This is a picture of my Great Great Grandfather John George Wanner Jr. His name in Germany was Johann Georg Wanner. I have written a more thorough history of him before. He went by George during his life since he was a Junior.
This large photo is in the possession of Karen Hodges of Preston, Idaho. My Uncle Larry Andra was able to visit and get some pictures of the large photos. I have already uploaded this to FamilySearch and linked him properly. I recommend all go and see the free family history tree and related documents and memories/photos there. http://www.familysearch.org
The photo, a painted picture, does create questions for me. Why is he dressed up? What was the occasion? But the more interesting part of the photo is what is found on the back of the photo.
While the photo snapped by Larry cuts off some of the dates, it gives a great copy of his signature. I don’t have the record of when he was ordained a High Priest, but he served as a missionary to California from 1 December 1933 to 6 April 1934. He returned at age 63 so I don’t think this photo is of him at the same time, he just wrote the back of the photo over the age of 63.
It is nice to have a copy of his handwriting in addition to the photos we have of him.
I received this history a few years ago. I will provide it as it is written (only minor edits). I have written before regarding Fred’s parents Johann George (John George) Wanner and Anna Maria Schmid.
“(This History is written by Jacob’s daughter – Eva June Wanner Lewis – with the information sent in by Brother Fred, and Sister Mary Ann, and her own sweet memories as well as information from Histories of Brothers and Sisters.)
“Jacob Friedrich Wanner was born January 14, 1881, in Gruenkraut, Germany, the 7th child of Johann Georg Wanner and Anna Maria Schmid. They had a large family consisting of five boys and five girls. They were quite poor so Grandfather went to work as a road overseer. This left the farm work to Grandmother and the children. They used the milk cows to do the farm work and then would milk them morning and night. They also got wood from the forest for fuel.
“It rained a lot in Germany so the out buildings were connected to the house. One time Grandma went downstairs to get some fruit. She reached over and touched something hairy – she thought it was the devil! It was a cow that had wandered down from the barn.
“Dad didn’t talk much about his life as a child but he did say he got a drum for Christmas and then it would disappear about New Year’s Day and he would get it for Christmas again the next year. He may have been joking.
“The family belonged to the Lutheran Church and was very religious.
“In the summer of 1890 the Lord sent a man along the street in Gruenkraut where Grandpa worked. He was a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He talked to Grandpa a long time and showed him the Book of Mormon. He spoke in German. When it came dinner time Grandpa took the missionary home and said, “We’ll see Mother.” From that day the missionaries stayed in their home and the family was soon converted. They joined the church in 1891.
“Uncle George was baptized in July 1891 and went to America with one of the missionaries, Brother Terrell from Providence, Utah. Brother Terrell helped him find a job to provide for himself. He got a job with Fred Nuffer in Glendale. Grandfather and Grandmother and the three oldest girls were baptized in October 1891. Louise and Pauline were baptized in June 1894, Gottlob in June 1895 and Wilhelmina in August 1896. Dad was baptized in Preston or Franklin, Idaho, on June 7, 1894, by Lars C. Larsen and confirmed a member of the church by Austin I. Merrill on June 7, 1894. He was ordained an Elder by George C. Parkinson on September 27, 1903, and was married by Thos Morgan on September 30, 1903, at the Logan Temple.
“The family left Germany to come to America so they could worship the way the pleased. It was a long, uncomfortable trip. They took the train to the Rhine River and then boarded a boat and traveled up the Rhine, a journey of about 3 or 4 days. Then another train took them to the North Sea where a ship sailed them to Amsterdam, Holland, and then on to England. At Liverpool they boarded a ship and were on the ocean for 13 days. Dad was 12 years old when they crossed the ocean and told us of the rough sea. He had to hang on to his bunk with both hands to keep from being thrown to the floor. He said he sure got sick of eggs.
“They arrived in New York and stayed there for 2 days. Then they went to Chicago for a day and a night. They then rode a train straight through to Franklin, Idaho, which took six days. They arrived the 18th day of June, 1893.
“Uncle George and Fred Nuffer (the man he worked for) met them with a buggy and wagon and took them to Fred Nuffer’s place in Cub River. They stayed for a while with the Nuffers and purchased a farm from John Nuffer in Glendale.
“When Grandpa and Grandma moved to Whitney they sold the farm to Dad. I don’t know if Dad or Grandpa build the sandstone house. It had a kitchen, two bedrooms and a pantry. It had a hand pump that pumped water from a spring. Mary Ann and some of the children were born there.
“Dad met and married a lovely young girl, Mary Elizabeth Carter on September 30, 1903, in the Logan Temple. They lived in Whitney, Idaho, until they bought the farm. They worked hard to improve their farm and many times she helped him in the fields. They built a three bedroom brick house that stood for many years until fire destroyed it years later. Dad had a Delco generator in the garage so we had our own electricity.
“They had a lovely family, five girls and three boys: Laverna C., Fredrick D., Lorin C., Florence E., Joseph J., Erma C., Mary Ann and Grace C.
“IN 1923 – Elizabeth died leaving seven children. The youngest was almost 2 years old. Laverna got married so that left Erma and MaryAnn to take care of the baby. Erma would go to school one day and MaryAnn the next. It was hard. They tried to leave her with Aunt Ethel Barrington in Riverdale, but she got so lonely and cried all day so they went and got her. Then Dad hired Eva Christensen to come and work as a housekeeper. As time went on Dad and Eva (my mother) fell in love and was married June 26, 1925, in the Logan Temple. They had five children: Carma C., L. Bertus, Eva June, Lyman G., and Stanley C. We had a happy family life and dad always saw to it that we went to church and did what we were suppose to do. He went when he could. He always paid his tithing and other offerings. He was honest in all his dealings.
“Dad was the first one in Glendale to buy a car. We children were used to horses so we would say, “Gid up, Gid up” when we got in the car. About this time Dad was struck by lightening but was not harmed.
“Dad owned or had a share in the thrashing machine. They would go around to all the farmers in Glendale and thrash the grain. Then we would fix a big meal for all the men. It was a real fun time for the children but a lot of work for the adults. Dad worked as an oiler or on the thresher and had part of his finger taken off. When we were little he told us a fox bit it off!
“Dad was a good farmer. He took pride in all his work. He raised hay, barley and wheat. He always had 10 or 12 dairy cows. He also had horses, pigs and chickens. For many years we separated the cream from the milk in the old separator. Then Dad took the cream to Preston to sell it along with the eggs. In later years we had the milk truck come and pick up the milk so we didn’t use the separator anymore. He also bought a grain chopper and prepared his own feed for the animals. We had a big raspberry patch and used to sell raspberries for 8 quarts for a dollar. Dad always had a big garden and a big potato patch. He had a root cellar to keep potatoes, carrots, squash and apples over the winter.
“In the early 1930’s Dad bought silver foxes. He built a high fence so they couldn’t get out. He took great pride in his fox furs. They were always excellent quality! I remember watching him cure the furs and he took great care to make sure they were done right. Dad always kept his barnyard as well as the rest of the farm in good repair and very neat. His fences were always mended.
“Dad always took time out of his farm work to go to Franklin to celebrate Idaho Day on the 15th of June. We would take a big picnic lunch and spend the day. We rode the carnival rides and had a good time. He always took us kids to Downata to go swimming when we finished first crop of hay.
“Dad liked a good joke… I remember how he would laugh. He loved the radio and his favorite programs were Gang Busters, The Old Ranger and of course the news! We all had to be quiet when the news came on.
“Dad was very active and was always working except on Sunday – there was never any work done on Sunday except chores. He loved the Sunday paper. He always bought the Denver Post. It was a real shock to us when he had his heart attack because he was so active. It happened one day when he was working in the barn. We were all frightened and I called the neighbors to help us get him to the house.
“After that he had to be very careful so he sold the farm and moved to Preston. They lived just down the street from MaryAnn. He seemed to miss the farm and would putter around the yard.
“He died at the age of 74 on August 25, 1955. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery.
I stumbled upon this history written about Anna Elizabeth Reber. Anna was the third spouse to my John Christoph Nuffer. He married her 28 September 1893 in the Logan Utah Temple after my 3rd Great Grandmother Eva Katharina Greiner died 26 February 1893 in Mapleton, Franklin, Idaho. I thought it was interesting to review the life of a later spouse for John Christoph Nuffer. If you would like to review the pdf with pictures and more, it is attached here: Reber
The Story of Anna Elizabeth Reber
We would like to acknowledge dedicated genealogists who have preserved for decades the oral histories, journals, and handwritten records used in this story.
Faith and Courage
The Story of Anna Elizabeth Reber
By: Christine A. Quinn and Sterling D. Quinn
Graphic design by: Michelle Quinn, Au.D.
Early Years in Switzerland
Frau Reber felt only gratitude that her new baby was alive and had not died as had her last child. This little girl, born May 17, 1855, would complete their family of three sons and three daughters. They named the child Anna Elizabeth to distinguish her from her older sisters, Anna and Barbara. Later in life this child would come to be known simply as “Annie.”
