From her autobiography, Memoirs of Bertha Urech Newman – 22 December 1975
The Early Years
I was born 28 October 1889 in Muttenz, Baselland, Switzerland, the daughter of Edward Urech and Louise Bertha Kümmerli. My father was born 18 January 1868, in Muttenz, Baselland, Switzerland, the youngest of the family. My mother was born 24 October 1868, in Kolliken, Aargau, Switzerland. The family at the time of this writing consisted of 9 living children and two having died in infancy. My father and mother had a Grocery and Merchandise Store in Muttenz at the time of my birth.
When I was one year old, my parents moved to Basel, Baselstaat, Switzerland, about 12 miles from Muttenz. There my father joined up with the police force of the city and served for 10 years, when he was made police force Sergeant and served 13 years in that capacity and then advanced to the secret service police and served 5 years in that service.
My early childhood memories are vague, except for one thing I remember very well, seeing my father in uniform. I looked forward to his coming home when mother reminded me the time for father’s return from work. When I was four years old, my mother took me to kindergarten school and I remember meeting my first teacher (Fraulein Eva Mueller), because she loved us little children and had prayers every morning at the beginning of the school period. She served for many years because all the children of our family had her as a teacher. At the age of seven I entered public school in Basel. At 12 years old I advanced to the higher school and graduated at l4 years. The last six months of school I received a scholarship to attend an evening class from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in home economics and cooking school. One student from each class was chosen to attend this extra class. I truly enjoyed the class. We cooked and served meals prepared to teachers and occasionally to the parents invited, as well as school social functions where many friends were gathered.
My religious contact in my earlier days was w1th the Protestant Church. One of my history and nature study teachers was Herr H. Mueller; he too is remembered for his religious life. He put before his students constantly the beauty of nature as God created it and praised our Heavenly Father every morning with prayer and devotion that we might see the love of God. I have never forgotten this teacher, for he implanted in me the desire to learn about God. He was very often mocked by some of the students, but his sincerity could not be ignored. I always want to think of him as a devout Christian and believer in Christ. Our religious affiliations were with the Protestant Church. We attended Sunday School and Church services. We resided in a nice neighborhood and our friends were many. The children old enough would come together for an hour’s play after school and then the girls would sit knitting stockings and mittens and we had ample competition as to the nicest work done.
During the summer of 1902, we met a family by the name of Mr. & Mrs. Dreher. The husband passed away during the fall and Frau Dreher came often to our home. One day she spoke to mother about a meeting she was going to attend of a religious nature and gave her an invitation to go with her and so mother attended and learned for the first time of a church whose missionaries came from Amerika and brought the message of new revelations and Christ having spoken to a mere youth, having established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or also known as the Mormon Church. It made a good impression on her. She related the sayings to father and the reaction was that “to beware” for this group of people were not favorably accepted, and in his duties as policeman he made a point to go and look into the attendance, etc. He found nothing wrong and father never forbade us to attend, for soon mother took us children to Sunday School and in the Spring of 1903, on March 26, my mother was also baptized and became a member of the Church with the full consent of my father.
A new life began in our home and always had an attractive audience. In Sunday school we learned to sing and the very first song I learned was “If the way be full of trial, weary not” and Elder Harding taught us the song in English. We really thought we were bright, telling about it to other schoolmates, but all too soon we were to feel the non-acceptance of our association because we were now called Mormons and some neighbors forbade the children to have anything to do with us. But we made many new friends and found that we could defend the Gospel, for by this time we were participating in the activities of the Church. Putting over some Book of Mormon pageant “Lehi Leaving Jerusalem” where we took part, still is in my mind as a never to be forgotten Incident for father attended the social evening and we hoped that he would see the light. Time and again he only said you may if you desire, but I would loose my job if I were to participate in the affairs of the Church. We children did not know then of the feeling in his heart, to be able to make a livelihood for the family.
I was now almost l4 years old, and by this time I wanted to become a member of the Church. With father’s consent my sister Martha, myself and Frau Faller, a neighbor, who had gone to the meetings also, were allowed to arrange for a baptismal time with the Elders and as was customary, the Elders would find a suitable place—an open stream, and somewhat secluded. To our astonishment, my father went with the Elders, and selecting the place, the time was appointed, and so, on the evening of 26 of September 1903, we were baptized and the same evening in the grove of trees near the stream called “Die Wise” we held a short service and were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Joseph E. Schiess was the Elder who performed the baptisms. He also was mouth in confirming me. What a glorious evening. The moon was full and all nature seemed in tune. Schwester Faller gave testimony that she received an answer to a fervent prayer that she might know that this was the true Church of Christ and as she stepped into the stream, she testified that all fear left her and she knew. She was true to the faith and a valiant member until she passed away.
