Aliza’s Name

Repeatedly people ask us why we spell Aliza’s name the way we do.  Some ask why we don’t spell it the ‘Mormon’ way like Eliza Roxbury Snow or some of the others in church history.  It is very popular in Utah and is mostly confined to the intermountain west.  As we found out in Oklahoma, not many people even knew how to say the name who did not know LDS history.

Truth be told, we first stumbled upon the name at St. John the Baptist, a church in Halesowen, Worcestershire, England.  Here is a picture of the tombstone that caught our attention.

DSCN3873

Joseph Willetts (1842 – 1903) is the son of Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?), Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?) is the son of Samuel Willetts (1769 – ?) and Mary Crumpton (1773 – 1787).  Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?) is the brother to my Letitia Willetts (1795 – 1875).  Letitia is my 4th great-grandmother who married James Coley (1795 – 1875).

I have written of James and Letitia before.

At any rate, Aliza is the wife of Joseph Willetts.  I don’t even know her maiden name.  But once we saw the name, we both knew that we liked it and wanted to name our daughter after this Aliza Willetts (1844 – 1915) buried at St. John the Baptist in Halesowen, England.

Halesowen and nearby Hasbury and Lutley are strongholds of my Coley, Willetts, Parish, and Lea lines.  Hopefully I will get to visit again some day when the heavens have not opened to unleash rains upon us.  I also hope that maybe Aliza might be able to visit the grave of this namesake, maybe even with us.

Oklahoma Swearing In

Perhaps a little outdated, but I thought I would share a couple of photos from the day I was sworn in as a Licensed Legal Intern on 10 February 2010.  This is the Oklahoma Supreme Courtroom.  Pretty cool little room with some amazing wood and plaster work.

Oklahoma City University inductees, Unknown, Paul Ross, Justice James Edmondson, Leo Mendez, Unknown

Oklahoma City University inductees, Unknown, Paul Ross, Justice James Edmondson, Leo Mendez, Unknown

A mug shot with me and Justice Edmondson.

Justice James Edmondson and Paul Ross

Justice James Edmondson and Paul Ross

Let’s not forget Amanda!

Paul & Amanda Ross

Paul & Amanda Ross

 

 

James Sharp

Here is a photograph of James Sharp.  This is another of the photographs I have that I wish to make available to others.

James Sharp was born 7 January 1840 in Misson, Nottinghamshire, England to Thomas Sharp and Elizabeth Cartwright.  I wrote about his parents, the family’s conversion to the LDS faith, and the trip to America in his brother’s short biography, Sharp-Bailey Wedding.

Siblings William and Isabella continued west with a LDS wagon train and James stayed behind with his sister Elizabeth in St Louis.  (Read more about Elizabeth here.)  James and Elizabeth did not join the LDS faith with their mother (Elizabeth), William, and Isabella.

James married Eudora Elvira Mann 3 March 1863 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee.  Eudora “Dora” was born 1 May 1845 in Nashville.  We do not know much of the life story, so how he met Dora and married her in Nashville we may never know.  The two made their home in St. Louis though.  James worked as a pork packer and initially started out in business with Patrick Muldoon around 1870.  Here is the run down of the St. Louis directories.

1869 [FHL #980635] James Sharp with Muldoon and Sharp at 1612 Biddle.
1870 [Gould’s p. 797] shows the same.
1871 [Gould’s p. 601] the same, but also lists Sharp, James pork packer r[esident?] at 1119 N 17th. {FHL #980,636]
1872 shows Muldoon and Sharp at 1015 N 17th [N 17th goes from 1701 Market North to Angelica.]
1875 [p. 1171] Muldoon and Sharp, Pork Packers and Provision Dealers, 904 B’way.
1885 Sharp, James, Muldoon and Sharp 904 to 912 S 2d, r 2715 Mills. [There are now 7 pork packers listed, only 1 in 1875.]
1887, James C. Sharp is listed as a clerk at Muldoon and Sharp.
1888 is Sharp, James and Co., same address, te no. 2208.
1890 James Sharp and Co. now includes Sharp, James C. as cashier and Sharp,George as Clerk. All 3 at 3641 Finney Ave.
1895 Shows both James Sharp and James C. Sharp as packers, George W. Sharp as Manager and William M. Sharp as Clerk at James Sharp and Co., 904 S 2d. James C. now resides at 4354 Morgan, the other 3 still at 3641 Finney.
1896 and 1897 now show William M. as manager and George W. as supt.; James and James C. simply identifed as with Co.1898 directory is missing.
1899 Company not listed. James C. (same address) is broker; George W. is just listed, at 1811 Laflin; William M. and James are just listed, still living at 3641 Finney.
1900 James C. at Sharp and Westcott; George W., clerk at Manewal Lange Bakery, 3204 Morgan; William M. litho.,at home.
1901 James Sharp now resident at 4573 Page boul; James C. com. mer. 736 Bayard av; George W. still clerk at Manewal- Lange Bakery, resident at 3009 Easton. [William M. not listed]
1902 James C. mngr. Sharp Mnfg Co., 411 Fullerton bldg., r. 736 Bayard av;.George W. and William M. are both clerks, rresiding at 3156 Easton av.
1903 James still at 4573 Page boulevard; James C., ins., 721 Olive, r. 3732 Washington boul.

