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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~

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

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

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

First published 5 Jun 2011.

“Peacefield”

This past week I thought a little about the current political climate and some of the things that are happening.  I remembered some lines from McCullough’s John Adams.  I thought I would share a couple of photos we took of homes John Adams lived in during his life.

John Adams was born in this home.

John Adams was born (1735) in this home in Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts.  He lived here until 1764.

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John and Abigail Adams lived in this home from 1764 until 1768.

Adams' Peacefield in 2010

Adams purchased Peacefied in 1787.

The other end of Peacefield

The other end of Peacefield.

Amanda and I in front of Adams' Peacefield

Amanda and I in front of Adams’ Peacefield.

John & Abigail Adams' final home, United First Parish Church in Quincy.

John & Abigail Adams’ final home, United First Parish Church in Quincy.

John & Abigail Adams' tombs.

John & Abigail Adams’ tombs.

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian High School, Class of 1944

Class Picture, Adrian High School, 1944

Class Picture, Adrian High School, 1944

The above class photo is in a stack of albums I have scanned.  I noticed some other photos of people in the picture so I thought I would do some research on the Adrian Class of 1944.  Adrian, Malheur, Oregon had a booming population of 177 on the 2010 Census.  The graduating class of 2008 had 21, not much smaller than this class.  As I researched the individuals in this post trying to find out more information, I kept humming to myself The Statler Brothers’ .

Dick Ashcraft (1926 – Alive)

Dick Ashcraft toughest kid on the block

doc20131003090933_001

Wilma Clyda “Billie” Brewer (1925 – 2003)(married Kieth Tallman)

Kenneth Buck (1926 – Alive?

Ethel M Case (1927 – 2009)

Bertha Cram (1926 – Alive?)

Ada Louise Curtis (1925 – 1970)

Theda Curtis (1925 – 2004)

David Gale (1925 – 1999)

Dwain Howard Hatch (1925 – 1985)

Donald Hite (1925 – 2011)

Robert J Jackson (1927 – Alive?)

Virginia Mae Jarvis (1926 – 2006)

Maurice O Judd (1925 – 1968)

Dudley L Kurtz (1927 – Alive?)

Ronald K Lane (1926 – 1996)

Peggy Langton (1927 – Alive?

Carroll W Matthews (1926 – 1971).

Carroll W Matthews S2c, US Navy, Company 716-43, Camp Waldron, Farragut, Idaho, 20 Nov 1943, US Naval Radio School, Class 544, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho (2)

Carroll W Matthews S2c, US Navy, Company 716-43, Camp Waldron, Farragut, Idaho, 20 Nov 1943, US Naval Radio School, Class 544, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

John J Norris (1926 – Alive?)

Pauline Pettis (1928 – Alive?)

Clinton Reno (1926 – 2007)

Kenneth E Reno (1924 – 2004)

James Arnold Robb (1927 – 2011)

Helen Schweizer (1928 – 1994)

Maxine Smith (1927 – Alive?)

Lily M Steiner (1926 – Alive?)

Glen C Strickland (1925 – 1970)

Kieth E Tallman (1926 – Alive?)(Married Billie Brewer)

Dorothy Toomb (1927 – Alive?)

Jewell Wilson (1925 – 2007)

Jewell Wilson

Wilma Doris Wilson (1926 – 2012)

Verla Mae Wolfe (? – Alive?)

Samuel Deer Davis

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

~

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

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

Samuel Deer Davis

Samuel Deer Davis

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Jane Williams Davis

Mary Jane Williams Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grandpa and Grandma Wanner

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

Wanner Family about 1895,

Wanner Family about 1895,

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

Adam Smith

Sitting and watching the current world in which I live, I find it interesting that our society and government seem to think that the world revolves around it.  Not that we are beholden to overarching set of laws, but that they ignore those laws and do their own thing.

