This biography was printed in July 1978 by the William Halls Family Organization in its family periodical,
Through the Halls of History, Kristine Halls Smith, editor.
© 1978 William Halls Family Organization
David Halls was the third child and first son of William Halls (1834-1920) and Johanne Marie Frandsen (1855-1913)
By Edith Halls Duvic, Daughter
Joy comes in all sizes, shapes, colors and genders. It came to William and Johanne Halls as a bouncing boy they named David. To Joseph and Sarah Dean it was a beautiful daughter they named Lillian Emma. To their seven boys and three girls joy came in a tall, blond, handsome father and a short, pretty, brunette mother they called Daddy and Mama, Papa and Mama, or Mother and Daddy
The only diary we have to rely on is one Daddy started November 22, 1899 and ended November 30, 1901, which primarily covers the period of his mission. He was 22 at the time so in order to capture some of his personality, let us turn to his journal:
"Well, I am going to keep a diary. Don't know how it will go as I have never tried it before. I guess I had better tell what I can remember of my past life because I have had some life, if most of it was spent in Mancos, Colorado.
"I started in this life about noon October 12, 1877. I guess that is where to start. Anyway I can't remember any further back. I was born in Huntsville, Utah (pretty good place, too) in an old log house. Just the place where all great men ought to be born so I guess I will be great.
"I lived on a ranch until I was nearly eight years old. Oh what fun I had. Me and my sisters used to be tough, or I guess that's it. I remember we used to get snakes and scare Aunt Moiselle Halls. She is my Uncle George's wife.
"When I was nearly eight, we moved to Bluff, Utah. Bluff is a sandy place, and we lived in an old log house without any floor in it. Ma made us kids get corn husks to put on the floor, and we used them instead of Brussels carpets and we were just as proud.
"I was baptized October 12, 1885 in the San Juan River. My, but I was scared because the river was high and I didn't know how to swim. I was baptized by William Halls. He is my father and Hannah Halls, whose maiden name is Johanne M. Frandsen, is my mother. They think a heap of me. Why? I don't know unless it is because I used to be mean and worry them half to death.
"Well, we soon moved from Bluff because Ma got sick and couldn't stand such a miserable climate. We moved to Mancos in February, 1886. Oh, but the roads were muddy. I remember Al Farnsworth came about 10 miles out of Mancos to meet us. We arrived there February 28th and that night about two feet of snow fell. I tell you we were pleased to think we were in Mancos.
"We did not have any house, so we lived in Adam Robb's house until spring. Everybody has lived in Ad Robb's house. He did not have a wife. He used to have one but they both believed in single blessedness and quit living together. In the spring we moved into part of Uncle George's house. He is Father's brother. He lived in one part and we lived in the others. My but the bed bugs were thick. We could not sleep in the house but had to sleep in the trees. Of course just us kids slept in the trees.
"Father built a house on his ranch which is just east of Uncle George's and they are just two and one half miles on a bee‑line south of the Mancos bridge. Father built the house for a granary but as soon as it was finished, we moved in and lived in it for twelve years. The first spring we were in Mancos our horses were lousy, and the only thing that would help them was tobacco juice. All of us boys had to spit tobacco juice on the horses and that's when I learned to chew tobacco.
"Well, nothing happened until I was 15 years old. It was then Ma and Pa thought they should make something of me, so I went to school at the BYU Academy in Provo, Utah. Just before I started, I was ordained a deacon by William Halls. I went to school and I learned something, because I studied hard and was going to be a great man, like my pa and ma wanted me to be. But it wasn't any use because I never sat by an old candle on the coals in the fireplace and studied when everyone else was asleep. I forgot to say, before I went to school, I had a girl and we wrote to each other all of the time. As soon as I got home, I went to see her but she would not let me kiss her, and of course I got angry and dropped her. I soon got me a new girl and we went together about two years. I thought lots of her, but she fouled me once, and I never got over it until I fouled her once, and then it was all right.