As you can probably tell from the information above, James put his children to work and included them in the business. James retired at 55 and turned the business over to his boys.  By 1898 they had run the business in the ground, supposedly because of their like for being horsey (horse-racing).

James and Dora had 5 children.

Eudora Mann Sharp born 13 January 1864 and died 11 January 1938, both in St. Louis.  She married Alexander A Bryden, who worked in the coal business.

Ida Lee Sharp born 8 October 1866 and died 23 December 1946, both in St. Louis.  She was unmarried.  She worked as a school teacher.

James Carlisle Sharp born 26 December 1868 in St. Louis and died 4 November 1952 in Valley Park, St. Louis, Missouri.  He married Emma Manewal (and divorced) and Madeline C Grimm. He had a department store.  Emma was the daughter of August Manewal, one of the confederation of bakers who formed the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO).

George W Sharp born 10 March 1871 in St. Louis and died in 1964 in Sand Springs, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Apparently he married a lady named Effie Olive, but we know nothing more about his life or her.  He was badly disfigured after being kicked in the head by a horse at 3 years old.

William Muldoon Sharp born 4 October 1874 and died 24 March 1915, both in St. Louis.  He also remained unmarried.

Eudora died 3 March 1894 of cerebral meningitis.  She was listed as living at 3641 Finney Avenue.  She was buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery 5 March 1894.

James died at 68 years old on 24 February 1908 at the Bryden residence at 4573 Page Boulevard.  He fell from a Page Avenue car (assuming trolley car) according to his obituary.  He was on his way home from a lodge meeting when he stepped from a car in motion.  He was injured in the fall on the 22nd, not clear how, and died on the 24th.  He was a founder of St. George’s society and served as a treasurer for several year.  He was also a member of the Merchants’ Exchange and a veteran member of the St. Louis Lodge No. 5, I.O.O.F.  He was buried on the 24th, also at Bellefontaine Cemetery.

I graduated once

Since it is the season of graduations and I am fortunate to have just participated in one, I thought I would give a little personal post about some of my earlier formal graduations.  I am sure there are other graduations I probably participated in, but I do not have photos of them, at least that I am aware.  Like graduation from diapers,  which consists of a diaper on the head with a tassel.  Or graduation from elementary school, which would consist of a wedgie (and a tassel!).

Here are my Kindergarten Graduation Pictures.  The Graduation ‘ceremony’ was held in the West Minico Junior High Auditorium in Paul, Idaho.  I can still remember the day, both sets of Grandparents being present, and some of the program.  It was quintessentially the same program that Andra, my sister, would go through two years later and I remember that occasion for her.  I am assuming I graduated Kindergarten in the spring of 1984.

Now we can forward more than a decade to graduation from high school.  I graduated from Minico High School in Rupert, Idaho in the spring of 1997.  I swear there are photos out there of the occasion, I have seen them.  It does not seem my family has any at the actual ceremony, and whatever my Grandmother had is with her stash, wherever that might be since she passed away.  That could be the dump, but I guess it is in a drawer somewhere in Alaska.  Maybe some day…  This is a photo in my Grandmother’s home in Paul, Idaho.  This photo was taken on my Grandma’s birthday and probably taken by her.  I am still pretty thin, excited about life, and wearing that new class bling, I mean ring (that was rudely stolen by a home invader in 2009).

Forwarding a few more years, here is a picture of graduation from Utah State University in Logan, Utah on 17 December 2005 with a BS in Law & Constitutional Studies.  By this point I am days away from marriage to Miss Amanda Hemsley so she joined me in the photo, along with future in-laws (my Dad and Jan are in the photo too, to my left).  I even got some fancy cords again!  Two more of my grandparents had passed away by this time and the last one was unwilling to attend.

