James & Damey Ross

I came upon this photo of James & Damey Ross and thought I would share.  It is pixellated and I hope I can get a better copy in the future.  I have an e-mail sent to the person who made it available on FamilySearch.

I have written a bit more on James & Damey at this link.  I even added this photo to that post.  I find it interesting how much resemblance exists between Damey and their daughter Fanny.

I look forward to sharing this photo with Grandpa.  He knew his grandparents pretty well and only lived blocks from them in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  After his mother passed away, he lived with them through the winter of 1925-26.  He speaks fondly of them.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

White Clouds

It has been several months, but here are some pictures from our Super Activity for this year.  We went as a Scout Troop, but just the Priest’s Quorum of the Paul 1st Ward.  We went to the White Clouds here in Idaho.  We left around 6:00 AM and drove to the 4th of July trail head.

Looking back with 4th of July Lake behind us.

Looking back with 4th of July Lake behind us.

Our first day we hiked over Ants Basin and in to the Born Lakes.

Saddle near Blackman Peak looking toward the White Clouds down the Warm Creek watershed

Saddle near Blackman Peak looking toward the White Clouds down the Warm Creek watershed.

Looking toward the Born Lakes.  Devil's Staircase is the rockslide down from the notch in the distance

Looking toward the Born Lakes. Devil’s Staircase is the rock slide down from the deepest notch in the horizon.

We camped at the last lake that still had somewhere to camp around it on the far northwest bank of the lake, just near where the water enters the lake.  From our camp at the Born Lake, some call it the third lake, some call it the fourth lake, looking back the way we came earlier in the day.

Looking back across our Born Lake.  Martin Barclay stands in the picture.

Looking back across our Born Lake. Martin Barclay stands in the picture.

From our Camp at this Born Lake, the ridge to the south east of us is quite imposing.  You can see the jagged rocks standing as sentinels.

The ridge to the east of our Born Lake.

The ridge to the east of our Born Lake.

We could also look up at the climb that awaited us the next morning.  The aptly named, Devil’s Staircase.

You can see the "tooth" in the saddle at the top of Devil's Staircase.

You can see the “tooth” in the saddle at the top of Devil’s Staircase.

We set up camp and enjoyed our evening.

Kerry Sandford stands behind his tent, Ryan Lindsay stands behind the fire, Dallin Fisher sits preparing dinner, Austin Silver warms, and Paul Ross sets up his tent.

Kerry Sandford stands behind his tent, Ryan Lindsay stands behind the fire, Dallin Fisher sits preparing dinner, Austin Silver warms, and Paul Ross sets up his tent.

The next morning arrived and we all arose for the feat before us.  We ate breakfast and mulled around.  Nobody overly anxious to start the climb.

Sitting after morning breakfast, Austin Silva, Greg Ellinger, Michael Fisher, Paul Ross

Sitting after morning breakfast, Austin Silva, Greg Ellinger, Michael Fisher, Paul Ross.

The time to depart finally arrived.  We tanked up on water and left.

Austin Silva, Paul Ross, Greg Ellinger, Martin Barclay.

Austin Silva, Paul Ross, Greg Ellinger, Martin Barclay.

This is from the lake at the base of Devil’s Staircase.  Obviously at a 45 angle to get the entire climb into the photo.

Devil's Staircase

Devil’s Staircase

Another shot of us starting to ascend.

The team moving upward, Greg Ellinger, Paul Ross, Ryan Lindsay, and Dallin Fisher with more farther up the climb.

The team moving upward, Greg Ellinger, Paul Ross, Ryan Lindsay, and Dallin Fisher with more farther up the climb.

A view from the top of Devil’s Staircase looking back over the Born Lakes.

Looking back over Born Lakes and the Warm Springs Creek Basin.

Looking back over Born Lakes and the Warm Springs Creek Basin.

Top of Devil's Staircase looking east over the Slickenside Basin.

Top of Devil’s Staircase looking east over the Slickenside Basin.

Looking up at Devil's Staircase from Shallow Lake.

Looking up at Devil’s Staircase from Shallow Lake.

We took a much needed breather and rest at Shallow Lake after coming off Devil’s Staircase.

Paul Ross, Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, Josh Barclay, Ryan Lindsay at Shallow Lake.

Paul Ross, Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, Josh Barclay, Ryan Lindsay at Shallow Lake.

Austin Silva and Greg Ellinger soothing their feet in Shallow Lake.

Austin Silva and Greg Ellinger soothing their feet in Shallow Lake.

We passed Shallow Lake and Scree Lake before we descended the steep decline along Slickenside Creek.  Here is a shot just past Scree Lake with Castle Peak starting to emerge.  Can you see why the ridge from Merriam Peak to the left to Castle Peak is called Serrated Ridge?

Merriam Peak, Serrated Ridge, and Castle Peak

Merriam Peak, Serrated Ridge, and Castle Peak.

Looking across Quiet Lake at Serrated Ridge and Castle Peak.

Looking across Quiet Lake at Serrated Ridge and Castle Peak.

Serrated Ridge with a number of rocks that look like men standing guard.

Serrated Ridge with a number of rocks that look like men standing guard.

Our campsite on the west side of provided a much needed collapsing station.

Quiet Lake Camp

Quiet Lake Camp

Oh, and swim.

Austin Silva diving into Quiet Lake.

Austin Silva diving into Quiet Lake.

I did not add more of the swimming pictures in case somebody might get upset.  But the water was deep enough to dive in and swim around, cold enough to keep it short.

Another view of the Serrated Ridge from our camp.

Another view of the Serrated Ridge from our camp.

We crashed pretty hard that night.  The dreams were not necessarily pleasant knowing we had to do it again the next day.

