[The following is a transcription of Ford I. Ganoís personal history, hand-written in a spiral-bound notebook, following a church presentation on the importance of keeping a personal history. Uncertainties due to indecipherable handwriting are indicated with a [guess?]. Pagination does not appear in the original, but where his writing begins a new page, this transcription also indicates a new page. One page seems to be missing between the description of life on the Verde and his College days. The page is missing in the handwritten original. The original ends with College; then there are several pages from the back of the notebook on which genealogy research notes appear. These are included in this transcript for the sake of completeness. óE.O. September 1996]
[In the web version, some spelling errors have been corrected. Ė E.O. April 2000]
A Brief History of Ford I. Gano
(Written as remembered in 1980)
Part I - Preamble
"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest of those, what might have been". Translated for this particular occasion means I find it a bit difficult at this time of life to remember with vividness or with any degree of certainty many of the happenings of yesteryears. So I rue as I write of the past that I was not foresighted enough 60 years ago to keep a diary or a daily journal of the happenings of my youthful years. I doubt that such daily trivia as I might have penned down would be of interest to anyone except myself, but acknowledge now that as one approaches the fulfillment of years allotted to earthly life, there is a pleasure in the nostalgia of the past, and I do wish I had a journal to factuate my memory. Then too as I read the "obits" and in some cases the 1st hand stories written about or by ancestral relatives I justify my
efforts to write my own life history because of the joy and pleasure I receive from perusing documentaries that they have left behind
As far as I have been able to determine none of them were historically famous or renowned, but simply reading of their lives and happenings has made them more personable and interesting and implanted a much stronger desire on my part to get better acquainted and to know them in the realm of the hereafter.
As I look into the past I think also of the future and of my descendents who may or may not wish to know more about heir grandfather or great grandfather etc. as the case may be. I hope they do, as I will be looking forward to meeting and living throughout the eternity to come with my childrenís children & their children, ad infinitum that will follow my patriarchal lineage. I bear solemn testimony to my descendents that the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored to the earth & to the civilization of this blessed land of America and now spreading to the world, is true. I know that God, the father of our spirits lives; and that His only begotten son, the
Christ Jesus lives, he who was crucified and died for our sins, was buried 7 came from the grave as the first fruits of the resurrection is alive and guides, if you let him, our earthly lives today. That God the Father & God the Son appeared in answer to humble prayer to a young man in [Palmyra, New York] who was pleading to God in the year of 1820 to know which of the churches in his community he should join, so that he could fill his desire to be part of Godís kingdom. And that in answer to this prayer the Father & His Son Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith Jr. and instructed him to join none of them as they preached only a part of the tenets & distorted many of those they did preach of the Saviorís earthly teachings. I recall that as I learned about this marvelous manifestation that I was very credulous & unbelieving and will reserve a chapter in my memoir to relate how the Holy Ghost testified to me of its authenticity and that young Joseph had really been chosen to become an instrument in Godís hands to restore the Gospel in its fullness in the Latter days, the dispensation of the Fullness of time.
Yes I know without a shadow of a doubt that if we live the Gospel plan as taught by Jesus that we will live & be together in
a celestial mansion that he has prepared for his children, as a family entity, provided of course we meet the tests of mortality as outlined by the prophets a loving heavenly father has called & will call to lead us. May my last words be, when I leave mortality, I love you, follow the gospel plan, I know that it is true. I testify this to you humbly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Part II My Childhood
I was born in Sacramento, California 7 July 1913 & bequeathed the name of Ford Iman Gano. Ford was a given name of one of my dadís brothers who died at a nearly age and of whom he had fond memories. I have never learned where the name Iman came from but have not suffered too much from lacking this information. It is interesting to note that I have always celebrated my date of birth on the 8th day of July & did not know that this was in error until I sent for a birth certificate in 1979 & found therein that I have been deceiving myself, my family, and that computerized number given to me by the U.S. for identification purposes. I hereby formally apologize for this deception & will certainly question my mother when I see her next time why she chose to lengthen my life by one whole day.
