Sept. 1, 1947
I am almost asleep and so tired tonight, but for the love of my dear little daughter-in law, Mary, I am going to try and put down on paper the story of my very common, uneventful and I’m sure, my uninteresting life.
I was born on April 14, 1880 at Granbury, Hood County, Texas. They always told me when I was small, that I was found under a big railroad bridge 9 miles west of Granbury. I wondered then just how I got here! But the truth of the matter is, I was born in a school house nine miles west of Granbury. My father and mother [George W. Wood 1845 GA – 1934 TX married Jessie Loucinda Cauble 1855 TX – 1923 NM], along with several other families, were on their way to Sweetwater, Texas, and were forced to stop for the precious occasion, and by this time they were used to such happenings as I was the tenth child, so they didn’t tarry long. In two weeks time they were on their way again, still looking for the ” Fritter Tree”. Well, with ten children to feed, they certainly needed to find it!
My father told me they only stayed a few years at Sweetwater, then sold what cattle he had left, which I think was a bunch of steers he had taken out there. They were about four years old and he sold them for two or three dollars apiece. What a difference in the price of cattle then and now! They moved next to Cleburn[e], Texas.
I’m sure my family moved several places, but I don’t remember all the moves. When I was seven years old [about 1897-8], they moved to Cheyenne, Okla. I was very young at the time, but I can close my eyes and just see the covered wagons being loaded up so we could start on the trip. I remember getting the teams ready for we had a team of mules which would kill little colts.
Daddy always kept them tied or in a different pasture. He always had a bunch of horses around and I remember the first time I ever rode a horse. Daddy always let us children ride the work horses to the fields and when it was time for them to come in to eat lunch, you can just bet I was on hand to ride to the house even if I had to walk a mile to get there!
One old horse, an old gray, was my special and his name was Gano. We drove him with old Baldy to one wagon and the mules to the other when we moved to Oklahoma. There was so many of us that we were hanging in and out of the Wagon! I remember how we used to raise the wagon sheet and peek out when we drove through towns. How Mother would say,” Lizzie, Birdie, Sallie, Johnie, Georgia, get your heads back in this minute! ”
We would for awhile but the temptation was always too great for us, we had to peek again!
One day when we were going through Weatherford, why there was a lot of Negroes going down the street and one of my older sisters called to the Negroe girl we passed, “ Hello, Snowball!”.
The girl replied, ” Hello fool! ”
How we razzed’ her !
We were weeks going to Oklahoma. Daddy and my oldest brother, David Napoleon [1871 TX – ?], whom we called Pole drove a bunch of horses. It seems like they took turns driving the horses and the wagon. Then a brother in law of mine [Andrew Franklin Caldwell 1863 GA – 1947 NM] drove the other wagon. He and my sister [Ethel] had left home the day they married a year before, and he had come back to help us move and show us the way. To the promised land, we thought! Two other sisters and their husbands [Lou Ella Wood married to Charlie Rash, Eva Ray Wood married to Frank Vosburg] were in Oklahoma and had already filed on claims, the who1e sum of 160 acres of land! It really sounded like a lot of land at that time.
Each day at noon we stopped to let the horses rest and graze while we ate lunch then we would go on perhaps ten or twelve miles before we camped. One day we stopped for lunch and somehow everyone got in the wagons when it was time to go, but no one thought to put in the tub of dishes that mother had packed for us to eat out of. We went down under a bluff to eat our next meal and the wind was blowing cold and it was a bit difficult to eat, so mother borrowed some dishes and knives and forks from some people. The next day when we passed through a small town, Daddy bought us some more. This happened somewhere over the Texas-Oklahoma line.
In a few days we saw our first Indians! Then in a few days more we camped at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. There was lots of soldiers and Indians there too. When we had started out from Texas, Daddy had a hundred pounds of Pecans, when we left Tolar. But by the time we arrived at Ft. Sill our Pecan supply was getting rather low! But Daddy gave some soldiers who came to our camp some anyway and he also shared with some Indians. I can remember the campfire and how the Indians looked as they sat there cracking Pecans. It seems as though it was only yesterday! I guess I was all eyes and ears, for I was very much afraid of the Indians.
We had an old mare who was always in the lead, and we called her the old Bell Mare as she had a bell tied around her neck. She was getting very poor, as all the horses were and winter was coming down too. To climax it all a huge snow fell on us when we were a hundred miles from our destination. We were forced to stay where we were for two weeks on a boggy river north of Ft. Sill and deep in the Indian country.
