The Story of My Life by Fred Nuffer

Georg Friedrich Nuffer in early 1950s

Another entry from “We of Johann Christoph Nuffer, also known as: Neuffer, Nufer, Neufer,” The book was published in April 1990 by Dabco Printing and Binding Co in Roy, Utah. I will quote from the book itself.

“Being in my 80th year and inclined to reflection I have a desire to put in writing some of the events of my life.  My memory is very clear, even back to the earliest years, and consequently few happenings are left out.  For this reason I am able to go into detail beyond which might be expected.

“I was born January 20, 1864, in the little city of [Neuffen], County of Nurtingen, State of Wuerttemberg, Germany.  My mother died when I was about 2.  I have one brother, John, a year older than myself, still living (1943).  Father married against so we were raised by a stepmother.  She was a very sincere and Christian woman and a good mother.  In 1870, when I was 6, I started in school and graduated from 8th grade in 1878.  When I was 14, my father bound me over to learn the trade of glazier and carpenter to a man by the name of Christian Selter in Stuttgart, the capital of Wuerttemberg.  I didn’t learn much the first two years as I had to do all of the errands throughout the city until a younger boy took my place so I could stay in the shop.

“In 1880, my parents were converted by the Mormon missionaries and wanted to emigrate to Utah.  Stuttgart was about 20 miles from Neuffen.  I received a letter from Father asking if I wanted to go with them.  I did, but my master would not release me.  The folks had to come through Stuttgart on their way, so I started to smuggle my things away and intended to join them.  My master found my trunk empty and suspected my intentions so he offered to let me go for 200 Marks.  I told Father and and he sent the money.  I doubt if my master could have held me by force as I was under age.  Three other families emigrated at the same time from the same town.

“From Stuttgart we went to Mannheim, down the Rhine River, to Rotterdam, then cross the North Sea to Grimsley, England.  From there we went to New York and then to Logan, Utah.  Father bought a house and lot in Providence, a suburb of Logan.

Young Fred Nuffer

“The first summer I went to work for a man named Oslob painting houses for 25¢ a day and board.  All he did was take the jobs and mix the paint.  In the fall, he sent me home and the next spring he offered me 40¢ if I would come back.  I told him I had something better.

“There was a man by the name of Thomas Ricks in Logan who had a contract to lay the rails from Dillon, Montana, to Butte City on the Utah and Northern narrow gauge line.  I asked for a job, although I was only a kid.  But he took me with him and gave me a job dropping spikes along the rails.  I got 75¢ per day and board.  I learned the English language very fast that summer as I got away from the German people.

“Dillon, at that time, was the terminus of the U & N.  It was a very small village.  By fall we got to Silver Bow, 7 miles from Butte.  I grew very fast that summer and was promoted to bolting the rails together on one side, and my wages raised  to $1.05 per day.  It was late fall and winter had started, but we had to get to Butte with the track.  The last 4 miles laid we had to shovel a foot of snow off the grade.  We got the Butte on Christmas Day, and it was the first railroad to that city.

“Mr. Ricks also had a grading job on a railroad along the Jefferson River.  He sent a crew of 6 men over there with a team.  I asked him to let me go along but he said I was too young.  It was about 75 miles south of Butte over a range of mountains.  When the wagons were loaded and they were ready to start, I crawled under the tarp and went with them.  When we got out about 8 miles, I showed myself but they couldn’t do anything about it.  We had a large horse tied to the hind end of the wagon.  He broke loose and ran back toward the camp at Butte.  I, being a boy, was sent back to catch him.  They thought that would be a good way to get me back to camp.

“In fact, I was the cause of the horse breaking loose.  I chased the horse all the way back to camp, caught him, put a bridle on him without anyone noticing me, and started after the wagon again.  I had never ridden a horse.  He was quite frisky and I fell off several times and had to find a high place to get back on.  I didn’t catch the wagon, but got off on the wrong road and landed in a wood camp.  They told me the road was about 10 miles east.  I started out over rough ground and got on the right road.  At that point the road started through a canyon.  There was much snow and ice on the road as it was between Christmas and New Year’s.  It was getting late and was very cold.  I had to keep going to keep from freezing to death.

“About 12 miles further, that night, I came to the halfway house and found the wagon and men.  They had just gotten there ahead of me and were in the house talking.  They also had had a hard time pushing the wagon up the hills through the snow.  I gave them a good cussing for not waiting for me.  I guess it sounded funny in my broken English.  They said they thought the boss would keep me at Butte.  They couldn’t understand how I ever got through, it being so cold.

“The next day we came to our camp on the Jefferson River.  My job was to drive two single dump carts out of a deep cut.  I took one out and dumped it while 4 men loaded another with shovels.  The men were kind to me and corrected my speech whenever I didn’t pronounce words right.  We worked there until spring when the projected suddenly was stopped from headquarters.  The road was completed some years later.  We went back to Dillon by team from there.  With the advent of the railroad, Dillon had grown fast and had become a division.  I took the train back to Providence, Utah.

“As soon as I got home, I went to work for the Jessop brothers, Tom and Tet.  They were railroad grading contractors.  Their campe was located where Lava Hot Springs is built now, in Idaho.  I became a night herder.  My job was to take the horses and mules out on the range in the evening and come back with them at 6 a.m. in time for the teams to start the day’s work.  I got $1.75 per day and rode my own horse.  The next two years I spent most of my time in the saddle.

“I began to master the English language.  I seldom heard German spoken during this time.  This was the spring of 1882.  In this campe, I had a pal of my age by the name of Mark Golightly.  He was a nephew of Joe Golightly of Preston and a near relative of Mr. Jessop, my boss.  He was a privileged character in camp and didn’t have to do anything if he didn’t want to.  He claimed to be a fast foot racer and kept bantering me for a race.  I finally told him I’d run if he accepted my distance.  He said he would run any distance.  I named the distance between our two camps, about 2 miles apart.  I put up my saddle and $15.  He put up a new $40 shotgun.  There was a great commotion in camp when the men heard of it.  They wanted to go right after dinner so they could all see us start.  Some called me a darn fool and said Mark was a professional foot racer.  But after we got started they all bet something on one or the other.  A man went along on horseback.  I had my mind made up to win.  I made it in 14 minutes, Mark in 25 minutes.  Mr. Jessop said I shouldn’t take the gun from the boy.  I said all right, I didn’t want it, but Mark made me take it saying that I had won it fair.

“Our next move was to McCammon on the U & N coming up from the south.  The road we were working was the Oregon Short Line, starting from Granger, Wyoming, and running west through Idaho to Oregon.  McCammon was the western-most point in the construction.  We pitched our camp where the depot now stands.  I got acquainted with the late H.O. Harkness who owned all the land around McCammon and a hotel and saloon.  He had the land fenced for about 3 miles square.  He had put a gate on the further side and wanted me to drive the herd outside every night, but by the time the herd got feeding close to the fence it was time to lead them back to camp since I had to be back so early.  The land was all sagebrush and greasewood and he did no farming at all.  Harkness tried to raise the devil with my boss, insisting on me going outside, but I never did.  Thirty years after this happened, I met Harkness at McCammon.  He was sitting on the porch of his hotel in a rocking chair.  He had aged and was fat.  He didn’t know me but when I told him I was Jessop’s night herder he shook hands and was very friendly.  I asked him if he remembered when I refused to take the herd outside of his land.  He said, “Well, I ‘ll tell you, the land wasn’t mine.”  He called his man, told him to hitch up the cart and took me all over his land, showed me his crops.  It was a different place from 30 years earlier.  He treated me like a lost friend.  Invited me to dinner.  Then a year after that he died.

“I might say the way Harkness got his start was by marrying the widow of a man that owned the toll bridge across the Portneuf River at McCammon.  Before U & N was built there was much freighting by team from Corrine, Utah, the closest railroad point to Butte.  They all had to cross the toll bridge.  It was at McCammon where the Oregon Short Line met the U & N.  The railroads intended to make McCammon a division and build their shops there, as plenty of water and suitable land was about.  But Harkness owned all the desirable land.  He got too greedy and wanted to hold up the price.  The railroads refused and went through the canyon on the same grade with U & N to where Pocatello now stands and made their division point and built their shops (in 1887 – after a year in Eagle Rock).  This land was on the reservation and they got it cheap from the Indians.  McCammon is still a very small settlement and Pocatello is the second city in Idaho, thanks to Mr. Harkness.

“Our next move was to the desert between American Falls and Shoshone, about 75 miles without water.  It took many 4-horse teams to haul water for the camps.  There were dozens of camps in that lawless country.  Many horse thieves and all kinds of bad men.  Whenever one was caught in the act they would raise the wagon tongue, prop it up with a doubletree and hang them on it, dig a hole under their feet and bury them and nothing was said about it.  There were many occasions of that kind, for a man without a horse rarely lived long and for one man to steal another’s was just the same as taking his life and the penalty was also life.  The nearest authority was Boise City and they didn’t care anything about it.  The most general conversation in the camps was about horses and mules, pulling matches, foot races, riding wild horses, penny ante, and stud poker.

“When late fall came my job was ended.  About December 1st, I rode my horse home.  While riding over the desert, I had to buy water for my horse and dog at 25¢ per bucket.  Some distance from American Falls I met some tracklayers who were constantly following the grade builders.  I met several spike drivers whom I dropped spikes for the previous year in Montana.  At Pocatello I went to the section house and got a square meal.  It was the only building in the vicinity.  Not being able to get any feed for my horse, I went over to the river and turned him out and then slept out as usual.  The horse would not leave me and the dog to go very far.

“I stayed in Providence until about March 1.  This was the first time I took any notice of the dear girl who became my wife.  I was beginning to get of shaving age.

“About that time Jessop brought some more grading outfits from George Maler of Providence who was also a railroad contractor.  We loaded the outfit on flatcars at Logan and shipped them to Shoshone.  We rode in covered wagons on the flatcars.  At Battle Creek, near Preston, we stopped several hours, it being a terminal and a very tough place.  Several of the boys got drunk, especially one by the name of George Hovey.  He was continually climbing from one car to another until we missed him.  When we got to McCammon we got a message that the section hands had picked up the remains of a man on the tracks.  It turned out to be George Hovey.  Jessop went back and sent what was left of George to his mother who was a widow.  George had been working with us the previous year and was a very good boy.

“We could go to Shoshone on the train.  The tracks had been laid during the winter.  During the time that American Falls was the terminus there was a tent city across the Snake River with the usual quantity of bad men.  Several men who were known to have money disappeared.  The gamblers were under suspicion of having done the job.  They were ordered out of town and told that it would be too bad if they came back.  While they were gone the lawful citizens organized a vigilante committee.  After a few weeks, the gamblers, Tex and Johnson, came back and were seen going into a bakery.  They were surrounded in a gun battle.  Tex got his arm shot off.  Johnson wasn’t hurt.  A rope was placed around their necks and they were led out on the railroad directly over the falls.  They tied the ropes to the bridge and told them to jump.  Tex jumped and Johnson had to be pushed off.

“In connection with this incident, I happened to be placer mining in 1919 on the Snake River about 5 miles below American Falls.  One day I was walking to town and when I got close to the bridge I saw a bunch of men close by.  I went up to them and asked what the excitement was.  They had been digging post holes for an electric line to a brick yard.  They said they had dug up two men with their boots on.  I told them they were Tex and Johnson.  They had been buried there in 1883.  They asked me how I knew.  I told them I was there at the time.  They said, “You must be right because old Doc Brown, an old settler, told us the same thing.”  They had taken the bodies to town and were told to bring them back and bury them in the same place.  They were in the act of covering them up when I came upon them.  The old grave was on the edge of the rim rock with good drainage and they were in recognizable condition.

“The tent city of American Falls was now moved to Shoshone on flatcars.  While Shoshone was the terminus I believe it was the toughest and most lawless city that ever existed in the west.  There was no authority of any kind.  men gathered there from all the camps, at times about 2,000.  There were stores, gambling houses and dance halls.  Men got killed nearly every day.

“We were camped about half a mile from town on the banks of the Little Wood River.  I had a large, black, curly-haired dog, my constant companion and a coyote killer.  I rode into town one day when a large dog jumped onto mine.  My dog was getting the best of the other when a man ran out of a shack with an axe to kill my dog.  Just as the axe was being lifted I pulled my .44 and just in time.  I told the man to drop the axe or I would fill him full of holes.  He dropped it and ran.  I came within a few seconds of killing a man at that time and I believe I surely would if he had touched my dog.  And there would not have been anything done about it.  I carried a .44 Colt night and day by request of my boss as there were many horses being stolen nearby, but against me and my dog they had no chance.

“By the end of May, we got as far as Glenns Ferry, Idaho.  The first part of June we moved to Burnt Canyon above Huntington, Oregon.  During that trip I had a difficult time as I had to keep the herd out at night and then sleep in the wagon traveling over rough roads during the day.  The herd fed wherever night overtook us.  Sometimes there was very little feed.  One night we were camped where the Weiser grist mill now stands.  I took the herd out on what is now the Weiser Flats.  It was all sagebrush.  Now it is one of the best farm locations in the west.  There were a few log cabins where the Weiser Court House now stands and nothing more.

“Huntington had one store and one saloon.  It was tame to what we had seen.  We got too far ahead of the track gang which caused some delay.  At our camp in Burnt Canyon we had a China cook and a sort of person to cause trouble, it soon became evident.  Jessop’s wife and his grown daughter were the cook’s helpers.  The cook had a sore hand and wanted to lay off.  He said he had a friend in Boise that would be glad to come and take his place.  The boss told him to send for him.  In due time he arrived, about 7 o’clock one day.  The woman was in her tent at that time.  This new Chinaman went into the tent to talk to her.  She was just leaving to go to the cook tent.  She supposed he was following her out, but he didn’t.  Shortly after she went back to the tent to see where he was and caught him in the act of attempting to rape her 7-year-old girl.  She ran toward the dining tent and met me coming out.  She said, “Catch that Chinaman – he ought to be hung.”  I asked what he had done.  She wouldn’t tell me.  Just at that time her husband, Jessop, came riding in from the works.  She ran to him, told him something, then they both hurried over to me and said we got to hang that Chinaman.  He told me what he had done.  The Chinaman’s blankets that had been by the cook shack were gone and so was the Chinaman.  By that time the men had all come in from work for dinner.  No hell was popping.  The boss sent me up the road and he went down.

