This is the Story of My Life
written by Maude Weigel Clausse, January 1970 (transcribed here by Scott van Pletzen-Rands)
I was born Jan. 14 during the record breaking storm of “1888” on the wind swept prairie of Iowa to Jacob Lewis Weigel and Rebecca Ann Hendricks. My parents homesteaded eighty acres of prairie land and built a two room frame house on it and raised their family there until the year 1900. The family consisted of three children, I was the middle one. My older brother Jesse was nine years older than I and my other brother Harry was six years younger. Each one of us was pretty much on our own in our growing up. Neighbors were few and far between so there was not much chance for playmates. My older brother was very considerate of me and protected and looked after me in every way he could. It seems my mother spent a good deal of her time helping my father in the fields.
My folks were poor as were the rest of the homesteaders but managed to meet and live by the standards of living in the community.
Time passed unevently [sic] until the year 1900 when my folks decided to leave Iowa and move to Idaho where my mother had a sister whom she hadn’t seen for many years. They sold the farm proceed to move west which was another frontier populated with cowboys, Indians, jackrabbits, and crickets. They finally overcame all obstacles and built up a new and more prosperous life. My father bought eighty acres of cultivated land with a fair sized house on it and they lived there until he passed away June 27, 1915. In the meantime I had married and moved away.
In a short time mother sold the farm and she and my younger brother moved to Blackfoot and operated an auto repair shop. Mother passed away Nov. 20, 1932 and Harry and family moved to Los Angeles then finally to the state of Washington where they still reside.
Going back to my girlhood, along with my regular schooling I took a correspondence course and with other supplementary studies I took the County teachers examination and passed the test and was granted a three year teaches certificate. In those days one didn’t have to have a degree to teach in the County schools. Any one of good moral character who could pass the examination was eligible to teach. During the summers I attended special teaching courses at Pocatello State College. After teaching three years I decided I didn’t want to follow teaching but would try the Business world so in Aug. 1909 I enrolled in the Ogden Business College for a course in Business Administration which was for six months duration. With my three years of teaching experience I had no trouble completing the course in due time and graduated March 1910.
I might add when I entered Business college I met there my future husband Joseph Clausse. He said it was love at first sight but it took me some time to become interested. I came to Ogden to learn bookkeeping, not to enter the romance field. He was so kind, considerate, and dependable I finally decided he was the one and when I graduated we became engaged and he gave me my ring. I was soon on my way back home with my diploma and ring. I worked during the next few months and then we slipped away to Salt Lake City and were married Nov. 21, 1910. We didn’t think we could afford a honeymoon so hurried back to Ogden and back to work. For the next four years and three babies we lived in Ogden when suddenly an explosion wrecked the building where Joe was working. It was a total loss and eliminated all jobs. So we had to look elsewhere for work. At that time there was a lot of excitement about the possibilities of dry farming so we decided to give it a try. We bought out a homesteaders right and proceeded to move to Black Pine, Idaho. There was a great promise of good crops as the seasons had seemed just right to mature the crops. Instead the seasons kept getting dryer each year from then on and people could not live under those conditions. We like many others finally left leaving the results of six wasted years and coming back to Ogden to begin a new start. Everyone who lived through the depression knows the struggle that was.
Joe was able to land a steady job and I was able to take part-time jobs. By this time we had our family which was rapidly growing up and able to earn spending money which helped and we were finally beginning to climb on top.
By the time Joe retired at the age of 67 we had accumulated enough together with Social Security to live comfortably. The next few years were sort of care free doing the things we neither had the time or money to do before. There were no paid vacations in those days. We loved to garden, work with flowers, and remodel the house. We took several trips both by train and plane and tryed [sic] to make up for some of the things we had missed in the years gone by. We kept up this care-free pace until March 1965 when right out the blue it was discovered Joe had cancer. It seemed like our world had fallen apart. Everything was tried that medical science had to offer but it raced fast and furious and he passed away August 15, 1965 only five months after he was stricken.
Going back over the years I will now tell of our wonderful family of six boys and one daughter. They are as follows:
- Joseph Lewis Oct 10, 1911
- Gerald Edward Oct 30, 1912
- Kenneth Leon Apr 16, 1915
- Raymond Harry June 10, 1917
- Joseph James Jr Feb 11, 1919
- Barbara May May 13, 1921
- Harold Allan Nov 16, 1926
They were all healthy and grew to maturity without having any serious illness. Joseph Jr and Harold both served in the Armed forces. Joe was on the aircraft carrier Shang-ri-la [sic]. Harold in the Air force in War 2 and Korea. They have all married and have families and grandchildren.
Tragedy has had its share along with the joys of living. In the early morning hours of May 21, 1952 Norma, Gerald’s lovely wife passed away suddenly with a heart attack leaving three small children. Three small motherless children. I took them into my home and for the next few years tried to give them the motherly love they so much deserved. After raising my own family it was like starting all over again and I was very glad that I was able to do for them the things they needed. After a few years their father was able to establish a home and took the children with him.
A very special event in my life was the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary Nov 21, 1960. All of the family were able to be in attendance coming from coast to coast. It was the first time in twenty years they were all able to be together at one time.
Just three months after that delightful occasion tragedy struck again and caused the first break in the family chain. Our son Ray was instantly killed in an auto accident in Sacramento Calif. He left a widow and three teenagers. His body was brought back to Ogden and layed [sic] to rest in the family plot in the Ogden City Cemetary [sic]. The mother was able to work and keep her family together until they married and established homes of their own. She has now remarried and has a new home.
Since my husband passed away I have been living alone in the same home we both loved so well. My health has been good and I get much enjoyment with my flowers and handiwork and just reminescing [sic] or watching television. What a wonderful invention for the lonely. I intend to keep up my traveling, visiting different members of the family who are living at distant places and otherwise enjoying what the future brings.
[Maude Clara Weigel Clausse died Apr. 16, 1973 in Ogden, Utah, and is buried in the family plot in Ogden City Cemetery.]