By Judy Woods
There was a fire in Carpenter Canyon in Nevada, recently. It cost $18 million dollars and 28,000 acres were burned. That canyon was named by a past governor after the family of our own John Carpenter who is married to Nadene Carpenter and who lives on Cherry Hill here in Sultan.
John’s dad, Albert, was once close to becoming an outlaw, as a member of the Butch Cassidy’s Hole in The Wall Gang, when he met Mable, John’s mom. They were married when she was 15.
Mable and Albert are said to have been true desert rats at the time. They sought a way to make a living by working the clay fields in Pahrump, Nev. They settled and homesteaded in the canyon, raising cattle, horses and kids (12 in all) on about 120 acres, until a flash flood wiped them out. They lost their buildings and a lot of their livestock, as well as their financial stability.
With horse and buggy and all 12 kids, they moved to Beatty, Nev., which is located right on the edge of Death Valley. Mable ended up not only raising her own kids but also quite a few of her offspring’s kids.
As a boy, John worked in the mines, dug wells by hand for a while and then, after receiving a driver’s license signed by the governor when he was only 12, started driving truck. He joined the Navy at the start of W.W.II when he was 15.
The canyon was subsequently dedicated to the Carpenter family to honor the legacy left by John’s folks and the family still there. John is the only direct descendent left.
Approximately 500 people were evacuated from that canyon because of that fire.
Also, we have learned more about the story of Robert and Janet Peterson, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month at Pine Creek Nursery.
Robert, as we wrote last week, was put to work by a caseworker when he was 13, after being removed from his abusive mother as a little boy and spending years in orphanages and foster homes. He worked as a farmhand until he was 18, when he moved to Seattle with a foster family.
When Robert arrived in Seattle, his foster parents suggested that Robert become a milker at Maple Valley Dairy, which was where Southcenter Mall is now. That job lasted for a few months, until the regular milker returned. This trend continued, and one of the farms he worked on was there was Smith Brothers in Carnation, a Guernsey farm.
When Robert was in Seattle one day, he met up with a couple of fellows who said that they were going to take a steamer ship to Alaska to work in fish, so he figured “why not?” Off he went to Ketchikan to load up fishing ships with ice.
Then when the ships returned with fish he would help offload them and work to process them. It was long hours and hard work. The halibut back in those days weighed 300 to 400 pounds each, can you imagine?
When the fishing season was over, the steamer ship company was on strike, but Robert found a way home on a fishing boat. He told the skipper that he could steer in order to get on the boat. He just didn’t say what. The skipper wasn’t happy with the deception but went ahead and taught Robert how to steer a boat and they chugged home.
Robert heard that there were good milking jobs in California. They said that he could milk around the clock if he wanted to. When he got there, there were no jobs, so he joined the Army for two years instead, and he ended up in Panama.
When he finished his hitch there, he signed up again and wound up in Alaska for three years. Alaska was considered a war zone during the Korean War.
After his time was up, Robert got a job at Boeing in the fiberglass department. He worked there for around 10 years when one evening he decided to go dancing.
That is where he found his soul mate, Janet.