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Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Zale Nagler
Date of Interview - 7-21-1979
Interviewed b y Pat Cheek
Date of birth - 8-13-1898
Parents - Rudolph Tanhayser and Mary S. Tanhayser
Maternal grandparents - Smollen or Smellen
Ethnic group - German
Family origin - outside of Berlin
Date of family arrival in County - 1901
Location of first family settlement - Pennsylvania
Well my name is, married name, Mary Foote.
Q: And when were you born?
A: I was born August the 13th, 1898.
Q: And Where?
A: In Germany.
Q: And what made your family first decide to come over to this country?
A: We1l, my father just heard that America was the finest place in the world to live, and it made a good living, and a good place to raise your family. And so he decided he and his brother-in-law to come first. They were out here a whole year and they sent for the two, my mother, and my mother's sister.
Q: When did you finally come to Southern Colorado?
A: Oh, I believe it was in 19'', why we came to Trinidad in 1909.
Q: How did you come across the country? Where did they first go?
A: When they first came from Germany they stopped in Pennsylvania and we lived there until 1909 or 1910, then we come to Trinidad and lived there for five or six years, then we come on to Oakview and then down to La Veta.
Q And when you came from Pennsylvania to Southern Colorado what kind of transportation did you have?
A: Oh we came on train part of the time and then we come in these hatch, you know, surry—like, covered, with the fringe all around it, with six horses and we were driving those things. Of course it wasn't so expensive as it is today.
Q: And you came across the prairies and everything til you came here?
A: Across the prairies. And most of the time, if we had to stay all night we just went to this, they had boarding houses places for people who traveled, and we stayed there. And start out again. Then there was just the two of us then. See, my other brothers and sisters were born, there as just two of us who came from Germany. One sister was born in Pennsylvania and one brother born in Walsenburg. Imagine that.
Q: Do you remember when you were coming across seeing any Indians or anything at that time?
A: No, there was no, uh, uh, it was peaceful.
Q: And when your family settled here they went to work back in the coal mines?
A: Yea, always my father always, he was a Prospector for coal, and he prospected the different layers of land where he thought the coal would be soft, you know, tunnel coal. Or sometimes he would say, “The coal is in the shaft. You have to go down in the shaft. Go down and get the coal out.” He was a pretty good miner.
Q: And your direct family was in mining, everybody who came?
A: The brother-in-law was, the two of them stayed together pretty well, the two brother-in-laws.
Q: Were you here during the time of the strike, in l9l4?
Q: What can you remember about that one?
A: Well, when they talked about having a strike at Oakview my father didn't want to be there with his family so we moved on down to La Veta and we lived down the street here in the old Denton house. Still there. Bob Penne lives there now. And we lived, and then we had really a hard time because nobody, well, there was no work to be had. And then they just got so much a month. From the Union we got five dollars, five or six dollars a month just to buy flour and sugar and coffee. Then we had to go, my father had to go fishing caught alot of fish you know-you didn't have to have a fishing license in those days. You could go and fish. And then I worked, washed dishes for Mrs. Ghiordi at the old Spanish Peak Motel. I washed dishes there for my meals and twenty-five cents a day.
Q: Can you remember any of the violence that occurred during the time of the strike?
A: Of the strike, well they seemed to have a quite a bit of when the militia come in, they seem to have violence then, cause they got sort of bossy and they got up here on the Box Head Hill. One day they had a shooting match. They killed one of the men. And when they went to Oakview they seemed to have trouble. Every now and then somebody would get killed.
Q: What were you saying about when they came looking for guns?
A: Oh, well then the militia, they were suppose to go through everybody's house looking for guns, and we were afraid they were going to have a big shoot out or something. When they came in to our house down here in the old Denton house, why my mother told them we had no guns. No weapons of any kind. And they said, well we don't believe you. We have to go through the house.” So they rooted all through the house, and in the trunks and in the closets, and all they found no guns, cause we didn't have a gun. We had fishing poles cause my dad would go fishing. But no guns. But they looked anyway.
Q: Now how did your dad feel about the strike?
A: Oh, he said that was the end of his career, as far as the mine was concerned. He said he would never go back or ever have anything to do with it cause there was too much violence. And then when they had this Ludlow, all of the people that moved down there on the flats, you know, from all, the other mines, from around Trinidad. They had that Militia out there and somebody shot at one of the tents and caught it, a fire and those people were burned. I remember that..., plain.
