Sharp tragedies

It seems in order that I give some more stories I have found out recently concerning the Sharp Family History. 

Someday I will have to back up and do a history or outline for other family lines that I have learned so much about.

It is the stories that are most memorable, which are quickly passed down and remembered. Sadly though, they are the ones that are most traumatic. The Sharp line is one that certainly has not been immune to tragic tales.

Robert Ford Hunt, grandson of Victorine Mary Sharp and Robert Edward Maw; son of Ruby Ada Maw and Joseph Herbert Hunt is the first of our line. He was driving a farm truck when he failed to stop for a train near Marriott. He was 19 in 1931.

Paul Ross, the son of Ethel Sharp and John William Ross was taken to live with Victorine Sharp (Ethel’s sister) and Fred Hunt. In 1932, near the age of 10, he fell out of the loft of a barn in Plain City. He passed away three days later from a concussion. For an interesting note, he was born in Paul, Idaho.  To read more about this family, follow this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.

Bert Fredrick Hunt, son of Fredrick Lawrence Hunt and Victorine Sharp, and Bert’s son Robert, were both electrocuted in 1960 in a Plain City dairy barn. Grandpa (son of Victorine’s sister, Ethel) told me that he was there that evening and helped them with their duties in the barn. When he grabbed the milk cooler it zapped him. It wasn’t very bad but he turned off the breakers and told Bert and Bob about it. We don’t know if they did not heed and turned it back on or what, but that same cooler would electrocute the two that evening. The milk man found them the next morning. Grandpa made the comment that it could very well have been him lying there. Grandma was apparently with him and both could have been part of the tragedy.

Edna Louise Sharp (she went by Louise) was the daughter of Edward and Lillie East Sharp. She married Ralph Anthony Blanch. They went to Othello, Washington for a missionary farewell in 1968.  In their rush of the morning, they were hit head on in an automobile crash. Both of them died in that automobile accident.

Florence Sharp, daughter of Edward and Lillie East Sharp, married Leonard Neilson. They had a son named Douglas Ray Neilson. Grandpa said they were going north through Willard in 1940 and there was a line of traffic. It was raining that day and the rains of previous days caused some washing out of the mountains. At this point in the road at Willard only a few cars were allowed to follow the grader as it would clean the mud and water off the road which kept reappearing from the rains. It was in this environment that Grandpa and Doug were in the back of the truck while Ed was driving. They finally started moving forward and Grandpa went to the passenger side of the vehicle. Doug went over to tell Ed something. When he leaned down towards the cab, putting his hand on the cab, he slipped (the old rounded top cabs). He slipped down between the cab and bed of the truck falling right in front of the wheels. It was the people in the car behind that flagged Ed down neither he nor Grandpa realizing Doug had fallen out. He was pronounced dead at Brigham City.

Marjorie Lillian Sharp married Farrell Clontz. His family had an old mine claim in Montana near the Canadian border. He was contacted at some point and told something along the lines that they needed to do some work on the mine or the claim would fall through and not be valid or something to that effect. So, that summer in 1955 he took his brother in law Milo Riley Sharp (differentiated from his grandfather by the same name) and they went to work the mine some. They took Farrell and Marjorie’s daughter, Nelda to help with the domestic side of life. Farrell was teaching Milo how to do the packing and loading of dynamite. We obviously don’t know what exactly happened. They did not come down for dinner so Nelda went up to find them. Calling out for them, nobody answered. Entering the mine, she found the lower portions of their bodies with nothing remaining of the rest.

Sherry Sharp, daughter of Edward Junior Sharp and Delores Salter, in a complete moment of irony, fell out of the car in the hospital parking lot. In the moment of rushing her mother to the hospital to give birth she fell from the car and was run over. She was flown to Seattle where she passed away days later from the trauma on Halloween, 1956.

Edward and Delores had another daughter whose plane went down on a berry picking trip in Valdez-Cordova, Alaska. She left behind a husband and daughter.

Anyhow, there are some other stories, but I have less information with them so they would be more speculative.

But for the sake of keeping track,

Milo Ray Sharp’s family would move to Sunset, Davis County to farm.

Delwin Sharp would remain in the Plain City area all his life.

Austin Sharp would move to Washington State.

Ernest Sharp would remain in Plain City.

William Edward Sharp moved to Washington State.

Victorine Sharp and her husband Fred Hunt would remain in Plain City.

Mary Irene Sharp would marry Oscar Childs Richardson and move to Tremonton.

Edith Sharp would marry Clements Richard Martin and move to Southern
California.

Ethel Sharp would move to Idaho returning to Plain City. There she would
have her last child which birth would take her life.

