My father, Magnus Gustavus Rolph was born in Sweden, December 27, 1861 and was 12 years old when he came to this country with his parents, Mons and Bengta Anderson Rolph.
My father, Magnus G. and mother, Annie Johanna Knudsen were married March 28, 1888 in the Logan temple. My Mother was the daughter of John and Karen Andersen Knudsen, and was born December 8, 1866 in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. My grandparents were not pleased with my Mother’s choice as they had others in mind for her but it was all to no avail as she was in love with M. G. as he was called.
Annie was a very popular young lady. She taught school, sang and played the organ and married M. G. Rolph.
My Father had a store up on Main Street and there were living quarters upstairs. They were very happy and on December 27, 1888, a baby girl was born to them. A dark eyed beautiful baby and she was given the name of Ettie Althea and was a great joy in our home.
Then on March 8, 1890 I was born to the family. I was born down at Grandma and Grandpa Knudsen’s home – really don’t know just why. Maybe the stork came in a hurry. Nevertheless Grandma said I was born there and I was a blond, blue-eyed baby who they also adored. I was named Edna Lucille.
All went well in this little happy family until September 27, 1891 when another little girl came to join the family of Annie. Things didn’t go well this time, Mother was very sick, and Grandma and Grandpa Knudsen stayed close by. Grandma told me lots of times of bringing me to see my mother. I climbed on the bed to her and loved her so hard and Grandma said to Mother, “I better take Lucille away as it’s too hard on you.” My Mother said, “Let her love me, I ‘am afraid she won’t have me very long.” Our dear Mother hung on for about three weeks and then the reaper came and took her away. Poor Magnus, it was so hard for him to part with his Annie, but she had told her mother, “You take my little girls and if possible raise them together.” And Grandma did.
I must tell of Grandma and Grandpa Knudsen’s conversion. The missionaries brought the gospel to them in far away Denmark. Grandpa was from Norway and I never knew how they got together. Grandma really knew her Bible and as soon as the message was explained to her, she knew it was true. It took Grandpa a little longer to see it but he finally did and they were baptized.
They were the parents of three beautiful brown-eyed girls and Grandma was again pregnant. After they found the church they could think of nothing but immigrating to Utah. Grandpa was a fine tailor by trade and when they had enough money, they started on their journey to far away Utah. They were on the big steam ship for six weeks and when still on the big ocean, Hannah was taken very ill, nothing would help her and the grim reaper struck, dear little Hannah’s body was fastened on a board, and she was thrown in the ocean. Oh, what a trial that must have been. Poor Grandma and Grandpa, what they must have gone thru. But they still had their little Marie. When they got to Wyoming in 1864 a baby boy was born to them whom they called John. Grandma was in a covered wagon and the day her baby was born she mixed some bread.
They had many trials but were determined to go on to Utah. They settled in Mt. Pleasant, and they traded a feather bed for a city lot where they lived the rest of their lives. But they hadn’t been here long when little Marie was taken sick and in a very short time, she was taken from them by that grim reaper and they were left with only baby John. Then on December 8, 1866 another beautiful baby girl came to bless their home and she was named Annie Johanna. A boy was born and he was called Andrew. Annie grew up to be a wonderful girl and a great joy to the family. Then, as I have already told you, she married my Father M. G. Rolph and after giving birth to three little girls she was taken away and I have heard my Grandmother say so many times, “The Lord was good to me, he took three girls away from me but he gave me three back.” That was the way my dear Grandma counted her blessings.
We had a real good home with our grandparents. I know how much they loved us and how concerned they were for our welfare. I am sure it was hard at times to be 63 and have the responsibility of caring for three babies. We would sit between Grandma’s knees when she combed our hair and she and Grandpa made most of our clothes. I remember Nora Reynold’s mother sewing some of our best dresses. Some red dresses with red velvet collars trimmed with lace. I was blond and the other two were brown eyed and had dark hair. When we had to have new hats, Grandma would take us with her to the milliner and tell her how much money she had and that she must have three hats and we always came home with three.
When Ettie, Anna and I were real young, we would walk out to the cemetery and play around our Mother’s grave. There was a verse on the tombstone that read: “Her spirit smiles from that bright shore, and softly whispers weep no more.” When it was time to go home we would kiss the tombstone and say, “Goodbye Mama.” I also remember how we used to go up where we lived before our Mother died and we would play with her clothes and wear her slippers and look at her wedding dress and try on her rings. I remember I asked my Papa if I could have them and he said, “When you are older.” All we had burned up in the big fire and Papa said, “All I have left are my three little girls.”
When I was eight years old, I needed to be baptized. It happened to be on my birthday and dear Grandma took me on the train to Manti. A “Hack” took people to the temple and my name was called second. The first little girl cried so they called Edna Lucille Rolph. I was a little scared but made up my mind I wouldn’t cry and I was baptized on my birthday in 1898. Etta and Anna were the same. Grandma saw to it that all three of us were baptized in the Temple.
