This photo was in the pictures of my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Christiansen Coley. I don’t know why. She had brothers who worked in Washington State and perhaps they sent this as a post card if they traveled through Weiser, but there was not writing on the back or any indication it was mailed. The picture is of the train station in Weiser, Washington, Idaho.
Here is another life sketch I want to share. This time of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis. John is the father of David Davis Williams and Mary Jane Williams Davis. He is the brother to my David D Williams. At some point I hope I have more history to write of David D and John Haines’ parents, but at this point there are far too many questions. In all honesty, it seems that their parents John Williams and Frances Henneys have had their history confused, merged, and corrupted by some other Williams lines. Until we can sort the real information on our line from the rest, I have delayed writing to keep from perpetuating mistakes and confusion. For example, it appears John Williams died in Ogden, Weber, Utah in 1867. But some have him merged and combined with John Williams who died in 1876, 1870, and 1867. On with the already written history.
I will offer more family information after the life sketch. I do not know who wrote this history.
“John Haines Williams was born February 1, 1829, at Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales, a son of John Williams and Frances Hennys. He was the fourth child of ten children: Frances, Elizabeth, Catherine, John, Mary, David, Sarah, Richard and Joseph. His father was a collier by trade and worked hard to sustain a large family.
“Sarah Jane Davis was born 5 July 1830 at Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, the daughter of William and Margaret Davis of Kidwelly. She was the youngest of the nine children born in this family: Margaret, Mary, Ann, William, Eliza, John, David, Lewis, and Sarah Jane.
“After their marriage, John and Sarah Jane made their home in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, where he worked in the coal mines. Here two sons were born, William and David. Upon hearing the gospel and the advantages of life in America, they worked, saved, and made plans for a new home there. Those who emigrated in their party were: John, Sarah Jane, their sons, William and David, his father, John Williams, then a widower, and his two brothers, David and wife and Richard. They took passage from Liverpool, England with a group of Saints in the year 1855, spending eight weeks on the water.
“Landing in New York, they went to Scranton, Pennsylvania to make their home. While living there, the men worked in the coal mines. At Scranton, two more children were born, Thomas John and Ann. The family lived in Scranton until 1859 and then came west, making their home in Ogden, Utah for several years. There Eliza Bell, Sarah, John, and Mary were born.
“When a group of Saints were leaving for southeastern Idaho, John and Sarah Jane and their eight children went with them and settled in Malad Valley. At first, they lived in Woodruff where George and Frances were born. Later they moved to Malad and took up a homestead of three hundred twenty acres at Gwenford. There they worked hard clearing the land of sage by hand to prepare it for planting.
“John Haines was a lover of fine horses and cattle. Many people of the valley bought animals from him. They built a three-room log house and were happy in their new home. Here Joseph, the eleventh child, was born.
“Desiring the best in education for their children and having a desire to share their happiness in the truths of the gospel, Thomas was sent to Europe and labored as an L.D.S. missionary in England and Wales. After his return home he attended school and taught school for many years. This privilege could not be afforded the others after the death of their father.
“Sarah Jane was a very proud, cultured and refined woman, a wonderful homemaker, seamstress and cook. Many enjoyed her delicious home-cooked meals. She had to make bread nearly every day. The Indians were prowlers at that time. They came to her home often, but she believed in the admonition of President Brigham Young; It is better to feed them than fight them. This she did.
“John Haines died on January 20, 1882 at the age of fifty-three. Sarah Jane worked very hard caring for her family. Her daughter, Frances, lived with her until her mother=s death on August 4, 1892. They were both buried in the Malad City Cemetery.”
Some more family history information.
John Haines Williams born 1 February 1829 in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 20 January 1882 in Gwenford, Oneida, Idaho. He was buried 23 January 1882 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho.
Sarah Jane Davis born 5 July 1830 in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 4 August 1892 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho. She was buried 7 August 1892 in Malad.
John and Sarah were married in 1849 in Kidwelly.
Their children are:
William Davis Williams born 20 June 1850 in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 10 May 1916 in Malad. Buried 13 May 1916 in Malad. Married Hannah Maria Thomas (1849-1900) 10 April 1871 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.
David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 June 1927 in Samaria. Buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria. Married Rebecca Price Williams (1857-1936) 31 December 1877 in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho.
Catherine Williams born 4 April 1854 in Llanelli and died 27 March 1856 in Pennsylvania.
Thomas Davis Williams born 3 August 1856 in Hyde Park, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania and died 24 January 1900 in Woodruff, Oneida, Idaho. Buried 27 January 1900 in Samaria. Married Mary Ann Davis (1860-1895) 20 January 1881 in Samaria. He married Agnes Ellen Bowen (1868-1943) 18 May 1897 in Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah (married by Rudger Clawson, later LDS Apostle and member of the First Presidency).
Ann Ellen Williams born 11 April 1861 in Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania and died 26 August 1936 in Malad. Buried 28 August 1936 in Malad. Married Joshua “Jessie” Lewis Thomas (1857-1928) 26 March 1888 in Malad.
Sarah Williams born 3 May 1862 in Ogden, Weber, Utah. We don’t know anything more about her.
Eliza Bell Williams born 4 June 1963 in Ogden and died 15 September 1941 in Samaria. Buried 19 September 1941 in Samaria. Married William Lewis Jones (1857-1889) 19 January 1887 in Logan, Cache, Utah.
Mary Jane Williams born 8 April 1864 in Ogden and died 20 March 1903 in Samaria. Buried 24 March 1903 in Samaria. Married Samuel Deer Davis (1859-1923) 10 October 1882 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.
John Haines Williams born 18 February 1866 in Ogden and died 9 August 1956 in Malad. Buried 11 August 1956 in Samaria. Married Rebecca Morse (1869-1938) 14 February 1886 in Malad.
George Haines Williams born 15 October 1867 in Woodruff and died 26 December 1950 in Woodruff. Buried 29 December 1950 in Samaria. Married Sarah Elizabeth Morse (1872-1908) 20 September 1890 in Samaria.
Frances Williams born 10 April 1870 in Woodruff and died 18 July 1948 in Woodruff. Buried 20 July 1948 in Samaria. Married Samuel John Williams (1865-1943) 14 December 1898 in Samaria.
Joseph Davis Williams born 15 January 1872 in Malad and died 5 November 1943 in Samaria. Buried 9 November 1943 in Samaria. Married Rachel Morse (1872-1937) 18 August 1896 in Samaria.
This is from the autobiography of Ivan Stephen Coley. I recently wrote on the passing of his widow, Clara McMurdie Coley.
