Summary

Birth:
24 Sep 1882 1
Noble Ozark Missouri 2
Death:
05 Sep 1978 2
Sep 1978 1
Pleasant Grove, UT 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Ross Solon McGee 2
Full Name:
Ross Mcgee 1
Birth:
24 Sep 1882 1
Noble Ozark Missouri 2
Male 2
Death:
05 Sep 1978 2
Sep 1978 1
Pleasant Grove, UT 2
Residence:
Last Residence: American Fork, UT 1
Edit
Birth:
Mother: Emily Lucretia Robinson 2
Father: Solon Huff McGee 2
Marriage:
Elsie Gifford McGee 2
23 May 1922 2
St. George LDS Temple 2
Spouse Death Date: 28 Apr 1976 2
Edit
Social Security:
Card Issued: Utah 1
Last Payment: American Fork, UT 1
Social Security Number: ***-**-6543 1

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Stories

Personal Story

Ruby Oklahoma

From a written memory...

While in, or near, Adair [Oklahoma], we [his fathers family when he was under 10 years old] rented a farm and had raised corn
and wheat and a few hogs and the like. I say we. Some of we boys
were pretty young at the time. But after all, there isn't one of
us lads can remember when we were too young to help with the
work that had to be done on the farm and around the house. With
six rough and roudy boys there was plenty to do. And we had a
most wonderful and patient mother to guide us in our work and in
our lives. ...

Our father and the older boys wanted to get land of our own, so
in the early Spring of 1893, I think March or April, we moved
about 30 miles east, near Vinita, Indian Territory, and located
on 160 acres of new land under the Cherokee rights. At that time
very sparingly settled, the nearest town of any Vinita, which
was 18 miles away. Our post office, 3 miles, Ruby, Indian
Territory. Our neighbors were scattered and far between. Our
nearest neighbors lived about three-fourths of a mile away. A
Mr. Webb and family. So our environment was mostly around the
home and home was in the making. At times it wasn't so easy sledding.

The house put up, the fencing of 160 acres and fixing for spring
plowing and planting our crops. All in a pioneer way. The older
boys did most of the work with the sod plow, and old "Tobe and
Mal", (a mule team). We had a few other small horses, but old
"Tobe and Mal" were the old stand-by.

With warm spring weather coming and the blooming of beautiful
wild flowers that were plentiful in that wide open prairie
country, it made things look very pleasant.

With all the work and chores there were to do, we, as boys, had
plenty of time for fun and play. By this time we had pretty well
surveyed all the country aroundabout. We picked out the best
"Swimming holes", as we would call them, for part of our
summer's recreation. Ice skating in the wintertime, etc. And as
time went on, some of the boys rated pretty good in swimming and
springboard diving. I mean as we became older.

Now back to some more work. With a pretty good crop of corn, it
had to be shucked and put in the crib which we had built during
the summer. We rasied sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and all kinds of
melons, vegetables and so on. With the fall work done, including
the cutting of the wild grass for hay, and with the corn put
away, and a few pigs fattening for our meat, we were all ready
for a hard, cold winter. We also raised sorghum cane and made
molasses, as this insured us pretty well for feed for our stock
and something in the way of food for ourselves.

Now there were other things for us to do, such as our winter
fuel. We had learned how to find coal, by the formation of the
rocks on the creek banks, where we would dig down from 4 to 6
feet and find coal with a depth of 12 to 14 inches. As time went
on and we became older, some of the boys got pretty good at
digging coal. When we would sell it we would get $1.00 per ton
on the ground. So you, the reader, can imagine how much money we
would make. But what we did get, we got the hard way.

... More later.

A sketch of My fathers family Part 1

Oklahoma


A SKETCH OF MY FATHER'S FAMILY
 by Ross McGee

Father: Solon H. McGee, born Nov. 26, 1853, Lowerville, Tenn.
Mother: Emily L. Robinson, born Aug. 14, 1855, Columbus, Miss.
        Married May 4, 1876, in Noble, Ozark County, Missoui.

From here we will skip over to the early 90's where you will
find our father and mother in Adair. Indian Territory, with the
following sons and daughter:

Ulyses Smith:    born April 7, 1877, Noble, Ozark County, Missouri.
Elwood D.:       born Oct. 1, 1878,    "          "          "
Wm. Henry:       born July 8, 1880,    "          "          "
Ross Solon:      born Sept. 24, 1882,  "          "          "
James Grover:    born March 31, 1885,  "          "          "
Joseph Carr:     born March 18, 1888,  "          "          "
Sally Margaret:  born May 5, 1890,     "          "          "
Calm:            born July, 1892 at Adair. Died January, 1893

While in, or near, Adair, we rented a farm and had raised corn
and wheat and a few hogs and the like. I say we. Some of we boys
were pretty young at the time. But after all, there isn't one of
us lads can remember when we were too young to help with the
work that had to be done on the farm and around the house. With
six rough and roudy boys there was plenty to do. And we had a
most wonderful and patient mother to guide us in our work and in
our lives.

