Memories are Made of This

Lillie 23 April 2017

Sometimes you just have to be grateful for what you have.  I am fortunate to have a great family.  A couple of photos of recent.

Hiram and Aliza, 23 April 2017, Snake River Minidoka spillway, flood 2017

 

Hiram and Aliza, Paul Park, 22 April 2017

 

Del Monte Tower

You can’t hardly see it, but I regularly see it.  My Grandfather helped build that water tower that is small but to the left of the tree just above the fence.  Most days when I open Aliza’s blinds, I have a reminder of my ancestry in the distance.

The remaining of the Twin Falls, 19 March 2017

 

Shoshone Falls, 19 March 2017, Flood of 2017

 

Hiram and Aliza at Shoshone Falls 19 March 2017

 

Hiram and Aliza goofing off 19 March 2017

 

 

Wanner-Nuffer Wedding

John and Eva Nuffer are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Regina Friederike to John George, son of John and Anna Wanner.  John and Regina were married 31 August 1898 in the Logan LDS Temple, Logan, Cache, Utah.

John & Regina Wanner

John & Regina Wanner

Regina Friederike Nuffer was the first child of four born to the marriage of John Christoph Nuffer and Eva Katharina Greiner on 26 January 1869 in Neuffen, Esslingen, Wurttemberg.  John was a widower when he married Eva endowing Regina with two older half brothers and sister, John (1862), Georg Friedrich (1864, Fred), and Christiane (1865, who lived less than a year).  John and Eva were married 25 July 1867 in Neuffen.  Regina had three younger siblings, Charles August (1871), Adolph (1875), and Mary (1881).  Regina was christened 7 February 1869 in Evangelische Kirche, Neuffen.

Neuffen Church and Paul Ross

Evangelische Kirche, Neuffen and Paul Ross.  The Nuffer family attended this church and Regina was christened here.

When Regina was about 9 years old, she heard the Mormon Elders preach in town.  One of those Elders was John Jacob Theurer (1837 – 1914) of Providence, Cache, Utah.  She was converted to the LDS church and was baptized 1 January 1880.  Her parents were baptized 12 April 1880 in the mill race behind their home in the very early morning to avoid others in the community knowing.  Other siblings followed later.

Overlooking Neuffen

Overlooking Neuffen, 2008

The family applied to immigrate to North America in April 1880. They left for Stuttgart, then to Mannheim on a boat to Holland, over the North Sea to Hull, England where they left on the Wisconsin for New York.  From Castle Garden they went by train to Utah, finally arriving in Logan.  The family moved to Providence, Cache, Utah where Elder Theurer had connections.  Mary, Regina’s sister, was born in Providence in 1881.  John Jr worked in Montana, Salt Lake, and on the Logan Temple.  After the Logan Temple stonework was completed, the Nuffers sold their home in Providence and moved in 1883 to Preston, Franklin (then Oneida), Idaho.  Eventually they moved around until John and Eva purchased property up Cub River near Mapleton (then St. Joseph), Franklin (then Oneida), Idaho.

Regina Nuffer

Regina Nuffer

I don’t know the details of how or when, but Regina met Jacob Scheibel and married him 15 July 1889 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  Alma Katherine (“Kate”) Scheibel was born 27 September 1889 in Pleasant Valley, Carbon, Utah to Jacob and Regina.  In 1890, Jacob and Regina separated and she moved back to Mapleton.  She helped as a nurse and midwife while her mom helped tend little Kate.  It was during this time she met a young man named John George Wanner Jr who was working for her brother Fred Nuffer, also in Mapleton.

Regina Nuffer and Alma Katherine Scheibel

Regina Nuffer and Alma Katherine Scheibel

John George (anglicized from Johann Georg but called George by the family) was the first child born to the marriage of John George (also anglicized from Johann Georg) and Anna Maria Schmid on 29 October 1870 in Holzgerlingen, Böblingen, Württemberg.  To keep them separate, younger John George went by George.  He was christened 30 October 1870 in Holzgerlingen.  He grew up in Holzgerlingen and during the summer of 1890 met the LDS missionaries.  He was the first of the family to join the new church on 11 July 1891 and was baptized by Jacob Zollinger (1845 – 1942) of Providence, Utah.

St. Mauritius Church in Holzgerlingen where the Schmid family were christened

St. Mauritius Church in Holzgerlingen, the church where the Wanner’s attended and where John was christened.

