I was born in Yuma; I don't remember a lot about Yuma, but it seems that my mother and father lived in Yuma along with my maternal grandparents, Grandpa Tom Bogard and Grandpa Hardy, and my brother Earl.
The sidewalks would get so hot in the summertime that you couldn't really
walk on them, so what you would do is get into a shady spot, look for another
shady spot along the street and then you'd run just as hard as you could
to that other shady spot [the kids were barefoot], and then keep
going until we used to go down and get cimmarones. They probably
cost practically nothing in those days, it was shaved ice and a little
bit of fruit coloring and flavoring in it. Truly, that's about all that
I can remember of Yuma.
I have more memories of living in Roosevelt, where the Roosevelt Dam
is. I lived there with my grandmother and grandfather Bogard and my grandmother's
two brothers, Uncle Doe [Theodore Phillips] and Uncle Billy [Phillips].
My grandfather was an engineer at the dam, and we used to get to go
down into the dam. There were a lot of steps down into the machine room
at the bottom of the dam. You could hardly hear yourself even think down
there with all those turbines running.
Uncle Doe and Uncle Billy would go down to Roosevelt Lake and fish,
and they'd take us kids. All we had those days to fish with was a pole
and a line, and you just throw it in there and surprisingly there were
a lot of fish there at that time. We could catch different kinds of fish
and we would use them for meat.
Grandfather Bogard, when he was not working down in the engine room,
did trapping on the side and sold the pelts. I remember many times going
with him out to check the traps early in the morning and finding different
animals, coyotes, little fox and all different types of wildcats. He skin
them and he had regular fans [a device used by trappers to stretch
that you would spread the skins over and stretched them out
so that they would dry uniformly and not wrinkle. He didn't keep them around
the house because they did stink pretty bad; some of the meat on them would
rot, so grandma didn't allow them around the house.
We lived right at the top of the dam. I know the house was there for
a good number of years because I saw it after I had grown up [He showed
me the area in my childhood--abandoned houses atop a hill above the dam].
It was little place, I don't remember exactly how big it was. It had a
wood stove in it and I don't think we even really had bedrooms, we had
curtains that closed off to make bedrooms. That was the way that most of
the people out west made separate rooms. They made a big square room for
a house and just curtained it off.
We had a couple of dogs there -- Grandpa always had some dogs, he liked
dogs. We were always running around through the rocks, there were a lot
of rocks in there and I guess from when they built the dam -- and one day
we found a hornet's nest. We decided it would be a lot of fun to hit that
with a rock and mash it.
We saw those hornets come out of there and of course we took off. We
didn't get stung and the one dog was smart enough to get out of there also,
but the other dog, Bugs, hung around to see what was going to happen and
the hornets took after him. They stung him, evidently on the hind-end,
because you could see him coming down the road and his hind-end was on
the ground and he was really yiping and running just as hard as he could
with those two feet dragging the hind-end behind him. We never did that
I guess this was my first year of school, maybe kindergarten or first
grade, I'm not really sure, but we used to have to walk to school. It wasn't
but maybe a mile and it was right down the road -- there was only one road.
There were a lot of tarantulas. At that time we thought they were really
poisonous; they were enormous spiders, as high as four or five inches across
their legs and their body would be, oh maybe as big as your thumb. But
we used to have to just push them out of the way as we were going to school
to get rid of them. There was an enormous amount of them there, maybe because
of the time of the year.
I remember going down along the lake edge all the way up to the lake.
That was beautiful; at that time we didn't have the landings, or anything
else, built. Not too many people went up to fish in the lakes, only the
people that lived around there. Transportation was a little bit difficult
in those days. Uncle Doe and Uncle Billy, if they went to Globe (which
is the closest town and probably thirty miles away) would walk into town
and walk back and carry groceries back.
One advantage that Grandpa did have was the company truck, which I guess was a model-T Ford or Dodge. He would go to Globe and then they could order certain things and they would bring them back to you.
My grandmother was a great one for baking and cooking. She liked to
cook, but a basic meal was really beans. We lived on pinto beans and if
you wanted to flavor them a little bit you could use a little onion or
a little bit of tabasco sauce. She baked pies and she bought the fillings
like apples and berries and all different things. She would use those canned
apples or canned berries and such, which made very good pies. At that time
they didn't have the little cans, they had the big size cans, so she would
bake pies out of that.
My grandfather had a violin and he never had any lessons or anything
like that he just learned by trial and error I guess because he could play
certain songs on the violin and we would sit out on the porch and he'd
play the old violin, and it was a Stradivarius We never did find
out whether it really was one [I'd told Dad there were a lot of counterfeits
made over the centuries], but you could look in it and see the
name. But basically that was our enjoyment. Sitting out in the evening
and he would play music on the violin and we would sit there and listen
to it and then we would go to bed.
From there I don't remember exactly how we got from Roosevelt to Miami,
but we moved to Miami. Miami and Globe both are mining towns. [and close
to each other] They were probably the first big copper mining in the
state of Arizona. Miami is a town that is built between two enormous hills
and when it rained there it did rain. Right down through the center of
town was a big arroyo or a creek, and it would fill up with water all the
Our house in Miami was about two miles up what I found out later on
was named Live Oak Canyon. At Live Oak Canyon, there was a road
that went up to the old Inspiration [copper mine] office and
there was a railroad track that ran from the main part of town and up to
the mines up on the foothills.
When we got up the canyon we searched quite a little ways, probably
two miles up this other canyon which is the same Live Oak Canyon but it
was the upper part of the canyon. Now this is something that I guess only
miners or prospectors would know. [When looking for a home site]
they would first go in and look around and find some place where they could
get water, as that was the most important thing. If you're going to live
up in there you couldn't haul water in there, so what they did is they
went in and looked for springs.