I do not know the street address of my early childhood in Sacramento as my parents did not linger there long enough for me to get acquainted with the neighborhood. I was joined at this
address by Fenner Lynn Gano a younger brother born 16 Feb 1915. Also my half brother Francis Willard Thompson came from his grandmother Thompsonís home to live with us while my other & oldest half brother John Lewis Thompson remained with his grandmother. To Summarize, the Sacramento household consisted of Paul & Olga, sons Ford & Lynn & Olgaís son by her 1st marriage Francis Willard Thompson.
I have no personal recollection of these early childhood days. However my mother carefully preserved a small silver loving cup engraved with my full name which she declared was a 1st place award for some-thing in a baby show. This opportunity to win a baby show contest fortunately presented itself a few months before an accident occurred while I was creeping on the floor with a sharp pencil in my hand which when a slip happened, pierced my right eye. The scar which covered the pupil resulted in the loss of sight. So I am happy to have won a beauty contest & very grateful to a mother who refused to let the Dr replace the right seeing unit with a glass eye. The eye healed satisfactorily but the scar eliminated all forward vision. However, I was blessed with some peripheral vision which would have been impossible with an artificial eyeball.
[it seems here that he overlooked the previous page when beginning to write again, and starts again from two pages before.]
unknown address in Sacramento by a little brother who was named Fenner Lynn Gano arriving on the scene the 16th February 1915. This made 3 youngsters as a older half brother, the second son of my motherís 1st marriage named Francis Willard Thompson was part of the household.
My father, Paul Elbert was a salesman for the Benner Tea Co. Born in Otsego, New York he had migrated westward looking for a clime more compatible with a consumptive health condition, than that found in the winters of the eastern climate. I have never been made aware of just how he met my mother, born Olga Winifred Willard in Elko Nevada in _______ and while still a babe in arms emigrated with her mother & father to Arizona, settling near Cottonwood in the Verde Valley. The Journey was made by horse & wagon with many adventurous experiences accounted for in ajournal kept by grandmother Willard which I will add as a supplement to my history. Olga grew up on the farmstead her father purchased 3 mi. south of Cottonwood AZ. She attended the local schools & obtained a teaching certificate from the Normal Teaching College at Tempe. A typical
western girl she became acquainted with and married previous to my father, a John C. Thompson on record as a forest ranger & an itinerant minister. Two sons were born of this union. John Lewis in 1902 and Francis Willard in 1909. This marriage ended in divorce, traditionally about 1910. My half brother Francis was part of our family in Sacramento but Lewis was living with his grandmother in a neighboring city. I would note here that I never had the opportunity to get acquainted with Lewis & in fact met him only on two different occasions as adults.
There is little to write about the Sacramento days. I am the proud possessor of a silver trophy cup with the inscription 1st Prize Community Baby Show, which my mother claimed I won honestly by virtue of being a top specimen of spoiled (sic) babyhood. I mention that now as it was & has been the only beauty contest I ever entered. One other incident of these early years is more vividly impressed on me by virtue of a scar covering the pupil of my right eye which eliminated the vision of that eye (except peripheral) at an early age. I do not recall any of the incident myself
thank goodness, but my mother has related that it happened while I was creeping on the floor with a sharpened pencil in my hand.
At an early age my family moved to Cottonwood, AZ where others of the Willard family had settled after traveling by team & wagon from Elko, Nevada. My mother was a young "babe in arms" when this journey was made with her father Lewis A. Willard & wife Julia nee Julia Ann Frost. They settled on a purchased farm on the Verde River about 3 mi. south of Cottonwood.
After a short visit at this location my parents made arrangements to rent a farm northward & on the opposite side of the Verde owned by my motherís older half brot. Wallace. My first vivid recollection of our home to be for the next several years, was standing behind the seat of the buggy with Francis as Lynn & I & parents drove from the Willard ranch to Uncle Wallaceís home. My dad parked the borrowed buggy & horse in front & placing the reins in my motherís hands, climbed out & went into the house to make the necessary arrangements, He soon returned with Uncle Wallace who greeted us (presumably) but I am not sure how as my youthful age prohibits this. This is the only recollection I have of Uncle Wallace Willard.
Part III Verde Valley Memories
The Wallace Willard farm was located on the east side of the Verde river adjoining the Cottonwood to Cornville county road. The farmland ran southward along the river bank for 1/2 mi. than eastward to some flat farm land. The "Bud" Smith farm joined on the South side. I do not remember who owned the rather arid acres to east side. Irrigation water was a necessity for crops of any kind.