At this time and especially in this part of the territory,
school conditions were very poor, It was about four miles to the
nearest school. Ulyses, Elwood and Henry put in about one term
at that school. The rest of us missed that term, because it was
too far to walk, So that was part of our lives in the wild and
wooly Indian Territory.
 
It was a common thing for us to hear of the small towns such as
Adair and others around the country having their banks robbed by
the outlaws, the Dalton Brothers and others. They had a regular
run in that part of the territory. The notorious Dalton boys
were stamped on everyone's mind for a long time. They held up
trains and banks as a hobby. I will have more say about that
later. The reason I mention some of these things is to give the
reader an idea of some of the experiences we had in our growing up.

Our father and the older boys wanted to get land of our own, so
in the early Spring of 1893, I think March or April, we moved
about 30 miles east, near Vinita, Indian Territory, and located
on 160 acres of new land under the Cherokee rights. At that time
very sparingly settled, the nearest town of any Vinita, which
was 18 miles away. Our post office, 3 miles, Ruby, Indian
Territory. Our neighbors were scattered and far between. Our
nearest neighbors lived about three-fourths of a mile away. A
Mr. Webb and family. So our environment was mostly around the
home and home was in the making. At times it wasn't so easy sledding.

The house put up, the fencing of 160 acres and fixing for spring
plowing and planting our crops. All in a pioneer way. The older
boys did most of the work with the sod plow, and old "Tobe and
Mal", (a mule team). We had a few other small horses, but old
"Tobe and Mal" were the old stand-by.
 
With warm spring weather coming and the blooming of beautiful
wild flowers that were plentiful in that wide open prairie
country, it made things look very pleasant.
 
With all the work and chores there were to do, we, as boys, had
plenty of time for fun and play. By this time we had pretty well
surveyed all the country aroundabout. We picked out the best
"Swimming holes", as we would call them, for part of our
summer's recreation. Ice skating in the wintertime, etc. And as
time went on, some of the boys rated pretty good in swimming and
springboard diving. I mean as we became older.

Now back to some more work. With a pretty good crop of corn, it
had to be shucked and put in the crib which we had built during
the summer. We rasied sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and all kinds of
melons, vegetables and so on. With the fall work done, including
the cutting of the wild grass for hay, and with the corn put
away, and a few pigs fattening for our meat, we were all ready
for a hard, cold winter. We also raised sorghum cane and made
molasses, as this insured us pretty well for feed for our stock
and something in the way of food for ourselves.

Now there were other things for us to do, such as our winter
fuel. We had learned how to find coal, by the formation of the
rocks on the creek banks, where we would dig down from 4 to 6
feet and find coal with a depth of 12 to 14 inches. As time went
on and we became older, some of the boys got pretty good at
digging coal. When we would sell it we would get $1.00 per ton
on the ground. So you, the reader, can imagine how much money we
would make. But what we did get, we got the hard way.

So time marches on. And the school season is coming. The school
term at that time was about 3 months: November, December and
January. The amount of cash the teacher would get depended on
the number of students. One dollar per month per student. There
were 4 of us to go that winter. We walked 3 miles to Ruby.
 
The winters were pretty cold and stormy. quite a lot of snow,
sleet, and wind. We would only have about three months of real
cold weather. Spring would come quite early. Wild flowers would
bloom out in March. So we rocked along through the seasons.
 
We became aquainted with all the kids in the country for miles around.

Two of our best sports were hunting and fishing. We just about
kept ourselves in meat with prairie chickens, ducks, and geese.
Ducks and geese would flock in there by the thousands in the
fall and winter, as it was a good feeding place and the ponds of
water were there for them to get to at night. We would build a
blind on the shore. The chickens had a gathering place on dry
ground. Just at daybreak they came to these places and we would
get them the same way. The game was plentiful and there was no
country law against hunting. We never tried to get more than we
could use. We would get them on the fly, too. and some of the
boys got pretty good at that. So time marches on and where it
stops nobody knows.

We had an increase in the family on December 28, 1894. A sister,
Luella, was born, making two sisters along with the six
brothers. That winter there were five of us going to school
under the ssame set-up as mentioned before. At the same time, we
were putting in plenty of time ice skating. We could knock along
at a pretty good speed, cut figure 8's, going at a high speed we
could jump 16 feet, and some of the boys got pretty good at that,
too.

Then again connected with what work we would have to do,
baseball was the big thing. Even though we had to go miles, we
would be there. And as time went on, some of the boys got good
at that, too. We always gave Ulyses the credit for being the
best ball player in our bunch. We had all the home games from
checkers to horse-shoe pitching and croquet. We played all these
games when we weren't going any place else.
 
As a rule, we had a rough element to grow up in. There was
everything from bootleggers to outlaws. They were ranging all
through this part of the country.
 