Since Ivan does not give much background information, I will provide some. Ivan is the sister to my Lillian Coley Jonas. Ivan is the sixth of ten children born to Martha Christiansen and Herbert Coley born 26 June 1912 in Richmond, Cache, Utah. He married Clara McMurdie on 22 October 1930 in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho. Ivan and Clara had four children. Ivan passed away 22 September 1994 in Buhl. He was buried 27 September 1994 in West End Cemetery near Buhl. Clara just joined him this year.
I was born in the little town of Richmond, Utah in Cache Valley. We lived up in the foothills called Nebo, about 3 1/2 miles from town. It was really pretty up there. You could see all over the valley.
The snow really got deep in the wintertime. In the spring when the snow melted, the field flowers would come up. It sure was pretty.
I was one of ten children with four sisters and five brothers. We didn’t have a car so we had to hitch the horses up to the white-top buggy when we went to church. In the winter we used the bobsleds. Sometimes the show would be so deep that you didn’t know where the road was. Sometimes I would ride skis or hand sleigh to school in the winter. We had to pack our lunches because they didn’t have hot school lunches then.
I remember in the first grade, we had a pot bellied stove and the teacher would have to keep putting coal in it to keep the room warm. The toilets were outside.
I would help the neighbor do chores and feed calves and help take the milk to the creamery. Once in a while they would give me ten or fifteen cents spending money.
My dad had an old buckboard and he said he wanted to get it over to the house. One day when my parents weren’t home, I decided to hook the horse up to the buckboard and pull it over to the house for my dad. It didn’t have any shavs to guide it so I just put a chain on it to get it to the house. I was doing okay until the wheel hit a rock and the other wheel hit the horse in the belly. The horse got scared and ran away and I fell off the buckboard. It tore out about 100 yards of fence. When I got up, the horse was down by the haystack eating hay. I was afraid to tell my dad about it for fear that I would get my butt kicked because he had told me not to do it.
Dad finally bought a house close to town so it would be easier for us kids to get to school in the winter. One day they left me and my older brother Wilford home alone. He was frying sausage and I was standing with my back to the stove trying to keep warm. He stuck the hot fork that he was frying the meat with on the back of neck. I got warm in one spot and you could see the mark of the fork tines in my neck.
I was sick a lot when I was young. The doctors said that I had liver trouble. I was ruptured and had to wear a truss for seven years. I finally got to where I didn’t have to wear it anymore.
I didn’t know what a long pair of dress pants were until I was about thirteen. We wore levis or kickerbockers pants that came just below the knees and buttoned. I also wore long black socks that came up to the knees.
At Christmas we didn’t get things like they do now. We would get a little wagon and it had to be for all of us. Our gifts were mostly clothes. We may get an orange, some hardtack and sugar candy and that was a treat for us.
Mother would take the eggs to town in a milk bucket and trade them for groceries. We didn’t know what hand soap and shampoo were then as we just used the old laundry soap and mother made most of it. About once a week we would get a little butter for our bread. We used mostly fryings from the bacon and dipped our bread or biscuits into it. It was really good. About the only time we would get cake or pie was on a holiday or birthday. We didn’t get both cake and pie together and we only got one piece when we did get it.
I used to ride about eight miles to Lewiston with my dad to take a wagon load of wheat to the mill to have it ground for flour and cereal. We brought the bran home for the hogs every fall for our winter supply as we couldn’t go to town every day like they do now. We would get snowed in sometimes and couldn’t get to town for several days. Then we would have to go through the fields as the roads would be drifted full.
We didn’t have a telephone. The only ones that had a phone were the rich people. The phones then had a little crank on the side of them and you had to crank it before you could get the operator.
I worked for Melvin Smith in Richmond milking cows and plowing for $5.00 a month. There was one time I was plowing and the horses took off for the barn. I couldn’t get the plow out of the ground. I must have plowed a furrow about 1/4 mile long. The horses didn’t stop until they got to the barn. I went to unhitch them from the plow and one horse kicked me in the leg. It made me mad and I was going to quit but I was afraid to tell the boss so I worked a little longer. I was only about 23 or 13 years old at the time.
On the days we had to spare, some of the neighbors would get together and round up some of the cattle. We would put them in a corral and have a rodeo. I rode the first one and we put a surcingle on him. The bigger boys put me on him and turned me loose. He sure did some bucking, but I stayed on. They passed a hat around and got about 25 or 30 cents and they gave it to me. I sure was ticked to death to get it.
I didn’t go to school very much. My folks would send me and I would play hookey. I would go anywhere but to school. Now I can see where I made a mistake as I hurt no one but myself.
My uncle was blind. I would lead him from door to door selling church books for several days and he gave me 15 cents.
I never did get to go to the circus. I would ride the streetcar to Logan once in a while though and see a show. It cost 10 cents to ride the streetcar and 10 cents to see the show. You didn’t get popcorn or candy to eat in the theater then.
My brother and I were sleeping on the porch and the dog started barking in the middle of the night. I raised up in bed and saw a man coming up toward the house. I reached over and got the gun and fired a shot. It hit the drain pip on the side of the house. My brother-in-law came running out of the house to see what the shooting was all about. Whoever it was took off and never came back. It sure scared me.
One time one of my friends and I rode a horse to Franklin, Idaho. That was about 10 miles from where we lived. This was in the middle of the winter and we had gone to check on some cattle. It was sure cold (about 20 degrees below zero). I rode back in the middle of the night. I came to the neighbors who had a sheep wagon. I went inside and there was a little wood in it. I built a fire and laid down on the bed springs. There was no bedding because they had taken it out for the winter. I nearly froze to death. I sure was glad to see morning come. The neighbor took me to his house and gave me breakfast because I hadn’t had anything to eat since dinner the day before.
The first time I ever tasted corn flakes was up to the neighbors. They put sugar and real straight cream on it. I thought I would founder as I had tasted nothing like that before. We didn’t know what prepared cereal was in those days and we called it mush.
I remember one time my dad made some elderberry wine and put it up in the attic in the house. Every once in a while you would hear one go “BANG” as it blew up. One time we had an old man over for supper. He was an old man with long whiskers who we called “Grandpa Andrews”. Dad went up in the attic to get a bottle of wine. He went to open the bottle and it blew the cork out and hit the ceiling and Grandpa Andrews’ whiskers. It sure went off with a bang. One of the kids ran outside hollering “Grandpa got shot!” I sure did laugh. They got another bottle and one held it while the other tried to open it and it blew the pitcher out of their hand. I don’t think anyone got wine that night.
When I wasn’t very old, I remember my dad and I went to thin beets to buy a bull. I had a dog called “Bob” once and we used to hook him to the hand sleigh and haul the milk to the neighbor’s house about two blocks away as Bob pulled the sleigh. Wherever I went the dog was with me. The neighbor gave me a calf that broke his leg and I killed it and used it for coyote bait. I poisoned some of it. I thought the dog was home but he must have followed me. He got some of the poison and it killed him.