On the north side of the adjoining county road perhaps a 1/4 mi., SugarLoaf Hill, peaked up into the sky, and was a distinctive landmark in the area.
Wallace W. or some previous owner had built an irrigation system made up of 4 ft buckets hung horizontally on 2 chains which were powered by a Small Fairbanks Morris engine. The engine sat on top of the riverbank in a small pumphouse & power conveyed to the drive sprocket of the buckets by means of a 30í belt. Water from the river was channel-ed by a small dam to a tunnel dug in the riverbank where it flowed into the pit that supplied the water for the buckets. As they were dipped in the pit the chains which were suspended by the top sprockets, filled with water & elevated 20 ft. up in the air & dumped into a flume which angled downward to the irrigation ditch that
carried the water by gravity to the cultivated acres. We did not use the bucket elevator very long as it was prone to break down with a great deal of regularity so my dad traded for a 6" centrifugal pump which he & our neighbor installed. The centrifugal pump forced the water up a pipe into the flume head that guided the water into the metal flume that carried it to the irrigation ditch where it flowed to the crop ground. The water flowed past the house in a gentle stream where we kids often found much enjoyment wading in. We found much less enjoyment in keeping the grass & weeds pulled out of ditch, which was the price we paid for wading in it. Lynn & I traded the ditch wading for the Verde River where we both learned to swim under the watchful eyes of my mother. Our swimsuits were made of cut off "Leviís" or often as not, nothing at all, (used only where there were no mothers or sisters around. The older boys had a good swimming hole that "us kids" were not allowed to bathe in (much to our disgust) which I found out the hard way was a very wise pre-caution. This rather deep & swift running pool had been formed by flood waters eroding a large tree that grew on the bank of the river, until it was toppled into the river where it formed an embankment & made a dam that forced the water to flow around it, making a nice diving platform for the good swimmers. Unfortunately a small channel
underneath the tree where water was sucked under & out down stream with such force that it formed a dangers whirlpool, so strong that most of the good swimmers avoided it.
On one occasion, the older boys were swimming - diving, playing tag by chasing one another up the bank, then running out on the tree trunk & dive back into the water while chasing each other for a tag. In the excitement of the game they forgot or neglected to "keep an eye" on the younger kids, who were making sand castles on an island further up the river. The "kids" were myself, Lynn, & my cousin Billie Nichols, 2 years by junior. Some how I managed to slip into the swifter part of the river, sucked under the water and washed rapidly toward the whirlpool. I remember vividly seeing the sun thru the water, and even heard the shouting of the gleeful boys while desperately holding my breath while fighting to get to the surface. As I swirled in the vortex of the pool I lost conscousness, and the next thing I
[this is the end of the story... there was no page in the history that completes this narrative. The next page, as I received the notebook, begins with his college days! Talk about suspense!]
My College Days
Looking back, I believe these were the happiest days of my life as I wanted to find a vocation that would provide a living & and improvement in our family circumstances as we had always been poor etc.
I had very little hope of any thing else - until my mother suggested we sell our farm raised cows & calves (all 15 head of them ) & I could use the money to enroll in the AZ State College at Tempe AZ. & work on school jobs for bed & rm. etc. The entire herd was sold to the Gov for $15.00 per head. Mother gave me $150.00 of the receipts & I applied for student employment at the school some 80 miles away in Salt River Valley.
That 1st afternoon on campus was a dream come true. I registered at the registrars office & pd my entrance fee, signed up for 16 hrs of Freshman required courses & was informed the mens dorm was full 7 that maybe I could find a place to room in one of the approved private homes in
the campus neighborhood. I phoned around, one vacancy 3 blocks from campus.
The lady wanted her rent in advance and wanted no drinking or rowdiness, parties, etc in her apts. There were 5 other young men already in the apartment which left one makeshift cot available in the upstairs hallway. I spent very little time there as it lacked ventilation or any kind of cooling system.
One of my roomies was a Norris Gilbert, also a new freshman from Michigan. A good clean kid that I learned to like & we became good friends & roomies for the next 4 years. Together we nagged the East hall resident head until a room became available there where we moved to & shared with Calvin Bandy also a good clean lad who shared our philosophy of no beer or cigarettes & study came 1st.
