Benson Stake Recognition

Back (l-r): Lydia Leavitt, Estella Blair, Sarah Preece, Susanna Allen, Livinia Wilcox, Clara Wheeler. Front: Lavina Poulsen, Christensia Hansen, Martha Coley, Martha Lewis, Sarah Snelgrove.

Here is a photograph I thought I would share.  It tells its own story.  This photo was taken on 25 April 1948 in the Benson Stake Tabernacle.  The photo is honoring those Visiting Teachers who have been faithful in going out for 40+ years in the Benson Stake.  The Benson Stake was headquartered in Richmond, Cache, Utah (later renamed to Richmond Stake), not Benson.

Mind you, at that time, this was not just an organization you automatically became a member of when you joined the church.  This was a separate membership with dues requirements for the organization.  You even received a membership card.  Not only are these women faithful in Visiting Teaching for 40 years, but they had volunteered to be a member of the Relief Society for that many years and actively participated.  Martha Coley in the front middle is my Great, Great Grandmother.  How many Visiting Teachers today qualify for faithful Visiting Teaching for 40 years?

Here is Martha Christiansen Coley’s daughter’s Relief Society membership card.  Lillian Coley married Joseph Nelson Jonas and after his death remarried to Lorenzo (Ren) Bowcutt.

Here is some more information I could find on the individuals in the photo.

Lydia Elnora Karren (1879-1959) married Edward Leavitt (1876-1957).  They probably lived in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.

Estella Nora Glover (1883-1952) married Ephraim Isaac Blair (1882-1943).  They probably lived in Lewiston.

Sarah () married Preece ().  Cannot find records, either have the name wrong or she moved from Cache Valley.

Susanna “Susie” Elizabeth Preece (1863-1953) married Andrew Bickmore Allen (1859-1941).  They probably lived in Cove, Cache, Utah.

Livinia Merriam Henson (1871-1950) married James Franklin Wilcox (1869-1951), previously married to an Levi Knapp Allen (1842-1928).  They probably lived in Cove.

Clara Deseret Stephenson (1880-1951) married Joseph Henry Wheeler (1882-1963).  They probably lived in Lewiston or Trenton, Cache, Utah.

Lavina Ellen Hawkeswood (1877-1954) married John James Poulsen (1871-1948).  They lived in Lewiston.  Interesting note, Martha Christiansen Coley’s husband, Herbert Coley, and Lavina are 1st cousins once removed!  Do you think these two ladies sitting on the front row knew of that relationship?

Christensia () married Hansen ().  Cannot find records, either have the name wrong or she moved from Cache Valley.

Martha Christiansen (1879-1961) married Herbert Coley (1864-1942).  They lived in Richmond.

Martha Ann Kingsbury (1850-1950) married William Crawford Lewis (1830-1908).  She was 98 years old in this picture!  They probably lived in Richmond.

Sarah Ann Gaunt (1878-1963) married Owen Elmo Snelgrove (1880-1973).  They probably lived in Richmond.

1961 Coley Film

I stumbled upon a photo of a Great, Great Uncle, Wilford Herbert Coley, posted on a website. I e-mailed the lady who posted the picture and she forwarded my e-mail to her brother. As it turns out, the family has a number of film reels taken from the early 1960’s. I asked him to share any that he thought I might be interested in.  He indicated that one was from a funeral and it seemed to include extended family.  He could only identify his grandfather, Wilford Herbert Coley, in the film.

On a hunch, I sent him this photo and informed him that it was taken 17 August 1961 at the burial of my Great, Great Grandmother, Martha Christiansen Coley, in Richmond, Utah.  This is Wilford’s mother and I knew he was at the funeral.  I also knew that if the family was into filming events, this could very well be one such event to catch.

Art, Golden, Wilford, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan Coley at their mother's funeral in 1961.

He responded to me stating the film was from the same funeral and it actually covered the carrying of the casket from the hearse, some scanning of the crowd, and then the final shots of the 10 siblings standing together in which this photo was taken. He shared the converted video from the film with me yesterday.

The 10 siblings in the picture above and film are as follows from left to right.
Arthur Christiansen Coley (Art), 1921-2004
William Golden Coley (Goldie), 1924-2009
Wilford Herbert Coley, 1903-1966
Roland Charles Coley, 1915-2005
Oley Lloyd Coley (Lloyd), 1918-1998
Edna Coley Neilson, 1900-1983
Hannah Marie Coley Thomson, 1909-1982
Carrie Christiansen Coley McMurdie, 1906-1992
Lillian Coley Jonas, 1898-1987
Ivan Stephen Coley, 1912-1994

The film starts out with children carrying flowers out of the church.  I am pretty sure this is the old Richmond, Utah South Ward Building (demolished after the 1962 earthquake).  I do not think we will be able to identify any of these girls because of how cloudy and short the video is at this point.

