Theophilus and Martha France

In an odd twist of fate, I thought I might share my latest story in search of the family of Theophilus and Martha France.  I stumbled on this photograph when scanning the photos of my Great Great Grandmother.  She married Herbert Coley, whose sister, Martha Ann, is shown above.  This photo was in the collection, likely from Martha France herself, to my Great Great Grandfather Herbert.  The photo just had the two names written on the back of the photo.

Since, I have tried to track down the family with little or no success.  I will give some of the limited history I know at this point and then close with my latest little find.

Theophilus was born 26 December 1863 in Dudley, Staffordshire, England.  He married Martha Ann Coley 4 November 1891 in Logan, Cache, Utah in the Logan LDS Temple.  Martha was born 18 August 1860 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England to Stephen and Hannah Maria Rogers Coley.

Theophilus was a musician that took the family to various places chasing performing and music instructions.  Mostly in Cache Valley, but also taking in a jaunt to Salina, Sevier, Utah.

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Born to the family were 5 children.

Ada France born 1 April 1893 in Franklin, Franklin, Idaho and died 14 February 1957 in Caldwell, Canyon, Idaho.  She married Henry James Flippence.

Marguerite France born 19 October 1894 in Franklin and died 20 Mar 1936 in Logan.  She married George Bright.

Franklin Bank, circa 1895

Franklin Band, circa 1895, Theophilus France is sitting second from the right, supposedly as the leader

Wilford France born 25 Mar 1897 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah and died 28 August 1986 in Los Angeles County, California.  He married Elsie Arvilla Brown.

John France born 22 May 1899 in Lewiston and died 18 June 1953 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  He married Meryln Burton.

Beatrice France born 16 October 1901 in Lewiston and died 14 October 1997 in Salt Lake City.  She married Robert Wallace Ekenstam.

From the census records, it appears Martha may have had a son (maybe a brother) named Frank.  He appears and then disappears.  He may be a cousin who came over from England with Martha and then died, married, or just moved away.  I cannot trace him down again, so this is one question I have always wanted to answer.  But finding a member of this family has not proved easy.

I knew Theophilus and Martha are buried in the Lewiston Cemetery.  Her brother, George, and their parents, Stephen and Hannah, my Great Great Great Grandparents are also buried there.  Theophilus died 30 October 1923 in Lewiston.  Martha died 18 July 1949 in Parma, Canyon, Idaho.

George Bright and Marguerite Coley had at least 8 children, but only one of them lived to marry.  I knew her name was Gennevieve Bright and that she had married a man by the name of Elvon Monson Jensen 22 April 1947.  He died in 1990 and trying to track down a lady Monson in Utah or Idaho, especially where she could have remarried, seemed an impossible task.  I left it there and tried some of the other lines.

In 2011, I was in my office and visiting with the wife of the other attorney from who I rent office space.  I knew Kent was from Preston and in a lull of the conversation asked the name of Kent’s parents.  She mentioned Elvon and Gennevieve.  I could not tell where, but I knew that Elvon Jensen was in my family history.  That night I looked him up and sure enough, there he was.  I rent office space in Burley, Idaho from my 3rd cousin, once removed!  Kent’s children are my 4th cousins.

It was with some sweet satisfaction that I was able to provide a copy of the photograph of Theophilus and Martha above to him.  He had not seen a picture of them before.  I asked that he put me in contact with the member of his family who does the family history on the France/Coley line.  Maybe I can help bridge some of the divide and flesh out more fully the Coley line in Utah and Idaho.

The picture above of Theophilus and Martha was scanned in 2006.  Who knew that I would be providing a photo of ancestors to a line who did not have a photograph.  Maybe there will be more such stories in the future with all the photos I have and continue to make available.  We can only hope.  Here is a photo of Martha later in life, I don’t know how old she was at the time.

Martha Coley

Martha Coley


Coley-Rogers Wedding

William and Mary Rogers are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Hannah Maria Rogers to Stephen Coley, son of James and Letitia Coley.  They were married 3 October 1852 in Halesowen, England.

This family has limited information, but since we stumbled upon a picture recently, I thought I would make it available.  Hopefully some other photos of the family will appear.  Another appeared, it is posted below.  A darker picture, but closer.  Hopefully I can get the whole thing at some point with the clearer resolution.