My Papa came home for his Mother’s funeral in March 1904 and it was so wonderful to see him. We went with him to the depot when he left again and I said to him, “Don’t stay away so long.” I cried and he said he would soon be back. Then on February 23, 1905 we got a telegram from Victor, Colorado, which read, “Your Father is dead, what shall we do with the body?” Grandma said, “Let them bury him there, it doesn’t matter after you are dead.” I started to scream and said, “They can’t bury my Papa out there, and I want him to come home!” So some of his friends got together and raised enough money to bring him home. Grandpa Knudsen put his temple clothes on him and he was buried by our dear Mother. They had some money left over and put up a tombstone and on it read: “Erected by his friends.” My Papa was home where he belonged and I was nearly 15 years old and now we were orphans but we had our true blue grandparents.
My memory goes back to those growing-up days, making potato starch on the front lawn, Grandma making soap etc. etc. I can’t go into all those details. Then we had to have graduation dresses when we graduated from the eighth grade. Mary Davis made mine, all ruffles and tucks. I also remember how I worked for Mary Davis all day Saturday for a ½ hour music lesson, but it helped and I learned to play on my Mother’s organ, and it came in handy. I had some boyfriends and Sunday afternoon we would make ice cream in a bucket. Then I got old enough to go to the dance in the old Madsen Dance Hall and oh how I loved to dance and I was a good dancer. When a polka was called, Roy Barton would come running for me and would we ever dance the polka. Oh, it was nice and I really enjoyed it.
Then there came into my life a boy from the other end of town. He was such a fancy dresser. I remember the green overcoat and derby hat, but he didn’t dance very much. He would just come in and talk to the girls, but I saw that he was something. Did I tell you his name? Bet I didn’t - - he was John Leo Seely and we got to dating now and then but all the girls were crazy about him. He could take any of them but he was just a little backward at first. Lots of dates and boyfriends right along but somehow I couldn’t get him out of my mind and sorta got going steady. Grandma liked him and I was glad.
I worked in the telephone office for three years at $10.00 a month but it was good. I had time at home to make all our clothes and we had nice clothes. The Seely number was 26 and my heart would skip a beat when that number came down. Then I quit my job and went to work in a store and I was getting a little older all the time and I still liked Leo Seely. Of course I didn’t know then what a part he was to play in my life.
My sister Etta was teaching school and she had to go to Salt Lake for a U. E. A. convention and I went with her. It seems that Leo planned to be in there at the same time and we decided we would get married and not tell anyone. Leo always liked to do things different. He had the wedding band and had arranged for his cousin, Bert Seely, who was a bishop, to marry us. One night Etta was real busy with her school affairs so she didn’t suspect anything and we got married that night, October 6, 1910. It was at a friend’s house and they were witnesses. I know now it wasn’t the right thing to do and I didn’t know what I was in for the next while. We came home and he went home and I went home but someway it got out so I went to his house to live which was very hard on me as Leo’s two sisters, Vern and Arbrelia, didn’t think I was blue blood enough and treated me real shabby. I was working and when I got home they about worked me to death and I didn’t like it. Before I was married Arbrelia thought I was real neat and wanted to be with me a lot, but all was changed now and it went on for nearly a year.
Grandma Seely was good to me and I knew Leo loved me. Then it happened, I got pregnant and oh, was I ever sick and I couldn’t work like I had and life to me was hard. I couldn’t go thru that again. I am sure. I was so sick I couldn’t eat only when I went home and got some of dear Grandma’s graham bread and cheese. Finally I told my dear Leo I couldn’t take it anymore; he would have to find us a place to live. Will Clos had a home over the street he wanted to sell, so Grandpa Seely bought it and sent to Salt Lake for some furniture etc. etc. and we were barely moved in when we were blessed with our first baby, a bouncing baby boy, Robert Leo, born November 8, 1911. Everyone was thrilled. Dr. Winters was the Dr. and Nora Reynolds the nurse. She had been close friends of my Mother’s. So now we were down to business and happy as could be.
Then one morning a letter came to our house from Box B in Salt Lake. From Box B meant only one thing - - a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I saw my dear Leo over the street, he and Ralph Jensen. Leo was breaking a horse and Ralph was helping. Leo had a large tin can tied to the horse’s tail. I walked over there and said, “Leo guess what you got today?” And he said “What did I get?” and I said, “You have a letter from Box B.” He knew what that meant and I said, “What are you going to do about it?” and he said, “I’ll go of course.” He had to talk it over with his father and soon the wheels were turning - - lots to do. Clothes to buy and most wonderful of all, our marriage was performed and our children were sealed to us in the Manti Temple.
It wasn’t long until we said goodbye in Salt Lake City to our dear Leo and he went on his mission to Ireland. Then our dear children and I were left alone and I had a cow to milk and Leo’s pet horse, Old Dude to care for until he came home. The time flew and I never missed sending him two letters every week and I think they’re tied in bundles in his trunk. I still have a long way to go. We were married 61 years and it’s hard to go back, he feels so near. I was living over home in our first home. Nearly every day I put my two babies in my Junior Tourist buggy and went up to see dear Grandma and Grandpa and how they loved those two little darlings and Robert and Ina loved them so much. And so the time passed. Our dear daddy was really enjoying his mission among the Irish people. Grandma and Grandpa Seely were very good to us and kept us in food and things we needed and kept hay and grain for cow, horses and chickens.
