Location: Providence, UT Interviewee(s): Jake Fuhriman
County: Cache Interviewer: Rachel Gianni
Recording equipment & mic:
Sony TCM 200 DV/150, mic: Radio Shack 33-3013
Transcribing equipment: Panasonic VSC RR-830
Project editor: Lisa Duskin-Goede
General description: This is a topical transcription with some word for word
excerpts. Jake Fuhriman lives at 35 North 100 East in Providence, Utah. Edits submitted by Jake Fuhriman have been incorporated into the transcript. Some items are in parenthesis. Tape numbering (Log #) is continuous from side A to B.
I was born December 20, 1915. Unusual for that time I was born in the hospital in Logan. People were not born in hospitals at that time. My mother was 39 years old and I was the first child, the only child she had. The doctor thought that maybe because of her age, they had better have me born in the hospital. So I was born in the old Budge Memorial Hospital which stood on the corner of First North and Third East in Logan. I heard a story that there was another baby in the hospital at the time. I heard my mother tell the story many times that it was an older baby. She said the baby was maybe a month old but there was something wrong with it. He [Father] came up to visit Mother and somebody told him there were two babies up there. So he took it to mean Mother had had twins. There was a dance down here, I don’t know if it was in the Old Rock Church, and he was down there and he was telling everyone Mother had had twins. They said, “No she didn’t,” and he said, “I saw them.” I’m sure he felt kind of silly after. So that’s how I was born.
Dad was a farmer. He farmed all his life. Before he was married he worked on railroad right-of-way construction all over the country and clear up into Canada. There were some big contraction organizations in Providence at the time. They’d go out and contract and travel all over the western United States. Well, he was clear up into where the Great Lakes are one winter. I don’t know if that’s much known. There were two Zollinger family contractors contracting to do the right of way for the rails. They built the road bed and somebody else come along and put the ties and the rails later. They were quite a few people in Providence who would go out and so that in the summer time. Evidently it wasn’t too profitable. He’d come and say he was practically broke and didn’t have much to show for a summer’s work. He did a lot of that when he was younger. He wasn’t married until he was thirty-five years old. My mother was only twenty-one, so there was quite a difference in the ages. Then they were married for eighteen years before I was born. So you see there was actually a generation gap between me and my father. He was old enough to be my grandfather. I was an only child. After eighteen years, I guess they considered me as a miracle baby.
We used to play baseball out in the street. We’d play ball and we’d use a flat board for a bat. We could never see how anybody could hit a ball with a round bat. That looked like too hard. It was four or five inches wide and a little handle on it. We played different games. Kick the can, tag, stuff like that, “Annie I Over.” (Also known as “Annie-Annie-Over.”)
I grew up on this house on the corner: 141 East Center Street. I lived there until we built this place which was in ’61. Actually we lived in this house just about the same length of time I lived in the other one. That was built when I was two years old. Father had a farm down in the Young Ward area. For the first two years after I was born we lived down there on the farm. My mother’s father owned the lot here. My dad bought it from his father-in-law.
We had eight grades. There were eight rooms and each grade had a room which was probably unusual for that time because there were a lot of schools. Even in Hyde Park there were two grades to a room, but here in Providence we had one grade to a room. The first four grades were on the ground floor and the second four grades were on the second floor. I went there clear through the eighth grade and then I went to Hyrum to high school, South Cache. But till then we’d just go across the street to school. We didn’t have school lunches in those days. I lived just across the street, so I went home for lunch.
There’s a bell tower on top of the school. It’s the same bell that they put on that new building. It would ring in the morning and then we had the wake-up call at quarter after eight and then you have forty-five minutes from the time that bell rang till when school started. It would ring again at nine when school started and then ring at recess and ring it again to bring you back in. It had a rope that came down from the tower in the bell, and a man would reach up and pull the rope and make it go, usually one of the teachers or the principal. The quarter after eight bell, the janitor may have done that, but I think once in a while some of the students were assigned to ring the bell. I never got to ring it myself.