Now the latest event in my graduation history.  Graduation on 15 May 2011 from Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a Juris Doctor.  Not only is my Dad and in-laws in the picture, my family has been joined by the newest addition of Aliza.  I doubt there are further formal graduations in life, besides death, awaiting in the future.  But at least we have some of these graduations in photograph.

I am such a ham!

Look at the cool hood.

A duck story and the Gores

Here is a picture of our latest visitors here in Oklahoma City.  Kevin and Jean Gore from Walkden, Greater Manchester, England.  They visited and stayed with us for two evenings and about two days.

I first come to know the Gores in 1998 as I was preparing to leave for my mission to the UK.  The Bishop from the Hazelton Ward, Paul Tateoka, sent word through his brother in my ward, Ted Tateoka, that I needed to call this couple from the UK.

The Gores were staying with one of the missionaries who had brought them into the church, who lived 5 miles or so down the road from me.  I called the Meacham home and had a nice visit with Kevin for about 30 minutes or so.  I obviously had my mission call, but I do not recall knowing that they lived in my mission.  Kevin knew I was in the mission so he told me a few interesting things and we hung up the phone.

I admit I completely forgot about this conversation with Kevin Gore until my first Sunday serving in the Eccles Ward (now Swinton) of the Manchester England Stake.  I stood there shaking hands with members and introducing myself when a man asked if I was Elder Ross from Hazelton, Idaho.  I apparently looked dumbfounded so he informed me that I had spoken with him on the phone before my mission.  Granted, this was the first time I laid eyes on him.  Well, that started a relationship that has now come down through the years.  I served in the Eccles Ward for about 6 months, although since there were two sets of missionaries, me and my companion had the other half of the ward.

The Gores were probably one of the closest families I had in that ward, although there were a couple.  Before we left late in 1999, Kevin and Jean Gore treated all four of the missionaries to a very nice roasted duck dinner.

Time has a way of marching on, and so it has done with this friendship.  Brad Hales, Amy Hales, and I visited the Gores again in the summer of 2003 when we went to England for a convert baptism of a lady who Elder Hales and I had once taught (in Runcorn Ward).  I think we spent two evenings with them at that time, although our time was limited because they were working and we had other people in the area we also visited, but Jean made us a roasted duck dinner again!  We did not request it, but she made it, and it was fabulous.  We again enjoyed our time with them, although limited.

The Gores were kind enough to invite us to the wedding of their son, Ian, in Springville, Utah in 2004.  Brad Hales and I visited, partook of the food (no roasted duck!), and enjoyed a good evening with our British friends.  The Gores came to visit Utah in 2008 again, but we were only able to enjoy a light dinner at Olive Garden together (again, no duck, only in England!).

Amanda and I made the trek over the water again in 2008.  This time we again spent 2 nights with the Gores in their home on Trinity Crescent.  Both in 2003 and 2008 I knew the neighborhood well enough I could still drive to the home without much difficulty.  Jean once again made her now famous roasted duck dinner!  I honestly think this is the only times I have ever eaten duck in the past decade, if ever in my life (other than what they call duck at the Chinese buffet).  The Gores were more than kind in allowing us to stay with them, use their computers, talk family history, and even hosted a little get together of other members of the Swinton Ward I still knew and asked about.

Here we are in 2011, 13 years later after the phone conversation, and the Gores have come to visit us!  Sorry, we did not treat them to a roasted duck dinner.  It would have been an insult to Jean’s cooking.  Their son, Ian, had moved from Springville, Utah to Bentonville, Arkansas.  Kevin and Jean wanted to come down to visit the Oklahoma City Temple and, we feign to believe, us.  We drove out to Pops Soda Shop in Arcadia.  We also ate out at our favorite little Mexican joint and then we treated them to capers and artichoke pasta the night we made them dinner.  We played a couple of games of Ticket to Ride and just enjoyed our time together.  Thanks for being such great friends and keeping in contact through the years!

When is the next time we will see the Gores?  And, the question you all want to know, will there by duck involved?

The big 30, sweepers, and concrete

Yep, I finally made the 30 pounds I wanted to gain after returning from the severe weight loss I suffered in England.  Just Kidding.  After last night’s 12 oz of prime rib, I may be pushing the pre-England weight (which I have never actually reclaimed).  Really though, yesterday was supposedly a momentous occasion.  I lived to the ripe age of thirty.  So what do I have to account for my birthday?  Approximately at 10:08 AM CST I passed the 30 year mark in age.  I passed it at school preparing for legal profession.  I spent 11 hours at school, my wife picked me up, we went to dinner at a steakhouse, and I ate so much I had to come home and go pretty much straight to bed.  Does that sound old or what?