I used to go out at night and sit on the haystack in the winter and shoot those big mountain hare rabbits with a shotgun. I would sell them for 5 cents apiece. Sometimes I would get for and five a shot as the rabbits were so thick they would undermine the haystacks.
We had homemade skis. They were about 5 inches wide. All they had to hold them on your feet were a 3/4 inch strap to go over the foot and a broomstick split and nailed on the skis to go under the arch. They turned the toes up on the skis by driving a nail in them and using a wife, twisting it and steaming the skis. They way I learned to ride the skis was to straddle a long stick and have it drag behind me. It worked really good. If you wanted to slow down, yo would pull upon the front of the stick and sit down real hard on it. It would dig in the snow and slow you down. After we learned to ride good, we didn’t hold on to anything.
When I was a kid there were very few deer and elk because people killed them for their hides. I can remember when they brought some elk, 4 cows, and a bull on a boxcar and turned them loose in the hills. They closed the season on them. You couldn’t hunt for several years. Then they got so thick that they would come down and eat the farmers’ haystacks at night.
My sister, her husband, and her husband’s family moved to Buhl, Idaho in the fall and the next summer I went to Franklin, Idaho to get a job on the highway. They said they didn’t hire kids. “I was 16 at the time.” A friend of mine and I decided to keep going the rest of the way to Buhl. We hitch-hiked all the way! We got off on the wrong road and ended up in Blackfoot so we had to go back to Pocatello. I didn’t have any money and my friend had 11 cents. A sheepherder picked us up and we slept on the desert that night. He took us to Pocatello and bought us some breakfast, which sure tasted good. He got us on the right road for Buhl. We would get a ride for a few miles, then we would have to walk again. All we had to eat were a few apricots. We finally made it after 2 or 3 days.
I sure was glad to get a job sorting some spuds. They had a mule to pull the sorter. The people would pick the spuds and dump them on the sorter and I would sort them. They sorter didn’t have any wheels under it, it just had runners. After we got the spuds all sorted out, they didn’t have any money to pay me. They said that we could have spuds for pay. We took the car out and got several sacks of spuds. I gave them to my future in-laws as I was living with them at this time.
I later got a job working for a man in Castleford for $15 a month as they would only pay a kid half a man’s wages. I would have to get up and help do chores and be out in the field by 7 o’clock a.m. and work until 6 o’clock that night. Once a week I would go to Buhl and take the whole family to a show. They had family ight once a week at that time. The whole family could go to the show for 50 cents. They all looked forward to this. A bull killed the man I worked for that summer.
I quit Claude Browns, went back to Utah, and stayed there until spring. Then I came back to Buhl and started to work for Roy Fait. I helped them tear the old livery stable down. The West One Bank is located there now. I helped them put a miniature golf course in there. I mixed the green for it from sand, sawdust, and feathers. I can’t remember what we used to make it green. Then we had to use a heavy roller to smooth it down. This is when I bought my first car, a 1922 Overland.
Rulon McMurdie and I went to the Shoshone Basin one day to hunt sage hens and on the way up my car quit so we pushed it to the side of the road. A day or two later we went back to get it and someone had pushed it down an embankment about 100 feet and we had to drive it down the canyon to get it out. I drove it back to Buhl and took it to a guy to have it fixed. He charged me $125 dollars and I couldn’t pay him so I just gave him the car.
Rulon and I were working for a guy milking cows. When we turned them out of the barn, we would grab them by the tail, pull it over their back, grab a hand full of hide on their neck, jump on their backs, and ride them out of the barn. They sure would buck. We had a lot of fun until one stepped on my leg and I thought for sure she broke it. That ended the riding of milk cows.
We were down fishing in the Salmon Canyon and my little dog was lying down just a little way from me. I heard a noise and turned around and there was a rattle snake. It had bitten my dog and a little while later he died. It didn’t take me long to get out of there. It sure did scare me.
Rulon and I went duck hunting and a man came out to tell us to get out of there. We asked him who he thought he was talking to. He said, “Who are you?” and I said, “I am the Game Warden.” He left us alone and we went on hunting. We would also stop cars for one light being out and tell them they had better get it fixed. I made a badge out of a piece of tin. They didn’t argue with me. I guess they thought I was a Traffic Cop.
Rulon and I went trapping for muskrats on Deep Creek. There was a boat there and I got in it to go to the other side. I got almost in the middle of the creek and the boat tipped over with me in it. I thought for sure I was going to drown because I had a sheep skin coat and a pair of hip boots on. Rulon just sat on the bank laughing at me. I finally got out and thought I would freez to death because it was snowing and blowing. We couldn’t even make a fire because there wasn’t anything to burn so we got in Rulon’s old Model-T Ford with no top on it and drove home. I was sure glad to get to a warm house.
We were coming home one evening and there was a truck load of apples ahead of us. I got the lariat rope and got on the front of the car. I was going to lariat a box of them and just as I got close enough to throw, they turned the corner into Buhl so we didn’t get any apples.
Every time we would go down the road passed this man’s house, a mean dog would come out after us. I told Rulon the next time he came out after us, I would shoot him and sure enough, he came out after us and I shot and killed him. That night the sheriff came and said he wanted to talk to us. He took us up to the City Hall. The guy was there that owned the dog. We knew then that we were in trouble. He said I shot the dog and hit his boy and I called him a damn liar. The sheriff said, “none of that” and he got me by the shoulder and locked us both up in jail all night. We didn’t have anything to eat all that night and the next morning. Rulon’s mother and sister, Carrie, brought us something to eat. We sure were glad to see them. They let us out that afternoon. That really taught us a lesson to be good as we didn’t want to go to jail again. They just had the old iron beds and we didn’t have any blankets. That learned us to be good kids as I thought if that is the way jails were, we didn’t want any part of them.
The government wanted me, and friend of mine, and some other men to round up wild horses, and drive them from Bliss, Idaho to Elko, Nevada. They corralled them there and shipped them out on a train. I don’t know now where to, but we didn’t go because this man’s wife didn’t want him to go. They said we wouldn’t be riding the same horse when we got there as we did when we left.
I started dating Clara McMurdie when I worked at the golf course. We had known each other in grade school in Richmond, Utah. My sister, Carrie, married her brother, Lorus. They moved to Buhl, Idaho and that’s why I came to Buhl. I stayed in Buhl for a while and then went back to Richmond. I wrote to Buhl to ask Clara’s folks if we could get married. I thought if they said no, I was far enough away from them that they couldn’t shoot me. “Ha, ha!” But they did say yes so my dad, my mother, and I went to Buhl and we got married at her parent’s home. They next morning we went back to Richmond to live.
I worked on my dad’s ranch for 2 years. I packed groceries back in the mountains to my brother and brother-in-law on pack horses as they were up there getting wood out. We would put two drags of wood that we pulled on 2 horses and we hooked one drag behind the other so the other would hold it back going down the mountain. It just took one horse to drag it down the hill then we would get the bobsled and take it the rest of the way home.