George apparently emigrated to America with an Elder Theurer in 1891.  We don’t know who Elder Theurer is, but he was also from Providence although likely a relative of John Theurer who converted the Nuffer family.  The LDS missionary records do not show an Elder Theurer out in 1890 – 1892.  I wonder if this wasn’t meant to be Elder Zollinger in the family histories.  But this Elder helped John find employment with Fred Nuffer.  The rest of the Wanner family followed to Mapleton in 1893.  Mary, George’s daughter, indicates it was an Elder Terrell who brought John to America (Theurer sounds like Tire, and Terrell isn’t that far off, so maybe a misspelling?)

george-wanner-about-1895

George met Eliza Stirland of Providence and married her 14 November 1894 in the Logan LDS Temple.  Two children were born, Earl Wayne Wanner born 31 October 1895 in Providence and George Phineas Wanner on 22 September 1897 in Glendale.  The unhappy marriage ended in divorce.  Nobody seems to know what happened to these two sons either.

Regina received her Patriarchal Blessing 13 September 1897 from John Smith.

George and Regina fell in love and married in the Logan Temple 13 August 1898.

William Christoph and Willard John were born 9 November 1899 in Mapleton.

Mary Louise was born 5 March 1901 in Mapleton.

George was called and set apart as a missionary to Germany on 1 October 1901 .

Acceptance Letter from John to President Snow

Acceptance Letter from John to Lorenzo Snow, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Golden was born 4 September 1902 in Mapleton while John was on his mission to Germany.

George safely arrived home 7 October 1903.

Eva Virtue was born 24 February 1904 in Mapleton.

Rulon was born 6 November 1905 in Mapleton.

About this time, George Wanner had John Nuffer build him a home on East Oneida Street in Preston.

George was then called to serve a second mission in the fall of 1907, again leaving pregnant Regina and six children.  He was set apart by Orson F. Whitney on 29 October 1907 to serve in the Swiss and German mission.  Interestingly, the missionary record says he was plurally married, but no records or history show another marriage.  I suspect it is a mistake.

Serge Nuffer was born 8 March 1908 in Preston.  Again, another child born while John was on a mission.

Regina with William and Willard in the back and then Golden, Mary in the middle, holding Serge, then Rulon, then Eva.  This picture was taken and sent to George on his mission.

George left Europe sailing on the Southwark from Liverpool, England on 9 December 1909.

1909 Southwark Manifest

1909 Southwark Manifest

George returned home on Christmas day 1909.  It was during this mission that George taught the Christiana Wilhelmina Andra family.  The Andras immigrated to Preston.  William Andra, Christiana’s daughter, would later marry George’s daughter, Mary.

In 1910, George and Regina purchased the Wanner farm (John’s parents) in Whitney (which the Wanners had purchased from the Nuffer family).  His parents moved to Logan.

1910 Whitney Census

1910 Whitney Census, Dursteller, Handy, Beckstead, Foster, Cardon, Wanner, Oliverson, Moser, Benson

About 1912, this picture was taken on the farm.

l-r: Eva, William, Golden, Serge (sitting), George, Regina, Rulon, Willard, Mary Wanner

l-r: Eva, William, Golden, Serge (sitting), George, Regina, Rulon, Willard, Mary Wanner

Another photo from about 1917.

l-r: Golden, Mary, Regina, George, William, Willard. Sitting: Eva, Serge, Rulon

l-r: Golden, Mary, Regina, George, William, Willard. Sitting: Eva, Serge, Rulon

Sadly, things started to change their idyllic world.

Golden died 26 November 1918 in Salt Lake City at age 16.   His death certificate says he was a student, Regina is the informant, but I don’t know where he was going to school.  I was told he died from influenza, but the death certificate just says natural death.

William died 1 December 1918 at Camp Genicart, Gironde, France from influenza.  He enlisted with the army 5 August 1917.  I don’t have anything to back it up, but I suspect the photo above is in preparation for his enlistment.  He left Salt Lake City for Camp Kearney on October 11, 1917.  He served in the Supply Company, 145th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces.  The war did not kill him, disease did (as was common then with influenza).  His body was brought home 11 November 1920, and interred in the Whitney Idaho Cemetery.

Mary married William Andra 10 March 1920 in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.