My first grade teacher was, well I’m not sure on her. Second grade was Miss Martineau. Miss Ballard was in the third grade. Miss Thorpe in the fourth grade. Miss Baer in the fifth. Miss Hammond in the sixth. She taught there for years, She was teaching there after I was married. Mr. Jim Campbell was the seventh grade teacher and A.E. Allen was the eighth grade teacher. He was the principal and taught the eighth. They didn’t have all the administrators that they have now. They had eight teachers and eight grades. That was it. The principal was also the teacher of the eighth grade.
We had classes of about twenty-eight to thirty-two. They skipped me. They made me go from the third to the fourth, so I did the third grade and the fourth grade in one year. I said I would never have that done to a child of mine. I was not accepted by the older kids, and the younger kids, I wasn’t in their grade any more. It was not until the time I got to the eighth grade that I felt comfortable with that group. You know how kids are, if you’re just a brat from the younger ones, you don’t belong. So it was kind of hard that way. But it worked out all right.
School drama programs
I was interested in drama for years. I started out in the eighth grade, we had a school play. We didn’t have any stage in the school at that time, so it was produced down in the old pavilion. All the older people in Providence remember the old pavilion. It was there where the city office stands now. It had a stage and an auditorium. At one time, it was one of the outstanding stages in the county. But by the time I got into the building, it had kind of deteriorated. It was still a pretty good stage. But I could remember that play, it was about a school and I was the school principal, and my name was Dr. Wise. Every winter, each ward used to put on two or three act plays throughout the winter. It was good entertainment; it was a lot of fun. I was fortunate that I was able to act in quite a few of them, and I even directed quite a few of the plays. Then when I got into high school, I was fortunate to take the lead my senior year in the high school drama. Interesting enough, that’s how I became acquainted with my wife. The high schools that the county schools mostly participated in, they would have exchange assemblies. They’d have a program that they’d take to the other high school. North Cache brought one to South Cache and they had, I remember, a man with a beautiful bass voice. Then they had this little gal that did this cute dance. I remembered her from that. Well, when we took our play to North Cache, she was a junior in North Cache and she remembered me from the lead in South Cache. We kind of knew long before who each other was long before we got introduced to each other. So, that was interesting.
Plays involved with
Theater was something I did quite a little of. I directed several plays. We put on some Stake plays. There was one play we did, (written by) the Hales, Ruth and Nathan Hale, who were the founders of the Hale Theater which is now in West Jordan. When we were on a mission to Nauvoo, they were out there the same time and we got to work with them. But long before I did that, the Church would put out a play book every year and the plays had a blanket fee, so the Church would pay a blanket fee to the publisher and the wards could do it free of charge. The Hales wrote quite a few plays that went into those play books, so I was acquainted with their work and had done quite a lot of their plays. There was one we did on a Stake level that was really quite an interesting play. It started out back in pioneer days and was that generation. I was the rebellious young boy who was going to go to the mines in Nevada and was not going to put up with all that hard work in Utah. And the second act, the next generation, I’m the father and had a family and I have a rebellious daughter who is going to marry a slicker from back East who is out here in the mines. In the end, she wakes up to the fact. And then in the third act is the next generation, I’m the grandfather that has a rebellious grandson that’s against the Church. So that was an interesting play. In that time, we wouldn’t just do them once, we’d take them around to different wards, take them to other places. And this was a Stake basis, so we did that in Logan. We did that one twice. It was called, “It Shall Keep Thee.” In fact, I’ve still got the play book. Actually the Stake did it three times. By the time we got to the third time, I was too old to play the junior.