There were a lot of water springs in there. Grandpa and Uncle Billy
and Uncle Doe found a place that had a nice spring on it and they built
a wooden building around the spring, and the house they built up on the
side of the hill. The Live Oak wash came down through there and they could
walk down into the wash, get to the spring house, and bring water out by
buckets. The spring house was nice and cool and that's where all the daddy-longlegs
spiders were, it was just full of them. The water was cool enough that
every once in a while we'd have iced tea. We'd take it down there and put
it in the water down there in the spring and it wouldn't be iced tea but
it would be cool tea.
Inside the house to make rooms they had put up curtains for your privacy; we had privacy with dressing and undressing, but none for noise. Uncle Billy and Uncle Doe were horrible snorers and you'd be laying in bed in there asleep and you'd hear what sounded like a hundred bears were coming in the house. It took us a long time to get used to that snoring, but finally we didn't pay that much attention to it. It would wake you up but we knew what it was.
Then there was the skunk.... The house was not really on the ground,
it was built on top of cement blocks that raised the house off of the ground
about six inches, and underneath there was open space. One day that there
was a skunk out there by the house and I can't remember whether it was
Grandpa or Uncle Doe or Uncle Billy that shot it, but they all were involved
in it. They decided to shoot the skunk.
Well they shot the skunk, but they didn't kill him. The skunk ran under
the house. There he died and I'm telling you my Grandmother liked to had
a fit. We lived with a skunk odor, rotting skunk, underneath that house.
It lasted for at least a couple of weeks. It was just horrible. Grandpa
and Uncle Doe and Uncle Billy caught lots of trouble over from Grandma
that because she didn't like that smell at all. And to tell you the truth,
I didn't either.
Uncle Doe, Uncle Billy and Grandpa were prospectors. They'd go out and
they'd find places where they thought there was copper, gold or whatever.
In that area down there it was copper, mostly and I guess you'd find a
little gold, little silver, but it was copper country. And all over the
hills you'd see these stacked up rocks. [The cairns which marked a mining
claim in open country, with the written claim notice inside. Instead of
a legal description, the cairn would mark a corner of the claim, with the
boundaries laid out from that point and stated on the claim notice inside.]
They'd make little towers of rocks and in the center of that rock there
would usually placed a a Prince Albert Tobacco can and inside of that can
would be the claim. They would put a claim on that property so that they
would know that was their claim; it was registered with the mining association
and had a number, so that anybody that jumped a claim it would be caught.
These rock towers were all over, and each year you had to work these mines -- a certain amount of footage had to worked on each mine to maintain that claim on that mine. Some of the mines had been dug 15 to 20 feet into the canyon wall. In there the miners kept their dynamite and caps and everything.
My brother Earl and I and Billy would go and get some of this dynamite
and blasting caps and fuse and we'd go out and take these barrel cactuses
or rocks, whatever, and put a stick of dynamite underneath and put a cap
in the dynamite. We'd light that fuse and then we'd run like the devil
and get behind something and I'm telling you it would blow up. We did that
until we got caught and then we got whupped so we didn't do that anymore.
Another thing we used to do when we would play up in the canyon. Right
across from us was a big cliff, it was probably 15 to 20 feet high, and
we kids would jump off of these rocks and cliffs down into the sand down
below. Well one jump hurt just a little bit so we decided if you piled
a bunch of sand up there, you'd land in the sand, so that we did for a
Back when I was going to school and, being younger than the other two,
sometimes I would get out of school before they did. One time I was walking
up the canyon and as I was walking up the canyon I heard this "wheissst
wheisst wheisst" sound. So I stopped and it stopped. I visualized a mountain
lion or a big animal of some sort, so I said I'll go a little faster. I
started walking a little faster and the "wheisst, wheisst, wheisst" just
went a little faster. Then I stopped and it stopped. I thought this is
no place to be. I started to run and as I ran the whooshing just increased.
Well I didn't slow down, I just kept right on going until I got home and
I told my Grandmother what had happened. She kind of smiled and laughed
a little bit and said, "Did you ever stop to think that the pants your
wearing could be making that noise?" and I said, "no". She said "they're
corduroys, you walk across the floor and you'll hear it." And so I walked
across the floor and sure enough here's this sound of the corduroy rubbing
against itself and making that noise.
Grandpa bought him a Model-T-Ford and between the three of them, they
built a road into the back way of where we lived. Now, Grandpa loved to
nip a little bit. [Dad told me that his grandfather built a few stills
himself, but his Grandmother was a teetotaler who searched for them and
broke them up with an axe.] Probably he liked to nip little more than
a little, and there were moonshiners up in there, so he could get whiskey
and he'd drive home. One time he drove home and when he made a turn his
car went off the road and down a two hundred foot slope to the bottom;
he fell out before it got down there. I remember they got Grandpa up to
the house and then, after Grandma doctored him up and got him all patched
up, boy, she did give him the devil for quite some time. I remember that
he was pretty sore for quite a few days.
Billy, Earl and I used to do a lot of roaming around in the hills. Billy
must have been a kleptomaniac or something because he was always stealing.
One time we were down on the old road going to our place, heading home.
There was a cabin down in the flats there and Billy decided that would
be a good place for him to go in and see if he could find anything to steal.
He told Earl and I to watch while he went down and got into the house.
Well, Earl and I took off and ran because we didn't want anything to do
with it. We just left Billy there. Billy [Bogard] was always stealing.
He'd steal money from Uncle Billy [Phillips] and Uncle Doe and he'd
walk into town. One time I remember he bought some of these pocket watches,
they were supposed to be gold, they were kind of bronze, and 98 cents is
what they cost. He had to have gotten the money from Uncle Billy and Uncle
Doe. He tried to give Earl and I one, but we were afraid to take them because
we knew that he did steal and even at that age we knew that was not right.
We didn't have a whole lot to play with up around in the canyon there.
