LIFE HISTORY OF RUDOLPH KAUFMAN, JUNIOR|
Written in 1980 by the Kaufman Family
Copyright 2001 by the Kaufman Family
Rudolph Kaufman, Junior was-born July 5, 1900 at Wimmis, Canton Bern, Switzerland. His parents were Rudolph Kaufman and Rosina Katharina Durtschi. He was born in the home of his maternal grandparents, Edward and Rosina Hiltbrand Durtschi.
His early childhood was much the same as that of the other Swiss youngsters of the region. One of his earliest memories was going to the high Alps with his grandparents and their cows, where the cows would remain all summer, while milk they produced was made into cheese. Another memory was of a snow slide nearby the Durtschi home.
Several members of the Edward Durtschi family had been converted to the L. D. S. Church by Mormon missionaries and had immigrated to join with other Saints nearer to church headquarters in Utah. Rudolph's parents had also been converted, and, having the same desire, sailed with Rudolph and his sister Rosa across the Atlantic Ocean to join others of the family who had gone two years before.
They sailed on the Steamship Arabic and landed at Boston, Massachusetts on May 5, 1906. Rudolph remembered there was much seasickness, including himself, during the voyage. They traveled by train to Midway, Utah where many other Swiss immigrants had settled and where Grandfather Durtschi had acquired twenty acres of land. There they remained for three years.
Being unable to speak any English, Rudolph was at a decided disadvantage when he started going to school. He was seated at the back of the school room where he was ignored by the teacher and treated unkindly by the students, except one 18 year-old boy who helped him by speaking English to him. That probably had much to do with Rudolph being promoted to the second grade.
In the spring of 1909, Rudolph's father decided to go to Teton Valley where Alfred and Edward Durtschi had purchased land. Mining had been about the only work available to him in Midway and the family thought that work too dangerous. In the fall of that year, Rudolph, his mother, two sisters and a brother joined the father in the valley which was to be their home.
Rudolph's father was working for Eli Hill's sawmill in North Leigh Canyon. The family lived in one room of Eli's house on Spring Creek a short distance inside the Wyoming border and about eight or ten miles from North Leigh Canyon.
In 1910, Rudolph's father homesteaded eighty acres farther up Spring Creek and there built a log home of one room with a sleeping attic. The attic was reached by an outside stairway and by an inside ladder which was attached to a wall. The logs were cut in Spring Creek Canyon and Rudolph and his mother gathered moss from the creek to chink the spaces between the logs. They gave their new home the Swiss name, Guggerhorn, which name is used to describe a high point with a wide view.
They acquired seven milk cows and Forest Ranger Loomis, who lived nearby, also had seven. Rudolph and his mother milked all of the cows and Rudolph delivered some milk to the Loomis
family each day. He got some of his first toys from Mr. Loomis and also his first suit of clothes with knee length pants.
Mr. Loomis took Rudolph and his sister Rosa to their first movie show. Rudolph's uncle, Fred Feuz, made him his first skis. His second pair was made from quaking aspen and, for a time, Rudolph rode them to school.
Not having learned sufficient English, Rudolph progressed slowly in school until a teacher named Mr. Bone took an interest in him and helped him catch up on his studies. Another teacher, D. O. Harris, also gave him much assistance and helped him gain confidence. Being the oldest boy, his help was greatly needed at home. So his school attendance was irregular at the school house on Teton Creek, two miles distant, to which he walked, or skied, to and from.
In 1916, the family leased eighty acres some three miles north of Spring Creek with the option to buy. Much of the land had to be cleared of sagebrush and quaking-aspen trees. Water was hauled from a spring about one mile distant until 1918 when Rudolph did the hand excavating of a well eighty feet deep to a good flow of good water.
In 1917, Rudolph's father had a long illness from Appendicitis which required surgery in Salt Lake City and a long period of convalescence. During that time Rudolph had the responsibility of running the farm. During his teen years and his early twenties, he often worked for others and always gave his earnings to his parents for the benefit of the family.
When he was nineteen years old and working for a neighbor family, the Wilsons, his most recent school teacher, Roland Brown, came walking across the field and convinced Rudolph that he should finish the eighth grade of school. When that was accomplished, his father wanted him to have a high school education also, but the finances for that were, at least, uncertain . He did attend high school for a few weeks when he was able to obtain board and room at a very reasonable rate in the home of the principal, Mr. Dalby. But even that small amount was beyond the financial ability, so he left school and worked for the fall and winter on a "hay press" or baler.