There was a Squaw man who lived there, (a white man with an Indian wife) and he would help Daddy drag up wood for our use. He had a dunn pony and he would drag up huge logs by his saddle horn while we sat by the campfire with our eyes full of smoke, and our backs freezing in an effort to keep warm.
MY brother in law, Frank Caldwell, was anxious to get home as my sister, Ethel was looking for the old Stork and he had left her in Oklahoma with only a fifteen year old girl [?] to stay with her. He had not planned on being so long on the trip, so he took a saddle horse and went on, being four days on the trip. There was many Indians close by but not many white people, so the Indians kept watch for him for days so they could ride and tell Ethel that the wagons were coming! They were very disappointed when he rode in alone and they did not see him!
We traveled on and reached my sister’s [Ethel] place in two weeks, just a week before Christmas. We had Turkey and all the trimmings for Christmas dinner and what a treat! I guess we were celebrating because we were in the promised land at last!
Ethel asked an Indian man and his wife to eat dinner with us, and they had a daughter with them, Their names was “White Skunk” which amused us all greatly.
But the most blessed event took place Christmas Eve night after we got there. Of course all we kids were in bed and when we woke up the next morning there was a tiny redfaced girl born to my sister!
They called her Katie Wynema [Katie Wynema Caldwell 1897 IT – 2000 NM], and my, how proud we were of her!
After that, things moved fast, mostly my Daddy’s things! We were always moving! It seems to me that we moved about fifty miles from there near my oldest sister [Lou Ella], near Texmo, Okla. Now, when I think of it, it must have been over twenty miles though it seemed more at the time. We lived there several years then moved about fourteen miles farther on, close to the Canadian River. Daddy filed on this claim but moved off and on it so many times I can’t remember them all.
When we lived at Texmo, I went to my sisters a lot, and it was there where I attended school for the first time. One of my neices just younger then me went with me and we had to walk about three miles to a little 14 by 14 schoolhouse made from Cottonwood lumber, and if it rained too hard we were forced to take refuge behind some haystacks in order to keep dry!
Well, we drifted from one farm to another until I was about fourteen, then we stayed on one place, the place Daddy had filed on, until I got married. I married when I was sixteen years of age. We had a school house about two miles from us and when we were not picking cotton or pulling corn we went to school at the Red Star School house which was used for a Church also.
One night when I was about fifteen my chum Nellie and I went to a church meeting and we arrived quite early. Soon two new boys came in and sat down, and of course we had to stare at them, for they were both quite nice looking. I remarked to my chum, ” Gee, that youngest one is mine if I never get him! ” She said, “The oldest one is mine.”
Surprisingly enough, they became our husbands in less than two years time.
They were boys who had come up into that country to work for a man on a ranch and a farm. So Bill Switzer [William Adolph Switzer ] and I were married Jan.21, 1907 near Angora, Okla. We were married in my fathers house and they gave us a big dinner and had a large crowd there. The next morning after we married Bill went back to his work on the farm at 6 A.M. as his month was not up yet, and the bride? Well, I went to the cotton patch and picked cotton all day!
I’II bet there hasn’t been many brides of a day who picked cotton all day! I think he worked about ten days after that but I didn’t pick any more cotton!
We then went to live on the claim Bill had filed on. Our house was very small, one room, half dugout. We had a small stove and a box for a cupboard and a small table. The bed was a pair of springs, the kind with a board around it, and they were suspended by four wires from the top of the house, so they would swing and sway. They hung in the middle of the room and they had a mattress on them. We lived there just long enough for him to prove up on his claim.
Next we rented a farm and moved on it, and we were only a few miles from my folks but quite a way from Bills. That summer we went to visit his folks near Thomas, Okla. We did not stay long with them the two times we visited them, but they were very nice to me. I never saw much of them then or in later years either. Bills mother lived until 1943 I think but his father passed away soon after we married.
We lived on this rented farm for three years and my first baby was born there. A little girl I named Kizzie Modean, Aug.28, 1908 I named her after my close friend Kizzie Roberts [Keziah Rachel Roberts, daughter of Christopher Columbus Roberts and Fredonia Lee]. In Oct.29, 1909 a boy was born to us which I named Paul David. Just after Paul was born we went to work for my brother in law near Hammond, and we had been living there about nine months when my husband Bill, took sick.
