Dad was born, May 30, 1911, in Greenville, Utah to William and Eva
Barton Easton. He had three older brothers, two younger brothers,
three older sisters, and one younger sister. There were ten children
born into this family with two of the boys dying at young ages. All
of the children were born in Greenville except for Irene who was
born in Milford, Utah.
Ray married Norma Jensen on May 1, 1937 in Parowan, Utah.
Two boys Richard Jensen, July 12, 1938 and Robert Ray, October 2,
1939 were sent to this family. They were both born in Beaver, Utah.
Dad was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints on July 2, 1921 and confirmed on ____________ . He was
ordained a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood on March 22, 1936 by
Theo Bohn of the Beaver East Ward of the Beaver Stake. Dad’s Great
Grandfather Robert Easton was Bishop of the Greenville Ward. His two
brothers, John Wallace who died when he was three months old and
David Ralph who died when he was one year old were buried in the
Greenville Cemetery. Dad and Mother purchased head stones for them
in 1976 and placed them on their graves.
Dad was always fun loving and teased everyone including his sisters,
nieces, and grandchildren. He always talked about how good Aunt
Wanda’s (Oldest Sister) home made bread and dill pickles were. I
remember eating the warm bread with butter and sugar sprinkled on
it. Aunt Wanda must have been a good cook as two of her son’s had
cafes where they were the cooks. Her son Dan had an excellent recipe
for pinto bean pie that tasted like pecan pie. Dad told Madge (my
wife), that she made the best bread he had ever eaten. He knew how
to get her to bake the bread when he came for a visit.
He told us stories about swimming in the Beaver River down the Creek
Bed lane and eating corn of the cob that they found in someone’s
garden. They would melt butter in a quart jar and then dip the corn
in it after they roasted it over a fire.
He told about running his favorite horse down a hard packed road and
having her fall, breaking her leg. Dad raised many good horses. When
we lived on the farm by the race track, we had work horses, saddle
horses, and riding horses. My favorite was the old grey mare and she
would let one, tow or three people ride on her at the same time,
Richard, Zelma Pearce (a cousin) and I would race the cars coming
down the canyon road that ran parallel to a road on the farm. The
Old Grey Mare once stopped when a rabbit ran in front of her and all
three of us went over her head. Once, when Dad was putting shoes on
her, she kept pulling away from so her hit her with the rasp. I was
standing on the porch watching and when he hit her, I threw my toy
hammer at him. She was my favorite horse at that time. We had a mare
named Queen that had several colts that were all good riding horses.
The horses that I have now came from her line. She had a sorrel
gelding named Skipper that was trained by Robert White who lived
about a mile down the road from us. Skipper was a gaited walking
horse and when you were riding him, he always had to be in the
front. When we started out of the Bald Ridges above Puffer Lake, he
would stay our in front of the other horses. One time when I was
riding him in the pasture by the red barn, he bucked me off. I let
on the ditch bank on my back knocking the wind out of me so I laid
there for a while. Skipper just stood and looked down at me waiting
for me to get up.
Dad and Uncle Ed used to take the horses to Puffer Lake to carry out
deer in the fall for all of the hunters. Mother, Richard, and I rode
them from the farm by the race track 22 miles to Puffer Lake. Then
in the fall, after the deer hunt, we would turn them loose and Queen
would take them back to the farm. They usually beat us back and
would be standing at the gate when we got home.
Dad raised a horse and named her the Blue Mare. He was training her
to run on the race track with Richard as the jockey. Mother and I
were watching as they came around the far turn and started down the
home stretch to the finish line. Dad was close on another horse but
just then Richard fell off. Mother ran out and picked him up and
that ended his career as a jockey. He was not hurt.
Dad always had good work horses but the ones I remember were a team
called Pat and Mike. They were an excellent team and could pull
heavy loads. He used them to mow and rake hay, to haul the hay, and
plow the fields so he could plant potatoes, grain, and hay. He used
Mike to pull out logs up by Puffer Lake and had them sawed into
lumber that was used to build the red barn.
We used Mike as a derrick horse to unload the hay from the wagon
when it was hauled from the field. I still remember riding him under
the loft on the side of the red barn where you dad to duck your head
to avoid getting it knocked off. Mike developed a sore on his neck
from the collar and it was difficult to heal; but Dad stuck with it
until it got better.