Willard was set apart as a missionary 7 January 1921 to New Zealand by Melvin J Ballard and left for the mission 8 January 1921.  He successfully completed his mission and ended his service 18 October 1922.

Willard John Wanner

Mary Andra, Regina Wanner, holding William Andra Jr in 1921

Willard married Gladys Laverna Thompson 15 November 1923 in the Logan LDS Temple.

Rulon was a student in Logan when he caught a cold.  It developed into acute meningitus caused by acute otitis media.  He died 25 February 1924 at the age of 18.  George is the informant.

George was called to serve a third mission to the Southern States Mission.  He was set apart 15 December 1925 by Joseph Fielding Smith and departed 16 December 1925.  He returned home 8 June 1926.

On 4 July 1926, George received his Patriarchal Blessing under the hand of William M Daines.

Serge was set apart as a missionary 24 April 1928 to New Zealand by Orson F Whitney and left for the mission on 28 April 1928.  He arrived in New Zealand 20 May 1928.  He served in the Bay, of Island, Whangerei, and Wellington districts, and on the South Island.  He cut himself while shaving and died from blood poisoning 4 October 1929.  His body was brought home for burial in Whitney with the funeral held in the Preston opera house.  Four sons were now deceased.

Eva was set apart as a missionary 16 April 1930 to California by George F Richards and left for the mission 17 April 1930.  She completed her service 6 June 1932.

George was called to serve a fourth mission to California.  He was set apart by Reed Schmid on 1 December 1933 and left for the mission the same day.  He arrived back home 6 April 1934.

Eva married Adolf Ernest Spatig 29 January 1936 in the Logan LDS Temple.

Regina, Kate Naef, Carmen Cole, and Ladean Cole

George was known for his ability to work hard.  He worked hard, raised his crops, and took exceptional care of his farm animals.  He took great price in having things looking neat and clean around the farm and yard.

George usually was out working when the sun came up.  The story is told that he was usually the first to get to the beet dump in the morning.  Apparently one morning some of the neighbors decided to beat him to the dump.  They got up early to get a head start.  Before they got to the dump, the could hear George Wanner already going down the road ahead of them.  It was still dark but they could tell it was him by the way he was talking to his horses, “Gid up – gid up – gid up.”

George and Regina sold the Whitney farm and purchased 40 acres nearer to Preston and built a home on it.  Oakwood Elementary and Preston Junior High sit on what was part of this farm.  When he retired, it was this farm he sold to William and Mary Andra.

George had a knack for being successful in the various undertakings he engaged in.  He was one of the first in Preston to have an automobile.  When he brought it home he hadn’t quite got the knack of stopping it.  He yelled “whoa” when he got in the garage, but before he got it stopped he had gone through the end of the garage.

Grandma Wanner

Regina Wanner

George built two little homes on the west side of 2nd east and 1st south in Preston.  He also built three homes on 1st south and the south side of the street in Preston.  George and Regina lived in one of those homes until she died.  Regina passed away 10 March 1942 in Preston.  She was buried in Whitney.

She was ill for quite a while before she passed away.  George would care for her the best he could and regularly took her for rides in the car.  She was unable to walk and George would carry her on his back from place to place as they went visiting.

George remarried a few months later Grace Irene Frasure (1893 – 1980) on 3 Jun 1942 in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.  Their marriage dissolved in divorce.

John George Wanner Jr

George was having a number of health issues and had heard that Florida would help him.  He moved to Florida.  It was there he met Annie Jane Metts (1873 – 1961).  They were married 4 May 1945 in Fort Myers, Lee, Florida.  This marriage also dissolved in divorce.

George and Annie Metts Wanner in Florida

George remained in Florida until he became ill enough that he knew the end was coming.  His daughter, Mary, sent her son, William Andra, out to Florida to bring George back by train.  When William and George arrived in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, he was quite ill and taken to the hospital.  It was there that George passed away 5 January 1947.  William brought George’s body back to Preston.  George was buried beside Regina in Whitney.

Mary Stoker 81st Anniversary

One of the fun and frustrating parts of family history is how it keeps changing on you.  There are always more records, there is always more documentation on your ancestors.  Most of it is mundane and useless, even if it does give you a partial hint on your family.  But sometimes you stumble upon a gem.  As I did with this newspaper clipping.