As Elders from this vicinity were released, they would come and see us. One missionary, Elder Goates, from Lehi came and he had a girlfriend in Moroni he was interested in and I told him to hitch Old Dude on the new buggy and go over and see her. She married someone else though so it didn’t do him much good, but he really liked her.
I must mention my diamond ring. The first Christmas after we were married, still living in the big home, my sweet Leo gave me a diamond ring, bless him, he never missed a chance to make me happy and I loved that diamond ring and the band I have worn for over 63 years. He had it engraved inside, “Leo to Lucille” but that has long ago worn away, but in memory I can still see it. We all stayed quite well those 26 months Leo was gone. I was so proud of my missionary sweetheart and so were his parents. He was the only one of their ten children to go on a mission and it surely was a blessing to our home when we went to the temple in June 1914, before he left for his mission, and were sealed and our children sealed to us for time and eternity. Oh, what a thrill and blessing for all of us. All our children are sealed for time and eternity to us, but oh, Leo darling, why did you go and leave me to battle it out alone.
Then the time came when our dear daddy was released after performing an honorable mission. Oh, I could hardly wait to see him again. The children had grown so much and were so beautiful. Finally the call came for us to meet him in Salt Lake. Grandpa and Grandma Seely could hardly wait either. So one day we all took the train to Salt Lake. We were met there and I was assigned to Ethel McGahen’s home and I wasn’t pleased with that. We met the trains the next day and no Daddy. We decided we would have to wait another day. I had Robert and Ina undressed and they were just sitting in bed talking to me. I was on the floor straightening my suitcase. I heard a little noise and looking up saw my long awaited darling standing in the door. I screamed and ran to love him and Ina started to cry and said, “You naughty man leave my Mother alone.” So that was his homecoming. After a day or two, we took the train for our little home in Mt. Pleasant where we would start our life together all over again and I was real glad for that as we wanted more babies.
So it was in 1918, the 30th of June that a sweet baby girl was born to us. Mrs. Brotherson was the nurse and Val Brotherson the hired girl. This was such a joyous time. Grandma Seely came over and I told her I would like to name our baby after Uncle Chesley who was in France with the war. She said, “I’ll be back tomorrow and have a name.” When she came, she had two names, Chesla and Cheslea and I said, “It’s going to be Chesla.” We have all loved the name and our baby grew up to be such a wonderful girl. Now we have three children and are happy for those.
Time flies bye and there are fairs at county and state. Now we were settled down. Leo was real active in the church. He had gained a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Robert and Ina soon got acquainted with their newly found daddy and loved him so much, didn’t want him out of their sight. Robert would crawl under the corner fence thru the water to follow his daddy. Life was good and we loved each other. There were lots to do everywhere and Grandpa Seely was so glad to have his Leo back on the job.
We had nice horses in the corral and went for buggy rides. Then in 1920 tragedy struck. Grandma and Grandpa Seely, with some of their children went to Fish Lake to be guests of Dr. Eastman. Grandpa had joked with the Indians around there in the morning and he came in and told Grandma he thought he would have a little rest before dinner. When dinner was ready they sent Oliver to call him and he came back reporting he couldn’t wake him up. Some Doctors were there and were sent in and pronounced our wonderful Grandpa Seely dead. My what a shock to all. So he was brought home and after a few days one of the biggest funerals ever held honored him. State and government officials were here and he was layed to rest out in our Mt Pleasant cemetery. Now things were upset with the captain gone. I can’t go into all the details of the next few years, as I don’t know them well enough.
In March of 1921, on the 3rd day, another baby came to live with us and we called him Rayner John after daddy’s companion Rayner Goates. We are now quite a family. Grandma Knudsen was ill. She was now 93 years old, so when I was able, Daddy hitched up Old Dude in the buggy and we took the new baby up for her to see and that day she gave me her big shawl. She said she knew I would take care of it. Then on October 17, 1921 Grandma was called home and that was a sad day for me as she was the only Mother I had known.
Our family was growing up. Robert was 10 years old and Ina eight, Chesla three and John a new baby. Grandma Seely was not well and she left us in 1923. Then on April 2, 1924 another baby came to bless our home. Another boy who we named Edwin M. G. Dr. Sundwal was the doctor, Mrs. Beckstrom was the nurse, and Ina and Ada Wright did all the work.
Then in 1925 tragedy struck us again. Daddy was planning a trip to Russia with sheep for the Russian Government and Robert was to be in charge here. The night before he was leaving we all knelt in prayer and Daddy prayed for the Lord to watch over us for him while we were apart. The next day he went to Cedar City where he was to pick up the train of sheep. A few days passed and he was well on his way when Robert decided he and Rasmus Jorgensen would go on the mountain to get some goats. I begged him not to go but he pleaded, “It’s such good weather and when it storms it will be harder.” So off they went on their ponies, Robert and Central. I can still see him riding up the lane, western hat and levis and cowboy boots. Up on the mountain a goat pushed Robert off a ledge and he was unconscious. Rasmus got help and he was brought down. I met them at the power plant and held his head in my lap until we got home. Bless him, he never came to and on October 23, 1925 he died.
We sent a tracer for our Daddy, which caught him in Indiana and he came home a broken hearted father. The funeral was October 26, 1925 and he was layed to rest on a lot we bought in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Oh, this was hard to take. Edwin was a baby and all we could do was carry on no matter how hard. Then the next year Grandpa Knudsen left us. On January 28, 1926 he was buried beside Grandma.