The family was settled on the Reber’s ancestral farm in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland where they spoke a unique Bern dialect of Swiss German, or Schwyzertutsch (Luck 1985). It was a small country village dotted with chalets, settled in the forested and fertile Emmental valley along the Emme and Aare rivers. It has been said, “An who have wandered through such magnificent forests as those of …Emmental, will never forget the berries, the mushrooms, the neatly arranged stacks of firewood, the beautifully colored autumn foliage, and the grey low-hanging mists and frost-decorated conifers of early winter” (Luck, 1985 p. 470). For hundreds of years in this valley the same industrious group of families had raised cattle for milk and cheese, while nurturing vineyards, orchards and crops.
This was a Switzerland just emerging from the hated status of a vassal state to the French Emperor Napoleon, an indignity thrown off seven years prior. Hope arose as the impoverished and beleaguered people named the central city of Bern to be the capital of the new Swiss Confederation (Luck) 1985).
The child Annie grew nurtured in the love of her family. Little girls in Switzerland wew taught the virtues of being clean, neat, punctual, thrifty, independent, and hard working. There were cows to be milked as well as household chores to be done. Annie would have been taught to knit and sew the linen, silk, and cotton fabrics for which the Swiss were famous. Education was also encouraged.
Tragedy visited the family when Annie’s 21 year old brother, Jacob, died in the fall of 1861. This loss left an indelible impression on the six year old girl, enough that many years later she ensured saving ordinances were performed on his behalf in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
Marriage and Family
How Annie and her future husband, Gottfried Weiermann, met is a mystery, but Bern did enjoy the reputation of being “more lively and sociable than any other town in Switzerland”. Men and women came together to amuse themselves with English country dances as well as waltzes (Luck, 1985 p. 255)
The Weiermann family worked the land and raised cattle for many generations in the village of Wynigen, a little over 20 miles northeast of the city of Bern. Rather than compete with five brothers for farmland, Gottfried decided to try his hand at the ancient profession of stone masonry. At age 23 when he met Annie, he had perhaps finished his apprenticeship and therefore gained some freedom to marry.
The couple were likely wed in the Protestant church in Wynigen on 21 August 1875. At the time, Annie was only months away from giving birth. The couple affectionately named this child after his father, Gottfried, but he was known as “Fred”. Although he was a sickly child, Fred would survive to bring his mother much joy and comfort until the end of her life.
Less than two years later the family moved again to Ferenberg where Anne gave birth to twins, Andre and Peter. They survived only a day, which tragically was not uncommon at that time as one out of every five births in Switzerland ended in death (Luck, 1985).
A year later Gottfried moved his family closer to the city of Bern to Ostermundigen, the largest regional quarry center in Switzerland. A special train with a cog in the center had been invented six years earlier to haul the thick, soft, and colorful sandstone up from the mines. Previously this job relied on horse or mule tams. The train made it possible to quarry enough stone for export, while also enabling urban expansion of Bern, which demanded massive amounts of stone for new buildings. Up to 500 men were working as either quarry men, Steinbrecher, who extracted the stone, or stone masons, Steinhau, who skillfully dressed, shaped, and cut the stone. Of the two, stone masons enjoyed a higher social status. The stone masons of Bern had an established fraternity in the city since 1321 (Storemyr, 2012). Gottfried, along with other craftsmen, flocked to this bountiful source of work.
Next to the noisy and dusty train yard, families of stone masons resided in multistory slums (Storemyr, 2012). Laundry hanging between tenements flapped in the wind while the narrow dirty streets teemed with children of all ages. Families crowded into tiny, tightly packed rooms, sharing limited sanitation facilities. “The wages were exceedingly low and people extremely poor” (Stucki 1888, Nov. 20). Stomachs were never full. In 1876, Swiss families were spending 60 % of their income on food. “A typical diet for the older children and adults consisted of coffee, black tea, or cocoa water with a little milk, some cheese and bread. ….The midday meal typically consisted of boiled potatoes, pasta, cheese, and coffee or tea, and wine. The evening meal was usually of cheese and a vegetable soup – the latter being made by boiling together leeks, cabbage, beetroot, potatoes, and pasta” (Luck, 1985, p.p. 249,441).
In the spring of 1878 with the aid of a midwife, 23 year old Annie gave birth to a son, Christian, and in September of the next year to a daughter, Ida. Like all their neighbors, the family fought for financial survival. Not quite 4 years old, Fred would have been responsible for helping keep his little sister safe and happy as their mother cared for her new infant. Imagine her efforts in washing cloth diapers and keeping a clean house under those circumstances! Years later Annie’s daughter, Ida, reflected her mother’s standards when she said, “Just because you are poor, you don’t need to be dirty” (Arave, 2017).
The Weiermanns had lived in Ostermundigen at least five years when on 2 August 1883 they welcomed a blonde curly-haired baby boy into their home. He was named Jacob after his maternal grandfather and deceased uncle.
Two years later Annie was expecting a child for her final time. Due to unknown circumstances (perhaps poverty or a medical crisis), she traveled an hour to the hospital in Bern on a cold December day in 1885 where she gave birth to a small girl who didn’t survive (Weyerman, G). They named her Anna.
At this point, the family consisted of Gottfried age 33, Annie age 30, Fred age 10, Christian 7, Ida 6, and Jacob age 2. Gottfried may have occasionally taken his oldest son to the stone yard to teach him aspects of his craft, because in later years Fred was known as a skilled stone mason (Weyerman G).
Gottfried’s pursued recreation of heavy drinking with the stone mason’s fraternity began to affect the Weiermann family. Workers bonded over alcohol, and Ostermundigen quarry men became legendary for schnapps consumption (Storemyr, 2012). Unfortunately, Gottfried’s drinking created a fissure in his marriage. Circumstances only worsened with the death of 10-year-old Christian on 4 June 1887. The cause is unknown; it may have been an accident, or one of the many infectious diseases rampant at that time such as influenza, smallpox, diphtheria, tuberculosis, Typhus fever, or measles (Luck, 1985).
Annie and Gottfried’s marriage soon reached a breaking point and ended in divorce (Weiermann, I. 1955). Years later in a heart-wrenching remembrance, Fred wrote, “My parents lived financially poor. Conditions brought it about that the family got badly broken up and scattered. Three of my brothers and one sister was called on the other side. In the year 1887, the rest of my family met the sad experience of the separation of Father and Mother on account of drunkenness” (Weyerman, G).
Desperate to provide for her children, Annie hired out as a seamstress, one of the few professions available to women that would allow her to care for little ones at home (Wheeler, I.). Wages were notoriously low; a decade later, women making shirts in their homes were earning less than a penny an hour, and often worked more than 12 hours a day (Cadbury, 2011). Bending over and straining to see tiny stitches by the dim light of an oil lamp was exhausting. “As one of the infamous sweated trades, seamstressing represented the trails of arduous work, miserable working conditions, impossibly long hours, and equally impossibly low wages” (Harris, chap. 2.). The older children most likely helped their mother by doing the chores and mining their siblings; but life soon changed for 11 year old Fred in a way that must have torn at his mother’s heart.
Because of the family’s poverty and her status as a divorced mother, Annie was legally compelled to register with one of the councils in Ostermundigen responsible to care for the poor and orphans. If it was believed the children could not be provided for this council had the power to break up the poorest families. Despite Annie’s courageous efforts to support her children, the council forced Fred to enter into foster care, there he became known as a “Verdingkinder”, or literally “discarded child” (Foulkes, 2012).
In this sad circumstance, the amiable and music-loving Fred was taken from his mother and given into the custody of a gentleman who lived in Habstetten, about an hour’s walk from his family. There, Fred attended school and helped with the chores. He longed for his family, and visited his mother whenever he could obtain permission (Weyerman,G).
“Oh! But for one short hour!
A respite however brief!
No Blessed leisure for love or hope,
But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hiders needle and thread!”
With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread —
“Song of the Shirt”
Within a year after these turbulent events, Annie received an invitation from her neighbor to meet with missionaries, or Elders, from LDS church. Members of this faith were commonly known as Mormons. After meeting several times, Annie began to take her children along to Sunday School and other meetings (Wheeker, I). Annie almost immediately recognized the simplicity and truthfulness of the long awaited and newly restored church of Jesus Christ. Her countrymen had been searching for this truth through the Protestant Reformation for over 300 years (Luck, 1985). One can imagine the gospel of Jesus Christ calming her soul and assuaging her fears at a time of life when it was most needed.
Annie, Ida, and Jacob began a formal study of Mormonism with young Elder Alfred Budge, who taught them the first principles of the gospel (Weyerman, G). Annie may have read the tract, Die Froke Botschaft, (Glad Tidings of Great Joy), or Glaubenskekenntniss, (The Articles of Faith) (Reiser). In time, she received a witness from the Holy Ghost that Christ’s church had been restored to the earth through the young American prophet, Joseph Smith Jr. Despite some local persecution, she and Ida were soon converted and baptized by Elder Budge in late October 1888. At this time, Jacob had not yet reached the age of 8 years old required for baptism (Wheeler, I).
