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.

~

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.

John Nuffer

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

Here is a copy of the autobiography of John Nuffer, brother to siblings Regina Wanner (my great great Grandmother) and Charles August Nuffer.

I was born December 4, 1862 at Neuffen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, the eldest son of [John] Christopher and Agnes Barbara Spring Nuffer. After attending the common grade schools for eight years I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at age of thirteen years.

I was apprenticed to an architect builder in the building trade in the city of Stuttgart where I labored with the stone cutters and masons six months in the summer time, and attended the Architectural college the six remaining months alternately for three years, when I received my diploma as a journeyman in the building trade. The following spring I emigrated with my father’s family to America the first week in May 1880.

My mother died when I was four years old. There was another boy, Fred, of the same mother, a year and a half old when she died. Father married another woman, Eva Katrina Greiner. Through her influence the family joined the Church.

This is how the Nuffer family joined the Mormon Church:

In the year 1879 the missionary, Henry Flam, a distant relative of the Nuffer family came to the city of Neuffen, the State of Wuerttemberg, Germany, preaching his religion to the family of John Christopher Nuffer in a cottage meeting. The following families attended the meeting: Jacob Schweitzer, Anton Lalatin, Abraham Kneiting. They all joined the Church and in 1880, immigrated to Utah, with the exception of the Kneiting family who emigrated in 1881. Now Eva Katrina Nuffer, wife of John Christopher Nuffer, being a very religious woman accepted the doctrine first, being somewhat out of harmony in her belief with the States’ Kirche, (State Church), the Lutheran Church, especially on the doctrine of child baptism, vicarious atonement and the punishment for Adam’s transgression. It was she who kept the doctrines before the others, so when Elder John Theurer followed Elder Henry Flam, the following year to visit them, the four families Nuffer, Schweitzer, Lalatin and Kneiting were ready to be baptized by Elder Theurer, which took place at the house of Christopher Nuffer. There was a running millrace at the rear of the house which they dammed off with planks. The baptism took place at night to keep them from disturbance, for there was much hostility in the town. The town parson especially made a tirade against it in his Sunday sermon. To avoid persecution, they decided to emigrate as soon as possible.

They sold their holdings at once at auction sale, at a great loss to the real value. In the first days of May 1880 the three families Nuffer, Schweitzer and Lalatin left Neuffen by team to the capitol of the state, Stuttgart, from where they took the train to Mannheim (Home of Men) on the Rhine River. Here they joined a party of about thirty from Switzerland under the leadership of Elder John Theurer. From Mannheim they took two boats down the River Rhine to the North Sea. Here they took the steamer to Hull, England and then crossed England on the railroad to Liverpool. Here more Saints joined them. They left Liverpool in the company of about two hundred. After three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean they arrived in New York. From here the leaders chartered a special train which in about a weeks time went directly to Ogden, Utah, where they were royally received by some of the Saints.

The Nuffer family then went to Logan (1880). I was baptized on the first Tuesday in August in the Blacksmith Fork River by Nicholas Summers, confirmed by John Lederman. I got a job working on the Logan Temple the first winter as a stonecutter. Father’s family bought a home in Providence and settled there. The second year I worked in Salt Lake on the Deseret University building for contractor Elias Morris as a stonecutter and mason.

In 1882 I went with Tom Ricks to Montana to do some mason work on the Great Northern Railroad. I stayed there about six months. I came back to Logan and worked on the Logan Temple helping to finish the baptismal font and helped to point (to point is to fill and finish carefully the joints with mortar) the Temple until it was finished on the outside. In the fall of 1883 I persuaded father’s family to sell their home and we moved into Idaho and took up a homestead in Worm Creek, Oneida County, then called Preston, now called Glendale.

On September 18, 1884, I married Louisa Zollinger and was sealed in the Logan Temple in 1891. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Louisa Meier Zollinger. We lived at Glendale until the fall of 1890 when we moved to Preston, having been called by the Church to take charge and superintend the building of the Oneida Stake Academy.

In the spring of 1895, I was called on a mission to Germany. I worked in the city of Stuttgart eleven months, presiding over that branch and baptized five persons. From there I went to Nuremberg where I labored six months. From there I was called to Mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, to edit the “Stern”, the German edition of the Millennial Star. While there I translated B.H. Roberts’ “The Gospel”, and Wilford Woodruff’s “Experiences”, and “The Key to Theology” into the German language, which were published as serials in the “Stern”.

In the summer of 1897 I received my release and taking charge of a company of Saints, I arrived in Salt Lake the third of July and arrived at my home in Preston on the 4th of July 1897.

After coming home I was contracting building in partnership with Joseph S. Geddes, building several residences, the Weston Tabernacle, The First Ward chapel, and several school houses and other buildings. After that I opened an architect office and planned most of the older business blocks, the Opera House, State Bank building, the Oneida Stake Science building and several other school buildings outside of Preston at McCammon and Grace.

When Preston was organized into a village I served four years as a village trustee, and two years as village clerk until Preston was organized into a city.

Eleven children were born to us: Luther Jacob, John Willard, Louis Ferdinand, Herman Christopher, Austin Ekert, Karl Aaron, Agnes Louise, Myron David, Florence Myrtle, Edwin Joseph and Athene Barbara.

The foregoing was told to Jennie Smart Nuffer

September 1938

John Nuffer raised apples for many years. His orchard was located at the family home East on Fourth South Street. When he retired from public office, he continued to look after his fruit raising as well as dairy cattle. He was very proud of the fine fruit he raised and never over-charged for his produce. His health failed very fast following the death of his wife on October 1945 and he followed her in death on June 4, 1946. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery. He was a High Priest.

Charles August Nuffer

This is the life history of Charles August Nuffer.  He wrote this autobiography on 28 January 1949.  I have maintained the language and spellings of the original document.  I also wrote a quick overview of his life previously.

This is a brief history of the life of Charles August Nuffer, son of Johann Christopher Nuffer and Eva Katherina Greiner Nuffer. I was born June 18th 1871 in Neuffen, Wurtemberg, Germany. When about eight years old I remember going with my father and mother to a neighbor’s home where the Mormon Elders were holding a meeting, one was Elder John Theurer of Providence, Utah. Some week later, one morning on getting up the floor was all wet, I asked my mother why, all that she said was that they were baptized members of the Mormon Church last night in the Mill Race back of our house.