Then we ordered another baby and he came to live with us on March 28, 1927. Dr. Holman was the doctor, something went wrong, our baby died the day he was born, and we gave him the name of Mark Rolph Seely. Of course it was hard on both dear Daddy and me. We dressed him in some of the clothes I had made for him and one of the shawls I had made of real flannel. I had sent Leo to the Sanpete Co-op to buy me some flannel and he bought the very best and a whole bolt. I crocheted with nice heavy silk thread around these shawls and we put one on the dear baby. He was put in a little blue casket and I can still see it on the Free Sewing Machine. Sad story. I was so upset and sad at losing our baby I told daddy, “I have to have another baby right away.”
On June 14, 1928 a sweet little girl came to live with us, we were all so happy for her, and we named her Lucy Rae. Daddy wasn’t able to go to church the day she was named and he wanted her named Birdie. Chesla and Ina went with me and when we came home Daddy said, “Well what did you name her?” I told him “Lucy Ray.” He said, “I’ll call her Birdie anyway.” And she is Birdie to most of us. So this was the last of our family.
One day Uncle Bert and Aunt Zella came over and they asked me how I would like a new home. I said, “We can’t get a new home, besides I love this little home as we have lived in it seventeen years.” They said, “Well, we know how you can get another home, you can turn Leo’s stock in the company and get the big home fast.” Well, that sounded good to us and before long, we were on the move over to the big Seely home and we have been in it 46 years. It was all very exciting for the children to be over here. They enjoyed going thru all the rooms. Lots of furniture was left for us but the house was really quite a mess. We had to do a lot of fixing up in this dear house. The curtains were in ribbons; the carpets and linoleum were gone. We had Otto Clark here for many days putting on new wallpaper and painting. Some of his paper is still on in the twin bedroom. We got things looking a lot better and we loved all this antique furniture. This was all in 1928.
We were all enjoying our new little girl. I remember one day when I was still in bed in a twin bed in the big room, I heard a little noise and looked up and saw what looked like an angel standing there with her arms full of peonies. She spoke and said, “You don’t know me do you? I am your new neighbor.” And it was beautiful Mrs. Tom Jensen and she truly was a good neighbor. We had some legal difficulty before this good old home was truly ours but we all loved it and had such fun getting acquainted with the home we would live in all the rest of our lives. Our dear Lucy Rae nursed until she was nearly past a year. She had pneumonia when she was nine months old and Dr. Holman said we would have lost her if she hadn’t been nursing. Aunt Etta was with me all one night and we put mustard plasters on her all night long and she was better in the morning, but we were all real worried about her. I remember it all so well. We were in the dining room where the big heatrola was kept warming all night. Our darling baby was spared and has been a great blessing to all of us thru the years. She ought to have a story about all her boy friends when she was growing up.
I have 45 more years to go and am afraid I won’t be able to finish my story. We all enjoyed the big new home. The children all loved to go from room to room and climb the stairs and slide down the banister. Leo dear was proud to be the owner of his Father and Mother’s home. Sad thing was that feelings arose and before it was ours we had to go to court, but this finally got cleared up and we have lived here 46 years and are still taking good care of it. It needs a going over, but I am a little too old to start redoing.
When Birdie was about six years old, she, Aleen Olsen and Joe Jensen decided to bake some potatoes east of the barn. Leo and I had been weeding the garden all morning. He had some errands in town and I was on my knees still weeding when my dear little girl came running to me and said, “Look Mama!” I looked up and the east end of the barn was in flames. Aleen had taken some matches from here house. The barn was a lot bigger than now with stables all along inside. The whole adobe barn went and the neighbor’s barn and Uncle Earl’s garage. Poor little Birdie was she frightened. She ran upstairs and got under a bed. Well, it was finally put out, but it was a long time before ruins were cleared away and a new barn built. It took a lot of work. The old adobe barn still has marks of the fire on it.
There was a big Wool House over west of the depot, which they used to store wool in and Daddy bought it, and he and the boys tore it down and brought the lumber over here.
In 1937 Harold Jensen talked Daddy into going down to Catalina Island in California to clear the island of goats. It was not a profitable adventure but we took all the children, horses, saddles and dogs and went down. Guess it was nice in a way. Ina and I drove the Dodge home and left Daddy awhile longer but we didn’t make any money. Harold hadn’t told the truth so it was a happy day when we got back to our dear big house in Mt. Pleasant.
Then Duskee came to live with us. It was an interesting story. I know it was October 1, 1930 when he came as Daddy said that could be his birthday. Well, this is how it happened. Daddy came home in the night and came up to bed and I remember how good it was to have him in bed with me again. I can imagine how excited he must have been and how anxious he was to break the news in the morning. He went downstairs before me to build fires. It was a little chilly, and he had a roaring fire in the sitting room fireplace. I came down and flipped up the blind and lo and behold I saw a stranger out by the car. I said, “Daddy what’s that we have out there?” He said, ‘Oh, I brought you a little Indian boy,’ and I said, “Oh, Daddy! The girls will leave home!” He said, ‘Oh, I don’t think so.’ Then I said, “Go bring him in, it’s cold out there,” as he was looking every way and seemed very anxious wondering, I guess, where the good man had gone.