When Dad was younger, he worked for his Uncle John Barton. Uncle
John owned land along the Beaver River and raised a lot of hay. Dad
said he pitched the hay onto a wagon with a fork and when he got to
the stack yard, he would pitch it off onto the stack. Uncle John
paid him fifty cents a day and Dad said there were many days that he
didn’t get paid. Uncle John also owned the farm by the racetrack
where we lived until about 1950 (?). The home that we lived in by
the race track was very small and very modest. After Dad was hired
as a Car Inspector by the Union Pacific Railroad we could finally,
afford a nicer home.
We had many great experiences during the years that we lived on the
farm by the race track. Dad said that he could have purchased the
farm and house for $3,500, but during the depression that was a lot
of money and he couldn’t afford anything. We always had milk cows
and we milked them by hand. We would squirt milk at the cats that
came looking for a hand out. We also had pigs, rabbits and chickens.
There were several apple trees north of the house that would produce
a good crop of apples most years.
Richard and I caught night crawlers on our lawn and down at Grandpa
Jensen’s lawn after he flooded it with water. Mom would always help
us; I believe that she enjoyed it more than we did. You would use a
flash light to find them and had to be quick to catch them before
they could get back down in their hole. We would sell the night
crawlers for a penny a piece, but would make good money since we
lived along the road to the canyon where many people went to fish.
Uncle Ed also bought night crawlers from us to sell at Puffer Lake.
One summer we made enough money to buy us each a bike and then we
had to learn how to ride them.
We always had some of our cousins staying with us. Doug and Ray Cox,
who are Aunt Irene’s sons, helped Dad with the hay, milked the cows,
and performed other chores on the farm. Dad said Ray Cox did not
know how to use the dump rake and pulled the hay into one big pile
instead of several small piles from a windrow. Doug spent a lot of
time at our place and rode the Blue Mare for Dad. Mitch Martin told
about helping Dad on the farm but went for a wild ride on Skipper.
After Dad put shoes on him, Dad told Mitch to get on. He then
whacked Skipper with the rasp and sent him for a wild ride around
the pasture. Mitch is one of Dad’s nephews, he was Wanda’s son.
One of our favorite outings was to go up the canyon to fish. We
would cook either breakfast or dinner over a camp fire, some times
eating the fish that we had just caught. I still remember the large
trout that I caught on one of the outings. The fish were mostly
Rainbow Trout with an occasional German brown or Eastern Brook.
I still remember picking up the potatoes that we raised on the west
side of the race track after Dad had removed all of the sage brush
that grew there. After removing the brush, he plowed the field and
planted the potatoes.
Dad was always afraid of his own shadow. We had a granary on the
farm with open barrels of grain for the livestock. We would put
shingles on the edge of the barrel and the mice would walk out on
the shingle and fall into the barrel where they were unable to get
out. Dad was afraid to touch them so he would put Richard in the
barrel to catch the mice. They would run up his pant leg and
anyplace else that they could hide; but he always managed to catch
them. We would take them to school for show and tell.
We were visiting a family in Beaver who had a dog noted for being
rather mean. Dad, Richard and I entered the yard through the front
gate and when the dog came at us growling and barking, Dad held
Richard out in front of us. However, barking dogs never bite and
this one didn’t.
In the summer we would take the old flat bed, half-ton, pickup up to
Puffer Lake to get poles. Many times the motor would vapor lock and
we had to pour cold water from the water bag onto the fuel pump in
order to get it up the steep horseshoe bends in the road. The road
was a very narrow dirt road all the way from the Beaver Racetrack to
Big Flat above Puffer Lake. The road was finally widened and black
topped in the late 1970’s. We usually went above Big Flat to find
the best poles. Dad would cut the trees with a single bitted axe and
Richard and I would carry one at a time back to the truck. Dad could
cut the poles faster than we could carry them so he would put one on
his shoulder and carry it back to the truck while we were carrying
another one. We always had a dog, a lunch and a water bag of cool
water with us. We enjoyed going to the mountains to get poles for
corrals at Grandpa and Grandma Jensen’s.
I remember riding in the big flat bed truck to Puffer Lake at the same
time that we had Skipper riding with me. We had three foot side
boards along the sides and the back so that we could carry a horse.
We did not have a horse trailer back then. He rode well and would
reach up to the back window where Dad would cut up and feed him
pieces of apples as we traveled.