“There was a China camp up the road one half mile.  These men were working on a rock cut.  All the Chinaman were just coming out of the dining tent.  I ran up to the boss, an Irishman, and asked if he had seen a stray Chinaman.  He said no.  I decided he had not come this way as there were no tracks in the road either.  I arrived back at camp just as the boss did.  He said no one had been down the road so the Chinaman must be in the brush around camp.  All the men were called to hunt.  There were many acres of brush all around the camp, mostly hawthorn.  It was almost impossible to get through them.  Before long we found his blankets in the brush, it being too thick to get them any farther.  Then the hunt was on.  The only way to get him out was to burn him out and that is what was done.  There was much dry brush and it was in the dry season.  I got out on high ground on my horse where I could look over the brush and could see them waving as the Chinaman crawled through.  I directed the men to the spot by yelling the direction to go.  The Chinaman soon came out of the brush and jumped in the creek.  A bunch of men were there waiting for him and took him in charge.  From that point I took no active part.

“They abused him terribly.  One man took his queue over his back and dragged him.  The boss came running on his horse and said they had found a place to hang him.  Previously I had cut a trail through the brush to drive the herd night and morning to the other side of the creek into the hills.  There was a large hawthorn bowed over the trail and the boss had seen that so that is where they hung him.  They dug a hole under his feet and buried him in the center of the trail.  I drove the heard over his grave night and morning.

“There was a Chinaman who was the head of all the China camps in the vicinity.  He happened to be in the camp that I searched.  The fire could be seen for miles and caused some excitement.  This head Chinaman came to our camp to see what was going on.  He saw the Chinaman hanging on the hawthorn.  He had three of what he called our ring leaders arrested.  They were taken to Baker City, Oregon, for trial.  They all denied having a hand in the affair, claiming they were working on the grade at the time.  The timebooks showed full time for all, although no one had worked that afternoon.  So the case was dismissed.  During the hanging, an Irishman in our camp had pulled for the Chinaman saying that we had punished him enough without hanging him, too.  If the Irishman had not got out of their way they would have hung him, too.  That shows how crazy a mob can be.  It is not healthy to interfere.

“The country at that time was waving with bunch grass two feet high, with plenty of elk and deer and other wild animals.  Night herding was an easy job but there were rattlesnakes everywhere.  I could sleep in the grass from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., then round up the herd and get to camp by 5:30; that is if I didn’t mind to sleep with the rattlers.  But I actually did.  I found it was too hot to sleep in the tent in the daytime, so I cleaned a place in the brush and made my bed on the ground and for a week every time the dinner bell rang, I stirred, a big rattler crawled from under the blankets and got away in the brush.  When I think of it I must have been a foolhardy kid as I didn’t pay any attention to the snake.  When I told the boys about this they called me a damn fool.  One day a friend stood by my bed when the dinner bell rang and, with a forked stick, he caught the snake.  He took it to the chopping block and cut off its head.  It still kept rattling.  I cut off about two foot more and it still rattled.  I put it in m pocket with the rattles sticking out, then walked into the kitchen.  The woman folks though I had a real one and all scattered.

“One night I was sleeping in the grass when my dog by my side growled.  As I raised up, the dog grabbed a rattler from the front of my face.  He caught it too far back from the head which permitted the snake to bite the dog several times on the side of the mouth.  It was moonlight and I could see it very plain.  He dropped the snake and walked around shaking his head which had already started to swell.  I took him to camp and tied him to a wagon wheel and went back to the herd.  In the morning, his head looked like a calf’s head.  He laid in the creek all day but went out with me every night.  I chopped up some meat and stuffed it down his through to keep him from starving.  The boys wanted me to kill him.  They said he might get mad, and if I did not kill him they would.  I told them the first one that hurt the dog would be a dead man.  They took my word for it and left him alone.  On the 12th day I heard the first faint bark.  The dog was getting well.

“Sometime in November, I bought two fine large horses and told my boss I was going to ride them home.  He said I’d never get there as it was over 400 miles of unsettled country.  I told him I would get there if I started, and start I did.  I went straight south of Snowville, just over the Idaho line into Utah.  I then back-tracked some and went east to Malad.  From there I went across the mountains to Franklin, Idaho, then south to Providence, Utah, the trip taking 12 days.

“Many things happened on this trip.  I camped wherever night overtook me and bought something to eat whenever I could.  Sometimes I had nothing but jackrabbit fried on the sagebrush.  It was harder on the dog than on me or the horse.  It was warm and dusty for that time of year.  Near Glenns Ferry, Idaho, I came to a house there.  He let me put my horse in the stable and I slept in the stake yard.  During the night the dog growled and as I peeped out from the blankets I saw the man pulling hay out of the stack.  I went to sleep thinking nothing of it.  Next morning my saddle was missing.  I accused the man of stealing it.  He denied it.  He said he hadn’t been out of the house all night.  I knew he was guilty and said so.  I marched him all through the house ahead of my gun, but found nothing.  I told him I’d kill him if I didn’t get the saddle.  It had cost me $50 and I had a long ways to go.  I stayed there a few hours and then he sent his boy off on a horse.  I supposed he went to get help as there were several cowboy camps throughout the country.  I figured that I had better be going so I made some rope stirrups for my pack-saddle, which was an old riding saddle, and put the bedding on the other horse without any saddle.  I started off.  I crossed at Glenns Ferry at about 4 o’clock that evening and went on into the desert.  Next day was a warm one and the dog gave out.  He traveled with his head close to the ground in the dust.  I couldn’t do anything about it.  The horses were getting dry and dying for water.  It wasn’t long until the road went downhill and I came to Snake River again.  I had to lead the horses to water three times before I dared to let them have all they wanted.  After awhile I saw the dog crawling down the hill.  He made it to the river.

“There was a stage station there and I got a square meal.  This place is now called Thousand Springs, and the country is well settled.

“I went through Franklin because I had a letter from my brother, John, telling me that the folks had moved from Providence to northeast of Franklin.  I went up Cub River a ways as that was northeast but found nobody that ever heard of the folks, so I turned south to Providence.  I had my reason to go to Providence.  My charming girl was there.

“John found out I was in Providence and came to get me.  They were located on Worm Creek on a homestead.  I stayed with the folks until spring, 1884, when I went to work on a gravel train and sometimes on a section between Montpelier and Granger.  That fall I took a herd of sheep for George Horn to the winter range on the promontory north of Salt Lake.  The spring of 1885 I met my old chum, Abe Kneiting, in Logan, and we decided to go to Butte.  We worked in a sawmill for awhile, about 8 miles west of Butte.  From there we went to Anaconda to drive a team in a wood camp for W. A. McCune.  I worked a few months in the Anaconda smelter but didn’t like it there.  I got to know Marcus Daly who was head of the smelter.  The wages at the smelter were from $3 to $6 per shift, according to the job.  That fall Daly cut the wages to 50¢ to $1 for the same work.  The way he did it was to shut the smelter down entirely for repairs, as he claimed, and started up one furnace at a time.  In a month, the smelter was in full force again with the wages cut and Daly got a $50,000 Christmas present.  The company wanted him to do the same thing in the mines at Butte.  He said it could not be done.  The union was too strong and he valued his life.

“The mines and the smelter were owned by the same company.  They also had a railroad that ran between the two places.  Mr. W. O. Clark was the head man for the mines.  The general talk by the men around Butte and Anaconda was about Marcus Daly, W. O. Clark and John L. Sullivan.  There was a mill and concentrator west of Butte called the Bluebird Mill, owned by the company.  This New York firm sent a man out to cut the wages in the mill.  The mill and smelter men had no union at that time.  Once, when the New Yorker was strutting along this street at the corner of Main and Clark, a bunch of men were standing there and they were whispering.  All at once they closed in on the New Yorker from all sides.  A few policemen came running.  The mob took hold of the police and told them to walk on down the street and that it was not healthy for them to stop or look back.  They went.  They dropped a rope over the New Yorker and threw the other end over a telegraph pole.  He begged so hard for his life that they told him if he would go back to New York and promise never to come back to Montana they’d let him go.  He promised.  About 100 men escorted him to the depot and put him on the first train.  They say he has never been seen in Montana since.  I worked for A. W. McCune until the spring of 1887 in the mines at Lion City.  The camp was called Hecly and the mine called Cleopatrie.  It was about 15 miles from Melrose, in the mountains.

Anna Rinderknecht Nuffer, 1933 in Mt Hebron

“In the spring of 1888, I took a layoff for two weeks.  My boss said if I was back in two weeks my job would be ready.  I went to Providence and met my charming sweetheart, Anna Rinderknecht.  I had courted her for the last 4 years.  I told her I came to get married.  She said all right.  We called the local Justice of the Peace, Alma Mathius, to the house.  He married us with her mother and two neighbors for witnesses.  Licenses weren’t necessary at that time.  She was raised in the Mormon Church.  I was baptized into the church when I was 16.  We were married under the condition that she would go with me to the mining camp where my job was waiting.  She said she would go anywhere I wanted her to go and be glad of it.  We were married on April 4, 1888.  We lived happily together for 55 years and 6 days.  She passed away April 10, 1943, at 15716 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, California.

“Now I am due to tell the story of my married life which was altogether different conditions from my single life.

“We stayed in the mining camp until November, 1888, and went back to Providence.  That winter I went to Idaho and homesteaded 160 acres adjoining my father’s place.  It was between Cub River and Worm Creek.  I got out logs and built a one-room house.  I got a team and farming implements, moved into the log house and started farming in the spring of 1889.  We had a hard going for awhile.  The Cub River-Preston Canal circled our place.  I got a job ditch riding the canal which was great help.

“There was a large cliff of grey sandstone on my father’s place.  I started a rock quarry and got out stone in dimension sizes.  It was used for trimming on the better buildings going up throughout the neighboring towns.  It was much in demand.  The Academy at Preston was started about that time, with my brother, John, as supervisor of construction.  I got a contract to supply stone for this building which called for 2,000 cubic feet at 25¢ per foot at the quarry.  The stone was used for corners, sills and watertable.  The next year I furnished stone for nearly every town in Cache Valley.  That was before the cement age.

“In 1891-92, the Agricultural College at Logan was expanding.  I made contract with Mr. Venables of Ogden to deliver about 3,000 cubic feet of cut stone.  He had tried to get some stone somewhere south of the valley but found it unsuitable.  As I had furnished stone for several buildings in Logan he came to me.  I lived near the quarry at that time.  he inspected and approved the stone.  The quarry was about 10 miles up Cub River Canyon from Franklin, on the left side slope going up the river, on a small tributary of Cub River called Sheep Creek.

“All work was done by hand.  The main ledge was about 20 feet above the ground about 20 feet wide and 400 to 500 feet long.  We used 12 foot church drills and blasted large rocks loose from the main ledge.  We had to be careful how much powder we used so as not to shatter or cause seams in the stone.  We usually had to put  second charge in the opening made by the first charge to dislodge the block from the main ledge.  The block so dislodged was from 6 to 7 feet thick and about 20 feet long.  From then on all tools used were hammers, axes, wedges, and squares.  Grooves were cut with axes wherever we desired to split the block, then wedges were set in the grooves about ten inches apart and driven in with hammers.  Then we dressed them down to the right measurements, allowing one half inch for the stonecutters to take out the tool marks we made.  Venables furnished bills for stone in dimension sizes as needed in the building.

“My brother, Charles August Nuffer, worked on the job the whole time it lasted.  I also had a man by the name of Ed Hollingsworth of Preston, also Mr. A Merrill and Mr. Abel Smart of Cub River, and Mr. Robert Weber of Providence.

“It took part of two years for the job.  The hauling was all done with wagons and horses; 30 to 35 cubic feet was a good load for two horses.  These men did the hauling, John McDonald of Smithfield, Jean Weber of Providence, and Jake Rinderknecht of Providence who hauled more than any other.  He used to leave home at 3 a.m., load up the same day and get back to Logan by 3 p.m. the next day.  It was very hard on the horses.  I also hauled a good many loads with my own team.  All loading was done by hand on skids.  It seems the miles were not so long when we traveled with horses as it does now when we travel in cars.

“I got 40¢ per cubic foot, of which 20¢ was paid for hauling.  We had a hard time handling the name stone to go on the front of the building.  When it was ordered it had 30 cubic feet in it and only one foot thick.  When the stonecutters got through with it they found it too big to be hoisted in place so they made it smaller until there wasn’t much left.

“The most difficulty I had was in not getting my pay from the Superintendent.  We overlooked a large 4-horse load at the final settlement.  A few minutes after I had signed a receipt for the final payment in full I discovered my mistake.  He refused to pay for it, although I produced the bill of lading signed by him.  He didn’t dispute the debt, but said he had a receipt paid in full.  He didn’t have anything and the government property couldn’t be attached, so I was the loser of about $15, which seemed a lot of money to me at that time.  (Mr. Nuffer wrote this part in 1938 – excerpted here – at the request of college officials; it was part of a historical cornerstone insertion to be opened at the centennial in 1988.)

“About 1895 the Mink Creek – Preston canal was being dug.  I got the job to do all the rock work for a stretch of about 10 miles.  Later on, the Utah Power and Light Company built a large canal on the opposite side of the river from the Preston canal.  I had several large jobs on that work.  I was watermaster for one term on both the Preston canals.  From 1896 to 1898 I was occupied mostly with farming, horse raising, and cow milking.  In 1898, I traded my homestead for a farm nearer Preston on the brow of the hill near Battle Creek.  I bought a house and lot in Preston and moved the family there.  I had a few hundred head of sheep and leased 2,000 more from Joe Jensen of Brigham City.  I had them two years when wool and lambs went so low I had to give them up at a loss.  One of my mistakes.

“About this time the cement industry came into being.  I went into the cement business and built the first cement sidewalks in Preston.  I also built culverts, bridges and all kinds of cement work for the city and county.  When cold weather came all cement work was stopped.  Being an old timer, and always on good terms with the village Board, they gave me the job of special police in the winter.  As I had a big family to support it was a great help.  The city of Preston at that time had about 3,000 population and at times an unruly element visited the city and its three saloons.  It kept the policeman very busy, especially at night.  I was on duty mostly at night.

