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If winter was enjoyable, then summer was pure paradise. With those long, warm days and a whole countryside to roam over with bicycling, swimming, fishing or just lying on the barn roof watching the clouds drift by. To tell all the childhood games in which we engaged would make a boring story but I will mention a few that may be entertaining.
One of the highlights of my childhood career was my first bicycle. Bill had earned some money of his own and used some of it to buy a brand new bike with a two-speed rear hub and a spring suspension front fork, having this new deluxe beauty, he no longer had any use for his old one, and so, he gave it to me. His old bike had seen better days, sure enough. He had gotten it from Dave Weller and I have no idea how many had owned it before Dave. The covering was all gone off the steel seat, it had no fenders, no chain guard and no brakes. But I was thrilled to have it for my own. The front tire had a bulge in the side that had to be wrapped with leather lace, twine, wire or anything that could be found to keep it from rubbing on the fork. After a few miles of riding, the wrapping would wear through, letting the bulged tire rub on the fork again so there would have to be a time-out to re-wrap the tire. Each time this would happen the tire would get worn a little thinner at the bulge. One day, about a mile from home, the wrapping wore through again and the tire went rub, rub, rub, bang! So the first expense on my bike was a new tire and tube. Bicycle parts could be ordered from Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogs so, as soon as I had saved a little money, I ordered a tire and tube as well as parts to repair the brake so I no longer had to put my feet up against the front tire to slow down. Next, I covered the seat with a piece of sheepskin. Then, one at a time, I bought new fenders. After painting the whole thing bright blue, I had a bike that I rode with great pride.
All of the boys in the neighborhood of my age had bicycles now. Marshall Hanson a half mile to the east and Duane McDaniel about a mile north. We would ride our bikes to each other’s homes and, very often, some or all of us would ride down to the canyon on the Smith River. There we would climb amongst the rocks or fish or swim in the river. For awhile, Virginia and Wallace Buckingham lived just over the hill from the canyon at the original Buckingham place, and they would sometimes join us to play in the canyon. There was a huge, water-rounded boulder in the middle of the river that we called Steamboat Rock. One day we were out on Steamboat Rock experimenting with smoking Bull Durham that one of us had gotten somewhere. I was sitting on the edge of the rock with the sack of tobacco in my shirt pocket when Virginia pushed me off. When I got out of the water and back onto the rock, the tobacco and papers were soaked so we spread them out on the rock to dry. The papers soon curled and shriveled into uselessness. As soon as the tobacco had dried a little, a puff of wind scattered it. So we smoked no more cigarettes that day.
Marshall’s older sister, Carol, did quite a bit of typing and had saved a number of old ribbons that she gave to Marshall one day. The next time he and I rode down to the canyon, he had some of the ribbons with him. All afternoon we looked for some use for those ribbons. We wanted to stretch them from rim to rim across the canyon but couldn’t come up with any way to do it. On the way home we hit upon the idea of stretching typewriter ribbon across the bridge at Newlan Creek. After doing that, we hid ourselves and our bikes under the bridge to wait for a car to come. Well, of course, the drivers had no way of knowing what that was across their path and couldn’t see it until they were close, so they would slam on their brakes to stop and then get out to look at it. We would sit under the bridge and snicker until they drove on and then put another ribbon across the bridge. Our fun ended, however, when Shorty Thune, the barber, came along. When he saw what it was he suspected there were some kids nearby. The first place he looked was under the bridge. He gave us a lecture on the danger in what we were doing. We got on our bikes then, and started on up the road. When he had passed us and disappeared over the hill, we turned and went back to the bridge. We stretched our last ribbon across it, and then, pedaled furiously toward home before anyone else could catch us in the act.
One hot, dry summer Newlan Creek was down to little more than a trickle. I had ridden my bicycle over to McDaniel’s one afternoon. Duane and I and Duane’s younger brother, Donald, went down to the creek seeking relief from the heat. There wasn’t even enough water in the creek for good wading. After sitting on the bank for awhile, wishing for a swimming hole, we hit on the idea of building a dam across the creek. The heat was soon forgotten in the excitement of dam building. Even though we worked like beavers, evening came before we had anything that resembled a swimming hole. Well, naturally, I was back over there the next morning and we attacked the project again with vigor. By noon we had repaired what had washed out overnight and had a fairly decent dam going. Duane’s older brother, Dale, came down a time or two and offered advice. But Duane, Donald and I did all the work. After a quick lunch, we were back to work. We didn’t know it, and wouldn’t have given it a second thought anyhow, but not more than a half mile down the creek Uncle Ned was trying to irrigate his meadow with the little bit of water that we were so busily impounding for a swimming hole. Along in the afternoon he came up the creek looking for the beaver dam that he presumed he would find shutting off his water supply. He was a little surprised at the type of beaver he found. Being a mild-mannered and patient man, he made no objection to the dam. He was satisfied that by the next day our dam would be full and the normal flow would be going down the creek again. We had a swimming hole of sorts there the rest of the summer but, of course, the high water the next spring wiped it all clean again.


