My Mind’s Eye

Looking east on Idaho Street, Paul, Idaho

Looking east on Idaho Street, Paul, Idaho

The other day I took Aliza out for a walk in the stroller.  It was only the two of us and we went on a bit longer walk than normal.  We rounded the corner near Paul Elementary and started up this sidewalk.  My personal memory of Paul, Minidoka, Idaho only extends about 28 years into the past for this little town.  However, my historical and genealogical memory of this town extends a bit, in some instances back to the founding.

As I walked up this little sidewalk I found myself in my memory riding down this sidewalk on a bicycle many years ago.  Looking at the sidewalk, I would be willing to venture that it is the same concrete.  Indeed, up ahead at the end of the cinderblocks on the right, you can see part of the foundation for the old Adams Building that used to stand here.  I found myself remembering that building and what a sad day it was when it had to come down (the easy route is to always tear them down).  Interestingly enough, Mr. Adams was the son-in-law of Henry Schodde whose name is well-known in the area and whose family still haunts this town with its presence.

Immediately across the street to the left is the building that I attended Kindergarten (not in the picture).  The tiny building is now a self-serve laundromat.  Who would have thought a Kindergarten would become a laundromat.  For the most part, the building is just as it was when I was there.

Across the street behind the stop sign is an old gasoline, service/repair station that has been there since the 1920’s, 1930’s.  Only in the last 10 years did they remove the old gasoline pumps I remember being there as a kid.  The other buildings part of the lot are newer, probably of 1940’s vintage, but one of them still reads “Alignment” on the back with an old tire stand remaining.  Even as a kid I imagined what it must have looked like in its heyday.  I do not know the last time the building ever was used for commercial use, but I see a door open once in a while, or that at least someone is doing something within.  What secrets might still be locked in there?

Across the intersection diagonally is an empty lot.  But I know there used to be a lumber yard there at one point, and then some type of granary at another.  It was this lumber yard that my Great Grandmother Ethel Sharp Ross (previously Streeter) purchased the lumber to build her confectionery that was located, I believe, within the same block just beyond the water tower (which is in the picture).  Just beyond the now solitary light pole on the left side of the road was a butcher shop.  I still remember the iron beam that hung out the front of the building for bringing in of the beef.  I must have been 4 or 5 the first time I remember being inside and seeing the meat hanging from hooks, the coldness of the freezer, and the sound of the saw slicing through the flesh and bone of an animal.

Streeter Lumber Invoice

I remember the cat/monkey woman who supposedly lived in one of the old buildings between what was then the vacant lot in my youth of the lumber yard on the corner and the butcher shop.  I do not recall seeing any cats or monkeys, but I remember her and the smell that came with her.  There was a building that was missing somewhere in the row, supposedly from a fire.  That building had previously been the Post Office.

The first building on the other side of the street now used to be the Paul City Offices.  I remember going in with my mother to pay our city bill.  I remember attending City Hall Meetings there as part of school and Cub/Boy Scouts.  I even remember help organizing the Christmas Light drive, sale, and auction where the City of Paul replaced its Christmas lights with the now present fixtures, the old ones now relegated to the very street in this picture.  The two-story building beside it used to house the firehouse, now a car repair and auto-body shop.  In there I learned first aid and CPR for the first time.  In there we met firefighters, learned safety, and helped prepare for charity drives.  We also got the tours of the firetrucks which any boy loved.  Just beyond the old firehouse is the Masonic Lodge which must still have the same sign it did 30 years ago, it has not aged well.

On the same side of the street beyond the old garage mentioned above is what has been a bar as long as I could remember.  Beyond it is the Old Paul Grange, whose use I am still not certain.  The old writing of the Grange still shows and the building does not seem to have been used beyond the 1940’s.  I don’t know who owns it, but that would certainly be a building that would be a time warp to enter.  Some of the front reminds me of pictures of my Great Grandmother’s store, Streeter’s Confectionery and I wonder if I might not have its place mistaken.  I am certain, but it is probably just a wish that something of her past remains on the street that Paul seems to have so fully discarded.

Just beyond the Grange and on the corner of the same block stands the old Paul State Bank.  It was Mikey’s Bar while I grew up but the monogram in the brick work leaves no mistake, it was once a bank.  It is this building that I wanted to buy to open my law practice.  Restore the building, set to building a practice, and leave behind a preserved part of Paul’s quickly dwindling architectural past.  The owners were not interested and so I watch the building hoping it does not age beyond repair.  I look at it every time I enter or leave the Post Office.  Maybe some day, but then again it is probably for the best.  Burley is likely a better place for a law practice.

Paul State Bank Receipt

The post office stands where it does today having been dedicated about 1962.  I mentioned the missing building between the butcher and the monkey woman where the Post Office used to stand.  Anyhow, President Kennedy was still President and J. Edward Day was Postmaster General when the new building was dedicated, the plaque says so.  This is of interest only because he served such a short time and it was during his tenure that the zip codes were established, giving Paul its 83347.  Inside this post office I remember going to our PO Box 12 and turning the knob for the combination and retrieving the mail.  Mom had to hold me up because it was near the top.  We eventually discarded our PO Box at our new house about 1984 and then the Post Office got the now present key boxes.  It was also this Post Office that the swinging door took two of my fingers clear down the bone.  When I walk in the Post Office and sometimes I can remember the horror as I watched the lady cutting away some of the mangled skin with scissors and the sewing it back together with some of her hair.  How many people do that today?  The scar is still there.

