Edward William Sharp

I thought I would write about Edward William Sharp today, known to the family as Uncle Ed.  He has a tender, yet thorny, position in the family.

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Edward William Sharp was born 25 October 1887 in Plain City, Weber, Utah, the seventh child to Milo and Lilly Sharp.  My Great Grandmother, Ethel, was Ed’s younger sister, number 11 in line.  I have written more of Ethel’s marriage to Jack Ross.  Ed Sharp comes into the family line more closely when Ethel died in 1925.  She left behind five children, namely: June, Milo, Paul, Harold, and Earnest.  The four children were taken back to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho in 1925 to be raised by their Ross grandparents, James and Catherine Ross, while Jack got back on his feet.  As winter came and progressed the family struggled.  Earnest passed away the fall of 1925 in Rupert, Idaho.  Jack was gone for unknown reasons and James and Catherine called Ethel’s family to come get the four children.  Starting that winter of 1925-26, Milo Ross was raised by his Uncle Ed.  June went to live with her paternal grandparents, the Streeters in Ogden.  Paul and Harold were raised by Ed’s siblings, Vic Hunt and Del Sharp respectively.  Sadly, Paul fell from a loft in a barn in 1932 and broke his arm and suffered a concussion that would take his life in 1932.

Edward Sharp met and married Lillie Elva East 13 May 1909 in Plain City.  She was born 16 February 1888 in nearby Warren, Weber, Utah.  Together they had 10 children.

Edna Louise Sharp born 11 January 1910 in Plain City.

Florence Evelyn Sharp born 30 June 1911 in Plain City.

Marjorie Lillian Sharp born 23 June 1913 in Plain City.

Ethel Sharp born 8 July 1917 in Plain City.

Elmer George Sharp born 15 June 1919 in Plain City.

Ruby Elaine Sharp born 13 February 1922 in Plain City.

Ruby Sharp

Ruby Sharp

Milo Riley Sharp born 27 November 1927 in Ogden.

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 - 1955)

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 – 1955)

Josephine Sharp born 18 March 1927 in Ogden.

Edward Junior Sharp born 24 January 1930 in Ogden.

Dean Sharp born 28 April 1935 in Ogden.

As a reminder, Grandpa, Milo Ross, was born in 1921 in Plain City.  He falls right in the middle of the entire family and became one of the siblings.  To tell the difference between Milo Ross and Milo Sharp, I will use their last name.

Milo James Ross

Milo James Ross

Unfortunately, things were not quite that easy.  Ed farmed a nice little farm in Plain City.  He also had some cows, pigs, and other animals.  The family grew up in the Depression with all the anxieties and difficulties that came with it.  Fortunately the farm was mostly paid for and the farm provided for itself and the family.

Despite technically being blood to Ed, Milo Ross was treated differently than the other children.  Milo Ross was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family.  When the family was done with the meal, then Milo Ross could eat.  Often alone.  Milo Ross was expected to work longer than the rest of the family, into the time while the rest of them ate.  Milo Ross was also expected to arise earlier and get things in order for the day before the rest of the family.  He did not often get to eat with the rest of the family for breakfast and only got some bread and milk.  He was also given some of the more undesirable jobs around the farm.  For example, it was his job to tend the onions which often left him smelling of the onions.

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

Ed also had some drinking issues and had a certain temper.  Of course his family saw the issues that arose as part of the alcohol, but it was Milo Ross who felt it.  He was the one who suffered the wrath of Ed’s drinking bouts at the end of a belt or sometimes worse.  While Milo Ross loved his cousin-siblings, the relationship was not as kindred with Ed.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp.  In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp. In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Milo Ross was only one year in age from Ruby who he ran around the countryside with.  They were close enough that they would hold hands when nobody else was around.  They did quite a bit together.  He was also close to Milo Sharp, but he was still three years behind him in age.  The older siblings, Edna (who went by Louise), Florence, and Ethel were good to him, but were close to each other and did mostly their own thing.  Ed kept Milo Ross busy that he did not get as much time with the younger children but he grew close with Josephine and Edward (known as Eddie in the family).  Dean was young enough that he was around him some, but did not have as close of a relationship.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

As I mentioned in the story of Ed’s grandparents William & Mary Ann Sharp, the Sharp and Stoker families came to Utah as converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A number of issues arose in Plain City and families left the church.  Ed’s parents followed that suit remaining with the Episcopalian faith.  Ed and Lillie did as well, but were not very active.  The Mormons continued to work on bringing the families back to the church.  The Sharp family started to work through Delwin’s family first and the faith spread through Ed’s nieces and nephews and into his own family.  Only one of Ed’s siblings joined the LDS faith while alive, and that was Vic in 1975.