Sharp Family History Outreach

The past few weeks have held some very interesting walks of family history.  The Sharp family has always been one of the most difficult lines.  I will explain some of the reasons why later.
I have mentioned in past updates my interactions with Kent and Pat Nielsen of Provo, Utah.  He contacted me for the first time several years ago.  I found that he was a relative of mine.  We share the common ancestors of Thomas and Elizabeth Cartwright Sharp.  He was born in 1796
in Misson, Nottinghamshire in England.  We don’t know exactly when he passed away, but his wife immigrated to the United States with her children.  Sadly, she never made it all the way to the Utah Territory dying in St Louis in 1851.
We do not know with certainly what exactly the family’s plans were.  William (1826-1900), my ancestor, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1848.  His sister, Isabella (1831-1904) joined in 1849 and is Kent’s ancestor.  None of his other siblings joined the church but yet they made their way to the United States.  We assume they came for the LDS cause since they embarked upon a ship predominately  LDS.  They finally arrived in St. Louis despite some considerable difficulties at sea in Nov 1850.
They stayed there for a time.  They held together as a family but the draw for William and Isabella to be gathered with the Saints must have been strong.  They eventually set out for Utah leaving behind them their non-LDS family (Their mother died in Feb 1851).  In 1853, Isabella and William set out for Utah with their new spouses.  They arrived in September of that year.   Joseph and Isabella Carlisle settled in Millcreek, Salt Lake County.  William and Mary Ann headed to Lehi, Utah County.  (I leave behind the Carlisle family due to the fact that they have several individuals working on that line including Leanne Maynes, who I come to find out later was working with Kent.)
Difficulties with the water, cattle, and neighbors prompted them to move elsewhere.  During the evacuation of Salt Lake from threats of the United States Government, they learned of open, available spaces in Weber County to the north.  They made provisions and picked a place moving there the next spring in Mar 1859.  Their daughter, Evelyn, is claimed to be the first white girl born in Plain City.
This is where things get a bit more difficult.  They lived there and were actively involved in the community.  William’s skills as a mason became useful and were employed often in the community.  The family was also actively involved with dramatics and music as well.  Somewhere in this time, discord became apparent in the area.  Somewhere from about 1870 to about 1879, William and Mary Ann (Bailey) Sharp were  excommunicated from the church.  It is also notable to show that they were not the only ones.  A list of individuals was read at a meeting in 1879 announcing their excommunication.  Several prominent names from Plain City are on the list, including; Skeen, Dix, Musgrave, Singleton, Noyes, and Davis.  There are many speculations for the reasons of this excommunication, but nothing is known or documented for sure.
Since we don’t know the exact excommunication date, we do not know how this played into the divorce of William and Mary Ann in 1876.  We do
know that there was a group of former Anglicans who asked for a congregation of the Episcopalian Church to be organized in Plain City.  William Sharp built their church and school for that purpose.
He would later remarry and would die in Mount Fort (Ogden).  Mary Ann we know a little less about, but she would pass away in Plain City in 1913.  With that as a backdrop, we can focus on some more contemporary family.  Anne Sharp would marry in the Endowment House of Salt Lake in 1872 to Daniel Claiborne Thomas.  Their family would for the most part remain active in the LDS church until the present.  The other three  children, Milo Riley Sharp, Evelyn Carlisle Sharp, and Victorine Mary Sharp would all remain away from the church for their lives.
Evelyn would marry James Henry Taylor and we still know little of their family.  They would make their way to Oregon and they are hard to follow with little more than census locations.  Victorine Mary Sharp would marry Robert Edward Maw.  The Maw name is well known in West Weber.  We still know relatively little concerning her family.
Milo Riley Sharp would marry Mary Ann Stoker in 1879.  She was the daughter of William Thomas Stoker and Emma Eames.  Her father joined the
LDS Church in 1852 with two siblings joining in 1860 and 1863.  Her mother passed away in 1863 and that same year her family immigrated to the United States.  They moved directly to Plain City.  Due to financial difficulties, each of the children were raised by separate families.
Mary Ann Stoker was raised by the George and Victoria Musgrave family.  (Her father would go on to remarry and raise another family.)  It was
during this time she took on the name of Lilly Musgrave Stoker (some records show her as Lillian).
Milo Riley and Mary Ann would eventually have 12 children; Milo Ray, George, Effie, Delwin, Ernest, Austin, William Edward, Victorine, Mary
Irene, Edith, Ethel, and Emily.  George, Effie, and Emily all died young.  Their 11th child, Ethel Sharp, is my great grandmother.
The Sharp family has been one of the most difficult lines to connect.  Ethel died in 1925 after giving birth to her 4th child.  John Ross and his parents were not able to take care of the 3 children so they were separated among Ethel’s siblings.  I have written more about this family at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.
Grandpa, the son of Ethel, has very few memories of his parents.  He grew up with the Ed Sharp family, and for numerous reasons has refused
to speak of them.  So any continuation of family stories or history has for the most part not jumped that break.
It was with interest that last year in corresponding with Leanne Maynes (Joseph and Isabella Carlisle descendent) that I learned she had some
contact with Mrs. Brenda Pett and Mrs. Carilee Sleight.  I found out they were descendents of Milo Ray (Milo Riley and Mary Ann’s oldest child).  I contacted them and initiated conversation.  The information, history, and photos they were able to provide gave a catalyst to opening up the Sharp history.
With enough information and history on the Sharp line, I began to feel the connection and felt to pursue the family.  The family although raised non-LDS would have several lines who would go on to become LDS.  Only two of the children would join the church in their lifetime, Mary Irene and Victorine.  Although many more lines would open up to becoming reclaimed through a spouse.  For the most part, some of the difficulty
in the Sharp family is still one of a house divided.  That introduced some difficulty in reconnecting the family and bringing them together.  So I will tell of my experience with a couple of the lines.
Brenda and Carilee are both from Milo Ray’s family.  They are a granddaughter and great granddaughter of Milo Ray respectively.  It has been interesting to get to know them.  Brenda is in charge of one of the family history libraries and her mother’s 40 years of accruing family history documents and history has been a valuable resource.  We hope to take this more available to the family and that it can be the means of tying the family together through documentation.  I visited with Brenda for some time this past weekend in touching base and looking to the future.
William Edward, known as Ed, married an active LDS woman and all their children were raised LDS.  This is the family my Grandfather was raised
with, and probably the most familiar of all the Sharp lines.  My personal interaction with Josephine Sharp Costley and Dean Sharp have provided the more human face to this family.  Even though Dean passed away just last month, it has been interesting to interact with these lines at my Grandparents 60th anniversary and at my Grandmother’s funeral.  I have corresponded with Delores Bair who was married to Ed’s son, who we call Eddie.  She provided a great deal of information on the Eddie Sharp and Ed Sharp family line.  I continue to actively pursue this line with Josephine Sharp Costley and Lois Sharp.
I received a phone call from Grandpa sometime last year informing me that a woman, Ms. Lynne Riddle had been to visit him asking for family
history information.  Lynne is a granddaughter of Edith Sharp Martin.  I have been in contact, but she seems to have fallen off the planet.  She
will not return phone calls and e-mails.  She was very anxious in corresponding earlier on.  However it seems she got what she wanted and does not want to share.  For what reasons I do not know.  I do sense it may have a question with the LDS issue after her apparent upset at my
Grandfather imposing his testimony upon her.  I do hope we can break any barrier that may or may not be in place.
Last weekend I visited with Mae Richardson, the youngest daughter of Mary Irene Sharp Richardson.  Mary Irene was the first to join the LDS
church of the siblings.  She joined in 1931.  Her family were all raised LDS, but seem to have had no contact with the rest of the Sharp family
after about 1970.  I just started sending out letters to those who I thought may be family of the Richardson family.  I received a letter back from Mae telling me she was related, and informed me who the Richardson “in house genealogist” was.  In phoned Mae and had a great conversation with her for over an hour.  I also phoned Karen Knudsen, who is her niece, the one who apparently keeps the family history information for the Richardson family.  I look forward to her first e-mail and corresponding and bringing that family back in communication.  The most impressive thing about Mae was her memory.  For being in her 80’s, she could still remember all her siblings birthdates and even locations for weddings, children’s birth locations, and much, much more.
I also relocated a connection through the Victorine Sharp Hunt family.  I met Archie Hunt several times.  Most notably I remember him from my
Grandma’s and Uncle Harold’s funerals.  Who can forget a man who has two prosthetic legs?  One cannot but honor and reverence a man who still
farms under those circumstances.  I look forward to visiting with Archie and reestablishing those links.
So, there is a great deal of work to do in relation to the Sharp family.  There are many descendants that are yet unaccounted for.  There are many
questions and holes just in dates and information on the current family.  Then the fleshing out of stories and life histories yet to be found.  It is good that I am not going about this alone.