I used to drive a covered school wagon in the winter. It was a covered bobsleigh with a hole big enough to put the lines through to drive it and a little window to see through. I got a dollar a day for driving it. We had to furnish the horses, bobsleigh, and wagon.
We lived with my folks in one small room of their house. That spring, we moved into a place closer to town. We only stayed there a little over a month because we couldn’t afford the rent (it was $5.00). So we moved back with my folks again. That fall, we moved into a little 2-room log house. It cost us 6 dollars a month. It got so cold we couldn’t keep the rooms warm so we moved our bedspring and mattress out onto the kitchen floor. We nearly froze to death. You could see through the cracks in the logs. We only stayed there 1 week and we moved back with my folks again. We tried to get them to give us back some of our rent money and they wouldn’t do it.
In the spring, our oldest daughter (Sarah Colleen) was born in the same house and same room that I was born in. We had to go and get the doctor in a white top buggy as the roads were too muddy. They wouldn’t get there in a car.
That fall, I threshed the grain and got 50 dollars for my share. I also topped beets and made 35 dollars. This is when we moved to Buhl, Idaho. My brother-in-law, Lorus McMurdie, came down with his car and got us as we didn’t have a car. We moved in with my wife’s folks. They lived in an old hotel on 8th street.
Lorus and I took two teams of horses and wagons and drove them up in the Shoshone Basin and cut wood. All we took with us to eat was spuds, bread, onions, fruit, and bacon. The spuds froze. We had to scoop the snow off the ground to put our quilts on the ground to sleep because we didn’t have a sleeping bag or tent. We would get cold, so we walked alongside the wagon and drove the horses. One of our loads of wood slipped off the side of the road. We camped there that night and reloaded the wagon the next morning. It was so cold, the edge of our quilt froze to the ground. We were supposed to get 3 dollars a cord for the wood (split and cut). He never did pay us.
I went to work for Jess Eastman. We walked to work and back. I had to be there at 7 o’clock in the morning and work until 7 o’clock at night. It was four miles down there and four miles back. If we were lucky, we would get a ride once and a while. We had to take our own lunch. Once in a while after I got home, I would go back to work at Shields warehouse shoveling clover seed in bins until 10 o’clock or midnight and be ready for work again at 7 o’clock the next morning.
We lived with my wife’s folks in that old hotel. The next spring we moved down closer to our work. One night I came home and there were a bundh of people there and I couldn’t figure out why. I soon found they had a strawberry roan horse for me to break and ride. They said if I could ride it they would buy me a new cowboy hat. I put the saddle on it and snubbed it up to another horse. I climbed on her and they turned her loose. The first jump she made, my hat flew off and she tore every button off my shirt. She sure did some bucking and bawling. You could hear her for a half mile. She headed for a rock fence and Lorus, my brother-in-law, was on his horse. He tried to keep her away from the rock fence and his stirrup on the saddle broke and he fell off. When the horse got to the rock fence she turned and quit bucking. I rode her every day for three weeks and every time I got on her she wanted to buck. I won my new hat, but I sure did earn it! I bought a fat cow for 10 dollars and butchered her. We didn’t have a deep freezer at that time so we hung the meat outside and hoped it stayed frozen. Some of it thawed out and froze again and boy did we get a belly ache. We sure did run races for the outhouse (ha, ha!).
We didn’t have electricity or telephones. I finally got enough money to buy a Model T Ford for 25 dollars and we didn’t have to walk so much anymore. We finally moved ourselves down to Jess Eastman’s and I worked for him for 3 years. He didn’t have the money to hire us any longer, so we got me a job uptown sorting spuds for 15 cents an hour. We would go at 7 o’clock a.m and sometimes work until midnight nearly every night. We finally bought the old shack we were living in for 50 dollars and moved it on a lot on 8th Street in Buhl. It cost us 15 dollars to have it moved. It was the first house on lower 8th Street in Buhl at that time. The house was 2 rooms and the walls were plastered with mud and straw. We took cheesecloth and old rags and pasted on the walls then we wallpapered over that and made it real cute. We had orange crates nailed on the walls for cupboards. We bought the lot next to us for 25 dollars. We just lived there a short time. Our son, “Bud” Lorus, was born.
Then we moved to Castleford and I farmed for a guy for 30 dollars a month. He hired 2 other men to help me farm it. He paid one 15 dollars and the other 10 dollars a month and we had to board and feed them. He gave us a table and chairs for their board. We still have their chairs. We started breaking horses and we hitched them up to the wagon one time and they ran away. The lane they ran down wasn’t wide enough for the wagon as it was just a cow lane. They tore the wagon all to pieces and all they had left when they stopped was the tongue and front wheels.
We stayed here for about a year and a half and then we moved and worked for another man for about a year. He made me mad as he didn’t keep his promise to give me a couple of heifers. I was bunching clover with a pitchfork and he came and told me he couldn’t give them to me. He promised me that spring that if I would stay with him, he would give them to me as a bonus and that fall he backed out on his deal. I told him I was going to quit and he said I couldn’t. So I showed him I could and left the pitchfork in the field and walked out on him.
The next day we went to Utah and saw my folks. When we came back we moved again to Melon Valley (known as Little Country Club). We only stayed there a short time until spring. I would walk to town (about 4 miles) to sort spuds as we couldn’t afford to drive the car. Sometimes we would stay all day waiting to work and they would come tell us that we wouldn’t be working that day and to come back tomorrow.
It was cold and I was going to drive the car that morning. I couldn’t afford alcohol at that time as there wasn’t any anti-freeze in those days, so I put fuel oil in the radiator. It got hot and blew it all out, so I had to put water in it and drain it out when I got to work, then put more in it when I came home and cover the radiator with a blanket to keep it from freezing.
I bought a cow for 30 dollars and had her for a while. Then I traded her for 2 heifers that were going to freshen. I took them to my father-in-law’s and when they freshened, he milked them. Later, I bought another one and let him milk her too for the milk as we had moved to Castleford. I worked for a man out there for 30 dollars a month and he wouldn’t let me keep them. I worked there for about 2 years and then we moved to Melon Valley where we rented a place from Stan Webber.
We got 1300 dollars from FHA and bought some cows, a team of horses, and some machinery to get started with. We didn’t think we would ever pay it back as that seemed like a lot of money to us, but in 2 years, we had it paid off. It was a hard struggle and some of our horses died. One died with colic and one foundered on grain and died. Our cattle kept dying and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We finally found out they were eating wild parsnips. Another time we woke up in the night and saw the chicken coop was on fire. WE jumped out of bed and ran to get the neighbors. They came to help us put the fire out, but it was too late. It burned down the coop and one hundred little chicks. We had 6 hens setting outside the coop and they burned right on the nests as the dump things wouldn’t leave their nests. I had just went to town that day and bought one hundred pounds of chick feed and kerosene for the brooder as we didn’t have electricity. I had been sleeping out in the coop in order to watch the brooder so it didn’t get too hot. I decided to sleep in the house that night as they had been getting along so good. It’s a good thing I did or I might have been roasted with the chickens!