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Vilate Sharp, 13 August 1957

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Violet Sharp, 13 August 1957

Marjorie, Ethel, and Ruby all joined through the waters of baptism on 12 May 1939.  Milo Ross joined 2 July 1939 (only after 18 as Ed would not give consent otherwise).  Louise, Florence, Milo Sharp, Josephine, and Eddie all joined 3 January 1943.  Dean was the last on 31 October 1932, he was not 8 in January to join with the remainder of his siblings.

As soon as Milo was of age, he looked for opportunities to get out.  He eventually married, moved in with his in-laws, and then the impending war took his services abroad.

Lillie East Sharp died 4 September 1942 while separated from her husband.  She had started divorce proceedings but died before they completed.  She was buried in Plain City.

Ed died 24 August 1962 in Othello, Adams, Washington.  The family brought him home and buried him in Plain City too.

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.

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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.

Ross-Donaldson Wedding

David and Dena Donaldson are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Gladys Maxine to Milo James Ross, son of Jack Ross and the late Ethel Ross.  They were married in the Donaldson home on 8th Street in Ogden, Utah on 4 April 1942.  (This post originally appeared in 2010 and is reposed due to Grandpa’s death)

Gladys is a 1940 graduate of Ogden High School.

Milo is a 1939 graduate of Weber High School.  He is currently employed with American Packing and Provisioning Company as a supervisor in Ogden.

The couple will make their home in Plain City.

While short and sweet, there is much more of a story behind those words.  Milo and Gladys met  in 1940 when Gladys and her sisters rode their bikes all the way to a celebration in Plain City.  Later they would meet at the Berthana, which included a dance hall on the second floor (built in Ogden about 1914).  The Berthana later converted to a roller skating rink before closing in the 1970’s.  The building is still there although I do not know what the use for the building is currently.

David Delos Donaldson and Berendena Van Leeuwen are Gladys’ parents.  Read more of her parents at this link: Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Family.  David was a plumber by trade who had lung problems from being gassed in the Argonne of France in World War I.  He suffered from lung ailments the rest of his life.  He mostly worked in the Ogden area but worked prior to marriage in Phoenix, Arizona and Twin Falls, Idaho.  He also sought work in Boulder City, Nevada during the depression and as a steam and pipe fitter during World War II in Napa, California.  Apparently during World War II he worked almost exclusively in submarines.  You can read more of their marriage and family at the link above.  She went by the name of Dena her entire life.

Gladys and Maxine Donaldson ages 5 and 3.

Dena grew up LDS and David did not.  David’s parents were not active LDS and most of David’s siblings joined the LDS church between the ages of 10 and 22.  David and one brother did not.  Dena saw that all her children were raised LDS with little difficulty from David.  Apparently smoking is what kept him from being baptized (he picked up smoking after being gassed because he said it soothed his lungs).  When the time would come for Milo and Gladys to marry, they wished to be married in the temple.   For whatever reason, the Bishop determined that he was not going to allow them to be sealed without David being a member.  I do not know which Bishop, but I have a suspicion it was Gladys’ Bishop and that he knew the Donaldson family.  He probably hoped to bring errant David around so his daughter could get married.  The plan backfired.  It would not have worked anyhow because David was pretty set on Gladys marrying a wealthy man and would not have minded if the wedding had not gone through.  Milo said they wanted to get married and were not interested in waiting around for a Bishop to figure out what he was doing.  A week before they were actually married, they decided to elope.  They packed up and drove to Evanston, Wyoming on snow covered roads.  They arrived and decided they better do it proper with family around.  They enjoyed a meal and drove back to Ogden on a very snowy set of roads.  Leading them to get married in the Donaldson home the next week or so.  It would take them another 34 years before they finally made it to the temple to get sealed.  Perhaps the Bishop was inspired.

