Joseph with his granddaughter Prestly Ann Stembridge

What is your full name?


How long have you lived in Kamas Valley?  61 years.

What year did your family come to the valley?

My Grandma Jane Doris Lewis was born 4 of January,1896  and lived in Marion, Utah all her life.

When Grandma Hair married John William Hair they called him (Bill) they had children Elaine, Enid, Kay, and Dale.  Enid grew up in Marion.

Why did they move here?

Dad Mitchell L. Tatton brought Enid back to Kamas to be around her Mom- Jane Doris Hair—Enid’s health was not good!

What was it like when you grew up here/first moved here?

I liked living in Kamas.  The old Butler Home across from the laundry mat. I was 2 ½ years old to 12 years old.   Mitch my brother and I would ride wagons down the sidewalk, climbed trees, made tents out of blankets.  Doris made me play house with her.  We would make mud pies and I refused to eat them.  Played like we were taking trips in the old green van.  Dad had the van up on blocks.  We would eat in it played like we were driving the van like we were going on a trip.  WE played for hours in that van.

I raised a baby sheep.  I was 10 years old.  I had to sell it.  Bishop Ile Russel had to take it to market for me.  I felt horrible.  Dad had a horse and he would timber with the horse.  I did get to ride it. Then he housed it out in the back yard with pigs and chickens.  We had chores to do.

Dad built us a new home in Kamas.    250 East 100 North  Kamas Utah.

Mitch and I would go fishing at the canal.  Mitch would snag the fish with a four prong hook and I had to clean the fish.  I lost the fish and my best knife one time.  Mitch finally caught the same fish and got my knife.

How has it changed over those years?

There was a theater.  Now it isn’t being used.  All the stores were in a cluster, Hoyts store, drug store, post office, and the bank.  Very convenient.  Now Hoyts has moved out of main street.  Drug Store still there. Post office moved.  Now we have two banks:  Key Bank and Zions.  People were very friendly.  Grade School was down the street from the drug store.  (Where the Summit County Library and Kamas buildings are now).  High School where it is located now.  There was a pin ball machine at the old Kamas Café. Mr. Bigelow was a friendly person.  He sure could cook good food.           Service Stations: people were friendly, they  checked the oil and cleaned your wind shield  off your car,  while they put the gas in the car.   We have two traffic lights in town.

What do you miss most about the way it used to be?

People  were more  friendly.  We have more people living in the Kamas Valley.  We used to know all the people living around Kamas. The older people treated the younger people very kind.

There were nights they had an orchestras in town and we all went to dances.  Betsy O’Driscoll Russell, she played the piano.  Pat O’Driscoll played the trumpet, a Pit Woman can’t remember her name, Played different instruments and sang.  Larry Holt played the drums, and a Bagnell Lady played saxophone, clarinet, and sang.  Another man played the banjo. He lived two houses South of Pat O’Driscoll home.

Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?

My Uncle Dale played the piano by ear.  He loved playing the piano, he was good. He played in orchestras. Dale could play the guitar, and accordion.  Dale sold accordions.  Any instrument Dale could find  he could play it.   Grandpa John William Hair was a school teacher.

Uncle Kay worked for an engineering firm.  They used crystals for the control of the nuclear submarine.  He was very smart as an engineer. He was taken to Michigan  Great Lakes area  and tried the submarine out.  The crystals worked.

Who are some of the great characters from here, and why?

Coach Reed and Coach Kimberly.  Good down to earth people.

How did your parents make a living; what types of jobs did they have?

Mom went to college to become a school teacher.  She got married and became a Mother.

Dad’s employment:    timbered, sold insurance. But most of all he loved to be a mechanic.   He was a mechanic for the Utah Power and Light  Companies.  As they put in the power lines.  He leased out a service station.  He  mechainic at Moore’s in Coalville.  They would let him bring used cars home to sell.

Do You remember any great stories or legends about our town?

It has always been the GATEWAY to the UNINTAS

There was a Gristmill above the High School.    They would grind wheat.

Lumber Yards:  Smithies, Smith’s, Leavitt, Sargent’s, Ward Blazzard, Jim Blazzard Sr., Heavy Russell, had a small one.