Excerpted from “Wool Trompers”  by  J. L. Fuller

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While we were struggling against the winter at home, Daddy was at the Harris ranch facing the worst of it every day to get hay to the cattle. Every morning he and Cliff Walter would hitch the team to the bobsled and drive several miles in whatever kind of weather nature threw at them, then hand pitch the hayrack full of hay. Next, they would drive out among the cattle and pitch the hay off to them. This would be repeated several times before the short winter day faded into cold gloom.
Like I said before, winter was not always this way, and besides, there was always fun to be had if you happened to be a boy living in the country. When the snow drifted deep, you could dig caves in the drifts. And when it crusted hard, you could cut blocks of it and build igloos. Or, maybe you could take your sled to a hill and slide or go down to the river and skate. If you were old enough to use a 22 rifle, you could hunt jackrabbits. Oh, yes, there was always lots to do and the exercise out in the cold air was good for appetites. One cold winter evening I was returning to the house after doing chores. It was getting dark and I had used up a lot of calories since lunch. So I was already anticipating the supper Mama was preparing. She had taken an onion to add to the dish she was preparing and had dropped the skin into the fire in the kitchen range. The memory of the aroma drifting down to me on the cold, frosty, moonlit air is just as clear and real to me today as it was that night.
I have another memory from those times that has not dimmed with time but it is not nearly as pleasant. This memory is of Santa Claus. Santa Claus showed up outside our barn one day late in December. We were sure that he had been left behind when a band of sheep had passed by on the road. You see, he was a buck sheep, quite old, with horns that made a full curl. We named him Santa Claus because of the long, white wool on his face and because he showed up at Christmas time. The poor old fellow was feeble and either couldn’t or wouldn’t eat. We tried to feed him hay but he wouldn’t touch it; just stood there wheezing day after day. Finally, in January, he got so weak he couldn’t get to his feet anymore. With considerable effort, I got him on his feet but he just stood there with his head hanging down and his breath rattling in his chest. I decided then that the right thing to do was to put an end to his suffering so I went to the house for my 22 rifle. I returned to the barn and, after renewing my determination, put a bullet in his forehead. He didn’t even flinch. I shot again. And then again. By now I was feeling a sort of panic. I had, with good intentions, started something that I now regretted. Still, I knew I had to finish it somehow because the blood running from his nose told me that he was injured too badly for me to change my mind. In my frustration, I emptied the rifle before I realized that the reason for my dilemma was the fact the front of a buck sheep’s skull is just too thick and hard for the power of a 22 long cartridge. A quick dash to the house for more ammunition and one shot to the back of his head ended poor old Santa Claus and my heartbreaking dilemma. My memories of this event are every bit as vivid as they are of the burning onion skins but they are haunting memories.

Image result for ram sheepI didn’t take a picture of Santa Claus but he looked very much like this.

We all had a few chores to do. At the time, it sometimes seemed like an unfair burden but, actually, they took very little time out of our day. There was water and wood to bring in and chickens to feed and water. Sometimes there was a cow to milk and sometimes a few livestock to pump water for. Usually, I rather enjoyed most of the chores but there were times when they interfered with playing.

Excerpted from “Wool Trompers” by J. L. Fuller

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Newlan Creek School after it was abandoned

Newlan  Creek School after it had been abandoned for several years. The woodshed  is behind and the barn is beyond the woodshed.  The woodshed was for keeping wood and coal to feed the furnace and the barn was shelter for horses that had been ridden or driven to school.

