History of Idaho: John Nuffer

Back l-r: Austin, Willard, Luther, Louis, Herman; Middle l-r: Myron, John, Florance, Edwin, Louisa, Agnes; Front l-r: Karl, Athene Nuffer

From “History of Idaho” and found in Volume III starting page 1197.  “A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests”  This book is by Hiram T. French, M.S.  The book also says it is Illustrated and published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1914.

I found this book while at Utah State University originally.  I knew the history was inside but did not copy it then.  I finally returned a few years ago, found the book in the new library, and made a copy.  But at least I had it.  I found it just recently on Google Books.  This is John Nuffer, half-brother of my Regina Nuffer Wanner, not her father as some have previously indicated.  John went by John, his father John Christoph, went by Christoph and Christopher.  I have kept the spelling of the article.  You can also read his own biography too.

“A quarter century’s residence at Preston constitutes Mr. John Nuffer one of the old timers of this vicinity.  The mere fact of long residence, however, is somewhat of an empty distinction without works accompanying such residence.  In the case of Mr. Nuffer there can be found ample evidence both of long residence and accomplishments in the realm of practical affairs and in good citizenship.  Mr. Nuffer in early life was a graduate of one of Germany’s foremost schools of architecture.  All his life he has been a builder and contractor and in Preston in particular probably much the greater part of the higher class public and residential buildings has been done under his supervision, or through his business organization.

“Mr. Nuffer was born in Wuertemberg, Germany, December 4, 1862.  He is a son of Christopher and Agnes Barbara (Spring) Nuffer.  The father, who was a wine grower in the old country, came to America in 1882, first settling at Logan, Utah, but a year later came to Oneida county, Idaho, where as one of the early settlers he took up land and was a homesteader and farmer until his death in 1908.  He was born in 1835.  The mother, who was born in Germany in 1838, died there in 1865.  Of two children, John is the older, while his brother Fred is also a resident of Preston.

“The grade schools of Germany were the source of Mr. Nuffer’s education up to his fourteenth year.  At that customary age, when the German youths take up an education for practical life, he entered the Royal Architectural College at Stuttgart, where he was a student for four terms, and on leaving school as a budding young architect, he followed his profession in his native country for four years, up to the time of the removal of his father to America, when he became a resident of the western county.  Mr. Nuffer has been largely engaged in contract work since coming to Idaho, and during the past ten years has had a large business of his own as an architect and builder.  A complete list of his work at Preston and vicinity would be too long, buth some of the more prominent structures should be mentioned.  They include the Oneida Stake Academy, consisting of two buildings; the Western [should be Weston] Tabernacle; the Preston Opera House; the McCammon public school, the grade public school: Fairview, Mapleton and Whitney public schools; the Tabernacle at Grace; the high school at Grace; the Latter Day Saints church in the First Ward; and most of the business blocks as well as many of the larger and more attractive residence structures in Preston.  Mr. Nuffer is a director and secretary-treasurer of the Cub River and Worm Creek Canal Company.

“His part in civic affairs has been hardly less important than in business.  For four years, or two terms, he served as justice of the peace of Preston; one term as village trustee, and was clerk of the village board for one term.  His politics is Democratic.  He is a high priest in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and served a two years’ mission for the church in Germany.

“In November, 1885, at Logan, Utah, Mr. Nuffer married Miss Louise Zollinger, a daughter of Ferd and Louise (Meyer) Zollinger.  Her father died December 16, 1912, and her mother is living in Providence, Utah.  Her parents were pioneers of Utah in 1862, having crossed the plains to the then territory.

“The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Nuffer has been blessed with a large family of eleven children, who are named as follows: Luther Jacob born at Providence in 1886, is a resident of Preston and is married and has two children; Willard John, born at Preston in 1888, is a graduate of Idaho State University in the law department and is a young lawyer at Downey, Idaho; Louis Ferd, born at Preston in 1889, is a school teacher in Preston; Herman Christ, born at Preston in 1891, is a student of civil engineering in the University of Moscow; Austin Eckart, born at Preston in 1893, is a high school student; Carl Joseph, born in 1895, died in 1904; Agnes Louise, born at Preston in 1898, is a schoolgirl; Myron David, born in 1900; Florence Myrtel, born in 1902, and Edwin Joseph, born in 1904, are all attending school; and Athene Barbara, born in 1907.

“As a successful man and long business builder in this section of Idaho, Mr. Nuffer has a very high opinion of the state and forecasts its taking place among the first of American states.  He has had a career of substantial self-advancement and practically all the propserity he has won due to his own labor.

“His fondness for home life has precluded any association without outside organizations except the church in which he has had a prominent part.

That ends the history from The History of Idaho.  I thought I would provide some additional details on the family.