It was during apple time and we supposed the apples were hurting him. He quit eating them but still he was sick but he would not quit working. One daY he came in from work feeling very sick and he fainted. We sent for the Doctor and when he came, he told me that Bill had Appendicitus in a very bad way and would have to have an operation right away.
They sent for three Doctors from Elk City about twenty five miles away, but to us it seemed like a hundred! I used to go there with Bill when he took a load of broom corn or a bale of cotton and it took us all day to go in the wagon.
Well, the Doctors were to have been there by ten o’clock the next morning, but they got lost and didn’t arrive until four-thirty that afternoon! Then they told us it was too late to operate as Bill was too near gone. They finally did operate as the Doctor who had brought my babies into the world insisted they operate and try to save his life, but it did no good. He lived a few days after that and had very little pain, he simply laid his head back on the pillow and went to sleep. The joy of my life was wiped away in a flash!
It seemed like God had deserted me then, and I wondered what I had done that God should punish me so!
Kizzie was only two years and two months old, and the baby, Paul was only one year and twelve days old, and I was to have another baby in March and no husband to share my load. But the same God that made me suffer so, helped me to bear it.
I lived for awhile with one of Bills younger brothers to help me on our farm until I could dispose of what stock we had. We had very little money and the Odd Fellows had burried my husband, and Bills family and mine helped me pay the operation fee, and our good Doctor helped me too. His name was Doctor Frank Allen, a wonderful man.
March 30, 1911 our little boy, William A. was born. I was living with my father and mother at the time, and oh, they were so precious to me! But then, everyone was so good and kind. But I felt lost! No home at all, and three little babies and I only twenty years old. Even though my folks were good to me, I knew I could not make my home with them forever, not even until the children grew up. All my sisters had big families too. One sister, Sally, lost her husband before: I lost Bill, so she and I and our little children lived together for awhile.
My brother Dow [Archie Dow Wood 1882 TX – 1967 NM] who lived in New Mexico, wrote to me and wanted me to come to New Mexico and file on some land, then when I had proved up on it and it was mine, he would buy it from me and add it to his ranch. Well, it looked like that was the best thing to do, so someone gave me the money to go on, I guess my dear Daddy, but I can’t remember for sure. I took my little brood and started out. They took us in the wagon to Elk City [OK] and we took the train there.
Bill was only six months old and Paul was just old enough to get around and out of my reach. He simply would not stay in-his seat! The Negroe Conductors threatened to eat him and everything else to try and scare him into behaving but they didn’t have much luck! But when he saw them coming for him, he settled down a little.
I changed trains at Amarillo, and spent the night there. Then I took the train to Portales, N.Mexico, and my brother Dow and his wife met me there in their covered wagon. It was one hundred miles to the ranch and we were three or four days on the road. I guess I would have been frightened to death had I not been over the road before with one of my sisters, Della [Nata Della Wood] Roberts. In May of 1906 I went to New Mexico with her and she had three small children to care for, and Mama let me go along to help her. Her husband had met us in Portales also in his wagon. I spent three months with them and I had a wonderful time.
They had plenty of horses to ride, and then we rode side-saddle. There was quite a few young people there then but they lived a long way apart, but we would ride for miles to get together and we had lots of fun. We would go to the really big roundups and help the boys work cattle, and my brother in law let me go everywhere with him. That is where I met Kizzie Roberts. She was Della’s step-daughter and about my age and we had so many good times together. After about three months we decided to go back to Oklahoma and as Della was expecting a baby in October, we started back the 29th. of August in a covered wagon to journey to Portales.
We had waited too long to make the trip as Della got sick the first day out. We drove three days and nights with her suffering, (Later I knew just how much). We had to stop once in awhile and allow the mules to rest and eat grass as that was all they had to eat. About six P.M. we arrived in Portales. It was Sept. 1st. We drove into a wagon yard, threw Dellas bed down on the floor of a mans room, and in just fifteen minutes a little boy was born into this world! Little Keaton, and what a sweet baby. We went to town and bought a bedstead and put Della on it to rest.
The next day I bought my first long dress! Mr. Roberts thought my dresses were too short for a sixteen year old girl! I wore my new long skirt and blouse home on the train, but when I arrived home I donned my old short skirts again. This all happened just before I married Bill.