Henry Lewis Grandma Hair’s Father, would timber and he sawed and brought timber down out of the mountains.  He built Doris Jane Hair’s house out of the timber.  The brick was made out of clay, dobe brick

My Grandpa Hair-  John William Hair  was on the Board of Education in the South Summit District from 1935 to 1939.   There were schools in Marion, Oakley, Peoa, Kamas,

Woodland, and Francis. Board of Education with John William Hair help consolidated the schools to Kamas, Utah.   Grade school, and High School.

Where did you live growing up here?

On main street in the Old Butler Home across the street from the Laundry mat.     Dad built a new home at  250 East 100 North in Kamas.

What would you do for fun as a child, such games you played etc?

Played with stilts, played softball, Rafting down the canal in Kamas.  Went camping.   Favorite place was Shingle Creek!  Fishing, helping Grandpa Hair fix fence, milked cows, hauled hay.  Weeded Grandma Hair’s flower beds for 25 Cents. And She had me mow her lawn a  power engine on top of the mower.

We played Hide N go seek, Annie I Over, Run sheepie run,  played: work up Softball.

We built tree houses, playhouses.  Went to California

Working on the church farm was good.    Going to movies at the old theatre.  Having cookouts.

Setting off fireworks.

What was your best memories of grade school?  Kindergarten?

Our Kindergarten Teacher, we loved her!

She got married.  She had all her class sit on the front row!   She made a fuss over us.

Mr. Packer was a good man.  Principal Rex Walker I liked him.   I had to walk from my home to the grade school every morning and night.

What are your best memories of Middle and High school?

Never had a middle school at the time we went.   7th grade to 12th grade was at the high school.

I liked taking shop classes.  I enjoyed taking driver education and getting my Driver’s License.

I enjoyed taking art Lessons from Mrs. Lake.   I did play softball.  I ran on a track team 100 yard dash, 220,  and one mile.

What type of things did teenagers do here for fun?

On Halloween evening—two groups of friends got together. We had an egg fight against each other.  Because of all the farms in Kamas Valley, we were kept busy.  I went to my Grandpa Hair farm he owned 180 plus acres from the Marion Cemetery all the way down to the coop-pass the canal, plus 20 acres in the meadows.  Grandpa had 70 cows to milk each morning and evening.  We helped him.

We rode bikes.   I had a paper route and rode my bike. I  sold grit to 40 people once a month in Kamas.  My bike was my transportation.

We went deer hunting, rabbit hunting, just shooting our guns.  We had the privilege to go get our very own Christmas Tree.  We went over to Craig and Vernal Beal’s and rode their calves.  We had our own rodeo.

Some of us went over to Park City and skied.  Chris Otteson took us  over to Park City.

We would go to the old dump in Kamas and shoot our guns.

Which significant historical events have taken place during your lifetime?

President John F Kennedy was shot in 1962.  Heartbreaking.

9 Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Man walked on the Moon  July 16, 1969

President Ronald Regan got shot, but lived!

Were there any special activities or festivals at different times during the year?

July 4,   In Oakley  the rodeo,  Fiesta Days  July 24,  Rodeo Parade Melodramas

They cooked a beef in a pit.  The beef was delicious.  They were several games:

Volleyball, soft ball, badminton.

They had an old Model T  which had the top cut off.  We pushed and pushed it around the rodeo grounds to get it started.  Then we would drive it around the rodeo grounds!!! Fun fun!

How was Fiesta Days celebrated throughout your life?  What kinds of things took place?

Fiesta days  the 24th of July:   Parade,  Demolition Derby, I had the opportunity to work in the shacks when the rodeo was going on.  We sold hamburgers.  To help the Ward budgets out.

Rodeos,  Bucking bulls, games, Melodramas,

Do you remember any of the stories your parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents used to tell you?

Parents:   My Dad Mitchell was born in Clawson, Utah on a farm 2 ½ miles North of Clawson.  I can remember going with my parents by a wagon to Manti or at least to the divide upon straight canyon mountain on the Manti Mountain.  They would camp along with many others going to the temple.