I remember being told that Connor’s used to be in the space between the now present Post Office and the old Hotel, of which only the first floor remains.  Connors of course moved out near the interstate in the 1960’s and I believe their present building indicates its construction decade.  Then of course the old Hotel Building which in its day claimed full plumbing, something that was very new about 1920.  The second story has been removed, the first floor looking very enclosed and lost since its long past heyday.  There was a safe/bank deposit on the east side only about 15 years ago, even now it has been removed and bricks fill the void.  Pictures of the building show that it was once lined by large window stores that opened out to Idaho Street.  Now it is just a brick building, its façade completely lost to time.  It is my understanding that the now present Idaho Street was once Main Street.  Now it is Idaho Street, Main Street intersects it at the intersection immediately in front of the picture (also 600 west of Minidoka County).

Like many historical towns the relied on the railroad to such a degree, this town apparently also had shops and buildings that faced the railroad.  I do not believe any still exist, or at least if they did, not in my lifetime.  One thing is for certain, what was once a bustling town center has now turned into a blight.  I am not sure Paul will ever recover any of its lost past or achieve much of the character it has lost, but I can hope.

This street continues down through a part of Paul that once contained many houses built and provided by Amalgamated Sugar.  I do not know if any of those homes remain after relocation.  I tend to believe the one I once lived in the first few years of my life was one of those homes.  I doubt we will ever know.

Looking at this picture it seems inconceivable that Paul once contended to become the County Seat.  The vote if I recall was somewhat close but eventually lost out to its then slightly larger neighbor to the east, Rupert.  Contrasting the two towns now is somewhat embarrassing but both have their difficulties.  Rupert has maintained its identity through the decades and seems determined to keep it.  Paul seems to just let the winds of change sweep in whatever they bring.

Funny enough, behind me in this picture stands Paul Elementary.  The current building replaced the earlier building which was once Paul High School.  Minidoka County in an ingenious move consolidated all the high schools in the County to form one high school, Minidoka County High School (known as Minico).  By doing so they promoted efficiency and order that has carried them now well for over 50 years.  Cassia County has debated the same and still deals with the costs and difficulties of four separate high schools.  While a larger county, I have to tip my hat to Minidoka County for their foresight and planning.  It just seems a bit sad that Paul and Minidoka County seem to have lost some of that vision they once had.

Then again, I am only young.  I don’t know anything beyond my experience.  But I hope Paul will improve and focus on important things for the future.  A new city park certain improves the feeling of community, builds the common good, and helps build a city from the ashes of its past.  I hope it will continue to improve and not neglect its past.  Indeed, I hope the letterhead from my Great Grandmother’s store will someday again be true.  Notice the monogram of the bank and go check out the building.

Check to Scoville Paper

Streeter Envelope

Rupert 4th of July Parade

We attended the Rupert 4th of July Parade this year and enjoyed it.  I thought it was interesting to attend the Minidoka County Centennial Celebration in conjunction with the festivities this year.  I wonder what Aunt Fanny Ross Phibbs and Calvin Dickerson Phibbs thought when they arrived in the area on 21 March 1913 and witnessed the creation of Minidoka County that same year.  Calvin would go on to become a Judge in Minidoka County in 1918 and served for over 10 years.

While the Ross Clan has been in and out of Minidoka County for the past 100 years, we have left our mark for good or ill.

My thoughts turned to my own involvement in the Rupert 4th of July parade.  Here are a couple of the photos I could find.

Riding my trusty horse Mack, probably around 1991, for 4-H

Riding my trusty horse Mack, probably around 1991, for 4-H

Marching with the Minico Spartans Marching Bank, probably in 1996

Marching with the Minico Spartans Marching Band probably in 1996

Riding Dad's 1948 Ford 8N about 2001

Riding Dad’s 1948 Ford 8N about 2002

1948 Ford 8N about 2001

1948 Ford 8N about 2002

Just for fun because I do not know when else I would share them, a couple of pictures from the old Paul, Idaho parade.  I can still remember climbing up the ladder on the back of the pup to get into the trailer filled with gravel for us to stand on.  I remember looking down out of the trailer for the photo below.  This first photo has the Fenton Apartments in the back (still there and improved).

Circle A Construction Truck in Paul Parade about 1985

Circle A Construction Truck in Paul Parade about 1985

Andra and me with Grandma (Colleen Andra Elliott) in Paul Parade about 1985

Andra and me with Grandma (Colleen Andra Elliott at the time) in Paul Parade about 1985

 

 

 

 

 

Evan Kay Elliott

For Evan’s birthday, and since he provided me some photos and I do not know what else to do with them, I will post them on here.

He is not technically my relative and I have held on to the photos because he knew I did family history and would make them available to family.  He provided these photos to me in the summer of 2004.  I scanned them and have kept them safe since them.  These are all the photos he provided for me.  I am including a few others that I have that include my Grandmother, Colleen.  I do not know the status or whereabouts of any of the other individuals in the photos.  I have put them in chronological order as much as I can.  These individuals are named as Evan gave them to me.

Evan Kay Elliott was born the fourth of six children on 19 June 1934 to Ethel Helen Heath and William Henery Elliott in Soda Springs, Caribou, Idaho.  His father was born in Lago, Bannock, Idaho (now Caribou County) and his mother was born in Liberal, Seward, Kansas.  He graduated from Paul High School.  He married Beatrice F Lamoureau 9 May 1961 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  They were divorced shortly afterward.  He married Colleen Mary Andra, a widow of Wilburn Norwood Jonas, 9 April 1976 in Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  They were later sealed 5 May 1978 in Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho at the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.  They were divorced about 1987.  He then married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Jeanette Loebsack, 6 April 1989 in Elko.  They lived together until she passed 30 September 2003 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Evan lived alone until he passed at home in Twin Falls 24 October 2007.  He was buried 3 November 2007 in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.