I thought I had scoured Ogden’s Standard Examiner pretty thoroughly for familial references.  Nevertheless, I was searching for something entirely different and found this article.  I don’t know if I missed it before or if search capabilities have improved and caught now what I could not catch 5 or 8 years ago when I went through the Standard Examiner records.

Here is the entire page of the paper.

Page 7A of Ogden, Utah’s Standard Examiner, Sunday 19 April 1950

A couple of thoughts about the entire page.

100 Gladiolus bulbs for $1.69!

I love when they reference someone in the paper they give their home address.

Sears Roebuck & Co.  May soon be another thing of the past, despite being an institution of the American way of life for over 150 years.

Mattresses seem to be pretty much the same as they were 67 years ago.  Not that I expect lots of change, but other than these new foam mattresses, things appear to be much the same.

Call Sears at 2-5331!

Combination Offer, box springs and mattress only $42.88!

Utah’s Senator, Elbert D. Thomas has a new book out, “One Nation Under God” only $2.75.  I don’t think I can see a Senator now out selling a religious principles book.

Washers have changed a great deal since 1950.

Alcoholics Anonymous is still going strong today.

Anyhow, on to the reason why I am writing this post.  Mary E Stoker is my Great, Great Grandmother.  I have written about her previously.  But this little newspaper article tells us some things at least I had never known.

“An open house to honor Mary E. Stoker, old time resident of Weber county, on her 81st birthday anniversary, will bbe held Sunday, Apr 9, at the home of her son, J. E. Donaldson, 120 E street, Salt Lake City.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

“Mrs. Stoker was born April 7, 1869, in Ogden, a daughter of David D and Gwendolyn Jordan Williams, pioneer converts from Wales.  She spent her early childhood in Slaterville and moved to Ogden when she was 15 years old.

“She was married to William Scott Donaldson in Ogden, October 1890.  They had six children, William George Donaldson, and John Edmund Donaldson, Salt Lake City; David Delos Donaldson, Ogden; Ellis Donaldson, Pocatello, Idaho; Irvin T. Donaldson, West San Pablo, Calif.; Alvin Donaldson, Green River, Wyo.  Mr. Donaldson died Sept. 12, 1913.

“In 1918 she was married to Anthon Edward Peterson in Ogden.  Several years after Mr. Peterson’s death she was married to Thomas Stoker of Huntsville.  She has six sons, 22 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.  She also has three brothers, Hyrum Williams, John H. Williams, and Joseph Williams, Ogden, and one sister, Mrs. Louise Layman, Ogden.

“Mrs. Stoker remembers when there were not over 10 houses east of Washington, when mud was hub deep to wagons in stormy weather.  She remembers the first street cars, the first street lights and the first volunteer fire department.

“She went to Salt Lake City with her moth to attend Brigham Young’s funeral.  She was personally acquainted with Lorin Farr, first mayor of Ogden, D. H. Peery, Job Pingree, Franklin D. Richards, John Scowcroft, John Guthrie, W. H. Wright, George Kerr, Bernard White, Winslow Farr, Robert McQuarrie, and their families.  She knew most of the early settles of Weber county.

“Mrs. Stoker says there has been so much progress since her childhood that she takes great interest in new developments, inventions and methods of doing things.  She is so sure that many more wonderful inventions are just a few years away and she wants to live to be at least 100 years old because she enjoys seeing progress.

Much of that seemed standard and information we knew.  But she went to Brigham Young’s funeral when she was about 8 years old.  Why did her mother take her to the funeral.  Brigham did not serve any of his missions in Wales, so I doubt they were converts or knew him while he was a missionary.  But Gwenllian had enough regard for him that she traveled to Salt Lake City to say farewell.  Enough that she even took her daughter.  But that is an interesting side note to Mary.

The other information is more history of Ogden.  I am curious how well she knew the people listed in the article and how she knew them.  Now about half of the list does not mean anything to me.  As a non-Ogdenite, only a few of the names I am familiar.  Farr, Peery, and Richards.  The rest of these are lost on me and I will have to research their significance to her and the paper for another time.

Just a few more interesting insights into the lady I know as Mary Elizabeth Donaldson.

Here is a much better copy of the photo from the newspaper article.  She died 29 March 1951.

