Photos of James Thomas Ross/Meredith

In the last few weeks, family history communications paid some dividends.  I found the first quality photos of my Great, Great Grandfather James Thomas Ross also known as James R Meredith.

I previously wrote about James’ life story here on 8 January 2012.  I also posted pictures of our visit as a family to James’ grave at Belmont Memorial Cemetery in Fresno, Fresno, California at this post.

This past week, in conversations with Darlene Neault, a granddaughter of Martha Elnora Cackler, she let me know she had some photos of Jim and Martha.  I was very interested in obtaining a copy.  She was kind enough to mail them to me!  Very trusting.  I scanned them and already mailed them back to her.  These photos are uploaded to FamilySearch and I will also share them here.

Martha and James Meredith, photo has 1946 written on the back. 

As a refresher, James was born 22 September 1869 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.  He married Damey Catherine Graham 9 August 1887 in Hiwassie, Pulaski, Virginia.  Four children were born, Robert, John “Jack”, Fanny, and James.  Damie passed away 3 February 1933 in Marysville, Yuba, California.  James remarried Henrietta Fountain 8 June 1936 in Sacramento, Sacramento, California.  She passed away 21 February 1946 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.

That brings us to his marriage to Martha Elnora Cackler, widow of Daniel Gordon Brewer, 14 July 1947 in Fresno, Fresno, California.  Daniel and Martha had 7 children together.  Martha’s granddaughter, Darlene, had these photos in her possession.

I have a younger picture of James, but it is pixelated and not any good to really zoom in to see any facial features.  I hope some day to get a better scan of this photo.

James & Damey Ross

But until then, I now have photos of Jim later in his life.  James passed away 13 April 1951 in Fresno.  Martha passed away 31 July 1974 in Fresno.  James was buried in the larger Brewer family plot of Martha’s family.

I understand these two next photos are on their wedding day.

Jim and Martha on the happy marriage date

 

Jim & Martha with wedding cake

These next three pictures are also of James and Martha.  I am still trying to figure out who exactly the others are, but I understand Darlene is in two of the photos.  As I get the information, I will update the post.

Unknown four girls, I believe second from left is Darlene, then Martha and Jim

 

Unknown couple, James, Martha

 

James, Martha, Unknown, Darlene

I hope there are more photos out there to discover.  These were pretty exciting!

 

 

Sergene Rodeo

Sergene Andra on the front of the Preston Night Rodeo program for 1949 with Trigger Jr.

My Uncle Larry Andra provided these two photos as part of a group of photos.  I hadn’t seen these photos before.  I thought they were interesting enough I would provide them separately.

The first is the front of the 1949 program for “That Famous Preston Night Rodeo.”  The photo has Aunt Sergene along with Roy Rogers’ Trigger Jr.  There is quite a bit of history on the That Famous Preston Night Rodeo, but there is much more history available on the internet of Roy Rogers and Trigger Jr.

This second picture is of Sergene as the Rodeo Queen and stands in the middle between her 1st and 2nd Runner Up.  The horse was owned by Mr. Peterson who lived on the corner of 1200 East and Oneida in Preston.  Sergene ran on a whim and won.  I do not know which year, I assume this is at Preston.

 

Sergene Andra after winning as Rodeo Queen

Father’s Day 2020

For Father’s Day this year, I thought I would reach back to 2011.  My grandfather, Milo James Ross, turned 90 on 4 February 2011.  For that grand event, the Ross/Donaldson families, and Plain City community came together to celebrate.  I have loaded most of the photos from that day on to FamilySearch, I only share a few of the family pictures from that day.

Whole Ross Clan: (l-r) Cindy Adams, Milo Ross (holding Daniel Constable), Andra Ross, Jeffrey Ross, Milo Ross, Tanisha Adams, Cody Adams, Caroline Gallegos, Jerrett Ross, Becky Patterson, Mercedes Ross, Matthew Ross, Scott Ross, Paul Ross; Front Stefanie Hadley holding Gavyn and Kayden Hadley.

This photo holds a good portion of the Ross descendants.  A couple of four generations in this photo.

The celebration was held in a building that Grandpa helped orchestrate construction from the original donation of the land (stretching back over 70 years) to its actual erection.  He was a ardent supporter of the United States flag and the Boy Scouts rewarded him accordingly.

Plain City 2/7/8 Ward Building at 2952 North 4200 West decorated for Grandpa’s 90th Birthday Party

Family and friends came from Oregon and Washington, I came from Oklahoma, others from Colorado.  Most came from nearby in Idaho and Utah.

Ross Boys: Paul Ross, Matt Ross, Milo Ross, Daniel Constable, Jeff Ross, Milo Ross, Jerrett Ross, Scott Ross (holding Gavyn Hadley) and Kayden Hadley

Here is a picture of Dad, Grandpa, and Caroline.

Milo Paul, Milo James, Caroline

 

Kristy Neilson, Tanisha Adams, Cody Adams, Jeneal Adams, Bret Adams, Cindy Adams

And to wrap up, the one that seems to be the best.  Grandpa’s big smile.

Million Dollar Smile

An interesting side note, Grandpa had shrapnel in his face.  As time continued its march, some of his teeth started to die and break off.  He had a bridge and various other problems.  But this smile has a piece of shrapnel behind his upper lip that bothered him his entire life.

Milo Ross, Jeneal Adams

Rosa Nelson Jonas

Christian & Rosa Andersen

This is another chapter of the Jonas history book compiled by Carvel Jonas.  This chapter relates to Rosa Nelson Jonas.  Reviewing this information in FamilySearch shows some changes and updates to some of the information presented.

The following story was written by Rosa and is typed from a hand-written copy in the possession of her daughter, Verla Jonas Andersen Lythgoe.

“The story of Mrs. Rosa Jonas Andersen.  Miss Rosa Nelson Jonas was born in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, Washington, on 5 Sep 1886, the third daughter of Annie Josephine Nelson Jonas and Joseph Jonas on a farm.

“Being Catholic, when about two months old, mother took me to church to be baptized, which was done by mother holding me in her arms, while the priest poured a few drops of water on my forehead.  (St. Andrew church records this date 26 Sep 1886)  In the meantime two persons stood by her side, one on each side of her, a man and a woman, they are called the God mother and father, they are to become your guardian in case anything happens to your parents.
“When I was about four years old, I followed a cousin of mine to school.  Not understanding the rules of school, I would talk out loud and go from one seat to another, so the teacher asked me if I hadn’t better go home, my mother may need me.  I told him oh, no she has got some more kids home.  I said it so loud the whole room began to laugh.  That got me, I was so hurt at being laughed at I never went back.
“The fall of 1895, we went to Yakima to pick hops.  Although only nine years of age, it was a very interesting trip.  People came from all parts of the country.
“One family in particular which attracted my attention was a family traveling in a covered wagon, which had on the outside “Olympia, Washington or bust.”  While picking hops they turned their chickens loose, and every night they would go to roost in the back of the wagon, they had a place fixed just on the outside of the end gate.  They stayed during the hop season, which lasts about a month or six weeks.
“We were paid one dollar a box and it took four, forty gallon barrels or what they called flour barrels to make a box of hops.  The hops were grown in large fields like we grow beets which was one of the prettiest sights I ever seen, to see the way the hops grew.  The rows were far enough apart to cultivate between with a cultivation horse.  Large poles were even so far apart with strong wire over the top to which a strong cord was tied and fastened to a peg driven in the ground, the hop vine would wrap around this string as it grew.  The hops were between six and nine inches long.  The most interesting part of this occasion was the Indians, whose camp was just across from where we made our camp.
“We were afraid to go too close so we stood off at a distance and watched them put up their tents.  The women or squaws as we call them, did all the work.

