The Millecam Family | Harriet
Ellen McFarlane | Rita Florence Millecam |
Don Stark| Mother's Stories | Thanksgiving
THE MILLECAM FAMILY
COMPILED BY BARBARA MAYBEE CARTER
"Julius was born in Utrecht, Holland, the Netherlands on
1887 and christened Jilles Antoon Johaan Millecam. Utrecht was a large city
with a university which included a medical school. About 60% of the streets were canals,
with sidewalks and wagon roads at the side. Transportation was mostly by bicycle and
skates in the winter time. He tells how they used to skate from town to town on the canals
in the winter.
The winters were rainy, but there was lots of ice. School was from 8
to noon, then 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. After the Fifth grade, they went back to
school after supper time also, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. School lasted all
year, with just a 2-week vacation in the summer and 2 days each for
Christmas and New Years.
His father was Daniel Millecam, a machinist and carriage maker. At
this time, the automobile was hardly known. His mother was Adriana Baardwyk
Millecam. Julius was the third child. First came Anna, then Daniel; after
him came Cora, Adriene or Art, as he was called, then, Henry, Antona and
Jane (whose Dutch name was Adriana.)
He had a good family. All were good workers. They even scrubbed the
street in front of their home. The father was an excellent machinist,
always had work with pay above average. The children had good leather
shoes for Sunday and wooden ones for week days. They cost little, but even
so, were scolded when they used them for weapons in a fight. Their beds
were much like our bunk beds, so there were several to a room.
Julius was an apprentice in a machine shop in Amsterdam at the age of
12 and running a lathe. His father was transferred to Tilburg and he did
odd jobs until returning to Amsterdam.
At the turn of the century, Mormon missionaries, (Nicholas G. Smith,
Bryant Hinckley, Le Grande Richards were among the best) visited them. The
mother was secretly baptized, then the children. The father had gone to
South Africa to work in the mines at big pay. After 2 or 3 years he came
back to be with his family. When he learned what they had done about
religion, he was so angry that he would throw the missionaries down the
stairs. He told Elder Hinckley that he was an atheist, always had been and
always would be unless he could prove to him from history that the Bible
was the word of God. This took six months, but Brother Hinckley finally
Now they had a new motive in their lives...they must get to Zion. Their leaders were
very helpful; they would pay their passage and they could work it out. Dan went first.
Anna was next. After she had paid this debt, she met and married John Noorda. When he was
about 17, Julius got acquainted with a missionary from Hyde Park, Utah by the name of
He says, "We got interested in each other. He told me that if I were willing
to pay for my fare by working after I got there, he would see that I got to
Zion. This I readily accepted."
It took about three months of very anxious waiting to fill the quota before he could go to
America. On shipboard, the S.S. Arabic (the White Star Line) he met another
Hollander who took him under his wing to see that he got taken care of properly. For the
first time in his life he had all he wanted to eat and more.
He landed in New York and then traveled by train. In Helper, Utah, the train went off the
track. Several were injured, but none killed. He lost all his luggage, including a trunk
at that point. Not knowing the language, he didn't know that they were trying to find out
his losses, and as a result arrived at his destination with no clothes but those on his
His sister Annie, who had come over two years before met him there. After a nice
week's visit he went on to Logan. He had made arrangements with Brother Jorgenson of Hyde
Park, Utah, who had a flour mill and elevator at Logan, to come and help on his farms.
There was another at Smithfield. He looked at his letter, knocked on a door and asked for
"Mr. Jordan Elevator." He was soon all set. He landed in Utah (in 1904?) a boy
of 17, small, less than 100 pounds, couldn't speak English. He had to learn or go hungry.
They boys of the family saw to it that he got a few swear words just to be funny. He had
been taught to work and do everything his very best, so he got along fine. In no time at
all he was taking a man's place. He cleaned out the engine at the mill and showed he knew
how to make it work as it should.
Naturally, he had to struggle with homesickness. Some of the memories he had of home were
the fun he had ice skating often from city to city on the canals. He also enjoyed a job he
had when he was small, delivering bread and cakes, etc. to customers because he got his
pay mostly in good things to eat. Then he had some good swimming holes. He remembered how
he told little Janie not to tell mother, so she said, "Mother, they boys did not go
He also remembers helping dad to save little Art's life. Art had fallen into the well feet
first. With no ladder or rope, Dad took little Julius by the feet, put him so he could
grab Art. Art had thick, curly hair, so they got hold of it and had him safe on dry land
in no time at all. He remembered how his dad would not let him get away with it when it
came to breaking rules. Once he played hooky and didn't get home until 6 p.m. When he got home, there sat Dad, "Where you
been?" "School". "Bring me that stick". Few words, much action,
that was his father. Dad was not so concerned with the school truancy, but the untruths! That was
In 1907 he was a cleaner for the Ogden Salt Lake Railroad and living
at 55 North 5th West.
In 1908 he worked as a messenger for the Utah District Telephone Co.
and lived at 517 Chicago.
In 1909 - Julius listed as blacksmith for Phil Klipple; address -517
In 1910 he attended the Yukon Exposition in Seattle and met his wife-to-be, Harriet Ellen McFarlane. Grandpa Millecam was special. He loved children
and knew the things that children like to do. He had a very soft heart, despite his
bluster and was always helping out someone in need.
HARRIET ELLEN MC FARLANE:
" I was born Feb. 20, 1886 at 2138 Lincoln Avenue, Ogden City, Utah to
James and Martha Smuin McFarlane. My paternal grandfather homesteaded this large piece of
ground. His home was next to ours. He raised a splendid
vegetable garden, also berries, apples, pears, apricots and plums. Father
kept a cow, chickens and pigs. We were a large family, James, May, Mattie,
Joseph, John, Louise, William, Arthur, myself, Florence and Lawrence.
The first home of my parents was a log house with home made furniture
with two or three windows, built-ins if you please, which were shelves with
curtains. Now these curtains and those at the windows were made from
mother's white Swiss wedding dress.
By the time that there were three children a new frame house of four
large rooms was built in the same location. There the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th,
8th, 9th and 10th were born with another room or two added.
Finances were quite the problem. The older children got work before
they left Ogden. Jimmy got a goat and delivered papers until he went into
groceries. Once when Uncle Pete got a little too rowdy at a ward dance, he
was put out. He went to our house, got the goat, returned to the dance,
dragged him up the stairs, opened the door and turned old Billy in.
May worked at the Co-op and Joseph at the ZCMI. John worked at the
print shop of the Ogden Standard. Mattie was a wonderful help at home,
good in all home skills, but especially in sewing.
Little William Charles was the only member of this big family to die
in childhood. This particularly saddened this family. Big brothers and
sisters remembered tenderly his last sayings, kept his hat, a nickel and a
ball for many years.
We all attended Sunday School in the old Third ward, which was
directly west of the Ogden Tabernacle. There rest the bones of my four
grandparents, also James and Tirzah and Earl, their son, Joseph and Pearl
and infant daughter. We went to Grant School. I was baptized in the Ogden
River in the summer of 1895.
We had what I call a happy life. We were taught to defend and help each other and to
attend to duties faithfully and fulfill all tasks honorably and give full value in service
and to remain steadfast in the faith for which they sacrificed so much.
We moved to Salt Lake October 1, 1896, where my father, a railroad man,
had been transferred. (1st Avenue, now Downington and South 4th East). That
meant leaving Grandma and Grandpa Smuin, my brother James and his family
and lots of cousins, also my brother Joseph who didn't like to leave his job and had
received a call to go on a mission to Great Britain.
We had some good friends, Mrs. Liddle and family, so we settled ourselves nearby. Our ward
was the old Farmer Ward and our Bishop, Henry F. Burton. He it was who called father on a
mission in 1904. We were living then in Elder Owen Woodruff's house. One interesting event
there was our Sunday School class took part in the Golden Jubilee, July 24, 1897. We
girls wore white dresses and carried Japanese parasols made of paper. Of course, it
had to rain and the dresses were not very white any longer. I was trained at the
University of Utah for teaching. Arthur took up bookkeeping and business administration,
also helping Lawrence to the same kind of work.
Mother enjoyed her friendship with President Woodruff's family. We were
asked by them to make our home first in Asahel's house and later in Owen's,
which had been the president's home. All the family were active in the church and each of
them except one married in the Temple. It brought great
happiness to us all that Joseph filled a mission to England and also father
in 1904-1906. Mother went to the temple about 4 days a week during his
We had dances every Friday night. They were much enjoyed in spite of
the mud carried on our feet. We had no regular dance hall, just moved the
chairs away and had our fun in the chapel.