"I took two girls out once and they got full. I guess you know what it is to be full. Nearly everybody does and of course I do. I remember Pa licked me and I got mad and was going to leave home, but Ma said not to go for she would feel bad without her dear boys. I cried and so did my sisters, and I stayed home. But my, how he licked me He got a four-horse whip and just went for me. I tried to run away, but Pa was awful quick and caught me and licked me harder than ever.”
That incident reminded me, Edith, of a time when one of my unmentioned brothers got a whipping. When he was much too old for tricks such as dirty pants, Daddy said the next time it happened he would give him a licking Of course it happened and some of us couldn't wait to tattle. Daddy took a strap and, oh my, what a whipping. Finally Mother said, "Dave, don’t kill the kid." I always felt it was a lesson meant as much for the tattletales as the dirty pants. If it happened again, Daddy didn't hear it from us.
"Sometimes I used to hunt cows on foot, but I didn't hunt. I just went up on the hill and waited until dark and told Ma and Pa I had hunted all over the hill and could not find them anywhere. I wouldn't do that now.
"In November 1897 I went to school in Provo again. I studied very hard but had lots of fun and learned some things I should not have learned. Wish now I hadn't learned them. I played rugby football and became the champion left tackle in the state of Utah. At least our team became the champions of Utah, Dec. 25 1897, and I was playing left tackle at the time. When I got home from school, I had all the brothers and sisters I am ever going to have, unless we get polygamy again before Pa dies, and then I don't know.”
His pa and ma had twelve children ‑ four boys and eight girls, and it seems remarkable that only one, Eleanor, died when she was nine years old. All of the others lived between ages 64 and 91 years excepting for the twins, Lucy and Emma, who died at ages 43 and 53 respectively.
On March 13, 1899, Daddy received a mission call to the Southern States. Being in debt he felt he could not leave until fall or "autumn as educated people call it." He worked all summer to get the needed funds, but his debts kept him from any earnings, so his only recourse was to sell his team, He regretted having to do this because they were the "best pullers" he had ever seen and did not have one defect that he knew of. At the time of the sale to Joseph H. Dean (his future father-in‑law) one seemed to be stiff. This was upsetting to Daddy as he "hated to sell a horse that is not all right."
His father ordained him to the office of a priest in April, 1899 and in October, 1899 he was ordained an elder by Joseph H. Dean. Daddy doesn't say how long he courted Lily Dean prior to leaving on his mission November 2, but October 29 he was visiting her this Sunday evening when at ten o'clock her father woke up and asked if they were going to sit up all night. Naturally he left, went home, and "had a talk with Ma until midnight."
For his impressions of Lily let us turn to his journal: "I will tell about Lily, and if she is married or in love with someone else, I will tear this leaf out and burn it and swear I was just joshing.
"She is sixteen years old, will be seventeen November 30, 1899, She has a clear fair complexion, is about 5' 5" (She was actually 5'2"), weighs about 125 lbs. and is a good pure girl. Has promised to be true to me until I return from my mission, and I pray she may. Because if she don't, it will be the hardest thing for me to forget her that I will ever have to do. In fact, I cannot forget her. If she forgets me, I cannot help it, but though it may be a sin, I will love her though she may be another man's wife. For I love her with all of my soul and cannot forget her. I hope she cares for me. I know or firmly believe she does now, but the future is uncertain. We gave each other our vows that we would be true to each other and not listen to idle gossip. That we would have perfect trust in each other, and I pray the blessings of our Heavenly Father upon our vows, and that we will be blessed in making them if it is his will.
"Wed. Nov. 1, 1899. I got my grip and started for the depot to go and visit in Huntsville, Utah before leaving for my field of labor, Stopped at Deans’ and talked to Lily until train time. Then walked down to the depot with Lily and my sister Lucy. All of my friends that could come were there and I cannot describe my feelings when the train came in sight and it was time to say goodbye It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
"I kissed all of my friends goodbye, then bid goodbye to father, mother, sisters, and sweetheart. I waited until all aboard was heard, then came to the car step, and just as the train moved off, I kissed Mother and sweetheart goodbye, said goodbye to all and was gone. I looked back until the train was out of sight, then went into the car and sat down, feeling more lonesome than I ever felt in my life. I breathed a silent prayer for my loved ones’ safety, as I forced back the tears and tried to look cheerful. Peter Brown and Samuel S. Hammond were with me on the same mission as myself."