There was another one we did at the Hales. I can’t remember the name of it, but I know the plot. It took place down in southern Utah. There was a man, the head, they gave me the role of. All he wanted to do was amass everything. He was buying up the water rights and tease out all the settlers around. He got real prosperous and had all the big barns and the crops. And then the place gets burned down and he gets blinded. We did that over in the Logan Tabernacle. They used to put a stage over there, a temporary stage over the top of the seats. We did that one. The family was sitting up in the balcony, and my oldest boy was there and someone was sitting beside him and said, “I just hate that man.” He said, “That’s my dad.” I said, “You know, that’s the best compliment I could have been paid.” They hated me because I was such a villain. It was a lot of fun. Maybe I’m bragging a little bit, but I kind of had a talent for it. They used to do them all the time in the wintertime, they had three act plays come and it was some of the principle entertainment for winter. There was a man over in Millville who had a real good reputation as a director and he put on some real good plays. I don’t remember his name. I remember he brought one here to Providence when I was in district school. They would let school out. They’d have a matinee, which would kind of be a dress rehearsal for the cast before they put it on at night and they’d let school out. I went to this matinee and he had a girl who was a leading lady. And as I think back now, he must have torn his hair out just trying to get her to be able to act because she didn’t put a thing into her lines. I just remember thinking, why would she put something into it? That was strange. I’ll never forget that. I wanted to tell that girl how to say that line.
Years involved with the theater
I was graduated in high school in ’33, so from ’29 to along into the late ’40s. I was a drama director here in the ward for several years and did quite a few plays. In the old pavilion, they used to have the old sets. On the back, you’d put your cast and put the names of the cast and write their names down. I sound like I’m bragging. One gal said to me once, “Your name is on the backs of every one of those! How many were you in?!” I don’t remember just how many there were.
Every year the old folks would have a party, the old folks’ party was an annual event. At that time, of course, there were only two wards in Providence. In fact, there were only two wards in Providence when I was bishop. The old folks would put on a play in order to present those parties. So, the cast from that play would be picked from the two wards. So, if you got put in that cast, you figured you were pretty good because that was the two wards. Well, I had just a minor role in it. Because we put on the play, they invited the cast to come to the dinner. So we went to the dinner. I think I was about fifteen or sixteen years old. They always served coffee at the olds folks’ party in Providence. So, I never tasted coffee in my life, so they were serving coffee so I had a cup of coffee. That night I couldn’t get to sleep! I couldn’t imagine what was wrong with me, I couldn’t sleep. I can attest that if you drink coffee, it will keep you awake. The only cup I ever had.
After they tore down the old pavilion, they used to hold the old folks’ party over in the gymnasium in the school. This one year, Apostle Lee was still an apostle, and he was up here to a conference and he came over to the old folk’s party. They didn’t dare put the coffee out. Some of the old people said, “Where’s the coffee, where’s the coffee?!” They were in a quandary without the coffee. It was a Church function. So, he finally left before it was over and they brought the coffee out. The Word of Wisdom wasn’t strictly observed in the early days, even at Church functions.
Having skipped a year, I was younger than most of the kids in the high school and I didn’t really—I’m what you call an introvert. I’m not one to put myself forward. So, for the first couple years I didn’t push much. But finally by the time I was a junior, I finally got the courage to try out for the school play and I got the secondary role and then, of course, as a senior I got the lead. High school was an interesting place, I enjoyed high school. You kind of grow up when you get to high school.
I went up to Utah State for four quarters. I graduated from high school in the spring of ’33 and my father died in September of ’33. I was an only child and we had a farm, so I had to take over the farm. I went to the Utah State Agricultural College then. I didn’t go fall quarter, but I went winter and spring quarter. And then the next year I went fall and winter quarter. And then I was trying to run a farm and go to school so I had to drop out and we got married in ’35. I actually just spent four quarters, two each, in college.
Activities in college
We also played in the high school band and the university band, clarinet. We had band trips. The college band would take a trip down the state and we’d play at different high schools. It was sort of publicity for the university for kids interested in coming up here and going to school. You get a bunch of college kids together going down to high schools, you can imagine. We had one number we would play, it was called, “A Hunting We Will Go,” we’d sing it. We’d shake hands with each other, “a hunting we will go, a hunting we will go. We’ll catch a little fish and put him in a dish and then we’ll let him go.” A few of us, two or three of us, would start looking over the audience and kind of pick out a girl. We’d look at the girl and we did it enough that the audience could figure out what we were doing and the girl could figure out what we were doing. They’d get a little blushy or a little happy about it. We did this at every school and of course we’d never see them again. We had N.W. Christiansen, was the band leader. And he grew up in a little town in Sanpete County, I can’t think of the name of it now. We were playing the high schools out in that area. We played, I think three concerts during the day. They wanted him to come out to a little town just out further north of Manti. (Mayfield.) Because he had been born and raised in this little town out there they wanted him to come up that night and play up there. A small town, there wasn’t any cute girls, but we picked out one. Oh she ate it up. The next morning they had a little marching demonstration right outside the high school. This gal was out there right on the curb waving to us. She was homely. Oh, that was a dirty trick to play. I guess she survived it. I don’t know.
