Monday, February 25, 2013

Comber Amateur Flute Band

Comber Amateur Flute Band
This super photo shows a great band that marched in Comber, Ireland.  Kim's grandfather, John Todd, is the drum major pictured at the far left.  The bass drum player, William Barry, pictured third from left on the front row, is the grandfather of our Irish cousin, Sam.  Kim and Sam share a great-uncle, Robert Barry, who is pictured on the far right of the back row.  Both William and Robert were John's brother-in-laws as he married their sister, Christina.

I so wish I could hear them play!!!!

Anders and Ingrid Anderson

This is one of the few photos of Anders and Ingrid Anderson.  Anders was fairly tall for the time and Ingrid was a very petite woman.  I love the typical Swedish head scarf and the apron on Ingrid, but I wish we could see Anders' face more clearly.

Mae Hoskins Ott

Mae Hoskins Ott
Mae was the youngest sister of my great-grandfather, William Hoskins.    There were 10 children in the family and Mae's mother, Samantha Wilson Hoskins, passed away when Mae was 2 years old.  The father, Thomas Hoskins, couldn't care for all of the children and earn a living too, so the familly was broken apart and many of the younger kids went to live with other families.  Mae went to live with her mother's sister, Margaret Wilson Klopp.  She was raised in Hardin County, Iowa,  and was often far away from her father (he moved to Nebraska), but there were lots of extended family members who still lived in the little town of Robertson, Iowa.  She married Daniel Ott and was living in Spirit Lake, Idaho, in 1910.  Daniel and Mae eventually moved to Spokane where they spent the rest of their lives.  They were the parents of two sons, Daniel Gordon Ott and George William Ott.  Neither of the sons had any children - so there are no living descendants now. Mae passed away in 1930 and her husband, Daniel, lived until 1952. To see another photo of Mae, see the post from December 14, 2012. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chad Stephens

Kim did a facebook post today to honor his father:
Today is my Father's birthday. He would have been 89 years old today. He passed away in 1988 after surgery. He was a pilot, a P.O.W., he was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a father-in-law and an uncle. He was the strongest man I knew, who never complained when he was hurting, which was most of the time. He was also the gentlest man I knew. He was a businessman, a warrior and a Man of God, he treated everyone with respect and dignity. I miss him everyday, especially since I could always talk to him. "My father never told me how to live, he lived and let me watch".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Anderson boys

This photo captures a sweet moment with Grandpa Anderson (Neils Anderson) and his three youngest sons.  They are sitting in the backyard of the family home, probably just taking a little break from the ever-present farm work of summertime.  Grandma's wash is hanging on the line and overalls are the fashion statement of the day.  From left: Russell, Homer's back, Neils, and Ross in the pith helmet (?).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Another great postcard from my great-grandmother's album.  Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Henry Todd census 1911

1911 Census - Henry Todd family
Kim's grandfather, John Todd, appears on this census as a 17 year old mechanic. His father, Henry Todd, is a carpenter as is David Henry Todd age 19.  (Click on the image to biggie-size).

Alexander Nephi & Amina Raymond Stephens' children

The photo above is of Amina Raymond Stephens with the first three children that she and Alexander Nephi Stephens had.  The children are Almeda Almira Stephens (Meda), William Wallace Stephens (Will - Kim's great grandfather), and Sarah Amina (Sadie).
These are AN and Amina's next three children; Etta Imogene, Alexander Vaness (Alex) and Rebecca.
The couple had two more children:  Umatilla, who passed away as an infant and another daughter, Edna.  You can definitely see a family resemblance between the first three children and the second three. 

William Asa Speirs WWI draft registration

This is the World War I draft registration of my great-grandfather, William Asa Speirs.  He was 2 months shy of his 41st birthday at the time that he registered.  This registration shows his height as medium, build as medium with brown eyes and dark brown hair.  His signature is at the bottom left.  Kinda fun!

 William Asa Speirs also was required to register during World War II.  He was 64 years old at that time - probably not the best soldier material - but a possible candidate if things got too bad.  It looks like the cursive writing is in his own hand.  I'm so glad that things did not get bad enough for Papa Speirs to be drafted!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

George W Hoskins

George W Hoskins
This photo of my grandfather - most likely taken before his father died in 1908 - is so cute.  I love the short pants and knee length stockings.  The suit is pretty spiffy for a little Idaho town in that day and age - it is tailored nicely enough to probably have been store bought and not home made.  What a great photo! 

