William Fredrick Andra Autobiography

Andra Boys: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross

Andra Boys: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross

A copy of this autobiography of my Great Grandfather was given to me years ago.  I wanted to make it more widely available.  I will insert clarification or other information in brackets [].

The Life Story of William Fredrick Andra Sr
I was born on February 11, 1898 in Meissen, Saxony, Germany to Wilhimina [Wilhelmina Christiana Knauke] and Theodor F. [Fredrick] Andra.  My father died when I was about four years old [23 November 1902].
I was baptized in the Elbe River in [16] April 1909; came to the United States in the following month of May.  I left at the age of eleven, one year ahead of the same boat, but were for some reason delayed a month.  The boat that they had intended to take sank in mid-ocean.  “The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform!”
Upon arriving here, I went to Fairview, Utah to work out my board and room from John R. Anderson, who was a former missionary in Germany.  After being in Fairview for one year, I went back to Salt Lake to meet the rest of the family when they arrived.  We had quite a struggle at first, but we made out when the rest had learned the language.
At the age of fourteen, my Mother took me to Preston, Idaho to the home of a former missionary [George Wanner] who had helped convert my mother in Germany.  I thinned, hoed and topped beets; worked in the potatoes; and did many other things around the farm.  There were about 24 head of cows to be milked.  For my work, I got $18.00 a month.  The next summer I got $25.00 and then $30.00 per month.  In the winter I went back to Salt Lake City because there wasn’t any work left on the farm.
I worked in the Apex Mine in Bingham at the same time Jack Dempsey was a diamond drill sharpener.
The next winter, I worked in the coal mine at Wattis in Carbon County during the flu epidemic in 1918.  My future father-in-law [George Wanner] took the flu and was in the hospital in Salt Lake City.  Shortly after, his boy, Golden also caught the flu and died.  I took the body home to Whitney, Idaho on the train.
I did the chores for the family because they all had the flu.  After working for George Wanner for seven years on and off, I married at the age of 22 his daughter, Mary Louise Wanner, in the Salt Lake Temple on March 10,1920.
At a time when things were tough, I worked on the farm for James R. Bodily and in the winter I did janitor work at the Whitney School and meeting house for $30.00 a month.  Then our son, William Junior was born.  During this time, I helped build the sugar factory in Whitney.
In 1922, we moved to Salt Lake City and I worked for the Royal Bakery for one year and then we moved back to Preston and went into the café business with my brother Walter.  We stayed in the café business until the end of 1925.  We then bought the Wanner farm in Preston during depression times.
I used to dig basements, haul gravel and sand and haul sugar beets from the beet piles to the sugar factory for $4.00 a ton.  It was hard making this $1000.00 principal and $500.00 interest, but with the Lord’s help and a good wife and children, we paid for the farm.  In 1937 we bought nine more acres on the east side of our farm, making forty-four acres.
In 1937 I was made a High Priest.  I have been a ward teacher for thirty-six years, ward teaching supervisor for seven years, and a group leader for the High Priests Quorum for twelve years.  I am at present a director of the Mink Creek-Riverdale Canal Company.
Our main crops on this farm have been sugar beets and potatoes.  We have raised peas and corn for many years.  Our present family consists of twelve children; eight boys and four girls (of which two of the boys have passed on).
In 1947 I had a back fusion operation.  It was very successful.
Seven of our children are married and we have twenty-eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  One of the boys is in the Western States Mission now.  We have had two on missions previously.
I would like to pass this biography on to my son.
Prepared and arranged November 28, 1961 by William F. Andra, Sr.  (Age sixty-three)

Logan Cemetery

On the 10th we made a pilgrimage to Logan for our own time while living on Darwin Avenue.  We certainly miss our time at Utah State University and in Cache County, Utah.

We all know that people are just dying to get into Utah State, almost quite literally.  The campus now completely surrounds the Logan Cemetery, although not technically on campus.  Since we were driving around the school, I had to stop and at least pay homage to my ancestors buried in the cemetery.