He may have left a sweet pure girl behind hoping she would wait for him, but festivities commenced the day he reached Huntsville.
"As there was a dance that evening. I got ready and went. Got acquainted with nearly all of the girls there and had a fine time." He attended many parties and the entertainment seemed to be mostly kissing games, He was invited to a party at the Schades’ and "of all the fun we had. We had kissing games until I got a sour stomach and had to quit. Chocolate cake was served, after which three girls dressed up as gentlemen and danced the cake walk. It was very funny, but not extra nice."
Joe Sorenson had invited two girls from Ogden to a dance, and "asked me to take one, which I did. All of the girls which I had been flirting with told me they were surprised at me. I didn't know what they meant and they would not tell me. But I found out she was a very bad girl. What some people call a prostitute. When they found out how it came about, and saw me drop her, it was all right. I had a splendid time only for that fuss." The next evening he went to a party at the Spragues’, and more kissing games were indulged in, but "not so as to injure me internally." Sounds like Huntsville was a swinging town.
He visited his half‑sister Lizzie, and his half‑brother George and his wife Celia. He helped George take 35 steers to Ogden and saw the "finest Durham cattle on earth" at the stock yards. Yearlings were worth $250 a head. A couple of two‑year‑old bulls were worth $350 and one for $500. "My, but they were beauties, but I guess their horns were polished. Cows were just like those fancy pictures you see, and think a cow could not look so fine."
On November 22nd, he was ordained to the office of a seventy and set apart for his mission. He was given a blessing and instructions, which among other things were to see that their kisses were saved for wives, children, parents, and sweethearts. "I am going to save mine for my mother, sisters, and sweetheart. And if I have a sweetheart when I get home, she will get plenty. And if I haven't any sweetheart, I will never kiss another boy's sister." In his blessing, he was told to be faithful and energetic in his labors and the Lord would be with him. That he would go in peace and return in safety with his head held erect. It reminded him of his farewell at home, where the motto was "May you go in peace and return in safety." He was told to be prayerful and humble and keep the commandments of God. In attending to any ordinances of the gospel, to use plain and simple language, and do it by the authority of the priesthood They were instructed in their behavior toward women -- not to get too close or even take a woman's arm. An incident regarding these instructions during his mission concerned a girl who was "benighted." She needed to be taken home, so Daddy led the way. She followed and his companion brought up the rear.
The train ride between Salt Lake and Pueblo was anything but pleasant "Oh, my! I was never so sick in my life. A girl was sick at the same time and we took turns going to the back of our car. Sometimes we would both go together and I would grit my teeth and wait. I always try and act in a gentlemanly manner, but I could not help wishing she was out of my place since I had it engaged first. But the poor girl; I was the only one on the train who could sympathize in full with her."
Wednesday, November 29 ‑ The missionaries arrived in Nashville, Tennessee They were met by President Allred, who took them to his office for the night. Daddy was assigned to be the companion of Elder Forsyth. The next evening they planned to preach on the street, but a celebration was taking place honoring the return of the Tennessee Volunteers. There were 200,000 people there, "the largest crowd I ever saw in my life, and because most of them were drunken, we postponed our meeting." Some passersby noted them and said, "There go those Mormon elders." Elder Halls was launched.
The next two years were truly devoted to the Lord. For what other cause would a young man spend two years traveling without purse or script, walking day after day often 30 miles or more a day, in all kinds of weather, carrying your luggage. Always with a prayer in your heart that some kind soul would offer you food and lodging. Too often the total food for the day was a bowl of bread and milk (a delicacy never indulged in at home.) Nursing boils, illness, sick headaches, sore feet, fleas, more boils, and sore feet. Fighting the enemy, encouraging the Saints, wading creeks, and when meeting with the mission president, having him admonish you to be neat and clean and present a fine appearance at all times.
