One Sunday, one of the rather backward boys told me, 'When you explain the Gospel to me I can understand it.' That was an encouragement to me and I was happy that my efforts were not all in vain."
        My son John left home as the high school years arrived, just as my son Fred had done earlier. The closest high school to Midway was at Heber City. Although it was only four miles away from Midway, the distance was considered too far to walk. That first winter of high school John and my brother Fred's son, Alfred, batched together. They came home on most weekends, but spent most of their school nights there. John and I had a wonderful relationship and we loved being in each other's company. So after school was out in the spring, John was joyfully welcomed home. He helped on the farm during the summer. The next winter, a Mr. Hicken, who was doing janitorial work at the school came and talked to John. He said, "I'd like to hire you to do my chores. I'm going to the University of Utah to finish my education so I can teach school. Your board won't cost you anything if you'll milk four cows, feed the pigs and chickens, and separate the milk for me."
        "That was wonderful for me," John rejoiced, "I didn't like batching too well. This way I had a nice place to stay, and Mrs. Hicken prepared good meals for me while I went to school. I always hurried home from school to do the chores and take care of all the animals. In the mornings, I had to get up early to do the chores before school. That was all much better than cooking my own meals though. I enjoyed it and worked there for the next three winters doing chores for my board. Mr. Hicken got through school. When he came home and started teaching, he said, 'I'd like you to keep right on doing chores working for your board,' and I did.
        "I graduated from high school in 1915. Judge Hatch was one of the judges when we were debating in high school. When he handed out the diplomas he had the nerve to say that I had earned that diploma better than any of the others. The Hickens were quite proud to think that their chore boy deserved such a compliment."
        While this was going on in Heber City, my sons Ed and Alfred prospered with their farming enterprise in Teton Valley. "We spent the winters timbering," Ed related, "We went up Spring Creek Canyon and took the logs to Eli and Ern Hill's saw mill. We used this lumber to build the barns and other buildings. One day as I arrived home from the timbering project, my mustache solid with icicles, I went to the wash stand and without a word shaved it off. Elizabeth and Alfred were surprised that evening! It took them some getting used to seeing me without it.
        "These were difficult days, but they were jovial throughout and we enjoyed many happy times together. It was a standing joke between Alfred and me that Elizabeth did not like 'Swiss Cheese'. We tried in every way to camouflage it in order to get her to eat it, but we never succeeded. Yet she helped us make it in the shed just east of the old granary. It would then be stored in the little cellar by the house, where many a sample went out."
        In May of 1914, James Rigby, who was then the Pratt Ward Sunday School Superintendent was released and David O. Harris was put in as Superintendent. Charles Waddell was selected as his first assistant, and my son, Alfred as his second assistant. In June of 1915, Bro. Waddell moved away, and Alfred was put in as first assistant. In May of 1917, David Harris left the ward and Alfred was put in as Superintendent of the Sunday School.


