Sunday, January 22, 2017

Visiting Castle Gate, Utah

Guy Lindsey in Castle Gate
I have had the amazing privilege of reading old letters from my Great Aunt Dora to my grandmother and my great grandparents Will and Ella Sherwood living in Wisconsin. Aunt Dora had married Guy Lindsey almost 105 years ago on February 15, 1912 in Pocatello, Idaho. She wrote to her parents ten days after that:

"I wish you could realize how thoughtful and good my boy is to me in every way. I am sure you will all be happy to know that I am no longer wandering alone in the world but that I can be guarded and cared for.  In spite of my years, Mrs. Cox and the regulars here have always called me their little girl and you have no idea with what interest they have followed the little romance of “love at first sight” which began with the Carlyle Fire Nov. 15 and culminated at the same Carlyle just three months later.  For the short time we have been here we both have so many friends here and those who know us both are so delighted.   At the same time we were able to go out together so little that our friends on the outside were greatly surprised.  I would not recommend that younger persons or those who had seen less of people and the world should be quite so hasty.  As Mrs. Cox said, you are both old enough to know what you want, and any one can see that it was a case of infatuation on both sides.  You who knew the “school marm” so sedate would scarcely recognize the unrestrained, carefree, girlishness of the bride in #22 and perhaps not wonder so much at her being called the “little girl.”
At that time Guy was a detective on the trains and spent his work hours protecting trains from attempted robberies or trying to get back things (most likely payrolls) that had been stolen.  Dora had a dream one night that one of the detectives had been shot so she wouldn't let Guy go to work. That day someone did get shot so after that he heeded her intuition.  Being a train detective was not a particularly safe sort of job and so I'm sure she added pressure in general to get out of it all together.

Later Guy wrote to his in-laws that:  "My work isn’t the best in the world as I may be called out at any time and gone for days at a time.  And then there is more or less danger attached to it.  Because I know most every crook and box car robber from coast to coast and they all know me and something may happen some day.  Dora worries so, every time I step out of the house, that I have made up my mind to quit in a very short while."
While the event  of the placard above happened years before Guy started working in Castle Gate, I am sure that the community memory of the event of the visit of Butch Cassidy and friends to Castle Gate continued to make everyone nervous!  So Guy began doing a variety of things to make ends meet for his growing family.  I'm not exactly sure what his jobs were at several of these old ghost towns of Utah, but he and Dora at various times lived in Tucker, Castle Gate, Rains, and Price and maybe at Gillouly and Soldier Summit.  My husband and I took a trip a few years ago to try and find what was left of these little towns.  Tucker was completely gone, buried now  under tons of crushed rock carrying the highway high above where it used to be.  Gillouly is a bend in the road with no sign of prior habitation.  Rains is inaccessible on private land. Guy and Dora's daughter Margaret was born in Tucker.  Francis and Marjorie were born in Castle Gate.  We were happy to see that there was SOME sign of life Castle Gate even if no one actually lived there.  Now (2010 we visited)  it was a coal fired electricity station. 
 Recently I came across some photos from Castle Gate that the Lindsey family sent off to their family in Wisconsin.  It is a treat to actually see what Castle Gate looked like at the time.  Captions for each photo are on the back.   If I had these photos when we visited I would have tried to match landmarks and tried to figure out where the miner's houses were. Next trip!
This bit of terrain actually matches up with the photo above! We can picture the rail cars laden with coal laboring their way up the mountains! 
Another train coming through Castle Gate.  I always have feelings of nostalgia when I have occasionally heard a steam train -- an event becoming even more rare as time goes by.
It seems that this bit of terrain would have been easy to match up if we had known -- or had randomly faced the camera in the right direction!  We were told that the miner houses were all moved to Helper, Utah Although there is a blog that appears to be a pretty good description of the terrible mine explosion that took place in 1924. 
 (I'm not advocating hauntings -- but the blog seems to have a good description of the terrifying and sad events.)  Dora and Guy lost at least one family friend in the mine disaster, a  John L Davis, whose family moved to Salt Lake and Dora mentioned getting together with his family in June of 1927. Guy and Dora Lindsey had by that time already moved on to Price before they finally settled in Salt Lake City.
This same winter Dora's parents came out to visit (as they loved to do) and Grandpa Sherwood showed that he was still young at heart!
Little Margaret goes sledding behind their house in Castle Gate..
Castle Gate remains a part of our extended family history.  But Guy and Dora eventually moved on to live out most of their years in Salt Lake City.