In 1904 our ward was divided and the chapel was built across the road
from the Woodruff place. It was called Waterloo Ward. Our first bishopric
was Asahel Woodruff, Joseph J. Daynes and Hyrum Silver. Our family was
kept pretty busy; Arthur led the choir. His five sisters and his wife, Gertrude, were a
part of the choir. We immediately went to work on a contest number, "The Beautiful
Blue Danube" and finally could render it beautifully. Then came the night of the
contest. Our organist was a very good one, although real young. Well, she got frightened
and then we all did. When the judge announced the decision of the judges, he said Waterloo
Ward had committed the unpardonable sin of discord and we suffered a lot.
The next year, however, came with a very humble group of contestants. Our
Patriarch, Harrison Sperry, offered prayer with us, asking that we would do
our best. And we did, winning first place and a real heart warming tribute. Arthur stayed
with the choir as leader for 45 years. At Arthur's funeral, Spencer W. Cornwall, former
tabernacle choir leader gave a tribute to Arthur for his long years of friendship with
Arthur through choir work.
We helped in other ways, too. Louise, John, Alice, May and I were Sunday School teachers.
John, Alice and I in the Mutual. John was still president when the LDS Church sponsored
boy scouts and it was in Waterloo Ward that the first troop was organized and became Troop
No. 1. John's wife Alice Liddle McFarlane was the founder of the Beehive Girls. She
organized the first troop of Campfire Girls in the city (Waterloo Ward) which later became
Beehive Girls. May and Louise were Primary workers, Louise staying with it for more
than 30 years, being called to the stand in the Tabernacle to receive a corsage on her conclusion of 30 years.
I taught First Intermediate class with Charles Woodbury, and do remember young Joseph F.
Smith, son of Hyrum M., who later became General Patriarch was a member of our class. In
1910 our class won 1st place in a contest singing "Easter Time". Also my sister,
Mattie, with Lucile and Mary Bennion and Beulah Woodruff were winners of first place in
I received all my schooling in Salt Lake except primary grade which I got in the Grant
School in Ogden, Utah. There I learned my ABC's, reading and arithmetic. I was a willing
student and loved it all. How we did love the days when Squire Coop came to teach us
songs. And Mrs. Meal had many beautiful birds which they stuffed and mounted, live tadpoles for us to
watch as they developed and finally hopped out of their dish, cocoons and later butterflies, gorgeous moths, goldenrod, sunflowers, etc.
My fourth, fifth and sixth grades I had in old Waterloo School. 1901
- Graduation, happy day! Exercises for the whole county held in the old
Salt Lake Theatre. My sister made my dress of white Swiss. I had lovely
flowers presented to me.
In the fall of 1901, I entered the University of Utah. They were four
wonderful years with many excellent teachers, among whom were James E.
Talmage, Maude May Babcock, Howard R. Driggs, John Q. Brown and Edwin Evans who later
painted the murals in the Canadian Temple.
At the end of these four years came graduation from the Normal School,
exercises again in the Salt Lake Theatre. Sister Mattie again made me a
beautiful white Swiss dress, which was the custom at that time. We felt
very sorry for the one who had to wear a colored one.
The University of Utah consisted of but four buildings out in the sagebrush. The Physics
Building was rendered useless by fire for 2 years out of my four.
Well, my education was growing along the religion lines at this time. Our father was
on a mission and that made me proud and happy. Our friendship with the families of
President Woodruff was a real uplifting experience, especially as we found we could help
them a lot. Owen and Helen died, leaving four babies, 6 months to 4 years. We tended them
for a long period. How I loved that place with the cherry trees, the cold spring, the warm
house with its thick walls and large rooms.
Across the street was our church and next to it the home of Sister Julia M. Brixen, a
member of the MIA General Board. It was not customary to have summer mutuals, but she
invited all of us young ladies to her beautiful home about twice a month. These events
were about half party and half testimony meeting and they were wonderful! I know my own
testimony began a good growth there, through these efforts of hers. She was a good cook,
too and the desserts she served us time and again were extra special.
In September of 1905 I got my first teaching job in Cottonwood. Erastus Howe was the
principal. Several of us boarded with the Dave Moffats. In 1907 I was transferred to the
Morse School at 17th South and 5th West. Pearl Allenbaugh and I were the teachers to the
first four grades.
The family chipped in and bought a piece of property from Harris Sperry. Then it was
divided in three and brick homes were built for father and mother and Louise and Gilbert
and Arthur and Gertrude. When father got home from his mission we were living in our new
home in an unfinished condition and he had the pleasure of finishing it.
In 1909, May and I accompanied Arthur and the Tabernacle Choir to an
exposition in Seattle. It was a wonderful trip and our own people treated
us wonderfully in the many stop-overs. But not so the others. The fair
managers were very unfair with the Mormons, so much that they did not take
part in the contest. However, we left feeling good for the mayor insisted
on having the choir present a concert. And they made a splendid impression
on the very large crowd and received a nice purse, besides. The scenery
was no small part of our enjoyment, the trees, flowers, lumber mills, sand
dunes, fishing, the fair itself, and new friends. It was there that I met
After our wonderful trip to Seattle, went back to our regular activities teaching school
at the Morse School. Julius and I saw lots of each other that fall, winter and spring. Mr.
Kane built us a little house on Kensington Avenue. We were married June 29, 1910 in the
Salt Lake Temple and had a nice little reception at my parents' home. Some of the guests
were Bishop Woodruff, Patriarch Harrison Sperry and their wives. We had a nice little 4
room house built at Kensington Avenue and there we were comfortable and happy.
We lived first in Waterloo Ward. Our baby girl, Rita Florence Millecam, was born here to
us September 9, 1911 and was always a delight to us. That was also the year that I was
called to work on the General Board of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association.
Mother was very happy in Salt Lake where she lived until her death (1896-1913). But
her health was anything but good. Many times even before we left Ogden, have we seen her
near death, but her faith was great and upon being administered to by the elders, her
lungs would be cleared, her strength returned and she would be up and around. Her family
was devoted to her and did all they could to make her happy and comfortable. This
frail little mother of a big family of sons and daughters. She found it
a pleasure and a necessity to help others.
Somehow a nice box of clothing, food and goodies were sent to the
grandparents and Aunt Louie and two little boys regularly. Were extra good
to others who had less than they.
Father lived about 8 years longer. Mattie died in 1916, then father remarried. Mrs. Mary
Crowton who also lived in the Waterloo Ward. On March
18, 1921 father died very suddenly. He had gone to priesthood meeting that
morning in Wells Ward, stepped into the hall to get the roll book, suffered
a heart attack and that was the end. He had many good qualities, he was
tender and kind and humble. He loved to please people and therefore his
last job as a guide at the Utah State Capitol Building was much to his
liking. And you can depend on it, that every visitor there got an earful
Julius volunteered for service in the Army in 1917. He had applied
for citizenship and when he appeared for a hearing, he got real worried,
fearing that he couldn't answer the questions, having had no schooling in
America. Then the judge called him aside and said everything was fine as
he was wearing the uniform that entitles him to be a citizen.
We were living at the time in Holladay, keeping store there. He was
stationed at Fort Douglas and was given the privilege of going home nights.
That made it so we could still operate our store. He guarded German
prisoners and one of them made him a ship in a bottle as thanks for his
kindness. He had great love for his new country and served in the American
Legion in many positions for the rest of his life.
" Our baby boy was born February 2, 1920. It was when my boy was 15
months old that I had a very severe illness and was down for a year. The
women I worked with held a fast meeting and prayers and Apostle Hyrum M.
Smith and Elder John Bowman administered to me and a wonderful change took place in my
condition immediately and I was built up for the needed
surgical treatments. I have had many happy years with my husband and family
since and I am truly grateful for this blessing which came in answer to prayers.
Granite Stake was then divided with the south part becoming Cottonwood Stake. Shortly
after we moved to Holladay. It was a big struggle to get along on $15 a week and when
Julius was laid off, answered an ad about a blacksmith shop in Holladay.
There he made good. Raised some pigs "under the spreading walnut
tree". Then we opened up the old company store for about twelve years.