But the high school band, when I was a freshman, that band was a sad affair. We used to have kids who really didn’t know how to play. We had a new director, Mr. Terry, came in when I was a freshman. He told us afterwards, he said, “That first year, I was about ready to quit. You were a sad bunch.” They had band contests at Utah State. At our junior and senior years, we were one of the top bands in the state. In fact, the year I was a senior, we were the top band in our class over there at the college, at the contest. So, he really whipped us into shape, made us so we learned how to play. I’ve said that of all the things I’ve learned in high school, that’s the one thing I’ve enjoyed most, because being able to read music, I’ve been able to do well. I’ve got an organ out here, it looks real complicated but actually you’re just playing with two fingers because one finger is playing the melody and the other’s playing the accompaniment. But being able to read music enabled me to do that and I enjoy that. I was always thankful that I had music instruction, learning a little about it. I was never too good on the clarinet. At our high school graduation, I guess that was about when we were the best, three of us played clarinet in Providence: Frank Hammond, Alvin Hansen and myself. For our graduation program, we were on the program and we played a clarinet trio. The Herald Journal published a review of our graduation. They commented on the high class of the clarinet trio that was played. So, I had a little bit of experience, a little bit success with it.
After my father died, I had to take over the farm. It was irrigated down here in Young Ward; we had only sixty acres when he died. My father’s brother married my mother’s sister and they never had any children and they lived next door. The house on the corner is where we lived and the house just above it where they lived. Hyrum and Emelia Fuhriman. My mother was Olga, Jacob my dad. So when I was growing up, I was as much home at one home as I was at the other because they not only had homes together, but they had their farms together. My uncle was on the lower part and my dad was on the upper part. So they worked together all the time. In fact, a lot of the kids in town weren’t sure which ones were my parents. After my father died, it was a little tough, seventeen years old, trying to take care of a farm by myself. But, after I got married, my uncle had sold his half to another man. He had just gotten married and his wife died not long after he was married and so he wasn’t interested in the farm anymore. So, I finally ended up buying the other part that had been my uncle’s. So instead of sixty acres, I had one hundred-twenty acres. It was down in the Young Ward, just off the Mendon road, north towards the river. About the last street of Young Ward, it goes north and south. I kept that until I retired. In 1980 I broke my leg in the fall. There was a little house down there and there was no electricity where we were, no running water. We’d go down during the week in the summer time and stay there. Then we’d come home on the weekends to do the washing and go to Church. Then I’d go down again Monday morning and my wife would come down Monday night and we’d stay during the week down there. We’d keep the cows down there and then in the winter we had a barn up there where the house sits now and we’d bring the cows up here, keep them up here in the wintertime. That fall we moved back out. We were not staying down there anymore, but still had the cows down there. I went down to do the milking on a Sunday morning and Frank, my second oldest boy, there were some stray horses up in the field and he had been down with me the night before and he wanted to come down and chase those stray horses that were out in the field. So, I went down. We had a pony. I hadn’t ridden much during the summer, so he wanted to put a saddle on it. We put a saddle on it and then went out and started the milkers. He came in crying, he said, “She bucked me off.” She hadn’t been ridden for a while, I guess she needed somebody to ride her. I just went out and jumped out on her and she reared up and threw me down and the saddle horn hit my leg and broke my leg. So, that kind of ended my farming.