It was not long after when they began to make arrangements to emigrate to America. After they had sold their home and land to get money for the voyage except what they could take with them, and that was not very much, they still had to borrow a few hundred dollars before they could go. They borrowed this money from the Schweitzer family that had also joined the Church, and came on the same ship with us, also the Lalatin family that had become members of the Church. So in the month of May 1880 they all bid farewell to friends and the land of their birth for the Gospel’s sake, and set sail on the steamer Wisconsin, for New York, U. S. A. (Early in the morning before daylight we left home in a covered wagon for the City of Stuttgart. I was carried in some bedding as I was sick with the measles and was not well enough to walk. From Stuttgart we went to Manheim and from there by boat on the Rhine to Holland and over the North Sea to London, where everybody was sick the next morning but myself, I think I was just getting over the measles.)

Young Charles August Nuffer

Young Charles August Nuffer

The first place we came to was called Castle Garden where all our belongings were examined. They also gave all the emigrants a little book, the New Testament to take along free. In those days most of the streets of New York were paved with cobble rock. After a few days rest we went by train to Collinston. Arriving in Logan we were taken by a family of Saints that gave us food and lodging for about three weeks by the name of Shaggo in North Logan. After three weeks we found a little old log house with one room and a dirt roof and plenty of bed bugs to keep us company. It was on a vacant lot on the street going to the College just east of the canal. We lived there about a month, as father bought a house and lot of Jacob Engle, full of cobble rock where we intended to make a living but we found it hard going. The house was built of small cobble stone and in the winter at night the walls would get all white with frost. Father would go out where ever he could get some work, he worked on the threshing machines and I went with him to help and he got a bushel of wheat a day. Grandma Spring, Regine and I went out in the north field to glean wheat, we would cut the heads off and put them in a sack. Father threshed them out with the flail and it made about sixteen bushels, so about all father could do is to earn for us so that we could have something to eat while John and Fred were earning money to pay for the place.

Fred went to Idaho working on the Railroad and John worked for Mr. Summers a contractor who later recommended to the Stake Presidency to take charge of building the Stake Academy after we had moved to Idaho. It seems to me the Lord had already begun to open up the way for our life’s mission in this part of the land.

When we arrived in Providence the potatoes were in full bloom on the lot which looked good, at least we would have potatoes to eat. We had to get the wood from the hills near by. They had bought a team and an old wagon so we went to get some wood. Father told me to drive, as I drove out the  gate and over a little ditch the tongue dropped down and the reach came up and the team ran away and I fell under the horses feet. I received a broken shoulder and the horses ran around the block and back in the gate, my first time driving a team, at ten years old.

While living in Providence I went to school a few months during the winters of 1881 and 1882 and learned to speak English. My teacher was Mrs. Mary Neaf Maughn, the mother of Mrs. A. E. Hull and Maughn the brush man, and Peter Maughn was the other teacher.

I was baptized when I was 9 years old by Mr. Campbell the grandfather of Mrs. C. M Crabtree of this ward. My sister Mary was born here October 11, 1881. She died in Mapleton, Idaho, October 5, 1900. I look back to my young days while living in Providence, and I still have many friends there, but my parents had to look forward to some other place for our future and to find the place for our life’s mission. It seems the Lord prepared the way. One of our neighbors, a German family had a daughter married to John Miles who was living at Wormcreek and she wanted him to move to Providence where her mother lived so we traded places. We lived in Providence from June 1880 until October 1883. So from here we go to Idaho the place the Lord had chosen for us to build our future home.

We loaded what we could on our wagon and Mr. Miles the rest on his as he helped us move and all together it was not very much, but it was all the poor teams could pull over the kind of roads there were at that time. On arriving at Wormcreek we found a place with a house on it, a log house about 14 by 16 feet, all one room, with dirt floor, no fence around it and no plowed land, and when it rained the mud would run down the walls and we had to set pans on the bed to catch the rain. Father, Mother, Regine, Adolph, Mary and I lived there then. Fred was out in Oregon but he came later that fall with two big horses and John was working in Logan, I think with Mr. Summers. During the winter John rode the biggest horse to Providence as he was going with Louise Zollinger whom he later married. The horse got warmed up too much and got a sore leg and they finally had to shoot him. John and Fred were in Providence most of that winter as their grandmother lived there and Fred was going with Anna Rinderknecht.

As we did not have much hay we bought two stacks of straw from Jap Hoarn and Tom Miles, the first lived in Richmond and the other in Smithfield as they were only on their farms in the summer. The snow as so deep Regine and I filled some big sacks we had brought from the Old Country with straw and tied on the hand sled and pulled it over the rested snow for home. The Miles were the only family that were living on the Creek besides us on what is now known as the Webster Ranch, and we lived on what is now known as the Fred Wanner Place. The Miles Family ran out of feed for their cattle so in March they shoveled a path over to the south side of the hills where the wind and sun had taken the snow off the grass and it had started to grow. When they drove the cattle through the path you could not see them because the snow was so deep. So with the help of the Lord we pulled through the Winter of 1884. In the Spring John and Fred came back and began to fence and plow the land and plant crops. Later John went over to Oxford to the Land Office to file on the land for himself as he had helped most to pay for the home in Providence. As father wanted a homestead of his own, one Spring day it was on the first of May he sent over the divide between Worm creek and Cub River to find a place where he could make a home for the rest of the family. When he returned he said that no one had gone over there before him that spring, as the snow had not melted yet. That was in the spring of 1885, so during that summer John and Fred were raising the crops and helped father build a log house and we put in some crops so we have something to eat for the winter. As we did not have much of a team they had Joe Nilsen come up from Preston to plow some along the Creek, he had a big team and a sulky plow. But that was not all, we had to fight squirrels and grasshoppers. What we raised that summer had to see us through the Winter, and it was not any too much.

Fred went up Wormcreek and got some logs and had them sawed at the Moorhead and Thomas Sawmill on the Cub River. But we found that there was only enough for the roof and none for the floor and ceiling. They had lumber at the sawmill but they would sell us any for wheat and the store in Franklin did not pay cash for it. Father had already laid some logs down to put the floor on so we just had to step over them all winter but maybe it was a good thing as we got the warmth from the earth as we only had a lumber roof over us 14 feet to the top and just a four hole cook stove to warm the house and wood to burn, and it was not all dry. Still we were happy and thanked the Lord for what we had. Mother would read a chapter from the Bible, we would have prayer and we would go to bed early. (Clayborn  Moorhead told me some years later that Joseph Thomas intended to take up my Father’s Homestead but he was not old enough then so my father was first. He said those Germans can’t make a living there, they will starve to death and I will get the land anyway. But, I think he did not know as much as he thought, he didn’t know we had put our trust in God.)