Soon after our baptism we were informed of a coming Mission conference to be held in Basel for all the membership of the Swiss German Mission. President Levi Edgar Young would be in attendance. We readied our home for the guests we would be privileged to entertain and our spirits were really living in the clouds. The day arrived and we all attended the conference sessions. So many missionaries all teaching the same gospel and giving their time and the love of parents providing the means to bring us the Gospel really gave me a testimony that the Lord loves his children and is mindful of us. President Young visited our home and was a frequent visitor whenever he came to Basel. While in the home, we were always eager to learn—especially the English language. From President Young came my first English lesson and many more pleasant hours were we privileged to have with him. There comes with good hours also those hours we had to share in saying farewell to those whose time had now come to say good-by’s. We had learned to love these missionaries and in our way of thinking there never could be any more like them. President Levi Edgar Young presented me with his photograph, autographed, which I have treasured through the years.
The winter of 1905 was rather mild, but a severe epidemic of diphtheria came into the town and we found that it also struck into our hone. My sister Emily, as also Martha and myself were all sick at once and this is my first recollection of the Elders coming to administer to us. Mother at the time had no knowledge as yet of the ailment we had, but she had faith that we could be healed with the oil and the faith of the Elders. Martha and myself recovered after medical treatment, but my sister Emily, 11 years old, had complications set in with pneumonia and passed away on February 26, 1906. The funeral was conducted privately by the missionaries. Elder G. Langford and Harry Shephard. The family was comforted by their assuring words and their kindness toward all of us.
President Young was replaced upon his release from the mission by President Serge F. Ballif. President Ballif and family made their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, centrally located. Some of our missionaries were changed to other districts and we had a good lesson in Church government, that the Lord is no respecter of a persons—his work is the same who-to-ever proclaims it.
Spring and Graduation Time from School
Thoughts of sending me away to school to learn the French language had occupied my parents for some time. After consulting with the parents of an exchange student who was soon to come home, they entered into correspondence with the college professor of Mondon College, Herr Charles Page, and arrangements were made for my schooling. I was to pay for my room and board by helping before and after school with the house duties. Two children were in the family, one daughter 5 years old and a little boy 2 years old. The little boy, Charles, had been in poor health from infancy. Often mention was made that his heart beat was so very weak, but it was from these children that I learned the language and supplemented with private lessons. My stay there was very profitable.
This was also my first time away from home for any length of time, and at times homesickness became quite a test for me, especially in the fall time when I learned that my family had made a visit to my paternal grandparents during grape harvest time. My recollection of helping with the picking and dumping the luscious grapes into the big vat, and then by using a big paddle to crush them and have a taste of the first juice of the grapes, are memories to youth as only a grandparent can supply the joy that goes with it, and so thoughts of home came often.
My first experience using the language on my own came when I was asked to run an errand. I was sent to the baker to buy some bread, but I marched proudly to the butcher shop and bought some meat. To learn the lesson I had to return the meat, apologies and then buy the bread—Madame, sil vous plais—excuse me. One more experience not to be forgotten.
A group of children came to the place and wanted to go for a stroll to pick flowers. The little girl had taken the baby in the cart along and after a short time, I was sent to check their doings, when I found they had gone near by the stream of water and placed the baby cart by the side of the road while they merrily picked the wild flowers on the little hillside. As I neared the scene I noticed the cart set in motion by the restless baby and before I could reach the place the cart had gone down the lane toward the bank of the stream and went over the rim and into the stream about 5 feet over the bank. The stream was about 2 feet deep, and my only thought was of the baby, so I jumped into the stream, got the baby who was not hurt, but very frightened. No doubt the carriage had saved him from the fall on the rocks. My ankle seemed to be broken, probably from the fall onto the rocks, but with care I soon recovered from the experience. The children’s cries had brought help soon and the experience taught me to forget self and be grateful for a life saved for both of us.