Selling the cows
We raised hay and grain and had a herd of cows. My oldest boy was twelve. So there was no way. They put me in the hospital for three weeks at that time, it was a lot different in those times than now. What are you going to do with a herd of cows with a twelve year old boy? You can’t hire help. So, while I was in the hospital, my wife sold the cows and bought a new car. We had fourteen or fifteen cows, it was considered a pretty good sized herd in those days. It wouldn’t be anything nowadays. In those days, there were lots of those small cow herds around. In fact, a fifteen, sixteen herd was considered a pretty good size. Maybe twenty herd was about as high as they’d go. But every farmer had a few cows. At that time, I think there were three different men hauling milk out of Providence in the ten gallon milk cans. They’d come around every morning and pick the cans up at the farmers place. Almost everybody in Providence had a herd of cows at that time. You had either cows or chickens.
They were dairy cows. At that time I had a milking machine. I think I had the first milking machine in Providence. We’d have it down on the farm in the summer and then we had to bring the cows up here in the winter and have to move the equipment back and forth. On the farm we didn’t have any electricity so I had to have a little gasoline motor to run the milker. When I got up here in the winter time, we had electricity and run it with an electric motor. In the fall, it would get cold and that doggone gas motor was hard to start in the winter in the morning. You’d wonder of you could get it started to get the cows milked. That was in the ’40s because it was in 1949 when I broke my leg. I went to work for Utah Farm Bureau in 1950. I probably had it for about three years before that so maybe ’46, ’45 sometime like that when I bought the milking machine.
We raised grain and hay and the last few years we raised sweet corn for the cannery. We’d have to pick it and throw it on the truck and haul it up to Smithfield. We picked it by hand. But the alfalfa, we pretty much had that mechanized by the end. I had a tractor mower and a hay loader. By the time I quit, it was pretty well mechanized. They just started bailing, the last few years. After I went to work for the Farm Bureau I still tried to run the farm a little bit myself with the help of the boys. They finally started bailing hay about the time I quit. Before that, you’d have to haul it loose. You’d have to rake it and bunch it and go out with the wagons and pitch it on the wagons and bring it into the barn and you’d have the Jackson fork, they put it up in a stack. We had a little barn up here. I think by the time my father died, we had pretty well gotten rid of the Providence ground. It was a lot of hard work. I farmed with horses most of the time until we got a little tractor. That was just after the end of the war, when finally machinery got available. Only about maybe five years before I quit.
We had grain to sell and even had hay to sell. We had enough to feed the cows, feed them hay and grain and we’d have surplus and we’d sell it. Sometimes we’d have a whole stack and we’d sell it all at once to somebody who was interested in buying a lot of hay. It was pretty much local. There was nothing shipped out of the valley at that time. It was not practical to move it very far. You couldn’t put much on a wagon, maybe a ton on a load at a time, but that’s not very efficient to move very far. It started to come into motor power equipment by the time I quit farming. But we kept the farm until I retired. I rented it out most of the time.
There were three local creameries or dairies. The Borden’s in Logan and Morning Milk in Wellsville and the Sego was up in Richmond. They made it into evaporated milk. They didn’t have Grade A milk. You would shudder to see some of the conditions milk was raised under those days. Dirty corrals, dirty stables. It was all processed. It went into condensed milk so it was heated. The germs that were in it were taken out of it. Towards the ends we started Grade A which would be bottle milk they would take to the homes. I never got into the Grade A business and you had to have a milk house and little better equipment. They would pay premium for that Grade A milk, more money for it. You had to be more fussy; you had to have a milk house and coolers. That was an investment. By the time I quit, I hadn’t got quite that far yet.