John was born in Neuffen, Württemberg, Germany.

Louise was born in Providence, Cache, Utah.

Luther Jacob was born 21 June 1885 in Providence and died 27 January 1952 in Oak Grove, Clackmas, Oregon.  He married Rosa Morf and later Mary Crockett.

Willard John was born 19 January 1888 in Preston and died 27 January 1948 in San Bernardino County, California.  I am not aware that he ever married.

Louis Ferdinand was born 20 September 1889 in Glendale, Oneida (now Franklin), Idaho and died 19 August 1966 in Canby, Clackmas, Oregon.  He married Ruby May Jensen.

Herman Christopher was born 12 October 1891 in Preston and died 23 August 1940.  He married Virginia Pryde Simmons.

Austin Eckhert was born 6 August 1893 in Preston and died 2 March 1944 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Karl Aron was born 6 September 1895 in Preston and died 7 February 1905 in Preston.

Karl Nuffer

Agnes Louise was born 11 May 1898 in Preston and died 28 June 1983 in Downey, Bannock, Idaho.  She married Raymond Hurst.

Myron David was born 21 July 1900 in Preston and died 24 November 1976 in Logan.  He married Camille Cole.

Florence Myrtle was born 19 October 1902 in Preston and died 23 March 1994 in Soda Springs, Caribou, Idaho.  She married Heber Wilford Christensen.

Edwin Joseph was born 25 August 1904 in Preston and died 21 June 1996 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  He married Jennie Arrella Smart.

Athlene Barbara was born 21 November 1907 in Preston and died 23 November 1991 in Preston.  She married Adrian Biggs Hampton.

Geraldine Pitcher Jonas

Aunt Geraldine “Jerri” Pitcher Jonas passed away in May.  I wish to share her obituary and a number of photos I have of her.

Geraldine ‘Jerri’ Jonas, 85, returned to our Heavenly Father on 26 May 2016.  She was born 1 October 1930 in Smithfield, Cache, Utah to Mary Geraldine Fulkerson and Ronald Nelson Pitcher.

She grew up in Smithfield and graduated from North Cache High School in Richmond, Cache, Utah, in 1948.

She married Ellis Seth Jonas on 18 August 1947. They were sealed in the Logan Utah LDS Temple on 24 April 1964.

She was very industrious and resourceful in all she did. She spent many hours working in her flower gardens, surrounding herself with the beauty they brought.

She took many horticulture and flower design classes at Utah State University prior to opening Jerri’s Floral and Greenhouse in 1976. Her successful business lasted for over 24 years before she retired.

Jerri was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served as Relief Society president, Primary president, and as a counselor in the stake Young Women’s presidency along with many other callings. She served a LDS full-time mission with her husband, Ellis Seth Jonas, in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission from 1993-94.

She was very active in community service for Smithfield and Cache County. She played a big part in designing and making floats for Smithfield Health Days. She was known and appreciated by all who knew for her willingness to serve.

She is our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife and friend. She was proceeded in death by her husband, Ellis Seth Jonas; her sons, Kent Ronald Jonas and Dan Ellis Jonas; parents, Mary Geraldine Fulkerson and Ronald Nelson Pitcher. She is survived by her children, Mary Lou Jonas (Jarel Hoyt), Julie Ann Jonas (Darnell Kowallis), and Ronald Nelson Jonas (Denise Chambers); and sisters, Faye Pitcher (Don Schiess) and Jenness Pitcher Pond. She has 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, 4 June 2016, at the LDS meetinghouse at 79 E. 200 South, in Smithfield.
A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on 3 June 2016, at Nelson Funeral Home, located at 85 S. Main St., in Smithfield. There will be a viewing for family and friends from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the services at the church. She will be laid to rest in the Smithfield City Cemetery.

Friend and Jerri

Friend and Jerri

 

School Picture

School Picture

 

Jerri is in the back between Evan and Lona, to the right of Ellis

Jerri is in the back between Evan and Lona, to the right of Ellis

 

B: Julie, Dan, Mary Lou, F: Ellis, Ron, Jerri

B: Julie, Dan, Mary Lou, F: Ellis, Ron, Jerri

 

Ellis & Jerri

Ellis & Jerri

 

Jonas home 25 July 2003

Jonas home 25 July 2003

I don’t have any of the family reunion photos from the past 10 years to share.  Maybe some of the rest of the family will share them or provide a copy to me so I can share them.

I really came to know Uncle Ellis and Aunt Geri (I know others spelled it Jerri, but I always used Geri and she signed my birthday cards that way too) while I was at Utah State.  I stopped in after I moved there in 2003.  As I got to know them quite a bit more, they invited me to dinner.  Eventually I fairly regularly went to Smithfield to get away, study, and do laundry.  It turned out to be a great opportunity to get away from campus, relax, and do homework.

