I have previously provided a limited history of Johann Georg Wanner and Anna Schmid. As I wrote that history and compiled some other histories, I kept finding a couple of references to a history written by Edna Wagstaff Owen. I started trying to contact a member of that family and to see if they had a copy of that history. Fortunately after some time, a copy of that history was provided. I now provide it in full with minimal edits.
Grandpa and Grandma Wanner
Compiled and delivered by Edna Wagstaff Owen at the Wanner, Schmid reunion at Lagoon in Farmington, Utah on Saturday, 17 June 1978
I was asked a few day ago to represent Mary Wanner Wagstaff’s family at the 1978 Wanner – Schmid reunion, to do something on the program. I haven’t had much time to get ready for it and really didn’t know what I could do. After much thought and meditation, I decided it would be nice to honor Grandpa and Grandma Wanner by telling you a few things I can remember about them.
On 6 June 1870, a little 24 year old man from Holzgerlingen, Germany, John George Wanner and a beautiful 21 year old girl, with beautiful auburn hair named Anna Maria Schmid from Holzgerlingen, Germany were married and started a life for themselves together.
This lovely couple, we love to call our grandparents, became the proud parents of 10 children – 5 boys and 5 girls, all of whom lived long good lives, except 2 sons, who died in Germany and dear Aunt Pauline, who passed on at the age of 37. Their youngest daughter Wilhelmina is here with us today and we are honoring her. She is 90 years young. They have had 73 grandchildren born to them and now their posterity runs into the hundreds.
They dearly loved these children and tried untiringly to bring them up and taught them by example as well as precept. Some of the great qualities they left us always to love the Lord and our fellowman. To be honest always and how to work. I don’t know of one of their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren, who haven’t tried very hard to do this.
Grandpa and Grandma never lost sight of what they left Germany for – which was the Gospel and to live in America where they were free and could worship as they choose.
It was in May 1891 while Grandpa was working on the highway, two missionaries came along and told him about the Gospel and the Lord’s work. In October 1891, they and their three eldest daughters were baptized. George was the first to be baptized in July 1891 and came over to America with one of the missionaries, Brother Terrell from Providence, Utah. Louise, Frederich and Pauline were baptized in June 1894. Gottlob in June 1894 and Wilhelmina in August 1896.
Grandma took the missionaries in and accommodated them with beds, food, etc. and helped them with the German language.
Over in Germany, it was the custom for women to do the farm work, cutting of the hay with a scythe and putting it up by hand. When the children needed shoes or dresses, the shoemaker and the dressmaker would come to the home to do these services.
In writing this little history and remembrances about Grandpa and Grandma Wanner, I thought it would be proper, nice, and informative to tell just a little about the country they lived in before coming to America.
Germany had been a great country and has produced many great and talented people. It has become known as the land of poets and thinkers. Germany as a nation state did not exist until the German Reich of 1871. The Roman Empire was in control for five centuries. It is a diversified country – wooded areas account for 29 percent of the land, providing beautiful forests with hiking trails. The people of Germany love nature and most of the homes have plants and flowers in them.
Germany has become known for its beautiful castles and for being a progressive country. Germany has been described by some of our relatives and friends who, have visited it, as a very beautiful country of mountains, streams, rivers and beautiful forests.
Grandma left behind a sister, a brother and her father. She was the only one that joined the church. She was the youngest in her family. Grandpa was the only one in his family also that joined the church.
What a serious though it must have been to them as they contemplated the LONG, LONG JOURNEY TO AMERICA AND THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHURCH WHICH THEY BELONGED TOO.
I wonder if any of us grandchildren can even realize what it meant to undertake the task of bringing their family to America. They sold their property in Germany and packed up the thing they could bring. They left behind their friends, loved ones, and many happy memories. It was brave family, who loved the Lord, were grateful for the Gospel Plan and for their membership in the TRUE CHURCH ON THE EARTH. Such was their faith, and it was enough to bring them through every trial, every hardship, every discouragement that came their way. They triumphed in the end and WE AS THEIR POSTERITY HAVE BEEN GREATLY BLESSED BY THEIR WISDOM, FAITH, AND ENDURANCE.
They rode the train for a day and then got on a ship and went up the Rhine River. This took them three or four days. They then rode the train another day and got on a ship on the North Sea that took them to England; the sea was very turbulent and they had a rough voyage.
At Liverpool they boarded a ship and was on the ocean 13 days. They stayed in New York for two days and in Chicago one day and a night. They then rode the train straight to Franklin, Idaho. They arrived on the 18th of June 1893. This was Uncle Gottlob’s birthday. It was 85 years ago tomorrow.
