In Memory of Lowell Hansen, Bryce Sanderson, and Garrett Smith

With the suicide of a dear young man, Bryce Allen Sanderson, I thought I would share these thoughts and this talk once again.  In memory of Garrett Lee Smith and Lowell Eugene Hansen.  Both of them forced the concept of suicide into my life and required I come to some understanding of the idea.  I wanted to give some memories of these two individuals and the doctrinal concepts surrounding suicide.  What is suicide?  How does God look at suicide?  How am I supposed to deal with suicide?  How does God deal with those who commit suicide?  I hope this talk will help address some of these questions as we all ponder once again this unthinkable act, that brings upon a person their own death.

Lowell Hansen was an acquaintance I knew in Paul, Idaho.  I was young enough that I knew who he was, but did not really know anything about him.  After I was charged by a bull at our house, I remembered that within days he appeared at our home and removed the charge from the bull.  I watched him shoot, hang, gut, clean, and cut the bull.  It was fascinating.  I remember recognizing the butcher truck each time when I would see it on the road or at some other location.  I knew he built a log home because I always saw the truck parked near it.  Years later after I became involved in the same congregation and came to know him a little more as Brother Hansen.  It was not until I returned from my mission that I realized he even had a family.  I moved back to home in the fall of 2002 and I was assigned as a Home Teacher to one of Lowell’s daughters.  It was only then I really started to get to know the Hansen family more on a personal level.  It was shortly after that Lowell decided to end his life much like he did that bull.  I attempted to help minister, however weakly, somewhat to the needs of his daughter and her then boyfriend.  The talk I reproduce in full below was given at his funeral and has provided much of the basis for my feelings and ideas on suicide.  I have gained my own testimony of the talk and testify openly of its principles and truth.

Garrett Smith was on a bit more personal level for me.  I first learned of him in Manchester, England when he was assigned my companion as a new missionary.  I was called as a trainer to him, although I only knew of him as Elder Smith.  We served together, 24 hours a day, for 6 weeks.  We had many a conversation and became close friends.  I had some frustrations with him due to some of his learning disabilities and my lack of patience.  He knew of this and I do not think it always helped in our relationship.  When the 6 weeks were up, we had both profoundly influenced the other.  He convinced me that I should consider leaving civil engineering and looking more into political science and law.  I think I had convinced him that his disabilities were not a very good excuse for settling for mediocrity.  I left England to return home in 2000 and he finished in 2002.  We had planned several occasions where we would get together for old time’s sake, but they kept falling through due to poor scheduling and other issues.  We finally set a date to get together on the 13th of September in 2003.  I was going to drive down to Orem, Utah where he was and spend the weekend.  Unfortunately, I received a phone call that week only to find he had hanged himself in a closet after consuming alcohol and sleeping pills.  I had a great desire to attend his funeral so a roommate from Logan drove with me to Pendleton, Oregon for the funeral.  I took a copy of the talk from Lowell’s funeral with me and gave it to Garrett’s parents.  Garrett’s mom, Sharon, later thanked me for the talk.  Our Mission President, Phil Wightman, spoke at the funeral and while I doubt he had read the talk, he referenced very similar themes as Hyrum Smith did at Lowell’s funeral (Hyrum Smith was Lowell’s Mission President too).  Sometimes I find myself wondering what Garrett’s life would be like if he wasn’t reposing at Weston, Oregon.

I lost the talk over the years and had repeated requests come to me for a copy of it.  Those asking were mostly individuals I had shared with at the time of Garrett’s funeral who were moved by it and wanted to give a copy of it when someone else took their life.  I had probably a dozen requests for the talk in 2010, so I ended up contacting Lowell’s widow for a copy.

Here is a copy of the talk by Hyrum Smith given 6 December 2002 at the funeral of Lowell Eugene Hansen in Paul, Idaho.  At the end, I will give some other thoughts I remember Phil Wightman giving at Garrett’s funeral.

~

My brothers and sisters, I wasn’t really sure until about 3 o’clock this morning why I was asked to be here, but somewhere around three, I knew.  The spirit indicated to me that I am uniquely qualified to speak here today, and I’ll share with you why as I share some thoughts with you.

I’m honored and humbled that Emma Jean asked me to be here.  When she called Monday, I was stunned as I’m sure all of you were.

Public speaking is not something that is foreign to me.  I do it for a living.  I’ve spoken before thousands of audiences, but never an assignment like this.  I’d like to begin by suggesting that we are met here today in the house of God.  That same God who sent Jesus here to help us.  We meet today in the name of Jesus Christ who died to save us.  I would ask that you keep that in mind as I share a few thoughts with you this morning.

I’d like to begin by sharing four scriptures with you that describe, as many scriptures do, how our Father in Heaven, and our Savior feel about us.  I think we need to be especially reminded of that.  I’d like to go first with the 29th section of the Doctrine and Covenants and read verse 5 “Lift up your hearts and be glad for I am in your midst and am your advocate with the Father.  And it is His good will to give you the kingdom.”  I would then take you to the 62nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants and read verse 1, “Behold and hearken, o ye Elders of my church saith the Lord your God.  Even Jesus Christ, your advocate, who knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted.”  Now go with me to John, Chapter 3, verse 16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.  That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world, through Him, might be saved.”  Last I would take you back to the Doctrine and Covenants, in section 18.  “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.  For behold, the Lord, your Redeemer, suffered death in the flesh.  Wherefore He suffered pain of all men that all men might repent and come unto Him.  And He hath risen again from the dead that He might bring all men unto Him on conditions of repentance.  And how great is His joy in the soul that repenteth.”  I share those scriptures with you, brothers and sisters, as a preamble to what I would ask you to consider as we have met here today.

This wonderful man, father, husband, son, brother, missionary, I knew him well as a missionary.  He was one of the great missionaries of our mission – most of the Idaho people were.  He made a big mistake the other night.  Huge mistake.  He knows that he made that mistake now.  It cost him his life.  But only his body died the other night.  His soul, his spirit, his brain, his mind are still very much alive – very active.  It’s like going into another room.

I was led to a talk that Elder Jeffrey Holland gave at a very similar funeral.  Jeff Holland and I served as missionaries in the same mission, British mission, lots of years ago.  He’s a very dear friend.  He was asked to speak at the funeral of a young man who had taken his life.  This is what Elder Holland said, and I am going to interject Lowell’s name into these remarks, because they fit perfectly today.  “We’re here to celebrate Lowell’s life, not his death.  We’re here to praise the Lord and love God for the atonement and the resurrection, but we’re also here to say, particularly to the youth in this congregation and others who struggle, that Lowell made a mistake.  Now he would be the first to say that.  Someone said, ‘A man to be good, and I would add a woman, must imagine intensely and comprehensively – he must put himself in the place of another – the pains and pleasures of the man that has become his own.  Until he can do that, he must never sit in judgment on a man or his motives.’  We need a better vocabulary, Emma Jean.  We know what we mean when we use the language of death.  But the master of heaven and earth, the Savior of the world, the Redeemer of all mankind, the living Resurrection said that, “When you live and believe in Him, you never die.”  So, we’ll let Lowell go for a while.  But he’s not dead, in any eternal sense, and you know that.  You know that now, you’ll know it tomorrow, and you’ll know it next week.  You’ll especially know it when he is spiritually close to you, whispers to you in your dreams, helps through the veil to raise your grandchildren.  You’ll know that Lowell lives.  It is important to me to bear testimony to you that Lowell lives – just as we testify that God lives and Jesus lives.  We testify that Lowell lives and spiritually and is loved of God and of us.  We miss him.  Death was an intruder this week.  We weren’t ready.  We do miss him and we are sorry, but none of that diminishes the brightness of his life.  The grandeur of God’s plans – the reality of life and the resurrection – of eternity and the Celestial kingdom.  Lowell is being buried with all the promises and symbols of his covenants safely around him.  God in his mercy will work out all the arrangements even as Lowell works out his acknowledgement of his mistake.”  Un-quote.

Those are words of an Apostle of God.  I would like to pose five questions to you now.  The first of which no one has an answer for, but I think we need to deal with it, because I don’t think there is a person in this room that hasn’t asked this question in the last five days.  The second, third, and fourth question, I came from southern Utah this morning, to answer.  Because there are answers to those three questions, and I believe I can answer them for you.  The fifth question, only the people in this room can answer.  I don’t know what that answer will be, but I’m going to pose it.

