Doris's mother was born on the trip west in a covered wagon train from Indiana. Doris's grandparents came to the Meeker area in 1889 to homestead on Flag Creek. Her grandmother, Minirva Wilson, told her about the trip west. Doris describes: the homestead cabin, the reservoir, home remedies, and cooking. Doris's mother, Goldie May Stephenson, went to college in Boulder at the University, against her father's wishes, and Doris relates stories of her experiences. She returned to Meeker to teach in the Coal Creek School and in Meeker. Goldie May stopped teaching when her children were born, but went back because of the Great Depression. She was also elected Rio Blanco County Superintendent of Schools, but had to resign because she was pregnant. Goldie May tended to sick people during the 1918 flu, and Doris relates her mother's experiences during that time. Doris grew up in Meeker. She didn't attend college because of lack of funds. She worked in the County Clerk's office, until she ran for County Treasurer and was elected, the first woman elected to that post. She talks about working women and working mothers.
Eleanor was teaching school in Missouri and wanted to make more money by moving west. She came to the Pagoda School in 1927 at nineteen. She boarded with a family, but saw few other people except at holidays and dances. They traveled in the winter by sled. She taught in rural schools at Lime Kiln near Meeker, Axial and Hamilton between Meeker and Craig, and in the Meeker schools. Eleanor completed two years of college and many extension courses. She tells many stories of her years in rural schools: taking her breast fed child with her, her school pet deer, making teaching materials, driving to the schools from Meeker in the winter, becoming a foster parent for two of her students. She married a rancher, James F. Service, but wanted to continue to teach while she raised her children. She had three children and two foster children. Eleanor died in 1985.
Ellen was born in Lipol(?) New Mexico on September 6, 1907. Her parents had twelve children. Her father had a stroke shortly after they moved to Meeker in hopes of buying a ranch. Soon they moved to Rifle where the older brothers and sisters, including Ellen, worked to support the family (drugstore clerk, babysitting). She talks about reading, home remedies, illness, education, and puberty. Ellen married Phil Dunn at twenty-three. Her husband worked for the Colorado State Highway Dept. They moved all over the state as roads were built. She describes: rustic housing, cooking, cold winters, road crew communities, and moving often. She lived in Rangely in a tent for a time during the oil boom. She describes the community and the building of the roads. They finally settled in Grand Junction where her husband worked in the pipe business. She describes: women's clubs, activities, marriage, divorce, and working. Ellen died in 1989.
Velma's parents came to the Meeker area in1896 where she was born December 31, 1901. Her mother had eleven children and Velma was the oldest girl. They lived on ranches where her father worked. She remembers: walking a mile to school in the winter, inside chores, outside chores, haying, care for animals, clothing, play, puberty, Christmas, and the Mormon religion in her family. She talks about her mother's births at home. Velma gives details about: washing and ironing, attending rural schools, and high school in Meeker. She went to Western State College for 2 1/2 years and then began teaching. She continued college during the summers. Velma married Hoyt Deaver at twenty-five and continued teaching while her husband worked on ranches and in coal mines. They lived in Rangely and Craig and had one child. She talks about enjoying her teaching career. Velma died in 1999.
Wilma's father arrived in the Meeker area to homestead in 1885. Her mother arrived in a covered wagon with her sister. She remembers coming to town on a sled for the mail. She talks about her life on the ranch: play, work inside and outside, clothing, and washing clothes. And she describes a typical day's activities. She attended a winter rural school 1 1/2 miles away. She talks about dances, sleigh rides, and ice skating. Wilma liked to play baseball - she was the catcher. She talks about the first automobiles, which they had to put up on blocks in the winter. Wilma went to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder for two years, taking French, physics, and English. Then she married and had one child. Her husband died in an accident when her daughter was two years old. She lived with her mother in Meeker and worked at various jobs (housecleaning, babysitting, as a clerk, in a laundry, and in a garage). Wilma died in 1993.
Ethelyn was born in Thornberg, Rio Blanco County in 1913. In her early years, Ethelyn grew up on a ranch on Wilson Creek near Meeker. There were eight children in the family. Her mother taught the children at home until they started school in Meeker. She also attended the Axial School for one year. She talks about many childhood memories of play, home, daily activities, and clothing. As a teen ager she talks about: puberty, dances, clubs, poetry, epilepsy, and travel to California. Ethelyn married at twenty-one and later divorced. Ethelyn had two children. She later married twice. She worked "between marriages" as a real estate broker and business administrator. Ethelyn talks about how she arranged for child care and about women's clubs in Meeker. Ethelyn died in 2001.