Julius attended to his priesthood duties and choir and I became principal
of Holladay Religion class under Bishop Larson. Got lots of business.
Then when the depression hit we extended credit to a lot of people who
would not have eaten otherwise and things were not going too well. We had
a chance to go to Montana and we took it. The store was traded for a hotel
in Wisdom, which was traded for a ranch. The ranch was traded later for
the market. At least we had a grand vacation there. Ended up with a meat
market in Wisdom. We were there from 1927 to 1935 .
What made our grand vacation was Cora's month long visit with us and
her five children. It was like living on a dude ranch. Haying time was so
very interesting. The cook was a good one and the children so happy. When
school time came, the Salt Lakers went home and Rita went back with them to
finish school at Granite High. Then it was very different and lonely.
(When they went to the ranch they had bought, the horses had been
stolen. That year was a very wet year in Wisdom and the hay crop was
ruined. So the ranch was traded for the market.)
We came to Butte on July 24th and got acquainted with the Butte
members of the church. Brother Farrell, Helen Grover's father, met us and
took us to Columbia Gardens where they were celebrating. We placed our
recommends in the Butte Branch and came over as often as we could.
We had this fine log house built and were happy there. [It had indoor
plumbing and electricity, which was very rare for Wisdom, hardwood floors
and French doors.
We stayed in Wisdom for 8 years. We found the people very friendly,
especially after making a business deal which gave us the Wisdom Meat
Market. Julius liked this, but the work was terrific. He did much of the
butchering and handling of 1200 pound steers was almost too much for him.
Then his winter trips to Butte for merchandise were too tough for words.
He felt that he just had to get away from it, so we came to what looked
like a good store in Anaconda. But we couldn't make it go...couldn't get
the business, so we came to Butte, landed here November 1930 and worked
long enough to pay off a big wholesale grocery bill.
Our life in Wisdom was pleasant in many ways. The people invited us
often to dinner parties. The American Legion opened a post over there and
Julius held almost every office there was, even to being Commander of the
District. Even I was president once of the auxiliary. We were soon all
teachers in the community Sunday School and Mrs. Daw and I opened an LDS
Primary which was well attended.
We loved Anaconda the twelve weeks we were there. It was so nice to
meet with them in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, Relief Society, etc.
But it was short lived for we were soon settled in Butte. This was even
better for us. Here Julius picked up a new trade. He got all the painting
and paperhanging he could do. He also had a time with the WPA and was a
guard at Linde's during the Second World War.
While we were in Wisdom, Rita and Eric Maybee were married. They came
to conference in Butte and were married by President Sloan of the Mission.
He (Eric) was a likable young fellow without bad habits.
Julius had several opportunities to buy rundown property for little
money and made very comfortable homes of them. One was a large duplex.
When they wanted it, we put our Maybee family (five children now) in one
side and we soon after moved into the other side. Eric didn't like Butte
and soon after he asked for his freedom.
Rita went to work at Safeway and we looked after the family. In 1948
she married Don Stark and they lived here until 1955. Julius continued his
activities in American Legion, Silver Bow Post and worked at everything for its benefit.
At one time he cooked and served most all their banquets. ( Belva and Barbara got their
first restaurant experience at his banquets.)
She tells of a trip they took to Seattle in 1959. Rita and Don had
visited Barbara and family and brought Lynn and Retta. Valerie went to
Murray with Walt's sister. Then Mercedes came and picked up Lynn and Retta
and later Valerie for a while. They came back to Butte by Pullman, where
Grandma and Grandpa Millecam met them and all five boarded the Pacific
Northwest Streamliner to Seattle, where they spent time with the Carters
and the Perrys.
Harriet and Julius and family traveled quite a lot in the earlier years. Summer vacations
were often spent camping at Elkhorn Hot Springs. They had many social events with
friends and family. Birthdays were special. She notes many times her birthday parties. On
her 75th birthday in 1961, She and Delsa Stark celebrated a combined party with a cake for
each. Her sister, May, sent a pink wool sweater, tablecloth and napkins and pleated apron
with pot holder. Friends, Marge Burt, Erna Jones and Dorothy Nadeau came and brought ice
cream and a Lincoln log house cake and gifts. Also special were letters from Judy and
Zina, who she notes are "folks close to my heart." Julius bought her a new dress
She had many church callings, from being on the YMIA General Board in
Salt Lake, heading a Primary in Wisdom, Montana for 2 years, President of
Relief Society in Butte from 1939 to 1948, member of Butte Stake Relief
Society Presidency, taught many Sunday School and Relief Society classes in
addition to almost constantly being the Ward organist. During war years
they helped everyone replenish their bedding and kept a supply on hand and
also layettes and first aid kits. They sent packages to servicemen and the
sick and bereaved.
We are proud of our parents and grandparents. Grandma Millecam
was without a doubt the best grandmother in the world. She was our
spiritual anchor, a 'straight arrow', the one who taught us right from
wrong. She was 'Grandma' to everyone in the area.
RITA FLORENCE MILLECAM:
(From her story):
"I was born under the covenant in my Grandmother's house, 360 Harrison
Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah on the ninth of September, 1911. My parents
were Julius Millecam and Harriet Ellen McFarlane.
We lived for about the first four years of my life in Salt Lake City,
in a little house on Kensington Avenue. We were only a few blocks away
from my Grandmother McFarlane's house. I used to enjoy my visits there
very much. Aunt Louise lived next door with her children and Uncle Arthur
lived next door to them. They both had children close to my age.
I don't remember much about our home on Kensington, except that the
Saunders twins lived across the street, and Alice Coombs lived next door.
The house itself was not large, and we had an outdoor toilet in the
backyard that locked from the outside with a hook fastener. I delighted in
locking my mother in it, and she would pretend to cry, and then I would let
her out, thinking it was great fun. On one occasion however, I was
enjoying her cries so much that I decided to keep her in there a little
longer. She decided that was too much, so she slipped a paper through the
crack of the door and lifted the hook out of the eye and went into the
house. At this I cried and tried to make her go back in. When she
refused, I sat down in the back yard and cried. It was a very hot day and
mother threw me a hat with orders to wear it so I wouldn't get a
sun-stroke. I crawled over to the hat to put it on and then went back and
sat again to sulk.
I also remember on another occasion when my mother had dressed me in
my best white dress and stockings to go to something in the ward. We came
out in the front yard and then mother had to go back to get something she
had forgotten. I saw the hose lying in the grass and decided to take a
drink. I sat down and held the hose in my lap and had a nice long one. I
couldn't imagine why my mother was so upset and angry when she came out of
the house and saw me.
When I was two my father got work in the copper mines at Bingham.
They rented their little house and went to Bingham for the summer. The
main thing that impressed me there was the tall hills. I remember on one
occasion we went up the hill to get water to wash the clothes. It had to
be heated on stoves in the house, and then brought out in the yard where
the women did their washing. I pulled myself up to look in the tub and
pulled tub and all down on myself, I don't remember being wet, but I do
remember how the clothes looked, all mixed with that reddish dust and
When I was about five we moved to Holliday, Utah. Dad worked in a
blacksmith shop. I used to love watching the sparks fly as he hammered a
horse shoe into the proper fit. Sometimes he would let me try to run the
bellows. The harder I pumped, the faster the fire would go, and the hotter
the metal would get. When it looked just about like fire, he would take it
out and put it on the anvil. After it was hammered into shape, he would
put it into a tub of water to cool it off. I loved the sizzling noise it
made. I can still see the men in their leather aprons, and their quick
movements as they grabbed the horse's leg and put it between their knees to
fit the shoe on. I always felt bad to think they had to have shoes nailed
on, and wondered if it hurt them.