The family net spreads wide

Wow, do I have a few things to share. With the limited time I am taking to write this, I don’t really have time to do it justice. But I will attempt
to give an overview. 

Sunday I thought I would try and call a distant cousin of mine. My Great Great Grandfather was born in Pulaski County, Virginia. He had a half
brother, who was a few years younger who was born there as well and remained there for his whole life.

So, my Great Great Grandfather’s half brother had a son whose name is Howard Ross Sr. The only reason I knew all this is back in the 60’s and 70’s he wrote a book on the Ross family and my Grandfather was given a copy for some of his help with the book. I knew Howard was around 81 years old. It just happened a few years ago, I ran upon a missionary who served in the West Virginia mission. I asked if he ever served down around Bluefield, West Virginia and he told me he served in that ward. I asked if he knew a Howard Ross who was about 80. He laughed and confirmed that anyone who lived in Bluefield knew Howard Ross. That missionary was very helpful in securing his address for me. Well, I wrote ole Howard a letter and to my delight he called me one evening in Logan, Utah while at school (about 2004). I was in the middle of a party of sorts, so I told him I would call him back. Somehow I lost his number and could not call him back. Worst of all, I did not have his mailing address either. On top of that, I did not know how to contact the missionary who gave it to me. So I was where I had left off.
The only thing I remembered from that short conversation was that he personally knew my Great Grandfather and my Great Great Grandfather had visited his family when he was still a boy.

Since moving to Virginia, even while in DC last year, I tried to find Howard Ross. Ross is a common name, and there was not a Howard Ross in the phone book anywhere near the area I needed. I ended up calling several dozen Ross numbers in the book in Western Virginia, but not one knew who I was trying to get. So I had decided I would just have to drive out there and ask people on the street of Bluefield. I never got the courage to do so as it is several hours away and if I found him, I was sure he would be out of town.

Sunday, something came over me, and I thought to try and find him again. I went to my family history and tried to find a name I might be able to only have one or two hits on in West Virginia and Virginia. I decided maybe I would look through my file and see if there were some towns which were small and possibly a Ross might be in one. Well, I saw Naoma, West Virginia as the birthplace of a family. I searched it, and a Willie B Ross came up. I had a Willie B Ross in my file, and so I called. It was a little awkward as I had him as dead. I rang the number and I asked for Willie’s wife. Sure enough, it was her. I told her how I was related and she said she did not know as much about that as her husband and that I would have to talk to him.  That was a little awkward knowing he was dead, a little more so when she went to fetch him!

In the conversation with Willie B Ross, he was indeed the person I had in my file (I did not tell him he was dead though). We went through all the
children, dates, birthplaces, and then he gave me his son’s phone number, John Ross. John is a physicians assistant in Beckley, West Virginia and
personally knows ole Howard Ross. Well, I thank them, hung up and called John. It was a good visit with him. He informed me it would have to be
short as his basement was flooding at that moment. He was kind enough to give me Howard Ross’s phone number, and his son, Howard Ross Jr, and his daughter’s number, Sally’s number, and then chatted on and on. I was feeling guilty since his basement was flooding and so I excused myself and let him go.

