Sunday, November 5, 2017

Appreciation from President Spencer W Kimball

Related to Alpheus Gifford,  This letter from Spencer W Kimball in 1975 comments on the missionary work of Alpheus Gifford who shared the Gospel with Heber C Kimball.

This letter was read at the family reunion held September 6, 1975 in Zion Canyon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City Utah 84111

Spencer W. Kimball, PRESIDENT
September 3, 1975


Dear Friends:

       As one who is very grateful, may I express the gratitude
of the Kimball family that your ancestor, Alpheus Gifford,
was so responsible for bringing our ancestor into the Church.

     I believe in family reunions and believe that much good
can be accomplished by the association of family members to
recount stories of the family and keep them fresh in the
memory of the people of the family.

     I hope also that the members of your family will keep rec-
ords of their own lives and the lives of their family members.
Such biographies and autobiographies become very precious as
time goes on and generations succeed each other.

     Please accept my best wishes, and may I express apprecia-
tion for the other members of the Kimball family and also for
the Church for your faithfulness and devotion and loyalty.

     With kindest wishes,
                                                                Faithfully yours,

                                                                  Spencer W Kimbasll

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stories from the Early church

Links to another blog with a common Ancestor and several stories from their early lives.
Alpheus Gifford and Anna Nash

FTA: Alpheus married Anna Nash on 27 Feb 1817. They had “seven sons and three daughters. In the spring of 1831, hearing of the doctrines taught by Joseph Smith, he made diligent inquiry and found they were scriptural and was baptized and ordained a priest; he brought home five books of Mormon which he distributed among his friends; he was then living in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Soon after he went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet Joseph Smith and the brethren, when he was ordained an elder; he was accompanied by his brother Levi, Elial Strong, Eleazer Miller, Enos Curtis, and Abraham Brown, who were baptized. On returning to Pennsylvania he preached and baptized many, among whom was Heber C. Kimball. 

and close friends;
Enos and Ruth Curtis

FTA: Evidently, some of the near neighbors of Enos and Ruth, in Sullivan, were Levi (1798-1860) and Deborah Wing (1794-1877) Gifford. Apparently, Levi’s older brother, Alpheus Gifford (1793-1841), who was an independent preacher, had at one time lived in Sullivan, then in Hector, Schuyler County, New York, then had come back to live in Rutland, Tioga County.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lightening strikes man while in his home.

This is an old newspaper clipping found in Dad's collection of important papers. This is a story about Dad's first cousin... No date given but also published in Weekly World News under the date 9 Aug 1988.
Image may contain: 2 people, phone

Harvey Leo McGee b 1905 in Kirtland New Mexico was Dad's first cousin.  Harvey's mother was the sister of Grandpa McGee's first wife so Harvey was a double cousin with Dad's older half brothers and sisters.  This incident with the lightening strike occurred in 1987 or 1988 when Harvey was 82 years old.  He passed away in 1993.  Here is a link to the Find-a-Grave information.

Friday, February 17, 2017

On the murder of Henry McGee 1810

From my Facebook page

 Cherokee Nation March 17th 1810

after the Obedience Due to your Excelleancey [Excellency] I will inform you [added: of] the Moust [Most] [unclear: Barous] Murder Latly [Lately] Commited [Committed] in this Cuntry [Country] by Mr. William Reedon a Certen [Certain] Mr McGeeat the High Tower Townwithout any previous Quarral [Quarrel] Took his Gun the Said Reedand five more armed men and went to the house whare [where] the said McGeewas at his work in Comapnny [Company] with a Mr Wheaton[deleted: &] there & then put his gun through a Crack of the house & shot the Sd [Said] McGeether [there] is Nothing Don [Done] by the National Governmen[added: t] Concerning Busieness [Business] the Excelling Tyrent Bost [Tyrant Boast] of the Action & Insults The Destressed Widdow [Distressed Widow] and helpless Orphans I Think that justes [justice] Crys [Cries] aloud To the Government of GeorgiaI hope that your Excellance [Excellence] will Duily [Duly] Consider the Matter & Bring the offender to justes [justice] and your very Huml. Sevt [Humble Servant] is in Duty Bound Shall Ever

[Signed] David Welch
To His Excellancey [Excellency]
Governor Mitchal

Henry McGee was the father of 10 kids, including my own great great grandfather who was 10months old at the time of his father's death.