They were met by their son George and Fred Nuffer, who was the man George was working for. They brought a buggy and wagon and took the family to Brother Nuffer’s place in Cub River. Here they stayed about a week; then purchased the farm of John Nuffer in Glendale, Idaho. It was during this week Grandpa took his daughter Mary, my mother, and they walked to the Bear Lake County seeking a farm and a home to see what was available there. They slept on the ground at nights and saved some of their bread to feed the bears so they wouldn’t bother them. They had to take off their shoes as they forged streams. It was a rough trip.
From Glendale they bought a farm in Whitney and from here to Preston. In 1910 they moved to Logan, Utah to be near the Temple where they could go often. In Logan, they lived at two or three different places, but I wasn’t able to find out for sure. The places I distinctly remember was on 3rd North and two or so block East and their last home in Logan was a lovely home thy built located on 4th North and two blocks East.
The first Sunday they were in Glendale, Grandpa and Grandma went to church with these five beautiful daughters and two sons. My dad, William Addison Wagstaff was the ward clerk and mother had on a red dress; dad looked down at her and winked. You see dad was well past 30 and not married. I bet he thought here is my chance. Of course there were other nice gals available, but he hadn’t married and we are happy he choose mother.
Grandma soon joined the Relief Society and in the minutes of the meetings that I have, tell of her bearing her testimony often and donating eggs, wheat, calico or whatever, when ask to do so.
They had a strong testimony and remained true to the Church and were ardent Temple Workers till their last days on earth.
I feel these parents, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have accomplished so much in that time 85 years tomorrow, all of the children have gone to the Temple, many have done Temple work and many of the grandchildren and great grandchildren also. Many have gone on Missions. There are Bishops, Doctors, poets, Nurses and professional people in the family.
I being one of the younger ones of Grandpa and Grandma’s grandchildren, I have had the privilege of attending the funerals of some of their children and their children’s mates and many of the grandchildren and I have really been thrilled and lifted up about the wonderful things that have been said – of their good lives – their devotion to their families. I have felt so thrilled and humble to belong to such a good family and I know for a fact the wonderful words that have been spoken are true, because I have observed and could say Amen to it all.
I have felt many times that if Grandpa and Grandma could see their posterity and how wonderful, faithful, devoted they ware; with a strong testimony and ardent Temple workers; they surely would be thrilled and happy.
They taught their children the way they should live by example and precept and each in turn taught their children the same principles and they in turn did the same to their children. This is very commendable, I am sure.
While in Germany, Grandpa worked on the roads and was a road overseer. He also worked in the Black Forest and fought in the Civil War in Germany in 1865 and the war of 1870-71. He also owned a little farm and cattle. He wasn’t a very large man about 5 foot 6 inches. He always looked well dressed, clean and very nice.
Grandma was about 5 foot 3 or 4 inches and had a good shape. She always fixed her hair so beautiful, she looked nice and well dressed. I can remember this beautiful black knit winter dress she had and she always wore gloves.
While in Logan Grandpa always had a lively horse, a good looking single black buggy and a real snazzy buggy whip. This one place they lived on in Logan had an extra lot where he grew hay for his horse and he’d cut it with a scythe. They also always had a nice garden and beautiful flowers. As I remember this home was on 3rd North and a few blocks East.
They were hard working, thrifty people and handled their affairs very well. They really made hay while the sun shone and were able to retire at a reasonable age and had enough to live on plus an estate they left.
Speaking of hard working people which they were, their children were also. I know Mother always worked in the fields, had a lovely garden – flowers and fruits and berries. Also plus making soap, butter, curing meat and those good sausages and canning besides washing on the board and knitting stockings for all of us 8 children, one pair for Sunday and one for school and everyday use. I know mother’s sisters and brothers were of the same caliber.
Now I have just mentioned Mother mostly, but I guess because I knew her better, but I have observed through my life and I know for a fact that all their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have been hard working people and early risers. At least I and my brothers and sisters and all my children know how to work, so some of it has rubbed off.
I am sure life for them in Germany was hard. It wasn’t always sunshine and roses. Of course all of us knew we’d have trials and sorrows to go thru when we came to earth and I’m sure they had their share.
Grandma lost her mother at age two and she was said her stepmother wasn’t very good to her. She said her father was a weaver and Grandma had to walk many miles through dark woods at night to deliver the linen to different customers. She’d carry it on her head with arms and hands to help. Often she was afraid she prayed and was never harmed. She said many times all she had to eat was a piece of brown bread and potato peeling soup, but she was thankful for that.
