Written History of Ralph Emanuel Whitney

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At this time my oldest sister, Crissie Abbott was living in La Grande, Oregon. I came back there to live with them. I helped my brother-in-law, John Abbott, log timber and farm some. I stayed for a couple of years, then I went to Portland, Oregon and drove teams on construction work. From Portland I went to Challis, Washington and worked on a farm. I stayed there six months, then went back to Portland and hauled lumber with four horse teams. This was in the spring of 1914.  In the fall of that year I went to Burley, Idaho and worked in the potato fields for about six weeks. From Burley, I went to Butte, Montana to work in the mines.

While there, I got a letter from Burt, my brother, who had moved to Jean, Nevada.  Jean was a small town on the railroad, where the rich ore from Goodsprings, Nevada was hauled by teams and loaded on the railroad cars.  Jean was about thirty-five miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada and Goodsprings, where the ore was mined, was seven or eight miles west of Jean.  Burt wanted me to come and haul ore from “The New Year” mine he had leased about seven or eight miles west and south of Jean.  I drove teams and freighted the ore from the mine to Jean.  I stayed there until the spring of 1916, then I helped Burt move his family to St. Thomas, Nevada, where he had a lovely home built and had bought cattle to put on a range out Gold Butte way.

Ralph E. Whitney, World War I, 1917

My cousin Levi Syphus and I went back to Goodsprings and leased the “New Year Mine.”  We worked it until May of 1917, then as the United States had entered World War I, we enlisted at Las Vegas, Nevada and were sent to San Francisco, California. We wanted to stay together, but after ten days, I was shipped to the Hawaiian Islands and, after a few weeks of training at a training base, Levi was shipped overseas to France.

I was stationed at Schofield Barracks in the Hawaiian Islands until August 1918, then I was sent back to the States to Camp Kearney, California, near San Diego.  I was kept there to help train new recruits until February 1919.  Then I went by boat up the coast to San Francisco where I received my discharge from the army on the 22nd of February 1919. I didn’t get a bit seasick on the boat going or coming back from the Islands, but going up the coast, I was terribly seasick all the way up.  I can say the day I received my discharge papers was one of the happiest days of my life, as I can’t say I enjoyed army life too much.

I went to St. George to visit with my folks for a few days.  I also visited old friends that were still living there. There was no work to be found in St. George, as it was a small town and most of the younger people had to go to other places to find work.  I came back to St. Thomas to live with my brother Burt and family.  I worked for the Gentry’s freighting ore from the Grand Gulch mine.  I drove four horse teams.  It was 45 miles from the Grand Gulch mine to St. Thomas, Nevada.

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