William Fredrick Andra Autobiography

Andra Boys: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross

Andra Boys: William, Donald, Larry, Bill, Golden, Dale, Ross

A copy of this autobiography of my Great Grandfather was given to me years ago.  I wanted to make it more widely available.  I will insert clarification or other information in brackets [].

The Life Story of William Fredrick Andra Sr
I was born on February 11, 1898 in Meissen, Saxony, Germany to Wilhimina [Wilhelmina Christiana Knauke] and Theodor F. [Fredrick] Andra.  My father died when I was about four years old [23 November 1902].
I was baptized in the Elbe River in [16] April 1909; came to the United States in the following month of May.  I left at the age of eleven, one year ahead of the same boat, but were for some reason delayed a month.  The boat that they had intended to take sank in mid-ocean.  “The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform!”
Upon arriving here, I went to Fairview, Utah to work out my board and room from John R. Anderson, who was a former missionary in Germany.  After being in Fairview for one year, I went back to Salt Lake to meet the rest of the family when they arrived.  We had quite a struggle at first, but we made out when the rest had learned the language.
At the age of fourteen, my Mother took me to Preston, Idaho to the home of a former missionary [George Wanner] who had helped convert my mother in Germany.  I thinned, hoed and topped beets; worked in the potatoes; and did many other things around the farm.  There were about 24 head of cows to be milked.  For my work, I got $18.00 a month.  The next summer I got $25.00 and then $30.00 per month.  In the winter I went back to Salt Lake City because there wasn’t any work left on the farm.
I worked in the Apex Mine in Bingham at the same time Jack Dempsey was a diamond drill sharpener.
The next winter, I worked in the coal mine at Wattis in Carbon County during the flu epidemic in 1918.  My future father-in-law [George Wanner] took the flu and was in the hospital in Salt Lake City.  Shortly after, his boy, Golden also caught the flu and died.  I took the body home to Whitney, Idaho on the train.
I did the chores for the family because they all had the flu.  After working for George Wanner for seven years on and off, I married at the age of 22 his daughter, Mary Louise Wanner, in the Salt Lake Temple on March 10,1920.
At a time when things were tough, I worked on the farm for James R. Bodily and in the winter I did janitor work at the Whitney School and meeting house for $30.00 a month.  Then our son, William Junior was born.  During this time, I helped build the sugar factory in Whitney.
In 1922, we moved to Salt Lake City and I worked for the Royal Bakery for one year and then we moved back to Preston and went into the café business with my brother Walter.  We stayed in the café business until the end of 1925.  We then bought the Wanner farm in Preston during depression times.
I used to dig basements, haul gravel and sand and haul sugar beets from the beet piles to the sugar factory for $4.00 a ton.  It was hard making this $1000.00 principal and $500.00 interest, but with the Lord’s help and a good wife and children, we paid for the farm.  In 1937 we bought nine more acres on the east side of our farm, making forty-four acres.
In 1937 I was made a High Priest.  I have been a ward teacher for thirty-six years, ward teaching supervisor for seven years, and a group leader for the High Priests Quorum for twelve years.  I am at present a director of the Mink Creek-Riverdale Canal Company.
Our main crops on this farm have been sugar beets and potatoes.  We have raised peas and corn for many years.  Our present family consists of twelve children; eight boys and four girls (of which two of the boys have passed on).
In 1947 I had a back fusion operation.  It was very successful.
Seven of our children are married and we have twenty-eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  One of the boys is in the Western States Mission now.  We have had two on missions previously.
I would like to pass this biography on to my son.
Prepared and arranged November 28, 1961 by William F. Andra, Sr.  (Age sixty-three)

Adventuring in Alaska

My cousin, Deanne Driscoll, shared this article with me about my Great Uncle and Aunt Otto and Elizabeth Andra.

Otto and Elizabeth Andra family, August 1961

Otto and Elizabeth Andra family, August 1961

Adventuring in Alaska – for less than $120 a person

By Phyllis J Park Tribune correspondent

A three-and-a-half week tour through the rugged Canadian country …  spotting moose, lynx, mountain goats, there are and caribou along the highway …  Fishing, swimming and leisurely sightseeing their way to Alaska for less than $120 per person, proved to two Utah couples that vacation time can be “Adventure Time.”