About 1957, Dad and Mom purchased seven acres of property from
Grandpa and Grandma Jensen so that he could build a new home and
have pasture for our livestock. Prior to this time Dad and Grandpa
Jensen had harvested timber from the mountains near Puffer Lake, cut
it into lumber and had built a large barn and milking parlor.
Dad would cut the hay from the pasture and also purchase hay that we
would store in the large red barn. This is where I learned to ride
the Derek horse. We milked the cows by hand for several years,
before we could finally afford to install milking machines. The milk
was put in 10 gallon cans and then put out along the road where it
was picked up and hauled to the creamery. Later, our neighbor,
Stapley, built a modern milking barn and we would take the cows
there to be milked. This was much easier but still required us to be
there twice a day to take the cows to the barn to be milked. Dad had
several excellent milking cows that produced large quantities of
milk. Most of them were Holsteins.
After we built the house, I would go up the South Fork of South
Creek to get top soil. I would shovel it on the truck and haul it to
the house where I would shovel it off to provide fill for the South
side of the house.
Dad had to have a partial basement in the new house, even though
Grandpa Jensen said we would have water problems since he had water
in the cellar he built. Grandpa was right and the water flowed
through the basement. Dad even put a drain and then ran 300 feet of
pipe all the way to the pasture south of the barn. The water would
run into the pasture all year long as the water table was so high
because of the ditch that ran in front of the house. He also put an
electric pump to keep the water level low enough that it wouldn’t
damage the furnace that was installed in the basement. Mom and Dad
used the basement to store some of their canned good, and kept a
pair of high rubber boots at the top the stairs so that they could
put them on and wade to where the food was stored.
There was really no solution to the problem, so Richard and I had a
new gas furnace installed in the hallway rather than the basement
after Dad passed away.
Dad’s favorite color was red; he would paint everything that he
could that color. He had a 1957 Chevrolet truck that he hand painted
red when it got to where it needed a new paint job. I still have
that old truck.
Dad purchased a buggy and pulled it with one of his many horses,
Lady. When we would visit with the kids, he would hook it up to the
red pickup and take Jeff and Mike for a ride around the pasture. It
was always wet and muddy in the pasture, so to avoid getting stuck
he had to go fast and that would throw mud all over the buggy and
the boys. Mom was not very happy to see her grandsons and their
clothes and faces covered with mud. Later, Dad sold the buggy to
Dad worked as a car inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad
at the station stop in Milford, Utah. He and 2 or 3 other men
from Beaver worked the afternoon shift and would car pool from
Beaver to Milford, a distance of about 30 miles. In about 1965,
the railroad economized by shutting down most of the smaller
stops as far as car inspectors were concerned. Dad was
transferred to Las Vages, Nevada. He bought a small trailer and
would spend 5 days of the week in Las Vages and come home to
Beaver for his two days off. Las Vages is about 200 miles from
Beaver. He would not tell us of all of his good times, but we
suspect that he enjoyed his work in Las Vages.
Mom would not go to Las Vages with him and so she went to
work for Reyonlds Building Supply and kept the books and helped
at the counter. She really enjoyed her job.
Dad retired from the railroad in May of 1975 and spent his time
working with the horses, helping the neighbors, visiting his family
in Beaver as well as Richard’s and Robert’s families in Indiana and
Idaho. He would ride horses with his nephew Thel Martin and his
friend Charley Wilden. He and Charley would also spend time fishing
at the Minersville reservoir. Thel Martin was living in Carson
City, Nevada and when he retired, he moved to Beaver, primarily so
he could be with Dad who was his favorite Uncle. Charley’s wife’s name was Laprel, and
after Charley died, he would pick up the mail at the post office and
take to her. He would also stop in every morning to visit his
sisters who lived in the Riley apartments.