“In 1905, I built the first two-story hollow cement block house in that part of the country which I used for myself.  We lived in the cement house for 4 years.  About that time I heard from my friend who was living in Mexico, near Tampico.  He was raising sugar cane and told me how we could all get rich quick raising it at $400 an acre.  I and a friend went down to look it over.  Mr. Tomlinson, the real estate man at the colony, offered me 87 acres of choice jungle land very cheap if I would move my family down.  There was a large American colony at San Diegeto.  I sold our home in Preston for $5,000 and moved the family down there.  Another mistake.

“I intended to stay 5 years and get the place all planted in cane and then lease it out and come back a rich man.  I bought a lot and built a house in San Diegeto.  The town was 10 miles from the plantation, which was on lower ground along the river.  A bunch of us Americans went down tot he plantation every Sunday evening by train to look after our Mexican workers.  We would come back Saturday evening.  I had from 5 to 15 Mexicans working the clear the ground and do some plowing.  We had to plant tomatoes or corn first to get the ground in good condition for cane.  The second year I had 5 acres in cane and 30 acres ready to plant the next year.  I would have made it in 5 years if it hadn’t been for the Mexican revolution.  We came to San Diegeto in April, 1909.  That same year Mexico had a presidential election.  Diaz was elected again which started the revolution to run him out, and trouble began all over the country.  By 1911 it got so bad we had to leave as it was not safe there any more.

“I gave an old American, name of Tigner, a contract for 5 years.  He was to have the place all planted in cane and return all the implements and animals in good condition.  He thought he could stay on.  He made very good progress for two years when Villa moved in with his band, arrested all the Americans and gave them their choice to stay in jail or leave the country.  Tigner went to Tampico and left on a refuge ship.  I got a letter from him from New Orleans asking me to release him from the contract.  We were in our home town, Preston, when I got the letter.  I couldn’t do anything but release him, so I lost all my investments and was a broke man with a large family.  By that time I was in the cement business again and made a living at it.

“About 1924, a few hundred of us Americans from San Diegeto put in a damage claim in Washington against the Mexican government.  My claim was for $30,000.  The Mexican government agreed to pay $10 million at the rate of $500,000 per year over a period of 10 years.  I was allowed $1,500 and that was cut 50 percent because there wasn’t enough to go around.  Our lawyer in Washington gets 20 percent and our secretary, Mr. Tomlinson, gets 5 percent, so there isn’t much left.  (*The script may have meant 20 years.)

“In 1920, we left Preston and went to Weiser, Idaho, on a farm.  We stayed there 4 years when I got interested in an irrigation project in Butte Valley, Siskiyou County, California.  We did quite well there for a few years until we got in several lawsuits over the water and lost some at every suit.  So we always ran out of water about June 1st each year.

“There was a large cattle ranch in the south end of the valley called the Bois ranch.  This had exclusive right to all the water in the creek called Butte Creek.  The irrigation district bought the ranch for $50,000 in order to get the full rights to all the water.  The district started to take some of the water further down the valley.  The cattlemen and settlers above the valley said if the district can take the water away from the ranch they could do the same.  So they started to put dams in the creek.  As I was the only one that could use dynamite they always sent me to blow out the dams, which I did.

“A rich cattleman defied the district and put in a dam that a few sticks of dynamite could not blow out, as it was built with logs and large rocks and was about 25 feet across.  Our president asked me how many sticks it would take to blow it out and I told him about 100.  He said he would get it, as the dame must come out.  I told him I would not take the responsibility as the man had too much money and could cause me trouble.  He said he would send an officer with me to take the responsibility.  To this I consented.  They sent the local constable with me.  I tired 100 sticks of dynamite in a bundle, put it under the dame on the upper side near the bottom.  It did a good job.  There was no more dam nor a place to build another one near.

“The owner of the ranch wanted $1,000 damage.  About that time we had another lawsuit over the water with the other fellows and this man wanted to bring his case in at the same time.  We all attended court at the county seat at Yreka.  Everybody knew who had blown up the dam.  Between the trials the lawyer asked the constable if he blew up the dam.  He said no, Mr. Nuffer did that.  The lawyer turned to me and said, “Did you blow up the dam?”  I said I did.  He asked who ordered it done and I said our district president, Mr. Snider.  The lawyer turned to Mr. Snider and asked, “Did you order Mr. Nuffer to blow out the dam?”  Snider said he did.

“That was the last we heard of the case.  But the cattleman put in another dam.  In the end, we had so many lawsuits and lost so much water every time that we could not farm successfully.  I went to milking cows and raising chickens, turnkeys and pigs, and did fairly well.

“In 1936, my son, Leon, living in Los Angeles, bought two and half acres in Van Nuys with a house and some chicken equipment.  He came to Mt. Hebron where I was located and asked me to sell out and take charge of his place.  I hesitated but my wife wanted to get away from Mt. Hebron.  I sold at a loss and moved to Van Nuys.  The place had been neglected but I worked hard and made it one of the best places in the valley.  It is now December 30, 1943, and my dear wife has passed away.  We had one daughter and many sons.

Emma Nuffer Nelson

“A short time before our first child was born we went to the Logan Temple where the ceremony was performed, our previous marriage being on a civil rite.  This was on January 3, 1890.  On May 4 our first child, Emma was born.  She married George Nelson and died in January 28, 1919, when the flue was raging.  She left two girls, Lucille, 3, and Virginia, 18 months.  We raised them until they were 4 and 5 when their father married again (Anna Rinderknecht, Emma’s cousin).  Our boys were Fred Jr., Leon, Bryant, Raymond, Lloyd, Glenn, Harold and George (who died in 1914 at the age of two).



Mary Stoker 81st Anniversary

One of the fun and frustrating parts of family history is how it keeps changing on you.  There are always more records, there is always more documentation on your ancestors.  Most of it is mundane and useless, even if it does give you a partial hint on your family.  But sometimes you stumble upon a gem.  As I did with this newspaper clipping.

I thought I had scoured Ogden’s Standard Examiner pretty thoroughly for familial references.  Nevertheless, I was searching for something entirely different and found this article.  I don’t know if I missed it before or if search capabilities have improved and caught now what I could not catch 5 or 8 years ago when I went through the Standard Examiner records.

Here is the entire page of the paper.

Page 7A of Ogden, Utah’s Standard Examiner, Sunday 19 April 1950

A couple of thoughts about the entire page.

100 Gladiolus bulbs for $1.69!

I love when they reference someone in the paper they give their home address.

Sears Roebuck & Co.  May soon be another thing of the past, despite being an institution of the American way of life for over 150 years.

Mattresses seem to be pretty much the same as they were 67 years ago.  Not that I expect lots of change, but other than these new foam mattresses, things appear to be much the same.

Call Sears at 2-5331!

Combination Offer, box springs and mattress only $42.88!

Utah’s Senator, Elbert D. Thomas has a new book out, “One Nation Under God” only $2.75.  I don’t think I can see a Senator now out selling a religious principles book.

Washers have changed a great deal since 1950.

Alcoholics Anonymous is still going strong today.

Anyhow, on to the reason why I am writing this post.  Mary E Stoker is my Great, Great Grandmother.  I have written about her previously.  But this little newspaper article tells us some things at least I had never known.

“An open house to honor Mary E. Stoker, old time resident of Weber county, on her 81st birthday anniversary, will bbe held Sunday, Apr 9, at the home of her son, J. E. Donaldson, 120 E street, Salt Lake City.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

“Mrs. Stoker was born April 7, 1869, in Ogden, a daughter of David D and Gwendolyn Jordan Williams, pioneer converts from Wales.  She spent her early childhood in Slaterville and moved to Ogden when she was 15 years old.

“She was married to William Scott Donaldson in Ogden, October 1890.  They had six children, William George Donaldson, and John Edmund Donaldson, Salt Lake City; David Delos Donaldson, Ogden; Ellis Donaldson, Pocatello, Idaho; Irvin T. Donaldson, West San Pablo, Calif.; Alvin Donaldson, Green River, Wyo.  Mr. Donaldson died Sept. 12, 1913.

“In 1918 she was married to Anthon Edward Peterson in Ogden.  Several years after Mr. Peterson’s death she was married to Thomas Stoker of Huntsville.  She has six sons, 22 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.  She also has three brothers, Hyrum Williams, John H. Williams, and Joseph Williams, Ogden, and one sister, Mrs. Louise Layman, Ogden.

“Mrs. Stoker remembers when there were not over 10 houses east of Washington, when mud was hub deep to wagons in stormy weather.  She remembers the first street cars, the first street lights and the first volunteer fire department.

“She went to Salt Lake City with her moth to attend Brigham Young’s funeral.  She was personally acquainted with Lorin Farr, first mayor of Ogden, D. H. Peery, Job Pingree, Franklin D. Richards, John Scowcroft, John Guthrie, W. H. Wright, George Kerr, Bernard White, Winslow Farr, Robert McQuarrie, and their families.  She knew most of the early settles of Weber county.

“Mrs. Stoker says there has been so much progress since her childhood that she takes great interest in new developments, inventions and methods of doing things.  She is so sure that many more wonderful inventions are just a few years away and she wants to live to be at least 100 years old because she enjoys seeing progress.

Much of that seemed standard and information we knew.  But she went to Brigham Young’s funeral when she was about 8 years old.  Why did her mother take her to the funeral.  Brigham did not serve any of his missions in Wales, so I doubt they were converts or knew him while he was a missionary.  But Gwenllian had enough regard for him that she traveled to Salt Lake City to say farewell.  Enough that she even took her daughter.  But that is an interesting side note to Mary.

The other information is more history of Ogden.  I am curious how well she knew the people listed in the article and how she knew them.  Now about half of the list does not mean anything to me.  As a non-Ogdenite, only a few of the names I am familiar.  Farr, Peery, and Richards.  The rest of these are lost on me and I will have to research their significance to her and the paper for another time.

Just a few more interesting insights into the lady I know as Mary Elizabeth Donaldson.

Here is a much better copy of the photo from the newspaper article.  She died 29 March 1951.

Donald Wanner Andra

Uncle Donald Andra passed away recently.  I wanted to share his obituary and a number of the good photos I have of him.
Donald Wanner Andra, 82, passed away on Friday, May 6, 2016 at his home in Chubbuck. He was under the care of Hospice and it made his passing a little easier knowing he had been well cared for.
He was born the seventh of twelve children on 15 Jul 1933 in Preston, Idaho, to William Fredrick and Mary Louise Wanner Andra. He married Carolyn Jepsen in Pocatello on 10 Aug 1951 and again in the Logan, Utah Temple on 17 Apr 1953. He met Phyllis Beverly McKinney while working in New York and married her 21 Sep 1957 in Hogansburg and they were sealed 21 Jul 1958 in the Logan, Utah Temple. Both marriages ended in divorce. He met and married Lolane Schiess 7 Feb 1973 in Pocatello and they were sealed 6 Jun 1974 in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple.
Don worked on the family farm near Preston growing up. He owned and operated Don’s Chubbuck Tire for more than 18 years. He raised, admired, and showed quarter horses for most of his life. He enjoyed hunting deer, elk, pheasant, antelope, moose, and more. He loved sports, especially baseball and football when his own family was involved. He regularly worked in the garden, tinkered in the shed building trailers and other useful things, and preferred a good game, laugh, or joke.
Don and Lolane served two missions together in the Washington DC North Mission assigned to as workers in the Washington DC Temple from Aug 2007 to Jan 2009 and the Idaho Pocatello Employment Resource Center Mission from June 2010 to Dec 2011.
Don and Lolane wintered each winter in St. George relishing their time together with family and seeking yard sales.
Don is survived by his beloved wife of 43 years, Lolane; five children, Lori Kaye Gleim (Larry) of Orem; Vicki Lee Shope (Alfred) of St George; Timothy Don Andra (Diane) of Boise; Jonathan Andra (Carrie) of Boise; Toni Lyn Andra of Pocatello; two step-children, Mark J Buffat (Tanna) of Pocatello; Cari Lyn Minnesota (Larry) of South Jordan; three siblings, Ross Leslie Andra (Adelaide) of Salt Lake; Dale Andra (Judy) of St George; Larry Eugene Andra (Barbra) of Preston; 23 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; eight siblings, William Fredrick Andra, June Johnson, Mildred Beck, Golden Rulon Andra, Colleen Mary Lloyd, Sergene Jensen, Robert Lee Andra, and Dennis Willard Andra.
A viewing will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 from 6-8 pm at Colonial Funeral Home 2005 S. 4th Ave. Pocatello, ID 83201, 208-233-1500.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 11 am at the LDS Chubbuck 3rd Ward Chapel, 4773 Independence Ave. Chubbuck, ID 83202, with a viewing for one hour prior to the services at the church.
Interment, with Military Honors, will follow at Restlawn Memorial Gardens, 2864 S. 5th Ave. Pocatello, ID.
Sergene, Ross, Donald, Jon Wanner, unknown, Kay Wanner, Larry, Dennis, Sharon Johnson, Dale

Sergene, Ross, Donald, Jon Wanner, unknown, Kay Wanner, Larry, Dennis, Sharon Johnson, Dale

Donald, Sergene, Dale, Ross, Dennis

Donald, Sergene, Dale, Ross, Dennis

Donald, Dale, Ross, two unknowns

Donald, Dale, Ross, two unknowns


Donald, Millie, Larry

Donald, Millie, Larry

1960s Reunion: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross

1960s Reunion: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross


My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Don Andra family

80's reunion, Larry, Dale, Colleen, Ross, Sergene, Donald, Golden

1982 Reunion: Larry, Dale, Colleen, Ross, Sergene, Donald, Golden

Donald & Lolane


1984 Reunion: Ross, Colleen, June, Millie, William, Golden, Donald, Larry

1984 Reunion: Ross, Colleen, June, Millie, William, Golden, Donald, Larry


1989 Reunion (b) June, Colleen, Mary, Sergene, William, Millie, Dale (f) Donald, Ross, Bill, Dale, Larry

1989 Reunion: (b) June, Colleen, Mary, Sergene, William, Millie, Dale (f) Donald, Ross, Bill, Dale, Larry


2004 Reunion, Millie, Larry, Ross, Dale, Donald

2004 Reunion: Millie, Larry, Ross, Dale, Donald


Donald, Paul Ross, Angela, Lolane

2007: Donald, Paul Ross, Angela, Lolane


2007: Rowing a boat at Jamestown, Virginia

2007: Rowing a boat at Jamestown, Virginia


Donald, Lolane, Lori Kaye, Larry

Donald, Lolane, Lori Kaye and Larry Gleim


2007 Andra Reunion: Donald's family at the reunion

2007 Andra Reunion: Donald’s family at the reunion


Donald and Lolane, Amanda and Paul, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

Donald and Lolane, Amanda and Paul, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia


2008: Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Amanda and Paul Ross, Donald

2008: Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Amanda and Paul Ross, Donald


Ross, Donald

2010 Reunion: Ross, Donald


2010 Reunion: Ross, Donald, Larry, Sergene, Neil Anderson

2010 Reunion: Ross, Donald, Larry, Sergene, Neil Anderson


Lolane, Diane, Tim, Toni, Kevin Curbow, Donald, (f) Dustin, Cynthia

Lolane, Diane, Tim, Toni, Kevin Curbow, Donald, (f) Dustin, Cynthia

Samuel Deer Davis

Another family history story.  This one is interesting in that his Idaho case went before the United States Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason.  This is the biography of Samuel Deer Davis (1859-1923) written by Dean G Grow, his great-grandson.  Samuel Deer Davis married Mary Jane Williams, daughter of Sarah Jane Davis and John Haines Williams.  Mary is the sister to David Davis Williams who I also previously shared his biography.