We lived in part of Grandma Lewis' house. She wasn't really my
grandma, but everyone called her that. She did have quite a few
grandchildren living in the vicinity. While we lived there, the villain in
my life was a big old gander. He had a very nasty temper, and would take
out after me every time he saw me. One day I managed to get to the toilet
without him seeing me, and there he spotted me and set up a vigil waiting
for me to come out. After what seemed like hours, my mother heard my
screams and came out to rescue me. She chased the gander with the broom,
and gave him a good whack with it. The gander then attacked the broom,
beating it with his wings and pecking it, until there was not one straw
left on the broom. In the meanwhile, we made a dash for the house and
About this time, my father went into the grocery business with his
brother as partner, and also store operator. Uncle Henry had the most
interesting things in his store, mainly the candy case. He had a lot of
molded figures made of candy, that particularly took my eye. There were
red fire engines, golden horses, dogs, men and other figures. They cost
the staggering sum of 10 cents and up. One day my father gave me a dime to
buy one of them. I was feeling so grateful to him that I was wracking my
brains trying to think of something nice I could do for him. There was a
customer in the store ahead of me, and he also bought some of those
beautiful candy figures and then went over to the cash register and held
out his hand. "Change, please", he said. Uncle Henry gave him a whole
handful of money. I thought, "That's what I can do for my father". So I
also walked over to the cash register and held out my hand. "Change,
please." I said, but the words had evidently lost their magic, for I got
Built new store where Cottonwood Mall now is. When bad times hit, they
went to Wisdom. Couldn't see over counters of store. Lived over store and
there was long flight of stairs and banister. She took the short route
down on the banister. One day she fell on cat and killed it. She just
grieved and grieved. Her Mom and dad said not to worry. Cats had 9 lives
and it had only used up one. This was a tiger striped cat. Later a cat
came back, with stripes, which her mom and did said was the same cat, but
Rita knew the stripes didn't go quite the right way. Grandma said she had
looked for a long time for a similar cat.
Started school in Holladay in 1918. Old clothes and shoes were
being collected for refugees after WW1. Also saved tinfoil. Clothes they
wore butterfly style dress Slipover with flared skirt and shoes with
buttons. She always wanted shoes with a tassel. Finally got a pair with
tassels and ran through field and got burrs in them. Her mother cut
First grade, first met Ted (better known as Frank) Moss who later
became Senator. Stayed to 9th grade in Irving School and she was
valedictorian. Ted sat on front row and snickered and she had a hard time
concentrating. Later when he became a judge, she wanted to go and sit on
front row and snicker to get back at him. Another friend was Beth Tanner,
whose dad was Nathan Tanner and uncle Hugh B. Brown. Her brother lived in
Canada. He called home on mother's day to talk to mom. Bet and Mom and her
cousin (Lamont Brown) sent to shows together. Another friend Bernard
Brockbank. She played with his sisters. They climbed trees and she was
afraid to come down. So Bernard would bring ladder over for her. When he
went on mission he sent her gorgeous valentine.
Ted Moss was sent out of room to deliver pamphlets. The class was
going to make popcorn balls. They picked 2 places...Mom's for the girls
and the Stouts for the boys. When Ted returned they asked him where he
would rather go, the Stouts or the Millecams, and he said.. the Millecams
Levi Edgar Young and Jane and ? They called brother Young "Professor".
She and May were walking along street and mother decided to talk to him.
May said, "Oh, he won't talk to you. We're just nobody to him." Mom said
Hi Professor Young and he said Hi Rita and patted her on the head. She was
next to the smallest girl in the school. Irving Jr. High to Granite High.
Graduated in 1929. High school flapper dresses.
Operetta in grade school. Taken at home of Levi Edgar Young. His
daughter Harriet was partially paralyzed and couldn't come to school so
they took operetta to their home to perform for her. May McFarlane married
Dave (?) Brinton, a widower. After his death she worked for the parents of Levi Edgar
Young. They had 2 ill daughters, one deaf and one retarded.
I started to school from there, attending the Irving School. After
completing the ninth grade there, I attended Granite High School,
graduating in 1929." [She always got very good grades in school. Once
upon receiving an A minus, she was chastised by the teacher. Questioning
why, she was told, "Because you could have done better." She had a close
friendship and rivalry all through school with Ted Moss, who later became a
Her brother, Alvin, was her best friend. They often went fishing together .
"We moved to Wisdom, Montana in 1927, but as there was no high school
there, I went back to Salt Lake, staying at 415 4th Avenue and attending
Their car was Buick sedan. Roads were terrible. Took 3 days to make trip
into Idaho. 4 hours to go 4 miles in May near Onida. Corduroy roads so
called because logs were laid across road to keep you from sinking into
mud. Ranch was 12 miles out of Wisdom toward Jackson. Ranch was Valley
View? Lived on ranch, but didn't ranch it (lived thee year or two had bad
year for hay. Lots of rain. What he had left of hay crop he traded for
store. Built house on edge of town. Mom just out of high school. House had
indoor bathtub. French doors. Hardwood floors. Worked hard to sand them.
No electricity had to hand sand it. Grandpa worked mostly on it but had
help. Lived for another house or two while building this. Sold store. Recession
finally came to Montana.
Went back to Utah for last year of school and stayed with aunt May. Then came back
to Montana after graduation. Met Eric about a year before she graduated. She was 20 when
she married him. Jack was Eric's guardian.
Eric couldn't get along with Uncle Jack and so wouldn't live with him. Mom
smoothed things over and got them back together. Uncle Jack's will left
everything to us Maybee kids. Stella went through his trunk and took a lot
of things including will.
Eric and Eddie Turney and several others batched together. They cut
wood. and sold for $4 or $5 a cord.
Got married in Butte. Wore brown velvet suit. (Story about Justin Grover
at 2nd wedding.) Lived in Wisdom. Eric worked at Forest Service in
summers. He talked about going to Ag College to become ranger. Were in
Idaho before Barbara was born, because no doctors in Wisdom. Lived in
Idaho Falls. Worked at big job, no pay just board and room. Stayed in
Idaho Falls for 4 months then back to Wisdom.
While in Wisdom, I met and married Eric Maybee. (The following account is from
recollections of the children and a tape interview with Rita and Don):
Barbara was born February 6, 1932 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Apparently
Eric was working in Idaho at the time. Family tradition says that he carried her through a
snowstorm to the hospital and that she was premature, weighing only 4 lbs.; small enough
to wear a man's handkerchief for a diaper.
Belva was born January 5, 1934. We were living in Wisdom, Montana, but
our parents had rented a furnished flat on Maryland Avenue in Butte next to
the Gittens. Mom came to Butte alone. Barbara stayed home with Eric and
Grandma. (Grandma and Grandpa were still living in Wisdom.) Then Grandma
came to help with the birth. The cord was wrapped around Belva's neck and
there were other complications with her birth. A doctor was in attendance,
but he stated that he didn't feel she would live and left her to die.
After prayerful consideration and a blessing by Elder Petersen, mother and
the grandparents spent the remainder of the night placing alternate hot and
cold packs on her. By morning she was breathing on her own. Years later,
doctors discovered the cause of the problem was an arterioveno
malformation. Mother and baby headed back for Wisdom after 2 weeks. Rita
stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for several weeks. Belva was named for
Went to Butte for Doctor before Belva's birth. Remembers living at
Ranger Stations for a while. There was a fellow there who was a hermit.
Eric kept warning mom to keep kids away from him, because he was afraid of
children. He picked baby Belva up and kissed her on top of head. He was
so good to Mom. He always carried in wood and water and whatever else was
needed. Mom had always done that herself. We had a dog named Butch.
Barb as a baby ate out of the dog's bowl. So everyone teased her and
called her "Butch" for years.
Mom tried to get Barbara to say everyone's names. After working with
her, Mom pointed to Grandma and Grandpa. Barbara called them Dam-ma
She pointed to the baby and asked who that was, Barbara answered, Dam-Belva Reins not on
map anymore. Near Helper, Utah. Up Spring Creek canyon.
Got mining job in Reins. Uncle Lawrence was boss of mine. Long project
house. Lots of snow. Snow slide buried toilets. Had to dig through to get
to Them Dad had to go out upper window and dig us out. Barb and Belva
sang Hang up the Christmas Stocking, be sure and don't forget, because the
poor little angel darling hasn't seen Christmas yet. and each got a doll
with doll the color of their hair..
We spent the winter before Bill was born in Reins, Utah, where Eric
sprayed the coal with oil to keep the dust down. All we can remember about
Reins was that we lived in a long building which had several apartments,
that it snowed high enough to cover the buildings over the roof tops and
that Belva and Barbara recited "Hang up the Baby's Stocking" at the
community Christmas play. Mom would make a peanut butter sandwich for Dad
(knowing he wouldn't eat it) so that we would have something to find in his
lunch pail when he got home.
(Ranch in Jackson)
We had a dog in Jackson who would grab hold of the clothes on the
line and swing back and forth, thereby knocking everything off the line.