Evan Kay Elliott about 1938

William (Bill) and Ethel Helen (“Helen”) Elliott with son Melvin standing on their doorstep in Paul, Idaho about 1947.

William (Bill) Elliott with wife, Helen, and sons Evan (back) and Melvin about 1947.

Bill and Helen Elliott with daughter and son, Carol and Melvin about 1947.

Evan and Melvin Elliott, his brother, about 1947.

Evan high school portrait, about 1950

1948 Elliott family reunion at Shoshone Falls

Evan’s military photo, about 1951. He served in the Korean War, I believe in the Navy.

(l-r) Bill Elliott, Melvin, Evan about 1952

Bill and Helen Elliott with Melvin.

Loucilla Loebsack, 1953, Shirley’s sister.

Loucilla Loebsack

Shirley kneeling in 1953

Evan and Shirley Loebsack, Christmas Eve 1953

Shirley Loebsack, Christmas Even 1953

Evan and Melvin Elliott with Virgil Rocko in September 1955

Evan and Colleen about 1977

About 1979

Colleen and Evan about 1982

Evan fishing near Portland, Oregon on 5 July 1998

Shirley Elliott, 5 July 1998

The Elliott home in Twin Falls.

Evan and Shirley Elliott, 16 July 2000

Evan and Shirley in 2003

Evan at Andra Ross’ wedding 27 May 2005 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho

My Darling Mother

For my Mother’s birthday, I thought I would share a few thoughts about her.  I know she is pretty maligned by some, praised by others, and many more just do not know what to be in relation to her.  Therefore, I thought I would talk about her with that title, Mother.

The above photo came to me in 2010.  This photo was given to my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898-1987), probably not long after it was taken.  I am guessing before 1960.  From my understanding, it hung on the wall of my Great Grandmother in Richmond, Cache, Utah until she had to move in with her daughter, Lillian Jonas Talbot (1930-2009), in Layton, Davis, Utah the mid 1980’s.  It still has its original heavy paper frame and original glass.  I took the picture out of the frame to scan it and imagined that it was the photographer who placed it there in the late 1950’s, or more likely, one of my grandparents.  I can imagine the photo carefully located on Great Grandma’s wall and the love that swelled in her breast as she viewed my Mother and my Uncle Doug.  I am sure the scores of other grandchildren hung on the same wall, but these were grandchildren that also lived in Richmond and paid regular visits so there was a personal love as well as that motherly love.

When Great Grandma Lillian moved to Layton, all her photo albums and pictures went with her.  When she passed away in 1987, they fell into the possession of her daughter, Lillian.  It was almost 20 years later when I knocked on the door and wanted to see photographs.  I found the goldmine when she pulled out these albums.  I scanned the photo above in 2006, but after Aunt Lillian passed away in 2009, the family thought to give me this actual photograph.

A copy of this same photograph hung in my Grandmother’s house in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  It sat on a cedar chest in one of the bedrooms.  I do not know what happened to that photo when my Grandmother died, but I have this image in my mind of that photo being in my Grandparent’s possession from the late 1950’s as well.  Tended, loved, and on the wall overlooking the family as they grew through the years.  I know I probably romanticize it as any child does to ignore the pain of their childhood for the faults and inadequacies of their parents.  I know my mother romanticizes her childhood and the relationship with her parents.  I see in this picture a happy smirk and a couple of contented children.  What did my Grandparent’s see in their children?  What did my Great Grandmother see in this picture?  I will not likely know while I am alive.

As I now have a child of my own and feel great love in the features and form of the child, not to mention the personality, I know how I feel looking at pictures of my daughter.  I assume my Grandparents felt the same for their children.  I look at this photo with new eyes, especially where I can sense so many similar features between my daughter Aliza and her Grandmother Sandy (and even a few with her Grand Uncle Doug).

Here is another picture of Mom and Uncle Doug outside their home in Richmond.  Again, I see two cold, but happy, kids playing in the snow outside the home my Grandpa Jonas lovingly built for the family in the late 1940’s.

Here is another photo of Doug and Mom outside the Richmond home near the front sidewalk.

This photo does not look quite so happy.  Mom looks like she is in the same sweater as she was in the first picture above.  My Mom had a pretty mangled right-handed ring finger that had not been removed by this point.  I imagine  she is holding her right hand to hide the the bandages and injury to that finger.  That seems to expand my sympathy for her and the somber look she has on her face.  No three- year-old should have that type of injury and then keep a mangled finger for 5 years when it finally has to be removed due to doctor negligence and improper care.  I think she would have lost it anyway, but the doctor certainly sped things up.

How did my Grandparents view this little girl who was injured?  I am sure they loved her dearly.  I remember one time after asking my Grandma how she felt about my Mom as a little girl and she referred to her as “her little darling girl.”  I am sure it was with heartbreak that this little darling girl now had to live with the pain of a lawnmower almost removing a finger.  I am sure a sigh of relief that only one finger was lost rather than all of them.

Here is another picture.  This was also taken in 1957, the same year that Mom would suffer the severe trauma to her finger.  She still has it in full glory at this point.  This picture was from the Andra Reunion which I believe was held in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

Again, I feel for the family.  I sense a contented nature in this picture.  Grandpa did not have his life increasingly taken over by alcohol by this point.  He looks like a good healthy, strong man.  I love the classic late 1950’s clothing they all sport.  Doug’s ironed shorts, the patterns in Grandma’s pants, the shirt Grandpa wears with the sleeves rolled, and the one piece jumper Mom wears with its pattern.