I guess if we count the dozens of Facebook messages and comments, in-person birthday wishes, phone calls, and e-mails I guess it was a pretty good day.  Thanks to Facebook, more people knew about the birthday than I would ever have imagined.  Who would have thought Facebook would have changed our lives so much in a few short years of our existence?  Really though, I am very appreciative of everyone’s sympathetic mourning.  In all honesty, I really don’t feel any older than the day I returned from British soil in December 2000.  The only thing physically I may have to mark any passage of time would be the deterioration of my eyes, which I attribute more to law school than I do to age.  Age to a guy doesn’t really seem to matter.  Unlike women who round it up to the nearest quarter century.  (Kinda like guys losing weight in the mirror where women gain it).  We wear the same clothes were wore ten years ago and think it really is ten years ago, and that we look it.  It really was just another day for me with an excuse to go out to eat something beyond what we really should have paid for.

Moving beyond the birthday, I have a couple of observations to make.  Just some musing and thoughts I can provide, even if not from wisdom.

This deals with more of quirky Oklahoma.  I had to learn some more of the lingo recently and thought I would share.  In church a few weeks back, I was asked to help sweep after classes was done.  I agreed and was assigned to sweep each of the classrooms.  Dutifully, I went to the janitor’s office and got a broom and dustpan thingy.  Each of the classrooms though had carpet!  After trying to sweep up the little chunks in the classrooms I finally just went and got a vacuum and then vacuumed each of the classrooms.  I made a mental note that I needed to inform the Elders Quorum President that the classrooms have carpet and not floors for sweeping.

A week or two later we are serving in the temple and find ourselves on the cleaning crew after the last endowment.  As I go to the janitor’s
office, the lady tells me to sweep the endowment rooms.  I then walk towards the broom with a nagging knowledge that the endowment rooms
have carpet.  I thought, “Wow, these Oklahoman’s sure do things the hard way.”  As I went to leave she asked me what I was doing.  I said,
“I am going to sweep the endowment rooms.”  She then pointed at the vacuums and said, “Why don’t you take a sweeper, it will be a whole lot
easier.”  Suddenly, a light dawned in my aged mind and I said something like, “you mean you call vacuuming ‘sweeping’?”  She nodded with a
puzzled look and told me to go sweep.  As I was sweeping the carpets with the sweeper, I wondered what they called the motion of using a
broom on floors.  Brooming?  Scooting?  Brushing?  Scratching?  I still don’t know.  I was afraid of looking like an idiot to ask anyone.  I
will probably find out soon enough.  “Brother Ross, will you go scoot the floors in the far hall for us?” I will be walking to the janitors
office looking for something to do some scooting.

Our sprinkler system continues to go in between the rain clouds.  For the most part, much of the pipe is in place and most of the heads are on.  In fact, most of the trenches are even filled in.  But the rain keeps coming nearly every weekend and the poor sprinkler system people cannot seem to get it finished.  Need rain?  Put in a sprinkler system.  Kinda like washing the car.  Do it, and the rains come.

I have continued to remove the concrete pad in the backyard.  It has turned out to be a multiple month workout!  Who would have thought a little 8′ X 12′ concrete pad would take 3 months to remove only half?  As lazy as that makes me sound, let me add some flesh to this ‘pad’.  It turns out that this little pad in the backyard has concrete 9 inches thick in places!  Thank goodness the individuals didn’t have access to rebar, but they were kind enough to put a layer or two of fence in the concrete near the bottom.  I purchased a 20 pound sledge hammer thinking I could have the thing done in a week.  This long later, and I am only half done.  I had to buy a spike to break the stuff apart.  I had to pull out my little sledges to drive the spike.  I had to dig around the perimeter of the pad so as I cracked it, it had somewhere to go.  Once I get a crack, I have to take the spike to it and then hope the fence inside will break.  As it slowly severs away, I have to bend it back and forth until the fence wire finally breaks.  Then I heave the block to the side and start again.  This process is painfully slow, exhausting, and in our humidity, draining.

What really justifies my taking so long deals also with the garbage man.  With these massive blocks of concrete, I have considerable weight problems.  The garbage truck will not pick up a garbage can that weights more than roughly 100-125 pounds.  So I can put about 2 cubit yards of concrete in the bottom and I am really pushing the limit.  Any extra garbage on the top just might throw me over.  There is more though.  The garbage truck is like a stinky old man with a hernia though.  If the garbage can is overweight, the driver has to rev up the truck to get the hydralics where they need to be.  Doing this speeds up something inside the truck and the 3 minutes the truck sits on the side of the road trying to pick it up, or get it all the way upside down leaves a huge puddle of garbage ooze compressed from within the truck.  It stinks, looks disgusting, and we pray for more rain.