1959 Andra Reunion

B

Back l-r: Kenny Beck, Twila Andra (holding Jeffrey Andra), Marlene Beck, Patty Andra, Sharon Johnson, Gary Beck, and Peggy Johnson.  Middle l-r: Doug Jonas, Jeffrey Andra (held by Twila), Sandy Jonas, Golden Andra Jr, Mary Lou Johnson, Chad Andra, Greg Andra.  Front l-r: Marc Andra, Kent Andra, Andy Sorenson, Lanny Johnson, Scott Sorenson, and Cindy Johnson

In my constant pursuit of family history photos, I stumbled upon this gem.  We believe it is the Andra family reunion from 1959.  Most of the reunions during this time were in Richmond, Utah or Preston, Idaho.  I believe these three photos were all taken in Preston.  This photo includes the older children from the older Andra siblings.  I don’t have many pictures of the Andra grandchildren from the reunions.  Plenty of photos of the siblings or even my Great Grandparents, Bill and Mary Andra.  That makes this even more rare.

This photo has children of the six oldest siblings.  William, June (married Johnson), Millie (married Beck), Golden, Colleen (married Jonas), and Sergene (married Sorenson).  I will not include much information since most of these children are alive.

Kenneth Beck (1949 – Living)

Twila Andra (1947 – Living)

Marlene Beck (1948 – Living)

Patricia Andra (1946 – Living)

Sharon Johnson (1943 – Living)

Gary Beck (1947 – Living)

Peggy Johnson (1945 – Living)

Douglas Jonas (1952 – Living)

Jeffrey Andra (1957 – Living)

Sandra Jonas (1954 – Living)

Golden Andra Jr (1951 – Living)

Mary Lou Johnson (1953 – Living)

Chad Andra (1949 – Living)

Greg Andra(1948 – Living)

Marc David Andra (2 September 1955 – 6 August 2011), son of William and Edith.

Kent Melvin Andra (20 April 1954 – 17 April 2003), son of William and Edith.

Andrew Sorenson (1953 – Living)

Lanny Johnson (1947 – Living)

Scott B Sorenson (28 April 1951 – 10 December 2001), son of Bert and Sergene.

Cindy Johnson (1955 – Living)

Here is a second shot, but not as clear.

andra-kids-2

Here a photo of the parent siblings from the same day.

l-r: Bill Andra,

l-r: Bill & Mary Andra, June Johnson, Mildred (Millie) Beck, Colleen Jonas, Sergene Sorenson, Ross Andra, Dale Andra, Larry Andra.

Eagle Scout

I received my Eagle Scout on 19 October 1993 making it 23 years ago!  Where does the time go?  Here are some photos of that occasion.

Newspaper clipping from the South Idaho Press.

Newspaper clipping from the South Idaho Press.

My Dad, Milo Ross, is also an Eagle Scout, so he could make the award to me.  Mom refused to step into a Mormon church, so my Grandma, Gladys Donaldson Ross, stood in for her.  Mom finally showed up and came in and then became offended because Grandma stood in her place.  Sometimes you cannot win!

The Court of Honor.

The Court of Honor.  Me, Grandma, Dad on stage with the Eagle Nest.

paul-ross-eagle-court-of-honor-with-gladys-and-milo-ross

 

Dad shaking my hand afterward for photos.

Dad shaking my hand for a photo for the newspaper.

Here is one of those awkward teen photos.  Dad had me take a picture before we went to the Court of Honor.  I borrowed someone else’s pants so they did not fit.  I was already in love with the green trousers.

paul-ross-eagle-uniform

I have a couple of the invitations and the programs for the Court of Honor.  Next time I stumble on them I should scan a copy so they are also saved for posterity.  Just remember, we all go through that awkward teenage stage.

Birthday Season

I just passed by 37th birthday last month.  It came and went like all the others, just another day with a little extra sugar.

If the average lifespan of a male is 72 years, I am now officially over half dead.

With the passing of the date, I thought I would post some pictures of birthdays from days gone.  Some of this will surely be to the chagrin of my little sister, Andra.  But she was born the day before my birthday, so we inevitably had our birthday parties together.

Some of the photos were scanned from a scrapbook, so you will have to forgive some of the stickers and other related paraphernalia.

Maybe I didn’t have birthdays in later years, or at least no pictures in my collection to commemorate the day.

I think this is about my 5th birthday, Andra's 3rd at Grandma's house in Paul, Idaho.

I think this is about my 4th birthday, Andra’s 2nd at Grandma’s house in Paul, Idaho.

 

I think this is about my 5th, Andra's 3rd.

I think this is about my 5th, Andra’s 3rd.