        Ann was born in June of 1914 to Fred and Caroline, and Frieda was born this same year to our daughter Rosa. The next year Rosa and Rudolph gave us another granddaughter. She was known as Little Emma. On February 28th, 1915 another grandchild was born as Ed and Elizabeth received Armin Henry into their family. Our posterity was definitely growing.
        By the spring of 1915, Ed and Alfred had been in partnership for six years. Alfred felt it was time to be on his own. "I suggested to my brother," Alfred recalled, "That we divide our property so I could build a house and get married. He agreed that this was a good idea so I made two parts and told him, 'Take your choice,' and he did. He had put much more money into our farm than I had. Because of this, I made allowances so he was well paid. We were both better off by having worked together. One morning before breakfast we divided the 40 head of cattle and 8 head of horses which we had.
        "That morning we came into breakfast with the announcement that we had divided the land. 'How will you ever divide the animals,' Elizabeth asked?
        "'We already have them divided,' we laughed. We went on to divide the machinery and everything else in the same spirit.
        "I now went to work to get timber out to build a house. I put the foundation in that fall. In March and the first part of April of 1916, Rudolph Kaufman Sr., came and helped me build the house. I bought the most expensive cook stove in town, a good new bed, four chairs, cooking utensils, and some groceries. I then went to work to put the crops in so I could go to Salt Lake to June Conference and find a wife. I was after that Aeschbacher girl with the beautiful alto voice. I knew I could find her on any Sunday in the Assembly Hall where she would be singing in the German Choir. After arriving in Salt Lake City, this is where I found her. I introduced myself to her. Then I ended up taking her and another Swiss girl out to Lagoon. We had a boat ride and met some other Swiss and German people who were her friends. On Monday we went swimming in Salt Lake. She was working in a laundry and had to be on the job, so there was no time for sporting around. Plus my money was not plentiful after building a house and buying furniture.
        "I told her what I had come down for and told her it was all up to her to make the decision. I wanted Ida to go up to Teton Basin so she could see what she would be marrying into. Of course, she wanted to do that also. That was the way the situation was left for the time. In August, Ida came up for a few days. The deal was made and we were married on the 7th of October, 1915 in the Salt Lake Temple.
        "It was hard for Ida to make her decision. If she decided to get married she had to give up a few things that were dear to her. She was singing in the Tabernacle Choir, in the German Choir and in a Swiss Yodeling Quartet. She played a somewhat important part in the Mutual in her Ward, and all this she had to give up if she came to Teton Valley with me. So I could sympathize with her if she didn't say Yes! Yes! Yes! We didn't know something just about as good was waiting for her in Pratt Ward. She was asked to sing in a quartet the second Sunday she was in the Ward. That winter, the M.I.A. put on a church-wide contest for male quartets, ladies quartets and double mixed quartets. The final was held at the M.I.A. June Conference and low and behold, the Pratt Ward, Teton Stake Ladies Quartet, of which Ida was a very important member, took first place in the church. The other members of this quartet were Grace Green, Luella Dalley and Erma Wilson.
        "We had no buildings on our place except the house. I had the cows in an old stable over at Ed's place. This made it necessary for me to go get timber out to build a barn. Ida had to be taken to singing practice one and sometimes two nights a week. It was a common thing for them to be called to different communities in the valley to sing. But we were young, strong and happy, and glad to render service where it was needed." Ida, Alfred's new wife was a real pioneer and a lovely, sweet woman, whom we all loved and respected.


        On the Jackson ranch, Fred and Caroline continued to work hard to try and make ends meet. "Early in the mornings the children woke up to sounds of my cooking breakfast and Fred and I planning the day's work," Caroline recalled, "Our plans were often frustrated by a lack of enough energy and too few tools to get everything accomplished which needed to be done.
        "It was work, work, work, and each child was given a job according to his age and ability. I tried to be a patient teacher, taking time to carefully point out to them the easiest way of doing their jobs. Fred and I made them feel it was a privilege to be allowed to help with all the necessary work. During these early years Fred spent much time away from home earning cash at any available job. Cash was badly needed to buy machinery, seeds and supplies. He usually hired his team along with himself. Our horses were truly wonderful, and even though they were mismatched teams, they helped build up our place, doing much of the work. They were gentle, and loved by the children, and were part of our lives.
        "The elevation of our old place in Driggs was at 6,200 feet. Here in Jackson Hole, we were almost 1,000 feet higher. We grew vegetables against such odds as late frosts and wild animals. The frosts often ruined a whole planting, and thus it had to be replanted. But in spite of the harsh climate we always had a good variety of vegetables. Some nights the deer would come and eat the garden. Porcupines rustled through the new peas doing no harm. But by the time the dog chased them out, the pea patch, as well as the dog's nose, was spoiled.
        "In this place, isolated as it was, it took an imaginative cook to feed the family. Often our meals took the form of stews and soups which were usually delicious. We baked our own bread from wheat we ground ourselves. Always there was milk and cream from the cows. Butter and cheese-making were part of our daily chores. And the chickens took a lot of time. We usually managed a surplus of eggs which were sold, and it was this egg money that provided many necessities.
        "There was always plenty of meat, as Fred enjoyed hunting. There were sage hens, rabbits, deer, elk, and moose. If the supply ran out and hunting season was over, Fred would say lightning is sure to strike an elk or a moose. He would take the pack horse and come home with meat.
        "Both Fred and I were eager for the children to learn English. Every evening we had the children go over their lessons with one or the other of us. We improved our own speech this way. Fred served on the school board for many years. When school became a nine-month session, and there were several of our children attending, we often took them to school with a team of horses and a wagon. This was great fun in the winter. The wagon box was filled with straw. In the straw were rocks, previously heated in the oven. They kept our feet toasty warm. The winters were often bitter with the temperature sometimes going to 40 degrees below zero (F). Still later, they skied to school when roads were impassable because of storms. How pleasant it was to watch them come home from school at evening time. They'd find a bowl of soup to appease their hunger before they started their chores."
        Trudi, another of our grandchildren, surprised Fred and Caroline in September of 1916. Fred, who had always served as mid-wife, was away on a job. Lena, their oldest daughter and a very frightened neighbor lady welcomed this petite newcomer into their family.
        By 1916, Rudolph's family had outgrown Gugger Hora. Three more children had been born, plus the place was not ideally situated for profitable farming. So they disposed of it and leased a place from Bishop Andrew Carlson. It was located 2-1/2 miles north of Spring Creek, the site of their old farm. This new farm had 80 acres of rolling hills just waiting to produce for them. To the east was a wonderful view of the majestic Teton Peaks only a few miles away. Much of this place was ready for cultivation. But there were many trees and some sagebrush to be removed in order to put the entire place into production. Within a few years, they had purchased this place and it became the Kaufman home ranch. Here Rosa was contented. They had a good place, the family provided all the labor to operate it and they were together. Rosa's heart's desire, her fondest dream, a nice farm and home had now become a reality.