When I was feeling well enough, I was given permission to visit a cousin who was in Lausanne going to school and also try to find the Elders who were conducting services in Lausanne, there being a very few members. But I failed in finding the Elders, they were in Geneva to attend a mission conference. My cousin was very pleased to see me and we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon until train time to return. Many wonderful friendships were made among the students, but soon the time came for my return home in the fall of 1907. During all this time, I was separated from the Church. I truly missed the Sunday School and the meetings and upon my return, many changes had taken place. New Elders had arrived and others had gone home again to Amerika.
Soon after coming home I was given the position of Sunday School secretary which I had before leaving for college. At this time I was asked by my parents to make a decision as to choosing a vocation and to work my way up for self support in the future. The family now numbered six daughters and my parents decided that I should learn to sew to help the family budget. My personal desire had always been to be a sales lady by profession, but I consented to take a course in sewing and was given the opportunity with Frau Gysin Damen Salone. I worked there for one year and a half. The first six months my only job was pulling out basting thread, then finally I learned to baste a seam and gradually I put a pattern together, then made me a blouse and later made three dresses for my younger sisters. My mother was in need of a little help at home, and so for a short time I managed to have a few customers who trusted me with their sewing and I was now earning a little money of my own.
Now came the arrival of a baby boy into our home , two baby boys having died in infancy. This brought quite a change into the home. My father was very proud of this son and of course we girls fell in line. After mother was well enough, I applied for and got a job in the firm of Loeb & Loeb in the women’s apparel department. I liked this very much and had dreams of becoming one day an executive in such a firm, always wanting to learn more of the trade.
The knowledge of the Gospel brought new ideas, and the many lovely home evenings in company with members and Elders in lively discussions over the revealed Gospel gave much joy. Our home was open always, especially when we as groups came together in preparation for a pageant to be presented, gathering of ivy for decorations and the making of paper flowers for the decorating of our local branch for conference, etc. Christmas parties, candy making and much more life seemed good, but we would also talk of Zion and of the Temple and the Saints who by and by emigrated.
In my own mind there had been for some time the thought of my wanting to join the Saints In Zion, and especially a strong desire to be married in the Temple for time and all eternity. This part of Gospel teaching made a deep impression upon my mind. So many wonderful missionaries had come to bring us the Gospel message. President Ballif’s daughter was a frequent visitor In our home and my very dear friend. Sister Frieda Wettstein who roomed with us was a constant example of living the Gospel principles. We girls had many night chats of what our future lives should be and what we wanted most of all—to become good members in the Church worthy to have companions who held the Priesthood. Our correspondence brought us many lovely hours in memory of the many fine friends we found to remember, Bro Harding, Bro Kohler, Bro Langford, Bro Schiess, Bro Ezra Kung, Enoch Muhlistein, Ed Groejean, Elmer Barrett, Ken Spencer, George Q. Cannon and Bro Young and the visit of Lucy Gates making her singing debut In Zurich with a full house for audience and the visit of President Joseph F. Smith. Oh how we looked forward to these occasions and the following day of a conference with a mission get-together at some scenic spot.
In passing I cannot go by but mention one occasion to be remembered much later—a ferry ride in company with Elders Ed Grojean and Thomas W. Newman, who had arranged with some members from their branches to sponsor a picnic—my first picnic Amerikan fashion—and looked forward to with much enthusiasm, but somewhere along the line things did not materialize and a group of members finally had lunch in one of the old castle restaurants in Chillon. It was a nice get-together and my first meeting with Elder Newman. He had labored In Basel during my absence in French Switzerland and had been acquainted with my family and my sister Martha and Sister Wettstein, so the meeting was pleasant; he labored with the Saints in Biel Ct Bern and Burgdorf also, and the first meeting in a conference in Basel is remembered by the humbleness of his testimony and sincerity. Not long after this time he was released from his mission, and on his way to the Mission headquarters he made a farewell visit to my family and left a little cup and saucer to my mother that was treasured by her through the years that followed.
The Christmas holidays were joyous ones. Elders Barrett and Woodruff arranged a program and the choir was to present a Christmas cantata. The rehearsal and other preparations brought may good hours of companionship with the membership. We gathered holly for decorations and our home was a veritable greenhouse as we wound the garlands and prepared the items for the presentation of the Story of the Savior’s birth. The presentation was fully appreciated by a good attentive audience. While I had my mind so much on other things, little did I know that this was my last Christmas at home. Girls get together and they talk of their future. I met a young lady who had just returned from England where she had served as a Governess to a noble family and their children. Any job you held required the knowledge of foreign language because Switzerland was mainly supported by tourist trade, so I got the idea that I would like to accept such a position with the thought that eventually I could make it to Amerika, or in my mind I wanted to go to Zion.
