Friday, April 5, 2013

The Mission of Elijah

“Many of your ancestors died never having the chance to accept the gospel and to receive the blessings and promises you have received. The Lord is fair and He is loving. And so He prepared for you and me a way for us to have the desire of our hearts to offer to our ancestors all the blessings He has offered us.

“The plan to make that possible has been in place from the beginning. The Lord gave promises to His children long ago. …

'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

'And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse' (Malachi 4:5-6).”

—Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005


Friday, March 29, 2013

Elizbuth Melinda Somers

Today is Elizbuth Melinda Somers' birthday. She is my paternal grandmother and was born on March 29, 1892 in Willow Creek, Utah. You can see pictures of her life and read her personal history on Family Tree which can be found at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Eight

"Oh!  My Papa" was Oliver's favorite song.  Ollie Jean Johnson Sorensen, Oliver's daughter, would often sing it to him.  It was sung at his funeral.

Lyrics by Eddie Fisher

Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so good
No one could be, so gentle and so lovable
Oh, my pa-pa, he always understood.

Gone are the days when he could take me on his knee
And with a smile he'd change my tears to laughter

Oh, my pa-pa, so funny, so adorable
Always the clown so funny in his way
Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
Deep in my heart I miss him so today.

Here is a link to a You Tube audio recording of Eddie Fisher singing this song that Oliver liked so much .

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Seven

Letter From Mae Jensen

January 10, 1970


Dear Sister Johnson,

We were so sorry that we were unable to see you at the Mortuary, but we were in Salt Lake that Sunday. The service Monday was certainly a beautiful tribute to a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and neighbor.

Of course we shall always remember you folks, because it was your property that we built our home on.  You have always been such good neighbors. One particular trait Bro Johnson had I really liked and that was from the first time we moved into the Ward, he always addressed me with a genuine handshake a broad smile and called me by my first name “Mae.”

I have admired the closeness and love your children have had for both of you.  The great concern they expressed publically when Bro. Johnson was ill. Not only your own sons and daughter, but the love that Jessie Lou and Gloria has expressed for you has been a real inspiration to me.  I would like nothing better than to have the love and acclaim throughout my life of my in-laws that I have seen displayed among all of you.  That is true love.

I was much impressed at our Christmas party watching Brent helping you on with your coat.  Little things, but it is the little things that really make life worth living.  I have also watched your grandchildren snuggle up close to you and Bro. Johnson in church, and their look of love and confidence they would give you, and you in return, your little squeeze on the knee, or act of affection to them.  (I’ve seen a lot of human drama sitting on the stand these many years), and I’ve seen tears of joy in your eyes as your grandchildren pre­formed--I’m thinking particularly of the night J.D. gave that talk.  Such a lot of respect and love he paid all of you.

Brother Johnson has surely given these sons and grandsons a “good name” to carry on--and they will.  I have certainly admired Nyman’s devotion and respect to both of you.

Whenever I hear the song “Oh My Papa,” I shall always think of the Johnsons. Never have I heard it sung so meaningful as the day of the funeral.  It seems it was just composed and sung for that very special occasion.

Sister Johnson, please accept our heartfelt sympathy.  We shall all miss your dear husband, but we also want you to know just how much both of you have contributed happiness in our lives, but setting such a good example of an L.D.S. family and being such good neighbors.

Sincerely, Mae Jensen

Next Installment: "Oh! My Papa"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson---Part Six

Oliver Johnson Obituary

Oliver Guy Johnson, 76, died Friday of natural causes.

He was born May 19, 1893, in Logan, a son of James Christen and Mary Hansen Johnson. He married Vilate Nyman of North Logan April 25, 1917, in the Logan Temple.

Mr. Johnson received his education in Logan City schools, at Brigham Young College and Utah State University. He was called into military service in the First World War in October, 1917 and trained at Fort Lewis, Washington, and Camp Kearney, California. He was serving in France with the 145th Artillery when the armistice was signed.