I got to know Geri’s Mom, helped clean her home, and even did work for Jenness at her home.

I gave Ellis some books that I had that I thought he might be interested in and he gave me some of Great Grandma Lillians books as well as Great Grandpa Joseph’s books.  I still have them all.

Eventually I graduated from college, married, and moved away.  I always felt very welcome in their home and Geri always felt at ease to help me do things around the house.  I don’t know how many times I helped her weed some of her flower beds.

I wish I could have gone to the funeral but my own daughter, Aliza, was in the hospital.  Farewell until we meet again.

Mary Louise Wanner Andra Autobiography

Phyllis, Utahna, Sergene, Mary, Colleen, Millie, Edith

Phyllis Andra, Utahna Andra, Sergene Sorenson, Mary Andra, Colleen Jonas, Millie Beck, Edith Andra

Autobiography given Nov 1961
I, Mary Louise Wanner Andra was born the 5th of March 1901 in Cub River, Idaho.  My father is John George Wanner, Jr. and my mother is Regina Nuffer.  I have five brothers and one sister, Eva.  The oldest were twin boys: William C. and Willard.  The other three boys were Golden, Rulon, and Serge.  I came sixteen months later after the twins, so Mother had three in diapers.
In the fall of 1907 my father was called on a two year mission to Germany because he spoke the German language.  We didn’t have much while father was gone, but we were happy.
He returned in the fall of 1909 and we moved back to Cub River and in the spring of 1910 we moved to Whitney, Idaho where my father bought an eighty acre irrigated farm and a one-hundred-sixty-nine acre dry farm.  This farm was owned by my Grandfather Wanner.  My father planted beets, potatoes, grain and hay.  He also had a herd of cows and there was plenty to do!  Father was very strict and we all had to toe the mark.  I remember the twin boys and Golden, just younger than myself, and I had to thin the beets.  The first two or three years the mustard weeds were so thick you could hardly see the beets.
We kids went to grade school and had to walk three miles.  Sometimes we would ride horseback in the winter when the snow was so deep.  When it got cold enough to freeze a crust on the snow, we would walk on top and cut through the fields because the snow was above the fences.  We sure thought that was a lot of fun.
Our farm was just across the road from George Benson and their daughter, Margaret was in the same grade as myself.
In the 8th grade, I was chosen to take the part of Snow White in the school play.  In school, during the recess, we would jump the rope.  There was no one who could turn it fast enough for me.  I could outrun all my girl friends.  I even used to catch the boys and wash their faces with snow.
We also had a girl’s baseball team.  We would play Franklin and the surrounding little towns.
In the summer after school was out, I would ride horses.  I would go up to the dry farm and get the cows.  One time I took my little sister, Eva and as we passed a brush, Eva fell off and broke her arm.
After I graduated from the 8th grade, I wanted to take sewing course in Logan at the A.C. (Agricultural College).  After coaxing my father for several days, he finally decided to let me go.  Inez Wallace and I went to Logan on the train.  I had been down to Logan for three days when my father came and got me to work on the dry farm, getting the land ready to plant.
In 1918, my brother, William C. died in France.  He was in the 145th infantry.  Three days later, my brother, Golden died in Salt Lake with double leakage of the heart.  Soon after, my father sold the farm and we moved to Preston, Idaho.  My father bought the Parkinson Farm (4th South and 4th East).  Then my father planted beets again and I still had a job of thinning beets.  We lived in an old home while my father was having the new one built.
In the early fall and winter of 1918, I went around to different homes taking care of the sick.  There was a flu epidemic at that time.  I was taking care of my cousin, Emma Nelson (George Nelson’s wife).  He was a wrestler.  Emma died of the flu.
In the spring of 1918, I went to work for Roy and Alabell Hull.  I cared for the twins, did the washing, ironing, and all the cooking.  They had seven in their family and three hired men.
At that time I was going with a young man by the name of William Andra.  He was born in Germany.  While my father was on his mission, he used to go to the Andra home.  My father baptized his oldest sister, Frieda.
I met William and his mother while living in Whitney.  I was still going to school.  He and his mother came by train and my father met them at the train.  After a few days, William’s mother went back to Salt Lake and William started working for my father on the farm.  I guess that is when the romance began.  I was 16 years old.
While working at the Hull’s, William would come and get me with his new buggy and horse.  We would to go Preston to a show.  At this time William was working for Jim Bodily.  Jim Bodily was the man who bought my father’s farm.  I worked all that summer for Roy Hull for $6.00 per week.
That fall of 1919, I went to Logan to the County Fair and rode race horses for Joe Perkins.  I was offered a job of being a jockey, but I didn’t desire that kind of a career, although I loved to ride horses.
In March 1920, William and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple.  We made our home in Whitney, Idaho on the Jim Bodily farm (where Lorin Bodily lives, only north in an old house).  I even helped thin some of Jim Bodily’s beets.  Our closest neighbors were George & Kate Poole.  Kate and I spent many hours together sewing.
I joined the Relief Society right after I was married.  I was asked to lead the singing.  Sister Barbara Ballif was the President at the time.
We lived there a few months, then we moved to the home where Bishop Morris Poole now lives.  My husband quit Bodily’s and he and his brother, Otto thinned beets for different farmers.  In the fall, these two would top beets at the sugar factory.  I would go out and hitch up the horses in the morning while they ate their breakfast.