Q: Did your father feel that he was treated fairly before that, working on the mines?
A: No, he said that it was too hard, too much hard work for what you got out of it. You only made $2.50 a day and work from morning till 5:00. And you just did hardly make enough for living. And he thought he could do better outside.
Q: Can you remember if he was paid in money or if he was paid in script?
A: Script, uh huh, no money. Everything you had to buy at the company store, everything that you had, had to go through the company store and all your groceries and there was no money... no money.
Q: And what kind of housing did you have when you lived in a mine town?
A: Well just four rooms, usually just three or four rooms. There was my oldest brother there was two brothers, four of us, four kids, four children and my father, six of us in four rooms
Q: And they had schoo1s at the mines?
A: They had schools, uh, huh. All grades from the first up to the eight, I think that's as far as it went.
Q: And how far did you go in school?
A: Well, I didn't go to school in the mines too long because we weren't up there more than a year when the strike broke out. So I went to school here at La Veta, I think to the seventh grade is all I went. That's all the schooling I had.
Q: Then you went to work?
A: Then I went to work. I worked for Mrs. Springer when they had the Springer Hotel up there. I was a young girl, oh I'd say, 14 years old. I worked up there. Then I worked before that for Mrs. Ghiordi. I wasn't quite that old, maybe 12.
Q: And here in La Veta it was quite of a booming town then, wasn't it?
A: Oh, La Veta was really booming then too. There was at least sixteen mines around. There's Alamo and all of the mines surrounding Walsenburg and all La Veta was rea1ly on its feet then and it had two passenger trains, one at midnight and one at three in the morning. One that went to Denver and coming back. Then we had one that was called a “water train” that hauled water down at the Huerfano, everyday a tank of water. I don't know. It seemed like people that lived here seemed to have plenty. It wasn't overly rich or anything like that. I never knew of anything like that, or anybody having alot of money.
Q: Were most of the people miners?
A: No they were farmers, a lot of them farmers. They'd make butter and bring it in and sell it, and they raised chickens.
Q: Did you always live in town?
A: We always did. We lived down there in the old Denton house.
Q: What did your dad do after he left?
A: Oh, got little odd jobs. He just got odd jobs working out on the country on a farm putting up hay and helping with the crops.
Q: But you were mostly town folks?
A: Uh, huh, we just stayed right here then. He just wasn't too well. See he had worked in the mine since he was just a young, seventeen, sixteen seventeen years old. He wasn't that well. He finally got this now they call it “Black Lung.” In them days they called it “Asthma” or “minors consumption.” He died quite young, he was forty-four when be died. He died in August, 1927, I think.
Q: And how old were you when you finally got married?
A: I was seventeen.
Q: And you married a local boy?
A: uh, huh, I met Al, Albert Foote. And we went together a year. He wasn't making a whole lot, but then nobody else was either, making very small wages.
Q: And what did he do for a living?
A: He ran his father's newspaper.
Q: And what was that?
A: The “La Veta Enterprise.” And he did odd jobs, like making letterheads and cards, you know, calling cards, things like that. You know he printed. But then of course he'd probably get fifty cents for a whole bunch. I don't know how much, now, but he didn't make much, but we got along.
Q: How long did he stay with the newspaper?
A: Oh I'd say about ten years. We rented the house in back of the Presbyterian Church and our rent was only $7.00. So you know so you know $7.00 a month, so you know that you didn't make too much, or the rent would've of been more.
Q: And at that time did you have..
A: … no lights, no water, no electricity, no water in the house, and no bathroom facilities of any kind. No sink, and we washed dishes in a dish pan.
Q: And your water was from outside?
A: They had one hydrant in the neighborhood where I lived. Everybody would come and carry water in buckets.
Q: And how were things during the depression because you were just newly married.
A: Yes. Well there, the first depression was it in 29, the first depression.
A: 1929, It was plenty tough.
Q: Even here in the small town.
A: Oh, you bet, it was hard. Because we were only allowed so much meat, you know there was just so much sent in. Most people didn't have the money to buy it with. And the stores were allowed just so much. And then when World War I, I think broke out, or World War II, where we had to have stamps, you know for sugar and coffee and shoes and stuff like that.
