Irwin John Jonas

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the events that occurred on that date, I thought I would make a special tribute to my Grand Uncle Irwin John Jonas.  He participated in D-Day and lost his life on 11 July 1944, just over 70 years ago, near Saint-Lô, France.

Irwin John was born the third child to the marriage of Lillian Coley and Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He was born on Friday 2 September 1921 in Thatcher, Franklin, Idaho, at 6:30 PM, although likely born in Cleveland, Franklin, Idaho, while the family made a go of farming.  The family could not make farming work and moved to Lewiston, Cache, Utah as his father took a job with the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad.  When Irwin was about 6, the family moved to Uintah, Weber, Utah.  Joseph was promoted to Section Foreman and the family moved to Ogden, Weber, Utah.  It was in this place that Joseph was accidentally electrocuted in 1932.  Afterward the family moved back to Richmond, Cache, Utah, Lillian’s hometown.

Irwin Primary Graduation Certificate

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The family moved around quite a bit and some of the children struggled with the moves and changes in homes.  The family lived in everything from a boxcar to a nice home in Ogden.  Joseph and Lillian were stern but loving parents, dealing with their own issues as well as with the children.

Irwin John Jonas

Irwin John Jonas

Lillian purchased a small home in Richmond with the funds from Joseph’s life insurance.  Lillian’s family helped raise the rowdy six boys, including Irwin, and youngest two girls.

Irwin Boy

Irwin continued through school.  He did not graduate high school, but at least made it a few years into North Cache.

Irwin High School Certificate

Here is a picture of Irwin at North Cache with Glacus Godfrey Merrill’s class.  Irwin is on the back row, third from the right, fifth from the left.  His brother, Norwood, my grandfather, is on the far right of the third row from the front.  You can see the other names for this photo here.

Glacius Merrill's Class about 1938 or 1939

Irwin Receipt

Shortly before his 18 birthday, 6 July 1939, Irwin enlisted with the Army.  He departed shortly afterward for training.

Irwin Jonas Departure

Unfortunately, the Army had a massive fire that destroyed most of the military records for World War II in 1973.

Irwin Jonas Guitar and FriendFamily recollect that he trained in the southwest as this picture also seems to show with the large cactus.

Irwin Jonas Target

He did make it to the rank of Sergeant in the Army.

Irwin Jonas Military

Irwin met Mary Elizabeth Popwitz at a dance at Camp McCoy, Sparta, Wisconsin.  They were later married 21 June 1943 in Winona, Winona, Minnesota.

Mary Popwitz and Winifred Perley

Mary Popwitz and Winifred Perley (Mary was Winifred’s Nanny)

Irwin wrote a Christmas Card home in December 1943 with the following photograph.

Irwin Jonas Christmas Card

Irwin was then sent to go overseas.  Irwin sent Mary to live with his mother in Richmond.  Mary gave birth to Robert Irwin Jonas in February 1944.  Irwin went to New York City in preparation for the D-Day Invasion.  At least that is the story told by family.

This following envelopes show Irwin was still in New York City in May and July of 1944.

Irwin Envelope 1944 May

 

Irwin Envelope 1944 Jul 8

An explanation could be the preparation for D-Day and not wanting to give anything away so they made it appear like it was in New York City.  Or it could very well be that he did not take part of D-Day and arrived after that date.  However, since he died on the 11th of July in Saint-Lô, it is unlikely he was in New York City on 8 July 1944.  Further that letter was dated 6 July 1944.  It was likely he was writing from France but marking the envelopes New York City.  At any rate, here is the single page of the postmarked 8 July 1944 letter.  You will have to click on it to read it properly, the pencil is hard to scan.  One of Irwin’s obituaries indicates he was sent to Europe in October 1943.

Irwin Jonas Letter 1944 Jul 6

Lillian received the dreaded personal visit from the Army in August 1944.  She received the following letter in September.

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The US Army determined to bring Irwin’s body home to the United States rather than bury him in France.   Lillian and Mary finally received Irwin’s body in late January 1948.  His burial took place 6 February 1944 in Richmond.

Irwin Jonas Obituary

2014-06-26 20.15.08

Robert Irwin Jonas continued to grow under the love and care of his mother and grandmother.

Bob Jonas Baby

After Irwin passed away, Mary moved to Preston, Franklin, Idaho near her close friend Colleen Andra who would later marry Irwin’s brother, Norwood.

Bob Jonas Young Boy

Through the family, Mary and Bob moved to Ogden to work.  There, Mary, Irwin’s widow, met Irwin’s uncle Art Coley.  Irwin and Art were born the same year, even though Uncle and Nephew.  Arthur “Art” Christiansen Coley and Mary were married 3 May 1946 in Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming.