The next morning we arose, ate breakfast, and started preparing for our final ascent.  We were exhausted by this point so nobody thought much of taking pictures.  This is part of our climb out of camp toward the Four Lakes Basin.

Climbing toward Four Lakes Basin.

Climbing toward Four Lakes Basin.

We eventually found Cornice Lake, Emerald Lake, Rock Lake, and Glacier Lake.  Here is a picture of Castle Peak with Rock Lake in the foreground.

Rock Lake and Castle Peak.

Rock Lake and Castle Peak.

It was a long haul climbing Patterson Peak.

Greg Ellinger (in black), Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, Austin Silva, and Ryan Lindsay.

Greg Ellinger (in black), Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, Austin Silva, and Ryan Lindsay.

Four Lakes Basin and Castle Peak from near the top of Patterson Peak.

Four Lakes Basin and Castle Peak from the saddle nearing the top of Patterson Peak.

I hope the above picture gives some idea of the climb we just came up.  Plus the drop-off is enough that you cannot see any of Quiet Lake beyond the basin.  It was a hard climb.  Cornice Lake is the furthest with Emerald Lake just closer from it.  Rock Lake is to the right of Emerald Lake, and Glacier Lake is closest.  Then it was time to descend the other side.  It looked so unsafe we were consulting the map just to find out how to get down.  It was steep enough we could not see the whole trail down.

Paul Ross and Kerry Sanford trying how to get off this ridge to Fourth of July Lake below.

Paul Ross and Kerry Sanford trying how to get off this ridge to Fourth of July Lake below.

Closest is Greg Ellinger, then Ryan Lindsay, and Austin Silva with Patterson Peak in the background.

Closest is Greg Ellinger, then Ryan Lindsay, and Austin Silva with Patterson Peak in the background.

The steep descent, Austin Silva, Ryan Lindsay, Greg Ellinger.

The steep descent, Austin Silva, Ryan Lindsay, Greg Ellinger.

As you can see from this picture, we came down the rock slides of Patterson Peak (on the right).  Half our group took the one right in the middle, the rest trying coming down the left slides (which turned out to be less safe and more steep).

Between Patterson Peak and 4th of July Lake.

Between Patterson Peak and 4th of July Lake.

Here is what remained of our party at the end of the third day.  We were all so anxious to get out nobody took any more pictures.  Plus, all our cameras had died or were out of film.

Patterson Peak with (l-r) Paul Ross, Austin Silva, Dallin Fisher, Michael Fisher, Greg Ellinger, Ryan Lindsay, Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, and Josh Barclay.  Art Silva took the picture.

Patterson Peak with (l-r) Paul Ross, Austin Silva, Dallin Fisher, Michael Fisher, Greg Ellinger, Ryan Lindsay, Kerry Sanford, Martin Barclay, and Josh Barclay. Art Silva took the picture.

My Mind’s Eye

Looking east on Idaho Street, Paul, Idaho

Looking east on Idaho Street, Paul, Idaho

The other day I took Aliza out for a walk in the stroller.  It was only the two of us and we went on a bit longer walk than normal.  We rounded the corner near Paul Elementary and started up this sidewalk.  My personal memory of Paul, Minidoka, Idaho only extends about 28 years into the past for this little town.  However, my historical and genealogical memory of this town extends a bit, in some instances back to the founding.

As I walked up this little sidewalk I found myself in my memory riding down this sidewalk on a bicycle many years ago.  Looking at the sidewalk, I would be willing to venture that it is the same concrete.  Indeed, up ahead at the end of the cinderblocks on the right, you can see part of the foundation for the old Adams Building that used to stand here.  I found myself remembering that building and what a sad day it was when it had to come down (the easy route is to always tear them down).  Interestingly enough, Mr. Adams was the son-in-law of Henry Schodde whose name is well-known in the area and whose family still haunts this town with its presence.

Immediately across the street to the left is the building that I attended Kindergarten (not in the picture).  The tiny building is now a self-serve laundromat.  Who would have thought a Kindergarten would become a laundromat.  For the most part, the building is just as it was when I was there.

Across the street behind the stop sign is an old gasoline, service/repair station that has been there since the 1920′s, 1930′s.  Only in the last 10 years did they remove the old gasoline pumps I remember being there as a kid.  The other buildings part of the lot are newer, probably of 1940′s vintage, but one of them still reads “Alignment” on the back with an old tire stand remaining.  Even as a kid I imagined what it must have looked like in its heyday.  I do not know the last time the building ever was used for commercial use, but I see a door open once in a while, or that at least someone is doing something within.  What secrets might still be locked in there?

Across the intersection diagonally is an empty lot.  But I know there used to be a lumber yard there at one point, and then some type of granary at another.  It was this lumber yard that my Great Grandmother Ethel Sharp Ross (previously Streeter) purchased the lumber to build her confectionery that was located, I believe, within the same block just beyond the water tower (which is in the picture).  Just beyond the now solitary light pole on the left side of the road was a butcher shop.  I still remember the iron beam that hung out the front of the building for bringing in of the beef.  I must have been 4 or 5 the first time I remember being inside and seeing the meat hanging from hooks, the coldness of the freezer, and the sound of the saw slicing through the flesh and bone of an animal.

Streeter Lumber Invoice

I remember the cat/monkey woman who supposedly lived in one of the old buildings between what was then the vacant lot in my youth of the lumber yard on the corner and the butcher shop.  I do not recall seeing any cats or monkeys, but I remember her and the smell that came with her.  There was a building that was missing somewhere in the row, supposedly from a fire.  That building had previously been the Post Office.