Q: Well they didn't have that after World War I, did they, or during World War I did they ever ration then, too?
A: No they didn't have rationing then, not till World War II. I still have a few rationing stamps, around here somewhere, All those little tokens, they called them little tokens. You get something, was a penny. Well, they give you back a token, if it was you give them a nickel. Well if there was one penny, they' 11 give you back four tokens, see, five tokens was a penny, equal to a penny. And later on the minimum things.
Q: Did you ever see them?
A: Uh huh. I've got one I wish I knew exactly where I put them. And I still have a book of stamps that you had to have for sugar and coffee, and shoes and stuff like that.
Q: Did you have a hard time getting this stuff?
A: Well, if you had your stamps, you'd get the shoes, and if you didn't, you couldn't get em.
Q: And you did most of your shopping and everything right here in La Veta.
A: Everything. Uh huh, In Kincaid's store, they had the store, we had two stores, two or three. Mr. Streamaner's store right up there where it says Alley Hardware, and then there was another store in the middle of the block here, grocery store and then Joe Kincaid, the old Joe Kincaid, owner of that big building that' s down there in the corner, had a grocery store there.
Q: Right, you had plenty of food, I mean.
A: Then we always had plenty of food. Things weren't that high. Even then you could buy a chicken, a big stewing chicken for a dollar. Sometimes you didn't have a dollar. You might have fifty cents, and hamburger was 10¢ a pound, and so I usually wound up buying a pound of hamburger, with just my husband and I. Things got better as time went on. When I had my children it was bad, but not that bad. Even then he only made, he worked down at the round house, when they had the round house and the coal shoot and all that. He worked down there and actually he only made $2.00 a day there when I was raising my family.
Q: And you managed?
A: Yea, we managed.
Q: Can you remember when all when your family first came and you were living in the coal camps, or even here, what did the people do then for entertainment?
A: Oh they used to, we'd go out in the country and they'd husk corn and have a weekend, where everybody put their lunches together and have a picnic and things like that. Once in a while they'd have a square dance, at these different homes. Somebody played the piano, fiddler or something, but they had plenty entertainment had no picture show then, that I remember, way back. Later on then they had a picture show up in the Kincaid hall upstairs. They had the wooden chairs and they run this machine. Old, old, timer yea, the old pictures.
Q: The silent movies?
A: Way back, uh huh, silent movies. Everything was written on the Screen.
Q: And they played the piano?
A: Yea, played the piano. Miss Ghiordi, then as time went on Connie's mother had the Spanish Peaks Hotel, and then two doors from us. Why there was a little theatre which she owned too, called the “Crystal Theatre.” It was just a dime. And you'd sit there half the night and watch the silent movies. May Griden played the piano. And I'd say Mom come-on.” And she'd say, “No, I'm not hungry right now.” She wanted to be sure that we had plenty to eat. Then she'd eat.
Q: How did she get along after your father died?
A: Well, she worked, she went out and worked. She worked all day long for a dollar a day. Then we had to make that go around, pay rent and take care of us. There was four of us then. My oldest brother was not married. He went, I don't remember, somewhere in Wyoming, he went to Casper Wyoming, he lived up there. Once in a while he'd send my mother some, which was all he could do to keep his own wife and later on, he had two children. But it just took a lot of money in them days. Same as it does today. Then a dollar, you couldn't buy anything for a dollar, and today you can't buy anything for $20.00.
Q: That's true. I wanted to ask you too, can you remember, was there alot of medical care around at the time?
A: Not too many. Well, we had that hospital up here, you know, this big stone building up the street. That was a hospital and doctor Lamme, the two Lamme's Doctor Bud's father, Doctor, this young doctor Lamme, his dad and his brother run the hospital up here. And then of course they took care of all the miners too. They went up to the coal mines near Oakview every day, because there was people up there. And instead of coining down, they were afraid of coming down. So they go down there and doctor the miners.
Q: Were there people who usually tried to doctor themselves though?
A: Oh yes, everybody had all kinds of home remedies.
Q: Well can you tell me what some of them were?