Until 1934 the teachers either stayed in town and drove to and from the school or boarded with a family in the vicinity of the school. By 1934 the school on Spring Creek had been abandoned so the Newlan Creek School District obtained the little log school house and moved it to our school for a teacher’s dwelling. My father and Turner Hanson, and probably others, disassembled the building , numbering each piece, and hauled it with team and wagon. It was reassembled near our school house and put to use. Irene Karjala, my first grade teacher, was the first teacher to live in it. She lived there one term. Dorothy Lucas lived there two terms and that was the extent of its use as a teacherage.
After the half-term of school in 1938, the school was closed permanently and the buildings were sold. Daddy bought the teacherage and it became sleeping quarters for Bill and I. Virgil Holliday took the school house to town and had it remodeled into a house. My wife and I lived in it for a short time and it was the first home in the lives of both of our children.

As I said earlier, my childhood home was a small house. I have very few memories of our life in the original three rooms. Except for an incident here and there, my early memories pretty much seem to begin with the year that Daddy added the fourth room to the house. I am quite sure that this was 1933. He got the material for this room from the log cabin on the homestead of Pelick (Peal) Walter. Peal’s homestead had become the property of Alonzo Hanson and Daddy acquired the cabin from him. Daddy tore the cabin down and hauled the material home with team and wagon. This was quite a long haul since Peal’s homestead was probably about eight miles north, near what was known as Christ’s corner. Christ’s corner was a place where four sections of land cornered together and got its name because a man named, George Jacobson, lived there for a time, herding sheep, and often worked in the nude during warmer weather. This earned him the nickname of Christ. With these logs and materials, Daddy added a room onto the east side of the house that became our kitchen and dining room.
Our life there was quite typical of those times but far from typical of life today, a mere 54 years later. We did not have electricity, telephone , running water, gas, television or even a radio. We were deep into the famous depression of the thirties but we were getting by. We didn’t have politicians, bureaucrats, television news people and other do-gooders inflicting us with a daily dose of doom and gloom, so we just went innocently along our way, making do with what we had. A welfare program had been started but, then, it was called relief. It was not a blank check type of assistance that we see today either. About all it amounted to was an allotment of food, and sometimes, a little clothing that was given to families who were judged to be needy. Our father, being a proud man, would have nothing to do with it but our mother , concerned about a proper diet for her children, went to the relief office a few times and picked up some food items. Mostly what they had to give were raisins, prunes and other dried fruits. I really liked the raisins. We raised our own vegetables and kept chickens for eggs and, now and then, some meat. We also usually raised a pig or two. And, often in the fall, Daddy would get a deer or maybe an elk to supplement our meat supply. Most of the time we either had a milk cow or got milk from Uncle Ned. So we usually had enough to eat even if it lacked in variety. There were a few times when we were scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, but, thanks to John Coad, the grocer, for allowing us long-term credit, we got through those times.
Life was good there for a young boy but sometimes the winter storms made it uncomfortable for us. The part of the house that had been granaries was just light frame construction without any insulation whatsoever and no storm windows. The log addition was somewhat better but it had just a roof with no ceiling so there was no overhead insulation there either. During extremely cold weather the wood range in the kitchen and the heater in the living room would be burning full force and it would still be chilly back in the corners. With cooking and heating water on the range, there was always lots of moisture that would form frost and ice on the windows a fourth of an inch or more in thickness. Nail heads around the door casing would collect frost a fourth of an inch thick. At night, the fires would die down and, in the morning, there would be a layer of ice on the water in the bucket on the wash stand. The bedroom doors would be closed all day but, before bedtime, Mama would open them and fire up the heater to warm the rooms a little before we went to bed. She would heat sad irons on the stove and wrap them in cloth to put at our feet in bed. We would get into bed under a heap of blankets and quilts. I would get down under the covers with my head covered up and form a breathing tunnel from my face to the edge of the of the bed because the door was soon going to be closed and the cold would take over again. In the morning, there would be frost all around the opening of my little tunnel. It wasn’t always like this, of course, but such times leave vivid memories. It is just such memories as these that make me appreciate an indoor bathroom today. It was anything but a pleasure to bundle up and plod out to the outhouse in the middle of a frigid blizzard.
Another winter incident that I remember well took place in early 1936. It had been a nice day with the temperature around 40 degrees F. and Mama and we kids had gone to town. Daddy was working at the Harris ranch and so was not home. While we were in town, the temperature began to fall and we soon started for home. When we got home, it was already down to zero. I don’t recall how cold it was that night but, a couple of days later, the morning was so cold that Mama decided it was too cold for me to go to school. She and Bill decided it would be okay for him to go, and so, he got warmly dressed and went out. He looked at the thermometer before he left and called through the window that it was 60 degrees below zero. He was the only pupil to show up for school that day and the teacher took him into the teacherage, fed him hot chocolate, warmed him up and sent him back home. It was 60 degrees below for several nights and we had temperatures ranging from -20 degrees to -40 degrees for weeks.
I believe that was also the winter that we ran out of firewood. With Daddy away from home, that put us in a rather serious situation but Mama took the matter in hand. The chicken house was a small log structure so Mama and Bill began tearing it down and sawing it up. Since the sawing all had to be done by hand, this was no small task. But it kept us all warm. The chickens were moved to the little pig sty.