Daddy called him in and we put him on a chair by the fireplace, imagine what thoughts were running thru his poor little head. Then Ina came down and she sorta rubbed her eyes, not believing what she saw, but bless her, she walked over to him, stuck out her hand and Duskee would have gone thru fire for her. Well, I got breakfast ready and we all sat down and Daddy called everyone by name to let Duskee know and when he came to me, he said, ‘This is Mother.” I won’t tell you what I said, but I just didn’t think. I was a good Mother to him and he loved me and had confidence in me.
We had dozens of children here that first day. All wondering who he was. Well, I told Daddy he would have to take him to the barber and get his hair cut and we would have to get him some clothes. That was the beginning of an interesting story in the J. Leo Seely family. Daddy found him herding a small bunch of sheep. His Mother was dead and his Father had remarried and so he was almost an orphan. Daddy talked to the government man there to see if he could take him home and he said, ‘It’s alright.’ See, we had a new boy and we had him for 14 years. The family all loved him. He was a real good boy and he had found a good home here with us. Duskee went to school, played the slide trombone in the band and how he could strut. He played football and basketball and was just one of the crowd. Everyone liked Duskee and oh how he liked a white shirt! He didn’t think anyone could iron a white shirt like I could. He had a good life here with us but then that sad day came when he got sick and the Doctor said he had incurable leukemia. Dr. Madsen and his wife took him to the hospital in Arizona and he died there. I know for a fact that homesickness hastened his death. Daddy had his temple work done and now in 1977 we went to the Manti temple and had him sealed to us.
Time went on and we took in some welfare boys. Brothers we had quite a time with, then we lost track of Lewis and Sam for a long time. Sam hadn’t forgotten us and his training here and one night in 1970 a knock came at the door. Daddy and I were here alone, and daddy went to the door and a young man stood there and he said, “You don’t know me do you? I’m that mean kid who used to live with you.” Then Sam Jones came in and said the same thing to me and we had a nice visit. And since that time he has sort of kept in touch. We let him know when tragedy stuck and he came to the funeral for Leo. He is a fine looking man, but I haven’t heard from him in a long time. He was in Aurora, Colorado and working as a chef in a fancy hotel. So lots of things have taken place in the time of J. Leo and Lucille R. Seely.
In 1935, Ina and Frank Morgan were married here at home. In 1937 their first baby, Charles William was born. In 1938 Daddy went into the Indian Service and we left Duskee with Ina. In that same year Birdie and I went to Tuba City and Birdie went to school with all the indian children. We left the boys home and while we were gone Duskee got pneumonia and Edwin appendicitis. I came home and have often wondered what was wrong with us to leave three young boys here alone.
On October 12, 1938, Daddy still in the Indian Service, Chesla and Alma Thomas Patterson (Pat) got together. Pat was in the C. C. Camp and Daddy didn’t want any of those fellows hanging around his daughters, and we made him believe Pat was a student up at Wasatch. Oh, but we sure liked this fine young man and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple. I went with them but Daddy wasn’t even home.
Our dear Chesla paid for her own wedding and I bought her dress. It has been a wonderful marriage. Six children have been born to them and four fine boys have come to Frank and Ina. Now comes the marriage of John and dear Virginia Vance of Fairview. They built a new house on the upper lot and it was good to have them close. I used to stir up a sponge cake and call Virginia and she would meet me at the middle fence, take the cake home, and bake it. Then I would stir up another so we would each have one. John sold sand and worked in the ranch with Daddy.
The day came when John wanted to do it alone and Daddy wasn’t about to move off and so John and Virginia moved to Blanding where they have lived ever since. They have four boys, all born here. Only Casey isn’t married, but not many grandchildren for them - - one for Vance and an adopted one for Johnny Ross. John has done lots of nice things for us. He had a phone put upstairs by our bed; put the cabinet in the washroom etc.
Now we come to Lucy Rae (Birdie). She became a registered nurse in Salt Lake and there she and Neal Capel fell in love. He was studying to be a doctor. They were married June 9, 1940 in the Salt Lake Temple. Chesla and Pat had built them a beautiful new home and the wedding reception was held there, a lovely wedding and we were all present. They have lived in different parts of the U. S. and are the parents of nine children. At present they are living in Bloomington, Utah but we don’t seem them enough.
Now comes Edwin. He and Margarie Payne fell in love at the B. Y. and were married June 9, 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple. They too had their wedding reception at Chesla and Pat’s and we were all there. They are the parents of nine children and are living in Milwaukee, Oregon where Edwin teaches Spanish. Edwin is now a Bishop. Their eldest son, David Rolph, is in the Northern Italian mission for the church. So now Daddy and I are alone, our birds have all left the nest. Oh, how they all love us, especially their Grandpa Leo. I don’t think a Grandpa was ever loved and admired so much by children and grandchildren as J. Leo Seely. He was one in a million and oh, how we all love him.
