My uncle, Nate Knight Jr., was born in Moab during the year of 1920 and was living with his family near Sego, Utah by 1922. His father, Nate senior, was working a small coal mine in Thompson Canyon just over the ridge from the larger Sego coal mine.
Kathy Hurt is a very interesting lady from Fruita, Colorado. She is an author and historian, to boot. I first heard of her when a friend loaned me a copy of a book Kathy wrote in 2011. It’s called “Way Points Along the Book Mountains.”
I stayed in Moab with my grandparents, Len and Laura Stocks, for the six or eight weeks that comprised kindergarten in the summer of 1958. The schools were running double sessions at that time in Moab because there were too many children and not enough schools.
I’m thinking I’ll continue with some more family stories of Thompson Springs in the 1950s. As mentioned in the last column, things were kind of spicy and dicey due to the influx of uranium miners and the assorted commotion they were causing out in the hills and when they came into town to wet their whistles.
My grandmother, Elise, had made a good go of the new Desert Moon businesses in Thompson Springs, Utah, between 1937 and 1945. After the untimely death of her husband, Clarence, at the young age of 37 she had worked her heart out operating and managing her new businesses.
My grand folks, Clarence and Elise Rogers, had left Idaho in the early 1920s, lived in Ouray, Colorado for nearly a decade, then moved to Thompsons, Utah in 1930.
By 1930 nearly all the mines in the Ouray, Colorado area had shut down due to the nationwide depression. Apparently, Grandpa Clarence and Grandma Elise decided that they couldn’t make a very good living there anymore. Besides which, they had had enough of the kind of winters that “The Switzerland of America” is known for.
After marrying in Idaho, Clarence and Elise Rogers began a trip by horse and wagon down towards Arizona, but ended up in Ouray, Colorado instead. It was getting late in the year of 1921. One of Grandpa Clarence’s first jobs in the area seems to have been ranch work at Piedmont.
Clarence William Rogers was born in Soldier, Idaho, on Feb. 9, 1900. Elise Genevieve Blattner was born in Darby, Idaho, on March 25, 1900. Their destinies intertwined in 1919.
Let’s take one last look at the history Edith Johnston left for us when she finished her 36-year effort to write her memoirs in 1996. I consider her stories worthy of this column since she grew up in various little places across the Cisco Desert along the base of the Book Cliffs, and that is what this column is really about; telling the stories of the people who spent time in the Book Cliffs country.
This will be the third time in a row that I’ve shared excerpts from Edith Johnston’s memoirs with those of you who read this column. Once again, I want to thank Colette Johnston, daughter of Vion Johnston, who many of you Moabites probably know, for allowing me to use portions of her grandmother’s opus.