Hiram Ross, John & Anna Wanner Tombstone, Aliza Ross

Hiram Ross, John & Anna Wanner Tombstone, Aliza Ross

John and Anna Wanner are my 3rd great grandparents, 4th to Aliza and Hiram.  I have written of them before.  Their son, John Jr, his daughter Regina, her daughter Mary, her daughter Colleen (Lillian’s middle name), her daughter Sandra is my mother.  I have to note that this post will post on John George Wanner’s 170th birthday, who was born 18 October 1845 in Germany.

Aliza Ross, John & Anetta Nelson, Hiram Ross

Aliza Ross, John & Anetta Nelson Tombstone, Hiram Ross

John (Johannes) and Anetta (Agnetta) Nelson (Nilsson) are my 3rd Great Grandparents.  Their daughter, Annetta, her son Joseph, his son Wilburn (Norwood is his middle name but what he went by, his daughter Sandra is my mother.  I have yet to write their history, but you can read quite a bit from their son’s autobiography, Nels August Nelson.  Note that this month, John was born 188 years ago on 7 October 1827 in Norway.

How thankful I am that Logan Cemetery maintains its graves in such a dignified manner.  May it continue to do so.  Other cemeteries in which my ancestors repose (like Richmond and Preston) have done far less in reverential treatment of these sites.

In the background you can see part of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.  A location of MANY memories while at Utah State University.

 

Andra Letter, 23 October 1902

Meissen

October 23, 1902

Heartily best wishes to your birthday today sends you,

Dear Minna, from your dear, your loving Theodor.

I am sorry I can’t congratulate you myself. I am in a house I think always that the dear God will let me go soon to my family and then we all will celebrate your birthday together. So Fathers and children will eat and it will taste good.

Dear Minna. Today they pumped out my stomach again. Maybe things will straighten out without cutting. I pray every evening to our dear God that he will help and soon make me well, so I can go to you and the children. This morning I cried again. I think the whole day about you.

Dear Minna, don’t go and get the sick money, but go this Saturday about noon over to Mr. Kohle and ask him if you can get anything for the family. Also talk with him, because if you go and get the sick money, we cannot claim any pay.

Dear Minna, be so good and get a quart of wine for me, by Borsdorf. But only the best. Just tell them it is for me and put it in a bottle. Also the felt slippers, because my feet are always cold. Bring also the thick book, on top of the closet, the new magazine. Also about the sick money (probably a hospital insurance) you have to go first to Mr. Reiter in the hospital and get a slip of paper. Then you can go to the Government Insurance Office (something like Medicare). But before you do this, go first and talk it over with Mr. Kohler and ask him if you get something for the family. Two to three weeks I will have to stay here yet. An operation I will not have to have, things will go. The bowel moves, too. I am satisfied the way things are going.

Best greetings–your Theodor–for a healthy seeing you again, till tomorrow.

Nice greetings to my Frieda, Walter, Willi, Klarchen (Clara) and my Ottchen (Otto).

Your Pappa, Husband and Father

But children be good. Otherwise you get no Yezlin.

~

Unfortunately Theodor died 23 November 1902.

Clara, Theodor’s daughter, wrote the following:

Father worked hard and he made a good living. He worked hard as a stone cutter and one day he and another man had to lift a large stone down from somewhere. Father was at the bottom and this other man at the top. The stone slipped and Father, not wanting it to fall and break, held it with his chest, it must have pushed real hard to the inside of his chest. He started to have pains in his chest. They got worse so they decited to operate but somehow it didn’t work right. Food couldn’t go down in his stomach. He died Nov 23, 1902 leaving Mother with a small family to raise. She was only 33 years old and a widow.”

Theodor was only 33 years of age at the time of his death. Clara went on to write, “He was a good husband and a good Father.”

This is another letter sent to me by my cousin, Deanne Driscoll, from her grandmother’s collection.  I posted another letter here.