I have two garbage cans, but in the past month, two of them have been left for me to reallocate half the load to the other garbage can.  Meaning, I lost two weeks in the last month alone where I could not send more concrete to the garbage cemetery.  So my little pile beside the pad has continued to grow, week by week.  I had another can rejected last Tuesday, so again this Tuesday, I cannot add more to the garbage going out.

The sprinkler man decided not to use one of his trenches, so I must confess, it is filling up with concrete chunks.  Anything smaller than about 4 cubit inches usually ends up in the trench now.  When it is within about 3 or 4 inches of the top of the trench, then I fill it in.  The extra dirt will be used to fill the gaping hole where my concrete pad was located.  I am going to have to get a load of dirt in to fill this hole I am creating.  Geez, if it isn’t one thing or another!  Amanda warned me that it was not necessary the concrete pad be removed.  Now I wish I had listened.

 

Great Uncle and Aunts

Who would believe the 25th of February is almost here?  I cannot believe how fast the months fly when you have your head in books.  The odd part is that I don’t feel like I am doing a very good job of keeping up with the reading.  I cannot tell you how excited I am for the next semester where they add one more substantive class and remove the writing class.  What will I do with life then?  I need to start working on being more diligent and proactive.

In visiting with a couple of the 2L’s I feel somewhat comforted with the notion of what is called mental fatigue.  I think my eyes finally just accepted the fact they are going to be tired and quit twitching.  Who knows. the twitch probably just moved to my neck or shoulder with a slight noise from the mouth when I do it.  At any rate, this is not a new phenomenon.  I thought perhaps I was going prematurely old or something wrong with the synapses in my brain where I would think one thing and completely say another.  Just today in visiting, rather than saying doctor, I said dentist.  To correct myself, I went to say doctor but somehow defendant come out.  After a short pause, doctor finally came out.  I laughed, Andrew laughed, and the conversation went on.

This weekend was a delightsome weekend.  My Great Uncle Donald and Aunt Lolane Andra came to visit.  They arrived on Friday and left this morning.  They finished their mission around the 6th of February and have been working their way through the country back home.  They stopped for a week in Nauvoo, then a week in Branson, and a weekend in Oklahoma City.  They are next headed to Tucson.  They will spend a few days there and up to St. George for a month or so before up to Chubbuck/Pocatello.  Don and Lolane are sure a lot of fun.  We went to the Western Heritage Museum here in Oklahoma City.  I enjoyed it.  Like most museums though, my feet and knees grew tired of the walking around endless hours on hard floors.  I will need to go back to truly appreciate much of what was there.  We went out to Pops Soda Shop in Arcadia and enjoyed a meal.  Don and Lolane particularly enjoyed it.  We all did.

Sunday we ventured to church.  They thought the ward was very open and friendly.  I am pleased the ward was so open and friendly to them.  It wasn’t quite so much when we got here.  But it certainly has improved.  Afterward we ran out to the Oklahoma City Temple and walked around the grounds and took some pictures.  After serving in the Washington DC Temple for the past 18 months they were quick to notice how tiny the temple is here.  That most certainly is true!  I assured them it was well used and loved.

We wandered off to the Oklahoma City Memorial.  The weather turned out to be beautiful.  It could have been a little warmer, but it was sure a nice day.  They really enjoyed that as well.  It really is a well-done memorial.  We returned to our little home to enjoy a full meal and many hours of games.  We filled much of our time on Saturday with games as well.  We sang some old songs together, chatted about old times, visited about family, and genuinely had fun.

On a sad note, I also received news that my Great Aunt Lillian Jonas Talbot passed away on Friday.  She was born in 1930 and lived in Layton, Utah.  She was the sister of my Grandpa I knew the least growing up.  She was the one who let me borrow my Great Grandma’s journals to type them up which are available here on the blog.  She was also the one who had my Great Grandma’s photo albums and let me borrow them to pick out the photos and scan them.  So I came to know her considerably more in the past 10 years.  Apparently she had been to the temple on Friday and she came home and sat down in the chair in the living room and was playing with the dog a little.  When my cousin came back from a run to Walmart, she thought she was taking a nap.  But when she came in, she was gone.  How is that for peaceful and quick?  I hope I am as fortunate.  The funeral will be on Wednesday.  I wish I could go but the cost and time from school are too much for the moment.  I wish the family all the best.

Amanda will surely post some photos from the weekend on our joint blog.  It was an eventful and productive weekend.  Now time to start making up what studying I did not get done!