The first building on the other side of the street now used to be the Paul City Offices.  I remember going in with my mother to pay our city bill.  I remember attending City Hall Meetings there as part of school and Cub/Boy Scouts.  I even remember help organizing the Christmas Light drive, sale, and auction where the City of Paul replaced its Christmas lights with the now present fixtures, the old ones now relegated to the very street in this picture.  The two-story building beside it used to house the firehouse, now a car repair and auto-body shop.  In there I learned first aid and CPR for the first time.  In there we met firefighters, learned safety, and helped prepare for charity drives.  We also got the tours of the firetrucks which any boy loved.  Just beyond the old firehouse is the Masonic Lodge which must still have the same sign it did 30 years ago, it has not aged well.

On the same side of the street beyond the old garage mentioned above is what has been a bar as long as I could remember.  Beyond it is the Old Paul Grange, whose use I am still not certain.  The old writing of the Grange still shows and the building does not seem to have been used beyond the 1940′s.  I don’t know who owns it, but that would certainly be a building that would be a time warp to enter.  Some of the front reminds me of pictures of my Great Grandmother’s store, Streeter’s Confectionery and I wonder if I might not have its place mistaken.  I am certain, but it is probably just a wish that something of her past remains on the street that Paul seems to have so fully discarded.

Just beyond the Grange and on the corner of the same block stands the old Paul State Bank.  It was Mikey’s Bar while I grew up but the monogram in the brick work leaves no mistake, it was once a bank.  It is this building that I wanted to buy to open my law practice.  Restore the building, set to building a practice, and leave behind a preserved part of Paul’s quickly dwindling architectural past.  The owners were not interested and so I watch the building hoping it does not age beyond repair.  I look at it every time I enter or leave the Post Office.  Maybe some day, but then again it is probably for the best.  Burley is likely a better place for a law practice.

Paul State Bank Receipt

The post office stands where it does today having been dedicated about 1962.  I mentioned the missing building between the butcher and the monkey woman where the Post Office used to stand.  Anyhow, President Kennedy was still President and J. Edward Day was Postmaster General when the new building was dedicated, the plaque says so.  This is of interest only because he served such a short time and it was during his tenure that the zip codes were established, giving Paul its 83347.  Inside this post office I remember going to our PO Box 12 and turning the knob for the combination and retrieving the mail.  Mom had to hold me up because it was near the top.  We eventually discarded our PO Box at our new house about 1984 and then the Post Office got the now present key boxes.  It was also this Post Office that the swinging door took two of my fingers clear down the bone.  When I walk in the Post Office and sometimes I can remember the horror as I watched the lady cutting away some of the mangled skin with scissors and the sewing it back together with some of her hair.  How many people do that today?  The scar is still there.

I remember being told that Connor’s used to be in the space between the now present Post Office and the old Hotel, of which only the first floor remains.  Connors of course moved out near the interstate in the 1960′s and I believe their present building indicates its construction decade.  Then of course the old Hotel Building which in its day claimed full plumbing, something that was very new about 1920.  The second story has been removed, the first floor looking very enclosed and lost since its long past heyday.  There was a safe/bank deposit on the east side only about 15 years ago, even now it has been removed and bricks fill the void.  Pictures of the building show that it was once lined by large window stores that opened out to Idaho Street.  Now it is just a brick building, its façade completely lost to time.  It is my understanding that the now present Idaho Street was once Main Street.  Now it is Idaho Street, Main Street intersects it at the intersection immediately in front of the picture (also 600 west of Minidoka County).

Like many historical towns the relied on the railroad to such a degree, this town apparently also had shops and buildings that faced the railroad.  I do not believe any still exist, or at least if they did, not in my lifetime.  One thing is for certain, what was once a bustling town center has now turned into a blight.  I am not sure Paul will ever recover any of its lost past or achieve much of the character it has lost, but I can hope.

This street continues down through a part of Paul that once contained many houses built and provided by Amalgamated Sugar.  I do not know if any of those homes remain after relocation.  I tend to believe the one I once lived in the first few years of my life was one of those homes.  I doubt we will ever know.

Looking at this picture it seems inconceivable that Paul once contended to become the County Seat.  The vote if I recall was somewhat close but eventually lost out to its then slightly larger neighbor to the east, Rupert.  Contrasting the two towns now is somewhat embarrassing but both have their difficulties.  Rupert has maintained its identity through the decades and seems determined to keep it.  Paul seems to just let the winds of change sweep in whatever they bring.

Funny enough, behind me in this picture stands Paul Elementary.  The current building replaced the earlier building which was once Paul High School.  Minidoka County in an ingenious move consolidated all the high schools in the County to form one high school, Minidoka County High School (known as Minico).  By doing so they promoted efficiency and order that has carried them now well for over 50 years.  Cassia County has debated the same and still deals with the costs and difficulties of four separate high schools.  While a larger county, I have to tip my hat to Minidoka County for their foresight and planning.  It just seems a bit sad that Paul and Minidoka County seem to have lost some of that vision they once had.

Then again, I am only young.  I don’t know anything beyond my experience.  But I hope Paul will improve and focus on important things for the future.  A new city park certain improves the feeling of community, builds the common good, and helps build a city from the ashes of its past.  I hope it will continue to improve and not neglect its past.  Indeed, I hope the letterhead from my Great Grandmother’s store will someday again be true.  Notice the monogram of the bank and go check out the building.

Check to Scoville Paper

Streeter Envelope

Rupert 4th of July Parade

We attended the Rupert 4th of July Parade this year and enjoyed it.  I thought it was interesting to attend the Minidoka County Centennial Celebration in conjunction with the festivities this year.  I wonder what Aunt Fanny Ross Phibbs and Calvin Dickerson Phibbs thought when they arrived in the area on 21 March 1913 and witnessed the creation of Minidoka County that same year.  Calvin would go on to become a Judge in Minidoka County in 1918 and served for over 10 years.

