written in 1963 at the age of 86

Mary Ellen Crapo I was born in Richmond, Utah, in the year of our Lord 1877, after which my family moved to Lewiston, Utah, in Cache County, and we lived there until I was six years old. My father (John Taylor Brower) then got the moving spirit and moved the family to Snake River. There were no bridges, no town, just sagebrush and coyotes and a few Indians. We children grew up under those conditions with no schools and no houses. Rexburg, Idaho, had a few poor families, and the Church started the college there. I remember I went bare-footed until Christmas when I got a pair of boots and an orange, and my father had to go to Eagle Rock, now Idaho Falls, for that. My mother (Jane Victoria Telford) died in 1888 when I was nine years old and my father moved the family back to Lewiston, Utah, and that is where my mother was buried.

From the age of nine until now, 1963, I have had to scratch for everything I ever got. The first job I ever had was on the Bear River Canal carrying water from the river to the working men up the hill on the canal. I worked there all winter and in the spring my father took me and Uncle Josh into the mountains east of Franklin, Idaho, where he had a logging contract to a sawmill. I shoveled sawdust all summer and that winter I stayed with Jode Rawlings. The next spring my father took me and Uncle Josh over to the Grays Lake Mountains where we logged for a man by the name of Neville, who moved to Blackfoot, Idaho, after that.

From Grays Lake we went over into Starr Valley where my father homesteaded. I hauled logs and poles there until fall and then Dad left me at Uncle Dick's while he went to Lewiston, Utah, after our furniture. He didn't get the furniture, I don't know why, but he wrote a letter saying he was going to Snake River by way of Blackfoot, Idaho, and Eagle Rock and that he would call for me later. I put two and two together and said that Dad wouldn't call for me until next summer and I got so homesick, I cried for days.

My uncle gave me a pony and a rope, and I put the horse on the rope and took off for Wilford, Idaho, cross empty land and crying and saying small swear words. After I got my nose wiped, and all I had to wipe it on was an old burlap sack, which was my saddle too, I found myself well over in the Caribou Mountains and night was coming on, so I tied the pony to a sage brush and covered myself with the burlap sack the best I could. Late in the fall in that country a burlap sack is not much cover and I nearly froze, and with the coyotes howling in every direction didn't make a twelve year old feel much like a man. The sun was up when I opened my eyes and I found a heavy frost all over me. I got on the pony and he took me on a high lope for Idaho Falls. I came to Willow Creek and followed it to Ririe, or where it emptied into the Snake River and went down the river and found a man on a horse. He lived on the south side from Heise Hot Springs, and he told me I could find a ford shallow enough for me to cross with my pony. So I followed the river and came to the ford where wagon tracks went in and there Pony and I crossed the river. I had to hold my feet up to keep them out of the water. I forded back across just west of Rexburg and made it to Wilford that day with a tired pony and a sore fanny. There I found my father and oldest brother (John Orson Brower) staying at Uncle Donas's. My Uncle George took me in, and the only reason I could see that he did it was that he had a big pile of logs and a good saw.

When I sawed up that pile, he took me to the timber with the saw, every day, until we had another pile of logs. I sawed and split wood all that summer. All the neighbors wanted Harvey to come and live with them because they all had a big pile of wood.

I learned to dance at Wilford, all of my aunts danced with me as there were very few unmarried girls. My father remarried in 1891 to Josephine Winegar (Winagaer) from Parker, Idaho. She was a very nice lady who had one son. In the spring of that year, father, mother, Orson, Ira and I moved over to Kilgore and that is where father gathered the family together. We brothers, Orson, Ira, and I stayed in Kilgore that winter while the rest of the family moved back to Parker. That winter the snow was four feet deep, but the next spring, father came back, and we hauled logs, built houses, stables and hay cribs.

