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.
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.
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.
Jennie's parents came to Rangely in 1926 with nine children. They homesteaded on Little Foundation in 1931, thirty miles from Rangely. Jennie was born in 1930. The family eventually had eleven children, but two died with "crib death," and one was a still birth. Her mother didn't have a doctor for some of them. She talks about her mother doing the work inside and outside the house: irrigation, milking, and feeding cows. Jennie talks about medical care in a very rural area: broken bones, scarlet fever, and the doctor who came from Meeker for emergencies. Jennie discusses big winter snows and cold, and riding to school on horses. Her mother home schooled the children some years. Her mother eventually got her B.A. and Master's degrees and taught in the Rangely schools for twenty years. Jennie finished high school in Rangely. Jennie talks about the house they lived in on the ranch, sometimes sleeping three to a bed in the two room house. Later they built a new house, and the children slept in the old house. Jennie also talks about what they did for entertainment, and travel away from the ranch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ila's parents came to the Rangely area to homestead on Douglas Creek in 1908. Her mother made friends with Ute Indians who passed through the area hunting along the White River. As a child she remembers: caring for bum lambs, milking cows, irrigation, the garden, planting potatoes, clearing sage brush, making deer jerky, washing clothes, baking bread, ironing, and clothing (dresses). She remembers: home remedies, injuries, 1918 flu, and puberty. For fun they fished, rode horses, made horse tail ropes, went to dances, and visited with neighbors. She went to school in Utah, Rangely, and Grand Junction. She regrets quitting school in Junior High to get married (1927) to Lester Powell. She and her husband moved to Seattle, Washington for three years, but returned to homestead on Douglas Creek during the Depression. They had 10 children. They dug their own coal mine and helped build the school. Ila expresses attitudes towards: working mothers, birth control, children, and not having a career. Ila died in 2008.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stella was born in Oak Creek, Colorado and grew up near McCoy, Colorado on a ranch until she was six years old when her father died. She had five siblings. Stella's mother moved the family to Glenwood Springs so that she could work and her children could finish high school. The children spent summers on the ranch. She talks about: homemade clothing, working during the depression, and summers on the ranch. Stella married Jay Rector and traveled with him to construction jobs. Later they worked on the Kirk ranch, and finally on her husband's father's ranch, both near Rangely. She talks about her husband's mother, who had ten children and first came to the area in 1898 at six years old. Stella describes: washing clothes, cooking for family and extra help, gardening, sewing, roundup, and needlework. The ranch was twenty miles from town, and she saw few neighbors. She liked the chores outside, but not the cooking. She had four children, and talks about her daughter's education, etc. Stella describes the town library, 4H, and women's clubs. Stella died in 1991.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.