The film then moves to the Richmond, Utah Cemetery viewing the place where Martha will be laid to rest.  Two girls appear in the background, again probably too short a span of time and too fuzzy to identify them.

We jump to the casket being carried by 6 men, the 6 male siblings.  On the far side of the casket from right to left are Roland, Wilford, and Art.  On the near side from right to left are Lloyd, Golden, and Ivan.

In the background right as the pallbearers appear with the casket are two girls dressed in white.  The taller of the two are Connie Gittins (Wilford’s granddaughter) and an unknown girl.

A young unidentified girl walks in front of the group bearing the casket.

Then we start the first scan of the crowd counter-clockwise from the south.  These are the individuals:
Wilford Coley
Short boy in white that Bob Jonas steps in front of
Bob Jonas in white shirt
Steve Coley in white shirt
Gary Coley revealed when Steve Coley steps aside
Art Coley
Mary Coley (Art’s wife and Bob, Steve, and Gary’s mother)
Lillian Coley Jonas
Carrie Coley McMurdie
Edna Coley Neilson
Hannah Thomson
Tall guy in background (probably Lorenzo “Ren” Bowcutt?)
Lady in white in background
Tall thin man in background
Shorter man in foreground, very short time

Then we move to the 10 siblings back and forth as mentioned above in the photo.

Since this website would not let me upload the video, I had to upload it on YouTube.  Be sure to open it in full screen and to have your mouse on the pause button so you can look more carefully.  Here is the link to the video:

Martha’s Coley’s funeral movie clips.

If anyone can add more information, I certainly welcome it.  I hope we can identify every person in the video but I think I hope for too much.  After all, this was taken 40 years ago!  Nevertheless, the video is interesting to see people living and moving who are now all gone from mortality.

For those interested, here is a copy of Lillian Coley Jonas’ journal that includes this funeral.  Martha died on the 14th of August 1961.  I also include the other two journals we have for her.

Lillians 1961 Journal

Lillians 1962 Journal

Lillians 1963 Journal

Jonas-Andra Wedding

Bill and Mary Andra are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Colleen Mary to Wilburn Norwood Jonas, son of Joseph and Lillian Jonas.  They were married in Elko, Nevada on 27 September 1946.

Colleen is a 1946 graduate of Preston High School.  She is currently pursuing a degree at Brigham Young University.

Norwood attended North Cache High School.  He is currently employed at Pet Milk in Richmond.

The couple will make their home in Richmond.

While short and sweet, I think that is what their announcement may have been like.  What else is in there between the lines?  Norwood and Colleen met at the Persiana in Preston, Idaho.  A dance hall on the second floor of the building.  William and Mary Andra were not entirely pleased with Colleen’s selection of a spouse.  The poor boy from Richmond who smoked and drank was not an appropriate mate for their daughter.  Not only that, she loved him so much that her parents did not see this as a good influence on her even while they dated for a couple of years before.  While not entirely supportive, they allowed their daughter to make her own choices after having a number of clear, frank conversations with her.  If this is what she wanted, then she could do as she pleased.  But she was well aware that much heartache and pain could be in her future, at least as her parents predicted.

With so little support from her parents, many of her siblings liked “Nor” for the most part.  He worked hard and provided for his family and that is most important.

Joseph Jonas had died 14 years earlier and would not be around for this occasion.  In fact, Norwood saw his father electrocuted before him on that fateful day in Ogden, Utah in 1932.  Norwood often took his father his lunch at that time because they lived in railroad housing not far from the switchyard where he worked.  Nor walked up the tracks and his father saw him coming.  He stepped down from the locomotive they were working on to the track and started walking toward Norwood.  A Mr. Child who had been warned earlier to move the line had not done so and Joseph hit his head.  Norwood saw his father thrown back to the ground.  Mr. Child made the mistake that killed Joseph that day and every time he saw the family he always apologized for the death.  If that wasn’t a burden to live with for Mr. Child, it was for Norwood.  His brother, Ellis, indicated that was the day the lights went out in Norwood.  Nor’s mother, Lillian, also indicated Norwood was never the same after that day.

The family lost their housing with the railroad and moved back to Richmond, Utah.  There the family had to live in two train cars placed side by side for years to come.  Finally the family could afford to move into a little home of a few hundred square feet, but that was after most, if not all, the children were gone.  Lillian (nee Coley) was a humble, faithful widow who did what she could for her children.  Much relied upon the good people of the ward in which she lived, but the boys had their crazy days without a father.  The Jonas brothers were known to be a rough, mean bunch.  The meanness only exacerbated by alcohol.

Colleen had graduated Preston High School and followed her parents suggestion by enrolling at Brigham Young University.  I think the parents probably hoped some good boys would come along.  However, Norwood and Colleen could not bear to be that far apart and Norwood came down to pick her up at school after only a few days or weeks there.  They drove back north and would eventually take Lillian and run to Elko to “elope”.