He homesteaded in Blue Creek, Box Elder County, and was a farmer and cattleman throughout his lifetime. For seventeen years he was secretary of the Logan Canyon Cattle Association and he also served as a director for six years, vice-president two years and president for ten years. He also served as a director of the Cache County Cattle Association for five years and the Utah Cat­tleman’s Association for six years. He had been a member of the American Legion Post No. 7 for thirty years.

He was an active High Priest in Logan 16th Ward, Cache LDS Stake.

As a man, Mr. Johnson loved the out-of-doors. In his early life, he worked logging winter and summer in Logan Canyon and also worked on the early hor­sepower threshing machines where he measured the grain. He was invited by the State Department to participate in an agricultural exchange tour to the U.S.S.R. and Europe.

Survivors  include  his  wife, Logan; the following children: Nyman Oliver, James Warren, J. Reed, Mrs. W. Karl (Beth) Somers, all of Logan; Mrs. E. Blaine (Ollie Jean) Sorensen, San Bernardino, Calif.; Carl Guy of Renton, Wash.; 22 grandchildren and one great ­grandchild, all of whom spent Christmas at the family home on his request.

He is also survived by the following brothers and sisters: Mrs. Hilda J. Roskelley, Smith-field; Mrs. Pearl J. Carter, Black Mountain, North Carolina; Mrs. Russell E. (Clara) Berntsen, Logan; Milton L. Johnson, Tremonton.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 12 noon in the Logan 15th-16th Ward.

Friends may call at the Nelson Memorial Funeral Chapel this evening from 7 to 9 o’clock  and Monday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Next installment: Letter from Mae Jensen

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Five

Nyman Johnson’s Post Script

In 1969, when Jeanie and Carl were home in the summer, Dad had ask them about coming home for Christmas this year. Their children had never been in Logan at Christmas time. He wanted to have the whole family at home this Christmas time, and they did come. A wonderful time we all had too. Right from the time they started to arrive, first Jeanie and her family came from San Bernardino, then Carl and his family came from Seattle, and with them came J.D. who was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

We were all very busy all day of Christmas Eve, getting all the things done for the party that night. We had ham to bake and slice, rolle-poulse to slice, cream puffs to bake and fill, potato salad, cabbage and shrimp salad to fix, and oyster soup to make. All too soon it was 6:30 and time for the party to start and here came all the family home for it, all thirty-seven of them, to Grandpa and Grandma Johnsons for Christmas. My were the little ones excited. We did have fun and Grandpa most of all. He had all his family at home. After we were full and had more than we could eat, we had a short program from the grandchildren. Then who should knock at the door but Santa Claus himself. He came in and visited with each one and had a small gift for the children. When things had quieted down a bit from his visit, we opened all the gifts that were under the big tree in the corner. This was the time when all the Grandchildren got excited and it was no exception this year. Soon it was time to get the children home to their beds so Santa could come.

Christmas morning bright and early we were all at it again. Grandma and Grandpa made all the rounds of the different houses to see what Santa had left. Sure enough he had been to each home. We had dinner again at Grandpa and Grandma Johnsons. The Johnsons were known for eating parties.

On Friday, the 26th of December, we took all the kids up to the sinks in Logan Canyon to play in the snow. It was cold and the wind was blowing but they all played in the snow, young and old. They used plastic, inner tubes, and all such things to slide down the hills. My they had fun. It was the first time in the snow for some of them. After we got home and changed clothes and warmed up, we all went to Reed and Gloria’s for a chili supper. It was good. We went down stairs to the family room and had a sing along and then showed slides of the family from the time the grandchildren were small. About 10:00 p.m. it was time to go home. Grandpa left us and walked upstairs by himself. No more than five minutes later, one of the youngsters called that something was wrong with Grandpa. By the time we got upstairs to him, he was at peace with the world and with his God.

He had his family all home for his last Christmas and he enjoyed it so much, right up to the very end. He must of had this all planned and it worked out as he wanted it to.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Four

Later Years and Travels

In 1947, I was ordained a High Priest on April 27, by Ambrose Call, who was ordained a High Priest by Joseph E. Cardon, who was ordained a High Priest by Rudger Clausen, who was ordained a High Priest by Wilford Woodruff, who was ordained a High Priest by David Witmer, who was ordained a High Priest by Martin Harris, who was ordained a High Priest by Joseph Smith, who was ordained a High Priest by Peter, James and John.