“This is the history of my great-grandfather, who was instrumental in the legal attempts that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints undertook to counter the continuing political and legal assault against the Church due to the practice of polygamy in the late 1880’s not only in Utah but in Idaho where he lived.

“Samuel D. Davis was born in Salt Lake City on 22 July 1859 to David Woodwell Davies and Mary Deer.  Samuel’s father had been a missionary in his native Wales for seven years before coming to America.  Aboard ship, David met his bride-to-be, Mary Deer, also a native of Wales.  When they arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, it was too late in the year, creating a delay in getting to the Salt Lake Valley.  So they decided to marry.  This occurred on 25 November 1852, in Kansas City.  They most likely traveled across the plains with a group of Welsh immigrants in the summer of 1853.

Samuel Deer Davis

Samuel Deer Davis

“After arriving in Salt Lake Valley, David being a painter and a glazier, set up his home and they began their life there.  David and Mary’s first son, David Thomas was born on 4 March 1854 in Salt Lake City.  Their second son, Woodwell was born in 1856 in Salt Lake City.  David was sealed to Mary on 2 March 1856 in the Presidents office in Salt Lake City.  At the same time and place, he was sealed to Elizabeth Berry, thus becoming a polygamist.  Elizabeth being a native of Bath, Summerset, England.  Their third son, Samuel Deer as indicated earlier was born in 1859.  They were all shown on the 1860 U. S. Census, living in the 8th Ward in Salt Lake City.  It was soon after that, Woodwell died, date unknown.  Their fourth and fifth sons, twins, Hyrum Eynon and Joseph were born on 15 August 1862.  Joseph died as an infant, but Hyrum lived to adulthood.  Their last son, Septimus was born and died soon after in 1864, probably about the time that his father David Woodwell, died of consumption (Tuberculosis) on 20 March 1864.  Thus Mary was left with three boys ages 10, 5, and 2.  I was unable to determine what happened to Elizabeth Berry.

“In November of 1864, Mary married a man named George R. McLaughlin of whom we can find no record of birth, death or census information.  They had a son George R. Jr. who was born 27 August 1865.  Their second child, Mary Ellen was born about 1866 and died soon after.   Mary’s second husband, George treated her harshly and abandoned her many times.  One time for almost a year.  The last time, she heard he was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming and had no plans to return.  She divorced him on the 20th of January 1868.  Thus Mary was continuously left with four boys to feed and care for.  It was soon after this that she became seriously ill and the doctor told her she would soon die.  Her last son, George was a toddler at the time.  A neighbor, Charles and Jemima Walker offered to adopt George and Mary regretfully consented as she didn’t want to leave such a young child.  Not long after, Mary recovered and went back to the Walkers pleading with them to return her son, but they refused.  They were still neighbors in the 1870 Census with the Walkers showing George as their son at age 5.  George died 29 January 1889 at the age of 24 in a train accident returning to Sugar House, Utah from an outing with friends to Red Bluff Quarry.

“Toward the end of the year, Mary met John Evan Price, another Welshman and became a polygamous wife of his on 26 December 1870.  Mary was 39 years of age and 14 years his junior.  He was in good financial circumstances at this time according to their granddaughter.  He had settled in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho on April 16, 1868 with one other family, being one of the first.  He is also credited with giving Samaria it’s name.  Several others settled there the next month.  A branch of the Church was organized there in November of 1868.  Elder Lorenzo Snow, then of the Twelve Apostles, visited in July of 1869 and approved of the city plot, encouraging the settlers to continue to build and plant there.

“John brought Mary and her children to Samaria after their marriage.  Two additional children were born to this union, Margaret Ann Price on 10 January 1872 and Elizabeth Jane Price on 17 March 1875, both in Samaria.  Unfortunately, John died within a few years on 22 June 1878 in Samaria leaving Mary a widow again.  But this time she was left in good circumstances where she was able to sell off property to new immigrants to Samaria.  She reverted back to her Davis name after 1880.  Her sons were now getting older.  Her oldest, David Thomas was married in Samaria to Amy Ann Sawyer on 7 January 1879 just 6 months after John Evan Price died.  Mary was the postmistress of Samaria for many years and the Relief Society President for 17 years in Samaria.  Eliza R. Snow stayed in her home during a conference in Samaria.

“Her second son, the subject of this manuscript, Samuel D., had no formal education but only that which was from his mother, Mary.  He married Mary Jane Williams on 11 Oct 1882 in the Endowment House in Salt lake City.  Their first child, Sarah Jane, was born in August of 1883 and died the same month.  Their second child, Woodwell Williams was born 17 November 1884.  It was during this time that his wife encouraged him to get some formal education.  He started by attending the district school in Samaria.  Afterward he attended the James Chandler school in Washakie, Utah.  It was a great sacrifice and struggle as he continued to farm and support his family during that time.  He had so much success as a scholar in Washakie, that in 1886 he attended the Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah.  He also studied law during his evenings.  His third child, Edgar Williams was born on 1 March 1887.  He soon became a partner in a law firm in Malad, Idaho of Evans, Gibbs and Davis.

Mary Jane Williams Davis

Mary Jane Williams Davis

“At this time there was much pressure on the local LDS communities by the Idaho politicians who were strongly anti-Mormon, about the Church practice of polygamy.  75% of the population lived in the eastern half of the state and about 20% of those were L. D. S. which meant that they represented a large voting block.

“These following steps were in relation to the 1884-1885 law, not the 1889 one which was taken to the Supreme Court.

“From E. Leo Lyman’s “Political Background of the Woodruff Manifesto”:  “William Budge, the leading spokesman for the Church in Idaho, tried to bring as much pressure as he could on the outcome of the case.  Budge used Utah Congressional delegate John T. Caine to generate pressures on the Judge Berry through political friends back home.  He also traveled to the Blackfoot judicial headquarters to confer with Berry before he rendered his decision.  The judge, who recorded the conversation as accurately as he could recall, claimed the Church leader first quoted U.S. Solicitor General Jenks as saying that if the test oath law was taken before the United States Supreme Court, “it would not stand for a moment.” Budge also stressed the crucial nature of the pending decision on the continued allegiance of the Idaho Mormons to the Democratic party (Berry 1888).

“Berry’s reply demonstrated considerable admiration for Mormon industry and economic accomplishments but firmly stated his intent to “administer the laws as they were.” He made it clear he could not allow political considerations to affect his decision and expressed regret that the Mormons could not bring their marriage relations into “regulation step” with the rest of American society (Berry 1888). The published decision {Idaho Daily Statesman, 17, 20 Oct. 1888; Wood River Times, 16, 17, 24 Oct. 1888) not only upheld the test oath but ruled the Mormon arguments that they no longer taught or practiced plural marriage were merely a temporary posture of no importance so long as the general Church had made no changes on the question. The kind of concession necessary to relieve the disfranchisement onslaught, Judge Berry stressed, was a formal renunciation of the doctrine at a Church general conference, not unlike what actually occurred several years later.”

“From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “They enacted a law in 1884-1885 that all county and precinct officers were required to take a test oath abjuring bigamy, polygamy, or celestial marriage; and under this law in 1888 three members of the territorial legislature were deprived of their seats as ineligible.  An act of 1889, forbade in the case of any who had since the 1st of January 1888 practiced, taught, aided or encouraged polygamy or bigamy, their registration or voting until two years after they had taken a test oath renouncing such practices, and until they had satisfied the District Court that in the two years after they had been guilty of no such practices.

“The earlier law had been tested by the Church in the territorial federal courts, but was unsuccessful.  This 1889 law, regarding voting, was commonly called “The Idaho Test Oath” which meant essentially that if you were a member of the Church, whether practicing polygamy or not, you could not vote and was retroactive to January 1 the year before.  It appears that the Church decided to test this law all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

“In Samaria on Oct 27, 1888, 26 men including Samuel D. Davis asked to have their names removed from the records of the Church with apparent approval of the Church leaders so that they could vote in the November 1888 election but primarily to provide a test case.  There were about 30 in Malad City who did the same thing.  The new law having been enacted after the men had voted, they were indicted almost a year later for conspiracy to break a law that wasn’t created until the following year.  The case became known as “Davis vs. Beason” and can still be found today by searching the internet.

“From the Deseret News on September 21, 1889:  “The perjury case against Mr. Evans of Malad having been disposed of in the District Court of that place, the next matters of importance tackled were the conspiracy cases. Indeed there was practically but one case, fifty six persons having been included in one indictment.

“The matter came up for trial before Judge Berry on Tuesday, Sept. 10th [1889]. There was much disappointment among the virulent anti-“Mormon” element over the result of the case of perjury against Mr. Evans and the officers said that in the conspiracy matter they would get a jury together that would convict this time.  For this purpose they scoured the country and imagined they had got what they wanted when the panel was completed.

“The charge preferred in the indictment against the fifty-six defendants was substantially that they had conspired together to break the laws of Idaho Territory, notably the Idaho test oath law, by agreeing to vote at an election when they knew that they had no right to do so.

“The case was tried and at 6 p.m. on Wednesday was given to the jury.  On Thursday the 12th at 2 p.m. the jury came into the court with a verdict, in which they found fifty-five of the defendants not guilty and one guilty.  The latter was Samuel D. Davis of Samaria.

“A new trial was asked for Mr. Davis by counsel for the defense and denied, and the  court sentenced him to pay a fine of $500.  The fine was not paid and Mr. Davis placed in jail for a maximum of 250 days [$2 a day].  Judge Berry was applied to for a writ of habeas corpus which was also denied, and an appeal from his action was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“The matter is in the best possible shape it could possibly assume for final adjudication. None of the acquitted fifty-five defendants can be again placed in jeopardy on the same subject, either under the title of conspiracy or any other.  The appeal to the Supreme Court involves the validity of the infamous test oath law, which will therefore be decided one way or the other.

“The defense was conducted with marked ability, the attorneys being Mr. J. S. Rawlins of Salt Lake, and Mr. J. N. Kimball of Ogden.   Mr. Standrod and “Kentucky Smith” appeared on the part of the prosecution.”

“From the above article it is clear that it was “arranged” in advance that one person would be the focal point for the test case.  That person, having probably volunteered due to his legal schooling, was none other than Samuel D. Davis.  He obviously knew that he would spend some time behind bars, but was willing to do that for the Church.

“To give a better idea of the named individuals in this case, they are as follows:  Charles H. Berry, a former attorney general of Minnesota, later on, an associate justice of the Idaho Supreme Court who would have jurisdiction as the Judge in this case in Malad City.  Joseph S. Rawlins was a city attorney in Salt Lake City and worked with Brigham Young and following Church leaders on matters of law.  He later served in the Congress of the U. S. and assisted in gaining statehood for Utah.  He was also known as the “Red-headed Reactor of the Rockies” because he made such a fight about the confiscation of the Church property.  It was through his efforts that the property was eventually restored.  J. N. Kimball also served as a defense attorney for the Church in Ogden.  Drew W. Standrod came to Malad City, Idaho from Kentucky with his parents and took up the practice of law there.  He was elected as the prosecuting attorney there twice and later became a judge moving to Pocatello.  “Kentucky” Smith is actually H. W. Smith who was an anti-Mormon lawyer of prominence in Ogden, Utah and the author of the “Idaho Test Oath” law.  He also later became a judge in Idaho.  Sheriff Harvey G. Beason was an appointed sheriff who was just 29 years old at this time.  His was the other name in the test case.  He soon after moved to Montana and then to Gillette, Wyoming where he lived until his death in 1939.

“From another article in the Deseret News written in Samaria on September 30, 1889.

“”A very strange scene was witnessed here on the 25th inst. (Sept 1889)  It will be remembered that Mr. Samuel D. Davis of this place was found guilty not long since at the District Court held at Malad City, of voting at the election held here last fall contrary to the provision of the anti-Mormon Test Oath law, and that he was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and costs, pending payment of which he was sent to the county jail.  He applied for a writ of habeas corpus which was denied by Judge Berry.  Application was then made direct to  Washington for a similar writ.  Here it was thought the matter would rest for the present. But not so; on Sept. 13, Sheriff Beason came to Samaria and levied an attachment on Mr. Davis’ property having an order from the court to sell at public auction enough to cover fine and costs.  On the  25th inst. said order was carried into effect.  Sheriff Beason, Attorney Standrod, Treasurer D. Tovey,  Commissioner P. Fredrickson and a few others came over.  The sale began at 2 o’clock.  Mr. Davis’ only horse was sold to Meyer Kohn of Malad, for $21.00. (Mr. Kohn has since offered to return the animal for the same price), which was about one-fifth his real value.  Mr. Davis interest in the firm of Evans, Gibbs, & Davis was knocked off to Standrod for $190.00.