Then of course mom would get mad at him. Once mom dreamed that she woke up and heard
someone crying. She check the children and everyone was okay.
Then she realized the sound was coming from outside. The dog was crying
and saying, "You don't love me anymore".
Mom borrowed Belva's toy cream skimmer from her set because she
didn't have one. Where I drove horses was when we lived next to John
Neidts in Jackson on old dude ranch. Beulah was married to Jake. We had a
'stone boat" (Like a box without rudders to travel on the snow) Horses ran
away and wouldn't stop. Scared spitless. When Barb was 5, on same ranch
Dad had her drive one team of horses while he drove another team of horses
(in winter) bringing hay back for horses and she wanted to beat h him home
so urged horses on faster and faster. He thought they were running away.
Brought horses in, wrapped reins around post and came in house. Mother
asked where Dad was, and Barb said oh he's way back there." Belva wanted a
horse. Mom said she could have the first one that was pink with yellow spots. Then a horse
was actually born that had yellow spots.
We lived with a roof that leaked and made interesting designs on the
ceiling. It was here that Eric, who was a cowboy, taught Barb (at the age
of 5) how to drive a team of horses. One time she thought it was great fun
to race him home, which scared him, because he thought her horses were
running away with her. It was also here that Dad asked her to bring him a
tool he needed to work on the harnesses for the horses. She ran across an
icy log, fell in the river and almost drowned.
In 1935 Grandpa and Grandma Millecam moved to Butte. He began doing
painting and wallpapering in Butte and they lived in a stone house which
was very damp and cold. Later they bought the houses at 1130 and 1132
On August 12, 1937, Bill was born in our Grandparents house at 1132
California Street in Butte. The birth was at home to save money and because
Mother had her children so fast.
On Elliott (Bill was baby) Ranch we decided to walk to a friend's house.
Mom had been ringing the bell for us to come home, instead we went up
across the hill and got a ride with a man who was taking his wife to the
hospital and who dropped us off at our friends. The family called our Mom
and Dad, fed us supper and waited for Dad to show up. It took him a lot
longer to come by the road than it had for us to walk across the hill. We
were put to bed and promised that we would be punished in the morning. In
the morning, after waking up, we had our personal morning prayers. Barbara
woke up first and didn't have enough sense to pretend to be asleep.
Belva, scrunched her eyes shut and then had the longest prayer in history.
By the time her prayer was over, Mom had taken most of her anger out on
Barbara, and Belva didn't get yelled at as much.
The first home we really remember
was the Bell House in Wisdom, Montana. Wisdom is a very small town with just 3 or 4
streets, including the main street which had wooden sidewalks at the time. Grandpa
Millecam had a grocery store on the main street and there was the Mercantile (like a
general store), a cafe and tavern and that was about all. The Bell house was a 2 story
home made of logs. It had a wide front porch, where Belva and Barbara made mud pies and
posed in their Dutch costumes. Bill was a young baby while we were here. Another
intriguing feature was a slanted door for one of the upstairs closets which we loved to
We also loved to open the slanting doors and jump into the big pile of clothing
inside. (All of this was, of course, strictly forbidden.) This house was next to the
church; a non-denominational one which had ministers from different faiths every week.
This was in the early days of rural electrification and only a few houses had electricity.
The rest of us used kerosene lanterns. The plumbing was also
primitive...with outhouses and
wells outside to draw water from. Our mother's chief desire was to have an inside pump and
a wood stove with a reservoir which heated water. Washday in Wisdom was very hard.
First mother had to draw the water (in some of the houses it had to be
carried from the creek), then heat it on the stove to wash the clothes.
Clothing was then hung outside even in the winter, when it freeze dried.
The outdoor well was the reason we moved. Mother and Dad both dreamed that
young Bill fell into the well and drowned. They began looking for another
The next house in Wisdom was the 'house in the willows'. This was
back behind the main street and across a creek. We would chop holes into
clumps of willows for doors and windows to make buildings. One group of
willows would be our house, another the grocery store and so on. Mom would
take us down to the creek to wade and look for frogs. Belva caught frogs
for Barbara, because she couldn't stand to touch them. Belva and Barbara
dressed up in weird costumes and tried to make Bill believe they were the
boogeyman or goblins, but he was too smart even at the tender age of 2 or 3
to believe them. Barb was in the second grade and Belva in first and we
were often late for school because we had no concept of time and would
wander up past the cafe, then down several streets to the other end of town
for school. Frequently we would hear the school bell ringing as we were
still several blocks away.
The Brownings were big tall, rich, LDS men who made us whistles out of
willows. A doctor from Reins also visited and made us a whistle and he was
the same doctor that said all children had to eat a certain amount of dirt.
The last house we lived in was in the middle of town, next to our good
friends the Lawrences. It was a smaller log house.
Lived at Runaway creek and we had chipmunks. Wooden base for floor and
tent top...2 tents fastened together for living room and bedroom. Brought
frogs in every day and had to put them out at night. Bathtub left in sun
until it was warm and Bill at 2 would take bath in it. Barb and Belva
splashed and got clean in creek. Eric pulled ice cream man out of mud
and he always gave us ice cream every week. We loved to read. Barbara
recalls that one of the happiest days of her life was when mother took us
to the library and she could check out all the Oz books she wanted.
Our school had the first 4 grades in one room and grades 5 through 8
in another. Our teacher, Miss Lois Crighton, was special. She went out of
her way not only to teach us the basics, but also music, manners, good
posture and how other people lived.
The dresses we wore were not much different than the ones our younger
granddaughters wear now, except this was before the days of permanent
press, and all little ruffles and puffed sleeves had to be ironed. Belva
and Barbara wore horrible long tan stockings, similar to tights, but which
had to be held up with a garter belt. Even worse were the tan stockings
flecked with orange, which we called our 'throw-up' stockings. We envied
the girls who wore white stockings. Any day that the weather was over 10
degrees, we undid the garter belt and rolled the stockings into a lumpy
mass at our ankles. Mother spent a lot of time each morning for a while
rolling Barbara's hair into ringlets. As soon as we were out of sight, she
would run her fingers through her hair and turn her hair into a style we
called 'fluffy'. Belva's hair was braided and she looked like a little
Dutch girl. Later she cut our hair in Dutch bobs, which were much easier
to care for.
Mom says, the first time that she realized children knew
were was when Belva came downstairs one morning and said, "Mama, last night I heard
Grandma in my ears and saw her in my eyes."
In Wisdom, the school was the center of community life. Often almost
everyone in town would act in the local plays. Our Dad once had one of the
leads in an English play. He also played the part of a cattle rustler in a
movie that a motion picture company from Hollywood filmed in the area. (All
the western movies were comedies to him; he would lean back and laugh at
the clothes the cowboys wore and how the fences were built. After all, he
was the real article.) Our movie theater was a community building with
folding chairs and a projector, and a movie was a big event. Everyone of
all ages attended the dances. Babies were made a 'nest' of coats or
blankets and slept on the benches on the edge of the room.
At Christmas time an organ was put into a horse drawn wagon, the
wagon filled with hay and carolers would ride around town singing. There
was also a community Christmas tree and gifts were given to everyone.
During summers Dad often worked as a forest ranger and we lived in
tents with chipmunks for pets. It was a great life for children and mother
enjoyed it too. Once we lived at the Big Hole Battlefield, a national park
near Wisdom. We really enjoyed climbing through the bars and playing on
the big cannons, finding arrowheads and explaining the park to visitors.
Ice cream was only was around in summer in Wisdom. A fruit and
vegetable man came around in wagon and sold fruit. Heading home with ice
cream cone and Belva's fell off cone. She ran home crying. Mom made
Barbara share her cone and she was so mad. (Belva had gone back to rescue
ice cream because mom said she should, and of course it was all
gone...melted. ) We would share a milk shake with 2 straws and each
accuse the other of drinking too fast. Movies in public hall. Kids movie
first and adults movie later. We saw Gulliver's travels. When we went
to Butte to visit Grandma and Grandpa Millecam, or for Bill's birth, it was
like leaping 25 years forward into the future. Butte had paved streets,
indoor plumbing and electricity everywhere.
John was born November 25, 1939. He was another bright, alert,
curious typical Maybee child. John was always a daredevil. One time he
climbed to the top of a shed and Mom sent Barb to the top to rescue him.
