Saturday, August 27, 2011

Willard Fredrick Rasmussen - Part Three

Willard wrote a short life sketch in his own hand.  Due to his lack of education and probably the many years  between that education and the time he wrote his history, his writing is very hard to read - misspelling, childish penmanship, sentence structure, etc.  Thankfully, Garth Rasmussen transcribed those few pages, otherwise I don't think I would be able to understand much of what Willard wrote. Plus parts of each page are very light, making the writing even harder to read.  Garth left a note at the end of Willard's story saying that he transcribed things the way they were written.  All words or phrases in parenthesis were added by Garth.  I sure wish Willard would have included the date when he wrote his life sketch.

The first story was originally on page 3 and page 2 was missing so we enter the story in mid sentence with the dog not going to let the cat (a wild cat or Bobcat) have the sheep.
was going to let him have a seep and the cat was determed to have one wheather are not and the cat was getting the best of the dog so I did (not) have my gun with me so I got a rock and hit the cat in a glancing lick and to my supprise he came after me and spring up at my face  at first I held my own but at last he bit me on the left ank(le) and my dog wouldent help me as he had been trained not (to) help as long the fight was to him but when I took a hand in it then Was my fight   as thing(s) turned a real exciting pitch  As the cat bit me on the left akle (the) cat found the (way to) hut (hurt) me   he cant inuld (?) to trmy (?) (try) and bit again in the Same Place but I was able to kick him in the stummack and While he was yet stunned I munueverd some Way to get my left foot on his neck and thenkick him to death With my other foot

   One time I come home frome the Sheep Camp and our Bishop spok(e) to me about me ging on a mission   That was the suprise of my life a I been out School qite While then and I Was certanly qite rusty  I doubt if I could pass a six grade examination.  Of all the thought that came in my mind Wich was meny But one that never entere(d) Was that I never thout of Was to Refuse  One that Was that the Church Was certainly getting scarce for meteral (material)   But my bishop Soone Put my Mind at Rest on that schore (score) By telling me that the lord Would use those that Would be used and ask me if I (would) be used  Of case (Of course) I told him that I would if the Lord could us me  and there (was) nothing I ever did in my life that brogh(t) to me so much Plesure and Blessings of the Lord that going on a mission brought to me
   I like lots of others had to go in the mission field to gain a testimony of truth  I and my Wife Was engage(d) befor I went on my mission  She Waited for me to return and If I (had done as She Wanted me to I had (would have) a history of my mission and life and Wouldent had to Wait till I had forgotten half   At about 14 or fifteen years ago I had new Monia (pneumonia) and azma and my Health hasent been back to narmal since  By (the) Way my Wife Helt(h) isent very(y) good either   I end this now
Sometime before his mission, Willard went to Wyoming to work along side his 2 older brothers David and Alma.  The oldest brother, John, had died of a bad heart in 1898 when Willard was 14 years old.  David and Alma were a bit rowdy, you might say.  In 1887 all three of the older brothers were arrested for cattle rustling and David served a term in the state pen.  According to Willard's twin sister Elizabeth R. Nash
David and Alma were in the rough atmosphere of the young unsettled West.  They got into the use of tobacco and liquor.  They even got into the cattle rustling business and spent some time out in the state prison.  When Willard went to Wyoming Mary (their mother) felt she would just as soon have buried him.  However, he did not stay long enough for it to hurt him.  he came home and went on a mission and she never had to worry about Willard again.
David Rasmussen 3rd from left
Brent Collett has a sketchy memory of  a story when Willard was caught in a blizzard. He was not in the safety of the sheep camp and had to kill a sheep and drink its blood in order to survive.  (I wonder how he was able to keep warm enough and not suffer from frost bite, or maybe he did.)

Willard broke his hip while on a sheep tour and didn't come into town to get it checked.  He always limped afterward.  After breaking his hip and developing asthma, Willard was unable to continue earning money as a sheepherder.  I don't know how old he was at this time.

