John Hopwood Bleazard



Marriage in 1931 

"A Green Suit for the Wedding, and

 a Yellow Chiffon Dress for the Dance"

by their daughter, Joan Bleazard Thomas, 2002

Mark Walker Bleazard and Evelyn Dorothy (Pete) Jenson married and
lived in Mountain Home from 1931 to 1937

Life was not too bad in this country during the 1920s, but just before Pete and Mark married in 1931, the Big Depression began! This may not have been the best of times for a young couple to get married and begin a family, but young people seldom, if ever, wait for a perfect time to fall in love and marry.

Evelyn Dorothy (Pete) Jenson
Mark Walker Bleazard

Pete (Evelyn Dorothy Jenson) and Mark (Mark Walker Bleazard) married on June 16, 1931. Mark's mother, Louisa (Wease), and Pete's sister, Rayda Stevenson, gave Pete a shower a few days before the wedding. The shower was held in Rayda and Cliff's home. Their home was the big home that Abe Lyon built just north of the Stevenson store in Mountain Home.

Mark and Pete borrowed a car from Roy Roos. Roos was a half-brother of Viola Mitchell Bleazard, Jack's wife. They drove to Duchesne to get the marriage license and then back to Boneta to get married. They were married at the home of Mark's sister, Alice Bleazard Oman. The Bishop who performed the ceremony was Alice's husband, Raymond Oman. Pete was wearing a lovely green suit. Mark's mother, Louisa (Wease), and Rayda and Cliff Stevenson were at the wedding.

A few days after the wedding a well-attended reception and dance was held in Mountain Home. Pete wore a beautiful, yellow chiffon dress, which she later made into 4th of July dresses for her girls. Mark and Pete spent their honeymoon camping at Rock Creek. Bill Bleazard, Mark's brother, said that when Pete was back at home and Mark was still working at Rock Creek, their friends planned a Chivaree for them. Bill rode his horse to where Mark was camped in Rock Creek to tell him about the party. On the day of the Chivaree, Mark drove his vehicle as far as it would go and then he ran all the way down Towanta Flat. When he finally arrived at the party he was exhausted and the party was almost over.

Mark and Pete at first lived at the Harward House on the Bleazard homestead. The Harward House is north of the homestead cabin of Mark's parents, Will and Louise Bleazard.

In the year Pete and Mark married the average family income in the United States was $1,858 and the average price of a new house was $6,796. The price of a new car averaged $640 and a gallon of gas was ten cents. A loaf of bread cost eight cents and a postage stamp was two cents. The Dow Jones average was a low of 74 and a high of 194, and a pound of sugar cost six cents. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit 48 home runs in 1931. The Star Spangled Banner officially became the National Anthem, and the Empire State Building was completed. The President of the United States was Herbert Hoover and the Vice President was Charles Curtis. Unemployment in the US was sixteen percent. Al Capone was sentenced to eleven years for tax evasion, and hordes of grasshoppers destroyed 160,000 miles of farmland. The National Education Association reported that 75 percent of all cities banned the employment of wives. Nevada legalized gambling and quickie divorce, and Alka-Seltzer made its first appearance. Songs being sung were, ‘As Time Goes By”, ’Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries’, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ Favorite radio shows were The Ed Sullivan Show and Buck Rogers. Thomas Edison died and Mikhail Gorbachev, Micky Mantle, Andy Warhol, James Dean, Willy Mays, Barbara Walters and Robert Duvall were born. Pope Pius X issued an encyclical denouncing trial marriage, all forms of birth control and divorce. Five hundred Arkansas farmers stormed a small town and demanded food and the U.S.S.R. banned the sale or importation of Bibles. Hoover asked U.S. citizens to remain steadfast in this "Valley Forge" of depression. The communists burned Russia’s greatest church, the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, and Henry Ford ordered employees to grow vegetables or give up their jobs. Hundreds of hunger marchers were turned away from the White House, and Hoover finally acknowledged there was a need for a public works program. The Jehovah Witnesses were formed, and Elijah Mohammed organized the Black Muslims.

Joan has a tiny black book with the words "SUHR MOTOR CO. Great Falls, Montana" on its cover. The identification noted on the lst page is ‘Name: Mark W. Bleazard; Address, Bynum Montana. In case of serious illness or accident telegraph J.W. Bleazard, Mtn. Home, Utah.’ The small notebook is filled with hand written addition/subtraction and other math figures. The date 1931 is on one page. Close to the end of the book is an interesting post. The year 1931 is mentioned and a note "‘Left Bynum Montana August 26 by car."’ This is the year that Mark and Pete married.

