Written By Marlene Hale Yancey
In the spring of 1909 in the small community of Groveland Idaho across the river from Blackfoot on the 16th of May a little boy arrived at the home of Jonathan Harriman Hale and Mary Rebecca Moss. Mary was attended by a midwife Aunt Zina Bares. At the time, the birth was not recorded with the state, so 60 years later when applying for a passport Nathan found he had never been born. Aunt Zina was still living so she was turned to for proof of birth.
Nathan was the seventh child of a family of eleven so he had plenty companionship and competition. A canal ran threw the place and the family spent a lot of time swimming. Having older brothers he was thrown in the canal more than once and because of this became a very good runner, getting away from his brothers when he saw them coming.
Jonathan was a farmer so the family learned to thin and hoe beets and harvest hay, grain and potatoes. There was always a dairy herd. Nathan started feeding calves and helping with chores when he was Six years old.
He worked in the hay every summer from the time he could drive a team. The boys would have a race to see who could o-l-et a load of hay and get back to the home place, from several miles away the fastest. The hay was cut loose and raked and piled into piles to dry before it was pitched onto the wagons by hand and pulled home by a pair of horses.
All the boys had their own guns, and became very good shots, except the time Ezra accidentally shot Olive in the eye. She kept the buckshot there many years, till she had to have it removed. This was one of those kid pranks that the parents never knew about.
Nathan liked school and books. He wrote a play and became a pretty good poet. He got a perfect attendance certificate for not missing any school. He rode the first school bus to Blackfoot High School. Before that their transportation was horseback. There was a favorite horse named Old Swiss. He attended the Groveland grade school, then the Morland High School for two years, graduating from the Blackfoot High school in 1926.
When Nathan was attending school in Moreland he became the messenger boy between Ezra and Grace during their courting days, as Grace was, also attending school there.
He had some close friends who remained close all his life. Elwood Manwaring and Lathair Hale, who served in the same mission.
Their mode of travel was horse and buggy or carriage until, Jonathan bought his first car in 1919, when Nathan was 10 years old, a Cadalac.
What excitement when they saw their first airplane flying over their farm.
When the neighbors became ill, such as the flew epidemic in 1918, Jonathan sent his boys to their homes to do the chores and keep the home fires burning and dig graves, until they were able to take care of themselves again.
The winters were long and when the milking was done in the evenings Nathan and his father would take turns reading stories to the family while his mother and sisters darned and knitted or did other hand work on the family's clothing.
With his brothers he attended the dances at the different wards in the area. One of these was the Thomas Church where he met a little girl named Phyllis Watson who always had to go home and tend her baby sister before the dance was through.
He was called on a mission to the Eastern States Mission, Dec. 1, 1928 where he traveled all over Vermont, Maine and into Canada. He was District President of the New -Hampshire District. He spent nine months in Toronto, Canada and 18 months in Nashua New Hampshire. While in New Hampshire he made a census of all the members in the area. He also witnessed the big fire in Nashua New Hampshire. He saw the people streaming across the bridge carrying all they possessed in their arms.
The depression hit at this time and he saw many changes in the area while he was there.
He traveled 2000 miles on foot in one and a half years and never spent a penny on travel.
He had only been out of Idaho once when He left on his mission. Chicago was the first big city he ever saw.
On returning home from his mission Nathan and Phyllis Watson were married in the Logan Temple, 18 Feb 1931, and returned to live in a little house his father had built for them, on the farm, across the lane from the big house.
The snow was so deep the winter of 1931 that they could ride the sleighs right over the fences. Their first son Leon W. Hale came into the world at this time on Dec. 21, 1931. What excitement to have this little one in their home.
It soon became evident that there were just too many Hale brothers trying to run the farm so because of Nathan's interest in an education he decided it was time to head for college, where he was interested in Politics and social problems of the country and religion and education. He spent 6 years in attending Brigham Young University, graduating 9 June 1937. He boarded a cow out in the country so every day he road a bike out to milk her and bring back the milk for the family. He also worked on the grounds of the college to support his family. While in Provo a daughter Marlene was born 20 December 1934, and a son Eldon Blaine 7 Aug 1936
Disaster was not far from the door while they were in Provo. Blaine only lived about three months when he died Nov 11 1936 of mastoiditis. Marlene was operated on for mastoid infection and recovered. The whole family contracted scarlet fever and the only one who was allowed in was Dr. Culimor. The neighbors left food on the doorstep and Santa Claus came late that year.
His first teaching job was in Willard Wyoming where he taught grade school. Here they lived in a two-room log house, where the winters were so severe that on taking the sleigh to the neighbors, the family made the return trip on horse back with the horses floundering in the snow.
He sent his family back to Groveland and he worked on the first pipe line to go from Evanston to Salt Lake City, and he enjoyed working with the different peoples on the crew. In Groveland a son, David Jay Hale was born, January 6, 1940.
He bought a farm in Goshen Idaho where he farmed for two years. It was sand hills and the train came puffing by in the fall to pick up the beets to take them to the sugar plant.