        When Rudolph and Rosa left to farm further north in Pratt Ward, Ed's family took over the notorious "Gugger Hora". "It was well named," Ed said, "for one could literally look out over the valley. Rudolph was a handy man and left the work of his hands everywhere in evidence. A good example was the water wheels he'd built into the creek that were so fascinating."
        John helped me on the farm in Midway for a year after he finished high school, then he decided to go to Logan and attend school. I gave my permission. Even though I was 67 and Rosina was 65, we felt well enough to do the chores on our farm. My son, Fred, was up in Idaho building a barn for Ed and Alfred. He wanted to go to school to learn to be a draftsman. So he and John decided it would be good to board together in Logan. John left home a bit before school started to try and find a place to stay. He did this not knowing for sure if Fred was going to make it that fall. "The first day I got to Logan," John stated, "I walked all day out in north Logan trying to find work. I was thinking of the Hickens, and wondered if I could find a similar arrangement here. I hoped that maybe I could work myself through college like I did in high school. I walked all day asking farmers for a job milking cows or doing any chores they had during the winter. But I failed to get a job. On the way home that evening while I was walking through Logan, I met a Swiss fellow. We started talking. I told him I had been looking for work and a place to stay. He said, 'If you need a place to live while you're going to school, why don't you go see Sister Nyman? She works at the temple and has just built a big new house. She has a room she would like to rent. You ought to go see her.' So I did. She could speak both Swiss and English. As I talked to her she told me she would like to rent the room. I looked at the room, and saw that the only stove was for heat. I asked her how we could cook our meals. I had Fred in mind, as he would be sharing the room with me.
        "She said, 'I'll tell you what I'll do; if you'll furnish the groceries, I'll cook the meals and we'll all eat together.' That suited me fine. When Fred came down from Idaho he agreed, and we shared a nice room. We ate together in the kitchen with Mrs. Nyman. We had it much nicer than if I had gotten a job in North Logan choring for somebody. That way we had time to study and we enjoyed the winter together. I spent the next winter also living with my brother at Sister Nyman.
        "There was a Glee Club at the college with 24 voices," John added, "They had tryouts, and the whole college wanted to get in because they were going to sing for the Governor. I didn't think I had a chance because they were all upper classmen, and I was a freshman. But I knew I didn't have any chance at all if I didn't even try out. The teacher played the piano, and I sang along with him. Was I surprised when they put the names on the blackboard. My name was heading the second bass list! So the choir turned out to be one of my favorite activities. I was in other organizations too. I was in the Ag. Club and was the leading veterinary student in the college. But I enjoyed singing more than anything else at college. When we sang for the Governor, we were fed in the Hotel Utah. We put on concerts in many towns and cities in Utah. We were living in the Fifth Ward then. All the guys who sang in the Glee Club were invited to sing in the Fifth Ward choir. Mr. Hansen, the conductor, could speak a little German and liked to use it once in awhile. He would put his hand up to his ear and say in German, 'Ah, what a bunch of howling cats!'"
        Arthur Edward was born November 23rd, 1916 to Edward and Elizabeth. Ed had delivered all his children except Arthur. Arthur weakened, and our Heavenly Father called him home about three weeks later on December 12th, 1916. Elizabeth always felt that the steam baths over the hot stove, as was done in those days, had something to do with his death. When the news finally reached Midway, it was painful to hear about this grandchild's death. It brought back sad memories for Mother and me as we thought about our little Emil and Mary who had died oh so long ago. There is one great consolation which comforts us, however. That is these little infants have died in the Lord, and He has taken them home to be with Him. They are in a much better place than we can give them.

Go To Chapter 7

This work Copyright 1987 for the Durtschi Family by Mark Durtschi.
All Rights Reserved.


Durtschi.com Admin: mark@durtschi.com