Arriving at church on Sundays took an hour of walking into downtown Bern, where Annie and her children wound through cobblestone streets lined with ancient stone houses standing side by side like soldiers at attention. They knew they were getting close to their destination when they heard the Sabbath bells pealing from the gothic tower of the Bern cathedral. Soon they arrived at the mission office where church services were held. The many families who attended the Bern Branch may have eaten a modest lunch as the fellowshipped between morning and evening meetings. Every week the congregation took the sacrament and listened to preaching by either Mission President Stucki, the local Branch President, or one of the Elders. A volunteer choir provided uplifting music (Stucki, 1837-1918).
Around this time Fred went to live with another foster family in the closer town of Ittigen, which shortened the walk to see his loved ones. During Fred’s visits, his mother earnestly shared with him the principles of the new religion she was learning. It was her heart’s desire that he would be baptized and join the church.
The Mormon missionaries in the region of Bern were led by John Ulrich Stucki. A native of Switzerland, Stucki had been living in the territory of Utah at the time of his assignment to serve as the Swiss/German Mission President. This would be the second time he accepted this weighty responsibility.
Not only would Stucki be responsible for the 13 traveling Elders in the mission; he would also publish the monthly LDS newsletter, “Der Stern”, and he would administer from his office in Bern all the branches of the church in Germany and Switzerland. Added to these weighty responsibilities was overseeing the twice yearly emigration to Utah made by Swiss and German Mormons. These members wishing to join others of their faith in the building up of “Zion” would leave their homes and travel to the Rocky Mountains of the United States of America (Stucki, 1837-1918).
Accompanying Presiden Stucki to the mission field was 19 year old Alfred Budge, the son of Stucki’s good friend, William Budge. What thoughts and anticipations might have filled the young elder’s mind as he contemplated his father’s earlier mission to Switzerland in 1854, “when opposition to the church was so violent that within three months he was on thirteen occasions placed under arrest and imprisoned for short periods, and finally was obligated to return to England!” (Budge, W).
When President Stucki and Elder Budge arrived in Switzerland on 15 May 1888 Elder Budge did not speak German (Stucki, 1837-1918). Five months later he was teaching the Weiermann family in Ostermundigan using their native tongue (Wheeler, I).
Working with Elder Budge was the pleasant-mannered Elder Albert Schneider Reiser from Salt Lake City. His Swiss parents spoke German at home, so he had the advantage of being familiar with the language.
Seventeen old Albert had been forced to grow up fast after his father, along with many faithful LDS men, was incarcerated by the United States government for the common practice of polygamy. To support his family, Albert took charge of their clock repair business in downtown Salt Lake. He delivered customers’ clocks to the prison, where his father repaired them. Interestingly, Elder Budge’s father was converted to the LDS faith in Scotland, and Elder Reiser’s in Switzerland; yet they both emigrated to America on the same ship and crossed the plains to Utah in the same wagon train 28 years earlier in 1860 (Reiser).
Switzerland to United States
Elder Reiser arrived in Switzerland just a few days after Annie’s baptism, and began helping to teach the Weiermann family (Stucki 1837-1918). The missionaries had with them some pictures of Utah. For decades, Mormon converts in Europe had been encouraged by church leaders to gather to “Zion” in the American West. Surely ideas of emigration were planted by visiting Elders and church officials, but when accused of being an emigration agent, Elder Reiser remarked: “It was not my business to persuade people to emigrate, but to bring them the Gospel….there was only one true church….[I] told them how important it was for mankind to investigate Joseph Smith’s message….”(Reiser).
One late summer morning Fred joined his family on their brisk walk to church. His mother made an astonishing announcement that she had arranged for them to emigrate to Zion! Because the children had received an inheritance from the death of their father’s Aunt Isali, they could afford to emigrate. The family would be reunited and travel together to start a new life with the Saints in Utah. (Weyerman, G.)
After the day’s church services, Annie shared with the mission president some of her worries about Fred’s situation. President Stucki lovingly took hold of her hands and prophesied, “Fear not, for your son Gottfried. He will be the means of bringing many souls into the church” (Weyerman, G). Within 10 days, Annie and her three children, led by President Stucki and joined by Elder Budge, began their odyssey to Zion.
The miracle of emigration did not take place without Annie’s heroic effort and faith. President Stucki promised that if the saints paid their tithing, a way would be opened up for them to join the saints in Zion (Stucki, July 31, 1888). The children’s inheritance from their great aunt had been put into an untouchable trust. With nerve and steely determination, the slight-built Annie faced authorities and requested they give her the funds to use for emigration to America. When they refused, she threatened to leave without the children and then the state could raise them! After this ultimatum, they relented and granted her the inheritance of 500 Swiss francs (Weiermann, I., 1955).
Annie delivered the money to President Stucki, who hired agents from the Guion shipping line to purchase train and steamer tickets. These agents arranged transportation, loding, and food, and also oversaw the moving of luggage from Switzerland to England and then on to America. President Stucki also took care of details such as procuring bedding, tinware, etc. to be forwarded to the steamer for the transatlantic crossing (Stucki, 1937-1918).
In preparation for the voyage, Annie made some traditional hard dry Swiss bread, then fried it in butter to be their principal diet. The missionaries taught them how to say “hot water” in English, so they could request some to pour over their bread, thus making it edible (Wheeler, F 1948). Then the family of four packed all their worldly goods into five pieces of luggage (Mormon Migration). They were now ready to travel over 5,000 miles to join the Saints in Utah.
“May God Bless Them All and Bring
Them Safely into the Bosom of the
Church and Kingdom of God”
This was the fourth and final emigration that President Stucki oversaw during this mission. He and Elder Budge wew being released from their callings to return home to America with the emigrating saints. Feelings were tender in the Bern branches the day before departure when President Stucki preached his farewell sermon in Sacrament Meeting. Since his arrival two years earlier, he served the saints daily while surviving fever and smallpox. At the close of the meeting it is likely they sang the Swiss hymn, “May God Bless Them All and Bring Them Safely in the Bosom of the Church and Kingdom of God” (Stucki, 1837-1918).
The next morning, Monday, 1 September 1890, Annie (35), Fred (14), Ida (10), and Jacob (7) began their pilgrimage by boarding the train in Bern. Who can know the conflicted feelings that must have been in their hearts? These may have involved jow, excitement, and hope of a new life in America among the Saints of God; mixed with the regret of leaving loved ones and the magnificent country of their birth. Years later when Fred saw a newsreel about the Alps in Switzerland he sat and wept from homesickness for his native land. He commented, “The beauty of that land could not be found anywhere else”. (Weyerman, G).
At 10:30 a.m. the saints were on their way north to the border city of Basel entertaining themselves with singing. Arriving after noon, the train pulled into Basel to pick up the missionaries as well as 13 members of the faithful Gygi family. To everyone’s horror Rudolph Gygi, the father, had been stabbed the night before in the face by a mob of hoodlums who thought he was taking his six daughters to be enslaved in polygamy (Gygi).
Through the night and into Tuesday, the travelers continued north by train into Belgium. It was 2 September, Ida’s 11th birthday. Perhaps she made friends with Anna and Elisa Gygi and helped them watch their younger brothers and sisters. At the late hour of 11:00 p.m. the weary saints arrived in the port city of Antwerp. The Swiss emigrants were met at the train station by their agent who provided a wagon to transport their luggage and at least seven children under age 10 to a boarding house. Before retiring, all received refreshment, which could have been soup, meat, vegetables, coffee, and bread (Stucki, J. 1837-1918).
After a night’s rest, the Swiss saints united with about 51 emigrating converts from Germany who spoke German so differently that neither group could understand the other. Together this made 72 travelers. Once again they loaded their belongings onto a wagon to transport them down to the dock where the shop was moored (Stucki 1937-1918.) There the family had their first glimpse of the vast sea and all the ships and business of the bustling Antwerp harbor. Searching for words, Ida wrote as an old woman, :The trip across the ocean was quite – I don’t know what you would call it – an experience to us” (Weiermann,I. 1955).
All boarded the steamer, which launched into the North Sea shortly after noon. Their destination was the port of Hull on England’s eastern shore (Woods & Evans 2002). For many, this was the first time on the open sea. Spirits were high and the saints passed time with singing hymns of praise, or conversion pleasantly. President Stucki recorded, “the vessel went steady, sea sickness was therefore very light and confined to but few” (Stucki 1837-1918).
They traveled all night to reach Hull on Thursday at 3:00 in the morning. The ship could not dock at low tide, so the passengers had to transfer in the dark to a tugboat that took them to shore. Ida remembered the confusion, “While crossing the North Sea, something went wrong with the ship and we had to change ships. Somehow we lost a roll of bedding, which we needed very much” (Stucki 1837-1918) (Weiermann, I., 1955). Despite the hassle of getting ashore, the emigrants were met by a kindly agent who examined their luggage to verify it was duty-free. He also saw that the hungry Saints received something to eat before boarding a train late in the day.