Art and Mary continued to raise Bob as their own.  Two additional sons joined the marriage, Stephen “Steve” G and Ronald Gary.

Steve, Bob, Gary

Steve, Bob, Gary

 

Steve, Mary, Gary, Bob

Steve, Mary, Gary, Bob

 

Bob Jonas Boy

 

Bob Jonas

Bob, Janet, and Bobby Jonas

Bob, Janet, and Bobby Jonas

As of my writing today, Mary is still alive.  She lives in an assisted living home in South Ogden, Utah.

Bob and Janet Jonas, Mary Coley, Steve and Julie Coley

Bob and Janet Jonas, Mary Coley, Steve and Julie Coley in 2004

Old Clifty Church

Old Clifty Church

Old Clifty Church

Here is another photo from my friend’s collection that piqued my interest so I did some research on it.  The sign on the front of the building says “WELCOME” with “Clifty Memorial Assn” written beneath.  The back of the photo just said “Clifty Memorial”.  The photo appears to have likely been taken while Dick Ashcraft was in the military during WWII.

The building is the Old Clifty Church located in Jackson Township, Greene County, Indiana.  I even found a link with some more history of the church.  Apparently the church has been in this location since 1867.  Unfortunately many photos are not as easily identified as this one.  Hopefully the family can further identify more of the unnamed photos before Dick is gone.

John Nelson Jonas

I thought I would write on my Great Grandfather’s brother in anticipation of his birthday, he would be 125 this year.  Growing up, I never knew of Uncle John Nelson Jonas likely because nobody in my family ever knew him.  He passed away at the ripe age of 30 in 1918, a victim of Influenza.  The family knew of his widow as she lived on Main Street in Richmond, Cache, Utah and associated with their children.  Since I have some pictures of his family, I thought I would make them available.  My Great Grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas did not live to be much older and so personal memories of him were lost many decades ago as well.

John Nelson Jonas was the fourth of seven children born in the marriage of Annetta Josephine Nelson and Joseph Jonas 14 August 1888 in or near Ellensburg, Kittitas, Washington.  He was christened 10 September 1888 at St. Andrews in Ellensburg.  About 1896, John’s mother, Annie, went to the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane in Fancher, Spokane, Washington (she is listed as Ann J Jonas).  She was in and out of hospitals throughout her life but as John was one of the older children, he would have known his mother a little better.

Annie got out of the Eastern Washington Hospital 31 October 1899 and went home to Ellensburg and continued to be a handful for the family.  The family on the 1900 Census was in Cle Elum, Kittitias, Washington.  Although that census does not include Annie and the census that year has Joseph Sr in both Cle Elum and Spokane about two weeks apart in June 1900.  Annie must have been back in Fancher.  Annie’s sister, Charlotte, visited in 1901.  Due to Annie’s mental and emotional state, and with Joseph’s approval, the Jonas family went to Utah to stay temporarily with Annie’s brother, Nels August Nelson.  Uncle August lived in Crescent, Salt Lake, Utah and the Jonas party arrived 3 July 1901 from Washington.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901.  The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901. The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

Joseph for one reason or another went back to Washington with the oldest child Margaret.  Nels suggested it was legal issues; it might have just been the farm that needed attention.  Annie’s issues were such that Nels and his wife, Fidelia, signed an affidavit of insanity and had her admitted to the Utah State Hospital 1 November 1901.

Joseph had been raised as a Catholic and Annie Nelson had been raised LDS.  Annie decided she did not like LDS men and wanted to marry a Gentile and did so.  The children were raised Catholic in Washington.  Now in Utah, Uncle August made sure the children learned about the LDS faith.  The three boys, John, William, and Joseph, elected to be baptized LDS on 10 January 1902 in Crescent by their Uncle August in an ice-covered Jordan River.  All three were confirmed 12 January 1902 by Jaime P Jensen.  Rosa joined 6 February 1902, also in Crescent under the hand of Uncle August in a hole chipped in the Jordan River.  Margaret did not join as she stayed near her father in Washington.

In 1904, Rosa married a boy, Christian Andersen, from Richmond.  They married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  They moved to 137 E 100 S in Richmond.  John and his brothers resided with Uncle August until after their mother passed in 1907, then they would regularly and for prolonged periods stay with Rosa in Richmond.  William and John were both ordained Elders 6 January 1908 in Crescent.  In Richmond, both were again ordained Seventies 19 September 1909 by Charles Hart (1866 – 1934, 1st Council of Seventy).  John was endowed in the Logan LDS Temple 1 October 1909 and left to serve in the Southern States Mission.  He left 10 October 1909, arrived at Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee 18 Oct, Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama 21 Oct, and formally starting 25 October 1909.  The 1910 Census lists John at home in Crescent.