Norris & I both went out for F-ball but Cal stuck to Tennis.
Practicing with Frosh F-Ball squad took 3 hrs. of our time every PM 7 it became a grueling test or our endurance
and strength. Studying at night or in the very early hours of the day. Then too there was a little matter of hours that needed to be set aside for work tasks that the school employment required for our room & board expenses.
That 1st semester was a grueling one. Norris dropped out of F-Ball but I stuck with it and made the Frosh FB team where I played Tackle. (I was listed on the roster as weighing 190# and perhaps with my F.B. suit on I did but in my gym suit it was 178#)
My 1st semester grades were not so good, only one A (in speech) one B- (in dairy_ and a "C" in the rest. I had studied hard so I was disappointed when the grades were posted & decided I would have to give up my sports and concentrate on my study. My mother agreed with me but encouraged a lighter course but Freshmen were required to take the basics (about 25% of the 1st year neophytes drop out by the end of the 1st semester) but I was enjoying the challenges & determined to stick it out.
My social life was limited to church on Sunday & only a few "dorm" dances.
The 2nd sememster found an improvement in my grade points as well as a better job in campus work. The latter was limited to only a few hrs of work each month.
Off campus jobs bade it possible to eke out my Bd. & Room. Occasionally my mother sent me a few dollars. Also sister Paula would send a $ or two. While a few $s earned during my summer vacation, when I found a job Oak Creek on the Pendley apple orchard for $30.00 a month plus Board and room. I really enjoyed the cool nights & the beautiful scenery of the Oak Creek Canyon. The Pendley family Frank & Jane, (They had 5 kids also) just made me feel at home. I would get up early & milk their cow then work in the orchard during the day. We had lots of fruit & berries (with cream & sugar) to eat that summer, so much that I hated to collect my summer earnings to head back for school in the fall.
My sophomore yr at the school was a lot of fun. Norris & Cal & I go our room back in East Hall & I began to look around for a little more social life, mostly at East hall (the girlsí dorm) and church socials.
I attended the Congregational Church
where Norris had a part time job. We both concentrated on keeping our grades above average and in spite of harder classes we made "B" averages both semesters.
However I had to drop out of school in order to replenish my small savings account at the end of my sophomore year and took my old job back with Frank Pendley. He offered to increase my wages to $45.00 a mo. plus board & room. I really hated to drop out but could see no other way to replenish my larder. Jobs were still very hard to find so I told my friends at Tempe State Teachers College & went to work in the orchard again. Frank increased my responsibilities & I did a lot of trucking and selling of his fruits. This required trips to various towns in Northern Ariz. as well as a long trip to the Phoenix markets to sell the apple Crop.
I had a very sad experience on one trip to Phoenix which I hate to even think about but as it was part of my life will briefly relate. The trip entailed loading up the truck during the evening hours (a truck with
side boards with packed boxes of apples, tarping it down & heading for Phoenix via the mountainous road. Mingus Mountain, Jerome, Prescott, Yarnell Hill ending in the wholesale Phoenix market about 4:30 am.
Between Mingus Mtn & Prescott there is a 30 mile stretch across Lonesome Valley. Very little traffic or life of any kind. As I wended my way down of the Mtn I caught sight, far, far ahead of car lights headed in my direction which I knew I would meet eventually. As I pulled around a curve 5 or 6 mi. later I met the car on the wrong side of the road. I tried to miss it but wasnít able to do so & as we crashed head on the right side of both vehicles tore into each other. My truck went into the roadside ditch causing the boxed apples to slide forward cutting the cab of the truck literally off the truck &
slinging apple boxes for 100ís of feet. I escaped death by rolling to floor of the cab & permitted the boxes to go over the top of me. I crawled out in a daze & walked back to the car stading almost at the point of impact. The passenger side exposed. The driver was sitting in a coma but was unhurt but told me his passenger was dead. A rank smell of alcohol was in the vehicle. I walked back up the road & after an eternity (it seemed) another truck finally came down the hill which I flagged down stopped to see what had happened. The passenger in the car was killed but due to my guardian angel I survived. An inquest was held the next day which exonerated me but left me very shook up. Calling the accident unavoidable, Frank Pendley came over & carried me back to Oak Creek
and although there was no insurance on the truck or load of apples, purchased a new truck & over my protests put me back to driving & selling fruit. He & Mrs. Pendley were truly the highest type of people.