We used to go salmon fishing. Sometimes it was a lot of fun when they let us spear them. I went elk, deer, and antelope hunting as it was a lot of fun. We usually got our limit of game. I killed a big brown bear and had a rug made of it and a few years later, I got a little black cub. We had him mounted standing up on a frame.
We rented the ranch for 3 years and decided what money we were giving for rent, we might just as well be buying it. We bought the one hundred sixty acres for 10 thousand dollars. We sure did raise some good beets and potatoes. We used to have good times there. Every Saturday night, there would be a get-together of the valley people. We would take our families and have a dance and potluck. We sure did have fun and the little kids would dance. We wouldn’t have to worry where they were or what they were doing.
Our third child Clarene RaNae was born. After that my health wasn’t very good. I had to have surgery and we had to borrow $8,060 and mortgage everything we had to get the money. We bought a few more cows to milk as we figured that was the only way we could pay the money back. We had a hard struggle but we made it. We farmed and lived on that place for 21 years, then we sold it to our neighbor and moved to town where we are living now.
I got a job for the City where I worked for 8 1/2 years. I got hurt on the job and had to quit as the doctor said I wasn’t able to do any hard work again.
I always tried to go fishing and hunting every year. One time, my father-in-law and I and about 4 others went in the Selway to hunt elk. WE got snowed in for 12 days. The guy that packed the hunters in and out lost 17 head of pack mules over a cliff as they tied one behind the other as they had to follow a narrow trail around the mountain. We asked the guy that lost them if he ever found them again. He said “Yes, everyone of them came home later on”. It was about 70 miles from where he lost them to where he lived. One of the hunters that he had packed in had a heart attack and died while we were there and all we had to get him out of there was my horse and the packers horse. We left camp at 7 o’clock that night and didn’t get him to camp til about 7 o’clock the next morning as the horses had to wade in snow to their bellies. We left him in one of the camps for 2 days until the forest service could get in to get him out.
Another time we went in we rolled my two mules down the mountain. It didn’t hurt them. We got them out again. Another time two other saddle horses rolled down the mountain within about 30 minutes apart. It sure was steep, but we had a good time and would look forward to going back the next year. My father-in-law said I know I should not have came and maybe you would have got your elk and wouldn’t have got snowed in. We just laughed.
The other time, I took my father-in-law fishing and we were in the boats. I cast my line out and didn’t think I case out far enough. When I reeled in, I had a pair of glasses on my hook. I couldn’t figure out where they came from. Dad felt his eyes and his glasses were gone. He said, “How in the devil did that happen? I thought I felt something jerk on my ears”. We sure did have a good laugh out of that. He often talked about it and had a good laugh. I still don’t know how I ever hooked onto them without him knowing it. We sure had some good times together. One other time, we had been up to Galena Summit getting out corral poles. We were coming home and we had a horse in a trailer. A car was trying to pass us and she ran off the side of the road. It looked like she was going to hit a telephone pole. She swerved back onto the road and she it our car on the hind wheel and it threw the horse out of the trailer onto the front of our car. It hurt his back and he couldn’t get up so we had to shoot him.
We used to take our children camping and fishing when they were little. Then came the grandchildren. We used to take them fishing and camping. We sure did enjoy having them with us. Now they are growing up and have their friends and activities. So now we just go alone. We sure do miss them but we still have our memories of the past. Would like to relieve some of the happy ones again.
Had Ivan of lived one more month, we could have celebrated our 64th wedding anniversary as he passed away on the 22nd of September, 1994. Our anniversary was the 22nd of October. He hadn’t been well for a long time as he got to where he couldn’t see to drive a car and was going to the doctor off and on for a year or two. They didn’t seem to know what was wrong with him until it was too late. They found out it was melanoma cancer of the rectum. They operated on him on January 18,1994 and they said they got 99.9 percent of it. They thought they had the worst of it, but he lived just 8 months longer when he passed away.
We bought us a nice self contained trailer house. It had a propane refrigerator in it. It sure was nice, but we didn’t get to enjoy it very much as he didn’t feel like going. We bought it the year before.
The last month, he sure suffered. We sure had a lot of memories behind us. A lot of them were good and a lot of them were bad. We wondered sometimes if we would make it. But I guess that’s the way life is. As they say, we have to have trials to learn to appreciate the good times and we had a lot of good times together. I sure miss them and him. But we still had a lot of good memories.
I am sharing this life sketch of David Davis Williams and Rebecca Price Williams. The original version was written by William Jenkin Williams and found in the records of Eliza Williams Rees with insights from her granddaughter Betty Mifflin Bushman taken from family interviews and her own experience. For the most part I will stick to the original history. I do not have any photos to share, but since I have the history, I wanted to make it available.
Before I jump into the rest of the life sketch, I think it is important to connect these individuals to my family history. I have previously written of the marriage between David D Williams and Gwenllian Jordan. David D Williams had a brother named John Haines Williams. David Davis Williams is the son of John Haines Williams.
I will provide more family information after the life sketch.
“David D. Williams was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales on June 19, 1852, a son of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis. He came to the United States with his parents, settling first in Pennsylvania in 1858. In 1860 the family moved to Ogden, Utah, crossing the plains with in a handcart company led by Captain Elias Morris. It was the second ox team to land in Ogden. From there the family went north to the Malad Valley where they settled in Muddy Creek, living in a dugout where some of the children were born. They later moved to Gwenford.
“Rebecca P. Williams was born on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1857, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, a daughter of Jenkin Williams and Eliza Price. She was baptized (LDS) in Wales on December 11, 1867 by her father, Jenkin, and confirmed by John Thomas. With her parents, she came to this country for the gospel’s sake, settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After living there two years, they went to the Malad Valley in the year 1872.
“On Rebecca’s birthday, December 31, 1877, she and David were married in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho by Justice of the Peace William H. Waytell in the presence of Benjamin Waldron and Mary Ann Daniels.
“David was baptized (LDS) 8 March 1878 by John Evan Price and confirmed by Samuel D. Williams.
“He and Rebecca took up a farm in Gwenford where they lived for about twenty years. During this time David operated a freighting business between Kelton, Utah and Helena, Montana, a trip that would take him about three months. He served as a deputy sheriff, was the first Chief of Police of Samaria, Idaho, and even worked as a blacksmith. Later he went into the confectionery business and operated a business and general store, D.D. Williams Candy Kitchen, with Rebecca in Samaria until his death June 27, 1927. He was a man, it is said, who could not be idle. His daughter, Eliza, described him as a wonderful husband and father. His granddaughter, Mae Rees Mifflin, remembers him with great fondness also. She named her first child, Darla Dean, after her grandfather. It is a wonder that Darla was not nicknamed Dee Dee too.