It was the year 1931 when Mark and Pete married. During this year Mark worked helping to build the fence line that separates the Indian Land from the Forest Service land from Pigeon Water through Rock Creek.

Mark said, "When we first got married I helped build them (Indian) fences (Forest) that went from Tabby (Tabiona) clear across the Forest up above Lapoint. I scattered the posts, and the Indians cut the posts and dug the post-holes. We had wagons and would take them out a-ways, and then I'd take a horse and drag the posts to each wagon. They were all hand-dug holes and planted cedar posts between the Forest and the Indian ground. Since that time other partition fences have been put in. The original fence that we built is still there. We averaged about eight posts a day. We were camped up on Rock Creek and it was our headquarters. There were lots of people involved and you'd see them at a set hour take out - they’'d be on time. You'd see at least 50 of them take out and go one way and 50 another way clear across them mountains. It was quite a camp. We all worked as hard and fast as we could. My mother, Wease, often gave us a knapsack full of potatoes, onions and stuff before we left for Rock Creek.”"

Henry Tidwell from Boneta wrote, "“I joined the CCC Camp in 1932. I served most of my time at the Yellowstone Camp. We spent our time building roads, fences, canals, and doing general repair type work. My CCC duty ended in 1934. I then was employed by the Forest Service for several years."” Perhaps Henry worked with Mark at this time. 

In 1932 Mark worked for Clyde Rowley hoeing corn and was paid $1.00 a day. Mark said that he was bending over and hoeing all day long and the pain in his back nearly killed him. He said that in spite of the pain he was happy to have the job and didn'’t complain or stand straight because he knew at the end of each row there were many men wanting his job.

(The Lyon Home north of the Brigham Stevenson Store)

Mark and Pete's first daughter, Barbara, was born on February 14, 1932. Mark said the following about Barbara's birth: "We didn't have any money and we stopped by Nick Killian’'s place and borrowed just enough to get by on. It was February and the snow was real bad and we got stuck lots of times as we tried to get to Roosevelt and people pulled us out. We went through fields and over roads clear to Roosevelt and then on to Duchesne. Barbara wasn't born in Duchesne though, they told us to go home! We left Duchesne and went up over Blue Bench and then to Mountain Home and we stayed there. Pete had that baby at Cliff and Rayda's place in Mountain Home. All morning we were trying to telephone to see how we could get a doctor or where we could meet the doctor but we couldn't get through because there were just two wires. At a pretty good time in the morning, I think there was a midwife there. I don'’t know who it was but the Midwife and Ide West was there. Ide was Doll Lyons younger sister, the one who runs the convalescent home. Pete's Aunt Nancy, her mother's sister, was there and maybe there were others."

"Ide came there late in the afternoon and said, 'What's the matter?' The baby just wouldn't come out. Ide said 'Let me take a look.' She looked about a minute and then said, "Well, hell, nothings wrong there. The baby's head is propped low and she just raised her head up and the baby came right out. Ide? I would never let anyone say anything bad about her, I always thought she was all right!"

When Joan asked her mother about her most difficult birth, Pete answered softly, "Barbara, definitely Barbara! It was in Mountain Home and the snow was so deep. There were no good roads. The only way the doctor could have got there at all would have been to come up to Duchesne and drive up to Talmage, where he would have to be met with a horse and taken clear up to where we lived on the ranch, the Harward place. We phoned the doctor but he didn't even answer the phone and I'm sure the reason he didn't answer is because he didn't want to come. Barbara was born at Rayda's place in town. My mother's sister, Aunt Nancy, was a Midwife and she was there with me. I was so afraid to take anesthetic there alone and with no help that I didn't want to take it and wouldn't let Aunt Nancy give me very much. Finally I had to take it and when I did, I relaxed enough that I finally had the baby. I was in labor for about a day and a half.  When the baby finally came she was black. Mark thought there had been a mistake (laugh). The baby had been in the birth canal for so long and we probably almost lost her. She was really a cute little girl right quick and when Aunt Nancy saw her again in about a year she couldn't believe she was that little, tiny baby. Aunt Nancy always loved her because she was right there when she was born. Rayda's son, Max, was born just four months after Barbara was born. Oh Rayda! She was always so good to help me, and Mark's sister, Rhoda, came and helped too."


