Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More Diamond Mountain photos

The following are additional photos of the Diamond Mountain homestead I have not yet posted.
1926- Diamond Mountain Homestead
Isabrand Sander, Margret M Hanson, Asher, Mary M Sander, Birda holding son,
FRONT Virginia Merkley looking at her mother
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
Asher and Ray/Roy Merkley, 1929
Diamond Mountain and dog, Six
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
1931- Buffie Hatch and Virginia Merkley on Calico
up at Diamond Mountain.
From the personal albums of Tamera Lund
"Asher on the way with sheep to Diamond Mountain,
May 22, 1936"
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
Asher with nieces and nephews at Diamond Mountain
(Aird Merkley is recognized on far right)
From the personal albums of Tamera Lund
Homesteading on Diamond Mountain
Sander girls in photo
From the personal albums of Shannon Andersen
"Keturah's Diamond Mountain Cabin"
(Likely grown Sanders girls and Virginia M Hacking, 2nd from right)
From the personal albums of Tamera Lund

Friday, April 4, 2014

Helen Merkley in photos

Helen Merkley Colton was one of Asher's sisters.
The following are a bunch of photos of her in her younger years that have not yet been posted.
All are from the personal albums of Sarah Nielsen.
Baby Helen Merkley
Younger Helen Merkley portrait
Helen Merkley portrait in oval
Helen Merkley portrait
Young Helen Merkley
Another young Helen Merkley
Helen Merkley by ivy

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lottie Hodson & Joseph Harper

Lottie Blair Lewis Hodson was an older half-sister to Birda.
(Their father was Siney Lewis Sr, but they were born to different mothers.)
After Lottie's husband, Allan K. Hodson died in 1904, she remarried a man named Joseph P. Harper (of Salida, Caffee, Colorado) on 17 Oct 1906 in Salt Lake City, UT.
Thus, she became Lottie Blair Lewis Hodson Harper.... or just Lottie Harper.

No photo exists of Joseph P. Harper to my knowledge

Marriage License Application:
Film# 0429065
Marriage License:
Film #049298
 Newspaper notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1906, Oct 27, p.3
My initial impressions of Joseph P. Harper are not favorable, as 11 months later when Lottie died due to complications in childbirth, Joseph expressed no interest in caring for his new baby or the 5 year-old son from Lottie's previous marriage, and essentially skipped town.  I can find no further trace on Joseph Harper, and honestly don't care to.  This is about as far into the story as he ties.

Lottie's probate record, p.33:
SOURCE: Lottie Hodson Harper probate
8th Dist Court, Uintah Co,
Probate Case Files, Case 137-138,
UT State Archives, Series 14198
Researched Aug 2013
Text highlighted by me
Lottie's probate record transcribed (highlighted portion only):
"... That the husband of said deceased, Joseph Harper, who is entitled to letters of administration, refuses to take them and has said he will not bother with it and turned the whole matter over to your petitioner with the request that he see to it, and that the said Joseph Harper has left this County...."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lottie Lewis & Allen Hodson

Lottie Lewis was one of Birda's half-sisters.
She married Allen K Hodson* (of Ashley Precinct, UT) on 28 Dec 1898 in Ashley(Vernal?), UT
Thus, she became Lottie Lewis Hodson.
*The name is also commonly found spelled as "Hodgson".
Allen Hodson and Lottie Lewis
Photoshopped together by me
Found in the personal albums of Dallas Workman
 Marriage License:
Film # 0481100
 Newspaper notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1899, Jan 5, p.1
Newspaper notice transcribed:
"One of Millward's young lords carried off one of our young ladies starting last Wednesday on the voyage of life.  The benedict is Heber Carrol and the blushing bride, Miss Lottie Lewis.  We wish them a pleasant journey."

Newspaper correction: 
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1899, Jan 12, p.2
Newspaper correction transcribed:
"Ever since the Express came from press last week Heber Carroll has been endeavoring to coax his wife home, but as Al Hodson had the license and not Carroll, as reported by our Fourth ward correspondent, Heber found his task a hopeless one and concluded to console himself by spending the winter in the Uintah Stake Academy."