On Christmas Day 1884 Father sent me over to John’s (Grandma Spring was keeping house for him that winter), after twenty-five pounds of flour. The snow as up to my knees. After that flour was gone we had to grind the wheat in the coffee mill as no one went to the store anymore that winter until Father and I each carried a basket of eggs to the store in Franklin on the 2nd of March, over two feet of :frozen snow to buy some groceries. We could not busy much as we had no money. Mother raised some sugar beets in the garden, as we had no sugar she but some beets in the oven and baked them and put them in a cloth to get some syrup to make her yeast. She cut some up in little squares and browned them in the oven and ground them up to make coffee. Mother would also put the wheat in the oven to dry and brown it just a little so it would grind better and we used it for bread and mush. Finally the cow went dry so we had no milk for some time and no sugar, but we got through the winter without any sickness. We thanked our Heavenly Father for what we had and lived by faith in our Heavenly Father as we had no Church organization of any kind at that time there.

It seems the Lord wanted a tried people to build the Valleys of the Mountains for when we began to raise crops that we might have food for the next winter, we had to fight the squirrels and the grasshoppers. We worked with faith that did not falter and as I remember we never got discouraged for we felt the Lord was on our side.

April 1949

When I was going on 21 years of age I was looking for a homestead to file on. East of my father’s place, about 40 rods from our house in a hollow there was a nice little spring by a service berry bush coming out of a sandstone formation, where I decided to make my home. Not being of age to take up land, I moved a little log building with a dirt roof on it, that my father had used for a granary, onto the land. I had a bed in it and would sleep there some nights. I prayed to the Lord that he would protect it for me, that no one would file on it as I was not yet twenty-one, and not old enough to take up land. There was a man by the name of George Kent, down on the river. His wife told me there was a relative of theirs in Lewiston, Clyde Kent, who was going to jump that land, as they called it those days. I told them that I did not believe he would be that mean. I wanted to start life for myself as soon as I was 21. So on June 17, 1893, I was on my way to Blackfoot, Idaho by train in company of John McDonald, whose fare I paid to Blackfoot, and return as a witness for me as to my age. There was no bridge across Bear River to Dayton at that time. We stopped at Pocatello over night; it was not much of a town at that time, mostly railroad shops and saloons. We arrived at Blackfoot on June 18th, on my 21st birthday to file on that homestead. When I told them at the land office of the land I wanted to take up, they told me there was a man there some months before, the man I spoke of. Not giving up hope altogether we looked over the plat, and I found there was 40 acres all to itself, not filed on. After looking things  over for awhile I said to Mr. McDonald that is the land my cabin and the spring of water is on; so I filed on it and returned home. Arriving on Sunday afternoon my mother said there was a man and his wife looking at your place, as they thought that I had lost out. My family with me felt to thank the Lord that I had a place to build my home on.

As Fred and I started to quarry sandstone on my father’s place that fall, I hauled some sandstone in the Spring to build me a house, but during that winter 1893, my mother came down with pneumonia and died within a week on the 26th of February 1893. She was buried in the Preston Cemetery. She was about the 2nd or 3rd person buried there, as the new cemetery had been started that year.

The following Spring the Wanner family came to Mapleton, from Germany, on my birthday June 18th, which was a Sunday. This was the first time that I had seen my life’s companion, as they came to my brother Fred’s place, where they lived until they found a home to live in. Christine was their oldest daughter and I fell in love with her at first sight. My sister Regine was home again from Montana, her husband had left her, she had a little girl Katy. Christine stayed with her until she went to Millville to work for the Pittgins family for about three months for seventy-five cents a week and her board and some old clothes. When she left they gave her $6.00 and she gave it to her father as he told her she had to earn some money yet before she got married.

That fall as I started to haul stone to build a house, besides taking care of my father’s farm—Adolph helping me, as my father was away most of that summer to Bear Lake and other places, because he didn’t feel like staying home after Mother died. When he came back he brought with him Sister Weirman, and married her in the Logan Temple. Well, during this time I had started to build my house. We dug a hole in the ground and poured water in and mixed it. That was what we used to lay up the walls, and the house is still standing. By New Years the house was finished and cleaned, but we had no furniture or anything else to put in it, but still we made our arrangements to get married. We were baptized by Heber Taylor on 26 June 1894 in Cub River and confirmed by Edward Perkins at Mapleton on the 27 Jun 1894. We were married 1st February 1894 in the Logan Temple by Marriner W. Merrill, president of the temple. (Read Christina’s biography here.)  We made the trip by team and wagon, as there was no snow on the ground in the valley. We put our team in the Tithing Barn, as the Lalladine family were the caretakers. After returning from the temple, for supper we were invited by Charles O. Card at their home on depot street, as Mary Wagstaff’s mother’s sister was working at their home, and we spent our first night with them. He is the Card after which the city of Cardston, in Canada was named, as he later moved to Canada.

As I have said before, after we got the house finished we had nothing to put in it and had no money to get married with, so I asked Grandpa Wanner if he would loan me $10.00 and I would pay him back when I raised a crop. He let me have the money with which we bought our marriage license, and a few dishes for the house. We borrowed a table and an old set of knives and forks from my sister Regina, as she did not need them at that time. We returned them again when she got married to George Wanner a year or so later. We paid Grandpa in seed grain the next fall with many thanks to him for his kindness. For our wedding present Grandpa and Grandma gave us a bedstead to sleep on, as we had no furniture. I nailed some boards together for a cupboard for dishes. Stepmother Weirman Nuffer made some of our temple clothes and the garments were made out of factory. She was helpful to us in many ways, so that was the beginning of our family life in a humble way and we were happy together.

As Adolph was still at home, he and I ran my father’s farm, and I fenced my 40 acres, and started to plant some of it as fast as I could break it up. I helped Fred in the sandstone quarry to get a little money to buy a few things till we raised a crop. The Wanner family bought John’s place on Worm Creek for $2000 and became very successful farmers.