On the murder of Henry McGee 1810. William Reed's defense.
January 16th 1810 Hightower
Honorable Sir,
I am sorry to inform you of an accident that took place last night which is the killing of a certain Henry McGahee which I may say in my own defense. The greater part of the Pasages I shall refer to the Bearer Mr. Wm. Bright who happened to be present accidently and who I wish you to examine on oath as it will be clearer to you as also of my conduct from a child up of what he has heard and seen also the victims. Sorry I am that ever such an accident should ever fall out in my hands but so it has and I wish all good men was truly acquainted with the circumstances – the papers I have enclosed I wish you to examine the purport of great part of John Griffeys (Guffeys?) and Elezibeth his wifes. Affidavits can be confirmed by many persons of his threats etc of Carorton[?] wheelers[?] who was in company with said McGahee last night who has conducted himself in a disagreeable manner for some time past. His not being drove off is caused by his being in debt to some people who wishes to get pay and see no chance of getting it without he can make it . But should he not clearout from the cave, I expect the Indians will interfere hereafter. I will give you a hint of facts and what I write if requested will positively prove but the greater and more lengthy part you can have from Bairir (bearer) whose character from as far as I have ever heard is correct--- About ten days ago I went with my hands to furnace which is one mile from the cave with my hands in order to fill my hoppers with dirt when I found three of my large dirt hoppers all cleaned ready for filling and also the ash hoppers and great preparations at the mouth of the Cave where I had a windlass fixed which was altered and a pulley fixed in a disagreeable manner and McGhee[?] there. I made some alterations, took possession of my place and not a cross word between us—he seemed to give up which caused a hope in me that there would be no dispute.
I intended to apply to the first council to know his authority and what I be to do. Some nights after Wheeler and McGee passed my mills with two kettles and leaves word for me to come down in the morning, that’s Mcgee did. And bring a gun, pistols or any weapon, that he would be damned if he would not answer me with either—that they would tear down my furnace and take out the kettles. I waited said day to see what they would do when news came that it was done—I then applied to Dance [Danes or Dawes?] in Hightower to know what I should do when I received the lines signed by Bark in behalf of the Council John Beamen(r?) Lincaster. I then sent in the paper by a man, a hireling to them and followed them with a small party to see what they had done and know their conclusion.
The papers McGee read and said as the man said my kettles was there and he would be damned if I should have them till I paid him—which debt I had never heard of before and all that was present say that it was under the pretense of the claim of wheeler they was first took and on receiving the line I suppose changed.
when I went it was in order to make them take my kettles and troughs back. I found them in a small house of mine at four hundred yards distance from the furnace. I rode up when the door was shut on me and there was a large light in the house. Two men present in the house of my hirelings say on his reading the letter went out of doors and brought in an axe—I demanded the door opened. It was refused. McGee picked up a gun and tried to shoot me, then handed the gun to Wheeler and picked up the ax and swore killing the first man that came in. I told him I would shoot him if he would not surrender when his answer was shoot and be damned which was no sooner said than done—
as I considered it the worst kind of robbery thought myself clear—your advice I wish candid and it shall be candidly attended to. I wish as little expense and trouble as possible and with all attention shall remain your able servant.
W Reed.
To Col R.J. Meigs.

From a transcribed letter which tried to keep all spelling original. My transcription corrected many errors in the original but it is still a bit hard to follow. The published reference is: 74) with some helpful background on the cave and furnace and people mentioned.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Irene McGee Despain 1925-2017

Irene McGee Despain is my dad's older sister.  First child of grandpa's second family.

Irene McGee Despaiin

St. George

Irene McGee Despain, beloved mother and grandmother, passed away the morning of Wednesday, January 25, 2017 in St. George, Utah at the age of 91.

Irene lived a long life of dedication to her family and the LDS Church. She was known as a fastidious homemaker and seamstress, a loyal friend with a subtle yet sharp sense of humor, and a dedicated and faithful member of her church, serving in countless callings.

Irene was born in St. George, Utah on February 20, 1925 to Ross and Elsie Gifford McGee. When she was three years old her family moved to Draper, and at the age of 13, moved to Granite, Utah.

It was while living in Granite that she met Ward, the love of her life, at the old LDS church. Their life together was a classic love story. Legend has it Ward arrived a little late to sacrament meeting that fateful day, saw Irene's beautiful red hair shining in the sunlight near the front of the chapel, and declared that she was the girl he was going to marry someday—without having yet seen her face.

Ward and Irene were married toward the end of her senior year in high school and were inseparable from that day forward, only spending time apart when Ward served in World War II. As Ward struggled with Alzheimer's during the last years of his life, Irene stayed dedicatedly by his side, caring for him even as she struggled with her own health.

During nearly 70 years of marriage together, Irene and Ward shared many wonderful adventures, most of which were centered diligently on their church service. They were tour guides for large groups in the Middle East and Europe, as well as a LDS Church history tour through the Eastern United States.

They moved several times for educational and career pursuits while raising their young family and finally settled in St. George where they would call home for almost 50 years.

They left their home for Hilo, Hawaii from 1983 to 1987 for four wonderful years of service until Ward retired from the LDS Church Education System. When they returned to St. George, they continued their church service for another 15 years as temple workers, a period of time that they cherished and made many new friends.