Norwood attended North Cache High School but never graduated.  Only one of his siblings would graduate from high school (Ellis).  Norwood was bright and able to keep up with school.  So much, he attended with classes with his older brother, Irwin, who was two and a half years his senior.  Norwood even shows in Irwin’s class pictures.  But the life of the widow was hard and the boys found employment as soon as they can to help with the family expenses.

The two would be happily married for years to come.  The first child would not come for 6 years after the marriage.  Norwood and Colleen enjoyed the social environment and party of friends, often hosting Bridge and other card games at their home.  Children would arrive in 1952 (Douglas Norwood), 1954 (Sandra, written about at this link: Baby Sandra Jonas), and 1960 (Jackie).  I really don’t know much for sure of this period.  Other than they seem to have lived the usual family life.  Alcohol would eventually come to cause the majority of problems within the home and which would eventually take Norwood’s life in 1975.

Colleen’s journals from 1944-1946 can be found here.  Colleen’s Journal 1944-1946.  I also wrote about the journal at this link: Colleen Andra’s Journal.  While short in its entries, it tells more than anything I could have ever found out otherwise.  Everyone, keep a journal, even if only one sentence a day.  That one sentence tells scores of information decades later.  I treasure every word.  I wish she had such a journal extending through every year.

Baby Sandra Jonas

This is the only photograph I have of my mother as a baby.  I am sure there are more out there, but they have not been shared with me.  This photograph was in an album of my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas (Mom’s paternal Grandmother).  It was in an album that had the plastic stick pages and you can see the effects of that and a little moisture on the photograph.  Hopefully some day another version will emerge.  I am sure my Grandmother had some more pictures but nobody seems to know where they went in 1999.

Sandra Jonas was born 16 March 1954 in Logan Hospital in Logan, Utah.  She weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and I do not have a record of how long.  Her parents were Colleen Mary Andra and Wilburn Norwood Jonas.  They resided at the home Grandpa built at 142 N. State Street in Richmond, Utah (someone update me so I can correct this).  I do not know the exact address.  She was delivered by Dr. Willard Goodwin Noble.  An interesting note about her birth certificate, Dr. Noble made out the certificate of birth on the 24th of March and was probably filed the next day, but the certificate says it was filed on the 15th of March, the day before she was born!  L. K. Gates was the Registrar.  That is all from the State Certificate of Birth.  The Logan City Certificate of Birth all states the same except signed by H. R. Pedersen as City Recorder with W. W. Nyman as deputy.

Sandra, who had a strong dislike for the name Sandra, has always gone by Sandy.  Sandra is not a family name and was popular at the time.

Wilburn went by the name of Norwood (or “Nor”) because he did not like Wilburn.  He is shown as a laborer on the birth certificate and worked on and off at various jobs through the years.  The majority of the time he worked for Sego Milk (aka Pet Milk) in Richmond.  When the plant closed in the late ’60’s, that is why the Jonas family moved to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Norwood then began work helping construct the new Del Monte Plant in Burley.  Colleen also worked through the years at various jobs, usually working at the at the pea and other packing plants in Franklin, Idaho and Smithfield, Utah.

Sandy was the second child of Norwood and Colleen, the older being a boy born in 1952, Douglas Norwood.  Mom was later followed in 1960 by Jackie.  Neither Douglas or Jackie are family names and the family appears to used names that suited their fancy than having any tie to ancestry.

As I look at the picture, I see a happy baby.  She continued to grow into a happy little girl.

I look at our new baby, Aliza, and I see much of my mother.  While I never knew my Mom’s real face because it was rebuilt cosmetically after a wreck threw her into some barbed wire than nearly removed her face and her life, I see in this photo many features of Aliza.  Everything from the long hair on the baby, the smile and build of the face, the wrinkles in the skin of the neck, and more.  Little Aliza does not have the ears or the plumpness of this baby.  Perhaps the plumpness will arrive when she is able to sit up as Mom is able to in this photo.  We will just have to wait and see.

Bath, Birmingham, and Milton Abbas

Tonight we write from the deep countryside of Dorset.  We are staying in the little village of Milton Abbas with a cousin’s cousin.  We are both related to the Coley and Harris lines in Halesowen, England.  Peter and Cynthia Wise have taken us in a day earlier due to the fact we are not going to Merthyr-Tydfil, Wales now.  We will be with them two days.