I then phoned Howard. Number disconnected. I called Howard Jr. Number disconnected. I thought and prayed for Sally to answer. Well, some old man answered and I knew I was at a dead end. I told him my name was Paul Ross.  He asked if I was the son of Milo Paul Ross, grandson of Milo James Ross, great grandson of John William Ross, and great great grandson of James Thomas Meredith-Ross. I knew I must be have hit the mark.

He too was in the middle of a family crisis at the moment and visited with me only for a short 20 minutes. In the meantime, I gleaned this much
information.

My Great Grandfather came to visit in the 1930’s. Howard remembered it because he was missing a finger. He asked what happened. Apparently he had a spider bite and because of what was happening to his finger, he dipped it in acid. Well, the doctor said he saved his life, but was going to have to lose his finger. I thought, what an interesting story. He then asked if I knew anything about my Great Great Grandfather. I said I did not. He told me he also came to visit in the 30’s from out California. Apparently he was a Bishop in Fresno, California. He came to visit the family and was upset they did not have a cow. He asked how they could be self-sufficient without a cow. Apparently he went out and purchased a cow for the family for the time he stayed there. Howard roared with laughter when he said then when he left, he went and sold the cow, and went back out west. We had a good little visit about life and where I was, and what he was doing, and then his crisis brought him back to reality and he excused himself. We set up an appointment for a meeting sometime in the spring, he said only if he lived, he was not going to be there if he was dead. I very much hope I can meet up with him, to learn some stories on the side I know so little about.

After hanging up the phone, I called my Grandfather to confirm and pick his brain a little. Grandpa is usually pretty tightlipped about the family, but he opened up about quite a few things last night. Here is some of what I got (combined with what I already know).

He was born in 1921 to John and Ethel Ross in Plain City. Ethel had been in an accident on the old train line that used to go out to Plain City. She
had received some type of settlement from the railroad (documentation I will have to try and find) and then moved to Paul, Idaho and bought a
confectionary. It was on what is now Idaho Street. Dad has a good stash of checks, paperwork, and other stuff from the old confectionary. It was
there, running the confectionery, that she met Mark Streeter after he returned from military service. I don’t know where or how much he served in WWI, but they were married. I don’t know that either, but they had a daughter, June Streeter who now lives in Adelanto, California. Grandpa said Mark Streeter ran off on her.

She kept busy at the confectionery until she met John William Ross. He and all his family had lived in West Virginia in the 1910 Census. I think his
sister, Fanny Ross Phibbs (her husband was Judge Calvin Dickerson Phibbs in Rupert) was the first one out. I think she came first(between 1912 and 1916), and then convinced the rest of her family to come out. Especially with the opening of the new sugar factory at Paul, and the building of the new city for all the employees. Fanny obviously lived in Rupert, and the rest of her family came out. I don’t know when John met Ethel, but he served in the Army. While he was stationed at Fort Logan, Colorado he was a cook. She went to meet him, and in 1920 they were married at Fort Logan. I assume they had met at some time previous to his military service. I don’t know the dates of his military service, and where all he served. Grandpa said he thought his father had been gassed, but was not sure about that. The 1920 Census has him in Colorado as an army cook.

On a side note, John had been married in 1910 in West Virginia. He had a son in 1911 named Hobart. I will get to some stories about Hobart in a
minute.

Grandpa was born in Plain City in 1921. Paul was born in Paul, Idaho in 1922. Harold in Burley, Idaho in 1923. Then Ethel had Ernest in 1925 in
Plain City. Ernest was born in July, Ethel died in August, and Ernest died in September.

Grandpa does not remember living in Idaho. Of course, he was probably too young. He does remember his mother’s death. He was terribly upset because they would not let him see his mother in the casket. They said he was too young. He said he was old enough to know his mother was dead and wanted to see her.

He remembers his father afterward bundling them up, they went to Ogden, and caught a train to Idaho. They then lived with James and Damey Ross in Rupert, Idaho. He doesn’t remember his father being around during this time. James and Damey contacted the Sharp’s (Ethel’s maiden name) and had them come get the boys. They could not afford to feet them anymore. Sometime in the early spring, he said Os (Oscar) Richardson and Dale Sharp drove up to Rupert in Os’ Hudson and picked them up. He remembers the drive past the poplar trees from the old town outside the Paul factory through Heyburn, over the river bridge there, through Declo, Malta, and all the way back to Plain City. He lived with Ed Sharp, whose wife was an East; Paul lived with Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt, and Harold lived with Delwyn Sharp. Paul in 1922 fell from a barn and died of a concussion a few days later.

From that point on, he never saw his father until 1948. So from 1925 until 1948. Apparently the Sharp’s forbid him from coming to visit. Grandpa has a whole bunch of letters from his father that were sent to Vic Hunt, but they were never given to the boys. Only after she died, did Grandpa and the others find out about the letters. They are actually very tender. Grandpa said his father had told him the reasons why the Sharp’s forbid him from coming to visit, but he did not want to disclose them. He said he was going to say nothing against the Sharp family who were so good to him. (I took that to mean it was not so much John’s fault, but the Sharp’s.)

Grandpa said he got a letter in early June 1948 saying his father was in Livermore Hospital and would only live a few more days. His sons were
requested to come and visit him. Great Grandpa Donaldson, Grandma’s Dad, gave Grandpa the money to go see his father. Harold did not want to go. Grandpa went to Livermore, Alameda County to the hospital. He walked in the building, up the stairs, and right to the room where his father was. He just knew where it was at. He sat down there and saw his Dad in pretty bad shape. This was a veteran’s hospital.

They started to talk. The hospital staff escorted him out because he was to have no visitors. He explained the position, showed them the letter from the Red Cross, and they let him go back in. He stayed there through the night talking with his Dad until he passed away. He said he learned quite a few things. I could tell Grandpa was crying over the phone. He would not tell me most of what he said. He just said he sat there and held his hand while talking through the night.