A: I don' t ever remember going to. Oh my mother just, she always when anybody get sick. She'd get the turpentine and the lard out and make poultice. We had a cold and she'd put it on our chest or she'd make a onion syrup, sliced onion, and put sugar on it and put it in the oven and sort of bake it, and she'd give us that onion soup for cold. OH, hot baths and rub us with goose grease, or any kind of grease. I never had a doctor. I don' t remember ever, I don t ever remember going to the doctor till I had my first baby and that was a mess, cause I wasn't used to going to a doctor and never went all never went all the time I was pregnant. My boy is 60 years old. Can you imagine that not going to a doctor? Well, you wasn't brought up that way? Alot of them are that way.
Q: Can you remember what kind of chores you had to do as a child?
A: Well as time went on my mother bought an old cow. Well she wasn't too old, she gave milk, and it gave alot of milk. My brother and I, we peddled, we sold milk to the different homes. We had a big can you know, there' s gallon jugs. I'd carry one and my brother would carry one. We'd take quart containers and we'd go to the door and knock, and the I lady would come to the door with her pan and we'd set one pan down, and my brother would pour into this quart thing and get it clear full and pour it in her container in the doorway, and she'd give us a nickel for it.
Q: For a quart of milk?
A: A good big quart, my mother said, “Now fill it up good.” And we did. We'd give her a big load.
Q: And most kids at that time, they went to work pretty early?
A: Sure we'd have to. Well, like I say, we washed the dishes or helped next door make gardens. We went barefooted, do you know, nobody had shoes on except for Sunday. The only time you had shoes, on, heavens, yes. Everybody went barefoot in them days. And shoes, I think we could get really a good pair of shoes for 1.50 fancy, good shoes. High laced shoes, you could lace them way up there.
Q: Did any of your brothers go to work in the mines?
A: My oldest brother worked in the mine, but he cried every morning. My mother would get him up, he'd say, “Mother I don't want to go into that dark hole. He was afraid, he was only fifteen. And he says, “I'm afraid to go in there.” He says, “I'll do anything if I didn't have to work there.” Work in the mine. So as time went on she just told my father, she says, “He's not going anywhere.” She said, “He's just a child,” and he couldn't dig coal. He wasn't: strong enough. So then he got a job up here at the ranch, the old Carver ranch up at the canyon there, up at the Huajatolla. He went: up there to look for work and they said, “Now, John, we like you so much, why don't you come up and live with us?” There was a couple, they weren't real old, but then they weren't young either. They were in their forties, I guess. So he went up there and just stayed and worked for them. And I think he got his boarding and room and a few dollars to spend each month to buy his overalls and shirts and whatever. He took care of himself.
Q: He wasn't very old then either?
A: A lot of the children today, they absolutely won't work. We had to work.
Q: Do you know what kind of law they had in this town back then?
A: Well it wasn't too bad, we had marshalls, like they have, you know, to walk the streets every night. They'd have a marshall during the day and then I remember they had board sidewalks in this town. You could hear the marshall clanking up and down the streets, clear from the depot up past the church, and down form the grocery store all the way to the depot there, board sidewalks, about this wide. You could hear that clanking all night long.
Q: Did people have automobiles here?
A: No, not very many, just the doctor. I think that we had the two Lamme's. I think they each had a car and doctor Roberts and Dr. Green? We had four doctors then, and a dentist. And I don't think there was more than half a dozen cars that I can remember for years and years.
Q: How did people get around?
A: Well they just went in their buggies, drive to Walsenburg in their horse and buggy, sure.
Q: Did you go to Walsenburg often?
A. No, not too often. Cause we would have to go with the neighbors, you know, and my mother would go down and buy a few dry goods and a dress or two for herself. I was dressed then, of course you could buy a housedress for a dollar, a real nice one. And as I say you could get shoes for a dollar and a half. Real fancy ones for two. So, no, we didn't go down too much. Well like she says, in the first place we didn't have that much money, and you just got to count your dollars.
Q: Do you remember anything about, any stories that: you heard about the kind of law they had in Walsenburg in those days?
A: Well I don't know too much about, I know they had that sheriff down there.
A: Farr, uh huh, Jeff Farr. He tried to keep the law and they said that he was pretty good. But I didn't know too much about Walsenburg because we stayed right here in La Veta.
Q: Did you go to church in this community?