After working for Pendleys the following summer I collected my back wages and registered for School to begin my third year of studies at Tempe.
During my Jr. year I was offered a school job as a Biology lab Assistant where I taught all the lab Assignments for the professor, where I became well acquainted with Nellie Waddington and although there was no formal agreement we became steady "friends" with each other.
As good friends we went on picnics, attended school dances, & parties together with the "gang." The "gang" was usually made up of my roommates, Norris Gilbert, Calvin Bandy, Leonard Sharmin & Myself & our girlfriends from West Hall. We had lots of fun things together as long as there wasnít any expense involved The girls usually furnished the foods,
and the boys the transportation.
In my Junior yr. at ASTC I was invited to joint the "Pasteur Society" the honor group of students interested in science who maintained a ĎB" average in this field of endeavor as well as all upper level of college studies. My average was a "B+" but I didnít have the entrance fee of $10.00. However my mother insisted & sent me $5.00. My sister Paula also sent me the additional money and I was able to enroll in the membership as No. 30 of the allowed number. I will always appreciate this honor.
My roommates and Nellie all graduated in 1937 leaving me behind as I missed out a yr so I could replenish my finances working for Frank Pendley. However before leaving Tempe I decided to enroll in the U of Ariz. thinking I would have a better chance of finding vocational employment after graduation in the broad field of agriculture than as an orchard farmer.
Because my grades were good the U of A excepted me as a senior status. While looking for work I met the Dean of The Ag Education dept who convinced me to enroll in that field of Endeavor by practically promising me employment as an "Ag Teacher". The Dean had been newly employed by the college of
Agriculture to initiate a Dept. in this field as to that date the University did not specialize in "Ag Educ." Dr R. C. Cline could not promise any help in student employment as the newly formed department was working on a very limited budget. However, he did introduce me to the "Aggie Club" a co-operative group of about 30 who rented a house with a large sleeping porch & hired a Chinese cook where bed, & rm. could be obtained for a minimum cost.
Norris Gilbert had also transferred to the Agric. College where he pursued a MS degree in crop science. He also was working at odd jobs to earn his bd. & other school expenses. We had only small room together in the Aggie house with a bunk bed and a place for two school desks for study tables. The Aggie house in addition to the rooms we lived in a big front parlor & a dining room with a table large enough for the students to eat their meals. The Chinese cook provided our 3 meals for 5 days of the week and we were left to our own devices for the weekend meals. The groceries needed by the cook were purchased by our "head student manager" older than the rest of us but very thrifty & wise in his job. He ruled the household with a strict hand which suited Norris & myself to a "T" but not
[p. 22] so with all the "Aggies" in the Dorm. However we managed very well and only one of the entire group was asked to find other quarters. We cooperated on house keeping chores which consisted of the dishwashing, table setting, sweeping of the parlor, dining room & hallways, restroom etc.
All in all I enjoyed the co-op arrangement & found myself too busy with studies & jobs to get into any mischief or find life dull in any way. By virtue of the change in schools I was required to take 18 hours of credit work to get thru the graduation requirements in two semesters needed for graduation with the class of 37-38. I failed to get my diploma in the required time but was permitted to accept a blank diploma (sheepskin) until I earned the needed 1/2 unit in summer school. Which took me 6 weeks to do.
While making up this deficit I proceeded to search a School needing a "ag teacher" & with the help & recommendation of Dr. Cline (the dept head) I was sent to Roll, AZ a small school in Yuma Co about 30 miles from the city of Yuma in southern AZ. The Bd. of Education offered me a contract
and I accepted it but before I moved to Roll, Dr. Cline wanted me to investigate a position that had opened up in Snowflake where they could not find a teacher. This was a "Mormon" school in North Central AZ where the School Board wold not hire or even consider a teacher who did not measure up to their character standards of morality, honesty etc. Dr. Cline said he did not have another Ag Educ graduate to recommend to them unless I would apply for the Job, saying the Snowflake Ag Dept would probably be closed until suitable applicant could be located in New Mexico or Utah. I did not want to renege on the Roll school contract but Dr Cline assured me He would find an Ag Instructor for them if I would apply at Snowflake - so I did & was hired there to begin immediately.