While the Ross Clan has been in and out of Minidoka County for the past 100 years, we have left our mark for good or ill.

My thoughts turned to my own involvement in the Rupert 4th of July parade.  Here are a couple of the photos I could find.

Riding my trusty horse Mack, probably around 1991, for 4-H

Riding my trusty horse Mack, probably around 1991, for 4-H

Marching with the Minico Spartans Marching Bank, probably in 1996

Marching with the Minico Spartans Marching Band probably in 1996

Riding Dad's 1948 Ford 8N about 2001

Riding Dad’s 1948 Ford 8N about 2002

1948 Ford 8N about 2001

1948 Ford 8N about 2002

Just for fun because I do not know when else I would share them, a couple of pictures from the old Paul, Idaho parade.  I can still remember climbing up the ladder on the back of the pup to get into the trailer filled with gravel for us to stand on.  I remember looking down out of the trailer for the photo below.  This first photo has the Fenton Apartments in the back (still there and improved).

Circle A Construction Truck in Paul Parade about 1985

Circle A Construction Truck in Paul Parade about 1985

Andra and me with Grandma (Colleen Andra Elliott) in Paul Parade about 1985

Andra and me with Grandma (Colleen Andra Elliott at the time) in Paul Parade about 1985

 

 

 

 

 

Ethelyn June Streeter

With the recent passing of Aunt June Stout, I thought I would dedicate a post to her.

Ethelyn June Streeter was born 4 June 1918 in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho to Mark Lewis and Ethel Sharp Streeter.  She was the only child born to this union as her parents soon separated.  Mark Lewis Streeter was born 11 May 1898 in Hooper, Weber, Utah and died 21 March 1986 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  Ethel Sharp was born 9 April 1898 in Plain City, Weber, Utah and died 6 August 1925 in Plain City shortly after giving birth to her fifth child.  Mark and Ethel were married 7 May 1917 in Ogden.

Mark and Ethel Streeter

Ethel was in a train accident in Plain City.  After marrying Mark, she received a settlement from the railroad.  With their new wealth they moved to Paul and built a confectionery.  Paul was the location of a new sugar factory built by Amalgamated Sugar Company.  Further the farm land was continuing to open and expand and Paul was a promising boom town.  Many families moved from the Ogden area to Minidoka and Cassia counties.

It was here, not long after the confectionery was built, Ethelyn June Streeter was born.  She went by June all her days.  On 3 March 1919 Mark enlisted in the Army.  We do not know the reasons for his enlistment; enlist and not be drafted, drafted, or marital issues.  All we know is that Mark and Ethel divorced during 1919.  Ethel remarried 11 January 1920 to John “Jack” William Ross.

Ethel Ross and little June Streeter

Jack and Ethel Ross with young June Streeter

June spent a several years growing up with three younger siblings.  Milo Paul was born in 1921, Paul was born in 1922, and John Harold was born in 1924.  Jack worked for Amalgamated Sugar Company most of the time and worked at the Ogden, Burley, and Paul plants.  Hence, Milo was born in Plain City, Paul was born in Paul, and Harold in Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  I have written more extensively about the family elsewhere.

(l-r) Harold, Milo, and Paul Ross with June Streeter

Sadly, Ethel gave birth to Ernest Jackson Ross in 1925 and she shortly passed away afterward.  Little Ernest passed away about two months later.  Jack’s parents, James and Damey Ross, took the four children in over the winter of 1925-26.  Jack’s parents were struggling financially and Jack was not able to properly tend to the children so the children were taken to northern Utah and farmed out to different family members.  June went to live with her Streeter grandparents, George Clark and Jane Ann Wilson Streeter.  They raised her in Ogden until she left home.

Paul, June, and Harold

Paul, Harold, and Milo Ross with June Streeter behind.

She married Dominic Anthony Corsaro and had two children; Franklin George in 1936 and Josephine Ina in 1943.  The Corsaro marriage ended in divorce.  She then married an A H Ballard, which also ended in divorce.  Lastly, she married Jack Stout.

Her obituary mentions that she was an Arthur Murray dance instructor.

I have tried to find out more information about these marriages but nobody has responded to my letters or e-mails for further information.  Some day I hope to flesh it out some more.

Jack and June Stout about 1960

June spent her remaining years living with her daughter and son-in-law, Merk and Ina French.  It was in Southern California she passed away, I do not know the exact location yet.  She passed away 24 June 2012 and was buried 30 June 2012.

Evan Kay Elliott

For Evan’s birthday, and since he provided me some photos and I do not know what else to do with them, I will post them on here.

He is not technically my relative and I have held on to the photos because he knew I did family history and would make them available to family.  He provided these photos to me in the summer of 2004.  I scanned them and have kept them safe since them.  These are all the photos he provided for me.  I am including a few others that I have that include my Grandmother, Colleen.  I do not know the status or whereabouts of any of the other individuals in the photos.  I have put them in chronological order as much as I can.  These individuals are named as Evan gave them to me.

Evan Kay Elliott was born the fourth of six children on 19 June 1934 to Ethel Helen Heath and William Henery Elliott in Soda Springs, Caribou, Idaho.  His father was born in Lago, Bannock, Idaho (now Caribou County) and his mother was born in Liberal, Seward, Kansas.  He graduated from Paul High School.  He married Beatrice F Lamoureau 9 May 1961 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  They were divorced shortly afterward.  He married Colleen Mary Andra, a widow of Wilburn Norwood Jonas, 9 April 1976 in Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  They were later sealed 5 May 1978 in Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho at the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.  They were divorced about 1987.  He then married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Jeanette Loebsack, 6 April 1989 in Elko.  They lived together until she passed 30 September 2003 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Evan lived alone until he passed at home in Twin Falls 24 October 2007.  He was buried 3 November 2007 in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.