One day I took courage to approach my father with the subject of going to England or Amerika and to my surprise he said, “I knew you would come for the answer to your thoughts you cannot hide”. I must have talked a great deal of wanting to go to Zion. The Gospel had made a great change in my life, after having been away from it for over a year and then returning to the job as Sunday School secretary and teacher, I found a new way of serving the Lord and also seeking future happiness. I decided that nothing less than an honorable man holding the Priesthood and being worthy to go to the temple would find a place in my life if I would live worthily for him. I had many friends, but one thought kept its place in my mind and I prayed to my Heavenly Father to guide me safely for such a future.
Knowing my restlessness, my parents decided that if I wanted to leave home, they would rather see me come to Amerika than go to England, for as mother said, “she had faith that the Saints would not leave me to “wander alone”. She had friends who faithfully corresponded and she approached the subject to them and received prompt reply. My father had not yet seen the point of joining the Church, but understood in the way for his children’s reasonable desires and he knew how much the Gospel meant to us and to my future. Silently he went about inquiring for visas, etc., and the cost of the trip. I know in his mind he always had wanted to visit other nation’s lands, but having settled to his job he never pursued the desire, and so he could probably visualize my desires and be willing to grant them, and things went speedily forward. A friend of the family offered to help finance the trip and arrangements were made and passport secured and the date for departure was set. Vividly I live over and over the last It weeks at home, knitting stockings, sewing modest but good materials for two dresses, under things and I received one good topcoat. One fairly large suitcase held my personal needs for the trip and one small wicker basket containing some book and bedding was the amount that made up my belongings.
The ward members and the choir that I was a member of gave me a splendid farewell social and only then came I to know how hard it is to leave loved members and family and friends. A visit to my maternal grandmother, too, will always be remembered. She shed tears over the act one of her children would consent to send her daughter to a foreign land among heathen strangers—she could not comprehend the new found Gospel message and so gave me her best wishes for a life neither of us knew—how to begin to break away, family ties, and what the future would hold. President Ballif came to Basel and gave me some instructions as to my money exchanges, etc., and wished me well in my undertaking. Elder Ezra Kung gave me some personal advice.
All too soon we arrived at the train station and there I found a large group of the ward members to bid me adieu, a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the choir members, a blue silk scarf from one Elder—so fashionable for traveling ladies which I tied on with the greatest of care that I might look the part of a lady traveling to Amerika. Perhaps Elder Enoch Muhlistein knew my vanity for finery and it made me happy. Father gave me a fond embrace and mother said “be true” and handed me a small package that I was to open after departure with all her love and amid the singing of the choir the song “Mein Heimatland ein letzter Gruss” and “God be with Thee”, the train pulled out. I was very much alone now. I managed to open the package and there was the photograph of father, mother and baby brother Alfred, looking at me. How my heart accepted that token—it was before me, with me, and sustained me; just a little cardboard, but it was comfort for many weary hours.
The train rushed on through the night—Germany, Belgium, Rotterdam, Holland—where we spent a few hours at the canals and seeing windmills in motion, on to the places where thousands of tulip buds were making their appearance, it must be a pretty sight when they are all in bloom. Now we got acquainted with some passengers to come along and found that three families members of the Church, 11 souls, all taking the same boat to the Amerikas. Although we could not converse fluently with on another, we understood the purpose of our leaving the homeland—the Children of Israel’s adoption was clear to us and we were going to the promised land. Reading in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 1:5,6 “None came into this land save they shall be brought by the Hand of the Lord”. With this assurance we joyfully went on our way. On February 26, 1909 we left Liverpool, England on the liner Dominion (Dominion Lines). Standing on the railing waving good-by’s to Saints and members whose acquaintances we made. Elder Fred Tadje had attended to all our business of money transfers and exchanges, checking passports and belongings and he is remembered as one of those who served his fellowmen.
