Sunday, August 4, 2013

                               By Fannie B. Hatch, his daughter 
Last evening, Daddy was on his bed resting, as he has for so many years.  I pulled up my chair and asked him if he would mind telling to me about his childhood. Tears came into his light blue eyes, as they did many times in the next few minutes.  Those years were heartbreaking years to remember, and he said, “When I think of those days and conditions, I wonder how we ever pulled through.”  I began to understand his fears that grew out of the hardships of those years when he was a boy – those years when the pioneers first came into Mexico seeking refuge. 

He was born Jan. 19, 1885 in Ogden, Utah.  He was a little over four years old when his father and mother, so very poor, arrived in the Dublan Valley.  They had left Ogden six months before.  They arrived in Deming, New Mexico by train and remained there to get ready for the journey into Mexico by wagon and team.  While in Deming, there was an epidemic of diphtheria, and a little brother contracted the disease and was buried before they left.   

After many discouraging hardships, the group arrived in Dublan, Mexico, 24th of June 1889.  I had never heard until now that the Bluth family was one of the first to settle in the locality of Colonia Dublan.  There were two families camping there at the time of their arrival:  George Lake and Samuel Foster.  There were no homes, no streets laid out, and few prospects.  There was little water for irrigation.  However, there was land, and when the town was eventually surveyed and laid-out into plots, the Bluths acquired 25 acres for 300 pesos.   

For a year the family had lived in a tent with a bowery attached which made a kitchen and “outdoor living room.”  He remembered the cold of that winter with a shiver.  But now they had property.  So with the entire family helping they built one room on their farm.  There were three wives and five children. 

They didn’t have any equipment or animals for hard labor and hauling.  The wives carried wood on their backs from the river.  The children hunted in the fields for edible plants.  Times were hard and sometimes they were hungry as well as cold.  Later he realized that his mother didn’t eat usually with the children, for she knew the amount they had wouldn’t be enough for all.  Oscar (my Daddy) had chickenpox.  His mother tenderly wrapped him in an overcoat and had him sleep on the floor in the corner behind the door.  It was the least drafty there. 

One of the wives, Aunt Sophie, worked outside of the home and earned money to buy store clothes.  My daddy was 12 years of age when she bought him his first pair of store shoes and blue denim overalls.  Aunt Sophie held a warm spot in his heart, because she unselfishly shared her earnings with all the children.  He was good to her all his life.  He made it a point to see that she never needed anything after she stopped working.  I remember of her coming into the home to get what she wanted.  Sometimes it was just attention and kindness that she was seeking.  Mother was especially kind to her.  We didn’t realize how unselfish she had been during those impressive years. 

It was impossible to make a living off a piece of property with little irrigation water, and no equipment to work the land.  More than that, my Grandfather was a finishing carpenter and had never farmed.  So when my Daddy, the oldest son, was around 13 years of age, he left home to go to a near by ranch, Corralitos, to seek employment.  This way he was able to buy a wagon and team.  Before long he was able to make the farm produce.  He lived in the valley all these years and steadily added to that small beginning.  He owns the original 25 acres, and the “Old Place” is a landmark to which he is sentimentally attached.    

After the wheat was planted each winter there were two or three months for schooling.  Living came first, for the family had suffered through a poverty they didn’t want to repeat.  Then, too, it was the trend to encourage boys to learn a trade and attending school was discouraged.  The people were too poor to maintain a teacher for a very long time so there was little book-learning. 

More settlers came in, and the presiding Elder was George Lake.  Later, an LDS Ward was organized and Winslow Farr was the first Bishop of the Dublan Ward.  My Daddy remembers with kindness his primary teacher, Lydia Knight Young.  She called to take him with her, when she found that he was missing from Primary. 

As he began to prosper a little, he bought a one-seated sport model buggy and a fine team.  He went to Colonia Juarez and enrolled in the Academy.  They were encouraging the older boys to come to school.  There he was on the baseball team, the catcher.  He had ability that he passed on to his sons later.  He lived during the week with the Clayson family, and drove home for the weekends.
Across the street lived the Macdonald girls.  In those times he said Colonia Juarez had fine, good girls, and this was likely the attraction.  The boys were rough and tough, he thought, but he admired the girls.  He stayed in Colonia Juarez most of two winters, but eventually gave it up, as it was costing the family too much.  Their entertainment at that time was baseball and sports and dancing when they could stir up some music.  A fiddle and an organ were the musical instruments they had.  I asked him what they did for baseballs.  He said they made them.  He said they were a little dead, but it was fair for all. 

He worked hard and saved money for the long trip, and married Lucy Lavinia Macdonald in the Salt Lake Temple on the 12th of November 1909.  They had nine children.  He provided for them very well, gave them good educations, and all have been married in the Temple.  His wife, Lucy, died in 1949, the first of this family to pass away. 

I sometimes think that the hardships of those formative years left such an imprint upon my Father, that he actually has fears about poverty that effect him yet, even though times in recent years have been good to him. 

He kept five members of his family on missions besides several others that were not related to him.  He had been blessed financially and took this means of showing his gratitude. 

He died 17 Jan 1964 in Colonia Dublan, and buried 18 Jan 1964 in Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico.   

          Grandpa Bluth with Grandchildren Lynden Lothaire, Oscar Alan, Clarence Gayle, Yvonne, Jacqueline and Vicki

Grandpa Bluth with  Vicki sitting by his side

1 comment:

  1. Please help identify any of the children with grandpa - in case they are labeled incorrectly. thanks