1900 Census:
I include the 1900 census here as it gives interesting clues just a year or two after their marriage.  If the census was taken door-to-door, this implies that on one side of their newlywed nest was Lottie's married half-sister, Annie Carroll, and on the other side was the rest of the Carroll clan, namely Edmund and Ester Carroll- WHO ALSO happened to be the witnesses present who signed on Lottie and Allen's marriage license... interesting little tidbit, yes?

Allen unfortunately died just a few years later in 1904, so it's a miracle to have the little bits of information we do about their nuptials and where they lived during this early timeframe.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Death info on William Lewis

William Harrison Lewis was a half brother to Birda.
He came through Siney Lewis Sr. and his second wife, Elizabeth Blair.

Unfortunately, no known photo of William exists.

According to this document the following dates apply:
BIRTH: 9 Dec 1879- Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah*
DEATH: 3/4 May 1896- Vernal, Uintah, Utah*
He was 16 years old when he died.

Newspaper notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1896, May 7, p.4
Newspaper notice transcribed:
"... A young man in Fourth Ward by the name of Lewis 16 years old, died Sunday of typhoid pneumonia..."

The reason I can tie this notice to "Willie" Lewis is due to the following written history that indicates his existence, as well of that of his sister, Lottie:

From the written document, "Memories of my Father, Siney Lewis Sr." written by his daughter, Mary Hatch on 18 Jun 1958, and found in the personal documents of Glen Hatch, there is this indication:
"(p.1)... Shortly after we moved to Midway, Betty died and left two children.  Four other children had died before and Lottie and William were the children she left.  Father brought little Willie to Mother where he lived until his death at 16 years old...
(p.2)... During our first year in Vernal, we lost our dear brother, Willie, at 16 years old.  (He was Betty's son.)  He was never well and strong.  He had what they called inflammatory rheumatism- a very painful thing, and he suffered constantly.  It was then that Father, in his sorrow, wondered if we had done the right thing in moving to Vernal..."

Another document written by Mary Hatch, "My Life" (written 25 Dec 1956) found in the personal albums of Glen Hatch, recalled this detail as well (p.12):
"...The next fall, after we moved to Vernal, we lost Willie at the age of 16.  He never was a healthy child.  I can still see his round, pale face.  I wasn’t old enough to think much about his sickness, but I remember a strange incident at the time of his death.  It was thought that he had passed away.  Father and several others were by his bed when, all of a sudden, he raised up.  He said, “He had been on the other side, that he had seen his mother and Jesus and that he was going to them, that he wasn’t permitted to stay here any longer.”  He said many strange things, then passed away.  As he lay there so still and white, I’d slip around to the back of the sofa that he was on and peek over and watch and think- why did they put money on his eyes, why couldn’t he breathe, etc.  A new experience had come into my life.  I wasn’t too sad.  It isn’t meant that children grieve too much..."

Death certificates are not available in Utah until 1904, so unfortunately there is no further paper trail I can find on Willie to this point.  Dang.

*These dates are derived not only from indications in the newspaper, but from the information provided through (see link in the source info below the headstone image) and family group records.  The only discrepancy is that the newspaper would date his death as May 3, while the billiongraves records and family records state it was May 4.  Birth location was derived from information provided on a family group record, though I haven't been able to find evidence of this elsewhere.  A possible source would be through: LDS Midway Ward #6408, p.62, line 1546.  I will have to confirm this at a later date...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ellis & Jean Merkley- 60 years together

Ellis Merkley was Asher's older brother.
Ellis and his wife, Jean, celebrated over 60 years of marriage- this post covers that hallmark.
Photos and documents are all from the personal albums of Delores Horton unless otherwise stated.  Articles are not transcribed, but can be read/examined by enlarging the article images.
Jean and Ellis
Anniversary Invitation:
*For some reason this image has decided to become blurry when posted.
For those interested in a better copy, please contact me...

Milestone article:
NO SOURCE- likely Deseret News or Salt Lake Tribune, 1968
Found in the personal albums of Delores Horton
 Anniversary notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1968, Jun 27, p.10
"Ellis and Jean in their home, 60 years married"
"Jean and Ellis Merkley- 60th Wedding Anniversary, 1968"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grandmother Merkley's home

Keturah Merkley was Asher's mother.

