John Peter Alleman
Submitted by Lourien "Lory" Laughter Easley Burch.
Lory lives in Napa, California, with her husband (2)Stewart John Burch. Lory's and Stewart's combined family includes nine children born between 1982 and 1990. Lory's grandfather was Wesley Edney Laughter who married Ruby Alleman in Idaho, and her g-grandfather was James Butler Laughter who was born in Chimney Rock, NC, and married Lena Egli, 12 Oct 1894, in Idaho.
Born March 10, 1873, in the town of Tschappina, canton of Graub, Switzerland, John Peter Alleman was the oldest of 12 children born to George and Anna Marie Gredig Alleman.
In the year 1879, at the age of six he accompanied his parents, sister Sarah, and brother Abraham, then 6 weeks old, to the East coast of America. They then went westward by train to Evanston Wyoming. From there the family traveled by horse drawn wagon to Montpelier, Idaho.
One of his favorite stories
"I was six, but I remember a lesson I learned that day and it has been with me all my life. Our driver, Zumbrenan, went by way of Woodruff, Randolph, and Laketown Utah. He was known to be a tipper and the more he sipped the less attention he paid to his driving. Finally, he was having a hilarious time and his team commenced to run. Mother was holding the baby, trying to sit on a sliding trunk and keep me out of harms way. Finally a man on horseback saw what was happening and came to our rescue; putting us the rest of the way down the steep canyon in fine style. Mother thought it was a God sent sign; and I decided I would never be a drunkard."
They arrived in Paris, Idaho the next day and were taken to Nounan Co-op Dairy where his father and mother milked cows.
The July following their arrival found the family in Nounan, Idaho helping hay. Peter coaxed his father to let him ride with them this particular day. The load was loaded on a wagon to be transported to the place for stacking. While crossing Nounan Creek the reach of the wagon became disconnected. Hayrack, boy and hay landed in the water. One of the crew grabbed Peter by the coat collar and prevented him from being buried in the water under all the hay. He was mud, dirt and water from head to toe. He started for the place where his mother would be. In doing so he had to pass the dairy where a man and five girls were employed making cheese. An East and a West door were open. He was screaming and being in a sorry plight. Upon seeing him and hearing him and he being a foreigner as he was called, they all had a good laugh at his expense. One girl was so overcome with mirth that she lay down on the floor and rolled and laughed.
In the Fall they moved to Montpelier. There Sarah and Peter went to school for 2 winters. Then they moved to lower Bern.
Peter was baptized in Montpelier Creek September 8, 1882 by John Astel and confirmed by Bishop C. R. Robison.
In his early youth he, like many of the Swiss people, worked in the cheese business. The Alleman family owned a ranch on Crow Creek, northeast of Montpelier, and made Swiss cheese which they freighted out each Fall and sold, either at Montpelier for 12 to 15 cents per pound or else hauled it over the summit into Logan Utah and Providence areas where they traded for dried fruits and the other necessities of life.
At the age of 29, Peter was called to serve a mission to Germany for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by President Lorenzo Snow. He served in Berlin and Dresden for 32 months. He was called to serve for 36 months but was banished from the last town in which he labored due to religious persecution of the Mormons at that time. Because his mission was so near completion, the Mission President released him rather than try to establish him elsewhere.
He married Lulu Rose Kunz (daughter of David Kunz and Louisa Marie Jacobs) on July 2, 1904 in the Logan Utah Temple. She passed away a little over 4 months after they were married (March 21, 1905) due to Black Measles.
He married Martha Maria Helene Ladewig January 6, 1906 in the Logan Temple. They were married 24 years and had five children; Clarence Ray born April 4, 1907, Lyman John born October 22, 1908, twins Beatrice Helen and Edgar Peter born August 30, 1910, and Ruby born October 3, 1915.
Peter and the family homesteaded the ranch in Pescadero Idaho in 1906. He had quite a few milk cows and a small band of sheep. They planted mostly grain. He was a good blacksmith and had a shop on the ranch. He often did work for the neighbors.
When Clarence was old enough to start school, he knew no English. Martha and the four children (Ruby not yet born) moved to Bern and lived in one room of the school house. A year later Peter had a house built in Bern.
During each school term the family moved to Bern and Peter stayed on the ranch in Pescadero. Weekends came and the family bowled to go home. If Peter wasn't there to pick them up on Friday after school, the family walked to Pescadero (over 10 miles).
Peter and Martha divorced in 1928 and Martha moved to Logan Utah.
When Peter was 80 years old he still milked cows by hand. He felt very bad when milk was no longer picked up in cans and they were forced to sell the cows and discontinue milking.
From an interview on his 100th birthday
Alleman has lived a religiously active life. In fact, he attributes his religious background and training as the reason he has lived so long. "Honor thy Father and Mother", it says in the bible, "that it may go well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth."
That and good clean living is the key, Alleman believes.
When asked what he considered to be the most satisfying thing about his long life in the Bear Lake Valley, he quickly said, "Its the roads and the bridges". When he came to the area, few roads, more like trails existed and in order to cross the river in high water times, they had to travel from Bern to Pescadero to a private owned ferry and pay to get across.
Today the heavy ruts that once marked the Old Oregon trail through the valley are mostly gone and in their place are wide, level easy traveling highways. Grasshoppers and ground squirrels were the most troublesome pests to the early families. Squirrels stood 8 to 10 to every hole and they destroyed the young crops as they came up. We had contests and paid bounties for the most successful methods of cutting down on the pests.
As a boy he remembers how Indian tribes migrated through the area, staying close to the river and often camping in the big bends while they hunted and fished. They were never troublesome to us and left the land in better condition than the campers that visit the property today, he said. The big trouble for the ranchers came after the railroad came through the country from an ever increasing number of hoboes and tramps.
For John Peter it has been a wonderful century. He thinks there was never a better time to live. It was a century of tremendous change -- from the snails pace of oxen plodding across the plains to the zipping speed of today's fastest jets.
Peter started failing in the 70's so Ruby took him to Bennington. He was greatly saddened by the deaths of Martha in June 1971, and Edgar in July 1971. Ruby had Peter for sometime and took care of him until he got pneumonia (1973). He had to go to the hospital in Soda Springs [Idaho], and later he checked into the nursing home there. He was there until he died on February 27, 1974 at the age of 100. He would have been 101 in twelve more days.
Clarence, Ruby and Lyman Alleman
** This history was written by Clarence, Ruby and Lyman. All are now dead except Lyman.
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