Here’s the first question, which has been on the minds and lips of probably everyone.  “What was he thinking about?”  What possibly could have driven him to make this mistake?  What’s the answer?  I don’t know.  Nobody here knows.  What sort of despair and anguish and pain causes someone to do that?  I don’t know!  He made a mistake, so we really don’t know the answer to that question.  But that’s not the important question.

The second question, the one that I think I am uniquely qualified to answer, and one of the reasons why I think I was asked to be here is, “What is Lowell thinking now?”  Lowell’s very much alive.  He thinks, he breathes; he has probably had an opportunity to walk with his Father in Heaven.  DO you want me to tell you what he is thinking now?  He’s afraid.  He’s sorry.  He’s in anguish.  He’s suffering.  He’s wishing he hadn’t done it.  I know that.  How do I know?  Several years ago, I made some big mistakes.  We all make mistakes.  Hopefully not as big as the ones I made.  Because of those mistakes, it was required that I lose my membership in the church for several years.  And after I went through the process of approaching my Bishop and my Stake President, and going through the church judicial system – which is amazing, I found myself asking the first question a lot.  What was I thinking?  I couldn’t even answer that question for me.  But I know what I thought about after.  I know about the pain.  I know about the anguish.  I know about the suffering.  It’s awful!  So rest assured, and knowing Lowell as I know him – the integrity of this man, he’s in a lot of pain.

Third question, “Will the Lord allow Lowell to repent?”  Every natural instinct in your body knows the answer to that question – Of course!  He allows everyone to repent.  There’s a myth that floats around the church from time to time.  It suggests that people who take their lives have committed an unpardonable sin.  I’m here to tell you today that’s just flat not true.  The Lord will allow Lowell to repair that mistake.  He’ll walk him through it.  He’ll help him do it.  He’s going to allow that.

Fourth question, “Will the Lord forgive him?”  Every natural instinct in your body knows the answer to that question.  The answer is yes.  He will.  He will forgive him.  And Lowell will receive all the blessings that he rightly deserves from a wonderful life.

Those are the three questions I can answer with surety.  The fifth question, I can’t.  The fourth question was, “Will the Lord forgive him?”  The answer is yes.  The fifth question is, “Will you?”  I know from sad experience that lots of people don’t.  But the Lord has asked us to forgive.  He said, “I the Lord will forgive whom I choose to forgive, but of you, you’re required to forgive all men.”  I need to talk about forgiveness for a moment.  Does the mistake that Lowell made the other night blot out all the good that this man did in his life?  No!  Elder Holland reflected on that.  He was a wonderful missionary.  He was a great father.  He was a great man.  He was dedicated to his Father in Heaven.  Like many of us, he made some mistakes, one big one.  It doesn’t blot out everything he was.  We heard of a wonderful tribute from a beautiful daughter today about the kind of dad he was.  None of that gets wiped out.

As I went through the initial stages of my repentance process, one of the major sources of the anguish was the worry that no one would forgive me.  Because I somehow got it in my mind as I grew up in the church, that to ultimately forgive someone, for a transgression, you had to forget it.  Because we were taught in the scriptures, that when repentance was real and complete, the Lord forgets.  How does He do that? He forgets!  Wow!  Can we, mortals, reach a level of spiritual maturity where we can forget what happened the other night?  I don’t think so.  Do you think that anybody in this room will ever forget that Lowell took his life?  Not in this life.  I don’t think so.  Do you think anyone, who knows me well, will forget that I was excommunicated from the church?  Nope – Hyrum Smith…business leader, great, great grandson of the prophet’s brother, Hyrum?  No one will ever forget that!  Do you think my kids will forget that?  No!  BUT, and this is one of those moments where the spirit instructs and saves, in the middle of the night, the spirit taught a great lesson.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting.  Forgiveness means remembering – but it doesn’t matter any more.  I think we can achieve that.  I think we can reach a point, as mortals, where we can remember and have forgiven to the point where, in remember, it just doesn’t matter anymore.  I challenge each to deal with the fifth question, “Will you forgive him?”  I believe you can – you must!  That’s what the Lord wants you to do.  But you’ll never forget.

I want to share a concept with you that has helped me think through a number of things.  During the Vietnam War, I was in the military during that period of time; there was a man by the name of Stockdale.  He was an admiral.  He was the highest-ranking man to spend time at the Hanoi Hilton as a prisoner of war.  And while he was in the prison, for about six years, he discovered that there were three basic types of people incarcerated in that prison.  He discovered the same thinking that Victor Frankl discovered at Auschwitz during the Second World War.  Victor Frankl wrote about it in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.”  Then Stockdale wrote about it, and it has become known and has been written about in a number of books since – the Stockdale paradox.  The three groups of people that he discovered were these.  There were pessimists, optimists, and realists.  And this is how he defined each group.  The pessimists saw the brutal facts around him and quit.  The optimist had boundless faith and ignored the brutal facts.  The realist saw the brutal facts, but had faith they could be dealt with.

The reason I share this with you is that in this book, when he wrote about this he said the interesting thing about these three groups is that the first two groups of people died in the camps at Vietnam.  Died!  Didn’t make it back!  I understood why the pessimists didn’t make it.  They saw the brutal facts.  They were in the middle of South-East Asia.  They were 8,000 miles from help and the Marines aren’t going to get in here.  We’re going to be here forever, and they died.  And some very healthy bodies died.

The second group stunned me!  The optimists died!  How come the optimists died?  Because the optimists had boundless faith but were not willing to look at the brutal facts.  And they said to each other, “You know we’ll be out of here by Christmas.”  “We’ll be out of here by Valentines.”  Every rustle in the bush was the Marines coming to save them.  And when every rustle in the bush wasn’t the Marines coming to save them and when they weren’t out by Christmas, and when they weren’t out by Valentines, they died.  They gave up and died.

The realists survived.  They saw the brutal facts.  “We’re in the middle of South-East Asia.  We’re not going to be rescued for a long time, but you know what guys, we’ll stick together.  We can handle this.”  And they did.

A good friend, by the name of Jensen, was in our mission – Lowell knew him – served six years in that prison.  There were several LDS fellows there, and the way they kept themselves sane was they would try and remember LDS hymns.  They would tap by Morse code on the bars of the jail, and they would send what they could remember of each hymn.  They gathered lots of hymns.  And one hymn they worked on for four years.  They got the first three verses in about 18 months, but the fourth verse took two and a half years to get.  They finally got the fourth verse.  When they got back, there was only three verses.  They had created their own verse, but they survived.  Now why do I share that here?  I want to ask you the question as what are you going to do about this issue?  Pessimists see the brutal facts – Our dad killed himself.  It’s pretty awful.  Nothing so wrong, it’s awful!  And you can give up – if you want.  The optimist ignores the facts – puts on a smiley face and pretends it didn’t happen.  And the optimists live a lie.  The realist sees the brutal facts – We lost our dad, our husband, our son – pretty awful.  We’ve got to gather together and help each other now to survive financially and economically.  We’ve got to get through school.  We’ve got to do stuff that dad normally would have helped us with.  It isn’t going to be easy.  The optimist has the faith that we can do it.  And so I’m asking you today, “What are you going to be?”

On the 19th of October of last year, not this year, but 2001, Steven Covey and I, we have a business together, were asked by Mayor Giuliani of New York City, if we would come back to Manhattan and do a free, one day, workshop for the families of those affected by the 9/11 disaster.  He told that their mid-town Manhattan Sheraton had donated their ballroom.  They donated our rooms to stay.  Would you come back?  We’ve got people in some real pain.  Would you come back and speak?  We said, “We’re there!”  We got there on a Thursday night.  The seminar was to be on Friday.  I got there about midnight.  I’ve been in Manhattan many, many times.  As I flew up the East river, I was coming from Chicago, and saw the lights where the World Trade Center used to be, it was kind of an eerie feeling.  It was a very different landscape now.

At five o’clock the next morning, Mayor Giuliani had arranged for a tour, a private tour of ground zero for Steven and me.  At that point, which was just five weeks after the event; sixteen hundred policeman had surrounded ground zero, and had blocked it off.  You couldn’t get down there without a police escort.  We had to go through four checkpoints to get to ground zero.  About 5:15 in the morning, we found ourselves standing on the street in front of where the Marriott Hotel used to be. It used to be called the Vista Hotel.  I’ve stayed in that Hotel many times.  Only I wasn’t really standing on the street.  I was standing on 16 feet of compacted debris.  And as we stood there looking at this horrific hole in the ground, the policeman who had been assigned to be our guide began to tell us his story.

