Albert & Beulah Leonard
Taken on Alberts 92 birthday, 2001
Mary Belle Davis left Council Bluffs, Iowa with her parents and two older sisters and a brother in 1865. She was three months old. The family had a wagon and a small team of horses so only necessities could be brought. It took most of the hot summer to reach Walla Walla .It was decided that the family would stay there while her father Adin Davis continued on to Farmington to stake a claim before returning to Walla Walla to spend the rest of the winter with his family. In the spring the family set out for Farmington where they found a family on the land he had staked. They were disappointed but moved on down further and sat up a home on the border between Washington and Idaho territories.
Life was not easy but the family worked hard and with the help of Adins brother, Harlow, they built a log house. The house had two rooms and a loft and did boast a puncheon floor.
Years past and more families moved to the area. The people of the community entertained themselves in many ways. The churches and school were the center of activitiy with programs, Literary Society, revival meetings and often dances.
In spring of 1876 there was a Indian scare, Ten families all with several children each, went to the near-by Fort in Farmington. After about a week the Davis family returned to their home and found the house had been ransacked but nothing of value was missing.
Albert Carey Leonard came from Capron, Illinois at the age of 21 and settled in Farmington. He and Mary Belle Davis became friends and were married on December 20,1887. They lived in Farmington. They farmed in several locations. They ran cattle and did some farming near Emida during this time.
It took 2 days to drive the cattle from Farmington to the Emida ranch. The family lived there summer and winter until their first child was seven and then moved to Fannington so she could attend school. Each summer they would return to the Emida ranch. The property was at the end of the road, three miles up the Charlie Creek road from Emida. It went up into the hill country. (In the 1950 and 60's Mr Mrs Darling and their children lived on the former Leonard ranch). A house and barn had been built by the owners before the Leonards owned the property. The house was made of hand hewn logs that were flat on both sides. On the inside of the house they had treated the logs with plaster and had tacked a kind of cheese cloth over them and papered over it. The oblong, two story house had a gabled roof and glass windows. It was quite a nice house for that era. (early 1900's) Mr Leonard butchered his own stock and sold the meat to the logging camps in the area. When they went back to Farmington in the winter they would just leave the house. A caretaker wasn't even needed. The people on the land before them had just planted grain with alfalfa around the stumps. The Leonards always called it the stump ranch because it had been logged off and the huge stumps were all through the pasture area. Two families lived up above the Leonards the year round and were related, maybe brothers-in-law. There was no road to their place. They worked for the Leonards in the summer. One of the men was a powder man that blew up stumps with dynamite. His name was Whitehead. He and his wife had no children at the time but his brother-in-law and his wife ,the Lacey's had a good size family of children. In 1916 the Leonard family moved to Spokane so the children could attend school there.
Years later young Albert Leonard met Beulah Blair at a party in Spokane when they were sophmores. They were steadies from then on and graduated in the same class from North Central High School in 1928. They married in Lewiston, Idaho in 1929. After staying in Lewiston a night and at Priest Lake a few days the newlyweds traveled to Emida to start their married life. No sooner had the young couple arrived at the ranch then they were approached by the people from McGoldrick Lumber Co asking to put a spur line (train track) up through the place between the house and barn. Neither of the young couple were expierenced in making do but both were very determined. They had alot to learn. The first challenge for Beulah was making bread. The hard yeast cake just didn't seem to work and the bread refused to rise. The young couple sat up all night trying to keep the dough warm. The elder Mrs Leonard came to visit and gave Beulah some lessons and Beulah continued to bake bread for many years.
Washing was another chore. First the water had to be carried or hauled and then heated on the stove. The clothes were first boiled and then scrubbed on a wash board, and hung out to dry. After about six years they bought a wash machine that ran on gasoline but it was hard to start.
There always seemed to be chores of some kind to do. Churning butter was a time consuming job. At first she used a canning jar. The cream was poured into the jar and then she shook the jar until the cream turned to butter. Next the butter was washed in clean water several times, drained, salted and shaped. Later she used a stone chum with a dasher. This was a little easier and more butter could be made at a time.
Being so far from friends and family Beulah was quite often homesick but she kept busy to pass the time. She and Albert did things together, they cut and hauled wood, hauled hay and hunted cows. She tried to milk but never did get the knack of that.
