TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2013
Michael Mariner Anderson
Michael Mariner “Luke” Anderson (GGF, 1903 - 1990, as recorded in History of M. (Luke) Anderson, 1977, Interview of Michael Mariner Anderson by Laura Anderson, 1987 and by his daughter Paulene Anderson, 1996) -
[Michael Mariner “Luke” Anderson was born October 14, 1903 to Hans Jacob Anderson and Alice Eckersley in the small farming town of Newton, Cache County, Utah. Mariner was the ninth of eleven children and third youngest, having 5 older sisters and 3 older brothers, the last two children were twin boys (two of Mariner’s older brothers died while in their infancy.]
[Mariner was born at home.] In those days we never went to the hospital. We always had a lady come in and take care of us. We called her the “Mella Woman.” Her name was Amelia Jensen. She brought a lot of children into the world that way. I was pretty healthy all my life and never can remember being sick or going to the hospital. I don’t remember anyone ever getting sick enough to go to the hospital. But in those days you had to be really sick to go to the hospital. The flu was pretty dangerous back then. Mother would make a cup of weak tea (a pretty good drink), that was the only medicine we’d get.
[Newton was a small rural town about 1 and a half hours (by horse-drawn buggy called a “single rig”) from the nearest slightly larger town of Logan, Utah.] The house I grew up in was a [wood] frame house a block from the church house. It had two rooms upstairs and about three down. And this house was kind of a shell. It would get awful cold in the winter. We had a hot blast stove. We’d feed that with coal, of course coal in those days was only seven or eight dollars a ton. Now days its about fifty dollars a ton. We boys always stayed upstairs. It would get awful cold, because the only heat we’d get would be from the stove pipes which ran through the ceiling. Sometimes it would get pert near red, we never burned the house down. A thousand times we got by. We’d get under the covers to keep warm. [If I could change one thing about my childhood] I would have had a better heating system than we had because it was pretty rough in those days.
While growing up in Newton as a young boy I had many friends, and my father always had a barn full of horses. Father was quite a horse trader, he could tell a horses age by opening their mouth and examining their teeth and “pert near hit it every time.” In the spring of the year father would have us kids ride the mares to exercise them before foaling (foaling is when the mares have their colts). We had as many as 10 head of draft horses to do our farming with. [Draft horses are the largest of all work horses.] We also had several cows, a couple of pigs and a few chickens. We got eggs from the chickens and raised the pigs until they were big enough to kill and eat.
My father used to butcher quite a bit. We’d kill a fat cow ever couple months when we were kids and we’d always get the head which consisted of the brains and we always knew where to take them. We’d take’em down to the Jones’s. They were English people and they loved calf brains. I never ate them, but we could always cash’em. Dad would get in the buggy and take a good portion of this meat and we’d sell it to different people in town. In them days every home had a derrick [a long pole that was used after a critter was cut up and dressed they would leave it hanging and then cut it up and sell the parts.] We did this usually in the winter months. It was about the only time we killed them and it was cold enough so the meat would always cure alright. Me and my brothers helped my father with the butchering and didn’t mind it so much.
We did our dry farming 3 miles east of Newton. We called this place Alto. It was heavy clay ground, it seemed like every time we could get a good crop it was hailed out [and destroyed]. Our yeild was never more then 15 bushels per acre. It was there I learned to drive 4 head of [draft] horses, and[as a teenager] I could drive them as good as a man. That is why my dad kept me out of school so much, and why I didn’t get the education I should have. I only got nine years of schooling because my dad thought all [I’d] ever be good at was to work. So I learned to work, when I was ten years old [I’d ]drive a four horse team. I could do this on a disc plow. We used to do our summer fallowing and then we’d harrow it and work it down, preparing it for seed. We mostly grew wheat, barley and alfalfa.