In the year that Barbara was born, Elizabeth Taylor and Senator Edward Kennedy were born. The 20-month-old son of Charles Lindberg was kidnapped, and Italian Premier Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI met at the Vatican. Their meeting was taken as indicating that the split between the fascists and the Catholics had been mended. It was this year that two British scientists first split the atom, and in Germany, Hindenburg defeated Hitler by six million votes. Hindenburg received 53% of the vote and Hitler received 37%. The Lindberg baby’'s decomposed body was found in May. Ten thousand veterans of World War I marched on Washington demanding a bonus and the veterans pitched shanties and tents near the Capitol. President Hoover called out federal troops under the leadership of General Douglas McArthur and Major Dwight Eisenhower and, armed with machine guns and tear gas, they set fire to the makeshift shanties and tents and evicted the veterans. Eleven million citizens were unemployed in the U.S. The Yankees won the 1932 World Series in four straight. On November 8th of 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt defeated Hoover by a landslide and promised, “to restore this country to prosperity."

In January of 1933, Henry Hooper Blood, Democrat, was elected Governor of Utah and served until 1941. He supported FDR’s depression-era programs and obtained CCC and WPA projects for Utah. He was the first Governor to occupy the Governor'’s Mansion that had been donated to the State by the Kearns family. A year after Barbara was born and a year before Joan was born, Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. A fire gutted the German Reichstag and Hitler/Goering blamed the communists, and the homes of communists were searched without warrants. On March 20th of this year the Nazis opened the first concentration camp. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) became the 32nd President of the US. He served as President for four terms, and he told the nation that, "“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."” Two days after being sworn in as President, Roosevelt closed the nation’'s banks for seven days to allow time for passage of emergency legislation by Congress to shore up the nation’'s economy. In that same month, Hitler was granted by the Reichstag virtual dictatorial powers and wearing his Nazi uniform he declared, "“Treason toward the nation and the people shall in the future be stamped out with ruthless barbarity." Minister Goering denied reports in the western press that scores of bodies were floating in a Berlin canal and that Nazis were cutting off the ears of communists. In April the Nazis enforced a ban on Jewish merchants, and in this same month in the U.S., President Roosevelt took the dollar off the gold standard, and the U.S. Congress passed a farm relief bill. On May, 10th the Nazis burned un-German books, and Hitler disbanded all trade unions. In June, President Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act. Germany passed a law to "purify" the German race and to weed out Germans who were less than perfect by voluntary and forced sterilization. By August 29th of the year prior to Joan'’s birth, the Nazis had began arresting large number of Jews and sending them to one of the 65 existing concentration camps. In September FDR unveiled a new program to feed and clothe the nation's needy during the coming winter. In December, FDR announced that the U.S. officially recognized the Communist government of the Soviet Union, and Prohibition ended on December 5th.

After living in the Harward Home for about a year, Mark said, "“I gave up farming next to Dad, and me and Pete moved to town. For a time we lived in the house across from the home of Rayda and Cliff Stevenson. Their home was in the big house that Lyon had built and the one where Barbara was born. We lived across the street from there when Joan was born on 8 January 1934. The place where Joan was born was later used as a Post Office in Mountain Home and I always said she came C.O.D. It was right at that time that my sister, Vera Bleazard (Wilde), died over at Oakley. We went over the roads to Vera’'s funeral in the winter and the roads were pretty good all the way. Cliff took us over there in an old car he had. I think Vera died from ruptured appendix and I know that they had taken her to Salt Lake but the doctors couldn't find out what was wrong and didn't help her. I don'’t know who was there when Joan was born. We also lived in the back of Cliff and Rayda’'s home for a while.”"

Mark’'s sister, Anna Dee Bleazard (Rowley/Coupens) said in June 1993, “"After Mark and Pete were married and living in Mountain Home, Mark would ride horseback over to the cabin to see his mother, Louisa (Wease), and she was always so happy to see him coming down the hill. One sad day, however, Mark rode down that hill to tell his mother that Vera had died."”