(l-r): Sandy Jonas, Lola Bruderer, Jane Robinson

Here is a picture of Mom playing with some friends.  This picture was taken or developed in August 1958, at least that is what the side of the photograph said.  Classic wallpaper, carpet, and clothes of the late 1950’s.  I especially love the Crayola crayons box on the table.  I wonder where these other two ladies are now and what their impressions of the photo and others are?

Last picture of the childhood of my Mom.  This one is probably my favorite.

This photo is also classic of the time with its painted colors.  This is obviously a couple of years later, probably even into the 1960’s.  Too bad it is slightly blurred, but at least I have it.  Oddly enough, the same photo appeared in black in white just this year with this accompanying side shot.

A happy child lovingly tended to and cared for.  The years fly by until we hit about 1966.  The family’s time in Richmond was slowly drawing to a close.

Although by this time a younger sibling, Jackie, has joined the children.  Here is another picture from about 1968, probably shortly before the move to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Sally (1955-2010) was Mom’s best friend growing up.  Dee is Mom’s first cousin.

Dee Jonas, Sally Johnson, and Sandy Jonas

The family moved to Burley in 1968 when Grandpa secured work on the construction of the new Del Monte plant.  I know Mom was not at all excited about the move.  At this point, I think I will leave Mom’s time in Idaho for another time.  But I have at least documented some of her life from 1954 through 1968.  One last picture of Mom and me around 1980.

Mom with me on Jack

Happy Birthday Mom.

Meredith – Graham Wedding

William and Mary Graham are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Damey Catherine Graham to James Thomas Ross, son of James Meredith and Nancy Shepherd.  James and Damey were married 9 August 1887 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.

I am stepping into a bit of a minefield in writing this biography because there is such a wide variety of opinions on the history of this family.  The stories I have were handed down and cannot be verified.  Some claim to have documents but I have been unable to obtain copies of these documents for various reasons.  These purported documents are family records and the public records I cannot find.  Therefore, hopefully documentation will come forward and this post will be altered as that information presents itself.  Poor Damey, not much conversation is available about her because there is so little controversy.

The picture above is of James Ross Meredith, or I assume he was called that at that time.  James Thomas Meredith was born to Nancy Adeline Shepherd 22 September 1869 in Snowville, Virginia.

In 1951, a few months before his death, James was interviewed by his granddaughter, Donna Beachell.  She indicated his mind was very clear.  He indicated to Donna that he was born out of wedlock and that his real father was James Meredith.  He said he was born in Snowville, Virginia.   He also said this James Meredith adopted him when he was about 4 years old and raised him.  He said the courts gave him the name James Thomas Ross Meredith.

The records of Pulaski County indicate this:

“Order Book 5, page 25
September 2, 1873
On the motion of Anderson Linkous, Overseer of the Poor for High Wassie Township for an order to bind James Ross aged 3 years son of Nancy Ross who has become a county charge and it appearing to the Court that said James Ross is now a county charge.  It is ordered that said Overseer of the Poor bind out according to Law to James Meredith the said James Ross son of Nancy Ross aged 3 years until he attains the age of 21 years and besides teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic said Meredith shall be required to pay the said James Ross upon his attaining the age of 21 years the sum of 100 dollars.”

The courts recognized him as James Ross, probably after his mother’s married name.  I have been unable to locate a birth record for him under either name.

He was almost 5 years old when Nancy Ross went into the poorhouse, or at least when the county gave little James to old James Meredith.  I am not sure why they thought he was 3.  Although some records have him born in 1869, and if this was correct, he was just shy of his 4th birthday.  But I will stick with the birthday that he gave during his life.

The county placed James Ross into the charge of James Meredith until he was 21 years of age.  Unfortunately, nobody seemed to ask when this James Meredith was born.  We also do not know when this old James Meredith died, or if he raised him until he was 21 (and paid the $100).  After James and Damey married, John Phibbs (brother-in-law to Fanny Ross) remembered visiting the family in West Virginia and that James’ mother, Nancy lived with her son and daughter-in-law, James and Damey, for much of the time the family lived in West Virginia.    Apparently Nancy was strong enough to carry in heavy sacks of coal and potatoes by herself.  This probably would have been the turn of the 20th century since they were in West Virginia.  No mention is made of old James Meredith who was the father and supposedly raised him.  Nancy must have kept contact through the years, lived close enough, or even got little James back.   We have so many holes to fill with information that we will likely never have.

Clarita Morgan, a researcher in Pulaski County in the 1970’s wrote to Donna and told her it was not uncommon for ladies to be placed in the poorhouse for having a child out of wedlock.  These women were considered a menace and a burden to the community.  At any rate, Nancy Shepherd Ross lived an especially hard life.  It is hard to put ourselves into their scene or time without many more facts.

When James married Damey, the marriage certificate has J. R. Mearideth.  Yet, when all the children were born, James and Damey gave them each the Ross name (or so it seems).  Damey died under the Ross name and no records indicate she ever went by the Meredith name.  James is listed as a farmer.

When James went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1935, he gave his name as James Thomas Ross born 22 September at Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.  He gave his father as James Thomas Ross and mother as Nancy Shepard.  He also gave his baptismal date as 17 April 1898.  Nothing in any of the records provide any evidence of a James Thomas Ross to be his father, and either the recorder at the Temple put the wrong last name, or James made a mistake because he seems to have clearly known his father was James Meredith (was his father’s middle name really Thomas?).  When Fanny went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1923 she said her parents were James F Ross (misread?) and Damy C Graham.

Now, having said all that, one of the difficulties is that there are tons of James Merediths who lived in Pulaski County, Virginia.  In the 1880 Census, little James Meredith is living with elder James Meredith who was born in 1804 and the family lived in Hiwassie.  It is not uncommon for a 65 year old man to have a child.  However, elder James Meredith has a family of 10 children with his wife.  In that census, only elder and little James are shown as living together.  Elder James’ wife, Sarah (Sallie) Jane Bell Meredith, is “ill” and living with their daughter Sarah Jane Meredith Elkins.  I want to speculate but will not.