“About him, a grandson, Ray Earl Rees, told the following story: Their daughter, Eliza (Ray’s mother), had a washing machine. In order to help her elderly parents, she would do their laundry. Every Monday morning Grandpa David would drive his buggy the few miles to Malad with a bundle of clothes for her to wash. Grandpa would drive the team around to the north road and enter the farmyard by the back way. About the time he was expected, Ray would wait out by the gate to open it for his grandfather. Then he would climb up in the buggy with him and ride up to the house. Always Grandpa Williams had a sack of candy for Ray. He could depend on that treat and waited eagerly for it each Monday morning.
“When the family would visit their grandparents in Samaria, it was a treat to go in to the store and see all the candies on display behind the glass counter. Rather than give the children candy, Grandpa Williams would give them each a nickel and let them do the choosing. They were not allowed to go around the counter, but while he smiled encouragement to them, they would stand before the counter and choose their treat.
“He was the sweetest man who ever drew a breath, Ray said about his grandfather.
“David was always a prominent figure in our childhood stories about family as our mother was said to be his favorite. He even appeared to her to tell her goodbye after his death.
“It seemed so romantic to my sister and me that he and Rebecca married on my favorite holiday of the year, New Year’s Eve. That day was also Rebecca’s twentieth birthday. Her present was our handsome, nice great-grandfather. What a perfect party time to have a wedding anniversary.
“Rebecca is remembered by her daughter, Eliza, as a wonderful mother and homemaker, never being one to go away from home. She had a wonderful alto voice and when the children were small, she would often gather them around and sing to them.
“After her children grew up and married, she helped her husband in keeping the confectionery store. Many remember stopping there as youngsters on their way to Mutual to share a soda and socialize. They were always reminded not to be late for their church meeting by Rebecca, who would usher them out the door at ten minutes ’till. Later the teenagers would reunite there to pick up where they had left off.
“Her daughter, Eliza, described her this way, Rebecca P. Williams was loved by all who knew her. She was kind to everyone and did not have an enemy on earth.
“Great-Grandmother Rebecca was always a colorful figure to my sister and me. As the youngest surviving child in her family of eleven children, we loved the story of how when the family came from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, she was assigned to carry a beautiful crystal bowl for her mother. With it wrapped in a shawl, fourteen-year-old Rebecca later carefully tended it all the way to Idaho. Through interesting circumstances, that bowl was inherited by our grandmother, then Mama, and finally Darla. Since Darla also inherited Grandma Rees’ beautiful china closet, it seemed quite natural that the Welsh bowl would always rest inside it. At any rate, I never ever expected it to be mine. One day when I was picking up Darla to bring her to my house for a day’s visit, her daughter, Alyce, walked out to the car with us. In her hands, Darla was carrying something wrapped in a piece of fabric. She handed it to me with a smile saying that she had a present for me as a little thank you gift because I was so good to her. With Alyce looking on and smiling too, I turned back the cloth to see the Welsh bowl. Ignoring my protests that it was hers and that I could not accept it, she said she knew it would be safer in my home, that I would take good care of it and always treasure it. Alyce said they had talked it over and both felt that it should be mine. How I love to hold and admire that bowl. Made of clear glass in a square shape, scalloped edging runs along its rim and base. With a small pedestal and lion heads at each square corner, it is truly a work of art and indeed a special item. I love knowing of its history and importance in our family. When we would look at it as children and hear its story, it was always viewed in quiet awe or discussed in hushed tones. Never, ever, did I think it would be mine. I felt amazed, quite honored, and a bit afraid of the responsibility.
“David died on 27 June 1927 after an illness of eight months.
“Later Grandma Rebecca moved to Malad where she resided just across the street from her daughter, Eliza. I remember Grandma carefully preparing a plate of dinner each evening for her mother. It was usually the job of Uncle Ray to deliver it with a caution to hurry so it would be hot for his grandmother. When I was around, he would often grab me by the hand and together we would dance across the street as he deftly carried the napkin covered plate in one hand and dragged me along with the other.
“I remember her as a frail little lady, a bob of white hair on top of her head, wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose as she looked us over. Books and magazines were plentiful in her small apartment and always a deck of cards. In addition to reading, she liked to play games, playing Solitaire to entertain herself when no one else was around.
“Rebecca died on March 30, 1936 at the age of 84, a few months before my fifth birthday.
“Both are buried in the Samaria Cemetery.
“Thirteen children were born to David and Rebecca, five boys and eight girls: Sarah, William Jenkin who died in infancy, Mary, David, Phoebe, Jenkin, Eliza, Margaret, John, Catharine, Beatrice, Frances Orenda who died as a baby, and George.”
Some more family history information.
David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 Jun 1927 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho. He was buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria.
Rebecca Price Williams born 31 December 1857 in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales and died 30 March 1936 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho. She was buried 2 April 1936 in Samaria.
David and Rebecca were married 31 December 1877 in St Johns, Oneida, Idaho.
Their children are:
Sarah Elizabeth Williams born 22 August 1878 in Samaria and died 31 February 1968. Buried in Draper, Salt Lake, Utah. She married James Benjamin McGuire (1872-1952) 30 September 1900 in Samaria.
John Jenkin Williams born and died 23 September 1879 in Samaria. Buried in Samaria.
Mary Jane Williams born 10 April 1881 in Samaria and died 14 January 1975. Buried in St Johns. She married John Nelson Hill (1872-1913) 22 February 1899 in St Johns.
David Joseph Williams born 26 February 1883 in Samaria and died 4 April 1973. Buried in Malad. He married Ester “Essie” Katherine Munsee (1888-1967) 25 March 1908 in Ogden.
Phoebe Ann Williams born 12 December 1884 in Samaria and died 15 March 1942 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Buried in Riverton, Salt Lake, Utah. She married Thomas Charles Jones (1883-1922) 4 July 1903 in Samaria.
William Jenkin Williams born 24 Jul 1886 in Samaria and died 5 Jun 1963. Buried in Samaria. Married Mary Mae John (1901-1989) 26 February 1921.
Eliza Mae Williams born 10 February 1888 in Samaria and died 6 July 1967 in Ogden. Buried in Ogden. Married Gomer Vaughan Rees (1883-1971) 24 November 1904 in Samaria.
Margaret Rebecca Williams born 25 November 1889 in Samaria and died 9 November 1980. Buried in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas, Ohio. Married Walter Russell Ripley (1895-1979) 13 December 1913 in Malad.