They married in April and World War II was in full swing.  They rented a place in Ogden for a few weeks until moving to Plain City and rented there (on 4700?) until they built a home after the war.  Milo and a group of buddies then went off to Fort Douglas to enlist in October 1942 rather than wait until they were drafted.  They anticipated at least a few more days or weeks in Utah before being shipped off.  However, Milo was put on a train that same day to Camp Lewis in Washington.  He spent the next two to four months there, he cannot remember for sure.  Gladys would move to Camp Lewis to be with him through basic training.  By this point the two knew they were expecting a baby.

Milo shipped out for Needles, California to Camp Ibis.  Due to his experience with building, he was one of the men asked to lay out some of the buildings for the latrines and then helped in starting the construction of those buildings.  Their division stayed there a few months before heading off to San Francisco from which he was put on a boat and headed to Hawaii.  He landed in Hawaii on the 4th of July 1943 with the loudspeaker welcoming the men to Hawaii and announcing the birth of a son to Sergeant Ross.  I have written of that baby at this link: Baby Milo Ross.

Gladys would live with her parents in Ogden until Milo returned from the rigors of war.  Her parents moved from their address on 8th Street down to Washington Boulevard during this time.

Milo worked for American Packing and Provisioning Company some in high school and on afterward until he went into the service.  American Pack would be sold to Swift & Company in 1949.  This packing plant would remain in use until the 1970’s when it was closed.

I have written previously about Milo’s loss of his mother in 1925 and her family keeping him from having contact with his father, John William Ross.  Here is the link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.  He was raised by his Uncle Edward William Sharp in Plain City.

Anyhow, the family would go on to have 2 more children in 1946 and 1948.  Milo received a homestead in Washington State in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, but I do not know more about it.  The homestead is believed to have been abandoned because of medical needs of Judy and the family returned to a newly built home in Plain City around 1948 or 1949.  The family then built the current home at 2532 N. 4100 W. in 1955 and have resided there since.

Ross – Sharp Wedding

Jack and Ethel Ross holding June Streeter about 1920 in Paul, Idaho.

Milo Riley and Mary Ann “Lilly” Sharp are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Ethel to John William “Jack” Ross, son of James Thomas and Damey Catherine Graham Ross.  They were married at Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado by an Army Chaplain (Julius J Babst) on 11 January 1920.

Jack is currently employed with the US Army as a cook at Fort Logan, Colorado.

The couple will return to make their home in Plain City, Utah as soon as he completes his enlistment with the Army.

Jack Ross was born 2 September 1890 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  He was the second of four children born to James Thomas Ross and Damey Catherine Graham.  Read more about Jack’s parents here.  We really do not know much of Jack’s childhood.  His mother joined the LDS church on 27 February 1898 and his father on 17 April 1898 in an unknown location.  Jack and his older brother Robert Leonard joined on 30 July 1900.  I have been unable to find the Ross family on the 1900 Census.  By July 1906, the family was living in or near Welch, McDowell, West Virginia working in the coal mines when Fanny and James were baptized.  Jack married Nannie May Day (she went by May) on 6 July 1910 in Squire Jim, McDowell, West Virginia.  To this marriage was born Hobart Day Ross (who later went by Hobart Day) on 1 Jun 1911 in McDowell County, West Virginia.

James and May Ross holding Hobart about 1912

Jack’s younger sister, Fanny Elizabeth married Calvin Dickerson Phibbs on 22 December 1906 (listed as a miner) and then moved to Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho in 1912.  Initially Calvin and Fanny moved to Rupert and purchased 80 acres to the northeast of Rupert.  He dabbled with cattle and real estate while also working as an electrician.  (He was eventually elected as Rupert City Clerk and in 1918 as Minidoka County Probate Judge.  He was admitted as an attorney to the Idaho bar 15 December 1919.)  At any rate, in 1911 the construction of a new sugar factory in Burley, Cassia, Idaho was drawing a number of potential workers.  Word reached the remaining Ross clan in West Virginia, probably from Fanny, of the upcoming opening.  The remaining Ross family rode a train of coal from McDowell County directly to southern Idaho.