Excerpted from WOOL TROMPERS  by J.L. Fuller

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The 2015 Red Ants Pants Music Festival will feature 


White Sulphur Springs, the quiet little town with a truly western atmosphere will again be the site of the fifth annual festival by the Red Ants Pants Foundation. For complete information go to the website below.

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It was entirely possible for a teacher to have students in each of the eight grades in this one room, although there were usually some grades empty. Even so, the teacher had to somehow divide her time between several different grades and instruct one grade while, at the same time, keep the other grades occupied and studying. It was an opportunity for a fast-learning child to advance because you could always listen in on the classroom instruction the upper classes were receiving.

FULLER FAMILY Ida, Frank, Bill, Jim & Esther

Ida, Frank, Bill, Jim & Esther

During recess we would play games such as Steal Sticks, Pump Pump Pull-away and Crack The Whip.
My second week of my second year of school, the weather was beautiful, the way September often is in Montana, clear, calm, balmy days that called out to a boy to come out and play. Those were the kind of days when it was tough to have to spend most of the day in the school house and every minute outdoors was used to the fullest. When the teacher would call us in from recess we would delay as long as possible. On these Indian Summer days, we were often joined at lunch time by Clinton. Clinton was the older brother of Florence and Joe Walter. In these days of verbal hat dancing around and issue, he would be described as having a learning disability or a social disadvantage. After several years in school, he had gotten as far as second grade although he still couldn’t actually do first grade work. He had since been withdrawn from school but was taking Florence and Joe to and from school in the buggy. In bad weather, he would return home in the morning to spend the day there, going back to school in the afternoon to pick up his brother and sister. But, on nice days, he would often just wait around outside the school all day. On this particular day of the second week of school, we were eating our lunches outside se we could get in running and playing at the same time. Clinton had joined us as he often did and was in on the horse-play too. In the course of this, I grabbed Clinton’s hat and ran with it. He, of course, ran after me. When he was close on my heels, I fell. Being so close behind me, he also fell and landed on top of me. I felt a snap and a stab of pain in my leg and, somehow, knew that it was broken.
During the next half hour, there was considerable excitement and confusion because nobody there had any idea of how to deal with a broken leg. Miss Lucas  couldn’t  believe that it was broken and tried twice to get me to stand on it. Then it was decided that Clinton should take me home in the buggy. It would have been much better for him to have gone and got my mother to come with the car. But, as I said, everyone was excited and confused. So, he took me the mile and a half in the buggy, very slowly and very carefully and, I might add, with a great deal of concern about my comfort. You can imagine the shock to my mother when we arrived at home. On the way to town in our Gardner car, I knew that Mama was quite upset when I saw the speedometer at 45 m.p.h. I had never ridden in a car at that speed before.
Dr. O’Neal examined the leg and decided that he would have to get an X-Ray of the break in order to know how to set it. The only X-Ray machine in town, or in the county for that matter, was upstairs over the bank in the office of the dentist, Dr. A. P. Johnson. He was often called Drap Johnson, a name derived from removing the periods from Dr. A. P. My cousin, Roger Hanson, and his friend, Sig Quam, carried me on a stretcher across the street and up the steep stairs. After the X-Rays, I was taken to Aunt Mary Jefferson’s house where a bed had been set up for me in the living room. There the doctor set the bone in place and put a cast on my leg. After a few weeks on that bed and a few more on crutches, I was as good as ever.
There were some who wanted to blame Clinton for the accident but I never felt there was justification for that. Clinton was not very agile but a person who was could have fallen on me just as well, under the circumstances. Besides, it was just as much my fault for taking his hat and running with it. It was just one of those things that happened without warning or specific cause.