Will pass over a year or so till the first child Clara was born 10 August 1895, Louise 19 Nov 1896, Anna the 8 January 1899, Bertha 9 Jun ‘900, Fred 21 October 1901, Joseph 18 May 1904, Ida 15 Jun 1906. These children were all born in Mapleton.

From here on my main occupation was farming and quarrying sandstone. I cut grain with a binder for people in Mapleton at one dollar an acre. In the winter I worked with Fred on the Mink Creek Canal, blasting the rock with black and giant powder, making the canal from seven to ten feet wide. I worked out four hundred dollars in ditch stock and finally sold it for forty cents on the dollar. I received $1.50 a day in cash so that is all I got for my work, and we had to sleep in a tent in the wintertime and cook our meals but it build the canals so the people would get water for their land and could raise crops.

When Fred moved to Preston I took over the stone quarry. I was also ditch rider for the Preston Cub River Canal for a number of years, making a trip a day while the canal was full, at a dollar a trip. While runnig the quarry I delivered stone for some of the Preston business buildings and for the Lewiston Meetinghouse. During this time we were also taking care of John and Fred’s grandmother for a number of years. As the family was getting larger I built another room on the house as mother was busy taking care of Grandma Spring, and John was going on a mission to Germany. They decided to send Grandma Spring to Blackfoot where she died a year of so later. I think it was in the year of 1897, when Mother and I drove to Blackfoot with the team and buggy to take the rest of our homestead, that we had lost by that Mr. Kent beating me to it before I was of age.  While at Blackfoot we called at the hospital to see Grandma Spring.  They told us she had died before Christmas the year previous, and they had sent no word of her death to anyone.  A few words more while at the land office it seems the Lord had always prepared the way for us.  As we entered the land office the first person we met was President George Parkinson, who knew us well.  Without his help our trip might have been in vain, as it was difficult to take up land when another party had filed on it.  At the time we made this journey this was the frontier of the west.  Where Downey is now there was not one hours and from Pocatello to Blackfoot was all desert, not a house, only the Indian Reservation.  I carried my shotgun with us for safety.  We could say much more, but it would take too long to tell it.

From here on it made a lot of work; to fence the land and break it up and get it ready to farm and to make a living for the family.  From here on I will begin tow rite of some of my work in the Church for which we have left our native land.  On April the 19th, 1896 the Stake Presidency, George Parkinson, Brother Cowley, Solomon Hale came to Glendale to form a German Organization, so we could hold meeting every two weeks, as there were many families Swiss and German that could not speak English. Addison Wagstaff was Ward Clerk and took the minutes. Brother Jacob I. Naef was chosen as President. It was not until 5 Jul 1896 that his counselors were chosen, Brother Jacob Schneider, first, Charles A. Nuffer second counselor. We held our meetings in the homes of the people on their farms and wherever they lived. They traveled with farm wagons a distance of20 miles one way to Mink Creek, Weston, Riverdale, Whitney, Treasureton, Mapleton, Preston and Glendale, there places were we held meetings. Some years later when Joseph Moser became President, I became one of his counselors, also brother Kern. After some years John asked to be released and I became President ofthe Branch on the 21st of March 1915, with Brother Kern and Alma Moser as my counselors. During this time we held the meeting in the old tithing office, later in the new one at Preston, until the 13th of August 1916, we held our last meeting. During the later part of the war some of the people of Preston made it very hot for the German speaking people yet most of them were Swiss, but that did not make any difference. So President Geddes came to me and asked me not to hold anymore meetings. After the war many of the German people had moved away so we never started to hold the meetings anymore, and I never was released to this day. That closes up this chapter of the German Saints of this part here, so I will go on to some of my other duties in the Church. Making in all twenty years that we held German Meetings with the people of Franklin Stake.

Now going back to the year 1899, when I ws called as second counselor to Bishop Edward Perkins in the Mapleton Ward. When Orron J. Merrill moved to Preston I took his place and his son Preston my place in the Bishopric. I was chairman of the School Board for six years, and Brother Merrill was the Clerk, and when he moved away his son was appointed in his place. While on the school board I had a schoolhouse built in the upper end of the District, with Harrison R. Merrill as the first teacher. That way the children of the upper end would not have to go so far to school. The children in the lower part of the Ward met in the old meeting house. While I was in the Bishopric Brother 0. J. Merrill was the Ward Clerk and clerk of the school board. After his father moved to Preston, 0. P. Merrill, his son, was the Ward Clerk and clerk of the School Board. Speaking of schools the first school that was held in Mapleton was in the winter of 1886, when Bishop Perkins went to Lewiston to school. He let the people of the Ward have a school room so they all got together and employed Hirum Johnson as their teacher. All children from seven years up to thirty, married men and young ladies went to school there all in one room. Some came from Franklin and Nashsville. I was feeding cattle for Harrison Thomas that winter and lived with Olive Sweet, she had to board me as she was living in their house, and they paid $150 for my schooling and $.45 for a book. I had to chop all the wood for the family. I was fifteen years old. This school house which was built by the efforts of the people of the upper part of the District, was the first schoolhouse built in Mapleton Ward with H. R. Merrill as its first teacher.

In 1899 in June I was ordained a High Priest by George Parkinson, President of the Oneida Stake, and we labored unitedly together in the Ward. Bishop Perkins was very kind to prepare me for this work, and in his home he read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants to me. So, that I may more fully understand the Gospel, and that I might be an example to the people of the Ward, and he taught me the Law of Tithing, and that we may be worthy to receive all the blessings that the Gospel had in store for His faithful children. So on the 21st ofF ebruary 1900, we were recommended to the Logan temple to receive our second washing and anointing by President Morgan, a blessing that not so many have received, which is the greatest blessing anyone can receive in the House of the Lord, for which I have tried to be thankful all the days of my life.

