Samuel Deer Davis

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

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

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

Samuel Deer Davis

Samuel Deer Davis

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Jane Williams Davis

Mary Jane Williams Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Williams-Williams Wedding

I am sharing this life sketch of David Davis Williams and Rebecca Price Williams.  The original version was written by William Jenkin Williams and found in the records of Eliza Williams Rees with insights from her granddaughter Betty Mifflin Bushman taken from family interviews and her own experience.  For the most part I will stick to the original history.  I do not have any photos to share, but since I have the history, I wanted to make it available.

Before I jump into the rest of the life sketch, I think it is important to connect these individuals to my family history.  I have previously written of the marriage between David D Williams and Gwenllian Jordan.  David D Williams had a brother named John Haines Williams.  David Davis Williams is the son of John Haines Williams.

I will provide more family information after the life sketch.

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“David D. Williams was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales on June 19, 1852, a son of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis.  He came to the United States with his parents, settling first in Pennsylvania in 1858.  In 1860 the family moved to Ogden, Utah, crossing the plains with in a handcart company led by Captain Elias Morris.  It was the second ox team to land in Ogden.  From there the family went north to the Malad Valley where they settled in Muddy Creek, living in a dugout where some of the children were born.  They later moved to Gwenford.

“Rebecca P. Williams was born on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1857, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, a daughter of Jenkin Williams and Eliza Price.  She was baptized (LDS) in Wales on December 11, 1867 by her father, Jenkin, and confirmed by John Thomas.  With her parents, she came to this country for the gospel’s sake, settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After living there two years, they went to the Malad Valley in the year 1872.

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

“On Rebecca’s birthday, December 31, 1877, she and David were married in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho by Justice of the Peace William H. Waytell in the presence of Benjamin Waldron and Mary Ann Daniels.

“David was baptized (LDS) 8 March 1878 by John Evan Price and confirmed by Samuel D. Williams.

“He and Rebecca took up a farm in Gwenford where they lived for about twenty years.  During this time David operated a freighting business between Kelton, Utah and Helena, Montana, a trip that would take him about three months.  He served as a deputy sheriff, was the first Chief of Police of Samaria, Idaho, and even worked as a blacksmith.  Later he went into the confectionery business and operated a business and general store, D.D. Williams Candy Kitchen, with Rebecca in Samaria until his death June 27, 1927.  He was a man, it is said, who could not be idle.   His daughter, Eliza, described him as a wonderful husband and  father.  His granddaughter, Mae Rees Mifflin, remembers him with great fondness also.  She named her first child, Darla Dean, after her grandfather.  It is a wonder that Darla was not nicknamed Dee Dee too.

David Davis Williams

David Davis Williams

“About him, a grandson, Ray Earl Rees, told the following story:  Their daughter, Eliza (Ray’s mother), had a washing machine.  In order to help her elderly parents, she would do their laundry.  Every Monday morning Grandpa David would drive his buggy the few miles to Malad with a bundle of clothes for her to wash.  Grandpa would drive the team around to the north road and enter the farmyard by the back way.  About the time he was expected, Ray would wait out by the gate to open it for his grandfather.  Then he would climb up in the buggy with him and ride up to the house.  Always Grandpa Williams had a sack of candy for Ray.  He could depend on that treat and waited eagerly for it each Monday morning.

“When the family would visit their grandparents in Samaria, it was a treat to go in to the store and see all the candies on display behind the glass counter.  Rather than give the children candy, Grandpa Williams would give them each a nickel and let them do the choosing.  They were not allowed to go around the counter, but while he smiled encouragement to them, they would stand before the counter and choose their treat.

“He was the sweetest man who ever drew a breath, Ray said about his grandfather.

“David was always a prominent figure in our childhood stories about family as our mother was said to be his favorite.  He even appeared to her to tell her goodbye after his death.

“It seemed so romantic to my sister and me that he and Rebecca married on my favorite holiday of the year, New Year’s Eve.  That day was also Rebecca’s twentieth birthday.  Her present was our handsome, nice great-grandfather.  What a perfect party time to have a wedding anniversary.

