Written History of Ralph Emanuel Whitney


We moved to St. George in time to start school that fall. I started my first year. We lived in the northwest part of town first, then later we rented a larger house on south Main Street.

My father was hired as water master at the Washington fields, just east of St. George. He rode horseback to look after the water and keep the ditches clean. I remember going with him many times, riding behind on the horse.

After a number of years the folks bought the old home on 300 West and 200 South. There were two lots and plenty of water and room for a nice big garden. Mother always raised beautiful flowers. We had to dip up our water for household use from the ditch across the street. It was Burt’s and my job to see that the barrels were filled every morning. We had many squabbles and spills, carrying the tub full of water to the barrels.

My father was away from home a lot on the freight roads. Many of my boyhood days I would only see him on his short visits home between trips. Some of his shorter trips he would take me with him. I remember one trip to Modena, I got to go. We had camped for the night on the Enterprise desert and after supper we had gone to bed on the ground under the wagon. The coyotes started to howl before I’d gotten to sleep and then I couldn’t sleep, so I woke my father and told him I had a sore throat. He wrapped an old sock around it and was soon fast asleep. I was still scared and lay awake a long time.

Ralph Emanuel Whitney

I completed eight years of grade school in St. George. Then in the fall after graduating from the eighth grade, I started to first year high school, but I soon ran out of the money I had earned during the summer. I decided to buy a team and wagon and haul freight from the railroad to pay for it. I did this for a couple or three years. My cousin Alfred Syphus lived in St. Thomas, Nevada, and he wanted me to come to the Moapa Valley and work in the cantaloupe fields. This was the summer of 1910, then that fall we both decided to go to Idaho and work in the potato fields. The next spring we worked at other jobs, then Alfred decided to go back home to St. Thomas. I stayed and went on to Prosser, Washington and worked on a farm for some very fine people for six months.


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