I’ve been telling you some stories about my Uncle Nate Knight over the course of the past couple months. It’s the year 2020 now and my dear uncle would have been 100 years old on March 27. He lived a good, exciting and interesting life in many ways, but also lived a life so challenging that most would find it unbearable.
When I was a youngster, quite a few of the adult men in my life flew airplanes and some of them owned one. My Dad got his pilot license in 1946 while working as a line boy at an FBO over Denver way.
I’ve been planning to try to cram the rest of my recollections about my uncle, Nate Knight, into this third part, but I know it won’t work. As mentioned in my last column, I have been getting a lot of help with the facts and the timeframes from Uncle Lee Stocks, who still resides in Moab and who spent a lot of time working with Nate in the years from 1945 until 1960. These brothers-in-law were always close and lived across the street from each other on 2nd North in Moab most of their lives.
First, let me apologize about the fact my column has only appeared infrequently the past few weeks. Sometimes it was because the editor did not have space to run it, and lately it’s because I’ve been tied up on a big project out here in Thompson Springs that has consumed all my time. I like to have my stuff printed every other week in The Times-Independent, but it just can’t always work out that way.
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.