It was in Sept. of 1912 that I moved back to New Mexico to live with Dow and Jessie [Jessie Markley]. They had a little boy, Woodrow, and little girl, and we had quite a time with all five children. I worked so hard and tried to pay for our room and board. I did the washing on the board and cleaned house and cooked and tended kids. There never lived a better brother and man in this world than Dow was to me and mine, and I loved him dearly. I won’t tell of my experiences here as Mary has written them in her book, The Homesteaders. Jessie was good to me in her way too, but it really gets old, I’ll say old for the lack of a better word.
Living in the house with someone besides my family, was no fun, so I decided to move onto my claim that I had filed on, so Dow moved a small house on it for me and the children and I went there and lived alone. I was so afraid at night that I blinded the windows with quilts and stopped the keyholes with rags and even had the windows nailed down tight! I never knew why I was so afraid.
Once or twice I made trips back to Oklahoma to get the rest of my things. One time my youngest brother Cub [Foy Culbertson Wood 1895 TX – 1951 ?] and I made the trip. I had definitely decided to make my home in New Mexico and even thought I might get married again and stay there.
I got acquainted with Charley Loyd in a funny sort of way. One night my youngest sister Johnie, was going to a dance with Ralph Windsor [Claudus Ralph Windsor] of Knowles which was about twelve miles from us, and when he came after her, he brought Charley along with him. I would not let her go with both of them so Charley just picked up his overcoat and walked back to Lovington which was about two miles away.
Through Ralph, I met Charley again as he came to the house with him. He seemed very quiet and solemn and never talked very much. He was a handsome man with black curly hair and gray eyes. He loved my children from the first and they loved him. They would swamp him with questions, and I would wish he would stay home and mind his own business! But, he was so nice that I couldn’t run him off!
One day he left and went to Silver City, and Old Mexico and just traveled around. He planned to never return! He had given me his bed springs so Daddy and I drove to Knowles after them and tied them to the buggy and brought them to my place. He gave a lot of books to me as I loved to read. Daddy had bought me a buggy and a pony which I named Roan. He was so gentle and the children and I just loved him.
While Charlie was gone onhis trip he wrote to me quite often, and I missed him. One day he sent me a card with the picture of a pretty woman on it and he wrote on the bottom,” Birdie, this is you!”
I think I fell in love with him while he was away. When he came back we were together all the time, and I think from that day to this one, I have been a slave at loving him! I wonder why?
Later we were married, November 29, 1915 and as I write this to- night, it is our 32nd, wedding anniversary getting very close as it is the 23 rd. of November and Thanksgiving is the 27th and I am looking for all my children to come for dinner on that day and I can hardly wait to see them and my grandchildren! I think that if all of them are here for that day that my cup of J0Y will be running over indeed! For I have so much, so much, to be thankful for!
When Charlie and I married, we still lived on my claim, but Nov.7, we leased it to Dow, my brother, and headed west to make our home. My, what a trip it turned out to be!
The first day out Charlie rode back to town to vote as it was election day! About two days out from Lovington we camped out one night and the next morning real early, a little boy who was freckle faced and redheaded and about eight years old, came into our camp and asked if we had seen his saddle horses? That was the first time we ever saw Bill Zimmerman, but not the last that is certain!
The next night we camped near the Pecos River and the next morning everything was covered with ice, and it was misting rain and freezing as it fell. We had no breakfast as there was no wood. So the children stayed in their warm bed in the wagon and ate whatever they could find. We had a boy helping us as we were driving about ninety head of Mares and horses and 65 cows. That boy was about sixteen and lives here now in the same town with us and he is running a saloon here. Of course he is years older, we have been going in circles ever since! (The boy’s name was Julian Moody.)
We worked all that day and it was hard to get the cattle across the bridge of the Pecos and it was so cold! We succeeded about 4 P.M. that afternoon and about II pm we camped a mile out of Hagerman, and got our supper and we hadn’t eat’en all that day.
The next day Charlie bought Paul his first saddle and spurs, and he was one happy little boy! We cut across the country from Ragerman to a ranch east of Arabella and the mountains west of Roswell and we spent the winter there. We were snowed in most of that winter so we lived in the house with Ramp Eaves and his family on his ranch, and part of the winter we spent in the tent. Depended on the weather. The Eaves had a little boy and girl so the children had lots of fun together.
Once Mrs. Eaves, myself and all the children went back to Lovington on a visit and just before Christmas in 1917 we went to Roswell and bought some Christmas presents, then went home and fixed a beautiful Christmas tree for the kids and we had a wonderful Christmas that year.