“It was the Intention to sell the little home where Mrs. Davis and her two little children reside, but the title being defective it was abandoned. This was all that could be found to sell and the sale came to a close.

“The sheriff seemed very dry after his labors for he and his companions indulged quite freely.  They had apparently come over well prepared.”

“This article indicates that Samuel’s family also suffered because of the case.  The article was incorrect in that there were “two little children” in the home.  My grandfather, John Vincent “Vin” Davis was born on 6 July 1889 and was just a few months old when this took place, which means that there were two little children and one infant.  It also indicates that his fine was reduced almost 40% by the $211.00 amount recovered in the sale.  Therefore his sentence would be reduced by about 100 days, leaving 150 days remaining to be served.  From the Deseret News on 11 January 1890, it indicates that the hearing was held in the U. S. Supreme Court, probably a day or two earlier.  The hearing is several pages of arguments both for and against which I will not be discussing here.  It can also be found on the internet by searching “Davis vs. Beason”.  The ruling was handed down on 2 February 1890, upholding the Idaho law.  At this time Samuel had been in jail for 113 days.  I was unable to determine whether he remained the last 30 some days in jail or whether the Church paid the balance of the fine to release him or whether he was reimbursed for his personal losses.  During this era many members sacrificed much for their belief.

“President Wilford Woodruff issued the “Manifesto” a few months later on 24 September 1890, ending plural marriage in the Church.  The Idaho law was changed in 1893, the disqualification was made no longer retroactive, the two-year clause was omitted, and the test oath covered only present renunciation of polygamy, thus allowing members to vote once again.  It took until the 1980’s to get similar wording in the Idaho State Constitution removed.

“Samuel D. Davis continued in his practice of law and in 1899 he was appointed Probate Judge of Oneida County, Idaho.  He was twice elected to this office.  In 1901, after the formation of the Idaho State Bar, he took the examination for the bar and was admitted to practice in all the courts of the state.

“His wife of 21 years, Mary Jane Williams Davis died on 19 March 1903 in Samaria.  Later that year he moved his family of boys to Malad City to continue his practice and opened a new law office there.  His brother-in-law,  Isaac B. Evans, who had been on a mission in the south, introduced him to a woman in Salt lake City, whom he had known while on his mission.  She was Alice Godwin, daughter of Handy Haywood Godwin and Elizabeth Ann Naylor Godwin.  They were natives of Clinton, Sampson, North Carolina.  She was a true daughter of the old south.  Samuel was very interested and she was interested also, but I’m sure was concerned by the thought of finishing the raising of 7 boys.  But apparently she was up to the task as they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 13 November 1905.  She bore him 3 more children.  First, Mary Naylor Davis, 13 September 1906, second, Alice Deer Davis, 18 January 1908 and Samuel Godwin Davis on 6 March 1911, all in Malad City, Idaho.

“He continued in Malad City until moving to Salt Lake City about 1918.  He was there in the January 1920 U. S. Census.  He probably moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in the summer of 1920 to accept employment as the City Attorney.  Two of his boys followed him there.  One, Eugene, who was still living with him and the other, John Vincent and his family, who was still living in Samaria.  In June of 1923, he was made the Twin Falls Police magistrate, but unfortunately, he died within 6 months on 13 December 1923.  After the funeral, his body was shipped back to Samaria to be buried.  His second wife, Alice moved to Salt Lake City, where she died 13 January 1945.  Her body was also returned to Samaria to be buried.

“From the Twin Falls Times News:  “Judge Davis was early admitted to the bar in Idaho, and served as county attorney and probate judge in Oneida county.  He attracted wide attention in the early days by his success as an irrigation and criminal lawyer.  It was his boast that some of Idaho’s best known attorneys had begun their legal training in his office.  He was an active and prominent member of the L. D. S. Church serving as member of the High Council in Malad and Twin Falls.”

“Thus ended a long legal career in the State of Idaho and the life of a man who was willing to stand for  his principles, even risking all his possessions at one time.  He died at the age of 64, which would be considered still young by today’s standards.  His part in the legal battle was apparently unknown to his children, grandchildren and their descendants.  My mother did mention many years ago that she had heard about the voting issue.  Those of his children as indicated earlier were very young and would not have known about the landmark legal case, unless he had related it to them.  He was a good man and his story needed to be told, so that all would be aware of his sacrifice during another time of great difficulty in the history of the Church.

Ivan Stephen Coley

This is from the autobiography of Ivan Stephen Coley.  I recently wrote on the passing of his widow, Clara McMurdie Coley.

Since Ivan does not give much background information, I will provide some.  Ivan is the sister to my Lillian Coley Jonas.  Ivan is the sixth of ten children born to Martha Christiansen and Herbert Coley born 26 June 1912 in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  He married Clara McMurdie on 22 October 1930 in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Ivan and Clara had four children.  Ivan passed away 22 September 1994 in Buhl.  He was buried 27 September 1994 in West End Cemetery near Buhl.  Clara just joined him this year.


I was born in the little town of Richmond, Utah in Cache Valley.  We lived up in the foothills called Nebo, about 3 1/2 miles from town.  It was really pretty up there.  You could see all over the valley.

The snow really got deep in the wintertime.  In the spring when the snow melted, the field flowers would come up.  It sure was pretty.

I was one of ten children with four sisters and five brothers.  We didn’t have a car so we had to hitch the horses up to the white-top buggy when we went to church.  In the winter we used the bobsleds.  Sometimes the show would be so deep that you didn’t know where the road was.  Sometimes I would ride skis or hand sleigh to school in the winter.  We had to pack our lunches because they didn’t have hot school lunches then.

I remember in the first grade, we had a pot bellied stove and the teacher would have to keep putting coal in it to keep the room warm.  The toilets were outside.

I would help the neighbor do chores and feed calves and help take the milk to the creamery.  Once in a while they would give me ten or fifteen cents spending money.

Ivan Coley and dog

My dad had an old buckboard and he said he wanted to get it over to the house.  One day when my parents weren’t home, I decided to hook the horse up to the buckboard and pull it over to the house for my dad.  It didn’t have any shavs to guide it so I just put a chain on it to get it to the house.  I was doing okay until the wheel hit a rock and the other wheel hit the horse in the belly.  The horse got scared and ran away and I fell off the buckboard.  It tore out about 100 yards of fence.  When I got up, the horse was down by the haystack eating hay.  I was afraid to tell my dad about it for fear that I would get my butt kicked because he had told me not to do it.

Dad finally bought a house close to town so it would be easier for us kids to get to school in the winter.  One day they left me and my older brother Wilford home alone.  He was frying sausage and I was standing with my back to the stove trying to keep warm.  He stuck the hot fork that he was frying the meat with on the back of neck.  I got warm in one spot and you could see the mark of the fork tines in my neck.

I was sick a lot when I was young.  The doctors said that I had liver trouble.  I was ruptured and had to wear a truss for seven years.  I finally got to where I didn’t have to wear it anymore.

I didn’t know what a long pair of dress pants were until I was about thirteen.  We wore levis or kickerbockers pants that came just below the knees and buttoned.  I also wore long black socks that came up to the knees.

At Christmas we didn’t get things like they do now.  We would get a little wagon and it had to be for all of us.  Our gifts were mostly clothes.  We may get an orange, some hardtack and sugar candy and that was a treat for us.

Mother would take the eggs to town in a milk bucket and trade them for groceries.  We didn’t know what hand soap and shampoo were then as we just used the old laundry soap and mother made most of it.  About once a week we would get a little butter for our bread.  We used mostly fryings from the bacon and dipped our bread or biscuits into it.  It was really good.  About the only time we would get cake or pie was on a holiday or birthday.  We didn’t get both cake and pie together and we only got one piece when we did get it.

I used to ride about eight miles to Lewiston with my dad to take a wagon load of wheat to the mill to have it ground for flour and cereal.  We brought the bran home for the hogs every fall for our winter supply as we couldn’t go to town every day like they do now.  We would get snowed in sometimes and couldn’t get to town for several days.  Then we would have to go through the fields as the roads would be drifted full.

We didn’t have a telephone.  The only ones that had a phone were the rich people.  The phones then had a little crank on the side of them and you had to crank it before you could get the operator.

I worked for Melvin Smith in Richmond milking cows and plowing for $5.00 a month.  There was one time I was plowing and the horses took off for the barn.  I couldn’t get the plow out of the ground.  I must have plowed a furrow about 1/4 mile long.  The horses didn’t stop until they got to the barn.  I went to unhitch them from the plow and one horse kicked me in the leg.  It made me mad and I was going to quit but I was afraid to tell the boss so I worked a little longer.  I was only about 23 or 13 years old at the time.

On the days we had to spare, some of the neighbors would get together and round up some of the cattle.  We would put them in a corral and have a rodeo.  I rode the first one and we put a surcingle on him.  The bigger boys put me on him and turned me loose.  He sure did some bucking, but I stayed on.  They passed a hat around and got about 25 or 30 cents and they gave it to me.  I sure was ticked to death to get it.

I didn’t go to school very much.  My folks would send me and I would play hookey.  I would go anywhere but to school.  Now I can see where I made a mistake as I hurt no one but myself.

My uncle was blind.  I would lead him from door to door selling church books for several days and he gave me 15 cents.

I never did get to go to the circus.  I would ride the streetcar to Logan once in a while though and see a show.  It cost 10 cents to ride the streetcar and 10 cents to see the show.  You didn’t get popcorn or candy to eat in the theater then.

My brother and I were sleeping on the porch and the dog started barking in the middle of the night.  I raised up in bed and saw a man coming up toward the house.  I reached over and got the gun and fired a shot. It hit the drain pip on the side of the house.  My brother-in-law came running out of the house to see what the shooting was all about.  Whoever it was took off and never came back.  It sure scared me.

One time one of my friends and I rode a horse to Franklin, Idaho.  That was about 10 miles from where we lived.  This was in the middle of the winter and we had gone to check on some cattle.  It was sure cold (about 20 degrees below zero).  I rode back in the middle of the night.  I came to the neighbors who had a sheep wagon.  I went inside and there was a little wood in it.  I built a fire and laid down on the bed springs.  There was no bedding because they had taken it out for the winter.  I nearly froze to death.  I sure was glad to see morning come.  The neighbor took me to his house and gave me breakfast because I hadn’t had anything to eat since dinner the day before.

The first time I ever tasted corn flakes was up to the neighbors.  They put sugar and real straight cream on it.  I thought I would founder as I had tasted nothing like that before.  We didn’t know what prepared cereal was in those days and we called it mush.

I remember one time my dad made some elderberry wine and put it up in the attic in the house.  Every once in a while you would hear one go “BANG” as it blew up.  One time we had an old man over for supper.  He was an old man with long whiskers who we called “Grandpa Andrews”.  Dad went up in the attic to get a bottle of wine.  He went to open the bottle and it blew the cork out and hit the ceiling and Grandpa Andrews’ whiskers.  It sure went off with a bang.  One of the kids ran outside hollering “Grandpa got shot!”  I sure did laugh.  They got another bottle and one held it while the other tried to open it and it blew the pitcher out of their hand.  I don’t think anyone got wine that night.

When I wasn’t very old, I remember my dad and I went to thin beets to buy a bull.  I had a dog called “Bob” once and we used to hook him to the hand sleigh and haul the milk to the neighbor’s house about two blocks away as Bob pulled the sleigh.  Wherever I went the dog was with me.  The neighbor gave me a calf that broke his leg and I killed it and used it for coyote bait.  I poisoned some of it.  I thought the dog was home but he must have followed me.  He got some of the poison and it killed him.

I used to go out at night and sit on the haystack in the winter and shoot those big mountain hare rabbits with a shotgun.  I would sell them for 5 cents apiece.  Sometimes I would get for and five a shot as the rabbits were so thick they would undermine the haystacks.

We had homemade skis.  They were about 5 inches wide.  All they had to hold them on your feet were a 3/4 inch strap to go over the foot and a broomstick split and nailed on the skis to go under the arch.  They turned the toes up on the skis by driving a nail in them and using a wife, twisting it and steaming the skis.  They way I learned to ride the skis was to straddle a long stick and have it drag behind me.  It worked really good.  If you wanted to slow down, yo would pull upon the front of the stick and sit down real hard on it.  It would dig in the snow and slow you down.  After we learned to ride good, we didn’t hold on to anything.

When I was a kid there were very few deer and elk because people killed them for their hides.  I can remember when they brought some elk, 4 cows, and a bull on a boxcar and turned them loose in the hills.  They closed the season on them.  You couldn’t hunt for several years.  Then they got so thick that they would come down and eat the farmers’ haystacks at night.

My sister, her husband, and her husband’s family moved to Buhl, Idaho in the fall and the next summer I went to Franklin, Idaho to get a job on the highway.  They said they didn’t hire kids.  “I was 16 at the time.”  A friend of mine and I decided to keep going the rest of the way to Buhl.  We hitch-hiked all the way!  We got off on the wrong road and ended up in Blackfoot so we had to go back to Pocatello.  I didn’t have any money and my friend had 11 cents.  A sheepherder picked us up and we slept on the desert that night.  He took us to Pocatello and bought us some breakfast, which sure tasted good.  He got us on the right road for Buhl.  We would get a ride for a few miles, then we would have to walk again.  All we had to eat were a few apricots.  We finally made it after 2 or 3 days.

I sure was glad to get a job sorting some spuds.  They had a mule to pull the sorter.  The people would pick the spuds and dump them on the sorter and I would sort them.  They sorter didn’t have any wheels under it, it just had runners.  After we got the spuds all sorted out, they didn’t have any money to pay me.  They said that we could have spuds for pay.  We took the car out and got several sacks of spuds.  I gave them to my future in-laws as I was living with them at this time.

I later got a job working for a man in Castleford for $15 a month as they would only pay a kid half a man’s wages.  I would have to get up and help do chores and be out in the field by 7 o’clock a.m. and work until 6 o’clock that night.  Once a week I would go to Buhl and take the whole family to a show.  They had family ight once a week at that time.  The whole family could go to the show for 50 cents.  They all looked forward to this.  A bull killed the man I worked for that summer.