Oliver and Vilate (about 1958)

Oliver and Vilate, (California, 1958)

Oliver and Vilate with Brent, Michael, and Linda Somers (California, 1958)

In June of 1962, Vilate and I went with Jim and Jessie and Vicky and J. D. to Seattle and to the World’s Fair. This was of course the first World’s Fair that we had ever seen, so we took it all in and really enjoyed it. We stayed with Nyman and Carl and Roberta. They were all living up there at that time. 1962 was the year for trips I guess. We also took a trip to Hawaii. Vilate and I, along with Melvin and Jennie Schvaneveldt went by air and even flew to the islands in the Hawaiian group. We had such a good time and enjoyed every minute that we were gone. Hawaii is really a beautiful place and the people over there really know how to show you a good time.

On Sunday, July 28, 1962, I joined a Farmers from Utah, People to People Tour to Europe. There were 35 farmers from Utah. Uncle Rich Roskelley from Smithfield, also went on the tour. We were gone 17 days. All the details were taken care of before we left. We flew from Salt Lake to New York then to England. From there to Brussels, Belgium, and spent a couple of days visiting some of their farms. We then flew to Amsterdam, Holland, then to Moscow, Russia. We stayed at a big hotel and went out each day and visited some of their farms. We then flew down to southern Russia to a city called Krasndor and spent about three days there visiting some of their large collective farms. We then went down to a Black Sea resort for a couple of days. I went wading in the Black Sea. We then flew back to Moscow and then to Budapest, Hungary. We lived in a hotel on the banks of the Blue Danube River and spent a couple of days visiting some of their big farms. We then flew to Warsaw, Poland, and saw some of the bombed out buildings from World War II. We also visited some of their farms. We then took a bus and went to East Berlin and through the wall and into West Berlin. You could sure see the difference. The people were different and more friendly and happy, and the stores were stocked with all kinds of goods and the streets were filled with automobiles. When we went through the Berlin Wall, this was the only time we were held up to have our passports checked. We then flew to Frankfort, Germany, and then to Paris, France. We saw the sights of Paris then we flew to Brussels, Belgium. We stayed at the Plaza hotel, a bus came for us at 4:30 p.m. and picked up about two thirds of our party and we went to the L.D.S. Sacrament Meeting. It was sure a thrill and the Saints were happy to see and talk to us and make us welcome. We had to talk in the sign language, but it was the same church that we go to at home. They had one of our group, George A. Christensen talk with an interpreter. He was a Stake President and President David O. McKay was a member of his stake. He sure gave a wonderful talk.

Postcard from Oliver to Linda Somers (1962)

We then took a jet to Montreal, Canada, then to New York and on to Salt Lake City. It was a wonderful trip and when I got off the plane at the airport in Salt Lake City, there was just about all of my family to greet me, even the little ones.
In 1958, I had rented the farm and the cattle to Reed and started to receive Social Security. In 1964, I sold the farm to Reed and then I semi-retired.

In 1966, Vilate and I went with Jim and Jessie on a trip to Southern Utah. This was the first time we had ever been down there in that part of the country, other than to pass through on the train. Our first stop was at the Big Rock Candy Mountain, and that is really what it looks like. No trees or grass, just rock and every color. It really looked like candy and good enough to eat. We saw the Manti Temple for the first time. It was very beautiful and we even got a piece of rock of the kind that the Temple is made of. Then we saw Bryce Canyon. This is really something to see. We stood at the edge and looked down and out over the canyon. All you see is color and lots of color. You cannot go down into the canyon by car but have to stay at the top and look over it. There were tall pinnacles of every color in the rainbow.