Better talk a little about horses. Sweet Daddy sure loved horses and no one could break or ride them better than he could. We had Old Dude, a beautiful bay that I cared for while he was on his mission. There was Fleet, a bay stud who got cut on his hind leg and I remember how long Daddy doctored him. There was Sheik, a spotted stud; there was Seafoam, a beautiful white stud. London was a big horse stud for breaking workhorses. There was Deb and Dune, workhorses. There was Buck and Caddy and Darkie, Scribbles and Madame. Lile Abner was Edwin’s appaloosa. There was Reliance and Mathelda and on October 26, 1937, she was hooked in the buggy by Daddy and Edwin and they went for a ride. We can’t forget Central, Robert’s pony.
He could take Robert anywhere and he took him on his last ride on October 21, 1925. How well I remember that day. Daddy broke a team for Grandpa Seely to drive in his pole buggy. Daddy named them Guy and Ray and were they ever broke. When you said “Whoa” they stopped dead still right now and when you said “Git up” they were gone. Grandpa Seely loved that team when he got onto them. I can see him now. Then there was Special, a smaller pony and Bracken Lee, a sorrel stud. Then there were those big draft horses and could they pull! There were many more and last but not least came Poky’s Jim, a beautiful quarter horse stallion. He was quite old when Daddy bought him for $700. We got some good colts out of him.
One morning in 1973, Wilford went out to tend him and there he was dead. I sure was upset but couldn’t do anything about it. He was in the funeral procession, a rider less horse with saddle and ropes.
In 1958, Daddy went to a pony show at Twin Falls, Idaho. When he came home, he had with him a nice Shetland Stallion. I asked him what he paid for him and he said $1,500. Then I said, “O. K. if we have that kind of money, we are going to have a furnace and some new carpets!” He looked hard at me and said, “Alright.” So it was in 1958 that a new furnace was installed and new carpets from Dinwoody’s for sitting room, dining room and parlor and stairs were laid. Oh, it was so nice. Daddy sure hated to part with that big Estate Heatrola in the dining room, but it had to go and he said he would never sell it so it is still out in the coalhouse, been there for 15 years.
It was in 1958 that Aunt Mary Knudsen died and we had just got the house straightened up when all the Knudsen’s came here for the funeral. We only had one boy go on a mission. Edwin went to Old Mexico and how he loved that mission. He was only home two weeks when the government asked him to go back and work on the Hoof and Mouth disease. He had a home with his job so he wanted us to come down and visit him. We were in Mexico for three months and Edwin took us everywhere. We had a new blue pick-up and we came home with it full of gifts for all our children and grandchildren.
Leo and I went around a lot visiting our children and it was so much fun to be together. They all looked forward to our coming and sad at our leaving. When Stephen was in the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake, Grandpa would put some ponies in the trailer and go up there. He would let some of the children ride the ponies. Grandpa could go and see Stephen any time he wanted. He didn’t even have to wait for visiting hours like his family and others.
We always went to the State Fairs and took all the family to the county fairs and J. Leo was always a shining light wherever he went. When we lived over home dear Daddy brought home three peacocks, two hens and a cock - - don’t remember where he got them, but he was always after the unusual. How they would fly up and roost on the top of the barn and during the day, how the male would strut and make a large fan out of his beautiful tail feathers - - a gorgeous sight. We had some of those feathers for a long time but now they are long gone.
Our children will remember our lovely gardens over home and here. We remember well the beet pulling, scrubbing and cooking and bottling and if I do say so myself, no one could season them like I could. Also our raspberry patch and all the delicious berries we picked by the bucketful. Those were really the days. The orchard in the upper lot and those good rhubarb pies that Daddy enjoyed so much. I remember one day I made a big one and was really going to surprise him. When he had eaten his dinner, I went to get that lovely pie I had cooling by the window in the pantry and lo and behold it was gone and I couldn’t believe it. We never found out who got that pie. We found the pie tin up by the old chicken coop but dear Daddy didn’t get any pie that day. And the apricots, real nice big ones that made such good jam.
Edwin reminded me how the children used to deliver homemade butter around town for $.25 a pound. I knew how to make good butter; you had to have your cream sour. We had cream separators and really had the cream from our good old Jersey cows. We had a Daisey Churn and Daddy made me a wooden butter spoon. All was not sunshine. We had a depression and some hard times but when my girls needed a pretty new dress I had a sock with a little money. Then I had a pain in my side for a long time and we finally went to Paul Richards in Bingham, and he removed my left kidney. I got along all right and was soon back on the job and making beautiful afghans. Mrs. Tom Jensen showed me how to and my first one is still here.
Dear Daddy had a big project of trimming cedars on the Thirsty Forty. He took a camp wagon and would stay all week until he had trimmed 6,000. Such will, determination there never was, he was so proud of the job he had done, and it is still a monument to him.
I must say something about the John H. Seely story. Someone should write out a story about what this great man and his wife Margaret Peel accomplished. Grandpa Seely borrowed money to build the big Seely-Hinckley building up at the Peel property. Bob Hinckley was married to Arbrelia and he and Leonard were in partners in the automobile business. After Grandpa Seely died in 1920 things didn’t go too well and as time went on, Bob moved away to Ogden, leaving all the debt on the J. H. Seely Company and that’s what started the downhill. In the 30’s the Continental Bank took over, came down here, and sold $100,000 worth of property for a $30,000 debt. They sold every inch of ground we had. Poor Daddy tried everywhere to get some money so as to redeem some of his Father’s holdings, but he couldn’t borrow a dime anywhere.