One of her favorite places to visit when she was lonley was at the home of Mary Anderson. Much of the visiting she did was before she had children. It was just a good walk to town (three miles)There was a few card parties given, pinnocle and 4 handed cribbage. Beulah would walk to town in the morning and find out about a party and then they would walk back to the card party that night. After the children were born it wasn't so easy. Albert the first born came on June 12,1932 and Clinton on Febuary 15,1936 on Beulah's 26th birthday. After returning to Farmington the couple had a third son Jay.
Beulah remembers Frank and Cora Derry and remembers they were very good to the young couple. She also remembers the Griffin and Dawson families.
It was sometimes hard to make ends meet and have all the necessities. They had a small herd of cows eventually and more milk then they could use so they bought a cream separator from Montgomery Ward. Then they sold cream. When they had a can full (5 gallons) they took it to Santa to be shipped by train to Spokane. The small cream checks not only paid for the separator but they bought the gasoline washer.
They started with one cow (Petunia), a black and white holstein. Petunia's first calf was called Nebacannezer and they made a pet of him. It wasn't easy to butcher him when they were so fond of him .They used a government bulletin to tell them how to butcher. Beulah read the bulletin while Albert did the work. They sold the meat for $20.00.
They also raised geese and chickens and fed them warm cooked
wheat, peelings, rutabagas, carrots and what ever they had. They layed well and she traded eggs for groceries. She got 50 cents a dozen, a unheard of price. They raised hogs and butcherd them and made home cured bacon and ham (also by government bulletin) and also rendered lard. She cooked sausage patties and put them down in crocks with hot lard over them to seal them.
The big crash was in 1928. Banks were closed and no one had much money but no one felt poor because everyone was in the same condition. Many young couples returned to Emida where living was less expensive. Some of the young people living in the area at that time were Flora and Bob Taylor, Mary and Hugo Anderson, Fac and Debs Anderson, Ruth and Jack Rodner, Hazel and Avery McCracken, Lois and Burnice Shook, Carrie and George Ells, Elizebeth and Bob English, Lillian and Allen English, Niel and Ina
English, Neva and Dave Wells, Mark and Myrtle Derry, Minerva and George Derry, Mae and Charlie Williams, Myrtle and Mr Williams.
Mark and Myrtle Derry lived near the Leonards when they first arrived from Farmington. Later a family by the name of Roberts lived on the Parker place. Mr Roberts had an attack of some sort. Albert took him to Spokane to the hospital where he died and left three little tow-headed boys and a young wife at their home. Del Brown lived off the road going to the Leonard place. He and his wife had two daughters Lolita (later McCury), Myrtle (later Derry ) and a son. Lolita and her husband lived at the top of the hill going out the Leonards road.
For a small community there were alot of tragedies. Dorthea(Dawson) and her husband Fritz McCulla died in an accident. Gus Helsing was murdered around christmas time one year. He also lived on the road on the way to Leonards ranch. He lived alone and his body was found in the horse manager where his horses were stabled. The crime was never solved. Albert kept a loaded gun by their door for some time. Myrtle Williams and her father Harry Griffith were fishing on Benewah Lake in a home made boat. It came apart and they were both lost. Paul Derry was killed when a load of logs rolled on him. He left a wife and unborn child.
There was a family by the name of Van Phillips who lived just a bit out of Emida. He hunted bee trees. He frieghtened Beulah when he arrived on her porch suddenly when she was alone and had the door open. He wanted a container to put honey in. It was soon after the Helsing murder and she was still "jumpy". He brought them a nice jar of strained honey when he returned the pan.
The road to town was never plowed or graded and there was no
gravel. When it got wet it was full of ruts. The Leonards traveled with their team of black horses. In the winter they used a sled. The horses always knew the way home even in the dark or bad weather. Like most horses though, once in a while they ran away!
When the Leonard son, Albert was four he wanted to help his mother do the family wash and he ran his arm through the wringer on the gas wash machine. In all the excitement his mother reversed it instead of releasing the pressure. His arm looked flat and she was so frightened she grabbed him and ran out to find his father in the meadow. He left the horses to console his wife and son, they ran away and scattered wood all across the meadow.