One day, as they returned to the place they were staying, instructions had arrived concerning letter writing. "If you have a girl at home, you better go home and marry her, so you can put your mind on your mission and not always be writing to her. I do not know why that hits me, for I have not even told that I have a girl. Not even mentioned her name and have not even written to her since I came here. This is the trouble, Peter Brown, who is in love with my girl, takes every opportunity to tell our president about my girl and the president is forewarning me."
Incidents during his mission: He ran into his "big brother Tom Halls" who was also there on a mission. "He looks fine and we had a good visit. Tom's hair is white, and a brown stick would cast a shadow so large that if he were in the shadow of it, you could not see him. But he is all right when it comes to the gospel."
"Saw an old lady, and she had an illegitimate child that was in her care. It belonged to a lady and gentleman in the highest society of the city. They would not own it, but hired this lady to take care of it. It was such a sweet child with flaxen hair, but it has no name. I could not but think how cold and heartless the world is. This sweet, good‑looking child, that needed the fond care of a mother, turned out to this low lady who cared only for the money she got for her services, who abused the child by spanking it in our presence and subjected the child to such low influence and language. She called the child a 'little bugger' and such things."
One Sunday, following a class, he and a man got into a discussion, When the man refused to take the Bible, Daddy told him he was an infidel. The man got angry, refused to accept an apology and left swearing vengeance. Because of this, Daddy's life was threatened by a mob as were friends who entertained him. "Whoredoms, which was being taught by the Mormons had to be stopped " The mob threatened to run the Saints out of the country if they let those Mormon whoremongers in their homes again. Eventually the threat died down, but… "Oh, if my mama knew about this, she would be sick."
"All week I was troubled with boils and could not sit down. Only received two letters but they were good. One from sister Anna telling about every little thing. How I wish everybody could write such good letters. Also received a letter from Lily which was good… Dyed my coat today… Shaved off my sideburns.
"Christmas at last and I have not any presents. Not anything at all, and I am lonesome. Never felt so bad in my life, but these people don't know it. I am pleasant and agreeable and make use of a good joke. I laughed at my companion because he looked blue. Wednesday, December 27 ‑‑ Went to Spencer's and got our mail and lo and behold, I received a Christmas box, opened it, and found Lily's photo, a silk handkerchief and a box of candy. Say, maybe you think I wasn't tickled to get her photo." His second Christmas did not prove to be quite as blue. A tie from Anna, handkerchief from Emma, and a tie and handkerchief from Lily were received.
"This is my first journal and I am about to close it and send it home. This journal does not half tell it and my pen cannot tell all I would like to tell. I have had feelings and been in places that I cannot describe.
“What we may learn from this journal: (1) That David Halls is not a first class grammarian. (2) That David Halls is hardly able to do missionary work (intellectually able). (3) That a missionary has his ups and downs and many queer experiences. (4) That there is no place like home. (5) That Elder Halls hates to walk. (6)That he will never walk when he gets home if he can help it. Walk, walk, walk, thou dost put my strength on an equal with a mule's and dost drag my soul down level with a slave's. (7) That I love my papa, mama, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends, and 'Lily Dean.' (I put Lily in quotation marks because many people have told me that she almost belongs to William Smith.) (8) That when my mission is over I will go home at once. (9) That I have said things that should not be written, especially my love affairs. But I am not ashamed of it, and if she is, she can get me to stop writing to her at any time. Of if she is in love with anyone else, she had better take him, and when I recopy the journal, she will not have so much place in it as this one."
He conducted and was the speaker at a funeral service for a son of one of the Saints. The boy had been dead about two months, but it was the custom there to preach the service after the dead were buried. Following the service, he handed the parents these few verses he composed:
Said a spirit in the Heavens
At the beautiful throne of God,
"If I may go down to earth
I will hold to the iron rod."