“Rebecca is remembered by her daughter, Eliza, as a wonderful mother and homemaker, never being one to go away from home.  She had a wonderful alto voice and when the children were small, she would often gather them around and sing to them.

“After her children grew up and married, she helped her husband in keeping the confectionery store.  Many remember stopping there as youngsters on their way to Mutual to share a soda and socialize.  They were always reminded not to be late for their church meeting by Rebecca, who would usher them out the door at ten minutes ’till.  Later the teenagers would reunite there to pick up where they had left off.

“Her daughter, Eliza, described her this way, Rebecca P. Williams was loved by all who knew her.  She was kind to everyone and did not have an enemy on earth.

“Great-Grandmother Rebecca was always a colorful figure to my sister and me.  As the youngest surviving child in her family of eleven children, we loved the story of how when the family came from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, she was assigned to carry a beautiful crystal bowl for her mother.  With it wrapped in a shawl, fourteen-year-old Rebecca later carefully tended it all the way to Idaho.  Through interesting circumstances, that bowl was inherited by our grandmother, then Mama, and finally Darla.  Since Darla also inherited Grandma Rees’ beautiful china closet, it seemed quite natural that the Welsh bowl would always rest inside it.  At any rate, I never ever expected it to be mine.  One day when I was picking up Darla to bring her to my house for a day’s visit, her daughter, Alyce, walked out to the car with us.  In her hands, Darla was carrying something wrapped in a piece of fabric.  She handed it to me with a smile saying that she had a present for me as a little thank you gift because I was so good to her.  With Alyce looking on and smiling too, I turned back the cloth to see the Welsh bowl.  Ignoring my protests that it was hers and that I could not accept it, she said she knew it would be safer in my home, that I would take good care of it and always treasure it.  Alyce said they had talked it over and both felt that it should be mine.  How I love to hold and admire that bowl.  Made of clear glass in a square shape, scalloped edging runs along its rim and base.  With a small pedestal and lion heads at each square corner, it is truly a work of art and indeed a special item. I love knowing of its history and importance in our family.  When we would look at it as children and hear its story, it was always viewed in quiet awe or discussed in hushed tones.  Never, ever, did I think it would be mine.  I felt amazed, quite honored, and a bit afraid of the responsibility.

“David died on 27 June 1927 after an illness of eight months.

“Later Grandma Rebecca moved to Malad  where she resided just across the street from her daughter, Eliza.  I remember Grandma carefully preparing a plate of dinner each evening for her mother.  It was usually the job of Uncle Ray to deliver it with a caution to hurry so it would be hot for his grandmother.  When I was around, he would often grab me by the hand and together we would dance across the street as he deftly carried the napkin covered plate in one hand and dragged me along with the other.

“I remember her as a frail little lady, a bob of white hair on top of her head, wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose as she looked us over.  Books and magazines were plentiful in her small apartment and always a deck of cards.  In addition to reading, she liked to play games, playing Solitaire to entertain herself when no one else was around.

“Rebecca died on March 30, 1936 at the age of 84, a few months before my fifth birthday.

Rebecca

Rebecca Price Williams

“Both are buried in the Samaria Cemetery.

“Thirteen children were born to David and Rebecca, five boys and eight girls:  Sarah, William Jenkin who died in infancy, Mary, David, Phoebe, Jenkin, Eliza, Margaret, John, Catharine, Beatrice, Frances Orenda who died as a baby, and George.”

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Some more family history information.

David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 Jun 1927 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.  He was buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria.

Rebecca Price Williams born 31 December 1857 in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales and died 30 March 1936 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho.  She was buried 2 April 1936 in Samaria.

David and Rebecca were married 31 December 1877 in St Johns, Oneida, Idaho.

Their children are:

Sarah Elizabeth Williams born 22 August 1878 in Samaria and died 31 February 1968.  Buried in Draper, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married James Benjamin McGuire (1872-1952) 30 September 1900 in Samaria.

John Jenkin Williams born and died 23 September 1879 in Samaria.  Buried in Samaria.

Mary Jane Williams born 10 April 1881 in Samaria and died 14 January 1975.  Buried in St Johns.  She married John Nelson Hill (1872-1913) 22 February 1899 in St Johns.