I found myself reverting back to ideas of Adam Smith in his The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.  It has been at least 7 years since the last time I read either and I need to check them again, but I cannot help but wonder how we floated so far adrift without anyone knowing.  Then again, we live in a world where relativism seems to rule and I should not be surprised.  Just ignore it and gravity will cease to exist.

Unfortunately, I do not have a better picture than these two we took in 2008.  But at least we stood outside the gate of Panmure Close in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It was at this site Adam Smith had lived for over a decade and died.  I seem to recall that his books were published before living here though.

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Ivan Stephen Coley

This is from the autobiography of Ivan Stephen Coley.  I recently wrote on the passing of his widow, Clara McMurdie Coley.

Since Ivan does not give much background information, I will provide some.  Ivan is the sister to my Lillian Coley Jonas.  Ivan is the sixth of ten children born to Martha Christiansen and Herbert Coley born 26 June 1912 in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  He married Clara McMurdie on 22 October 1930 in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Ivan and Clara had four children.  Ivan passed away 22 September 1994 in Buhl.  He was buried 27 September 1994 in West End Cemetery near Buhl.  Clara just joined him this year.

~

I was born in the little town of Richmond, Utah in Cache Valley.  We lived up in the foothills called Nebo, about 3 1/2 miles from town.  It was really pretty up there.  You could see all over the valley.

The snow really got deep in the wintertime.  In the spring when the snow melted, the field flowers would come up.  It sure was pretty.

I was one of ten children with four sisters and five brothers.  We didn’t have a car so we had to hitch the horses up to the white-top buggy when we went to church.  In the winter we used the bobsleds.  Sometimes the show would be so deep that you didn’t know where the road was.  Sometimes I would ride skis or hand sleigh to school in the winter.  We had to pack our lunches because they didn’t have hot school lunches then.

I remember in the first grade, we had a pot bellied stove and the teacher would have to keep putting coal in it to keep the room warm.  The toilets were outside.

I would help the neighbor do chores and feed calves and help take the milk to the creamery.  Once in a while they would give me ten or fifteen cents spending money.

Ivan Coley and dog

My dad had an old buckboard and he said he wanted to get it over to the house.  One day when my parents weren’t home, I decided to hook the horse up to the buckboard and pull it over to the house for my dad.  It didn’t have any shavs to guide it so I just put a chain on it to get it to the house.  I was doing okay until the wheel hit a rock and the other wheel hit the horse in the belly.  The horse got scared and ran away and I fell off the buckboard.  It tore out about 100 yards of fence.  When I got up, the horse was down by the haystack eating hay.  I was afraid to tell my dad about it for fear that I would get my butt kicked because he had told me not to do it.

Dad finally bought a house close to town so it would be easier for us kids to get to school in the winter.  One day they left me and my older brother Wilford home alone.  He was frying sausage and I was standing with my back to the stove trying to keep warm.  He stuck the hot fork that he was frying the meat with on the back of neck.  I got warm in one spot and you could see the mark of the fork tines in my neck.

I was sick a lot when I was young.  The doctors said that I had liver trouble.  I was ruptured and had to wear a truss for seven years.  I finally got to where I didn’t have to wear it anymore.

I didn’t know what a long pair of dress pants were until I was about thirteen.  We wore levis or kickerbockers pants that came just below the knees and buttoned.  I also wore long black socks that came up to the knees.

At Christmas we didn’t get things like they do now.  We would get a little wagon and it had to be for all of us.  Our gifts were mostly clothes.  We may get an orange, some hardtack and sugar candy and that was a treat for us.

Mother would take the eggs to town in a milk bucket and trade them for groceries.  We didn’t know what hand soap and shampoo were then as we just used the old laundry soap and mother made most of it.  About once a week we would get a little butter for our bread.  We used mostly fryings from the bacon and dipped our bread or biscuits into it.  It was really good.  About the only time we would get cake or pie was on a holiday or birthday.  We didn’t get both cake and pie together and we only got one piece when we did get it.