The Chester ranch was sold to Blain and Allred from Spring City for $2,000 and oh how Daddy wanted that ranch. He talked to the buyers and offered them $9,000 and they finally decided to let him have it and then came the struggle to get it paid for. With lots of faith and determination and after a long hard struggle, the Chester Ranch finally was his and he has said over and over, “It never should go out of the family.”
Daddy got a new breed of cattle, Santa Gertrudus. He went to Texas and bought a bull from the King Ranch and he did him a good job. We always called him the King Ranch Bull. He had quite a set up down there and was doing well. He was now 84 years old and bright as a new dollar. Oh, how I have always loved J. Leo Seely.
Tommy, Chesla’s first son, lived with us many summers and his Grandpa would take him to Manti to Lavar Jensen for music lessons. Oh how he practiced, practiced, and was he wonderful! He was a great help to Daddy and he would have Tommy climb up the big pine tree and trim it. Daddy wanted the limbs above the roof of the house.
About 4:00 P. M. we had to get ready for the parade and was that fun!! Chesla had made me a long pink taffeta dress with black polk-a-dots, ruffle on the bottom and leg-o-mutton sleeves, a beautiful dress and I still have it and have worn it a couple of times since. I wore a big hat with Willow plum - - gorgeous. Daddy had a stovepipe hat and a fancy suit and we rode in a single buggy with Daddy driving and leading the parade. The rest of the family followed in other buggies and wagons. As we drove up Main Street folks honked their horns and we had a large audience. I can say it was great, we were all proud and happy to have such a wonderful family, and all were happy. At the program Ethel Ericksen was the accompanist and her husband, Harry Ericksen said the prayer and the blessing on the food. All the grandchildren were there but Stephen who was serving a mission in the South. John Leo and Paula were in charge of the decorations so you know they were the very finest.
This is one golden wedding good old Mt. Pleasant will never forget nor those who attended. The whole town was invited. Daddy and I danced to the tune, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”
In 1965 Leo was King Cowboy and could he fill the part - - new levis and jumper, western hat, boots, tie and all. The last Ute Stampede we attended was July 9, 1971. Birdie had given Daddy new knit pants and a beautiful red shirt and leather fringed coat - - did he look great - - like the dear man he was. We always had such a good dinner at Ina’s at all times and that day was no exception. We had such a good time; little dreaming we would see no more Stampedes. Now my memory goes back to all the good and wonderful times we had together and how all the grandchildren loved Grandpa Leo.
We had 32 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren with Zion still growing. Quite a thing J. Leo and I started and we are so proud of all our family and the Lord is good to us. One Sunday, July 4, 1971, I told Daddy to doll up in his new suit and all, he asked me why, and I said, “Oh, I would just like to see you look real nice.” So that’s what he did, he really looked like a million, and he went to Priesthood and Fast Meeting. Oh, why did I have to be so sick all the time, and he was so patient and good to me. Saturday night I was so sick, I got up and went in the big room and so as not to bother him, and he came in there and said, “You come back here with me.” I did and he took me on his arm and blessed me. Well, Sunday when he came home from church, he changed clothes, we had some dinner, and then in the afternoon we had lots of company out on the front porch. Carl Barentsen and Hazel came by to talk horse. Phil, Hazel, and Aunt Anna came and we had such a nice visit.
Then Daddy did the chores, we just visited together, and he said he wanted to take John’s horse from Fairview in the morning. The horse was real mean but Wilford was going to help him. The next morning, Monday, July 12, Daddy drove the car and Wilford sat in the back holding the rope, which he tied under the truck. Well, they got back O. K. We were visited by our Ward Teachers and we had our dinner and in the P. M. my darling said, “Let’s go and have a drink of pop.” I said, “Just give me a small glass and you have the rest.” So we sat down at the kitchen table and were talking and laughing when he said, “Well if I am going to get anything done with that horse in the yard, I better get going.” I looked him in the eyes and said, “Now listen Daddy, you are 84 years old and you have no business monk eyeing around trying to break that bad horse.” He just laughed at me, got up, and walked to the door, I went with him, and I said, “What if something happens to you, what would I do without you?” Daddy said, “Nothing is going to happen - - you just worry too much.” Then I said, “Just the same I wish you wouldn’t go.” He gave me a squeeze and laughed and said, “I won’t be out there long, and you just worry too much.” After a little while I heard the barn door open and I knew he was after his saddle and intended to work the horse over there. Then Anna came down here and she stayed longer than she intended and I was real nervous. The moment she left I went to the screen door and called loud Ooooo – Ooooo and he didn’t answer me so I called again as he always called back to me. Then I was worried and went to the middle gate and called, “Leo are you alright?” But no answer. I could see no activity in the corral so I walked out to the pole corral. Leo had a green shirt on that day and when I got out there I could see that green shirt on the ground and I knew that was all wrong. So I went to the gate and hurried as fast as I could over to him. There was my sweetheart of 61 years, bleeding from his eyes, nose and mouth. I called to him, shook him, and tried to lift him up but couldn’t and dear God in Heaven, I screamed and said, “Oh, I know he is dead.” I screamed and screamed and went to the big gates to see if I could call someone on the street but there was no one. Then I came back to my Leo and my neighbor, Mrs. Davey, came running and very soon there were lots of people around and our dear Daddy was taken to the Mortuary - - Jacobs.