Lulled to sleep by the clicking -clacking rhythm of the steam train’s wheels, the adventures slept most of the six-hour 140 mile journey across England to Liverpool. They arrived before dawn on Friday morning (Stucki, 1837-1918).
MON 01 Train: Bern – Basel
TUES 02 Train: Antwerp
WED 03 Boat: Antwerp – Hull
Thurs 04 Train: Hull – Liverpool
FRI 05 Liverpool – Immigration House
SAT 06 Loading of the ship, off at 3pm
SUN 07 Atlantic Crossing Day 1 – Queenstown
MON 08 Atlantic Crossing Day 2 – 294 miles
TUES 09 Atlantic Crossing Day 3 – 300 miles
WED 10 Atlantic Crossing Day 4 – 320 miles
THURS 11 Atlantic Crossing Day 5 – 298 miles
FRI 12 Atlantic Crossing Day 6 – Newfoundland
SAT 13 Atlantic Crossing Day 7 – 314 miles
SUN 14 Atlantic Crossing Day 8 – 320 miles
MON 15 Atlantic Crossing Day 9 – 298 – miles
TUE 16 Atlantic Crossing Day 10 – 308 miles
Arrival in New York, USA
WED 17 Luggage and Customs
TRAIN CROSSING TO UTAH & IDAHO
SUN 28 Train: Montpelier, ID
Wagon and Buggy to Paris, ID
Once again, shipping hires by President Stucki greeted the Mormon converts upon their arrival to Liverpool. This city situated on the western coast of England was considered in the nineteenth century the most active international port of emigration in the world. It was also home to the British Mission, and served as the administrative headquarters for the LDS church in Europe (Woods & Evans, p.91).
Passengers were not allowed to board their ships until either the day before or the day of departure (Liverpool); thus, the saints were taken to an immigration house to wait, eat, and rest for a day (Stucki, 1837-1918).
Meanwhile, it was LDS church procedure that every emigration company have a Presidency. They would watch over the saints, conduct Sunday services, and see that everyone reached their destination. John U. Stucki acted as President, and selected Alfred Budge and C. Meyer as his counselors. The day before departure, they were called and set apart by the British mission president, George Teasdale (Stucki, 1857-1918) (Mormon Migration Database, 1890, Sept. 6).
The sleek 366.2 ft steamer S/S Wisconsin, piloted by Captain Worral, waited patiently at port to receive her passengers (Mormon migration database, 1890, Sept. 6). She was one of a fleet of 16 ships run by the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Company, known commonly as the “Guion Line.” For 20 years the company’s ships had been launching twice a week to transport passengers and mail from Liverpool to New York. A typical trip across the Atlantic took a week. At a time when there was no air travel, they were known as “ocean greyhounds” (Guion) (Miller).
All day Saturday September 6 a steady stream of humanity carting trunks, baskets, bags, and bed rolls trudged up the ramp of the stately steamship with its tall dark smokestack. Seventy-six first staterooms as well as spacious dining rooms. Thy were joined by 100 intermediate passengers.
Then the Weiermann family joined a mass of 800 impoverished voyagers crowded into the notorious “steerage” section below deck (miller). Annie, Ida, and Jacob were together in the Port Aft Steerage, while Fred was assigned Fore Steerage, perhaps because he was an older single male (Mormon migration Database, 1890, Sep.6).
It was a cacophony of humanity: men women and children from many countries speaking a babble of languages. Each passenger was assigned a number on a canvas berth. When not in use the berths could be neatly stowed away making space for tables and seats during the day. The journey would be no luxury cruise for these steerage passengers. Conditions were cramped, food was poor, and the atmosphere often bad; especially during rough weather when access to the upper deck was restricted. (Solem).
By 3:00 PM the ship’s crew drew up anchor. All passengers went on deck, waving white handkerchiefs and throwing hats as they watched England slowly shrink into the horizon. With this fanfare, Annie and her family bid farewell to their old life, and looked with hope to a brighter future in America, the land of opportunity.
As the ship glided into the night, the Swiss converts completed the irs six days of their traveling adventure. When the sun came up it was a beautiful morning and the sea was as smooth as glass. President Stucki would have liked to conduct Sunday services, but the ship was too crowded and there was nowhere they could meet without disturbing someone.
By Late morning they reached the southern seaport of Ireland’s Queenstown harbor, where they remained for an hour or so to pick up more passengers. Soon after moving out, they were engulfed in a dense blanket of fog. Everyone listened with suspense to a shrill whistle blow in rapid succession waning other floating vessels of their presence. Soon all was well as they glided out of the fog into weather as fine as before. Although the steamer was quite steady, some began to get sea sick (Stucki, 1837-1918).
By Monday, several of the women and a baby were pretty sick, which kept President Stucki and his counselors busy. Ida and her brothers were focused on the adventure and didn’t seem to mind the discomforts of travel. She said, “We used to go up on deck all the time. The sailors would take us skating across it. We really had a good time – us kids did when we wasn’t sick” (Weiermann, I., 1955).
If the passengers weren’t sick on Monday, many became queasy on the next day when a wind made the sea rough and caused the ship to pitch and roll.
An English convert traveling a few years earlier on the same ship described a similar chaotic event:
“….Towards night the wind began to raise rather rough and the captain shouted out from the upper deck, “Look out for a storm.” The sailors began to run from one end of the ship to the other with large chains and ropes….We was then all ordered down below. Pots, pans, buckets, and everything that was not fast was rolling about. Old people falling down, young ones laughing at the fun but did not last long. A large rope had been placed all along the water closets for protection. During the time we was standing by this rope waiting to get in the closets, our ship gave another sudden roll and we fell over this rope, old and young, head and tail together, vomiting on each other. Girls screaming, boys laughing, old men and women grumbling, children crying” (Horsley, S., 1877, September 19-29).
The Ship continued to roll heavy with water pouring over the deck clear into Wednesday. Soon even President Stucki and Elder Budge were sick too (Stucki, 1837-1918.) Years later Ida recalled, “When we were sick we would have to go on deck every day no matter how sick you were. But we got across” (Weiermann, I. 1955).
On Thursday quite a number of suffering women remained in their berths. Crowded conditions below deck caused the air to become fetid with disagreeable body odors, strange foods, vomit, waste, and ship oil. Mercifully, the temperatures were quite cool (Stucki, 1837-1918).
By the sixth day at sea the weather improved, the ship steadied, and everyone felt much more cheerful. Despite the rather chilly stiff breeze most passengers enjoyed a refreshing interlude basking in the sun on deck. Some excitedly observed an iceberg silhouetted against the horizon about ten miles to the left (Stucki, 1837-1918).
At last after being a sea for a week, the ship entered cal waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Some of the sick were beginning to feel better; everyone felt happier and more hopeful. In the afternoon, steerage passengers had to pass a routine health inspection, and if necessary receive vaccinations. This was in the interest of the shipping company to avoid paying a hefty fee for any unhealthy passengers.
Sunday, President Stucki conducted church services in he saloon, or the first class public area of the ship. The next few days passed without incident. There was some rain, but much to the passengers. President Stucki notes in his journal, “If it had been as warm all the way as the first two days, there would no doubt have been a good deal of sickness; the Lord is overruling all things for good.” (Stucki, 1837-1918).
On Tuesday afternoon, to everyone’s great joy and anticipation,their destination was sighted! All the immigrants strained to see the fabled America. With gratitude and relief for a safe journey, the travelers watched the New York skyline slowly grow into view. Their hearts certainly swelled at the first glimpse of the magnificent and newly erected Statue of Liberty. Majestically she lifted her lamp to greet the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. (Lazarus, 1883). They passed Staten or “Quarantine” Island at 5:00 that evening, pulling up to the pier at 7:15 p.m. It was 16 September 1890; the first day of their life in America!
Heavy rain caused some delay the next day, but the baggage was unloaded by Wednesday noon, and an examination made by custom house officers. Since the Immigration Station on Ellis Island was under construction, new arrivals were taken to the temporary Barge Office located in Castle Clinton at Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan Island (Ellis Island Immigration Museum.) There all steerage passengers had to pass inspection or be sent back. Ida years later remembered the tense time in this way, “When we arrived at Ellis Island (sic), [mother] did not have the necessary amount of money the government required of those coming into this country, so she showed them a letter of proposal of marriage she had received from a convert who was already in the United States, and let them believe she was coming to marry him” (Weiermann, I. 1955) (Wheeler, F., 1948).
When all was cleared and the immigration process finished President Stucki concluded in a letter, “We are very thankful to our Heavenly Father for the many blessings received thus far, and feel to trust in him for our safe arrival in the land of his choice” (Mormon Migration database 6 Sept. 1890-Sept. 1890.).