It was the summer of 1896. I remember we, with Tobe and Mal (the
mules), and the sod plow, turned over about three acres of
ground that had grass just about a foot high. We planted this in
watermelon and musk melon. The way we did it was to take an ax
and chop a hole in the sod (that could be one hundred yards long
without a break in it) and drop seeds in and step on them. That
Fall the melons were so thick on the ground you could hardly get
through the patch. I remember one afternoon when all us boys
were at home and a bunch of fine looking young men rode up to us
on fine lloking horses and saddles. They said, "Boys, how's the
watermelons?" We said, " We have a few out there in the patch."
"What would be the chance to get a few to eat?" asked one of
them. And We said, "Good!" So they tied up their horses and went
out to the melon patch. Of course, we boys sized them up one
side and down the other. We had been used to having all kinds of
people stop because we were on an open road, but we hadn't seen
many that looked just like these fellows did. They had such fine
hats and boots and spurs and were very well dressed. We thought
it looked very different for boys to be dressed sp nice when
they were just out riding around. We loaded them up with
watermelons. They were nice to talk to and to look at. They
asked us what they owed us, but of course we said nothing. They
gave us a dime or so and went on.
 
We found out the next day that it was the Dalton boys. Our
neighbor, Pat Coins' boys, told us. We and the Coin boys ran
around together and they told us later that the Dalton boys
stayed at their house that night and that their place was a
hideout for them but nobody knew it. But boys will tell sometimes.

To make a long story short, I will say that the Dalton boys were
killed just after robbing the bank in Coffeeville, Kansas, in
1896, just 35 miles from where we lived. That is, all of them
except Emmett, the youngest. He was eighteen years of age, He
slid off his horse, got away, and was never caught.

On April 22, 1897, another girl was born in our family and her
name was Mary Etta. That brought it up to three sisters and six
brothers. We were always very proud of our sisters, and I have
mentioned the names of each one of them in this story. It may
help someone in the long distant future to keep track. For one
of these boys may become your dad and great and great, great and
so on. Or one of these girls might become your mother or great
or so on.

...

A Sketch of my Father's Family Part 2

Oklahoma

SolonHuffMcGee_Nov14_1898_Labeled.jpg

At this point I think I should say something about the spiritual
side of our life. Our father and mother were of a very religious
nature, especially mother. She believed in God, that He heard
and answered prayers;and she wanted to believe in a God that had
body, parts and passion. As far back as I can remember, she
taught us these principles as near as she understood them. There
were several different denominations in and around the country.
Namely, Methodist, Baptist, Camphiltites(sic), Presbyterian and
Seventh-Day Adventist.

We went to a lot of the meetings. As the different preachers
came along, some would put on big revivals, shout, and carry on.
I think we boys went more for the fun of it than anything else.
The doctrine they put out didn't satisfy mother. She was wanting
The Church of Jesus Christ. Believing they couldn't all be
right, she told us that she had prayed to her Father in Heaven
to show her which one was right. We had a neighbor family by the
name of Homer and they belonged to the Reorganized Church (We
called them Josephites), a branch of the Mormon Church. Our
folks had heard about what was called the Brighamites, but knew
nothing of either one's teachings. This neighbor, Mr. Homer,
said his church was the true church of Jesus Christ and he would
have two of the Elders come to see us. It wasn't long until two
elderly men came to our place and they were made welcome and
they gave us their message of the gospel. But after all was said
and done, there was still something lacking -- The Authority.
Dad and Mother were both well read in the Bible, so they thought
they knew the way it should be. Mother seemed to like some parts
of this church; but, as I say, it didn't seem quite right. So
she prayed if this church wasn't right that someone with the
true church would be sent to her.

I am thinking at this point, knowing the father that Mother had,
that she had without any doubt read these words in the Bible:
"Knock and it shall be opened. Ask and it shall be given." And
in James, Chapter 1, Verse 5, it sayd, "If any of you lack
wisdonm, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not. And it shall be given you." Mother, I am
sure, believed this was for her.
 
Soon after, in the early part of September, 1898, Mother and Dad
had planned a trip to Ozark County, Missouri to visit with
Mother's people. We had been away a long time. It didn't take us
long to get everything ready. With a team and spring wagon, we
started on what we though at that time was a long trip -- 250
mi. All of us went except the three older boys, Ulys, Elwood and
henry. They had to stay and take care of things at home.
 
After we started out this day, it began to rain, and as we got
up the country further, it rained more and more. Finally we came
to the river known as Big Cabin. It was really big and
overflowing. This was close to the town of Vinita, Indian
Territory, and there were no indications of the river going
down, anyway not very soon. So we went back home.

We arrived home just after dark. When we drove up to the big
gate, the boys heard us coming and Henry came out to meet us. He
said, "We have two Mormon Elders from Utah staying with us
tonight." Dad said that was all right. SO we went in and met the
Mormon Elders. The two young men were William R. Palmer from
Cedar City, Utah, and Albert Kirby of Hyde Park, Utah. They were
both about 21 years of age. We explained why we were back so
soon. Dad said to the Elders, "Boys, after we have our supper I
want to ask you some questions." Elder Palmer said afterwards
that he knew what the questions were going to be, and that was
about Brigham Young and polygamy. They sat up to a late hour
that night, and by then we had almost learned to like them. The
next morning being Sunday, Elder Palmer came into the kitchen
and told Mother not to fix breakfast for them as it was the
first Sunday of the month and they would fast. And he explained
their belief as to that.

