Monticello and Vernal

This weekend was a great trip.  I don’t know if I have written this, but Amanda and I made a goal to hit all the Utah Temples before we move away.  We made this goal in Jan or Feb and have been working on it since.  Monticello and Vernal both posed a problem for achieving that part of what we wanted to do.  Why not knock them both out at once?  So we did.  We took this past weekend, drove down to Monticello on Friday and stayed the night.  We stayed at, and highly recommend the Monticello Inn (in the phone book as Triangle H) especially if you are LDS.  They were more than wonderful with us.  She even called the temple to make our reservation for the 8:00 session for the next morning.  We attended the 8:00 session and when we came out, got our photo (we are taking a photo with us and each temple as well, Amanda’s idea!) and headed out.  We drove back up through Moab, over to Fruita, Colorado, up through Rangely, Colorado and into Vernal.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Vernal turns out to be one of our favorite temples.  There is something about it.  It has more character than some, and it seemed more like home to me.  We were sitting in the chapel waiting to go on the next session when I kept looking at the only other couple in the room.  I was sure it looked like the parents of a friend from high school.  She looked younger though, and he had some chops, so I had my doubts.  Finally, I just had to know, walked up to them, and sure enough, it was Scott and Anita Jensen from Paul, Idaho.  Anita was a cub scout leader for me for a few years.  Bryan, their son, helped me secure a ring at a great price for Amanda last year.  We chatted, and were one of only a few couples on the session.  I will tell you what, there is something that is inspiring when the rays of the sun are coming through the veil when they lift the curtain before being introduced.  It just lit up the room and I loved it.

On the session was also a Shane Mayberry.  Afterward, I visited with him and asked if he knew a Carma Preece.  He said he went to school with her son.  I asked about her, and found out she only lived a block of two from the temple.  Before we left, by asking others, he had her address and phone number for me.  So, we are close, why not visit.  I gave her a phone call, she was home, and we were invited to stop.

She is the first person I have ever met who is related to me through the Ross line.  In fact, her maiden name is Ross and her father is the brother to my Great Grandfather.  It was interesting to look at her characteristics and physical makeup.  She must have barely have been over 5 foot.  Similar to most of my closer Ross relatives, other than my Dad, who inherited his height from the Donaldson side.  Amanda snapped a picture of a portrait of her parents.  Giving me the first copy of a photo I have of any of the other Ross siblings.  I have a rough, vague, damaged photo of my Great Grandparents, and nothing of them together.  My Great Grandmother died in 1925 after giving birth.  The baby also passed away with her.  For some reason or another, the Sharp line did not like my Great Grandfather, John William Ross.  So he was run off, and my Grandfather’s family farmed out to members of the Sharp family.  My Grandpa to the Ed Sharp family, Uncle Harold to the Delwin Sharp family, and Paul Ross to Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt.  The only thing we really know is that he moved to California.

He died in the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California.  As far as we can tell, all of his siblings ended up in California as well.  John had a sister named Fanny, who married a Calvin Dickerson Phibbs, who was the judge in Rupert, Idaho for a time.  Calvin’s father and some other family members are buried in Rupert.  But the Phibbs went to California as well.  Then there was a Robert Leonard Ross, and his life is very sketchy.  Have very little idea of him.  He was married to a Minnie Belle Hambrick, Rose Ann Clawson, and Ruby Leaster Hall.  The only one of these I could confirm was Rose Ann Clawson, who had been married to a Sanders, but he married her in Burley, Idaho.  Then there was Carma’s father, James Thomas Ross who settled in the Vernal area.  Apparently he was the one who went to Utah so his children could marry LDS.  They missed Virginia so much, they named their first child after their old home.  So, Carma’s older sister is named Vesta Virginia.