More on Willard Fredrick Rasmussen

Janis Bigelow came over tonight to help me with the new group of pictures Brent Collett sent to me.  Being able to share pictures electronically is sure a blessing.  Brent sent 90 or so pictures, many of which had names on them but I didn't know which families they belonged with so I used and was able to group all but 33 into their respective families.   Janis was only able to help me with 2 pictures which leaves 31 pictures unidentified but I'm happy for any progress, plus we had a real good visit.

I'm including a picture that we didn't know the people.  The sad thing is there are probably people who have this same picture and hopefully, their copy is labeled.  But how do we connect with them?  I'm quite sure these women belong to the Jonathan Oldham Duke or William Harrison families.  All the other pictures that were in this group belong to one of those two families - both men are Inez Harrison's grandfathers.

I asked Janis to tell me a little bit about Grandpa Rasmussen.  She said that he was always kind but that he was a big tease and would make Janis and the other nieces giggle.  She remembers him standing tall and straight and always looking nice for church, with a jacket and tie - probably something he learned on his mission.  She felt like he had a very sharp, intelligent mind but she thinks he may have developed some dementia when he was older.

I've learned some things about Willard from some histories I've been reading.  His father, Mads Peter Rasmussen, died when Willard and his twin sister were only 3 years old.  Willard said, "I was too young to remember what father looked like."  The oldest son in the family was 12 and the youngest of the 7 children was only 6 mos.  Mads Peter left his two wives quite financially comfortable but a few people in the ward took advantage of their lack of knowledge of land laws and made some deals with the family that eventually left them very poor.  Even though Willard's mother, Mary, encouraged her children to do well in school, Willard was not able to enjoy the blessings of a good education.  He does say that when he was old enough to go to District School he had to stay with neighbors and he did chores for board and clothes.  When he wasn't able to finish school because there wasn't enough money, he began working with sheep so he could help his sisters with a means to go to school as well as help the family with food and other necessities. 

Willard's sister, Alice Bascom, tells in her life sketch that her older brothers had to work to provide what wasn't raised on the farm.  Work was hard to find, which made money very hard to get.  Most of the time people could only pay with produce.

Another sister, Elizabeth Nash, wrote a life sketch of their mother Anna Marie (Mary) Ahlgren Rasmussen.  In that sketch Elizabeth remembers when Willard was 11 years old he worked on a thrasher and earned their flo
1953 Scott, Inez, Brent, Arlene, Willard, Don; Mary in the back
Willard always herded on foot.  He had a long stride and a quick, easy gate.  His sheep boss told a man in Manilla that Willard could walk further in a day than a man could ride a horse in a day.  It was turned into a bet and lots of people got in on the wager.  On the longest day of the year Willard and the horseman  started out in Manilla at sunrise and when the sun set Willard was in Stienaker Draw and the horseman was still on the mountain.  Willard had walked over fifty miles (and probably not in Adidas, either!)   This picture of Willard at 70 years old gives you a very good idea of his long legs.

For their winter bread.  He hoed corn for John Kay and others making what little he could to help out.

Willard started working as a sheepherder when he was 14 years old.  He did other odd jobs for people when he could but most of his earnings came from tending sheep on the mountain.  It was a very solitary job and I imagine it could be quite lonely.  Janis told me that she had heard that some of the people he worked for (tending sheep) were not very good employers.  There were times when new provisions were not delivered and so Willard was left without food for days.  Another time a man came across Willard's camp on his way to town.  The buttons on Willard's shirt had fallen off and he had improvised by tying little pieces of wire through his buttonholes to close his shirt.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Do You Have Any Memories of Willard Fredrick Rasmussen?

I haven't posted anything on this blog for awhile but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.  On Aug 7 & 8 my cousin Duane came to visit.  I thought he had come to conjure up memories about Gpa and Gma Rasmussen.  I wanted to delve into his amazing memory and discover wondrous tales of sheep herding, temple going, and daily life but Duane had a different purpose which he accomplished.  Thanks, Duane, for listening to that still voice inside and following those promptings.  You brought blessings into our home in the form of bread crumbs leading us to . .  .  Well, we really don't know where the path will lead but the bread crumb was a helpful talisman on the path.