I might explain that before the Elders came to our place, they
had walked a long way that day and Elder Palmer had a very lame
foot. The last place before coming to our place, that they had
asked to say, was our neighbor, Mr. Webb. He told them that he
couldn't keep them, but he told them his neighbor's, McGee's,
sometimes took in travelers. You can imagine how thankful they
were when they arrived at our place and found the boys there
frying sweet potatoes for their supper and that they were made
welcome and asked to partake of the good supper of sweet
potataoes and bread and milk.

So, this Sunday morning Elder Palmer said to Dad, "My foot is
sore. What would be the chance to stay over for a day?" Dad told
him it would be fine and that we wanted them to stay. I think
the day was pretty well spent in asking and getting answers to
questions on the principles they taught. And they explained to
us about their mission and how they worked. They told us how
many Elders there were in that mission and that it was the
Southwestern States Mission, with Independence, Missouri, as
headquarters.

So early Monday morning they left with a friendly goodbye and we
invited then to come again. We told them to tell the other
Elders that they would be welcome when they were passing this
way. They walked away feeling happy with their stay at the
McGee's for those two nights and one day.
 
This same Monday we again started on our trip to Missouri. At
this point I will again go back in this story and say a little
about old Tobe and Mal, our faithful mules, and one or two other
things that happened.

I think it was the Spring of 1897, when we went out to round up
our horses, but Tobe and Mal, the mules were not among them. We
hunted the country over in every direction. There was plenty of
grass everywhere and we let our stock run out in the open
country. We would never go out but what we would hear of some
lead when inquiring for a brown and sorrel mule. I remember one
day Elwood and I had ridden amny miles. We stopped at a negro's
place and asked about the mules. "Yes, suh, I done seed them
very mules day befo ysetidy pas right heah on this very road
goin' that way." So we would hunt that down; and it went on that
way for a long time.
 
In our way of figuring now, we spent enough time in hunting
those mules to have bought a herd. We didn't figure in dollars
and cents in those days. It was the mules we wanted, but we gave
up. We found out afterwards the mules were stolen and driven
into Western Kansas that very night that they were found
missing. We needed another team, so Dad bought another span of
mules and we named them Zike and Ben. It was these mules that
took us back to Missouri. They could go just as many miles in a
day as we would want to ride. I remember the time when Ulys and
I were going down to Ruby with Ben, Zike and wagon. We left the
wagon, and riding the mules back home with the harnesses an,
Ulys was on Zike and me on Ben. I guess I did something that Ben
didn't like, for he started to buck and threw me off. As I fell
my foot caught in the side strap with a half hitch around my
ankle. You can draw a picture of that scene with old Ben going
at high speed and me hitting the ground every ten feet. With
the quick action of Ulys and his mule, they out ran old Ben and
grabbed him by the bridal bit and jerked him down. As luck was
with us, I managed to get my foot out, and I wasn't skinned up
very bad, either. As I have said before, we had been taught in
time of need to pray to God, our Father in Heaven, and that we
would be blessed. I'm sure I did that at this time.

Another scene I will mention was at a place called Homers Lake.
All of us boys were having a good time swimming and diving off
the spring board. We were teaching our little brother, Carr, how
to swim. We missed Grover. We knew he was there not long ago. It
was a big pond and about eight feet deep where we had seen him
last. While getting our bearings and in our excitement, we saw
him pop up (maybe for the last time) in the deepest place close
by. Quick work by Ulys and Elwood had him out on the bank. We
weren't scout trained in that sort of work, but with the
knowledge we did have and with a lot of time and work, he came
through okay. And again we were blessed through our faith. Time
goes on with other experiences.
 
Now back to our trip to Missouri. We arrived back at the place
of our birth, Noble Ozark County, Missouri; back to see Grandma,
uncles, and aunts. They were glad to see us. We had so many good
things to eat and had good times with our cousins and kin. We
had written the boys at home of our safe arrival. In the first
letter we received from them, they told us two more Mormon
Elders had been there. Father and Mother had told the folks
about the Mormons and Dad took the Book of Mormon and a few
other little books back there with him. But all they would say
was, "Beware of wolves dressed in sheep's clothing." Finally our
visit was over and our journey back home was a good success. We
were gone four weeks.
 
We were glad to get back home. We had all our corn to gather in
before school started. This being about the first of October,
school started in November. We had two thousand bushels of corn
to get in along with other things, and that was a lot of work.
The Mormon Elders came and went regularly and we enjoyed them
very much, for most of them were young fellows and full of fun.
But that was only part of it. They were very sincere in their
work. And we felt like we really knew they were servants of God.
I think that Mother knew right from the start that they were
messengers of Jesus Christ, representing the true church, as it
had been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the latter
days.
 
In November, 1898, in the little creek close by, Father and
Mother were baptized and confirmed members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think it was Elder Linton
of Nephi, Utah, and Elder Hoops of Arizona that officiated in
the ordinances.
 