Jack’s wife, May, did not come with him for one reason or another.  She divorced him shortly afterward and remarried to Andrew Cleveland Parson(s?) on 22 November 1913 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia.  We do not know anything of the Ross family between 1913 and 1917 other than they were working at Amalgamated Sugar in Burley.  Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army on 23 April 1917 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah and served in Battery E, 4th FA Rec Ser; Co. C, 21st Bn USG; 5 Rct Co (I do not know what any of that means) at Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado, until 6 June 1919 when he was permitted leave.  He had obtained the rank of Sargent and was awarded the WWI Victory Button and Medal.  As far as I can tell, he never left U.S. soil.

Jack’s parents were working on farms around the area during the summers and then at the factories during the winter.  Robert listed his parents as living in Idahome, Cassia, Idaho in September 1918 when registered for the World War I Draft.  Jack’s parents moved to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho and started working on the first beet campaign in 1918 at the new Paul Amalgamated sugar factory.  Jack visited his parents in Paul on leave (starting 6 Jun 1919) and it was there he met Ethel Streeter running a store on Main Street, now Idaho Street, only a block or two from where his parents lived.  Jack reported back at Fort Logan on 13 August 1919 to 12 August 1920 when he was discharged from Fort Logan.

Ethel Sharp was born 9 April 1898 in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  She was the 11th child (8 siblings living by the time of her birth) of 12 children born to Milo Riley Sharp and Mary Ann Stoker, AKA Lillian “Lilly” Musgrave.  I have written about this family at this link: Sharp-Stoker Wedding.

Ethel was confirmed in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Plain City 15 May 1912.  Somewhere during this decade she was involved in a train accident on the Utah-Idaho Central Railway line between Plain City and Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have been unable to locate any newspaper clippings or other information on this accident.  Anyhow, she obtained a settlement for her injuries.

She married Mark Lewis Streeter of West Weber, Weber, Utah on 7 May 1917 in Ogden.

Mark and Ethel Streeter

She made large deposits at Ogden First National Bank in June 1917, potentially her settlement.  We have checks from not long after that through August 1918 written out from Paul State Bank.  Interestingly, the checks state, “Paul is the Cream of the Minidoka Project, We Have the Cream of Paul.”

I have written about the photos recently found which include two photos of the Streeter Ice Cream & Confection Parlor.  Ethel Sharp and Streeter Confection.

Ethelyn June Streeter was born 4 June 1918 in Paul (she died in 2012).  Pictures of June are at the link in the preceding paragraph.  The divorce of Mark and Ethel was final after Mark had enlisted in the Army 3 March 1919.  Mark indicates in his autobiography that after he enlisted and left Ethel fell in love with Jack and that was the reason for their divorce.  Jack did not meet Ethel until June 1919, three months after Mark enlisted in the army.  Jack returned from his leave in Paul to Fort Logan in August 1919.  Ethel ventured to Fort Logan in January to marry Jack.  The 1920 Census lists him as a cook just days before Ethel arrived and the two were married.  She left little June with the Streeter family in Ogden.  We do not know much about the short dating period, but she traveled all the way to Colorado to marry him.  Whether she was head over heels for a poor military boy or something else, we do not know.  We do not know how long she stayed in Colorado or even if they came back together after his discharge.  We assume Ethel sold the store before going to Colorado.  After his discharge, Jack and Ethel moved to Plain City and he worked for Amalgamated Sugar Company at the Wilson Lane factory.  This was roughly a 7 mile walk to work one direction.  Milo James Ross was born 4 February 1921 in Plain City in a little log home just to the west and north of about 2971 N. 4200 W.  I have written of Milo James Ross at this link: Ross-Donaldson Wedding.  Here is a picture of the little log cabin in about 2005, shortly before it was torn down.

At some point, Jack and Ethel found their way back to Paul where Jack worked in the fields and at the sugar factory.  Paul Ross was born 14 February 1922 in Paul.  Work took Jack back to the Burley sugar factory and John Harold Ross (who went by Harold) was born 7 November 1923 in Burley and then moved back to Paul.  By 1924, Jack and Ethel were living with Jack’s parents and trying to make enough to get by.  Milo remembers walking to church in Paul before his mother died, he thinks a Presbyterian or Episcopal church.