A: Yes, I went to Catholic church, when they didn't have a Catholic church, they just had it in a little building up the street. I went to Catholic: church' for a whi1e, and then, as time went on, I got acquainted with some other children and I went to the Methodist church it was down the street, the church that I was married in. I went to that little church after that. And I became a member of the Methodist church in this little church down here.
Q: When did they build that Methodist church?
A: Oh heavens, I don't know, long years ago. It was there when we came to La Veta. And this church up here, see, this church is a hundred years old. I belong to the Methodist church. My husband belonged to this other church, up here, the Baptist church. He was a member of the Baptist and I was a Methodist and we got along fine.
Q: You got married in the Methodist church?
A: Uh huh.
Q: What kind of wedding did you have, the reception and everything?
A: Nothing, no we was too poor.
Q. Just your family.
A: Nothing. We went to Grandma's. His mother fixed supper for us, for my mother and my family, the children that was left, the little children. No, she just had a nice dinner for us. Baked a cake. We didn't have any of that, no kind of reception.
Q: No neighbors.
A: No, Uh huh.
Q: The people that lived in this town back then, were most of them from different nationalities and things?
A: Well, quite, just a mixture, like they are today. Spanish and Italian, and Polish, and then my neighbor, as I said, lived over there next to the Presbyterian church. Chester Springer, he work at the school or somewhere? When he was born, I took care of him. Chester Springer, they were my neighbors. His mother was my neighbor.
Q: How did people get along back then?
A: Just fine, really, before Chester was born she say's, “oh, Mary, I'm so hungry for Chocolate cake.” And she say's, “I don't have all that ingredients for a cake and she say's, “If I bake it, will you furnish part of the stuff?” And I said, “Sure I will, and then you keep .the biggest part of the cake because you're hungry for cake.” That was just before Chester was born. And we shared all the time.
Q: And so nobody really had any quarrels then?
A: No, not La Veta, everyone seemed to be neighborly as far as I know. I know the Baiones, you know Pete Baione, who lives up here. He, I've known him, well, since I was a little girl. Since 1909 or 10 strike, cuz they were at the Oakview too, and moved down here, the Baiones, and he's really the only one that I know from way back. Pete, I bet he could tell you alot of things too about the mines. Still he says he doesn't want to remember anything, he don't even want to talk about it. Cause times were kind of hard.
Q: Well it's kind of important, though.
Q: To let people know what things were like.
Q: Do you remember, you were saying that your husband was making $2.00 a day there then, so actually what you lived on, how much money you earned?
A: Well he made $2.00 a day when he worked at the roundhouse, but before that he didn't make that much cuz, oh times were, nobody paid, nobody had money, you either took it out in trade like a chicken or butter and milk, and stuff like that, from the farmers. If you'd go and work all day they'd give you a chicken or a piece of meat and some milk and stuff like that.
Q: And that's what he did, he just worked out for other people?
A: Uh huh, he worked here and there and everywhere. Whenever they needed somebody. Until later on, as time went on, then he got a better job. Worked at the roundhouse, I mean, first at the roundhouse then he got a job working at the depot. He was expressman, took care of the express at the depot. And then as time went on, then he went up here at the school, and he was a janitor up here over at the school for 14 years. And as time went on and on and on, why he got a
little better job.
Q: When did they close down the train depot?
A: Oh, my goodness, it's been more than 20 years. Because it was closed when my husband died. So it's been more than 20 years.
Q: When you were a young girl, was it a pretty busy place?
A: Oh yes, we had the two trains, two passengers at night and one in the day time, the water train. It went to Walsenburg down to Huerfano and it carried the water every day. They had a big water tank up here on the gill, up here you go to Alamosa, on top of this Flack Hard Hill. And they fill this big tank, just like gasoline, you know how they carry gasoline, but this is water, and they'd empty this down there for the Huerfano people. Farmers and people that lived around there that had no water.
Q: Just about your trip.
A: Well when we came over, from Germany, my mother and her sister, and two children and my mother and my brother, and myself. It took 30 days on the boat, my mother was sick all the way. She had two girls to look after, my brother and myself. And then when we got to New York, we got on a train, and then went on to Pennsylvania. But in the mean time, why, I sort of got lost, and my mother found me.
Q: That was in New York?