They had boxing, dancing, games and barbecue supper.

It was in the old home built my grandfather Tatton.  Who had moved from Manti, Utah to Orangeville, Utah then to the farm at Rock Canyon.  The house was built nearly in the center of the farm.  Near a small hill to the North in a small Valley between the hills running East and West.  As I recall the house was a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a back porch.  It may have been larger I do not recall more.  They had outside toilet about 50 yards from the house to the west.  A row of trees on the South and the East consisting of Box Elders, Poplar, and mulberry trees, with yellow rose bushes between the trees.  There were corrals and a granary, a large pond for water to the north of the house.

When I was a small boy, about three years old, I went out to the toilet one day when company was there to use it and I recall that, what I thought to be a rope was coiled  about the seat,  only the rope kept hissing and blowing at me.  I left leaving my pants unzipped I went back to the house to inform my folks and found it was a large blow snake.  They said later it was about 5 feet long.

My Dad recalled that my father purchased my Mother a washing machine that had to be operated by means of handle pulled back and forth on a ratchet that turned a large wheel that helped keep the thing moving, but you needed a strong arm.  Later my Dad bought a model T Ford, and he jacked up the rear wheel and ran a belt to the washer in that way had power to run the washer.  Later they purchased either a gas motor too run the machine or bought a different washer.

Grandparents:   Grandpa and Grandma Hair:  John William and Doris Jane Lewis  in the fall of 1929 they moved into Henry Lewis Home and bought the farm.

They had horses.  There was one horse named Beauty.  She was black in Color, and she turned white.

That is the only color I knew she was -white.  She was easy to bridle and saddle.  I got to ride here.  It was an experience I will never forget.  If Beauty saw a piece of paper on the ground she would buck and buck and throw me off, then she would turn around stay right there and watch me get up and get back on her.

Grandpa had a team of horses named Jack and Jill they were Clydesdale.  They were a team and they were beautiful.  He would mow the hay and rake the hay with them.  I could go with Grandpa to rake the hay.  I would sit by him on the  mower and he would even give me the reins to try to guide those horses.  Grandpa would talk to the horses while feeding them grain.

Grandpa had a coop full of chickens.  The adults would clean the eggs.  He thought we would break the eggs.

Grandpa Hair always get some rocks and put them in the oven to get them hot.  He would get them hot and put them at the foot of each of their beds.  Grandpa and Grandma didn’t sleep in the same bed two different beds.   Grandma slept out on the back porch with a screen around it even in the winter time.  Grandpa slept in the back bedroom which had no heat in it.

Grandpa Hair would irrigate down in the meadows.  One time he made a dam and caught three browns fish in his dam.  He pitched forked them and brought up cleaned them and we ate them for dinner.

Grandma Hair and her brother Meryle were outside playing on the top of the chicken coop one day.  Lightening and thunder hit.  Lightening came down and hit them.  Afterwards, Meryle got up and said Doris we are still a live!!!!

I remember a story Just a story told by my Grandma Norma Tatton Heath;


When my Great Great Grandfather was a young boy of 3yrs. Old. His mother and dad lived in dug outs around the Manti Temple while it was being built.  And every day after he came outside after his nap in the afternoon he would climb up on a big rock and eat a bowl full of bread and milk.  Grandfather had become very sickly and run down.  They had tried all kinds of medicine and tonics, to give him a better appetite. And make him feel better.  And nothing helped.  One day his mother decided to see where he went to eat his break and milk.  And to her surprise he had a pet rattle snake.  He would take a spoon full and give the snake a spoonful until the bowl was empty.  The snake was leaving enough venom that it was poisoning him.  After his Dad killed the snake, Grandfather got well and strong again.

This young boy is her grandfather.  And my mothers Great Grandfather and my Great Great Grandfather.

If you could describe growing up in Kamas in one or two sentences, what would it be?

I believe growing up in Kamas, was very good, safe and comfortable.

I really liked the 4 seasons and how beautiful the Kamas Valley is.

Is there anything you wanted to talk about that we didn’t get to?

No, I don’t think so.


Joseph working for Summit County Landfill