In the Spring of the same year, as there was a severe drought in Southern Utah, President Lorenzo Snow went to St. George, and met with the people there and told them if they would pay an honest tithing the Lord would bless them and send rain to save their crops. As the church was in a very bad financial condition at that time. So on returning to Salt Lake City President Snow called a special meeting of all the General Authorities of the Church to meet in the temple on the Law of Tithing, on June the 2nd at 9:00 A. M. And as Bishop Perkins had taken so much interest in me he asked me to go with him, only the Bishops were called. All the General Authorities spoke in the Meeting, after which they all shouted “Hosanna to the Lord”. We were in the Temple from 9:00 A.M. until5:00 P.M. The meeting was in the room known as the Celestial Room. At the close of the meeting President Snow said, “If you will go home and pay an honest tithing, the Church will be freed from debt, and the Lord will forgive you of your past neglect, and I promise you your homes will never burn.” From that time forth I always paid a full tithing as long as I lived on this earth. This blessed land of America, which God has blessed above all other lands. So these are some of the blessings that your mother and I received through Bishop Perkins being so kind to me. In appreciation for the blessing the Lord has given us, I desired to do my full duty in my calling with the people of this ward, and we had many opportunities to be called out day and night in time of sickness and death, among the people. We labored together eight years and had much joy in our labors.

I have given you some of the ways I made a living for the family. To make a living during this time and to care for the family, I farmed, raised hogs and horses, milked cows, separating the milk and selling the cream, and making butter getting $.10 a pound at the store. The most I received while selling cream from six to seven cows was $35 a month. I also sold cream separators to the people of Franklin and Preston to make a little extra money. I cut grain with the binder for the people in Mapleton. I quarried stand stone for the Lewiston Meetinghouse, and some buildings in Preston. The Riter Brothers Drug Store and other buildings. For the hogs we received $4.00 per hundred.

I had now lived on Worm Creek, Mapleton twenty-four years and I have related only some parts of my life. During this time in my life it was necessary for us to look toward the future, and seven children had been born to us in our first home. As the family got larger I built room onto the house. During this time my sister Mary was working for a family in Logan and as she was not feeling so well she came home and we needed someone to help mother as Bertha was a baby at that time. But in September Mary came down with pneumonia and died the 5th October 1900.  She had been born in Providence, Utah the 11th of October 1881. At that time most of our children were sick with scarlet fever, but they got well with our care and the help of the Lord as it was hard to get a doctor.

Before leaving Mapleton, speaking of building I feel to give some information pertaining to my father after his third wife died, Mrs. Weirman. He married Mrs. Shaub of Logan and bought the house of her son Gene. He lived in Logan a few years but he wanted to come back to Mapleton again and wanted me to build him a house in my orchard. I bought some sawed square log from Kall Wheeler, and build him the house. He paid for the materials and I did the work free, and I moved them up from wagon by team, but it was only a few years until he wanted to move again. He had already lived in Preston twice before. The first time where Ernest Porter lived, and before that out where Jim Smart’s place is. I then began to haul tone to Preston and John laid up the walls in 1907. In all the houses he lived in were one in Providence, two in Logan, one in Worm Creek, three in Mapleton and three in Preston and he died the 121h Aprill908. When I started to build my home after his death I moved his wife back to Logan with team and wagon.

I will pass over some years as things went on as usual. We began to look to the schooling of the children, as there was not much opportunity in Mapleton. I bought five acres of land in Preston and during the winter of 1905 and 1906, I began to haul sandstone from the quarry for the building of our home. I also planted trees in the spring of 1906, as there was nothing on the land whatever, only a fence around it. So this was the plan for us to move to Preston, not to improve ourselves better financially, but to make it better for Mother and all of us.

The Bishop was called to go on a mission, and I was in line for Bishop as things looked at that time. Mother was already alone so much with the family and I had so many meetings to go to at night. I was still in the German Organization, and I was so far away. I had from two and a half to three miles to ride on horseback to meeting to the home of Brother Merrill or the Bishop. In all the eight years I labored in the ward only one ward was held in our home. I leave the rest for you to answer whey we made this move which needed much consideration and prayer, and the guiding care of our Heavenly Father in making this move.

So in the Spring of 1907, after renting the farm to Hart Wheeler of Mapleton, I built a frame house sixteen feet by twenty feet to have a place to live in. Also, we had a tent for some of the children to sleep in, so I would have the family with me while I was there building our home. I built the barn a place for the cows and chickens. I hauled logs for the bam and most of the lumber for the house from the sawmill on Cub River during the summer. In October of 1907, when the frame house and the bam were built we all moved to Preston. We were all glad especially the children, when they could see the train and hear it when it came to turn on the Y. So this was a great change for all. This was the first time I lived in town, since we left Providence. So in the Spring of 1908, as soon as the snow was gone I began to dig the foundation for the house and laying up the walls; doing the work myself. Our second home in which all the children were brought to men and womanhood. This was the most happy period of our life. In order to get the large stones on the wall we had to roll them up some logs, as they were too heavy to lift. I hired Adolph to help with the work for a while, but before I got the walls finished I took down with Typhoid Fever. Adolph and Mr. Peterson finished the walls. This was in the latter part of September, and I did not know any more of the building of the house till it was finished so the family could move in. Preston was a baby then and I remember that he cried so much it must have been hard for Mother. I can’t give much detail concerning my sickness, only that Mr. States was my doctor and a lady Mary Bodily was my nurse. Brother Arnold Shuldhess, the editor of the German paper “Beobachter”, was up from Salt Lake City and came and administered to me when I first took sick. When Miss Bodily had to go some other place they got Maude Stocks for my nurse. They gave me very little food; mostly brandy and whiskey, as food is most dangerous in Typhoid, at least that was the way they used to do for Typhoid Fever at that time. I never used liquor at other times in my life.

Before I forget, my sister Regina, about the year 1886 also came home from Logan where she had been working and came down with Typhoid and there were no doctors here as there was no town of Preston here then. If there had been we would not have had any money to pay them; so her mother treated her the best she knew with tea from different herbs. Our prayers and faith were in God and she lived and got well, so we did the best we could under different ways and conditions. I will again go on with my own case. The latter part of October as I remember, I began to improve in health and they began to give me some food, as I was getting very hungry and I thought I would not get enough to eat anymore. Mother was very much afraid she might give me too much to eat, as that is the most dangerous time of the disease. The first time I went out doors again was the beginning of November. The trees were all yellow and I went up town to vote on November 6th 1908. I am sorry to say that this was not the end of our grief and sickness, so we had to start all over again and as I write these few lines it fills my eyes with tears when I think of that dear Mother that never gave up, that watched over you all night and day with faith in God for a better day. The Lord heard our prayers and she had the privilege to bring you up to manhood and womanhood, but that was not the end of our trials as stated before.