I used to ride about eight miles to Lewiston with my dad to take a wagon load of wheat to the mill to have it ground for flour and cereal.  We brought the bran home for the hogs every fall for our winter supply as we couldn’t go to town every day like they do now.  We would get snowed in sometimes and couldn’t get to town for several days.  Then we would have to go through the fields as the roads would be drifted full.

We didn’t have a telephone.  The only ones that had a phone were the rich people.  The phones then had a little crank on the side of them and you had to crank it before you could get the operator.

I worked for Melvin Smith in Richmond milking cows and plowing for $5.00 a month.  There was one time I was plowing and the horses took off for the barn.  I couldn’t get the plow out of the ground.  I must have plowed a furrow about 1/4 mile long.  The horses didn’t stop until they got to the barn.  I went to unhitch them from the plow and one horse kicked me in the leg.  It made me mad and I was going to quit but I was afraid to tell the boss so I worked a little longer.  I was only about 23 or 13 years old at the time.

On the days we had to spare, some of the neighbors would get together and round up some of the cattle.  We would put them in a corral and have a rodeo.  I rode the first one and we put a surcingle on him.  The bigger boys put me on him and turned me loose.  He sure did some bucking, but I stayed on.  They passed a hat around and got about 25 or 30 cents and they gave it to me.  I sure was ticked to death to get it.

I didn’t go to school very much.  My folks would send me and I would play hookey.  I would go anywhere but to school.  Now I can see where I made a mistake as I hurt no one but myself.

My uncle was blind.  I would lead him from door to door selling church books for several days and he gave me 15 cents.

I never did get to go to the circus.  I would ride the streetcar to Logan once in a while though and see a show.  It cost 10 cents to ride the streetcar and 10 cents to see the show.  You didn’t get popcorn or candy to eat in the theater then.

My brother and I were sleeping on the porch and the dog started barking in the middle of the night.  I raised up in bed and saw a man coming up toward the house.  I reached over and got the gun and fired a shot. It hit the drain pip on the side of the house.  My brother-in-law came running out of the house to see what the shooting was all about.  Whoever it was took off and never came back.  It sure scared me.

One time one of my friends and I rode a horse to Franklin, Idaho.  That was about 10 miles from where we lived.  This was in the middle of the winter and we had gone to check on some cattle.  It was sure cold (about 20 degrees below zero).  I rode back in the middle of the night.  I came to the neighbors who had a sheep wagon.  I went inside and there was a little wood in it.  I built a fire and laid down on the bed springs.  There was no bedding because they had taken it out for the winter.  I nearly froze to death.  I sure was glad to see morning come.  The neighbor took me to his house and gave me breakfast because I hadn’t had anything to eat since dinner the day before.

The first time I ever tasted corn flakes was up to the neighbors.  They put sugar and real straight cream on it.  I thought I would founder as I had tasted nothing like that before.  We didn’t know what prepared cereal was in those days and we called it mush.

I remember one time my dad made some elderberry wine and put it up in the attic in the house.  Every once in a while you would hear one go “BANG” as it blew up.  One time we had an old man over for supper.  He was an old man with long whiskers who we called “Grandpa Andrews”.  Dad went up in the attic to get a bottle of wine.  He went to open the bottle and it blew the cork out and hit the ceiling and Grandpa Andrews’ whiskers.  It sure went off with a bang.  One of the kids ran outside hollering “Grandpa got shot!”  I sure did laugh.  They got another bottle and one held it while the other tried to open it and it blew the pitcher out of their hand.  I don’t think anyone got wine that night.

When I wasn’t very old, I remember my dad and I went to thin beets to buy a bull.  I had a dog called “Bob” once and we used to hook him to the hand sleigh and haul the milk to the neighbor’s house about two blocks away as Bob pulled the sleigh.  Wherever I went the dog was with me.  The neighbor gave me a calf that broke his leg and I killed it and used it for coyote bait.  I poisoned some of it.  I thought the dog was home but he must have followed me.  He got some of the poison and it killed him.

I used to go out at night and sit on the haystack in the winter and shoot those big mountain hare rabbits with a shotgun.  I would sell them for 5 cents apiece.  Sometimes I would get for and five a shot as the rabbits were so thick they would undermine the haystacks.

