Mary came to the United States from Austria-Hungary when she was eighteen. She was born in 1896. She was the only child of six in her family who got to immigrate and tells of coming through Ellis Island by herself. She lived in New York City, and then moved to Minersville, Penn. where she met her husband, George Levkulich, also an immigrant. They moved wherever he could find work in coal mines. They moved to the Craig area in 1926 and found they had to buy 160 acres because all the homesteading land in Breeze Basin was taken. She tells many stories about: poor living conditions, learning to drive horses, raising 300 chickens, raising animals, growing crops, and butchering and storing meat. She describes "the shack" they first had on their farm and living conditions. Mary had seven children. They had several fire disasters with the chickens and crops. She talks about killing a rattlesnake, and getting rid of gophers. Mary talks about: baking bread in a coal stove, making clothes, and preserving food. She was afraid to visit her home in "Europe" because she would have to deal with the Russian Embassy. Mary died in 1990.
When she was eight years old, Glee came to the Rangely area with her father and two siblings (1921?). Her mother had just died of diabetes. Her father had worked in the coal mines in Winterquarters, Utah where Glee was born in 1913. Her father leased a ranch near Rangely where he felt he could take better care of the three children. She describes: household chores, winter activities, dances, school, puberty, and clothing. Glee also describes the town of Rangely and what staples her family bought at the one store. She talks about their food sources: meat from cows, and hunting. Glee married Lester Kenney at seventeen and lived on several ranches owned by her husband's father in the Rangely area. She had three children and went to Vernal, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado for their births. She describes the small school in Rangely (twelve children) that had teachers who boarded with local families. Glee died in 2000.
Julia's parents settled on a homestead in Breeze Basin near Craig in 1908. Her parents were Austrian immigrants and had six children. There was a large Catholic community in Breeze Basin and Elk Head, the areas where families gathered for church (in a tent) and in homes for dances and activities. She describes: her mother's trip from Austria, the homestead cabin, her father's jobs, the J.W. Hugas store in Craig, "Mormon crickets," chores, play, school, clothes washing, and teenage activities. Julia married Paul Kawcak at sixteen and describes a "wedding shivaree." Paul was a coal miner from Walsenburg and many of his friends followed him to Craig to farm and ranch. She describes their homestead: clearing the land, building the house, and digging the well. Her husband worked in the mines while she worked the homestead with their nine boys and seven girls. She talks about: milking cows, cooking, making clothing, Catholic Church activities, dances at the school, and home remedies. Julia died in 1987.
Catherine was born in Canon City in 1901. Her mother died when she was three and her father remarried. They moved to the Colorado Western Slope and lived on ranches in the Steamboat Springs and Craig areas. She talks about: cooking, caring for children, hauling water, play, rural schools, household chores, and transportation. After three years of high school she qualified for a second grade teaching certificate and taught at the Pagoda one-room school. She talks about the students and teaching experiences. She married her husband, Russell Coles, at age twenty-two. They spent their early married years on the Coles ranch in southeastern Moffat County and had five children. She talks about rural dances. Russell left the ranch and moved to Craig to become the County Treasurer, a post he held until retirement. She talks about the depression, Roosevelt's social programs, and World War II. Catharine died in 1994.
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.
Lena came to Hayden with her husband, a teacher, who had been invited by Ferry Carpenter to come to teach there in 1921. Their first child was born at the Hayden Inn. They filed on a six hundred and forty acre homestead, which they maintained for six years. They sold it to an area sheep rancher for enough money to buy the Empire Courier newspaper in Craig, which they continued to run for two generations. In the early years Lena answered the telephone, read proof, and collected social news. They also maintained the area weather station for eight years. Readings were taken every three hours and reported to the regional weather office. Lena talks about: women's clubs, use of sleds in the 1920's and 30's, the sheep trail that went by their house in Craig, newspaper subscriptions paid with local produce, political activities, and home remedies. Lena had five children. Lena died in 1991.