For years it was thought that James and Sarah Meredith’s son, James Anderson Meredith, was the father of our James Thomas Meredith.  But this was easily resolved in that James Anderson Meredith died in 1864 in a battle at Lexington, Lexington, Virginia, four or five years before little James Meredith was born.  Others thought that James Meredith, the son of Hugh Meredith Jr elder James Meredith’s brother, was the father.  He is four years older than Nancy and their ages seem more conducive to a relationship.  But, we are unable to track him down and prove anything for certain.  But one thing is sure, elder James Meredith told the census taker in 1880 that little James Meredith was his son.  I guess we have to move forward with that record as the basis for our assumptions.  Would the Uncle (elder James Meredith) of James Meredith (Hugh Jr’s son) ruin his good name by claiming little James Meredith as his own to save the name of his nephew?  I just do not know, but the census gives documentation of a relationship (we all know how terrible the census records are for accuracy other than names of family members and location of living).  (Some of my original research and ruminating on these issues can be found here.)

This begs the question of why 27 year old Nancy would have intimate relations with 65 year old and married elder James.  Ms. Morgan above said it was not uncommon for servants living in the home to be taken advantage of by the homeowner.  But we have no evidence that Nancy was a servant in their home.  If he did this and kicked her out, it could account for her being in the poorhouse and his reclaiming the child in court.  But we have nothing to support the notion Ms. Morgan suggests.

Well, if this is not enough to confuse the matter, lets jump back in time before James was born to where Nancy married Harvy D Ross 7 June 1860 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  She married Harvy at 19 years old. On 9 September 1861, Harvy enlisted in Company F, 54th Infantry Regiment Virginia for the Confederacy.  He left for military service and we have few details of when he returned.  She bore James Meredith in 1868 and as far as we know, Harvy had not yet returned from the war.   By 1870 Harvy was back living in Alum Ridge, Floyd, Virginia after the Civil War. We do not know when he left Virginia for the “west”.  William Andrew Ross was born on 10 October 1873 in Snowville.  The birth index for Pulaski County lists William as a bastard, but his death certificate lists Harvy Ross as the father!  (Death certificates are highly unreliable for parental information.)  But why they were not back living together in 1870, we do not know.  He was back in the area and could very well be the father of William.  I just wish we had more information.  He supposedly moved to Tennessee or Kentucky and passed away there, never having anything to do with his son William, if he really is the father.  William was raised by Nancy and was told by her that Harvy was his father.  William never had a memory of meeting his father.

Now that I have given more history of Nancy Adeline Shepherd in this biography of her son and daughter-in-law, we can move on.  Our documentation is weak of who little James Meredith’s father is and where he was until he married Damey.  Although, I should mention that a cousin who claims he is in possession of the journals of James Meredith (or Ross) indicates that he was raised by elder James Meredith to believe that elder James was actually his father.  Well, rephrased, he never had any doubt elder James Meredith was his father.  Therefore, we move forward on that assumption even though I have only hearsay from a cousin (as I cannot get a copy of the book) and an 1880 census record.

Damey Catherine Graham was born 25 November 1874 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia to William and Mary Graham.  William, her father, was a laborer on farms who moved to the mines.  As a miner he moved where the best paying jobs for mining were located.  In Virginia, the family worked in the iron mines.  Damey met James and probably knew him and his family growing up.  Hiwassie appears to be a very small town, even today.  I cannot imagine that James and Damey did not know each other growing up.    The two married in 1887 and began to raise their family.  All four children were born in Virginia.

Robert Leonard Ross was born 25 April 1888 in Draper, Pulaski, Virginia.

John “Jack” William Ross was born 2 September 1890 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about John at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding

Fanny Elizabeth Ross was born 18 November 1893 in Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about Fanny at this link: Calvin and Fanny Phibbs

James Thomas Ross was born 19 October 1895 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia.

Damey chose to be baptized into the LDS faith 27 February 1898 (a few months before James).  Family tradition holds it was in West Virginia but does not seem to hold up with the rest of the story.  James and Damey were supposed to have followed her family to West Virginia to the mines.  James and Damey do not seem to appear on the 1900 Census but Damey’s family were still in Hiwassie on the 15 June 1900.  Damey’s family moved shortly after 1900 to West Virginia to work in the coal mines of McDowell County.  James and Damey (and James’ brother, William) followed and were living in McDowell County, West Virginia for sure in 1906 when Fanny married Calvin Dickerson Phibbs in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  The first three children all married in McDowell County.  James Jr returned to Mayberry, Carroll, Virginia in 1913 to marry his wife.  On 10 May 1910, James and Damey were living in Big Creek, McDowell, West Virginia.

James and Damey Ross left Pulaski County about 1913 or 1914 and headed to settle in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  James confirmed his brother a member of the LDS church 26 October 1913, so it had to be after that date.  As mentioned above, Fanny had married Calvin Phibbs and most of the Phibbs family of Virginia had moved out to Rupert in 1912.  The opening of the new farm land in Minidoka and Cassia Counties, a new sugar factory at Burley, Cassia, Idaho, and an economic downturn in McDowell County propelled the move for both families. Robert, John, and James Jr followed later as it does not appear any of the children went with James and Damey when they left.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

James and Damey set up house in Rupert for a time probably living with Calvin and Fanny until they could find and afford a suitable place to live.  We do not know exactly where James and Damey lived for much of their time in Idaho because they appear to have rented.  Robert listed his parents as living in Idahome, Cassia, Idaho when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918.  That fall, James and Damey apparently moved to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho to work on the first sugar beet campaign of the newly built sugar factory in Paul.  They remained there until about 1926.  Robert married Rose Sanders (nee Clawson?) in Burley, Cassia, Idaho in 1919.  John met Ethel Sharp Streeter in Paul while visiting his parents in 1919 and married her in early 1920.  James and Damey somehow fail to appear on the 1920 Census, or their names are transcribed incorrectly.  James settled in Vernal, Uintah, Utah and attempted a short move to Rupert in 1922-23 to be closer to family before moving back to Vernal.  Milo Ross, James and Damey’s grandson, remembers his grandparents living on the north side of the tracks in Paul when he lived there 1925-1926.