He once worked on a horse powered threshing machine as it moved from farm to farm around the valley. The introduction of steam power to the threshing operation rendered the horse power unit obsolete. The old horse power "tumbling bars," which had transmitted the power of the horses to the separator, later were remanufactured into the connecting links between the steam engine in the cheese factory, which was later built on his father's place, and the pump in the well which Rudolph had excavated.
In January 1922, his uncle, Peter Kaufman from Wisconsin, came to visit the family. He persuaded Rudolph to return with him to Wisconsin and work for farmers there. This he did for about a year, but was dissatisfied with the climate, It was extremely cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer. He said when pigs were taken to market in the summer, they were covered over with canvas which was saturated with water to assure safe arrival of the pigs at the market.
Returning home, he again worked for various persons, but always, as before, gave his earnings to his parents. In 1923, he worked for a rancher-stockman, Bill Taylor, and later went to the Boise Valley and worked for a dairy farmer, Alois Schuler, who milked his cows three times a day. He worked there for a time, but quit because of health problems. He got work in the construction camp at the Black Canyon Dam near Emmett, Idaho. He liked his work preparing lunches, but he and many other men, did not like the night shift, because they could not rest during the day. He found work with a nearby farmer who hired him to put up hay and because he knew how to cultivate corn, having learned how to do this in Wisconsin.
He had not worked at that place long when his family sent word for him to return home, as they were going to start a cheese factory on the home place. He returned and hauled milk to the cheese factory with horses until a Ford truck was purchased. Rudolph hauled milk twice each day, because at that time, there was no method of keeping milk sweet overnight.
Rudolph continued to work at home until October 1927 when he was called to serve in the Western States Mission of the L.D.S. Church. He labored in the Longmont, Boulder, and Sterling and Glenwood, Colorado areas with mission headquarters in Denver. An excerpt from the Mission news letter, "Liahona" reads as follows:
"Elders Rudolph Kaufman and Ferrin A. Hale are doing splendid work in Longmont. They are putting in long hours tracting and are reaching many people. They have been given the privilege of holding Sunday services in Jamestown, a small mining town in the mountains. There are no churches there so these Elders have a wonderful opportunity to present principles of the Gospel."
Returning home in November 1929, he served as a stake missionary in the valley until he was released because of sickness. Rudolph was always quite shy and did not go with girls until after his mission. For some time, he dated with Marie Hansen, a daughter of Bishop Alfred and Mette Hansen. Not too long after that, he went to see Lytton Matthews on some water business. While at the house, he met Lytton's daughter, Joyce, who was to become his wife. Attracted to each other, he took Joyce and her sister Mona for a ride, and on October 4, 1932, they began going together.
Rudolph now entered a period of great change in his life. He had met the girl he would marry and he would receive an injury which would be his constant companion. The next day, October 5, 1932, while blocking the gateway trying to hold some horses in a corral, he was run over by a horse which bolted into him, causing an injury to his back. He made many trips to a chiropractor in Rexburg, but received only temporary relief from the treatments. But there was one redeeming feature--he asked Joyce to go along on the trip to Rexburg, and it did not take long for him to decide they were meant for each other.
Joyce had been engaged to a "Mr. Blake," a man who was twice her age and not L.D.S. Her father thought she should be married, even though she felt no love for the man. Mr. Blake's next call was by telephone and Joyce broke the engagement. Rudolph and Joyce waited several weeks for her temple recommend to arrive from New York, but when it came, they soon went to Salt Lake to be married in the temple.
In spite of the deep depression of those times, Rudolph had somehow managed to have a Nash Coupe and $100 for the trip. Enroute, they went to Providence, Utah so Rudolph could meet Joyce's dear Grandmother Matthews who was blind for many of her last years. They encountered quite a snowstorm with huge flakes falling and it was very cold. Rudolph always said it could snow harder in Utah than any other place. Arriving in Salt Lake, Joyce stayed at the home of her Aunt Edna Gessel and Rudolph stayed at a hotel. The next morning, Aunt Edna went with Joyce to the temple and accompanied her through the session.