The shed fell in and they landed, but fortunately unhurt. Later that
week, Johnny climbed to the top of they hay rack. Barb got him from top of
hay derrick. John was sent to live with grandma for a while to give Mom a rest.
When Barbara was in 4th grade and Belva in 2nd, the family moved to
Butte permanently. Belva started to school at age 5 and Barbara skipped
3rd Grade, so when they came to Butte they both had to be tested to make
sure they could go into the grades assigned in Wisdom.
We lived with grandma and grandpa for a while, then moved into half
of a duplex that Grandpa Millecam had bought for $500 and renovated. As we
were getting the house ready to move in, we heard the neighbors talking
excitedly on the other side of the wall in the other duplex. We soon found
out that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. This was December 7, 1941.
When John was 5, it was discovered that he had Legg-Perthies,
osteoporosis of the right hip. It was a rare disease, yet another boy in
the same block had Perthies also. He was sent to the hospital and tied to
a frame to immobilize his body from the waist down. Although the frame
kept him immobile, it didn't keep him out of trouble. One day, although
totally bedfast and with a screen between them, he and his room-mate (who
was in traction) had a chocolate pudding fight by lobbing spoonfuls of the
messy stuff up over the screen at each other.
He spent a year in St. James Hospital in Butte on the frame. Mother
went to see him every day. Although he should have started school during
that time, a tutor wasn't assigned until later. When she came and began to
teach him to read, he began reading immediately and read the entire book by
himself. His bone had not healed after a year on the frame, so Rita sent
him to the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. There he was
fitted with a leg brace to give him mobility and after a few months he was
sent home to live and heal. Life in the Primary Children's hospital was not
as boring, because they had Primary and volunteers who read to them. Once
a circus was even brought for the children. The leg brace wasn't removed
until the Christmas he was eight.
In school the books we read about Dick and Jane showed beautiful schools
with aquariums and projects which the children worked on. Our schools were
falling apart (literally) with plaster dropping off the walls and ceilings
and the playgrounds were nothing but asphalt. We thought the schools in the
books were someone's fantasy and not real. After all, the silly people who
wrote them said that it rained all winter.
We had a playhouse in Grandma and Grandpa's back yard...a storage
building which they let us use. Grandma gave us old empty cereal packages
and empty cans for our 'groceries'. (She carefully opened the bottom of
the cans to maintain the illusion.) It was here that we met our best
friend, Loretta. There was a high window in the back of the building. She
climbed up on boxes to peek in and watch us and then came and played with
us. She had a vocabulary like a truck driver. Grandma informed her that
if she wanted to play with us, she would have to quit swearing, which she
did. She was a very pretty girl, with light blue eyes and light brown hair
with honey colored highlights.
Judy was born October 13, 1942. She was such a pretty baby that
Barbara, Belva and Loretta loved to dress her up and take her for rides in
the buggy. When she was very small she would take off all her clothes and
swim in the wading pool, because she didn't want her swimsuit to get wet.
We lived one summer on a ranch near
Rocker where we had chickens.
The house was exciting, it had spaces between the inside and outside walls
and we would pretend they were secret passages. We could go there and
overhear what the adults were saying. It had horse-drawn wagons and all
kinds of exciting things in the blacksmith shop. Loretta sometimes visited
and we would pretend to be Scarlett O'Hara.
In our back yard at 1119 California, we also had many fun things to
play with. We would put on 'plays' on the front porch. Loretta was always
the heroine, Belva the hero and Barbara wrote, directed and played the
villain or character parts. We put on mock marriages, with Bill as the
groom and Gaylene Tracer as the bride. Many Saturdays, after doing our
housework, we would go on hikes. We would start walking out of town in any
direction until we were half tired, then headed back home. Sometimes we
would go to Columbia Gardens which was a very large, beautiful park
with rolling lawns, flower gardens, swings, slides,
merry-go-round, dance pavilion and a boardwalk with refreshments and arcades. We usually took a lunch which mother or grandma packed for us.
Other Saturdays we would go to a movie downtown after our work was
done. Usually, one Saturday the boys would clean the upstairs and the girls
the downstairs and reverse the following week.
The most fun chore was waxing the floor, which we did by skating around
with soft rags tied to our feet. There were 3 theaters, the Park, which
played 2nd run or B movies, and the Rialto and another which ran first run
pictures. It only cost 5 cents to go to the Park theater. We usually had
an extra dime, which we could use for bus fare or we could buy candy and
We had an enjoyable childhood. Grandpa Millecam had a stubborn van
which absolutely could not pass an ice cream store without stopping, no
matter how he struggled with the wheel. Grandma was 'grandma' to everyone
in the area.
Belva, Bill, John and Judy all were in many Primary plays. Barbara and
Belva acted in the MIA plays when they were teens.
All our friends loved coming to the Firesides at our house, many of
which Belva and Barbara organized. The most requested menu was always hot
rolls and salad or hot rolls and cocoa.
As pleasant as life was for us as children, it was also very hard for Mom, who was a
single parent at a time when there were few of them. Money was always tight. Of one
Christmas she says "I had 5 good children who deserved as good as anyone. I thought
and prayed a lot. Alvin sent me $5.00, so I took double army blankets and made 2 soldier
suits for John and Bill and nurses outfits for Barbara and Belva. With the $5.00 I
bought braid and trim for the uniforms and doctor's kits. The doctor's kits had pill
bottles full of chocolate candies.
Popsicle sticks were carefully washed and made into tongue depressors. The boys got new
boots, with knife pockets, which were the envy of the neighborhood. A neighbor, Mrs.
Tracer, came over crying late Christmas day and said, "I spent a fortune on Gaylene,
and what does she do? She is over here all day." Mom says, "I could have told
her that it was having all those children to play with that made it fun."
Mom and Dad were divorced. Mom says, "After the divorce, I went to work for
Safeway in the warehouse. I went out on dates with several men, but a friend told me,
"You'll never get married. No one would marry a woman with 5 children!"
One day I saw a good looking man at church and had the Colvins introduce
us. His name was Don Stark. When we found that we both worked at Safeway,
we had lunch together and he would come over to the house and we would talk
for hours. We started going out together. Not much later temple
excursions to Canada were announced. Don said, "How would you like to
Canada?" I thought he was inviting me to go on the excursion. Then he
continued, "How would you like to go to Canada and get married?" It took
my breath away. When I told dad, he said, "Take him quick before he
changes his mind!"
Not long after, we were married and sealed in the Temple. (Don said
that he had been trying to decide between Rita and a single girl and he
prayed about it and the answer was Rita and that he had never been sorry.)
Herman went to the temple with them. We didn't have a car so all went in
Herman's car. We had a very short honeymoon, because they had to get back
to take care of the children.
The following year in June 1949, we had the children sealed to us We
already had a small daughter of our own, Delsa, who was about 3-1/2 months
old. We followed with Duane in August 1950, Joseph in February of 1952 and
Deborah in November 1953."
Our family has always enjoyed music. Mother had a beautiful alto
voice and sang with the lady's chorus for many years. Grandpa Millecam had
a beautiful voice. Grandma Millecam loved to play the piano. Once she was
given a book of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas and she loved to play them
and sing them, especially "I'm Called Little Buttercup". She always sang to
her children and grandchildren. Two of our favorites were "Little Purple
Pansies" and "My Grandfather's Clock" Barbara taught herself to play the
piano and took lessons from Helen Grover, Belva played the Bass fiddle in
high school and Delsa learned to piano on her own when small, so when the
school began piano lessons Mom had Delsa take them. One day, while
listening to her practice, Mom noticed that she would get the same notes
wrong every time. She looked at what she was playing. Delsa had
transposed the entire piece into another key. That was when they decided
the school had taught her about all it could and had her take lessons from
Beulah Ford. She always has played better by ear than note, however,
because she could get a little jazz into it. When the wards divided and the
other ward didn't have an organist, Delsa at age 13 was asked to be their
Debbie and Delsa remember that she let them make little villages in
the dirt in the yard, complete with bridges, little trees made from twigs
and all the houses.
All the boys remember the tents they made in the living room with
chairs and blankets, where they could be explorers or Superman changing his
clothes or anything they desired.
Mother was a loving and caring person with a special empathy for the
under dog. It was more important to her for her children to have pleasant
memories than to keep a perfect house. The courage she showed in her
latter years was impressive. Suffering with Parkinson's Disease, diabetes
and heart trouble and hooked up to a feeding tube, she nevertheless learned
how to use a computer so she could work on her genealogy.