We visited in St. George with Jessie’s Aunt Isabell. Then she went with us and showed us around St. George. She took us to visit Mrs. Anna Wulffenstein whose husband was a sort of relative of Vilates. Then we visited the Brigham Young winter home. This home was very beautiful and was furnished in the pioneer period. We were in the basement and saw the hooks where they would hang the cured hams and bacon. We saw clothes of Brigham Young and his hat and cane. The hat was black and flat and had a big, wide rim. We saw the Silver Reef Mine. This is nothing but a ghost town now but we could see what is left of the Wells Fargo Station. Then we took in Santa Clara and went through the home of Jacob Hamblin. This is a fine two-story house and is furnished in the pioneer period. It had lots of real fine antiques. The caretaker of the home is a granddaughter of Jacob Hamblin. On the way home we got into Salt Lake City early in the day, so we went out to Bingham Canyon and saw the open pit copper mine. This was the first time I had ever seen that and it was sure interesting. We had a wonderful time on the trip and we went over so much country that we had never seen before.

We then took a trip to Peoria, Illinois, in 1966, to visit Karl and Beth and family, who were there for the summer. Karl was working in the Caterpiller Tractor Factory for the summer. I was a guest at the factory and I saw how they make Caterpillar tractors right from the ground up. Beth and Karl showed us all the interesting places around that part of Illinois. We visited the Amish City which was very interesting. We also went to Springfield and went through the Lincoln Memorial. We visited Nauvoo and saw the Joseph Smith home, the Mansion House, the Temple site, the Brigham Young home, the Heber C. Kimball home, and the Wilford Woodruff home. We also visited the Carthage Jail. It was all so interesting to see all these places from our early church history.

Oliver and Vilate (1967)

Next installment: Nyman Johnson’s post script.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Three

Early Married Life and the Army Years 
At Christmas time I got up enough courage to give my sweetheart a ring and we set the date for April of 1917. I also applied for and was granted a permit to graze ten head of cattle in Logan Canyon. This was also the year I registered for the Army Draft in the first part of April, because the U. S. had entered the World War I.

I was married on April 25, 1917, to the most wonderful girl in the world, Vilate Nyman from North Logan. Her parents were Carl and Albertina Nyman, Mormon pioneers. I had worked with her brothers on the threshing machine. We were married in the Logan Temple by Willard Young, a son of Brigham Young. I didn’t sleep much the night before and I was up early and hitched the horse to the buggy. I then went to North Logan and got my sweetheart and took her to the Temple. I tied the horse in a lot where the hospital now stands. [The hospital was on the northeast corner of the intersection of  200 North and 300 East.]

We went to Salt Lake City on our honeymoon and moved in with my folks. In July my name was drawn for the draft and I was called for my physical exam which I passed.

I got notice in August to be ready to leave for the army on October 3, 1917. I left home the night of the 3rd and got on a troop train at Cache Junction and went to Camp Lewis, Washington. I was at Camp Lewis for about six weeks and then I volunteered to go to Camp Kearny, California. There I was put in the 145 Field Artillery which was made up of National Guard boys from Utah and I was with a lot of boys I knew from Logan. I had my wife come down and live in San Diego and I would be able to get a pass on weekends and stay in town with her. We rented a small apartment. My wife got a job in a grocery store and that helped her pass the time away. I soldiered in that camp from November 1917 to August 1918, when we were ordered to France. We went by train from Camp Kearny to New York and left New York in a convoy of seventeen troop ships. We were on the water twelve days and then landed at Liverpool, England. We stayed in a rest camp called Knotty Ash a few days and then went by train to Southampton. We went across the English Channel in the night to LaHarve, France. I stayed on deck all night and sat with my back against the smoke stack to keep warm. We wore life preservers for we were in danger of submarines. Nobody could light, so this was pretty hard on the boys that smoked. When day light came we were in LaHarve. We went from one camp to another until we came to a large Army camp called DeSauge. The day we marched into this camp was the hardest day I had ever put in. We marched all day with our full packs. There were a lot of the boys that had to drop out. We lived in brick barracks but the flu hit us and we moved outside in the pup tents. I got the flu and was taken to the hospital for five days. Then I had to leave to make room for some of the other boys. I got over it and went back to my pup tent. We did some final training and were issued our combat equipment and were under orders to be ready to go to the front.  Then November 11 came and the war was over.