John Todd naturalization

Kim's grandpa Todd was naturalized in 1941.  Here's a great copy of his certificate.   This certificate mentions a scar on his back.  We are speculating that maybe this would be one of the wounds that he received in the first world war.

Alexander Nephi Stephens

Alexander Nephi Stephens



Alexander Nephi Stephens was born 11 December 1840 in Brown County, Illinois.  He was the 5th child in a family of 12 (9 boys and 3 girls).  His father was John Stephens and his mother Elizabeth Briggs.


John and Elizabeth were converted to the Mormon Church and John was baptized by the prophet Joseph Smith.  He and his wife were endowed in the Nauvoo Temple 6 Feb 1846.


Because of the bitter persecution in July 1846 the Stephens family left Nauvoo and started across the plains to Salt Lake.  Alexander was just 9 years old at this time and much of the journey he walked, as there were several children younger than he was and there was so little room to ride in the two wagons filled with the family possessions.


The Stephens family reached the Salt Lake Valley in October 1849 and after a few days lay over in Salt Lake went on to Ogden where they purchased two city lots on 24th Street near the Weber river, below where Wall avenue is now.  A one-room house was on the one lot and they built another room onto it and so were fairly comfortable for the winter.  In the spring they homesteaded a farm in the Birch Creek area.


In the spring of 1857 President Brigham Young called out the State Militia to prevent Johnson’s Army from entering the Salt Lake Valley.  The federal government was afraid the Mormons in Utah were becoming too well established and successful, so on the pretence they feared a rebellion the sent an army to subdue them.


The father and oldest son Otha were stationed at Echo Canyon to stop the army from entering the valley that way.  Later Alexander Nephi was sent with a group to Lost Creek to prevent entrance from that direction.


Brigham Young felt the Mormons had been persecuted, murdered and robbed in Missouri and Illinois both by mobs and government authorities and now the United States was about to adopt the same course and he and the Mormon people resolved the army could not enter the Salt Lake Valley. They would resist to the death the troops entering the valley.


In 1860 Alexander Nephi married Sarah Ellen Gheen who at that time was only 16 years old.  Her parents had been Quakers but had joined the Latter Day Saint Church.  Alexander Nephi and his young bride rented a small place on 24th Street and Grant Avenue in Ogden where he made a living working in a general merchandise store.  Here three of their children were born -  a boy and two girls.  Eight years after his marriage Alexander’s father gave him a piece of land on the farm and he built a two-room log house with a lean to and a dirt roof.  It was built on a small hill facing the east mountains and just below the hill was a spring of cold water and a little creek.


In this home on January 4th, 1869, a second son, John Andrew, was born and nine days later the mother, Sarah Ellen, passed away.  The mother’s sisters (two of whom had married Heber C. Kimball) took care of the baby and the youngest girl.  Later another sister, a Mrs. Elmer, took them.  The two older children lived with their father’s brother Daniel and his wife.  In August of the same year Alexander Nephi married Amina Raymond and the children were united again.  The children learned to love their new mother and she was very good to them.  She later had two sons and five daughters of her own.


On April 10th 1873, Alexander Nephi married Mary Eames as his third wife.  She was an English girl who with her family had joined the LDS Church and immigrated to America where the settled at Plain City.  Her father contracted diptheria and died about a year after coming here. In order to help provide for the family, Mary did house work for any one who needed her.  She was working in the Stephens home and was just 17 when she met Mr. Stephens and married him.  Later she became the mother of eight children (4 sons and 4 daughters). Four of her children died in infancy.


In March 1879 Lester Herrick and Charles Middleton of the Weber Stake presidency organized a company of saints to settle in Idaho on the Snake River with John K. Poole as president.  Mr. Poole had visited the Snake River Valley with a trapper the year previous and was very desirous to promote settlement there.  He interested the Stephens and Raymond families along with a few others to go to Idaho with him.