Evan Kay Elliott about 1938

William (Bill) and Ethel Helen (“Helen”) Elliott with son Melvin standing on their doorstep in Paul, Idaho about 1947.

William (Bill) Elliott with wife, Helen, and sons Evan (back) and Melvin about 1947.

Bill and Helen Elliott with daughter and son, Carol and Melvin about 1947.

Evan and Melvin Elliott, his brother, about 1947.

Evan high school portrait, about 1950

1948 Elliott family reunion at Shoshone Falls

Evan’s military photo, about 1951. He served in the Korean War, I believe in the Navy.

(l-r) Bill Elliott, Melvin, Evan about 1952

Bill and Helen Elliott with Melvin.

Loucilla Loebsack, 1953, Shirley’s sister.

Loucilla Loebsack

Shirley kneeling in 1953

Evan and Shirley Loebsack, Christmas Eve 1953

Shirley Loebsack, Christmas Even 1953

Evan and Melvin Elliott with Virgil Rocko in September 1955

Evan and Colleen about 1977

About 1979

Colleen and Evan about 1982

Evan fishing near Portland, Oregon on 5 July 1998

Shirley Elliott, 5 July 1998

The Elliott home in Twin Falls.

Evan and Shirley Elliott, 16 July 2000

Evan and Shirley in 2003

Evan at Andra Ross’ wedding 27 May 2005 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho

My Darling Mother

For my Mother’s birthday, I thought I would share a few thoughts about her.  I know she is pretty maligned by some, praised by others, and many more just do not know what to be in relation to her.  Therefore, I thought I would talk about her with that title, Mother.

The above photo came to me in 2010.  This photo was given to my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898-1987), probably not long after it was taken.  I am guessing before 1960.  From my understanding, it hung on the wall of my Great Grandmother in Richmond, Cache, Utah until she had to move in with her daughter, Lillian Jonas Talbot (1930-2009), in Layton, Davis, Utah the mid 1980′s.  It still has its original heavy paper frame and original glass.  I took the picture out of the frame to scan it and imagined that it was the photographer who placed it there in the late 1950′s, or more likely, one of my grandparents.  I can imagine the photo carefully located on Great Grandma’s wall and the love that swelled in her breast as she viewed my Mother and my Uncle Doug.  I am sure the scores of other grandchildren hung on the same wall, but these were grandchildren that also lived in Richmond and paid regular visits so there was a personal love as well as that motherly love.

When Great Grandma Lillian moved to Layton, all her photo albums and pictures went with her.  When she passed away in 1987, they fell into the possession of her daughter, Lillian.  It was almost 20 years later when I knocked on the door and wanted to see photographs.  I found the goldmine when she pulled out these albums.  I scanned the photo above in 2006, but after Aunt Lillian passed away in 2009, the family thought to give me this actual photograph.

A copy of this same photograph hung in my Grandmother’s house in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  It sat on a cedar chest in one of the bedrooms.  I do not know what happened to that photo when my Grandmother died, but I have this image in my mind of that photo being in my Grandparent’s possession from the late 1950′s as well.  Tended, loved, and on the wall overlooking the family as they grew through the years.  I know I probably romanticize it as any child does to ignore the pain of their childhood for the faults and inadequacies of their parents.  I know my mother romanticizes her childhood and the relationship with her parents.  I see in this picture a happy smirk and a couple of contented children.  What did my Grandparent’s see in their children?  What did my Great Grandmother see in this picture?  I will not likely know while I am alive.

As I now have a child of my own and feel great love in the features and form of the child, not to mention the personality, I know how I feel looking at pictures of my daughter.  I assume my Grandparents felt the same for their children.  I look at this photo with new eyes, especially where I can sense so many similar features between my daughter Aliza and her Grandmother Sandy (and even a few with her Grand Uncle Doug).

Here is another picture of Mom and Uncle Doug outside their home in Richmond.  Again, I see two cold, but happy, kids playing in the snow outside the home my Grandpa Jonas lovingly built for the family in the late 1940′s.

Here is another photo of Doug and Mom outside the Richmond home near the front sidewalk.

This photo does not look quite so happy.  Mom looks like she is in the same sweater as she was in the first picture above.  My Mom had a pretty mangled right-handed ring finger that had not been removed by this point.  I imagine  she is holding her right hand to hide the the bandages and injury to that finger.  That seems to expand my sympathy for her and the somber look she has on her face.  No three- year-old should have that type of injury and then keep a mangled finger for 5 years when it finally has to be removed due to doctor negligence and improper care.  I think she would have lost it anyway, but the doctor certainly sped things up.

How did my Grandparents view this little girl who was injured?  I am sure they loved her dearly.  I remember one time after asking my Grandma how she felt about my Mom as a little girl and she referred to her as “her little darling girl.”  I am sure it was with heartbreak that this little darling girl now had to live with the pain of a lawnmower almost removing a finger.  I am sure a sigh of relief that only one finger was lost rather than all of them.

Here is another picture.  This was also taken in 1957, the same year that Mom would suffer the severe trauma to her finger.  She still has it in full glory at this point.  This picture was from the Andra Reunion which I believe was held in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

Again, I feel for the family.  I sense a contented nature in this picture.  Grandpa did not have his life increasingly taken over by alcohol by this point.  He looks like a good healthy, strong man.  I love the classic late 1950′s clothing they all sport.  Doug’s ironed shorts, the patterns in Grandma’s pants, the shirt Grandpa wears with the sleeves rolled, and the one piece jumper Mom wears with its pattern.