We had homemade skis.  They were about 5 inches wide.  All they had to hold them on your feet were a 3/4 inch strap to go over the foot and a broomstick split and nailed on the skis to go under the arch.  They turned the toes up on the skis by driving a nail in them and using a wife, twisting it and steaming the skis.  They way I learned to ride the skis was to straddle a long stick and have it drag behind me.  It worked really good.  If you wanted to slow down, yo would pull upon the front of the stick and sit down real hard on it.  It would dig in the snow and slow you down.  After we learned to ride good, we didn’t hold on to anything.

When I was a kid there were very few deer and elk because people killed them for their hides.  I can remember when they brought some elk, 4 cows, and a bull on a boxcar and turned them loose in the hills.  They closed the season on them.  You couldn’t hunt for several years.  Then they got so thick that they would come down and eat the farmers’ haystacks at night.

My sister, her husband, and her husband’s family moved to Buhl, Idaho in the fall and the next summer I went to Franklin, Idaho to get a job on the highway.  They said they didn’t hire kids.  “I was 16 at the time.”  A friend of mine and I decided to keep going the rest of the way to Buhl.  We hitch-hiked all the way!  We got off on the wrong road and ended up in Blackfoot so we had to go back to Pocatello.  I didn’t have any money and my friend had 11 cents.  A sheepherder picked us up and we slept on the desert that night.  He took us to Pocatello and bought us some breakfast, which sure tasted good.  He got us on the right road for Buhl.  We would get a ride for a few miles, then we would have to walk again.  All we had to eat were a few apricots.  We finally made it after 2 or 3 days.

I sure was glad to get a job sorting some spuds.  They had a mule to pull the sorter.  The people would pick the spuds and dump them on the sorter and I would sort them.  They sorter didn’t have any wheels under it, it just had runners.  After we got the spuds all sorted out, they didn’t have any money to pay me.  They said that we could have spuds for pay.  We took the car out and got several sacks of spuds.  I gave them to my future in-laws as I was living with them at this time.

I later got a job working for a man in Castleford for $15 a month as they would only pay a kid half a man’s wages.  I would have to get up and help do chores and be out in the field by 7 o’clock a.m. and work until 6 o’clock that night.  Once a week I would go to Buhl and take the whole family to a show.  They had family ight once a week at that time.  The whole family could go to the show for 50 cents.  They all looked forward to this.  A bull killed the man I worked for that summer.

I quit Claude Browns, went back to Utah, and stayed there until spring.  Then I came back to Buhl and started to work for Roy Fait.  I helped them tear the old livery stable down.  The West One Bank is located there now.  I helped them put a miniature golf course in there.  I mixed the green for it from sand, sawdust, and feathers.  I can’t remember what we used to make it green.  Then we had to use a heavy roller to smooth it down.  This is when I bought my first car, a 1922 Overland.

Rulon McMurdie and I went to the Shoshone Basin one day to hunt sage hens and on the way up my car quit so we pushed it to the side of the road.  A day or two later we went back to get it and someone had pushed it down an embankment about 100 feet and we had to drive it down the canyon to get it out.  I drove it back to Buhl and took it to a guy to have it fixed.  He charged me $125 dollars and I couldn’t pay him so I just gave him the car.

Rulon and I were working for a guy milking cows.  When we turned them out of the barn, we would grab them by the tail, pull it over their back, grab a hand full of hide on their neck, jump on their backs, and ride them out of the barn.  They sure would buck.  We had a lot of fun until one stepped on my leg and I thought for sure she broke it.  That ended the riding of milk cows.

We were down fishing in the Salmon Canyon and my little dog was lying down just a little way from me.  I heard a noise and turned around and there was a rattle snake.  It had bitten my dog and a little while later he died.  It didn’t take me long to get out of there.  It sure did scare me.