They were married December 7, 1932. Rudolph was 32 and Joyce was 23 years old. Elder George F. Richards, then president of the Salt Lake Temple, performed the wedding ceremony. He was the father of LeGrande Richards, one of the present (July 1980) apostles in the Quorum of the Twelve. There was no wedding breakfast, bridal bouquet or reception. They felt lucky to have a wedding ring which Rudolph always thought important.
They stayed at the hotel that night, and the next morning, went shopping. It was just before Christmas and, among their purchases, was a new coat for Joyce and large boxes of chocolates for their parents. Anyway, there was not much cash left by the time they got home.
On their way home from Salt Lake, they stayed over night in Pocatello with Rudolph's sister and brother-in-law, Rosa and Floyd Woolley. The weather had turned very cold and the next morning, they had to use a blow torch to warm the engine before they could continue on their way. Due to the heavy snow and cold, there had not been much travel. They made two wrong turns, one to Grace, Idaho and one farther along toward Ririe, Idaho. They finally made it home to the Kaufman ranch and were most happy to settle down in their small one-room that was snug and warm with a pot-bellied stove. They ate with Rudolph's family because they could not afford to buy a cook stove and dinette set until six months later.
They were happy to welcome their first child, a son at Manette Hillman's Maternity home in Driggs. They had to borrow on one of Rudolph's insurance policies to pay Dr. Redner's $35.00 fee and did not repay it for several years. Grandma Hillman's charge was $25, which included ten days board and room for the mother and baby.
Melvin LeRoy was the name chosen for the baby. He weighed only 5 1/2 pounds. He and his wife Joan now have two children.
Rudolph continued to work on his father's farm the usual long days, then turned and salted Swiss cheese in the cellars at night. On the 29th of April 1934, he was taken to the Idaho Falls hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. There was no hospital in Driggs at that time. He recovered from pneumonia fairly soon, but developed pleurisy and remained hospitalized for sixteen days. Also, in the hospital with pneumonia were several other valley people. Among them was Mrs. Verlon Turner, the wife of a family Rudolph used to call upon as a ward teacher. When Mrs. Turner learned she would not recover, she asked that Rudolph speak at her funeral. Being hospitalized, he could not. Rudolph and Joyce were and still are grateful to a sister and brother-in-law for their help in paying off the hospital bills.
Their second child, Camilla Evelyn, arrived. She, too, was born at Mrs. Hillman's Maternity home in Driggs. Camilla and her husband, Bruce Brunson, have five children.
Melvin had just turned four years of age and Camilla was four months, when the family moved to Pocatello where they rented a 3-room apartment. Rudolph worked for the McComber Dairy for $1.00 a day. That seemed like a wonderful salary and it even included a daily quart of milk. But they stayed only one month. The working conditions--moisture and steam inside the plant, then outside into the cold to pick up more milk-caused a recurrence of his back troubles, so they moved back to Teton Valley and into the two-room log cabin on the home place. That cabin had been built in 1934, and they lived in it before going to Pocatello.
In the spring of 1937, they moved to Spring Creek and lived in the old house by the orchard on the Lee Sorensen place. It was the old Eli Hill home where the Kaufman family had lived when they first came to the valley. Rudolph and family lived there three years during which time he worked for his uncles, Alfred and John Durtschi, helping them with their farming.
In the fall of 1939, Rudolph purchased a 65 1/2 acre farm which had been run by Willard Morgan. It was located on the corners of the State Line road and the Driggs road. To have better living quarters, Rudolph and his brother Arnold, built a two-room house in Driggs for Bertha Waddell in exchange for her three-room house located near Rudolph's farm. Charles Waddell had built the house following their marriage.
George Waddell had a quit-claim deed on the home and it was a great relief when the necessary legal settlements had been made, and they owned their own home. They moved into the house on the 23rd of December 1939. Rudolph farmed a part of Armin Durtschi's land along with his own. He was able to pay for his land in half the time allowed. There were some good years and others when the seed peas would freeze, several times as early as July.