The following are photos of her home in later years and the surrounding garden, which many of her grandchildren speak fondly of.

The following excerpt comes from the history of Keturah P Merkley, a written document found in the personal albums of Sarah Nielsen (written by Sarah Nielsen):
"... Nelson died April 18, 1924, in the old home in Ashley Valley.  In a year or two Kate and Ellen moved into town (Vernal) to a home Kate had had built.  They lived there until 1940 when they moved to Heber..."

The following excerpt comes from the written document, "Memories of Birda L Merkley" (p2) written by Bryce Merkley and found in the personal albums of Bryce Merkley, regarding the building of this home:
"... Upon Nelson Jr.'s death, Keturah continued living in her home for a while.  Asher had decided to build a new home for Birda.  They had chosen a location at about 1000 West Main Street.  They had hauled in cobble rock to build a foundation and had logged lumber out of the mountains and had them sawed into "sawed logs" which meant they used solid timber to form the walls for the house.  About this time Nelson Jr. passed away and so the family decided that Asher should take over the farm, the homestead, and the "sawed logs" should be taken to a site at 141 West 1st South in Vernal to build Keturah a new home...."

"Grandmother Merkley's Home, Vernal, Utah"
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
Back states: "Merkley home in Vernal after grandfather's death"
From the personal albums of Sarah Nielsen
"Grandmother Merkley's Home" (and garden)
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
Back states: "L-R Dorothy Ann Whitbeck, Carolyn Sander, Kathleen Merkley, June Sander-
in Grandmother Merkley's flower garden"
From the personal albums of David Ahrnsbrak
"Kate, Ellen, and bunch of kids, 1936"
From the personal albums of Ellen Fletcher
"Sander girls at Diamond Mountain-
Buffy with Carolyn in front, Kathryn with June in front"
From the personal albums of Jane Haugsoen
*Due to the amount of vegetation, I doubt this was taken at Diamond Mtn
but instead taken from Keturah's flower garden.
"LEFT Buffie with Carolyn in front, Kathryn with June in front"
Appears to be on side property of Keutrah's home
From the personal albums of Shannon Andersen
"Keturah's home in Vernal"
From the personal albums of Delores Horton

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Georgia L McClelland & Francis J Fuller

Georgia Lewis McClelland was Birda's older sister.
After divorcing her husband, H Linn McClelland, between 1935-1940,
She remarried Francis Joseph Fuller on 7 Jan 1949 in San Francisco, California.
Thus, she became Georgia Lewis McClelland Fuller... at least for a time...

No photos of Georgia and Francis can be procured at this time.

California Marriage Index, 1949-1959:
Further source info is located in lower highlighted box on image

This union is still a mystery to me as family records and civil records indicate that it did indeed occur, but on Georgia's obituary she is listed as "Georgia McClelland" and on Francis' obituary Georgia is not mentioned, even as a surviving spouse.  It leads me to assume that between 1949 and 1957 (when Francis died) that their marriage ended, and she reverted back to her initially married name.

Dates and reasons are foggy on both divorces for Georgia, and without clarity from surviving descendants it's been difficult to assemble this picture together.  Further investigation into California Marriage/Divorce Records should help clear things up, but until finances or public records become available to sort this out, it will remain a mystery...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Death info on Joseph Francis Fuller

Joseph Francis Fuller was a brother-in-law to Birda.
He married Birda's older sister, Georgia (although they later were divorced.)

No photo for J.F. Fuller

According to these documents the following dates apply:
BIRTH: 22/23 Sept 1889- ,, California*
DEATH: 2 Jan 1957- San Francisco, San Francisco, California
He was 67 years old when he died.

California Death Index:
(See citations in bottom portion of image)
WWI draft card:
*Included as it gives a derivative date of birth: 23 Sept 1889
SOURCE: San Francisco Examiner 1957, Jan 4, Sec III, p.19
Obtained via email through the Magazines & Newspapers Center
of the San Francisco Public Library, request Feb 2014
Obituary transcribed:
FULLER- In San Francisco, Jan 2, 1957.  Francis Joseph Fuller, dearly beloved father of Mrs. Grace M. Eastburn of Mill Valley, Mrs. Dorothy J. Sparrow of Great Falls, Montana, Mrs. Doris Salopek and Frank G. Fuller, both of San Carlos, survived by seven grandchildren; a native of San Franciso, aged 67 years.
Friends are invited to attend funeral services Friday at 2 p.m. at the Crippen & Flynn Chapel, 1414 El Camino Real, Redwood City.  Interment, Alta Mesa Memorial Park.