So he left his heavenly mansion
And came to this earthly sphere,
To live with mortal parents
Who welcomed his advent here.
They called him their own dear
Maurice And loved him with a pure love.
For they knew he was a humble spirit
Sent from the realms above.
But God in his mercy took him.
Took him to his home above
To where there is no sorrow
But all is peace and love.
He went at his Father's bidding
To work on that other shore
Perchance to prepare a mansion
Where his loved ones need part no more.
Dear friends, be patient and faithful
For Maurice will welcome you there
And with you forever and ever
Shall a crown of victory wear.
This seems a fitting place to take leave of his journal and Daddy for the present. It's doubtful that he felt like it was "the best two years of my life."
In the spring of 1902, about the time Daddy was due home from his mission, Lily Dean was working as postmistress and living with her Aunt Florence in the town of Fruitland, New Mexico, which was nearly closed down with smallpox. Luckily it was not too severe. All the children in Aunt Florence's house got sick, so before Mother could go home to Mancos, everything had to be fumigated and all precautions taken. Since a few scabs were on her face when she went home, people were afraid she might spread the disease, so to allay their fears, Dr. Clark asked that she stay home for two weeks. For the past 26 months, Daddy had longed for this reunion so a few scabs did not keep him away, and through the summer he tried to make sure she didn't have time for Will Smith or Peter Brown. As early as June her father received a letter from Dave asking for her hand in marriage.
The date for their marriage was set for October at Conference time. In early August word came from her brother‑in‑law, Charles Dinwoody, that Lucy was seriously ill and being taken to the hospital in Salt Lake. (They probably came from Idaho Falls, as that is where they lived their married lives.) It was decided that Grandmother and Mother should go to her. What to do about wedding plans? One did not hop on the Narrow Gauge at will and journey to Salt Lake, so it was decided that Daddy should also go at that time. On August 20, 1902, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple. John H. Winder performed the ceremony.
Since Lucy was still in the hospital and needed someone to help care for her two small boys, Mother stayed on for a month, and Daddy went home. "That was the meanest thing I ever did in my whole life, but I had the log cabin all ready for us to move into, and that is where we started our family."
Sometime previous to their marriage, Daddy helped build the large house for his mother and father. In due time, after four children, the log house was getting smaller as the family was growing larger, so Daddy built a house for his mother and father up on the hill in 1910 or 1911. We called it the yellow house. Daddy and Mother then moved to the large house where the remaining six children were born, always with the help of Aunt Anna as midwife and help during the ten days confinement in those days.
In whichever house the family lived, Daddy was always improving things to make life easier and more comfortable for Mother. In fact, it hardly seemed like farm living ‑‑ concrete sidewalks, even to the corral, indoor water and plumbing, a Delco plant which furnished lights for the house, Maytag washer we shared with relatives. Breaking away from the washboard was different things to different people. Some felt they could let their clothes get dirtier and others felt the reverse. If Mother were writing this, I'm sure her memory would go back to the lines and fences of clothes washed on the board, no wash-‘n-wear to ease the ironing of eight men, and three meals a day and extra hands to feed at harvest time, and wool to wash and card before putting it into quilts. I well remember the time she saw an ad in a magazine for a place she could send her wool and have the bats made. That ended our wool-carding days. Most of the sewing was done for both the boys and girls. I doubt if she would call them "the good old days."
Daddy's training started early in life. As soon as he was old enough to be of much worth, he had many responsibilities placed upon him. Being the eldest son, he fell heir to much of the farm work, and he seemed to have the ability to carry the responsibility placed upon his shoulders. Often the younger boys would like to have a day off when it snowed, but Daddy would remind them of the fences needing mending, the barn to be cleaned, or various other duties that needed attention.