Lois (Elva) was born in Oklahoma in 1912 and moved to Colorado in 1923. Her parents bought 320 acres in Skull Creek, near Vernal, Utah, and the family of ten children lived in a one room log cabin. She talks about: attending school in a one room school through eighth grade, taking care of siblings, food sources and preparation, play, homemade clothes, puberty, long distances to town, school, church, women's clubs, and deep winter snow. Lois married Bud Biles, a cowboy, at seventeen and settled in Red Wash (near Utah border). They were married for forty-nine years. She rode in rodeos with her husband. Her two daughters were born in Denver due to complications. She was married to her second husband, Everette Bair, for just two years before he died. Lois 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.
Freddie's grandfather was one of the first homesteaders in Moffat County in 1902. Freddie speaks about her mother's and her own life in the Craig area. Freddie was born in 1912. She talks about: play, work, sports, puberty, music (piano and singing), and dating. Members of her family played instruments and they played and sang together. She studied music at the University of Colorado and Chicago Conservatory of Music. After living in Hollywood for two years, she returned home and married her high school boyfriend, Tom Blevins, at twenty-six and lived on the family ranch in Brown's Park with their two children. She taught in rural schools for twenty years, earning a teaching certificate in the summers. Freddie died in 2006.
Esther was born in Harmony, Minnesota in 1899. She came to teach in the Skull Creek School from Denver when she was twenty-two. She boarded with a family who lived near the school. She soon married a local cowboy, Duard Campbell, and moved into his mother's homestead dugout cabin, which she describes. She continued teaching until retirement. They later moved to Brown's Park and raised cattle. Esther had one child who lived in Denver with her mother until he was school age because she had to teach. She talks about: hard winters, living conditions, social gatherings, school programs, isolated rural schools, the Home Demonstration Club, Freddie Blevins, June Sweeney, her husband's home duties, and Ute Indians. Esther died in 1995.
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.
June was born in Leadville, Colorado in 1904. She graduated from Colorado State College of Education in Greeley and accepted a job in Maybell in 1925(?). She lived in the motel and met a local cowboy, Henry Sweeney, who became her husband. They lived on the land his father had homesteaded in 1896. She tells stories about her trip to Maybell, and her year of teaching. She talks about her marriage, honeymoon, and new home seven miles south of Lay. June talks about: her pregnancies, riding a horse, teaching in rural schools, teaching in Craig, serving as the Moffat County School Superintendent. Her husband did the housework when she was too busy. June relates stories of her mother-in-law, who came from Ireland. She was a maid in Meeker when she met Pat Sweeney and they homesteaded in Lay. She talks the illness of one adult son. June died in 1987.
Chloe came to Sunbeam, Colorado, from Illinois in 1926 to visit her sister. She met her husband, Minford, who had been born in Maybell. They were married in 1927 and lived for two years north of Craig while they bought cattle, sheep, and horses. Chloe had never ridden a horse. They moved to their homestead in Brown's Park on Zenobia Peak, seventy miles from Craig, and lived in a tent until they had the 20' X 30' cabin built. The logs, which they cut themselves, came from the mountain. Chloe describes the furniture, travel by horse and wagon, neighbors, medical problems, and home remedies. They moved their sheep from summer to winter ranges. Chloe describes one summer when her husband was ill and she "herded the sheep." She had her only child in Hayden where there was a hospital. Esther Campbell was her best friend and lived eight miles away. They communicated over a phone line strung by their husbands. Chloe describes the Home Demonstration Club. She also describes creative activities: horse hair ropes, leatherwork, horse blankets, knitting, crocheting, and quilting. Chloe died in 1990.