(l-r): Sandy Jonas, Lola Bruderer, Jane Robinson

Here is a picture of Mom playing with some friends.  This picture was taken or developed in August 1958, at least that is what the side of the photograph said.  Classic wallpaper, carpet, and clothes of the late 1950′s.  I especially love the Crayola crayons box on the table.  I wonder where these other two ladies are now and what their impressions of the photo and others are?

Last picture of the childhood of my Mom.  This one is probably my favorite.

This photo is also classic of the time with its painted colors.  This is obviously a couple of years later, probably even into the 1960′s.  Too bad it is slightly blurred, but at least I have it.  Oddly enough, the same photo appeared in black in white just this year with this accompanying side shot.

A happy child lovingly tended to and cared for.  The years fly by until we hit about 1966.  The family’s time in Richmond was slowly drawing to a close.

Although by this time a younger sibling, Jackie, has joined the children.  Here is another picture from about 1968, probably shortly before the move to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Sally (1955-2010) was Mom’s best friend growing up.  Dee is Mom’s first cousin.

Dee Jonas, Sally Johnson, and Sandy Jonas

The family moved to Burley in 1968 when Grandpa secured work on the construction of the new Del Monte plant.  I know Mom was not at all excited about the move.  At this point, I think I will leave Mom’s time in Idaho for another time.  But I have at least documented some of her life from 1954 through 1968.  One last picture of Mom and me around 1980.

Mom with me on Jack

Happy Birthday Mom.

Meredith – Graham Wedding

William and Mary Graham are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Damey Catherine Graham to James Thomas Ross, son of James Meredith and Nancy Shepherd.  James and Damey were married 9 August 1887 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.

I am stepping into a bit of a minefield in writing this biography because there is such a wide variety of opinions on the history of this family.  The stories I have were handed down and cannot be verified.  Some claim to have documents but I have been unable to obtain copies of these documents for various reasons.  These purported documents are family records and the public records I cannot find.  Therefore, hopefully documentation will come forward and this post will be altered as that information presents itself.  Poor Damey, not much conversation is available about her because there is so little controversy.

The picture above is of James Ross Meredith, or I assume he was called that at that time.  James Thomas Meredith was born to Nancy Adeline Shepherd 22 September 1869 in Snowville, Virginia.

In 1951, a few months before his death, James was interviewed by his granddaughter, Donna Beachell.  She indicated his mind was very clear.  He indicated to Donna that he was born out of wedlock and that his real father was James Meredith.  He said he was born in Snowville, Virginia.   He also said this James Meredith adopted him when he was about 4 years old and raised him.  He said the courts gave him the name James Thomas Ross Meredith.

The records of Pulaski County indicate this:

“Order Book 5, page 25
September 2, 1873
On the motion of Anderson Linkous, Overseer of the Poor for High Wassie Township for an order to bind James Ross aged 3 years son of Nancy Ross who has become a county charge and it appearing to the Court that said James Ross is now a county charge.  It is ordered that said Overseer of the Poor bind out according to Law to James Meredith the said James Ross son of Nancy Ross aged 3 years until he attains the age of 21 years and besides teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic said Meredith shall be required to pay the said James Ross upon his attaining the age of 21 years the sum of 100 dollars.”

The courts recognized him as James Ross, probably after his mother’s married name.  I have been unable to locate a birth record for him under either name.

He was almost 5 years old when Nancy Ross went into the poorhouse, or at least when the county gave little James to old James Meredith.  I am not sure why they thought he was 3.  Although some records have him born in 1869, and if this was correct, he was just shy of his 4th birthday.  But I will stick with the birthday that he gave during his life.

The county placed James Ross into the charge of James Meredith until he was 21 years of age.  Unfortunately, nobody seemed to ask when this James Meredith was born.  We also do not know when this old James Meredith died, or if he raised him until he was 21 (and paid the $100).  After James and Damey married, John Phibbs (brother-in-law to Fanny Ross) remembered visiting the family in West Virginia and that James’ mother, Nancy lived with her son and daughter-in-law, James and Damey, for much of the time the family lived in West Virginia.    Apparently Nancy was strong enough to carry in heavy sacks of coal and potatoes by herself.  This probably would have been the turn of the 20th century since they were in West Virginia.  No mention is made of old James Meredith who was the father and supposedly raised him.  Nancy must have kept contact through the years, lived close enough, or even got little James back.   We have so many holes to fill with information that we will likely never have.

Clarita Morgan, a researcher in Pulaski County in the 1970′s wrote to Donna and told her it was not uncommon for ladies to be placed in the poorhouse for having a child out of wedlock.  These women were considered a menace and a burden to the community.  At any rate, Nancy Shepherd Ross lived an especially hard life.  It is hard to put ourselves into their scene or time without many more facts.

When James married Damey, the marriage certificate has J. R. Mearideth.  Yet, when all the children were born, James and Damey gave them each the Ross name (or so it seems).  Damey died under the Ross name and no records indicate she ever went by the Meredith name.  James is listed as a farmer.

When James went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1935, he gave his name as James Thomas Ross born 22 September at Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.  He gave his father as James Thomas Ross and mother as Nancy Shepard.  He also gave his baptismal date as 17 April 1898.  Nothing in any of the records provide any evidence of a James Thomas Ross to be his father, and either the recorder at the Temple put the wrong last name, or James made a mistake because he seems to have clearly known his father was James Meredith (was his father’s middle name really Thomas?).  When Fanny went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1923 she said her parents were James F Ross (misread?) and Damy C Graham.