 

This one you can see my arrowhead necklace I wore for many years. I loved that necklace.

This one you can see my arrowhead necklace I wore for many years. I loved that necklace.

 

I think this is about age 7 for me, age 5 for Andra.

I think this is about age 7 for me, age 5 for Andra.

 

I believe this is my 11th birthday, Andra's 9th.

I believe this is my 9th birthday, Andra’s 7th.

 

With Gwen Thompson at their home in Virginia.  This was my 26th birthday.

With Gwen Thompson at their home in Virginia. This was my 26th birthday.

Edith Maude Gudmundson Andra

Edith Gudmunson

Edith Maude Gudmundson Andra, 91, passed away on Monday, 18 July 2016 at her home in Stockton, Missouri, from natural causes related to age.  She was born the first of two children on 21 September 1924 in Logan, Utah, to Melvin Peter and Maude Victoria Wollaston Gudmundson.  She married William Fredrick Andra Jr 13 June 1947 in the Logan Utah LDS Temple.  Together they had six children.  William passed away in 1992.  Edith married Leland Fred Williams 10 March 1999 in Arnica, Missouri.  He predeceased her in 2011.

Edith grew up in Logan at 253 East 3rd South.  She had one sister, Shirley, born in 1928, with who she grew up.

Shirley, Melvin, and Edith

Shirley, Melvin, and Edith

 

Shirley and Edith Gudmundson

Shirley and Edith Gudmundson

Her mother passed away in 1931 and the family had to work through those difficult years with just the three of them.  She attended Wilson School and Logan Junior and Senior Schools where she graduated. She played the violin.

Edith Maude Gudmunson 005

Logan HS Yearbook

Logan HS Yearbook

 

Logan HS Yearbook

Logan HS Yearbook

 

Edith Maude Gudmunson 012 Edith Maude Gudmunson 014 Edith Maude Gudmunson 008 Edith Maude Gudmunson 010

She enlisted in the Navy in Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 September 1944 and served until discharge in San Francisco, California, 1 May 1946.  She trained and served as a switchboard operator for the majority of the time of her service.

Edith Maude Gudmunson 015 Edith Maude Gudmunson 016

After her military service, she attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Edith in the BYU yearbook

Edith in the BYU yearbook

Edith 002

During this time she met William Andra, who discharged from the Marines 20 June 1946.  I am not aware that he attended Brigham Young University, but I know he was living in Orem and it was likely there that William and Edith met culminating in their marriage in 1947.

Edith and William Andra Marriage Portrait

Edith and William Andra Marriage Portrait

Greg William was born in Preston, Idaho in 1948.  Chad Fredrick was born in Preston in 1949.

Edith

Bill and Edith andra with Greg and Chad

By 1950, the family was living in Boise for a short time.

Edith in 1951

Edith in 1951

The family then moved back to Logan where Kent Melvin was born in 1954.

Bill and Edith with Marc, chad, and Kent

Edith Maude Gudmunson

The family was living in Midvale by 1955 where Marc David was born.  Then to Salt Lake City in 1956.  Troy Norman was born in Providence in 1960.

Bill and Edith andra with Greg and Chad and Kent, marc

Bill & Edith in Richmond for an Andra Reunion

Bill & Edith in Richmond for an Andra Reunion

A few years later the family moved to Smithfield.  Todd Nathan was born in Smithfield in 1968.

Greg,Kent and Marc, Chad, Edith, Bill

Greg and Chad and Kent 001

It is in Smithfield that my mother came to know the family, since she was living in Richmond.  Kent and my Mom were close in age and played together.

Larry and Mom both told me stories about William and Edith being very particular about being healthy eaters.  Larry remembers Edith washing every leaf of a head of lettuce before it could be eaten.  William tried to convince Larry of the unhealthy nature of bacon and milk.  Nobody else seemed to care, but it would really get William and Edith upset when people would not come to their way of thinking.  William was also particular about when you ate, not mixing the various parts of your food with other parts.  Larry found much of this amusing.

The Andra family was a fairly tight knit family and held reunions together yearly.  Relationships started to strain in 1965 when William and Edith learned and accepted polygamy leading to their excommunication from the LDS church.  The Andra family relationships started to strain further after attempts to convert William’s parents and some of the siblings to polygamy.  Even while William’s parents were in a nursing home late in life, there were attempts to convert them to polygamy which led to final severing ties.

