Leafy Irwin Fletcher Wilkins Moore (1897-1963)
A short history of Leafy and her family. This is copied from a typed eight page written history of her which is in the possession of some of her descendents.
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Leafy was born June 30, 1897 in Meeker, Colorado and died July 6, 1963, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her parents were James Oscar Fletcher and Louisa Virda Banta.
I was born in a little log house on White River, Utah. It was known then as Angora. I was the second child, having a brother James two years older. When I was two, another sister Ella was born.
When I was about four or five, we homesteaded a few miles farther down on the river. We lived there until I was nine years old then as my father had a contract to build a dam up above Meeker, Colorado, we moved up there for the summer. I will always remember how pretty and peaceful it was. While we were there my sister Irene was born.
In the fall we came back to the homestead where we went five miles to a little log school. This was my first year in school and we either went horseback or drove an old bay horse that was blind in one eye. His name was Frank and he was our pet. We rode him or drove him in the buggy.
There was sometimes nine or ten students at school or sometimes as few as three or four. Our first teacher was Miss Beaver. My brother and my sister Ella went to the same teacher. We were allowed to progress just as fast from one grade to another as we could.
When I was very young I can remember going from Angora to Vernal, Utah with my Uncle Mark Fletcher and his wife, to see his brother Lee. We went by buckboard (two seated buggy). This trip took two days each way, and we took along a camp outfit. We crossed the river at Jensen by ferry, and the horses were frightened and really hard to get onto the ferry.
In 1910, my mother had a baby boy, Grant. When I was thirteen my mother went to California for her health and left us all home with our father. One of our Aunts kept the baby. I seemed to be the cook and housekeeper at this time. My mother came home that fall and in November, she and we five children went to Florida to see if her health would be better there. My father joined us there for short times, and then returned to Colorado to work. We had only been there a short time when our baby brother died and he was buried there. We lived there three years.
We young people had spelling bees, and chicken suppers, swimming parties and dances, and had a good time in general. We also went to church there and to school two years.
There was an old colored man there that we used to hire to take us out to Wick Iva Springs in his cart where we swam and picknicked and had our parties. We would all chip in and give him two or three dollars.
We had a nice house there and I can remember going out in the backyard and eating oranges. There would be ripe ones and green ones and blossoms all on the same tree at the same time. This seemed strange to me because I was used to a crop all getting mature at the same time. We were all so surprised when we were able to pick roses on Christmas Day.
When we were ready to move back home, I remember the congregation standing and singing, "Till We Meet Again", and shaking hands with all of us. We went both ways on the train and I got sick both times.
We came back to Colorado in September of 1914 and we were all glad to get home even though we had prospects of a cold winter. My father died in November, just after we came back to Colorado.
We were going from Meeker to Rangely, Colorado and stopped at Fairfax for a dance. It was here that I met the man I was later to marry. He was tall and blue eyed and blonde and very good looking. He was working for my father at the time. We were married in February 1915, in Meeker. After the wedding we started for Rangely, he on horseback and me on the stage. The day after we got to Rangely, we got word that my mother had died. She was on the train on the way to California and died in Utah at Soldier Summet. We went back to Meeker on horseback for the funeral.
My husband was Albert Lovett Wilkins. I stayed at Rangely after my mothers funeral, with my Aunt Tena Kenny, while Bert went to Jensen and got a buggy and came after me.
We immediately started in to raise a family. A little daughter was born to us November 27, 1915. We named her Alberta Ruth. She only weighed four pounds. I remember one old fellow holding her at a dance and saying we would never raise her, but we did.
Bert farmed the first year and then he started freighting, Usually they had six horse teams, sometimes mules, always they pulled two wagons hitched together. He worked with his brother and father.
Next, we has another little girl, born October 1, 1917. She was named Ruby Lenore.
This was the period of the First World War, but none of our family was involved in it very much. After the war came the terrible flu epidemic. Our family escaped the worst of this too.
May 20, 1920 we had a little boy and named him Lavell Fletcher. The following spring we moved back to Rangely on a farm. Bert worked for other farmers, worked on the road, and in the oil fields. While we were still living there, we had another girl, named Lulu, born December 20, 1921. We lived there several years. I went to Jensen to stay with my sister Ella when I had my next baby, a boy named Paul Jean, born November 25, 1923.