Now, having said all that, one of the difficulties is that there are tons of James Merediths who lived in Pulaski County, Virginia.  In the 1880 Census, little James Meredith is living with elder James Meredith who was born in 1804 and the family lived in Hiwassie.  It is not uncommon for a 65 year old man to have a child.  However, elder James Meredith has a family of 10 children with his wife.  In that census, only elder and little James are shown as living together.  Elder James’ wife, Sarah (Sallie) Jane Bell Meredith, is “ill” and living with their daughter Sarah Jane Meredith Elkins.  I want to speculate but will not.

For years it was thought that James and Sarah Meredith’s son, James Anderson Meredith, was the father of our James Thomas Meredith.  But this was easily resolved in that James Anderson Meredith died in 1864 in a battle at Lexington, Lexington, Virginia, four or five years before little James Meredith was born.  Others thought that James Meredith, the son of Hugh Meredith Jr elder James Meredith’s brother, was the father.  He is four years older than Nancy and their ages seem more conducive to a relationship.  But, we are unable to track him down and prove anything for certain.  But one thing is sure, elder James Meredith told the census taker in 1880 that little James Meredith was his son.  I guess we have to move forward with that record as the basis for our assumptions.  Would the Uncle (elder James Meredith) of James Meredith (Hugh Jr’s son) ruin his good name by claiming little James Meredith as his own to save the name of his nephew?  I just do not know, but the census gives documentation of a relationship (we all know how terrible the census records are for accuracy other than names of family members and location of living).  (Some of my original research and ruminating on these issues can be found here.)

This begs the question of why 27 year old Nancy would have intimate relations with 65 year old and married elder James.  Ms. Morgan above said it was not uncommon for servants living in the home to be taken advantage of by the homeowner.  But we have no evidence that Nancy was a servant in their home.  If he did this and kicked her out, it could account for her being in the poorhouse and his reclaiming the child in court.  But we have nothing to support the notion Ms. Morgan suggests.

Well, if this is not enough to confuse the matter, lets jump back in time before James was born to where Nancy married Harvy D Ross 7 June 1860 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  She married Harvy at 19 years old. On 9 September 1861, Harvy enlisted in Company F, 54th Infantry Regiment Virginia for the Confederacy.  He left for military service and we have few details of when he returned.  She bore James Meredith in 1868 and as far as we know, Harvy had not yet returned from the war.   By 1870 Harvy was back living in Alum Ridge, Floyd, Virginia after the Civil War. We do not know when he left Virginia for the “west”.  William Andrew Ross was born on 10 October 1873 in Snowville.  The birth index for Pulaski County lists William as a bastard, but his death certificate lists Harvy Ross as the father!  (Death certificates are highly unreliable for parental information.)  But why they were not back living together in 1870, we do not know.  He was back in the area and could very well be the father of William.  I just wish we had more information.  He supposedly moved to Tennessee or Kentucky and passed away there, never having anything to do with his son William, if he really is the father.  William was raised by Nancy and was told by her that Harvy was his father.  William never had a memory of meeting his father.

Now that I have given more history of Nancy Adeline Shepherd in this biography of her son and daughter-in-law, we can move on.  Our documentation is weak of who little James Meredith’s father is and where he was until he married Damey.  Although, I should mention that a cousin who claims he is in possession of the journals of James Meredith (or Ross) indicates that he was raised by elder James Meredith to believe that elder James was actually his father.  Well, rephrased, he never had any doubt elder James Meredith was his father.  Therefore, we move forward on that assumption even though I have only hearsay from a cousin (as I cannot get a copy of the book) and an 1880 census record.

Damey Catherine Graham was born 25 November 1874 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia to William and Mary Graham.  William, her father, was a laborer on farms who moved to the mines.  As a miner he moved where the best paying jobs for mining were located.  In Virginia, the family worked in the iron mines.  Damey met James and probably knew him and his family growing up.  Hiwassie appears to be a very small town, even today.  I cannot imagine that James and Damey did not know each other growing up.    The two married in 1887 and began to raise their family.  All four children were born in Virginia.

Robert Leonard Ross was born 25 April 1888 in Draper, Pulaski, Virginia.

John “Jack” William Ross was born 2 September 1890 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about John at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding

Fanny Elizabeth Ross was born 18 November 1893 in Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about Fanny at this link: Calvin and Fanny Phibbs

James Thomas Ross was born 19 October 1895 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia.

Damey chose to be baptized into the LDS faith 27 February 1898 (a few months before James).  Family tradition holds it was in West Virginia but does not seem to hold up with the rest of the story.  James and Damey were supposed to have followed her family to West Virginia to the mines.  James and Damey do not seem to appear on the 1900 Census but Damey’s family were still in Hiwassie on the 15 June 1900.  Damey’s family moved shortly after 1900 to West Virginia to work in the coal mines of McDowell County.  James and Damey (and James’ brother, William) followed and were living in McDowell County, West Virginia for sure in 1906 when Fanny married Calvin Dickerson Phibbs in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  The first three children all married in McDowell County.  James Jr returned to Mayberry, Carroll, Virginia in 1913 to marry his wife.  On 10 May 1910, James and Damey were living in Big Creek, McDowell, West Virginia.