Ethel's father came to the White River area in 1883 and her mother arrived in 1900 from Iowa for her health. Ethel was born in 1904 and grew up on ranches on the White River. She talks about: household chores, outdoor chores, hard winters; transportation; rural school; flu of 1918; home remedies; clothing; community life. She worked on a ranch after eighth grade until attending business college at nineteen. She married Tim Chrisler at twenty-two and lived on various ranches where her husband worked. They had two children. She talks about: coal/wood stoves, gas lamps, food storage, quilting groups, and church. They later owned a motel in Meeker. Ethel died in 1995.
Norine's grandparents came to Meeker in the early 1900's and lived on a ranch on the White River. Her mother, a teacher, came from Denver in 1912. She tells many stories of her mother teaching in rural schools and as Rio Blanco County Superintendent, and of her own experiences in rural schools. She tells of life on the ranch: cooking, clothing, animals, food preservation, transportation, heating, washing, and play. She talks about: access to medical help, home remedies, the early death of her father, mother's midwifery, pregnancy, childbirth, puberty, and divorce. Norine attended college and became a teacher in Meeker. Her fiancé was killed in WWII, so she earned a Master's degree in social work and worked in Denver until retirement. She now spends her summers in the Meeker area.
Lana was born in Elk, Wyoming in 1915. When she was three years old her mother died of cancer and she came to Meeker with her five siblings to live with her Aunt Purdy. Her father continued to run the ranch in Wyoming. After three years they went back to Wyoming to live on the remote ranch. She describes life on the ranch: work, play, school, and transportation. Lana attended high school in Meeker and to receive some "feminine attention." Aunt Purdy took care of thirteen motherless children and homesteaded in the summers. Lana married Loren Idol and had seven children. Loren's parents homesteaded near Meeker in 1916 and Lana tells stories of their lives. Nellie Idol was a rural school teacher. Nellie used home remedies to help people when they were ill (Chuck White). Lana talks about the births of her children and general after birthing care. Lana died in 2006.
Jennie was born in 1897. Her parents came to the Meeker area in 1898 in a covered wagon. Her father began teaching in rural schools around the Meeker area until they moved to Meeker and had a store. They also started a homestead on Flag Creek. Jennie tells many stories about her mother who: made hats, ran the store, sewed clothes, had boarders, was Dr. French's nurse, took care of other people's children, made funeral shrouds, and "laid out people." Jennie tells stories about her childhood: play, chores, basketball, piano, and riding horses. She taught school for three years before she married. Jennie describes: home remedies, puberty, births of children, and women who died in childbirth. She and her husband, Joe Spence, lived on several ranches and she describes the living conditions in the early years: coal oil lights, carrying water, milking cows, making butter, and making soap. She went on roundup with her husband from September to November. They had two children. She describes a typical day in the summer. Jennie began teaching again after her children left home. Jennie enjoyed painting. Jennie died in 1995.
Nellie's parents came to Meeker in 1882 and she was born in 1893. She had four sisters and brothers. Their ranch was fourteen miles from Meeker. She remembers milking seventeen cows and selling the butter in Meeker, helping her father in the potato field and her mother in the kitchen, and loading hay with a buck rake (which is when they had to switch from wearing skirts to pants). Nellie remembers the visits of Ute Indians to their ranch looking for coffee and sugar. She talks about the rural school in the summer and the teacher who boarded with them. Nellie describes: home remedies, family injuries, the flu of 1918, and diseases. As a teenager she worked at home and did some work for other families until she married. When she married, she and her husband, George Parks, worked on several ranches and raised six children. She worked outside and inside and talks about those activities. She describes a difficult childbirth and a "damaged" child because of birthing conditions. She talks about: early dresses, later clothing, and caring for her children. Nellie died in 1985.
Virginia's father came to Meeker in 1898 and her mother came in 1901. They settled on a ranch near Buford (on the White River east of Meeker). Virginia tells stories about her mother's difficult adjustment to the West after growing up in Virginia. Virginia attended a rural school about three miles away. After her older sister died of pneumonia because they couldn't get her into town soon enough, the family moved to Meeker. Virginia describes her life as a child: play, clothing, travel to Virginia, church youth group, and high school parties. She talks about the 1918 flu: many people in Meeker died. Virginia describes instructions on becoming a "lady" and her mother's "reading club." Virginia graduated from college and talks about her experiences at Colorado College and Colorado State College of Education (Greeley). She later earned an M.A. at Colorado College. She talks about her teaching and counseling experiences in the Meeker schools. Virginia died in 1994.