Earl and I would get out and we'd take rocks, little rocks and build little
roads and stuff like this, and ranches and houses. It was just a play thing,
we'd make roads in the dirt and we had a lot of fun doing that. One day
Earl and I caught a baby fox, he was gentle and didn't bite or anything,
so we thought we'd take him for a pet. We built a pen and put some fencing
around this little pen. We never gave it a thought that the fox would just
dig a hole and dig out, which of course he did. When we would come from
school sometimes we'd walk up the railroad tracks.
Being young kids we would always pick up those cinders and throw them
at this and throw them at that. One time we were throwing rocks and we
through some rocks over this hill not realizing that somebody lived down
there and we accidentally hit some little mexican boy down there and his
father came up after us and of course we took off in a high gallop and
got out of there.
I don't remember exactly when it was, but Uncle Billy [Phillips] died and I remember they went to the funeral and they left us, the three kids up at the cabin. They didn't want us to go or something, I don't know. They may not have wanted us to see somebody that was dead. Being little kids we got to wandering around in the house and we found Grandpa's old 30-40 Krag rifle and some shells so we just decided to go out and shoot the rifle. So we did and we went over the hills and we were shooting at this, taking turns and shooting at this and back. A little old biplane flew overhead and we started shooting at it. We were too young I guess to understand really what we were doing. But he left and got out of there, it was getting too close for him, I guess.
There were lots of mulberry trees, manzanita berries, which were the
desert apples and we basically would eat those things when we would go
out in the hills and some of the flowers, I can't remember which one but
maybe like bluebells or something like that we'd take the flower off and
suck the end of it and you'd get the sweet nectar that would come down
out of the flower itself.
Right after that was when we moved on into Miami [a nearby mining
town]. I can't quite remember out how that happened, but somehow or
another we moved Grandpa and Grandma down with my mother [Margaret,
her first appearance in his life's tale] down in Miami itself. We were
there in roughly the mid-1920s, around 1927 or so.
The place that we moved to was called Inspiration Hills. It was in Live
Oak Canyon and it was right beside the railroad track that went
up to the Inspiration Mines. It's a little mixed up in my mind how all
this came together, [I had shown Dad topo maps to try to pin down locations,
with no luck] so I can't answer that part of it. We lived in a house
right beside the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks were probably 15
or 20 feet up on the hill and that leaves a pretty good incline on the
way down. We would get boxes, cardboard boxes, metal anything we could
get a hold of we could slide down the side of the mountain there.
Also we had games, usually the cowboys and the bad-guys. Of course,
being the youngest I was always the bad guy. I remember once they decided
that they were going to hang the bad guy. They put a box underneath me
and a rope around my neck and left me standing on my tiptoes. Then they
went off chasing some more bad guys, I guess, because they left me there.
Somebody was looking after me that day because my mother looked out the
window and just as the box came out from under me and left me hanging.
Well she got me down and then she beat the seat of the pants of all of
We used to make rubber band guns, using rings cut from inner tubes,
with clothes pins on them and the nail on the end. They'd shoot pretty
far, not anything that could hurt anybody, and we built all kinds of pistols
and stuff like that. Another time we built stilts. This one time I got
on the sidewalk with them and when I hit the sidewalk one step went one
way and one went the other way and I put one step back to this Chinese
fellow's grocery store window. I don't know what really happened but I
do remember him yelling. I suppose somebody had to pay for the window.
Another part of the fun was over on the other side of the highway -- in those days it wasn't much of a highway -- we'd cross over and there were some older boys down in there. One time, one of them was working on an old Model-T. All it had was the body on it; you'd sit on a board on the gas tank to drive it, but he was letting all the kids drive it. When it was my turn to drive it and I guess I jerked it a little bit and I threw [ph--Leo?] off and I ran over him with the Model-T Ford. Well, it wasn't heavy enough to really hurt him but he did get pretty skinned up on his back.
There were some Mexican fellows who would cut wood and and I guess they
sold it. They had some bulls and I decided one day it would be fun to catch
one of their bulls and ride it. So we brought out a bull and we had a rope
around its nose and we rolled him back up in there and we hadn't gotten
too far before the owner found us riding his bull and he came up there.
After a little bit of a chase we decided the best thing to do was jump
off of the bulls and just run for ourselves.
They used to have a grocery store there in Miami, called Piggley-Wiggley.
I don't know if there are any more of them left or not. But we used to
go down there and they'd give us pamphlets, advertisements and sales that
they were having. They'd pay us, but not very much, to take these out and
put them on cars and take them to the houses. Since there weren't many
cars then, we mostly took them to houses. They would give us so many that
it didn't work out quite the way we wanted it to, or maybe we weren't the
hard-working kids that we thought we were. After we'd delivered maybe an
hour or so we'd go down and bury the rest of them underneath one of the
bushes. Then we'd go back and get our money, we didn't get more than a
dime or so.
You have to understand that something I lived with most all my life,
not realizing and not liking it when I did -- my mother [Margaret Bogard
Hardy] was an alcoholic. One person that she met in the bars was a
fellow who worked at the newspaper. He fixed it up to where I could get
newspapers and and sell them. Most of the other kids had to go down to
the wash and wait until they handed out the newspapers. I got my newspapers
in the front, I didn't have to go into the wash. I'd get mine early and
I'd have mine all sold by the time they got theirs.
They didn't particularly like that and they would all get together and chase me, I mean there would be maybe eight or nine of them chasing me down the street. I guess the old law of self survival was in me or something because I figured out, well if I run into a drug store or some place like that they would have to come in and get me and they wouldn't do that. So I'd have to stay in there until they'd leave. They didn't hang around too long, but they had to eventually give up. I'd get in a lot of fights with them and stuff like that. It was really a bad situation and I don't blame them for feeling the way that they did, but that's the way it was anyway.
[here there is a gap in the dictation]
I have lost a little track of time. I guess my mother and father and
my grandfather and grandmother had moved to Saint David and they bought
a farm right down in Saint David itself, Grandpa and Grandpa, and my father
and mother bought one just outside of Saint David there. I've been shown
the places, so I know where they are now.