John Haines Williams born 31 May 1891 in Samaria and died 25 February 1957 in Malad. Buried in Malad. Married Eleanor Jones (1899-1975) 29 March 1916 in Malad.
Catharine Zina Williams born 14 August 1893 in Samaria and died 19 Oct 1988 in Salt Lake City. Buried in Malad. Married Elijah R van Ables (1892-1961) 12 December 1920 in Malad.
Beatrice Estella Williams born 30 July 1894 in Samaria and died 9 December 1976. Married Carl William Jones (1892-1958) 4 April 1913 in Malad, later divorced. Married Allen John Keehn (1888-1957) 16 November 1938 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.
Frances Orenda Williams born 6 May 1897 in Samaria and died 10 September 1897 in Samaria.
George Thomas Williams born 22 February 1901 in Samaria and died 24 June 1962 in Pocatello. Buried in Restlawn Memorial, Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho. Married Theona Withers (1906-1990) 4 October 1924 in Malad.
I stumbled upon this picture the other day and thought maybe it was time to share it. This picture has an interesting story behind it.
On the far right are John and Rosie Byrom. Rosie is mostly in the shadow so it is difficult to make her out. I served in the Runcord Ward from around December 1999 to around August 2000. John served as Ward Mission Leader and Rosie as a Ward Missionary. (The Byroms have since separated and divorced). I served in the ward for a long time and they remained in their callings for the entire time, so we built a friendship which, I feign to believe, still exists to this day.
I returned home from my mission in December 2000. It was not long into 2001 that I learned the Byroms were planning on visiting Utah. Of course, I invited them to spend some time in Idaho.
During the majority of time I served in Runcorn I had a companion by the name of Brad Hales. Also in our district was a senior sister companionship of Meriel Peterson and Patricia Kleinkopf. We were all native Idahoans and were in close proximity of each other. It was natural that the Byroms also wanted to visit each of them while they were in Idaho.
This particular day we drove to Oakley, Idaho to visit Sister Peterson. We had an enjoyable breakfast and conversation. Sister Peterson decided she wanted to give us the tour of Oakley because there were some architectural gems that she thought the Byroms would enjoy. I grew up near Oakley so I was familiar with many of these local landmarks.
We all piled into my little Camry and away we drove. We had not made it very far driving down some of the streets of Oakley when Sister Peterson announced, “Wait, David is home, he will want to meet you!” She had me turn around and we pulled into a little home in Oakley.
I had no clue who David was and I was not familiar with the home we were now pulling into the driveway. We all exited the car. In the yard there was a man trimming his hedges with a large straw hat and a large set of sunglasses that you only see old people wear.
Since Sister Peterson indicated that David would want to meet the Byroms because they were from England, I remained at the front of my car in the driveway and leaned back against it in the hot, summer, morning sun.
I have to give a little bit of background on the month prior. We are in the latter half of July 2001 at the point of this picture (I recollect it was the 21st, but may be wrong). I had just spent considerable time in Hawaii with family at the beginning of the month. During that time I picked myself up a shirt and a shell necklace among other items. As you can see in the picture, I am wearing my red shirt (not the blatant Hawaiian design you regularly see). For years I thought I was in a pair of board shorts too, but this picture corrects my memory on that tidbit. But I had continuously wore my new puka shell necklace since the trip to Hawaii.
Back to the story, I am leaning on the front of my car watching the Byroms enter the back yard through the hedge and approach this old man in a large straw hat and holding an electric hedge trimmer. The man stopped trimming and turned to greet his trespassers. Curiously, after what was a short couple of moments, probably no more than 20 seconds of conversation, this man leaves the Byroms and Sister Peterson and headed my direction.
My first reaction was that I was doing something wrong so I looked around to see my misstep. Alas, not seeing I had done anything wrong I approached the man and met him near his hedge. He had set down his trimmer before arriving to me and he pulled his hand out of his glove to shake my hand. I shook hands with him and he with his free hand reached up and took of his hat and glasses and asked me my name.
My first thought was something along these lines, “Boy, this David fellow sure looks familiar.” He asked my name and I gave it. He asked about my Ross name and whether or not it was Scottish. I informed him it was my name but not the name of which my ancestors carried. He then informed me that Ross was a common name in Scotland where he had served as a Mission President.
He then grew quiet and he sidled up closer to me and put the hand with the hat and glasses in the small of my back while still holding my other hand in a handshake. He was now close enough that his face was in my shadow (and he was considerably shorter than me). He then broke the handshake and with that hand reached up and touched my puka shell necklace.
“What is this?”
“I am disappointed that you have fallen from the principles of the gospel that we teach as missionaries. We teach than men and women have separate and distinct roles and this is confusing the two.”
My first impression was, “How did you know I served a mission?”
This man then turned to walk away back to the Byroms and Sister Peterson. As he walked away, the thought occurred, “You have just been rebuked by an Apostle.”
Then it dawned. David was David B Haight, one of the twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was an individual I recognized as a Priesthood Leader and on my first meeting with him, I had been rebuked.
I stood there reeling from what had just happened. It stung. David went to the back door of his house and summoned his wife Ruby. Ruby appeared and they all stood 25 feet away from me chit chatting about England, Scotland, and whatever else they were talking about.
What seemed like an eternity was likely only a minute or so, if that. I remember reaching up and taking the puka shell necklace off and holding it in my hand. I dwelt on what was really an unintended and probably unwanted visit that was a bother to me and this old man. Sister Peterson just commented he was home and a few lines of dialogue just ended up potentially effected my eternities. According to him I was already on the path, so I guess it did not matter what he said except to correct my backsliding ways.
Next thing I knew, the distant conversation between the Haights and Byroms had stopped and this Apostle was returning to me. He again held out his hand as if to invite another handshake. I held out my hand with the necklace in it and he cupped his hand to receive whatever I was offering. I dropped the necklace into his hand and once he realized what it was he let it drop to the ground.
He held out his hand again inviting mine in a handshake and I clasped his. He sidled up close to me again, put his other hand in the small of my back, and was close enough to be in my shadow and that I could smell the salt in his old man sweat, and he continued…
“Where did you serve your mission?” (I remember thinking that was an ironic question since the Byroms were from England, Sister Peterson served in England, and he asked where the fourth member of the party served his mission?)
“England Manchester Mission”
“How long have you been home?”
(After a quick mental tally) “Nine months”
“Elder, you hold the Priesthood. You have a duty to uphold that Priesthood. You should have been married by now.”
He released my hand, pulled his hand from the small of my back, turned, and walked away. Maybe 4 steps later he turned around and said, “When it happens, I want to know about it.”
He returned to a conversation with Ruby, Sister Peterson, and the Byroms.
I stood there while they chatted for a few more minutes. I do not recall hearing anything of the conversation between them, even if I was close enough to have heard.