Ina was born in Hurley, New Mexico in 1916 into a family of twelve children. When she was two they moved to Meeker, Colorado and her father died when she was six. They then moved to Rifle where she attended school. The family was very poor after father's death and Ina talks about: little medical care, home remedies, puberty, deaths of children from TB, spinal meningitis, years of deprivation and sadness, and describes the death of her closest sister from spinal meningitis. Ina married John H. Eddy when she graduated from high school. After having three children, one premature, she found she was RH negative. The family moved around Colorado for her husband's jobs until settling in Rangely where he worked in the Texaco oil field. She describes the early years of the town of Rangely during the oil boom: streets, and schools. They lived in a Texaco company house near the field. Ina worked in the school cafeteria for a number of years. In later years, she and her husband lived in several places in the West for his employment with the government. She missed watching her grandchildren growing up. Ina died in 1988.
Hilda's parents homesteaded in Dry Lake, fifteen miles south of Maybell in 1916. They lived in a rented house, a tent, and a dugout before they built the homestead. They also homesteaded a second time on Wolf Mountain, further south on Price Creek. Hilda talks about: grubbing sage brush, building the school, homeschooling, description of the dugout, and hauling water. She describes the 1918 flu, death, and burial. She talks about the outside work she did as the oldest girl: building fence, herding cows, breaking horses, plowing fields, mowing and pitching hay. She also describes: types of clothing, transportation, play, dances in Maybell, doctors, pregnancy, births, medical issues, and home remedies. She worked as a maternity helper from age fifteen to eighteen, and then worked at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction until she married at age twenty. They went to California to work on a fruit farm until the depression and then returned to Price Creek to buy a ranch. She talks about difficult years with lack of water, loss of animals, and Home Demonstration clubs. They had one child. Hilda enjoyed painting with oils. Hilda died in 2001.
Bernice and Beryl are twin sisters who were born in Oregon in 1903. They came to Meeker in 1903 with their father, a carpenter, and their mother, a teacher. The women wanted to be interviewed together. Bernice tells of their mother's death from surgery on the dining room table - they were six years old. She describes life in Meeker in the early 1900's: clothes washing, schools, games, women's activities, a "poor farm", and adult activities. She also describes her career as a bank cashier. Then Beryl speaks and talks about the early death of their mother and their relationship to the woman their father married, in part, to care for them. Beryl describes the organization of Meeker's first library by a group of women in 1925. Both sisters were then interviewed and they spoke about: school, play, baking, housekeeping, view of marriage, and coping without their mother. Beryl talks about her marriage to Father Richards and her role as an Episcopal priest's wife. Bernice talks about her married life with William "Bill" Sides, and her career in the bank. Neither sister had children. Beryl died in 1994, and Bernice died in 1990.
Audrey's mother came to visit her brother in Meeker at the age of fourteen in the early 1900s. She worked at the halfway house between Rifle and Meeker for several years. It was there she met her husband John Oldland, who was working as a guide for Teddy Roosevelt. They settled in Powell Park and had ten children. Audrey describes: her mother's cooking, sewing, the houses they lived in, children's play (dolls), and inside/outside work. She rode a horse five miles to school in the winter. When she was twelve years old she worked for neighbors, cooking and washing dishes to pay for her clothes and school books. She talks about a bad first menstruation experience. Audrey describes home remedies and the 1918 flu which struck her family. She attended beauty school in Grand Junction and worked for a short time in Meeker before marrying John Oldland. She describes beauty shop experiences. She had three children and talks about pregnancy and birthing experiences. The family lived on the Oldland ranch. She learned to fly and was the only woman at that time that flew in the area. Audrey died in 1993.
Estel's father came to the Meeker area in about 1888, and her mother came in 1898 to visit her sister. They married and lived on the homestead on Flag Creek. Estel was the only child. She describes her mother's life on the ranch. Estel wasn't expected to do any of the work. She talks about: riding her horse to school in very cold winters, play with neighbors, home remedies, puberty, and sports in school. Her parents bought a ranch in Grand Junction where Estel attended high school. She also went high school in Denver. She went to Business College in Grand Junction and then returned to Meeker to work in the County Clerk's office, where she worked for several years. Estel married a man from Craig, Raymond "Ray" Woolley, but they eventually settled in Meeker where she had two daughters. She talks about: childbirth and aftercare. While she worked, her mother did her housework and ironing, and cooked for her in-laws. Estel also talks about surgery in homes - her father drove the doctor to country appointments and administered ether. Estel died in 1990.
