Lerona Hickman Vanderhoof's autobiography

Jesse Vanderhoof came from Montana and stayed at North Ogden all winter and I married him in the spring, April 5, 1871, I was 15 years old. We went to the Bitter Root, Montana, with him and took my little brother Survivor with me. They use to freight from Corinne with ox teams to Montana and trail wagons. That was the closest rail road station to Montana. We went up through Malad City, Idaho. There was just a few little log houses there then. We kept off the road as much as we could on account of the feed being eat off by the freight oxen and went up through Red Rock, Bannock and Horse Prairie and Medicine Lodge, Big hole, Rossers hole and down into the Bitter Root Valley. A lovely trip we had, the country was beautiful in its wildness with its tall pine trees and evergreens. I have saw antelope by the banks like sheep. There was all kinds of wild game there, the moose and the elk. The moose was large like a big mule only sloped down the hips giraffe like. The deer, the mountain sheep with their big horns curled around, the white mountain goats with their long white wool and little black horns. They were the hardest to get of any of the wild game. They could climb the mountain cliffs so easy. I could stand in our door and hear the men shoot and the dogs bark. When the water was low enough to ford the Bitter Root River we could look above our heads and see the ice marks on the trees made when the water was high. The rocks in the river were the size of an egg to size of a tub and when we would ford it the horses would slip and slide till you would feel right dizzy. I could hear the cries of the panther like mimicking a child and he (my husband) killed a bear just below the house knawing a dead critter. I didn't feel afraid, for my husband was a big strong man, weighed a hundred and ninety pounds and had traveled all the way across the plains from Michigan to Montana, lived there eight years amongst the tuffs, and then he come down and got me. He delighted in hunting wild game and killed all kinds of wild game animals. Our two oldest children were born there, one at Cowan's ranch across the river from Corvallis, the other at Minoe's creek up at Doolittle, I suppose the first white child born there. Just above our place was Swift creek. A man couldn't wade it, it would take him off his feet. This part of Montana was very beautiful so thickly timbered with fir and tall pine trees, quaken asp and cottonwood and the winding of old Bitter Root River through the valley and the wild Indians roaming up and down the valley. That was their happy hunting ground. They chased each other up and down the valley and had a battle just above our place. There was three tribes there, the Yatheads, Nerperear and Bannocks. Now they are off on reserves being like white people for they were nearly all half white. All my neighbors had squaws for wives and real pretty children and Lewis and Clarks half breed children were there, big red headed Indians. Sleeping Child the creek below was named that by the Indians loosing a child there. There was a big saw mill. A. J. Gurner says that is now one of the biggest saw mills in the West 1927. Asburry Plummer, a bachelor friend of my husbands, started to go to Arizona with a big band of horses and got us to go as far as Ogden with him. His horses took the epirootic and nearly all died in the mountains. He stopped off at Horse Prairie and we come on alone except an old bachelor, Jack Thrasher, that joined us at Bannock. He was going east to his sisters.

We started in July to come to Ogden, we couldn't ford the river any earlier. One of our best horses took the epirootic and died, and when we crossed the Big Hole River, the water was low and the banks were steep. The horses would pull the wagon to the top but couldn't hold it and they would back down and he would jump and put the brake on and encourage them and they would try again. At last he said "I guess we are hung up", and we felt pretty blue with two babies in my arms and a hundred miles from a living soul but Indians and we didn't know what minute they would come in on us, although they were friendly to us we had a fear of them. So we rested the horses and we tried it again. That time they pulled it up and he said look and the brake was on. We laughed then we felt so thankful. It was a two or three mile pull up the Big Hole mountain and when we went over the Medicine lodge, then we followed an Indian trail. It was very beautiful, tall pine trees, grass up to my waist and all kinds of bushes wild goose burry bushes, Sarvus berry bushes, Huckle berry bushes and a great many we didn't know, and I looked up in the trees and there was frog spinel and moss on the limbs and you could tell which way the current of the water went, dried and been there for years. I said to Jack, "it looks like there has been high water here" and he said "yes this country has all been under water once." We come down on Snake River, camped there for a few days and caught fish and traveled by the way of Fort Hall. Come on down through Weston and Cash Valley, got to North Ogden in time for fruit. Stayed at Mothers that winter of 1874. My sister Maggie married Richard Driscol in the spring. Went to old Camp Floyd and stayed with my father and oldest sister Sally Francis, come back in the fall and my third girl, Sadie was born in January. We bought us a little home half a block away with two little brick rooms and as our family increased built two more big rooms with upstairs and planted trees around it walnut and locus. We lived there long enough to see them grow large and beautiful. It was a lovely view of the lake from our upstairs window. We could see the trains coming up from Salt Lake City and they looked beautiful at night. North Ogden is built on the slope of old Ben Lomond, the highest mountain in the west and joins on the Wasatch mountain in the east. The hot springs on the west, the Lucine cut off from Ogden to the Promontory point across the Great Salt Lake, it was a beautiful view. We lived there for over thirty years, had thirteen children born there. One little boy died there, Gilbert Henry. My father died three weeks after my little boy died on Sweet Water, Wyoming. That was in August 1883. Having fifteen children in all, raised them all to man and womanhood but that one. The oldest ones would go out to work and help take care of the littler ones. My husband being a blacksmith and it not being a very large town, he had a blacksmith shop down on Washington Avenue. and that kept him away from the family too much. He moved it up on the place by the house and then he could work in the garden between times. We had twenty acres on the bench of alfalfa land and he always had his fancy horses.

"He always wanted to go back to farming and his health got poor and the older ones began to marry off and before Joe was five years old we sold out there and moved to Stone, Idaho and raised the last of our family out here. Warren the old one, May the next, Edith, Ester, Maud and Joseph. We bought a place of Phil Arbon partly broke up and I sure learned how to burn sage brush. A two roomed log house on it partitioned in four rooms. It was very comfortable, only in wet weather the Idaho shingles would leak.

We homesteaded 80 acres across the road in Utah and built us a nice frame house with upstairs in it and shingles on it that we fetched from Snowville. It was an easy place to live in, free range, free water, free wood, the hills abound with cedar or juniper. Fruit don't grow here yet horses can winter out here all winter, cattle can't. This is the sheep trail from Montana to the desert around the lake. The sheep-dip is on the Utah-Idaho line just above our place. I have seen thousands of sheep here this winter. It is a good hay ranch. The water ditch runs full length of our place, but alas they, the children, are all gone. They are all married and gone. We are left alone in our old age."