After this was done, the next day or so the Elders went on their
way and as time went by other Elders came. I think by the time
winter and early spring were over and past, we had met and kept
every Elder in that Mission. I shall name them one by one:

     Elder Wm. R. Palmer             Cedar City, Utah
     Elder Albert Kirby              Hyde Park, Utah
     Elder Heber V. Harrison         Pinto, Washington Co., Utah
     Elder Arthur V. Lee             Bonaca, Nevada
     Elder Shade Boyce               Manassa, Colorado
     Elder Rueben Fuller             Thatcher, Arizona
     Elder James H. Anderson         Mt. Pleasant, Utah
     Elder          Hoops            Arizona
     Elder Samuel Linton             Nephi, Utah

And by this time they had explained the Gospel in its fullness.
We were going along with our work in about the same way, but the
course of our lives was being changed. We would go and hear them
preach when they held meetings. We would take them with us when
we went wild berry hunting and on swimming trips, although the
Elders weren't supposed to get in very deep water.
 
We had a very good crop coming along. It was on July 3, when
Ulys and Elwood were baptized. The rest of us were baptized on
July 24, 1899. From the information that we had of the West and
of the Mormon people, we were making plans and we weren't very
long in making up our minds as to what to do.
 
The Elders thought it was the thing to do, too. They would sing
many of their hymns. Elder Palmer would sing this one,
especially to Dad, "Think not when you gather to Zion, that
nothing but comfort and cheer is awaiting you," and so on.
 
But we decided to go West and establish ourselves with the
Mormon people. Inasmuch as all of us, from the oldest to the
youngest, were of one mind as to that, we weren't long in
winding up our affairs. We sold our cows, hogs, and a few other
things. We traded our crops off in the field. The land and our
rights to it has not been explained in this story, so I will
pass that by. We had the right to dispose of the improvemnets
such as buildings, etc. Dad thought it best to leave the whole
thing, thinking maybe sometime in the future there might be an
adjustment made. With everything taken care of and saying our
good byes to the Elders as they came along, we were ready to go.

On September 12, we loaded our belongings in what consisted of
two wagons and a buggy, or a light spring wagon. We had two
saddle horses which made eight altogether. So on we went.

...

Part 3

Moving West to New Mexico

On September 12, we loaded our belongings in what consisted of
two wagons and a buggy, or a light spring wagon. We had two
saddle horses which made eight altogether. So on we went.

The second day out, we were driving through Coffeeville, Kansas,
when two of the Elders saw us and waved us down. It was Shade
Boyce and Albert Kirby. They got into the buggy with Dad and
Mother and stayed with us until we camped and then stayed
overnight with us. Elder Boyce had told us many times before
that if we were to go anywhere near Manassa, Colorado, his home,
to be sure and stop and see his family. At this time he made dad
promise that he would.
 
Dad and Mother and the three girls, Sally, Louella, and Etta,
occupied the team and buggy. Ulys was the driver of one team and
I was the driver of Ben and Zike, which was the feed wagon.
Elwood and Henry, I think, were riding the saddle ponies most of
the time. Elwood was keeping the mileage as we were marching
along. Of course, Grover and Carr, (Tacky, as Dad would call
Carr) had their places, too. They were either up by the side of
Ulys or on the seat with me. So that is the way we rocked along
in Kansas.
 
Then we went through part of Oklahoma, then back into Kansas
again. That was a long stretch. Through Westermn Kansas there
was no end to space. For miles and miles and sometimes days, we
would see nothing but cattle and windmills. The wells along the
way were so deep we boys would throw a rock down and then wait
for the sound to come back and it would be a long time.
 
When we started on this trip, we pledged ourselves that we
wouldn't travel on Sunday. We kept that promise. And up to this
time we had enjoyed out trip very much. The weather had been
good. Our teams were in the best of condition and we weren't too
heavily loaded. So we really moved along at a pretty good speed.
We wouldn't drive very late at night, especially when we would
find a good camping place. Our motto was "start early and camp
early. Feed good and eat good." Hay and grain were cheap. Corn
was about 25 cents per bushel; hay was about 20 or 25 cents per
hundred.

One afternoon, I think it was in Western Kansas or the Eastern
part of Colorado, we were passing a big ranch house that set
back off the road quite a ways. We saw a lot of beef hanging in
a big tree in front of the house. We were a little hungry for
beef, so we stopped. Dad and we boys walked over to the house
and asked if we could buy some of the beef. There was an extra
big hindquarter hanging off to one side. The man said if we
would take the whole quarter as it hung, we could have it for 3
cents per pound. We took it, and it was the best meat we had
ever eaten. We could cut steak off of that as big as your hat.
 
At this point, we could begin to see the mountains, as I
remember it. The first big mountain that came into view was a
welcome sight. We thought we could make it to there by camping
time, but we were two or three days getting there. We found out
that it took experience to measure distance from a flat country
to the mountains.
 
I believe it was on a Saturday and we were on a road going due
West when we learned that the road to the right would take us to
Manassa, Colorado. That was Elder Boyce's hometown and it was 20
miles. We took that road. We made it there in good time and made
our camp on the outskirts of town. We camped by a farm house
which belonged to a Chandler family. They had a bunch of boys,
five or six of them , about our own ages. It wasn't long before
all them came out to talk to us, and their father, also. They
soon learned we were converts to the Mormon church.
 