Dad liked to fish and hunt and there were many stories told about
his experiences. One story tells about him when he was young and
they would travel by wagon out in the foot hills west of Greenville
to hunt deer. They ran low on ammunition so they sent Dad back to
town to get some more shells for the 30/30’s that most of them used
for hunting deer. He had his rifle with him and on the way back with
the ammunition; he saw so many deer close to the road, he shot all
of the shells he had purchased. I think he was not a very good shot
since I cannot remember if he ever got a deer when I hunted with
him. We hunted every fall around Puffer Lake when Uncle Ed and Aunt
Clerynth owned the cabins and lodge. We also took the horses hunting
and would pack the deer from high in the mountains back to the
cabins for the other hunters. Later after I had moved to Idaho and
Richard had moved to Ogden, Utah and then back to Terre Haute,
Indiana, we would always come back to Beaver for the deer hunt. The
sons of Earn Pearce and Letty Jensen Pearce (Mother’s sister) would
come to Beaver and we would all hunt deer south of town in the
pinion/juniper trees. Before dawn, Dad would drive the truck, let us
all out at the bottom of the foot hills, and drive as far as he
could towards the top, get out and build a small fire to keep warm.
We would all work our way to the top of the hills where he was
located and we would hear him shoot and shoot; but when we got there
he never had a deer. We almost always got several buck, some of them
in the trophy category. We certainly had a great time and will
remember them always.
Dad served as a Beaver County Commissioner for one term. He really
enjoyed serving and completed many projects for the county. One of
his favorite projects was the Beaver Golf Course near the race track
and close to the farm where we grew up. It was on the ground where
Dad had cleared all of the brush and planted potatoes and hay. The
golf course was a nine hole golf course and has been a great
success, since it was probably the first one built in all of
Dad played for several years and each time we visited we played golf
with him. He even purchased a golf cart so he could be like the
other good golfers. One experience we remember, when Richard and I
were playing with him, was when Dad hit his ball close to the
racetrack fence. The seventh hole was a par five that ran through
the infield of the race track, over the track, and then all the way
to the Beaver Canyon highway. We tried to get him to move the ball
back away from the fence, but he said he could hit it out with his
five iron. When he hit the ball, a great shot, he also hit the fence
and bent the five iron into a sharp right angle. That was not bad
enough as he said it would be okay and pounded it on the rail fence
to straighten it out. Needless to say the five iron was never the
same, although it did not hurt his game much. He was always very
competitive and he knew all of the tricks to keep you on your toes.
Dad would drive long distances to see his grandkids. When Kristen
(Robert and Madge’s first child) was born, he used to drive to Cedar
to watch Madge give her a bath and play with her. After we moved to
Afton, Wyoming, he would drive all the way there to pick up Kristen
so that he could take her back to Beaver to stay with he and
grandma. When Kristen was four years old, she helped him build the
board fence south of the barn by handing him the nails through the
fence. When we lived in Buhl, Idaho, he and mom would often come for
a visit. They would also make at least one trip a year back to
Indiana to visit Richard’s family.
Dad would love to have a project when he would come for a visit. He
helped us with pouring concrete, building a deck and finishing the
basement. When he was in Indiana, he helped finish the garage into a
bedroom for Mark and Brad, build a car port to replace the garage,
and put up a chain link fence around the three quarter acre back
yard. In Idaho, he would always take the kids to the Big Chef drive
inn for ice cream and to the store for gum and candy. They loved
raspberry sherbet. When he got the bubble gum he would get them to
promise not to tell their grandma.
They also went to Pole Creek with us where Robert worked as a Forest
The Forest Service had a nice ranger station on the Jarbridge Ranger
Every Fall, Richard would fly from Indiana and Robert would come
from Idaho or Utah for the deer season. We would spend a week so
that we could hunt deer with dad. We would usually drive out to the
foothills outside of Beaver where he would let us off at the bottom
of the hill and he would drive to the top of the mountain where he
would wait for us to drive the deer to him.
In the fall of 1986, dad was not feeling well but would not go to
the doctor to find out what was going on. One morning, he did not
feel up to going out with us so we whet by ourselves. About 11:00 in
the morning, Thel Martin, dad’s nephew came out to find us to tell
us that dad had collapsed and was in the Beaver Hospital. By the
time that we got to town, they were preparing to fly him to Salt
Lake City. He had an aneurism, between his legs that had gotten the
size of a baseball before it burst. He had lost so much blood before
they found out what was happening that most of his internal organs
were shutting down by the time that they got him to Salt Lake. He
passed away on November 9, 1986 after spending about 2 weeks
attached to a life machine.
One day while we were there and he was trying to talk to us, it was
during the world series of baseball. He got very upset with us since
we could not tell what it was that he was asking. He wanted to know
whether or not Bruce Hurst, a distant relative of his, had won the
ball game that he was pitching. He was pleased when we finally was
able to tell him that he had won the game..