I quit Claude Browns, went back to Utah, and stayed there until spring.  Then I came back to Buhl and started to work for Roy Fait.  I helped them tear the old livery stable down.  The West One Bank is located there now.  I helped them put a miniature golf course in there.  I mixed the green for it from sand, sawdust, and feathers.  I can’t remember what we used to make it green.  Then we had to use a heavy roller to smooth it down.  This is when I bought my first car, a 1922 Overland.

Rulon McMurdie and I went to the Shoshone Basin one day to hunt sage hens and on the way up my car quit so we pushed it to the side of the road.  A day or two later we went back to get it and someone had pushed it down an embankment about 100 feet and we had to drive it down the canyon to get it out.  I drove it back to Buhl and took it to a guy to have it fixed.  He charged me $125 dollars and I couldn’t pay him so I just gave him the car.

Rulon and I were working for a guy milking cows.  When we turned them out of the barn, we would grab them by the tail, pull it over their back, grab a hand full of hide on their neck, jump on their backs, and ride them out of the barn.  They sure would buck.  We had a lot of fun until one stepped on my leg and I thought for sure she broke it.  That ended the riding of milk cows.

We were down fishing in the Salmon Canyon and my little dog was lying down just a little way from me.  I heard a noise and turned around and there was a rattle snake.  It had bitten my dog and a little while later he died.  It didn’t take me long to get out of there.  It sure did scare me.

Rulon and I went duck hunting and a man came out to tell us to get out of there.  We asked him who he thought he was talking to.  He said, “Who are you?” and I said, “I am the Game Warden.”  He left us alone and we went on hunting.  We would also stop cars for one light being out and tell them they had better get it fixed.  I made a badge out of a piece of tin.  They didn’t argue with me.  I guess they thought I was a Traffic Cop.

Rulon and I went trapping for muskrats on Deep Creek.  There was a boat there and I got in it to go to the other side.  I got almost in the middle of the creek and the boat tipped over with me in it.  I thought for sure I was going to drown because I had a sheep skin coat and a pair of hip boots on.  Rulon just sat on the bank laughing at me.  I finally got out and thought I would freez to death because it was snowing and blowing.  We couldn’t even make a fire because there wasn’t anything to burn so we got in Rulon’s old Model-T Ford with no top on it and drove home.  I was sure glad to get to a warm house.

We were coming home one evening and there was a truck load of apples ahead of us.  I got the lariat rope and got on the front of the car.  I was going to lariat a box of them and just as I got close enough to throw, they turned the corner into Buhl so we didn’t get any apples.

Every time we would go down the road passed this man’s house, a mean dog would come out after us.  I told Rulon the next time he came out after us, I would shoot him and sure enough, he came out after us and I shot and killed him.  That night the sheriff came and said he wanted to talk to us.  He took us up to the City Hall.  The guy was there that owned the dog.  We knew then that we were in trouble.  He said I shot the dog and hit his boy and I called him a damn liar.  The sheriff said, “none of that” and he got me by the shoulder and locked us both up in jail all night.  We didn’t have anything to eat all that night and the next morning.  Rulon’s mother and sister, Carrie, brought us something to eat.  We sure were glad to see them.  They let us out that afternoon.  That really taught us a lesson to be good as we didn’t want to go to jail again.  They just had the old iron beds and we didn’t have any blankets.  That learned us to be good kids as I thought if that is the way jails were, we didn’t want any part of them.

The government wanted me, and friend of mine, and some other men to round up wild horses, and drive them from Bliss, Idaho to Elko, Nevada.  They corralled them there and shipped them out on a train.  I don’t know now where to, but we didn’t go because this man’s wife didn’t want him to go.  They said we wouldn’t be riding the same horse when we got there as we did when we left.

I started dating Clara McMurdie when I worked at the golf course.  We had known each other in grade school in Richmond, Utah.  My sister, Carrie, married her brother, Lorus.  They moved to Buhl, Idaho and that’s why I came to Buhl.  I stayed in Buhl for a while and then went back to Richmond.  I wrote to Buhl to ask Clara’s folks if we could get married.  I thought if they said no, I was far enough away from them that they couldn’t shoot me.  “Ha, ha!”  But they did say yes so my dad, my mother, and I went to Buhl and we got married at her parent’s home.  They next morning we went back to Richmond to live.

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae Coley, Ivan Coley

Joseph McMurdie, Clara, RaNae, Ivan

I worked on my dad’s ranch for 2 years.  I packed groceries back in the mountains to my brother and brother-in-law on pack horses as they were up there getting wood out.  We would put two drags of wood that we pulled on 2 horses and we hooked one drag behind the other so the other would hold it back going down the mountain.  It just took one horse to drag it down the hill then we would get the bobsled and take it the rest of the way home.

I used to drive a covered school wagon in the winter.  It was a covered bobsleigh with a hole big enough to put the lines through to drive it and a little window to see through.  I got a dollar a day for driving it.  We had to furnish the horses, bobsleigh, and wagon.

We lived with my folks in one small room of their house.  That spring, we moved into a place closer to town.  We only stayed there a little over a month because we couldn’t afford the rent (it was $5.00).  So we moved back with my folks again.  That fall, we moved into a little 2-room log house.  It cost us 6 dollars a month.  It got so cold we couldn’t keep the rooms warm so we moved our bedspring and mattress out onto the kitchen floor.  We nearly froze to death.  You could see through the cracks in the logs.  We only stayed there 1 week and we moved back with my folks again.  We tried to get them to give us back some of our rent money and they wouldn’t do it.

In the spring, our oldest daughter (Sarah Colleen) was born in the same house and same room that I was born in.  We had to go and get the doctor in a white top buggy as the roads were too muddy.  They wouldn’t get there in a car.

That fall, I threshed the grain and got 50 dollars for my share.  I also topped beets and made 35 dollars.  This is when we moved to Buhl, Idaho.  My brother-in-law, Lorus McMurdie, came down with his car and got us as we didn’t have a car.  We moved in with my wife’s folks.  They lived in an old hotel on 8th street.

Ivan Coley with nephew Gary Coley

Ivan Coley with nephew Gary Coley

Lorus and I took two teams of horses and wagons and drove them up in the Shoshone Basin and cut wood.  All we took with us to eat was spuds, bread, onions, fruit, and bacon.  The spuds froze.  We had to scoop the snow off the ground to put our quilts on the ground to sleep because we didn’t have a sleeping bag or tent.  We would get cold, so we walked alongside the wagon and drove the horses.  One of our loads of wood slipped off the side of the road.  We camped there that night and reloaded the wagon the next morning.  It was so cold, the edge of our quilt froze to the ground.  We were supposed to get 3 dollars a cord for the wood (split and cut).  He never did pay us.

I went to work for Jess Eastman.  We walked to work and back.  I had to be there at 7 o’clock in the morning and work until 7 o’clock at night.  It was four miles down there and four miles back.  If we were lucky, we would get a ride once and a while.  We had to take our own lunch.  Once in a while after I got home, I would go back to work at Shields warehouse shoveling clover seed in bins until 10 o’clock or midnight and be ready for work again at 7 o’clock the next morning.

Art, Golden, Wilfred, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan at their mother's grave 17 August 1961

Art, Golden, Wilfred, Roland, Lloyd, Edna, Hannah, Carrie, Lillian, Ivan at their mother’s grave 17 August 1961

We lived with my wife’s folks in that old hotel.  The next spring we moved down closer to our work.  One night I came home and there were a bundh of people there and I couldn’t figure out why.  I soon found they had a strawberry roan horse for me to break and ride.  They said if I could ride it they would buy me a new cowboy hat.  I put the saddle on it and snubbed it up to another horse.  I climbed on her and they turned her loose.  The first jump she made, my hat flew off and she tore every button off my shirt.  She sure did some bucking and bawling.  You could hear her for a half mile.  She headed for a rock fence and Lorus, my brother-in-law, was on his horse.  He tried to keep her away from the rock fence and his stirrup on the saddle broke and he fell off.  When the horse got to the rock fence she turned and quit bucking.  I rode her every day for three weeks and every time I got on her she wanted to buck.  I won my new hat, but I sure did earn it!  I bought a fat cow for 10 dollars and butchered her.  We didn’t have a deep freezer at that time so we hung the meat outside and hoped it stayed frozen.  Some of it thawed out and froze again and boy did we get a belly ache.  We sure did run races for the outhouse (ha, ha!).

We didn’t have electricity or telephones.  I finally got enough money to buy a Model T Ford for 25 dollars and we didn’t have to walk so much anymore.  We finally moved ourselves down to Jess Eastman’s and I worked for him for 3 years.  He didn’t have the money to hire us any longer, so we got me a job uptown sorting spuds for 15 cents an hour.  We would go at 7 o’clock a.m and sometimes work until midnight nearly every night.  We finally bought the old shack we were living in for 50 dollars and moved it on a lot on 8th Street in Buhl.  It cost us 15 dollars to have it moved.  It was the first house on lower 8th Street in Buhl at that time.  The house was 2 rooms and the walls were plastered with mud and straw.  We took cheesecloth and old rags and pasted on the walls then we wallpapered over that and made it real cute.  We had orange crates nailed on the walls for cupboards.  We bought the lot next to us for 25 dollars.  We just lived there a short time.  Our son, “Bud” Lorus, was born.

Ivan, Danny, Bud, RaNae

Ivan holding Danny Todd, Bud, RaNae

Then we moved to Castleford and I farmed for a guy for 30 dollars a month.  He hired 2 other men to help me farm it.  He paid one 15 dollars and the other 10 dollars a month and we had to board and feed them.  He gave us a table and chairs for their board.  We still have their chairs.  We started breaking horses and we hitched them up to the wagon one time and they ran away.  The lane they ran down wasn’t wide enough for the wagon as it was just a cow lane.  They tore the wagon all to pieces and all they had left when they stopped was the tongue and front wheels.

We stayed here for about a year and a half and then we moved and worked for another man for about a year.  He made me mad as he didn’t keep his promise to give me a couple of heifers.  I was bunching clover with a pitchfork and he came and told me he couldn’t give them to me.  He promised me that spring that if I would stay with him, he would give them to me as a bonus and that fall he backed out on his deal.  I told him I was going to quit and he said I couldn’t.  So I showed him I could and left the pitchfork in the field and walked out on him.

Siblings Ivan, Carrie, and Roland

Siblings Ivan, Carrie, and Roland

The next day we went to Utah and saw my folks.  When we came back we moved again to Melon Valley (known as Little Country Club).  We only stayed there a short time until spring.  I would walk to town (about 4 miles) to sort spuds as we couldn’t afford to drive the car.  Sometimes we would stay all day waiting to work and they would come tell us that we wouldn’t be working that day and to come back tomorrow.

It was cold and I was going to drive the car that morning.  I couldn’t afford alcohol at that time as there wasn’t any anti-freeze in those days, so I put fuel oil in the radiator.  It got hot and blew it all out, so I had to put water in it and drain it out when I got to work, then put more in it when I came home and cover the radiator with a blanket to keep it from freezing.

I bought a cow for 30 dollars and had her for a while.  Then I traded her for 2 heifers that were going to freshen.  I took them to my father-in-law’s and when they freshened, he milked them.  Later, I bought another one and let him milk her too for the milk as we had moved to Castleford.  I worked for a man out there for 30 dollars a month and he wouldn’t let me keep them.  I worked there for about 2 years and then we moved to Melon Valley where we rented a place from Stan Webber.

Coley 60th

We got 1300 dollars from FHA and bought some cows, a team of horses, and some machinery to get started with.  We didn’t think we would ever pay it back as that seemed like a lot of money to us, but in 2 years, we had it paid off.  It was a hard struggle and some of our horses died.  One died with colic and one foundered on grain and died.  Our cattle kept dying and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  We finally found out they were eating wild parsnips.  Another time we woke up in the night and saw the chicken coop was on fire.  WE jumped out of bed and ran to get the neighbors.  They came to help us put the fire out, but it was too late.  It burned down the coop and one hundred little chicks.  We had 6 hens setting outside the coop and they burned right on the nests as the dump things wouldn’t leave their nests.  I had just went to town that day and bought one hundred pounds of chick feed and kerosene for the brooder as we didn’t have electricity.  I had been sleeping out in the coop in order to watch the brooder so it didn’t get too hot.  I decided to sleep in the house that night as they had been getting along so good.  It’s a good thing I did or I might have been roasted with the chickens!

We used to go salmon fishing.  Sometimes it was a lot of fun when they let us spear them.  I went elk, deer, and antelope hunting as it was a lot of fun.  We usually got our limit of game.  I killed a big brown bear and had a rug made of it and a few years later, I got a little black cub.  We had him mounted standing up on a frame.

Clara and Ivan Coley

We rented the ranch for 3 years and decided what money we were giving for rent, we might just as well be buying it.  We bought the one hundred sixty acres for 10 thousand dollars.  We sure did raise some good beets and potatoes.  We used to have good times there.  Every Saturday night, there would be a get-together of the valley people.  We would take our families and have a dance and potluck.  We sure did have fun and the little kids would dance.  We wouldn’t have to worry where they were or what they were doing.

Our third child Clarene RaNae was born.  After that my health wasn’t very good.  I had to have surgery and we had to borrow $8,060 and mortgage everything we had to get the money.  We bought a few more cows to milk as we figured that was the only way we could pay the money back.  We had a hard struggle but we made it.  We farmed and lived on that place for 21 years, then we sold it to our neighbor and moved to town where we are living now.

I got a job for the City where I worked for 8 1/2 years.  I got hurt on the job and had to quit as the doctor said I wasn’t able to do any hard work again.

Clara and Ivan Coley

I always tried to go fishing and hunting every year.  One time, my father-in-law and I and about 4 others went in the Selway to hunt elk.  WE got snowed in for 12 days.  The guy that packed the hunters in and out lost 17 head of pack mules over a cliff as they tied one behind the other as they had to follow a narrow trail around the mountain.  We asked the guy that lost them if he ever found them again.  He said “Yes, everyone of them came home later on”.  It was about 70 miles from where he lost them to where he lived.  One of the hunters that he had packed in had a heart attack and died while we were there and all we had to get him out of there was my horse and the packers horse.  We left camp at 7 o’clock that night and didn’t get him to camp til about 7 o’clock the next morning as the horses had to wade in snow to their bellies.  We left him in one of the camps for 2 days until the forest service could get in to get him out.