Rulon and I went duck hunting and a man came out to tell us to get out of there.  We asked him who he thought he was talking to.  He said, “Who are you?” and I said, “I am the Game Warden.”  He left us alone and we went on hunting.  We would also stop cars for one light being out and tell them they had better get it fixed.  I made a badge out of a piece of tin.  They didn’t argue with me.  I guess they thought I was a Traffic Cop.

Rulon and I went trapping for muskrats on Deep Creek.  There was a boat there and I got in it to go to the other side.  I got almost in the middle of the creek and the boat tipped over with me in it.  I thought for sure I was going to drown because I had a sheep skin coat and a pair of hip boots on.  Rulon just sat on the bank laughing at me.  I finally got out and thought I would freez to death because it was snowing and blowing.  We couldn’t even make a fire because there wasn’t anything to burn so we got in Rulon’s old Model-T Ford with no top on it and drove home.  I was sure glad to get to a warm house.

We were coming home one evening and there was a truck load of apples ahead of us.  I got the lariat rope and got on the front of the car.  I was going to lariat a box of them and just as I got close enough to throw, they turned the corner into Buhl so we didn’t get any apples.

Every time we would go down the road passed this man’s house, a mean dog would come out after us.  I told Rulon the next time he came out after us, I would shoot him and sure enough, he came out after us and I shot and killed him.  That night the sheriff came and said he wanted to talk to us.  He took us up to the City Hall.  The guy was there that owned the dog.  We knew then that we were in trouble.  He said I shot the dog and hit his boy and I called him a damn liar.  The sheriff said, “none of that” and he got me by the shoulder and locked us both up in jail all night.  We didn’t have anything to eat all that night and the next morning.  Rulon’s mother and sister, Carrie, brought us something to eat.  We sure were glad to see them.  They let us out that afternoon.  That really taught us a lesson to be good as we didn’t want to go to jail again.  They just had the old iron beds and we didn’t have any blankets.  That learned us to be good kids as I thought if that is the way jails were, we didn’t want any part of them.

The government wanted me, and friend of mine, and some other men to round up wild horses, and drive them from Bliss, Idaho to Elko, Nevada.  They corralled them there and shipped them out on a train.  I don’t know now where to, but we didn’t go because this man’s wife didn’t want him to go.  They said we wouldn’t be riding the same horse when we got there as we did when we left.

I started dating Clara McMurdie when I worked at the golf course.  We had known each other in grade school in Richmond, Utah.  My sister, Carrie, married her brother, Lorus.  They moved to Buhl, Idaho and that’s why I came to Buhl.  I stayed in Buhl for a while and then went back to Richmond.  I wrote to Buhl to ask Clara’s folks if we could get married.  I thought if they said no, I was far enough away from them that they couldn’t shoot me.  “Ha, ha!”  But they did say yes so my dad, my mother, and I went to Buhl and we got married at her parent’s home.  They next morning we went back to Richmond to live.

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae Coley, Ivan Coley

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae, Ivan

I worked on my dad’s ranch for 2 years.  I packed groceries back in the mountains to my brother and brother-in-law on pack horses as they were up there getting wood out.  We would put two drags of wood that we pulled on 2 horses and we hooked one drag behind the other so the other would hold it back going down the mountain.  It just took one horse to drag it down the hill then we would get the bobsled and take it the rest of the way home.

I used to drive a covered school wagon in the winter.  It was a covered bobsleigh with a hole big enough to put the lines through to drive it and a little window to see through.  I got a dollar a day for driving it.  We had to furnish the horses, bobsleigh, and wagon.

We lived with my folks in one small room of their house.  That spring, we moved into a place closer to town.  We only stayed there a little over a month because we couldn’t afford the rent (it was $5.00).  So we moved back with my folks again.  That fall, we moved into a little 2-room log house.  It cost us 6 dollars a month.  It got so cold we couldn’t keep the rooms warm so we moved our bedspring and mattress out onto the kitchen floor.  We nearly froze to death.  You could see through the cracks in the logs.  We only stayed there 1 week and we moved back with my folks again.  We tried to get them to give us back some of our rent money and they wouldn’t do it.