Excerpted from WOOL TROMPERS  by J.L. Fuller

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We were back home now but there was still furniture and other personal property over there to be moved home. In December Daddy borrowed two horses to put with Lightfoot and Ruthie to make up a four-horse team. Uncle Ned joined in with his team and sled and they set out for Duck Creek on the other side of the mountains. They got there without encountering anything unusual in the way of trouble and got the things loaded on the two sleds. They started home with the four-horse team taking the lead to break trail in the snow. The snow was quite deep over the mountains and the temperature was running well below zero. They got as far as Iron Springs in Confederate Gulch the first day and camped there for the night. It was so cold that they crawled into their bed rolls with their clothes on. Uncle Ned laughed at Daddy for putting his cap on with the ear flaps down to go to bed. They started again early the next day and it proved to be a long and trying day. It was bitterly cold and the snow was deep and drifted. It was hard going for the horses and, due to the uneven density of the snow, the sleds would rock and lurch. The sled pulled by the four-horse team carried most of the furniture which made the load quite high. This sled tipped over twice before they reached the top of the divide and had to be righted and reloaded each time. They finally got over the top and were nearly out of the mountains on their way down Benton Gulch when the sled overturned again. This was approximately where Jack and Helen Coleman now live and they were still nearly twenty miles from home. It was already late in the day. They left the overturned sled there and, with four horses hitched to Ned’s sled and leading the other two behind, they proceeded on home, arriving about midnight. The next day they went back with four horses and brought the other sled home.
The following year our sister joined the family. She was born at the home of Grandma Short in White Sulphur Springs. Bill and I stayed there with Grandma until Mama was ready to go home.
Two years later, in 1934, it came time for me to start school. I was starting first grade and Bill was starting fifth at the same school that our father had attended. But, we lived closer to it. For us it was a mile and a half by the county road but only slightly more than a mile across the field. We nearly always walked across the field but sometimes in the spring, when the snow was melting, the water would be running so deeply and swift in the coulees that we couldn’t get across. We would have to go by the road. One time when we had this situation the culvert under the county road at one coulee was plugged with ice and a lake had formed on the upper side of the road. On our way home from school, we stopped to throw rocks into the water and, on one throw, my mitten flew off and landed out in the water. We tried to reach it with sticks and tried throwing rocks into the water near it to make the waves carry it toward shore but it just kept drifting farther and farther away. It finally sank and was gone.
Our uncle, Lon Hanson, leased the field we crossed going to and from school and sometimes he pastured his bulls there. One spring morning two of the bulls had been fighting and the loser was coming down one of the coulees just as we were crossing through it. As soon as he saw us he started toward us. Bill had the good sense to decide that we shouldn’t  run so we continued walking at a good pace. The bull stayed at a walk too. We were up out of the coulee before the bull got real close. As soon as we were out of his sight over the rim of the coulee, we lit out running as fast as we could go and reached the fence by the time the bull came out of the coulee.
My first grade teacher was Irene Karjala. She married Neal Teague and was a ranch wife until Neal died. She later became librarian in town and is in that position yet at the time of this writing. My teacher for the second and third grades was Dorothy Lucas who is now Dorothy Mackay. My fourth year, the Newlan Creek School was closed and we went to school in town. The next year the school reopened for the first half. By this time Bill was in high school and was going to school in town. But Esther was in first grade so she and I both attended that half year. The other students that last half year at Newlan Creek School were, Marshall Hanson and Maurice Crabtree. The teacher, Mrs. Rankin, was from Jefferson Island over near Whitehall.
The school house was one room with a little cloak room on each side of the door. The main school room was probably about twenty feet square with a coal/wood furnace in one corner. On some of the colder winter days, the furnace would not keep the opposite corner of the room comfortable. If we left our lunches in the cloak room on the cold days our sandwiches would have ice crystals in them at noontime. Insulation and storm windows were almost unheard of at that time. The windows had shutters but, if they were closed, there would be no light in the room. (No electricity in rural areas at that time.) It was the responsibility of the teacher to keep the fire going in the furnace whenever it was needed, as well as supervising and teaching the children.

