Angeline Westcott, known as 'Gerd' to all of her family and friends, was born on March 6, 1911 in Monticello, Utah to John B. Duckett and Winnifred Hyde as the youngest of nine children. Her father died of pneumonia when she was young, leaving her mother alone to support the family, so Angeline grew up in poverty. When she was a little girl, Angeline exchanged eggs for food, and at the age of twelve, she ironed clothes for a pound of butter. Throughout her life, Angeline worked hard to support herself by performing various jobs, including cleaning, painting, and cooking. Even while working hard, Angeline found time to enjoy herself as a teenager by attending all-night dances with her brothers and friends. On October 11, 1938, Angeline married Wayne Wiley Westcott, a blacksmith from Colorado, in Monticello. Although their marriage did not survive, Angeline and Wayne had one son together who eventually married and had children. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Angeline endured persecution from her father and husband's anti-Mormon families who refused to communicate with her. At the age of 62 (the time of the interview), Angeline was the only living member of her immediate family. Angeline died on October 20, 1981 in Monticello.
This collection includes an oral history tape (150 minutes in length) and a transcript (26 pages in length) that consists of an interview between Angeline Westcott and Richard Swanson on August 23, 1973 as part of the Southeastern Utah Oral History Project conducted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University in collaboration with the Utah State Historical Society. The oral history is mainly autobiographical in nature. Angeline talks a great deal about her parents' backgrounds and praises her mother by saying, in spite of it all [losing her husband and then two sons], she weathered the storm successfully. She didn't let it get her down, and to me she was just about perfect.' Angeline also discusses the changes that she has seen take place in Monticello during her lifetime, including the construction of sidewalks, the arrival of doctors, and the economic progress that Monticello had experienced. She also talks about the Indians who used to be prevalent in the area and tells a story about Indians getting food and a skillet to cook the food in from Angeline's brother and then trying to exchange the skillet for food from Angeline. Angeline reminisces about holidays in Monticello and says that she enjoyed Christmas as a young girl when they would go sledding and ice skating. She also enjoyed Independence Day and Pioneer Day when they would have big parades, rodeos, carnivals, and dances in Monticello. Angeline commends Monticello as a town whose citizens worked together, even during the Depression: 'If anyone would go hungry in Monticello there was something wrong with them because people were kind and would give help in any way. We could raise some food and find some game; and if worse came to worst, we in the community could take somebody's cow and eat it.' Then during World War II, Angeline says that everyone made sacrifices when they had to ration stamps for shoes and sugar. Throughout her poverty-stricken life, Angeline worked steadily to support herself, retiring from cooking at a hospital at age 61. She attributed her work ethic to her mother: 'When you have a widowed mother, every kid gets kicked out and they get on their feet. They get going.' Despite the trials that Angeline faced in her lifetime, including the deaths of her parents and all eight siblings, Angeline maintained an optimistic outlook on life, even enough to say, 'It has really been a fascinating life. If I had it to do over, I would probably do it the very same.'