In the spring, our oldest daughter (Sarah Colleen) was born in the same house and same room that I was born in.  We had to go and get the doctor in a white top buggy as the roads were too muddy.  They wouldn’t get there in a car.

That fall, I threshed the grain and got 50 dollars for my share.  I also topped beets and made 35 dollars.  This is when we moved to Buhl, Idaho.  My brother-in-law, Lorus McMurdie, came down with his car and got us as we didn’t have a car.  We moved in with my wife’s folks.  They lived in an old hotel on 8th street.

Ivan Coley with nephew Gary Coley

Ivan Coley with nephew Gary Coley

Lorus and I took two teams of horses and wagons and drove them up in the Shoshone Basin and cut wood.  All we took with us to eat was spuds, bread, onions, fruit, and bacon.  The spuds froze.  We had to scoop the snow off the ground to put our quilts on the ground to sleep because we didn’t have a sleeping bag or tent.  We would get cold, so we walked alongside the wagon and drove the horses.  One of our loads of wood slipped off the side of the road.  We camped there that night and reloaded the wagon the next morning.  It was so cold, the edge of our quilt froze to the ground.  We were supposed to get 3 dollars a cord for the wood (split and cut).  He never did pay us.

I went to work for Jess Eastman.  We walked to work and back.  I had to be there at 7 o’clock in the morning and work until 7 o’clock at night.  It was four miles down there and four miles back.  If we were lucky, we would get a ride once and a while.  We had to take our own lunch.  Once in a while after I got home, I would go back to work at Shields warehouse shoveling clover seed in bins until 10 o’clock or midnight and be ready for work again at 7 o’clock the next morning.

Art, Golden, Wilfred, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan at their mother's grave 17 August 1961

Art, Golden, Wilfred, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan at their mother’s grave 17 August 1961

We lived with my wife’s folks in that old hotel.  The next spring we moved down closer to our work.  One night I came home and there were a bundh of people there and I couldn’t figure out why.  I soon found they had a strawberry roan horse for me to break and ride.  They said if I could ride it they would buy me a new cowboy hat.  I put the saddle on it and snubbed it up to another horse.  I climbed on her and they turned her loose.  The first jump she made, my hat flew off and she tore every button off my shirt.  She sure did some bucking and bawling.  You could hear her for a half mile.  She headed for a rock fence and Lorus, my brother-in-law, was on his horse.  He tried to keep her away from the rock fence and his stirrup on the saddle broke and he fell off.  When the horse got to the rock fence she turned and quit bucking.  I rode her every day for three weeks and every time I got on her she wanted to buck.  I won my new hat, but I sure did earn it!  I bought a fat cow for 10 dollars and butchered her.  We didn’t have a deep freezer at that time so we hung the meat outside and hoped it stayed frozen.  Some of it thawed out and froze again and boy did we get a belly ache.  We sure did run races for the outhouse (ha, ha!).

We didn’t have electricity or telephones.  I finally got enough money to buy a Model T Ford for 25 dollars and we didn’t have to walk so much anymore.  We finally moved ourselves down to Jess Eastman’s and I worked for him for 3 years.  He didn’t have the money to hire us any longer, so we got me a job uptown sorting spuds for 15 cents an hour.  We would go at 7 o’clock a.m and sometimes work until midnight nearly every night.  We finally bought the old shack we were living in for 50 dollars and moved it on a lot on 8th Street in Buhl.  It cost us 15 dollars to have it moved.  It was the first house on lower 8th Street in Buhl at that time.  The house was 2 rooms and the walls were plastered with mud and straw.  We took cheesecloth and old rags and pasted on the walls then we wallpapered over that and made it real cute.  We had orange crates nailed on the walls for cupboards.  We bought the lot next to us for 25 dollars.  We just lived there a short time.  Our son, “Bud” Lorus, was born.