Light photo of Stephen

Stephen was the third child born to Letitia Willetts and James Coley on 28 January 1830 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England.  James, as far as I can tell was a hired man, but we do not know anything more.  The family stayed in Lutley and by the age of 21 Stephen was working as a servant for the widow Ann Page as a farm laborer on her farm.  Stephen continued working as a farm laborer until he took a job in the Iron Works of Haley Green by 1871.  The 1881 census lists him as a mender, we do not know what kind. When he shows up on the 1900 Census in Syracuse, Davis, Utah he is a day laborer.

Darker photo of Stephen

Darker photo of Stephen

Hannah was the first child born to Mary Harris and William Rogers on 4 June 1832 in Romsley, Worcestershire, England.  Some of the census records show Lutley too.  This family we know little about as a whole.  Mary died in 1859 and Roger in 1862.  We do not know his occupation or even where the family and other children end up.  The name is too common and tracking down siblings to this point has been unsuccessful.  The family lived near enough Romsley to be married there and each of the children christened there.  The only reason we know anything more about Hannah is because she left her own record with her posterity and church.

We have records of 7 children born to Stephen and Hannah Coley.

William Coley born 19 October 1854 in Hasbury, Worcestershire, England.  William married Sylvia James 19 Aug 1877 in Dudley, Worcestershire, England.  We do not know anything more about this family.

Charles N Coley born January 1857 in Hasbury, England.  Charles married an Ann and had 7 children we know of.

Martha Ann Coley born 18 August 1860 in Haley Green, Worcestershire, England.  She married Theophilus France, and more is written of them at that link.

Arthur Coley born 17 January 1862 in Lutley and married an Elizah Willett.  We know nothing more about him.

Herbert Coley born 12 February 1864 in Lutley and married Martha Christiansen 1 December 1896 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  This are my Great Great Grandparents and I will write more of them later.

George Harry Coley born 16 April 1868 in Lutley and married Caroline Wilson, and more is written of them at that link.

Francis Henry Coley born 8 October 1871 in Lutley and died 10 July 1893.  We do not know where, but that is the date passed down by the family.

While the family lived in Lutley, Mormons came to the community.  We do not know the conversion story, but Martha joined 23 August 1867, Herbert 1 June 1881, George 22 August 1881, and Frank 2 June 1882.  The call to gather to Utah was strong enough that these four children decided to make the venture.  We do not know if Stephen and Hannah came begrudgingly or not, but they accompanied the children on their journey.

The family boarded the RMS Wisconsin in Liverpool.  They arrived 23 October 1890 in New York City, New York.  Stephen traveled with Hannah, daughter Martha, niece Letitia Lea Willetts, one of Letitia’s daughters Clara,  and an unknown Frank and Mary.  We don’t know who these last two children are, but they traveled with the company.  The confusing thing is that Clara is listed as a Coley, yet her mother Letitia is a Willetts.  We believe it is this same Frank who shows up in the 1900 Census living in the Martha France household where he is listed as a step-son to Theophilus.  Therefore, it appears this Frank is Martha’s child, but we have no record of his birth, father, or where he ended up after the 1900 census.  Mary may be the daughter of Charles Coley, but the age is two years off, and she disappeared once they arrived in Utah, so we do not know.

Martha married in Logan, Cache, Utah on 4 November 1891.  Interestingly, Hannah was baptized a Mormon that same day.  Martha was sealed to Theophilus in the Logan Temple.  It is likely that Hannah attended to the temple the same day and was baptized in the font of the temple.  (They used to allow convert and children of record baptisms in the temple font)  Stephen was baptized 5 January 1892, we do not know the location.

Stephen and Hannah were both endowed on the 12 October 1892 in the Logan Temple.  They were sealed to each other the same day.  George married 23 November 1892 and his parents likely attended.

Hannah died 22 October 1894 in Franklin, Franklin (then Oneida), Idaho.  I don’t believe they were living outside of Lewiston so she was probably visiting or died there for some other reason (Lewiston and Franklin are only a few miles apart).  She was buried two days later, 24 October 1894 in Lewiston.

By the time the 1910 Census rolls around, Stephen is staying with Edwin Paice, step-son of his niece Letitia Lea Willetts who had remarried to William Paice.  Edwin lived next door to William and Letitia.  The photo above was likely taken between the death of his wife his own death 19 years later.  I am guessing somewhere after 1900, which year would put him about 70, since I guess he looks like he is in his 70’s.