When Clara and Anna came down with the fever we had to get Doctor Emery, as Doctor States lived in Franklin. As they had to come most every day and we had a nurse that did not belong to the Church. She stayed at Preston Rooming house and we had trouble with her as I will tell you later when I get to that. By this time we were living in the new house. I think it was sometime in December. But, under the care of the new doctor and the new nurse the girls did not show any improvement. It was not long till they came down with pneumonia and week after week they did not get any etter. The nurse had a lady friend that visited some time in the evening. One day I found some empty whiskey bottles in a pile of stone that was beside the house. I at once told the Doctor we did not want his nurse any longer. He said he had a Nuffer barn place in Weston for her. He said that we would be responsible if something went wrong with the girls. I told him I was willing to take the responsibility. The nurse left and shortly she came down with the fever at the rooming house. It was only a week or ten days till the girls were up on their feet again. It was now the latter part of February and what a relief it was especially for that dear Mother, when all could rest again.

Now during my sickness some of the people of Mapleton had been told by Doctor States that there was not much hope for me to get over my sickness and mother heard of it. She prayed to the Lord saying that if he would spare my life she promised Him she would let me go on a mission, under almost any conditions whenever called. So during the summer of 1909, I worked at whatever I could find to earn something to take care of the family, and to keep out of debt, and fmd planted what we could on the lot for the next winter. Sometime if February of 1910, I received a letter from Box B, as it was called in those days, when anyone was called on a mission. I did not know anything as to a call for a mission when I received the letter stating if I could accept this call, if I could be in Salt Lake City on April the 18th. I do not know if Bishop H. Geddes had told the authorities of the Church anything of my financial condition or not, as I remember he did not to me; which was very limited at this time nor did he tell me anything about being called on a mission. We did not hesitate for a moment, but told them that I would be there at the above date. As we had no porch on the south side of the house I went to work on it before leaving. I also built a shed for the white top buggy so it would be under shelter while I was away. On the 15th ofFeb 1910, Laura was born at home with Mrs. Nancy Beckstead in attendance, which made it still harder for me to leave you all alone. I also planted some garden before leaving. So in the morning of April the 18th, I was on my way, Clara going with me to Salt Lake as mother did not want me to leave alone. That way she could hear from me just a little longer, Clara was then nearing 15 years of age and Laura was going on two months.

As I remember I was set apart for my mission by Jonathan C. Campbell to the Eastern States Mission to labor under Ben E. Rich. After a few days in Salt Lake I left with other Elders for New York City, stopping at Des Moines, Omaha, Chicago, Buffalo and on to New York. After a few days there I was appointed by Ben E. Rich to labor in West Pennsylvania, with Elder Hyrum Nelson from Cleveland, Idaho. I was then sent by way of Philadelphia to Pittsburgh with Heber D. Clark as our president. We were then sent out in the country two hundred miles tracting on the way, where there was a Branch of the Church in Buck Valley. It would be too much to give my missionary account, it is written in my missionary journals, those red books in this home. As we met in Conference in Pittsburgh, with Ben E. Rich and all the Elders in February of 1912 I was released to return home. It was most difficult for mother to carry on any longer with the large family as she had to borrow most of the money while I was away, as it was a dry season, and Mr. Wheeler, the one that bought the farm did not make any payments and the Bank charged 12% interest.

When I arrived home Laura, it was on her birthday, was two years old. One great blessing while on this mission was that I did not have one day of sickness and Mother and the children all had good health, for which we thanked the Lord with all our hearts. It was February the 15th 1912 when I arrived at home in time to make arrangements for a new life in caring for the family again, and to pay off the money we had borrowed. But, before I could do that I had to borrow some more to buy a team with which to go to work. I borrowed $700 off of Grandpa Wanner; the team cost $300. On the 15th July 1912, I purchases thirty two acres from Mr. Charles Nelson west of town on time payment, at one hundred dollars per acre. I then planted it in hay and grain, and the same year a hail storm came and destroyed the crop of wheat. I then went hauling sand and gravel for a living, and helped Uncle John with the haying.

On returning home I was asked by President Joseph Geddes to visit the wards of the Stake with the High Council for two years. It was before the Stake was divided. I also was asked to take my place again in the German Organization Meetings, one or two times a month. During this time I was serving as a Ward Teacher, a Sunday School Teacher, and quite a number of years as the class leader of the High Priests group in the ward, at Priesthood meeting, so I had plenty to keep me busy. I was also the ward Chairman ofthe Anti-Tobacco and Liquor campaign. During the First World War, I was called as a Counselor to Peter Hanson, who was Stake Superintendent of the Religion Class until the Stake was divided. In all six years, once or twice a month on Sunday or week days we would go out in the Ward to find someone to teach Religion Class in the schools, or to visit the schools that had teachers as we found it necessary. I was called as Chairman of the Genealogical Organization of the Ward. When the Ward was divided, and your mother and I worked in the Genealogical Organization. We were released when Orion Jensen was Bishop. During the years of 1923,24,25, and 26, I was called to baptize the children of the Franklin Stake. Charles F. Hawkes had done that work before. Also, at times I was called on to baptize children of the 2nd Ward at the Stake House. While in the old Church House I was a teacher in the Sunday School in the different departments at different times.

On October 30, 1916 I bought the farm in Dayton of June Jensen, Sam Morgan and H. A. Peterson of Logan, at the price of $5,500 so we would have work for the boys, so they would not have to go away from home to find work. For a number of years we had to dry farm, before we could get water. We finally got thirty shares at $130 an acres. As the land was all under bond it cost me $800 to buy the rest of the land out and we had to pay $7 per acres to get a ditch thru the Eccles Farm. I traded the land in Preston to Sam Morgon at $125 an acre that helped some. I had to clear off some thirty-five acres of sage with axes all by hand. That was all we had to do that kind of work for number of years. I had the cabin on the west hill of Peterson’s and had to carry the water from a spring below the hill in Petersons’ for cooking and vitrolling the wheat. I had to get a right-of-way from Brother McCarry at a spring to water the horses. We also had a stable on the hill for the horses. Usually we would fill our grub box on Monday morning and stay till Saturday and Mother and the girls would take care of things at home during the week. When we got water on the farm we moved up on the flat to the west of the farm. We went down the creek for water to use. We then built another room and Fred moved over with his family for the summer to help with the work as we rented the Miles farm and a year or so later Miles bought a house that we moved on his farm, for Fred and his family to live in. Later on we built another room onto it.