It isn’t known for sure which railroad route the Weiermann family and their fellow saints took west. Nevertheless as they crossed the continent, vast flat prairie lands would seem endless to someone from a tiny country encircled by tall mountains. It was an adventure with pleasures for wide-eyed travelers. Ida thrilled to see wild horses running with the train (Wheeler, I., 1955). Fred with gratitude recorded, “We had good health and lots of pleasure on our journey both on train and ship”. (Weyerman, G).
Most of the European immigrants were destined for the Utah towns of Salt Lake City, Provo, Payson, Logan, and Nephi. About 21 of the weary saints stayed on the train to travel northwest into the new state of Idaho. They arrived in the frontier town of Montpelier on 28 September 1890. Continuing on by wagon and buggy, the Weiermann family, returning missionaries, and others rolled 10 miles south to the tiny town of Paris, Idaho. Fred remembered, “Elders Stucki and Budge were also glad to get home and and had all things arranged for hospitality.” (Weyerman, G) (Stocker, J).
In Paris, the red sandstone of the newly dedicated tabernacle looked down on the little town. This recently settled country of small farms was very different from the noisy crowded city the Weiermann’s were used to. However, for Annie it may have triggered happy memories of her youth growing up in rural Switzerland.
Life in America
One of the great motivations for Mormon emigration was to be able to reach a temple, considered the “Lord’s house,” where they could receive ordinances necessary for their own salvation and perform them by proxy on behalf of their deceased ancestors. This was a priority which Annie acted on immediately. It is recorded that her 10 year old son, Christian Weiermnn, three years deceased, was baptized by proxy in the Logan, Utah temple on 25 September 1890, suggesting someone took his name to the temple before the family finished their journey to their new home in Idaho. (Proxy baptisms were not required for her twin sons and daughter, since they died as innocent infants).
Many people who came to the United States chose to change or “americanize” the spelling or their names. Fred’s Posterity most often spell their name Weyerman, while the family of Ida has most often spelled their name Weiermann. In various family records the name can be seen in old records; Gottfried was known as “Fred”, his brother Jacob sometimes as “Jake”, and their mother, Anna Elizabeth, came to be known as “Annie” (1900 census).
Soon Annie and her young son Jacob moved into a rented log cabin owned by a Mrs. Herzog. Annie began earning money taking in sewing. Ida had the opportunity to live with and work for the beloved Stucki family, who were also boarding the local school teacher. Ida reminisces, “My teacher lived at the Stucky (sic) home and was very good to help me with my lessons” (wheeler,I., 1955). Once again, Fred boarded away from his family when he went to work on a farm.
Paris, Idaho had been colonized by the Latter-day Saints 17 years earlier and had two LDS wards. What a change after attending the small branch in Bern! It was wonderful to dwell without persecution among people who believed and lived as they did; however, life was not without challenges. Everyone had to work hard on the frontier for the survival of their family. It wasn’t easy learning a new language and adjusting to the ways of America. For example the young Swiss girl, Elisa Gygi, whom Ida certainly made friends with on the journey to Utah, recalls how at school she was told her name was to be the more familiar Alice instead of Elisa. The children made fun of her because her shoes and clothes were different. Subsequently, Elisa took turns with her sister wearing to school a nice dress and some shoes someone gave them. In their poverty the Gygi family happily received groceries, clothes, and candy for Christmas from the Bishop of their ward (Gygi). It isn’t hard to imagine the Weiermann family relying on friends in a similar way until they were able to earn money to support themselves.
On 29 December 1890, several months after their arrival in Idaho, Fred received the ordinance of baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Several days later, on New Year’s Day, his younger brother, Jacob, was also baptized. Then, according to the custom at that time for member immigrants arriving in Zion, Annie and her daughter, Idam, were rebaptized. It was a new year and a new life for the Weiermann family.
Fred traveled 20 miles north to Nounan, Idaho, to work. There he was also able to procure a log cabin for his mother and brother. Ida earned money by living in several homes where she helped with chores. Then she said, “Mother got work so I stayed at home the next year. Then we went back to Paris [Idaho} where mother met Mr Nuffer at a German Conference….” (Wheeler, I. 1955).
Family and Marriage
A medieval castle overlooks the southern city of [Neuffen], Germany, where 27-year-old Johann Christoph Nuffer married Agnes Barbara Spring early in the year of 1862. Four years later tragedy struck when within 7 months their baby girl and her 26-year -old mother died. Christoph was now left a widower to raise two sons, John, age 4, and Fred, age 3. (Nuffer, C).
A month later on July 25, 1867, he married Eva Katharina Greiner, who began to raise his sons as her own. Christoph and Eva were surrounded by their extended family, and were supported by Christopher’s work as a dress goods weaver and a salesman of produce from his vineyard and farm. Over a span of ten years, they added Regina, Charles, and Adolf to their family. (Nuffer, C).
After listening to the Mormon missionaries, the Nuffer family decided to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They secretly damned a millrace at the rear of the house so the family could be baptized at night, undisturbed by hostile villagers. To avoid the persecution that immediately followed, they decided to emigrate to Utah as soon as possible. Christoph sold their home and land, and borrowed money from another immigrating family to gather the needed funds. Notwithstanding all the children catching measles, the family survived the transatlantic crossing in May 1880 on the steamship Wisconsin. (Ironically, the very same ship that in ten years would bring the Weiermann Family to America) (Naef, 1990).
The Nuffers followed many German and Swiss saints who pioneered Providence, Utah, situated just south of Logan. Like countless others, they started our poor and worked hard to better their circumstances. Thankfully, the older sons Fred and John helped a great deal with the heavy labor. A year after arriving in Zion, their last child, Mary was born (Naef, 1990).
In the fall of 1883 the oldest son, John, persuaded his father to sell their home and move into southeastern Idaho to homestead. Two years later they set up another claim. It was a rough life, but his son Charles recalled, “(We) were happy and thanked the Lord for what we had. Mother would read a chapter from the Bible, we would have prayer an we would go to bed early….We thanked our Heavenly Father for what we had and lived by faith…a I remember we never got discouraged for we felt the Lord was on our side” (Nuffer, C., 1949).
The Nuffer ranch was located northwest of Mapleton, Idaho. Their farm was cut in half be the main road. On the east side was the land where their homes, stables, and fruit orchards were located. On the west side of the road was meadow blanketed in lush grass with a creek running through it. This farm from one end to the other was a beautiful place (Naef, 1990).
In the winter of 1893, Eva, Christoph’s wife of 2 years, developed pneumonia and suddenly died within a week. Her grieving family buried her in the first grave in the new Preston, Idaho cemetery. Christoph could not bear to be alone in the home where he had so happily lived with his wife, so his sons Charles an Adolf ran the farm, “while there father was away most of the summer at Bear Lake and other places” (Nuffer, C).
While away, Christoph, now known as Christopher, met 38 year old Annie Weierman at a German Conference (Wheeler, I., 1955). These conferences were an opportunity for German speaking LDS converts to socialize using their native language. Through uplifting sermons, singing and dancing the Conferences offered support for immigrants adjusting to their new lives.
By the end of the summer, Christopher and Annie knew they wanted to get married. They were sealed for Time and Eternity in the Logan temple a few months later on 26 September 1893 (Reber).
The one photograph we have of Annie was likely taken in Logan, “The Temple City”, at this time. She serenely gazes out of the image, an attractive women with light-colored deep set eyes, high cheekbones, fair smooth skin, and unusually sculpted lips. Her brown hair is modestly pulled back to the nape of her neck and wrapped into a bun. She is slightly built, probably no taller than her daughter who grew to about 5 feet 2 inches. Her newly learned English would have been graced with a lilting Swiss accent. She wears a dark tailored dress, which she may have sewn, that has a high collar and mutton sleeves, the height of fashion in 1893. It could be imagined the jeweled heart brooch pinned to her collar could have been a wedding gift from her husband.
At age 59, Brother Nuffer was considered “ an old widower” by Annie’s children. (Weyerman, G). Besides love and companionship, he offered their mother a social status and financial security that she had likely never experienced. Their stone house surrounded by pastures, orchards, and a garden may have reminded her of her rural youth in Switzerland. Because her new husband had lived in the area for many years, she benefited from the reputation he had in the community as a successful farmer. The Nuffer name was well known in the surrounding towns as Christopher’s oldest son, John, was a trained architect and stone mason. He helped build the Logan temple, and also designed many of the public buildings in Preston, Idaho; including the opera house, bank, and churches. (Nuffer, J).
Annie and Christopher had many things in common, such as firm testimonies that Joseph Smith had indeed been an instrument in the restoration of Christ’s church, and that they were building up Zion in the American west. They had both followed the same path of conversion, they both spoke German and understood the ways of the “old country”, and they both followed a strikingly similar emigration path. But like many second marriages, there was the potential for tension and competition for loyalty between their children. As can be imagined, the children and their mother were very close after weathering so many adversities together. Annie’s marriage to Mr. Nuffer may not have been favored by the children. Fred’s feelings were, “Ida and Jacob remained no longer with mother then, but had to look out for themselves, neither I had any place that I could call my home” (Weyerman, G).