A: In New York. And then when we got on the train we were hungry, and wanted something to eat. And she couldn't talk, didn't know anything about English language. So this man come along, the conductor came along with a basket of food, and she had never seen a banana, she thought that was different and so she pointed at it, and she wanted two bananas, and she told him, she put two fingers up, we wanted two bananas, and she knew nothing about money, so she just took her hand and reached in the pocketbook and he took what the price of the bananas were. And then we went on the New York to Pennsylvania. And my father was there to meet us. And my aunt's husband was there. The two men was there to meet their wives and children. And we went on to the coal mine, where they were living, called Grandsburg, Pennsylvania. That's where we were for years, several years, maybe five or six, and then we came on to Colorado. And we moved to Trinidad, we lived in Trinidad.
Q: And what were you saying about the way you thought the difference in the schools were, then and now?
A: Uh huh, the schools.
Q: As far as what you said you learned.
A: Well when we went to school there was just reading and writing and arithmetic and very little of anything else. And as time went on the schools got better of course, but, then I was out of school by that time. Didn't go only till the 7th grade, I think the 7th or the 8th, that's as far as I went then.
Q: Didn't have a high school?
A: Didn't have a high school when I went to school. Course, that'd been years ago. And I just read, and read everything I could find, and kind of educated myself. Learn to read and as time went, when then I met my husband.
Q: And your parents, did they have a difficult time adjusting to the language?
A: Sure they did. It didn't take long to learn American language, it's the easiest language there is to learn, I think. Or my mother seemed to think it was. The foreign languages are hard, although I spoke a little German. I talked to a lady the other day, and said a few words in German. I can talk German and Hungarian, and Polish. And a little American then.
Q: But you're pretty well educated.
A: But most of the miners, they were all different nationalities, Italian, Polish and German, and Hungarian, and Slavs and Montanegros, and Serbians, there was every kind of a nationality you could think of in a coal mine.
Q: Did most of the nationalities stay in their own group?
A: Well, they seemed to want to get together and find out all about each other. They were real friendly. I never knew them to fight or feud or anything like that. And as time went on my mother kept boarders. Somebody asked her if she would open a boarding house, and she said she would, and she kept boarders. We always had boarders, 25 at a time.
Q: That was at the coal mines?
A: At the coal mine. At Tolerburg. It's gone now, at Cokedale, above Cokedale, Tolerburg. And she kept these boarders and they paid her so much for board and room. $25.00 a month, I think, was for board and room and their lunches. But then you had to pay for the food so there wasn't very much left. Anyway, we got to eat, we and the children.
Q: And the food that she bought she had to buy that from the…
A: Company Store, uh huh, nothing, you couldn't buy anything anywhere else. Not even at the farm, you had to buy it at the store.
Q: Your clothing and everything?
A: And then clothes. Then if your shoes, if they had shoes and they didn't have any to fit you, they'd send in to Trinidad and order a bunch of shoes, then you'd come on up there and try them on.
Q: Was your mother happy living in the mines?
A: Well not too much, not very happy. It was hard work. And if you'd of had anything, you know it would have been different. But she, there was nothing else, there was nothing else, work in the mine or go out and work on the farm. Really there wasn't too much work in them days.
Q: Was your father ever hurt?
A: Yes, he was burnt one time. He went out to, where we had the boarding house we had the wash room out doors, it was away from the house. And the miners had what you call “powder” that you shoot coal with. And the fire got too hot and these kegs of powder lined up there, and this thing caught on fire and he thought he'd open the door and go in there and see if he could put it out, and about that time it blew up, burned his face and hands. He was pretty bad off for a while, but then, he made it alright. The doctor came and doctored him up, but it was quite a while before he could see. His face was swollen and his eyes were swollen shut, you know he closed his eyes and of course they burnt.
Q: Can you remember anything else that stands out in you mind from living in a mining town?
A: Oh, I tell, we were afraid to go out after dark even though they were peaceful and all of that. But they were a mixture of people, you know, all nationalities. And mother, she said, “Now, you can't go out after dark” cause she was afraid. And our neighbors were colored people, we played with them.
Q: Did a lot of people carry guns then?
A: No, a few did and most of them some of them carried razors opened razors. When they'd have a fight they'd slash each other.
Q: A fight between the miners?