Mr. and Mrs. Otto Andra, 4406 S. 3200 West street Granger, and Mr. and Mrs. Dan D. Lehman, 4425 Albright Dr., Holladay, were a bit apprehensive about tackling the Alaskan route and had been warned to be prepared for any emergency but, at the conclusion of their 7000 mile round trip with no flat tires, no car trouble, and good driving conditions, “We’re ready to go again next year, it was great!” they commented.

With a suitcase each, a grub-box with a small supply of food including dehydrated goods, a five gallon can a fresh water, and one spare tire, they started out.

They made camp by the roadside each night or at handy camp-grounds in the Yukon Territory, replenishing their food supply along the way and getting fresh water from nearby waterfalls and streams.  Meals were cooked over two one-burner gas stoves and they took the collapsible table and chairs for added comfort.

The Lehmans slept in sleeping bags on air-mattresses in a tent while the Andras “bedded down” in the back of their 1954 station wagon.

They took ten days to travel from Salt Lake City, to Alaska, going via Glacier National Park in Montana.

There were a few rough spots along the famed 1527 my all Alaska highway, built in 1942, connecting Dawson Creek, B.C.  With Fairbanks, but they found road repair crews constantly on the job and their only trouble came from dust and flying rocks from passing cars.

“Cautious driving was our secret to no car trouble!”  Mr. Andra stated “and we took our time, never going over 50 miles an hour, with frequent stops and lay-overs to enjoy the sights.”  At a service station half-way up to Alaska we heard a fellow in an expensive make car, bemoaning the fact he had already experienced 14 blowouts and when he “dug” away from us leaving a shower of gravel, we thought we knew the reason why.

“The milepost were what we liked,” they said.  It’s a simple yet thorough method of guiding travelers along the way by means of numbered milepost and a mileposts guide-book, describing conditions, accommodations, and services at each post.  There are also handy telephone boxes on poles along the roadside for emergency calls.

Six fun-packed days were spent in various cities in Alaska where they visit the huge gold dredges that strained out thousands of dollars worth of gold each day, splurged $25.00 for a fling at boating and fishing in the Valdez Harbor with the net result of 64 various, tasty fish, and they watched it become dark at 12:45 a.m. and begin to lighten up an hour later.

And what did the women wear on the trip?  “We packed lightly with pedal-pushers and blouses as the main items in our wardrobe,” said Mrs. Andra.  “We didn’t need our coats, it was hot in the daytime and sweaters were enough that night. We found we needed our two pairs of flat-heeled shoes and advise others to take plastic or rubber overshoes to use in the wet, muddy spots they may encounter.”

They said at the border it was necessary to show identification such as driver’s license or birth certificate and since Mr. Andra was born in Germany he had to show a passport.  And they had to assure customs officers that they have sufficient funds with them to cover their trip and possible emergencies.  Checking with your car insurance company concerning foreign coverage was suggested by these travelers, too.

The Salt Lake Tribune HOME Magazine, September 15, 1957, p 30.

Liz and Otto Andra

Liz and Otto Andra

Otto Carl Andra was born 15 May 1902 in Meissen, Germany.

Otto married 25 November 1925 in the Salt Lake Temple to Rebecca Amelia Christensen born 6 March 1904 in Mink Creek, Franklin, Idaho.  She died 16 December 1931 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and Rebecca had two children, Rebecca Ila Andra (1926-2006) and Otto Carl Andra (1929-1929).

Otto remarried 17 February 1932 in the Salt Lake Temple to Elizabeth Mauermann born 27 October 1911 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and Elizabeth had six children, Elizabeth, Iona, Carl Otto, Albert (1938-2009), Carol, and Virginia.

Otto died 20 June 1982 in West Valley City, Utah.

Elizabeth died 14 June 1998 in Salt Lake City.

Otto and both wives were buried in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City.

Draper Temple

Amanda and I are struggling to keep up with visiting the new Utah Temples.  In 2006 we had a goal to visit all then eleven Utah Temples.  We ended up hitting Bountiful, Jordan River, Logan, Manti, Monticello, Mt. Timpanogos, Ogden (before rebuilt), Provo, St George, Salt Lake, and Vernal.

In the intervening years and miles for us, Brigham City, Draper, Oquirrh, and Ogden have been dedicated (or rededicated).

Since we arrived back in the Intermountain West, we have struggled to get to these new temples.  Now with a family and two work schedules, taking the time to hit the new Utah Temples has taken a little more time and effort.  Here is a picture of our visit to the Draper Temple in 2013.