It has been said that Grandfather thought so highly of Aunt Anna because she was so patient, compassionate, and helpful to him in his writings, etc. Grandmother's favorite son was David, who virtuously took hold of the family reins and was so helpful to her in family affairs while Grandfather was away from home on church business. It was not only because of their close proximity in age that caused the close relationship between Daddy and Aunt Anna, but the death of John, her husband, brought our families closer together. Daddy felt responsibility to her and her four children, and Mother learned to really love and appreciate her. She often helped Mother with her busy schedule and especially with the diseases the children would get one by one. Aunt Anna's children were not immune, so children were traded back and forth to try and keep both houses from being quarantined at the same time. Aunt Anna took the responsibility of raising the large garden for both families.
Aunt Lucy Lyman and her children Bruce and LaRue also shared houses at different times. Bruce says "Uncle Dave was one of the finest men I have ever known and was more of a father to me and LaRue than our own father was." After Aunt Lucy's death, LaRue, who was five years old at that time, moved back to Mancos from Salt Lake and became a member of Aunt Anna's family. When she was 13, Aunt Anna moved to Salt Lake to be with Helen and Louie, and LaRue lived with us until she graduated from high school. She says "it was a pleasant five years, as Aunt Lily allowed us a lot of freedom in our activities." Those years were fond memories for all of us. LaRue had an experience in her youth that she said made her realize that "she wouldn't have missed being a relative of Uncle Dave's for anything in the world. He is one of the finest men I will ever know." Because of these family ties, at reunion time we never think in terms of our family only. It is not complete without Louie, John, Gerda, Bruce, and LaRue. We grew up within half a mile radius of Uncle Lewis, Aunt Sadie, and Uncle Bert. Their children were and are some of our best friends, but there wasn't the intermingling of the families that existed with Aunt Anna’s and Aunt Lucy's children.
It cannot be denied that Daddy was a perfectionist. He was more or less a spender and took many chances throughout his life trying to make a good living for his family. He raised purebred hogs with a registered boar he owned. He built a nice modern hog house with farrowing pens and runways and a concrete floor for easy cleaning. He bought 30 head of registered jersey cows and a purebred jersey bull we were all scared of. The milking area was also very modern with stanchions and concrete floors. With this herd he had all of the equipment for testing the milk, but the cows got hemorrhagic septicemia, and most of them died. He owned a good draft stud horse he hired out for breeding mares.
One year, our farm was chosen for a test experiment to raise sugar beets, to determine if the climate was suitable for sugar beets. We young children all had the job of thinning them and were delighted when that was the last year for sugar beets. We were paid something for our labors, and Harry was the only one who saved his money He bought. himself a little wagon and a big goat with which to pull it. Sometime later the goat was sold to some Ute Indians who took it up on the hill back of our place and killed it for meat. Harry felt terrible, as he hadn't planned on that.
We remember Daddy being in the sheep business longer than anything else. He had a good 1000 ewes or more with Mexicans hired to help herd them. One came to Daddy one day and said he couldn't handle the sheep for the wages he was being paid. Daddy reasoned that more money would not increase his ability to herd sheep, so he fired him. Lucy, Buck, and Rico were our beautiful collie dogs who herded also. How we loved those dogs. Lewis Plantz, a "gentile" neighbor was a hired hand for many years. We all called him Mr. Plantz.
Daddy was a sportsman whose hunting was for grouse, in season. All of his nine children were basketball players, and he and Mother tried to attend most of the games. Mancos usually had winning teams, so when a game was lost, Mother said the referees weren't fair. Daddy was a great baseball player. He was such a good hitter he would just stand at the plate and let two strikes pass without moving and then wallop the third one. It was said he seldom missed. That accounts for the great interest he had in major league baseball. He always kept up, and when we got our Atwater Kent radio, he never missed a world series game. He remarked how much he would like to be able to see just one in person sometime. I have thought many times how sorry I felt he didn't live long enough to see at least one televised.