We found out where Elder Boyce's family lived. It was no
surprise to them, as Elder Boyce had written them that we would
be there. He had that much faith in the pormise Dad had made to
him, that if we went anywhere near his hometown we would go and
see his folks. So Dad, Mother and the girls put us up with the
Boyce family and we boys stayed with the camp. Chandlers had us
turn our horses into their fields and said we could leave them
there as long as we wanted to.
 
The father of the boys had told Dad and Mother that the next
day, Sunday, was conference and that Apostle Heber J. Grant was
there. Brother Chandler, the Boyce's, Dad and Mother, and the
Girls went to conference. We boys figured we weren't fixed up
good enough for such an occaision. Dad and Mother had plenty to
tell us about it when they came home. They had met Apostle Grant
and liked him very much, and they liked everyone else they met.
 
Manassa was a small town and we had gotten acquainted with quite
a few people. By Monday morning they were making plans for us to
stay there. They said we could get a farm and they would help us
get work. They said we could do all right there, and so on.
Their crops were mostly hay, grain and potatoes. And it was too
cold there in the winter. (This was in the latter part of
October.) Soon we got our outfits together and again we headed
for the West. I don't think we knew exactly where we were going.
It was either Thatcher, Arizona, or Fruitland, New Mexico. So on
we went.

Our next town was Antineta. This was a pretty good sized town.
We loaded up the mule wagon with feed and food. I think from
here the road took us Southwest. We finally came to a Mexican, or
Spanish, town. This was the first time we had ever seen so many
Spanish people in one big body.
 
In going out of town we got on the wrong road. We were part way
up the mountain side when we saw about three wagons coming down
loaded with wood. We pulled off to one side of the road. The
Mexicans showed us that we were on the wrong road, so we took
our teams off and turned the wagons around by hand, because that
was the safest way. We could do almost anything when we had to.
By the time we got back to the town, it was almost camping time
(that is to camp early). The Spanish people wanted us to stop
and we did. Their houses were white-washed inside and everything
was so clean and nice.

Once again we started on our way. Everyone was feeling gay and
happy. As I remember it, we were still going Southwest with the
mountains to the North and West of us. Within the course of time
we came to a little place called Goodhope. Here we stopped and
inquired. We found out that there were two roads. One that I
would call North, going over the mountains, which would take us
to the San Juan River in New Mexico, and the other to Arizona.
Here we all went into a council. as we had done many times. We
decided we would go over the mountains. We had been told that
the road had not been used very much and at times it would look
like a sheep trail. But we thought we were used to such roads.
There weren't any highways anywhere that we had been in those
days. We had come across a good part of Kansas on roads that
hadn't been traveled on for weeks or months. So we were willing
to tackle most anything.
 
I don't quite remember just how long it took us getting to what
we thought was the top of the mountain. This night we pulled off
the trail about 100 yards in a nice clump of pine trees to camp.
It was getting quite cloudy, and I think Dad began to think and
realize the predicament that we might be in. About 2 o'clock in
the morning it looked very much like snow. We had heard and read
stories about getting snowed-in in the mountains. Dad wanted all
of us to get up and hitch up our horses to the wagons and get
over and down the mountain. The older boys and I think the
younger ones, too, said, "We can't do that." They said , "The
road will be dim and bad and if it does snow, we would lose the
trail." So we didn't move that night. But we started out early
after sun-up, if there had been a sun. It was still pretty
stormy, but we found out pretty soon it was hard enough to
travel in the daytime. We were three or four days getting over
and through and down that mountain. It did snow and it was the
first we had had. We went down hillsides that were so steep and
sideling that we would put ropes on the wagons and four or five
of us would hold the guy ropes to keep the wagon from turning
over. This was really our first experience in such rugged
mountain country. But we were going down and it was worth quite
a bit.
 
This night where we camped there was quite a lot of snow. We
spotted a big pine tree about 100 ft. long and three ft. thick
laying in the snow. We drove our wagon right along side of it so
everyone could step out onto the log. We made a big fire close
by. We were right at home in a little while, with everybody well
and feeling fine. The next morning we were on our way again.
 
During the day we came to another town, the first since we left
Goodhope. This was a Mexican town, also. Termirea was its name.
We loaded up with feed and food, which we thought would be
enough to see us through, as it was 100 or more miles to the San
Juan River from this town. There were two roads. One was much
nearer and we thought we could make it through. So we got along
down this trail about 30 miles and camped for the night. It was
already beginning to look bad. There had been no travel over
this road for a long time. The next morning we started out
again. All at once like a thunder cloud from a clear sky, we saw
a bunch of Apache Indians (there were about 20) bounding over
the hill to our left. They were on their ponies and all painted
up with feathers on their heads. Boy, we had never seen a group
of Indians like that, but we had read about them. I don't know
what the rest of the boys thought, but I would guess they were
like me, a little bit scared.