Rosa Nelson Jonas

“After we had been in camp about a week, while strolling through the bushes we came upon a squaw making a bed for a new baby, she dug a great big place in the ground, put a layer of rocks in it and made a fire on the rocks.  Of course, we didn’t know what she was making but I did know she didn’t want us standing around watching her, and would make motions with her hands for us to go away.  I told Mother and she said for us not to go around there any more, because the poor woman was sick.
“Well, we didn’t but one morning before sun up and the ground was white with frost, my sister and I went down to the river and to our great surprise we saw that same squaw that was sick with a tiny baby.  We watcher her undress her baby and in the cold water she dipped it.  We run home and told mother to come quick that an Indian was drowning her baby.  She laughed and told us she was giving her baby its morning bath.
“Now in the Catholic Church the Sunday School has two classes, one that they call the catechism and the other the Bible.  They are not allowed to go to Communion or partake of what we call the sacrament, until they graduate from the catechism (spelled Katakismn in her story) class.  The day before you go to communion the whole class has to go to confession, which is quite an affair.  I’ll try and describe how it is done.  They is say, a large closet with a partition running through the center making two average sized closets, with dark maroon draperies hanging in each door way.  You go to the right little room, and you’ll find a small bench, to the left, you kneel on it and you find a hole in the partition wall, that comes about to your chin, looking through that you see the Priest sitting in his nice comfortable overstuffed chair waiting to hear you confess your sins, which is done by your saying, “Father forgive me for telling a lie,” or whatever you done that was wrong since you went to confession last.  Your punishment is if you haven’t a rosary to get one.  It has from 25 to 20 beads each having a different design, each bead means a certain prayer.  I had to get one of those beads and say six hail Mary’s every night before retiring and every morning before dressing and two Apostle Creeds so I must have been one of the worst, I thought well, I’ll just show you Priest-I’m not going to freeze my toes saying that while I was kneeling by the bed side, so I’d get up in the center of the bed, cover the quits over my head and bury my face in the pillow and start praying just as fast as I could, sometimes I’d skip a bead and sometimes two, but that did not make any difference because I was covered and no one could see me, and that old Apostle Creed it was too long to say once, say nothing about saying it twice, not me, I didn’t see any sense in learning prayers out of a book when I wanted something because I thought the Lord wouldn’t understand what I wanted.
“Well the next day at Communion all the girls wore white dresses with veils and wreaths on their heads, and boys in black.  Up to the altar or railing covered in white you kneel down, put your hands under this white cover that goes over the railing, close your eyes, put your head back, open your mouth, put out your tongue and the priest will put this Communion on your tongue, don’t let it touch your teeth, close your mouth, bow your head.  When he had given each one in the class a Communion you all arise and go to your seat.  This Communion is about as large as a small sop cracker, I guess that is what it is from what I could see just partly closing my eyes.  I wanted to see what he was going to give me anyway and I did.  He took it out of a goblet with his forefinger and thumb and layed it on my tongue and stood there and drank the wine it was soaked in.
“In the year of 1901 July 3, I came to Utah.  Feb 6, 1902 I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by N[els]. A[ugust]. Nelson who took a pick and broke the ice in the Jordan River in South Jordan, Salt Lake County, and was confirmed the same day by Bishop James P. Jensen.  In the year of 1903 I spent a week in the Salt Lake Temple being baptized for relatives and had my endowments and went through for those I was baptized for and had them sealed.  This made me sixteen years of age when I had my endowments.
In April 1902 I had my patriarchal blessing which (is) a great comfort and help to me because of the wonderful promise of temple work, and of the great relief it would be for those I did work for.  It sure is a great comfort to go and read it and reread it.  The more you read it, the more it means to you.  “So girls, don’t miss getting your Patriarchal Blessing.”
“The following is Rosa’s blessing. 
“A blessing given to Rosa Jonas, daughter of Joseph and Josephine Nelson Jonas born in Ellensburg, Kittitas Co, State of Washington. 
“Sister Jonas in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the priesthood conferred upon me, I confer upon your a patriarchal blessing.  In as much as you desire to know what God requires of you.  If you are faithful you shall never be deceived.  You have a knowledge that God lives and your prayer will be answered in those things that will be for your good.
“You are of Israel and are entitled to the blessings which the gospel imparts, and although young, God will increase your testimony.  If you are humble, your heart will be fully satisfied.  Be careful of the company that you keep.  Be modest and careful in the selection of your companionship or you may be deceived.  There is much for you to do in the Temples of the Lord, and many of your ancestors names will be presented to you and they will bless you for the labor that you performed for them in the flesh.
God will give you judgement to select a man of God for a companion, who will lead you back into the presence of God from whence you came.
Cherish virtue more than your life.  Never allow yourself to step from the paths of truth and virtue for I seal this blessing upon you with all your born blessing and I seal you up unto Eternal Life, promising you that none of these blessings shall fail if humble on your part in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Rosa lived with her Uncle August Nelson and did housework for her room and board.  She wasn’t very tall and some of her children have said she would measure to their arms if their arms were held out horizontal with the ground.  A guess she would be a few inches above five feet tall.  She had thin brown hair and brown eyes.  When she was young she had white hair, until it grew darker as she became a young woman.  All her siblings had white hair when they were children.  Her hair was probably thinned because of the typhoid epidemic which killed her older sister, Mary.  At that time Rosa’s hair fell out by the hand full.  Since Mary died 21 Sep 1899, Rosa would have been 13 years old when she lost her hair.  Rosa was the only left handed sibling.  I am told that Rosa would argue about religious doctrines with her brothers and would hit the stove with a pan to give emphasis to her point of view.  Apparently these siblings would argue and defend their point of view vigorously for a few hours at a time.  However, after their debates they were affectionate with each other and were able to be good friends after any discussions.  They were very loyal to each other.
“A land record in Logan tells us that on the 8 Nov 1905 Rosa and her husband, Christian Andersen, first bought their house in Richmond, Utah.  It was located at 137 East 1st South.  They bought lots 2 and 3 for $500.00.  They lived there until 2 Jun 1920 when they sold their house for $2400.00 and then moved to Thatcher, Idaho.  While they were living in Richmond two of her brothers would live with them from time to time.  William and Joseph would stay at her home when they came back from the Brigham Young College at Logan.  She also lived within about a block of her other brother, John, who had bought a home.  She was very helpful to her brothers by washing their clothes and given them a place to sleep when they came home during the weekends.  Joseph, her youngest brother, often sought her for advise, and often would take the advice of his sister in substitute of the parental advice he missed.  She lived in Thatcher, Idaho, with her two brothers on a far and after a short few years moved back to Richmond, Utah.  Later (about 1922) the family moved to Preston, Idaho at 295 West 4th South, where she died years after.  The following is quoted in the life story of her husband, Christian Andersen, and was written by their daughter, Mabel.
Father met my mother, Rosa Nelson Jonas, about a year before they were married.  One night (Christian) was singing and playing a lively song and mother and Aunt Delia walked into the dance hall and there sat father playing the accordion and singing this song.  Mother took one look at him and said to Aunt Delia, “I should think he would be ashamed of himself.”  She thought him repulsive at first.  But later on in years she rocked his little kids to sleep and he sang these very same songs to us.  Mother did not mind in the least.  Aunt Delia and Grandma Andersen decided that Christian and Rosa were meant for each other, so Aunt Delia gave a party and invited the Andersen boys.  They were a lively bunch and had a good time that night.”
“…Rosa made a nice cream cake with plenty of whipped cream on it.  (Christian) came to see her that evening in his rubber tired buggy so he could eat it, batched by himself…  On the way home father put the cake on the floor of the wagon so it would be safe.  The high spirited horse became frightened and started to run away.  Father pulled back on the lines and raised his foot up and set it down right in the middle of the cream cake!  When he got home he cut around his foot print and ate what he could of the cake.  As a result of these meetings father and mother were married on 29 Jun 1904 in the Salt Lake Temple.”
“Rosa wrote a letter to her oldest sister, Margaret, to apologize for not writing her until after she was married about her marriage.  Joseph Jonas, her father, wrote back and said that Margaret would forgive her because she had died.
Rosa became the mother of Christian’s two children, Pearl and Ivy, who were from Christian’s first marriage.  “Rosa was strict and so was Christian.”
“Rosa and Christian moved into a house in Richmond, Utah.  Christian added one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a bath.  He made a stairway and maintained a “well groomed house and yard.”  “We had a shanty or summer kitchen where “Rosa and her daughters” did the canning of fruit and washing.  The shanty was a couple of rods from the backdoor.  We had a cement sidewalk and a big stone rock for a step…”  Their “home had the first running water in it to come out of the wall hot… We had the first electric light in Richmond.”
Rosa and Christian had six children.  The first five were born in Richmond.  The last was born in Lewiston.  They are the following children: Mabel Rosetta, born 23 Oct 1905; Cyrus Christian, born 21 Dec 1907; Cleone Annetta, born 24 Nov 1909; Merlin Jonas, born 19 Sep 1913; Verla Jonas, born 16 Mar 1917; Arvie Jonas, born 31 May 1921.
“I remember moving from the ranch at Thatcher to Lewiston.  Mother was expecting Arvie and she rode in the back of the wagon on some hay.  The meager furniture was loaded into the wagon drawn by Jupiter and a bay horse named Sailor.  Verla was bundled up in blankets and quilts, also Merlin and I (Mabel).  Snow was on the ground, it was cold.  While we were pulling the dugway by Riverdale where it was icy and slick, ol’ Jupiter fell on his right front shoulder.  This turned the front wheels of the wagon causing it to tip.  But quick as a flash Jupiter was on his feet and gave a lunge throwing the wagon the other way.  Sailor pulled his line and up the dugway we went.  I always felt that I owed my life to Jupiter because if the wagon had gone over it would have dumped the stove on top of me…”  Another night during the trip they stayed at a range house and they fixed breakfast for them.  Joseph Nelson Jonas was driving the wagon.
“Rosa and Christian had one of the most beautiful homes.  (They) had a beautiful garden bed of tulips; and beds of gladiolas…(their) lawns were nice and green with no weeds…In Richmond and Preston they used to have large raspberry patches.  We girl used to get up at four in the morning and pick the berries before it would get too hot.  Then again at five in the afternoon when it was cooler we would again go into the patch and pick berries.  (Rosa) sold many of the berries to people living near.”