It is hard to recall when Daddy was a well man. In the summer of 1918 he suffered a nervous collapse and had to be taken to a hospital in Durango. From then on he was never well. Not only did he have his nerves to contend with, but sick headaches and stomach problems. Many are the hours that Mother scratched his head with a comb to help ease or divert the pain. Who is to say what caused the collapse, but in reviewing his life at this time, the pressures could have added up. Just prior to 1910 he built the house on the hill. In 1910 or 1911 Aunt Anna became widowed, his mother was not well, and 1911 saw him sustained as First Counselor to L.H. Redd in the San Juan Stake Presidency. In 1912, when the stake was divided, he was made president of the newly organized Young Stake. His beloved mother passed away in December 1913, his eight‑year‑old daughter, Klea, was buried in 1915, and in January of 1917 he was elected president of the Colorado Farm Congress and was President of the Board of Education for nine years. In 1920, Mother wrote her father that Daddy was not only sick, but also in financial straits and didn't know how he would meet his financial obligations. Her parents had moved to Shelley, Idaho by this time.
In 1924, he was released as Stake President His health and finances must have taken a turn for the better, when in 1927 Aunt Dolly and Uncle Roy joined Mother and Daddy in their new Oldsmobile for a trip to Yellowstone Park. Daddy's fishing, until now, had been confined to trout in the mountain streams and suckers down Webber Canyon, so the large salmon he caught in Yellowstone Lake was sheer joy to him.
Following his stake release in 1924 and prior to being called as a bishop in 1928, he ran for the State Legislature. He lost the election, but his sorrow came in knowing he was not supported by his fellow church members whom he had served for so many years. His calling as Bishop was to build the chapel in town as the old Webber Hall had served its purpose. He labored at this task daily for two years, adding to another breakdown in his health. He was released from his bishop position when the building was completed in 1930. During all of this he carried on with his sheep business until the crash came and the depression hit, and then he lost everything. Trying to find something for his livelihood, he built two large chicken coops. One was in the orchard and a cobblestone coop was in the upper pasture, and so he went into the egg business. In his professional way, all of his hens were banded with a number, individual laying nests were built and he did what was called "trap‑nesting”. As a hen would enter to lay her egg, the door would close and she was trapped until someone released her and recorded her day's work. "She laid, or paid in the soup." The eggs were then sorted and cleaned with steel wool if necessary, candled, graded, and taken to market ‑- for 15 or 25 cents a dozen or less. In spite of his efforts, he eventually had to declare bankruptcy and lost his home and farms. In 1934, he and Mother, and what boys were still left at home, moved to the yellow house on the hill. Sometime during this period, Harry asked Daddy’s permission to quit school, during his high school freshman year. He was granted his wish and became a big help to them. Later he joined the CCCs, and most of his earnings were turned over to the folks for their support.
The war came and the three youngest boys, Ralph, Gene, and Clifford all joined the Navy and all returned quite whole. Gene was on the ship "McCook" that led the armada into the Beach of Normandy, This experience of having to watch the slaughter of our troops as they hit the beach, had such an emotional and physical effect on him that he was a few years recovering from it. He and Ralph were both married at this time.
As soon as the move was made to the yellow house, Daddy built a garage and a cobblestone bulkhead the length of the yard to shore up the ground to make it level. Grass was planted all around and flower beds started. Raising flowers was done scientifically, by testing the soil to add the ingredients necessary for each type of flower bed. This was their home until 1947 when they felt the need to be in town, more convenient to church and shopping. When they sold the place for $3000, Daddy had planted 125 different roses, climbers, hybrid teas, and floribundas. He truly had made the yard a thing of beauty. With their $3000 plus $1000 they borrowed, a lovely corner lot was purchased on the main street through town across the street from the Methodist Church. Daddy dug and hauled a river bed of rocks, and built them a small two story block house. Needing a place to live during the construction, he first built what they planned as a garage. Water and bathroom were installed and they lived very comfortably there for a year. Once again the grounds became a flower garden and were greatly admired by all who passed by. Often, the cross‑country bus would circle the block for the passengers to get a second look. At one time, they received this card which attested to its beauty:
In your town there is a rose garden that we passed by on the road to Mesa Verde. This garden is so beautiful that I consider it one of the loveliest sights in beautiful Colorado and that is saying something.