He found out that he used to take a taxi from Ogden, pick up Betty Booth, and they would ride out to the Sharp farm. John would sit in the taxi while Betty did whatever she was doing there. Grandpa remembers the taxi sitting there by the side of the field and the man and woman waving at him. He never knew that was his father or Betty Booth. Later in life, he said Betty was an old widow who could not take care of herself. Grandpa and Grandma would pay for her coal and Grandpa did repair work for her home. He even reshingled it one year, and Betty’s family made him sign an agreement that she did owe him anything. Her family did not know Grandpa and Grandma were paying for the coal. They thought it was the Maw family, who delivered the coal. Grandpa found it very moving to find out that he had supported the woman who had made it possible for his father to see his children. He thought it was a fitting service.

Grandpa would tell me nothing about what they visited about that night other than his father talked about life. Apparently he married an old widow in California who was wealthy and that took care of him the rest of his days. Grandpa did not know if the widow was still living when his father passed away.

Grandpa then took me through some of his war stories. He dwelt mostly on a recent deal where he had been honored at some stadium for being so decorated during WWII. He said the announcer interviewed him first and this was some of the things he told the announcer.

Those who were decorated during WWII were only the lucky ones who lived through the battle. He said the more that died around you, the more
decorated you became. He said his awards are not for his bravery, but a symbol of how many more died around him and he was fortunate to not have fallen. Grandpa was wounded 4 times during the war. He said they were all part of doing the job just like you smash your thumb once and a while with a hammer while working. He found it terribly disappointing that the longer time goes on, the more we honor the living who made it through the war. He points out that it is the dead who need remembered, not the living. What about those who never had family? Grandpa has a family who will remember him. What of those whose lives were snuffed out and have not family to remember them?

He pointed out to the announcer that a bar of soap was his best friend. He lived for weeks at a time in a foxhole. He even brushed his teeth when he had extra water with a bar of soap. On more than one occasion, a man would jump into his foxhole for cover, and by morning the man was dead. He had spent a couple days with a dead man because they could not get him out. One man he buried there by the foxhole and later told others where he was buried when the battle was over so they could go back for him. He said we don’t understand war. He said do we realize that in a foxhole for days, weeks you have to go to the bathroom. You put some dirt in your helmet, do your duty and set your helmet out of the hole until morning so you could bury it and hope your head was safe uncovered in the meantime. You always hoped you had enough water to rinse out the dust and whatever else so it didn’t stink too bad. The same clothes for weeks at a time, in a very humid, wet environment.

He said his awards for bravery were because he did what needed to be done because he was tired of the foxholes. He wanted to move forward. He was lucky that artillery and others gave enough cover that they were able to take the high ground.

Anyhow, it was a great conversation. I enjoyed the time. He cut it off, said he appreciated the phone call, and to call again some time. He then
hung up. (In usual Ross fashion, we are not much for telephone etiquette)

It was an interesting conversation. A man who never knew his father really, then had a crash course for a day until he died. His mother is only a
memory of younger childhood. Ed Sharp from what I understand was very hard worker and worked his children just as hard. I need to talk to Dean and get some more information about his parents before he gets too old.

Well, that story pretty much ends there. But there is another one that goes with it.

I started looking at applying for University of Virginia Law when I noticed it asked for family members who had gone to UVA. I remembered Evelyn Hoogland (who is a first cousin of my Grandma Ross through the Van Leeuwen family) telling me her daughter graduated from UVA. I needed to know what year she graduated. I called Evelyn and she gave me Kay’s phone number and told me to call her. So I called my cousin, Kay Hoogland. She graduated in 1981 from UVA and I remember Evelyn showing me a magazine or two with Kay on the front page. I knew Kay had made a name for herself. I phoned her at home outside Chicago. We had a wonderful visit and like we were old friends, I enjoyed our talk. She gave me encouragement, offered help, proofreading, even a letter of introduction. I was thrilled. She gave me one professor to contact and get to know who apparently is from Northern Utah. His name is Richard Merrill, and with a name like that, I would assume is related to Marriner Wood Merrill and his family comes from Cache Valley. I guess I could even be related to him! We will have to pursue that end.

It is time to wind down, and I am over my time limit. I learned a whole heap on Sunday. Made some new connections, and I hope opened some doors. I only scored average on the LSAT (only those who were diligent to read this far will get this news) so I am going to need a miracle to get into UVA or any other wonderful law school. Kay could be the unlocking of that miracle. More importantly, I unlocked a great number of doors to my own history and family on Sunday. The Spirit of Elijah is alive and well. An effectual door has been opened, and there are many more yet to come!

Time for rest and FHE. Love to you all. I love you, I know the church is true!

