I chose this place at Third and Dogwood because it is what it is, no more or less—a parcel of ground set apart to bury the dead. It is laid out in blocks separated by narrow lanes, barely wide enough for one car pass—originally meant for wagons and carriages I suppose. There is no mausoleum here, nor alabaster statues—no reminders of eternal life. I am satisfied with that. If such considerations have been unimportant in life, they are meaningless by the time you arrive at this place; you die as you have lived.
I was alone as far as I could tell, standing at my husband’s grave that morning after his burial. Once more I was the detached observer, standing apart, hollow as the man of straw, just as I had been on the morning of my mother’s death.
It had rained all night, and the fog was settling in over the surrounding stone markers. The patch of grass was raw from his intrusion. My own plot was unbroken. The soil had never been turned; no row of beans, or potatoes or marigolds had been planted there. Suddenly I was filled with an astonishment that chilled me to the bone. I was standing on my own grave that waited without purpose for my committal. I had reached the end of trying to understand this brief span of life that comes out of the darkness and returns to the night.
But a strange thing happened as I began to breathe again. It was not the death and funerals that filled my mind, but the joy of my mother’s laughter as I skipped over crusty patches of snow and stuffed my pockets with Johnny-jump-ups; it was the appreciation of the good black soil and all that grew there that my grandfather had given me; it was the first cry of my children; and of all those whom I have loved me, and especially those who have loved me back. Every loss and every leap forward confirms my existence.
– Third and Dogwood, ©2000 Vivian Cress.
Working on the backend of three websites for the last three months has temporarily fried my creative brain cells. And after 48+ inches of rain this Winter, my gardening tasks are demanding my attention… NOW! Not to mention that the ewes are lambing now. My posts will slow down for a while, and then it will be time to tackle my big topic—Music Studies.
Please excuse Gus’s appearance, he had just taken a face-plant in a wet tractor rut while I was trying to take this photograph. In a couple of months we should have our Freestone Farms website freestonefarms.com online for news about life in rural California.
This is one of the last pictures I have of my father. Unfortunately, it is a low resolution image. He is pictured with the remote control replica of a Northrup P-61 Black Widow—the first operational U.S.warplane designed as a night fighter. This is not a kit model. In fact, a remote control model of this plane did not exist. He designed the model plans and built it based on his experience at the Northrup Aircraft plant in the early 1940s. He crafted each wooden piece from raw materials, and yes it flew beautifully. This is an example of his absolute attention to detail in everything that he did. As a finish carpenter he was second to none.
My name is Charles Everett Vinyard and I was born May 7, 1905 in Altman, Colorado. I came to Idaho in 1908, and have seen the progress made in converting a valley covered with sage-brush into a fertile valley, green with crops where only sage-brush once grew. As the person who has lived in this First Segregation the longest and at the urging of the family, I will attempt to record the events as they occurred on the First Segregation in its steady progression from 1907 to the present time and also set down the events of my life in order that these events will be recorded for all who might wonder about the past and would be lost without a written record.
This history is accurate to the best of my knowledge and if I omitted any pertinent facts it would be unintentional.
I was born on Bull Hill, a mining town in the Cripple Creek Mining District. Altman at that time was the highest incorporated town in the world. Like all mining towns it was worked out by the 1920’s and is all gone, not even a ghost town remains.
I was born to Maude Berry Vinyard and Charles Centennial Vinyard May 7, 1905. My father was in the Transfer Business in the district, hauling ore from the mines and supplies to the mines. Mother kept the home and looked after me and I suspect I kept her busy. My grandmother Berry operated a boarding house in Cameron, another town in the camp where my mother was working when she married my father. Father heard of land to be had in Idaho. The filing was April 7, 1907, under the Cary Act. He and my mother’s bother came to Milner, Idaho and filled on land. Father filed on 80 acres, mother’s brother, William Berry, filed on 40 acres for his and Maude Vinyard’s mother and the places joined.