Preston helped us with the work after school closed and Joseph moved in up stairs when he got married, working with Roy at the car bam at the U. I. C. Railroad. In 1929 we built a house on the farm for Joseph to move in, as we had more work all the time. The cost of the house was $1250. Then came the crash of 1929, when wheat dropped to 30 cents a bushel and hogs to $4 per hundred and beets $4 a ton. To pay our debts and pay for the house all of us got together with a lot of hard work and the help of the Lord we pulled through. We also sold some hay for $5 per ton. In the Spring while the boys were thinning the beets, I was doing the summer fallowing, with the gang plow, with six horses; for a number of years. We started out with only three horses on the farm for a number of years. We could not raise hay without water. We had to haul the hay for the horses from town. Also, for the headers Mother would come over and cook for them. At the first harvest we did not have very much, and I was away trying to earn some money to pay for the heading. Louise and Preston drove over and brought them their dinner. I also went up to Glendale one summer and helped Fred Wanner and Hyrum Jensen get up their hay. They gave me a ton of hay for three days work with wagon and team and I would haul it over to the farm. That was during the early part of our farming that I am writing on this page some of our hardships.

In order to make some money to pay for the farm and to live, as we only raised grain, as we had no water on the farm, I would work on the header and do stacking. Also, I would go out with Fred Nuffer and Fred Steuri doing cement work for school houses, and other buildings. I worked for Joseph Moser as a carpenter on the Gymnasium, also did cement work, while Fred was hauling gravel. I hauled the first load of gravel for that building, also hauled gravel for the Jefferson School Building. I worked for Struve on the 4’h Ward Meeting house doing cement work on many houses in town. I had my team hauling gravel when they built the first sidewalks in Preston, until they were finished, then to the City Water Reservoir. When the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad was built I worked on the cut south of town ten hours a day for $2. Again I helped Joseph Moser when he built the beet dump, the high line by Tom Clayton’s place. I then got a job on the dump with the Sugar Co., loading beets on the cars. The next two years I was tare man for the company, and got lots of scoldings from the farmers, but the company treated me well. They used to pile any beets on the ground in large piles in different places, and haul them on the cars later. So, the boys Fred, Joseph and I would haul beets the rest of the fall. We would leave right after daylight and work until dark, so when Sunday came we were glad to get a short rest and go to Church, or I would be called to visit some Ward in the Stake in the interest of religion class to get in into the school, and on Monday back to work.

Going back to the farm work, in the fall of 1931 and 1932 I bought a herd of sheep to fatten, then took them to Denver to market to help get out of debt. While Fred was living on the Miles place and Joseph on the farm there was some difficulty, I do not know what it was, and Joseph moved back to town. Fred moved into the house on the farm and young Fred Wanner moved in where Fred had lived, as he had him working for him in 1936. I bought a tractor to do the farming, and did the summer fallowing with it that Spring. As Charles Nelson was janitor of the Ward House he asked me if l did not want to take the janitor job. So I had another job, which the girls helped me with at $11 a month, but it all helped. That was during the First World War.

Thinking it was time to retire from farming at the age of sixty-six I sold the farm in 193 7 to my son Fred. In Jun 1937 I bought the Dodge car and the Gamble home. The next year the McCarry farm. The summer of 1937 we went on a trip, Mother and I, Louise, the twins, and Joe and Gretta to Los Angeles, visiting Jim Cummings and Fred Nuffer. From there to San Francisco, then on Highway 1001 , the Redwood Road to Portland, Oregon up the Columbia River to Boise, Idaho and back. I had to come home after over two weeks absence. Mother and I had been to Los Angeles by train to visit Jim and Anna, when they lived at Beverly Glen, and again when she died the 25 January 1928. As given before the third time to California and again to San Francisco to the fair. Mother and I, Louise, Joe and Gretta, when Gretta took sick. After Mothers death, myself and Louise, Ida and Gilbert, went to Los Angeles the fourth time. Later when Jimmy Cummings was married I went on the bus to his wedding. Some years after Mother’s death, I and Louise and the twins went on a trip by car to Zions National Park, Cedar Breaks, and Bryce’s Canyon and to Yellowstone. The first time we went to Yellowstone National Park with Mother, Louise, Roy and Clara. The last time we went Louise, the twins, Donald and Joe and Getta and I went. We also went a few time to Nephi to the Roundup.

These years while Ward Chairman of the Genealogical Committee, we assisted the Stake in getting up large excursions to the temple on the U. I. C. Railroad, every month. All during our married life we would go to the temple every years as often as we were able to go. We carried on research work through the Genealogical Office in Salt Lake City, and we received sheets of names on the Nuffer and Wanner line, and my mothers Griener line, all at our own expense. I have the sheets in my trunk with the work all completed as you will find them there.

For twenty years after buying the Chevrolet car and the Dodge, we went to the Temple, whenever we could once or twice a month with a full car of people from the 2nd and 1st ward, until I took sick in December 1948. Since then I have been to the Temple three times. I am writing this May 11, 1950.While going to the Temple one February morning early it was snowing and the road was slick. I had with me in the car Mother, Louise, Brother and Sister Rindlisbacher and Mrs. Clarence Corbridge. As I was getting near the Utah line I felt there was trouble ahead. I was going about twenty-five miles an house, when George Wanner passed me. When half a mile over the Utah line the car struck a bump in the road and turned over in the barrow pit then over on its side. At that time a car came and took all but Mother and I and Louise to the Temple. Then came Orion Jensen and took Mother and Louise to the Preston Clinic to be examined by the doctor. I stayed with the car until Petterborg came. The damage on the car was over a hundred dollars.

Some months later Mother began to have pains in her back and kept getting worse as time went on. During July she got so bad I took her to the Preston Hospital for an xray. She was there for a week, and Doctor Cutler said we had better take her to the L. D. S. Hospital in Salt Lake as they could not do anymore for her there. We went to Salt Lake July 24th we were told that she had tumor of the spine. She was there for a week, when we were told that they could not do more for her so we bought her home. She died the 10th August 1940.

1 February 1949

Dear Children of Mine,

If your Mother was alive as I am writing, we would be celebrating our 55th Wedding Anniversary, but as it has fallen my lot I’m all alone in this home where you all have been brought up under her loving influence and with my deepest love for you all. I shall ever thank God, my Heavenly Father for the gospel and its blessings.