He said, “You know, I was here that day.  I was standing on the street right about where we are.  I heard this big bang, I looked up, and all this stuff came flying out of the World Trade Center.”  He said, “You know, it looked like paper when it all came out until it started hitting the ground.  It was fifty foot I-beams killing everyone it hit.”  He said, “I watched 34 people jump from those towers.  Four of them holding hands.  I watched eight firemen lose their lives from falling people.”  I’m not even believing this.  Then he looked at me and said, “Mr. Smith, how many computers do you think there were in the World Trade Center?”  I said, “Probably a lot.”  He said, “We haven’t found one!”  I said, “How come?”  “3,000 degree fire.  It’s still burning.”  As he was talking, a crane pulled a big I-beam out of the rubble, and the end of the I-beam was dripping molten steel.  Then he said, “You know the second plane hit and then the building started to come down – we all thought we were dead.  We got under a car, and somehow we lived.”  That’s how our morning started.

When we got back to the hotel at about 7:30, we had to shower.  We were covered with soot.  At 8:00, this meeting began.  There were 2,000 people jammed into a ballroom designed for 1,500.  People were sitting on the floor.  It started by two New York policemen and two New York Firemen, carrying the American flag in.  I will tell you, It’s hard.  And then the Harlem girls choir, sixty young women from Harlem, filed in and sang three patriotic songs, and the music that came out of those kids was amazing.  I was very grateful that Steven Covey had to speak first because I was a mess.  He spoke for two hours, and then I had to speak for two hours.  As I approached the front of the room, there were people all around on the floor.  A fireman, about half way back, in uniform, stood up, and he said, “Mr. Smith, are you going to tell us how we get of bed in the morning when we just don’t give a darn anymore?”  That’s how it started.  It turned out to be one of the toughest, and ultimately the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.  I said these words to the fireman – and I want to say these words to you – Emma Jean and the children, and their extended family, and everybody here.  If you don’t remember a think I’ve said, remember this statement.  I said to this fireman, “Pain is inevitable.  Misery is an option.”  And he seemed a little stunned.  Now what do I mean by that?  The fact is, brothers and sisters, bad things happen to good people.  They just do.  Airplanes fly into buildings.  Rivers overflow their banks.  Dams break and flood out villages.  Accidents happen – people die prematurely.  Bad stuff happens to good people.  How we choose to deal with the pain is ultimately a measure of who we are.

That’s why the Lord gave us the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To help us deal with the pain.  Some of the most serene, magnificent, wonderful people I’ve ever known have gone through some major pain in their lives.

Will the Lord forgive?  Yes!  Ten days ago, tomorrow, President Hinckley and Elder Maxwell, laid their hands on my head and restored all my blessings.  Not just some of them.  All of them.  And President Hinckley mentioned three times in the most amazing blessing I’ve ever heard, all the blessings.  I’m here to testify to you today that that will happen to Lowell.  He’ll be there.  He’ll be ready, Emma Jean.  He’ll welcome you with all his blessings.  So the challenge for us as the living – to go on.

When the pioneers came across the plains, they periodically had to stop and bury the dead.  And the scene was always the same.  There’d be a family standing around the grave, and if you looked off into the distance, you could see the wagons – and the wagons were ready to go.  The wagons had riders in them.  They were waiting for the family to get through with that funeral so that they could move on because they knew, “If we don’t move on, then we’ll die!”  They buried their dead, and they moved on.

Well, the wagons are surrounding the building, and they’re ready for us to move on.  We pulled off the highways of our lives to pay tribute to a great human being – who made a mistake that can be fixed.  And when we’re through here today, we’ll get back in our wagons and move on.  We’ll survive.  Don’t ever forget the brutal facts, but never lose faith that they can be dealt with.  I bear you my testimony that God lives.  Jesus is the Christ.  He loves everybody in the room.  He’ll take care of Lowell.  He’ll take care of us too.  I bear that witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

~

Here are a few more thoughts from my memory of Phil Wightman’s talk from Garrett’s funeral.  The talk centered around the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 which states, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

In essence, since I went to the funeral with Lowell’s funeral talk in my mind (in fact, my friend, Taylor Willingham, read it to me again on the drive up and I gave a copy to Garrett’s parents) the basics of the talk were the same.  Brother Smith approached it with some practical questions and answers to those questions.  President Wightman approached it from a doctrine side that we do not really know what goes on in the minds of these individuals when suicide is completed.  But we have to have charity, love them and their families, and move forward.  In the end, the Lord will sort all things out.

Rest in peace Garrett and Lowell.  I look forward to meeting up with you both again some day.  Until then, I hope we all can appreciate the suicidal act and hopefully help avoid it in the future, and work forward from those who do commit this unthinkable deed.

First published 5 Jun 2011.

Dentist Office #6 Slovenian Visit

Stepping back into what only seems yesterday but in reality is 11 years, here is a photograph of the roommates at Dentist Office #6 on Darwin Avenue in Logan, Cache, Utah on 17 October 2003.  Matjaž Marinčič had come to visit from Slovenia and stayed for a few nights.  With the new-found friendships, we snapped a picture.  Mark had visited Llubljana where Matjaž is from and it is from that friendship that he came to visit.  Good times.

Lane Blake,

(l-r) Lane Blake, Matjaz Marincic, Brad Hales, Tyler Elison, Mark Morris, Sam Allred, Paul Ross

 

 

John Nuffer

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

Here is a copy of the autobiography of John Nuffer, brother to siblings Regina Wanner (my great great Grandmother) and Charles August Nuffer.

I was born December 4, 1862 at Neuffen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, the eldest son of [John] Christopher and Agnes Barbara Spring Nuffer. After attending the common grade schools for eight years I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at age of thirteen years.

I was apprenticed to an architect builder in the building trade in the city of Stuttgart where I labored with the stone cutters and masons six months in the summer time, and attended the Architectural college the six remaining months alternately for three years, when I received my diploma as a journeyman in the building trade. The following spring I emigrated with my father’s family to America the first week in May 1880.

My mother died when I was four years old. There was another boy, Fred, of the same mother, a year and a half old when she died. Father married another woman, Eva Katrina Greiner. Through her influence the family joined the Church.

This is how the Nuffer family joined the Mormon Church:

In the year 1879 the missionary, Henry Flam, a distant relative of the Nuffer family came to the city of Neuffen, the State of Wuerttemberg, Germany, preaching his religion to the family of John Christopher Nuffer in a cottage meeting. The following families attended the meeting: Jacob Schweitzer, Anton Lalatin, Abraham Kneiting. They all joined the Church and in 1880, immigrated to Utah, with the exception of the Kneiting family who emigrated in 1881. Now Eva Katrina Nuffer, wife of John Christopher Nuffer, being a very religious woman accepted the doctrine first, being somewhat out of harmony in her belief with the States’ Kirche, (State Church), the Lutheran Church, especially on the doctrine of child baptism, vicarious atonement and the punishment for Adam’s transgression. It was she who kept the doctrines before the others, so when Elder John Theurer followed Elder Henry Flam, the following year to visit them, the four families Nuffer, Schweitzer, Lalatin and Kneiting were ready to be baptized by Elder Theurer, which took place at the house of Christopher Nuffer. There was a running millrace at the rear of the house which they dammed off with planks. The baptism took place at night to keep them from disturbance, for there was much hostility in the town. The town parson especially made a tirade against it in his Sunday sermon. To avoid persecution, they decided to emigrate as soon as possible.

They sold their holdings at once at auction sale, at a great loss to the real value. In the first days of May 1880 the three families Nuffer, Schweitzer and Lalatin left Neuffen by team to the capitol of the state, Stuttgart, from where they took the train to Mannheim (Home of Men) on the Rhine River. Here they joined a party of about thirty from Switzerland under the leadership of Elder John Theurer. From Mannheim they took two boats down the River Rhine to the North Sea. Here they took the steamer to Hull, England and then crossed England on the railroad to Liverpool. Here more Saints joined them. They left Liverpool in the company of about two hundred. After three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean they arrived in New York. From here the leaders chartered a special train which in about a weeks time went directly to Ogden, Utah, where they were royally received by some of the Saints.

The Nuffer family then went to Logan (1880). I was baptized on the first Tuesday in August in the Blacksmith Fork River by Nicholas Summers, confirmed by John Lederman. I got a job working on the Logan Temple the first winter as a stonecutter. Father’s family bought a home in Providence and settled there. The second year I worked in Salt Lake on the Deseret University building for contractor Elias Morris as a stonecutter and mason.

