Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews
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Mrs. Hattie Opal Furphy

Scanned and edited by Dick Chenault
Interviewed Rosalyn McCain
Date of interview - 1-9-1980

Hattie Opal Price Furphy
Date of birth - 11-6-1901
Parents - William Noble Price and Hattie Agnes Greenoill
Paternal grandparents - Hnery Price and Mary Agnes Snoderly
Maternal grandparents - Frances Marion Greenoill and Mary Agnes Rino
Ethnic group- Welch and American, Missourian
Family origin - Kansas and Missouri
Date of family arrival in county - 1914 to Boulder, 1923 to Walsenburg
Location of first family settlement - Rocky Mountain Camp
Kinship ties - daughter, Frances Daher; grandson, Bobby Daher; niece, Margaret Dussart
Family profession - Mining and mortuary

(These are notes taken while Rosalyn McCain and Opal Furphy talked in Mrs. Furphy's home.)

I came here I from Boulder October 1, 1923. I had lived in Boulder for about l1 years. My father was a fireman for a laundry.

My husband was working in the mine. He was born in Toltec. His name was Kakalecik. His family was all mining people. His father and all his boys were mining. Paul was a butcher at the company store at Pictou.

Mr. Kakalecik came first to Canada, then to New York. He stayed in a Slavish bachelor rooming house. Grandma Kakalecik came to this country to marry one man. She had never met him before. He was living in the rooming house and she didn't like the looks of the man she was supposed to marry. All the men were lined up against the wall. The owner of the rooming house said, “Pick out the one you do like.” She chose Grandpa Kakalecik, and they were married the next day. It was like a lottery. All of the men wanted wives from the old country. This man had sent the money for her to come over. Grandpa had to pay the first man back the money. They stayed together all those years and had 12 children. He was very nice. They were very blustery people. They would shout and yell and hollar. You just learned not to pay any attention to them.

My dad was born in Missouri. My mom was born in Kansas. He was a farmer. All my grandparent's folks were from the United States. Grandpa's people were from someplace in the United States.

My daughter, Frances Daher's, husband's parents were from Syria and Lebanon. I had four children; Clifford Bartell lives in Pueblo, and so does George Kakalecik. Frances Daher lives here in Walsenburg, and Dorothy Mayer lives in Maryland.

My husband was working at Calument when I came here. Rocky Mountain was the name of the camp that they used for Calumet at that time. Then he worked at Pictou and then at Big Four. He was a rope rider at Big Four and a trip went off the track and killed him. He went to work Saturday. He liked to fish and hunt. I went downtown to buy things for a picnic. A man asked me, “How's Eddie” I said, “No, that's two machine men that got hurt last week.” Then I met his two sisters going to tell Mr. Priest with them at Ann's house. Mr. Priest broke the news to me. He was 43. He was killed July 10, 1943. I had all four of children. They were 12. 15, l8, and 21. They were all still at home. My oldest son didn't marry until he was 29. With compensation and with his help we made it. I've never done anything useful in my life. I've never had a social security number. I went on his social security number. I got my own for other things later.

I lived at Joe Ball between Pictou Camp and the hill. They had the water from the mine pumped to all the houses. They brought water on a railroad car to a big cistern for drinking. In September 1944 we moved to a house that was sitting right here. We bought this house. I got this trailer in 1966. My husband wanted a trailer. I never did want one. Then we went back to visit relatives' and I started talking trailer with him.

On August 7, 1956 I married Herbert J. Furphy. He was died-in-the-wool Irish. His dad, Mr. Furphy, had the mortuary since 1900. We had the mortuary then until 1960 when dad sold it to Lawson. Then he died. He sold out rather suddenly. He had a really good mortuary. Dad's son lived in Washington, D.C. While we were at Tommy's he got a call from Omaha. There was an undertaker's convention in Denver. We made arrangements to meet Van Lawson in Denver, leaving the next day for Washington. So we got a call in Washington to meet Van and Mildred in Omaha. They wanted the place right now. We brought the contract back home with us. Our attorney said it was okay. That was October 1. They wanted possession October 15, and we gave them possession November 1.

So dad retired. My routine stayed the same. Then his health went bad, and I had to take over the driving even. I thought when we retired we would jump in the car and run around the country. I had to help him in and out of the car, etc. I had to help him into the doctors office. He went to the hospital July 18. He was there a month, and then he came home for a month. Then he had to go back to the hospital until he died. He was 78 years old. He was good to everybody. Everyone loved him. Not just me. He was a kind man.

He went down to 113 pounds in the hospital. I went to see him in the hospital every day but two. He had one son who is a Federal Attorney in Washington D.C. His name is John Thomas Furphy. I have 13 grandchildren. Three are in Pueblo, one is in Denver, and four are back east. I have 8 great grandchildren. Bobby Daher here has 2 daughters and Jean has 2 boys in Pueblo.

Mr. Furphy was the Coroner here in Walsenburg from 1932 to 1964. He was elected deputy coroner or coroner all but eight of those years. He knew everybody in the county. He went out house to house all over the whole county when he was campaigning. His prices were reasonable, and he gave good service with lots of extras. Everybody liked him. We were so close that I am just lost since he died. I really miss that man. I loved him so much, and we had such good times together.

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