Now the next question was when will we go home. We finally got orders to move to a smaller camp. It was cold and wet and we had snow. We went to another camp with nothing to do but try to keep warm when we learned this was by Bordeaux and we were to ship out from there. So the night before Christmas we loaded on the ship then we had to wait for high tide to sail out. In the morning we were out in the Bay of Biscay and it was rough and in the afternoon I was so sick I had to stay in my bunk. I was sick for about five days and then the sea was calm and I could go on deck and sit in the sun. We were on ship twelve days and when we got in New York Harbor it was zero weather, but the Statue of Liberty sure looked good.

We stayed in Camp Merritt for a few days. I went to Coney Island one night with my buddy, Walter Barrett, and I met my nephew, Carl Baker Nyman, who was stationed in that camp and he asked me to tell his mother that he is all right. This I did when I got back home.

We left New York by train and came direct to Logan. When we got home all the people had masks on for the flu was at its worst. My wife, Vilate, was in bed with flu at her mother’s home in North Logan, but this I didn’t know until I got home.

We marched from the Depot in Logan to the College, up Center Street via the Boulevard to the college and the people were lined up on both sides of the street to greet us. It was a few days before I could get a pass to go see my wife who was still in bed with the flu, but was recovering. Then I got a pass to go down and see Mother and Father.

We were discharged on January 23, 1919. The boys that were not from Logan marched down to the depot and boarded a train for home. My commander ask me if I would carry his grip to the station and when I said yes, he gave me the first discharge in the company and told me I could go and meet him at the station which I did. I was able to say good bye to all the boys, many of them I have never seen since. I was home again.

In the spring of 1919, I took my wife in a covered wagon to Blue Creek and she stayed with me for the summer and helped me with the work. I fenced some of the farm. She drove the team on the wagon and I would toss out the posts. She helped me haul water and she also harrowed with four head of horses. She would ride a horse behind the harrow and drive the four head.

In 1920, I bought a home on Main Street (537 North Main Street, Logan, Utah) where our first son, Nyman Oliver, was born. He was named after his mother’s maiden name.
Oliver and Vilate 1935

Oliver and Vilate 

Oliver with James, Carl, Reed, and Nyman (1935)

Oliver and Vilate with Carl, Reed, James, Nyman, Beth, and Ollie Jean (1943)

Next installment: Later Years and Travels

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Two

The Pre-Marriage Years
I went to the Benson School until 1908 and then I went to the old Woodruff School where I graduated at mid-year from the 8th grade, being one out of eleven boys and one girl. This was as far as the public school went at that time. I registered at the Brigham Young College for the rest of the year. In the summer I worked on the farm with my father, brothers and sisters. We all had to work in the beet fields and milk cows. The next year I went to the B.Y.C. and in the summer I worked on the farm.

I was ordained a Teacher by Joseph Grew on December 28, 1908. I attended B.Y.C. in the winter of 1909 and 1910, and also attended U.S.A.C. in 1910.

