Earnest Alva Fowlke

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August 1, 1987


Earnest Alva Fowlke was born October 30, 1884, Pleasant Grove, Utah and died June 28, 1951. His father, Frederick Fowlke was born in Nottingham, England and his mother, Elizabeth Cook was born in Turksdean, Glouchester, England.

Father was one of nine children: Frederick John, Elizabeth Ann, William Martin, Flora Emma, Amosy Hamilton and twins Reane Mary -Rose Hannah, Gennett Levina and Ernest Alva.

About in 1861 people began moving south from Pleasant Grove to Lindon, Utah. Some of these early settlers were Cullimore, Keetch, Smith, Wooley, and Frederick Fowlke.

They lived in dugouts at first and later built adobes. These homes lined both sides of the road now known as highway 91. This is where the name "Stringtown" originated from. This bothered me when someone would call our town "Stringtown".

Dad and mother had seven girls and two boys. He was a meticulous neat man, always looking tidy even in his overalls. He worked hard all the time trying to provide a living for his large family.

Our life was interesting; we always had a swing in the backyard under the apple tree. We enjoyed several sheep dogs and cats in our yard, with several horses to ride. I remember getting chucked over one pony's head since he had the habit of stopping dead still and throwing you just anywhere. I landed in a large pile of ashes one day.

My father planted lovely vegetable gardens. He was generous with the surplus vegetables sharing them with his neighbors.

He owned a large herd of Cots-wold sheep with a partner, Roy Greenwood who lived in American Fork, Utah.  In the winter months they kept the animals in the corrals and fields near our home. We would get out early in the mornings and with the help of the dogs, keep the sheep in one corral while Dad and my brothers put feed in the other corral for the sheep.  It would be so cold sometimes I thought I would freeze to death.  We would always try to save the lambs the mother's wouldn't nurse for one reason or another.  We fed these new born lambs many bottles of milk in an effort to save their lives.

I remember my father loading two or three large boxes of cantaloupe in the car to take to Mutual Dell to help with the food since mother was the Mutual President then.

Dad was out in all kinds of weather taking fruit and vegetables to Bingham Canyon, a copper mine community in Utah to sell. In the early days the horses could hardly get through the snow.  He told us they had to unhitch the horses from the wagon to break a trail through the deep snow drifts on the road.  Some of the produce was grown by our family and some he purchased from nearby farmers.

In addition to this he was running a thirty five acre farm, by watering, planting, weeding and harvesting the various crops. Among the produce that was raised by our family were: sugar beets, potatoes, tomatoes and various grains. Dad also raised farm animals: chickens, cows, pigs, horses and dogs that always needed his attention. One or two years we raised large herds of turkeys, which had to be plucked and cleaned prior to be ready for market.  This project required many hours of labor from family members.

I was helping my brother deliver news papers one evening.  As the horse I was riding came close to some lovely apples hanging on a nearby tree, right over the fence I took a couple of them.  I just could not resist how delicious they looked.  My father saw what I did and gave me a strong talk on "what" belonged to "whom".

My parents attended church as often as possible while they were raising their family. They took me to conference in the American Fork Tabernacle.  I remember sitting by them and looking at the beautiful woods in that building.

Our father had pneumonia one year and they put him to bed and elevated the foot of his bed. I and the other children just prayed that he wouldn't die.  We were very thankful when he got better.  The ward came and helped harvest the whole potato crop.  For winter time, he would take grain to the Lehi Rolling Mills where the grain was made into flour and ground wheat cereal.  We have a very good years supply.  In addition there were large fifty pound sacks of sugar along with twenty five gallon cans of honey that made great honey candy.  Our staple foods were enough for the long winter months.  My mother was a hard working woman, who was busy remodeling and sewing clothes for her daughters.  The constant washing, ironing, cooking or canning was second nature to her. What a team they made!  We are very proud of the care they gave us.

Our Christmas celebrations surely were not extravagant, but I remember Dad always brought huge oranges from his trips to Salt Lake. He always brought a large block of sharp cheese and bags of bananas.

I am reminded that he took trips to Bingham Canyon Coal Mining Community in the winter time when he could not even find the road and sometimes the sled would trip over. It was necessary to reload the produce on the sled again. He used bear skin gloves and hot racks heated in the stove to keep him warm. Sometimes he would stay at a half-way house in Sandy and go to the fire station where they stabled horses. Dad loved to drive a fine team of horses all the time.

The cots-wold rams were registered stock.  In the winter of 1927, they loaded $2,000.00 worth of the rams into a conveyance for sale. When they sheared the sheep we children would jump into the huge sacks to help mash the wool down.  Dad took many choice sheep to the Wasatch Fair and brought many prizes home because of them. They moved the sheep between Delta, Utah and Morgan, Utah by train. They wintered the sheep in Delta and the summer months they were grazing in Morgan.

A funny story that Dad told us was:  One night as they were sitting around the campfire the herder told Dad he almost got shot that day. He said he asked the man why he wanted to shoot him.  The man said, if he ever met a man uglier than himself he vowed to shoot him. The herder looked at him and said, "If I am as ugly as you are -go ahead and shoot me."

When we were working and would get hungry and waiting for lunch, we would ask Dad what time it was and he would say, "There is a clock in Murray for poor people." When we took too long at the task of getting water and dawdled about the job he would say, "By Godfrey, you sure took your time on that job."

Dad filled the position of Town Clerk in Lindon, Utah for sometime during his earlier years.

Dad's great desire was for his children to get a good education. He wanted the very best for his children. He worked long hours but did not have the modern conveniences such as automobiles (for a long time), or other time saving equipment that might have lightened his load.  Radio, television, and phones were still in the future.  We had very few meals out and no vacations as we know them today.

We are very proud of our parents; they have set an excellent example for us to follow.

Mildred Nisonger (Rodgers)


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