Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Charlie Buchanan Bryan by Charles D. Bryan
Charlie was very active in sports particularly track- foot racing, and baseball. He had been offered a contract to play baseball. Charlie was available to teach any of the grand children how to pitch a baseball if they expressed an interest. It was at one of the community picnics where Charlie and Hazeldean met, they were really childhood sweethearts. He married Hazeldean McDowall on the 29th of October 1912 at Hoxie, Sheridan, Kansas. They had eight children.
When he and Hazeldean were married they owned a small farm and Charlie worked for someone else. When they lived in Kansas they had several years of bad crops and low animal prices. They moved to Garland Utah where Gene was born. There they had Hazeldean’s mother living with them. Hazeldean lost two daughters and her mother in a short period of time. Hazeldean worked wrapping butter. As she walked home she passed the cemetery and would stop and spend time at the graves. Because of her grief and depression the doctor advised Charlie to move. That’s how they came to move to Idaho —Michaud is an area between Pocatello and American Falls.
He worked for the railroad a couple of times and was section foreman. He hired some local men to work on the railroad; Gene Curtis, Lester Crowder, and others were part of this group of men. They lived at Michaud. Gene married Charlie’s daughter Lila and they lived in a boxcar near a gravel pit which now has tanks there. Gene killed his wife Lila and spent some time in prison for it. When he was released Hazeldean and Charlie took Gene in and helped him get on his feet again. Charlie and Hazeldean had been caring for the three children.
Charlie left the railroad for some reason—maybe because of the depression happened and times were hard. They found a small farm in Fairview that was owned by Ted Geesy. Charlie bought this farm and in later years lost it. Charlie would get mad and do some strange things. He planted one acre of sugar beets instead of a large field. He used the syrup produced from the sugar beets to pour over the straw to feed the cattle. His view of farming was a little different. He bought an expensive Jersey bull which didn’t make sense for only having 5 cows. They had a Guernsey cow and Charlie let her roam the open range even though she was about to have a calf.
For a time Charlie worked in the Davies coal yard shoveling coal. He was a hard worker. The Oneida elevator was near the coal yard. At the coal chute there was a board saying what size coal it was—lump or other. One time when Charlie was shoveling coal in the coal chute, his sons came to visit him. They were about 6 and 8 years old at the time and were sitting on the coal sizing board on top of the coal bin. Harlan said he could spit over a beam and Gene said he could throw a lump of coal over it. The contest was on, only Gene hit Charlie in the head with a lump of coal. Charlie just said, “You go home”. Gene went home and got in a tub of cold water and couldn’t wash the black coal dust off. He doesn’t remember how he got it off.
I later years Charlie worked at a night watchman for Harlan’s security business in Salt Lake. Charlie would play solitaire by the hours in his retirement years. He used to love to have his back scratched. He enjoyed it as long as you wanted to scratch it.
Charlie and Hazeldean owned several lots in American Falls. They gave one to Gene to build on. They decided to move to a 13 acre place near the railroad overpass and highway north of American Falls. Charlie built the house and several outbuildings. The house has three rooms and entry. There was no running water so they brought water in by milk container. Charlie enjoyed his birds—wild partridge and other birds. Some grandsons were out target practicing and were so proud to shoot a partridge. They took it back to Hazeldean and she put it in the freezer so Charlie wouldn’t know they killed one of his favorite birds. The bird was eventually eaten.
One time a couple of his grandchildren were heading to the outhouse and there was a blowsnake on the path. Charlie killed the snake so the kids wouldn’t be frightened. He didn’t want to kill it or any other creatures. They’d raise pigs, chickens, and other animals on their little acreage. Charlie would butcher the animals for family food. Charlie planted trees around their acreage home to shade the house in the summer heat.
Grandpa Charlie has been described as a hard worker but was not good at making business decisions. He provided well for his family and was very indulgent of his children.
I am sure that he got mad at times but I don’t recall seeing him angry. Although I do remember one time he came to help us move from Walla Walla to Milwaukie, Oregon. There were a number of neighborhood kids around and in the way. Grandfather cleared the area with a gruff, “You kids get out of here!” the kids scattered in all directions. He was always available to help where he could.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Charlie and Hazeldean were living in on a small acreage outside of Oaksdale, Washington. Although Gene could not go with us, he sent the rest of the family to be with them. It was a scary time but we were safe with the grandparents in the rural area.
There was a lot of love in the family. Grandfather had a fine reputation in the community. I recall one time I was working on some math problem and I must say I was a little arrogant about it. Grandfather asked about a finance problem of compound interest, and related factors. I had a general idea of what he was talking about but to give him an answer was outside of my ability. He worked the thing in his head, and explained it to me.
Written by Charles D. Bryan in 2008.
Posted by Shersy at 11:46 AM