I understand John attended Brigham Young College in Logan but I don’t know any of the details of when or if he graduated.  Nellie told her nephew, Ellis Jonas, that John was the only one of the brothers who could keep a level head.  Just remember the source of that compliment – his wife.

John met Nellie Armina Andersen, a cousin of Rosa’s husband Christian, while staying in Richmond.  Nellie and John fell in love and were married 5 June 1912 in the Logan, Cache, Utah at the LDS Temple.

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

The above photo indicates it was taken in Salt Lake City at Cusworth’s Studio.  We don’t know the occasion, but it must have been something to dress up for, or just a sitting for a portrait.  Either way, the photo was shared with my Great Grandmother.

The wedding announcement in the Logan Republican on 25 June 1925, “On June 5th Mr. John Jonas and Miss Nellie Anderson of this place were married in the Logan Temple.  Mr. Jonas is managing his Uncle’s farm at Murray, Utah.  After a family reception at the home of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Armina Anderson, the couple departed for Murray where they will make their future home.”

John and Nellie had three children.

Calvin Andersen Jonas born 6 August 1913 and died 17 June 1991 both in Richmond.  He married Viola Florence Chapman (1921 – 2006) on 30 March 1957 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  Calvin lived in his mother’s home until he passed away and then Viola remained in the same home until her passing.  It was Calvin who took the land and created a trailer park on the rest of the property to the welcome or chagrin of Richmond.  Calvin and Viola did not have any children, although Viola brought children to the marriage from her previous marriage.  I last visited Viola about 2005 and Viola had her daughter Dixie living with her to take care of her, the trailer park, and their ceramic store.

Melvin Andersen Jonas born 13 March 1917 in Richmond and drowned 16 Jul 1944 in San Marcos, Hays, Texas while he was in training at San Marcos Army Air Field.  Apparently he had just married Doris Everts on 17 March 1944 somewhere in Texas.  It is not believed they had any children.  Melvin was a lieutenant in the Army.

Melvin Portrait

Melvin’s Portrait before leaving for the war

John and Nellie purchased a home 3 April 1917 on the corner of Main and 200 E in Richmond (now 195 E Main).  The entire lot one, block 25 of Richmond City came with the home for $1,200.00.  They moved in when Melvin was only a few days old.  When John registered for the World War I Draft, he indicated he was a laborer at Utah Condensed Milk Company in Richmond.

WWI Draft Registration

I have included a copy of the full Draft Registration.  It is interesting to note John’s signature on the first page.

Nellie became pregnant and while with their third children tragedy struck.  John caught the spreading Influenza virus in the epidemic of 1918 and passed away shortly before Christmas on 19 December 1918 at home in Richmond.  Nellie gave birth to their last child months later.

Our cousin, Carvel Jonas wrote of John’s death, “‘Prior to 1974, 38 major flu outbreaks had been recorded, including the disastrous pandemic in 1918 which attached an estimated 500 million people, leaving 20 million dead,’ according to Science Digest March 1975.  The severity of the 1918 pandemic was due to the fact that it lasted for more than 14 months; ordinary epidemics in the average community last no more than six weeks before running their course,’ quoted from ‘The Encyclopedia of Common Diseases, p 722; by the Staff of Prevention Magazine, co 1976′.  Unfortunately John was one of the estimated 20 million who died.”

Carvel also writes, “Before John died he would play hide and seek with his two boys.  After John died the boys thought that their father was still playing the game and would try to find him when Nellie would come home.”

His obituary in the Deseret News stated, “Funeral of John Jonas.  Richmond, Dec 30 – Funeral services were held Sunday for John Jonas who died of Pneumonia, following influenza.  Mrs. A. A. Thomas and W.J. Thomas of Salt Lake furnished music.  The speakers were Bishop P.N. Nelson, Bishop J.L. McCarrey, and A.S. Schow.  The deceased is survived by a wife and two small children and several brothers and sisters.  The flu conditions have so well improved that the local health board has permitted the opening of places of amusement.”

Armina Andersen Jonas was born 5 March 1919 in Richmond and died 30 March 2011 in St. George, Washington, Utah.  She married Don Farnes (1916 – 1978) 10 March 1937 in Logan.  Don was gone by the time I was born, but I remember stopping to visit Armina at her home in Kimberly, Twin Falls, Idaho with my Grandma in the late 1980′s.  I stopped the last time in Kimberly about 2008 shortly before she moved to live with her daughter in Southern Utah.

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Nellie remarried to Arnold Thornley (1893 – 1969) on 14 April 1926 in Logan.  It must not have been a very long marriage as very few seemed to remember him.