Draper Utah Temple

Draper Utah Temple

We had better hurry to catch up some because Cedar City, Payson, and Provo City are all in the works.

Theophilus and Martha France

In an odd twist of fate, I thought I might share my latest story in search of the family of Theophilus and Martha France.  I stumbled on this photograph when scanning the photos of my Great Great Grandmother.  She married Herbert Coley, whose sister, Martha Ann, is shown above.  This photo was in the collection, likely from Martha France herself, to my Great Great Grandfather Herbert.  The photo just had the two names written on the back of the photo.

Since, I have tried to track down the family with little or no success.  I will give some of the limited history I know at this point and then close with my latest little find.

Theophilus was born 26 December 1863 in Dudley, Staffordshire, England.  He married Martha Ann Coley 4 November 1891 in Logan, Cache, Utah in the Logan LDS Temple.  Martha was born 18 August 1860 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England to Stephen and Hannah Maria Rogers Coley.

Theophilus was a musician that took the family to various places chasing performing and music instructions.  Mostly in Cache Valley, but also taking in a jaunt to Salina, Sevier, Utah.

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Born to the family were 5 children.

Ada France born 1 April 1893 in Franklin, Franklin, Idaho and died 14 February 1957 in Caldwell, Canyon, Idaho.  She married Henry James Flippence.

Marguerite France born 19 October 1894 in Franklin and died 20 Mar 1936 in Logan.  She married George Bright.

Franklin Bank, circa 1895

Franklin Band, circa 1895, Theophilus France is sitting second from the right, supposedly as the leader

Wilford France born 25 Mar 1897 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah and died 28 August 1986 in Los Angeles County, California.  He married Elsie Arvilla Brown.

John France born 22 May 1899 in Lewiston and died 18 June 1953 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  He married Meryln Burton.

Beatrice France born 16 October 1901 in Lewiston and died 14 October 1997 in Salt Lake City.  She married Robert Wallace Ekenstam.

From the census records, it appears Martha may have had a son (maybe a brother) named Frank.  He appears and then disappears.  He may be a cousin who came over from England with Martha and then died, married, or just moved away.  I cannot trace him down again, so this is one question I have always wanted to answer.  But finding a member of this family has not proved easy.

I knew Theophilus and Martha are buried in the Lewiston Cemetery.  Her brother, George, and their parents, Stephen and Hannah, my Great Great Great Grandparents are also buried there.  Theophilus died 30 October 1923 in Lewiston.  Martha died 18 July 1949 in Parma, Canyon, Idaho.

George Bright and Marguerite Coley had at least 8 children, but only one of them lived to marry.  I knew her name was Gennevieve Bright and that she had married a man by the name of Elvon Monson Jensen 22 April 1947.  He died in 1990 and trying to track down a lady Monson in Utah or Idaho, especially where she could have remarried, seemed an impossible task.  I left it there and tried some of the other lines.

In 2011, I was in my office and visiting with the wife of the other attorney from who I rent office space.  I knew Kent was from Preston and in a lull of the conversation asked the name of Kent’s parents.  She mentioned Elvon and Gennevieve.  I could not tell where, but I knew that Elvon Jensen was in my family history.  That night I looked him up and sure enough, there he was.  I rent office space in Burley, Idaho from my 3rd cousin, once removed!  Kent’s children are my 4th cousins.

It was with some sweet satisfaction that I was able to provide a copy of the photograph of Theophilus and Martha above to him.  He had not seen a picture of them before.  I asked that he put me in contact with the member of his family who does the family history on the France/Coley line.  Maybe I can help bridge some of the divide and flesh out more fully the Coley line in Utah and Idaho.

The picture above of Theophilus and Martha was scanned in 2006.  Who knew that I would be providing a photo of ancestors to a line who did not have a photograph.  Maybe there will be more such stories in the future with all the photos I have and continue to make available.  We can only hope.  Here is a photo of Martha later in life, I don’t know how old she was at the time.

