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.
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.
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.
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.
Leona was born in Greece, coming to America in 1913 when she was eight years old. She talks about: Ellis Island ; sheep herding with her husband, John; trailing sheep; cooking and rearing children; hauling water for washing; limited access to church services; other Greek families in the area; good medical care; good health; the death of one of her daughters and husband.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
During the nineteenth century, the English Parliament commissioned a series of educational reports of Wales which aimed to denigrate the nation to aid an English cultural takeover, thus ensuring cultural homogeneity within England and Wales. In the educational reports, women were used as the markers of Wales and were conflated with barbarism and bestiality. The Welsh male elites responded virulently, claiming the virtuous nation of Welshwomen, and subsequently, Wales. Women were thus used as political pawns, and were tokenized, as opposed to being represented in of themselves. Following these responses, a Welsh national identity began to form which was centered around women. Wales came to be personified as a woman, thus the idealized version of Welsh womanhood was confined to such a degree that women had a very strict ideal to live up to.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WomynSpeak is a publication "dedicated to the free expression of Colorado College womyn created by the Feminist and Gender Studies interns."
A magazine created by Colorado College students as part of the course, FG200 Introduction to Feminist Thought, taught by Assistant Professor Heidi Lewis during Block 6, 2014.