They lived there for a while, but neither one of them were farmers and that was the only way you could have made a living there. At least, to feed your family you'd have to do some farming.
Then we evidently went back to Tucson and about that time my Grandfather had gotten sick.
We were living on Fremont Street. They had brought him into town to
live at the house there with us. What he had was cancer of the mouth. He'd
had a tooth pulled, he loved to chew tobacco and when he had this they'd
have to give him a soft rag, wrap his chewing tobacco in there and he could
chew his tobacco that way and not get any of those stems or other things
into the wound.
Down there I remember that in the evening there used to be some lights, we're talking about 1930, up over the streets there, not many, just dim lights and all the kids in the neighborhood would come out in the evening and play different games, hide-and-go-seek and all different sort of games like that. We'd play spin the bottle, but I didn't get any of that because I was too young. I don't know what one year's difference made, but my brother felt like I was too young for that so that put a stop to that!
Back to Grandpa, before he died  he knew the time was coming
pretty close and he called the three of us boys in to talk to us and he
told us that regardless of whatever happened that he had had the best time
that he had ever had and nobody could ever have had a better time than
he had during his life and that he wished we could have the same kind of
a life that he had. A good happy clean life. I guess really that I am the
only one that got to have that opportunity because my brother died when
he was younger [Both Earl and Billie Bogard died in their 20's, Earl
of a head injury and Billie in WWII.] and I am the only one that lived
to be an older-aged person. I am nearing eighty now.
So we moved down on Park Avenue [in Tucson] into a little apartment,
it's still there. When we lived there we would get ready to go someplace
and my mother [Margaret -- apparently she had returned and took custody
of them from their grandmother] had one of those brushes with the wire
hairs in it or whatever you want to call them and she'd brush our hair
with them and oh man, she'd put a little water on your hair and run that
through your hair four or five times and it'd bring your ears to attention,
I'll tell you. Another thing she used to do is something -- well, the people
today say you can't touch your child or it's child abuse. Well, my mother
broke all the rules that there were to break. She used a rubber syringe
hose if my brother and I did something wrong. That was it, we got it. It
would actually bring on welts on you, little red welts and that was her
way of correcting us. Another thing she would do if we didn't do right,
quit fighting and stuff like this, she'd pack her suitcase and say she
was leaving. I think that is a little too much. I don't believe that the
spankings really hurt us today, I mean I lived through it and everybody
else did too so, whereas today we have kids running around out here shooting
people, where back in those days if you had an argument to settle you stepped
out with your fists or you would wrestle him or whatever. [In my entire
childhood, Dad never once swatted any of us, or even looked like he might.
I suspect this was his reaction to having been treated this way as a child.]
But that was the way that things went in those days, today it isn't
the same as it was, I don't know what changed the world. Sure, we had guns.
We used the guns mostly for hunting. You didn't have the money to go out
and target practice, you shot for rabbits or quail or whatever you could
eat and you didn't kill anything except something that you could eat. That
was the rule of hunting. [Dad told me he once shot a buzzard, and as
punishment for killing something inedible was made to clean and cook it
-- it smelled horribly of rotting flesh and carrion, and he learned his
lesson. When he taught me to hunt, he always stressed that the object of
hunting was to eat.]
Then I went to Saint David to live with my grandmother, I can't place
the day but I know that it was around in the early thirties. My grandfather
died in 1930 and Grandma went to live with Aunt Francis and Uncle John
in Saint David. [Dad always classed Aunt Francis as a
saint, and Uncle John as... well, a lot, LOT, less than a saint. From his
description, he was selfish and had an uncontrollable temper in which he
would beat and kick the kids, once flogging one with strands of barbed
wire.] Aunt Francis by that time had two or three kids by then and
she was young. They got married young and they started having children
right away and they ended up with nine, I believe.
Anyway, when we got down to Saint David, my grandmother had homesteaded
640 acres. [Under the Homestead Act, a settler could lay claim to up
to 640 acres of Federal land, just as a miner could stake a claim, and
after farming there for a certain number of years could receive a patent,
equivalent of a deed, to the land.] John and Aunt Francis had done
the same thing, they had 640 acres. They were together, in other words
the boundary line made the property touch one another and my grandmother
had just really homesteaded the property for Uncle John, it eventually
ended up in his hands. [Dad told me this was arranged, since the law
was one homestead to a family -- John would build their house and set them
up on the adjacent parcel, and they would eventually transfer the property
The house that John had built up on the homestead by himself -- he wasn't too far from the railroad tracks and he would go up and he would get railroad ties and bring them down there and his home was made out of railroad ties and then it was plastered on inside and outside so it was a pretty comfortable house.
We had a little house there that was one room and had a stove in it, windows but no glass, they were just covered by gunny sacks. The floor was made out of clay, which after you wet it so many times is just like a piece of cement. We had adobe walls and our refrigerator was gunny sacks around the window with shelves on it and we'd wet the gunny sacks around the outside of the house and that kept the food cool. But most of the food was eaten the same day anyway, so it didn't make too much difference. A pot of beans would last two or three days. In those days we lived on beans, pork rind was our meat. Occasionally if you got a rabbit or something like that we had fried rabbit. But it was beans, potatoes, bread. We did have a lot of honey then because we had bees, Uncle John or his father had bees up at the big ranch.
We used to sleep on the outside and I can remember us sleeping outside there and you look up in the sky there and you could count every star in the sky, there was millions and millions of them.
[In the late 1990's, Dad returned to the cabin site, the first time in 50 years]
I don't remember what year it was but we were laying out there in the outside on the beds and it was late at night and here come the, it was either the Graf Zepplin or the other one had come right across our property and we could see the lights on it and it was a long rascal. I don't know which one it was, we never did really find out but it was long enough to have been that one. But remember to get to California you had to go across the southern part of Arizona so it was very likely that we did see the Graf Zeppelin, or maybe some other one [The Graf Zeppelin did make a cross-country flight from Los Angeles to Lakehurst N.J., as part of its around-the-world flight. It was enormous, 775 feet long. There were also other large zeppelins, made for the US military, flying at this time period.] It was just something that happened that happened once in a lifetime and probably never see it again -- well no, you won't see it again, that's true. [The Graf Zeppelin's sister ship, the Hindenberg, exploded and burned in 1937, ending the age of passenger zepplins. The zeppelins which fly today are a fraction of their size.]