That winter Hamp had a big dance at his house and everone in the country came to it and we had such a good time. Oh, how we enjoyed it!
The next spring we moved a little farther west on a ranch that belonged to Jim Taylor. We stayed there from May until July, then we gathered what cows we had and all the horses and tried to keep them alive until it rained. We dug a lot of Saewesta for them, but we still lost lots of cows and horses and calves, just not enough feed. We never did find half of our horses. We sold our cows to Mr Presilla and gathered our horses, loaded our belongings into a covered wagon and left for the western part of the state. We didn’t know where we were going but we were on our way!
We were near the Jicarillo mountains and had not had any water for two days, when the horses smelled water and ran away from Charlie and Paul to a tank at the foot of the mountains. They finally caught up with them and stopped them. Well, it was getting late, so we stopped on a flat about two miles away and camped. There was lots of Pinion wood there and good shelter. Charlie turned the horses loose that night but one he left saddled and tied up. The next morning every horse we owned except for the saddled one, had gone! So Charlie left eary to find them and didn’t find a thing but the work horses for hours. We had two burros hobbled out close by too, and that was when our troubles began!
Our work horses had given out the day before and we had barely made it to a camping place. They had gone without water so long, and had such a little to eat. They ate grass only when we camped at night. Well, we were getting very discouraged by the next day and Charlie said he would have to ride to Carrizozo horseback and bring back some oats for the work horses so they could gain back some strength. But he made another round that day and found the tired out stock horses and Paul herded them.
Charlie saddled up & took a pack horse and rode fifteen miles to Carrizozo for feed then couldn’t find any! Before he came back I had some inspiration! I had asked him if he thought we could drive the burros to the wagon and he said NO, why they couldn’t even move it. Besides he said we didn’t have any harness to fit them. As it happened, we had some small horse collars, and well, while he was gone for feed I took my axe and went to the woods.
I cut me some crooked cedar limbs and trimmed them nice and smooth and then bored holes through the tops and bottoms and the insides and fixed them together just to fit the collars, then the children brought the burros to me and we put the collars on them and a set of harmess out of strap chains, wires, bolts and what have you! We were quite proud of our harness but we still didn’t know if the burros would work or not.
It came an awful rain that day and the ground was quite soft so we had our doubts. The next day we persuaded Charlie to try the harness and burros out, so we loaded up, hitched them up and started out. I’ll never forget what a thrill I got when the poor little things stretched their selves out full length and the wagon rolled away! We drove them all day and crawled along at a snails pace it seemed, but we kept going!
When we got to the foot of the mountains we had to put old George, our big horse, to the wagon with Jose a burro and Charlie tied on to the wagon tongue with his rope tied to the saddle horn and helped us get to the top of the mountain. We were afraid to camp on top of the mountain as the timber was so thick, but could not get off the mountain so we had to camp. We put bells on everything we could and fortunately for us, we found everything the next morning.
And now I want to tell you how we got the burros in the first place. When we left Lovington, we were trailing a Buggy behind the wagon, and we also had some chickens and when we got ready to leave the ranch house where we sold our cattle, we traded the buggy for a spotted burro, oh, and traded the chickens too. Then Charlie found an unbranded Burro and picked her up for the kids to ride, and that is how we got Kitty and Jose. They became very precious to us before we arrived at our destination.
Well, the next day after we left the mountains we crossed a big open flat and were about three days going across it. Only one inCi- dent happened worth mentioning. I was driving along at a very low speed the second day and the sand was halfway up the hub of the wheels when I saw a Model T coming down the road. Well I began trying to get out of the road as far as possible and it was about all I could do as the sand was so deep. I finally got stopped and so did the Model T. There was a man, woman and three children in the car. The woman and little girl had big sunbonnets on. The man asked me, ” Whose outfit is this?”
“Charlie Loyds. ” I answered .
The stranger said, ” Well, that old son of a gun! I ought to go out there and drag him off that horse and beat him to death! I’ve known Charlie for years and years!”
He asked me where we were from. “Lovington. ”
” We are on our way there now! ”
Well, that was my first introduction to Johny Jones, his wife Lena, daughter Frances and sons, Stanley and Curry. We have remained friends for over thirty years and tonight we have a long distance call in for him at Holbrook, Arizona, and are still waiting to talk to him.