Martha Coley

Martha Coley

Beat the Draft

(l-r): Kenneth Barrow, Ellis Lund, Milo Ross, Jim Jardine, Glenn Geilmann, Victor Wayment, Earl Collins

Here is an interesting photo from 16 October 1942.  These boys all knew they would likely be drafted.  These men decided to enlist together so they could at least choose their branch of the military.  This picture was snapped in Ogden, Weber, Utah before catching the train to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Kenneth William Barrow (1921-2011)

Ellis Marion Lund (1921-1984)

Milo James Ross (1921-2014)

James “Jim” Fay Jardine (1921-1994)

Glenn Geilmann (1920-2013)

Victor R Wayment (1920-2013)

Richard Earl Collins (1921-2003)

All of them were fortunate to return alive from the war.

Ross – Sharp Wedding

Jack and Ethel Ross holding June Streeter about 1920 in Paul, Idaho.

Milo Riley and Mary Ann “Lilly” Sharp are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Ethel to John William “Jack” Ross, son of James Thomas and Damey Catherine Graham Ross.  They were married at Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado by an Army Chaplain (Julius J Babst) on 11 January 1920.

Jack is currently employed with the US Army as a cook at Fort Logan, Colorado.

The couple will return to make their home in Plain City, Utah as soon as he completes his enlistment with the Army.

Jack Ross was born 2 September 1890 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  He was the second of four children born to James Thomas Ross and Damey Catherine Graham.  Read more about Jack’s parents here.  We really do not know much of Jack’s childhood.  His mother joined the LDS church on 27 February 1898 and his father on 17 April 1898 in an unknown location.  Jack and his older brother Robert Leonard joined on 30 July 1900.  I have been unable to find the Ross family on the 1900 Census.  By July 1906, the family was living in or near Welch, McDowell, West Virginia working in the coal mines when Fanny and James were baptized.  Jack married Nannie May Day (she went by May) on 6 July 1910 in Squire Jim, McDowell, West Virginia.  To this marriage was born Hobart Day Ross (who later went by Hobart Day) on 1 Jun 1911 in McDowell County, West Virginia.

James and May Ross holding Hobart about 1912

Jack’s younger sister, Fanny Elizabeth married Calvin Dickerson Phibbs on 22 December 1906 (listed as a miner) and then moved to Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho in 1912.  Initially Calvin and Fanny moved to Rupert and purchased 80 acres to the northeast of Rupert.  He dabbled with cattle and real estate while also working as an electrician.  (He was eventually elected as Rupert City Clerk and in 1918 as Minidoka County Probate Judge.  He was admitted as an attorney to the Idaho bar 15 December 1919.)  At any rate, in 1911 the construction of a new sugar factory in Burley, Cassia, Idaho was drawing a number of potential workers.  Word reached the remaining Ross clan in West Virginia, probably from Fanny, of the upcoming opening.  The remaining Ross family rode a train of coal from McDowell County directly to southern Idaho.

Jack’s wife, May, did not come with him for one reason or another.  She divorced him shortly afterward and remarried to Andrew Cleveland Parson(s?) on 22 November 1913 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia.  We do not know anything of the Ross family between 1913 and 1917 other than they were working at Amalgamated Sugar in Burley.  Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army on 23 April 1917 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah and served in Battery E, 4th FA Rec Ser; Co. C, 21st Bn USG; 5 Rct Co (I do not know what any of that means) at Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado, until 6 June 1919 when he was permitted leave.  He had obtained the rank of Sargent and was awarded the WWI Victory Button and Medal.  As far as I can tell, he never left U.S. soil.

Jack’s parents were working on farms around the area during the summers and then at the factories during the winter.  Robert listed his parents as living in Idahome, Cassia, Idaho in September 1918 when registered for the World War I Draft.  Jack’s parents moved to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho and started working on the first beet campaign in 1918 at the new Paul Amalgamated sugar factory.  Jack visited his parents in Paul on leave (starting 6 Jun 1919) and it was there he met Ethel Streeter running a store on Main Street, now Idaho Street, only a block or two from where his parents lived.  Jack reported back at Fort Logan on 13 August 1919 to 12 August 1920 when he was discharged from Fort Logan.

Ethel Sharp was born 9 April 1898 in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  She was the 11th child (8 siblings living by the time of her birth) of 12 children born to Milo Riley Sharp and Mary Ann Stoker, AKA Lillian “Lilly” Musgrave.  I have written about this family at this link: Sharp-Stoker Wedding.