Bill and Edith with 5 boys

William Andra Jr FamilyBill Edith Children 1981

I don’t know when, but the family after converting to polygamy moved to Santa Clara.  Nobody in the immediate family knows when due to the severance.  After many years in Santa Clara, they then moved to Cedar County, Missouri.

Bill Edith 1981

Bill and Edith Family 1981

Bill and Edith in SLC (2)Todd, Troy, Marc, Kent, Chad, Greg 004

Todd, Edith, and Kent Andra

My first visit to Edith was in 2001.  I was moving to Branson, Missouri for work and before I left Uncle Ross Andra told me Edith lived in Missouri somewhere.  I do not have any memories with William and Edith and did not even know she was still alive.  Ross told me I should stop and visit.  I knew nothing of the divide that had come into the family.

When I stayed the night before entering Missouri in Florence, Kansas, I looked to see what I could find in the phone book.  With a last name like Andra, it wasn’t hard to find who I thought was the right name in Stockton, Missouri.  I called the number and it was Mary Andra, wife of Kent Andra who answered.  She told me I was welcome to stop by and since their shop was a bit off the beaten path, gave me directions.

I arrived later that day and found a long lost number of cousins I never knew existed.  I saw the shop, I met a number of Kent’s children, and then I was taken down to the home to meet more of the family.  When I was introduced to his wife, Tammy, I thought I had already met his wife, Mary, but I assumed I must have misunderstood.  I met more and more children.

Kent sent one of his daughters with me to help me find Edith’s home.  I sat with Edith meeting her for the first time in my memory and chatted for quite a while.  She showed me some family history, told me some sweet stories of my Grandmother Colleen, and various conversations.  Edith did not know Colleen had passed away.  She told me of her new marriage to Leland Williams.  We parted on great terms and went back to Kent’s home, enjoyed some carrot juice, and visited.

In a funny situation, I was enjoying my carrot juice trying to keep the children’s names straight when Mary came into the house.  I sat there talking with Kent, Tammy, and Mary having a good laugh.  I kept wondering how I misunderstood and was unclear on who was Kent’s wife, so I asked.  They stated that both were.  I sat there not comprehending.  I must have looked confused because they just looked at me.  It then dawned on me and I made some comment like, “Well, we are family right?”  I laughed, they laughed, and I think any tension or misunderstanding that may have been there melted away.  That was not something I was expecting that day!

We said our goodbyes knowing that we were still family.  I quite enjoyed my visit.

It was later that week I got a phone call from Edith asking me to not share names, circumstances, or anything else regarding the family because it had caused so much trouble with the rest of the family.  I told her that we were family and it did not bother me and I really did not think it bothered anyone else.

I visited again in 2002.  When Kent passed away in 2003, I thought they were very kind to let me know.

Amanda and I stopped in 2006 on our move from Utah to Virginia.  As we drove to the boonies where they lived, she joked with me that I was going to drop her off out in the middle of nowhere.  We again had a very pleasant visit with Mary, Tammy, and Edith.  Amanda was prepped with the information and quickly found out nobody had multiple heads or horns.  I think it was the boonies that gave her more concern than the polygamy.

I visited again in 2008 driving from Virginia through to Washington for work.  That time Edith had moved to a home nearer to her son Marc.  I stopped to visit Marc and Cheryl and met them for the first time.  Edith also came over to the house and we visited with her.  Here is a photo from that visit.

Paul Ross, Cheryl & Marc Andra, and Edith.

Paul Ross, Cheryl & Marc Andra, and Edith.

I tried to call Edith every other year or so.  Sometimes it was hard to track her down, but I typically found her and was able to call.  The last time I visited with her was when Donald was sick and dying with cancer in the spring of 2016.  I asked Donald if I could let some of the extended family know.  He said yes.  With that, I called Edith and visited with her about Sergene’s passing and Donald’s cancer.  She talked about how the family was distant and she appreciated the updates.  She also indicated that life continues to pass and we all end up dealing with death at some point.  She reminded me of her age and she did not know where she would be next week either.

Now she is gone.

While I know there was quite a bit of angst in the family over the beliefs and separation, but despite all that I am glad I did not know of the polygamy issues and got to know the family as just that, family.  Their position, beliefs, and practices at no point directly affected me in any way.  I am glad I know them!

Aunt Edith, until we meet again.