From classrooms to public office
Hazel Hampton was born May 26, 1893, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Her father died in 1899 and disrupted the family.
Her mother did odd jobs to support her family, but it was a difficult situation. In 1910, the family moved to Portland. Hazel graduated from Washington High School in Portland in 1911.
She worked in a high-end department store for a short period until she accepted an offer to teach at Rock Creek School in Gilliam County. She taught there for one year.
She then got a teaching job at Spray in Wheeler County. Spray had no electricity nor did it have a high school. Hazel taught in a two-room school house. She taught school at Spray for two years, and then she accepted a teaching position at the Waldron School near Richmond. The school house burned her first year teaching there. A new school house was built, but until then, she taught at a neighboring rancher's storehouse.
Hazel boarded at the Nat Shown Ranch while teaching. She met David Guinn at the Shown Ranch, and they became close friends. Hazel filed a homestead claim nearby, and David helped her build a cabin.
David was born Dec. 16, 1892, in Neva, Tennessee. He came to Richmond about 1912 and worked at various ranches in the area. He filed a homestead claim near the Shown Ranch.
David went to Portland in February 1918 to enlist in the Army to serve in World War I. Hazel accompanied him, and they were married in her mother's home. It was a brief honeymoon as David soon left for basic training.
She worked in Portland as a recorder for the Union Pacific Railroad until David returned from the war in 1919.
They moved to Fossil, where David worked as a mechanic. They had three children.
David died in a car accident in 1934. Hazel worked as a cook for lunches at the Fossil schools. She decided to run for Wheeler County treasurer and won an election in 1935. It was a difficult time for the county during the Great Depression.
Hazel died in 1992. Both she and David are buried in the Fossil Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Steve Lent is a local historian and assistant director of the Bowman Museum. He can be reached at: 541-447-3715.