As he died in California, it will be tricky for me to procure a copy of his death certificate to post here, although it would prove helpful in filling in some gaps.  As Georgia is not mentioned in his obituary (as surviving or preceding him in death) and Georgia's obituary does not list her last name as Fuller (but rather her previously married name of McClelland from her first marriage) it is assumed that although they married in CA in 1949 that the marriage did not last and dissolved sometime before his death in 1957.  I would love some clarity on this, but have not been able to find any yet.... to be continued, I suppose...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Charles and Crystal Lewis- 60th anniversary

Charles P Lewis was one of Birda's older brothers.
The following details Charles' 60 years of marriage to his wife, Crystal.
older Charlie and Crystal Lewis
From the personal albums of Patty Stewart 
Newspaper notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1972, Jun 22, p.3
Found also in the personal albums of Dallas Workman
Newspaper notice transcribed:
60th Anniversary Celebrated by Vernal Residents
The children of Charles and Crystal Lewis; Mrs. R.D. (Lenore) Nielson, Ret. Lt. Col. Charles Howard Lewis, and Mrs. Max (Patricia) Stewart, will celebrate their parents' 80th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary with an open house at the Lewis home, 262 South Second West, June 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. All friends and relatives are invited.  No gifts please.

Birthday/Anniversary party notice:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1972, Jun 29, p.B5
Found in personal albums of Patty Stewart
Birthday/Anniversary party notice transcribed:
109 Guests Attend Birthday-Anniversary Celebration June 24
Mr. And Mrs. Charles P. Lewis celebrated their birthday-anniversary June 24.  They greeted 109 guests.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Lewis have worked in public and church works; Mr. Lewis was chorister in Glines Ward and 2nd Ward MIA, was scoutmaster of troop 232 Vernal 2nd Ward for several years when the troop earned the most awards of any troop in Uintah District.  He taught school 37 years, 22 of which were at Uintah High School where he taught art and other subjects.
One year at the University of Utah he was first trumpet in the University band.  He was leader of Uintah High School Band for two years and Vernal band for several years, was president of American Association of Retired Persons for five years and at present is a member of the Council on Aging.
Crystal P. Lewis taught school 15 years, was county librarian six years.  She taught LDS Sunday School 35 years.  She was class leader in both stake and ward Relief Society, taught Primary and MIA in Hawatha for two years.  She has been secretary of Sunday School, MIA, Relief Society and is now secretary of the AARP chapter 368.
She has held many offices in Daughters of Utah Pioneers, both in county and local camp since first organized.  At present, she is historian of Camp Vernal.  She has written about 20 individual histories or biographies of relatives and friends now on file at Salt Lake City Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are parents of three children, Lenore Nielson, Charles Howard Lewis and Pat Stewart.  They have 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
*Spelling corrected wherein I was aware.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lewis House Fires

The Siney Sr and Elizabeth C Lewis household had the misfortune of suffering through more than one house fire.  The post covers their life history in that context.

The following is an excerpt from the Life History of Mary (Lewis) Hatch (written by herself, and found in the personal albums of Glen Hatch) regarding one of the house fires they experienced:

"...Another disastrous thing that came to us when I was a child was our home being destroyed by fire.  Houses in those days were more or less fire traps- logs with factory stretched over them.  All homes were about the same then, to freshen and clean them, the factory was whitewashed occasionally.  This would cause the factory on the ceiling to bag down with the weight of the whitewash on it.  If we could go into a house like that now, we would never forget it.  As soon as material became available, Mother started to persuade Father to lathe and plaster the house, but like all men, he’d say, “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”
Every morning, Father would get up early, make a big fire in the kitchen stove, then go out to do his other chores.  We children were in the front of the house dressing.  I could smell smoke.  I looked out a little south window and could see the smoke coming out of the crack over the door.  I screamed, “The house is on fire.” I ran to the door leading into the kitchen, threw it open, and the flames darted at me like a great red tongue.  We were all out of there in less than two minutes.
Children don’t suffer too much from events like that and it’s a good thing.  It’s the parents.  I stayed at Nonie’s, Mother and Father went down to Siney’s until the house could be rebuilt.  To have to start from the bottom- no dishes, no dishtowels or sheets or towels, no cooking utensils and, worst of all, no money to buy more.  The poverty and hardships people went through!..."