Oma's parents came to Blue Mountain, Colorado, near the Utah border, in 1902 to homestead. Oma was born in 1909 in Jensen, Utah (named after her grandfather.) She talks about: Ute Indians, illness, accidents, home remedies, children's play and work, hard winters, Mormon crickets, and work with cattle. They left the homestead in 1926 and moved to the White River (Meeker). She attended high school in Jensen and Meeker, and began her life of working on ranches, inside and outside. She married June Graham when she was twenty-one and he was thirty-seven. They had known each other for three years. They worked on ranches in the White River area. She speaks about: dances, living conditions, cooking, always "enjoying her work", problems with elk, and isolation from neighbors in winter. They worked for the Roosevelt family on their ranch for a time. Oma had an accident with a grubbing hoe which later resulted in the amputation of her leg. Oma tells many stories about experiences in rural Colorado. Oma died in 1988.
Margaret's mother, Fannie Wear, came to northwestern Colorado in about 1889, first settling at Juniper Springs, near the Lay stockade. Margaret talks about: her mother's experience with the river (Bear/Yampa), supply trips to Wyoming, Ute Indians, dangerous pregnancies and births, and birth control. Margaret talks about her life in Meeker. She was the only girl with four brothers and her mother was in poor health. She did many of the household chores and took care of her younger brother. Her older brothers had no responsibilities at home, but worked on ranches from age twelve on. Margaret describes life on the homestead where they lived in the summer. She talks about: play, cooking, school, working, puberty - herself and earlier generations, and travel outside northwestern Colorado. She also talks about serious illness and other medical issues. She describes: attitudes towards divorce, working married women, and the advantages of the homemaker role. Margaret earned a B.S. at Colo. State Univ. and taught high school in Craig for a year before marrying Hugh A Jones in Craig. She had two daughters. Margaret died in 1999.
Katherine's father homesteaded on two, forty acre tracts of a pre-emption in 1891. He had arrived in Meeker in 1882. Her mother grew up on the mesa south of Meeker. Katherine was born in 1909. Her mother left the family when Katherine was twelve and she became the housewife. Nellie Parks is her older sister. Katherine married Ralph Rector, and they lived on her father's ranch for seventy-three years because her husband worked the ranch with her father. She talks about: raising pigs, chickens and turkeys, killing deer out of season for food, and canning garden vegetables. She also describes: washing on the board, hanging clothes, working in the hayfield, milking cows, and puberty. They traveled the twelve miles to town very seldom. The rural school (winter school) teacher boarded with them. She talks about: home remedies, doctors for births, accidents, and surgery on the kitchen table. She describes her marriage and living for a short time in Frazier, Colorado while her husband worked on the Moffat Tunnel. It was very cold. They had two daughters and she describes their births. Katherine died in 1999.
Mary's older sister, Elinor Anderson, was visiting during this interview and contributes her memories of their mother, Bessie Maudlin, who was born in Moffat County in 1896. The Maudlin's were very early homesteaders in the area. They both talk about their mother's experiences. Mary was born in 1925 and grew up in Meeker. She describes the town and her life as a child: chores, clothing, cold winters, play, and music. As a teenager music became a more important part of her life as she played the piano for dances and the chorus. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder in Music. She taught in Sterling until she married. She stopped teaching for a while when she had her two children. Her husband, Martin Villa, was a rancher, and she worked with him on the ranch on the weekends. Mary talks about: puberty, hopes for her daughter, and the Great Depression. Mary died in 1989.
Inez Whalin tells her experiences through her daughter, Ethelyn Crawford. When she was twenty-three years old, Inez married her husband at her home in rural Illinois, a much more settled area than northwestern Colorado in 1912. At that time he was the foreman on the James ranch in Moffat County. Inez cooked for all the ranch hands. They soon moved to Mr. Whalin's homestead on Thornburg near Meeker, a one room log cabin, which she describes. Inez had eight children, but lost one who was eight months old to pneumonia. The doctor usually missed the births. She talks about: birth control, childless women, home remedies, and poetry. She was sorry that she didn't go to college; her parents thought her too frail. Instead, she worked in a knitting factory before her marriage. Her neighbors asked her to teach, but her husband said she couldn't. Inez died in 1989.