There was lots of farmers here in town. There was Uncle Joe Zollinger; there was Henry Zollinger and there was Will Zollinger; there was Andrew Hammond, Horace Hammond. Clear out at the other end of town there was the Matthews. All the old families: Stauffers. Godfrey Stauffer was one of the bigger farmers in Providence. He had a pretty good operation. I was related to the Zollingers too. I was double related to some of them because two of the Zollingers married Mother’s sisters. Zollingers’ mothers were Loosles and Fuhrimans. Mother’s were Loosles. We’re related that way. There was the Mathews the Campbells. I’m trying to think of some of the other families. When I was growing up I knew who lived in every house in Providence. That was how small the town was. Going to school, the whole town was in one school and you got to know kids even though there were two wards, you still got to know everybody in the town. The town didn’t grow very much. When we built this house, I think there had been built maybe three or four homes in the last twenty years. That was ’61. And that was when it started to take off, five six years after that. All the while I was growing up, I remember only two new homes being built. That’s the one down here that’s still standing below the church. There were the two Alder homes, just alike. We tore one down when we built this parking lot in there. That home was the only one being built when I was growing up. So, the town didn’t grow for a long time. It was just a small rural community, farming community and everybody knew everybody else. I don’t know who lives up a block up the street anymore.
If they’re not in your LDS ward, you don’t know them. It’s just an entirely different place. There’s houses where we used to have farm ground. I can’t believe all the homes that have gone in. There were farms out in the south end of town, what we used to call the Miller Lane, the other lane going west onto the highway. We called that the Miller Lane because Joe Miller lived on that corner on the top of the lane.
As far as Providence is concerned, we don’t have any industry. Really it hasn’t changed an awful lot in the valley because we haven’t had a lot of industry come in. There’s been some things of course. It’s changing much faster now; we’re getting a lot more things. Well, take the Icon here for instance. It’s one of the biggest employers in the state, I guess. That was developed by a local man here. They did some things at the University and started a company right up. It’s a worldwide organization now. So things like that have come about in the last twenty years maybe. It’s really started to industrialize, taking over where it was farm ground down there. There’s been a lot of changes. Miller’s Beef, they’ve been here for years. When I was in high school. I knew Lynn Miller who was just a year behind me in high school. It was his dad that started what is now Miller’s that has been handed down through the family. They don’t own it anymore, either. E.A. Miller, where they do all the meat packing. I think Swift has bought it out but Miller’s still run it. One of Lynn’s sons lives here in Providence and he’s the manager up there. So that’s been one of the big employers in the county for years, Miller’s Packing.
I went to work for the Utah Farm Bureau. We had started to organize a casualty company. We sold automobile insurance. I had several jobs. I was insurance adjuster—go out on accidents and help out with claims. But also, the Farm Bureau has two hats. The Farm Bureau Organization itself was organized to help farmers with legislative problems and educational problems and this sort of thing. It was a voluntary organization. There was no way you could force people to join. Farmers are an independent stubborn bunch, and it’s hard to organize them. So, in order to try and maintain membership (The Farm Bureau is a nationwide organization and now the largest farm organization in the country) they got the idea that maybe by starting like an insurance company that would sell only to members and we could sell cheaper and get better service than other companies then it would be a means of maintaining membership. So I was a county secretary in the county Farm Bureau Organization at the time. So when they got the company going they needed more help, and so I applied for a job and that’s when I had broken my leg, didn’t know what I was going to do with the farm, and luckily the job came along and I was able to go to work for them. I worked there for thirty years. I wore all kinds of hats. Sometimes I worked for the Farm Bureau only and then they’d switch me over to work for the Casualty Company. For a while I was the claims manager for the whole company. Every time there was a claim, I had to settle it. Then they let me go back strictly for their Farm Bureau organization. It was an interesting thirty years. Well, I retired and I’ve been retired ever since.
I was the bishop of the Providence First Ward for several years. I was still working. I think it was in the ’60s. I didn’t stay too long as bishop. What happened was they moved me to Salt Lake with the job. They needed a claims manager and I needed to be in Salt Lake all week. I never moved down there, but being away from the town all week you can’t hardly be a bishop. So I had to ask to be released. I think I was only bishop for three and a half years. So I didn’t really serve bishop too long. That was mostly my activity. (I was an ordinance worker in the Logan Temple for twenty-five years.)
I never was much interested in politics, I was never too interested in trying to get involved in city government or anything like that. I figured there were too many problems. I saw enough problems. You know an insurance adjuster; I didn’t realize how much pressure I was under. You know, if somebody has an accident, especially of it’s someone who was hit by one of your insured, they’re mad at you. I could never figure out why they were so mad at the adjuster because he’s the guy that writes the check. You want to be on good terms with him. You’d be surprised how often you get chewed out because you didn’t do what they thought you should do. So, there was pressure there. So, it was nice to get released to do something else.