When we lived out there we put a wire fence up, just one strand of barbed wire around the house and then it had a gate in it. That kept the cows and the horses from coming up to the house. In the backyard my grandmother would do her washing out in the back yard and were setting a lot out on the wash. ["wash" here = arroyo, a dry gully on whose banks she laid the laundry to dry.]
Anyway we would put rocks out there [50 year later, Dad could point out to me the tripod of rocks his grandmother had used] and one of our jobs was to build a fire, get water. We didn't have water [their efforts to dig a well had failed; click here for a photo of it, 50 years later] so he had to haul water in and when we'd run out of water we had to take the big tank and go back and get water and bring it back, so we were pretty careful with water. But she had to wash so we would take and fill the tubs up with water, however much she wanted, and then we would build a fire underneath it and the water would boil and that was her wash water. She would put her clothes in there and boil them. I used to wonder why when we got white shirts they were so white. She took a little bit of bluing water in the wash water and that's the reason they came out nice and sparkling white.
Those were the days, when we were much younger. We used to have to walk
about a half or three quarters of a mile to the road where we caught the
school bus. It would come up and go down the road there and we would catch
the bus there at our stop and they would pick up some people living there
by the name of [ph- Clem?] and they'd come out on the road and there
would be about six or eight kids there who would catch the bus. By the
time you got to school though the bus would be full. You'd go down that
road and the Hancocks were there and then by the time you go to the corner
and go over San Pedro River you'd just start picking up kids all the way
up the road. We always ended up with a full busload.
I guess it was Uncle Billy [Bogard] that got a horse and he was
just a young horse. He was some kind of horse! He had a big belly
on him and everything like this, you never thought he would have grown
up to be anything but he did, he grew up to be quite a horse. Of course
John took him back when he was a good horse and gave him another one called
Back in those days they sold horses back east for police patrolling
so they would take these mustangs that we'd catch and break and send them
back east by train. It was a way that we picked up a little bit of money.
There were tracks south of us up on the rim. The railroad went down there
and they used to have a place up there where they kept the horses and then
the train would stop and pick them up. We used to go down on the San Pedro
by the powder [Apache Powder Company] company and that was a fun
trip. From the ranch we would go down into the valley and it was called
then the [ph--Volkiss] cattle company. It was a big, big ranch.
They had told the cowboys there whenever they found any of these horses
they were to shoot them, because the wild horses ate food that they thought
their cattle should have. The cowboys didn't get too many of them.
We used to catch them and go down there and they put snares up and these snares would be cable tied to two mesquite trees with a loop on it. You run their head through there and they were trapped. You didn't want too many of the old horses, you wanted the young horses. That way you could train them or do something with them. The others it would have been very difficult to have done anything with them.
We went broomtail chasing for wild horses, but a lot of time we would
leave from there and go straight down, it was kind of lined up with the
ranch and we just go straight down across there and into the San Pedro
Valley and then you would start finding the horses in there, there were
a lot of horses in there.
That was really something! I can remember times chasing wild horses and going down these steep hills at full blast, hitting the end of the hill and the horse just absolutely throw you right over his head. My nose was so skinned up most of the time it didn't know what it was like to have real skin on it. I had a horse jump right in front of one of the snares and that was just like a boomerang when I went off. I just flew right out of the saddle. It was a lot of fun but it was painstaking too, you could really get a lot of pain in there but it was still worth it just to have the fun.
One of the trips we made in there, I caught an old white mare and she
had a grey colt and so they took her home and she was quite gentle for
some reason or another. They took her home and this colt came along with
her and as the colt got older it was evidently given to me because nobody
really wanted her. It was a little female. But I had a lot of fun with
that little horse. When I left Saint David I left her and she went roaming
around there someplace, I guess.
We used to go up to school and I started in grade school. I do remember
the seventh and eighth grade. We played soccer, we played baseball, almost
everything. I don't ever remember much football though, this early in life.
In the classroom those days you didn't have ballpoint pens, you had fountain pens. Not fountain pens as they later were, but just little hand pens with the writing end on it. There were ink-wells, little bottles of ink, on each desk and you had to dip the pen and write with the ink. Sometimes I was pretty mischievous. The girl that sat in front of me, Patricia Penn, she was about our age or was in the same class. I remember she had real long hair and it came back on my desk. One time I got some of her hair and dipped it in the ink-well. I got caught.
In those days they didn't do a whole lot to you, they would swat you
or this and that but not very much. But one time I got caught throwing
erasers and the teacher told me to go and report to the principal's office,
but I just went out there and hid in the high-school restroom and stayed
there for about a half an hour and went back to the teacher. She asked
what the principal had to say and I said that he told me that I wasn't
to do it anymore. Apparently it didn't sound right to her so she took me
back to him and she left me with him and he proceeded to take a pointer,
one of those long wooden pointers and he would not really hurt you but
more or less by the time he hit you with one and you had those heavy Levys
on they'd break anyway. He broke a couple of them on me and then told me
to go back and don't ever do it again. I didn't ... until the next time.
I used to get into a lot of fights. I just imagine I had a chip on my
shoulder or something. I about whipped everybody in school except this
one big kid Frank Miller. He was just one of those easy-going guys and
you couldn't get him mad or nothing. I worked on him for a long, long time.