In 1882 I went with Tom Ricks to Montana to do some mason work on the Great Northern Railroad. I stayed there about six months. I came back to Logan and worked on the Logan Temple helping to finish the baptismal font and helped to point (to point is to fill and finish carefully the joints with mortar) the Temple until it was finished on the outside. In the fall of 1883 I persuaded father’s family to sell their home and we moved into Idaho and took up a homestead in Worm Creek, Oneida County, then called Preston, now called Glendale.

On September 18, 1884, I married Louisa Zollinger and was sealed in the Logan Temple in 1891. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Louisa Meier Zollinger. We lived at Glendale until the fall of 1890 when we moved to Preston, having been called by the Church to take charge and superintend the building of the Oneida Stake Academy.

In the spring of 1895, I was called on a mission to Germany. I worked in the city of Stuttgart eleven months, presiding over that branch and baptized five persons. From there I went to Nuremberg where I labored six months. From there I was called to Mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, to edit the “Stern”, the German edition of the Millennial Star. While there I translated B.H. Roberts’ “The Gospel”, and Wilford Woodruff’s “Experiences”, and “The Key to Theology” into the German language, which were published as serials in the “Stern”.

In the summer of 1897 I received my release and taking charge of a company of Saints, I arrived in Salt Lake the third of July and arrived at my home in Preston on the 4th of July 1897.

After coming home I was contracting building in partnership with Joseph S. Geddes, building several residences, the Weston Tabernacle, The First Ward chapel, and several school houses and other buildings. After that I opened an architect office and planned most of the older business blocks, the Opera House, State Bank building, the Oneida Stake Science building and several other school buildings outside of Preston at McCammon and Grace.

When Preston was organized into a village I served four years as a village trustee, and two years as village clerk until Preston was organized into a city.

Eleven children were born to us: Luther Jacob, John Willard, Louis Ferdinand, Herman Christopher, Austin Ekert, Karl Aaron, Agnes Louise, Myron David, Florence Myrtle, Edwin Joseph and Athene Barbara.

The foregoing was told to Jennie Smart Nuffer

September 1938

John Nuffer raised apples for many years. His orchard was located at the family home East on Fourth South Street. When he retired from public office, he continued to look after his fruit raising as well as dairy cattle. He was very proud of the fine fruit he raised and never over-charged for his produce. His health failed very fast following the death of his wife on October 1945 and he followed her in death on June 4, 1946. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery. He was a High Priest.

Samuel Deer Davis

Another family history story.  This one is interesting in that his Idaho case went before the United States Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason.  This is the biography of Samuel Deer Davis (1859-1923) written by Dean G Grow, his great-grandson.  Samuel Deer Davis married Mary Jane Williams, daughter of Sarah Jane Davis and John Haines Williams.  Mary is the sister to David Davis Williams who I also previously shared his biography.

~

“This is the history of my great-grandfather, who was instrumental in the legal attempts that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints undertook to counter the continuing political and legal assault against the Church due to the practice of polygamy in the late 1880′s not only in Utah but in Idaho where he lived.

“Samuel D. Davis was born in Salt Lake City on 22 July 1859 to David Woodwell Davies and Mary Deer.  Samuel’s father had been a missionary in his native Wales for seven years before coming to America.  Aboard ship, David met his bride-to-be, Mary Deer, also a native of Wales.  When they arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, it was too late in the year, creating a delay in getting to the Salt Lake Valley.  So they decided to marry.  This occurred on 25 November 1852, in Kansas City.  They most likely traveled across the plains with a group of Welsh immigrants in the summer of 1853.

Samuel Deer Davis

Samuel Deer Davis

“After arriving in Salt Lake Valley, David being a painter and a glazier, set up his home and they began their life there.  David and Mary’s first son, David Thomas was born on 4 March 1854 in Salt Lake City.  Their second son, Woodwell was born in 1856 in Salt Lake City.  David was sealed to Mary on 2 March 1856 in the Presidents office in Salt Lake City.  At the same time and place, he was sealed to Elizabeth Berry, thus becoming a polygamist.  Elizabeth being a native of Bath, Summerset, England.  Their third son, Samuel Deer as indicated earlier was born in 1859.  They were all shown on the 1860 U. S. Census, living in the 8th Ward in Salt Lake City.  It was soon after that, Woodwell died, date unknown.  Their fourth and fifth sons, twins, Hyrum Eynon and Joseph were born on 15 August 1862.  Joseph died as an infant, but Hyrum lived to adulthood.  Their last son, Septimus was born and died soon after in 1864, probably about the time that his father David Woodwell, died of consumption (Tuberculosis) on 20 March 1864.  Thus Mary was left with three boys ages 10, 5, and 2.  I was unable to determine what happened to Elizabeth Berry.

“In November of 1864, Mary married a man named George R. McLaughlin of whom we can find no record of birth, death or census information.  They had a son George R. Jr. who was born 27 August 1865.  Their second child, Mary Ellen was born about 1866 and died soon after.   Mary’s second husband, George treated her harshly and abandoned her many times.  One time for almost a year.  The last time, she heard he was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming and had no plans to return.  She divorced him on the 20th of January 1868.  Thus Mary was continuously left with four boys to feed and care for.  It was soon after this that she became seriously ill and the doctor told her she would soon die.  Her last son, George was a toddler at the time.  A neighbor, Charles and Jemima Walker offered to adopt George and Mary regretfully consented as she didn’t want to leave such a young child.  Not long after, Mary recovered and went back to the Walkers pleading with them to return her son, but they refused.  They were still neighbors in the 1870 Census with the Walkers showing George as their son at age 5.  George died 29 January 1889 at the age of 24 in a train accident returning to Sugar House, Utah from an outing with friends to Red Bluff Quarry.

“Toward the end of the year, Mary met John Evan Price, another Welshman and became a polygamous wife of his on 26 December 1870.  Mary was 39 years of age and 14 years his junior.  He was in good financial circumstances at this time according to their granddaughter.  He had settled in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho on April 16, 1868 with one other family, being one of the first.  He is also credited with giving Samaria it’s name.  Several others settled there the next month.  A branch of the Church was organized there in November of 1868.  Elder Lorenzo Snow, then of the Twelve Apostles, visited in July of 1869 and approved of the city plot, encouraging the settlers to continue to build and plant there.

“John brought Mary and her children to Samaria after their marriage.  Two additional children were born to this union, Margaret Ann Price on 10 January 1872 and Elizabeth Jane Price on 17 March 1875, both in Samaria.  Unfortunately, John died within a few years on 22 June 1878 in Samaria leaving Mary a widow again.  But this time she was left in good circumstances where she was able to sell off property to new immigrants to Samaria.  She reverted back to her Davis name after 1880.  Her sons were now getting older.  Her oldest, David Thomas was married in Samaria to Amy Ann Sawyer on 7 January 1879 just 6 months after John Evan Price died.  Mary was the postmistress of Samaria for many years and the Relief Society President for 17 years in Samaria.  Eliza R. Snow stayed in her home during a conference in Samaria.

“Her second son, the subject of this manuscript, Samuel D., had no formal education but only that which was from his mother, Mary.  He married Mary Jane Williams on 11 Oct 1882 in the Endowment House in Salt lake City.  Their first child, Sarah Jane, was born in August of 1883 and died the same month.  Their second child, Woodwell Williams was born 17 November 1884.  It was during this time that his wife encouraged him to get some formal education.  He started by attending the district school in Samaria.  Afterward he attended the James Chandler school in Washakie, Utah.  It was a great sacrifice and struggle as he continued to farm and support his family during that time.  He had so much success as a scholar in Washakie, that in 1886 he attended the Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah.  He also studied law during his evenings.  His third child, Edgar Williams was born on 1 March 1887.  He soon became a partner in a law firm in Malad, Idaho of Evans, Gibbs and Davis.

Mary Jane Williams Davis

Mary Jane Williams Davis

“At this time there was much pressure on the local LDS communities by the Idaho politicians who were strongly anti-Mormon, about the Church practice of polygamy.  75% of the population lived in the eastern half of the state and about 20% of those were L. D. S. which meant that they represented a large voting block.

“These following steps were in relation to the 1884-1885 law, not the 1889 one which was taken to the Supreme Court.

“From E. Leo Lyman’s “Political Background of the Woodruff Manifesto”:  “William Budge, the leading spokesman for the Church in Idaho, tried to bring as much pressure as he could on the outcome of the case.  Budge used Utah Congressional delegate John T. Caine to generate pressures on the Judge Berry through political friends back home.  He also traveled to the Blackfoot judicial headquarters to confer with Berry before he rendered his decision.  The judge, who recorded the conversation as accurately as he could recall, claimed the Church leader first quoted U.S. Solicitor General Jenks as saying that if the test oath law was taken before the United States Supreme Court, “it would not stand for a moment.” Budge also stressed the crucial nature of the pending decision on the continued allegiance of the Idaho Mormons to the Democratic party (Berry 1888).