Ruby Kirby's parents (sister is Leona Rector Hinricks) came to the Rangely area in 1898-99. They had three children, Ruby (born in 1902), Leona, and a son. Ruby talks about Ute Indians who visited the ranch. And she describes: home remedies, chores, play, and riding horses. The children had tutors at home and also spent winters in Grand Junction for school. Ruby describes activities at the ranch during their teenage years: house work, horses, picnics, dances, and the family band. She and her sister went to Western State College. Ruby worked in San Francisco for three years in 1927 and then returned home. She married Russel Dare in 1936, but he was shot in front of the Rangely store by a "squatter" when she was eight months pregnant. After having her daughter, she soon married Albert Kirby, a local rancher. They continued to ranch in the area until Albert died two years prior to this interview, but Ruby's daughter and family live on the ranch and she continues to move between summer and winter ranches. Ruby died in 1995.
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.
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.
Minnie came to Craig in 1910 with her family when she was fourteen. They lived on a ranch near Craig until they moved to their homestead south of Craig. There were nine children and Minnie was the oldest girl, responsible for many of the household and babysitting chores. She talks about: hauling water from the river, cooking on the coal stove, the cattle/sheep wars, clothing, play, school, and taking care of her sick mother. Minnie boarded in town for high school and talks about activities. She had one year of college and took the state teacher's exam. She then taught in a rural school but didn't like teaching. Minnie moved to California with a friend and went to a business college. She worked as a secretary/bookkeeper for a time and then returned to Craig in 1941. She married Lewis James and moved to the James ranch. Her husband died a year and a half later of pneumonia. She moved back into Craig and worked as a secretary/bookkeeper until retirement. Minnie died in 1989.
Alta came to homestead in the Great Divide (Moffat County) area in 1929 from Brighton, Colorado where she and her husband were farmers. They had seven children. Her husband, John Lawrence, died shortly after they arrived. They also lost a son to Mountain Fever and strep throat. Alta found that the homestead was too much to care for and moved her family to a house near the Great Divide Community Center. She and the children worked at whatever jobs they could find: cleaning the community center, working for other homesteaders, and boarded school teachers and the mailman. They raised much of their own food. The children went to school in the summer at the community school. Alta describes food handling, washing clothes, and making clothing. She also talks about home remedies. Alta died in 1984.
Leona's father came to the Rangely area in 1885 from Texas, and her mother arrived in 1899 after her marriage. They purchased a ranch on the White River. There were twelve to fourteen families in the area when Leona and her sister (Ruby Rector Kirby) and brother were children. She talks about: her mother's childbirths, community dances at their house, winter activities, musical instruments, play, school, work, and clothing. Leona discusses: cooking, baking bread, eating their own cows, hogs, chickens, turkeys, staples, washing clothes, home remedies (Ute Indians), and diseases. She talks about relations with the Ute Indians who came by their house during hunting season. She and her siblings attended high school in Grand Junction. Leona attended Western State College for three years and then married Clarence Hinricks. Her husband worked in oil fields in Wyoming and near Craig (Iles Grove). She taught in rural schools for seven years. They had one son. She talks about teaching one winter at the Moropas one room school. She later worked as an office manager. She worked outside the home for thirty years. Leona died in 1995.
Mabel was born in Leheigh, Oklahoma in 1897, and she arrived in Craig when she was seventeen. Her father was a Choctaw Indian. She married in 1915. Her husband, Earl, worked in the community and they had two children. She speaks about: Baptists, entertainment, horse and buggies, 8th grade education, clubs, housework, food preparation, winter, 1918 flu, and camping. Mabel died in 1986.
Mary's family came to the Craig area over the mountains in a covered wagon to homestead on Black Mountain in 1911 when she was eight. She had three brothers and the family lived in a two bedroom log cabin. She talks about: living conditions, winter cold and snow, cooking, washing clothes, making clothing, yearly trips to town, rural schools, play, and home remedies. Mary attended high school in Craig and describes school activities. She taught in rural schools for five years after graduating from high school in 1921. Mary lived at the school or with nearby families. She talks about: the schools, students, snowstorms, and homesteading. Mary married, Clarence Haughey, at twenty-two, and they lived in various places in Moffat County. They had four children. Mary talks about her family's interest in politics (women were allowed to vote in 1920). She was the Deputy County Clerk when her husband died at age fifty-one. She later won election to be the County Clerk and served sixteen years. Mary was a quilter. Mary died in 2003.