That day Charlie and Paul were driving the horses out about a quarter of a mile from the road so they could graze them along. We camped near Carthage, New Mexico that night. The next day we camped at noon just across the Rio Grande River at San Antonio.
Now I want to tell you what happened when I crossed the bridge there. It was a railroad and wagon, car bridge too. Well, I was still working the burros when I drove onto the bridge and not dreaming that a train was near! But when I got about half way across here came a big, old Iron horse and boy, oh, boy, did it ever look huge? Well, in my fright and haste to get across I pulled the Donkeys too far one way and got the wagon wheels between the iron rails and ties and couldn’t pullover till I got to the end of the bridge where the dirt began. The train came puffing along behind us and there sat the Engineer laughing fit to kill and I felt like killing him! I could have beat him to a pulp I was so scared, but I was relieved to get across the bridge! I had forgotten it by the time we stopped to eat dinner.
I drove on about a half mile and stopped and Charlie and Paul caught up with me so we camped for dinner. When the horses crossed the river one old Mare and Colt bogged down and Charlie just left her, but when we got started again, here she came with the colt. I guess she was afraid to be left behind!
We stayed at that camp for several hours and Charlie traded the boys mare off for a pony the kids could ride. They named him Billy. Then Charlie traded for another horse we called Bracho. Then he traded old Jack for’ another horse. We bought some feed and worked them from there to the ranch.
That night we camped between San Antonio and Socorro. It was the 23 rd. of August.
The next night we camped along the railroad east of Magdalena and the next night north of Magdalena. Charlie went to town to look around and see if he could find any land to lease but he didn’t find any. However he ran into Kate and Rastus Windsor, My neice that was born in Oklahoma the time I told you about. She was now married to Erastus Windsor, a brother to Ralph who was married to my sister Johnie. They owned a ranch west of Magdalena and were in town getting a supply of groceries and horse’ feed. We went home with them, then started out the next day heading for Quemado, a small Mexican town west of Magdalena.
We spent the following winter at Box Canyon which was located about eighteen miles southwest of Quemado. First we tried to live up on Fox Mountain but found out it was too cold in a tent and besides we found out that we were on someone elses land. So we moved back to Kate and Rastus’s place and they gave us a room of their house. It was an old adobe, and cold, cold. Box Canyon was well named as it was boxed in and dull and dreary and dark but we were thankful for a place to call home. We spent the winter with them and left in the spring of 1918.
Charlie went with Hamp Eaves about thirty miles west of us to drill or dig some wells and although they dug seven times, they couldn’t find any water. Charlie finally sent for me to come and help him, and about 35 or 40 miles from Windsors, North west, we dug in a place about fourteen feet deep and found plenty of water.
We were so happy to find water and soon went after the children and our belongings. We put up our tent June Ist, 1918 and filed on the land. Charlie made a trip to Magdalena in a few days and got an engine for the well. So we started a garden that summer and that was to be our future home for the next twenty four years.
We had a lovely garden that year and watered about a hundred head of cattle for Dan Mayes who had a cattle ranch about six miles east of us. We got acquainted with the Mayes family and liked them very much. There was Mr. and Mrs. Mayes, son Dan and his wife, Muriel and two kids. then they had two daughters, Zella and Helen and sons Bryran and Marion. We stayed friends for many years, and had lots of interesting things happen to us which Mary tells about in her book.
That fall we cut logs at Pinion Ridge and peeled them and built us a log house on the side of the hill. We chuncked it with mud and had a dirt floor which I wet down until it was hard and smooth. Charlie cut and hauled the logs and the children and I leveled off the side of the hill and peeled them. All of us worked to have a home.
From that time on we had quite a struggle to make a living there. I taught the children their A B, C’s and to read and write up to the seventh grade while we lived there. It was during the first world war and things were so high. Pinto Beans were $25 a hundred, and you could only buy three pounds for each person in the family. Onions were $25 a hundred and Flour $ 10 so we ate lots of oatmeal and cornbread and we never had much milk and sugar.
We made friends with the Summers family who had homesteaded about six mimes south of us. There was Mr. Summers, Tom, his wife, Minnie and their son Carmen, our Billy’s age. We were good friends for many years, until they all died.
In 1922 I went to Lovington to visit my father and mother and the kids went to school there for a little while. Mother was sick all that summer and I was glad I went to see her as I couldn’t go when she died.