Nellie continued to live in their home until she passed away 11 December 1953 in Salt Lake City of myocarditis.

Her obituary stated, “Nellie A. Jonas – Richmond, Cache County – Mrs. Nellie Andersen Jonas, 64, died Friday night in a Salt Lake hospital after an operation.  Born July 26, 1889 at Richmond, daughter of George and Armina Carson Andersen.  Resident in Richmond entire life.  Married to John N. Jonas in 1912, in Logan L.D.S. Temple.  He died in 1918.  Active in L.D.S. Church…”  I need to get a copy of the full obituary to share it.

John and Nellie are buried together in the Richmond Cemetery.  All three children are buried within a stone’s throw.  John’s father and Nellie’s parents are also a stone’s throw away.

Remember, Remember

Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day.  As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance.  Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States.  I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”.  We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony.  Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right.  The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it.  Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation.  It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination.  Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation.  The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, Nov 2005

When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play.  Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles.  Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars.  Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present.  In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.

World War II monument, National Mall, Washington, DC, Nov 2005

Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War.  We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent.  We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic.  Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.

Anna Badger, Jeana Stuart, and Brad Hales at the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, Virginia, Nov 2005

American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession.  The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past.  A divide continues to build.  I am not really sure over what.  Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor.  After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give.  We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice).  I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all.  Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives.  May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA, Nov 2005

Jonas – Coley Wedding

Herbert and Martha Coley are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Lillian to Joseph Nelson Jonas, son of Joseph and Annie Jonas.  They were married 6 September 1916 in Logan, Cache, Utah at the LDS Temple.  The photo above we think was taken around 1930 or so and is not a wedding photo.

Lillian was born the first child of ten to Martha Christiansen and Herbert Coley 26 August 1898 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  Both Herbert and Martha were Mormon immigrants to Utah in the 1880′s.  Herbert and Martha both had native land accents from England and Norway respectively.  Herbert was a diligent laborer who would acquire full ownership in their home by 1910.  Martha was a strict and involved homemaker and mother.

Lillian grew up assisting her mother in maintaining the home, large garden, and raising younger siblings.  By the the time she married, she had six younger children who were in the home (three more were yet to be born).  When Lillian was born, the family lived in Lewiston.  By 1910, the family had moved to Wheeler, Cache, Utah (or the 1900 Census did not have Wheeler broken from Lewiston).  The Wheeler area is almost 6 miles directly to the west from Richmond, Cache, Utah as indicated by the link.  We do not know where they lived in Wheeler.

By the time Lillian married Joseph, the family lived at roughly 1950 E 9000 N to the south and east of Richmond.  The remainder of the cabin built by Herbert Coley was still in the middle of a cow pen in fall 2012 on the south side of the road, but was in pretty poor condition.  Ellis Jonas took me there about 2002 and indicated the home to me as where they lived when he was a little boy.  Martha moved in to town, Richmond, after Herbert passed away in 1946.

Joseph Nelson Jonas was the sixth of seven child born to Annetta Josephine Nelson and Joseph Jonas 19 November 1893 in or near Ellensburg, Kittitas, Washington.  About 1896, Joseph’s mother, Annie, went to the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane in Fancher, Spokane, Washington (she is listed as Ann J Jonas).  She was in and out of hospitals throughout her life but as Joseph was one of the younger children, he would not have known his mother a little better.

Joseph and Margaret Jonas about 1899

Annie got out of the Eastern Washington Hospital 31 October 1899 and went home to Ellensburg and continued to be a handful for the family.  The family on the 1900 Census in Cle Elum, Kittitias, Washington does not include Annie though and the census that year has Joseph Sr in both Cle Elum and Spokane about two weeks apart in June 1900.  Annie’s sister, Charlotte, visited in 1901.  Due to Annie’s mental and emotional state, and with Joseph Sr’s approval, the whole Jonas family went to Utah to stay temporarily with Annie’s brother, Nels August Nelson.  Uncle August lived in Crescent, Salt Lake, Utah and the Jonas party arrived 3 July 1901 from Washington.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901.  The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

Joseph Sr for one reason or another went back to Washington with the youngest child Margaret.  Nels suggested it was legal issues, it might have just been the farm that needed attention.  Annie’s issues were such that August and his wife, Fidelia, signed an affidavit of insanity and had her admitted to the Utah State Hospital 1 November 1901.

Joseph Sr had been raised as a Catholic and Annie Nelson had been raised LDS.  Annie decided she did not like LDS men and wanted to marry a Gentile and did so.  The children were raised Catholic in Washington.  Now in Utah, Uncle August made sure the children learned about the LDS faith.  The three boys elected to be baptized LDS on 10 January 1902 in Crescent by their Uncle August in an ice covered Jordan River.  All three were confirmed 12 January 1902 by Jaime P Jensen.  Rosa joined 6 February 1902, also in Crescent under the hand of Uncle August in a hole chipped in the Jordan River.  Margaret did not join as she stayed near her father in Washington.