James and Damey Ross left Pulaski County about 1913 or 1914 and headed to settle in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  James confirmed his brother a member of the LDS church 26 October 1913, so it had to be after that date.  As mentioned above, Fanny had married Calvin Phibbs and most of the Phibbs family of Virginia had moved out to Rupert in 1912.  The opening of the new farm land in Minidoka and Cassia Counties, a new sugar factory at Burley, Cassia, Idaho, and an economic downturn in McDowell County propelled the move for both families. Robert, John, and James Jr followed later as it does not appear any of the children went with James and Damey when they left.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

James and Damey set up house in Rupert for a time probably living with Calvin and Fanny until they could find and afford a suitable place to live.  We do not know exactly where James and Damey lived for much of their time in Idaho because they appear to have rented.  Robert listed his parents as living in Idahome, Cassia, Idaho when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918.  That fall, James and Damey apparently moved to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho to work on the first sugar beet campaign of the newly built sugar factory in Paul.  They remained there until about 1926.  Robert married Rose Sanders (nee Clawson?) in Burley, Cassia, Idaho in 1919.  John met Ethel Sharp Streeter in Paul while visiting his parents in 1919 and married her in early 1920.  James and Damey somehow fail to appear on the 1920 Census, or their names are transcribed incorrectly.  James settled in Vernal, Uintah, Utah and attempted a short move to Rupert in 1922-23 to be closer to family before moving back to Vernal.  Milo Ross, James and Damey’s grandson, remembers his grandparents living on the north side of the tracks in Paul when he lived there 1925-1926.

In 1925, James and Damey’s daughter-in-law, Ethel Sharp Ross passed away.  John, their son, sought work and James and Damey took in all four of the children of Ethel.  The baby, Earnest Jackson Ross, died in September in Rupert, where he was being tended by the Phibbs.  By the spring of 1926, James and Damey were impoverished enough that they asked Ethel’s family to come get the children from Paul.  Apparently shortly after, the family moved again.

By 2 April1930, James and Damey had moved to Bend, Deschutes, Oregon.  Robert apparently lived in the area and Robert’s son, Orson Lee Ross, was also living with James and Damey.  Robert is in Portland but appears to not live there, so this home in Bend may have been Robert’s or James and Damey were tending Orson, who was 9.  Robert later died in Bend in 1944.

James’ journals indicate they lived in Merced, Merced, California for most of the 1930′s.  Damey passed away in Marysville, Yuba, California 3 February 1933 of colon cancer.  Her death notice in Rupert indicates she died after an operation for cancer of the stomach.  She had been in the hospital for five months previous to that.  The obituary also mentions that John lived in Manteca, San Joaquin, California, James in Lapoint, Uintah, Utah, and Robert in Marysville.  Fanny was still living in Rupert.

James returned to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah and on 20 June 1935 he was endowed, saw Damey’s proxy ordinance work was completed, and was sealed to her.

By about 1936, James was back visiting family in the east.  He spoke at a Conference of the LDS church that had met in Grundy County, Tennessee.  James spoke that morning to the assembled crowd.  That same day, James’ nephew, Howard Ross was baptized.  These conferences were a big deal because it was an all day event for James’ brother’s family to travel all the way from Gary, West Virginia to Tennessee, spend the day in meetings, and then go home.  Howard remembers meeting “Uncle Jim” for the first time that day.  Many people enjoyed the sermon he gave and came up to give their commendation to William and Sarah on his fine speech.  William’s wife, Sarah, had to set them right, that it was William’s brother, James who delivered the sermon.  Howard did not hear the sermon because in those days unbaptized children were not allowed into the meetings and even though he was to be baptized that day, he was not baptized yet.

“Uncle Jim” returned with the family to West Virginia and stayed for a couple of weeks.  James was so disappointed that the family did not have a cow for milk that he went out and purchased one for the family while he was there.  When James left, he took and sold the cow too.  The family recalled how rare it was for them to have milk, and it was many years before they would have it again.  James was also noted by the family for his girth and the sheer capacity to each large amounts of food.  Howard thought he must have pushed to near 300 pounds.  Howard also remembers that Uncle Jim was missing a finger and upon asking, James indicated that he had been bit by a spider and that the Dr. took off the finger to save his life because the finger had started to rot.

The story goes that James married while he was visiting the family in West Virginia.  Family history records have James marrying Etta on 6 June 1936 in Snowville, Virginia.  However, later information indicates this was Henrietta Fountain who was born in Sacramento, Sacramento, California and died in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.  How she met James and why they would have married in Virginia does not add up, especially where she was from the west.  A cousin has the marriage in Sacramento which seems much more accurate.  A death certificate at some point will rest the case.  Her full maiden name was Henrietta Fountain and she was a widow of Charles Henry Lowell in 1925.  She died in 1946 according to the memories of Milo Ross and he is accurate.

James and Etta relocated to Lakeport, Lake, California after their marriage.  Lakeport was a town for the wealthy and Ms. Etta must have brought the money into the marriage.  It was here that James applied for Social Security 4 November 1937.  Due to the requirements he use his legal name, James went by James Ross Meredith the remainder of his life.  He began receiving his benefits 6 January 1938.  On 21 April 1938 he received a letter indicating he would have to have been a resident of California 15 years to receive the payments and no further payments were made.

James then married a widow by the name of Nora Brewer.  Her full maiden name was Martha Elnora Cackler and her late husband, Daniel Gordon Brewer, had passed away in 1943.  James and Martha were married in Fresno, Fresno, California 14 July 1947.  She had been born in 1877 in Iowa and died in Fresno in 1974, just short of 100 years old.

James lived until 13 April 1951 when he passed away in Fresno.  He was buried in Belmont Memorial in Fresno.  The last few years of his life, he took back the Meredith name.  Milo Ross, his grandson, indicates this was for Social Security benefits which had to be claimed under the birth name.  Either way, his tombstone reads James R Meredith.  His last letter to Donna Beachell was signed James Ross Meredith.

When he passed away in 1951, he was living at 344 Theta Street in Fresno the home of his widow.  One last thing, apparently while living in Fresno, he served as a Bishop of the LDS church.  We do not know when or where, but several lines of the family were all aware of this.  More information will be needed to share more.  The fact he was called upon to speak at a conference of the church in Tennessee seems to show he held some position but we don’t know anything more.