David Joseph Williams born 26 February 1883 in Samaria and died 4 April 1973.  Buried in Malad.  He married Ester “Essie” Katherine Munsee (1888-1967) 25 March 1908 in Ogden.

Phoebe Ann Williams born 12 December 1884 in Samaria and died 15 March 1942 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  Buried in Riverton, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Thomas Charles Jones (1883-1922) 4 July 1903 in Samaria.

William Jenkin Williams born 24 Jul 1886 in Samaria and died 5 Jun 1963.  Buried in Samaria.  Married Mary Mae John (1901-1989) 26 February 1921.

Eliza Mae Williams born 10 February 1888 in Samaria and died 6 July 1967 in Ogden.  Buried in Ogden.  Married Gomer Vaughan Rees (1883-1971) 24 November 1904 in Samaria.

Margaret Rebecca Williams born 25 November 1889 in Samaria and died 9 November 1980.  Buried in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas, Ohio.  Married Walter Russell Ripley (1895-1979) 13 December 1913 in Malad.

John Haines Williams born 31 May 1891 in Samaria and died 25 February 1957 in Malad.  Buried in Malad.  Married Eleanor Jones (1899-1975) 29 March 1916 in Malad.

Catharine Zina Williams born 14 August 1893 in Samaria and died 19 Oct 1988 in Salt Lake City.  Buried in Malad.  Married Elijah R van Ables (1892-1961) 12 December 1920 in Malad.

Beatrice Estella Williams born 30 July 1894 in Samaria and died 9 December 1976.  Married Carl William Jones (1892-1958) 4 April 1913 in Malad, later divorced.  Married Allen John Keehn (1888-1957) 16 November 1938 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.

Frances Orenda Williams born 6 May 1897 in Samaria and died 10 September 1897 in Samaria.

George Thomas Williams born 22 February 1901 in Samaria and died 24 June 1962 in Pocatello.  Buried in Restlawn Memorial, Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  Married Theona Withers (1906-1990) 4 October 1924 in Malad.

Clara McMurdie Coley

With the passing of Clara Coley this week, I thought I would put together a quick little history with the photos I have of her.  A good portion of this is written around Clara’s obituary.  I have an autobiography of Ivan so I will create a separate post for him in the future.

Clara McMurdie was born 26 January 1914 in Paradise, Cache, Utah with a twin brother Clarance (1914-1919).  She was one of 11 children born to Sarah Amelia Checketts and Joseph Kay McMurdie.  She grew up in Cache Valley and her family moved to Richmond, Cache, Utah when she was a few years old.  It was while they lived in Richmond that she met Ivan Coley who was a few years older than her.  Clarance died and is buried in Richmond.  Her family moved to Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho in 1928.

Joseph and Sarah McMurdie in 1960

Joseph and Sarah McMurdie in 1960

Ivan hitchhiked all the way from Utah to Idaho to be with Clara after her family moved to Buhl.  They were married 22 October 1930 in Buhl.  After marriage, they moved and lived at the Coley Ranch in Richmond.  They were later sealed 10 February 1932 in the Logan LDS Temple.  An interesting side note, the great grandson of the Bishop who married them presided as the Bishop over Clara’s funeral.

Ivan Coley and dog

Ivan Coley and dog

Ivan and Clara moved back to Buhl and survived the Great Depression there.  They purchased a 160 acre farm in Melon Valley in Buhl.  That farm was sold in 1961 and they purchased five acres just outside of Buhl and kept that property for 36 years.

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae (Cookie), and Ivan Coley about about 1964

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae (Cookie), and Ivan Coley about about 1964

I have in my records that there were five children born to Ivan and Clara although the obituary only has 4 listed.  I will have to determine which is correct.

Sarah Colleen Coley born in 1932 in Richmond.

An unnamed son was born 12 February 1934 in Buhl.  He died the same day.  If I understood it correctly, this little boy was stillborn.  Apparently he is buried on the McMurdie Farm in Buhl.  I wonder if the present owner is aware of the grave or if it is marked?

Lorus Ivan Coley (“Bud) was born 1 August 1936 in Buhl.  He died 23 October 1962 while on a hunting trip down near the Nevada border.  Initially reported to me as an hunting accident, I later learned it appears to have been a murder framed to appear as a suicide.  Apparently there is an open investigation ongoing at this time on this matter.  I will be interested to learn the outcome of the matter.