Bill and I got so homesick that we wanted to get home again and I missed Charlie so much. Mysister and brother in law, Eva and Frank Vosburg who had a home and ranch in Lovington, took us home. It cost them $175.00 to drive 250 miles and to this day I haven’t repaid them for their kindness and goodness to me. Frank was into oil and they had quite a bit of money so I suppose they really didn’t mind.
After getting home that summer I made up my mind that my children were going to a public school. I worked awful hard that summer and got ready to move to school and that fall I went to Springerville, Arizona to try and find a job and I did. A job washing dishes at the Hotel and was to start work the 14th of Sept. We looked around and found a house I could afford to rent and move in at that time.
So the twelvth of September we moved from the ranch and couldn’t get the house and my job was gone too! The Hotel man had hired another dishwasher and my heart was broken for I really did need a job! I needed to send my children to school! I cried and I cried and finally went to see Mr. Wilson myself. I talked to him but he said he just didn’t need me. I cried and cried some more.
Good Mother Saffel talked to me and tried to comfort me, and her son looked for us a house. I was really blue but I found a house that was like a big barn! It was only $7.00 a month so we moved in. Charlie went back to the ranch and as it was Friday the children didn’t have to attend school until the following Monday.
That Monday I put out the biggest washing I ever did in my life! It was for Ed Miller arid his family of about seven kids at that time. Ed was a brother to Mr. Miller who owned the Long H ranch about twelve miles east and a little north of us. He had never married so kept Ed’s two sons by a previous marriage at the ranch sometimes. He had lots of cattle and money and I am sure he helped his brother and family a lot. Johnie, who stayed on the ranch a lot was a favorite of ours and often came to visit us. Harris, his brother, was more citified and stayed in town mostly.
I think I forgot to tell you that we had to ride twenty five miles to Salt Lake for our mail as that was the nearest post office. Ranchers hauled their salt from the lake for their cattle. Salt Lake was north of us, and about six miles due north of us lived the Goeslings, from Germany. They were monied people and had two sons, Johnie and I can’t remember the other one. They sent them to school at St. Johns, Arizona which was north west of us. We had lots of good neighbors even if they were miles away.
The Johnie Jones family I mentioned before lived on a ranch up on Fox mountain and we saw a lot of them too. Whenever a rancher gave a dance everybody in the whole country would come and that is when we did most of our visiting, or when there was a branding, we got together and helped one another.
Well, to get back to my story. On Sunday we went to Church. I talked to Mrs. Wilson, the woman who was going to hire me, and she said,” Oh, you didn’t go back to the ranch after all, did you? I want to talk to you after Church.” Boy, I started to hope. After Church, Mrs Wilson told me that she had to fire the girl who had been washing dishes and could I come to work for her on Monday? You bet I could! I was so happy!
I washed dishes for them for a $l.00 a day for a week and then I got Ptomaine poisoning and I nearly died. I had to stay at home in bed for a solid week! Mrs Wilson said I could come back to work as soon as I was able and when I got back to work she was sick, so Mr Wilson said if I would take care of his wife that he would hire another dishwasher, so I did for about a week but she didn’t get any better. She was a Morman and she called her Bishop to pray for her but she still didn’t get any better. Mr Wilson had every Doctor in the country with her, but she just didn’t improve. Mr Wilson decided to sell his interest in the business and move to a warmer country where his wife might get better so Mrs Smith, his cook, bought him out and she ran the business.
I stayed and cooked at the Hotel for Mrs Smith for nine months and earned $3.00 a day. It looked big to me. Then Mrs Wilson got better so they came back and bought Mrs Smith out and so I worked for them for four years.
Lots of things happened during that time. First Paul left home July 25, 1925, then Bill and John Miller left home and started working at Ft. Bayard where my sister Della and her family lived. Then Bill started running around first one place then another and I couldn’t keep up with him. Next Kizzie married Jess Windsor, a younger brother of Ralph and Rastus, and they went to live on a ranch close to Box Lake. Jess had been in the war and when he got home his brothers divided the cattle and money with him that their father had left them, so he had a good start. So now Charlie and I were all alone.
Charlie had been trapping and had saved some money and I had saved $900.00 so.we bought cattle with our money I quit my job and moved back to the ranch and in 1927 we bought our first car. A Ford pickup for $500.00 but it was always so hard to start that we traded it off. Next we bought a new Model A which was a very good car and lasted us for II years and 6 months.