Irene is survived by her daughter, Mary Ann (Terry) Blackburn and her two sons: Steven (Evelyn) and David (Shelly); sixteen grandchildren, twenty-five great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the Metcalf Mortuary Chapel, 288 West St. George Blvd. St. George, Utah. A visitation will be held Saturday, prior to services, from 1:00-1:45 p.m. Interment will be at the St. George City Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lloyd R McGee 1926-2017

Obituary on

BRIGHAM CITY—Lloyd Ross McGee, 90, passed away with his family by his side on January 7, 2017.
He was born on October 18, 1926 in St George, Utah to Ross Solon McGee and Elsie Gifford McGee.
Lloyd served in the Army from 1945 to 1948 and was stationed in Germany. He attended the University of Utah where he received a PHD in Chemistry and worked at Thiokol.
He married Marna Maynes on January 17, 1952 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They shared almost 65 years together. Lloyd and Marna moved their young family to Wilmington, Delaware for three years, then returned to Utah in 1959.
Lloyd was an active member of the LDS church, and faithfully served in many callings. He served a temple mission at the St. Louis temple, a Senior Couple mission to Boston, Massachusetts, he served in the Bishopric, High Council, and served for 20 years as an ordinance worker in the Ogden Temple and also in the Brigham City Temple. 
His interests were his family. He was active in scouting and as a Young Men Leader for his 4 sons. The children are widely scattered and he and Marna traveled often to visit the grandkids on their special occasions including a baby blessing at a Coast Guard Light House in Washington State and baptisms in Delaware, Florida, North Dakota, California and Alaska.
Lloyd enjoyed serving with the Brigham City Soup Kitchen in cooperation with the wider Brigham City community. He also substituted as a Meals on Wheels driver. He invested in his kids by getting them paper routes which he then helped deliver. He was a scientist who had a deep innate faith in God and he lived his life consistent with his faith.
Surviving are his sweetheart, Marna; his children, Larry (Michele) McGee, Pacifica, CA; James (Carla) McGee, Neola, UT; Linda (Dave) Anderton, Palmer, AK; John (Julie) McGee, Riverside, CA; Robert (Rachel) McGee, West Jordan, UT; Patti (Frank) Kasten, Phoenix, AZ; Heidi (Monty) Pickrell, Ogden, UT. Thirty grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Sisters Irene Despain; Colleen (Fred) Maynes; and Myrna (Kale) Smith. 
Preceded in death by his parents, brother LaRaine, and sister Leola, daughter Karen, and two grandsons Clarence and Derek.
Funeral services will be Friday, January 13, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Box Elder Stake Center, 420 South 800 West, Brigham City, Utah. 
Viewings will be Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Myers Mortuary, 205 South 100 East, Brigham City, UT and Friday from 10:00 to 10:40 am at the Church.
Interment will be in the Brigham City Cemetery with Military Honors Accorded by Combined Veterans.

So much was left unsaid. To those reading this, please add a memory. From my Dad and Mom I learned to love the Lord. Dad was my example and when faced with major decisions, the question 'what would Dad do?' was always a good place to start. I was blessed to be there when he passed from this life. I have his example of being well-prepared to move on. He had full confidence that life is eternal and approached that transition with joy and some excitement, moderated by his love for those he leaves behind. He fully accepted the Grace of Jesus Christ in his life. His service in the Church and community came from his love and gratitude to God and his Savior Jesus Christ. Thanks Dad for these last examples that I'll use when I consider 'What would Dad do?'

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jesse Knight, 1st cousin (4 times removed)

After the recent Knight Family Reunion, there have been some links to interesting stories about  Joseph Knight Sr. and his descendants.   This is  a BYU devotional by a Geology professor at BYU in Oct 2001.  .  A big part of the talk is related to Jesse Knight who was a first cousin with Lora Demille Gifford (our 2nd Great Grandmother born in 1828). Jesse's father was older than Lora's mother but Anna Knight got married when she was 15 and Jesse comes from a second marriage of his father

Jesse Knight was a grandson of Joseph Knight Sr but he was born in Nauvoo in 1845. His father Newell Knight died when he was 16 months old and his grandfather Joseph Sr. died less than 4 weeks later in Feb 1847. So his experience with the Church and the restoration of the Gospel was colored by the repercussions of those events.  By the time his mother died in 1884 he was 38 years old and quite opposed to the Church and its leaders. Near the end of his mother's life he noticed a change in her attitude ...

Jesse (still opposed to the church): "Mom, how is it you're not preaching to me as you usually do."
Lydia: "Jesse, I've prayed in the temple for my children many times, and on one occasion the Lord made it known to me I was not to worry about you any more..."

This devotional gives some of the rest of the story... The Knight family story starts at 10:14 into the devotional but please listen from the beginning as it sets the stage.

[When I went to the LTM (Language training mission...precursor to the MTC) our language group was in the Amanda Knight building, named after the wife of Jesse Knight.]