The school I went to was the only one in Newton. They had nine grades and that was as far as I got in school (nine grades). I didn’t mind school, so much, but my dad always kept us out in the beginning of school and always in the fall. That’s why I had a hard time staying up to the rules in school in them days. The rules were mostly reading, writing and arithmetic. I was never the top hand because I was out of school so much. I was about fourteen or fifteen when I completed the ninth grade. There were about 28 students in our class. I remember the teacher whose name was Amos Griffin [a distant relative in his first years as a teacher. This same teacher, later taught Paulene (Luke’s oldest daughter) during his last year to teach math at the same school.] I was taught by him about six or seven years. In fact, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grades. He wasn’t too strict [movies depict teachers from that period as banging rulers on the desk] he never used a stick to hit us with or anything. [The kids would have to go live with someone in the town a church family during the time their high school years due to the only high school, South Cache H. S. , being located 25 mile away in Hyrum, Utah.]
When our church burned down one summer in July [from a lightning strike], we held church in a school house. The following winter I hauled gravel by bob sleigh to help build a new church house. I drove a jet black team of mares [they were] good to pull, and a pleasure to drive. My mother was quite religious but my father, he never went to church. He never had any religion in him at all. Seems like that is why we didn’t go very far in religion. [Mariner’s baptism was unique in that his father joined the Church and was baptized at the same service.] Of course we as kids always attended our meetings quite regularly, because of mother. My dad was a member of the church, but he was an inactive member. He never was active his whole life that I can remember. Mother would always see that we got to church. She was religious. If it hadn’t been for my mother I wouldn’t have gone very far in religion. [Mariner loved to sing and sang tenor in the church choir even as a youth.]
Bishop Rigby was who ordained me in the preisthood, he was our Bishop for about thirty years. Heber J. Grant was the first prophet I remember. George Albert Smith came a little later. I enjoyed him very much. We never got to go to General Conference, just conferences in our ward and stake conference in Richmond (which was the closest stake conference). That was about fourteen miles away. General Conference was too far away, we would have had to ride by train to go.
While growing up as kids in Newton we boys never had any grandparents but we did have 2 aunts we used to go see every day [because] they lived so close by. This was Aunt Sarah (who was married to Bishop Rigby, Bishop of the Newton Ward) and Aunt Lisie. They both lived in an old rock house. As young boys we never missed a day going there to get a piece of Aunt Sarah’s fruit cake. She never had children of her own but she helped raise up all her sister’s children. Mother also had 3 sisters that lived in Logan. We would get to see them once a year.
When I was a young man, 3 or 4 of us boys would go and top beets to make alittle money. We would go to Trenton and Lewiston, where they raised good beats. It would be late fall, often it would get cold with snow and freezing weather, we batched it and lived in a tent. One fall 3 of us young men from Newton took a job working on a road through Echo Canyon, driving down there with 12 head of horses. We worked until the ground froze up. My older brother Murland and I spent many days there [at the dry farm] batching it, living in an old cook shack, driving 4 head of horses each pulling a disc plow. As I grew older I drove 10 head of horses on a big Holt Harvester machine, and got along very well.
I had younger brothers which were twins. Bryant and Byron were their names. [One of Mariner’s chores was to help his mother by caring for them.] They were good swimmers. In fact one of them, Byron, swam the Bear River seven times in one day. They were identical twins, too. There weren’t too many people who could tell them apart. Of course, I could always tell them apart easy. They’d always give them a nick name. I remember they called them Buck and Bummy. They were very close. They did everything together. They never got in a quarrel between them at all. But our [extended] family had several sets of twins. In fact, my mother’s sister had a daughter that had triplets.
People have asked about where I got the nick name “Luke.” I got the name “Luke” planted on me when I was going to school. I don’t exactly know how it got started but it has hung with me all my life. It was customary for everyone to have a nickname back then. [Many of the names weren’t very pleasant]I had a friend who was nicknamed “horse-face.” I had a happy childhood, [despite the hard times. Clothes were not fancy and often made from the supply sacks. Luke remembers wearing dresses, maybe because that’s all they had. He bathed in a round tin tub, water was heated in pots on top of a coal stove. He loved raisin filled cookies made by his mother. He travelled to Logan (15 miles away) about once a year. It was a trip he looked forward to all year long.]