In 1904, Rosa married a boy, Christian Andersen, from Richmond.  They married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  They moved to 137 E 100 S in Richmond.  Joseph and his brothers resided with Uncle August until after their mother passed in 1907, then they would regularly and for prolonged periods stay with Rosa in Richmond.  The 1910 Census lists Joseph at home in Crescent.  Read more of Brother John Jonas.

Joseph attended Brigham Young College in Logan and graduated with his diploma 3 June 1915.  We don’t know much about his time at Brigham Young College but the story goes he wrestled with their team and did so very effectively.  William, Joseph’s brother, was apparently here at school during some overlapping periods.  Joseph became well known for his love of gospel conversations.  He was known for regularly discussing and even arguing the gospel with extra determination.  No hard feelings developed due to his ardor in arguing since others would always agree to a handshake after a good debate.

Joseph Jonas graduation diploma from Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah

Below is a copy of a picture believed to be from his graduation at BYC.  I have not been able to find the original of this photo or a copy at Utah State University’s archives where the Brigham Young College limited records are located (which are less than cooperative on letting me rummage through all the unknown photos).

In Richmond Joseph and Lillian met when Lillian’s father, Herbert, hired Joseph to help harvest hay.  It was within six months, according to the story, that they were married.  The two were married 6 September 1916 in the Logan LDS Temple.

Joseph registered for the draft of World War I on 5 June 1917.  When he registered, he indicated he was a laborer working for Olaf Neilson, the man who would later become a brother-in-law.  He indicated he was taking care of his wife and father.  He also indicated that his eyes were brown and his hair was brown.  He is listed as short and stout.  Here is his signature from that registration.  According to his family, he stood about 5’6″ and was very muscular.

Joseph’s father passed in Richmond in June 1917.  Lillian gave birth to Joseph Herbert Jonas 14 August 1917 in Richmond.

In 1919, Joseph and his two siblings, Rosa and William, had all moved to Idaho.  They operated a dry farm raising grain in Cleveland, Franklin, Idaho.  Christian and Rosa, along with Joseph, did most of the work on the farm and lived about a mile apart.  William taught at the school in Thatcher, Franklin, Idaho.  The Andersen and Jonas families also kept cows, pigs, chickens, and a sizable garden.  This is the only home Joseph and Lillian Jonas would together own.  Joseph arrived with the cows in Thatcher on 1 April 1919.  Lillian stayed in Richmond due to her pregnancy and while Joseph established the farm.  Communications were slow because mail was held at Thatcher.  Joseph and Lillian only heard from each other when Joseph made it in to Thatcher to pick up the mail or send a letter.

Spencer Gilbert Jonas was born 1 September 1919 in Richmond.  Lillian and the two boys joined Joseph in Cleveland.

The 1920 Census found the Jonas family on 26 January 1920 living on the Cleveland Road outside of Thatcher.

Irwin John Jonas was born 2 September 1921 in Cleveland, but listed as Thatcher.

In 1923 or early 1924, the family then moved to Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  The farm was not working out and he was able to obtain employment with the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad.  Joseph worked on a section gang, just like his father had.  The gang’s job was to repair rotten timbers, hammering in spikes, tightening bolts, and maintaining the rail line.  He worked 7 days a week, sometimes all night, coming home only after a shift was over.

The family lived in a boxcar that had its wheels removed.  A ditch ran under a portion of their home.  Another boxcar nearby was used as a storage shed.  It was here 15 May 1924 that Wilburn Norwood Jonas was born.  Ellis Seth Jonas arrived in this home 6 September 1926, their 10 year wedding anniversary.

Joseph kept a tub of furnace oil in the shed.  It accidentally caught on fire and and Joseph immediately announced to Lillian that the storage shed would burn down and probably their home too.  Joseph, known for being a bit of a prankster, was not believed by Lillian despite his insistence.  Joseph ran back to the shed and picked up the burning tub of fuel and carried it outside the shed.  While he saved the shed and his home, he found himself in Ogden for several weeks with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  A 9 February 1927 newspaper mention in the Ogden Standard Examiner tells of his being brought to the Dee Hospital on Tuesday the 8th for treatment of burns to the face.

In 1927, Joseph was promoted foreman and oversaw the Quinney line through Wheeler, Thaine, and ending at Quinney (now Amalga).  Later, he accepted another foreman job and moved to the railroad town of Uintah, Weber, Utah where he lived in row housing.  Here is a picture taken while living there.