During the next year, Fred Weyerman became engaged to a girl named Sally, but this arrangement ended abruptly when Sally eloped with another man. This seemingly devastating event turned out to be a blessing when Fred met 20 year old Olena Hoth while they were at a party of a mutual friend. Fred and Olena were married by their bishop two weeks later. “Lena” was raised in a faithful Latter-day Saint family. She was a loving, loyal, and hardworking woman who would have a special role in the life of her mother-in-law. She and Fred loved each other and eventually had a family of 15 children. (Weyerman, L).
Two months later the newly married Fred and Lena traveled a distance to the Logan temple to be sealed on 26 September 1894 for Time and Eternity. In preparation for his temple ordinances, Fred Weyerman was ordained an Elder by their beloved Swiss mission president, John U. Stucki. It was a joyful occasion as Lena and Fred received their endowments and were sealed together. (eyerman, G) Later that same day, Annie must have glowed with happiness as all her children were sealed to her and Christopher Nuffer (Reber, A).
About this same time Annie’s step son, Charles, recorded she made him temple clothes in preparation for his marriage. He reminisced that, “His new step mother was helpful to us in many ways as we began our married life” (Nuffer, C., 1949).
In 1895 Fred and Lena welcomed a baby and named her Anna Weyerman. Fred bargained with his stepfather for forty acres of his farmland in Mapleton, so Annie looked forward to seeing her new granddaughter often. (Weyerman, G).
Near this time, Christopher’s oldest son, John, left to serve in the German/Swiss mission. Imagine Annie’s feelings of curiosity and nostalgia as she read letters posted from the mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland.
That winter Ida married David Wheeler. His father, Calvin Wheeler, was a notable pioneer who settled in the Mapleton area seven years earlier. David reminisces in his autobiography, “I finally met a girl, Ida Weiermann Nuffer, that I thought just suited me, and finally ask her to marry me. She wanted me to wait for a while but as I had got a call to go on a mission she finally consented. We married in the Logan Temple on December 4, 1895. Ida was just a few months past sixteen years of age.” David let six weeks later to serve a mission in the southern states of the USA. Ida supported herself by living with and working for families until he returned two and a half years later (Wheeler, D).
After a year of improving his land, Fred went to make a payment and fix the deeds; however, the sons of “Mr. Christoffer Nuffer would not agree, so [we] had to pull out with empty hands” (Weyerman, G). It could have been that the sons didn’t know about their father’s deal or agree with it. There was a lot of competition in the area over staking out claims on various parcels of land. Christopher’s sons had also been working the land for years with the hope of ownership. The emotions raised at that time may have prompted Ida to comment that “We, [Fred, IDa and Jacob], were not welcomed there” (Wheeler, I. 1955).
In the year 1896, Fred and Lena lost a baby named after Fred’s brother, Christian. In 1898 they also lost a month-old baby girl named Marie Weyerman. That same year Ida’s husband, David, returned from his mission. Also, Annie’s first husband and father of her children Gottfried Weiermann, died at age 46 in his home town of Wynigen, Switzerland (Wheeler, D.) (Reber,A).
David and Ida moved to the mountains of Western Idaho where David took a contract to cut railroad ties. On 28 December 1899 Ida gave birth to her first child, Florence, alone in a crude timberland shelter while waiting for a doctor to arrive. Ida’s only assistance was a blessing from the local missionaries, who afterward sent out into the yard to pray for her (Wheeler, I).
The last years of Annie’s life were marked by marriages, births, harvests, missions, and some deaths. Mostly it was the day-to-day rhythm of life that generously filled the calendar. After they sold their ranch to the Hull Brothers of Whitney, Christopher and Annie moved to Preston into a two-room frame house near his oldest son, john (Naef, 1990). The 1900 US Census records the family living in Preston, Idaho, and lists Christopher Nuffer as a farmer, Annie E. as his wife, and Jacob, his single stepson, as a farm laborer. It also notes that Annie can read and write English. Sometime between the 1900 Census and March 1901, Christopher and Annie Nuffer moved to Logan, Utah, which was to be their last home together (Naef, 1990).
By the time, Annie was very ill with “dropsy”, an old term for edema, or fluid retention usually in the feet, ankles and legs (Weyerman, L). She may have suffered from it for years as it could have been caused by congestive heart failure, diseases of the heart muscle, or some other heart ailment. As these diseases progress breathing becomes difficult; making walking arduous (Quinn, 2017).
Possibly because Annie needed someone stronger than her aging husband to nurse her, she moved in with her son, Fred. His wife, Lena, was two months from giving birth. This was a charitable and generous act on Lena’s part, as she was now caring for Annie, a baby and three other children under the age of 5. (Weyerman, L).
As soon as Annie’s daughter, Ida, recovered enough from the birth of her second child in August 1901, she came to Logan to relieve Lena as her mother’s sole nurse (Wheeler, I. 1955.) Many Christian virtues were exercised as Lena and Ida worked together to take care of their 6 small children as well as nurse their mother through her last living days. (Weyerman, L).
When November came around, Fred was preparing to leave his seriously ill mother and family of small children to fulfill a call t the German/Swiss mission, Under what he called “very hard circumstances”, he departed for Switzerland 25 November 1901. This young father knew he would not see his cherished family for over two years. (Weyerman, G). It was also likely he would never see his beloved mother again. Indeed, she died 1 December 1901, less than a week after his departure for Switzerland. The grieving family buried 4-year-old Annie E. Nuffer in the Logan City Cemetery (Utah Cemetery Inventory).
For an unknown reason, Annie made made the unusual request before she died to have their family’s temple sealing to her second husband, John Christoph Nuffer, cancelled. She wanted Fred to go to the LDS authorities and arrange for her to be sealed to her first husband, Gottfried Weiermann, and then to have their seven children sealed to them. This wish was eventually fulfilled in the Logan LDS temple on 8 March 1905, about a year after Fred returned from his mission. (Ida Christensen Arave witnessed the Church temple records at the family history center in SLC) (Wheeler, I., 1955).
Anna Elizabeth Reber’s family was one of 90,000 known Latter-day Saint immigrants who crossed the oceans to America between 1840-1891. “They had a most unusual success rate; making about 550 voyages, and losing no vessels crossing the Atlantic….These Mormon immigrants were responding to a call to gather with the righteous in a promised land, which they called Zion” (Woods, 2000 p. 74). Because of courage to act on her faith, a tenacious 3 year old divorced mother of three changed her family’s course into the future. Annie’s decision to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emigrate to the American west where she could help build the Lord’s kingdom on earth has directly influenced hundreds of her progeny. Her determination not only lifted her family out of poverty, but more importantly pioneered the way toward salvation for untold numbers of future and past generations. For this act of faith, valor, and love we praise and remember her.
John Christoph Nuffer married for the fourth time four months after Annie’s death. He lived to age 73, dying 12 April 1908 (Naef, 1990).
Fred Weyerman was suddenly killed 9 March 1935 at age 59 when the bike he was riding slipped on ice and hit a bus. He left nine surviving children and his widow, who would never remarry. His sister Ida and her family kept in touch with “Aunt Lena” and their cousins for many years after his passing. (Weyerman, G).
Ida Weierman Wheeler bore 10 children and lived to be 80. She remained a faithful member of the LDS church through a multitude of trials as her she and her husband, David, worked to eke out a living on the frontier of southeastern Idaho. Her obituary quoted her friends as saying, “She was a bulwark of strength, patience, and loving kindness to all who knew her” (Wheeler, D) (Olsen, L).
Jacob Weiermann didn’t marry until 1908, when he was 25. His wife died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. Their two children, Donald and Martha, went to live with their Aunt Ida and Uncle Dave for a time (Arave, I., 2017). Jacob didn’t marry again. He worked as a miner in Nevada, and died in Utah of tuberculosis 25 January 1945 at age 61 (Weierman, J., 1945).
The Church of Jesus Christ of [Latter-day] Saints in Europe
President Joseph F. Smith visited
Zurich, Switzerland in 1906, and predicted:
“The time would come when temples to the Most High would be built in various countries of the world.”
The Bern Switzerland Temple was the first temple built where English was not the main local language. It was dedicated on 11 September 1955 (Petersen, S., 2013).
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.
The title of this entry in the book is “HISTORY OF THE ADOLPH NEUFFER FAMILY.” I really don’t have much information on this family as can be evidenced by the quality of the photos I have as well.
“Adolph Neuffer was born in Neuffen, Wurtemberg, Germany, on April 14, 1875, a son of Johann Christoph and Eva Catharine Greiner Neuffer. He came to the United States when he was only 5 years old. His family settled in the small town of Providence, Utah, All children 7 years old and younger wore long dresses. His family moved to many different small town in Idaho. Adolph was a stone mason by trade although he worked for Borden’s Milk Company for years before moving to Salt Lake City. He met his future wife in Logan. She was Emma Margaret Rinderknecht. He married her on January 8, 1899. They were endowed on January 14, 1900. Adolph died September 21, 1955. He is buried in the Elysian Burial Gardens in Millcreek, Utah.