On July 25, 1950, Rudolph had finished clearing a stackyard on Armin's land next to the town road when he noticed a wire sticking out of the ground. He pulled on it thinking it would be a long piece, but it proved to be short and the end flipped up and pierced the pupil of his right eye. He had ridden Melvin's motorcycle to work and was able to ride it home. Melvin drove him to Driggs where the doctor gave him something to ease the pain and immediately sent them on to Dr. Newel K. Battles, an eminent eye surgeon in Idaho Falls. Dr. Battles operated and saved the eye, but the sight was permanently lost.
Rudolph and Joyce adopted a baby girl in October of 1948. She was much longed for and a wonderful addition to the family. She was named Sylvia Ilene. She and her husband, Glen Orme, have presented them with five grandchildren.
In 1952, Rudolph and Rex Rigby, a carpenter, added two rooms on to the back of the house, making bedrooms for Melvin and Camilla and converted a pantry into a bathroom. Rudolph had his appendix removed in April of 1953. Melvin commuted from Rexburg to do the chores while his dad was disabled.
Due to draft changes, the Church could again call young men to mission service. Melvin received a call to the Swiss-Austrian mission and left for Salt Lake on November 17, 1953. Rudolph sold the farm at that time to have money to send Melvin on his mission. He then started working again for his uncles, Alfred and John. He worked on the Nelson place, mostly, until Uncle John sold his part of the place and went into Grade A milk production, then Rudolph helped him entirely.
After Uncle John retired, several different people ran his place and Rudolph continued working for each of them until May 1964, when he quit work for a while. His heart was enlarged and arthritis had developed. Dr. LeGrande Larsen told him he should never lift another bale of hay or do any other work. He sent him to the Salt Lake Clinic where Dr. Chase Peterson put him on several medications which, with other things, helped him to mend and he went back to work helping his cousin, Walter Durtschi for a few years. His "good eye" developed a cataract and his vision became so poor that he could no longer get a driver's license--even for daylight driving. That broke his spirit somewhat, for he felt he could have worked longer if he could have continued driving to work.
In 1956, Joyce and Rudolph, with Sylvia, took a vacation trip. They went north into Montana where they visited the Lewis and Clark Caverns. They also wanted to visit Joyce's brothers, Doyle and Eldon, who had moved to Pasco, Washington in the early 1950's. They passed through Missoula and Anaconda, into Spokane and on to Pasco. Arriving there, they learned they had just missed Eldon and his son, Gordon, by an hour and Doyle was running a Caterpillar tractor near the Canadian border. They were happy, though, to visit with Dorothy and the children at home and stayed there overnight. Then they drove to Idaho to see Lowell and Zelda Dalley at Parma and on to Boise to visit Grandpa Kaufman and the Bybees, accepting of their kind hospitality to rest there overnight. Rudolph and Joyce were considering relocating at that time and were watching for interesting opportunities. In Pasco, Dorothy had coaxed them to settle there, but Rudolph had placed a thermometer in the crook of a tree where it registered 97 degrees at 4:00 P.M. He said he wouldn't care to stack hay in that temperature. It would be more pleasant in Teton Valley temperatures. That was the only trip or vacation they ever took.
On July 5, 1975, when Rudolph was 75 years old, there was a family reunion in his honor at the Pratt Ward church house. All of his sisters, his brother and his in-laws joined in the purchase of a power lawn mower which he used with pleasure until last summer when Ella, Isabel and others helped several times with the mowing after an operation limited his activities.
Rudolph and Joyce still live in the home on Spring Creek. Rudolph's health failed, geneally, to improve and Joyce has developed some painful arthritis. But they do what they can for themselves and, from time to time, they are aided by Al and Phyllis, their own children, other family members and their good neighbors. Their friends also lend a helping hand. To save them the usually painful walk to the corner, some 200 yards, the mailman delivers their mail to their gate and the county men plow the winter snows from their roadway,
Rudolph and Joyce spent the fall and winter of 1979-80 with their daughter Camilla and family in Hunter, Utah. That made their life more comfortable, but it was not home to Rudolph, and he longed to return to Teton Valley. He felt he should see his own doctor, so in May 1980, they Spring Creek home.
They are grateful to the entire family for the financial and all other help that has been given to their eldest brother, who has upheld the tradition of honest and hard work and devoted church service.
Postlog, 20 May 2001. Rudolph died in the early summer of 1986. After Rudolph's death, their two daughters took Joyce into their homes to care of her. Presently, Joyce is 92 years old and is in a nursing home near her son, Melvin's home.