The picture below is one I took in 2008 while waiting for the train back to Dresden.

Meissen, Germany, 2008

Meissen, Germany, 2008

Andra Letter, 18 January 1901

Rosswein

18th of January 1901

Greetings from the Far,

From your true-loving Theodor

My Dear Good Minna,

You and the children probably long to see me again.  This time it took the longest Sunday morning I will go away from Bunhe.  And I will come again home.  Wednesday and Thursday I chopped plenty of wood. This morning-Friday- I came to Rosswein and wrote right away to you, dear Minna.  Today I will stay with Mother and tomorrow-Saturday- I will go again to Bunhe because Auguste will give me a big pan of krufen crakelings (Left over from fresh fat pork after you pour away the fat, after cooking) and other things I could not take with me to Rosswein.  Mother isn’t well.  She caught a cold.  So I will come on Sunday, but by Wednesday for sure home, it is the nicest.  How is my little Lola (likely Clara) and my little Dickhen (likely William), Walter and Friedel?  Not one morning or night went by when I did not think of you and I hope you are well.  Dear Minna, nothing new happened.  Otherwise I have no news to report, except when I get home, I will get work again.  Many greetings from Andra and Mother and Hartungs.  I will close now and look forward to seeing you again.

Yours—your loving husband,

Theodor

~

My cousin, Deanne Driscoll, sent this letter to me.  Her grandmother, Frieda Minna, had this letter and one more I will share next week.  The original letter is in German.

This is Friedrich Theodor Andra (1867 – 1902), married 1892 to Christiana Wilhelmina Knauke (1869 – 1957), father to Frieda Minna (1893 – 1978, Walter Theodor (1896 – 1967), William Fredrick (1898 – 1990), Clara Anna (1899 – 1989), and Otto Carl (1902 – 1982).

Theodor’s mother is Auguste Wilhelmine Andra (1844 – 1908), who married Friedrich August Schneider (1840 – 1900) after Theodor’s birth.

Here is a picture I took in Rosswein in 2008.  The birth town of my Great Great Grandfather and his ancestors that we can trace until at least the early 1800’s.  This picture is of the little train station in Rosswein.

Rosswein Germany

Rosswein Germany

Adventuring in Alaska

My cousin, Deanne Driscoll, shared this article with me about my Great Uncle and Aunt Otto and Elizabeth Andra.

Otto and Elizabeth Andra family, August 1961

Otto and Elizabeth Andra family, August 1961

Adventuring in Alaska – for less than $120 a person

By Phyllis J Park Tribune correspondent

A three-and-a-half week tour through the rugged Canadian country …  spotting moose, lynx, mountain goats, there are and caribou along the highway …  Fishing, swimming and leisurely sightseeing their way to Alaska for less than $120 per person, proved to two Utah couples that vacation time can be “Adventure Time.”

Mr. and Mrs. Otto Andra, 4406 S. 3200 West street Granger, and Mr. and Mrs. Dan D. Lehman, 4425 Albright Dr., Holladay, were a bit apprehensive about tackling the Alaskan route and had been warned to be prepared for any emergency but, at the conclusion of their 7000 mile round trip with no flat tires, no car trouble, and good driving conditions, “We’re ready to go again next year, it was great!” they commented.

With a suitcase each, a grub-box with a small supply of food including dehydrated goods, a five gallon can a fresh water, and one spare tire, they started out.

They made camp by the roadside each night or at handy camp-grounds in the Yukon Territory, replenishing their food supply along the way and getting fresh water from nearby waterfalls and streams.  Meals were cooked over two one-burner gas stoves and they took the collapsible table and chairs for added comfort.

The Lehmans slept in sleeping bags on air-mattresses in a tent while the Andras “bedded down” in the back of their 1954 station wagon.

They took ten days to travel from Salt Lake City, to Alaska, going via Glacier National Park in Montana.