Would you mind giving this card to the owner of the rose garden so he will know how much we enjoyed passing by his garden?
Mrs. J. H. O'Hare,
2421 Dickey Place,
Houston 19, Texas.
Daddy's health did not permit him to enjoy his home for longer than four years. In January of 1952, he was sent by his doctor to a hospital in Denver for tests. On January 24, he suddenly passed away in the hospital. Mother was by his side.
Previous arrangements had been made with some of the family, that upon his death service would be held in his home. Uncle Lewis gave the talk. All of the children were in attendance, but me, Edith. Seattle was too far away to go to Mancos in January and again in the summer as planned, so I bowed to Mother's wishes that I wait. This was one of the hardest trials of my life, to miss my Daddy's funeral. We all wondered how Mother would ever carry on, as her life had been so dependent upon him. And it looked for a moment like she wouldn't have to. When the time came for her to gaze upon her dear Dave for this last time of parting, she slipped from the grasp of Leon and Hazel and slumped to the floor. Medical attention was necessary before proceeding to the cemetery.
Of course Mother's home was a great source of comfort to her, and she tried so hard to maintain the yard as Daddy had left it. With both Mother and Aunt Dolly being widows, they turned to each other for even greater companionship than before. They spent several winters in Mesa with Verd, her brother Clifford and his wife Debra in Pima, and enjoying the visit with Farmer Brown, Eva, and Lucille before his death. Their greatest joy came from doing Temple work there. In 1968, soon after Mother returned from a winter in Mesa, she fell. She sustained no injury but never seemed able to gain back her strength. We never told her she had suffered a slight heart attack.
The boys who lived in Mancos were so solicitous of her needs. Harry saw to her welfare, Leon looked in often and took her to Durango to her doctor and Gene provided her drugs and medical needs. Ralph lived the last year with her, which kept her from being so lonely. The last month of her life was spent in Mercy Hospital in Durango with Hazel and me driving from Mancos almost daily to visit her. Other members of the family visited as often as possible. Up to this time she had been able to maintain and live in her home, but with this illness we knew that time had passed. I said, "Mother, why don't you give up and go to Daddy. He is waiting for you," She answered, "Oh, I can't." She wasn't ready to relinquish her role as mother. She knew we still needed whipping into shape. She died in 1968 after a short illness.
As I write this, their posterity numbers eight living children. Dean passed away in April, 1977 of a heart attack. There are forty‑four grandchildren, between 75 and 100 great‑grandchildren and an unknown number of great‑grandchildren.
Because of health reasons, and later, due to impaired hearing, Daddy could no longer find comfort in active church participation. He accepted this as part of life. He once remarked how difficult it was on his father in like circumstances, because he could never retire his mind. Daddy kept up with world news, was good at crossword puzzles, and liked to play Sluff. He usually did not do too much discipline until Mother would call upon him. She tried to save him this much. He had the Halls sense of humor that was manifest on occasion. For example, one day as the family was headed to town in a very full car, we passed a couple who were on foot and Daddy called out "We just got room for you to run along behind." Another time he informed Verd that they wouldn't get stuck on that muddy hill if they just kept moving. We used to keep young calves in a pen in the barn and feed them milk but no water. One of the boys got curious and asked him how long the calves could live without water, and he answered "All of their lives."
Daddy was a good speaker and was called upon to speak at many funerals. Many of them were for his "gentile friends." This was very hard on him, but he did not enjoy it, especially the ones he had a hard time finding something good to say about. He remarked once that he could get out of it by beating them there.
What a great tribute we, as their children, can give them when we can say we never heard them argue or have an unkind word to one another in our presence. Mother truly was a good woman and a loving mother. Our parents were a long way from being perfect, but we loved them as if they were. Our father was a wonderful man. He was mother's stability and her strength. He fully understood his role in this life and he knew how he played it. His honesty and integrity and greatness was manifest at the time of his death. He returned to his Heavenly Father under no pretense or disguise. He will not be denied his rightful place.