» Show All     1 2 3 4 5 ... 86» Next»     » Slide Show

A New Home in a Free Land

Written by Beverly Cutler and contributed to Family Search by Michele Moulton Meservy

A New Home In A Free Land

by Beverly Romney Cutler

Vernon Romney, his mother Catharine Jane Cottam Romney, and Vernon's sister, Lula, received word at 2:30 a.m. (the middle of the night) July 28, 1912, that they must leave their home in the Mormon Colonies of Mexico and flee to the United States to escape the dangers that came during the Mexican revolution.  During the rest of the night Vernon, Lula, and their mother built a makeshift storage area under the stairs and dug a big pit in their orchard.  Into these they put their most valuable things.  They hoped to be able to return to their home in a couple of weeks, after the danger passed.  They wanted to hide their bottled fruit and other things they expected to get when they returned. 

In the morning a wagon came to take them to the train station.  "We left cake and chicken in the oven and started out with less than a dollar," said Aunt Lula.  At the station they got inside and on top of boxcars and headed for the United States.  Aunt Lula said, "We rode all day squeezed into the train like cattle without a drop of water to drink until about 3:00 a.m., when we reached El Paso, Texas.  We had food in a box under the bench, but it was impossible to get it because of the crowd.  I think I stood on one foot all the way as there wasn't room to put the other one down.  

"On the seat right in front of me was Sister J----, one of the most doleful creatures I ever saw.  She grumbled every foot of the way, her pet peeve being lack of space, food, drink, and especially the loss of her dear chickens.  'I am [???] I left them locked up,' she said, 'and those darned Mexicans will kill them all.  I have taken such good care of them.  Why, the first winter I was in Dublan, I knitted hoods for every one of them.'

"'Oh, was it that cold?' I asked in surprise.  How she laughed.  'Well, you are dumb.  You goose, I meant I knit hoods to get money to buy them.'  Of course others laughed too, and I was embarrassed, but it was well worth it, for I had never seen the grouch smile before. 

"An incident happened that hot July day that I shall never forget.  As we stood in the hot crowded car two girls squeezed into it, played the guitar and sang, 'Count Your Many Blessings.'  I can still see my mother's face as she smiled through her tears."

Meanwhile, Vernon was perched up on top of a boxcar traveling to the United States.  He described his experience this way:  "I rode on top of a boxcar.  Women and children were crowded into and on top of such cars.  One child was born en route.  All day Sunday and all that night we traveled without any lights on the train for fear the rebels would blow up the bridges.  At 3:00 a.m. Monday morning we, my widowed mother and sister and I, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, wards of the United States government, penniless, except for fifty cents which my mother happened to have.  That night we slept on a barn floor, thirteen in a row, with only an army blanket over us.  

"If I live to be one hundred, I shall never forget the next morning.  soon after sun-up I went out into the yard and there, floating in the breeze, over the Fort, saw the Stars and Stripes.  That thrill I there experienced defies description as I realized that that was the symbol was the symbol of a place of security and safety, after the nightmare of uncertainty we had lived through.  I couldn't have expressed it in words, but there swept over me a feeling of joy, appreciation and loyalty to that flag and the country it represents, the like of which I have never since experienced, but which always sustained me in my private and public life.  I there resolved that I would make every contribution within my power to support America and the things for which she stands."

Owner/SourceBeverly Romney Cutler
Linked toCatharine Jane Cottam; Lula Romney; Vernon Romney

» Show All     1 2 3 4 5 ... 86» Next»     » Slide Show