In 1925, James and Damey’s daughter-in-law, Ethel Sharp Ross passed away.  John, their son, sought work and James and Damey took in all four of the children of Ethel.  The baby, Earnest Jackson Ross, died in September in Rupert, where he was being tended by the Phibbs.  By the spring of 1926, James and Damey were impoverished enough that they asked Ethel’s family to come get the children from Paul.  Apparently shortly after, the family moved again.

By 2 April1930, James and Damey had moved to Bend, Deschutes, Oregon.  Robert apparently lived in the area and Robert’s son, Orson Lee Ross, was also living with James and Damey.  Robert is in Portland but appears to not live there, so this home in Bend may have been Robert’s or James and Damey were tending Orson, who was 9.  Robert later died in Bend in 1944.

James’ journals indicate they lived in Merced, Merced, California for most of the 1930’s.  Damey passed away in Marysville, Yuba, California 3 February 1933 of colon cancer.  Her death notice in Rupert indicates she died after an operation for cancer of the stomach.  She had been in the hospital for five months previous to that.  The obituary also mentions that John lived in Manteca, San Joaquin, California, James in Lapoint, Uintah, Utah, and Robert in Marysville.  Fanny was still living in Rupert.

James returned to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah and on 20 June 1935 he was endowed, saw Damey’s proxy ordinance work was completed, and was sealed to her.

By about 1936, James was back visiting family in the east.  He spoke at a Conference of the LDS church that had met in Grundy County, Tennessee.  James spoke that morning to the assembled crowd.  That same day, James’ nephew, Howard Ross was baptized.  These conferences were a big deal because it was an all day event for James’ brother’s family to travel all the way from Gary, West Virginia to Tennessee, spend the day in meetings, and then go home.  Howard remembers meeting “Uncle Jim” for the first time that day.  Many people enjoyed the sermon he gave and came up to give their commendation to William and Sarah on his fine speech.  William’s wife, Sarah, had to set them right, that it was William’s brother, James who delivered the sermon.  Howard did not hear the sermon because in those days unbaptized children were not allowed into the meetings and even though he was to be baptized that day, he was not baptized yet.

“Uncle Jim” returned with the family to West Virginia and stayed for a couple of weeks.  James was so disappointed that the family did not have a cow for milk that he went out and purchased one for the family while he was there.  When James left, he took and sold the cow too.  The family recalled how rare it was for them to have milk, and it was many years before they would have it again.  James was also noted by the family for his girth and the sheer capacity to each large amounts of food.  Howard thought he must have pushed to near 300 pounds.  Howard also remembers that Uncle Jim was missing a finger and upon asking, James indicated that he had been bit by a spider and that the Dr. took off the finger to save his life because the finger had started to rot.

The story goes that James married while he was visiting the family in West Virginia.  Family history records have James marrying Etta on 6 June 1936 in Snowville, Virginia.  However, later information indicates this was Henrietta Fountain who was born in Sacramento, Sacramento, California and died in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.  How she met James and why they would have married in Virginia does not add up, especially where she was from the west.  A cousin has the marriage in Sacramento which seems much more accurate.  A death certificate at some point will rest the case.  Her full maiden name was Henrietta Fountain and she was a widow of Charles Henry Lowell in 1925.  She died in 1946 according to the memories of Milo Ross and he is accurate.

James and Etta relocated to Lakeport, Lake, California after their marriage.  Lakeport was a town for the wealthy and Ms. Etta must have brought the money into the marriage.  It was here that James applied for Social Security 4 November 1937.  Due to the requirements he use his legal name, James went by James Ross Meredith the remainder of his life.  He began receiving his benefits 6 January 1938.  On 21 April 1938 he received a letter indicating he would have to have been a resident of California 15 years to receive the payments and no further payments were made.

James then married a widow by the name of Nora Brewer.  Her full maiden name was Martha Elnora Cackler and her late husband, Daniel Gordon Brewer, had passed away in 1943.  James and Martha were married in Fresno, Fresno, California 14 July 1947.  She had been born in 1877 in Iowa and died in Fresno in 1974, just short of 100 years old.

James lived until 13 April 1951 when he passed away in Fresno.  He was buried in Belmont Memorial in Fresno.  The last few years of his life, he took back the Meredith name.  Milo Ross, his grandson, indicates this was for Social Security benefits which had to be claimed under the birth name.  Either way, his tombstone reads James R Meredith.  His last letter to Donna Beachell was signed James Ross Meredith.

When he passed away in 1951, he was living at 344 Theta Street in Fresno the home of his widow.  One last thing, apparently while living in Fresno, he served as a Bishop of the LDS church.  We do not know when or where, but several lines of the family were all aware of this.  More information will be needed to share more.  The fact he was called upon to speak at a conference of the church in Tennessee seems to show he held some position but we don’t know anything more.

Calvin and Fanny Phibbs

Calvin and Fanny Phibbs with (l-r) Evelyn, Florence, and Catherine in Idaho in 1912.

