Historian compiles Winters stories

Historian Eileen Cohen contacted the Appeal last week after hearing about the death on March 30 of JohnD Winters at age 97.

She completed "The Oral History of JohnD and Kay Winters" about five years ago. It's available to read at the Carson City Library, Nevada State Library and Archives and Dayton Historical Society.

"They were wonderful to work with," Cohen said of the couple. "Both of them have been so instrumental in Carson City, Dayton and Nevada."

Cohen, who lives in Sunridge, told a couple of stories about the couple. One, that happened during the early 1950s, was when JohnD used to be a volunteer firefighter and was among those who went to fight a blaze caused by the V&T rail passing a point above the Eagle Valley Children's Home.

JohnD was hurt trying to fight the fire after it jumped the highway and continued moving toward Virginia City. He fell down a mine shaft and tore ligaments in his leg. He had to wear a cast but was able to drive his milk truck standing up. He couldn't get out to take the deliveries to the customers, however, so Kay had to handle that part of his duties until he recovered.

Kay told Cohen that JohnD reminded her the the home of the 0Bible family, for example, was a place where she had to carefully watch where she walked: "There are booby traps there! Those boys leave their tricycles and scooters! Be careful when you run that milk up to the back door!"

"And he wasn't kidding!" Kay said. "It was, you know, early morning. It was kind of dark and you really couldn't see where you were going."

Another thing Cohen fondly remembered was that the couple, who came together after previous marriages, took their five children along on their honeymoon. They were married nearly 60 years.

The Winters were among a large group of longtime area residents whose oral histories she has chronicled.

A partial list of them include: Gertrude Gottschalk, Jim Thorpe, William Goni, Nancy Bordewich Bowers, Muriel Darling, Joseph Hawley and Jeni Felesina.

The Winters' oral history book also provides genealogy of both families and contains plenty of pictures.

Cohen was honored last year by the University of Nevada, Reno for her work to preserve the state's past and is a charter member of the Nevada Women's History Project.

A compilation of the oral histories of Carson City women she collected is also available at the local and state libraries.

She also does living history presentations of Carson pioneer Hannah Clapp and can be seen dressed in period clothing at functions around the region.

Last week, she was a guest on the local television show "Face the State" along with State Archivist Guy Rocha.


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