Joan Bleazard was born in 1934 and in that year a postage stamp cost 3 cents, a gallon of gas cost 10 cents, the Dow Jones Average was a low of 85 and a high of 110. The average family income in the United States was $1,601 and a new car cost about $625. Babe Didrickson began golfing and many private golf courses became public courses making it a sport for everyone, not just the wealthy. The gangsters Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde were all shot and killed. The President of the United States was Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Vice President was John Nance Garner. A New Deal program of FDR, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) employed thousands of young people in jobs that rebuilt the nation. These young people were transported to locations throughout the county where they worked and where they were sheltered and fed. They were paid a monthly rate of $30 or a dollar a day. This young army of workers built roads, constructed flood control systems, engaged in reforestation, fought forest fires and worked on many other projects, helping themselves and their country. Dust storms blew away 300 million tons of soil, and in Ontario, Canada the Dionne Quintuplets were born. The five-day work week became common and the maximum-security prison, Alcatraz, began holding prisoners. Radio favorites were the Kraft Music Hall, The Bob Hope Show and Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour. Marie Curie died and Sophia Loren, Carl Sagan, Pat Boone, Hank Aaron, Gloria Steinem, Jane Goodall and Shirley MacLaine were born. The Hit Parade featured “"Blue Moon " "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"” and "“I Only Have Eyes for You." The best movie of the year was "It Happened One Night" with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. Reports circulated that Hitler might move to annex Austria. In April of the year Joan was born, almost 10,000 Nazi sympathizers protesting the U.S. boycott of German goods rallied in New York and clashed with opponents. The 'night of the long knives' occurred in Germany. In August, 90% of the German voters approved Hitler as President with the power to make war and peace, execute suspects and pardon convicts and to be both legislator and executive.

On Joan’'s lst Birthday, 8 January 1935, Elvis Presley was born. Britain and Russia agreed that collective security measures were needed to counter the “storm clouds gathering over Europe.” The U.S. was hit by increasingly severe dust storms over about half of the United States and millions of crops were destroyed. People were forced to flee their farms and homes as dust piled up inside buildings and dust pneumonia and breathing problems were killing people. It was said, "“Even the birds are afraid to fly." Mark would point out great hills of sand in the Basin that had collected at that time, and he told about the dust blowing everywhere in the Basin. On 28 February 1935, when Joan was a year old, Adolph Hitler opened the Winter Olympics in Berlin, and women competed for the first time in Alpine events and cross-country relay races. Jesse Owen, one of ten "negroes" on the American team was the star athlete of the Olympics, and Hitler left the stadium rather than congratulate Owens. Between 1936-39 civil war occurred in Spain as General Francisco Franco, leader of the rightist, fascist troops in Spain fought the leftists Loyalist troops. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in May of 1935 declared Roosevelt’'s National Recovery Act as unconstitutional. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was organized in New York City during this year. A New Deal program, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) provided jobs for thousands of construction workers, teachers, musicians, artists, actors and workers of all kinds. In July FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), which supported the rights of employees to join labor organizations. In August, the Social Security Act was signed. Nazi law banned Jewish people from politics and Mussolini’s armies invaded Ethiopia. Movies such as "“Mutiny on the Bounty”" starring Clark Gable, "“Captain Blood " with Errol Flynn, "“Lives of a Bengal Dancer " with Gary Cooper, "“Anna Karenina " staring Greta Garbo and "“A Night at the Opera" with The Marx Brothers wreaking havoc, all offered millions of citizens some escape from hard times and from a growing anxiety about approaching war.

Mark said, “"In about 1935-36, we took a string of pack horses some of which we had caught as wild horses, and worked for the Forest Service hauling supplies and CCC workers from one place to another. They were surveying damage that had been done by bugs. The bosses were Ralph Rowley and Leon Burton. Ralph lived at Twin Potts and Leon lived at Talmage. They surveyed the damage from Lake Fork West to Manila and back around to Lake Fork. One time I waited until dark for supplies at Moon Lake and when I got to Brown Duck I couldn't find the trail. I slept out overnight and in the daylight I could locate the trail. The whole crew was coming back to find me...

"About this time, I decided to go into the coal hauling business. I purchased an old Ford l l/2 ton truck. I would go to Price through Indian Canyon with a tank of gas that cost $5.00. I would return, deliver the coal and have only $5.00 to buy gas for the next haul. I sold the truck and got two Model Ts that I gave to my mother. She gave them to my brothers and they didn'’t last very long."

Mark Walker Bleazard, a friend, and pack horses.

Pete, Barbara and Joan were in Montana with Pete's parents, Bert and Dorothy Jenson, when Marlene was born on 12 February, 1936. She was born in a hospital in Choteau, Montana. It may be that Mark drove Pete and the two girls to Montana in the fall of 1935 and then returned to Mountain Home to work. Mark says, "“Marlene was born in Montana. Pete, Barbara and Joan were in Montana in the fall and stayed a hell of a while. I tried everything I could other than borrowing from Nick (Killian) to get money enough to send for Pete and the girls. I was working in the timber, hauling timber out and I just couldn'’t make enough money. I wanted to get the money to send and get Pete. I know I had one hell of a good horse that I could work or ride, and I had a big tall blue mare. I sold them and another horse to get money to send for Pete and the girls."