Finally I made him mad and, boy I wished I hadn't! I'll tell you, he fairly
well cleaned the plow. The teacher came out and saw us fighting and he
took us into the office and he said, now the two of you wanted to fight,
so just go ahead and finish it up. Well I had all the fight I wanted, and
he didn't want to fight either, so the teacher so he made us tell each
other that we were sorry that it happened and this and that and it was
In the summertime we would take it at the harvest, they had barley and
stuff like that and mostly the one I hated the worst was wheat and barley.
I used to have to [word unclear] and all those little barbs would
get on you and it just seemed like you couldn't get them off of you. They
would just eat you alive but then you still had to do it.
It was our job to take the supplies up to the ranch. We would get a
team of horses and a big wagon and with about three or four of us on this
wagon we would start up to the ranch and then the rest of them, the coyboys,
would come later.
We had really a good time there. It would take from the ranch down to
the farm by wagon probably four or five hours; the ranch was a long way
up there. But we would just drive along and once in while we had a long
stick to keep the horses moving if they slowed down and once in a while
somebody would stick one of the horses in the hind-end and he'd kick the
wagon. We didn't do that too many times because it started showing on the
wagon. That was our big time, getting up there.
While we were there they would round up the cows and bring them in.
We would go way up in the mountains and get some of those old wild cows
that I think some of them had never seen a human being. They were really
wild and we would bring them down and put them in the pen. Then we would
start taking the calves and separating them and branding them, cropping
their ears and doing everything. The little bull calves we'd cut them and
castrate them. We would get to rope a calf here and there, which was a
lot of fun. I remember one time there was one old cow in there and she
was mean and she had a calf. I couldn't get the cow and the calf separated
so they would get in there and they would fiddle around with them and fiddle
around. Finally, Melvin, one of John's brothers, said, "I'll show you how
to do this," so he jumped in there. Well, he started separating it, giving
the old cow a shoe under and stuff like this. A cow isn't like a bull.
A bull will look at you and he will charge straight. A cow doesn't, they
throw their head sideways, they keep an eye on you and they turn with you
and they will really mangle you up.
Well, this cow decided that she had all she was going to take and Melvin
made a run for this big mesquite tree in the center of the corral. He got
hold of the branch and swung up but he didn't quite make it in time and
the old cow hooked his Levys and just literally pulled his Levys down.
She didn't pull them off but she pulled them down and he was yelling out
there for the rest of them to do something because that old cow wasn't
going to leave him alone. She stayed right there and finally they got in
there and ran her and the calf into the other corral and let him down.
Another time, we were riding down to pick up a bunch of cows in the
lower pasture. My brother Earl was with us and he didn't like horses too
much. He didn't like riding them but he was riding this old bald faced
horse. The horse was old but he was active and none of us knew that he
was a cutting horse. [A horse trained to cut cattle off and divide them
or push them back into the herd. A good cutting horse acts by instinct.]
The cows took away from the herd at a moment when Earl wasn't holding
the reins tight, and without his realizing it the horse turned and went
after the cow to turn her back to the herd. There was a branch sticking
out from under the mesquite trees and the horse didn't pay any attention
to the branch since it was too high to hurt him, but it caught Earl and
just took him right out of the saddle. He never rode another horse after
that. That was the last one he ever rode - he walked back to the camp,
leading the horse. That cured him of any horses and he never did like them
Remember these are all Mormons. All these fellows were Mormon, no smoking,
no drinking, no tobacco, no coffee, no nothing. When they went to the ranch
different location at a distance from their homes] they had coffee,
alcohol -- up at the ranch they had everything. They always had snuff,
chewing tobacco and stuff like this. I remember for drinking they would
pack all this stuff in saddle bags and bring that there with them. We had
these bees, and enormous amount of bees. I don't know how many hives we
had but it was a big bunch. [Explanation of the following: when bees
fill a honeycomb, their last step is to put wax caps over the cells. The
beekeeper who wants to extract the honey must first shave off the caps
with a hot knife. Some honey comes with the caps, and is thus wasted. In
medieval times, this was reclaimed by soaking the caps in water and allowing
the resulting brew to ferment, producing mead or honey wine. At best, aged
and filtered, it is rough stuff, which was often mulled or spiced to kill
the taste. Prepared on the following formula, it is a wonder anyone could
choke it down.]
When they would get the honey they would shave off the caps and
put it into a barrel. This barrel had been there for years and it was absolutely
awful. They would dip their tin cups out there at the barrel and get the
drippings and you've never seen such a crazy bunch of cowboys in your life!
They would get so loaded they didn't know where they were or really care
where they were. They were really drunk. The next day it was a horrible
headache. Of course they didn't do this when Mr. Busby [Uncle John was
a Bishop in the Mormon Church] came up, he was really more or less
a little more stable than these young fellows. He probably had already
been through this and it was out of his system. They more or less did this
when he wasn't up there.
I remember Mr. Busby had a horse that was called Peanuts and he'd had the horse for so long and he'd trained him. In other words when everybody got out to get a horse to ride and you had to rope him, catch him some way or another and Mr. Busby would step into the corral and hold the bridle up and the horse Peanuts would come right over and stick his head in it. That was really something.
Of course when you get those horses early in the morning like that and
put the saddle on them and you could feel that hump in their back, you
knew what was going to happen. [The horse was bracing himself against
being saddled; he doesn't want to be ridden.] They were going to buck
with you -- there was no doubt about it at all. The minute they got that
hump in their back, you had to be prepared for ending up on your rump because
that was where they would put you if you weren't ready for it.
One of my jobs or a couple of us kids, I don't remember how many of
us, but our job was to go out early in the morning (and this is maybe four
or five in the morning or earlier) and get the horses, drive them out of
the short pasture and bring them down into the corral. At night you took
one horse and you tied a bell on the horse and that means that in the dark
you always could hear the bell and you could go and find the horses and
then you could bring them on in because they would stay in a group. That
was a lot of fun, of course you'd slip and fall down on the rocks and everything
happened to you but the excitement of getting to go out and chase some
cows and ride the horses that was the big fun, just to ride the horses.