The next winter was the one that broke the camel's back. In the fall, father went back to Parker and Orson, Ira and I stayed the second winter in Kilgore. In February the snow was bad, no roads, no nothing, just snow and March and April to go. In March, we ran out of food and after four or five days, something had to be done. Orson said he would starve to death before he would go and beg for food, so there was just me to do the job. The next morning the sun came out bright and happy with three starving boys staring it in the face. I had a pair of skis made out of a split piece of quaking aspen. I headed for the Talbots first and there I found the boys feeding the cattle. I told Bert about our predicament, and he gathered some food, which his mother put together on a toboggan, hitched two dogs to it and returned to the Brower Ranch. Then I went begging from the rest of the ranchers. The next day was a beautiful day and from almost all directions came dog teams loaded with food. In order to save our food supply, I went to Will Bennett's to help him feed cattle, for which I got my eats. Before the snow went off, our hay supply ran out and Orson had to break trail seven miles to get the horses to a bare mountain where they got dry grass to subsist on.

Dad came back in the spring and took Orson and Ira and left me with Will Bennett. I stayed there all winter and summer and in the fall Dad came back and took me away after a big fight with Mrs. Bennett and two grown girls. Dad and Mrs. Bennett almost had a fight too.

Dad took me to Ora, Idaho, and placed me with a farmer, M. J. Kerr. I worked there all winter and all the next summer, then I did chores for him for my board and went to school, the second in my life.

There were some interesting people I stayed with, including the Flamm family. I worked on their farm for two years, then worked for my father for one year. Mr. and Mrs. Flamm were good to me. I had two mothers, Mrs. Kerr and Mrs. Flamm, no better women ever lived than those. I being kind of rough and ready, they brought me out of it. Another sweet woman that took me in was my aunt, Will Gee's mother. I lived at the Gee's when I could sneak away from Jode Rawlings or someone else that I happened to be staying with.

When I finally grew up enough to have a girl I picked on Mary Kerr, but we were only kids. Mr. Flamm had a daughter named Jane. I liked her good enough, but while I was working at Flamm's, Will Gee, my cousin, came to work for the Kerr's and he was better looking than I, so he grabbed Mary Kerr and I didn't go back to work for Flamm, so my Jane got away. About that time a family moved in near my father, his name was Highlory Cunningham, and he had two nice daughters, Mary and Ines. Edgar Gee, a cousin of mine, and I got our heads together. He went for Mary and I went for Ines. Things went fine for Edgar; he got his Mary, but I missed Ines.

There is a little community between Ora and Ashton, Idaho, where the Cunninghams lived, and a beautiful young school teacher named Mary Ellen Crapo boarded there while teaching in the district, and I used to go there quite often. While at a dance there, I asked Mary Ellen if I might take her home. She quickly informed me with the word, "No." Then she said, "My mother has taught me if a boy was good enough to go to a dance with me, he was good enough to go home with." Then she said, "I'll go with yoga next Friday night." I took her to several dances, and I liked her a lot. She applied for the school in our district and taught for two terms. When school was out, her father came and took her home to Parker, and so to see my girl, I had to ride horseback fifteen miles one way. In September, 1899, when I was twenty-one and Mary Ellen was twenty-two, my father took us in the white top buggy to Market Lake to catch the train to Logan where we were married in the Temple. We returned to Parker where my wife taught school that winter. In April of 1900, I was called on a mission to the Southern States (Kentucky) and served for nineteen months. I then got typhoid fever and they sent me home. While I was away, my wife had a beautiful baby girl, Mildred Alice, born July 14,1900. We were as poor as church mice that winter.

My father took the family and moved to Canada and my wife and youngest brother, Ormas, stayed in Parker. I was quite blue and lonesome for awhile. My father gave me a team, harness and wagon. One horse was crippled and the other was only half good. As for the harness, it was the farm's oldest. No one would ever miss any of those articles, but I liked them because I knew they were all I would get, and they were.

My wife bought two lots in Parker and we hauled logs for the timber and built a house (one room) and after a year or so, we built a three-room house and turned the log house into a barn.

We lived in the new house in Parker for twenty-two years. Mildred, Mabel, Edla, George, Margaret, Olive and Victor were all born there. When the house burned down, we moved to St. Anthony, Idaho and built a house there where I worked for Allen Seed Company for six years. They transferred me to Rexburg where Elaine and Grant were born. We stayed in Rexburg for three years, then we moved to Pocatello, Idaho, where I went in the painting business and remained in the business for thirty-one years when I retired.

Mary Ellen died in 1940, and I married her youngest sister, Margaret Ann Crapo Mason, who was a seamstress. She passed away and in 1945, I married Etta May Tolman Richardson Christiansen.

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