Spraying the world

This past Saturday and Sunday was another log of interesting acquaintances and thoughts.  At least for me.
Saturday found me in Malad again.  I had to leave really early in order to get out of there at a decent time to head to Salt Lake City.  I left about 6:30 from Preston, and started spraying about 7:30 AM.  I am getting used to this early thing.  That does not mean I like it though.
One of the first jobs I did was for a Price family.  I caught my arm on the chain link fence and took a large chunk out of my forearm.  It was a great way to start the day.  I think I might be allergic to silk worm silk.  I walked under a tree with loads and I sneezed pretty regularly for the next hour or two.  I thought my poor lungs would give out by the time I was done.
There was this one lawn I was spraying.  Tim Burnett had this really cool recreation of an old time fueling station, like 1930’s.  He had created it out of all local materials.  Some of the signs were very interesting.  He came up and asked me some questions, then another neighbor, Don Hess, joined us.  Before long we were talking politics in Malad.  I am so dismayed that people go to such great lengths to do what they do.  They passed a bond (what a fitting term, let’s enslave the people) for a new jail.  Now, I have no qualms with a new jail, but what in the world does Malad need a 64 person jail for?  What is more, I am sure they will have somebody from outside design it and it will ruin the downtown spirit of Malad.  From the 20 or so neighbors who ended up weighing in on the street, either joining us, or just catching the conversation walking by, not one liked the idea.  I am not sure how they passed the bond if this is the sentiment.  What was even more disgusting, is that the person who was behind it had much to gain by the building of the jail.  As Tim was commenting, feathering his own nest at the expense of the community.  Whoever the guy, apparently also a policeman, gets to sell his land for the building of it.  Another neighbor commented how odd it is that the water line for the new jail is already being built (the street where we were talking was tore up) yet he still doesn’t have enough water pressure at his home to adequately water his lawn (we spray his lawn as well).  I have to admit,
I am really disgusted sometimes what happens in politics.
Larry drove over in my car to relieve me and finish what I did not finish spraying.  I headed quickly to Kaysville.  There I showered and changed, then Amanda and I headed to Salt Lake.  We found a great little parking spot and headed to Abravanel Hall for A Prairie Home Companion.  It was not his best show, I will admit.  In fact, some of the show was quite the letdown.  Usually they do a really interesting background on the areas that they go to.  There was nothing of that sort in this show.  Plus the news from Lake Wobegon actually was telling a story that he had already told, just with a different setup.  There was some of it which was a really good laugh.  Especially the Coffee Council.  I did enjoy lives of the cowboys as well.  I enjoyed the music the
most.  It was a surprise that Amanda did not know any of the songs.  The classic Americana songs which I remember singing at the county fair or other places, especially the sing songs in England, she did not know one of them.  The ones I thought were well known like Good Night Ladies, and In the Good Ole Summertime.
We finished the show and headed to Kaysville. There, we changed and got ready to attend the temple.  Amanda’s parents were finally able to join us for one.  We drove up to Ogden together.  I enjoyed the session.  I learned some good things this time.  Lately it seems I have been so tired I could not be in tune.  We finished and headed home, happy to have completed our goal of attending all the temples in Utah before leaving for Virginia.
Sunday arrived far too early for me.  We drove up to Tremonton for Jami Rupp’s farewell.  She is a sweet girl.  We then headed south to Brigham City for Jeanette Smoot’s farewell.  We had some time, so we tried to pay a visit to Lenard and Donna Bruderer, but we could not find their house and they were not answering their phone.  We went to the cemetery and walked around.  Of mention was the grave of Lorenzo Snow.  We then went down to the Box Elder Tabernacle with the intent of taking a nap on the lawn under a tree.  However, I wanted to walk around and the building ended up being open.  We watched a movie, took a tour, and the guy asked if we played organ.  I ended up playing the organ for an hour.  I was a bit rusty, but it came back.  One guy who came in for a tour even said he was honoured to hear me play.  (He must not go to church, they play better there!).
We headed to the farewell.  It was good to see everybody, most of which we saw also at Jami’s.  Jeanette gave a good talk as well.  Afterward we headed to the VFW Building for a little luncheon.  It was fun.  I enjoy good company.  It was good food too.
We had to leave to meet Nathan and Holly Wayment.  We were meeting them to sign the rental contract for their home in Glen Allen, Virginia.  We met them at the old Perry Tabernacle, now the Heritage Theatre.  We had a good visit with them.
We paid a visit to Grandpa in Plain City.  He was in a good mood, however he was headed to a viewing for another friend.  He said he liked the photos we gave to him.  We talked some about Hobart Day and I told him about meeting Carma Preece in Vernal.  He seemed interesting to know how she was doing.
Hobart Day was Grandpa’s half brother.  His father, John William Ross, had married a May Day (doomed marriage?) before my Great Grandmother.  He had a son who lived in West Virginia.  He was a preacher and married a Edna Montgomery.  He was knocked blind when he was 21.  Somebody threw something at him and hit him in the head.  He was blind from that point on.  He came out to visit Grandpa three times in his life.  The first two times he brought his wife.  Grandpa was telling me how he used to call him Big Brother.  They took him all over.  The last time he came out to visit, he came alone.  Grandpa was telling me that before he put him on the bus to send him home Hobart day made a few comments.  Something like, “I have been to Utah, been to a Mormon Sacrament, visited with a Mormon Bishop, now I can go home and die.”  Three days later he was dead.  Grandpa said he got a letter or two from Edna afterward she had dictated to someone to write for her.  But he did not know where they were and did not expect Edna to be around anymore.  Hobart died in 1983.
Before leaving we asked Grandpa if he knew Amanda’s Great Grandpa, Walter Wayment Hansen.  He said he did, he even helped him add onto his house.  Amanda found that interesting.
Grandpa had to go and we went to visit Glynn and Chyrrl Wayment.  Nate and Holly arrived right before us.  Glynn and Chyrrl both showed up shortly afterward.  Nate wanted us to stop and visit with his parents so we did.  They obviously knew Amanda’s Great Grandparents, they only lived a stone throw away.  I asked if Glynn knew Grandpa and he pointed to the white house to the south that he owns and said that Grandpa and Floyd Neilson built that house.  He said of course he knew him.  He had nothing but good to say about Grandpa.  The same for Amanda’s Great Grandfather.
We left and drove past her Great Grandparents home there in Warren.  I called Jennie Britzman and asked if she was going to be around.  She said she was.  We headed over.  Richard was there as well.  We were there for several hours.  We visited about life, Virginia, school, and I asked questions for family history.  Jennie’s mother was the sister to my Great Grandmother, Berendena (Dena) Van Leeuwen (married name Donaldson).  Jennie said that many people thought her mother Jane (Jantje in the Dutch) were twins.  She said that she liked Aunt Dena and Uncle Dave.
She told me that her mother used to have premonitions.  She knew of things before they happened.  When they were growing up in California she knew when the earthquakes were coming and would prepare for them.  One time she knew a big one was coming and told her husband, William Frederick Bremer.  He had become pretty edgy about her premonitions and did not want to hear of them.  He would tell her to not speak of them and that he did not want to hear them.  The same was on this occasion.  But she knew a big one was coming so she hired somebody to put guards on the shelves in the pantry to keep the bottles on the shelves.  But the time it took to get her husband to agree and for the work, he was only half done by the time the earthquake hit.  This was in the 1930’s in Los Angeles.  They lost half of everything in the pantry because it was not all guarded.
She knew when my Great Grandmother was going to have her accident.  She tried to convince Dena not to go where she was going.  But she went anyway, and got in the accident that eventually would take her life.
Jennie was telling me about a time when she was going to run to the store.  Her mother said that she saw Jennie flying through the air in an intersection.  But the ambulance was in the way so she could not see how her state was.  She plead with Jennie not to go but she did anyway.  She made it to the store alright, but on the way back she was t-boned by a semi that ran a stop sign.  Just like her mother said, the car was hit, the door flew open, and she flew across the intersection.  She was obviously knocked silly and did not remember any of it.  But it happened.  When they called her mother, she responded to those on the phone, “I know what happened, how hurt is she?”
Amanda commented that my family all have strange gifts.  I thought that was a funny comment.  But I suppose it is true.
Jennie (who turns 90 this year) told me that Uncle Dave (my Great Grandpa) was deathly afraid of earthquakes.  During the 1930’s when he was working in the area as a plumber he did some work in their house, especially after the earthquake.  When an aftershock would hit he would flee from house.  He would always run from the house when anything started to shake.  He commented to her once that he did not want to be in a basement and stuck down there if something happened.  Jennie said she used to like to tease him.  They would go to the window for the room Uncle Dave was in and then start shaking the window or screen.  They used to laugh and laugh to see a man as big as him jump and run outside.  She did not say if he ever knew it was them, but I don’t think he did.  I enjoyed this story.
We headed back to Amanda’s parents.  Mel and Shanna Thompson were there, Amanda’s grandparents.  We had a good little visit.  They were working on family history.  It was good to see them.  I did not know that Mel was born in Pingree, Idaho.
I headed home to Provo for work on Monday morning.  They have given me one last job to finish before I leave.  It is a good little job and will keep me busy.  It is to paint the walls in the crystal department.  I have been working on it since.
Last night I went up and met Amanda and her family at the Bountiful Temple.  We then went up Mueller Park with Rick for family photos.  It was fun.  I don’t know if I will like any of the photos, but it was fun.  Amanda’s cousin Sherise was there to keep us entertained.  We went out to eat Mexican at El Matidor (something like that).  I way overate.  It was very good food.
Anyhow, today we are packing to move to Virgina.  Moving day is fast approaching.  Looking forward to the trip!