For water we'd never carry any drinking water. We always drank out of
the San Pedro River which was good clean water. It is amazing that we could
drink that water and today they say we can't drink the CAP [Central
Arizona Project] water because it has too much stuff in it. It had
to have stuff in it too, but we used to drink it and we didn't get sick
from it. Anyway we traipsed all down through the San Pedro and there were
deer in there and everything. It was quite an area and it still is quite
an area if they don't keep using all the water out of it. I don't know
whether it will ever happen that way or not.
I do remember seeing the beavers and beaver huts: they would build little dams across the river there and it was quite a sight because that was quite a beaver country up in there too. They had all kinds of beaver in there. They are gone now, but I was reading in the paper the other day that in very short time they are going to introduce them back into the San Pedro where they originally started and perhaps this will bring them back, I hope to where the beaver will be in there and cause the water to back up a little bit when they build their little dams. This way it will save that area right down through Fairbanks in there. That was really the most beautiful place you've ever seen. There were big tall mesquite trees and big tall cottonwood trees. It was shaded all down the river and it was just absolutely beautiful and I would hate to see it get ruined but we are working on it.
The people at Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista are pumping so much water
out of the San Pedro Valley. Last time I was down in there it was still
a little water running but nothing to what it used to be. I'd like to see
it changed but it probably won't change in my lifetime. They are going
to try, I hope.
Also down in there they had the Charleston Dam where they would build
up a dam across the San Pedro and that they would use as irrigation on
the farms. They had little canals that would go down through there and
you could use it for irrigating. We had to build the dam almost every year
because the floods would come down and take the dam out and then we would
have to back and rebuild it. Then we would have it for a while longer and
the big flood would come and that would take care of that because it did
flood down through there. I know one bridge that one year it just completely
took the bridge out. It was a wooden bridge and every timber bridge and
the water came down through there and just took it right out all the way
down. Since then they have put in another bridge. Today there is a new
bridge there, the old bridge used to have tresses across it and everything
like this. The new one has nothing, it's just a bridge.
A lot of the places, probably 90 percent, had artesian water, which
is water that comes from 'way below the surface and the water doesn't have
to be pumped out, it just flows out. We had a million little lakes in there;
this artesian water would flow up and go into a little lake and that was
also used for irrigation.
One thing about the artesian water -- for some reason or another all
the people in Saint David that were born there, raised from there all of
them lost their teeth. The water or something, the fluoride in the water
or something would just ruin their teeth. I know I walked away from there
and the only thing I ended upwith is that two front teeth were stained
yellow. [A sign of flouride overdose; on the other hand, Dad, who spent
a decade or so there, had teeth like iron; he almost never saw a dentist,
and I don't recall him ever talking of a cavity].
Going through Saint David was a main highway going to Bisbee, Douglas,
and down into the southern part of the state there. From the bridge all
the way into town -- this was the main highway -- there were cottonwood
trees there that some of them as much as 15 to 20 feet around. They were
monsters. If a big wind came up it would break those branches, those huge
branches off of the cottonwood trees and they would fall across the road.
They would have to clean them up and they did have a highway department
right in the town of Saint David. I think Uncle John worked for the Highway
Department for a long time.
When the San Pedro was running, I don't remember what year the bridge
went out but I can remember coming down from the ranch all of us on horses
and everything else and there was no way to go across the river except
just to swim the horses across the river and everybody would take a run
at the river and jump the horse right in and away they would go across
it. They would see who could get across first. That would have at least
been six foot of water coming down and the current was fairly swift because
it would have to be.
I know that it was beautiful. All these trees and all this water coming
down the edge of the road from probably the San Pedro. We used to go down
on the San Pedro there in back of the house on the main road and there
were beautiful sandy beaches just like the ocean. It was really something
to see. I enjoyed every minute of it down there. [Dad must have loved
those days: he gave instructions that his ashes were to be spread in the
All of this talk of water -- you don't realize if you go through Saint David today-- it isn't the same looking place as it was when I was there.
[Gap in dictation--when it ends, Dad is talking about a football game he played on the team for St. David High].
In Patagonia [Arizona], probably just after the half that I received
a kick from the other team and I started back up field. I almost made it
back to their goal line and one of the big fellows tackled me and instead
of falling flat I fell sideways with one shoulder down and he was big,
probably 270 or 280 pounds and he fell on me and that was it, it just broke
the collarbone. So they tried desperately to fix it, they had a midwife
and she tried to do what she could for me but there was nothing she could
do. There was no doctor in Patagonia so they went ahead and finished the
game. I sat there not moving because by the time the coach and I were through
trying with everybody the game was really over. We got on the bus and we
started back to Saint David. It was not too bad except riding on the bus
every once in a while you would hit a spot and it would make you move and
whenever you moved your arm of course that was excruciating pain. It was
really disastrous pain but I made it back to Saint David and the coach
then loaded me into his car and drove me to Tucson where a doctor set the
collarbone in place.
[Patagonia to St. David and St. David to Tucson
are each distances of about a hundred miles.] Then the coach took me
by my mother's place and dropped me off and I stayed there for two or three
days until the pain had really left (more or less) and then I went on back
It was getting close to the end of football season so I had probably
about six to seven weeks to get ready for basketball season [Dad once
explained to me that St. David High was so small then that it just about
needed every male student to field either a football or a basketball team]
and I made it.
Between school and our house was a big apple orchard and for some reason
or another green apples do taste good, especially if you take salt and
we would take salt up there and eat the green apples. That is a real good
stomach-ache maker and so we gave that up too.
I can remember the (ph.) Barrels. They had a turkey farm there.
He would bring us boys up there (and I think there were a few girls in
it too) and they would show us how to kill the turkeys come turkey time.
That part I didn't particularly care for too much but we participated in
it and it wasn't something that I enjoyed very much.