Picture from Uintah Railroad Camp toward Weber Canyon about 1927

Joseph filed for divorce 2 March 1929 claiming Lillian had deserted him.  The article in the paper indicates they had not lived together since 20 February 1928.  It was during this time on 4 September 1928 that Evan Reed Jonas was born in Ogden.  The divorce was dismissed on 9 March 1929 due to the party’s stipulation.  Joseph again sued on 8 April 1929.  He was ordered to pay $75 a month until the case was resolved.  Joseph and Lillian had the case dismissed after they worked out their issues.

The family later moved into a comfortable home owned by the railroad at 102 17th Street in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  It was a row house, but since he was Section Foreman, the only one with a porch.  Joseph’s father, Joseph, had also served as Section Foreman.  Joseph’s main responsibility dealt with the Huntsville and Plain City/Warren lines.  During this time Joseph and Lillian became known as generous hosts where all visitors were always given more than enough to eat.  Joseph prided himself on the vegetable garden they grew at this home.

On 6 November 1929 Lillian was hit and ran over by an automobile driven by Jack Mobley.  It knocked her unconscious but she quickly regained consciousness.  She spent the night in the hospital and was pretty seriously bruised and lacerated but suffered no broken bones.  Joseph and Lillian admitted they were walking in the middle of the road when the accident occurred.

Joseph and Lillian continued active in the LDS church.  Joseph regularly debated and discussed religion with others.  He was also known to be strict in adherence to principles and expected his children to do the same.  He was not afraid to “switch” his children when they got in trouble or disobeyed.  One thing family members always commented about Joseph was his ability to remember and recall scripture in a conversation and discussion.  Not only that, but when questioned to prove it, he was familiar enough with the book that within moments he could find the chapter and verse.  His familiarity with the bible surprised many people, especially from a railroad laborer.

Joseph and some friends at work after a game of shoes

Lillian Annetta Jonas was born 15 July 1930 in Ogden.  The 1930 Census found Joseph and Lillian at their home on 9 April 1930.  The family was fairly comfortable, they could even afford some of the best appliances.

Joseph Jonas Maytag Warranty Certificate

Joseph was especially glad to have a girl after six sons in a row.

Joseph stands on the back row, second from the left. This is his Section Gang in Ogden.

Joseph and Lillian had a scare in 1931 when their son, Joseph, disappeared for a couple of weeks.  He had been kidnapped by a Mr. J J Nelson and taken to Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  He was finally recovered on 20 June 1931.  The man was arrested after he beat young Joseph in public and the police determined Joseph was the missing boy from Ogden.

LeReta Mary Jonas was born 1 August 1932 in Ogden.

On Tuesday, 6 September 1932, a month after LeReta was born and on his 16th wedding anniversary, Joseph went to work as usual.  Joseph knew the dangers of working on the railroad.  It was near lunch time and his son, Norwood, was taking Joseph his lunch. Joseph saw Norwood and got down off a trolley near Lincoln and 20th Street, near the American Can Company plant.  After getting off the trolley, he turned and walked toward Norwood and hit his head on a wire Mr. Child had strung down to do some welding.  (Mr. Child was haunted by this episode the rest of his life because Joseph had warned him about the way he had hung the wire.)  The shock knocked Joseph on his back unconscious and not breathing.  Joseph died immediately but doctors worked on Joseph for over an hour.  Lillian said Norwood was forever affected by the event.  Joseph died at roughly 1:00 PM.

Joseph Jonas Death Cert

Here is a copy of the newspaper notice.

Here is the burial notice.

As a historical side note, here is the front of the train schedule Joseph had in his wallet at the time of his death.

Utah Idaho Central Railroad Company Time Table from 1932-1933

The loss of Joseph dealt the family a hard blow not only with losing a family member, but it also lost them the company housing in which they were living.  Lillian, at the mercy of family, moved immediately back to Richmond to be near her family.  Lillian’s father, Herbert Coley, was appointed administrator for Joseph’s estate.  The railroad paid out roughly $1,200 to Joseph’s estate.  The funeral, transport, and burial of the family cost Lillian $150.  The estate did not begin making regular payments to Lillian until 1934.  Until then, Lillian wrote to the railroad for assistance and help.  The railroad was happy to provide passes for the family to travel.  Unfortunately, the company quit handling company coal so they could not fulfill her requests but allowed the boys to have all the used railroad ties they wanted for firewood.

Lillian’s signature from the back of one of the estate checks written to her.

