Meredith – Graham Wedding

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

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

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

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

The records of Pulaski County indicate this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preston, England

Another more relaxed day in England.

Today we received word the paperwork and everything has all been signed for our home.  The paperwork is off to Oklahoma City for the official closing on Monday.  I don’t know what could really change now.  By all accounts, we are now the proud owners of a little home in Oklahoma City.  Or at least we have a title to a home with a significant lien for a bank somewhere.  Hopefully everything continues to work out like it has so far.

We ran to the Preston England Temple today.  It is one of my favorite temples.  There is something in the simplistic beauty of it I adore.  Amanda agreed.  It is on par with the Rexburg and Vernal Temples for the simple elegance within.  We snapped a couple of pictures.  We also ran into a member I knew in the Wigan Ward.  He is now in the Temple Presidency and enjoyed a good visit with him.  We were supposed to go over and visit this evening, but our plans crowded it out in the end.  We had to reschedule it for tomorrow sometime.  We are going to work it out in church.

Afterward, Amanda and I ran into Preston.  I showed her the town center where the missionaries preached the gospel for the first time in the British Isles.  It is in Preston that the longest continuing unit of the church operates, the Preston Ward.  We ran out of time to go to the flat where Parley P Pratt and Orson Hyde were attacked by the legions of the devil.  We did not get a chance to see Avenham Park or the beautiful River Ribble where the first baptisms took place outside of North America.  We did not get over to see the apartment where President Hinckley received his famous “Forget yourself and go to work” letter on Wadham Road.  Perhaps sometime in the future.

We came back and were relaxed some more with the McCabes.  They treated us to a fine meal of South African descent.  They lived in South Africa for a number of years.  Later this year they are immigrating to Australia!  How is that for exciting.  When we make it to Australia, we know who we will be calling on!  Amanda and I made a call at Tesco today and purchased a Pavlova.  Boy, was I glad to get my hands on one.  We consumed it after dinner as one of our desserts.  Mmmmm.

I realized yesterday was the anniversary of Joseph Smith’s death.  I wonder specifically what he is doing these days.  What or where is he up to doing work?

Tomorrow we are off to attend the Wigan Ward.  Then we will go visit some of the new converts I helped bring into the church.  Sadly, I don’t think any of them are active.  But we shall find out.  I did find out Jim Monks knows where one of them lives.

Effectual Struggle

There was a time in the mission when I was really struggling with some things.  It was not one thing in particular, but with a whole host of different little things combined.  Add to that all the concerns and prayers for investigators and it can become a bit much at times.  It was during one of these times I had a pretty significant experience.
We had been out tracting all morning.  It was sometime probably about March of 1999.  I am too lazy to go find the date in my journal.  But it had been drizzling on and off all morning.  We actually came back with a pretty good list of call backs but I still had a number of things weighing on my mind.  There was one in particular with relation to my companion.  I want to make it known we did not have any big issues, but some things he did brought out inadequacies in myself, I believe in no fault of his own.  I was struggling how to overcome some of these feelings and disappointments.
The morning had been spent on exchanges with a Canadian, Elder Morton.  We returned for lunch and I was so exhausted and stressed under the weeks of dealing with things I went upstairs and plopped on my bed to take a quick kip.  However, as I laid there, I just keep rehashing things.  It was then I just stopped, opened my eyes, and asked, “What am I supposed to do?”
There I laid pondering that phrase when I very distinctly heard a scripture pop into my mind.  It was not an audible voice but I reopened my eyes to make sure nobody was there.  I laid there alone on the bottom bunk wondering what in the world the scripture said.
The scripture was Mosiah 7:18.
My first reaction was, “What in the world is in chapter 7 of Mosiah?”  I had no clue what was even going on in the chapter, which piqued my interest all the more.
I rolled out of my bed and located some scriptures to look up the verse.
“And it came to pass that when they had gathered themselves together that he spake unto them in this wise, saying: O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.”
It was absolutely powerful.  Somehow, the words seem to answer exactly what it was I was asking.  They hit me as they say, like a ton of bricks.  Every single time I read this chapter I think of this experience.  Every time when it seems difficulties just won’t go away, I seem to remember this scripture.  This is my comfort scripture you can say.  Regardless of what burdens we are under, lift up your head and be comforted.  The time is not far ahead when these things will no longer be.  Whether in death, release, or in the deliverance from the scenario, an end will come.  Then a warning, a suggestion, a plea for endurance because still an effectual struggle is to be made.
It is not enough just to wait it out.  A struggle must still be made.  We must continue working through things, not just give up.  The verses go on…
“Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God.  In that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.  And again, that same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, and has kept and preserved his people even until now; and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage.”  (Mosiah 7:19-20)
The Lord has done so much good in our lives, don’t lose sight at the moment.  God’s promises always come true.  They will always ring in a new day, eventually.
Looking back, I can see how much this has come to pass.  As I have made the eventual struggle ever since, I find my blessings are becoming greater and greater.  I feel more and more in tune.  I see miracles all about me in my life.  Who really could ask for anything more?  I haven’t really been through a whole lot in my life either.  Some would disagree with me, but I keep pressing forward and making the effectual struggle.  Somehow everything works out right.  I have been fortunate it has all worked out for me in this life.  I fear there are many who it does not work out for in this life.
Some of my blessings are being realized in the past week.
This past weekend, the effectual struggle of helping out friends, listening to friends, continuing to foster friendships in the difficulty of school and university, and especially with friends after marriage opened doors for me.  I was invited to Vernal to spend time with three other friends who all lived on Darwin Avenue in Logan.  Anna, Allen, and Brad.  Anna, for all intents and purposes, is an old girlfriend.  I certainly don’t see it that way with a negative connotation.  However, both of us struggling through despite some awkward times, proved to be a foundation and grounding point where we can move on and have become great friends.  Allen, another individual I got to know fairly well, but never as well as I would have liked, through the struggle of maintaining contact, proved to be a great deal of fun, mutual respect, and some business dealing.  Brad, the struggle to maintain contact has turned into a bond and friendship I have never heard of between any other two missionary companions.  That relationship has affected so much of our daily lives I am not sure I could even begin to define its influence.
We meet up for a weekend together in Vernal.  It was a blast.  We hiked canyons and climbed cliffs.  We sought out petroglyphys and outlaws.  We toured Ashley Valley’s water treatment facility.  We enjoyed meals, told jokes, and explored museums.  What a blast.  All from the effectual struggle of not feeling adequate or capable of reaching out to effectively connect with others.
That commitment has gone even further.  I have maintained relationships with parents of many friends I went to high school.  Sometimes, I am not even in contact with the friend anymore, but am still with the parents.  One such relationship was with a girl named Nicole.  Again, a girlfriend by world standards, but we really just enjoyed ourselves.  That ongoing friendship not only with Nicole, but with her parents may turn out to bring other opportunities (perhaps business too) now.  Who would have ever thought that the parents who called every 10 minutes while we clasped to brick ledges holding on to our lives (all in complete safety) would become fast friends?  Who would have thought the parents of a girl whose piano bench I would break early one morning by sharing it with my date would spend hours with me showing my photos of their safari to Africa and motorcycle trip through New Zealand?
These are just a couple of examples on my effectual struggle to be better at reaching out, maintaining relationships, and remembering others would have blessed me in so many ways.  What is especially true is I am seeing some of these blessings while yet in mortality.  That too, is probably another blessing of making the effectual struggle.

Spraying the world

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

Monticello and Vernal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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