In the spring of 1910, I went to Blue Creek for the first time with my brother-in-law, Richard Roskelley, and helped him clear forty acres of sagebrush. He plowed it with four head of horses on a sulky plow and I picked the sagebrush up and piled it and burned it. I went from Blue Creek to Smithfield with Samuel Roskelley and his wife, Maggie, and son, Martin, in a white top buggy. I stayed with my sister, Hilda, in Smithfield that night and the next morning I left for Blue Creek with four head of horses for Samuel Roskelley. The three horses were tied together and I rode the other with just an old quilt for a saddle. It was the hardest horse back ride I have ever had in my life, about sixty miles. I worked for Samuel Roskelley for eleven days at $1 a day.
In 1911, I attended U.S.A.C. winter quarter. I went to Blue Creek and helped my brother-in-law, Richard Roskelley, harvest his wheat. I drove a team on a header box. I walked over the land which was to be my Blue Creek farm. My father went out to Blue Creek and looked at the land which was to be our farm and then he went to Brigham City and filed a homestead claim.
I was ordained a Priest by Andrew Eliason, January 9, 1911. I also joined the 4th Ward choir this year with Robert M. Smith as the leader.
My brother James came home from his mission in 1912. I went to Blue Creek with a load of hay and grain and then came back and my brother James and I went back with a plow and five head of horses and started to plow up the sagebrush. After about a week, James got sick and I had to take him home. I went the short cut by Blind Springs to Fielding and made it in one day. The next day I hitched up the team and went back to Blue Creek. I was out there alone for about ten days and then James came back and we worked together. One would plow and the other would pile sagebrush so it could be burned. We plowed about forty acres just north of where the house now stands. Then we came home and put up the hay. We bought a drill and went out alone and planted the wheat in the fall. James worked on a horsepower thresher.
In the fall of 1913, we harvested our first crop of wheat in Blue Creek, which was 1600 bushels of wheat. I also fenced part of the Blue Creek farm. I cut the posts in the holler just west of the farm. We bought a header and two header boxes and had a thresher thresh the grain. This was the year, 1913, that I met the girl that was later to become my wife, (how lucky.) I did some work on a horsepower thresher in my father’s place. I did the measuring with a half bushel. James went out to Blue Creek and planted our crop and hauled the wheat to Lampo, a fifteen mile trip each way for 60¢ a bushel.
In 1914, I again farmed in Blue Creek and broke up more of our ground and cleared the sagebrush off. I also started to see my future wife a little more often. I worked on a threshing machine with C. A. Nyman, Golden Nyman, A. B. Nyman, Parley Cronquist and A. L. King, in the fall of 1914. I was also ordained an Elder, February 9, 1914, by O. H. Budge.
We farmed in Blue Creek in the spring of 1915. We had been staying to our neighbors, and traveling up to our farm to work. But this year we had a water tank built and moved up on our farm and pitched our tent about where the house now stands and built a net wire corral where the corral now stands.
In 1916, I got a job at the Logan Post Office during the Christmas rush as a mail carrier and stayed on until late spring. I carried the mail on a route that took in all homes north of 2nd North and west of 2nd East. I was asked to take the exam and get a permanent appointment, but I had my farm in Blue Creek and thought I would stay with farming.
After James and I had moved out to Blue Creek, I took a team and wagon and went back into Tremonton and got a load of lumber for the first house we had on the farm. I got a load of gravel out of the wash and mixed concrete for the foundation and built the floor. Then we moved the stove on the floor and James went home. I stayed there alone and plowed and hauled water for our horses and for the camp. I would build a little at noon while the horses would rest and then a little bit more at night until I finally got it built. I was so proud and happy.

Next installment: Early Married Life and the Army Years

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson

Oliver Guy Johnson

Oliver Guy Johnson was my maternal grandfather. Born in 1893, he passed away at Christmas time in 1969. He blessed us by writing his personal history. Over the next several days, I will be posting his history in installments. I hope you enjoy reading about this great man.

The Early Years—Part One
I was born May 19, 1893, at 91 West 6th North, Logan, Utah, the seventh child and the second son of James Christian and Mary Hansen Johnson. They had both come to Utah from Denmark. My father came to Logan in July of 1875 and mother came in 1869. I was born in the house that my son, Reed, and his family now lives in. My father owned land and operated a small farm where I was born. My father had been a railroad contractor, building the railroad grade in Idaho and Montana, but had quit it and moved back to Logan to be with his family before I was born.
The 20 acre farm where I was born and grew up, was also the home where my nine brothers and sisters were born and raised. At the present time (1964) there is a large L.D.S. Church where Father’s barn once was and there are seven business places and some twenty or thirty new homes. We always had cows to milk and horses on the farm. I soon learned to ride a horse and I have liked to ride horses all my life.
My first remembrance of my father was one day when he was sorting potatoes out in the potato pit and Mother let me out to be with him. I had been stung on the eye lid by a bee and my eye was swollen shut. I do not remember how or when I was stung by that bee, but I do remember that my Father ask me whose boy I was. When I told him I was Oliver, he said he didn’t think it was because Oliver could see with both eyes. My mother was very sick when I was born so it was up to my oldest sister, Hilda, to tend me until I could do a little for myself. She was twelve years old when I was born.
I finally grew up enough so 1 could do a few things around the farm like feeding the chicken and the calves and pigs. My mother kept my hair in long ringlets until I was five years old, but one day she cut them off and I was a boy.
When I was six years old, I started school at the Benson School which was on the corner of 4th North and 1st East Streets. I remember my sister Mable, who was two years older than me taking me to the teacher for the first time. This school had eight class rooms, four upstairs and four downstairs. I attended all of them in the next eight years. This is the same school where my sons, Nyman, Jim and Reed, and my daughter, Beth, took the first six grades.
A few of the boys and girls that I can remember (55 years later) of that first school class are: Joseph Keller, Herbert Kallstrom, Alonso Lindquist, Ernest Ruchti, Easter Lundberg, Lillie Hansen, Rebecca Jacobson, Carrie Jenson, Ina Barrett, Edward Barrett, Harvey Larson.
My father went back to his native land, Denmark, on a mission for the L. D. S. Church in 1902, leaving eight children home with their Mother. My brother, James, was 14 years old and I was 8. We took care of the farm; we milked the cows, put the hay in the barn, and did all the irrigating.