It was July first 1927 when I quit work at the Hotel, then on January 10, 1928 Kizzie’s first baby was born, a boy they named James Monroe and called Jimmie. He was a healthy, pretty baby. He was born on their ranch. They had planned to take her to Springerville for the event but he came too fast.
Then April 25th our little girl, Wanda Lou was born on our ranch. We too, had planned to be in Springerville, but it didn’t matter, I got along fine even if I was thirtyseven years old. Charlie was beside himself with joy. He loved my children but Wanda Lou was his first and only child and I knew how he felt. I knew also that getting her through school was goin9 to be another story!
Finally in 1933 Kay and I moved to Springerville to put the children in school, but in just a month they took Scarlet Fever and we both moved back home again. Next we tried teaching them at home but had no luck. We then tried a Tutor but that proved no better. By then there was a small school at Red Hill so we moved there and the kids went to school for awhile. Charlie hated staying alone on the ranch and we hated being away from him, so decided to sellout. We did, in 1937.
We spent months looking around trying to find a place to settle down. Amarillo, Texas we thought, but moved to Lovington April 17, 1938 and decided to stay there. We had a nice rock house built for us and three rent houses and Charlie worked at the Base in Hobbs. What a joy it was to live there! No more carrying water and a real toilet and bathtub! You can imagine my joy!
We stayed there three years but Charlie wasn’t a bit well there so we sold out and moved to Utopia, Texas and our good friends Bill and Mary Musick also moved there and we had small ranches. It was beautiful country but we only lasted a year there. The Ticks, mosquitoes, Fleas and chiggers were terrible and I just couldn’t stand it! Besides it was too far from our kids to amount to much anyway! .
Bill and Paul both married in 1933. Bill married Mr Tom Summers neice, Mary, and they lived in Sanders, Ariz then and had a boy and a little girl, so we went to their place and unloaded our things and set about trying to find a place to buy. We went all over Colorado, Arizona and Nevada and couldn’t find a place that suited us. So eventually we went back to our old standby Springerville and spent a year there. Wanda Lou graduated from high School in 1948 (?). We moved to Deming, N. M. in July 1948 and bought a nice home there and had two rent apt. Wanda Lou and Charlie did the moving while I was in the Hospital in Albuquerque. Dr. Hannett operated on me and I was fine. Jerry, Kizzies second son brought me home.
Wanda Lou married George Darling and they had six children. Three boys and three girls and raised them in Deming.
When Charlie died I took him to Lovington to bury and then I sold out and moved to Lovingtgn and took care of my sister Eva Vosburg until she too died. In order to be near my kids, I sold out and bought a home in Tularosa and then when the kids moved to Los Lunas, I had my house moved close to them, Mary and Bill.
My daughter Kizzie had her name changed to Katherine Modean and we now call her Kay. She and Jess got a divorce and she married Sidney Fleming and they have been very happy togethere. When I got to where I needed to be with someone, I sold my home in Los Lunas and moved to Kay and Sids in Albuquerque. I have been happy with them.
I have been so strong and healthy all my life and I have so much to be thankful for! Love to all my children and grand-children.
P. S. Birdie Loyd died Sept. 26, 1980 in Albuquerque, New Mexico The funeral was in Lovington and Bob and I took Linda Ruth and her three oldest girls to the funeral. They got to meet so many of their Wood relatives. Mary and Billy lived in Utah and never got to come. Granny used to tell me, “Mary I love to dance so much that when I die, play a fiddle over my grave and if I don’t come out dancing, you will know I’m dead”. We saw her often in the hospital and she always knew us and asked about all the family. Her middle name should have been LOVE as she always thought of others instead of herself and we all loved her so much. Especially me and I always will. I miss her. I am happy that I have written a book about her life and others too that I lovee It is the best tribute I could pay to them all for all the love they gave me. Rest in peace, Birdie.
NOTE: This was hand written by Birdie Loyd and transcribed by her daughter-in-law, Mary Gentry. I have scanned it into a word for windows document so that all of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and anyone else can have a copy for their own. I wish that I had the hand written version as it would mean so much more. Her words will just have to suffice. I have made no changes or corrections to the text and, therefore, the apparent errors may be either typos or errors of the transcriber or errors of the author. I have not altered the wording so that it reflects, as much as possible, Birdies image. I take no credit for the origin or the transcription of the material.
JMW (Jim Windsor)