I was about fifteen when I first remember going to Logan by train. It would take about two hours because in those days the train stopped at every dinky town. The train stopped in Cache Junction and if you were going south, the train would always start out going north and then gradually wind around until it got going west and then it would go thru Bear River Canyon and thru the tunnels and then to Salt Lake City. I mostly [rode the train] going to Logan to see a dentist. In fact, not many people did go to a doctor or dentist in those days. Except when we had this flu. I remember the town cop bringing us some liquor, that was for your colds. It’d be the same that they drink today but they used it for medical purposes. They wouldn’t give you much, just enough to stimulate ya.
[Christmas was a fun time. There lived 3 of Luke’s aunts within a block of their home. Each Christmas they always brought plenty of goodies for all the kids.] We never had a Christmas tree in those days. We’d hang up our sock. We’d never get anything more than an orange or banana or something like that. My dad was never much for Christmas. My Aunt, her husband was a millionaire, she was a niece of my mother and she would hand me down some of the clothes that her children had worn. Of course they were pretty good clothes cause they were wealthy people.
Her husband was in the lumber business. His name was David Eccles - which was quite a name. They had a son named Mariner, who became one of President Roosevelt’s right hand men. I was named after him and that’s how I got the name Mariner. Of course he didn’t know me and I didn’t know him but that didn’t make any difference. His mother was a grand person. She always treated us good. She’d have my mother come over to her place and stay and try and keep her there and stay for days but mother had to get back and work and take care of things. We would have several dances during the holidays and we always attended these dances and enjoyed them. [Luke remembers that the kids up to twelve years of age always wore a pair of suit clothes, that was bloused. After that we wore long pants.]
[Another memorable event was] every summer or early fall, my dad would take us to the county fair in Logan about sixteen miles away. He had stock in the county fair so we could go and stay all three days while the fair was still running. We’d go with him and get “Old Bird” the mare and a single buggy and that was our transportation in those days. I’d like to see their horse races. They always had horse races in them days. They’d have these side shows like the ferris wheel, merry-go-round and things like that. And we’d always enjoy going to the judging of the stock. Then they had these pulling matches. I enjoyed that the most. They’d hook a team of horses on a drag, they’d load it up heavy, they’d pull it so far and then another team would come and do the same. Dad never won any prizes for his stock but he never seemed to go for much of that anyway. Mother never bothered much about the fair [and did not attend with us]. My dad would never miss going. He’d always take me and my brother Murland, who was two years older than me.
[Other memorable events from Luke’s teenage years included:] seems like when we were kids we’d always find someone’s barn and we’d play police or hide and seek or something like that. We always had a swimming hole. We’d dam up a place to hold water. It was anything but clear water. But we’d always manage to go swimming about once a week. A horse and buggy was the more common way to get around since there wasn’t any cars then. We usually played baseball or football for youth activities[MIA]. We never accomplished so much at that because it was new in those days. It [football] was pretty much like it is today only we never roughed it near as bad as they do today. It wasn’t too dangerous to play that game in those days. The girls attended MIA and we’d go to priesthood every Monday (we’d didn’t have Family Home Evening then). We started about eight o’clock. The girls usually played their games and we played ours. Sunday church services were held every Sunday about two o’clock with Sunday School in the morning and church in the afternoon. MIA was every Tuesday and Priesthood meeting on Monday.
[Luke was a hard working teenager and earned the reputation as the best horse handler in the area. He was very artistic and could draw well despite no real formal art training. He was very good natured and had lots of friends. As a youth he was quite handsome with dark hair. He loved to dance and spent Saturday nights attending nearby church youth dances.] The girls wore mostly long dresses that went down to their ankles and had a high neck and the sleeves went down lower than their elbows. All the girls wore long hair, to their shoulders of longer. I had a crush on two or three girls. But the only time I got mixed up with them was at these kids dances.