Ethel was confirmed in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Plain City 15 May 1912.  Somewhere during this decade she was involved in a train accident on the Utah-Idaho Central Railway line between Plain City and Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have been unable to locate any newspaper clippings or other information on this accident.  Anyhow, she obtained a settlement for her injuries.

She married Mark Lewis Streeter of West Weber, Weber, Utah on 7 May 1917 in Ogden.

Mark and Ethel Streeter

She made large deposits at Ogden First National Bank in June 1917, potentially her settlement.  We have checks from not long after that through August 1918 written out from Paul State Bank.  Interestingly, the checks state, “Paul is the Cream of the Minidoka Project, We Have the Cream of Paul.”

I have written about the photos recently found which include two photos of the Streeter Ice Cream & Confection Parlor.  Ethel Sharp and Streeter Confection.

Ethelyn June Streeter was born 4 June 1918 in Paul (she died in 2012).  Pictures of June are at the link in the preceding paragraph.  The divorce of Mark and Ethel was final after Mark had enlisted in the Army 3 March 1919.  Mark indicates in his autobiography that after he enlisted and left Ethel fell in love with Jack and that was the reason for their divorce.  Jack did not meet Ethel until June 1919, three months after Mark enlisted in the army.  Jack returned from his leave in Paul to Fort Logan in August 1919.  Ethel ventured to Fort Logan in January to marry Jack.  The 1920 Census lists him as a cook just days before Ethel arrived and the two were married.  She left little June with the Streeter family in Ogden.  We do not know much about the short dating period, but she traveled all the way to Colorado to marry him.  Whether she was head over heels for a poor military boy or something else, we do not know.  We do not know how long she stayed in Colorado or even if they came back together after his discharge.  We assume Ethel sold the store before going to Colorado.  After his discharge, Jack and Ethel moved to Plain City and he worked for Amalgamated Sugar Company at the Wilson Lane factory.  This was roughly a 7 mile walk to work one direction.  Milo James Ross was born 4 February 1921 in Plain City in a little log home just to the west and north of about 2971 N. 4200 W.  I have written of Milo James Ross at this link: Ross-Donaldson Wedding.  Here is a picture of the little log cabin in about 2005, shortly before it was torn down.

At some point, Jack and Ethel found their way back to Paul where Jack worked in the fields and at the sugar factory.  Paul Ross was born 14 February 1922 in Paul.  Work took Jack back to the Burley sugar factory and John Harold Ross (who went by Harold) was born 7 November 1923 in Burley and then moved back to Paul.  By 1924, Jack and Ethel were living with Jack’s parents and trying to make enough to get by.  Milo remembers walking to church in Paul before his mother died, he thinks a Presbyterian or Episcopal church.

To ease the load on his parents, the family moved back to Plain City.  Ethel gave birth to her last child, Earnest Jackson Ross, on 16 July 1925 in Plain City.

Sadly, Ethel passed away 21 days later on 6 August of puerperal septicemia (Blood poisoning from obstetric delivery).  Earnest lived to 20 September and he passed away in Idaho from malnutrition.  Jack is listed as the informant on the death certificate for Ethel.  Jack could not afford burial plots so Edward Sharp, Ethel’s brother, provided the burial plots where Ethel and Ernest are buried in Plain City.

Milo tells the story of the funeral for his mother.  He remembered that he was not permitted to look into the casket to see his mother.  The casket was up on the table and he could not see a thing and all he wanted to see was his mother.  Within days Jack took the four children back to Idaho and dropped them off with his parents.  Milo remembers his father riding the train holding baby Earnest in his arms.  Earnest passed away in Rupert.  James and Damey Ross took care of the remaining children through the winter of 1925-26.  June and Milo do not remember their father being there for the winter.  June’s only real memory of this period was of creamy buttered potatoes that were common and that she acquired a great love for.

By the time spring rolled around, Jack or his family had contacted Ethel’s family in Plain City and indicated they could not afford to feed and take care of the children anymore.  Os Richardson, Ethel’s brother-in-law drove to Idaho to pick up the four children.  Milo remembers the drive from Paul along the poplar lined highway from Paul past the sugar factory down into Heyburn, across the old river bridge through to Declo, Malta, Strevell, and back to Plain City.  The children were “farmed” out to family.  Milo was raised by his Uncle Ed Sharp, Paul by his Aunt Vic Hunt, and Harold by his Uncle Del Sharp.