Nichol Harms, Ivan, Alisa Harms on 6 March 1977

Nichol Harms, Ivan, Alisa Harms on 6 March 1977

Another time we went in we rolled my two mules down the mountain.  It didn’t hurt them.  We got them out again.  Another time two other saddle horses rolled down the mountain within about 30 minutes apart.  It sure was steep, but we had a good time and would look forward to going back the next year.  My father-in-law said I know I should not have came and maybe you would have got your elk and wouldn’t have got snowed in.  We just laughed.

The other time, I took my father-in-law fishing and we were in the boats.  I cast my line out and didn’t think I case out far enough.  When I reeled in, I had a pair of glasses on my hook.  I couldn’t figure out where they came from.  Dad felt his eyes and his glasses were gone.  He said, “How in the devil did that happen?  I thought I felt something jerk on my ears”.  We sure did have a good laugh out of that.  He often talked about it and had a good laugh.  I still don’t know how I ever hooked onto them without him knowing it.  We sure had some good times together.  One other time, we had been up to Galena Summit getting out corral poles.  We were coming home and we had a horse in a trailer.  A car was trying to pass us and she ran off the side of the road.  It looked like she was going to hit a telephone pole.  She swerved back onto the road and she it our car on the hind wheel and it threw the horse out of the trailer onto the front of our car.  It hurt his back and he couldn’t get up so we had to shoot him.

Ivan and Clara 60th

We used to take our children camping and fishing when they were little.  Then came the grandchildren.  We used to take them fishing and camping.  We sure did enjoy having them with us.  Now they are growing up and have their friends and activities.  So now we just go alone.  We sure do miss them but we still have our memories of the past.  Would like to relieve some of the happy ones again.


Had Ivan of lived one more month, we could have celebrated our 64th wedding anniversary as he passed away on the 22nd of September, 1994.  Our anniversary was the 22nd of October.  He hadn’t been well for a long time as he got to where he couldn’t see to drive a car and was going to the doctor off and on for a year or two.  They didn’t seem to know what was wrong with him until it was too late.  They found out it was melanoma cancer of the rectum.  They operated on him on January 18,1994 and they said they got 99.9 percent of it.  They thought they had the worst of it, but he lived just 8 months longer when he passed away.

We bought us a nice self contained trailer house.  It had a propane refrigerator in it.  It sure was nice, but we didn’t get to enjoy it very much as he didn’t feel like going.  We bought it the year before.

The last month, he sure suffered.  We sure had a lot of memories behind us.  A lot of them were good and a lot of them were bad.  We wondered sometimes if we would make it.  But I guess that’s the way life is.  As they say, we have to have trials to learn to appreciate the good times and we had a lot of good times together.  I sure miss them and him.  But we still had a lot of good memories.

Williams-Williams Wedding

I am sharing this life sketch of David Davis Williams and Rebecca Price Williams.  The original version was written by William Jenkin Williams and found in the records of Eliza Williams Rees with insights from her granddaughter Betty Mifflin Bushman taken from family interviews and her own experience.  For the most part I will stick to the original history.  I do not have any photos to share, but since I have the history, I wanted to make it available.

Before I jump into the rest of the life sketch, I think it is important to connect these individuals to my family history.  I have previously written of the marriage between David D Williams and Gwenllian Jordan.  David D Williams had a brother named John Haines Williams.  David Davis Williams is the son of John Haines Williams.

I will provide more family information after the life sketch.


“David D. Williams was born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales on June 19, 1852, a son of John Haines Williams and Sarah Jane Davis.  He came to the United States with his parents, settling first in Pennsylvania in 1858.  In 1860 the family moved to Ogden, Utah, crossing the plains with in a handcart company led by Captain Elias Morris.  It was the second ox team to land in Ogden.  From there the family went north to the Malad Valley where they settled in Muddy Creek, living in a dugout where some of the children were born.  They later moved to Gwenford.

“Rebecca P. Williams was born on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1857, at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, a daughter of Jenkin Williams and Eliza Price.  She was baptized (LDS) in Wales on December 11, 1867 by her father, Jenkin, and confirmed by John Thomas.  With her parents, she came to this country for the gospel’s sake, settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After living there two years, they went to the Malad Valley in the year 1872.

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

Younger Rebecca Price Williams

“On Rebecca’s birthday, December 31, 1877, she and David were married in St. Johns, Oneida, Idaho by Justice of the Peace William H. Waytell in the presence of Benjamin Waldron and Mary Ann Daniels.

“David was baptized (LDS) 8 March 1878 by John Evan Price and confirmed by Samuel D. Williams.

“He and Rebecca took up a farm in Gwenford where they lived for about twenty years.  During this time David operated a freighting business between Kelton, Utah and Helena, Montana, a trip that would take him about three months.  He served as a deputy sheriff, was the first Chief of Police of Samaria, Idaho, and even worked as a blacksmith.  Later he went into the confectionery business and operated a business and general store, D.D. Williams Candy Kitchen, with Rebecca in Samaria until his death June 27, 1927.  He was a man, it is said, who could not be idle.   His daughter, Eliza, described him as a wonderful husband and  father.  His granddaughter, Mae Rees Mifflin, remembers him with great fondness also.  She named her first child, Darla Dean, after her grandfather.  It is a wonder that Darla was not nicknamed Dee Dee too.

David Davis Williams

David Davis Williams

“About him, a grandson, Ray Earl Rees, told the following story:  Their daughter, Eliza (Ray’s mother), had a washing machine.  In order to help her elderly parents, she would do their laundry.  Every Monday morning Grandpa David would drive his buggy the few miles to Malad with a bundle of clothes for her to wash.  Grandpa would drive the team around to the north road and enter the farmyard by the back way.  About the time he was expected, Ray would wait out by the gate to open it for his grandfather.  Then he would climb up in the buggy with him and ride up to the house.  Always Grandpa Williams had a sack of candy for Ray.  He could depend on that treat and waited eagerly for it each Monday morning.

“When the family would visit their grandparents in Samaria, it was a treat to go in to the store and see all the candies on display behind the glass counter.  Rather than give the children candy, Grandpa Williams would give them each a nickel and let them do the choosing.  They were not allowed to go around the counter, but while he smiled encouragement to them, they would stand before the counter and choose their treat.

“He was the sweetest man who ever drew a breath, Ray said about his grandfather.

“David was always a prominent figure in our childhood stories about family as our mother was said to be his favorite.  He even appeared to her to tell her goodbye after his death.

“It seemed so romantic to my sister and me that he and Rebecca married on my favorite holiday of the year, New Year’s Eve.  That day was also Rebecca’s twentieth birthday.  Her present was our handsome, nice great-grandfather.  What a perfect party time to have a wedding anniversary.

“Rebecca is remembered by her daughter, Eliza, as a wonderful mother and homemaker, never being one to go away from home.  She had a wonderful alto voice and when the children were small, she would often gather them around and sing to them.

“After her children grew up and married, she helped her husband in keeping the confectionery store.  Many remember stopping there as youngsters on their way to Mutual to share a soda and socialize.  They were always reminded not to be late for their church meeting by Rebecca, who would usher them out the door at ten minutes ’till.  Later the teenagers would reunite there to pick up where they had left off.

“Her daughter, Eliza, described her this way, Rebecca P. Williams was loved by all who knew her.  She was kind to everyone and did not have an enemy on earth.

“Great-Grandmother Rebecca was always a colorful figure to my sister and me.  As the youngest surviving child in her family of eleven children, we loved the story of how when the family came from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, she was assigned to carry a beautiful crystal bowl for her mother.  With it wrapped in a shawl, fourteen-year-old Rebecca later carefully tended it all the way to Idaho.  Through interesting circumstances, that bowl was inherited by our grandmother, then Mama, and finally Darla.  Since Darla also inherited Grandma Rees’ beautiful china closet, it seemed quite natural that the Welsh bowl would always rest inside it.  At any rate, I never ever expected it to be mine.  One day when I was picking up Darla to bring her to my house for a day’s visit, her daughter, Alyce, walked out to the car with us.  In her hands, Darla was carrying something wrapped in a piece of fabric.  She handed it to me with a smile saying that she had a present for me as a little thank you gift because I was so good to her.  With Alyce looking on and smiling too, I turned back the cloth to see the Welsh bowl.  Ignoring my protests that it was hers and that I could not accept it, she said she knew it would be safer in my home, that I would take good care of it and always treasure it.  Alyce said they had talked it over and both felt that it should be mine.  How I love to hold and admire that bowl.  Made of clear glass in a square shape, scalloped edging runs along its rim and base.  With a small pedestal and lion heads at each square corner, it is truly a work of art and indeed a special item. I love knowing of its history and importance in our family.  When we would look at it as children and hear its story, it was always viewed in quiet awe or discussed in hushed tones.  Never, ever, did I think it would be mine.  I felt amazed, quite honored, and a bit afraid of the responsibility.

“David died on 27 June 1927 after an illness of eight months.

“Later Grandma Rebecca moved to Malad  where she resided just across the street from her daughter, Eliza.  I remember Grandma carefully preparing a plate of dinner each evening for her mother.  It was usually the job of Uncle Ray to deliver it with a caution to hurry so it would be hot for his grandmother.  When I was around, he would often grab me by the hand and together we would dance across the street as he deftly carried the napkin covered plate in one hand and dragged me along with the other.

“I remember her as a frail little lady, a bob of white hair on top of her head, wire-rimmed glasses perched on her nose as she looked us over.  Books and magazines were plentiful in her small apartment and always a deck of cards.  In addition to reading, she liked to play games, playing Solitaire to entertain herself when no one else was around.

“Rebecca died on March 30, 1936 at the age of 84, a few months before my fifth birthday.


Rebecca Price Williams

“Both are buried in the Samaria Cemetery.

“Thirteen children were born to David and Rebecca, five boys and eight girls:  Sarah, William Jenkin who died in infancy, Mary, David, Phoebe, Jenkin, Eliza, Margaret, John, Catharine, Beatrice, Frances Orenda who died as a baby, and George.”


Some more family history information.

David Davis Williams born 19 June 1852 in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales and died 27 Jun 1927 in Samaria, Oneida, Idaho.  He was buried 30 June 1927 in Samaria.

Rebecca Price Williams born 31 December 1857 in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales and died 30 March 1936 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho.  She was buried 2 April 1936 in Samaria.

David and Rebecca were married 31 December 1877 in St Johns, Oneida, Idaho.

Their children are:

Sarah Elizabeth Williams born 22 August 1878 in Samaria and died 31 February 1968.  Buried in Draper, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married James Benjamin McGuire (1872-1952) 30 September 1900 in Samaria.

John Jenkin Williams born and died 23 September 1879 in Samaria.  Buried in Samaria.

Mary Jane Williams born 10 April 1881 in Samaria and died 14 January 1975.  Buried in St Johns.  She married John Nelson Hill (1872-1913) 22 February 1899 in St Johns.

David Joseph Williams born 26 February 1883 in Samaria and died 4 April 1973.  Buried in Malad.  He married Ester “Essie” Katherine Munsee (1888-1967) 25 March 1908 in Ogden.

Phoebe Ann Williams born 12 December 1884 in Samaria and died 15 March 1942 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  Buried in Riverton, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Thomas Charles Jones (1883-1922) 4 July 1903 in Samaria.

William Jenkin Williams born 24 Jul 1886 in Samaria and died 5 Jun 1963.  Buried in Samaria.  Married Mary Mae John (1901-1989) 26 February 1921.

Eliza Mae Williams born 10 February 1888 in Samaria and died 6 July 1967 in Ogden.  Buried in Ogden.  Married Gomer Vaughan Rees (1883-1971) 24 November 1904 in Samaria.

Margaret Rebecca Williams born 25 November 1889 in Samaria and died 9 November 1980.  Buried in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas, Ohio.  Married Walter Russell Ripley (1895-1979) 13 December 1913 in Malad.

John Haines Williams born 31 May 1891 in Samaria and died 25 February 1957 in Malad.  Buried in Malad.  Married Eleanor Jones (1899-1975) 29 March 1916 in Malad.

Catharine Zina Williams born 14 August 1893 in Samaria and died 19 Oct 1988 in Salt Lake City.  Buried in Malad.  Married Elijah R van Ables (1892-1961) 12 December 1920 in Malad.

Beatrice Estella Williams born 30 July 1894 in Samaria and died 9 December 1976.  Married Carl William Jones (1892-1958) 4 April 1913 in Malad, later divorced.  Married Allen John Keehn (1888-1957) 16 November 1938 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.

Frances Orenda Williams born 6 May 1897 in Samaria and died 10 September 1897 in Samaria.

George Thomas Williams born 22 February 1901 in Samaria and died 24 June 1962 in Pocatello.  Buried in Restlawn Memorial, Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  Married Theona Withers (1906-1990) 4 October 1924 in Malad.

Jonas – Coley Wedding

Herbert and Martha Coley are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Lillian to Joseph Nelson Jonas, son of Joseph and Annie Jonas.  They were married 6 September 1916 in Logan, Cache, Utah at the LDS Temple.  The photo above we think was taken around 1930 or so and is not a wedding photo.

Lillian was born the first child of ten to Martha Christiansen and Herbert Coley 26 August 1898 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  Both Herbert and Martha were Mormon immigrants to Utah in the 1880’s.  Herbert and Martha both had native land accents from England and Norway respectively.  Herbert was a diligent laborer who would acquire full ownership in their home by 1910.  Martha was a strict and involved homemaker and mother.

Lillian grew up assisting her mother in maintaining the home, large garden, and raising younger siblings.  By the the time she married, she had six younger children who were in the home (three more were yet to be born).  When Lillian was born, the family lived in Lewiston.  By 1910, the family had moved to Wheeler, Cache, Utah (or the 1900 Census did not have Wheeler broken from Lewiston).  The Wheeler area is almost 6 miles directly to the west from Richmond, Cache, Utah as indicated by the link.  We do not know where they lived in Wheeler.