November 25th, Thanksgiving, our first son was born.  My husband thought he had more time before the baby came.  He didn’t have the stove put up in the front room.  He got all excited and really sweat trying to get that stove up.  Will and Laura Dunkley were our closest neighbors.  Laura was with me when the baby was born.  Dr. Bland delivered the baby.  We named him William, Jr..  After William Jr. was about six months old, each Sunday when we went to church, as we got out of the buggy, all the young girls would come running to take little Jr.. They called him the ward baby.
Towards fall, we moved again down in the Joe Dunkley home, back of where the store now stands.  My husband got the janitor job for the church and the school house.  He was getting $30.00 a month and we were paying $18.00 in rent.  In the spring of 1922 we moved to Preston on my father’s farm.  William helped my father with the crops and after the crops were up, in the fall, we moved to Salt Lake City, out in Sugarhouse.  My husband got a job at the Royal Bakery hauling bread to the little adjoining towns.
On the 22nd of June 1923 our second child was born.  She was an eight month baby, only weighed 4 1/2 pounds.  We named her June.  Mrs. Hymas came down from Preston to take care of me.  Brother LeGrand Richards was the Bishop of Sugarhouse Ward where we lived, so we had him bless our baby.
The next fall, my husband’s brother, Walt coaxed him to go into the cafe business at Preston, so we moved back to Preston.  They had a good business.  In fact, the business picked up after my husband started working there.  The young folks as well as the older ones took to him.  I didn’t like the cafe business because the children’s father seldom saw the children with their eyes open.  William was always used to the outdoors.  He was really a farmer at heart.
On February 6th, 1925 our third child came along.  Another little girl and we named her Mildred.
In the fall of the second year in the cafe, my father wanted to sell his farm, and we bought all the land on the south and my brother, Willard bought the land on the north of the road.  There wasn’t much money in raising beets, and it was hard for us to make payments on the farm with the interest being so high the first few years.  My husband had to do extra work outside the farm work.  He dug basements for new homes, hauled sand, gravel, also beets from the beet pile to the sugar factory, any job he could get to make the payments on the farm.
On August 5, 1926 another son came along.  We named him Golden Rulon after my two brothers.  When he was two and a half years old, Golden fell out of a swing and was paralyzed (all of his right side except his arm).  At that time we had a Dr. Milford who brought him into the world.  For one whole year, every day, except Sunday, I took him to town to Dr. Milford’s for treatment.  His office was upstairs in the old Greaves building.
On the 27th of May 1928 I had a little red headed girl and we named her Colleen Mary after me.
Later on, after a few years, we started to raise peas and the pea crops were real good.  One year the peas went to four tons per acre.  No farmer beat that crop.  I helped in the fields all I could.  We couldn’t afford to hire anyone.  We didn’t have tractors at that time.  This was the year we bought our first car, a Ford.  The Doctor said it was too far to walk to town.
In the year of 1932 another little blond girl joined our family.  We named her Sergene.  I guess I wanted her to be a boy so I could name him Serge after my youngest brother who died in New Zealand on a mission.  Dr.Orvid Cutler brought her into the world.  When she was six months old, they were having a contest at the Grand Theatre for the healthiest baby.  Out of one-hundred-ninety babies, little Sergene took the first prize and we were surely proud of her.
On July 15, 1933 another son came along.  We named him Donald Wanner after my maiden name.  Seemed like all the boys had curly hair and they would pass for girls.  I had a niece from Downey, Idaho who came to help do the house work.  She was crazy about Donald and I heard her say many times that he was the cutest thing this side of heaven.
In 1934 I was six and one-half months along, but just didn’t have the strength to carry my baby the nine months.  The doctor said he wouldn’t live and for us to give him a name, so we named him Robert Lee.  He lived four hours.  By this time I was plenty busy with taking care of the children, but the older ones were big enough to help.
On the 2nd of December 1936 another son came along.  We named him Ross Leslie after Dr. L.V. Merrill.  I was also made Relief Society Visiting teacher that year.
On the 28th of February 1940 another son joined our family circle and we called him Dale.  I used to take these last two little boys, hook the team to the beet puller and put one on each horse.  They thought it was fun.
My husband would do the hauling, the older boys and girls would do the topping.  We all had to get out and work hard.  We still didn’t have a tractor at this time, but got one shortly after.  My husband used the tractor to harvest the potato crop.
In June 1942 another little fellow came along.  We named him Dennis Willard, after my brother, and April 9, 1943 our number twelve, a son was born.  His name was Larry.  When you would see these three little boys in the yard, you could hardly tell which was who, they looked so much alike.
William Jr. was in the Spanish American Mission when Dennis was born.  Dennis died when three years old.  Since this time I was put in as Relief Society Chorister.
It is 1961 and they have divided the ward and put me in as Secretary of the Young Ladies Mutual.  Our second missionary, Ross filled a mission in Brazil and the third son to go on a mission ins in the Western States.  His name is Dale and he has one more year to serve.
I am proud of my husband, sons, and daughters.
This is a story of my life and I would like to pass it on to my posterity.
Prepared and arranged November 25, 1961
Mary W. Andra

