100 Years of Flanders

John William Ross tombstone

(I originally published this in 2008.  I edited it and updated it with pictures for today, the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice.)

I thought I would write a little in relation to Veteran’s Day.  For the most part, it seems this holiday is somewhat forgotten in the United States.  Really, American’s celebrate the same day on Memorial Day in May.  I can understand the European View of holding it on the 11th of November.  It is the day WWI ended.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

I remember well the time I first experienced Veteran’s Day.  I sat in the Eccles Ward Chapel in Patricroft, England.  I sat there on 11 November 1999.  The services started at 11 AM.  We had the hymn, opening prayer, and a few comments by the Bishop until 11:11 arrived.  It was then we took two minutes to remember what was done.  Somehow those two minutes seared into my heart and soul.

Growing up in Idaho means we have little or no realization of any war.  There are small war memorials inside of cemeteries and an occasional one in a park to commemorate.  No war in modern days has taken place anywhere near Idaho.  Even the American Civil War means little to Idahoans.  My grandfather served in the Philippines during WWII but he spoke so little of it.  I had Uncles and Great Uncles who perished in WWI and WWII.  I have been to their graves but they are the dead, just like the other dead in the cemetery.  The idea of dying for one’s country meant very little to me.

Irwin John Jonas

One of my first memories of England is the day after we arrived.  We were taken into Altrincham Town Centre and there we proselyted for an hour on the way to the mission office.  I did notice the cenotaph.  I thought it rather oddly placed.

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery, Nov 2005

While I served in Hyde, Cheshire one of the ways we knew where to turn in town was at the cenotaphs.  The same in Dukinfield.  When we arrived early at a member’s house we would loiter at the cenotaph to street contact until time for dinner.  Regularly I thought these things were oddly placed.  I knew they were naming those who died in the ‘Great War’.  For some reason or another I thought they doubled up on the names over the various cenotaphs.  It never occurred to me names are not typically duplicated on these things, or if they do, the intention is not to do so.

Ellis Seth Jonas

Suddenly I found myself sitting in a church meeting remembering.  These souls did not fight for my country.  However I felt come into my heart a gratitude for their sacrifice.  Could I do the same thing if called upon?  Somehow a dawning realization came upon me of the hundreds if not thousands of names I had seen on cenotaphs in my first year in England.  They were everywhere.  There were continuous reminders of the dead who fought for their country.

William Jr Military Pic

About a month later I found myself walking the streets of Runcorn, Cheshire.  There is a large cenotaph probably 15 feet tall.  The bus would drive by it every day.  I could not help but notice the little red, fake flowers on popsicle sticks stuck in the flower bed all around it.  The cenotaph meant more to me by this point but what were the little red flowers?  I noticed each of them had a name written on them and they appeared hand-made.

James William Ross

I asked what the little red flowers meant that were still scattered everywhere a month after the 11th of November.  I was then told about Flanders Fields and the poppies.  The poem was shared with me.  It made sense, I felt the poignancy of it.  I have a cousin, Harry Coley (1891 – 1917) who died in Broodseinde, Flanders, Belgium as part of the war.  His body was lost in the mud and potholes of the war and never recovered.

The imagery is intense while the poem isn’t all that catchy to me.  In fact, some of it still doesn’t make sense to me so I share only the first verse here:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

David Delos Donaldson (back), John Edmund Donaldson (left), and William George Donaldson

Would I have this type of courage?  Would I be willing to go and serve my country so willingly?  Even if I was drafted, unwillingly?  To set aside all other hopes and aspirations to serve my country?  I did so to serve a mission for my church.  I would think I would be willing to for my nation.  While I am not entirely enamoured with my country at the present, would I still be willing to do it?  Probably.

Art and Golden Coley

Art and Golden Coley

In fact, I feel some desire to serve in the military.  My life hasn’t permitted the chance and my wife is against the idea.  I don’t think I will be making the decision to join.  But I wish to honour those who do and especially those who died in doing so.  Accordingly, when I saw my clock at 11:11 this morning, I stopped for 2 minutes to remember.  What does our future hold?  I don’t know.  But our past is nobler because of these good souls who gave all.  Not only to join, but they never returned.  We were on the side of right then, and our nation was preserved.  I hope and pray our nation continues on the side of right and we will yet be preserved.