By the time Lillian married Joseph, the family lived at roughly 1950 E 9000 N to the south and east of Richmond.  The remainder of the cabin built by Herbert Coley was still in the middle of a cow pen in fall 2012 on the south side of the road, but was in pretty poor condition.  Ellis Jonas took me there about 2002 and indicated the home to me as where they lived when he was a little boy.  Martha moved in to town, Richmond, after Herbert passed away in 1946.

Joseph Nelson Jonas was the sixth of seven child born to Annetta Josephine Nelson and Joseph Jonas 19 November 1893 in or near Ellensburg, Kittitas, Washington.  About 1896, Joseph’s mother, Annie, went to the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane in Fancher, Spokane, Washington (she is listed as Ann J Jonas).  She was in and out of hospitals throughout her life but as Joseph was one of the younger children, he would not have known his mother a little better.

Joseph and Margaret Jonas about 1899

Annie got out of the Eastern Washington Hospital 31 October 1899 and went home to Ellensburg and continued to be a handful for the family.  The family on the 1900 Census in Cle Elum, Kittitias, Washington does not include Annie though and the census that year has Joseph Sr in both Cle Elum and Spokane about two weeks apart in June 1900.  Annie’s sister, Charlotte, visited in 1901.  Due to Annie’s mental and emotional state, and with Joseph Sr’s approval, the whole Jonas family went to Utah to stay temporarily with Annie’s brother, Nels August Nelson.  Uncle August lived in Crescent, Salt Lake, Utah and the Jonas party arrived 3 July 1901 from Washington.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901.  The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

Joseph Sr for one reason or another went back to Washington with the youngest child Margaret.  Nels suggested it was legal issues, it might have just been the farm that needed attention.  Annie’s issues were such that August and his wife, Fidelia, signed an affidavit of insanity and had her admitted to the Utah State Hospital 1 November 1901.

Joseph Sr had been raised as a Catholic and Annie Nelson had been raised LDS.  Annie decided she did not like LDS men and wanted to marry a Gentile and did so.  The children were raised Catholic in Washington.  Now in Utah, Uncle August made sure the children learned about the LDS faith.  The three boys elected to be baptized LDS on 10 January 1902 in Crescent by their Uncle August in an ice covered Jordan River.  All three were confirmed 12 January 1902 by Jaime P Jensen.  Rosa joined 6 February 1902, also in Crescent under the hand of Uncle August in a hole chipped in the Jordan River.  Margaret did not join as she stayed near her father in Washington.

In 1904, Rosa married a boy, Christian Andersen, from Richmond.  They married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  They moved to 137 E 100 S in Richmond.  Joseph and his brothers resided with Uncle August until after their mother passed in 1907, then they would regularly and for prolonged periods stay with Rosa in Richmond.  The 1910 Census lists Joseph at home in Crescent.  Read more of Brother John Jonas.

Joseph attended Brigham Young College in Logan and graduated with his diploma 3 June 1915.  We don’t know much about his time at Brigham Young College but the story goes he wrestled with their team and did so very effectively.  William, Joseph’s brother, was apparently here at school during some overlapping periods.  Joseph became well known for his love of gospel conversations.  He was known for regularly discussing and even arguing the gospel with extra determination.  No hard feelings developed due to his ardor in arguing since others would always agree to a handshake after a good debate.

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

Below is a copy of a picture believed to be from his graduation at BYC.  I have not been able to find the original of this photo or a copy at Utah State University’s archives where the Brigham Young College limited records are located (which are less than cooperative on letting me rummage through all the unknown photos).

In Richmond Joseph and Lillian met when Lillian’s father, Herbert, hired Joseph to help harvest hay.  It was within six months, according to the story, that they were married.  The two were married 6 September 1916 in the Logan LDS Temple.

Joseph registered for the draft of World War I on 5 June 1917.  When he registered, he indicated he was a laborer working for Olaf Neilson, the man who would later become a brother-in-law.  He indicated he was taking care of his wife and father.  He also indicated that his eyes were brown and his hair was brown.  He is listed as short and stout.  Here is his signature from that registration.  According to his family, he stood about 5’6″ and was very muscular.

Joseph’s father passed in Richmond in June 1917.  Lillian gave birth to Joseph Herbert Jonas 14 August 1917 in Richmond.

In 1919, Joseph and his two siblings, Rosa and William, had all moved to Idaho.  They operated a dry farm raising grain in Cleveland, Franklin, Idaho.  Christian and Rosa, along with Joseph, did most of the work on the farm and lived about a mile apart.  William taught at the school in Thatcher, Franklin, Idaho.  The Andersen and Jonas families also kept cows, pigs, chickens, and a sizable garden.  This is the only home Joseph and Lillian Jonas would together own.  Joseph arrived with the cows in Thatcher on 1 April 1919.  Lillian stayed in Richmond due to her pregnancy and while Joseph established the farm.  Communications were slow because mail was held at Thatcher.  Joseph and Lillian only heard from each other when Joseph made it in to Thatcher to pick up the mail or send a letter.

Spencer Gilbert Jonas was born 1 September 1919 in Richmond.  Lillian and the two boys joined Joseph in Cleveland.

The 1920 Census found the Jonas family on 26 January 1920 living on the Cleveland Road outside of Thatcher.

Irwin John Jonas was born 2 September 1921 in Cleveland, but listed as Thatcher.

In 1923 or early 1924, the family then moved to Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  The farm was not working out and he was able to obtain employment with the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad.  Joseph worked on a section gang, just like his father had.  The gang’s job was to repair rotten timbers, hammering in spikes, tightening bolts, and maintaining the rail line.  He worked 7 days a week, sometimes all night, coming home only after a shift was over.

The family lived in a boxcar that had its wheels removed.  A ditch ran under a portion of their home.  Another boxcar nearby was used as a storage shed.  It was here 15 May 1924 that Wilburn Norwood Jonas was born.  Ellis Seth Jonas arrived in this home 6 September 1926, their 10 year wedding anniversary.

Joseph kept a tub of furnace oil in the shed.  It accidentally caught on fire and and Joseph immediately announced to Lillian that the storage shed would burn down and probably their home too.  Joseph, known for being a bit of a prankster, was not believed by Lillian despite his insistence.  Joseph ran back to the shed and picked up the burning tub of fuel and carried it outside the shed.  While he saved the shed and his home, he found himself in Ogden for several weeks with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  A 9 February 1927 newspaper mention in the Ogden Standard Examiner tells of his being brought to the Dee Hospital on Tuesday the 8th for treatment of burns to the face.

In 1927, Joseph was promoted foreman and oversaw the Quinney line through Wheeler, Thaine, and ending at Quinney (now Amalga).  Later, he accepted another foreman job and moved to the railroad town of Uintah, Weber, Utah where he lived in row housing.  Here is a picture taken while living there.

Picture from Uintah Railroad Camp toward Weber Canyon about 1927

Joseph filed for divorce 2 March 1929 claiming Lillian had deserted him.  The article in the paper indicates they had not lived together since 20 February 1928.  It was during this time on 4 September 1928 that Evan Reed Jonas was born in Ogden.  The divorce was dismissed on 9 March 1929 due to the party’s stipulation.  Joseph again sued on 8 April 1929.  He was ordered to pay $75 a month until the case was resolved.  Joseph and Lillian had the case dismissed after they worked out their issues.

The family later moved into a comfortable home owned by the railroad at 102 17th Street in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  It was a row house, but since he was Section Foreman, the only one with a porch.  Joseph’s father, Joseph, had also served as Section Foreman.  Joseph’s main responsibility dealt with the Huntsville and Plain City/Warren lines.  During this time Joseph and Lillian became known as generous hosts where all visitors were always given more than enough to eat.  Joseph prided himself on the vegetable garden they grew at this home.

On 6 November 1929 Lillian was hit and ran over by an automobile driven by Jack Mobley.  It knocked her unconscious but she quickly regained consciousness.  She spent the night in the hospital and was pretty seriously bruised and lacerated but suffered no broken bones.  Joseph and Lillian admitted they were walking in the middle of the road when the accident occurred.

Joseph and Lillian continued active in the LDS church.  Joseph regularly debated and discussed religion with others.  He was also known to be strict in adherence to principles and expected his children to do the same.  He was not afraid to “switch” his children when they got in trouble or disobeyed.  One thing family members always commented about Joseph was his ability to remember and recall scripture in a conversation and discussion.  Not only that, but when questioned to prove it, he was familiar enough with the book that within moments he could find the chapter and verse.  His familiarity with the bible surprised many people, especially from a railroad laborer.

Joseph and some friends at work after a game of shoes

Lillian Annetta Jonas was born 15 July 1930 in Ogden.  The 1930 Census found Joseph and Lillian at their home on 9 April 1930.  The family was fairly comfortable, they could even afford some of the best appliances.

Joseph Jonas Maytag Warranty Certificate

Joseph was especially glad to have a girl after six sons in a row.

Joseph stands on the back row, second from the left. This is his Section Gang in Ogden.

Joseph and Lillian had a scare in 1931 when their son, Joseph, disappeared for a couple of weeks.  He had been kidnapped by a Mr. J J Nelson and taken to Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho.  He was finally recovered on 20 June 1931.  The man was arrested after he beat young Joseph in public and the police determined Joseph was the missing boy from Ogden.

LeReta Mary Jonas was born 1 August 1932 in Ogden.

On Tuesday, 6 September 1932, a month after LeReta was born and on his 16th wedding anniversary, Joseph went to work as usual.  Joseph knew the dangers of working on the railroad.  It was near lunch time and his son, Norwood, was taking Joseph his lunch. Joseph saw Norwood and got down off a trolley near Lincoln and 20th Street, near the American Can Company plant.  After getting off the trolley, he turned and walked toward Norwood and hit his head on a wire Mr. Child had strung down to do some welding.  (Mr. Child was haunted by this episode the rest of his life because Joseph had warned him about the way he had hung the wire.)  The shock knocked Joseph on his back unconscious and not breathing.  Joseph died immediately but doctors worked on Joseph for over an hour.  Lillian said Norwood was forever affected by the event.  Joseph died at roughly 1:00 PM.

Joseph Jonas Death Cert

Here is a copy of the newspaper notice.

Here is the burial notice.

As a historical side note, here is the front of the train schedule Joseph had in his wallet at the time of his death.

Utah Idaho Central Railroad Company Time Table from 1932-1933

The loss of Joseph dealt the family a hard blow not only with losing a family member, but it also lost them the company housing in which they were living.  Lillian, at the mercy of family, moved immediately back to Richmond to be near her family.  Lillian’s father, Herbert Coley, was appointed administrator for Joseph’s estate.  The railroad paid out roughly $1,200 to Joseph’s estate.  The funeral, transport, and burial of the family cost Lillian $150.  The estate did not begin making regular payments to Lillian until 1934.  Until then, Lillian wrote to the railroad for assistance and help.  The railroad was happy to provide passes for the family to travel.  Unfortunately, the company quit handling company coal so they could not fulfill her requests but allowed the boys to have all the used railroad ties they wanted for firewood.

Lillian’s signature from the back of one of the estate checks written to her.

Fortunately, the money from the estate was enough to purchase a home for Lillian in Richmond from a Melvin & Bernetta Smith for $500.  This gave Lillian a home to raise her children and less worry about providing for her family.  The home was located on the north side of the road at roughly 65 E 400 S in Richmond, Utah.  Herbert and Martha, Lillian’s parents, lived across the street, but their home was a good couple hundred feet from the road.

Lillian made good effort to raise six unruly, now fatherless, boys and two girls.  At Joseph’s death, the children were ages 15, 13, 11, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 month.  The Jonas brood were known for being a bit coarse and boisterous as the years went on.  Only a few years would pass before the children would start marrying.

Joseph married Hilma Grace Erickson 17 June 1936 in Logan.

Spencer married Viola “Jimmie” Amelia Cole 5 August 1938 in Farmington, Davis, Utah.

Irwin joined the army 6 July 1939 and immediately left for training.  He eventually married Mary Elizabeth Popwitz 17 June 1943 in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota.

Lillian’s portrait after the death of son Irwin in World War II

Evan married Lona Rae Jensen 15 March 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.

Norwood married Colleen Mary Andra 27 September 1946 in Elko.

Ellis married Geraldine Pitcher 17 August 1947 in Elko.

Lillian Driver’s License photo

LeReta married Lowell Hansen Andersen 19 March 1948 in Logan.

Lillian married Ray Laurence Talbot 16 August 1948 in Ogden.

Jimmie, Lillian, and Lona Jonas with Norene and little Spence about 1948 (Lillian has a beet knife in hand, must have been fall)

Lillian spent the new few years in an empty home.  She knew Lorenzo “Ren” Bowcutt over the years.  She accepted his offer of marriage and they were married 12 June 1953 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

1953 Marriage License

Lillian and Ren Bowcutt

At the time of her marriage to Ren, she had 22 grandchildren, 21 living.

Lillian Bowcutt in 1959

5 generations about 1959, Lillian Coley Bowcutt, Martha Christiansen Coley, Joseph Hebert Jonas, Robert Lee Jonas, Joseph Leland Jonas

Ren passed away 5 April 1966 in Logan (born 12 May 1883 in Honeyville, Box Elder, Utah).  Ren was buried in Riverside, Box Elder, Utah.

Lorenzo Bowcutt

Lorenzo Bowcutt obituary

Lona and Evan Jonas visiting Lillian in the late 1960’s

Lillian in 1978

She lived in the same home until the early 1980’s when she moved in with her daughter Lillian in Layton.

Front (l-r): Spence, Joe, Ellis, Evan, Paul Ross, Jackie Jonas, Andra Ross. Standing: Jimmie, Hilma, Lillian, Lillian, LeReta, Lona, Colleen. Back: Dan Jonas, Larry Talbot, Unknown hidden, Unknown hidden in 1982

4 generations, Sherlean Talbot Collier, Rebecca Collier, Lillian Jonas Talbot, Lillian Coley Jonas about 1984

Lillian portrait about 1986

Spence, Lillian, Joe, Lillian, Ellis, LeReta, Evan

Lillian died 11 February 1987 in Davis Medical Center, Layton, Utah.  She was almost 88.5 years old.  She was buried beside her husband (55 years later) in Richmond 16 February 1987.