A Page Out of the Book Cliffs
Page 14 – Ink Harris
by AJ Rogers
Jun 08, 2018 | 118 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ink Harris and Harry Ballard had a long-term and long-distance friendship and business relationship going on during the early 20th century as mentioned in my last two columns, subtitled Ink Harris parts one and two. They respected and trusted each other and continued to send letters back and forth between Utah and England for many years. I have copies of a fair number of such letters, though not many are from Harry to Ink. Most are from Ink to Harry. Following is yet another of those, complete with their own grammatical and spelling flourishes. It was written 101 years ago.

Elgin, Utah

July 1. 1917

Mr. H.G. Ballard, Chichester England

My Dear Old Friend,

It has bin a long time since I have written to you. I have bin very buisey with my ranches and cattle. This summer I planted about 30 acres of crop. Corn, spuds, garden, and some alfalfa, and Green River got on a rampage and the hole thing has bin under water for two weeks and of course all the crop is a totel loss. The river was higher this year than was ever known before. The cattle is doing pretty good. We had a very late spring whitch was good for the cattle as they could stay out where the feed was good. The sheep men had an awful loss. It was storming all the time they shered and lots of them tried to lamb on the desert and lost pretty near all of the lambs and part of the old sheep.

Well Harry I will try to render an account of my stewardship to you. I turned the check you sent me into the bank and it was protested. The bank notified me and I went after Sprott and made him give another check for $104.25 whitch covered the protest fee. I turned this check in and it went through ok so I don’t think you was out any thing in the tranceaction. I notified Sprott on June 15 that I held note and deed for the four lots due June 28 and wood deliver same on receipt of $112.35, but as yet have herd nothing frome him.. But I will sure keep my hand on the deed and note until I get the money because I don’t thing Sprott is as strait as he mite be.

Well Harry, since war has bin declaired we are all trying to do our bit of course. I am to old for the first call but I am heart and sole with the President. We have a Red Cross Branch here and every body is doing all they can for the boys in front. I here it wont last long but we cant tell so the thing to do is is to be prepaired. The Denver and Rio Grand is out of commission and wont have a through train for a month. The Goosberry dam went out up near Colton and washed out 25 miles of track and almost wiped out Helper and Castelgate. The people got notice and there was only one life lost. We have bin working to save the Green R. wagon bridge for a week and I think it is safe as the river has fell some and I believe the worst of the high water is over, loosing all of my crops puts me up against it as I have 20 head of hogs and nothing to feed them. The people at Thompsons seams to think old Mace shoud have had old Chris L.’s house to live in and wanted me to ask you about it. I told them I had my instructions regarding the place frome you. It seems everybody at Thompsons has it in for Sprott. Joe Taylor wanted to rent your pasture this spring and I told him I wood write you and see if I could arange it for him but I got a letter frome Sprott sayng he had leased it frome you so I just let the matter go. I don’t think Mace has come over yet but I herd from him this spring and he wintered good. Well old man it will take you a long time to desifer this scroll so I will close for this time with good wishes to your self and family.

AS ever your old friend,

G. A. Harris

I appreciate the opportunity to share this old first-hand history with you folks and appreciate the comments received. It looks like summer is finally here to stay, and I dare say none of you folks had your crops flooded out this spring. I guess there is a lot of truth in the old phrase: Hell or High Water. We had no high water this year but I’m thinking we better get prepared to fend off Hell.


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