“He was divorced from Emma after 44 years of marriage. He married Grace Irene Frasure on August 9, 1943. Later, they divorced.
“Adolph’s first wife was Emma Margaret Rinderknecht. She was born in Providence, Utah, on May 15, 1873. She was a twin. Her twin brother, Joseph Hyrum, was given away at birth. He died because the people he was given to didn’t know how to take care of him. Emma had to work hard to help her widowed mother. She would take vegetables to Logan to sell. She also did washing for people.
“She was the mother of nine children. Edna and Leona were children by her first marriage to James Peterson.
“Adolph and Emma had seven children together. She died in Ogden on July 8, 1950. She is buried in the Elysian Burial Gardens.
“Emma’s oldest daughter was Emma Edna. She was born in Providence, Utah, on August 16, 1896. She was married to Robert Early. They had three daughters; Tacoma, and twins Doris and Dorothy. Edna had one daughter, LaRue, by a previous marriage. One twin, Dorothy, died as an infant. Doris died when she was in her early twenties. La Rue died in June, 1985. Edna was divorced and later married Harold Hart. They lived in Ogden, Edna died August 26, 1969.
“Leona was born in Providence, Utah, on December 6, 1898. She was married to William Walker. They had four sons; Donald, Dale Lawrence (better known as “Bob”). Then there was Billy who died when he was nine years old, and Dick died when he was about 26 years old. Leona was divorced and later married Ray Andrus. They lived in San Jose, California. Leona died February 28, 1982.
“Lyman Adolph was born January 30, 1901, in Preston, Idaho. He is married to Elizabeth Johanna Mellegers. They had two children: Larry, who was drowned while trying to save another fellow; their daughter, LaRene, who lives in West Valley City.
“Eva Katharine was born in Preston, Idaho, on February 28, 1903. She was married to John Allen Ricks. They had one son, Jack Ricks. They were divorced. She married Earl Hansen; they were divorced. She married Floyd Lutzai. She died on November 1, 1973.
“Ida May was born on November 24, 1906, in Preston, Idaho. She was married to William Henry Harman. They had two sons, Bill and Bob. She lives in 29 Palms, California. Her husband has passed away.
“Blanche Josephine was born on March 12, 1908, in Preston, Idaho. She married Christian Hansen, they had one daughter, Dorothy. They were divorced. Blanche married Neldon Peter Parker, they had one son, Blaine Parker. He was drowned in the canal near their home. They lived in Bennion.
“Elvin Joseph Neuffer was born on December 17, 1910, in Preston, Idaho. He was married to Mildred Terry. They had four children. they are Marilyn, Nina, Bonnie, and Danny. Millie had one son, Lynn, by a previous marriage. Millie died at the age of 47, on September 3, 1964. Elvin married Winona Mondragon, later divorced. He then married Tessie Larsen, they divorced. He married Joan Wheatly. They have three children; Margaret, Jennifer and Joseph. Elvin and his wife and three children live in Murray, Utah.
“Melvin Hyrum Neuffer was born on December 17, 1910, in Preston, Idaho. H ewas fifteen minutes younger than his twin brother, Elvin. He married Eveline D. Cornell. They have six daughters; Shirlene, Kathleen (Kay), Susan, Holly, JuLee and Darla. Melvin and Eveline have lived in the same house for 46 years, which is in Midvale, Utah. They have been married for 52 years.
“Anna Dolores was born on May 12, 1913. She was married to John Leonard Denovellis. They only had one son, “Bud.” Dolores and Johnny were both killed as they crossed State Street. They were together. They died September 9, 1979.
Written by Melvin H. Neuffer 108 East 7660 S Midvale, Utah 84047
I am a member of a Cache Valley Group on Facebook. After some people posted a number of old photos, I asked if anyone knew if Brigham Young College had yearbooks and if someone had one for roughly 1915. Within a day, Jennifer Johnson, a cousin of mine had found a copy of the Brigham Young College Crimson yearbook and made it available to me. Here is a copy of the full 1915 Brigham Young College Crimson Annual if you are interested.
Sure enough, there on page 31 is my great-grandfather, Joseph Nelson Jonas (1893 – 1932).
Here is the full-page. This is page 31 of the pdf. The front of the yearbook says Crimson Annual 1915. Page 4 shows that it includes the classes of 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918.
Here are two copies of his diploma.
I also found Joseph’s 1st cousin, once removed, Paul Ernest Nelson (1888-1970), was one of the teachers at BYC. An interesting side note is that the page below states he, “Likes his Ensign.” He and Martha Eunice Ensign were married 19 August 1914 in the Salt Lake Temple. It also states he “[e]xpects to be a professor in psychology.” Their first son, Paul Ensign Nelson, was born 26 June 1916 in Berkeley, California while he was attending school.
Here is a dedication to the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Charles Winder Nibley (1849-1931).
Charles W Nibley was the Presiding Bishop from 1907 to 1925. He was a kind benefactor to Brigham Young College and as Presiding Bishop was involved with the school. Bishop Nibley was released in 1925 and became a counselor to Heber Jeddy Grant until his death in 1931. He is one of the few people to serve in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was not an Apostle.
Brigham Young College was located in Logan, Utah. It was founded by Brigham Young shortly before his death. The college was meant for individuals from Northern Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed all its academy’s in 1926, except Brigham Young University, it suffered the same fate. The buildings were sold and became Logan High School.
As records become more and more available, who knows what else we may find of our ancestors.
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.
“Written October 17, 1933.
“I will begin with my grandmother on my mother’s side, what I remember my mother telling us as children. My grandmother was a lover of music and she became acquainted with a young man who was very good looking a good singer with curly hair. He was a poor boy and my grandmother’s parents were well to do. It seems that they opposed their marriage for that reason. But they were married anyway. I do not remember his given name (Ulrich Ramp) but my grandmother’s name was Ann Elizabeth Bauman Ramp. They lived very happy although they were poor, and for disobeying her parents she was disinherited which made it very hard for them. In due time, they had a baby boy, and then a baby girl, who was my mother. I do not remember what became of the boy but they made a great deal of the baby girl. The father did work whenever he could. It seems like there always has been hard times for some from the very beginning.
“Everything was going as well as might be expected until father died very suddenly, which caused the mother to go to work in some kind of a mill. She was unable to take care of the children and, as is the custom in some countries, she let some well to do people take the little girl and raise her. They sent her to school where she had a good education. Her name was Anna Barbara Ramp. She lived with those people for many years. Her mother would come to see her whenever she could. She was a great lover of all children and when Easter time came she would get eggs and color them as nice as she could just for the pleasure of giving them to children that she knew. She was yet a young woman when she died.
“Then my mother, when she was a grown woman, worked in a tred mill which belonged to the people she lived with. They also had children, some her own age. They thought a great deal of each other.
“In due time, she met some Mormon missionaries and became very interested in their talks, after which she became a member of the church. During this time she became acquainted with Jacob Rinderknecht, who later became my father, but she didn’t come to America for a number of years after that.
“Jacob Rinderknecht had a family when my mother first met him which he brought to America in the early sixties. They lived in New York for a while, then came to Utah. The family consisted of Father, Mother, a daughter and a son (some children having died in Switzerland where they all came from). They settled in Providence on the very spot where my brother Jake Rinderknecht now lives.
“All this time my mother was working in her country trying to save enough money to come to America. Finally the time came when she landed in New York. Then she came across the plaints with ox teams and walked much of the way. When she arrived in Salt Lake City, the missionary that she was so good to over in Switzerland was to meet her and take her to Southern Utah. This he never did.
“Jacob Rinderknecht happened to be there at the time, having had a chance to go to Salt Lake City with someone that drove an ox team there from Providence. So he got her to go home with him. Later they made a trip to Salt Lake and were married in the Endowment House. She was then 36 years old and one of Utah’s Pioneers. She was the second wife. I have heard her tell what a terrible, hard life she lived. At that time she lived in a dugout in a bank, or hollow, that used to run through the lot which is now filled in. I think that was where I was born. The first family had a log house and after the first wife died, my mother moved in.
“When I was 4 years old my father gave me away. Not long after that he died. I don’t remember him very well. He was 62 and very poor. He may have done this and meant it for my good, but my poor mother fought hard for me. I was older than my brother, Jake, and then a pair of twins; one, my sister, still lives.
“My father gave me to some English people of Providence who adopted me. They were well to do for those times. They had buried all their children while babies, and they seemed to take a liking to me. They said I was so pretty, and I guess they were right as I can remember that I had long ringlets, my hair being curly and how hard it was to comb. Once, when I played with the neighbor’s children, I got lice in my hair. My hair had to but cut off close to my head and I was glad because then it was easy to comb.
“At first I rather liked my new home but when I wanted to go back to my mother they said no. As I got older I would run away and go home, then they would take me back and I would cry for days. I wanted to go home and my mother did everything she could to get me back, bu no, they watched me so close that I didn’t get a chance very often. I always had the feeling that I would get back sometime. They would lock me in a room and if my mother came to see me they would say I had gone somewhere. Many a time they would see her coming, then they would take me out the back door and hide me somewhere.