We lived in Jensen for the rest of the winter in the little house by Uncle Joe Dudley, and the following spring we went back to Rangely. I remember on the way back camping in a tent when there was still snow on the ground.
We had a lot of enjoyable times during our stay in Rangely. On several occasions every one in the community would harness up the horses and put the whole family in the wagon and go to the river or the hills on a picnic. Everyone would bring something to eat and would sing and play till they went to sleep. The babies were put to sleep on the benches or on the floor.
We moved back to Jensen and lived upon Brush Creek about two years. It was during this time our sixth child, Helen Frances, was born on May 28, 1926.
I thought nothing of hitching up my own horses to the buggy and taking the family visiting and more than once I would take one or two babies on the horse and go horseback. Many times I hitched the team to the wagon and went after my own wood.
The older children went to school on Brush Creek that first year on horseback five miles. The next fall we moved to Jensen so they could go to school closer. Bert went to work at the Gilsonite Mines.
Doug Chew had taken me and Grandmother Wilkins to Salt Lake to take Ruth to the Children"s Hospital, because she had an absess on her hip and had to have an operation. This trip was one of my most unhappy memories. That was the day before paved roads. We would get stuck in the mud, and since I couldn't drive, I had to push. It seemed like we would just get out of one hole and fall into another.
We got back to Vernal and Bert was in the hospital. They operated on him the next day and he died the following day, March 1928. He had perforated stomach ulcers.
Lavell died the next August, 1929 of ruptured appendix.
In those days there wasn't any public health for dependent families. I had to work hard to support my family. I took in washing and done the janitor work at the school and anything else I could do. There were several people that helped me what they could. Uncle Grant Fletcher gave me a house that had to be moved from Rangely. Grandpa Wilkins and his boys went to get it by wagon after Uncle John Kenny had torn it down and marked it. Uncle Lee Fletcher paid for having it rebuilt.
Two years after Bert died, I married Travis Moore, and moved to Vernal. We met through mutual friends. We had two more boys, born September 1930 and August 1932.
Travis worked hard to support our large family. He worked for Utah Power and Light Company for twenty years. During these years we had a lot of company. On holidays and special occasions I would cook dinner for all the family and any folks or anyone else around the neighborhood that didn't have any place to go. We went on a lot of picnics and trips with just the family or anyone else that cared to go.
One by one the girls finished High School and were married. Jean finished High School and went into the Air Force. He was training to be a rear gunner on a big bomber when he was killed on a training flight. He was home for his twentieth birthday in November and died in December 1943.
We lived through another war and we learned of rationing of scarce articles. Two of my son in laws were in the service. The boy that Helen married was in the Army through most of the war. She met and married him just before he was discharged.
The boys graduated from High School and we moved to the Power Plant where Travis worked until he died. While we lived at the plant it was a favorite setting for parties and picnics, both private, church groups, and clubs. Travis enjoyed fishing and hunting and I along. I think the time spent at the power plant was the happiest days of my life, until Travis got sick. The children were all married and happier. We didn't have any worries and the work was easy and the hours good. Travis died at the Veterans hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 2, 1954, of cancer.
I went to Texas in November 1955 with some friends and spent three months with my youngest son who was stationed in Texas in the Air Force. When I got ready to come home my son took me to Dallas and I got on the plane for my first airplane ride. I wasn't too happy about flying but when I got to thinking about the hours it would take on a bus, I decided to try it. I was a little frightened about the snow and fog as we came over the airport in Salt Lake City, but as we settled lower we got below the fog and landed without mishap. My other son was in Salt Lake and I came on home with him.
I made another trip to Texas that fall to come home with my son when he got out of the Air Force. While I was there, a stranger in a strange place, I had to go to the hospital for a very serious operation. I had asked to have a blessing, as I had joined the L.D.S. church in 1954, so all the time I was in the hospital the people of the church checked upon me and visited me.
I moved back to Vernal in the house I had lived in so many years and at this writing in December 1957, I have six children (I lost two boys). I have twenty grandchildren.
Leafy died July 6, 1963, in a Salt Lake hospital, of a heart ailment. She was 66 years old.
Note: .... from whitedaisy.... I have intentionally left out the names of two of Leafy's youngest boys because they are still living.