The basketball team would go to Nogales, and they always had the big
thing down around Nogales whenever we came to town. Our team was called
the Saints but they had the name for us down there --"button down everything,
here comes those Thieving Mormons!" Maybe they did it, I don't know, but
I remember two of the fellows that would go down to the ten-cent store
and did pocket things. I mean little things, but I guess they earned us
the nickname of the "Thieving Mormons." They made a joke out of it anyway.
The Mormon people don't believe in drinking or smoking or any of those
vices that go along with most of the life. Kids always seem to, well, when
you tell a kid you can't do this for some reason or another they will always
wonder why and will have to try it to find out what it is. This probably
was the way with a lot of the Mormon children.
Barrels, who had the turkey farm, decided he had some property across the road from his turkey farm on the hill there and he had built a big building there and turned it into a bar. That was the only bar in Saint David and I'm telling you it was a wild bar. The cowboys would come down there and would really get involved in drinking and fighting and carousing...
[Gap in dictation. I can partially fill it from memory. Dad and his brother Earl kept hives of bees -- they were crossbred with native American black bees, which have a very short fuse. Beekeeping gear is clumsy and hot, and so a person is tempted to work without it unless a hive is actually to be opened. They were working around the hives without gear, one of the hives got disturbed and a large swarm of angry bees formed up and attacked them. They fled, with the bees stinging at any skin they could reach. The nearest structure was an outhouse; Dad got inside first. Earl tried to get in, but Dad feared letting the bees in and held the door shut. Earl ran until the bees stopped attacking, and gave Dad a drubbing later!]
but it never developed into anything, by the time he got home he had
forgotten all about it and it was just like the bee incident when I left
him outside the outhouse and I went in there and he said let me in and
I said oh no, I'm not gonna let you in because it would let all the bees
in. So it's about the same incident. He got stung pretty well but he forgot
about it later on.
It used to be when we got into the high-school some of the kids were
musicians there, a lot of them. I remember [ph--Dan Lawfry?] and
he had four or five sisters and they all played instruments and they all
played different instruments. We would go over to their house and we'd
sing and that was another thing we had, a choir and we would go different
places to sing and that was some of the other trips we made. But this one
here, they would have all kinds of instruments and they would play them
and we really had a good time and they lived right across from the school.
The Curtis family which was [ph--Lyman?] Curtis lived right
across the street and it was with Lyman and George Merrill we used to skip
school once in a while, and take our 22's and we'd go back in the hills
back behind the school and shoot at jack-rabbits. We would never shoot
at them sitting down, it wasn't any fun, you would have to shoot at them
on the run. You never hit very many of them but you did have a lot of fun.
We would go up in there and shoot at the jack-rabbits that would be running
easily a couple or three hundred yards away from you and you could see
them with their big ears sticking up and we would shoot at them and we'd
have a lot of fun. Then we would take the guns back to show you how smart
we were, we would go past the school to Lyman's house, leave the guns there
and then we would go back to the back door of the school to go into school.
Well, you can guess Mr. [Ph.--Oldpotter?] was always at the back
door waiting for us to come in because he had seen us go across and he
knew our pattern. So he would punish us, but it was worth it, we had fun.
George Merrill's family was just down from the school and every once in
a while they would invite me (Earl had his own thing to be doing and I
was doing my own thing) but we would stop in there and his mother would
have cold milk and crackers and we would sit down and eat and it was very
The people in Saint David were really very, very good people. If somebody's
house burned down all the people in Saint David would throw in together
and build them a new one. They would just get the stuff together and build
them a new house.
I can remember too that almost every Saturday night all the time that we were in high-school they had dances at the high-school. As a freshman, I didn't know how to dance, I never had any experience in dancing or anything like this but we'd go because it was fun to go and watch the other people. The parents would dance also -- you never did anything without the parents. Anyway, I would start across the floor to ask somebody to dance and you never seen a bench clear off so fast in your life. There wasn't a girl left on that bench except one. And that was [ph--Onita Laufgreen] and she was a good hearted person and she told me if you want to learn to dance I'll teach you and she did. It was a couple of years and then we always danced together and I danced with her I guess most of my high-school years just .....
[Gap in dictation]
I got my card for I guess junior year I filled up my card for the junior senior prom and I filled up the same thing for the senior year so it wasn't really that bad in the last two years but in the first years boy I'll tell you I could clear that bench in a hurry.
They had plays, we had a drama class. Well the drama would be put on
shows and we would put on plays for the people and parts and this and that.
It was fun and the boys were never really actors, we just acted like we
wanted to act. I mean within the rules of the teacher. We had parts and
we did the parts but if we felt like doing something a little extra we
would do this also. Most of it we followed the rules but it was real fun.
It just was part of growing up.
I can remember math when I was going to high-school and, oh, that was
the hardest subject I ever had in my life but I finally made it. I made
it out of math class and Mr. Hand, the principal, told me I'm going to
tell you something that you should know: never get a job where it has anything
to do with math because you won't never make it. Well the first thing I
do is I go out and I find a job where I have to use math [i.e., tilesetting].
Measure this, measure that and everything later in life was squared and
this and that. It came easy later on in life, maybe the basics were there,
I don't know, but I had this to look forward to.
About the only time that my mother ever visited us down in the Saint David was -- well, evidently Chester [her last husband] had a job down in Wilcox and I guess as they were coming through they figured they would stop and see us. But my mother was an alcoholic and Chester was too. When they came to the house my grandmother practically threw them out because she would not put up with drinking and my mother didn't stay too long because actually it was uncomfortable for her and it was uncomfortable for us kids because they were drinking and it was just one of those things that happened.
What follows are some notes I made, based on what he had told me throughout life, and asked Dad to flesh out. Unfortunately, he died on Dec. 12, 2001, before he could do so. They include his military service, his sit-in on a segregated bus (beating Rosa Parks by a couple of decades), his reunion with his cousins, Jesse's sons, after half a century, and Bily Bogard's death in WWII.Click here to link to those stories, and his later life.