“As I grew older, they gave me all kinds of hard jobs to do such as going after the cows that had strayed through town and if I didn’t find them or came home without them they would send me to bed without supper in a dark room, or would lock me in a dark cellar for an hour or so. They had so many ways of punishing me that I couldn’t them all. One time, I was trying to jump a ditch of water and fell in backward. I was scared to go home so I sat around in my wet clothes. One of the neighbors told on me, then they took my clothes off, got a gunny sack, cut a whole for my head and some for my arms, then put that on and locked me in a small closet that I couldn’t stand up in, and without any dinner. They left me there all afternoon while they went away.
“I had about 4 years of this life which was anything but a happy one. It was the rule those days that the ones that could afford it should go to conference either in April or October. At one of those times, the only man that I can remember calling father, the one who had adopted me, went to Salt Lake. His wife and myself stayed home and did all the work about the place. In due time, he came back and I suppose he was very happy although his wife did a lot of crying and was very unhappy. At the time I didn’t quite grasp the thing or what it was all about but at last it came out. He had married another woman while he was in the city and she was soon to come and live with us. Can you imagine what a trick to play on his first wife? So one fine day she came. She had not been in this country very long. She had come from London and rather a nice lady, a dressmaker, I think and as soon as she found out about me she wanted them to let me go to my mother, but I did not for a long time.
“So they finally got things settled and the house was divided and each woman had her half. Then I had more chores to do. And in due time there came a baby son which was the king of the house. When he got old enough I would take him out in his carriage as they called it. One day one of the wheels came off. Then I was scared and ran back to the house to get help. I really was expecting a whipping, but not that time and soon everything was all right again.
“One Sunday all the children in the neighborhood were in the street playing. I was inside my fence looking on. I wanted to go out with them so bad that I got up enough courage to go to the house and ask if I could go and play. Then the second wife said, yes, you can go home to your mother if you want to. It surprised me so I couldn’t believe they meant it, so I went out and when I got int he street, which was a straight line and in the third block was my mother’s place, I just ran every bit of the way.
“I was, at this time, about nine years old and had started to school. My mother was so glad and yet she was afraid to believe it. I had quite a time trying to make her understand as I couldn’t talk German anymore, but I soon learned. I stayed but I was always on the watch. If any of them had come after me I couldn’t have been found. I was very happy at home again. But one evening here came my adopted mother with an interpreter to talk to mother and try to get me back. She cried and begged me to come. I wouldn’t go near her for fear she wouldn’t let me loose. She promised me things but it did no good. I wanted to stay with my mother, brother and sister.
“I was so poor and thin that my mother would cry when she saw my thin little body, but I soon grew big and strong and was large for my age. In due time, I used to go back and see my adopted parents. As I got older I went back and worked for them. They were candy makers and sold candy to the stores in Logan.
The book then seems to transfer from the autobiography to the biography of Anna Rinderknecht Nuffer by an unknown person.
“In Hedingen, Zurich, Switzerland lived a girl Elizabeth Bauman. She was a jolly happy girl with a good home and many friends. She kept company with Ulrich Ramp, a young man with pretty curly hair. He was a fine singer. These two people were very much in love with each other but Elizabeth’s parents who were well to do disapproved of their marriage and threatened to disinherit her if she married Ulrich, but this made no difference. They were married and lived happily together in spite of being very poor.
“A baby girl was born, which they named Barbara. When she was two years old, her father died suddenly. This was a terrible blow to this young mother. Her parents were bitter and did not help her, so she had someone take care of her baby and went out to work. When Barbara became of school age her mother had her put into a home of well to do people who put her through school. Her mother died shortly after and these people cared for her until she was grown. They treated her kindly and she loved them very much, (and later had Temple work done for them). These people owned a threat factory and Barbara worked there along time. She had many friends. She heard of the Mormon Elders and went to their meetings which seemed to impress her greatly. She would walk many miles to go to their meetings and would give the Elders all the money she could spare to get food. She was insulted by her friends when she joined the Mormon Church, but she saved her money to go to Zion. One missionary from Southern Utah fell in love with her and promised to meet her when she arrived in Salt Lake City.
“She crossed the ocean in an old Sailing Vessel. There were many bad storms which kept them back. After eight weeks they landed and crossed the plains with ox-teams in the year 1866. Grandmother walked most of the way, she being young and strong. I remember her telling of her breaking her garnet beads, which she prized very highly, on the yoke of the oxen.
“After the long walk across the plains with all the hardships of those Pioneer days, scarcity of food, sickness and death, their faith still unfaltering, they finally reach Salt Lake Valley. But in her sorrow the good Mormon Elder sweetheart was not there to meet her as promised. Imagine a young girl here along without relatives. She did get disappointed badly but not discouraged. She worked for other Pioneers for her food.
“Jacob Rinderknecht, a pioneer living in the little town of Providence, along with other men, went to Salt Lake City looking for a young wife. He saw Barbara a fine rosy cheeked strong young lady and decided she would be just what he wanted so he persuaded her to go back with him, offering her a home, so she married him in the Endowment House in 1868 and walked back to Providence with him. Here she was introduced to his first wife and family.
“Jacob Rinderknecht was in his sixties and Barbara 36. She lived in a dug-out and his first wife was in a log cabin on the old Rinderknecht lot at Providence, Utah. There were four children, one died when very young. When Emma was quite young, her father died, his first wife died several years before. This left the mother to care for the children. She had a garden which supplied her with vegetables, a few hens, and a cow which kept the family. She had a churn which the whole settlement borrowed, and she was noted for her good yeast. She wanted her girls dressed as fine as she could so she hired Sister Campbell to crochet lace for their petticoats and pants, as father (Jacob Rinderknecht Jr.) told me for he would take the eggs to pay for the lace.
“She was a real tithe payer, always went to church, although she understood very little English. She taught her children high ideals, love of music, honesty, industry and faith in God. She was fond of her Grandchildren and went to see them at least once a year.
“She endured many hardships but she never lost her faith. She said many times she thought God was her only friend. When her children were sick she went for the Elders.
“After her husband’s death, Jacob, a small boy, took the responsibility of caring for the family. The girls worked hard. Annie worked for Frank Madison. Emma worked hard, she went to wash for people in Logan so Jacob could buy horses to run a small piece of land. He went up Logan Canyon when 14 years of age all alone and got enough lumber to build the frame house for his mother.
From Utah State’s Facility Planning.
“With more money appropriated in 1892 than anticipated, the Trustees hired [K]arl C. Schaub to redesign an enlarged structure and the construction began for the east part of the central section and the north wing. It wasn’t until 1901 that the money was assured for the completion of the building. The front portion along with the tower was completed in 1902 with the design of H. H. Mahler.
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.
The full title of this article from the book was named, “WRITTEN BY FRED NUFFER AT REQUEST OF OFFICIALS OF UTAH STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE TO BE ENCLOSED IN CORNER STONE LAID IN 1938, TO BE OPENED IN 1988, THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE COLLEGE.”
Utah State was founded in 1888. It appears that the cornerstone was opened at 50 years in 1938 and a new cornerstone was sealed to be opened in 1988. As Fred Nuffer was involved with some of the construction of the campus, he was requested to write for the cornerstone. This was the original part of Old Main, south wing, of what is now Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
“I will recount in detail, as I remember it, the work done by myself and others in supplying stone for the construction of the Utah State Agricultural College buildings in Logan, Utah.
“In the year of 1891-1892, I made contract with Mr. Venables of Ogden to deliver about 3,000 cubic feet of cut stone. Mr. Venables had previously tried to get the stone somewhere south of the valley, but found the stone unsuitable, and the party could not fill the order. As I had furnished stone for several buildings in Logan, Mr. Venables came up to see me. I lived near the quarry at that time. He inspected the quarry and pronounced the stone suitable and gave me a contract to fill the order. The quarry was located about ten miles up Cub River Canyon from Franklin, Idaho, on the left side slope going up the river, on a small tributary creek of Cub River called Sheep Creek.
“All work was done by hand. The main ledge was about 20 feet above ground and about 20 feet wide and 400 to 500 feet long. We used 12 foot churn drills and blasted large black 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 a 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 measurement allowing one half inch for the stone cutters to take out all the tool marks we made. Mr. Venables furnished bills for stone in dimension sizes as needed in the building.
“My brother, C[harles]. A[ugust]. 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, 1891-1892. The hauling was all done with wagons and horses: 30 to 35 cubic feet was a good load for two horses. The following names were the men doing the hauling: John McDonald of Smithfield, Jean Weber of Providence, and Jake Rinderknecht of Providence 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.
“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 had 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 Mr. Venables. We overlooked a large 4-horse load at the final settlement. A few minutes after I had signed the receipt for the final payment in full I discovered my mistake. Mr. Venables 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.
“by Fred Nuffer, Sr.