Guarding the tomb

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

An Wanner uncle of mine arrived in Whitney, Idaho a year after his death in WWI.  His remains arrived in a lead casket which was buried with great fanfare for the small community.  WWII repeated this scenario with another Uncle, another family line, buried in Richmond, Utah.  His body arrived months later and he was interred with great fanfare.  May we live our lives in such a way, regardless if dying for our nation, but let us die in such a way that the community wishes to come out and pay homage for your great sacrifice for the future of man, good, and our country.

Milo James Ross

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Surprise in a picture frame

When you do a little family history from time to time and other people know about it, then you find out you get interesting phone calls or notifications when something comes up.  My Aunt Jackie called to let me know that she had found some photos in a box and a purse.  I invited myself over to see what was there.

In the process she showed me a picture of her when she was a baby.  Here is the photo.

Jackie Jonas as a baby

It is a beautiful picture well protected and preserved in its frame.  Here is a much poorer copy of the photo that I have from Great Grandma Lillian Jonas’ photo album.

Jackie Jonas 6.5 months old

I have no reason to believe this photo was not taken the same day.  Same clothes, same hair, just a different position.  This photo was in my Great Grandma Lillian Coley Jonas’ photos and had written on the back “Jackie 6 and half months”

The photo Lillian had was mostly black and white and pretty small.  The new photo is better quality and an 8 X 10.

Unfortunately, the frame was damaged so I took the picture out so we could hopefully fix it.  GUESS WHAT WAS BEHIND THAT PHOTO?

Norwood and Colleen Jonas wedding picture

This is by far the best copy I have of this photo now.  The best I had before was this wallet photo with its damage.  You can see it is cut, ragged, bent, and had blemishes on its face.

While the new photo appears to be a copy and has a haze, almost like it was a copy made from one within glass, it still gives the detail and another glimpse into the personality and soul of Grandpa and Grandma.

It is the photo, I even tried a small area to see if there was a film on the photo itself.  There is not.  As for now it is the best quality photo I have and happy to have it in my scanned collection.

Related to the purse and box, there are probably at least 100 photos there, many of them 1 X 2 or even smaller.  It will take some time to scan them all and there are a few I do not recognize.  Looking at the photos, I have a hunch a number of the photos came from my Great Grandpa and Grandma Andra as well as Great Grandma Jonas.

As always, there is more out there.  Family history is not just about the dates and information, it is about preserving the history, including photos, for later generations.  With photos, it is about getting the people in them named as well so that when the people are gone, it is still known who is who.

Spring City, Utah

Manti Temple, Paul & Amanda Ross

Last weekend was Amanda’s sister’s wedding in Manti, Sanpete, Utah.  We went down to attend the wedding for Zachary & Alyssa Smart.  It was a wonderful trip, time to get away, celebrate the wedding and reception, and enjoy ourselves.

Paul, Amanda, Aliza, Hiram, Lillian, and James Ross at Manti Temple

I have done enough family history that I knew my 4th Great Grandmother is buried in Spring City.  Like other locations, if I am in Sanpete County, I make an effort to stop and visit her grave.  I think the last time I was able to stop was about 2003, so it had been about 15 years.

Paul, Aliza, Hiram, and Lillian Ross at the grave of Johanna Johannsson Benson (Bengtsson)

Here is how we are related.

My mother’s name is Sandra Jonas.

Her father was Wilburn Norwood Jonas (1924 – 1975).

His father was Joseph Nelson Jonas (1893 – 1932).

His mother was Annetta Josephine Nelson (she went by Annie) (1864 – 1907).

Her mother was Agnetta Benson (she went by Annie) (anglicized from Bengtsson) (1832 – 1873).

Her mother was Johanna Johansdotter (which shows up on the tombstone as Johansson) (1813 – 1897), who was married to Nils Benson (anglicized from Bengtsson).

I really don’t know tons about Johanna.  Nels August Nelson makes only passing reference to his grandmother.  I have been unable to find when she immigrated to the United States.

Hiram and Aliza Ross waiting for a hummingbird to land on them

Johanna Johansdotter was born 15 February 1813 in Öringe, Veinge, Halland, Sweden.  She met and married Nils Bengtsson on 4 July 1830 in Veinge, Halland, Sweden.  Nils was born 1 August 1802 in Brunskog, Tönnersjö, Halland, Sweden.  Together they had 8 children together.

Agnetta Nilsdotter born 9 Dec 1832.

Lars Nilsson born 11 May 1835.

Ingjard Nilsdotter born 17 February 1839.

Christina Nilsdotter born 21 June 1841.

Bengta Nilsdotter born 19 March 1843.

Nils (Nels) Nilsson born 23 August 1846.