Excerpted from WOOL TROMPERS  by J.L. Fuller

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Cover  008 MILLERS  AND  FLIES is a story of heartaches and triumphs entangled with danger and hardship under a cloud of murder and persecution, spiced with the warmth of people helping people.

A young woman has who has spent several years running and hiding from a dangerous antagonist decides to stop running and stop him by whatever means is required. She succeeds in stopping him only to become a fugitive from the law and is back to running and hiding again. She has some harrowing and dangerous experiences but benefits from some deep and lasting friendships. While this is a stand alone novel, it has ties to four previous novels and the reader would get greater fulfillment and satisfaction by reading the others first.  They are, from first to last,  SOCKS,  MARTY’S MOM,  MISTER MARTY and MARTY’S TOWN

An Excerpt From The Book reads;

As she walked to his car she felt the right leg of her jeans to reassure herself that the knife was there. Pulling the door closed, she accused, “How can you possibly claim to be a Christian in one breath and threaten to harm a child with the next one?”

“Oh, you have it all wrong,” he hedged, “I did not threaten to do anything to that kid. I was only reminding you that there are dangers in a place like this. It wasn’t more than a half hour ago that you nearly got hit by a car yourself so you should realize that bad things can happen.”

Her hand went to the knife pocket and had the knife part way out as she snarled, “Why you snake! You’ve been spying on us all day long, haven’t you? Is that what Christians do? Does God forgive you for that too?”

All he offered for an answer was, “All is fair in love and war. I am sure you have heard that.”

Everything about this man was infuriating. His arrogance, his very correct speech and his twisted sense of morality. She felt sure that she could slit his throat without a hint of regret but the car was already moving quite fast so she slid the knife back into its pocket and began trying to think of a better plan.

The car had zipped along the highway for something like twenty minutes and she decided they had gone far enough so she told him, “All right, this is far enough. You said we were only going for a short ride so let’s turn around.”

Pointing to the instrument panel, he said, “See, I have almost a full tank so we do not have to worry. No, let us continue on for a while longer. It will be all right because it will not take us long to get back.”

That convinced her that he had no intention of taking her back and that she was going to have to find a way to stop him. Yes, stop him forever but she couldn’t see any way of stopping him without risking a wreck. She remembered how she had declared that she was going to put an end to this game even if it cost her own life but now she found that her own life was more precious than that. No, she had to be the survivor, somehow. Daylight was fading as they eased through the town that the ranchers had shipped their cattle from and the street lights were turning on. He didn’t stop there and quickly picked up speed again. She estimated that they had traveled at least a hundred miles when he slowed to turn off the highway onto a gravelled road. She supposed that this was where he was going to turn around but he didn’t! He resumed speed again and she made the decision that the time had come for action. At that point he reached over and took her hand. She tried to jerk her hand away but he had anticipated that and held her in a tight grip. She pulled hard in a downward direction away from the steering wheel and then suddenly reversed her effort to slam the back of his hand against the wheel. Moving so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to react, she pulled their hands up to where she could sink her teeth deeply into the base of his thumb while, at the same time, reaching with her right hand and putting deep scratches down the side of his face with her finger nails. While he was uttering profanities that she was sure were improper for a Christian, she jerked her hand out of his and turned the ignition off. She barely had time to pull the keys out of the switch before he savagely chopped at her arm with a closed fist, causing the keys to fly to the floor. He had been distracted by the struggle and had let the car drift off the shoulder of the road. He tried desperately to bring it back onto the road but it came to a stop with its front wheels over the edge and its mid-section resting on the shoulder. The engine was dead but the lights were still shining down into the ditch.