Stoker-Eames Wedding

Elizabeth and the late Thomas Eames are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Emma to William Edward Stoker, son of Thomas Stoker and the late Ann Nightingale Stoker.  William and Emma were married in St. Johns Church of Wembley, Middlesex, England 29 July 1849.

I have not seen the records, but apparently William Edward Stoker was born 9 January 1827 in Crateford, Staffordshire, England.  I am unsure where Crateford exactly is since the online map services do not list it as a town.  I know it is near Brewood, Staffordshire, England and can find the Crateford Road outside of town to the northwest, but I am not sure much more is available without actually visiting the area.  He was baptized/christened 4 February 1827 in Brewood.  His father, Thomas Stoker, worked as a coachman and remained so until he became too old to work.

Emma Eames was baptized/christened 21 February 1830 in St. Mary’s Church of Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, England.  She is the third of at least 5 children we know of.  The only other sibling we know much about is her brother Thomas.  Her father, Thomas Eames, was listed as a wheelwright at the time Emma was born.  By the time Emma married to William her father is listed as a servant.

William and Emma would have five children together (although some have added two more children, but with no documentation). William worked as a saddler, leather-worker, and harness maker throughout his life.  I do not know why the family moved around so much, probably for work, but they do not seem to have been too poor.  Staffordshire, Shropshire, Middlesex, and Berkshire were all homes of the Stoker family.

William Thomas Stoker born 4 June 1850 in Alperton Hollow, Middlesex, England.  He died 21 October 1908 in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  He would end up marrying three times to Fanny Amelia Tucker, Ellen Hemmings, and Callie Oliver.

Alice Stoker born 20 September 1851 back in Brewood.  She died 11 September 1869 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have been unable to tell if she actually married or was just engaged to James England when she died.

Jeanette Stoker born 3 February 1856 in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.  She died 5 February 1941 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Charles David Rogers in 1875.  I posted a picture and quick biography at this link: Jeanette Rogers.

Alfred Stoker born 21 September 1859 in Hendon, Middlesex, England.  He died 3 November 1927 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  He married Elizabeth Branson in 1881.

Mary Ann Stoker born 24 February 1863 in Reading, Berkshire, England.  She died 6 May 1935 in Plain City.  She married Milo Riley Sharp in 1879.  I have written previously about this family at this link: Sharp-Stoker Wedding.

Emma contracted tuberculosis (listed as phthisis on the death certificate) and passed away 28 April 1863 at 18 Albert Street within St. Mary’s Parish after a year struggle with the disease.

Emma joined the LDS church on 7 August 1856.  William Thomas joined 5 December 1860.  William Edward and Alice joined the LDS church 27 May 1863.

The family wasted no time in gathering to Zion.  The Stoker family departed from London on a ship called “Amazon” 4 June 1863.  George Q Cannon dedicated the ship which was entirely of Saints (880+) headed for Zion.  It was this same ship that Charles Dickens wrote that the Mormons were not taking misfits and scoundrels, but the “pick and flower” of England.  Even George Sutherland, future U.S. Supreme Court Justice was on this ship.  Here is a link to the story by Charles Dickens: The Uncommercial Traveller.  The LDS church also tells of the story that day at this link: Amazon Departure.  The ship sailed to Liverpool before finally heading out for America.  Elijah Larkin, who would help found Larkin Mortuary, noted that on the 16th and 20th of June, Thomas Stoker was administered to due to a sickness since leaving Liverpool.

The “Amazon” landed at Castle Gardens, New York, New York on 18 July 1863.  The Saints took rail to Albany, Albany, New York and then to Florence, Douglas, Nebraska through Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  From there they hoofed it on to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory arriving 3 and 4 October 1863 (depending on which of the two companies), just in time for General Conference.  Several of the company wrote of Brigham Young coming out to greet them and giving them advice.

William moved almost immediately to Ogden, Weber, Utah and set up shop working with leather.  William wasted no time in remarrying to Eliza Sinfield in Ogden 18 May 1864.  While Mary Ann is listed as a child for William and Eliza on the 1870 Census, she was actually living with the Musgrave family and Jeanette with the Garner family.  Additionally, the other children from this first marriage were also being raised by other families.  I just cannot tell for sure since the families sometimes listed these children as their own with their own last name.  Family lore indicates that William and Eliza could not afford to raise these older children and farmed them out to families that could afford to take care of them.  Other evidence points that they were not all that poor, but it is not likely we will ever really know.

Eliza Sinfield was born 24 January 1842 in Eversholt, Bedfordshire, England.  She and William married 18 May 1864 in Ogden.  They lived there the rest of their days.  I cannot tell for sure where they lived.  The 1880 Census puts them on 6th Street, but then this address is near Franklin Street, which is now located 20 blocks or more away.  The next page of the census has the Academy of the Sacred Heart which is also near 25th street in Ogden.  Therefore, another 6th street once existed in Ogden, or the census taker jumped all over town, which is unlikely.  The 1870 Census does not give street addresses, so we have no leads there.  At any rate, William and Eliza had six children.

Emma Stoker born 24 March 1865 in Ogden and died 10 October 1878.

Agnes Stoker born 1 October 1866 in Ogden.  She married George Shields in 1885.  She died 6 September 1921 in Ogden.

Henrietta Stoker born 10 October 1868 in Ogden.  She married Simon Heber Weston in 1885.  She died 10 June 1942.

Eli Benjamin Stoker born 9 July 1870 in Ogden.  He married Sarah Jane Thomas in 1899.  He died 17 May 1952 in Silverton, Shoshone, Idaho.

Albert Stoker born 12 May 1873 in Ogden.  I do not know of a marriage for him.  He died 8 February 1949 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Victoria Stoker born 28 May 1878 in Ogden.  I do not have a marriage for her either.  She died 20 November 1888.

William and Eliza continued to live in Ogden until he passed away 12 April 1899 in Ogden.  He was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, along with most of his already deceased family.  Later family members would also be buried near him.  Eliza died 3 April 1912.  Here is the only other picture we have of William Edward Stoker as a much older man.  You can see the tuft of hair in the middle that has not changed.  The increased bag lines under the eyes and the same man greatly aged.  If you look, you can see some of the resemblance in his sons.