CeCelia's mother came to Northwestern Colorado in 1910 at about age 17. Her grandfather Sullivan had established a homestead on the Williams Fork River, and later her father filed on a homestead in the same area, which is where her parents settled and raised eleven children. CeCelia talks about her mother's life on the homestead. She worked outside taking care of the animals and helped with haying, etc., as well as all the house work. They hauled water in barrels from the river. CeCelia was born in 1918. When CeCelia was seven her mother was injured by a cow and the children took over all the inside and outside work for a time. CeCelia went to the Pagoda one room summer school through the eighth grade, and then boarded with families to attend high school in Hayden. She had hopes for a career, but married at eighteen. CeCelia had one child. She worked at various jobs in Craig to provide needed income and extra opportunities for her daughter. She was divorced in 1957 and often worked two jobs after that. The job she enjoyed by far the most was as a teacher's aide in the elementary school in her later years. CeCelia died in 2005.
Janet was born in Kersey, Colorado on February 11, 1911. She came to the Craig area in 1918 with her parents, as an only child. They lived on her grandfather's ranch on Little Bear, for three years. They moved to various rural schools where her mother taught and her father helped at the school and worked at odd jobs. Then they filed on a homestead in 1925 and Janet's mother continued to teach in rural schools. Janet talks about: women being able to support themselves, homestead work, home schooling, clothing, puberty, play as a "tomboy", and play with sleds and skis. Janet describes: the homestead cabin, cooking, food preservation, sleeping with quilts and flat irons, lack of illness, health concerns in her rural community, death of neighbor from self abortion, and care of the deceased. She talks about: Craig high school activities, college, and her own teaching in rural schools. She married Ernest at twenty-six and had two children in her mid-thirties. Their home was in Hamilton on a ranch, where she served as census enumerator and Moffat County Superintendent of Schools.
Iris's parents came from Georgia to Spring Gulch, two miles north of Williams Fork in Moffat County in 1914 with seven children. Iris was born in 1905. The nearest neighbor was 5 miles away. Her father had a college education and taught at the Wattle Creek school and was also a preacher. Her mother found life much harder than in Georgia. Iris describes life on the homestead: garden, cows, wheat, deer, hogs, clothing, play, puberty, and the one room school. For high school the children stayed in a rented house in Craig while their parents stayed on the ranch. Iris was interested in science and wanted to be a nurse. She went to Denver General Hospital for nurses training after high school. She describes some early nursing techniques and home remedies. Iris came home to marry Wayne Lyons and they lived on the Lyon's family homestead in Breeze Basin in 1930 and had four children. She worked as a nurse when she was needed. At one point they would have closed the Hayden hospital if not for her. Later she worked at the Craig hospital. Iris died in 1999.
Jayne was born at home in Sunbeam, Colorado in 1918. Her grandmother, Sarah Farrell, came to the Sunbeam area to homestead as a single woman in 1887 from Ohio. She came at age thirty-two because she hadn't married and was considered a failure. She married a cowboy in 1890. Sarah was a practical nurse and delivered many babies in this remote area. Jayne tells stories of her grandmother and mother living on the homestead: home remedies, dances, food, outside work, and isolation in the winter. Jayne talks about her own childhood as a "tomboy." When she started school she went to a rural school and then moved to Denver to live with her grandparents. She returned to the Maybell area in 1944 at age twenty-six with one son and divorced. She married again to Carl E. "Mike" Hoth, and lived on ranches where her husband worked. Jayne cooked for the ranch hands and also worked outside with her husband. They had three children. Jayne talks about: ranch life, hobbies, and clubs. Jayne died in 1989.