So fate entered into my future. I sincerely believe that my guardian angel had his hand in my future on that occasion as it has on several other occasions.
[Notes from the back of the notebook Ė apparently to help him sort out dates and people]
Notes Along The Way
Carl - Divorced - back in photograpy - works out of Utah
Ethelyn - still single - lives in NW Phoenix with Sharleen Penrod of [Showlor?]
Shirley & Bill - Spain - Amer. Spanish Air base
Allan20ís - So Caroline - Bobbie 17 in Spain
Dog Story - killing Calf
Peacock - 1875 Parkes Bros double barrel shotgun
Wallace Wallard d. in N.Y.?
Bud Smith - Spooners - Berrotti - ? - Frews
1916 moved to VV farm (age 1 1/2)
Lynns teacher - Aunt Edna thru 4 & 5 (Thru 1925
1916-1927 W Willard place (aprox 11 yrs) }
1927-1929 on China place ( " 1 1/2 yr) } > 14 yrs
1930-1931 Woodriff ( " 1 1/2 yrs) }
Lynn finished 9th grade in Clemenceau
" Graduated from HS - 1932 - age 18
Lynn School (Deductions)
1932 HS Grad 18 yrs old
1929 9th 15 yrs old
1926 7th at clem 12 yrs old
1925 6th at clem 10 yrs old
1920 1-2-3-4-5 Willard Sch 6 yrs old thru 10th BD 2/16/1920
1915 B 16 Feb Sacramento, Calif
Moved to Ariz. When Appox 1 1/2 yrs old (June 1916)
Lived on W. Willard ranch until 10 1/2 yrs Jun 1926
Lived on China place approx 1 1/2 yrs until Jun 19
Born Sac Ca. 8 Jly 1913
Az. Verde Valley 1916
W Willard Ranch 1916 age 3
Willard Sch 1919-1924 1st grade thru 5th
Clemenceau Sch 1924-1928 6th grand thru 9th
Clarkdale Hi Sch 1928-1931 10th-11th-12
Paul Gano died 14 Feb 1931
Moved to China Place1927-1928
Moved to Woodruff 1928-1932
Family moved to Clemenceau 1932-
Mother rented farm to Bivins 1932
(Ford borded with Bivins) 1932-1933
Ford went to texas (2 mo) 1933
" in CCC to Pendley 1933-1934
" enrolled in ASTC Fall of 1934
" " 1934-1935 (Freshman)
" worked for Pendley 1935-1936
" Returned to ASTC fall of 1936
Soph " 1936-1937 (Sophomor)
å Worked Harry Empee Summer-1938(Escondido CA)Bean & Wheat Farm)
â Back to ASTC 1938 Junior
Switched to U of A 1938-1939 Senior
Graduated BS-Agr July-1939
Taught Sch Snowflake AZ 1939-1941
" " Gilbert 1941-1942
" " Yuma 1942-1944
W F M Co Mesa 1944-1953
Jack & Dorothy Alexander - Blythe Calif.
& Virginia Hask kite outfit
Bill Nichols - operates a big cattle ranch
| Box 205 Drawer K
| Haggeman N.M. 88232
Daughter Barbara Derick
Box 124 Maljamar N.M. Zip 88264
Ph. 505 676 4146
Alice Nichols 2.Bradford (Jack) Rimrock AZ
b. 27 Dec 1918 d April 26 1975
June Willard [Mitelini? Nortelini?] living in phx. Divorced
Madge Nichols 1. Johnnie Moor
(2) Charlabois lives in Walla Walla Wash 99362
1264 Bell St. ph 1 509 525 8921
58 in Feb 16
Moved to Keosauqua IA 1953 (Rented Marshall & Melinda Flake home in Bonaparte. Purchased (contract) Peacock Farm Mt. Sterling but did not live on Farm there. Grand Ma Waddington purchased 100 ac Jamison farm 5 mi. east of Cantril IA. Refurbished large 2 story house with full basement on Hiway # 2 and moved into it 1954. Ford & Nellie purchased the 180 ac farm of chas Johnson, just north of Jamison place in 1959 & traded the Mt. Stering Farm to Ara May for the Jamison Farm. Ara may died in 1963 & wished to be buried in Casa Grande Az. Nellie Died 15 Apr 1965