Newspaper article: 
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1906, Nov 10, p.1
Newspaper article:
For the Third Time Within Two Years, Fire Destroys Belongings of Siney Lewis.
For the third time in the brief period of two years Siney Lewis has been burned out.
The conflagration occurred Thursday night, or more correctly speaking, very early Friday morning.  The cause of the fire was undoubtedly a few pieces of kindling wood, placed on the kitchen stove to dry.  The heat form the range it is thought, ignited these, from them fire was communicated to the floor, the flames making great headway before the inmates of the house awakened.
Every possible effort was made to save the contents of the house and extinguish the flames, but without success, so far as the latter part of the proposition was concerned, as the building was totally destroyed.  Most of the contents of the front part of the house were removed but those of the kitchen were entirely lost.
Two of the children were almost suffocated and had a narrow escape.  This is the third heavy loss Mr. Lewis has suffered from fire.  The first fire occurred two years ago, when the steam thresher set his stack afire, causing the loss of all his hay, grain, stables, stackyards etc, later on his house with all his household effects were totally destroyed by fire and now comes this fire, for the second time rendering the family homeless.  The house had just received the finishing touches and the family confidently expected to enjoy their home this winter.  It is needless to say the family are justly entitled to substantial public sympathy.
*Spelling and punctuation corrected wherein I was aware.

Newspaper follow-up:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1906, Nov 24, p.3
Newspaper follow-up transcribed:
Siney Lewis wishes to thank those who came to the assistance of his family, and have made it possible for them to build another house this winter.

Newspaper follow-up, II:
SOURCE: Vernal Express 1907, Jan 5, p.1
Newspaper follow-up, II, transcribed:
The county commissioners have appropriated 1,000 feet of lumber to assist Siney Lewis in the erection of a new home.

From the "History of Charley Lewis" (recorded by Charles Lewis himself to his daughter Lenore in 1975 who transcribed the document found in the personal albums of Patty Stewart) we have this account:
"... The first fire we had I was about 8 or 9 years old.  I was sleeping on the floor right next to Frank.  He was on a cot.  In the night I heard something popping and sounding like a fire burning and it woke me up.  As I looked into the other room, into the kitchen, I could see the fire just coming up over the edge of the door.
 It scared me so that I woke Frank up right then.  He woke the rest of the family.  We started getting things out of the house as fast as we could and one of the neighbors came over, but the house was so engulfed in smoke and fire that we didn’t get very much out of the house.
 It started by Mother putting some kindling on the back of the stove to dry it so it would be dried by morning.  There was enough fire in the stove that it ignited the wood and that caused the fire.  It burned the house down.  That was the first fire.
 ... The second fire they got the framework all up and [were] getting along there pretty well with it and the ceiling on the top there.  They had run the chimney right up [through] the house and got it too close to the wood.  That was the second fire.  It ignited right from the top of the house.  In a little while, the whole house was in flames.  I remember that Joe Carroll was one of the big helpers.  He had done a lot of the work and contributed some of the material.  He was Annie’s first husband...
 That was in the wintertime.  We had kind of dug out a big cellar at the back of the house that we used to keep our fruit and stuff in, and we had to use that a lot there for some of our living.  Siney had just got married and was living down [through] the fields and had built a house there [for] he and Lena.  We used to go down there to live quite a little bit, until our house was so that we could live in that.  Some of us slept in that cellar.  I remember distinctly when we were living down there we’d milk the cows up in the corral then take the milk down to Siney’s and separate it. I wasn’t big enough to carry the milk bucket so it would just slide along on the snow as I was carrying it along...."