“Berry’s reply demonstrated considerable admiration for Mormon industry and economic accomplishments but firmly stated his intent to “administer the laws as they were.” He made it clear he could not allow political considerations to affect his decision and expressed regret that the Mormons could not bring their marriage relations into “regulation step” with the rest of American society (Berry 1888). The published decision {Idaho Daily Statesman, 17, 20 Oct. 1888; Wood River Times, 16, 17, 24 Oct. 1888) not only upheld the test oath but ruled the Mormon arguments that they no longer taught or practiced plural marriage were merely a temporary posture of no importance so long as the general Church had made no changes on the question. The kind of concession necessary to relieve the disfranchisement onslaught, Judge Berry stressed, was a formal renunciation of the doctrine at a Church general conference, not unlike what actually occurred several years later.”

“From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “They enacted a law in 1884-1885 that all county and precinct officers were required to take a test oath abjuring bigamy, polygamy, or celestial marriage; and under this law in 1888 three members of the territorial legislature were deprived of their seats as ineligible.  An act of 1889, forbade in the case of any who had since the 1st of January 1888 practiced, taught, aided or encouraged polygamy or bigamy, their registration or voting until two years after they had taken a test oath renouncing such practices, and until they had satisfied the District Court that in the two years after they had been guilty of no such practices.

“The earlier law had been tested by the Church in the territorial federal courts, but was unsuccessful.  This 1889 law, regarding voting, was commonly called “The Idaho Test Oath” which meant essentially that if you were a member of the Church, whether practicing polygamy or not, you could not vote and was retroactive to January 1 the year before.  It appears that the Church decided to test this law all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

“In Samaria on Oct 27, 1888, 26 men including Samuel D. Davis asked to have their names removed from the records of the Church with apparent approval of the Church leaders so that they could vote in the November 1888 election but primarily to provide a test case.  There were about 30 in Malad City who did the same thing.  The new law having been enacted after the men had voted, they were indicted almost a year later for conspiracy to break a law that wasn’t created until the following year.  The case became known as “Davis vs. Beason” and can still be found today by searching the internet.

“From the Deseret News on September 21, 1889:  “The perjury case against Mr. Evans of Malad having been disposed of in the District Court of that place, the next matters of importance tackled were the conspiracy cases. Indeed there was practically but one case, fifty six persons having been included in one indictment.

“The matter came up for trial before Judge Berry on Tuesday, Sept. 10th [1889]. There was much disappointment among the virulent anti-”Mormon” element over the result of the case of perjury against Mr. Evans and the officers said that in the conspiracy matter they would get a jury together that would convict this time.  For this purpose they scoured the country and imagined they had got what they wanted when the panel was completed.

“The charge preferred in the indictment against the fifty-six defendants was substantially that they had conspired together to break the laws of Idaho Territory, notably the Idaho test oath law, by agreeing to vote at an election when they knew that they had no right to do so.

“The case was tried and at 6 p.m. on Wednesday was given to the jury.  On Thursday the 12th at 2 p.m. the jury came into the court with a verdict, in which they found fifty-five of the defendants not guilty and one guilty.  The latter was Samuel D. Davis of Samaria.

“A new trial was asked for Mr. Davis by counsel for the defense and denied, and the  court sentenced him to pay a fine of $500.  The fine was not paid and Mr. Davis placed in jail for a maximum of 250 days [$2 a day].  Judge Berry was applied to for a writ of habeas corpus which was also denied, and an appeal from his action was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“The matter is in the best possible shape it could possibly assume for final adjudication. None of the acquitted fifty-five defendants can be again placed in jeopardy on the same subject, either under the title of conspiracy or any other.  The appeal to the Supreme Court involves the validity of the infamous test oath law, which will therefore be decided one way or the other.

“The defense was conducted with marked ability, the attorneys being Mr. J. S. Rawlins of Salt Lake, and Mr. J. N. Kimball of Ogden.   Mr. Standrod and “Kentucky Smith” appeared on the part of the prosecution.”

“From the above article it is clear that it was “arranged” in advance that one person would be the focal point for the test case.  That person, having probably volunteered due to his legal schooling, was none other than Samuel D. Davis.  He obviously knew that he would spend some time behind bars, but was willing to do that for the Church.

“To give a better idea of the named individuals in this case, they are as follows:  Charles H. Berry, a former attorney general of Minnesota, later on, an associate justice of the Idaho Supreme Court who would have jurisdiction as the Judge in this case in Malad City.  Joseph S. Rawlins was a city attorney in Salt Lake City and worked with Brigham Young and following Church leaders on matters of law.  He later served in the Congress of the U. S. and assisted in gaining statehood for Utah.  He was also known as the “Red-headed Reactor of the Rockies” because he made such a fight about the confiscation of the Church property.  It was through his efforts that the property was eventually restored.  J. N. Kimball also served as a defense attorney for the Church in Ogden.  Drew W. Standrod came to Malad City, Idaho from Kentucky with his parents and took up the practice of law there.  He was elected as the prosecuting attorney there twice and later became a judge moving to Pocatello.  “Kentucky” Smith is actually H. W. Smith who was an anti-Mormon lawyer of prominence in Ogden, Utah and the author of the “Idaho Test Oath” law.  He also later became a judge in Idaho.  Sheriff Harvey G. Beason was an appointed sheriff who was just 29 years old at this time.  His was the other name in the test case.  He soon after moved to Montana and then to Gillette, Wyoming where he lived until his death in 1939.

“From another article in the Deseret News written in Samaria on September 30, 1889.

“”A very strange scene was witnessed here on the 25th inst. (Sept 1889)  It will be remembered that Mr. Samuel D. Davis of this place was found guilty not long since at the District Court held at Malad City, of voting at the election held here last fall contrary to the provision of the anti-Mormon Test Oath law, and that he was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and costs, pending payment of which he was sent to the county jail.  He applied for a writ of habeas corpus which was denied by Judge Berry.  Application was then made direct to  Washington for a similar writ.  Here it was thought the matter would rest for the present. But not so; on Sept. 13, Sheriff Beason came to Samaria and levied an attachment on Mr. Davis’ property having an order from the court to sell at public auction enough to cover fine and costs.  On the  25th inst. said order was carried into effect.  Sheriff Beason, Attorney Standrod, Treasurer D. Tovey,  Commissioner P. Fredrickson and a few others came over.  The sale began at 2 o’clock.  Mr. Davis’ only horse was sold to Meyer Kohn of Malad, for $21.00. (Mr. Kohn has since offered to return the animal for the same price), which was about one-fifth his real value.  Mr. Davis interest in the firm of Evans, Gibbs, & Davis was knocked off to Standrod for $190.00.

“It was the Intention to sell the little home where Mrs. Davis and her two little children reside, but the title being defective it was abandoned. This was all that could be found to sell and the sale came to a close.

“The sheriff seemed very dry after his labors for he and his companions indulged quite freely.  They had apparently come over well prepared.”

“This article indicates that Samuel’s family also suffered because of the case.  The article was incorrect in that there were “two little children” in the home.  My grandfather, John Vincent “Vin” Davis was born on 6 July 1889 and was just a few months old when this took place, which means that there were two little children and one infant.  It also indicates that his fine was reduced almost 40% by the $211.00 amount recovered in the sale.  Therefore his sentence would be reduced by about 100 days, leaving 150 days remaining to be served.  From the Deseret News on 11 January 1890, it indicates that the hearing was held in the U. S. Supreme Court, probably a day or two earlier.  The hearing is several pages of arguments both for and against which I will not be discussing here.  It can also be found on the internet by searching “Davis vs. Beason”.  The ruling was handed down on 2 February 1890, upholding the Idaho law.  At this time Samuel had been in jail for 113 days.  I was unable to determine whether he remained the last 30 some days in jail or whether the Church paid the balance of the fine to release him or whether he was reimbursed for his personal losses.  During this era many members sacrificed much for their belief.

“President Wilford Woodruff issued the “Manifesto” a few months later on 24 September 1890, ending plural marriage in the Church.  The Idaho law was changed in 1893, the disqualification was made no longer retroactive, the two-year clause was omitted, and the test oath covered only present renunciation of polygamy, thus allowing members to vote once again.  It took until the 1980′s to get similar wording in the Idaho State Constitution removed.