Rosa & Christian Andersen

“In the winter when the snow was deep a group of people would get together and decide to have a surprise on some member.  The women would open the door and yell SURPRISE!!!  In they would go and take all the furniture out of their room and take up the rug or carpet and start to dance.  Christian would be there with the accordion.  He would take a chair and sit in the corner and play all night.  About midnight they ladies would give the rest of the people lunch.  They  would eat and dance some more.  After the dance was over the men would carry the furniture back into the house again.”
“The following information was taken from the obituary of Rosa Nelson Jonas.  “Preston-Mrs. Rosa Jonas Andersen, 64, died in a Preston hospital at midnight Tuesday.  She served as president of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association in the Preston Sixth Ward, as a Primary teacher, and for eight years was captain of the Hiawatha Camp, Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday noon in the Preston Sixth Ward Chapel by Bishop A.C. Lundgreen.  Friends may call at the family home Friday evening and Sat. until time of the services.  Burial will be in the Ogden Cemetery under the direction of the Webb Mortuary of Preston.”

German Branch of Oneida Stake

Necia Seamons article at Oneida Stake Academy

In 2018, I took the kids over to Preston, Idaho because there was a display on some of our Nuffer ancestors at the Oneida Stake Academy.  Necia Seamons has been good to write history of the area and do various research projects.  The Academy continues to be restored and progress is being made.

I thought these pages deserved their own entry for the history as well as reference to family.

“On April 19, 1896, the Oneida Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized a German speaking branch based in Glendale.  Both John Nuffer and Charles August Nuffer served int he branch’s leadership, as did Joseph Moser, Mr. Kern, Alma Moser and William Addison Wagstaff.

“The first branch president was Jacob (Ira) Naef, who was Swiss.

“They gathered every two weeks, at first in the homes of members, and sometimes traveled as many as 20 miles for services from the towns of Glendale, Preston, Mink Creek, Whitney, St. Joseph and Franklin.

“‘The branch existed for 20 years, until Oneida Stake President Joseph S Geddes, in 1916, asked Charles August Nuffer, then branch president, to not hold meetings due to contentious sentiments toward the German speaking people.’

“‘During the latter 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.’

“‘After the war, many of the German people moved away, so we never started to hold meetings anymore,’ said Charles August Nuffer.

“At the end of WWI, Preston resident gathered outhouses into the town square, what is now Benson Park (above), and called it the ‘Schitty of Berlin.’  They whooped and hollered and burned the mock city down.

“Willard and Austin Nuffer sons of John and Louisa Zollinger Nuffer, served the U.S. in WWI.  Willard also registered for WWII.

Necia Seamons article at Oneida Stake Academy

President & Sister Wightman

President & Sister Phil & Patsy Wightman, Paul Ross, Brad Hales

I have too many photos sitting in folders waiting for a post or a time.  Now is the time to write about the great eclipse of 2017.

I first found out about the eclipse nearly a year in advance.  I found out the eclipse would pass directly over Rexburg on 21 August 2017.  I reached out to Brad Hales, a former missionary companion, roommate, and still good friend.  I booked a weekend at the Hales Hotel in Rexburg for the weekend.  I had a good laugh because this was the first he had heard about the eclipse.

We made our way to Rexburg early to beat the crowds.  We arrived, set up in our quarters, and we went out to do some visits.  Brad and I paid a visit to our former Mission President and his amazing wife, Phil & Patsy Wightman.  They had been in a very serious automobile accident within a year or so before so we were very happy to see them and that they are well on the mend.

There were other missionaries there when we stopped.  We were not the only ones with the idea to pay a visit at the Wightman home.  While we were there, we had one of the other missionaries snap this picture.  It was a great experience to see them and spend a short amount of time with them.  Always inspiring.

If you would like, you can watch this talk given by President Wightman at Brigham Young University – Idaho.

https://www.byui.edu/devotionals/president-philip-c-wightman

We watched the great eclipse in Rexburg within a few hundred feet to the southwest of the Rexburg Temple.  Wightmans also served as Temple President & Matron at the Temple.  It was an experience I will not forget anytime in the near future.  One of those humbling experiences where you realize how puny man really is.

I thought about what other photos I might have of the Wightmans.  I found these four.  President & Sister Wightman served in the England Manchester Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 1999-2002.

President & Sister Wightman with the Byrom family in Runcorn, England.  Standing (l-r): Marie, Rose, Benjamin, Iain; On couch: Barnaby, Patsy Wightman, Phil Wightman, Jared; On floor: Jacob, Isaac.

I do not recall why Wightmans were in Runcorn, maybe it was a baptism, maybe it was just passing through, maybe a Sunday.  This would have been in spring 2000, I believe.

President Wightman, Paul Ross, Sister Wightman in Downham, England

This was taken in Downham, Lancashire, England as part of the Mission Tour.

President & Sister Wightman, Downham, England

Another photo from the same time, same location.

Goodbye at the Manchester England Airport

Last, a good-bye shot at the Manchester England Airport in December 2000.  Of course they saw us off at the airport as we went home.  Last time I saw them until I attended their homecoming in Rexburg, Idaho.

My life has been forever changed by the Wightmans.  I have mentioned them in other posts.  Phenomenal people.

 

William Christoph Wanner

William Christoph Wanner

As part of Memorial Day this pandemic year, I thought I would memorialize William Christoph Wanner.  He served and died as part of World War I, but didn’t die in France from the war but the dreaded Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.

William Christoph Wanner was born 9 November 1899 in Mapleton, Franklin, Idaho along with his twin Willard John Wanner.  The first children born to George and Regina Nuffer Wanner.  Children after were Mary Louise (1901), Golden (1902), Eva Virtue (1904), Rulon (1905), and Serge (1908).

Wanner Twins, Willard (l) and William (r) about 1901.

The Wanner twins in about 1900 or 1901. I don’t know the year, but the family moved from Mapleton down to Whitney before 1910.

Regina with William and Willard in the back and then Golden, Mary in the middle, holding Serge, then Rulon, then Eva about 1909 or 1910.

This following photo is at the Whitney farm.

John George & Regina Wanner Family about 1912, Eva, William, Golden, Serge sitting, George, Regina, Rulon, Willard, Mary.

Here is what I received from William’s medical records.

Served: United States Army
Service Number: 1640542
Dates of Service: 5 Aug 1917 – 1 Dec 1918
Rank: Private
Assignments: Supply Company, 145th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces
Decorations: WWI Victory Medal with service clasp; WWI Victory Button (Bronze)
Place of Entry: Preston, Idaho
Place of Separation: Camp Gebicart, France
Place of Birth: Idaho
Date of Death: 1 Dec 1918
Location of Death: Camp Begicart, France

The military records have his death location incorrect.