I had heard a rumor a couple of years ago that Calvin Phibbs had committed suicide but could not confirm the story.  Now that I am back in Idaho, I stopped by the Rupert Library to see if they had some old newspapers.  Sure enough, I found the following obituary which reads more like the local gossip column.  I will include some of the family history after the obituary.

“Judge Phibbs Ends Life; Ill Health Cause
“Well Known Rupert Attorney Meets Instant Death By Own Hand at Home Thursday.
“Four months of sleeplessness, a body racked with pain and mind grown despondent through belief of the utter hopelessness of physical recovery, led to the tragic, but carefully planned suicide of Judge C. D. Phibbs, well known Rupert attorney who ended his life at his home Thursday.
Seated before a mirror in his bedroom at three o’clock in the afternoon, when no one was in the house but his wife and himself, the distraught man placed the muzzle of a 22-caliber hammerless revolver to his right temple, and with a firm unswerving hand sent a bullet through his brain, death being instantaneous.  The leaden missile passed through the head and lodged in the wall, near the ceiling.
“Startled by the sharp explosion of the gun, Mrs. Phibbs rushed in from an adjoining room to find her husband’s body crumpled on the floor with his life extinct.
“That the rash act was premeditated and carried out as planned is shown by excerpts from a letter written the previous Saturday, addressed to his wife and left where she could not fail to find it.
“I do not feel that I can get well.  I have suffered for four months.  So much that I cannot endure it.  If anything happens to me, know that I love you and have never loved anyone but you.  Tell the children to be good children, as it is best for them.  It is the only way to be happy.  I have failed to do as much for them as I wanted to but have not been able.”
“Following the introductory explanation foreshadowing the tragedy that was to take place, the letter continued with detailed instructions of what to do in regard to business that would arise, told where his life insurance policies were, how to plan the funeral, left words of encouragement to the children to continue their education and even advised about planting a garden.
“After a farewell sent the children and the brief words of assurance for their future, the final paragraph concludes: “God bless you all till we meet again.  I do not believe God will blame me for what I am doing for there is no other way.”
“The letter was found by Mrs. Phibbs soon after the tragic shooting occurred.  It was dated March 20.  Although she knew he suffered much from stomach trouble for many weeks and was discouraged over his health, no hint of self-destruction was ever suggested by her husband, she said, and in the past week it seemed to be somewhat improved, and had been to his office only a few days before the appalling act.  He had suffered intensely from stomach trouble and it is thought he believed himself a victim of cancer.
“When a youth of 13 years, while in the mountains of Virginia, at Fancy Gap, Carroll county where he was reared, in 1899 Calvin D. Phibbs, whose father worked in the mines there, hopped on a coal car and received injury to his left leg that later caused infection, making amputation necessary and left him crippled for life.
“In 1906 when twenty years of age he married Fanny Elizabeth Ross in Welch, West Virginia, and on March 21, 1913, they came to Idaho and to Rupert, making there (sic) home here since then.
“Although he had little opportunity for attending school, he received his education by private study.  Securing books and texts of the International Correspondence school he studied law and was admitted to the Idaho state bar in 1919.
“For ten years he held the position of probate judge of Minidoka county, being elected on the Republican ticket and served in that capacity until four years ago.  He served also as justice of the peace for two years and in 1918 was city clerk of Rupert.
“His friends and business associates, of whom he had many, were shocked and grieved at his tragic act.  He had a kindly disposition and a cheerfulness of manner that in no way can be reconciled with his fatal deed.  At the time of his death he was engaged in the practice of law but since last November had been unable to be in his office much of the time.
“Besides his grief-stricken wife he is survived by eleven children, five boys and six girls, their father being the first of the family to pass away.  The children in order of their ages are Mrs. Florence Biles, 23, of Gridley, California; Mrs. Evelyn Collier, Rupert; Mrs. Catherine Beachel, of Filer, Idaho; Virginia, James, Viola, William, Orville, Arthur, Albert and Phyllis, the youngest, age three, all of whom live at home.
Three brothers, Frank Phibbs of Twin Falls, Robert of Oakland, California, and John of Salt Lake City, and twin sisters, Mrs. Ardena Christensen, San Francisco and Mrs. Mary Hiatt of Paul, also survive.
“Largely attended funeral service were conducted Monday at one o’clock in the Second ward L.D.S. church with Albert Harrison, first counselor to Bishop O. J. Bateman in charge.
“Speakers included David J Borup, former bishop of the Second ward, who came from Boise where he now resides to be present at the funeral.  Judge Hugh A. Baker, an attorney friend, and David Hyde and A. H. Jensen, churchmen and friends of the deceased.
“Music was rendered by a chorus of nine voices under direction of Arthur Humphries, singing three selections “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “Sometime We’ll Understand” and “Oh, My Father.”
“Prayers were offered by L.D. Hyde and R.C. May.  Interment was in Rupert cemetery with Goodman Mortuary in charge.

Here is a biography of Judge Phibbs from an old Idaho directory of prominent people.

“Judge Calvin Dickerson Phibbs. since 1912 a resident of Rupert, where in 1918 he was elected judge of the probate court of Minidoka county, was born at Hillsville, Virginia, June 12, 1886, a son of James and Elizabeth (Bolt) Phibbs. The parents are also natives of the Old Dominion, where they were reared and educated. Subsequent to his marriage the father there followed farming and stock raising and during his early life also engaged in the profession of teaching. In 1910 he removed westward to Rupert, Idaho, and purchased a farm northeast of the town, becoming owner of eighty acres. At times he has owned various farms, but his holdings at the present time embrace just eighty acres. He and his wife have become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in his political views Mr. Phibbs is a republican.