Stephen died at home in Lewiston 22 October 1913 (same day as his wife) and was buried two days later, 24 October 1913 in Lewiston.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Well, it has certainly been a long two weeks in Raleigh, North Carolina. I went down on the 1st and returned yesterday. It has certainly been an experience. I have always been fortunate to end up in the most interesting situations, and there always seems to be something to write home about.I rode down with Larry Grice, who went through license training with me. I have to make a few mentions of Mr. Grice. He has a certain way of doing things. There is this certain twitch, or something, which makes him have to constantly be fidgeting with his surroundings. It seems as though he must be always turning a nob or moving something. Readjusting the volume, changing station, changing the fan speed, turning things on and off, moving his seat, making a strange little laugh, and a whole host of other things. To top it off, he cannot drive smooth if his life depended on it. It is a constant change of speed and use of the brake, and these are not gradual. Faster, slower, jerk here, jerk there, swerve over here, and more constant twitches. By the time we got there, I was car sick and in the front seat. To top it off, my patience was such that I was ready for a rampage.

I don’t know why, but the volume of the radio always worked itself up so that it would hurt my ears. So I would say something so he would have to turn it down again. But in doing so, I had to have a conversation with a man who I could not understand. Between his accent, and perhaps a bit of a lazy mouth, it put more stress to carry conversation. Raleigh is a three hour drive, and if it had been 2 minutes longer, I am afraid I might have found a dead body on the side of the road. Really though, I was so wound up, mad, angry, irritated by the time we got there, I just had to go for a walk. This went on every single time we drove to work, or back, and all the way back here to Richmond.

One day on the way to work he put on Spanish music. I don’t mind a little latin music once and a while, but with his driving, and it damaging my ear drums, and then in the 100+ heat, it wore me thin. Another day, we listened to this preacher lady who was doing something I am not familiar with. She kept putting an ‘ah’ on the endah of herah wordsah, preachinah about Christah, and it wasah loudah, and sheah wasah doinah some sortah singinah, and Larry decidedah to keep the windowah downah, and it was likeah 114ah with heat indexah, and we areah in shirtah and tiesah… I started riding with other people to lunchah and to and from workah.If that was not the end of it, Larry had a few other character traits not so endearing. I found out from the class that he solicited a women in the class for a little sexual favor. Apparently she needed the cash more than her dignity, and he returned at 2:00 in the morning. I really don’t know anything happened, but her roommate supposedly got the low down from her. She is a college student and had complained before the whole class that she needed some dough, and her roommate said she definitely had plenty the next day. I do know that he asked two other married women for her phone numbers during the week. One of which earned him a sexual harrassment complaint to Combined Insurance.

Nicole Moore, who was with us in license training put Larry in his place when he started making comments about her body and such. Larry was always off visiting family and did not do any studying. Then as the week wore on and he obviously was far behind the class, he only complained that there was too much information or that it was not all necessary to know. I learned loads of patience, and wore it awfully thin a few times. He was a absolute mess. After a shower, the bathroom smelled like something was in its last stages of being decomposed by mushrooms. He slept naked and did not make much effort to cover himself in transition between clothes, the bathroom, and the bedroom. While I would be studying or even in bed, he would turn the television on and blast the sound. He would mumble little things to himself, or if they were to me I could not have understood or heard it very well. As if this was not enough, he was black. So, being raised in a very non-black state, Idaho, I never worried about this. Honestly, I do not think I really care or give any thought to skin color. However, when you are with one 48 hours a day, I found myself in places and even in private being extra careful to not be racist. Again, I honestly don’t think I have a racist bone in my body, but somehow with the climate around us, I found I had this fear of being racist. It created an extra cautious talk, reaction, and actions in his presence, more I think from the social and governmental climate we have today. Quite honestly, I found myself reverse discriminating to him! I was more lenient or less vocal with him than I would have been with someone else. I suppose that does make me racist, but in a reverse way. I let him get away with blowing my ear drums out because I did not want to offend him, or because he was…I don’t know what.

The entire week, in the background, was this constant struggle with my patience and with a complete phenomenon I have never encountered before. To top it off, the air conditioning went out in the building we were having our training in. For a week of record highes, it was horrible timing. With the temperature with the heat index between 105 and 115, it was definitely the same indoors. In a room with windows facing the sun the light and heat poured in. The full wall was windows, and they do not open. The heat was stifling. When we would go outside to cool off every hour, we thought it was cool, even though the bank one day said 114. I have no idea what the actual temperature was inside, or if it was just the closed quarters, and tremendous humidity, but that wore on a person too. Quite literally, we would be listening to Mr. Roger Dudley teach us, and I would have sweat running down my face. You could not touch anything and not have it stick to you. It was long, tedious days, and then when we were done, it was back to the hotel for a shower and nap. Both were required if you were to be any form of comfortable. We were supposed to be in shirt and tie all week, he let us come in shorts and t-shirt and we still sweat like none else. Some wore almost too little. This girl straight across from me did not leave much to the imagination, and with a skirt on, it only caused more aggravation to know I could never look that direction.