Ivan, Danny, Bud, RaNae

Ivan holding Danny Todd, Bud, RaNae

Then we moved to Castleford and I farmed for a guy for 30 dollars a month.  He hired 2 other men to help me farm it.  He paid one 15 dollars and the other 10 dollars a month and we had to board and feed them.  He gave us a table and chairs for their board.  We still have their chairs.  We started breaking horses and we hitched them up to the wagon one time and they ran away.  The lane they ran down wasn’t wide enough for the wagon as it was just a cow lane.  They tore the wagon all to pieces and all they had left when they stopped was the tongue and front wheels.

We stayed here for about a year and a half and then we moved and worked for another man for about a year.  He made me mad as he didn’t keep his promise to give me a couple of heifers.  I was bunching clover with a pitchfork and he came and told me he couldn’t give them to me.  He promised me that spring that if I would stay with him, he would give them to me as a bonus and that fall he backed out on his deal.  I told him I was going to quit and he said I couldn’t.  So I showed him I could and left the pitchfork in the field and walked out on him.

Siblings Ivan, Carrie, and Roland

Siblings Ivan, Carrie, and Roland

The next day we went to Utah and saw my folks.  When we came back we moved again to Melon Valley (known as Little Country Club).  We only stayed there a short time until spring.  I would walk to town (about 4 miles) to sort spuds as we couldn’t afford to drive the car.  Sometimes we would stay all day waiting to work and they would come tell us that we wouldn’t be working that day and to come back tomorrow.

It was cold and I was going to drive the car that morning.  I couldn’t afford alcohol at that time as there wasn’t any anti-freeze in those days, so I put fuel oil in the radiator.  It got hot and blew it all out, so I had to put water in it and drain it out when I got to work, then put more in it when I came home and cover the radiator with a blanket to keep it from freezing.

I bought a cow for 30 dollars and had her for a while.  Then I traded her for 2 heifers that were going to freshen.  I took them to my father-in-law’s and when they freshened, he milked them.  Later, I bought another one and let him milk her too for the milk as we had moved to Castleford.  I worked for a man out there for 30 dollars a month and he wouldn’t let me keep them.  I worked there for about 2 years and then we moved to Melon Valley where we rented a place from Stan Webber.

Coley 60th

We got 1300 dollars from FHA and bought some cows, a team of horses, and some machinery to get started with.  We didn’t think we would ever pay it back as that seemed like a lot of money to us, but in 2 years, we had it paid off.  It was a hard struggle and some of our horses died.  One died with colic and one foundered on grain and died.  Our cattle kept dying and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  We finally found out they were eating wild parsnips.  Another time we woke up in the night and saw the chicken coop was on fire.  WE jumped out of bed and ran to get the neighbors.  They came to help us put the fire out, but it was too late.  It burned down the coop and one hundred little chicks.  We had 6 hens setting outside the coop and they burned right on the nests as the dump things wouldn’t leave their nests.  I had just went to town that day and bought one hundred pounds of chick feed and kerosene for the brooder as we didn’t have electricity.  I had been sleeping out in the coop in order to watch the brooder so it didn’t get too hot.  I decided to sleep in the house that night as they had been getting along so good.  It’s a good thing I did or I might have been roasted with the chickens!

We used to go salmon fishing.  Sometimes it was a lot of fun when they let us spear them.  I went elk, deer, and antelope hunting as it was a lot of fun.  We usually got our limit of game.  I killed a big brown bear and had a rug made of it and a few years later, I got a little black cub.  We had him mounted standing up on a frame.

Clara and Ivan Coley

We rented the ranch for 3 years and decided what money we were giving for rent, we might just as well be buying it.  We bought the one hundred sixty acres for 10 thousand dollars.  We sure did raise some good beets and potatoes.  We used to have good times there.  Every Saturday night, there would be a get-together of the valley people.  We would take our families and have a dance and potluck.  We sure did have fun and the little kids would dance.  We wouldn’t have to worry where they were or what they were doing.