He made another grab for Jennifer’s arm but she evaded the attempt and swung the door open to jump out. He threw himself across the seat and slid out, head first, right behind her. She spun around to face him while sliding the knife up out of its pocket. In her haste, she failed to get a grip on it and it fell to the ground. She looked down to see where it fell but she couldn’t see it in the darkness. When she looked up again, he was getting to his feet and lunging at her all in one motion. Again, she evaded him but he was on his feet now so she had to run.  She ran down the road as fast as she could but she could tell he was gaining on her. She would always wonder why but there suddenly leaped into her mind a game she had played when she was a child. Using one part of the game, in one sudden move, she dropped to her hands and knees directly in front of him. She lost some hide on hands and a knee plus a badly bruised side where his feet hit her but he went airborne for six feet and hit the road hard. While she was on her hands and knees with her face close to the ground, she saw a rock about the size of one of Agnes’ muffins and she came to her feet with it in her hand. She stepped over to where Myron was struggling to his feet and slapped him on the side of the head with the rock. Hard!


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Every day our law officers put their lives in jeopardy as they strive to keep us safe. As a small token of appreciation we could make copies of this simple poster and display them in the windows of our house and our vehicles. Let’s do it now.

Right click on the star to get a menu and then choose “OPEN LINK IN NEW WINDOW”   In the new window, right click and choose “PRINT”

Officer Support






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From this point on, this story will be written in the first person style. Not with the intention of being an autobiography but simply because most of it will be first hand information and this style seems like the easiest way to put it down. Actually, the primary purpose of the remainder of the story is to leave future generations a record of what life was like for these Mayflower descendants during these years. For it not only was far different from the way the Pilgrims lived, but most certainly will be far different from the life of those in future generations.

Early in their married life, March 1925, Frank and Ida bought a small piece of land on which was a house, barn and chicken house, and made their home there for the next 22 years. This land was the south half of the Southeast Quarter of Section 30 in Township 10 North, Range 6 East and it joined the east edge of the 160 acres homesteaded by Frank’s grandmother, Margaret Blackall, in 1908.
Their first child, Frank William, was born at Bertha and Alonzo Hanson’s Riverside Ranch on June 17 in 1924. While he was a child, he was called Billy but that became Bill as he got older.
I made my appearance on the 24th of March in 1928 at a place three miles west of White Sulphur Springs which was known as the Hill Ranch. There is not a building left of that place anymore. The house burned down long ago, although it was there long enough for me to go to a couple of dances in it. The barn and other buildings are all gone now too.

FULLER FAMILY Ida, Frank, Bill, Jim & Esther

Ida, Frank, Bill, Jim & Esther

Then, four years later, on June 10, 1932, Esther was born at the home of our grandmother, Mary Short, in White Sulphur Springs. She was named Elizabeth Esther in honor of Frank’s sister who had died in 1924, but she was always called Esther.
For awhile, between the time of Bill’s birth and mine, Daddy worked for John Carlson at the Sky Ranch, far down Smith River next to Cascade County. During that time he and Mama and Bill lived in a cabin on the ranch, but after I came along, Daddy stayed in the bunkhouse at his ranch jobs and the rest of us stayed at home. He sometimes came home a couple of times a week and sometimes only once or twice a month, depending on the distance and the weather. At first, horses were his transportation but he soon got a Model T Ford and from that time on, he had some type of automobile transportation.
The house on the place my parents had bought consisted of three small rooms. It was begun by putting two granaries together with the end of one joining the side of the other. This was not uncommon at that time. Quite a number of small granaries had been built around the country for storing the anticipated bumper crops of grain but then, the dry years came and the need for houses outweighed the need for granaries. A small lean-to had been built into the corner where the two granaries joined, thus making a third room. With a double bed in this room and chest of drawers, there was little more than enough room left to walk around the bed. This was the bedroom of Bill and myself until 1944. Approximately 25 feet in front of the house was the well and hand pump. Out back was the typical outhouse.