Jack Bleazard remembered, "“It was after Mark and Pete were married that Mark and I worked in Carbon County for a short time, and then we went to Provo and worked on construction. I was about 30 years old and Mark about 32. Mark worked in Tooele County in about 1936-37."

In the year of Marlene’'s birth, King Edward VI gave up the throne of Great Britain and the British Empire to marry twice divorced Wallis Simpson, an American. John Maynard Keyes published his new economic plan, and Frank Lloyd Wright began displaying his genius in architectural style designed to reduce man’'s intrusion on nature to a minimum.

One of Joan's first memories is of being in Montana and climbing into the bed of her grandparent's (Bert and Dorothy Jenson) and being tickled and cuddled by them. Barbara writes, "“I can remember Aunt Ona making Joan and I sit on chairs while she mopped the floors so we wouldn't track up the floor. We came back from Montana in the
spring of 1936 on the train. Daddy was in Salt Lake to meet us and I didn'’t want to wait at Aunt Bird's (Bertha Bleazard Miles). I wanted to start right out to find Daddy."”

Jack and Viola Bleazard said it was quite a while before Pete and the girls were able to come home from Montana and that Marlene must have been about four or five months old before Mark saw her.

After Pete and the three girls came home from Montana, the family moved back to the Harwood Home North of Mark'’s parent’'s cabin. It was in 1936 the year Marlene was born, that Barbara and Joan had the mumps.

Barbara writes, "...that when she was four years old, Joan was two, and Marlene was a little baby, “Daddy was away working and Mother was milking the cows down to Grandpa Bleazard’s. Mother (Pete) looked up and saw smoke coming out of the door. She hurried up to the house and found the wood box on fire and the house full of smoke. Joan and I had put wood in the stove and when the wood caught on fire we put it back in the wood box!"

Joan was told of the time when she was tiny, maybe in Mountain Home at the Harward Home, when Mark had caught a rather large lamb with his tail stuck to its bottom. Mark saw a stick and asked Joan to get it for him so he could clean/save the lamb from disaster, but Joan just pouted and wouldn'’t get it for him. Maybe she thought he was going to hurt the lamb. Mark said that was one time when he seriously thought about spanking Joan. 

Barbara writes, "When I was a little kid three or four years old I used to go out in front of the house on Easter and eat eggs. I used to eat one and then another until I had eaten nine or ten on that day."

Mark said, "We lived for a time in the Harward House until Dad (Will) and me had that squabble and he told me to get the hell out." Jack said, "‘Dad had bought windows for a home for Mother and they were laying around and Mark took the windows and put them in the Harward place. This made Dad angry and he and Mark had a squabble."

The Harward Home. Joan and Barbara
and their Dad, Mark Walker Bleazard.

Mark continues, "I'd stayed there at the homestead and I had one horse that I had raised up and Nick (Killian) had given me a heifer and I'd raised it and I had bought a calf or two. I kinda felt some of it was mine but when I went to get them, Dad said I had to pay for them! I got pretty mad and said 'They're mine that I got from Nick for working for him and I'm going to have them.'" Finally he calmed down and I got them. I thought Dad was wrong and we had quite a jangle, quite a squabble. He said "Get the hell out!" and so I did."

Viola Mitchell Bleazard said in a 1997 letter to Joan, "We didn"t think times were bad. There wasn't so much competition as to who could have a better home or a better car or dress better. When Jack and I married I had been working and had two or three nice dresses. The dresses ended up as dresses for my little girls. I had a large cape that went with my nurse’'s uniform. It was heavy material blue outside with a red lining and it ended up in little coats. The old treadle machine was always busy. We had an old saying 'A patch upon patch with a hole in the middle.' It's easy to remember the bad times but there were many good times too. We had dances, parties and the men drank their home brew (fire water) and the women cooked the chicken and baked the pies and had a good visit. When someone was having a baby, the neighbors were always knocking on the door to see how things were going and if they could help."

Viola Mitchell married Mark's brother, Jack Bleazard. They eventually lived at the Harward Home after Mark and Pete moved to Talmage. They and their daughters, Lois, Janice and Carole, and their son, Mike, lived there for almost twenty years. Viola and Pete were always friends, they were both born in Peoa and always went to school together, and they married brothers. Viola wrote in a letter to Joan dated December 1997, "I remember your mother (Pete) had a maternity dress and we took turns wearing it, our pregnancies worked out that way. I wonder what became of it.  It probably ended up in quilt blocks."

Mark and Pete were looking for a place of their own, and in the spring of 1937 they moved to Talmage. 

Notes from Joan

More stories from my book are listed under the Lydia Davis heading on the "Wives" page.
joan bleazard thomas