Dad was behind with his outfit and I think we figured this was a
job for him to handle. He drove up and quietly  walked around to
where we were and without any indications of fear. All who ever
knew Dad knew him as a fine man. He could make friends with any
race or kind of people. And right here and now he started to
talk and make signs as to where we were going and where we were
from. The leader of the band got down off his pony and started
making signs on the ground. Dad did the same thing. The Indian's
markings told him, "This is the Largo Canyon and it is something
like 100 miles to the San Jaun River. The road is no good. You
can't make it. Heap rain all washed out. Sand washes heap deep.
Nobody travel for a long time." Well, we felt like we were up a
stump. They said we could go back to the town of Termirea, which
was 30 miles back. We well remembered that piece of road or
trail and we didn't like the idea of going over it again. Then
the Indians told us we could go across the country to the East
and get onto that other road; that it would also get us to the
San Juan River but much higher up.
 
We decided to cut across. We traveled until a little late in the
afternoon and it was pretty rough going, so we stopped and began
to size things up. We had no road. We could see the roughs up
ahead and as the hills closed in, we knew we could not get
through. We turned around and went back and camped at the same
place we had stayed the night before. It was right here that we
decided to go down the Largo Canyon, even if we had to cut our
way through.
 
Up to now we had enjoyed our trip very much; not many hardships
as travelling goes. Our health had been good and we boys would
often sing the songs of Zion, such as "O Ye Mountains High" and
"Do What Is Right". Here's one that would ring out through the
night around the campfire: "Come, come ye saints, no toil nor
labor fear, but with joy, wend your way. And if you should die
before your journey's through, all is well, all is well." (How
the frogs and hoot owls must have enjoyed it.) So with this in
mind and the faith we had, we could easily get through this
undertaking.

On we went, cutting our way across the sandwashes, many of them
eight ft. deep and straight up and down. We ran out of
everything to eat and feed for the horses. But we always
believed that where there was a will, there is a way. I well
remember one evening just about dark, when we saw a light up on
the side of the mountain to the Southwest of our camp. We were
right down to the bottom of everything in the way of food. And,
by the way, we boys were very hungry. We had been rationing
ourselves on foot for sometime so that Mother and the girls
could have something to eat if it came to the showdown.
 
Now back to that light. Henry and I made a run for it. We took
with us an empty flour sack. By the time we reached it, it was
good and dark. There three Mexican sheepherders were getting
their supper. We quickly made friends with them and told them
the fix we were in and that we wanted to buy some flour from
them. They gave us a dishpan full of it and, of course, that made
us very happy. They had a plate of flapjacks or pancakes a foot
high sitting right by us. Boy did they look good! I guess those
Mexicans didn't realize how hungry we were, but we were thankful
to get the flour. So back to camp we went, wending our way
through the brush.
 
Now this is just part of our experiences going down the Largo
Canyon to the San Juan River. It took us two weeks to go less
than 100 miles. I'll never forget our first view of it. It was
early in the morning about 10 o'clock. It was a big river and
full of mushy ice. It was getting cold as it was along in Nov.

Part 4

New Mexico

SolonHuffMcGeeFam1903KirtlandNewMexLabeled1.jpg

Now this is just part of our experiences going down the Largo
Canyon to the San Juan River. It took us two weeks to go less
than 100 miles. I'll never forget our first view of it. It was
early in the morning about 10 o'clock. It was a big river and
full of mushy ice. It was getting cold as it was along in Nov.
 
Oh, by the way, I am just a little ahead of my story. Just
before we camped the night before, we met a man on a horse and
he had a pack horse loaded down for some sheepherders. He told
us it was six miles down to the river and there was a store  on
the other side. So Ulys and Elwood took the mules and buggy and
hit out for that store. They got back about 10 o'clock and by
the time we got through cooking and eating, we didn't feel much
like sleeping. We were really full.
 
Now, back to the river. We crossed over and stopped at the store
and got a few more supplies. From here it was 40 miles down the
river to Farmington, New Mexico. I think it was the next day,
late in the afternoon, when we arrived in Farmington. We stopped
at the first store on the north side of the street. It was an
old fashioned store with a board platform in front about four
feet up from the ground and with board steps going up into the
store. About the first thing we saw in the window was a big
picture with about 50 kids on it and with these words written
under it: "Utah's best crop."
 
From there, we headed for Olio and Fruitland. We got out west of
Farmington and camped for the night. I think it was on the
Laplata River or wash. So from there we had a mesa to cross
before entering the valley for which we were headed. We had a
long dugway to climb the first thing in the morning. From the
top it was about three or four miles across to where we would go
down. At the top of this dugway we had a good view of part of
the valley. The first big farm, 160 acres, stood out above
everything else. I will have more to say about that later.
 
We got down the dugway okey and went on down past this farm,
then down through Olio, now Kirtland, and to Fruitland, the end
of the trail. This was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon,
Novemver 18, 1899. Elwood's records showed we had travelled a
little more than one thousand miles. We had been on the road
sixty-one days, as I remember.
 