Fortunately, the money from the estate was enough to purchase a home for Lillian in Richmond from a Melvin & Bernetta Smith for $500.  This gave Lillian a home to raise her children and less worry about providing for her family.  The home was located on the north side of the road at roughly 65 E 400 S in Richmond, Utah.  Herbert and Martha, Lillian’s parents, lived across the street, but their home was a good couple hundred feet from the road.

Lillian made good effort to raise six unruly, now fatherless, boys and two girls.  At Joseph’s death, the children were ages 15, 13, 11, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 month.  The Jonas brood were known for being a bit coarse and boisterous as the years went on.  Only a few years would pass before the children would start marrying.

Joseph married Hilma Grace Erickson 17 June 1936 in Logan.

Spencer married Viola “Jimmie” Amelia Cole 5 August 1938 in Farmington, Davis, Utah.

Irwin joined the army 6 July 1939 and immediately left for training.  He eventually married Mary Elizabeth Popwitz 17 June 1943 in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota.

Lillian’s portrait after the death of son Irwin in World War II

Evan married Lona Rae Jensen 15 March 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.

Norwood married Colleen Mary Andra 27 September 1946 in Elko.

Ellis married Geraldine Pitcher 17 August 1947 in Elko.

Lillian Driver’s License photo

LeReta married Lowell Hansen Andersen 19 March 1948 in Logan.

Lillian married Ray Laurence Talbot 16 August 1948 in Ogden.

Jimmie, Lillian, and Lona Jonas with Norene and little Spence about 1948 (Lillian has a beet knife in hand, must have been fall)

Lillian spent the new few years in an empty home.  She knew Lorenzo “Ren” Bowcutt over the years.  She accepted his offer of marriage and they were married 12 June 1953 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

1953 Marriage License

Lillian and Ren Bowcutt

At the time of her marriage to Ren, she had 22 grandchildren, 21 living.

Lillian Bowcutt in 1959

5 generations about 1959, Lillian Coley Bowcutt, Martha Christiansen Coley, Joseph Hebert Jonas, Robert Lee Jonas, Joseph Leland Jonas

Ren passed away 5 April 1966 in Logan (born 12 May 1883 in Honeyville, Box Elder, Utah).  Ren was buried in Riverside, Box Elder, Utah.

Lorenzo Bowcutt

Lorenzo Bowcutt obituary

Lona and Evan Jonas visiting Lillian in the late 1960′s

Lillian in 1978

She lived in the same home until the early 1980′s when she moved in with her daughter Lillian in Layton.

Front (l-r): Spence, Joe, Ellis, Evan, Paul Ross, Jackie Jonas, Andra Ross. Standing: Jimmie, Hilma, Lillian, Lillian, LeReta, Lona, Colleen. Back: Dan Jonas, Larry Talbot, Unknown hidden, Unknown hidden in 1982

4 generations, Sherlean Talbot Collier, Rebecca Collier, Lillian Jonas Talbot, Lillian Coley Jonas about 1984

Lillian portrait about 1986

Spence, Lillian, Joe, Lillian, Ellis, LeReta, Evan

Lillian died 11 February 1987 in Davis Medical Center, Layton, Utah.  She was almost 88.5 years old.  She was buried beside her husband (55 years later) in Richmond 16 February 1987.

Ellis Seth Jonas

With the passing of Uncle Ellis and his funeral today, I thought I would make available the pictures I have of him over the years similar to other family members.  My way of remembering him and honouring the family.  Until we meet again.

Ellis Seth Jonas was born 6 September 1926 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah to Lillian Coley and Joseph Nelson Jonas.  The fifth child of eight to his parents (my Grandfather, Norwood, was fourth).  Ellis was born on the tenth wedding anniversary of his parents.  He married Geraldine Pitcher 17 August 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  My Grandparents were going to elope and go at the same time but chickened out and ended up making the trip the next month.  Five children were born to the marriage; Kent in 1949, Mary Lou in 1951, Julie in 1954, Dan in 1958, and Ron in 1965.  Ellis died at home in Smithfield, Cache, Utah 12 August 2012 and will be buried today, 18 August 2012 in Smithfield.

Ellis as a boy.

A certificate regarding his promotion to North Cache High School.

I have a host of World War II pictures.  I will just present them all here.

Ellis is the second from the right in the second from back row.

A letter home near the end of the war.

I have this graduation picture.  I don’t know if it is high school or college, probably graduation from Utah State in 1951 or 1952.  At this link are a couple of photos from Ellis’ days coaching baseball.

A picture of Ellis on the ground at the 1957 Jonas Reunion.

Ellis Jonas (on the ground), children (l-r): Paul Jonas, Julie Jonas (sitting on Ellis), Janeal Jonas, Sherlean Talbot, MaryLou Jonas.

The Ellis and Geri Jonas family in classic 1970′s fashion.

