Written History of Doris Elizabeth Nay


We lived at Alamo until 1911, then that Spring when school was out we moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, to a ranch about five or 6 miles out of town.  Father had been freighting in Arizona and had a chance to lease this beautiful ranch.  By this time I had two more sisters, Anita and Grace, both born in Alamo, Nevada.  This made a family of two boys and four girls.  Father had gone ahead and started getting the crops in.  In May 1911, Mother and we children went by train from Caliente, Nevada to Flagstaff, Arizona.  This was our first train ride and it certainly was a thrilling experience.  We had to change trains at Daggett, California and how well I remember the colored porter helping us down the high steps.  He was perhaps the first colored person we had ever seen.

We all loved our summer on this ranch, it was such a beautiful spot, situated at the foot of the San Francisco Peak, and in the tall pines, with a small meadow where father raised hay.  Also a hill we called potato hill.  He planted potatoes on top of it and we used to go out with him, when he went to work, then we would run down the winding trail. We would get going so fast we could hardly stop at the bottom where there was a split rail fence, and sometimes we bumped into it.  That was the most wonderful summer I think I’ve ever spent.

Father loved dogs and horses, he owned a nice female dog called Fanny, when we came to the ranch.  She had puppies and was real cross with us, if we went near them, but after she found we belonged to the family and to Father, she would let us fondle the puppies.  Then she would go hunting chipmunks and squirrels in the nearby hills with us.

Iris the fifth girl and seventh child was born 18th of June 1911, on the ranch.  Father hired a trained nurse to stay and take care of mother and baby.  This was a wonderful summer; for we had a large barn filled with hay, to play in.  We also loved to walk on the top of the split rail fences.  Then almost every afternoon during July, we had a thunderstorm.  How I loved to stand in the door and watch the lightning and hear the thunder roll and crack around the ranch house.  My younger Sister Louise, was always frightened of the thunder, and she would hide under the bed until it was over.

Sometime during the summer, Father took us on a three or four day camping trip in the covered wagon.  We went to Mary’s Lake and to Walnut Canyon where there were some cliff dwellings.  It was fun to hike down the canyon along the trail close to the cliff dwellings, and father told us about the early day Indians that lived there so long ago.  I well remember a frightening experience my sister, Louise and I had on this trip.  I was nine and Louise was seven.  We had camped in the forest on the edge of the canyon, but had to carry our drinking water from the ranger station to our camp.  I expect it was about a mile away.  Louise and I begged to go one evening.  Our two older brothers had been carrying it.  We followed the road and got to the station alright, and filled our buckets with water, then started back to camp, but we took the wrong road at the fork.  We kept going but didn’t come to our camp as soon as I knew we should.  It was in tall timber country and of course we couldn’t see very far ahead.  We stopped to pick some glass out of the road so the horse’s feet wouldn’t get hurt as they traveled.  We kept on going then came to the edge of the canyon and no camp, so I knew we had gotten lost or was traveling the wrong road.  My sister was crying, I scolded her and told her we just needed to go back the same way, and asked the man at the ranger station the right way to reach our camp.  We threw out our water so we could hurry faster as it was getting dark.  When we got to the fork of the road where we should have turned, our brothers were coming to find us.  They scolded us for being so long, but we didn’t care, as we were so happy to see them.  They went back to the station to get the water and sent us on to camp.


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