Clara, Colleen, and Bud

Clara, Colleen, and Bud

I was told there was an unnamed son born in 1938 who also died the same day who was stillborn.  I do not have an exact date for this one so I suppose what makes me question it is that Clara’s obituary does not mention him.  I will have to find out more from the family.

In 1942, Ivan’s father Herbert came to visit for part of the summer.  At Ivan and Clara’s home near the well, he fell and broke his hip.  This injury would lead to his death in September.

Lastly, Clarene RaNae Coley born in 1947 in Buhl.

Bud and RaNae

Bud and RaNae

Danny Todd, Ivan, Bud, and RaNae Coley

Danny Todd, Ivan, Bud, and RaNae Coley

Clara at a Coley Reunion in 1955

Clara at a Coley Reunion in 1955

Clara dedicated her life to love and care for her family and friends.  Even into her late 60’s she was known to outrun her grandchildren.  Ivan and Clara dedicated their lives to their grandchildren.  Grandchildren often spent many nights, or even weeks, on the farm.  Clara loved to quilt and made beautiful blankets.  She also made rugs from all the fabric scraps.  She was left-handed.  She worked at a number of jobs including bus driver.

Ivan and Art Coley (brothers) with Clara and Mary (Art's wife) in the mid 80's

Ivan and Art Coley (brothers) with Clara and Mary (Art’s wife) in the mid 80’s

Clara and Ivan in the early 80's

Clara and Ivan in the early 80’s

Ivan and Clara celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1990.  It is about this time that I have my first memory visiting Ivan and Clara with my grandmother Colleen Jonas (technically a niece-in-law).

60th Wedding Announcement

60th Wedding Announcement

Cutting the cake at their 60th anniversary party

Cutting the cake at their 60th anniversary party

Here is a photo from May 2012.  She was 98 years old and looked to be in great shape and pretty classy.  I visited with her about this same time and she identified a number of individuals in photographs for me and still had a sense of humor.

Clara Coley May 2012

Clara Coley May 2012

Clara passed away on Christmas Day 2012 at the St. Lukes Regional Hospital in Twin Falls.  Her funeral was held 4 January 2012 in Buhl with the burial between her husband and son in the West End, Buhl, Idaho cemetery.

Clara Coley Funeral Program

Clara Coley Funeral Program

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!