Yesterday went terribly wrong.  We left a little late from Walkden, got stuck in a traffic queue for 1.5 hours in Stockport meaning we had to drop our visit to Chatsworth House.  Then we decided we better drop Mattersey and Misson on my Sharp family line to at least make Sudsbury Hall.  We then found out the M1 was closed with miles of traffic queue so we had to take side roads to Nottingham.  There we saw the Robin Hood sites and made our way to Sudsbury for their manor house.  Well, all the side roads were occupied with motorway traffic so we were delayed, we got lost, and in the end missed the last time to get into the home.  We got pictures with the house but Amanda was devastated we didn’t get in.

In defeat, we made our way to Hagley, near Halesowen, near Birmingham last night.  We checked into our little hotel and ran into Halesowen where we found the church of St. John the Baptism.  Interestingly, as we wandered the cemetery, we found loads of Coley, Willetts, and Harris tombstones.  Many were modern, but there were a few in which I am sure they are cousins I have in my family history file.  That made it worth it.  The other deceased I will have to do some research on to trace them back to the family and connect them in.  Hopefully I can find another person who has done research on some of the same lines and can help me with my research.  We shall see.

Today we toured Romsley, Hayley Green, and Bromsgrove near Halesowen, more sites of Coley ancestry.  We wandered and took more pictures in St. Kenelm’s church.  There were more Coleys and Willetts found there.  I was pretty excited.  None as old as in the Halesowen church, but you never know.  We hopped on the Motorway and went through Worcester, Gloucester, and finally to Bath.  There we saw the Royal Crescent, some of the Victoria Gardens, and the Roman Baths.  It is a beautiful city.  We enjoyed ourselves.  From there we wanded to Milton Abbas way out in the countryside.  We drove several miles through one car-width lanes to this village.

We are still figuring out what we will do tomorrow.  At any rate, it should be fun.

Lillian Coley’s Journals

I am happy to now make available the journals of Lillian Coley Jonas.  I know I have mentioned them earlier, but this blog site did not have the capacity to link a file at that time.  They were too big to place the entire journal’s text online.
Lillian Coley Jonas was born in Lewiston, Utah in 1898 and died in Layton, Utah in 1987.  She married Joseph Nelson Jonas in Logan, Utah in 1916.

Lillians 1961 Journal

Lillians 1962 Journal

Lillians 1963 Journal

Colleen Mary Andra’s Journal

This is the work of several hours of typing.  An hour here, an hour there, adding to a cumulative of about 10 hours over the past year.  I am happy to report, I have finally completed this task.
I never knew my Grandmother kept a journal until my Sister mentioned it to me in 2003.  I was finally able to snag it from my Aunt Jackie on the promise I would return it.  To uphold that promise and to ensure it is not lost with it going back into her hands (you would have to know the situation to understand) I have typed the entire thing up.  The same like I did with my Great Grandmother’s (Lillian Coley Jonas 1898-1987) journals.
To preserve these journals for posterity, I will place them all up here (Lillians’ will be up shortly).
This journal starts in mid 1944 and ends fall 1946.  It is her high school years and covers several noteworthy dates.  She records V-E and V-J day.  She comments about the passing and birthday of siblings.  While her entries are typically short, they do flesh out years I knew nothing of previously.  There are many sites mentioned which do not appear to be still present and even in asking older people, they do not know them either.  White City is the main location nobody seems to remember.  I assume the saw mill is the Temple Saw Mill site up Logan Canyon.  Logana was a swimming hole in Logan.  Another issue is that many people are mentioned by their first name only, and even then many by nickname.  I do not assume Dutch, Chick, and other names are actual names.  Hence my difficulty.  I fear only those closest to the situation would know who these people really where, and most of those closest don’t remember or are no longer available for asking.
There are also cultural things which have changed.  Going to a movie or swimming on Sunday is now taboo in LDS culture where they were much more common place then.  The separated meeting schedule is apparent with Sunday School and night church (Sacrament) being defined as separate meetings.  Most of us would not even make mention to the fact that we listened to the radio where it was made special mention of in this journal.  The putting up of the hair is another phrase which is not heard anymore.  Other phrases in the journal have a completely different connotation in today’s world and hopefully they will not be understood in that light.
Colleen Mary Andra was born 27 May 1928 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.  As the journal shows, the main location of most events is Preston, Idaho.  She married Wilburn Norwood Jonas 27 Sep 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada as is obvious in the journal.  I have written more about them at this link:  Jonas-Andra Wedding.
There are interesting things to note of the Jonas family as well.  The marriage of Evan and Lona, the death of Irwin Jonas, and more are to be found.  The journal definitely focuses on the Andra side in its short entries.  Norwood would die tragically in 1975.  Colleen would remarry twice more before she would pass away suddenly in 1999 from an operation.
I hope for those who read this and can add anything more, I would appreciate hearing from you.  Defining more of these people and places involved would be great help and very appreciated.  Please feel free to download a copy (by clicking on the link below) for your reading pleasure.  I beg of you for your input and recollections!

Colleen’s Journal 1944-1946