After filing, they returned to Colorado. Father sold his business and Bill Berry worked in the mines there. I do not know when they returned to Idaho, some time later, I believe. Mother and me, and grandmother Berry and another son, Ted Berry, came in 1908, as I can remember having to walk from the depot in Milner to the hotel, which was a quarter of a mile. The snow was, seems to me, up to the seat of my pants. There was no way to cross the Snake River only on a bridge below the Milner Dam, where the canals took out of the river. On the south side of the river, the canal took water to what was called “Northside,” but the part of the tract where my folks fied was known as the “First Segregation.” My folks filed on ground at the west end of the tract so as to be closer to the town of Twin Falls. They could cross on the ferry at Shoshone Falls, and was about 11 miles to Milner.
When the river was low there was a narrow channel just above the Twin Falls in the river where you could climb from one rock to another and cross, but only in very low water. The power dam now backs water up the river and the channel is under many feet of water.
When we first came, there was an old miner who lived just east of where Vinyard Creek runs into Snake River. He had a row boat and you could cross the river in it, but you had to crawl down ladders to get to his place or go a long way around to a trail. Mrs. Greenwood shows a picture of the trees in her book, “We Sagebrush Folks.” He also had a garden and some fruit trees. He was there some years before we came here. He had horses, two I think, which he used to pack supplies, since there were no towns near-by where he could get supplies. He would keep them where he lived in the summer. They could not get away since he kept a gate across the trail he had made to the top of the canyon. In the winter he took them to a steep walled canyon, a part of Devil’s Corral, which he called his winter pasture. The bunch-grass grew up to the horses belly and when it froze and dried was as good as hay or better for horses. He used the horses to pack supplies from Shoshone as he was on the Northside of the river and could not get them across or he could have gone to the Stricker Store south of Hansen. His name was Vanewert, we called him “Old Van.”
The first town on the First Segregation to have a post office was Hillsdale which was just south of the Skeleton Butte and there was a store. Later, there was a school built called “Hillsdale,” but was built about two miles east of the old store and post office. At that time we were in Lincoln County with the County Seat in Shoshone. I went to a little school house in the sage-brush two miles from home, it was called Lakeview because of a lake formed in the desert from waste water which could not get away as there was no outlet.
The whole of the First Segregation was covered with sagebrush, buckbrush, and creosote brush. The native grass and bunchgrass was waist high, which made wonderful feed for stock. Everyone who filed on ground had to build some sort of a house, and clear away the sagebrush and put in a crop, which was called “Proving up?” to gain title to the ground.
There were range cattle all over the country which ranged from east of Rupert down the river to Glens Ferry and would eat up the crops, so people had to fence their places or lose their crops. The wire was easy to get in Twin Falls, but there was no timber for posts so the only place to get posts was go to the South Hills and cut Juniper and haul them many miles with a team and wagon. There was ground that could not be farmed so I got the job of herding the cows on this ground, when I was not in school, and I got to herd some of the neighbor’s cows and was paid twenty-five cents a head per month. There was very little money in the country.
Father would clear ground for people who filed on ground and would hire their ground cleared and a prove up crop planted. Just across the road from us, a Mr. Swim owned a place which he later sold to MacLeod and Rogerson who were sheep men. The first MacLeod was Kenneth MacLeod and he passed away. I do not remember the year Murdo and William MacLeod took over Kenneth’s part and dissolved the partnership with Rogerson. Murdo married and had a family, two girls, Margaret and Lila Mae, and a boy, Kenneth. Margaret has passed away as had Murdo and William. Mrs. Murdo MacLeod is in a rest home. Kenneth and Lila Mae still farm the ranch and live there. The Vinyards, MacLeods, Utts, and Rogerson families are all of the very early settlers still living in the First Segregation. All of the people who filed at Milner in April 1907 have moved away or have passed away to the best of my knowledge.
Please find continuation links below. I’m modifying the pagination for this article.