Logan Cemetery

On the 10th we made a pilgrimage to Logan for our own time while living on Darwin Avenue.  We certainly miss our time at Utah State University and in Cache County, Utah.

We all know that people are just dying to get into Utah State, almost quite literally.  The campus now completely surrounds the Logan Cemetery, although not technically on campus.  Since we were driving around the school, I had to stop and at least pay homage to my ancestors buried in the cemetery.

Hiram Ross, John & Anna Wanner Tombstone, Aliza Ross

Hiram Ross, John & Anna Wanner Tombstone, Aliza Ross

John and Anna Wanner are my 3rd great grandparents, 4th to Aliza and Hiram.  I have written of them before.  Their son, John Jr, his daughter Regina, her daughter Mary, her daughter Colleen (Lillian’s middle name), her daughter Sandra is my mother.  I have to note that this post will post on John George Wanner’s 170th birthday, who was born 18 October 1845 in Germany.

Aliza Ross, John & Anetta Nelson, Hiram Ross

Aliza Ross, John & Anetta Nelson Tombstone, Hiram Ross

John (Johannes) and Anetta (Agnetta) Nelson (Nilsson) are my 3rd Great Grandparents.  Their daughter, Annetta, her son Joseph, his son Wilburn (Norwood is his middle name but what he went by, his daughter Sandra is my mother.  I have yet to write their history, but you can read quite a bit from their son’s autobiography, Nels August Nelson.  Note that this month, John was born 188 years ago on 7 October 1827 in Norway.

How thankful I am that Logan Cemetery maintains its graves in such a dignified manner.  May it continue to do so.  Other cemeteries in which my ancestors repose (like Richmond and Preston) have done far less in reverential treatment of these sites.

In the background you can see part of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.  A location of MANY memories while at Utah State University.

 

Dentist Office #6 Slovenian Visit

Stepping back into what only seems yesterday but in reality is 11 years, here is a photograph of the roommates at Dentist Office #6 on Darwin Avenue in Logan, Cache, Utah on 17 October 2003.  Matjaž Marinčič had come to visit from Slovenia and stayed for a few nights.  With the new-found friendships, we snapped a picture.  Mark had visited Llubljana where Matjaž is from and it is from that friendship that he came to visit.  Good times.

Lane Blake,

(l-r) Lane Blake, Matjaz Marincic, Brad Hales, Tyler Elison, Mark Morris, Sam Allred, Paul Ross

 

 

Apostolic Brush

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rose and John Byrom

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom

I stumbled upon this picture the other day and thought maybe it was time to share it.  This picture has an interesting story behind it.

On the far right are John and Rosie Byrom.  Rosie is mostly in the shadow so it is difficult to make her out.  I served in the Runcord Ward from around December 1999 to around August 2000.  John served as Ward Mission Leader and Rosie as a Ward Missionary.  (The Byroms have since separated and divorced).  I served in the ward for a long time and they remained in their callings for the entire time, so we built a friendship which, I feign to believe, still exists to this day.

I returned home from my mission in December 2000.  It was not long into 2001 that I learned the Byroms were planning on visiting Utah.  Of course, I invited them to spend some time in Idaho.

During the majority of time I served in Runcorn I had a companion by the name of Brad Hales.  Also in our district was a senior sister companionship of Meriel Peterson and Patricia Kleinkopf.  We were all native Idahoans and were in close proximity of each other.  It was natural that the Byroms also wanted to visit each of them while they were in Idaho.