As I say, we had at last landed in Fruitland, the place we had
been striving to get to for a long time. And in no way were we
disappointed. We first stopped in front of a little store owned
by John R. Young. The first man we met was a man by the name of
Polk Pipkin and his father. Both were very old men, I thought.
Polk was 55 years old and his father was 75 years old. They were
converts to the church from Arkansas. John R. Young was a very
fine man and so was all his family. He had a bunch of boys, I
think. Several people came along to talk to us. Near as I can
remember, there was Wm. Black, he was the 1st counselor to the
bishop, and Ben Black, and Thomas Stolworthy, and a few others.
They soon learned where we were from and that we were converts.
Bishop Ashcroft was away at the time. He was over in Gallup with
a load of apples.
 
We went down by the river side and camped by Luther C. Burnham's
farm. He was a patriarch. He had whiskers down nearly to his
waist and he was quite old, but he was a fine looking man. He
put me in mind of the old prophets that we used to see on the
cards we got when we went to Sunday School back in the Indian
Territory. Henry and I got a job shucking corn at his place. It
wasn't long until Bishop Ashcroft got back home, he and others
came right down to see about getting us located. We got a little
place to move into for the rest of the winter. Well, so much for
that.
 
I remember the first Sunday School I went to in Fruitland.
Thomas Stolworthy was Superintendent of the Sunday School. Henry
and I went this Sunday. He said, "Now boys, we want you to come
all the time, and we won't ask you to do a thing that you can't
do." He was a very fine man and later on we learned he had a
wonderful family.
 
Time passed on and Spring came. It is now the year 1900. We had
bought that farm at the head of the valley, the first one we had
seen from the top of the dugway. It was the first of March when
we moved in. It was a beautiful farm to us. There were fruit
trees of all kinds, and it wasn't long until we had plenty. We
had a wonderful crop, fruit and most everything we needed, and
it seemed as though all nature smiled down upon us.
 
That Fall, I, with Dad, drove a four horse team with a load of
apples to Gallup, New Mexico, to sell. Bishop Ashcroft and a man
by the name of Hicks went with us. It took us about ten days to
make the trip, which was about 100 miles each way. Well, this
about takes care of our story up to the year 1900.
 
From here on each one may write his or her own story.
 
This is told in my own way from a memory of 60 and 52 years ago,
to whom it may concern and for the benefit of those who may come
later.
 
With best wishes,
 
Ross S. McGee

This story was completed
February 12, 1952.

Albert Kirby, born 10 Nov 1875 Hyde Park UT Died 25 Feb 1952 Hyde Park, UT

William Rees Palmer 7 May 1877 Cedar City UT died 1 March 1960 Cedar City UT

McGee Family Reunion

American Fork UT

The first one I remember.

 

Shows Ross McGee in suit and hat, then Elsie McGee as well as other kids and grandkids.

Continued Story of Ross Solon McGee after 1900

Compiled by Myrna McGee Smith

The Ross Solon McGee Story

The continuation of Ross Solon McGee's story after 1900. The McGee family had been living in Fruitland, New Mexico and at last bought a farm at the head of the valley. It was a beautiful farm to them with plenty of fruit trees and other good crops and they felt that nature was smiling down on them.

William James and Elese Schmutz Hunt began their life together on March 22, 1878 and were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Their children were Annie Elizabeth, born Jan 2, 1879 and William Albert born Sept 15, 1880 while they lived in St. George Utah. They then moved to Pine, Arizona where on Apr 10, 1882 their third child Martha Louise was born. Then between 1883 and 1888 Ida, Cecelia and on May 6, 1888, Irene was born.

In the spring of 1883 the people of Pine, Arizona built a fort and lived in it with all their livestock for several weeks to protect themselves from the Apache Indians who had threatened all the country until the troops from Fort Defiance defeated the Indians and took them back to the reservation.

Then the Hunts had to give up the home they had worked so hard for because they were asked to go to Tuba, Arizona. On Oct 10, 1892 another son was born to them and named Elroy.

On March 3, 1902 they left Tuba and let the horses lead the way and they traveled toward San Juan County New Mexico and finally arrived at Olio (now Kirtland). They finally bought a place in Jewett Valley with the $2,200.00 they had received from the sale of their property in Tuba, Arizona.

It was at this time in 1902 that the McGee family became acquainted with the Hunt Family. Elwood and Ross began dating their daughters Cecelia and Irene, and Ulysses was dating Matilda Palmer. During the next six years there would be a wedding every year for the older children.

On Oct. 11, 1904 Elwood and Cecelia Hunt were married in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of Harvey, Stella, Ruth, William Elwood, Charles Ellis, Richard, Clifton, Lawrence and Celia.

The following year on September 8, 1905, Ulysses and Matilda palmer were married in Kirtland, New Mexico. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple on April 12, 1912. They were the parents of Iona, Ethyl Ruby, Ray, Newell, Bertha, Erma, Glen, Wayne, LeRoy and a child Amelia. The correct order for her is not known.

On Mar 22, 1907 Ross McGee married Irene Hunt in Kirtland, New Mexico. They are the parents of Gladys, Golda, Russell, Elise and Solon.

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