Fuller Home  1926

Fuller Home 1926

In the fall of 1930 we left this quiet little home temporarily and moved to the other side of the western mountains to a little farm Mom and Dad had rented on the lower end or Duck Creek and northeast of Townsend. My earliest memories are of this place. One evening, at about dusk, Mama had lit the kerosene lamp in the kitchen and the room was reflected in the window. At the same time there was still enough light outside so that we could see some things near the house and we could see them equally as well as the reflected image of the kitchen. I got quite excited when the pigs walking by appeared to be walking through the kitchen. This would have been during the summer of 1931 when I was a mere three years old. Another time, Bill caught some trout in Duck Creek and brought them to the house and put them in a pan of cold water. Well, one of them had been caught just before he brought them to the house and was still alive. It soon began to splash and flip and flopped itself right out of the pan and onto the floor. There was an apple orchard near the house and one day, while I was playing out there, a squirrel began cutting apples loose and letting them fall to the ground. I did a lot of shouting at the squirrel with the idea that if my mother knew what was happening she would surely come out and put a stop to it. I was rather disappointed when she showed no concern.
Bill went through the first grade there at a little school a short distance down the creek. Up the creek, less than half a mile, as I recall, lived our nearest neighbors. During the year that we lived there, a friendship grew between us and the Campbell family that has carried through to the present time.
The farm didn’t show much profit so, in the fall of 1931, Daddy hitched Ruthie and Lightfoot to the sled and moved us back home. It was late enough in the season by this time that there was snow on the ground, which was the reason for using the sled. I remember a little of the trip over the mountains. Daddy was riding up front, driving the team, and the other three of us were in the back, snuggled down under quilts and a fur robe. I don’t believe that it was very cold but we certainly were cold enough. On occasion, Bill would get out and walk behind the sled and I wanted to do that too but my Mother wouldn’t  permit it. I didn’t  understand it at the time but, of course, I was too small to be able to keep up with the team and sled.

Excerpted from WOOL TROMPERS  by J.L. Fuller

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Elizabeth Esther (Lizzie) Fuller

Elizabeth Esther (Lizzie) Fuller

The four Fuller children all attended the Newlan Creek School. The school was located in the southeast corner of section 31 just a mile and a quarter south of where Marshall Hanson now lives. This made it just about two miles from the Fuller home. Many of the others going to school there rode horses or drove horse and buggy but the Fuller children nearly always walked to and from school. However, at times Phoebe would haul them in a two-wheeled cart pulled by one horse. The kids all carried lunches to school but, during cold weather, the teacher made hot soup for them with ingredients furnished by the parents. Ida and Ned both finished eight grades of school and Ida was doing ninth grade work in her eighth year. Frank finished the seventh grade and then went out and went to work. Lizzie was the only one to go on to High school but got in only two years of it before her untimely death. She died of pneumonia in 1924, just a month before her twenty-first birthday.
These four children did not live in isolation by any means. Just over the hill to the west lived William and Martha Buckingham who had two daughters and four sons. And only a couple of miles down the river from the Buckinghams there was the Walter family. Calvin and Sarah Walter  had eight sons and two daughters. Just a little farther down the river, Jim and Anna Bair lived with their two boys and one girl. A friendship grew  between the Fullers and these other three families that carried down through the succeeding generations and still thrives today. Another Walter family lived a few miles up Newlan Creek. Clint and Daisy had two boys and a girl. The time would come when a descendant of this family would marry a descendant of the Fuller family.
On the fifteenth of November in 1916, just about a month after her eighteenth birthday, Ida married John Short. John was the son of a hard-rock miner and had grown up in Castle, a mining town in the Castle Mountains east of White Sulphur Springs. He had taken a homestead on Copper Creek near  the foot of Sheep Mountain north of White Sulphur Springs. He had built there a sturdy log house and this  was where the wedding and celebration took place. Over the next sixteen years, three girls and two boys were born to John and Ida.
John and Ida’s fourth child was just nine months old when Ida’s brother, Frank, married John’s nineteen year old sister, Ida. Frank had been working on ranches for several years by this time and was an experienced ranch hand. His bride had graduated from high school and also had some experience as housekeeper and ranch cook. The wedding took place at the ranch home of Ida’s older sister and brother-in-law, Bertha and Alonzo Hanson. Frank and Ida had three children, two boys and a girl.
It was only two and a half months after Frank and Ida’s wedding that the Fuller family was badly shaken by the untimely death of Frank’s sister, Lizzie, as previously mentioned.
Ned stayed on the ranch, inheriting it after his father’s death in 1926. He added to the ranch in the early 1940’s by buying a section of grazing land on Hussey Creek, several miles south of the ranch. Ned never  married and the ranch was his life. He operated it diligently and successfully up into his eighties.

Excerpted from WOOL TROMPERS  by J. L. Fuller

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