There were a few rough spots along the famed 1527 my all Alaska highway, built in 1942, connecting Dawson Creek, B.C.  With Fairbanks, but they found road repair crews constantly on the job and their only trouble came from dust and flying rocks from passing cars.

“Cautious driving was our secret to no car trouble!”  Mr. Andra stated “and we took our time, never going over 50 miles an hour, with frequent stops and lay-overs to enjoy the sights.”  At a service station half-way up to Alaska we heard a fellow in an expensive make car, bemoaning the fact he had already experienced 14 blowouts and when he “dug” away from us leaving a shower of gravel, we thought we knew the reason why.

“The milepost were what we liked,” they said.  It’s a simple yet thorough method of guiding travelers along the way by means of numbered milepost and a mileposts guide-book, describing conditions, accommodations, and services at each post.  There are also handy telephone boxes on poles along the roadside for emergency calls.

Six fun-packed days were spent in various cities in Alaska where they visit the huge gold dredges that strained out thousands of dollars worth of gold each day, splurged $25.00 for a fling at boating and fishing in the Valdez Harbor with the net result of 64 various, tasty fish, and they watched it become dark at 12:45 a.m. and begin to lighten up an hour later.

And what did the women wear on the trip?  “We packed lightly with pedal-pushers and blouses as the main items in our wardrobe,” said Mrs. Andra.  “We didn’t need our coats, it was hot in the daytime and sweaters were enough that night. We found we needed our two pairs of flat-heeled shoes and advise others to take plastic or rubber overshoes to use in the wet, muddy spots they may encounter.”

They said at the border it was necessary to show identification such as driver’s license or birth certificate and since Mr. Andra was born in Germany he had to show a passport.  And they had to assure customs officers that they have sufficient funds with them to cover their trip and possible emergencies.  Checking with your car insurance company concerning foreign coverage was suggested by these travelers, too.

The Salt Lake Tribune HOME Magazine, September 15, 1957, p 30.

Liz and Otto Andra

Liz and Otto Andra

Otto Carl Andra was born 15 May 1902 in Meissen, Germany.

Otto married 25 November 1925 in the Salt Lake Temple to Rebecca Amelia Christensen born 6 March 1904 in Mink Creek, Franklin, Idaho.  She died 16 December 1931 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and Rebecca had two children, Rebecca Ila Andra (1926-2006) and Otto Carl Andra (1929-1929).

Otto remarried 17 February 1932 in the Salt Lake Temple to Elizabeth Mauermann born 27 October 1911 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and Elizabeth had six children, Elizabeth, Iona, Carl Otto, Albert (1938-2009), Carol, and Virginia.

Otto died 20 June 1982 in West Valley City, Utah.

Elizabeth died 14 June 1998 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and both wives were buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City.

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

1025

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.

0001

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

1976 Andra Reunion

Here are a couple of photos from an Andra Reunion from about 1976.  I believe this reunion was in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.  These photos were from some tiny 110 film strips so they were pretty hard to scan.  The photos are not high quality for that reason.  But at least they are available and I can recognize the people in the photo.

Ross,

Ross, Colleen, Bill, Mary, Don, Sergene, Dale

More Ross,

Ross, Colleen, Bill, Mary, Don, Sergene, Dale

Looking sideways

Looking sideways, Ross, Colleen, Bill, Mary, Don, Sergene, Dale

Evan,

Evan & Colleen Elliott

Evan Elliott, Brook Jonas, Colleen, Linda Jonas

Evan Elliott, Brook Jonas, Colleen, Linda Jonas

Dale

Machelle, Judy, Kimberly, Jeremy, Eric, Dale, Anthony Andra

Don,

Back (l-r): Tim, Don, Toni, Lolane, Mark; Front: Jon, Cari

Ross,

Ross, Brenda, Adelaide, Carlos, Angela & Blas Gonzalez (Adelaide’s parents)

Sergene

Bill, Sergene Sorenson, Mary