A.C. Peterson Life History part 3

Mother takes good care of family

Mother was a good financial manager, so we got along quite well.  Father had a good farm, some stock in the Gunnison boo__ Stone and also in theRichfieldboo__ Stone, some cattle in the cooperative herd so we got along without any suffering.  In the town we owned two lots on a half block upon which we grew fruit and garden stuff to care for our wants.  Mother had a good flock of chickens and several good cows and raised enough hogs to supply our needs.

Recall of my father in one instance

I can recall many of these scenes of child-hood and how happy we seemed to be.  There is one time when it seems to me that I can recall seeing my father.  It was in the early spring before his death.  He was plowing a ditch with a yoke of oxen at the north end of our city lots.  I wanted to go up where he was and Mother said I could if I would put on an old coat I had to keep me warm.  I did not like the coat as it was patch and the color had faded out so I refused to wear it, but continued to tease Mother to let me go so she became a little provoked at me and put the coat on by force, and shook me up a little and sent me up to where my Father was plowing the ditch.  My feeling were on had been injured so I went on crying.  Now this is the part that I am quite sure I can remember.  Father saw me crying and came a few steps to meet me and picked me up and asked, “What is the matter?”  I can see that yoke of cattle and Father coming out to meet me but I can’t remember how he looked.

Mother often said she believes I would have remembered Father if they had allowed me to see him when he was laid away.  I say they for our friends who looked after us at this time told Mother it would not be a good thing for me to see him as I would have wanted to cleave to him so they did not let me see him when he was laid away.  She afterwards says she was sorry they influenced her to consent to this.

As stated before there are many things which happened that I can recall when I was a child in Richfield but nothing of any particular note but one incident which I will relate which brings out the character of my dear Mother and how she looked after us to see that we what was right as she was able to bring this about.  There was no compromise with Mother where right and honor were at stake even if her children were involved.  She was always kind and long suffering with her children, but would never uphold any of them in wrong doing.

An Effective Cure for Appropriating a Squash

At this time I was about seven years of age as I remember.  Halloween was coming and the children were preparing pumpkins or squash for the occasion.  We had no squash and I and some other boys thought there would be no harm in making use of some from our neighbor’s place, so we went over and skipped away with two or three.  When I brought mine home.  Mother wanted to know where it came from.  Nothing could be brought to our home unless we could supply a valid bill of sale.  There was simply no way of getting around Mother, so I finally told her where I obtained the squash.  “Now Andrew,” she said, “there is just one thing for you to do and that is to take this squash back to our neighbor and settle with him.  He can do as he pleases with you.  You must settle with him.”

Before you will realize what this meant to me, I must tell you how I regarded this neighbor. I avoid giving his name because what I am going to say is not very complimentary to him and his wife.  He had been married before and had two or three children by his former wife (who was dead).  His second wife did not get along very well with the step-children, in fact worked the father up until at time he cruelly whipped one of the girls in particular.  On one of these occasions we had watched him beat this girl until she lost consciousness, and then dragged her to a cellar and put her into it and locked the door.  That was done in a fit of temper over the trouble the girl had with her step-mother. When we saw him do this we ran to the neighbors and told them what had happened and the men of the neighborhood gathered and rescued the girl from the cellar and called her father to account and as I remembered he agreed not to do or perform such and outrage again.

The point I desire to make clear is the fact that I feared this man as much as I would an emissary form the infernal region and now Mother was going to turn me over to settle with that being and in fact she did.  I did not have courage enough to go alone so she went along and me come and carry the squash and went to the home and called him out and made me tell him what I had done and said, “Here he is, not you settle with him.”  She turned to me and said, “He can do as he pleases with you, you are here to meet his requests,” or words to that effect.  My hair stood on end as I thought my days had come to an end, but to my surprise when I made me humble and stammering confession, he smiled and said he would forgive me and for me never to do such a thing again, so much relieved returned home with Mother who further told me what I was to do.  This was one time when I though my kind and loving mother’s heart had turned to stone, but not so, she was more pained and grieved than I realized, but wanted her boy cured from any further pranks of this kind.  It is probably needless to say that the cure was quite effective.

Mother Decided to Move to Arizona

Life in our home went on as usual in most of families until Mother decided to sell out in Richfield and go to Arizona.  This decision was not so agreeable to us as we could see no reason for such a move.

It Was Father’s Request

We had a fairly good home and good means of support inRichfield, so why should Mother desire to move into the wilderness ofArizonaas it was at this time?  True Mormons through Brigham Young was calling people to go and settleArizonabut Mother was not called.  Why should she a widow make such an adventure? We pressed her for a reason and she gave it to us.

She stated Father had appeared to her in a dream and told her to move South intoArizona.  There was no doubt in her mind concerning this matter.  She was guided by what Father desired.  In this dream she saw the place where would first settle and when we reached theLittle Colorado River, she looked out on the valley and said, “That is the place your Father showed to me.”  But think of a widow employing a teamster and thus using considerable of her available funds obtained from the selling her property, to move into a wilderness like Arizona was at this time.  Many of those called had returned saying they could not live in such a desolate region, but Mother was determined to make the move.

Trejo and Anderson go to Arizona (1877)

After Mother had come to this decision about to her property and prepare for the move, but before she got ready to move two families Andersons and Trejo decided to go toArizonathe summer before we took up our journey.  Trejo was a Spaniard who had been converted to the church and translated the Book of Mormon into the Spanish language.  TheAndersonfamily lived inRichfieldand were old acquaintances of Mother.  They had no children and as my Sister Sina was a special favorite of Mrs. Anderson, she persuaded Mother to let Sina go with them, then my brother too the notion that he wanted some adventure, wanted to go along and Mother consented, as she thought he would be company to my sister Sina.  These two families moved by the route below theGrand Canyonand not by Lee’s Ferry.  It was providential that they did not perish as neither of these men knew anything about travelling in a desert region.  My brother Tom and Sister Sina said destruction did stare them in the face at one time when they were in a desert and their water supply entirely exhausted, but heavy rains came to their relief so water was plentiful even in the thirsty desert, thus they were spared from a terrible death from thirst.

Now for a moment, I desire to reach out ahead of time and discuss the matter of Father’s appearing to Mother and requesting her to leave.  People told her she was misguided and beside herself to make such a move on a mere dream.  That she would never be able to provide for her children in such an undeveloped wilderness.  We her children at times told her she made a very unwise choice in leaving a good home and coming into the deserts ofArizona, where we would do well to keep from starvation.  At times we made her feel very bad and caused more than one flow of tears due to out censure as we doubted the wisdom of her choice, but she knew it was not due to any of her reasoning but Father had made the request which she knew would work out for the good of our family and so it did.  Now we her children can see it.  The boys with whom my brother tom and I associated took the downward route.  After several years we heard of this The Moss boys in particular became noted outlaws, and bank robbers.  They were finally captured as I remember inWisconsinor another of the middle Western states and convicted.  As I remember the terms ranged from ten to twenty-five years, but they were pardoned before their time was out due to good behavior, and sympathy for their young age and the talents they manifested as they were talented boys in may ways.  As a boy I can remember how Fred Moss also a boy made a violin upon which he was able to make good music in those days.  Fred was the oldest of the boys and the leader in their robberies.  These boys were some of our main companions.

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