He died in Camp Genicart, Gironde, France.  He died of the dreaded influenza that fall instead of of something related to the war.  Except for the amount in which the influenza was related to the war and transported as part of those processes.

His body arrived in Whitney in a lead lined casket and he was buried 11 November 1920 in Whitney.

Sadly, his brother Golden died 26 November 1918 in Salt Lake City while a student from Influenza as well (death certificate says it was natural??).

Rulon died 26 February 1924 in Logan while a student of an ear infection (acute meningitis caused by acute otitis media).

Serge died 5 October 1929 in New Zealand as a missionary.  Cut himself shaving, got infected, turned deadly.

All four brothers are buried beside each others in Whitney.  Their parents are just to the east of them.  Their sister Eva just north (married Spatig), Mary just west, Willard is there in Whitney too. The whole family is buried all within 50 feet of each other.

Jonas History: Nilsson/Bengtsson

This is another chapter of the Jonas history book compiled by Carvel Jonas.  This one is on the Nilsson/Bengtsson line, which was anglicized to Nelson/Benson.  Reviewing this information in FamilySearch shows some changes and updates to some of the information presented.
   “Johannes Nilsson was born 4 Oct 1827 in Tonnersjo, Hallands, Sweden.  His parents were Nils Nilsson and Pernill Larsson.  He was the youngest of a family of four sons.  He married Agneta Bengtsson who was born 9 Dec 1832 in Oringe, Hallands, Sweden.   Her parents were Nils Bengst and Johanna Johansson.  She was the oldest child of eight children, having four sisters and three brothers.  They married 17 Nov 1855.
    “Agneta had two children by an unknown suitor who failed to post the necessary dowry.  They were Matilda, born 31 Dec 1853 and James Peter, born 13 Dec 1855.  Both children were born in Veinge, Hallands, Sweden.  James Peter was born less than a month after Johannes and Agneta were married.
    “In 1862, Elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Agneta’s mother, Johanna Bengtsson, her sister, Ingar, and her two brothers, Nils and John.  They immigrated to America in 1862 and settled in Sanpete County, Ephraim, Utah.  Agneta’s father never came to America and died in Sweden.  After this Agneta was baptized and the Johannes Nilsson family came to America in 1864.  About a month after they got to Logan, Utah, our great grandmother, Annette Josephine Nelson (Jonas) was born.  More details will be given in the following life story which was written by August Nelson, a brother of grandma Annie Jonas.  The author has quoted August’s story and has omitted genealogical family line.  Also, interesting facts have been added to this story to make it more complete.  These facts are included inside the brackets.

L-R: Johanna Benson, Johanna Icabinda Benson, John Irven Benson, Nels Ernst Benson, Mary Ann Angel Works holding Merrill Lamont Benson.

 

    “Nels August Nelson, third child of John and Agnetta Benson Nelson was born in Oringe, Hallands, Sweden, on May 18, 1857.  “My memory of the beautiful country around our home is still vivid even though I was not quite seven when we left.  In 1861 we moved to Tulap, near Marebeck, a Swedish mile from Halmstadt.  We had two wagons loaded with household goods, mother and the four children were on the second wagon which father drove.  I can still see the hayrack.  It had four poles tow in the standard of the wagon, with holes bored and sticks driven in them to keep them apart the width of the wagon.  Then there were holes in each pole on the upper side slanting outward so as to extend over the wheels gradually to about four or five feet high.  Finally the pole crossed the top on both sides and ends to keep it from spreading.  This is the pictures of it as I remember the morning we moved. 
    “Our new home consisted of two long buildings, I should judge considerably neglected because father was continually repairing them between the hours on the farm.  There was a peat bed some distance to the south of the house, a steep slope to the West, a small stream to the east, and cultivated land on the other side.  Father planted trees from the northeast corner of the dwelling due East some distance north and west to the northwest corner of the barn forming a beautiful hollow square.  My recollection is that the trees were birch.  A road ran due east to the nearest neighbors.  On the west a path ran to Marebeck.  A public highway went through our place and led to Halmstadt.  The village near had beautiful homes and churches.  A large bell rang out at twelve and six, possibly other times.  It seemed to say, “Vin Vellen, sure sell, some balhang, slink in”, translated, “Water gruel, sour fish, come gulpdog, tumble in.”
    “At the north end of the farm the stream turned east where the bridge was.  Just south of the bridge the slope was steep and below on the herded the cattle land sheep.  In the three years we lived there father broke up all the land except the meadow.  This was all done by man power.  A man would have a :shere chich” which he pushed with his body.  It cut a sod about two inches thick and eight or ten inches wide.  When the sods dried they were piled up and burned.  The women did most of the piling and burning.
    “We had such a heavy crop of potatoes on this new land that the land burst open along the rows and the potatoes could be seen on top of the ground from the road. 
    “Now a few incidents of child life in Sweden.  The school teacher boarded round at the different homes of the pupils.  I marvel now at the progress they made.  My sister, only ten knew most of the New Testament, and my brother attended only one winter when he learned to read and write. 
    “One of our cows swam the river while we were herding one spring.  When we drove her back she missed the ford and got her horns caught in the roots of the trees and drowned. 
    “Baking day was a big affair because mother baked enough bread to last a month.  It seemed to improve with age.  It took a lot of wood to heat the oven.  On these day sister and brother had to tend baby and I had to herd the cows alone.  One day I rebelled but it did no good.  I was about five years old.  James helped to drive the cows down to the pasture and about all I had to do was watch the path to prevent their return…After I got to Utah one fall a fox bit one of the lambs.  Father must have seen him catch it because he picked it up and brought it home before it died.  Oh how bad we felt.  All the animals on the farm were pets. 
    “One winter there was no snow on the ground but there was ice on the river.  Three of us went down to slide on the ice.  We were forbidden to slide with our shoes on because it wore them out.  At first we slid with our stockings on, then we took them off and slid barefoot.  The ice was so clear and smooth that we had a good time.  Then uncle Lars Benson came and helped put on our shoes and stockings.  I was the smallest so he carried me all the way home.
    “In the spring of 1862 mother went to the old home to bid her mother Johanna Bengtsson, her sister Ingar, and brothers Nels and John, good-bye before they started to America and Utah to live with the Mormons, she brought us all of Uncle John’s toys.  One I remember especially, was a little cuckoo.
    “It must not have been long after when the first Mormon Elders came to see us.  Andrew Peterson of Lehi was one.  Later Uncle Lars came to love the peace that entered our home.  We children would run up the road to look for the Elders.  I was five years old (if mother got baptized the same winter that we left in the spring then I was six) when the elders instructed father to get his family around the table and have family prayers.  I got up from that prayer with the light of the Gospel in my soul.  Everything had changed!  A new light and a new hope had entered my being.  Everything seemed joyous and more beautiful and even the birds sang sweeter.
    “After we joined the Church there were numbers of people young and old who came to visit us.  I remember Andrew Peterson, and the mother of the Lindquists who were undertakers in Ogden and Logan.  When we were getting ready to come to America the sisters would come to help mother sew and get ready.  The songs of Zion that they sang will ring in my ears and soul to the last moments of my life if I continue faithful to the end.  “Heavenly Canaan, Oh Wondrous Canaan, Our Canaan that is Joseph’s land, Come go with us to Canaan!” are some of the words one of the sisters sang.  Ye Elders of Israel and Oh Ye Mountains High were my favorites.  The Swedish Language seemed to give these songs more feeling than the English.  I had a Birdseye view of Zion and I longed to go there.
    “I well remember the morning mother had promised to go to Halmstadt to be baptized.  We all arose early and mother was undecided until father told her to go.  In the evening as father was walking back and carrying the baby, he stopped and said, “Now mother is being baptized,” we looked at the clock and when mother returned she said father was right.  The baptisms had to be done at night and a hole cut in the ice but mother felt not ill effects of the cold. 
    “We had a public auction and sold everything in the line of furniture and clothing that we could not take with us.  I remember two large oak chests and a couple of broadcloth suits and over coats.  One they brought with them and had it made over for me.
    “Father was a steady and prosperous young man, he worked seven years in a distillery and seven as a miller.  We had a small keg of whiskey every Christmas and the children could have what they wanted of it.  We often sopped our bred in it as a substitute for milk.  I never saw father drunk.
    “Now came the time to sell the home and farm.  The ground was all in crops and a rain made everything look good. Father said it was God who made it look so prosperous and we got a good price for it.  James, Matilda, and I with a big part of the baggage were left with friends in Halmstadt while father went back for mother and the younger children.  The morning we were to sail was a busy one.  We all did what we seldom did before, messed the bed.  Mother said, “The Devil cannot stop us,” and we were on deck in time.  It was a beautiful Friday morning, 10 Apr 1864, (They left at 5 p.m.) when the Johanns Nelson family hustled along the rock paved streets of Halmstadt to the docks.  The noise of the horses feet and the rumble of the vehicles drowned all the voices of the little ones who complained of the unceremonious departure.  Then all were safely on board, the gang planks withdrawn, and before we knew it we were out at sea and the men on shore became mere specks. 
    “Later we were all startled by the sound of a shot ringing out and we were ordered below deck.  When we could return to the deck we were told that a pirate crew had shot a hole in our ship just above the water line.  In return our ship shot off their main mast.  As we neared Denmark we saw all the ships in the harbor and could hear (cannon fire) as Denmark and Germany were at war.  We walked around in Copenhagen and saw the fine homes, lawns, statues, in the beautiful city.  This was the first time I had heard the Danish language.  We stopped at so many places that I cannot remember all of them.  Cattle and sheep were loaded on at one place.  We were seasick too, and so many crowded together.  Before we left Liverpool (Thursday April 21) we enjoyed watching the ships being loaded; fishing snacks came in and unloaded their cargo, and big English shire horses acted as switch engines.  There was a large ship about finished in the dry dock.  It must be a stupendous job to build a huge ship.  There seemed to be some leak at the gates because we saw a man with a diving outfit on go down and men were pumping air to him.  He was down for some time.
    “The beautiful green foliage and sward through England has always remained with me.  It passes into the sublime of my soul.
    “The ship which we boarded to come to America was a huge one.  (It was named Monarch of the Sea and there were 973 people on board.)  Before it was loaded it stood so high above the water, and we had to wait some time while the sailors loaded heavy freight into the hold. 