So, I don’t know if I’ve told you much about the history of Providence or not. Providence and Her History tells all about the old celebrations we used to have here. I remember when they first started the old bazaar. Back years ago, the wards had to raise all the maintenance to maintain all the buildings and all the programs, Mutual and Relief Society, the wards had to raise all the money. Somebody figured out that if there was a bazaar, they could raise money that way. I can remember when they first started holding these bazaars. They were a three day affair. They were held out in the open and they would have all kinds of things on sale. They’d go to the merchants in Logan and get something donated and have it on sale and people would donate. I can remember they even had loads of hay and sacks of grain. They would auction that stuff off. They’d have a noon dinner and a night dinner. The first night they would have a variety show. The second night they’d have a three act play and the third night they’d have a dance. The three act play was one of the big plays too. If you were in that you were considered a pretty good dramatist. A lady by the name of Levaun Zollinger did a lot of the directing of the plays. She directed a lot of the plays I was in before I started directing myself. That was how that got started and it kept on going. How the sauerkraut got into it – some of the German people with their German background were making their sauerkraut. My folks used to make sauerkraut when I was growing up. They used to have a big five gallon crock that you’d make the sauerkraut in. So at these dinners, some of the people who had the sauerkraut started bringing it to the dinner and the others there would say “Well that was sure good, we’d like some more sauerkraut,” and that’s how the sauerkraut got started. As those dinners increased, they decided “well why don’t we make it on a ward basis” and that’s how it started. Both wards did it. The bazaars themselves started in the late ’20s, because I was still in district school. They had a raffle, they had a lot of raffles. My uncle, he had some tickets on some gloves that the Indians had made out of raw hide. They were real fancy gloves and he won them in the raffle. I thought that was wonderful. They’d even have queen contests. They’d nominate someone for queen and you could pay for votes. You could buy votes for the queen of your choice. Now you can imagine what that would do. It got bitter one year. One of the queen contestants was a cousin of mine and another was the girl who played the organ in church an awful lot. She wasn’t what you call too popular. But they were running for queen. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it was feelings that maybe the count wasn’t right and somebody else should have won. That was back when I was maybe around twelve or thirteen years old. Something like that now would have never been allowed to happen. They had all kinds of schemes to raise money. They had a kissing booth. That basement in that pavilion would just be full of stuff, the whole basement.
24th of July Celebrations
We used to be noted for our 24th of July celebrations. People used to come from all over the valley for the 24th of July celebration. They used to have sham battles out here on the square. There was something back in the history of Providence where there was a white child who was kidnapped by the Indians. They got one of the Indian chiefs and had him here in town and they would threaten to hang him if he didn’t give that child back. I guess the Indians finally brought the boy back. Every year on the 24th of July they’d reenact that. They get somebody dressed up as the Indian and have him here with a rope around his neck over here on the square to hang him until they brought the white child back. That would be considered not politically correct anymore. We had quite the reputation. I know people used to say they’d always come to Providence for the 24th of July celebration. They used to have the old lemonade barrel, fifty gallon wooden drum lemonade barrel. They’d have it down on the old Rock Church grounds. There were a lot of big trees there at the time. That was before the addition was put onto the building there. They’d have the celebration there; they’d have the lemonade barrel out there under the tree and free lemonade, all the lemonade you could drink. That was one of the features of the 24thof July celebration. That was back in the ’20s too. I think they talk a little bit about that in Providence and Her People.