Thoughts in Malad

One of the best parts about being able to spray is that you have a nearly endless amount of time to think about anything you choose.  What a wonderful opportunity.  I hear of these people who are bored with their job, or have nothing to do, and even this job, that it is so boring.  Well, that tells the state of their mind doesn’t it?  What a wonderful opportunity.  It is like the old fairy tale of the hero getting into the cave of precious gems, with only one stipulation, that he can have any one he wants, but only one.  How sad that so many people choose to leave the cave with no gem, or with a tawdry, poor quality gem.
Anyhow, when I arrived at Larry’s this morning, he asked me about my meeting with Larry and Lori Kaye Gleim.  I told him about my experience and what it was they said.  He was disappointed that she did not want to get to know the family any.  He told me that he broke his leg and ended up staying with Donald and Carolyn for a time.  For about 4 1/2 months, nearly every day he would stay with baby Lori Kaye and take care of her.  He said he would never forget holding her on his knee and how beautiful she was.  He said there are some similarities between Toni and Lori Kaye, but he considered Lori Kaye beautiful as a baby.  That was only confirmed when he met her at her Grandfather’s, Harley Jepsen, funeral.  He said he could see the point of her keeping it quiet, but just did not understand it.
It was an interesting starter thought for the day.  I sprayed for a couple of hours thinking about that.  I think of the doctrine that at the last day all things shall be made known.  Those things which are secret shall be shouted from the rooftops.  Now, whether that has any bearing on me, I do not know.  However, Lori Kaye’s mother, and Lori Kaye will some day have to face that.  At some point, Lori Kaye’s own children will have to be told who is their biological grandfather.  At some point, Carolyn, for what reason she is hiding all this, pride, children’s hearts, or something else, will have to face it an answer it.  It will all have to be sorted out.  Especially someone who is where she is now, you would hope the wife of a Stake President would be more honest with her own family.  The wife of a High Councilman, who is a representative to a student stake, would also be more honest with their own family.  Anyhow, to each their own.  However, I would feel that I would seek to know the man to whom I was born in the covenant to.  The man to whom untold priesthood blessings will come to me.
I finally took a moment to drive near the elementary school, and notice the foundation of the old Evan’s store still there across the street (the old Malad High School).  It was Diane Evans Spackman’s grandparents store.  (I stayed with the Spackman family in Eagle last year.  She told me about it last year, finally I took the time to pay attention to see if I could see it.  It is still there.
I sprayed this lady’s lawn who was in the back yard while I was working.  We started talking.  She told me about her husband’s death in February (Bill Price).  She told me about his death, how it happened, and how she is struggling.  I was not sure how to reply.  But I just listened.  She asked me about my winter and I told her about my marriage.  She was excited and told me about her marriage.  Eventually, I found out she currently lives in what was her parents house.  Then, found out her father was a four term Senator to the state of Idaho.  She asked me if I liked to read, and I told her I did and biographies were my favorite.  I told her I was currently reading a biography on Borah.  She then told me that U.S. Senator Borah was a friend of her father.  In fact, she remembered her father and Sen. Borah talking on the front porch of that house.  I was surprised.  She told me about her memories of the man.  Who would have thought I could get personal testimony on a man whose biography I was reading at the time.  I was very impressed with how genuine Helen Daniels Price was.  I spent a good half hour visiting with her about the lives of others.  She was a librarian in Malad for 25 years or so.  Such great people in the world everywhere. 
At some down time, I read some of the Nuffer family history that Larry gave to me.  It was a very interesting read about Neuffen, Germany.  Also some of the surrounding towns my family is from.  It was interesting to learn that John Nuffer (son of John Christoph Nuffer, my Great, Great, Great Grandfather) studied architecture and building in Stuttgart before converting and coming to America.  That is why he ended up building so many buildings including the Oneida Academy.  He also worked on the Logan Temple.  It was interesting to read his blessing by Apostle Teasdale and setting apart as a Seventy before going back to Germany for a mission.  It will be interesting to read more.
I visited with Lorraine Dives today, whose son is Larry Dives, who lives in Pleasantview, and works at the Malad Post Office.  We had a good visit about her yard and how it is improving.  It is these types of experiences that I like.  Mingling with those individuals who are the salt of the earth and go about doing their own thing.
Of other news, something to add to the usual surprises of life.  Amanda returned home on Thursday evening to find that there was a fine layer of dust throughout the house.  Originally, due to the dark nature of the dust, it was assumed to be coal dust.  There are workers replacing the old coal furnace in the basement, and somehow they ended up shooting dust up into both apartments. Our landlord, John Payne, send a nice cleaning lady to take care of the problem.  Saves us from having the clean the whole home I suppose. But it was not a happy thing for Amanda to discover.
Well, that will do for today.  Tomorrow is spraying in Malad again.  I have to admit, it is the only place in the country I know of, and somehow a great source of pride to me, that they fly an American flag on every other light pole on the main streets.  The clincher, on the other poles there is a Welsh Flag.  Reminded me of my mission, and I am excited that a city takes its heritage to heart and shows it.  So many cities have become mainstream Babylonia.  Here is a town who has not forgotten some of what it is and where it came from.  Plus, I have a special place in my heart for Cymru.  I even bought a Welsh Book of Mormon a while back and would like to learn to read it.    I hope Malad is doing it for the right reasons, and continues to do it, for it is a wonderful thing.
Tomorrow Amanda and I attend Prairie Home Companion.  I am really excited.  Not that I have to leave at 5:30 in the morning to finish work in time, but that I am going to personally attend a Prairie Home Companion.  I have always admired them, even from when I was in Junior High.  Also, tomorrow night after Prairie Home Companion, Amanda and I attend the last Utah Temple, Ogden.  That will complete our goal of attending all 11 temples.  If we had time, I would like to get in both Idaho Temples (soon to be 4!).