Monticello and Vernal

This weekend was a great trip.  I don’t know if I have written this, but Amanda and I made a goal to hit all the Utah Temples before we move away.  We made this goal in Jan or Feb and have been working on it since.  Monticello and Vernal both posed a problem for achieving that part of what we wanted to do.  Why not knock them both out at once?  So we did.  We took this past weekend, drove down to Monticello on Friday and stayed the night.  We stayed at, and highly recommend the Monticello Inn (in the phone book as Triangle H) especially if you are LDS.  They were more than wonderful with us.  She even called the temple to make our reservation for the 8:00 session for the next morning.  We attended the 8:00 session and when we came out, got our photo (we are taking a photo with us and each temple as well, Amanda’s idea!) and headed out.  We drove back up through Moab, over to Fruita, Colorado, up through Rangely, Colorado and into Vernal.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Vernal turns out to be one of our favorite temples.  There is something about it.  It has more character than some, and it seemed more like home to me.  We were sitting in the chapel waiting to go on the next session when I kept looking at the only other couple in the room.  I was sure it looked like the parents of a friend from high school.  She looked younger though, and he had some chops, so I had my doubts.  Finally, I just had to know, walked up to them, and sure enough, it was Scott and Anita Jensen from Paul, Idaho.  Anita was a cub scout leader for me for a few years.  Bryan, their son, helped me secure a ring at a great price for Amanda last year.  We chatted, and were one of only a few couples on the session.  I will tell you what, there is something that is inspiring when the rays of the sun are coming through the veil when they lift the curtain before being introduced.  It just lit up the room and I loved it.

On the session was also a Shane Mayberry.  Afterward, I visited with him and asked if he knew a Carma Preece.  He said he went to school with her son.  I asked about her, and found out she only lived a block of two from the temple.  Before we left, by asking others, he had her address and phone number for me.  So, we are close, why not visit.  I gave her a phone call, she was home, and we were invited to stop.