Donald Charles Stark was born in Detroit,
Michigan on November 25, 1908 to Herman Stark and Myrtle Upleger
Stark. Detroit Michigan was a large city with several million
people. Their house was average size with a couple of bedrooms. Herman
had horses and a dump and that's how he made his living there. His
Uncle John had a smaller house next door with a big barn and horses.
Some of the things he remembers as a baby were that he would try to climb
the steps, saying "E I O" as he climbed. He would get almost to
the top and then slide or fall back down. If his parents heard him, they
would try to rescue him. He had a dog he dearly loved when he was small.
Someone poisoned the dog with strychnine, but they were able to save it by
feeding it lard.
Don remembered fondly the milk man delivering milk all down the street and
the sound of the horses clip clopping down the street. He and his brother
and sister would follow the ice man and get ice. There was a saloon on the
corner and when he was 5, the patrons would feed him big soft pretzels which
he dearly loved. One time, however, his uncle gave him beer and his mother
didn't know it. He would stagger and fall down. The uncle thought that was
pretty funny, at least until his mother caught up with him.
Money was tight, but they had a lot of ways of conserving. In that time the
meat markets butchered their own animals. He says you never saw any liver
for sale, the butchers would throw them away. Don would ask for the livers
and give them to his mother to fry. There was a pie factory right next door
to where some of the family lived and his uncle would throw apples down to
the kids. Sometimes the grocer would sell cantaloupes for a nickel.
Once Don saved up his money and bought 10 or so of them, ate them all and
got really sick.
On another occasion Don and his cousin went to a drug store where there was
a lot of candy, so Don took several candy bars and shoved them into his
shirt. He asked his cousin if he wanted a candy bar. The cousin told his
mother and Don had to go back and tell the man at the store he had stolen
them and pay for them. The parents and grandparents were especially strict
about not stealing, because his Grandmother's sister's husband who was
the one who taught the kids to steal became a gangster who belonged to a
gang in Detroit just like Al Capone's gang. Detroit was pretty tough
in those days.
When he was about 6 they moved near Imlay City. They lived on 40 acre farm
and had ducks, chickens, geese and pigs. When he was older they sold milk to
His father and mother were divorced when he was 11 years old. Before that
many times he would wake up and hear them quarreling. Don and Kenny went to
live with his Grandparents
Stark in Imlay and his sister Nadine remained with her mother. His
mother would promise to take the Interurban train and come and see them. So
he would sit on the curb at the train stop and wait, and she never came.
This almost broke his heart. He says his parents married too young (his
mother was only 16) and the Uplegers always felt they were better than the
Starks and let her know she could have done better. But he says when he
he will still go up and put his arms around her and thank her for giving him
his body. He vowed that when he grew up his children were going to have a
His grandmother was a wonderful soul and she taught them to pray and have
faith in God. They were also taught early to work and do their part in life.
His paternal grandparents were truly his real dad and mom in his early
formative years. He says that for the help they gave him he will be
eternally grateful. His grandparents were very religious. They were
and donated part of their land for a Lutheran church. Don was taught to pray
in German, but a Sunday School class was held in English. His grandparents
were also very strict. The children had to toe the line.
One time Don's Grandma was holding on to one of his hands and spanking him
with the other. They went around in a circle. Don stepped on a board
with a nail in it. He tried to tell his grandma, but she thought he was only
sassing her. When she found out about the nail she almost fainted.
However, when Grandpa tried to spank Don...if Grandma didn't
feel he deserved it, she would sit on him, so that if Grandpa would have
tried to hit Don, he would have hit her too.
Grandma had rheumatism so bad when she was 12, that Don had to learn to
milk. He often tried and couldn't get anything from the cows. Sometimes they
wouldn't let the milk down, especially the Jerseys. Never had much time for
school, because when grandma got old, they had to go home at noon and let
the cattle out and clean up the manure after 8 or 10 cows and haul
straw. When they had done that it was time to go back to school.
Herman worked for Henry Ford. He was supposed to send money to help with
kids, but after he paid his bills he didn't have much left to send. He did
send Christmas presents. That's how Don got his first harmonica. Grandpa
Stark, said "Vat do you want wit dat ting, you'll never learn how to
play it in a hunderd years." Just to show him, Don went into other room
and learned how to play it in just an hour. After that, Grandpa loved to
hear him play too. He learned to love hunting and fishing with his
grandfather and loved it ever since. He had a lot of fun hunting rabbits
with the beagle hounds. He didn't go to high school. Went to 8th grade and
didn't pass the exam for high school.
After his Grandmother died the three children lived with their father on his
brother Albert's farm nearby. They lived there about 7 years, then because
the farm wasn't paying, sold it
and moved to Detroit where they worked; Kenneth at a foundry and Herman
selling cars. After losing the job at the foundry they worked for an
excursion boat from Put-In-Bay to Cleveland, Ohio where they fueled up with
coal. They had 2-wheel carts with about 800 lbs. in them and you would load
them through a hole in the deck. You had to be careful the wheel didn't go
into the hole and work like the devil to get it all down. They then would go
back and back to pick up passengers. The boat had 2 dance floors where many
of the passengers would pass the time. The crew wasn't supposed to mingle
with passengers, but they did
especially if there were a lot of girls.
That fall, work being scarce, they went to work on the Canadian harvest for
$4 a day. Canadian pitchforks were long and took larger load of hay. He was
wiry, but strong and did well. After the harvest was over they went to
Tillamook, Oregon and worked at the Coutte Lumber Company sawmill. They
worked there for about 8 months, then got fired and worked at odd jobs until
fall. From there he went to Kokomo, Indiana where he worked for a
farmer hoeing tomatoes and corn. He had been drinking water that sewage was
dumped into and got typhoid fever. He was very ill and got excruciating
cramps in his legs. He lay there in severe pain for 5 days and finally the
farmer's wife said, " You sure must have a mother
somewhere." Don said, " My mother doesn't give a damn about
me." Nevertheless, she got his mother's address from him. She was
in Utica N.Y. Don says, "She was all upset, I guess she liked me more
than I thought."
His mother came from New York to Detroit by train, and then from Detroit in
his cousin's car. She came with his grandfather, John Upleger, and cousin
Vernon DuChene and took him back to Detroit to recuperate. He remembers
seeing Niagara Falls on the trip. He stayed in Utica with his mother until
the following fall. The family lived on Crane street and his grandfather
Upleger owned a 2-family flat.
It was about 1928 when he left Utica and went to meet his brother and father
in Alberta. They worked on a farm they worked at previously. When the
harvest was over they went back to Montana. They went broke in Missoula and
had to sell the car. They tried hunting deer, but didn't do well. They
got a job splitting cord wood. Because they were inexperienced they didn't
make enough money to get by and had to leave. The snow was up to their hips.
At Missoula his brother and cousin got a job at a sawmill in Bonner, but
Herman and Don didn't, so they grabbed a freight and wound up in Browning,
Montana and got a job herding sheep. From there they went to Lewistown
where they lived for 14 years. We didn't see Kenneth until 18 years
He married Leila Oakes at Lewistown. It was a troubled marriage from the
start, but they stayed together because of the children. Leila and Don had 4
children; Donna Lee who was born July 19, 1936 and died December 7, 1936,
Paul Harvey Stark, born December 31, 1937, David Kenneth Stark, born
November 18, 1941 and Margie May Rebecca Stark, born November 23, 1943. Don
said, "We were married three times and after 12 years (1947) we ended
it for good. I realize that each of us must suffer for our own mistakes, but
the pity is that in divorce the innocent children suffer most. I can say to
the very young, be careful whom you select for a companion through life and
eternity. It isn't easy to separate from a companion as marriage ties are
Being separated from his children was hard on him and them. One of the
letters a very young Paul sent him says "I am geting a long fine in
school. how are you geting along Father. I hope you are fine. Will you
please send me $25 every week. I want to save money. Well I Better say
goodby. Love and kisses."
Leila writes in 1945: "...the kids are well, that is Paul had a bad
cold and missed school yesterday and today, but nothing serious. .....We
have a lovely branch of the church here too..my nurse in the hospital was a
charming little red-headed Mormon girl. Paul does well in church like he
does in school and the teachers praise his work highly..he could have
skipped half a year, but I thought it better that he
He was later married very happily to Rita Millecam on May 8, 1948 in Butte.