To ease the load on his parents, the family moved back to Plain City.  Ethel gave birth to her last child, Earnest Jackson Ross, on 16 July 1925 in Plain City.

Sadly, Ethel passed away 21 days later on 6 August of puerperal septicemia (Blood poisoning from obstetric delivery).  Earnest lived to 20 September and he passed away in Idaho from malnutrition.  Jack is listed as the informant on the death certificate for Ethel.  Jack could not afford burial plots so Edward Sharp, Ethel’s brother, provided the burial plots where Ethel and Ernest are buried in Plain City.

Milo tells the story of the funeral for his mother.  He remembered that he was not permitted to look into the casket to see his mother.  The casket was up on the table and he could not see a thing and all he wanted to see was his mother.  Within days Jack took the four children back to Idaho and dropped them off with his parents.  Milo remembers his father riding the train holding baby Earnest in his arms.  Earnest passed away in Rupert.  James and Damey Ross took care of the remaining children through the winter of 1925-26.  June and Milo do not remember their father being there for the winter.  June’s only real memory of this period was of creamy buttered potatoes that were common and that she acquired a great love for.

By the time spring rolled around, Jack or his family had contacted Ethel’s family in Plain City and indicated they could not afford to feed and take care of the children anymore.  Os Richardson, Ethel’s brother-in-law drove to Idaho to pick up the four children.  Milo remembers the drive from Paul along the poplar lined highway from Paul past the sugar factory down into Heyburn, across the old river bridge through to Declo, Malta, Strevell, and back to Plain City.  The children were “farmed” out to family.  Milo was raised by his Uncle Ed Sharp, Paul by his Aunt Vic Hunt, and Harold by his Uncle Del Sharp.

We have very little information on what occurred in the life of Jack from this point on.  He found his way back to West Virginia where he tried to convince May to remarry him.  She had remarried and was having none of that.  This is the last time Hobart Day Ross ever saw his father.  Hobart went on to become a preacher.  He awoke blind one morning after being kicked in the head by a horse.

Jack found his way to Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming where he married a lady named Zana Cogdill on 29 November 1926.  She was previously married to Frank Coffey and was going by his name.  I have been unable to determine what happened to Frank.  She had a son already named Orval A Coffey. The 1930 Census on 2 April 1930 finds the two of them in Crawford, Delta, Colorado where he is working as a foreman in a battery shop and living with the brother of Zana’s first husband (?!?).

We do not believe this marriage lasted very long either.  Jack made several visits back to Plain City to see his children.  He would take a taxi out to Plain City, pick up Betty Booth, and the two would ride over to the fields where Milo was working.  We assume the same happened with Harold.  Paul died from a concussion in 1932 after falling out of a barn.  The car would pull up at the end of the field and would toot its horn and Milo could see the occupants wave.  It was not until he visited his father in 1948 that he realized this was his father waving at him across the way and that the lady was Betty Booth.  (Interestingly, Milo had given assistance to Betty Booth in the form of coal and helped pay some of her Dr.’s bills before she passed).

Jack reappears for the mandatory draft registration for World War II living in Stockton, San Joaquin, California working for Werl Zuckerman on McDonald Island with a Stockton mailing address.  He lists his nearest kin as his sister Ms. C. D. Phibbs (Fanny) living at 529 S. California Street in Stockton.

Milo received a telegram in 1948 telling him that his father was dying in a Veteran’s Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California and that he was requested to come.  Milo tried to convince his brother Harold to go with him but Harold wanted nothing to do with his father.  Milo took the bus to Livermore and found the hospital. He arrived somewhere around midnight and found his way into the building and climbed up a couple of floors and found a corner he could sleep in until morning.  He heard coughs from a room and somebody in the room ask for the time.  He poked his head in and asked if anyone knew of Jack Ross.  Jack indicated he was in the room and wanted to know if it was Milo or Harold at the door.

They visited until an orderly came in and kicked him out.  He slept in a corner for a while and then told an orderly that he had come all the way from Utah to see his father and that his father was dying.  The orderly then let him stay with his father until he passed.