“Samuel D. Davis continued in his practice of law and in 1899 he was appointed Probate Judge of Oneida County, Idaho.  He was twice elected to this office.  In 1901, after the formation of the Idaho State Bar, he took the examination for the bar and was admitted to practice in all the courts of the state.

“His wife of 21 years, Mary Jane Williams Davis died on 19 March 1903 in Samaria.  Later that year he moved his family of boys to Malad City to continue his practice and opened a new law office there.  His brother-in-law,  Isaac B. Evans, who had been on a mission in the south, introduced him to a woman in Salt lake City, whom he had known while on his mission.  She was Alice Godwin, daughter of Handy Haywood Godwin and Elizabeth Ann Naylor Godwin.  They were natives of Clinton, Sampson, North Carolina.  She was a true daughter of the old south.  Samuel was very interested and she was interested also, but I’m sure was concerned by the thought of finishing the raising of 7 boys.  But apparently she was up to the task as they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 November 1905.  She bore him 3 more children.  First, Mary Naylor Davis, 13 September 1906, second, Alice Deer Davis, 18 January 1908 and Samuel Godwin Davis on 6 March 1911, all in Malad City, Idaho.

“He continued in Malad City until moving to Salt Lake City about 1918.  He was there in the January 1920 U. S. Census.  He probably moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in the summer of 1920 to accept employment as the City Attorney.  Two of his boys followed him there.  One, Eugene, who was still living with him and the other, John Vincent and his family, who was still living in Samaria.  In June of 1923, he was made the Twin Falls Police magistrate, but unfortunately, he died within 6 months on 13 December 1923.  After the funeral, his body was shipped back to Samaria to be buried.  His second wife, Alice moved to Salt Lake City, where she died 13 January 1945.  Her body was also returned to Samaria to be buried.

“From the Twin Falls Times News:  “Judge Davis was early admitted to the bar in Idaho, and served as county attorney and probate judge in Oneida county.  He attracted wide attention in the early days by his success as an irrigation and criminal lawyer.  It was his boast that some of Idaho’s best known attorneys had begun their legal training in his office.  He was an active and prominent member of the L. D. S. Church serving as member of the High Council in Malad and Twin Falls.”

“Thus ended a long legal career in the State of Idaho and the life of a man who was willing to stand for  his principles, even risking all his possessions at one time.  He died at the age of 64, which would be considered still young by today’s standards.  His part in the legal battle was apparently unknown to his children, grandchildren and their descendants.  My mother did mention many years ago that she had heard about the voting issue.  Those of his children as indicated earlier were very young and would not have known about the landmark legal case, unless he had related it to them.  He was a good man and his story needed to be told, so that all would be aware of his sacrifice during another time of great difficulty in the history of the Church.

Grandpa and Grandma Wanner

I have previously provided a limited history of Johann Georg Wanner and Anna Schmid.  As I wrote that history and compiled some other histories, I kept finding a couple of references to a history written by Edna Wagstaff Owen.  I started trying to contact a member of that family and to see if they had a copy of that history.  Fortunately after some time, a copy of that history was provided.  I now provide it in full with minimal edits.