While here he was called to work on the building of the Idaho Falls Temple where he helped to erect the tower.
After finding that he could not do much with the sand in Goshen he bought a farm in Groveland where the family settled down. He raised potatoes beets, hay, and he had a herd of dairy cattle, which provided the family with the necessities of life.
Two more children were born into the family. Renee on the 9th of December 1944 and Annette the 11th of September 1947.
He taught In the Firth high school, then He obtained a job of teaching Veterans agriculture in Blackfoot which he enjoyed very much, working with the young men just getting started in agriculture.
He was always a busy man, getting up early to change the water, then milking 15 head of cows before going to work, then returning home to milk the cows and change the water all over again. Some where in all the hussle and bustle he found time to read. He always had a passion for learning.
His favorite spot to read after coming in from the cold was to sit on the stoker-matic. The neighborhood kids always checked to see is he was there before fighting over the favored warm spot.
This time was good. It was then that they put the bathroom in. No more running out in the cold to that little house out back. Now there was a tub big enough to fit into. Several changes were made on the house and life looked good. A new method of farming came about. The work horses were sold and a brand new red Farmall Tractor with all kind of attachments was bought.
Nathan was teaching Veterans agriculture in Blackfoot at the time the country was uneasy about the aggressiveness of the Communist Government. At this time those who were suspected of having sympathy for the Russian government, lost their jobs or were imprisoned and because he and another instructor had mentioned certain farming techniques by the Russian people they lost their jobs and Nathan was not able to get another teaching job. The right to be able to speak as you wish should never be taken lightly.
The atomic site was just getting, started when he obtained a job out there helping to construct some of the facilities there. It was a time of hush-hush so we never knew much about what he was doing. When he became flustered or was concentrating hard, whistling, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, seemed to give him inspiration or strength.
A poem that he wrote expresses his creed for life.
It isn't the amount of learning
That educates a man;
But his ability and willingness
To help his fellowmen.
It isn't the heights of glory
That you attain to in this life,
But the number of God's children
You assist in this toil and strife.
It isn't the amount of riches
That you pile up for yourself,
But the store you give to others
Of the bareness of your shelf.
It isn't who you hob nob with
That makes you great in life
But who can claim the friendship
Of the youngsters in your life.
It isn't how the world pays homage
on this earthly sod
But how you in your wanderings
Make your peace with God.
In 1954 he started working at the State Hospital where he worked for 20 years. He always had a good relationship with the patients where he had their trust. Where ever he worked he was the happiest when he had people around. He could not farm without a member of the family working with him.
He was continually busy with missionary work as he was called to a stake mission in the Shelley Stake in 1942 and in the Blackfoot Stake in 1948.
Always the teacher, he taught Sunday School and the Priesthood Lesson and was the Genealogy leader for many years.
In 1953 Leon joined the army and started the process of depleting the family.
After a 5 year bout with cancer Phyllis passed away March 14, 1966 leaving a big hole in Nathan's life
On January 23, 1969 Nathan and Irene Harwood were married in the Idaho Falls Temple for time. They served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ. The first in the British Columbia Mission. Serving on Queen Charlotte's Island with the Haida Indians at Massett. The weather was so damp that they could not keep dry and things molded if left for a few days. The second mission was to Truth Or Consequences New Mexico, where it was so hot and dry nothing much grew there.
Nathan relates some of their experiences together in a poem.
TEN YEARS LATER
The days roll by, the years grow short.
The world for us grows very small
Since we were wed so long ago
We loved our loved ones one and all.
We've walked the streets of Bethleham
We've climbed sacred temple hills
And sailed the Sea of Galilee
And walked the pleasant rills.
To the birth place of our nation
In William Pen's own town
And heard the great Niagara roar
And walked that enchanted town.
So half the world around we've seen
ailed swiftly through the sky
And covered many a highway mile
We've watched the hills go by.
Then called to preach the gospel
In Columbia's salt swept Isle
Where mighty ocean's roar
And the salmon take the line.
Then called in to the temple
To serve our Father's dead.
We found the work rewarding
To work for Christ our head.
Then came another call for us
Down to a southern clime
To teach the children of the Lord
In New Mexico's southern clime.
So thus our life is not our own
As we work for others dear
And carry on the work of God
He is our Father near.
After several years of struggle with health, incident to age, he passed away in his sleep the 13th day of June 1997. He was buried in the Groveland Cemetery along with all his family.
Oh when I die don't cry o'er me
Don't shed the bitter tear
I leave behind a sordid world
A place of toil and fear.
This world is but a schooling
For that exalted land
With bright celestial beauty
With friends on every hand.
Mine eyes will then be lifted
Above the common cloud.
I'll see the wondrous beauty
Where heavenly flowers nod.
The beauty there beyond compare
Will occupy my time
And there enjoy eternally
The beauties of that clime.
So when I die don't cry o'er me.
Don't shed the bitter tear.
The beauties of eternity
Will pay for struggles here.