It seems to me that somehow they caught wind of the opening of the Sugar Factory in Paul, Idaho, so they moved there from Virginia.  I know the Phibbs were there before the Ross family was.  Fanny and Calvin were married in Virginia in 1906.  The Phibbs all moved to Idaho and then Fanny probably invited her other siblings to go.  Fanny arrived there sometime between 1912 and 1914 as children changed their birth locations.  My Grandpa has a half brother, Hobart Day, born in 1911 in West Virginia.  My Great Grandparents were married in Fort Logan, Colorado.  How that ever happened I will never know.  My Great Grandmother was married to a Mark Lewis Streeter, who gave another half sibling to my Grandpa, June Streeter.  Great Grandma went with Mr. Streeter and they operated a confectionery in Paul, Idaho named Streeter’s Confectionery.  There doesn’t seem to be records of this in Paul, other than a Hall’s Confectionery which according to my Grandfather would have been in the same location.  Whatever happened, my Great Grandmother divorced her Streeter husband in 1919.  My Grandpa is the oldest, born in Plain City.  Paul was born in Paul, John Harold in Burley, and Ernest Jackson in Plain City, who died.  So that pretty well breaks down the time in Idaho for my family.  My Great grandmother married Streeter in 1917 or so as June was born in June 1918.  Fanny and Calvin were there until after 1930, when their last child was born in Rupert that year.

James Thomas had only one child born in Idaho at Rupert.  She is a middle child, and the rest were born in the Vernal area.  That child, Sydney Bea was born in 1922.  As for Robert Leonard, he married the one wife in 1919 at Burley, but that is about all that is set in stone for him.

I do not know what the draw was to California.  All of them seemed to have died there.  I don’t know where Robert died, but I know it was in 1944 and everyone says it was California.  Nobody seems to know where, and I have not found a record.  My John William died in Livermore in 1948.  He remarried a Zane Coffey in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  We don’t know what happened to her, if they stayed together.  Fanny died in 1943 in San Francisco.  James died in Los Angeles in 1964.  California had such a draw that both of their parents, James Thomas Meredith (legally, but went by James Thomas Ross) and Damey Catherine Graham both moved to California and died in 1951 and 1933 in Fresno and Marysville respectively.  I do not know if my Great Great Grandparents ever came to Idaho, or spent any time in Utah.  Carma told me that she met her grandparents in California, so that makes it seem that while she has memory, they were not in the Vernal area.  Who knows for sure.  I seem to remember somewhere that James Thomas Meredith/Ross was a Bishop in California at one time, indicating he spent some time there, long enough to become acquainted and be called.  I don’t remember for sure if it was him or someone else who was called as Bishop.

Anyhow, it was interesting to visit with Carma.  She told me of a couple of visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s place.  She told me how impressed she was with how tender they were with Judy.  They have not visited Plain City since the early 1970’s.  She told me of a time that Grandpa came to visit them in Vernal.  She said they took them around and introduced them to the family and showed them the area.  The one comment that was interesting was that Grandpa used to swear up a storm.  According to her, every other word was a swear word.  I have never known him like that.  The only time I ever heard him swear was when the emphasis was needed, or another word sometimes just did not seem to fit.  She was surprised to learn that Grandpa and Grandma had become active.  I thought that was interesting.  She was even more surprised to learn that they both worked in the Ogden Temple for a few years.  Carma now works in the Vernal Temple.

It was good to sit and visit with her.  She loaned me a book that was given to her just the month before with all the descendents of James Thomas Ross (Jr).  I was excited about that.  It looks like we will have to call on Carma on the way to Denver at the end of this month.  To return the book and perhaps to glean some other memories from her mind.  She is 81 now, and who knows how much longer she could be around.  Getting into those ages, things change so quickly.  However, I hope she will still be around when we come to visit Utah again, and that we can pay her another visit.  Funny how things happen.

We had a great visit and we snapped a picture of Carma and me together.  I enjoy visiting family.  There are always more stories to hear.  I have many more, I record of all my visits in my regular journal.  Sorry you don’t get to read of some of those adventures.  Perhaps someday I will reiterate some of them here.