Wanner Family about 1895,

Wanner Family about 1895,

Grandpa and Grandma Wanner
Compiled and delivered by Edna Wagstaff Owen at the Wanner, Schmid reunion at Lagoon in Farmington, Utah on Saturday, 17 June 1978
I was asked a few day ago to represent Mary Wanner Wagstaff’s family at the 1978 Wanner – Schmid reunion, to do something on the program. I haven’t had much time to get ready for it and really didn’t know what I could do. After much thought and meditation, I decided it would be nice to honor Grandpa and Grandma Wanner by telling you a few things I can remember about them.
On 6 June 1870, a little 24 year old man from Holzgerlingen, Germany, John George Wanner and a beautiful 21 year old girl, with beautiful auburn hair named Anna Maria Schmid from Holzgerlingen, Germany were married and started a life for themselves together.
This lovely couple, we love to call our grandparents, became the proud parents of 10 children – 5 boys and 5 girls, all of whom lived long good lives, except 2 sons, who died in Germany and dear Aunt Pauline, who passed on at the age of 37. Their youngest daughter Wilhelmina is here with us today and we are honoring her. She is 90 years young. They have had 73 grandchildren born to them and now their posterity runs into the hundreds.
They dearly loved these children and tried untiringly to bring them up and taught them by example as well as precept. Some of the great qualities they left us always to love the Lord and our fellowman. To be honest always and how to work. I don’t know of one of their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, who haven’t tried very hard to do this.
Grandpa and Grandma never lost sight of what they left Germany for – which was the Gospel and to live in America where they were free and could worship as they choose.
It was in May 1891 while Grandpa was working on the highway, two missionaries came along and told him about the Gospel and the Lord’s work. In October 1891, they and their three eldest daughters were baptized. George was the first to be baptized in July 1891 and came over to America with one of the missionaries, Brother Terrell from Providence, Utah. Louise, Frederich and Pauline were baptized in June 1894. Gottlob in June 1894 and Wilhelmina in August 1896.
Grandma took the missionaries in and accommodated them with beds, food, etc. and helped them with the German language.
Over in Germany, it was the custom for women to do the farm work, cutting of the hay with a scythe and putting it up by hand. When the children needed shoes or dresses, the shoemaker and the dressmaker would come to the home to do these services.
In writing this little history and remembrances about Grandpa and Grandma Wanner, I thought it would be proper, nice, and informative to tell just a little about the country they lived in before coming to America.
Germany had been a great country and has produced many great and talented people. It has become known as the land of poets and thinkers. Germany as a nation state did not exist until the German Reich of 1871. The Roman Empire was in control for five centuries. It is a diversified country – wooded areas account for 29 percent of the land, providing beautiful forests with hiking trails. The people of Germany love nature and most of the homes have plants and flowers in them.
Germany has become known for its beautiful castles and for being a progressive country. Germany has been described by some of our relatives and friends who, have visited it, as a very beautiful country of mountains, streams, rivers and beautiful forests.
Grandma left behind a sister, a brother and her father. She was the only one that joined the church. She was the youngest in her family. Grandpa was the only one in his family also that joined the church.
What a serious though it must have been to them as they contemplated the LONG, LONG JOURNEY TO AMERICA AND THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHURCH WHICH THEY BELONGED TOO.
I wonder if any of us grandchildren can even realize what it meant to undertake the task of bringing their family to America. They sold their property in Germany and packed up the thing they could bring. They left behind their friends, loved ones, and many happy memories. It was brave family, who loved the Lord, were grateful for the Gospel Plan and for their membership in the TRUE CHURCH ON THE EARTH. Such was their faith, and it was enough to bring them through every trial, every hardship, every discouragement that came their way. They triumphed in the end and WE AS THEIR POSTERITY HAVE BEEN GREATLY BLESSED BY THEIR WISDOM, FAITH, AND ENDURANCE.
They rode the train for a day and then got on a ship and went up the Rhine River. This took them three or four days. They then rode the train another day and got on a ship on the North Sea that took them to England; the sea was very turbulent and they had a rough voyage.
At Liverpool they boarded a ship and was on the ocean 13 days. They stayed in New York for two days and in Chicago one day and a night. They then rode the train straight to Franklin, Idaho. They arrived on the 18th of June 1893. This was Uncle Gottlob’s birthday. It was 85 years ago tomorrow.
They were met by their son George and Fred Nuffer, who was the man George was working for. They brought a buggy and wagon and took the family to Brother Nuffer’s place in Cub River. Here they stayed about a week; then purchased the farm of John Nuffer in Glendale, Idaho. It was during this week Grandpa took his daughter Mary, my mother, and they walked to the Bear Lake County seeking a farm and a home to see what was available there. They slept on the ground at nights and saved some of their bread to feed the bears so they wouldn’t bother them. They had to take off their shoes as they forged streams. It was a rough trip.
From Glendale they bought a farm in Whitney and from here to Preston. In 1910 they moved to Logan, Utah to be near the Temple where they could go often. In Logan, they lived at two or three different places, but I wasn’t able to find out for sure. The places I distinctly remember was on 3rd North and two or so block East and their last home in Logan was a lovely home thy built located on 4th North and two blocks East.
The first Sunday they were in Glendale, Grandpa and Grandma went to church with these five beautiful daughters and two sons. My dad, William Addison Wagstaff was the ward clerk and mother had on a red dress; dad looked down at her and winked. You see dad was well past 30 and not married. I bet he thought here is my chance. Of course there were other nice gals available, but he hadn’t married and we are happy he choose mother.
Grandma soon joined the Relief Society and in the minutes of the meetings that I have, tell of her bearing her testimony often and donating eggs, wheat, calico or whatever, when ask to do so.
They had a strong testimony and remained true to the Church and were ardent Temple Workers till their last days on earth.
I feel these parents, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have accomplished so much in that time 85 years tomorrow, all of the children have gone to the Temple, many have done Temple work and many of the grandchildren and great grandchildren also. Many have gone on Missions. There are Bishops, Doctors, poets, Nurses and professional people in the family.
I being one of the younger ones of Grandpa and Grandma’s grandchildren, I have had the privilege of attending the funerals of some of their children and their children’s mates and many of the grandchildren and I have really been thrilled and lifted up about the wonderful things that have been said – of their good lives – their devotion to their families. I have felt so thrilled and humble to belong to such a good family and I know for a fact the wonderful words that have been spoken are true, because I have observed and could say Amen to it all.
I have felt many times that if Grandpa and Grandma could see their posterity and how wonderful, faithful, devoted they ware; with a strong testimony and ardent Temple workers; they surely would be thrilled and happy.
They taught their children the way they should live by example and precept and each in turn taught their children the same principles and they in turn did the same to their children. This is very commendable, I am sure.
While in Germany, Grandpa worked on the roads and was a road overseer. He also worked in the Black Forest and fought in the Civil War in Germany in 1865 and the war of 1870-71. He also owned a little farm and cattle. He wasn’t a very large man about 5 foot 6 inches. He always looked well dressed, clean and very nice.
Grandma was about 5 foot 3 or 4 inches and had a good shape. She always fixed her hair so beautiful, she looked nice and well dressed. I can remember this beautiful black knit winter dress she had and she always wore gloves.
While in Logan Grandpa always had a lively horse, a good looking single black buggy and a real snazzy buggy whip. This one place they lived on in Logan had an extra lot where he grew hay for his horse and he’d cut it with a scythe. They also always had a nice garden and beautiful flowers. As I remember this home was on 3rd North and a few blocks East.
They were hard working, thrifty people and handled their affairs very well. They really made hay while the sun shone and were able to retire at a reasonable age and had enough to live on plus an estate they left.
Speaking of hard working people which they were, their children were also. I know Mother always worked in the fields, had a lovely garden – flowers and fruits and berries. Also plus making soap, butter, curing meat and those good sausages and canning besides washing on the board and knitting stockings for all of us 8 children, one pair for Sunday and one for school and everyday use. I know mother’s sisters and brothers were of the same caliber.
Now I have just mentioned Mother mostly, but I guess because I knew her better, but I have observed through my life and I know for a fact that all their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have been hard working people and early risers. At least I and my brothers and sisters and all my children know how to work, so some of it has rubbed off.
I am sure life for them in Germany was hard. It wasn’t always sunshine and roses. Of course all of us knew we’d have trials and sorrows to go thru when we came to earth and I’m sure they had their share.
Grandma lost her mother at age two and she was said her stepmother wasn’t very good to her. She said her father was a weaver and Grandma had to walk many miles through dark woods at night to deliver the linen to different customers. She’d carry it on her head with arms and hands to help. Often she was afraid she prayed and was never harmed. She said many times all she had to eat was a piece of brown bread and potato peeling soup, but she was thankful for that.
I feel sure Grandma and Grandpa had many happy times, but they also knew sorrow. It must have been heart breaking to loose their two little boys at a tender age and have to leave them buried in Germany, when they came to America. I’m sure as most all parents are, they were grieved at times over their children’s actions.
In Germany they all worked hard to help make a living. Grandma and children would do most of the farm work and care for the animals, so Grandpa could work away on roads, etc to bring a little extra means in. They would put the hay up and spend long hard days getting wood in from the forest for fuel for winter.
At Christmas time and other special occasions, they could have white bread and some little cakes. They had beautiful Christmas trees decorated, Grandma really tried hard to make a sweet happy home and life for her children. Now I’d like to quickly relate a few things I can remember about them.
I can remember Mother and Grandma most always conversed in German and she’d also always write letters often to her in German. She was so good at keeping up her correspondence. She’d always send love and kisses to us kids. At Christmas time they always sent a check to their children and 50 cents for each of us grandchildren. I thought I was really rich to have this half dollar to spend.
The last time I saw Grandpa was in December of 1921, when he came to Ogden to Aunt Pauline’s funeral. In February 1922 he had just finished helping to pay Aunt Pauline’s funeral expenses when he took sick and died. I believe it was of Pneumonia.
The last time I saw Grandma was in July 1929, when we stopped in to visit her on our way to Idaho. We took her some nice fresh strawberries from our garden.
I can remember how sad and lonely she looked. She had carried on alone for almost 8 years. She was a dear and faithful to the end. She passed away in December 1929. I can remember how sad I was and what a lovely funeral they had and the nice things that were spoken of her.
As a child I can remember going to Logan on the U.I.C., Railroad, or sometimes called the Galloping Goose, with Mom and Dad to visit them. It was the joy of my life. They always made you welcome and shared willingly what they had with you.
It seemed we always had the same thing for supper. She would sauté a little onion in the fry pan and then add boiled potatoes cut up or sliced and browned, a piece of cheese, bread, butter and applesauce, but oh! It was good. It was such a thrill to sleep on her feather bed.
I can well remember they always went to the Temple and I can see them now walking Temple hill in high gear, especially Grandpa.
They always had some mints for the Grandchildren and you always got loves and kisses. I didn’t always like Grandpa’s kisses and his beard would tickle my face and his kisses were kind of wet, but I knew then and I know now also that he loved us all.
What a thrill it was to go to Logan to be baptized and stay at their place and I was always so happy when they came to visit us, or we went to visit them, especially after Grandpa died and Grandma spent time with us is Ogden.
They were really hospitable and in 1917 Annie our sister and Mary Wanner Andra stayed at their home while taking a course in sewing and pattern drafting at the college.
Electricity at their home in Logan was cheap and they’d burn the lights most all day and night. I was really fascinated by them, as when we lived in Glendale we just had kerosene lamps, until the last two years, when we had gas lights.
It seemed to me as a young child when Grandma would kneel beside her bed to say her night prayers, she’d sure pray a long time – always I the German language, but I now realize it was a sweet humble and sincere prayer.
When I go to Logan now and to the Budge Clinic, I look across the street to their last beautiful house and well remember going there to visit them many times.
There are many reasons why we should honor and love our Grandparents, but among their most wonderful accomplishments, we would have to list their diligent pursuit in genealogy and Temple Work. Both Grandma and Grandpa had a great deal of research done to find the names and vital information concerning their progenitors. Each one of us are taught to do this by the leaders of our church. Grandma and Grandpa carried on this responsibility to the best of their ability for many years. I am sure when they learned of the statement of Prophet Joseph Smith to the effect if we neglect this important work we do so at the peril of our own salvation, that it aroused in them a never ending desire to see that nothing was left undone, that was within their ability to do.
After having had the research done they were able to secure the names of hundreds of their dead ancestors and spent many many hours I the Temple acting as proxy for those who never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and take upon themselves the sacred covenants, which are necessary for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.
I am most grateful to them for their integrity and not only teaching the highest principles of honorable dealings in their daily affairs, but for the example of following the Savior’s admonition “To love one another and to do our best to help those in need”.
Dear cousins, second and third cousins, in-laws and others, our grandparents are long since gone, but I am sure their memory lives on and it could be said of them they laughed a lot and cried a little. They aren’t really dead for no man dies as long as there is one living person in the world who remembers them with fond memories and no man really dies as long as there are people on earth who really loved them. This can be said of them, many many people loved them for what they really were. They had many many friends and as I have told Horace many times, I truly loved my Grandma and Grandpa Wanner.

Random Richmond Pictures

I have made a number of photos available that were in my Great Grandma’s (Lillian Coley Jonas) photo albums.  As I mentioned, these photos seem to come from a collection of her own photos, photos that belonged to her mother (Martha Christiansen Coley), and photos that belonged to husband (Joseph Nelson Jonas).  Unfortunately, these are unnamed so we do not know who the individuals are or where the photos were taken.  I am fairly certain these are Coley or Jonas relatives though.  Plus, there is a very good chance these photos were taken in Cache County, Utah.  Any photos with writing, I have made the writing available in the caption area.