Rosie had a picture taken of the occasion. Sister Peterson sacrificed herself in the moment to take the photo that now memorializes this occasion.
I shook hands again with Elder David Haight and Sister Ruby Haight and we headed on down the road to see some other homes. I ended up driving many more hours that day to Boise, Idaho City, Stanley, and elsewhere chauffeuring the Byroms through some of the sights of Idaho. Rosie Byrom teased me about the moment the rest of the time I was with them. After all, it is not every day that you get rebuked by an Apostle. I cannot recall if they overheard the conversation or if I told them about it. I cannot imagine that they overheard the conversation due to the close proximity in which David and I spoke that day.
Oddly enough, it weighed on me for a long time. It became the butt of jokes as time went on, especially as David continued to age. He was already over 95 at the time of my meeting him. Roommates and friends would indicate that I better hurry or else I would not fulfill the rest of my duty to let David know when it happened. I will not lie, it became a great story to tell people. People loved to hear about my rebuke by an Apostle.
I regularly tell the story to individuals I am close to and that wear a necklace. Missionaries I worked with I regularly told the story, especially if they wore a necklace. I admit, I never wore a necklace or bracelet of any type since that date. I know a number of missionaries who have “fallen from the principles we teach as missionaries” and forsaken their evil ways. Honestly, I do not know that the story is one that should be heeded by others. But for the deep effect it had upon me at the time and the power in which he spoke to me, I recognize it was for me. Others should be careful about applying revelation of others to themselves. But I do believe there is a principle here that we can learn, I just don’t know that I can very clearly articulate it. I know the principle clearly for me, but don’t know how narrow or general to make it in application to others.
I remember Rosie reminding me that if I properly repent, I would be married within another 9 months. Boy if that did not apply a little pressure!
As a side, I did pick up my little puka shell necklace and ended up giving it to a friend when I returned to Missouri later in August. I don’t believe she has any clue what that little necklace meant to me.
There is more to the story.
On the following Monday, I believe 23 July 2001, I was in Salt Lake City with the Byroms. After an endowment session, Rosie announced we were to go to the Church Administration Building. She did not tell us why and I thought she just wanted to see the sights from the Church Office Building. We walked in the Church Office Building and after Rosie talked to the man at the desk, she said we were in the wrong building and we needed to go to the Church Administration Building. I informed her that the Church Administration Building was not really open to the public. Rosie announced that we had an appointment.
In light of my experience a few days before, I was not really thrilled about our appointment in the Church Administration Building. We walked around to the front door of the Church Administration Building and walked in. As we approached the man at the security desk he asked,
“Are you the Byroms?”
Rosie responded, “Yes.”
“We have been waiting for you.” (Never a very heartwarming phrase, whether the morgue, jail, CIA, bank, or Church Administration Building)
The man then responded, “You will need to leave your bags here, take the elevator to the fourth floor, take a right, and it is the last door on the left. I will let them know you are coming up.”
We entered the elevator and headed to the fourth floor. Rosie then turned and commented to me, “John helped provide security and drive for Elder Ballard while he (Elder Ballard) was in England for the Preston Temple Dedication. He told us that if we were ever in Utah to stop and pay him a visit.”
Suddenly the realization came to me that I was going to visit with my second Apostle in less than a week. I am a fairly laid back guy but felt some apprehension after the experience just days before. We turned the corner and there stood M Russell Ballard in the doorway. He invited us in to his office, introduced us to his secretary, and then ushered us into his office. Across from his desk, I think, there were two nice wing-backed chairs. Another chair was already there for me, or we pulled up a chair. Elder Ballard left the office for a moment and then reappeared pushing a little chair toward me. We were already all seated and he asked,
“Where is your wife?”
“I am not married.”
“Oh, that is something you will have to fix.”
He turned to push the little chair back out the door. I heard Rosie chuckle and comment, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses…”
Elder Ballard returned and took his seat and we had a nice conversation that probably did not take more than 15 minutes. Once again, Rosie had a picture taken.
That was the extent of the interaction and I felt some sting from the second witness of my duty to uphold the Priesthood. But it was a pleasant experience. Rosie reminded me often after that, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
Well, time passed and eventually Elder David B Haight did pass from this veil of tears at the end of July 2004, three years after our encounter. Fortunately, Elder Haight and I did have an opportunity to talk again regarding our first interaction that lessened the blow of the occasion. Nevertheless, roommates and many friends called after Elder Haight’s passing to let me know how dire my situation was now that the revelator had passed and I had not fulfilled my duty.
Rosie commented to me that I could fulfill my duty by reporting my marriage to Elder Ballard when the time came.
Well, forward a few more years and I became enamored with a little red-headed girl from Kaysville, Utah. She came to enjoy her time with me and after a while we would end our walks with a little dancing on the porch of the Alumni House at Utah State University. It became a regular thing to end our walks and evenings out with a dance and closing conversation on the porch of the Alumni House. I dare say we danced on the porch of that building more than 60 times. It was on the porch of this little Alumni House that I made an unofficial proposal to Ms. Hemsley. It just seemed like the right place.
Months later, Amanda and I returned to Logan under the guise of visiting some friends. While on the campus I took her to that little porch of the Alumni House and there after midnight, now on 4 July 2005, I fell to my knee and proposed to her. Of course she said yes and we danced and kissed there on the porch of the Alumni House. Interestingly, before we left that night, I caught sight of a huge portrait hanging inside the doors that open to the porch that had become an important part of our courtship. As I looked closer, I could see the familiar sight of a man whose face I knew. As I got a little closer to see in the dark the portrait lit only by fire escape signs it dawned on me it was a portrait of David B Haight.
If that was not a little coincidental, and perhaps a little creepy, I do not know what is. Elder Haight’s portrait had actually witnessed some of the most personal moments of my courtship. The building I had only known as the Alumni House is properly named the David B Haight Alumni Center. Somehow it seemed the whole experience had just came full circle.
We sent a wedding invitation to Elder M Russell Ballard with a short note explaining that due to Elder Haight’s passing I was sending the note and invitation to him to fulfill my duty. He responded with a card thanking me for my note and invitation and suggested I consider my duty fulfilled. He also apologized for not being able to attend our reception (which I am glad about, surely some further duty might have been laid upon me if he had!)
There is my story for the above photo with the Haights and Byroms. Maybe some day I can tell my story about Elder Hales (the Apostle, not my missionary companion)…
I recently drove from Mountain Home, Elmore, Idaho to Fairfield, Camas, Idaho. Along the route, I stopped at the old Rattlesnake Station location off Highway 20. Rattlesnake Station was on the Overland Stage Line in Idaho. After the Oregon Short Line railroad came through the valley the Post Office was dragged down the hill to be closer to the railroad. The Post Office was later renamed to Mountain Home. But this pictures gives a glimpse of how barren the landscape is in the area (look beyond the highway).