Hopes for changes in Providence
I’d like to see a little more sources of revenue, that’s why I’m glad to see these stores come into Providence because its irked me for years that every time I had to go to Logan and contribute to their tax base. I wrote a letter to the Herald Journalabout that a while back. When the city sales tax was first instituted here in the state, it was kind of a gentleman’s agreement that it would be distributed on a per capita basis, not particularly where it was collected which was really the only fair way that it should be done and the State law allows for that and that was the way it was here in the county because after all Logan was the main shopping areas for the whole county. It’s not quite that much any more, but when it was first instituted you had to practically go in to Logan for practically anything no matter where you lived. So they did that for quite a while, it was distributed on a per capita basis. Logan decided finally that they wanted it all. So, the law allows them to do it. Where it’s collected it can be used. So, Logan took over, said, “Uh huh, we’re going to keep it.” That’s why it made me so happy to see that Macy’s is moving into Providence because Macy’s is the second largest collector of sales tax in Logan. There’s only Sam’s Club that collects more sales tax than Macy’s does. So, that’s why Logan was so unhappy to see Macy’s move out of Logan. But we need more of that here in Providence because we had just a property tax base. It’s awful hard to run the city on the property tax base because it’s a little tough on everybody. So, that’s one thing I’m glad to see a little of that moving this way. There’s rumors that there’s more of these stores coming, I don’t know how much there is to them. It has it disadvantages to them, you get growth, but you can’t stop growth. You’ve got people, of course they’ve got to live somewhere. They say, “Well, we’re not going to let anybody else come in.” Well I say, “Well, I was here first. If I had said that, where would you be?” I can say that to the biggest part of the people in town. I couldn’t have said “Uh huh, we don’t want any more, we’ve got enough here. There wouldn’t be many of you here.” There was only about a thousand people when I was born. So, growth has to come, change has come. You can’t stop it.
I even hauled milk for a while once, those 10 gallon milk cans. The Campbell boys, Clyde and his brothers, they hauled that milk for years. Those ten gallon cans, they weighed over a hundred pounds, maybe hundred-ten. Clyde could take one of those in each hand and stand up off of the truck. Austin Frank was hauling the milk off to Morning Milk. He had another job trucking one fall and he wanted to know if I’d haul the milk for him for a while. I did that milk route for maybe three weeks. That was quite an experience because the first place you had to learn the route. There were maybe three routes in town and maybe you picked up somebody’s cans who didn’t belong to you. I remember I was hauling to Wellsville the Morning Milk. A man over there asks, “How about it? Would you like to take over a milk route?” I said, “No way.” I wasn’t interested in that job. That’s 365 days a year, you get no days off on that one. But those Campbell boys they ran that for their dad, then they ran it for years. That built some muscles on them. Like I said, there was a time when there was actually milk going to Wellsville and milk going to Bordens and milk going to Hyrum out of the town, so there were a lot of cows. Zollinger brothers all had lots of cows. But, it’s all changed, nobody wants to be around the cows anymore. These people want to live in the country, they want the country living, but they get here and they want to get rid of the country things.
It’s a beautiful spot to live. My grandfather Fuhriman, the town was settled in ’59, and he came in ’61. So there’s been Fuhrimans here ever since the town was settled. Fuhrimans are from Switzerland. My mother was from Germany. Mother was born in Germany and my father was born here. Like I say, he was born in ’61, and the town was settled in ’59, so he was one of the first children born in the town. The town had never been laid out yet in squares. My mother was born in Germany; she was eighteen when they came to America. So she spoke German but she learned English real well. Then, my father went on a mission to Germany, so he learned German. I’ve often regretted that I wouldn’t learn it. I could have learned German because both my parents talked German. My mother and all of her sisters could talk German and they’d get together and they’d talk German. But to show you what propaganda can do, see I was growing up during the First World War, and I remember that I hated Germans, and I was an Englishman and I was fighting Germans. Then when my folks would talk German, I’d say that I didn’t want to be a German. I know that it was just because of the propaganda that was going around World War I. The hatred of the German people. So, that’s why I didn’t learn German, and I wished I had because both my folks talked it. But when you’re a kid you’re stubborn. I guess maybe if my folks had kept talking German around me that—but they didn’t. Well, I know one reason they didn’t when I stop to think about it. My dad’s brother, uncle, that lived next door, didn’t know German. And it would upset him when his wife and his brother and his wife would talk German because he didn’t understand it. And so that’s one more reason they didn’t talk it around the homes. But, we got by.