A: The saloons get too much beer, I guess. They'd get drunk and they all carried a razor and very few had guns some of them had guns, but most of them would open that razor and slash each other with razors.
Q: You say there were alot of saloons here?
A: About every other door. Lots of saloons.
Q: That's what the miners did for entertainment?
A: Well they'd go down and play cards and drink beer. They'd come down from Oakview every Saturday night. This town would just be full of the miners that would come down and they'd play cards. They had those round tables and they'd play cards down at the saloon. There was no law about playing cards, they could gamble if they wanted to.
Q: Were there alot of fights between them?
A: Well they had pretty, they knew if they carried on they'd be put in a little one room adobe jail, made out of adobe. You could almost push it over, but they were afraid of it anyway. If they got put in there they'd have to stay there until they paid their fine, or just stay there till somebody bailed them out. Just a little old room. It wasn't very big just a little square thing that had just one little window, a door and a padlock on the outside. If the marshall put them in there they'd have to stay there till, he got good and ready to let you out. I don't think he did it much.
Q: Now, you could go ahead and tell me what you were going to tell me about your father-in-law.
A: Oh, well he was a newspaper man, and he was justice of the peace, and a surveyor, and he surveyed the biggest part of this country, farming country. He surveyed the railroad for the broad guage. The railroad when it was first built was narrow guage and he surveyed for the broad guage all the way to over the pass. And he surveyed most of this country. He worked in Walsenburg for the, oh where you make out, the land office, he worked down there for years, and made abstracts for the land and stuff like that.
Q: And what was his name?
A: Arthur A. Foote. And he came from London England as a young man. He was 21, when he came, when they first come to Pueblo and then come on up here to La Veta. And there was nothing here, very few houses. And I think they had their first, they built their house, first brick house in town. Down here at the end of the street.
Q: And he started that little newspaper?
A: And he started, he had the newspaper, “Advertiser,” and printing press, you printed one paper at a time. And he did all kinds of jobs, you know, from calling cards, and all kinds of, oh advertise tents.
Q: Do you remember anything about when the flood hit here?
A: I don't. I can't remember exactly the year, but we had water that came almost past the, washed the bridges out, and come up Main, almost to the Main Street here. We all took for the hills and stayed until the next morning, and the water went down, washed the bridges out, we had a little adobe jail house and washed that away, corner of Main Street down here, I remember that.
Q: Do you remember when you were young, what you did as a child, the games you played?
A: We didn't play too many games, we all played about the same game, hide-and-seek, and marbles. Kids played marbles them days. They didn't have football. Then they played a little baseball, tossed the ball back and forth but then we always had to work.
Q: Do you remember the big flu after World War I?
A: Oh, yes I remember the flu. 1918, 19 flu. We lost several people here with the Flu. At least 12-14 people, young and old, some were old. Angie Coleman's husbands brother, he was just 17 when he had the flu. The doctor told, him to stay in bed, cause he was so weakened he got up and got some air, and he went out and went for a walk around the house, came on in and laid down and he just died right now. And we had neighbors that had the flu, the man and his wife both had the flu, and I took food over there to them both in bed and I set it by the bed, and didn't stay very long. I never took up the flu, ever, but all the people around me had the flu.
Q: And what were saying about your career too, during World War II, what you did?
A: Oh, well during World War II we had a little red cross thing what do you call it, a project for the Red Cross. We had a lady come up from Walsenburg that showed us, a nurse, that showed us how to make bandages and we took each other's temperature, and we put our, One person would have to go to bed and they'd showed 'em how to give them a bath, you know and how to take a temperature and take care of them in case of an emergency. And I had my Red Cross pin and I stuck it through here somewhere.
Q: Do you remember how long the hospital was here?
A: Oh it was here quite a while. I remember when I was about 33, it was here then, and it was here along time after that. I had my tonsils removed there, and the two Lamme brothers run it and two other doctors, Dr. I forgot his name, Dr. Greer, and Dr. Roberts, and the two Lamme's. And we had Dr. Kramer, was our dentist. And they took care of alot of sick people up there. We didn't lose anybody so they was alright.
Q: Do you feel you enjoy living here?
A: Oh yes, I enjoyed it, I wouldn't, of course I've lived here over 60 years. I wouldn't be happy anywhere else now.
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© Karen Mitchell