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I believe this is one of Matha’s sisters

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Do take good care of this

This was written on the back of this one: Hug and Kiss and now I am going to propose to you dear.  To Lillian from Olof and Edna.  Wishing you many a Happy Birthdays.  Haha

This was written on the back of this one: Hug and Kiss and now I am going to propose to you dear. To Lillian from Olof and Edna. Wishing you many a Happy Birthdays. Haha

 

This photo was taken at Electric Photo Shop in Logan, Utah

This photo was taken at Electric Photo Shop in Logan, Utah

 

This photo also taken in Electric Photo Shop, Logan, Utah

This photo also taken in Electric Photo Shop, Logan, Utah

 

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Give this picture to Lillian of the baby as she acted like she thought so much of Karen she has a spit bubble in her mouth and you can sure see it plain

“Give this picture to Lillian of the baby as she acted like she thought so much of Karen she has a spit bubble in her mouth and you can sure see it plain”

"Give to Lillian to"

“Give to Lillian to”

 

 

 

 

Wanner-Schmid Wedding

Jakob and Salome Schmid are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Anna Maria to Johann, son of Johann and Anna Wanner.  Johann and Anna were married 6 June 1870 in Holzgerlingen, Böblingen, Württemberg.

Anna Maria Schmid was the third child of three born to the marriage of Jakob Frederick Schmid (he went by Frederick) and Salome Notter on 21 January 1849 in Holzgerlingen.  Solome was 38 years old when Anna was born and died two and a half years later in Holzgerlingen.  Anna’s father, Jakob, then remarried to Agnes Margarete Hasenmaier in 1852.  Unfortunately, Agnes passed away a year and half later when Anna was barely over 3 years old.  Jakob remained single as far as we know and raised the two girls and boy on his own afterward.  Jakob was a weaver.  Anna likely had few if any memory of either of her mothers.  Anna was christened the same day she was born.  Below is a picture of St. Mauritius’ tower in Holzgerlingen where Anna was christened.  This tower has been there since the eleventh century.

St. Mauritius Church in Holzgerlingen where Anna Schmid was christened

Johann Georg Wanner was the fourth child of five born to the marriage of Johann Friedrich Wanner and Anna Maria Marquardt on 18 October 1845 also in Holzgerlingen.  He was christened the next day in the same church as Anna.

St. Mauritius

St. Mauritius from the nave looking toward the chancel.  Inside this church is where Johann Wanner was christened

Holzgerlingen is a small town and it is very likely that Johann and Anna knew of each other growing up if not more personally.  Johann and Anna were married 6 June 1870 in the same church in which they were christened.

The altar of St. Mauritius in Holzgerlingen where Johann and Anna were likely married

The altar of St. Mauritius in Holzgerlingen before which Johann and Anna were likely married

Johann and Anna welcomed a baby boy named after his father on 29 October 1870.  Young Johann Georg was christened the next day in the same church, likely before a congregation seated in the below nave.

The chapel/nave of St. Mauritius where family sat for generations if not hundreds of years attending church

The chapel/nave of St. Mauritius where family sat for generations if not hundreds of years attending church

Johann and Anna welcomed Christina Wanner 30 March 1872 in Holzgerlingen.  She was christened on 1 April 1872.

The train platform at Holzgerlingen

The train platform at Holzgerlingen

Between 1872 and 1873 Johann and Anna moved to Grünkraut, Ravensburg, Württemburg.  This is about 50 miles to the south.  We don’t know why they moved to this tiny town.  It was in Grünkraut that Maria Magdalena Wanner was born 12 September 1873.  She was christened 14 September 1873 but I do not know which church the family used in Grünkraut.

Johannas Wanner was born 23 June 1875 and christened the same day in Grünkraut.  He died later that year on 5 November 1875.  He was buried at Atzenweiler according to family records, but I cannot find this place so it must be an area nearby Grünkraut.

Johannas Frederick Wanner came 28 July 1878 and was christened on 3 August 1878.  He died 12 November 1878 and is also apparently buried at Atzenweiler.

On 30 March 1879 Johann and Anna welcomed Luise Sophia Wanner.  Christening followed 6 April 1879 in Grünkraut.

Jakob Frederick Wanner appeared 14 January 1881 with christening 23 January 1881.

Fred told a couple of stories I think proper to share here.  I cannot verify accuracy or the time frame.  “They left the farm work to Grandfather and the children.  They used the milk cows to do the farm work and then would milk them morning and night.  They also got wood from the forest for fuel.  It rained a lot in Germany so the out buildings were connected to the house.  One time Grandma went downstairs to get some fruit.  She reached over and touched something hairy and she thought it was the devil!  It was a cow that had wandered down from the barn.  Dad didn’t talk much about his life as a child but he did say he got a drum for Christmas and then it would disappear about New Years Day and he would get it for Christmas again the next year.  He may have been joking.  The family belonged to the Lutheran Church and was very religious.”

Pauline Wanner arrived 1 April 1884 in Atzenweiler and was christened 10 April 1884 in Atzenweiler.

Gottlop Wanner showed up 18 June 1886 in Kronhalden with christening 29 June 1886 in Atzenweiler.

Lastly, Wilhelmina ended the caravan on 12 September 1887 in Atzenweiler and was christened 19 September 1887 in Atzenweiler.

During the summer of 1890 LDS missionaries visited Grünkraut.  The missionaries apparently visited with Jakob, Anna’s father.  The missionary showed Jakob the Book of Mormon and Jakob took the missionaries home with him.  The missionaries lived with the family for a time and the Wanner family was converted.  Johann Georg Jr was the first to join the LDS Church on 11 July 1891.  Johann Sr, Anna, Christina, and Maria were all baptized 16 October 1891.  Jakob, Anna’s father, joined 22 February 1892.

Johann Jr emigrated to America with Elder Theurer.  They went to his home in Providence, Cache, Utah.  We don’t know who Elder Theurer is, but he helped Johann Georg, now John George, find employment with Fred Nuffer who lived in Mapleton, Franklin, Idaho.  Elder John Theurer had converted the Nuffer family in Germany, so it was likely a sibling of John who helped find John Jr his employment.

In 1893, the family emigrated from Germany.  John, Anna, Christina, Maria, Luise, Fredrick, Pauline, Gottlop, and Wilhelmina all departed Liverpool, England on 3 June 1893 on the Arizona.  They arrived on 13 June 1893 at Ellis Island in New York, New York, New York.  Immediately, the family caught multiple trains through Chicago and Salt Lake with the last stop at Franklin, Franklin, Idaho near where John Jr met them with a wagon.  The family arrived at Franklin on 18 June 1893 where John took them in to Preston.  It was in Preston that Luise, Fred, and Pauline, were baptized 7 June 1894.  Gottlob followed on 6 June 1895 with Wilhelmina 6 August 1896, all in Preston.

The family immediately began to integrate with society.  Christina married Charles August Nuffer 1 February 1894 in the Logan LDS Temple.  John Jr married Eliza Stirland 14 November 1894 in the Logan Temple.

Wanner Family about 1895,

Wanner Family about 1895.  Standing (l-r): Maria (Mary), Christina, Johann (John but went by George), Pauline.  Sitting (l-r): Anna, Jakob (Fred), Luise (Louise), Wilhelmina, Gottlop, Johann (John).

Maria, now Mary, married William Addison Wagstaff 17 June 1896 in the Logan Temple.  Luise, now Louise, married Jeffery Marcelin Bodrero 16 March 1898 in the Logan Temple.  John Jr remarried after divorce to Regina Frederike Nuffer 31 August 1898 in the Logan Temple.  Jakob, now Fred, married Mary Elizabeth Carter 30 September 1903 in the Logan Temple.  Pauline married William Henry Crossley 14 December 1904 in the Logan Temple.  Wilhelmina married Moses Bodrero 18 December 1907 in the Logan Temple.  Gottlop married Rebecca Hicks 16 November 1908 in Preston.

The Wanner family purchased a farm from John Nuffer, a brother to Charles and Regina, near Glendale, Franklin, Idaho.  Fred purchased the farm from them around 1910.  John Sr and Anna moved to Logan where they were living at 791 North 500 East when the 1910 Census was taken (the whole family was in Preston city limits for the 1900 Census).  On the 1920 Census I believe they lived at 304 East 500 North, but the census is unclear exactly what street 304 is on, but going from the pattern of the census taker I believe it is the address I have listed.

Johann Georg Wanner 1921

John died 16 February 1922 of pneumonia in Logan.  Anna listed their address as 272 East 400 North in Logan.  He was buried on the 19th in the Logan Cemetery.  She also died of pneumonia but on 9 December 1929.  She was living at the same address when she passed away.  She was buried 12 December 1929 next to her husband.

Anna Schmid Wanner