Monarch of the Sea, 1020 LDS passengers on this voyage.

 

    “I have always tried to forget the journey across the Atlantic.  Our rations were raw beef, large hard soda biscuits, water mustard, and salt.  Sometimes we would have to wait most of the day for our turn to cook our meat.  Brother James knew no sickness on the whole journey and was a favorite with the sailors.  On one occasion he was riding the loose timbers, that slid back and forth with the motion of the ship.  One time he went so dangerously near the railing that they sent him below.  The winds and waves were so high sometimes that the flag on the main mast touched the waves as it rolled.  Trunks and boxes had to be tied down.  The vessel had three decks and there were bunks all around the two lower decks.  I had seen several bodies go down the gangway into the deep.  Then came the day that baby Amanda’s little body with a rock tied to her feet was lowered into the water.  A little later it seemed as if it were my turn, I could not eat the crackers.  Mother tried everything, but I got worse.  Then she fed me the raw beef and I began to improve…We did see many varieties of fish.  Sometimes the passengers, men and women, helped bail out water, when it seemed the ship might sink.

Nilsson family on the Monarch of the Sea passenger list

 

    “Finally we reached New York, and the main body of the saints took steamer for Albany, New York.  (They reached New York the morning of Jun 3rd).  We crossed New Jersey by train to the Delaware River.  We had to wait a number of hours for the ferry, and when we got aboard it was so suffocating that sister Matilda succumbed.  Mother laid her out under some tree on a beautiful lawn.  The setting sun, and approaching dusk cast a hallowed gloom over the scene.  We sat silently watching by the side of mother, while father was off looking for a place to bury her.  It was a beautiful, and sad sight to see father and another man carrying her body away from her loved ones to be laid in an unknown grave.  The setting of clear, blue sky, and the twinkling of the stars overhead, shining down through the trees made a variegated carpet where we sat.  It would be impossible to describe mothers feelings as she was the guiding star of the family, and she knew we would meet Matilda again beyond the grave. 
    “We went by train from here, and the first incident of note was the crossing of a very high, and long bridge; large vessels with high masts could pass under it.  The train stopped on the bridge while another train passed us.  A few days later we were informed that the bridge had collapsed.  We saw much of the country that had been desolated by the Civil War.  Then we were joined by the group that went by way of Albany.  They were riding on boards in cattle cars. 
    “(Some time about this time in the story of Johannes Nilsson was baptized.  It was 25 Jun 1864.  He was confirmed the same day and later that year he was ordained an Elder)
    The car we rode in had no cushions on the seats.  Sister Josephine’s cheek began swelling; we thought from the jolting of the car.  Some people recommended a certain poultice which ate the flesh off her cheek.  Next we went aboard a steamer on a river.  It was restful for a few days.  All of us made our beds on the floor, starting in the center of the main mast or flag pole.  Then another circle started at the feel of the first.  Brother James and I slept on a board which formed a shelf on the side of the ship.  The space between each shelf was large enough for a full grown colored gentleman so there was plenty of room for us boys who were small for our ages.  There seemed to be two streams in the river, one quite clear, the other very muddy.  By this time we were getting tired with never any rest or change and the vermin were getting unbearable.  Josephine steadily got worse and mother realized that it was only a matter of time until she would go to join her sisters.  When we reached Omaha Josephine was a corpse.  With the dead child and the luggage to carry father and mother could not help me.  I remember that I crawled and walked alternately, with my parents waiting and encouraging me.  We finally go to the top of a hill where mother laid me on the grass among some shrubs while she and father went for more luggage.  When I became able to walk I went down by the river and watched the people do their washing, and try to get rid of the cooties before we started on the tip over the plains.  Several graves were dug in this place.  (The family reached Omaha in Jul.  They rode the steamer from St. Joseph, Missouri up the Missouri River to Wyoming.  They had taken a train from Albany, New York to St. Joseph Missouri.  LDS teams took them from Wyoming to the Salt Lake Valley)
    “In due time bays and wagons from Utah arrived and everything was loaded for the trip.  There was a stove and tent in each wagon.  Then the luggage and two families were piled in and we were off for Zion. 
    At first there was an abundance of grass.  I liked to watch the donkeys in the train.  Day after day we traveled and the only living thing of any size was an occasional stage coach and the station built along the way.  One day I got out of the wagon and ran ahead until noon.  After that I had to walk most of the way.  One day two young women sat down to rest.  All at once the screamed and jumped up.  Then a man killed a large rattler where they had been.  I have seen families take a corpse out of the wagon, dig a shallow grave and then hurriedly catch up to the train which did not stop.  Then we got a glimpse of the mountains in the distance.  We also saw large herds of buffalo.  While camping one night a herd was coming directly towards us.  Some men rode out and turned them.  To avoid a stampede of our oxen we started out and the teamsters were able to keep them under control.
    “The first Indians I saw was at the stage station.  There must have been several hundred of them and we could see their wigwams in the distance.  We were now getting into great sage brush flats and everybody was warned against starting fires.  One day at noon we joked up in a hurry because someone had let their fire get the best of them. 
    “Now we began to meet companies of soldiers.  They generally led horses with empty saddles.  Next we saw where a fire had burned some wagons in the company in which grandmother crossed in 1862.  The whole country round was black and the grass had not started.  When we crossed rivers they were not too deep, the men and women waded.  Two government wagons were caught in the quick sand near where we forded.  As we got into the hills there was a lot of elk, deer, and antelopes.  One man on a gray horse did the hunting for the group.  Several times the oxen tried to stampede.  On parts of the trail men had to hold the wagons to keep them from tipping over.  The most interesting of all to me was at Echo Canyon where they told how the Mormon scouts had marched round the cliff and made Johnston’s army believe there were a whole lot of them when in fact there were very few.  We found chokecherries along the road but they were too green.  The last hill seemed the longest and steepest and we did not reach the top until late in the evening.  Next morning everyone was happy.  Cherries were riper and so good to eat they failed to choke.  Happy beyond expression we hastened to get a view of Canaan and Joseph’s land, where the Elders of Israel resided and Prophet’s and Apostles to guide the Latter-day Saints.  (They arrived about the 15th of Sep in Salt Lake City)
    “Having seen some of the big cities of the world you may imagine our disappointment when we looked down from Emigration Canyon upon Great Salt Lake City by the Great Salt Lake.  We saw Fort Douglas where some of the soldiers were stationed.  One aged man exclaimed, “why the children cry here as they did at home!”
    “We entered the dear old tithing square and rested for noon.  Now it was for us to decide where we wanted to settle.  We decided to go to Logan and it happened that John, our teamster was going there too.  While in the yard Sister Lindquist who had visited us in Sweden brought us a large watermelon, the first I had seen in my life.  She was a beautiful young woman and I thought was very nice. 
    “We soon headed north with John driving the wagon and mother, father, James and I walking behind the wagon.  As we were nearing the outskirts of the city a good lady sent a little girl out to us with two delicious apples.  How good people were to us.  It would certainly be a pleasure to know these fine people.  It was about sundown when we passed the Hot Springs and we kept going until quite late.  When we got to the canyon above Brigham City we over took a number of wagons and Scandinavian Saints.  When we reached what was called Little Denmark, now Mantua, we were feted by these good saints, and given a new send off.  It seemed such a long trip through the canyons, but interesting as the teamsters had a number of bear stores it tell.  Later we learned that some people had been attacked by bear at this place.  We camped just below Wellsville near the bridge above Cub Creek. The people here gave us some potatoes.  They were boiled and their jackets all cracked open.  This was a treat I shall never forget.  We arrived at the Logan public square about noon.  There was a liberty pole in the center.  On one corner was a lumber shack where all our worldly good were put and the teams drove away.  Father located a short, robust Swede who hauled our wealth into his cow yard and we made ourselves comfortable.  We cooked over the fireplace in the log cabin.  For a few days father did not have work so all four of us went out gleaning.  When threshing began with the fall, father was in his glory and never lacked a job. 
    “The most important thing ahead was to prepare a shelter for the winter which was fast approaching.  Logan was planning to take care of the emigrants and her future by digging a canal north along the East bench.  All newcomers were given a city lot to be paid for by work on this canal.  At the same time the number of acres of farm land was apportioned with the number of cubic yards of dirt to be removed to pay for the land. 
    “The first homes were mostly dugouts in the side of the hill.  That first winter, Father carried willows from the Logan River bottom which was our fuel.  He cut some small green sticks short and buried a few of these in the ashes each night to start the fire with in the morning. 