There was roughly 18 of us in this room for our sales training. Day in and day out, we memorized and went over the 3 policies, the history of the company, and the company ethics. I am a complete admirer of W. Clement Stone and this whole organization. A company with ethics, principles, and something more than just trying to make money. They literally are trying to change the world for the better. It was easy to lose sight of that though when you are so completely uncomfortable. I remember sitting down on the chair the second day and feeling the moisture still in the seat padding I had left from the day before. The gum on the bottom of my chair was warm enough that it stuck to my shoe when I accidentally hit it while shifting my feet beneath me. Gladly, the air conditioning came on and Friday was probably around 80 in the room.

The week proved to be interesting with the people inside the room. There was the has been insurance agent trying to get a new start in the business. Just lost his wife to divorce, or I think forced away his wife, and was a complete know it all. Always had to offer his two cents, tell the corny jokes, and interrupt everyone’s study to critique them, all while he did not do very well in learning the presentation himself. Then there was the Ms. I cannot do anything. Complain, complain, complain about how hard it was, how hot it was, how stupid she was, how her car broke down, how she could not learn the information. Oddly, the information she could not learn, she did not learn. Then there was the military man, who was always right as well, but who thought he was actually in lead of the class. Even with the teacher present, he had to tell us what to do, make sure we knew of his anger, or frustration, and more. Then there was the woman who constantly had things to say that had nothing to do with anything, and she had to share with the whole class. Many tempers flared, many people started yelling at others, mostly back at the hotel, and this was all a show. Then there was Larry, and all the women thought he was a predator or something, there was the little lady across from me who always had the complete following of male eyes, and the dynamics of the class were never boring.

Our poor teacher, Mr. Roger Dudley of Fayetteville, North Carolina was obviously worn by the end of the week too. Even on the last day, he caught several people cheating on the final, and made us all take it again. That did not make the class happy as we did not get out early like we were supposed to, and who wanted to take an hour test over?? I had already been downstairs for 10 minutes when we were summoned back to retake it. Most of what I missed was purely in having lost interest. Word for word phrases I substituted words that had nothing to do with anything I was writing so quickly to get it over with again. For example, rather than writing, Do you drive a car, I wrote Do you own a car. Which cost me the entire question. I was writing so fast by the end that the checker could not read my writing and I missed probably 3 due to my having completely lost any interest by the end of the test.

To add to the situation in Raleigh, right before I left to head out to North Carolina, my computer crashed. I don’t know exactly what happened, but my computer refused to recognize any internet. My wireless card altogether was not even recognized by the computer. So I had to take it in. In the end they had to reformat the entire hard drive! At least they could do a backup of my files. I did not get to take my computer with me, which I had hoped to do. That way I could still run finances and orchestrate what I do from my e-mail. Well, now I was high and dry, and worried about my computer, all my information on it, finances, and who knows what else. Two weeks later, I went and picked up my computer. It crashed twice within the first 30 minutes of having got it back. So I will have to take it in this morning. I was able to pull the Microsoft Money off of it to use on Amanda’s computer, so now I can do the whole financial thing. I am going to try and pull the family history file off so I can use it while my computer is gone. Fortunately I put the couple hundred pictures on Photomax, so I can lose them if I have to. I do have 3,000 songs on the computer, and I hope not to lose them. I have given away, or thrown away most of the CD’s I got them from.

Anyhow, it has been a testing by fire for two weeks. There was a positive side though. I have two close, new friends, Nicole Moore of Norfolk area, and Andy Yauss from Radford. If it had not have been for them, I might have lost my sanity. They were good study buddies and they let me vent to them when I thought I was about to break.

How is that for two weeks! It was the first time in my life I felt like my poor body was not handling the stress very well. I would wake up and my whole body was tense and one big knot in dread of the day. I usually went to bed exhausted, but could not sleep very well due to the stress on the body. Mentally I honestly don’t think I was close to breaking down, but my physical body sure was growing weary.