Written History of Doris Elizabeth Nay
I worked for my aunt the rest of the summer then in September I went up to Wallsburg, Utah, near Provo, to visit an uncle, a brother of Mother’s, then planned to come back home. By then they were expecting a third child and wanted me to stay the winter to work for them. Mother wrote that I could if I wished, as they were going to move to Delta, Utah soon. This I did, it was fun to spend the winter in the snowy country. I got to sleigh ride and toboggan down the nearby slopes. Ralph and I had not continued to write to each other since I came to Wallsburg, and I supposed our engagement was broken or off.
My mother had one more sister living in Delta. So she wanted my father to go up and look the country over and see if he’d like it up there. So he did, he came up the summer I was working for this aunt and looked things over and decided that Mother would like it up there by her sister. She didn’t care too much for this ranch on the Virgin because it was real hard work. The river would take the dam out and my father and brothers would have to put it back again. It was sort of uncertain too. It was a good crop when you could keep the water on it. So when he came back then, he moved the family up to Delta, Utah.
At Christmas time mother wrote and asked me to come home, that they had decided to move back to Las Vegas. My father had said that he just couldn’t take the cold weather there. It was all right until then. So she decided they would go by train back to Las Vegas. She told me the day they were going to leave, so I made arrangements to get down to Provo and get on the train to come to Delta. It was in the middle of the night when I got into Delta. I thought, “Well I won’t try to find where the folks live tonight; I’ll just get a hotel room and stay and then go in the morning.” So I did that. But by the time I got up and hunted up where they lived they had gone on an earlier train. Their furniture was all packed and outside of the house and ready to go. That was the first time I think that I was really real home sick. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I’d spent most of my money, my wages, on Christmas presents in Provo, while I was waiting for the train, to bring home to the children. So I didn’t have enough for a ticket on to Las Vegas. I ran into a friend that lived out close to my aunt that I’d stayed with before out of Delta a ways and he took me out and I got settled down too late. So instead of going back to Las Vegas then, I went back up to Provo to my uncle’s and stayed until March until the babies had got older. By that time my folks had moved back to Moapa Valley. They didn’t stay in Las Vegas and I came home. By that time I was engaged to my aunt’s brother.
I’d been back about two weeks and we had a dance and Ralph asked me to dance a couple of times. Almost the minute I laid eyes on him at the dance, I knew I had made a big mistake; that this other didn’t mean a thing to me. I knew that Ralph was the one that I wanted to marry, so I just wrote and broke the other engagement. I didn’t have a ring or anything. I explained what the situation was. He wanted to come down and talk it over with me but I wouldn’t let him, I said, “No, I knew, I know now.” That was March and then we started planning our marriage.
At the time my father was killed, the 20th of August, 1920, I was over in Saint Thomas helping this friend of mine run the hotel because her parents had gone to Salt Lake for a few months. My sister came over with the bad news. The well had caved in. My oldest brother, Allen, was with him. He was on top. My father was down about 20 or 30 feet in the well loading the sand and fine gravel in a big bucket, that Allen winlassed up on a windless, and emptied it out, then sent it back down for father to refill. The shoring in the well gave way and father was buried under tons of sand and gravel. Allen tried to dig with his hands, until he could see that he needed help so he ran down to the house and told Mother what had happened and caught up his saddle and asked Louise to ride fast to town and bring help. I ran out and jumped on the horse she’d come on and ran him all the way to the ranch to get there just as fast as I could. Of course there was nothing anybody could do.
The townspeople had come over as fast as they could and they started to see if they could take him out. That was in the afternoon and it took all night and until about nine o’clock the next morning when they got to him. They said not to feel too bad. He wasn’t smothered. His neck had been broken when the timbers fell so he didn’t suffer at all and even if they could have got him out sooner he wouldn’t have been breathing. It was quite a terrible shock to mother.