We have very little information on what occurred in the life of Jack from this point on.  He found his way back to West Virginia where he tried to convince May to remarry him.  She had remarried and was having none of that.  This is the last time Hobart Day Ross ever saw his father.  Hobart went on to become a preacher.  He awoke blind one morning after being kicked in the head by a horse.

Jack found his way to Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming where he married a lady named Zana Cogdill on 29 November 1926.  She was previously married to Frank Coffey and was going by his name.  I have been unable to determine what happened to Frank.  She had a son already named Orval A Coffey. The 1930 Census on 2 April 1930 finds the two of them in Crawford, Delta, Colorado where he is working as a foreman in a battery shop and living with the brother of Zana’s first husband (?!?).

We do not believe this marriage lasted very long either.  Jack made several visits back to Plain City to see his children.  He would take a taxi out to Plain City, pick up Betty Booth, and the two would ride over to the fields where Milo was working.  We assume the same happened with Harold.  Paul died from a concussion in 1932 after falling out of a barn.  The car would pull up at the end of the field and would toot its horn and Milo could see the occupants wave.  It was not until he visited his father in 1948 that he realized this was his father waving at him across the way and that the lady was Betty Booth.  (Interestingly, Milo had given assistance to Betty Booth in the form of coal and helped pay some of her Dr.’s bills before she passed).

Jack reappears for the mandatory draft registration for World War II living in Stockton, San Joaquin, California working for Werl Zuckerman on McDonald Island with a Stockton mailing address.  He lists his nearest kin as his sister Ms. C. D. Phibbs (Fanny) living at 529 S. California Street in Stockton.

Milo received a telegram in 1948 telling him that his father was dying in a Veteran’s Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California and that he was requested to come.  Milo tried to convince his brother Harold to go with him but Harold wanted nothing to do with his father.  Milo took the bus to Livermore and found the hospital. He arrived somewhere around midnight and found his way into the building and climbed up a couple of floors and found a corner he could sleep in until morning.  He heard coughs from a room and somebody in the room ask for the time.  He poked his head in and asked if anyone knew of Jack Ross.  Jack indicated he was in the room and wanted to know if it was Milo or Harold at the door.

They visited until an orderly came in and kicked him out.  He slept in a corner for a while and then told an orderly that he had come all the way from Utah to see his father and that his father was dying.  The orderly then let him stay with his father until he passed.

Fortunately, Milo and Jack were able to visit.  Milo asked why his father never came to visit and his father insisted that he wrote letters, sent gifts, and that the Sharp family kept the children from him.  He did not believe him at the time.  Vic Hunt, Ethel’s sister, had received the letters and told Milo about them after her husband and son were electrocuted in 1960 (thinking it was a form of punishment for her keeping them secret) but still did not give them to him. They passed to her son Harold in 1987, and to her grandson Archie in 2005.  Archie turned them over to Milo in 2010.

We know very little of his time in Wyoming, Colorado, or California before his passing.  Jack indicated in 1948 that life had been hard and he never had much.  So little is known of these years, hopefully some more of the story will come out in the future.

John Ross Tombstone

John Nuffer

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

Here is a copy of the autobiography of John Nuffer, brother to siblings Regina Wanner (my great great Grandmother) and Charles August Nuffer.

I was born December 4, 1862 at Neuffen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, the eldest son of [John] Christopher and Agnes Barbara Spring Nuffer. After attending the common grade schools for eight years I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at age of thirteen years.

I was apprenticed to an architect builder in the building trade in the city of Stuttgart where I labored with the stone cutters and masons six months in the summer time, and attended the Architectural college the six remaining months alternately for three years, when I received my diploma as a journeyman in the building trade. The following spring I emigrated with my father’s family to America the first week in May 1880.

My mother died when I was four years old. There was another boy, Fred, of the same mother, a year and a half old when she died. Father married another woman, Eva Katrina Greiner. Through her influence the family joined the Church.

