George’s brother Lee worked at the Barton Mines Ruby Mountain facility. Lee was caught in an avalanche of rocks off the wall, broke a bone in his back, and was out of work for four months.
“If We Had Food, It was Because Dad Grew It”
Daughters Gretchen and Stella described their father’s dedication to work and family. “He probably never slept more than four hours a night’” and all through those years he plowed, logged, shoveled, farmed, took care of farm animals before heading off to work. To feed his family of nine children,
George had huge potato gardens, grew corn, beans, pumpkin and made butter and cheese from the cow’s milk. As Stella noted, “If we had food, it was because Dad grew it.”
This father/husband/farmer/miner was a kind of horse whisperer as well. He plowed with horses until he owned a tractor. To tame an uncooperative horse, he would ride it bareback until the horse acquiesced. Admiring the illustrations of the Lone Ranger and his horse Silver rearing up on hind legs, George taught his father’s plow horse to rear up. One day when Grandpa was plowing the field, the horse suddenly reared up, like the Lone Ranger’s horse. Grandpa was not happy.
“Bakers Mills Is My Favorite Place on Earth”
George credits his mother and his pastor as the major influences on his life, and is most proud of his 63 years of marriage to Harriet. Noting that Bakers Mills is his favorite place on earth, he wishes to be remembered here simply as “an honest man.”
Harriet, proud mother of nine good, successful, hard-working, honest children, wishes to be remembered as a loving mother. For the immediate future Harriet plans to continue working three days a week at North Creek’s Grand Union, where she lights up customers’ lives with her sense of humor and with her sign, “Please be nice to me – You’ll be old some day.”
This heartwarming interview was interrupted by frequent loud laughter and the recounting of numerous hilarious family stories. Johnsburg Historical Society hopes to make this and other oral histories accessible from a new JHS web page, thanks to a generous grant from the North Creek Calendar fundraising project.
Interviewer was Kathy Maiorana; videocamera, taping and DVD were handled by David Braley.