Borta Nilsdotter born 6 April 1849.

Johan Petter Nilsson born 31 August 1855.

Nils passed away 12 March 1859.

Johanna was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 11 May 1861.  Agnetta was baptized 10 November 1863, Lars 5 May 1860, Ingjard 5 May 1861, Christina 4 February 1866, and Nils Jr 5 May 1860.  Johann joined 7 September 1893 after immigration to Utah.  The other two were after their deaths.  Bengta and Borta did not join or immigrate to Utah.

Johanna’s daughter Agnetta (Annie) traveled with her husband Johan Nilsson from Halmstadt, Sweden through Liverpool, England docking in New York City, New York on 3 June 1864.  I cannot tell that Johanna traveled with Johan and Agnetta.

Most of the children upon traveling to the United States were given the last name of Benson instead of Nilsson.

The children spread.  Agnetta went with her husband to Logan, Utah.  Lars went with his family to what is now Sandy, Utah.  Ingjard to what is now Sandy.  Christina to Vernon, Utah.  Nils to Spring City, Utah.  John also to Sandy.  For whatever reason Johanna went with Nils to Spring City and remained there the rest of her days.  She passed away May 1897, we do not have an exact date.  Nils served a mission from 1892 to 1894 back to the Scandinavia mission.

Manti Temple 2018

An interesting tidbit about our trip to Manti.  We stayed in a restored home of James Marks Works.  He was the brother-in-law to Brigham Young.  It was an early home with various additions, modifications, and ultimate restoration.  James Marks Works and Phebe Jones had a daughter named Mary Ann Angel Works.  Mary Ann is the second wife to Nils Benson and they had 9 children together.  The home in Manti we stayed may very well have been visited by my 3rd Great Grand Uncle and his 9 children, all of which were grandchildren of James Marks Works.  James Marks Works died in 1889 and the first of the 9 children were born in 1892, but James’ son James Marks Works (Jr) kept the home and continued working the sawmill behind the home.

Here is a picture of the Manti Temple from James Marks Works’ home.

Manti Temple from James Marks Works’ home

Another interesting side note that I remembered from the last time I walked around the Spring City Cemetery.  Orson Hyde is also buried there.  I walked the kids over to Elder Hyde’s grave and we snapped a picture there as well.  I explained his role as an Apostle, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Dedication of Palestine for the return of the Jews, clerk to Joseph Smith, lawyer, Justice on Utah Supreme Court.  The kids didn’t seem to care much…

Hiram, Lillian, and Aliza Ross at the grave of Orson Hyde

Here is Orson’s short biography from the Joseph Smith papers.

8 Jan. 1805 – 28 Nov. 1878.  Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge.  Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut.  Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe.  Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812.  Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1819.  Joined Methodist church, ca. 1827.  Later affiliated with reformed Baptists (later Disciples of Christ or Campbellites).  Baptized into LDS church by Sidney Rigdon and ordained an elder by JS and Sidney Rigdon, Oct. 1831, at Kirtland.  Ordained a high priest by Oliver Cowdery, 26 Oct. 1831.  Appointed to serve mission to Ohio, Nov. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio.  Baptized many during proselytizing mission with Samuel H. Smith to eastern U.S., 1832.  Attended organizational meeting of School of the Prophets, 22–23 Jan. 1833, in Kirtland.  Appointed clerk to church presidency, 1833.  Appointed to serve mission to Jackson Co., Missouri, summer 1833.  Served mission to Pennsylvania and New York, winter and spring 1834.  Member of Kirtland high council, 1834.  Participated in Camp of Israel expedition to Missouri, 1834.  Married to Marinda Nancy Johnson by Sidney Rigdon, 4 Sept. 1834, at Kirtland.  Ordained member of Quorum of the Twelve by Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, 15 Feb. 1835, in Kirtland.  Served mission to western New York and Upper Canada, 1836.  Served mission to England with Heber C. Kimball, 1837–1838.  Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri, summer 1838.  Sided with dissenters against JS, 1838.  Lived in Missouri, winter 1838–1839.  Removed from Quorum of the Twelve, 4 May 1839.  Restored to Quorum of the Twelve, 27 June 1839, at Commerce (later Nauvoo), Hancock Co., Illinois.  Served mission to Palestine to dedicate land for gathering of the Jews, 1840–1842.  Member of Nauvoo Masonic Lodge, 1842.  Member of Nauvoo City Council, 1843–1845.  Admitted to Council of Fifty, 13 Mar. 1844.  Presented petition from JS to U.S. Congress, 1844.  Participated in plural marriage during JS’s lifetime.  Departed Nauvoo during exodus to the West, mid-May 1846.  Served mission to Great Britain, 1846–1847.  Presided over Latter-day Saints in Iowa before migrating to Utah Territory.  Appointed president of Quorum of the Twelve, 1847.  Published Frontier Guardian at Kanesville (later Council Bluffs), Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, 1849–1852.  Appointed to preside over church east of Rocky Mountains, 20 Apr. 1851, at Kanesville.  Migrated to Utah Territory, 1852.  Appointed associate judge of U.S. Supreme Court for Utah Territory, 1852.  Elected to Utah territorial legislature, 27 Nov. 1852, 1858.  Presided over church in Carson Co., Utah Territory (later the Nevada Territory), 1855–1856.  Served colonizing mission to Sanpete Co., Utah Territory, by 1860; presided as ecclesiastical authority there, beginning 1860.  Died at Spring City, Sanpete Co.