Fortunately, Milo and Jack were able to visit.  Milo asked why his father never came to visit and his father insisted that he wrote letters, sent gifts, and that the Sharp family kept the children from him.  He did not believe him at the time.  Vic Hunt, Ethel’s sister, had received the letters and told Milo about them after her husband and son were electrocuted in 1960 (thinking it was a form of punishment for her keeping them secret) but still did not give them to him. They passed to her son Harold in 1987, and to her grandson Archie in 2005.  Archie turned them over to Milo in 2010.

We know very little of his time in Wyoming, Colorado, or California before his passing.  Jack indicated in 1948 that life had been hard and he never had much.  So little is known of these years, hopefully some more of the story will come out in the future.

John Ross Tombstone

Coley Cabin

Okay, I admit it, I do a little family history.  One part of that family history is the endless search for photos.  I guess I am an eternal optimist in that regard.  I keep visiting family with the hope that I might find another photo somewhere.  Funny enough, as that optimism keeps me visiting people and looking through old photo albums, the eternal pessimist in me is become slightly more and more frantic as I know how often people die and the next generation just junks things.  Okay, maybe not everyone throws things away or tears apart the historic photos and giving a dutiful part to each descendant, but it becomes a little harder to track these things down the father we get from the original descendant.

Let me give one example.  I have not written more of this family history because I would like to find more photographs.  There must be more out there.  My fourth great grandparents are Olavus Jorgensen and Hanna Mathe Christensen Jorgensen.  They were born in 1830 in Drammen and 1831 in Sonde, respectively, in Norway.  Hanna joined the LDS Church in 1866 and members of the family started to join over the coming decades.

My third great-grandmother, Constance Josephine Eliza Jorgensen, joined in 1876.  She had married Olle Christiansen in 1874.  Both her and Olle joined the LDS Church in 1876.  They made their way to Utah and settled in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  Tracking down a photograph of Olle, despite 11 children, has been impossible, granted he died in 1900.

In that pursuit, I stumbled upon Amanda Emilie Jorgensen.  She is the youngest sister of Constance, and as far as I know, the youngest child of Olavus and Hanna Jorgensen.  Olavus and Hanna had immigrated to Richmond in 1896.  Amanda had followed about 1898 or 1899 with her husband Albert Sigvard Swensen.

While I could not find a photograph of Olle, I stumbled upon this photograph of Amanda.

Amanda Emilie Jorgensen Swensen (1872-1945)

Amanda Emilie Jorgensen Swensen (1872-1945)

I recently posted this photo on FamilySearch and have a number of her descendants contact me asking me where I got the photo!  It appears her own descendants do not have her photo.  Yet, oddly enough, I obtained this photograph from her grandson.  But that one grandson kept it sequestered away since he lives far from Utah to where nobody else knew of it.  I found him along with some other relative photographs, and now I am making the photo of her available to more of her line.

The moral of the story is those photos are out there!  They must be sought after.  You have to make the visits to those long-lost cousins and ask to see their photos.

Back to my main point.  I have hoped to find a photograph or two of the old Coley Cabin to the southeast of Richmond.  I have my own photographs of the cabin almost completely collapsed in on itself.  But this past couple of months, I became aware of a photograph of the cabin that hung on the wall of Sarah Colleen Coley Todd in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Apparently Colleen was born in the Coley Cabin near Richmond and someone took a photograph of it for her.  Here it is.

Coley Cabin near Richmond, Utah

Coley Cabin near Richmond, Utah

Unfortunately, the photo is not of the highest quality.  It is more of a printer print than a photo print.  But I will take what I can get.  Now I have to find out who took the original photograph.  Maybe they have it in its original photo quality.

Nevertheless, I keep hoping some day I will find some pictures from 50 or 80 years ago of the cabin.  Sadly, those pictures of homes (and not of people) are the ones that tend to get trashed when photos pass generations.  Nobody cares about a home that there is not a link to.  Most of the time, the story of the home is not even known.  But here is one that is preserved.

I am still working on the history of Herbert Coley and Martha Christiansen Coley.  It is my understanding they built the cabin.  But I have so few photos of them and I keep hoping that as I visit family, I can get just another photo or two of them.  I do not have many.

Anyhow, here is hoping for the future!

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.