I went to the 4th Ward Primary and Sunday School and Religion Class. They do not have Religion Class any more. I gave the closing prayer at the exercises when I graduated from Primary in 1905. I went to church in the 4th Ward. Thomas X. Smith was Bishop with Thomas Morgon and Gustave Thompson counselors. Nora Eliason was President of the Primary. E. W. Robinson was superintendent of the Sunday School. They were the days when everybody walked to church, the good old days before there were any autos.
I was ordained a Deacon on December 9, 1905, by Fred Crunder Jr. We held our Priesthood meeting in the back room of the meeting house. I helped with the chores such as feeding of the calves and chickens and helped to keep the wood box full, for wood was all we had to burn in those days.

Next installment: The Pre-Marriage Years

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vilate Nyman Johnson--Part 6

Tribute given by James Warren Johnson (son) at the Logan 16th Ward Sunday School on Mother's Day in May 13, 1973

My brothers and sisters, I feel very humble as I stand before you and say a few words about my Mother on this special day and to recall some of the things that make her special to me. I ask The Lord to be with me, so I will be able to say the things that are in my heart, and to be able to share them with you.

We as a family had a very close and happy home life because our mother taught us the meaning of friendship and happiness. Many are the times I remember bringing home friends and she would always fix sandwiches and hot chocolate. My Mother has always been a wonderful cook and we as a family still enjoy going home and eating wonderful things she makes. Some of the grandchildren have a special dish that grandma makes and when she makes that particular one, the grandchild gets a phone call and an invitation out to dinner.
She has also been a wonderful teacher to me. She taught me the Gospel from an early age, and I remember when I was baptized we went to the Temple in a bob sleigh, pulled by horses because it was in the middle of the winter. She taught us the meaning of being truthful and to be good to each other.

She also taught us that through work and being honest we can achieve the goal we are striving for.

She has been proud of her pioneer heritage and has taught us to respect it.

She is proud of her family, six children, 24 grandchildren and one great grandchild. There are four of us that live in this ward, and we feel very fortunate to live this close to her, and that we still receive her help and guidance.

Myself and my three brothers all served in the armed service. I remember looking forward to the letters from Mother and all the news of my brothers and sisters. I certainly looked forward to getting into port and getting those letters from home.

As I was trying to remember some of the important things to tell you today, I was reminiscing and so my wife wrote this poem to my Mother.

by Jessie Lue Slack Johnson

I am one of the reasons
It’s been said to me
That made mother's hair
As white as could be.

But there are others
in this reminisces
Three of them brothers
And two little sisses.

Our Mother's a wonder
And there is no doubt
That sometimes with confusion
She wanted out.

She kisses us and cuddled
And hurts seemed to fade
The to ease broken hearts
Something special she made.

Love is one specialty
That she has galore
For all of her family
And then she has more.

Kindness is another
of treasures she shares
For friends and for neighbors
she always cares.

There's Beth and there's Nyman
And Reed is here too
With spouses and children
that makes quite a few.