 

4th Grade, Park Elementary, Richmond, Utah

Back (l-r): Jay Purser, Kirt Hatch, Jeff Theurer, Charles Pratt, Gary Anderson, Mr. Harold Grunig;  Third: Faye Housley, Shanna Bullen, Debbie Day, Ann Bair, Peggy Plant, Genna Randall, Susan Jones; Second: Fern Housley, Sherri Bundy, Barbara Housley, Jane Robinson, Beth Ann Miller, Sandy Jonas, Dixie Eskelson, Beth Cartwright; Front: Zan Christensen, LuDell Tripp, Leslie Smith, Kim Christensen, Jimmy Johnson, Reed Webb, Steven Bowles

This picture is from the 1963 – 1964 school year at Park Elementary in Richmond, Utah.

Mr. Harold Junior Grunig (1924 – 1994)

Gary Anderson (? – living)

Ann Bair married Downs (1954 – living)

Steven Bowles (? – ?)

Shanna Bullen married Gibbons (? – living)

Sherri Bundy (? – ?)

Beth Cartwright (1954 – 2018)

Kim Christensen (? – living)

Zan Leonard Christensen (1954 – 1996)

Debra Lynn Day married Purser (1954 – 2010)

Dixie Eskelsen (? – ?)

Kirt Hatch (? – living)

Barbara Housley married Sharp (? – living)

Fay Housley married Purser (? – living)

Fern Housley married Taylor (? – living)

Jimmy Johnson (? – living)

Sandra Jonas (1954 – living)

Susan Jones (? – living)

Beth Ann Miller (1954 – 1974)

Peggy Anne Plant married Ivanyo (? – living)

Charles Pratt (? – living)

Jay Purser (? – living)

Genna Randall (? – living)

Jane Robinson married Larsen (? – living)

Leslie Smith (? – living)

Jeffery Theurer (? – living)

LuDell Tripp (? – living)

Reed Leon Webb (1954 – 1992)

 

3rd Grade, Park Elementary, Richmond, Utah

Top (l-r): Susan Jones, Ann Bair, Kirt Hatch, Mrs Faun Dahle, Charles Pratt, Jeff Theurer, Zan Christensen, Mrs Leola Ash, Barbara Housley, Jane Robinson, Sandra Jonas; Middle: Sherri Bundy, Faye Housley, Peggy Plant, Barbara Watts, Debbie Day, Shanna Bullen, Fern Housley, Beth Cartwright; Front: Steven Bowles, Reed Webb, Kim Christensen, Jay Purser, Gary Anderson, Leslie Smith, Jimmy Johnson.

This 3rd grade picture is from the 1962 – 1963 school year at Park Elementary in Richmond, Utah.

Mrs Leola Long Ash (1920 – 2008)

Mrs Faun Singleton Dahle (1904 – 1994)

Gary Anderson (? – living)

Ann Bair married Downs (1954 – living)

Steven Bowles (? – ?)

Shanna Bullen married Gibbons (? – living)

Sherri Bundy (? – ?)

Beth Cartwright (1954 – 2018)

Kim Christensen (? – living)

Zan Leonard Christensen (1954 – 1996)

Debra Lynn Day married Purser (1954 – 2010)

Kirt Hatch (? – living)

Barbara Housley married Sharp (? – living)

Fay Housley married Purser (? – living)

Fern Housley married Taylor (? – living)

Jimmy Johnson (? – living)

Sandra Jonas (1954 – living)

Susan Jones (? – ?)

Peggy Anne Plant married Ivanyo (? – living)

Charles Pratt (? – ?)