“Calvin D. Phibbs spent his boyhood in his native state and pursued his education in Fairview Academy. He was reared to the occupation of farming, early becoming familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. Later he took up electrical engineering and worked along that line until he came to Rupert, Idaho, in 1912. Here he entered the real estate field and after a time he was called upon for public service, being made city clerk of Rupert, which position he filled for a brief period. In 1918 he was elected to the office of probate judge of Minidoka county, which position he is now acceptably filling, being most careful, prompt, systematic and accurate in the discharge of his official duties. On the 15th of December, 1919, he was admitted as an attorney at law in the supreme court of the state of Idaho.

“In 1907 Judge Phibbs was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ross, a native of Pulaski, Virginia, and a daughter of J. T. and Catherine (Graham) Ross, the former a farmer and stockman. Judge and Mrs. Phibbs have become parents of six children: Florence, Evelyn, Catherine, Virginia, James and Viola. The religious belief of the family is that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in politics Judge Phibbs is a stalwart republican, giving unfaltering allegiance to the party and its principles. He stands for advancement and improvement in all things that have to do with citizenship and is among that class who are putting forth every effort to spread the principles of true democracy and make one hundred per cent Americanism the rule of this land.

I do not usually place that much quoted material in my histories, but there is so much extra information I probably would not otherwise include, I thought I better just leave them how they were printed.

Calvin Dickerson Phibbs was born 12 June 1886 in Hillsville, Carroll, Virginia.  He died 30 March 1933 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  He was buried 4 days later on 3 April 1933 in the Rupert Cemetery.

Now that I have given so much on Calvin, I probably should fill out the life of Fanny a little more, my Great Great Aunt.

Fanny Elizabeth Ross was born 18 November 1893 in Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia to James Thomas and Damey Catherine Graham Ross.  Read more about here parents and family here.  She married Calvin Phibbs 22 December 1906 in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  As mentioned 11 children were born to the marriage.  I believe she moved fairly quickly to California after Calvin’s death.  While in Rupert, the Phibbs family lived at 96 B Street (unless the streets have been renumbered, this home does not exist any more.  Grandpa, Milo Ross, visited her in Salt Lake City before World War II.  I do not know if she was living there or just visiting, he does not remember either.  She died 23 January 1943 in Daly City, San Francisco, California.  She is buried at Cypress Law in Colma, San Francisco, California in an unmarked grave.

Calvin and Fanny’s children are as follows, without spouses.

Florence Geneva Phibbs born 21 June 1907 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia and died 9 February 1987 in Gridley, Butte, California.

Evelyn Adaway Phibbs born 8 October 1909 in Eckman, McDowell, West Virginia and died 7 January 1961 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Catherine Elizabeth Phibbs born 1 January 1912 in Thorpe, McDowell, West Virginia and died 7 September 1989 in Fall River Mills, Shasta, California.

Virginia Ardena Phibbs born 3 March 1914 in Rupert and died 25 September 1969 in San Francisco County, California.

James Calvin Phibbs born 22 April 1916 in Rupert and died 10 July 1977 in San Francisco.

Viola Belle Phibbs born 21 July 1918 in Rupert and died 11 June 2008.

William Robert Phibbs born 3 October 1920 in Rupert and died 16 September 2010 in Redding, Shasta, California.

Orville Leonard Phibbs born 20 October 1922 in Rupert and died 25 December 1985 in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.

Arthur Lee Phibbs born 15 October 1925 in Rupert and died 22 June 1983 in San Francisco.

Richard Albert Phibbs born 25 December 1927 in Rupert and died 27 January 1983 in Clearlake, Lake, California.

Phyllis Elaine Phibbs born 24 February 1930 in Rupert and died 6 July 1972 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Of course I am always looking for more information on the family since we do not have contact with any of the descendants.

Ridin’ into the Sunset: Bud

I thought I would dedicate a post to Ivan Walter “Bud” Lloyd since he just recently passed to the other side of the veil.  He was born 5 April 1919 in Riverton, Salt Lake, Utah.  His parents were Madeline Cascutti and Walter Graham Lloyd.  His father purchased a ranch about 1932 near Montpelier, Bear Lake, Idaho.  He lived, married, and raised his family there.  Around 1989 or 1990, he met my Grandma, Colleen Mary Andra (whose married name at that time was Jonas).  She was in Montpelier for work and Bud told me he met her in a restaurant. Here is a picture from early on, although it is not a great picture.

They loved each other and that is quite evident from the letters and cards.  The two were married 31 January 1998 in Dingle, Bear Lake, Idaho.  Here is a picture from later that year, you can see how much they enjoyed each others company.

Deer Cliff Inn 1998

Grandma passed away from a surgery that went wrong 14 November 1999 in Boise, Ada, Idaho.  Bud moved back to Montpelier from Paul and remained there the rest of his days.  He still worked hard maintaining yards and doing other work despite growing older and passing 90.  He mowed one last lawn and then didn’t feel well and went to the hospital.  He died a few days later on 27 September 2011 in Montpelier.

His funeral was held on 1 October 2011 in Dingle.  His family referred to him as “the last of the great cowboys who lived his life on his own terms, his determination and hardworking ways, always peppers with a head tilt, sly grin, and a laugh.”  This was true and my memories are of his blue eyes that twinkled, big smile that showed his worn down teeth, and that slight tilt to the head so he could hear you a little better.  We stopped to visit him a few weeks ago so we could get a picture with the last of Aliza’s Great Grandparents (the others had already been captured).  Unfortunately we missed him.  Now we really miss him.

The family took out the last of the great cowboys in a wagon.  A true tribute.  Rest well Bud, I look forward to seeing you again.