Oh, such a nightmare, and I just couldn’t believe that my darling was gone and I wondered what in the world I would do without him and the problems there would be. We had 61 wonderful years together - - shared sorrow and happiness. Daddy was better than me for looking on the bright side but we were a good combination and oh, how I loved him. After that most heart breaking day July 12, 1971, I look back and wonder how I ever lived thru it. My whole world had fallen apart and I couldn’t imagine my being without him and without all his love and tenderness. We had done everything together for so many years and I had always had his strong shoulder to lean on and cry on. Often we sat in the same two seats at church. Now I look at them but can’t sit there without him.
How did we all go thru those sad day’s. The last night he was to be with us, we had him brought home for our last night in the dear old home that had sheltered us for so many years. With our loving family around we had to go on. Where he lay so still in the parlor, the dear grandchildren rubbed his hands and face and patted him and they cried and cried. Then the time came for me to say goodbye for the last time. The casket was closed and it was time for the last ride to the church. I look back and really wonder how I survived that ordeal I had been called on to bear. He was placed in the horse drawn hearse and the funeral procession drove up Main Street in deal old Mt. Pleasant where we were both born and on to the church he loved so much.
To me, Leo Seely was the best husband, father, and grandfather in the world and his great grandchildren have missed so much. I have lived alone in the dear house for nearly six years and I am still very lonesome for my dear companion. My dear children are so very kind and good to me and visit me when they can. I am so thankful for them all and I am sure their dear Father is proud of his posterity.
The tears are streaming from my eyes and it’s been hard. Now I am 85 years old. I try to get to Relief Society, church, to club and to D. U. P. and it is so hard to come home to my empty house. So many beautiful memories and now I live on there but that day out in the yard when I found him gone away comes to me. Not a day passes by that I don’t live thru it again. All my children are so good to me and would have me live with them but I can’t leave my home as long as I can care for myself. Then dear Chesla lost her devoted Pat on June 25, 1973. He had a long siege with cancer and fought all the way and he was brought here for graveside and burial. Then in 1974, dear Birdie and Neal were tried and went thru and ordeal. Our dear Jeffery was drowned May 27, 1974 on a Monday and with underlying conditions, the truth of it has never been known. He was brought here for funeral services and burial on our lot and they are so thankful he is out here.
We have had some bright spots too. Rebecca was married the 24th of April 1974 and I was in the wedding, a beautiful affair and I had a new long pink dress for the occasion. But my health isn’t good and I was anxious to be home again. Then Edwin was made a Bishop and wanted me in Salt Lake for conference so I could see him. Then on April 12, 1974 Casey was married. Ina made a quilt for us to give to them.
We are proud of our missionary record. It all began with Leo going to Ireland. Only one of our children went on a mission, Edwin to Mexico. The grandchildren who served on missions for the Church are: Tommy to France, Stephan to the Southern States, Michael to Ohio, Jon Leo to Japan, Rolph to Northern Italy, Mark to Spain and right now Jonathan is in Georgia and Kelly is in the Portland, Oregon mission. Wilford is still at the ranch. He and his family are real good to me and take me with them to Sunday School and Church. The ranch is doing good considering the late Spring we have had. We have nearly 50 cows.
My eyes are real bad but I have been able to crochet some afghans and all in the family have one. I must tell of one more unusual thing Leo did. He thought it would be different to have a mule with little ears. So he proceeded to make a pattern from a horse’s ear and then very carefully he proceeded to operate on a favorite donkey and the finished product was pleasing to him. He had done something different that no one had heard of before. What did the poor donkey think and feel about it? I wonder! Well, he couldn’t tell us but it was easy to tell him from all the others with long ears. Tommy is such a great person and it is so sad that he has to be denied of all the joys of this life and just lay there so helpless. He will surely gain the Celestial Kingdom.
I am so proud of all our family and I thank God for all of them. I have been over to Ina’s once in about two years, but I don’t feel like leaving home, I feel best here. I have a new fridge and electric stove and I enjoy them. It was good to say goodbye to the old coal stove. I have a new water heater so I always have hot water. I also have a real good furnace but have burned lots of coal this winter. I am buying a Shetland pony and want to keep him here so our great grandchildren will know how it feels to ride a pony. I wish I knew where Robert’s saddle was.
I’m thankful I am Mrs. J. Leo Seely. We had such a good life together and we have a wonderful family. Our children and grand and great grandchildren had the best grandfather and pal in the world. I know I have been a good Mother and Grandmother and he was the best Father and Grandfather in the whole world and they will never forget him I am sure of that. Things are not the same with the captain gone. He was 90 years old on April 4th. Edwin’s Rolph and Karen took some yellow flowers to the cemetery and spent a little while out there wandering, oh, yes wandering. I have fought the fight and am doing the best I can and if only I could have better health and I pray for it constantly. Yes, the world is just not the same since he left us and I am looking forward to the time when we will be together once again.