Two days later they were sealed in the Cardston Temple. They were blessed
with four children; Duane, Delsa, Joseph and Deborah. He also inherited
Rita's children who were sealed to them in the temple. He felt that he was
fortunate to have a large, lovely family, which included his and Leila's
children, Rita's children, his and Rita's children and a foster son, Robbie
He had a good job working for Safeway for 25 years and supported his family
well. When he retired he would drive to different places for extra money and
something to do to help fill
his time. One of his many talents was playing the harmonica. His
favorite songs were "Yankee Doodle", "Irish
Washerwoman", "Turkey in the Straw", "Tie a Knot in the
Devil's Tail", the polka and "Oh, where, Oh Where Has My Little
Dog Gone?". He would play his
harmonica and the children would dance in the street. When he was young, he
played in a dance band.
Another favorite thing was going on vacation and camping out each year. He
also loved hunting and fishing around Butte. He had a lot of illness
in his life, the typhoid fever or
yellow jaundice he had earlier caused liver problems and he had 3 liver
operations. He also had T.B., which he didn't realize until he went to Salt
Lake to have a stomach operation and the doctors there told him that he had
it in the past. He had a strong testimony. He said that the three most
important events in his life were his baptism and confirmation in the church
on September 1st, 1940, his receiving the priesthood and his marriage to
Rita. He did a lot of missionary work and made many trips to the Idaho Falls
temple. It was very important
for him to get his genealogy work done.
His strong belief in God is shown here in an excerpt from his journal, July
2, 1958. Billings Montana:
"Arrived Billings, arranged for lumber for Brother Ted Potter, proceed
to Safeway truck stop. Make out bills. Check off duty. Waiting for lumber
truck to deliver lumber. Notice
wind rising, stepped outside to see why large black rolling cloud forming in
the west. Watched it and had premonition it was wind of tornado force.
Wondered to myself whether the Lord God could control a storm like that or
if righteous and wicked suffered the
same. Clouds get darker and more ominous by the moment. Wind blowing
hard now. Went inside, starting to hail, wind more severe by the moment.
Hail hitting building now such force to the wind before. Nearly as dark as
night. Whole building trembling. Can hear high whining noise. Stepped into
bathroom and found window open a crack. Closed window and stepped back into
office. At that moment I heard a noise similar to a piece of canvas cloth
ripping and the whole building I was in blew apart, the roof landing on some
cars and trucks in a parking lot a block away. The walls all fell outward
and only the office I was in was left after the storm was over. I had my
answer the hard way whether the Lord could control the storm so no harm
would result if he so wished it. In the future I'll ask him easier
Year later when interviewed by Belva and Barbara about his life, he added,
"There were power lines higher than the building and it took the entire
pole and lines about a block without the lines coming apart from the pole. A
block of cement went through the windshield of the truck. I went into the
bathroom and the toilet was still there, but the outside wall of the
building to the bathroom was gone. I originally planned to go to a hotel,
but got into rig and went home instead. The building I was in was the only
one in town hit and I was the only one in it. I figured the Lord was trying
to tell me something."
Before Herman died and he was in a coma, he said, "It's got to be
sweetheart, that's the way it has got to be," and he was talking to his
wife. After his dad and mom had died, he debated whether to have his
parents sealed to each other, but they did it and had the family
sealed to them, knowing that they had the choice of accepting or not
accepting the ordinance. When making a trip after his dad had died, he
had driven about 250 miles and he was really exhausted. He stopped to rest
and he got the impression that his dad and mom were both there and his dad
was showing her the big rig Don was driving, and that
they were happy with each other. Don felt that he knew what his mother
wanted to hear. He told them that he didn't know about the other two
children but as for himself, he wanted the parents he had been born to. Some
people told him that he imagined it , but the Holy Ghost verified it. His
father wanted him to know that he and his mother were together.
Markay Kern (daughter of Barbara Carter)
I appreciate the values that Mom gave us. We
learned not to judge anyone by the color of their skin or their economic status. She
also taught by example that if something needed to be done, you just did it. I know
now how difficult it is to raise a large family, but we always took some sort of vacation
when we were growing up. I have a lot of good memories of camping at Deception Pass,
and the long hikes we took each year.
We were also exposed to interesting and exotic foods,
which has certainly influenced the way I cook, and what I've passed on to my children.
We also learned that humor was important. It
seems my kids got that, too. . .
Here are some (interesting?) memories from Haven
and Marketta Schreck (daughters of Markay Kern)
Deep thoughts by Kitty
My favorite thing to do in the summer when I was a teenager was to go to BYU week in
Provo. The best part was the drive. It was just the freedom of it. As my mom put it,
escaping the gravity of home.
Mama Kern (from Haven)
My mom was always cool because she let us smoke pot in our rooms. She wouldn't let
our boyfriends in after midnight, but that's fair. You can only let a twelve year
old go so far. I remember one time when she left us alone for two weeks, and we had to
make Vaseline sandwiches to stay alive. She taught us how to do that. I don't know how we
would have made it without her "real-life lessons."
Seriously, I miss the drives in the country and the
pizza on Friday nights. My mom always found inventive ways for us to have fun, and I
appreciate that. It's something that I'll try to impart to my kids someday. And that day
is about seven months from now. Just kidding!
Anita Stieber (daughter of Allyn Hamblin)
My fondest memory of my mom is how she would come over to my house after Forrest
and I were first married (and broke). She would make weekly unannounced trips to our house
with food that she "had found in her cupboards and probably would never eat" and
ask if I would help her by taking it so she wouldn't have to make that "long trip to
the food bank". She would also drop off money that she "was sure she owed
me" for something I had done for her and wouldn't take no for an answer.
What she did was save us from daily top ramen dinners.
I love my mom very much. She is the greatest and I've found that we've become even closer
over the years and best friends. I've grown to appreciate how strong she is in
raising 8 children while I sometimes struggle to raise only 2 children.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!
Remembrances of my mother, Rita Florence Millecam Maybee Stark
When I was five, my mother was working at the Safeway
warehouse for $37.50 a week and was a single mother raising five kids. In those days,
divorced women were considered fallen women, so my mother was considered a widow by
friends and neighbors an honorable role. I was hospitalized at this time with
a chronic osteochondritis of my hip. Being strapped to a metal frame for twenty four hours
a day, seven days a week was boring in the extreme to a very active boy, but this was
brightened by the arrival every evening of Mom. She came directly from work, spent supper
and visiting time with me, reading to me, playing with me, and just being there.
I remember when she was reading The Little Lame Prince to me, and I had a nurse read a
chapter to me during the day. I couldn't understand why she was miffed, but now wonder if
she went back to read the missing chapter for herself.
It was only many years later that I appreciated how she had stolen time from the four
children to give herself to me. Even now it brings tears to my eyes.
Memories from Barbara Carter:
Our mother was very special. She knew how to make
ordinary things fun. Although we didn't have much money, we never felt poor. When
our friend, Gaylene Tracer, got more presents just for her than we did as an entire family,
mom let us know that we were lucky. We had decorated our own tree, whereas Gaylene's
parents did theirs, and she was not allowed to help. We made presents for each other and
used our talents, which was much better than buying something. (And it really was, too.)
She understood when dogs and cats "followed"
us home. If a boy or girl didn't have any friends, mom would have us invite them over.
Often on a Saturday, she would treat us to a movie. She even made working fun. We all
remember 'polishing' the floors we had just waxed by tying rags on our feet and skating
About My Mom
David Ackert (son of Leesa Brown)
Raising Myself and My Sister was no easy job for my
mom. I thank her daily for doing the best job she could, and giving us both a chance at a
real life. Not letting us get away, or think we could get away with, doing wrong. For
teaching us that discipline for doing what you shouldn't was the right way to look at
life. She gave us all she could, and it always made us feel special cause we knew she gave
more than she could have. My mom is special to me for these reasons and so many more,
there is now way to express how I feel when I think of all she has done, and is doing, for
One of my most memorable
Thanksgivings was one held at Mom's house in Everett. Right in the
middle of the food preparation, the electricity went out. There was
a major power outage in the whole area. Fortunately, we had prepared many
things early, but the turkey was still not finished. Mom rushed it
over to Val's house, where the lights were still on, and we pieced the
rest of the dinner together. I did find out, though, that it isn't
possible to make gravy over a candle. . .