I feel sure Grandma and Grandpa had many happy times, but they also knew sorrow. It must have been heart breaking to loose their two little boys at a tender age and have to leave them buried in Germany, when they came to America. I’m sure as most all parents are, they were grieved at times over their children’s actions.
In Germany they all worked hard to help make a living. Grandma and children would do most of the farm work and care for the animals, so Grandpa could work away on roads, etc to bring a little extra means in. They would put the hay up and spend long hard days getting wood in from the forest for fuel for winter.
At Christmas time and other special occasions, they could have white bread and some little cakes. They had beautiful Christmas trees decorated, Grandma really tried hard to make a sweet happy home and life for her children. Now I’d like to quickly relate a few things I can remember about them.
I can remember Mother and Grandma most always conversed in German and she’d also always write letters often to her in German. She was so good at keeping up her correspondence. She’d always send love and kisses to us kids. At Christmas time they always sent a check to their children and 50 cents for each of us grandchildren. I thought I was really rich to have this half dollar to spend.
The last time I saw Grandpa was in December of 1921, when he came to Ogden to Aunt Pauline’s funeral. In February 1922 he had just finished helping to pay Aunt Pauline’s funeral expenses when he took sick and died. I believe it was of Pneumonia.
The last time I saw Grandma was in July 1929, when we stopped in to visit her on our way to Idaho. We took her some nice fresh strawberries from our garden.
I can remember how sad and lonely she looked. She had carried on alone for almost 8 years. She was a dear and faithful to the end. She passed away in December 1929. I can remember how sad I was and what a lovely funeral they had and the nice things that were spoken of her.
As a child I can remember going to Logan on the U.I.C., Railroad, or sometimes called the Galloping Goose, with Mom and Dad to visit them. It was the joy of my life. They always made you welcome and shared willingly what they had with you.
It seemed we always had the same thing for supper. She would sauté a little onion in the fry pan and then add boiled potatoes cut up or sliced and browned, a piece of cheese, bread, butter and applesauce, but oh! It was good. It was such a thrill to sleep on her feather bed.
I can well remember they always went to the Temple and I can see them now walking Temple hill in high gear, especially Grandpa.
They always had some mints for the Grandchildren and you always got loves and kisses. I didn’t always like Grandpa’s kisses and his beard would tickle my face and his kisses were kind of wet, but I knew then and I know now also that he loved us all.
What a thrill it was to go to Logan to be baptized and stay at their place and I was always so happy when they came to visit us, or we went to visit them, especially after Grandpa died and Grandma spent time with us is Ogden.
They were really hospitable and in 1917 Annie our sister and Mary Wanner Andra stayed at their home while taking a course in sewing and pattern drafting at the college.
Electricity at their home in Logan was cheap and they’d burn the lights most all day and night. I was really fascinated by them, as when we lived in Glendale we just had kerosene lamps, until the last two years, when we had gas lights.
It seemed to me as a young child when Grandma would kneel beside her bed to say her night prayers, she’d sure pray a long time – always I the German language, but I now realize it was a sweet humble and sincere prayer.
When I go to Logan now and to the Budge Clinic, I look across the street to their last beautiful house and well remember going there to visit them many times.
There are many reasons why we should honor and love our Grandparents, but among their most wonderful accomplishments, we would have to list their diligent pursuit in genealogy and Temple Work. Both Grandma and Grandpa had a great deal of research done to find the names and vital information concerning their progenitors. Each one of us are taught to do this by the leaders of our church. Grandma and Grandpa carried on this responsibility to the best of their ability for many years. I am sure when they learned of the statement of Prophet Joseph Smith to the effect if we neglect this important work we do so at the peril of our own salvation, that it aroused in them a never ending desire to see that nothing was left undone, that was within their ability to do.
After having had the research done they were able to secure the names of hundreds of their dead ancestors and spent many many hours I the Temple acting as proxy for those who never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and take upon themselves the sacred covenants, which are necessary for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.
I am most grateful to them for their integrity and not only teaching the highest principles of honorable dealings in their daily affairs, but for the example of following the Savior’s admonition “To love one another and to do our best to help those in need”.
Dear cousins, second and third cousins, in-laws and others, our grandparents are long since gone, but I am sure their memory lives on and it could be said of them they laughed a lot and cried a little. They aren’t really dead for no man dies as long as there is one living person in the world who remembers them with fond memories and no man really dies as long as there are people on earth who really loved them. This can be said of them, many many people loved them for what they really were. They had many many friends and as I have told Horace many times, I truly loved my Grandma and Grandpa Wanner.