    “We were just moved into our home when Annetta Josephine (Grandma Annie Jonas) was born on 18 Nov 1864.  She was the first child born in Logan Fifth Ward.  Mother was alone except for James and me.  James was sent to fetch father who was threshing wheat for John Anderson.  When he arrived with a sister, mother had already taken care of herself and the baby.
    “All went well until January when it began to thaw.  Soon our dugout was filling with water.  It was knee-deep when father made a path so we could get over to the neighbor’s cabin.  We carried water out all day, and the rest of the water soon soaked up.  So that by laying a few boards on the floor we were able to go back in the evening. 
    “It was the most severe winter.  The snow was deep and it drifted so that only the tops of the houses could be seen.  Thatcher’s mill, the only on one in town, was frozen up, and we had to get along on bran bread.  Father moved the cow to the side of the house that afforded the most protection from the wind. 
    “As soon as spring started, all hands set to work on the canal.  The men and boys had to pass our place on the way to work.  The boys seemed to delight in calling us “Danishmen.”  James and I carried the water from the old Fourth Ward canal down on the river bottom.  We always took a slide down the hill.  This was alright as long as the snow was on the ground, but as soon as it began to thaw, we got soaking wet, and we usually ended up sick with bad colds.  Poor mother had not time to be sick. 
    “The first Sunday School we attended was in the cabin of John Archibald.  Soon there were so many that we could not get in.  The Superintendent was Sandy Isaac, a fine young man. 
    “The summer was a happy one.  Father bought two ewes, and they each had a lamb.  This, with the cow, made a herd for me to care for.  Most of the town drove their sheep past our place up on the college hill to feed.  While we herded we also picked service berries.  The boys showed us where the best berries were over on Providence flat.  One day mother and two other women went with us…
    “This fall we were much better prepared for winter than we were a year ago.  We had two cows, four sheep and a yoke of steers.  There was a barn for the animals, and we had a log house.  We raised 120 bushels of wheat on six acres, and mother had done considerable gleaning.
    “When mother went gleaning, I had to stay with the baby.  One day I left her on the bed while I went out to play.  She rolled off the bed and got a big lump on her head.  She was still crying when mother came home.  Some days she took both of us with her.  When baby slept then I could help glean.  Mother would carry a two-bushel sack full of heads on her shoulder, and set the baby on top.  It surely looked like a load to carry.  James was with father.  He would rake the hay while father cut it with the scythe and snare.  Father did not like to have mother go gleaning, but the money she got from the wheat was her own, and she liked good clothes and to be dressed well.
    “In the fall the ward organized…The old meetinghouse had a fire place in the east end. and the door in the west.  We held school in the same building…Dances generally kept up until morning…They began around seven o’clock in the evening.  About nine there would be some singing…after singing, we had games of strength, wrestling, and boxing.  In the wee small hours we were ready to go home.  These dances were opened and closed with prayer…
    “I almost forgot one incident that happened in 1866.  Father turned his steers on the range in the spring.  One of these was to be given to the Indians to keep them friendly.  The other one Bill, could not be found.  Father located the first one in the Indians herd.  We went down and told them that this steer was his. “How can you prove it is your steer?”  Father went up to her, took hold of his horn and led him to the Indians.  They laughed and told him to take it.  He led the steer home, a mile away, by holding to the horn.  James hunted every where for Bill.  He searched in almost every cow herd in the valley.  In the anguish of his soul he knelt down and prayed.  As he arose a feeling of satisfaction entered his bosom.  He was soon rewarded by finding the long, lost steer.  He succeeded in driving him home, and all were joyful and recognized the hand of Providence in answering James’ prayer.
    “More and more people moved into the ward.  A great many of them were Scotch.  There was a sixteen year old girl who used to visit with mothers.One day she told mother she thought Mr. Nelson was a lovable man, and that she would like to be his second wife.  Mother was delighted and did everything to get father to accept her, but in vain…
    “(In 1867 they went about 90 miles and were sealed in the Endowment house in Salt Lake City.  The Endowment House records for 4 Oct 1867: Johannes Nilsson and Agneta Bengtsson Nelson received their endowment and were sealed.)
    “Father made a fish trap out of willows like the one mother’s family had in Sweden.  We had fish all of the time.
    “Every other week we herded cattle down in the fork of the Logan and Bear Rivers.  It was seven miles from Logan.  The banks of the river were covered with willows, where lived bars, wolves, snakes, skunks, and other pests.  James herded alone most of the time.  The Indians called him a hero.  I stayed with him one week.  The dog went home, and I was ready to leave.  The wolves looked defiantly at us, and at night the snakes crawled over our faces.  I was glad to stay home and herd the small herd near home, I had my prayers answered in finding sheep when they were lost…
    “On June 14, 1867, mother had a baby boy whom she named Joseph Hyrum.  That fall we moved into the Fourth Ward.  I soon learned to love Bishop Thomas X. Smith…
    “On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we stayed up on Temple hill all night so we would be ready to serenade early in the morning…
    “Our grain completely taken by grasshoppers in 1867.  The sun was darkened by them they were so thick.  We had to sell our oxen, but got $175.00 for them when the usual price was only $125.00.  We had bought them four years before, and father always kept them butter fat.  We bought a pair of two years old steers for seventy five dollars, and grain with the other seventy five.  Then father worked on the railroad and James and I gleaned corn.  James traded a good pocket knife for corn.  Again we traded corn for shoes.  There wasn’t enough money for us to go to school that year, but father bought a large Bible, and the two of us read through to Chronicles the second time.  Here I gained the fundamental principles of the gospel which helped me throughout the rest of my life, and I always knew where to go for information, God and the Bible. 
    “Father traded his oxen for a team of young mules, very poor, but gentle.  The first time we tried to drive them was to a funeral.  On the way home a dog rushed out at us and the mules were off.  They ran home, and stopped at the corral.  We learned they had run away the first time they had been driven.  As long as we owned them we were in danger of our lives because they could not be handled.  Mother did a better job than any of us in driving them.
    “The year that the grasshoppers took our grain I furnished fish which I caught in the Logan River.  There were chubs and some trout.  The time when the hoppers were so thick I will never forget.  I was fishing down in the river, and an electric storm was over near Clarkston.  There seemed to be an air current in that direction and in a little while I could scarcely find any bait. 
    “I think it was in 1869 that we had a glorious 4th of July celebration.  A whole band of boys dressed as Indians and tried to pick a fight.  Some of us really thought they were Indians.  Then we saw President Brigham Young with mounted men riding along side his carriage.  Quickly we all formed in line along the main street, and as he came along he would bow to us bare foot children.  We really loved these men and rarely missed a chance to go to the Tabernacle to hear them talk.  One time he asked the grown ups to leave while the boys and girls gathered around the stand to hear Martin Harris bear his testimony about seeing the plates from which the Book of Mormon was taken.  We were told to never forget these things and to always tell the boys and girls during our lives this story.  I have sometimes forgotten to do this.  Martin Harris was a school teacher when a young man, and came to the assistance of the Prophet by giving the money necessary to get the Book of Mormon printed.  A short time before he died in Clarkston, he related the whole story of the part he played in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
    “This year (1868) we planted two acres of sugar cane on some new land up by college hill.  We hoed and petted that cane until it surpassed any thing around.  We barely took time out to eat our lunch.  Men working near said we were foolish to spend so much time on it.  James was a very good worker and a good leader for me.  In the fall he worked at the molasses mill down town, receiving a half gallon of molasses for twelve hours work.  Father hired a boy to help me hoe the cane at the same price.  He never came to work on time so I sent him home and did the work myself.  From one acres we got 175 gallons, and the other 225 gallons, a small fortune. 
    “The last spring that I herded, father had about 75 sheep and 50 cows.  There was no snow late in the fall and water was scarce.  When I started home at night the cows would almost run to get to Springs where Greenville now is.  Then before I could get them they were in somebodies field.  I usually had a lamb or two to carry and had to run till I was exhausted.  At last a small Swiss boy with only one cow to herd helped me out.  He soon got tired of mixing with me but I did not let him quit.  I have herded in the spring when it snowed so I could hardly see the animals.  All others had gone home, but I had to stay because we did not have fee feed at home.  My clothes would be soaking wet, and when a sharp wind blew, I got mighty cold.  One time two of the ewes got lost.  They had been shorn late so they could not stand the cold and I found their carcasses later.
