Joseph Douglas Mertz, a 1938 graduate of Ursinus College, received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1942. After two years teaching law at Dickinson Law School in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, he joined the Political Science Department at Colorado College in 1948, as assistant professor. He became associate professor and chairman of the department in 1953. He served as chairman until 1972 and retired in 1982. In addition to his faculty appointment, he also served the college as legal consultant from 1970 to 1982, and as general secretary from 1982 through 1983. He discusses the effects of McCarthyism during the Gill presidency, the growth of the Political Science Department, the effects of the Block Plan, and his work with President Worner and the Board of Trustees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rosamay was born in 1898 on a ranch near Juniper Springs. Her mother, Bell, lived as a young woman in Maybell and the town may have been named after her and her sister, May. Rosamay's father was the foreman on the K-Diamond Ranch and there were no nearby neighbors. She and her sister rode horses and played with dolls. After her father died, they moved to Maybell where her mother owned a drugstore. She describes visiting an Indian camp at Cross Mountain. Rosamay also talks about: clothing for school, riding, home remedies, and dances. Her education ended after one year in high school for financial reasons. She later went to business college and worked for three years before marrying. Her husband, George Savage, was the chief of police in Boulder, Colorado. When he retired they bought a ranch near Rangely and she joined the Home Demonstration Club. She had no children. She enjoyed textile painting and quilting. Rosamay 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.
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.
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.
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.