“I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm and is attentive to administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smoothed faced hypocrites.”
That quote by Joseph Smith sums up much of what I believe.  I have been always so fortunate to end up with the salt of the earth, or at least being amongst them.

No matter where I go, or what I do, I have been very blessed.

I made a stop at the Oneida County Museum on Saturday.  I ended up chatting and visiting with those ladies for a length of time.  Most of them knew or knew of my relatives from Samaria.  It was a good day.  I sat and had lunch with an 88 year old, Daphne King Thompson.  She was a good lady.  We discussed her lawn, and she informed me about the Welsh Festival that had been revived in Malad.  Did you know Malad (Samaria) has the most Welsh people outside of Wales?  Yep, it is a bona fide fact.  BYU said so!  So I think I might join the Welsh Society.  After all, some of those Williams, Jones, and Evans are my relatives.  Also, seeing where I served in a mission for Northern Wales, and my ancestors really did come from Southern Wales, why not?  I can support a good cause.  So, if you are interested, It is only $10!

Meier and Frank continues to go well.  I am now a full time painter.  Who would have thought.  That Law and Constitutional Studies major has come in mighty handy in telling that paint where to stick and not to.  Things are good at work.  I like having a my own list of things to do and having my own drive to get it done, rather than a taskmaster of any sorts.  Oddly, somehow moving from receiving to maintenance, my opinion actually counts for something.  I don’t know how a position change actually gave me intelligence in the presence of others, or at least an opinion to be expressed.

I stopped to visit my cousin Ralph Naef.  He is a 1st cousin, twice removed.  We share Regina Nuffer for an ancestor.  He came to our reception, which is a great thing, seeing how we had never met.  I promised I would stop to visit him.  We had a great conversation.  But moreover, he gave me a book.  Oh yes, more to add to my family history.  It contains the whole Naef family history, but I am only going to add the descendants of Charles Daniel Naef.  Ralph was telling me, that he has 600 and something direct descendents, and like 900 if you include spouses.  That is simply amazing.  That is from a number of descendants that was compiled over 10 years ago.  So I am sure there is well over a thousand now.

A good friend of mine from work, Bob Corliss, allowed me to look up some records on the internet with his information.  I stumbled upon a registration form for my great grandfather, David Delos Donaldson, and WWI.  He was working in Twin Falls, Idaho.  The best part is, we never knew he went to Idaho, ever.  Not only that, he was working there, and was exempted because he was working to support his younger siblings and mother.  He did later enter, we don’t know when or how, but went to France in the Argonne and was gassed there.  He suffered his whole life and eventually died from the mustard.
With this information, I went to visit my Uncle Dave Donaldson because my Dad did not know anything.  So I picked his brain.  We know little about my Great Grandfather before he married.  Now we know he was working for Ballantyne Plumbing in Twin Falls in roughly April 1917.  He served in WWI with two brothers.  As mentioned, he was hit with mustard, spent some time in hospital, and he wasn’t getting better, so they sent him home.  He married my Great Grandmother in 1919, Berendena Van Leeuwen.  They had 5 children.  During the great depression he worked down south as a plumber.  Dave did not know where, but there was a possibility it was at the Hoover.  When they went on a trip to Los Angeles, he insisted on stopping at Boulder City and the dam on the way home.  Oh, we do know that before they got married, he worked as a plumber in Phoenix.  How long we don’t know, but he could not bear the heat down there.  During the depression when he worked down south, the family stayed in Ogden.  Dave was young enough that he did remember his father coming home, but not where from.  Again during WWII, the whole family moved to Napa, California and Great Grandpa was a plumber at the naval yard there, he made it sound like Oceanside.  I do not know if there were any other naval bases down there.  Then they moved back.  The family must not have stayed down there, or he did not work the entire war, as my Grandpa and Grandma met in 1941-1942 at the Berthana on 24th street Ogden at a dance.  They were married in April 1942, shortly before he left for war.  They were not allowed to be married in the temple because Great Grandpa was not a member of the church.  I am not sure if this was to get him to join or what, but it backfired.  My Dad was born on 4 July 1943.  My father did not see my Grandpa until he was 3 years old when he returned from war.  Anyhow, Great Grandpa was a plumber by trade.  He worked up until the 1950’s when his health failed him.  He picked up smoking because it soothed his lungs.  It sounds like the mustard burned his lungs the rest of his life.  He would smoke to deaden the nerves.  Dave told me this increased until he died.  Even the last few years of his life, he had oxygen when he went places and when he slept.  But he kept smoking.  Dad told me of one of the few memories he had of his Grandpa.  He went to visit him in Ogden, Grant Ave if I remember right, and he was laying in bed.  There were newspapers all over the floor.  He got into a coughing fit and coughed a big thing of phlegm up and it went on the floor.  It was the combination of the irritation to the lungs from mustard, and the smoking.  It was what eventually killed him.  I was told the story that when he had had enough, he had my Great Grandma cook this big dinner, and he ate it, and then passed away afterward.  Apparently his body could not handle certain foods, especially meats.  He just could not take it any more and wanted a full meal.