There's Jeanie and Carl
That live far away
But send her their greetings
On this special day.

I'd say that we're blessed
with a mother like she
And no better example
there's apt to be.

Her children all love her
and honor her name
The grandchildren too
think just the same.

One little great grandson
and him we can't miss
Cause for him always
there's a hug and a kiss.

She held her head high
Even through sorrow
But great hope
She greets the tomorrow.

She taught us our prayers
and to love one another
So we say to her
Thanks for being our Mother.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vilate Nyman Johnson--Part 5

Remembrances of Vilate Nyman Johnson by Beth Johnson Somers (daughter) written in 2005
Vilate Nyman Johnson (1976)
I remember as a young girl when we lived on Main Street in Logan, at 537 North Main, my mother would get cleaned up in the afternoon and we would sit out on the porch and she would do her hand work. It was embroidery at that time. Then she started to crochet lace for pillow cases and she made lots of doilies in the pineapple pattern. After I got married she learned to do hardanger. A sister in the ward showed her and she made many beautiful pieces of hardanger. She always had a project she was working on, even until her later years.
Years later when Nyman was living with her, and she couldn’t do fine hand work any more because she couldn’t see as well as before, Nyman had her crochet granny squares and she was able to do these until he passed away.
Mom was a good seamstress.  She made a lot of our dresses and shirts for the boys. 
Mom was an excellent cook. We would come home from school and there would be fresh baked bread. She made six loaves every other day. She made cinnamon rolls once a week. Living on Main Street her sisters and brothers from North Logan, Hyde Park, and Benson Ward would stop when they came to town and she was always able to feed them.
Our family always went to Aunt Teenie Egbert’s for Thanksgiving dinner. The Egberts came to our house for New Year’s dinner.
Mom had many nieces in the Nyman family that would stop by and visit too. Even in her later years they would often stop and visit.
Before my Grandmother Nyman died, she was sick with diabetes for a time.  She stayed with my mother for a while and mother took care of her. She slept on a day bed in the front room.
Mother never drove a car and always patiently waited until someone could take her to town or to a store.
After Dad died in December 1969, Nyman sold his home and moved in with Mom to help her. Nyman was very good with her and helped her so much. They went shopping together and always to church. Before Nyman died he was noticing that Mom was getting forgetful.
That next year when Mom was 76 years old she had cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy. Dr. Gasser did the surgery. She had to have a radium implant for a couple of days and no one could visit her in the hospital during this time. She recovered very well.
Nyman passed away in 1977 which was such a big shock to all of us. He was at work at Casper’s Ice Cream and had a heart attack. Mike [Somers] was home from his mission so we had him move in with Grandma so somebody would be in the house at night. I would go in every morning to help Mom bathe and get dressed. One morning when I got there she had fallen in the bathroom and couldn’t get up. We don’t know how long she had been on the floor. I couldn’t get her up so I went next door to Dennis’[Johnson] house and got Debbie to come and help me. Between the two of us we were able to get her up and she seemed to be OK.
After Mike got married, Carolyn and Jens Trauntvein lived with her for a short time. When she could no longer be by herself, we all took turns having her live in our homes. I was taking care of her when Brent [Somers] called and told us Andy was so very sick. We made arrangements with Debbie and Dennis to take Mom so I could go back and stay with Brent’s twins. I was there six weeks. When I got home then we took Grandma to Ollie Jean’s. She was working and had a girl come in and be with Grandma during the day.
While she was staying at Ollie Jean’s, in Boise, she fell and broke her hip and had surgery. I went and stayed with Jeanie and we would go to the hospital every day.
When they couldn’t do anything more for her in the hospital we had to make arrangements for her at Sunshine Terrace. She hadn’t walked since she broke her hip. Jeanie and Blaine borrowed a friend’s suburban and we got a hospital bed in it and we brought Mom home to Sunshine Terrace. She stayed in Sunshine Terrace for about two years. She never walked again.
She did have dementia but it was not Alzhiemers disease.
Mom died October 19, 1987, at 94 years of age at Sunshine Terrace.