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Edward Alma Torgersen - In His Own Words

Received from Charlotte Woten

Edward Alma Torgersen – In His Own Words

     I am Edward Alma Torgersen born April 10, 1905 at Kooshareem, Utah, down on the ranch where Rulon now lives except in the old house.  The folks lived in a house that stood at the place where Merrill Bagley lives now.  It burned down on March 12 and I was born on April 10th.  I was the 8th child of 15 born to our family.  Our old home was purchased from Tinker Sorenson.  The new house was built during the first World War by Joseph Nielson.  We worked hard and played hard and enjoyed many happy times growing up on the ranch.

     One time, my brother Sid, Ralph and Bert Sorenson and I went swimming in the Meadow Canal.  Snow banks were all around us but we had a January thaw and there was quite a hole open in the ice so in we plunged.  BRR! Cold wasn’t the half of it.  Sorensons were living in the Lest Brown place at that time. Tarval owns the place now.

     When my cousin Owen Bagley and I were just kids we took our mare Old Bess up in the hills to get some wood.  We hitched her to a tree and tried to get her to pull it down.  She began to stomp and snort, we wondered what was wrong.  All at once we discovered the tree had a nest of hornets in it.  She didn’t like them.  Funny we didn’t all get stung bad.  We had quite a time getting the horse unhitched from the tree.  We drew lots to see who did that.  Owen drew the short one so I loaned him my shirt to put over his head so he could get the chain and single tree.  He only got one sting on the lip.

     How well I remember the day my brother Rainsford left for the Army.  He put his arms around me and kissed me goodbye.  He said “be good to Dad”.  He was in Camp Lewis, Washington for 9 months then sent to France where a short time later he gave his life for his country.  He left a young wife, Netta.  It left a void in our lives and was a very sad time for our parents and all of us. 

     Arlie Hatch and brother Orson bought a shearing outfit together.  They called it “little wonder”.  When I was 18 years old I bought Arlie’s share and started shearing sheep.  I sheared for fifty years.  California, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana were the states I sheared sheep in.  My high tally was 204.  Most of the time I did work for sheep owners in all parts of Utah.  While shearing in Topenish, Washington our outfit was burned up.  We had to wait for repairs.  Our boss bought 1 ton of salmon from the Indians.  We ate fish for a week or more.  Fish I detest, so it was a trial—“eat or starve”.

     One time in Livingston, Montana, Coy Johnson was to bunk with me, but in the meantime he got plastered and never did come to bed.  In the morning Seth Taft came in and said “Ed, where’s Coy?” “I don’t know”, I said.  He looked in the john.  There sat Coy on the throne, been there all night.  One night Sam Fillmore and Elson Hall got on a binge.  They were coming back to the motel with the idea of waking me up but they threw their beer can through the wrong window and wound up in the cooler.  Ted was with me at that time.  Very enjoyable having Ted along.  He was a wool tyer for three years.  The first year the string cut into his hands and he suffered a lot.  The next two were easier.  Larry was with me one year.  He wasn’t old enough to work much but he was an awful lot of good company.  I enjoyed them.  Larry didn’t seem to get homesick until one day we went to a place where they had a baby.  He went out behind the shed and cried.  Dwaine was a tiny baby at home then. 

     Rueben and I bought a sawmill in 1945 from Reed Payne, Harold Sorenson and Leo Petersen from Glenwood.  Later I bought Rueben out.  We operated it since 1946.  My boys have all helped me.  Ted used the ratchet and Garth operated the steam boiler.  This was up in 7-mile.  We worked it up there for 7 or 8 years, then in John’s Valley one winter.  I traded it for a diesel motor.  Had to mortgage it and lost it.  I couldn’t handle the frost so I didn’t make any money out there.  Had a lot of experience.  Then I moved it to my place in Koosharem where at this time I am still operating.  The motor I have I bought from Mort Bagley.  All the boys are good with the power saw.  Noel can cut trees faster than a beaver.  They are all good to come and help me now with wives and families and I think they are pretty special all around.

     Noel, Rodney, Dwaine, Larry and I spent one summer cutting trees out on the Boulder Mountain.  We cut them for Dewey Woolsey.  One year on the Parker Mountain, Dwaine had a close call.  The wind was blowing hard.  It blew the tree in the wrong direction.  It came so close to him it took two chunks out of his back and the wind out of my sails, so cutting operations ceased for that day. We all knelt down and thanked our Heavenly Father that he spared Dwaine’s life.  He had another important mission for him, many more I’m sure.

     Noel, Rod, and Dwaine spent two summers with me herding sheep for Wayne County Co-op on Parker.  Two summers for Bagleys on the West Mountain.  That was while Noel was on his mission to England.  Garth went on a mission to Norway.  Rodney to Canada, and Dwaine to France.  We as parents were proud and happy for these wonderful sons and the good work they did for our church and still are doing.