She is the first person I have ever met who is related to me through the Ross line.  In fact, her maiden name is Ross and her father is the brother to my Great Grandfather.  It was interesting to look at her characteristics and physical makeup.  She must have barely have been over 5 foot.  Similar to most of my closer Ross relatives, other than my Dad, who inherited his height from the Donaldson side.  Amanda snapped a picture of a portrait of her parents.  Giving me the first copy of a photo I have of any of the other Ross siblings.  I have a rough, vague, damaged photo of my Great Grandparents, and nothing of them together.  My Great Grandmother died in 1925 after giving birth.  The baby also passed away with her.  For some reason or another, the Sharp line did not like my Great Grandfather, John William Ross.  So he was run off, and my Grandfather’s family farmed out to members of the Sharp family.  My Grandpa to the Ed Sharp family, Uncle Harold to the Delwin Sharp family, and Paul Ross to Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt.  The only thing we really know is that he moved to California.

He died in the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California.  As far as we can tell, all of his siblings ended up in California as well.  John had a sister named Fanny, who married a Calvin Dickerson Phibbs, who was the judge in Rupert, Idaho for a time.  Calvin’s father and some other family members are buried in Rupert.  But the Phibbs went to California as well.  Then there was a Robert Leonard Ross, and his life is very sketchy.  Have very little idea of him.  He was married to a Minnie Belle Hambrick, Rose Ann Clawson, and Ruby Leaster Hall.  The only one of these I could confirm was Rose Ann Clawson, who had been married to a Sanders, but he married her in Burley, Idaho.  Then there was Carma’s father, James Thomas Ross who settled in the Vernal area.  Apparently he was the one who went to Utah so his children could marry LDS.  They missed Virginia so much, they named their first child after their old home.  So, Carma’s older sister is named Vesta Virginia.

It seems to me that somehow they caught wind of the opening of the Sugar Factory in Paul, Idaho, so they moved there from Virginia.  I know the Phibbs were there before the Ross family was.  Fanny and Calvin were married in Virginia in 1906.  The Phibbs all moved to Idaho and then Fanny probably invited her other siblings to go.  Fanny arrived there sometime between 1912 and 1914 as children changed their birth locations.  My Grandpa has a half brother, Hobart Day, born in 1911 in West Virginia.  My Great Grandparents were married in Fort Logan, Colorado.  How that ever happened I will never know.  My Great Grandmother was married to a Mark Lewis Streeter, who gave another half sibling to my Grandpa, June Streeter.  Great Grandma went with Mr. Streeter and they operated a confectionery in Paul, Idaho named Streeter’s Confectionery.  There doesn’t seem to be records of this in Paul, other than a Hall’s Confectionery which according to my Grandfather would have been in the same location.  Whatever happened, my Great Grandmother divorced her Streeter husband in 1919.  My Grandpa is the oldest, born in Plain City.  Paul was born in Paul, John Harold in Burley, and Ernest Jackson in Plain City, who died.  So that pretty well breaks down the time in Idaho for my family.  My Great grandmother married Streeter in 1917 or so as June was born in June 1918.  Fanny and Calvin were there until after 1930, when their last child was born in Rupert that year.

James Thomas had only one child born in Idaho at Rupert.  She is a middle child, and the rest were born in the Vernal area.  That child, Sydney Bea was born in 1922.  As for Robert Leonard, he married the one wife in 1919 at Burley, but that is about all that is set in stone for him.

I do not know what the draw was to California.  All of them seemed to have died there.  I don’t know where Robert died, but I know it was in 1944 and everyone says it was California.  Nobody seems to know where, and I have not found a record.  My John William died in Livermore in 1948.  He remarried a Zane Coffey in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  We don’t know what happened to her, if they stayed together.  Fanny died in 1943 in San Francisco.  James died in Los Angeles in 1964.  California had such a draw that both of their parents, James Thomas Meredith (legally, but went by James Thomas Ross) and Damey Catherine Graham both moved to California and died in 1951 and 1933 in Fresno and Marysville respectively.  I do not know if my Great Great Grandparents ever came to Idaho, or spent any time in Utah.  Carma told me that she met her grandparents in California, so that makes it seem that while she has memory, they were not in the Vernal area.  Who knows for sure.  I seem to remember somewhere that James Thomas Meredith/Ross was a Bishop in California at one time, indicating he spent some time there, long enough to become acquainted and be called.  I don’t remember for sure if it was him or someone else who was called as Bishop.

Anyhow, it was interesting to visit with Carma.  She told me of a couple of visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s place.  She told me how impressed she was with how tender they were with Judy.  They have not visited Plain City since the early 1970’s.  She told me of a time that Grandpa came to visit them in Vernal.  She said they took them around and introduced them to the family and showed them the area.  The one comment that was interesting was that Grandpa used to swear up a storm.  According to her, every other word was a swear word.  I have never known him like that.  The only time I ever heard him swear was when the emphasis was needed, or another word sometimes just did not seem to fit.  She was surprised to learn that Grandpa and Grandma had become active.  I thought that was interesting.  She was even more surprised to learn that they both worked in the Ogden Temple for a few years.  Carma now works in the Vernal Temple.

It was good to sit and visit with her.  She loaned me a book that was given to her just the month before with all the descendents of James Thomas Ross (Jr).  I was excited about that.  It looks like we will have to call on Carma on the way to Denver at the end of this month.  To return the book and perhaps to glean some other memories from her mind.  She is 81 now, and who knows how much longer she could be around.  Getting into those ages, things change so quickly.  However, I hope she will still be around when we come to visit Utah again, and that we can pay her another visit.  Funny how things happen.

We had a great visit and we snapped a picture of Carma and me together.  I enjoy visiting family.  There are always more stories to hear.  I have many more, I record of all my visits in my regular journal.  Sorry you don’t get to read of some of those adventures.  Perhaps someday I will reiterate some of them here.