    “Mother sheared the sheep, washed, carded, spun, and wove the cloth to make our clothes.  It was about 1870 (born 9 Dec 1870 and died the same day.  They were buried 10 Dec, 1870) when mother had the twins, Jacob and Jacobina.  They were very tiny and lived only four hours. 
    “Father was a hard worker.  He cut hay with a scythe and swath.  One time a neighbor was vexed because his five acres had not been cut.  Father went down on Sunday and did not come home until he had cut all of it on Monday.  The man could hardly believe that it could be done. 
    “Mother led the social set in this part of the Ward.  I would listen as she related different incidents told her at these parties.  One pertained to our friend…He married a young woman after his first wife had no children.  But after consenting to the new wife, she gave birth to a son and they very soon after two sweet girls.  Almost the same thing happened to a fine young Danishman who moved into the community….When his wife consented to give him a second wife she had a son herself.
    “In the fall of 1871 father bought ten acres of land planted to hay and right along side the other five.  I was sent out to drive a team making the road bed for the Utah Northern Railroad.  I was fourteen, weighed 75 pounds, and had never driven horses.  I was given a broken handled chain scraper and a balky team.  With these handicaps, and jeers from some of the men, it was a hard moth of two for me.  We had good food, so I gained in weight, strength, and experience.  With the money earned, father was able to bend the bargain on the land, and the fellow he had agreed to sell.
    “About this time we had a new baby sister come to our home.  (She was born 16 Dec 1872).  She was named Charlotte Abigail….to my mind the baby was a jewel.
    “I gave the money I earned herding cows to mother who bought all of her clothing, and always had a dollar or two on hand when it was needed most.  She always looked nice in her clothes, being very tall and slender, with beautiful golden hair.  At one time she weighed only 90 pounds.  She loved her children dearly, but required obedience, that we be neat and clean, and attend our church duties.  One morning before Sunday School she asked me to do some chore before I left.  I said “no” though I really wanted to do it.  Mother grabbed a strap lying on the floor, and hit me a smart rap across my shoulders.  A buckle on the strap cut my back and I yelled with pain and so did mother.  She washed my back quickly, and put a plaster on it, so it would not be seen through the thin shirt, which was all I had on my back.  Many times after in life I have thanked God for that blow.  It was just what I needed to get over being coaxed to do anything.  I also learned to love mother more if that were possible. 
    “Mother furnished the house and bought his tobacco with the butter and egg money.  Father was surely miserable at the end of the week when his weekly supply was gone.  When I was allowed to go to the store to buy tobacco, I would put it in my hands and hold it over my nose so I could get a good smell of it.  Father had quit the habit on the way to Utah, but some foolish men persuaded him to take a bite, and he never could quit again.  He tried one time, and was so sick he had to go to bed and get a doctor to bless him.
    “Brother James was quick to learn, and was especially good at entertaining and on the stage.  A Mr. Crowther from the Salt Lake Theatre gave him a part of a colored boy, and with only two rehearsals and no book, he made good, and people were wondering who the darky was.  Mother was proud of her boy…
    “All the boys in town received military training down on the tabernacle square…
    “About this time we had our last episode with the mules.  They tried to run from the start.  We boys got out of the wagon to fix the chin strap on one of them.  They leaped in the air, and as they came down they broke a line and away they ran.  One by one parts of the wagon were left behind.  Father was thrown out with the bed.  When we finally caught up with them, the tongue, one wheel, and a hub of the front axle was all there was attached to them.  We were grateful that no one was hurt.  We traded them off for a team of horses.  The man who bought them drove along the railroad through sloughs and no roads and beat the train. 
    “Mother made dances for us boys, and served refreshments to all who were present.  We had attended two terms at the dancing school the year we had so much molasses, and mother went with us the one term.  This made us the best dancers in Logan…
    “I found James working on a gravel train, and began working with him.  Two would load a car, each one his half.  George Watson, the boss, told me I could not shovel the gravel fast enough.  I told him I could do anything my brother did.  I almost failed the first few days.  We would load as fast as we could, then jump on the car and ride to Mendon, unload and back again.  When this job was completed James got work on the section at Hampton, and father and I on a railroad spur between Dry Lake, near Brigham City to Corinne.  When we reached Corinne we were treated to all the beer we wanted.  On the way back to Brigham City, the crew and all the workers were feeling the effects of the beer.  Father said, “you act as though you were drunk,”  I retorted, “I have never been drunk in my life.”  A man thirty five years old said, “That isn’t saying much for a boy.  If you can say that as a man of thirty five you will be saying something.”  Right then I made the resolution that I would never get drunk.  Now at sixty nine I can say that I have kept this resolution.
    “This was a prosperous year for our family.  (1873)  We bought a fine team of horses to do our farm work, and we had had work on the railroad.  In October, mother gave birth to a little boy, Moses Nelson.  (born 25 Oct 1873)  She was very sick, and we had a nurse to care for her.  I always felt inferior to James, but one day mother called me to her and said, “August, if I die I want you to care for the children.”  That had always been my job around the house.  Later one evening, mother kissed me and said, “You have been a good boy.  God bless you.”  With a smile she turned her head and breathed her last.  (died 4 Nov 1873)  God alone knows what little children lose when mother is gone.  While sick I had heard her say, “I do not want to leave my little children.”  Little did I know or realize what home would be without her.  She was more than ordinarily ardent and spiritually minded, with high ideals, and a comprehensive knowledge of the gospel.  (buried at Logan Cemetery 9 Nov 1873)
    “After mother was laid away, I was sent up to Richmond to work on the railroad.  The weeks passed in a whirl.  Soon baby Moses died, (died 12 Nov 1873 and buried 14 Nov 1873 in Logan Cemetery) and father came up to work with me.  James was with the children and took care of the things at home.  We soon returned and James started school.  I did all the house work except the starching and ironing.  I was 16, Annette 9, Joseph 5, And Charlotte 2.  The washing was a stupendous job.  The water was hard.  I tried putting the clothes in a sack when I boiled them to keep the hard water from forming on them.  If only some friend had called and told me how to break the water and to put a little soda in the bread when it soured, it would have been a God send.  It would have meant better bread and cleaner clothes for the next three years.  I also had to shear the sheep.  This had been mother’s job.  I managed for the first day, and in time finished in some fashion…
    “Sometime in January Uncles Lars and Nels Bengtsson came and took James with them to Spring City in Sanpete County.  I always loved that brother, the only one left who had come with me from Sweden.  We sometimes quarreled, but we were always together.  Now we had no work from him for over a year. 
    “The baby, Little Abigail, generally asked for milk during the night, but she would not accept it from me.  One night I told father to lie still and I would give it to her.  She refused to take it from me.  I went outside and cut a switch from a current bush.  When she called for milk again I held it out to her.  She refused.  I said to father, “Cover up,” and I struck the covers over him with considerable force.  I sat down and began reading.  Pretty soon she called for milk.  I said “Here it is Lottie,” she drank it and never said “no” to me again in my life.  She grew to be a tall and slender; had light golden hair and had a sensitive disposition with high ideals.  I have seen her swing on our gate most of a Sunday all alone, because she felt her clothes were not good enough to mingle with other children.  Before I left home in 1876, I could pick her up from the floor and dance with her.  She had perfect rhythm and enjoyed going to the dances to watch and oh how her little soul leaped with joy when she could get on the floor and dance.  (Charlotte Abigail died 23 Nov 1902.  She never married.  She missed her 31th birthday by a few weeks.  She is buried with Annette and August in the Crescent Cemetery.)
    “My soul cried out for a mother’s love and care.  I am very fearful that when mother sees me, she will say, “You have done tolerably well but you failed to care for the children.”  In my weak way I am still trying to care for children, everybody’s children, God’s children. 
    “I remember when father married again.  The woman had several children of her own.  It was a sad day for mother’s three little ones when step mother and her children moved into out home…
    “I had my try at tobacco too.  An exbartender from Salt Lake City was smoking a pipe.  I asked him to let me try it, and began puffing away.  Father called me to one side and said in an undertone with so much soul that it penetrated my very being, “Don’t be a slave, be a free man.  You have seen me try to quit the habit, even suffer because I couldn’t.”  His advice, I felt, was too good to discard, and I never took up the habit…
    “It was the 16 Oct 1876 when I and three other fellows started for the smelters in Sandy…  John Benson took his team and wagon and took James and me to Sanpete County.  We went to Ephraim to see grandma Johanson, who left Sweden several years before we did.  She was delighted with her grandsons.  She had told her neighbors what nice people were hers in Sweden, of course they thought she was boasting, but now they could see that it was the truth.  How nice it would be if we always lived to be a credit to our ancestors. 