This particular day we drove to Oakley, Idaho to visit Sister Peterson.  We had an enjoyable breakfast and conversation.  Sister Peterson decided she wanted to give us the tour of Oakley because there were some architectural gems that she thought the Byroms would enjoy.  I grew up near Oakley so I was familiar with many of these local landmarks.

We all piled into my little Camry and away we drove.  We had not made it very far driving down some of the streets of Oakley when Sister Peterson announced, “Wait, David is home, he will want to meet you!”  She had me turn around and we pulled into a little home in Oakley.

I had no clue who David was and I was not familiar with the home we were now pulling into the driveway.  We all exited the car.  In the yard there was a man trimming his hedges with a large straw hat and a large set of sunglasses that you only see old people wear.

Since Sister Peterson indicated that David would want to meet the Byroms because they were from England, I remained at the front of my car in the driveway and leaned back against it in the hot, summer, morning sun.

I have to give a little bit of background on the month prior.  We are in the latter half of July 2001 at the point of this picture (I recollect it was the 21st, but may be wrong).  I had just spent considerable time in Hawaii with family at the beginning of the month.  During that time I picked myself up a shirt and a shell necklace among other items.  As you can see in the picture, I am wearing my red shirt (not the blatant Hawaiian design you regularly see).  For years I thought I was in a pair of board shorts too, but this picture corrects my memory on that tidbit.  But I had continuously wore my new puka shell necklace since the trip to Hawaii.

Back to the story, I am leaning on the front of my car watching the Byroms enter the back yard through the hedge and approach this old man in a large straw hat and holding an electric hedge trimmer.  The man stopped trimming and turned to greet his trespassers.  Curiously, after what was a short couple of moments, probably no more than 20 seconds of conversation, this man leaves the Byroms and Sister Peterson and headed my direction.

My first reaction was that I was doing something wrong so I looked around to see my misstep.  Alas, not seeing I had done anything wrong I approached the man and met him near his hedge.  He had set down his trimmer before arriving to me and he pulled his hand out of his glove to shake my hand.  I shook hands with him and he with his free hand reached up and took of his hat and glasses and asked me my name.

My first thought was something along these lines, “Boy, this David fellow sure looks familiar.”  He asked my name and I gave it.  He asked about my Ross name and whether or not it was Scottish.  I informed him it was my name but not the name of which my ancestors carried.  He then informed me that Ross was a common name in Scotland where he had served as a Mission President.

He then grew quiet and he sidled up closer to me and put the hand with the hat and glasses in the small of my back while still holding my other hand in a handshake.  He was now close enough that his face was in my shadow (and he was considerably shorter than me).  He then broke the handshake and with that hand reached up and touched my puka shell necklace.

“What is this?”

“My necklace?”

“I am disappointed that you have fallen from the principles of the gospel that we teach as missionaries.  We teach than men and women have separate and distinct roles and this is confusing the two.”

My first impression was, “How did you know I served a mission?”

This man then turned to walk away back to the Byroms and Sister Peterson.  As he walked away, the thought occurred, “You have just been rebuked by an Apostle.”

Then it dawned.  David was David B Haight, one of the twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This was an individual I recognized as a Priesthood Leader and on my first meeting with him, I had been rebuked.

I stood there reeling from what had just happened.  It stung.  David went to the back door of his house and summoned his wife Ruby.  Ruby appeared and they all stood 25 feet away from me chit chatting about England, Scotland, and whatever else they were talking about.

What seemed like an eternity was likely only a minute or so, if that.  I remember reaching up and taking the puka shell necklace off and holding it in my hand.  I dwelt on what was really an unintended and probably unwanted visit that was a bother to me and this old man.  Sister Peterson just commented he was home and a few lines of dialogue just ended up potentially effected my eternities.  According to him I was already on the path, so I guess it did not matter what he said except to correct my backsliding ways.

Next thing I knew, the distant conversation between the Haights and Byroms had stopped and this Apostle was returning to me.  He again held out his hand as if to invite another handshake. I held out my hand with the necklace in it and he cupped his hand to receive whatever I was offering.  I dropped the necklace into his hand and once he realized what it was he let it drop to the ground.

He held out his hand again inviting mine in a handshake and I clasped his.  He sidled up close to me again, put his other hand in the small of my back, and was close enough to be in my shadow and that I could smell the salt in his old man sweat, and he continued…

“Where did you serve your mission?”  (I remember thinking that was an ironic question since the Byroms were from England, Sister Peterson served in England, and he asked where the fourth member of the party served his mission?)

“England Manchester Mission”

“How long have you been home?”

(After a quick mental tally) “Nine months”

“Elder, you hold the Priesthood.  You have a duty to uphold that Priesthood.  You should have been married by now.”