Albert did many jobs he wasn't trained for to keep the family going. He worked in the woods sawing(after doing his chores at home) He walked to town to catch a ride to get to work by seven. He bought a gravel track on time and worked on dykes in St Maries in 1934. When that job was done, he rigged the truck to haul logs. He and his cousin Gene Leonard took a gypo job about halfway to St Maries. They cut logs for Russill and Pugh. He used their black team with a friend on a WPA job widening curves etc on the Sanders road.
President Roosevelt organized the W.P.A. and the C.C.C. camps. There was a C.C.C. Camp above the Leonard ranch and the boys came through the place with their truck, just kids 17,18 and 19 year olds.
Bill and Laureen Clute had a store in Emida for awhile. They lived in back of the store with their 5 kids, Bill, George, Martha, Patsy and a smaller girl.
In the fall the Leonards, like most families, bought sugar and flour for the year. Beulah used 100 pounds of sugar to can fruit for winter. The other sack was used during the winter. They raised most of their vegtables and meat. She remembers having alot of rutabagas which she really grew to dislike.
There was a band of sheep driven through the Leonard place each spring into the hills beyond. For the priviledge they would bring the family a part of a sheep they had butchered for camp. That was all the mutton the Leonards ever had.
Reading material was very precious but they did take the Chronicle and the Saturday Evening Post. The continued stories were very popular at the time and when Albert was though with his chores he would read to Beulah while she did the house work.
Bill Lowry carried the mail from St Maries to the Post Office which was in the corner of the local store owned by Allen and Lillian English.
Beulah's sister and husband came to visit often in the summer. Sometimes the couples hunted native pheasants. They skinned them and Beulah cooked them basted in cream. They made ice cream from ice that Albert put up in the winter. Vernice and Don had a Hudson car they drove up and would go squirrel hunting.
One cold Sunday the Leonards entertained with a sled party. Albert brought the guests out from Emida in a bobsled and the people coasted down the hill and across the meadow. Beulah fixed a chicken dinner.
They had a card party after fixing up the old log house with wall paper and they were so proud of their work but mice were a problem and nibbled holes in the new wall paper while the family tried to ignore the chewing sounds!
On December 21,1933 it snowed 27 inches on the level. The family was expecting a white christmas but it began to rain and rained it off before Christmas. The meadows were like lakes and even big trees were washed out. The highway to St Maries was new and where they had changed the bed of the river it reverted to the old channel and washed the road away. The Leonard family went to Spokane for christmas by way of Sanders and through Tekoa that year.
Middleton House near Emida
Lou Middleton built this home in the 1920's for him and his wife Edith [Harkness]. The house was built with the living quarters on the top floor. Usually this type of house had a barn under it but the Middletons never used it for animals. They raised a 20 acre garden and made weekly trips with vegetables to all the logging camps from Emida to Clarkia by horse and wagon. He died in Emida and is buried in the Emida cemetery. Mrs. Middleton [who's nephew was Allen English] lived her ramaining years with the English family.
Beulah remembers the Middletons that lived just out of Emida (along the John Creek Road.) Mrs Middleton was an aunt to the English family, Lois Shook, Allen, Neil and Bob. They built a house with a concrete lower story
used for a cellar and the upper story was their living quarters.
When the Leonards son was six years old they moved to Farmington so he could attend school. The elder Leonards had offered Beulah and Albert their land to rent. It was a big job moving all their belongings and stock in their pickup truck. The family had lived almost nine years in Emida. Beulah remarked that they were good years. They profited from the experience and she has many good memories.
Beulah recently lost her beloved husband Albert. They had seventy plus years together.
Some information came from"History of North Idaho" published by West History publishers in 1903.
I'd like to thank Beulah and the late Albert Leonard for all their help with information and the recent photo of themselves. I'd also like to thank Todd and Sharon (the grandaughter of Beulah and Albert) Peach and other members of the Leonard family for information, without all of them I would not have had the fun in going back in time and sharing a little of their lives.
I also want to thank my grandparents Charles and Elsie Stockard for giving me my love of history and Roxann Gess Smith for giving me the privilege to contribute to her history site.
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