Jay Purser (? – living)

Jane Robinson married Larsen (? – living)

Leslie Smith (? – living)

Jeff Theurer (? – living)

Barbara Watts (? – living)

Reed Leon Webb (1954 – 1992)

 

Brigham Young College 1915 Crimson Yearbook

I am a member of a Cache Valley Group on Facebook.  After some people posted a number of old photos, I asked if anyone knew if Brigham Young College had yearbooks and if someone had one for roughly 1915.  Within a day, Jennifer Johnson, a cousin of mine had found a copy of the Brigham Young College Crimson yearbook and made it available to me.  Here is a copy of the full 1915 Brigham Young College Crimson Annual if you are interested.

Sure enough, there on page 31 is my great-grandfather, Joseph Nelson Jonas (1893 – 1932).

Joseph Nelson Jonas’ Brigham Young College yearbook picture

Here is the full-page.  This is page 31 of the pdf.  The front of the yearbook says Crimson Annual 1915.  Page 4 shows that it includes the classes of 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918.

Brigham Young College Crimson yearbook, page 31

Here are two copies of his diploma.

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

 

I also found Joseph’s 1st cousin, once removed, Paul Ernest Nelson (1888-1970), was one of the teachers at BYC.  An interesting side note is that the page below states he, “Likes his Ensign.”  He and Martha Eunice Ensign were married 19 August 1914 in the Salt Lake Temple.  It also states he “[e]xpects to be a professor in psychology.”  Their first son, Paul Ensign Nelson, was born 26 June 1916 in Berkeley, California while he was attending school.

Brigham Young College yearbook, page 26

Here is a dedication to the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Charles Winder Nibley (1849-1931).

Dedication in 1915 Brigham Young College Crimson Annual to Charles Winder Nibley

Charles W Nibley was the Presiding Bishop from 1907 to 1925.  He was a kind benefactor to Brigham Young College and as Presiding Bishop was involved with the school.  Bishop Nibley was released in 1925 and became a counselor to Heber Jeddy Grant until his death in 1931.  He is one of the few people to serve in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was not an Apostle.

Charles Winder Nibley (1849-1931)

Brigham Young College was located in Logan, Utah.  It was founded by Brigham Young shortly before his death.  The college was meant for individuals from Northern Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.  When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed all its academy’s in 1926, except Brigham Young University, it suffered the same fate.  The buildings were sold and became Logan High School.

As records become more and more available, who knows what else we may find of our ancestors.

 

 

2nd Grade, Park Elementary, Richmond, Utah

Back (l-r): Reed Webb, Roland Hobbs, Jeff Theurer, Kirt Hatch, Zan Christensen, Gary Andersen, Flora Allen; 3rd Row: Susan Jones, Peggy Plant, Ann Bair, Jane Robinson, Molly Lulwyler, Debbie Day, Barbara Housley; 2nd Row: Shanna Bullen, Pamela Bun, Beth Cartwright, Sherry Bundy, Fern Housley, Faye Housley, Sandra Jonas, Barbara Watts; Front: Jay Purser, Michael Smith, Brent Haslam, Tommy Hatch, Jimmy Johnson, Kim Christensen, Leslie Smith

This picture is from the 1961 – 1962 school year at Park Elementary in Richmond, Utah.

Mrs. Flora Greene Allen (1906 – 1996)

Gary Andersen (? – living)

Ann Bair married Downs (1954 – living)

Shanna Bullen married Gibbons (? – living)

Pamela Bun (? – ?)

Sherry Bundy (? – ?)

Beth Cartwright (1954 – 2018)

Kim Christensen (? – living)

Zan Leonard Christensen (1954 – 1996)

Debra Lynn Day married Pursuer (1954 – 2010)

Brent Haslam (? – living)

Kirt Hatch (? – living)

Tommy Hatch (? – ?)

Roland Hobbs (? – ?)

Barbara Housley married Sharp (? – living)

Fay Housley married Purser (? – living)

Fern Housley married Taylor (? – living)

Jimmy Johnson (? – living)

Sandra Jonas (1954 – living)

Susan Jones (? – ?)

Molly Lulwyler (? – ?)

Peggy Anne Plant married Ivanyo (? – living)

Jay Purser (? – living)

Jane Robinson married Larsen ( – living)

Leslie Smith (? – living)

Michael Smith (? – ?)

Jeff Theurer (? – living)

Barbara Watts (? – ?)

Reed Leon Webb (1954 – 1992)