Back (l-r): Julie, Dan, Mary Lou. Front: Ellis, Ron, Geri.

Working at the armory.

Ellis and Geri.

Here is a picture of their home in Smithfield taken in July 2003.

The last picture I have in life of Ellis is from 2009 with his great grand niece.

Ellis Jonas holding Gracie Christiansen

Update: LOST:OLD TRUNK

I am republishing this old post with a pretty cool little update.  I first published this post on the 26th of October 2006.  I am happy to report that while the trunk was not located, its contents have been!  I will not disclose where these contents were found, the important part is that family once again has these items.  Future posts will start to share these contents as I have the opportunity to review, scan, and make it available.  There are some pretty cool, and useless, items in these contents.  Everything from tokens obtained in Cigarette packs for Hoppie’s Billards in Richmond, Cache, Utah to a stash of photos that I can only hope we can name all the individuals captured.  Calendars from 1934 to mail received in the 1940′s.  Telegrams regarding the bringing of a body home (9 years after dying in World War II) to receipts from the Benson Stake (Richmond, Utah) Tithing Office.  Franklin Institute flyers from 1930 to a wallet of my Great Grandfather containing receipts from the day he died in 1932.  This will be fun.  None of the journals have been found yet.  The flag from her son’s coffin is not present (yet).  The person is still looking to see if there are more items, which I hope there are.  As a taste, here is a photo from a negative found in the contents of Yellowstone Falls.
Thanks be given for this modern miracle.

Yellowstone Falls about 1966

Here is the original post.
Here will certainly be a different blog. It is both a prayer and an announcement for the world. There is also a hope that the miracles of God
will be manifest. I ask that those who read would offer up a prayer and hope for the same.

My Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt, grew up in the mountains to the south-east of Richmond, Utah. She was born to Herbert and Martha Christiansen Coley in 1898 and was the eldest of 10 children. In 1916 she married Joseph Nelson Jonas in the Logan Temple and had 8
children.

Joseph Herbert Jonas
Spencer Gilbert Jonas
Irwin John Jonas
Wilburn Norwood Jonas
Evan Reed Jonas
Ellis Seth Jonas
Lillian Jonas
LeReta Jonas

In 1932, Joseph, her husband was electrocuted working for the railroad in Ogden, Utah. His father had worked for the railroad, and most of his family also worked for the railroad. He was made manager and had moved to Ogden from Richmond only a year or two before.

The family moved back to Richmond. Lillian then did her best to raise the boys. She remarried in about 1959 to Lorenzo (Ren) Bowcutt in Preston, Idaho. Ren died in about 1966. She lived alone mostly until the mid 80′swhen she moved in with her daughter, Lillian, in Layton, Utah.  Here is the reason for writing. Through all these years, she kept a trunk with personal possessions. Contained therein are the birth certificates of all her children. We know she kept journals through most of her life in calendar books issued by the insurance companies. There are at least 10 of these journals in the trunk. There are a couple photo albums that were hers and her mother’s. Also there is the flag that draped her son’s coffin after his death in WWII. There are apparently some books that came over with her grandfather from England.

This trunk of is wonderful value when it comes to family history work. The only thing that might be of any worth is the trunk, but it is so old and
worn that I cannot imagine it would hold any monetary value.  Somehow, for what reasons I do not know, my grandmother ended up with the
trunk. I only remember it being placed in one of the upstairs bedrooms of my grandmother’s house and we were forbidden to look in it. She placed a television on it when we were younger to keep it from younger hands. It sat in that same space, even until I left to go to England for my mission.

In 1999, she died, and shortly thereafter, somebody broke into her house.  The trunk is one of the objects that were stolen. My aunt was living there at the time but insists she has no idea who made off with it. She thinks it is somebody she knew or knows. There might be other items that were taken, but the official inventory was not taken for another week or two afterward.

So here is the plea. This trunk would have little or no value to anyone who is not a member of the Jonas/Coley family. I sincerely hope that whoever did this deed, friend or foe of the family, would not have carelessly thrown away or destroyed the trunk and its contents. In fact, I don’t care about the trunk. But it is the possessions of the trunk which are of great interest at present. All living members of the family still ask me
regularly about the trunk. Their own birth certificates are in there. I am interested in the history and priceless information contained within that
trunk.

Here is the plea to those who come upon this blog. If you are searching for the owner of the trunk, please contact me. While there are no individuals who would possess the names in the trunk in Southern Idaho, I hope you stumble on this blog. There will be no questions asked, we just want the inventory, any of it. If you are just reading and can understand the plight, please offer a prayer to heaven in our behalf that this priceless gem is returned to those who would honour and cherish it. This is a deep and sincere desire of my heart.