Our third child Clarene RaNae was born.  After that my health wasn’t very good.  I had to have surgery and we had to borrow $8,060 and mortgage everything we had to get the money.  We bought a few more cows to milk as we figured that was the only way we could pay the money back.  We had a hard struggle but we made it.  We farmed and lived on that place for 21 years, then we sold it to our neighbor and moved to town where we are living now.

I got a job for the City where I worked for 8 1/2 years.  I got hurt on the job and had to quit as the doctor said I wasn’t able to do any hard work again.

Clara and Ivan Coley

I always tried to go fishing and hunting every year.  One time, my father-in-law and I and about 4 others went in the Selway to hunt elk.  WE got snowed in for 12 days.  The guy that packed the hunters in and out lost 17 head of pack mules over a cliff as they tied one behind the other as they had to follow a narrow trail around the mountain.  We asked the guy that lost them if he ever found them again.  He said “Yes, everyone of them came home later on”.  It was about 70 miles from where he lost them to where he lived.  One of the hunters that he had packed in had a heart attack and died while we were there and all we had to get him out of there was my horse and the packers horse.  We left camp at 7 o’clock that night and didn’t get him to camp til about 7 o’clock the next morning as the horses had to wade in snow to their bellies.  We left him in one of the camps for 2 days until the forest service could get in to get him out.

Nichol Harms, Ivan, Alisa Harms on 6 March 1977

Nichol Harms, Ivan, Alisa Harms on 6 March 1977

Another time we went in we rolled my two mules down the mountain.  It didn’t hurt them.  We got them out again.  Another time two other saddle horses rolled down the mountain within about 30 minutes apart.  It sure was steep, but we had a good time and would look forward to going back the next year.  My father-in-law said I know I should not have came and maybe you would have got your elk and wouldn’t have got snowed in.  We just laughed.

The other time, I took my father-in-law fishing and we were in the boats.  I cast my line out and didn’t think I case out far enough.  When I reeled in, I had a pair of glasses on my hook.  I couldn’t figure out where they came from.  Dad felt his eyes and his glasses were gone.  He said, “How in the devil did that happen?  I thought I felt something jerk on my ears”.  We sure did have a good laugh out of that.  He often talked about it and had a good laugh.  I still don’t know how I ever hooked onto them without him knowing it.  We sure had some good times together.  One other time, we had been up to Galena Summit getting out corral poles.  We were coming home and we had a horse in a trailer.  A car was trying to pass us and she ran off the side of the road.  It looked like she was going to hit a telephone pole.  She swerved back onto the road and she it our car on the hind wheel and it threw the horse out of the trailer onto the front of our car.  It hurt his back and he couldn’t get up so we had to shoot him.

Ivan and Clara 60th

We used to take our children camping and fishing when they were little.  Then came the grandchildren.  We used to take them fishing and camping.  We sure did enjoy having them with us.  Now they are growing up and have their friends and activities.  So now we just go alone.  We sure do miss them but we still have our memories of the past.  Would like to relieve some of the happy ones again.

~

Had Ivan of lived one more month, we could have celebrated our 64th wedding anniversary as he passed away on the 22nd of September, 1994.  Our anniversary was the 22nd of October.  He hadn’t been well for a long time as he got to where he couldn’t see to drive a car and was going to the doctor off and on for a year or two.  They didn’t seem to know what was wrong with him until it was too late.  They found out it was melanoma cancer of the rectum.  They operated on him on January 18,1994 and they said they got 99.9 percent of it.  They thought they had the worst of it, but he lived just 8 months longer when he passed away.

We bought us a nice self contained trailer house.  It had a propane refrigerator in it.  It sure was nice, but we didn’t get to enjoy it very much as he didn’t feel like going.  We bought it the year before.

The last month, he sure suffered.  We sure had a lot of memories behind us.  A lot of them were good and a lot of them were bad.  We wondered sometimes if we would make it.  But I guess that’s the way life is.  As they say, we have to have trials to learn to appreciate the good times and we had a lot of good times together.  I sure miss them and him.  But we still had a lot of good memories.