This is how the Nuffer family joined the Mormon Church:

In the year 1879 the missionary, Henry Flam, a distant relative of the Nuffer family came to the city of Neuffen, the State of Wuerttemberg, Germany, preaching his religion to the family of John Christopher Nuffer in a cottage meeting. The following families attended the meeting: Jacob Schweitzer, Anton Lalatin, Abraham Kneiting. They all joined the Church and in 1880, immigrated to Utah, with the exception of the Kneiting family who emigrated in 1881. Now Eva Katrina Nuffer, wife of John Christopher Nuffer, being a very religious woman accepted the doctrine first, being somewhat out of harmony in her belief with the States’ Kirche, (State Church), the Lutheran Church, especially on the doctrine of child baptism, vicarious atonement and the punishment for Adam’s transgression. It was she who kept the doctrines before the others, so when Elder John Theurer followed Elder Henry Flam, the following year to visit them, the four families Nuffer, Schweitzer, Lalatin and Kneiting were ready to be baptized by Elder Theurer, which took place at the house of Christopher Nuffer. There was a running millrace at the rear of the house which they dammed off with planks. The baptism took place at night to keep them from disturbance, for there was much hostility in the town. The town parson especially made a tirade against it in his Sunday sermon. To avoid persecution, they decided to emigrate as soon as possible.

They sold their holdings at once at auction sale, at a great loss to the real value. In the first days of May 1880 the three families Nuffer, Schweitzer and Lalatin left Neuffen by team to the capitol of the state, Stuttgart, from where they took the train to Mannheim (Home of Men) on the Rhine River. Here they joined a party of about thirty from Switzerland under the leadership of Elder John Theurer. From Mannheim they took two boats down the River Rhine to the North Sea. Here they took the steamer to Hull, England and then crossed England on the railroad to Liverpool. Here more Saints joined them. They left Liverpool in the company of about two hundred. After three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean they arrived in New York. From here the leaders chartered a special train which in about a weeks time went directly to Ogden, Utah, where they were royally received by some of the Saints.

The Nuffer family then went to Logan (1880). I was baptized on the first Tuesday in August in the Blacksmith Fork River by Nicholas Summers, confirmed by John Lederman. I got a job working on the Logan Temple the first winter as a stonecutter. Father’s family bought a home in Providence and settled there. The second year I worked in Salt Lake on the Deseret University building for contractor Elias Morris as a stonecutter and mason.

In 1882 I went with Tom Ricks to Montana to do some mason work on the Great Northern Railroad. I stayed there about six months. I came back to Logan and worked on the Logan Temple helping to finish the baptismal font and helped to point (to point is to fill and finish carefully the joints with mortar) the Temple until it was finished on the outside. In the fall of 1883 I persuaded father’s family to sell their home and we moved into Idaho and took up a homestead in Worm Creek, Oneida County, then called Preston, now called Glendale.

On September 18, 1884, I married Louisa Zollinger and was sealed in the Logan Temple in 1891. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Louisa Meier Zollinger. We lived at Glendale until the fall of 1890 when we moved to Preston, having been called by the Church to take charge and superintend the building of the Oneida Stake Academy.

In the spring of 1895, I was called on a mission to Germany. I worked in the city of Stuttgart eleven months, presiding over that branch and baptized five persons. From there I went to Nuremberg where I labored six months. From there I was called to Mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, to edit the “Stern”, the German edition of the Millennial Star. While there I translated B.H. Roberts’ “The Gospel”, and Wilford Woodruff’s “Experiences”, and “The Key to Theology” into the German language, which were published as serials in the “Stern”.

In the summer of 1897 I received my release and taking charge of a company of Saints, I arrived in Salt Lake the third of July and arrived at my home in Preston on the 4th of July 1897.

After coming home I was contracting building in partnership with Joseph S. Geddes, building several residences, the Weston Tabernacle, The First Ward chapel, and several school houses and other buildings. After that I opened an architect office and planned most of the older business blocks, the Opera House, State Bank building, the Oneida Stake Science building and several other school buildings outside of Preston at McCammon and Grace.

When Preston was organized into a village I served four years as a village trustee, and two years as village clerk until Preston was organized into a city.

Eleven children were born to us: Luther Jacob, John Willard, Louis Ferdinand, Herman Christopher, Austin Ekert, Karl Aaron, Agnes Louise, Myron David, Florence Myrtle, Edwin Joseph and Athene Barbara.

The foregoing was told to Jennie Smart Nuffer

September 1938

John Nuffer raised apples for many years. His orchard was located at the family home East on Fourth South Street. When he retired from public office, he continued to look after his fruit raising as well as dairy cattle. He was very proud of the fine fruit he raised and never over-charged for his produce. His health failed very fast following the death of his wife on October 1945 and he followed her in death on June 4, 1946. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery. He was a High Priest.