He released my hand, pulled his hand from the small of my back, turned, and walked away.  Maybe 4 steps later he turned around and said, “When it happens, I want to know about it.”

He returned to a conversation with Ruby, Sister Peterson, and the Byroms.

I stood there while they chatted for a few more minutes.  I do not recall hearing anything of the conversation between them, even if I was close enough to have heard.

Rosie had a picture taken of the occasion.  Sister Peterson sacrificed herself in the moment to take the photo that now memorializes this occasion.

I shook hands again with Elder David Haight and Sister Ruby Haight and we headed on down the road to see some other homes.  I ended up driving many more hours that day to Boise, Idaho City, Stanley, and elsewhere chauffeuring the Byroms through some of the sights of Idaho.  Rosie Byrom teased me about the moment the rest of the time I was with them.  After all, it is not every day that you get rebuked by an Apostle.  I cannot recall if they overheard the conversation or if I told them about it.  I cannot imagine that they overheard the conversation due to the close proximity in which David and I spoke that day.

Oddly enough, it weighed on me for a long time.  It became the butt of jokes as time went on, especially as David continued to age.  He was already over 95 at the time of my meeting him.  Roommates and friends would indicate that I better hurry or else I would not fulfill the rest of my duty to let David know when it happened.  I will not lie, it became a great story to tell people.  People loved to hear about my rebuke by an Apostle.

I regularly tell the story to individuals I am close to and that wear a necklace.  Missionaries I worked with I regularly told the story, especially if they wore a necklace.  I admit, I never wore a necklace or bracelet of any type since that date.  I know a number of missionaries who have “fallen from the principles we teach as missionaries” and forsaken their evil ways.  Honestly, I do not know that the story is one that should be heeded by others.  But for the deep effect it had upon me at the time and the power in which he spoke to me, I recognize it was for me.  Others should be careful about applying revelation of others to themselves.  But I do believe there is a principle here that we can learn, I just don’t know that I can very clearly articulate it.  I know the principle clearly for me, but don’t know how narrow or general to make it in application to others.

I remember Rosie reminding me that if I properly repent, I would be married within another 9 months.  Boy if that did not apply a little pressure!

As a side, I did pick up my little puka shell necklace and ended up giving it to a friend when I returned to Missouri later in August.  I don’t believe she has any clue what that little necklace meant to me.

There is more to the story.

On the following Monday, I believe 23 July 2001, I was in Salt Lake City with the Byroms.  After an endowment session, Rosie announced we were to go to the Church Administration Building.  She did not tell us why and I thought she just wanted to see the sights from the Church Office Building.  We walked in the Church Office Building and after Rosie talked to the man at the desk, she said we were in the wrong building and we needed to go to the Church Administration Building.  I informed her that the Church Administration Building was not really open to the public.  Rosie announced that we had an appointment.

In light of my experience a few days before, I was not really thrilled about our appointment in the Church Administration Building.  We walked around to the front door of the Church Administration Building and walked in.  As we approached the man at the security desk he asked,

“Are you the Byroms?”

Rosie responded, “Yes.”

“We have been waiting for you.”  (Never a very heartwarming phrase, whether the morgue, jail, CIA, bank, or Church Administration Building)

The man then responded, “You will need to leave your bags here, take the elevator to the fourth floor, take a right, and it is the last door on the left.  I will let them know you are coming up.”

We entered the elevator and headed to the fourth floor.  Rosie then turned and commented to me, “John helped provide security and drive for Elder Ballard while he (Elder Ballard) was in England for the Preston Temple Dedication.  He told us that if we were ever in Utah to stop and pay him a visit.”

Suddenly the realization came to me that I was going to visit with my second Apostle in less than a week.  I am a fairly laid back guy but felt some apprehension after the experience just days before.  We turned the corner and there stood M Russell Ballard in the doorway.  He invited us in to his office, introduced us to his secretary, and then ushered us into his office.  Across from his desk, I think, there were two nice wing-backed chairs.  Another chair was already there for me, or we pulled up a chair.  Elder Ballard left the office for a moment and then reappeared pushing a little chair toward me.  We were already all seated and he asked,

“Where is your wife?”

“I am not married.”

“Oh, that is something you will have to fix.”

He turned to push the little chair back out the door.  I heard Rosie chuckle and comment, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses…”

Elder Ballard returned and took his seat and we had a nice conversation that probably did not take more than 15 minutes.  Once again, Rosie had a picture taken.