When Mr. Stephens and Mr. Raymond arrived at Poole Island, later known as Menan, it was late in March and they each staked a claim on a quarter section.  Then they returned to Ogden to move their families.


Before the family left for the Snake River country Alexander Nephi had the Browning Brothers make him a special gun which he named Sally Ann.  It could shoot either large or small bullets and could fell a deer a half mile away.  This gun was a prized possession and he became an excellent shot with it.  The Stephens family loaded all their possessions in wagons and set out over the trail- like road for their new home.  It was a road easy to trace by the clouds of dust, which hung over it.


As Mary was expecting her fourth baby she was left behind in Ogden until the others could get settled in Idaho.  Her two oldest children (a girl and a boy) had both died before they were three years old.  Her fourth child, a boy, was born in August 1879 and Mary and her two children joined the others in Idaho in November. This boy died in August the following year.


They arrived on their claims on July 2, 1879, after a long, tiresome journey.  Mid-summer was a wonderful time of the year for these settlers to arrive.  Their quarter section of land was well covered with heavy river grass and sage brush higher than a horses head.  In true pioneer spirit they started to fell the cottonwood trees and peel them into logs.  A two-room house was raised in no time and they set about clearing their land.


The early settlers had to do things the hard way.  They had only the most primitive tools to work with.  The land was covered with sagebrush and this had to be cleared off, the ground plowed with a hand plow and leveled before it could be planted.  The crop was planted by hand, a man broadcasting the see.  After the crops were grown they had to be harvested by hand.  The grain was cut with a cradle and tied into bundles by hand.  Later the bundles were threshed by hand using a homemade flail.


Since Alexander Nephi had two families, so was living in polygamy, the government agents were constantly after him.  He hid out whenever he knew any deputies were around and he had to constantly be alert and on the move.  He had a hiding place fixed in one of his homes and all his children were always on the watch for the government agents.  Finally Alexander Nephi and some of his polygamist friends decided to leave the country for a time.  They disguised themselves as trappers and trapped through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  After several months of living this way he returned home and gave himself up.  He was tried and sent to the Idaho penitentiary where he served for six months then was paroled because of good behavior.


Some time later the government decided to allow the Mormons who had more than one wife to continue to live with their first wife without being molested.  They were to provide for their children, and future plural marriage was forbidden. Eventually the persecution quieted down and they were able to work out their own problems.  For many years Alexander Nephi lived quietly enjoying his families and helping build the town of Menan and the church in that area. 


He loved to hunt and fish with his sons.


On November 21st, 1915, Amina passed away in Ogden, Utah, and was buried in the Ogden Cemetery near Sarah Ellen.  January 17, 1916, Alexander Nephi died in Menan and was brought to Ogden and was buried in the Ogden cemetery with his two wives.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

William Asa Speirs

This is a fun photo of my great grandfather, William Asa Speirs, with his dogs.  (The Groucho Marx mustache is the best!!)

Christina Todd Stephens

A lovely photo of my mother-in-law Chrissie.  She must have been engaged to Chad at the time this photo was taken - note the "wings" pin that she is wearing.


This is how the grain was threshed in Thomas, Idaho, in the early part of the last century.  I don't believe that this is my grandfather's threshing outfit, but Neils Anderson owned a threshing machine and went from farm to farm to thresh for the neighbors. The neighbors who couldn't afford to pay for the threshing in cash would give grandpa a share of the crop and so he never lost any money running his threshing business.

Grandpa Anderson once accepted a threshing job in Mackay, Idaho, (which was approximately 78 miles away).  The tractor could only pull the thresher at 11 miles per hour, so it would have taken at least 14 hours to go there and back.

At noon, the woman of the house would provide a wonderful feast for the crew.  It took a long time to prepare only the best food for a hard-working crew of hungry men. 

The story is told of my grandfather (who was a notoriously picky eater) once was threshing for a family who was really, really poor.  At noon, the crew was served a carp and a sucker fish (which are considered to be trash fish that would have been caught locally in the Snake River).  I'm sure that was the best that the family could provide!  Suddenly Grandfather remembered that he needed some oil for the thresher that he must have forgotten to bring from home.  So he escaped having to eat the meal.