     Going back to a special events in our lives was the birth of our only daughter, LaRee.  She was born November 27, 1939 in George A. Hatch’s old home where the café now stands (now operated by one of his great grandsons LaWayne Hatch).  Aunt Molly Hatch was our nurse.  Dear old neighbor Grandma Frederick was a great help with Ted and Garth at this time.  LaRee grew up looking like her sweet mother, a tom boy sort of.  In school she gave her cousin Deon Torgersen a licking over something at school.  She now does secretary work.  In California she met and married Dan Porter.  They have three lovely children: Carole, Steve, and Christopher.  She went to work at a bank down there, highly recommended.

     Ted operated a Service Station in Richfield then went to Arizona where he did well in the same business.  He came up here and had his appendix out in Salina Hospital.  He was home but a few days recovering and was going hunting rabbits with Dwaine.  The gun discharged, taking his life.  We felt the trauma of that for a long time.  His Mother was at work at the sewing plant in Richfield when we called her.  She drove up that canyon by herself.  What a tragic day.  Ted left three daughters, Teddy Ann, Cheryl and Wendy Sue.  They live in Arizona.

     All our sons but Ted served in the armed services.  Ted lost an eye while operating a station in Moab, so he didn’t pass, but Garth was in the Army, Larry the Navy, Noel in the Marines, Rodney in the Air Force.  Dwaine is in the National Guard at this time.  None of them shirked their duties to God and their Country.

     On February 8, 1935 I married Bea Frederick at Junction, Utah at the Frederick’s home.  She was a sweet natured, loving wife and mother to me and our seven children.  We were sealed as a family Nov. 30, 1948, a most special day in our lives.  Witnesses were Louis Hatch and Sisson J. Hatch.

     When we were 13 or 14 years old Roland Anderson and I decided we were going to Texas to be real cowboys.  We got to the hills east of the ranch, stopped a bit north of Hatch Canyon.  By then we were thirsty and decided to rest.  We rolled a few rocks and dawdled along.  Decided we were getting hungry also.  We headed down the hills toward Louis Hatch’s ranch.  Had a drink at the well, went on in the house.  His lunch was on the table, no one around, so we helped ourselves.  Headed back for our homes.  Louis didn’t get any lunch and Texas was still a long way off.  Wondered if he ever knew who ate his lunch.
     One day when I was about 15 years old, Dad sent Sid and I to Fish Lake to look for a cow and a calf.  Sid went in a buggy.  Dad sent me on a horse around the cow pasture so I wouldn’t go through town because he figured I would bum around.  Well, when I got over by the cow pasture, I ran into Willard Throckmorton.  I stopped and played around with him for a while and it was quite late when I got back to the lake.  Sid had been there for hours.  By the time we got to Hogsback it was getting dark on us.  As we got closer to home we met Mother coming up the lane with a lantern looking for us.  She had been bawling out Dad for sending us off like that.  But Dad had me pretty well figured out  he knew how well I like to play and kill time.

     One time Jake, Rulon, Reuben and I started playing poker.  We were playing for money and Jake lost his belt to me.  Dad came in, the party came to a screeching halt.  “No poker playing or gambling going on in my house.”  I had to give back all I had won.  Indians call Dad “Tatawap”. An Indian told Rulon it meant “strong”.  His worse cussword was “slew slaw”.  We didn’t know what it meant. 

     One time Rulon and I were coming from Montana where we had been shearing.  We stopped in Provo where we met Mont Manwell.  He was delivering Olympia Beer to different places so we decided we would try some.  We bought a keg and a case from him.  When we arrived home Dad and Reuben had just run off a batch of malt beer.  It was behind the kitchen stove.  He treated anyone who wished to a glass of beer.  Finally Mother go pretty angry about it all and began carrying it out in a little bucket and dumping it in the ditch.  Dad said “What if your chickens get drunk?”  Mother exploded and was pretty angry for several days.  She was Relief Society Officer and felt it was wrong thing to do.  That ended the beer episode.

     One time I worked at Park City building a road.  Had a team of 4 horses and a fresno to work with.  Alvin Helquist and I went to Susanville, California in the fall of 1926 to work.  No work there so we came back and went to work at Zion Canyon.  We worked there until March 3, 1927.  We came home the day my sister Nellie’s first baby was born.  Athalia Maydean Hatch.  In July Non Manwill, LaRell Anderson and I went to Yellowstone to work.  We worked there until September then came on down to Idaho Falls and picked up potatoes and hauled hay.  Then we came home around October 15.  We met Dad and Rulon taking the lambs to be sold.  Dad asked us if we had enough money to flag down a bread wagon.  Barely.

     I recall a snow storm we had on Mary 17th more than fifty years ago.  I was ploughing down in the swale east of Rulon’s corrals.  I had left the hand plough in the furrow.  The next morning all we could see was the curve of the handles, the snow was so deep.

     I was born on Uncle Al Bagley’s birthday.  He was Bishop of the Koosharem Ward at the time.  The folks took me to his and Aunt Stena’s home to get my blessing.  He gave me his name and blessing, Edward Alma.  They were wonderful people.

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