Willard & Inez Rasmussen
Another cousin, Alan came to visit us on Aug 12 -16.  During Alan's visit we accomplished quite a bit of genealogy and life story nuggets.  A cousin of both our fathers came over Sat. and enthralled us with stories.  Thank-you Janis for sharing a few of your memories.  I will be visiting Janis again soon, I hope.  Cousin Brent has 90 more pictures he is going to send that belonged to Gma Inez.  I'm thrilled.  Janis remembers staying the night with Gma after Edna went to work in Fielding for the summer.  She would help Gma milk the cows and do a few chores then stay the night and then help with chores in the morning before riding her bike back home.  For entertainment some evenings they would look through Gma's box of pictures.  I'm going to take my computer and pictures over to Janis so she can help date and label them.  Her memory is amazing, too.  Since the Lord saw fit to pour untold blessings upon my head but not a good memory, I am glad he provided me with good resource people who do have a memory.

Janis helped me date and label several pictures that Brent had sent earlier.  I have been working on those earlier pictures and have made significant progress.  I should just be finishing up with those before the next batch arrive.   BTW, the picture of Willard and Inez included in this post has no date -- any ideas? 

Alan had stopped to visit with Brent before coming out to my house and he had taken notes.  Alan and I went over those notes and I was bit chagrined at some of the things.   It seems Gpa was quite childish at times. When he lived with the Collett's shortly before his death, he would eat sugar by the spoonful and eat jam straight from the jar.  Uncle Vene had to put a stop to those practices.  Sometimes Willard would get mad and said he wasn't be treated right.  He took off down the street and Vene would have to go get him and bring him home.

I want to excuse gandpa's behavior because of his lack of education and the years of solitary work as a sheepherder.  He had a few near-fatal experiences up on the mountain that could have also contributed to his behavior.

Aunt Mary shared with Brent that Gma and Gpa did not have much in common, that they just sat and looked and each other.  She thought that if they were married in our time they may not have stayed together.

After living with Mary and Vene, they got an apartment around the corner.  Brent remembers one occasion when Inez went to Vernal to visit her sisters and Brent was left in charge of Gpa.  He was given instructions for "sailing the ship of state."   Brent burned the hamburger and Gpa wouldn't eat it.  One time Gpa fell on the lawn and broke his hip.  He got Brent up lots of times during the night.  Mary thought he was just being ornery.

When Gpa broke his hip when he fell on the lawn he was put in a nursing home because he was not a good candidate for hip replacement surgery due to his age and physical state.  He wouldn't talk to Inez or his daughters, Mary and Edna.  Willard died Sep 7, 1963.

The other day my brother Steve mentioned that Gpa lived with our family for a time when we lived in Lincoln.  I had absolutely no recollection of this.  I called my sister who is 5 years younger and she vaguely remembers that.  I emailed 3 siblings and only 1 remembered.  How can this be?  I'm not the only one with a bad memory and who was self-absorbed!

If any of you have little snippets of memory about Gpa or Gma please include what you remember in the comments.  I will be writing some more things about Gpa Willard in an upcoming post.  This one is already too long.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mary and Garth Rasmussen as Young Children

Garth, with bottle, watches as Mary feeds a bum lamb with a bottle.  Circa 1921.  I'm not positive but it looks like they are Grandma Almira Duke Harrison's house in Naples, Utah.

Second picture shows Garth and Mary.  Baby boys wore dress attire for couple years.  I can see some benefits to that method.  Mary is 18 months older than Garth.  Circa 1922
This last picture is Garth, Mary and their Uncle Heber.  Heber is the 10th child of Richard George and Almira Duke Harrison.  Born in Sep 1913 he was only 6 years older than Mary.  Almira Duke would have been 47 years old when Heber was born.  Heber is Mary and Garth's mother, Inez's brother.  Inez was the oldest sibling and Heber was the youngest.