Back (l-r): Virgil, Lawrence, Fidelia, Moses. Front: Paul, Nels, Fidelia, August

 

    “Uncle Nels had two little girls, one could not walk as the result of a fever.  I began to take part in the talk and general pleasure, and stood well with all.  Uncle lectured every evening on doctrinal subjects…a patriarch came to the home and every one had a blessing.  Uncle Nels, his wife Philinda, and her sister Fedelia, and their blessings John was promised a family; James, a stupendous power over the elements but no family….My blessing has come true as far as I have lived for it….(date of blessings 16 Sep 1890)
    “It is just possible that I shirked my duty and promise to mother to care for the children.  Father offered me my lot, home of the land, and would help build a house if I would take the children.  but I wanted to go and make money.  When I think of mother’s charge to me, and the sad life of the children, my whole soul weeps over my dereliction, but fate drew me to the south…
    “It is difficult to note details by memory, but I have this to record for 1893.  My sister Charlotte Abigail lived with us that summer.  When she went to Logan that fall she had the fever.  Later she went to Washington to visit my sister, Annie, wife of Joseph Jonas.  (Jul 1901)  Annie had been sick for a long time, but none of us knew the nature of her illness until Charlotte brought the whole family to Utah with her.  It turned out to be mental illness.  She kept running away so we finally had to put her in the institution at Provo, where she died a short time after…(She died 23 Dec 1907 and was buried Christmas Day)
    “…When Charlotte brought to Jonas family to us there were five children.  It was sad to see sister in her condition.  I had not seen her since 1873 (28 years).  The last letter I had written her was from Bristol, Nevada.  I suggested to her that she should marry a Mormon boy.  Her reply was that Mormon boys were not as genteel as Gentiles…  Her husband destroyed her letters to us, so we never knew what she was going through…  The Jonas children became ours.  My sister Lottie, worked in Logan until she became so sick and weak she came to our home where she died, 23 Nov 1902.  Father died 20 Nov 1902, and Annie was sent home from Provo a few years later (1907).  From father’s estate I received about $700.00 and the same amount as guardian of my sister’s children.  Mothers last instruction to me keeps running through my mind.  “August, you have been a good boy, God bless you.”  Oh, Father in Heaven, have I at least with all my weakness striven with a desire to do my duty to them and to my mother?” 
    “…I had three of my sister’s boys and two of my own to help (while two of his sons went of missions).  We put up as high 400 tons of hay and had at the ranch nearly two hundred head of cattle, and often over 200 head of hogs, besides the milk cows.  We had 160 acres on the State Road and rested 80 acres from Men Mill for many years.  There were two homes on the farm at that time two on the ranch.  Forty acres on the ranch were cultivated and irrigated, and the 1000 acres was divided into different sized pastures open at the top.
    “The work that my lads did seemed to others beyond their power.  I had some hired help most of the time.  The boys were generally out of school two months of the school year, but never lost a grade…
    “So ends Nels August Nelson’s history of his parents, siblings, aunts, uncle, and grandmother.  The following is an account of the voyage that Johannes Nilsson and Agnetta Bengtsson made.  It is recorded from the History of the Church.  “On 10 April 1864 at 5 pm the Swedish Steamer L. J. Bager sailed from Copenhagen, carrying 250 emigrants from Sweden and Norway and some from Frederica Conference, Denmark, in charge was J.P.R. Johansen.  This company of saints went by steamer to Libeck, then rail to Hamburg, thence by steamer to Hull, and thence by rail to Liverpool, where the emigrants joined the Company from Copenhagen on the 15th of April…”
    “On Thursday 28th of April, the above emigrants sailed from Liverpool, England, in the ship ‘Monarch of the Sea’, with 973 souls on board.  Patriarch John Smith was chosen President of the Company, with Elders John D. Chase, Johan P. R. Johansen, and Parley P. Pratt as counselors.  Elders were also appointed to take charge of the different divisions of the company.  During the voyage there was considerable sickness and several children died.  On the morning of June 3rd, the ship docked at New York where the landing of the passengers at once took place.
    That evening they were sent by steamer to Albany, New York, and from there by rail to St. Joseph, Missouri, thence up the Missouri River to Wyoming, from which place most of the Scandinavian saints were taken to the valley by the church teams of which 170 were sent out that year. 
    “Thus about 400 Scandinavians crossed the plains in Captain William B. Preston’s Company of about fifty church teams that left Florence Nebraska in the beginning of June and arrived in Salt Lake City on 15 September.
    “Agneta Bengtsson had blue eyes and reddish brown hair.  Her son, August, said she had golden hair, so it must have been a lighter shade.  We don’t know what color eyes and hair Johannes had, although he most likely took after the traditional Scandinavian.  After Agneta Bengtsson died Johannes married two different times.  One marriage took place about 1876, and the second sometime after 1884.  The county clerk of Cache County wrote the following when Johannes Nelson died in the death record p. 18, line 112, “Johannes Nelson died Nov 26, 1902 age 75.  He was a farmer, had lived in Cache County 38 years…He was a Caucasian, white male and lived in Logan.  The cause of death was General Debility.”  He is buried at the Logan City Cemetery and was buried Nov 30, 1902.  Johannes had given the church a donation of money which was considered a large sum in those days.  When hard times came Johannes asked for some of the money back.  Since there wasn’t a receipt made he wasn’t given the money, or a part of the money back.  Because of the money not being returned he decided not to pay his tithing to the Church the last years of his life.