MEMORIES OF WALLSBURG
by Elva Bigelow Carter
[Scanned into the computer by Stephen L. Rawlins in January, 1996 from: "Memories of Clyde A. Carter and Elva B. Carter", a booklet written by Elva B. Carter for Christmas, 1984, with the help of her daughter Myrna C. Laird, who typed and compiled it].
(Taped 6 August 1983 at the Boren Family Reunion completely by memory without written notes.)
As you have heard they called Wallsburg Round Valley at first, and it went by that name for a number of years. It was first settled by four families. One of these was the William Wall family, and years later they called it Wallsburg in his honor. I think one of the first things I thought was important in the settlement of these western valleys was water. The old home that Grandfather Boren built, (Jasper Boren) is built by the spring that was there. They had many scares by Indian raids. He had a whole collection of arrowheads he plowed up from his garden and saved. People, when they farmed or bought a lot, always had water. To know how to find the water they used to go out and cut a willow. I didn't have a willow but I went to one of the bushes and I found this forked one, and this is like they used. (A branch in a "Y,' shape.) They would walk along holding the ends of the "Y,' with the forks, one in each hand, with the one end in front. When they would come to where water was the front end would point to the ground. I actually saw this happen, so I know it works, and so most everybody had a well. When they would dig a well, they would have to put a platform over it and enclose it so animals or people wouldn't fall in it. The early settlers, most of them, would have a rope that went up in the top of it. It had a roof on it also, to keep storm, and dirt out. There was a pulley up there with a rope that would go up over this pulley, and then on each end of the rope would be a bucket. They would let one bucket down and fill it full of water and then pull it up and when they pulled this one up the other bucket would go down. The first one I remember on my parents farm had a pump with a handle on it that you could pump and the water would come out.
My parents had a farm up on the hill, and on this farm was a great big spring. They dug it out and it was quite deep, and it was surrounded by willows. In this spring grew the most delicious water cress. It would be tender and sometimes grew that high (twelve inches), and still be sweet and tender. You have tasted watercress, just short watercress like this, but it was not sweet. Water was so important because they had to do their washing. I remember my parents had a big boiler, a washer boiler, that they would put on the stove. It was about this big and this high with the lid on it (three feet long, two feet high, and about fifteen inches wide) and they would heat water in it. Then they would put the water in tubs and use the washboard. How many of you have seen a washboard? I'll bet there are some here who haven't even seen one. Then after they got the washing all done they'd have to hang it on the line with clothes pins to dry. After washday the clothes usually had to be ironed. They had to do this with a stove iron. My sister, Emily, had one. This is a stove iron that they used in those days. My land, how much does that weigh? About 10 pounds I'd think. The top of the iron would get as hot as the bottom so they had to take a pad and hold the top of the iron as they would iron the clothes. We have stood and ironed all day over a hot stove, to do the ironing.
Another thing I remember, everyone had wood stoves, mostly. In the fall my father would go up in the mountains, cut wood, bring it home and chop it up, and store it in the woodshed for winter He would take several days to do this. Then, when we'd do the ironing we'd have to build a fire in the wood stove and heat the iron hot enough to iron the clothes.
Older people used to wear front aprons. Nearly everybody wore an apron and they would change these aprons quite often.
Transportation was another thing that was a problem. Most people had a wagon, a buggy they drove with horses, and some people had to walk quite a ways to church. I remember about church. They used to have Sunday School in the morning and Sacrament Meeting in the afternoon. Sometimes those afternoons got r-e-a-l long. I know there was one man that used to pray and when he would pray it would almost seem like a sermon.
There was a little creek that went by our place and when they would baptize people they dug out a little hole there, deep enough so they could handle the baptism, and that is where I was baptized. This creek ran on down through the meadow About a mile and a half below there was a big hole (I don't know if it was washed out naturally, or whether it was dug out or what,) but that is where I learned to swim.
As it was said they had lots of snow in the winters. One winter I remember we had a lot of snow, I would imagine two feet, maybe, and it kind of melted in the day and then crusted over and you could walk on the snow. For about a week it was moonlight -- it was just about as light as day -- and we would take snow sleds and go up on the hill and ride down the hill clear down around the valley, walk up the hill and ride down. The whole town turned our for this. It was the most fun I think I ever had in my life.
People used to celebrate holidays, mostly the Fourth of July, the 24th of July, and Christmas. Usually they had a program in the morning, then lunch and in the afternoon they would have races and games and entertainment. One year they decided to go out to the Nickles Ranch. They had a program in the morning and then about one o'clock they had races and games for the children. At two o'clock they had a ball game and it was two teams who had chosen sides. All my life when I learned to play ball I usually was catch. I don't know how many of you remember LuLu Mecham but she was the pitcher. When I first started to play ball with her she could throw that ball so swift, and about the third ball she threw hit me right there (on the forehead) and just about knocked me out. I learned to catch those swift balls and we won a lot of games. We didn't have regular balls like they do now so we made them. We'd get a little rubber ball, wrap yarn around it real tight, and then sew it and that's what we played with. At first all we had was just a board to bat with, but that was really a fun game.
When we went to school and had recess, we used to play jacks. We had fine marbles and we used them to play jacks with.
They tell about going through Provo Canyon, and how dangerous that was. When I was young that road was so narrow that there was just a few places in the canyon where there was room for wagons to pass each other.
I think that's about all I can remember. I can't see to make notes, so if there's any questions you'd like to know about Wallsburg I'd be glad to answer if I can.