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, Elder Ballard

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, M Russell Ballard

That was the extent of the interaction and I felt some sting from the second witness of my duty to uphold the Priesthood.  But it was a pleasant experience.  Rosie reminded me often after that, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

Well, time passed and eventually Elder David B Haight did pass from this veil of tears at the end of July 2004, three years after our encounter.  Fortunately, Elder Haight and I did have an opportunity to talk again regarding our first interaction that lessened the blow of the occasion.  Nevertheless, roommates and many friends called after Elder Haight’s passing to let me know how dire my situation was now that the revelator had passed and I had not fulfilled my duty.

Rosie commented to me that I could fulfill my duty by reporting my marriage to Elder Ballard when the time came.

Well, forward a few more years and I became enamored with a little red-headed girl from Kaysville, Utah.  She came to enjoy her time with me and after a while we would end our walks with a little dancing on the porch of the Alumni House at Utah State University.  It became a regular thing to end our walks and evenings out with a dance and closing conversation on the porch of the Alumni House.  I dare say we danced on the porch of that building more than 60 times.  It was on the porch of this little Alumni House that I made an unofficial proposal to Ms. Hemsley.  It just seemed like the right place.

Months later, Amanda and I returned to Logan under the guise of visiting some friends.  While on the campus I took her to that little porch of the Alumni House and there after midnight, now on 4 July 2005, I fell to my knee and proposed to her.  Of course she said yes and we danced and kissed there on the porch of the Alumni House.  Interestingly, before we left that night, I caught sight of a huge portrait hanging inside the doors that open to the porch that had become an important part of our courtship.  As I looked closer, I could see the familiar sight of a man whose face I knew.  As I got a little closer to see in the dark the portrait lit only by fire escape signs it dawned on me it was a portrait of David B Haight.

If that was not a little coincidental, and perhaps a little creepy, I do not know what is.  Elder Haight’s portrait had actually witnessed some of the most personal moments of my courtship.  The building I had only known as the Alumni House is properly named the David B Haight Alumni Center.  Somehow it seemed the whole experience had just came full circle.

We sent a wedding invitation to Elder M Russell Ballard with a short note explaining that due to Elder Haight’s passing I was sending the note and invitation to him to fulfill my duty.  He responded with a card thanking me for my note and invitation and suggested I consider my duty fulfilled.  He also apologized for not being able to attend our reception (which I am glad about, surely some further duty might have been laid upon me if he had!)

There is my story for the above photo with the Haights and Byroms.  Maybe some day I can tell my story about Elder Hales (the Apostle, not my missionary companion)…

Dentist Office #6

I don’t know why, but I thought I would share this only photo I have of the place I lived at Utah State from 2003 to 2005.  It is located on Darwin Avenue in Logan, Utah and is colloquially known as Dentist Office.  Aptly named from the dentist office that occupies the front of the building.  Anyhow, many memories here and just one, somewhat poor, photo.  Maybe someday I will return and get a better photo.

My bed was immediately below the top right window for the entire time I lived there.  I believe the address was something like 655 Darwin Avenue and we were in Apartment #6.

Dentist Office Apartments at Utah State University

A number of roommates lived there while I did.  Some of them are still close friends today.  Some of them include:

Samuel Allred

Lane Blake

Tyler Elison

Lucas Garcia

Matthew Geddes

Brad Hales

Mark Morris

Matthew Petersen

Justin Siebenhaar

Mike Staheli

Seth Warburton

Honorary Mentions:

John Catron

Matjaz Marincic

Joseph Sheppard

Ryan Werner

Taylor Willingham

Here are some pictures from the earlier groups.  I don’t have many of the later roomies, I guess we didn’t see the need to take pictures.

Back(l-r): ?, Sam Allred, Becky Nudd, Seth Warburton, Stephanie Adair, Jeana Stuart; Middle: Emily Sara, Paul Ross, Lynsi Lund, Colby ?; Front: Joe Sheppard, Matt Petersen, Mike Staheli, Brad Hales.

Starting from and working clockwise, Emily Sara, Joe Sheppard, Jeana Stuart, Mike Staheli, Colby ?, Matt Petersen, Lynsi Lund, Seth Warburton, Becky Nudd, Sam Allred, ?, John Catron, ?.

Back: Matt Petersen, Paul Ross, Mike Staheli, Jaime Nelson: Front: Sam Allred, Seth Warburton, Tina Stringham, Brad Hales. On other couch: Melissa Gregory.

Lane Blake, Matjaz Marincic, Brad Hales, Tyler Elison, Mark Morris, Sam Allred, Paul Ross

Taylor Willingham, Paul Ross, Patrick Neary, Greg ? at Bear Lake.

Patrick Neary, Greg ?, Mark Morris with buried Paul Ross at Bear Lake.

Matt Geddes, Lucas Garcia, Paul & Amanda Ross, Anna Badger, Brad Hales