Dave told me that David Delos Donaldson’s father, William Scott Donaldson was a plumber also.  Supposedly he had a confectionary in downtown Ogden at one time as well.  We have a picture of them standing in the store.  His mother, Mary Elizabeth Williams, was according to Dave a witch with a b.  She was high minded, snooty, and a brat.  Dave said never once that he was in her presence did she ever notice him or give him the time of day.  He said she was very negative and a condescending person.  Nothing went right, everything was wrong, and it was everybody’s fault.  He never liked his grandma, and would rather move out than be in the house when she went to move in.  At one point, Great Grandpa did not allow her to move in because Dave would move out.  She was the daughter of David D Williams, whose brother, John Haines Williams, is the father of those Williams who settled Samaria, Idaho.  All those William’s in the Malad Valley are my relatives, and they are the Welsh I spoke of earlier.

Berendena Van Leeuwen, my Great Grandmother was an amazing lady.  Everybody loved her.  Betty, Dave’s wife, told me that whenever she thinks of the Donaldson home in Ogden, she sees herself pulling in the drive, and the curtains parting and this little curly headed woman with a big smile with a little wave beaming at her.  She was an amazing cook, never using recipes.  She had an infectious laugh and loved everybody and everything.  In 1955 she was in an auto accident that handicapped her the rest of her life.  It was an Oldsmobile 88 that she went to pass a semi and he put her into a telephone pole.  She did some major damage to her hip.  She had a full body cast for a long time.  She had over 14 major operations.  The final one, one for kidney stones, weakened her enough that she died shortly after.  Despite 4 years or so of being handicapped, Dave and Betty told me that she was as chipper and happy as ever.  It did not even seem to phase her.  They took her camping several times, but the one they remember is the one before she passed away.  They would be out fishing and they would put her in a chair on the bank to watch.  She would giggle at the birds and them.  Betty insists that when she smiled the whole world brightened.  Dad remembers Great Grandma coming to visit with her monster bed.  Dave remembers that very well too!  After she went out to live with Grandpa and Grandma two different times for about a month each, he said she could go, but he was moving the bed no more.  Dad remembers her in a full body cast but she was funny.

Dad would tell me about Grandma always having home made bread.  They got in trouble more than once for coming home and taking some when they should not have.  Dad also told in Grandma’s funeral how Grandpa would come home, sneak in, ask if anyone was looking, and lay one on Grandma.  Other times he would come in and they would start dancing in the living room.  During the war, Grandma and Grandpa would kneel at 9 o’clock no matter where they were and pray.  In the spirit of oneness.

Anyhow, that is all I am going to share now.  There was more about David Delos’ siblings.  But I am not so sure on all that, need to do another interview, then I will comment.