[Luke continued working and farming and as an adult soon had enough money to buy him a car. The girls thought he was rich even though he was very careful with his money.] I was about twenty five when I got the Model-T Ford. There wasn’t many people in town that had a car. I remember the Ecklands had the first car in Newton. When we were kids we’d hear it coming down the street, we’d break out in a run and try and follow it. They never went faster than 15 miles an hour. That was fast in those days. My first car cost about $600. It took quite a while to save for it. It had curtains on it, that was to keep a little of the heat in. We used to always have a salt bag in the car to wipe the windsheild and cut the frost. We had side curtain all the way aroung the car. It was still plenty cold but we didn’t think it was bad in those days. [Luke’s father died when Luke was 20.]
I first met my wife thru my niece, Martha Peterson, who introduced me to Sarah. I was past thirty then. Sarah was about nine years younger than I was. I was running with Marvin Benson. He had a girlfriend that he liked, she was a close friend of Sarah from High School. And that’s how I got going with Sarah, was thru her. She was a beautiful girl who had brown eyes and black hair. She had four brothers (she was the only girl) and they were all sandy complectioned, she was the only brunette in her family. The only good looking one in her family. She was always a good natured, happy girl. I couldn’t help but like her. She loved to help everyone.
We’d go swimming together quite often and have a good time swimming. I went with her about two years and then we got married.would drive down to see Sarah. I kissed her about six months after we’d known each other. [Was she surprized?] No, I don’t believe so. She had been working quite a bit. She took a job as a clerk at Squires Laundry and Dry Cleaners in Logan [Paulene remembers going there with her mother.]
Since I had been working before I met her, I had a farm and raised wheat, barley and alfalfa. The farming business was tough going in those days. It was after the depression when hay was selling for four dollars a ton. Wheat was selling for thirty-three cents a bushel. So you can see there was nothing in it, just barely hang on to your farm that was about all you could do. I never considered doing anything else, that was all I knew. It was pretty common that everyone would go with their partner a couple of years before they’d get married. About two years was the time they’d be engaged before they got married.
I went [was engaged] with Sarah about two years and I decided she was the one, so we set the date for June and got married. [Did you get down on your knees and propose?] Hah, I don’t remember. I got her an engagement ring at Needum’s in Logan. It was a plain gold band. When asked - she was willing. Of course they didn’t have much and she thought that she’d better herself by getting married, but I don’t know if she did because we had it real tough. We got along so good together. Sarah got along good with my mother, my dad was dead by then.
[On June 7, 1933, Luke (age 30) was married to Sarah Griffin (age 20) in the Logan LDS Temple.] We had a very, very plain wedding. We didn’t hardly get much of anything for our wedding or shower. I remember her aunt had given us a setting hen (a hen that laid eggs). They didn’t have money in them days to buy anything. We didn’t go far for our honeymoon. We went as far as Ogden, Utah. Cause I had a sister there and we stayed there one night. We stayed in a hotel the first night. The hotels were just plain. [Did you carry her over the threshhold?] No. Hah. I didn’t go much into that stuff. Her wedding dress was white, I think and it had a narrow blue trim around it. She looked good in it.
We stayed in Ogden about three days and then we came back to Newton and lived on the farm. We drove home in the Essex. We didn’t have a reception, ours [wedding] was too plain. I would have it fancier if I could redo it. We got along wonderful because it was pretty tough for newlyweds to get by in them days, but Sarah could cook a meal out of almost nothing. We lived in one room of my brother Murland’s home in Newton. His wife Zenda and my wife Sarah became such good friends as well as sister in laws. The depression was on and we were all so poor. [Soon they bought a 2 room down and up (2 story) rock home that was 100 years old. It wasn’t much but it was theirs. Soon they started their family with the birth of their first child and then installed their home’s first bathroom.]