Once more we linger watching the shoreline with mingled feelings. I became acquainted with President Charles W. Penrose who was homeward bound and his wife, kindly people, and then I had a surprise, so unexpected; down the deck lane came Elder E. Barrett and Elder Kimball Spencer, also Elder Karl G. Measer (grandson of K. G. M.) and I was pleased to be able to speak to some one. Elder Barrett had left Switzerland three weeks before to tour some of the German and English Mission and it was a surprise to find him sailing on the same boat. He later told me that it was prearranged to be so and we had many lovely hours on shipboard. Elder Spencer had served in the French Mission, and I could converse with him in French. Elder Measer served in the German Mission and told us of the fine opportunities he had to visit his grandfather’s birthplace where he first heard the Gospel from the Elders and the schools of learning and the desire to emigrate, etc., that brought him to Zion and then made him the great teacher in the Church, it’s schools and a benefactor of untold numbers of youth by his exemplary life and his firm testimony of the truth of the restored Gospel. I feel very blessed to have been in company of such fine missionaries. Our trip was made pleasant.
An experience onboard ship that I shall not forget comes to my mind. A mother with two children, from Poland, whose husband had been in the States for two years and was now about to be reunited, was with us. The younger of the two children, a little girl, came down with the smallpox and they were quarantined in below deck. The little girl died in two days and as we were nearing the half-way mark in the ocean, the mother requested that she be buried at sea on the Amerikan line, and so we attended the service on deck and watched the lowering of the casket, which was trailed behind the ship for 10 hours, until the flags were changed in mid-ocean. With mingled feelings I watched too long and my emotion finally gave way to the first sign of seasickness, very distressing and must be experienced to know what it is. However, I recovered soon and the call came there would be a religious service held in the Assembly Room, a large room where in the evening dancing was enjoyed. I had never yet been on a dance floor to participate, just to look on.
The services and a nice program were presented by various tourist members. The L.D.S. Elders joined in singing some hymns, one “O My Father” and “Our Mountain Home So Dear”. The Captain of our company, Brother Schwendiman from Rexburg, Idaho, a very stern and commanding person, gave some instructions to the L. D. S, members. We learned that we were in his care all the way and any personal desires to stray away from the group were not allowed. Mention had been made of visiting some places of interest such as the birthplace of Joseph Smith, Hill Cumorah, etc. It did not affect the missionaries, only the Saints traveling in the group under his care and I learned I was one of them. This was a great disappointment to me, but obedience is one of the principles of the Gospel and so l remained with the group all the way.
The sea was calm most of the way. We had one heavy storm, the water lashing over the deck and the boat rocking, but all was well. On the 9 of March 1909 we landed in Portland, Maine, a large group of citizens greeting the arrivals. Two hours before landing a small boat came out to meet us, health inspectors, but we all received a clear landing, including the lady from Poland. Three among the passengers were taken to Ellis Island for questioning. Inspection of personal belongings and papers followed. We stood in line for a long time, but my time finally came and I remembered the counsel given me by President Ballif to answer all questions as I had written them on the questionnaire. Then came a test unlooked for. Are you a Mormon? Yes. Are you going to Salt Lake City? Yes. Do you have anyone waiting for you? No. Are you promised to be married? No. What do you intend to do in Salt Lake City? and many more. Then a naval officer stood up and invited me to follow him into his office. More questioning, then he offered me a splendid job as companion to his wife, good salary and a home, etc. Why mingle with these Mormon polygamists? You are intelligent and can win a place of good standing. By this time I was being missed by the brethren and they found me, saying the decision was mine to make. I had no decision to make. I was going to Zion and that was that, but many times later I thought of this offer and wondered in my mind what would have become of me, but I knew the Gospel to be true and how the early pioneers had stood the test.
Finally I received my necessary papers cleared to go on. Having one hour for lunch before train time, I met up again with Elder Barrett and he invited me to the first Amerikan ice cream soda, saw me to the train and we bid the missionaries goodbye. They had all secured ways to enjoy. I felt quite resentful having been invited to visit these places and had to miss them. The train took us on to New York and from there to Buffalo where we made a visit to Niagara rails, going under the falls and through the caves watching the splendor of these waters. We crossed the bridge and wandered around on the Canadian border and returned. From Buffalo we traveled on to Chicago. Some of the members bought foods to have meals on the train, fruit and pork and beans, etc. All were satisfied.
In Chicago we spent one full day visiting various points of interest, especially interesting was the visit to the packing plant of Libby and Libby. To our astonishment we watched the animals brought in alive, butchered and there the various stages of processing the meat, until we saw the finished product in cans ready for the market. The watchful eyes of overseers were constantly reminding us of the very efficient way and the cleanliness of the employees to be observed. Sanitation at its best and it was a very enlightening experience, the finished products finding their way to many foreign markets. We visited also the stockyards and one museum. It was evening and all was well, on through prairies and much wasteland and learning the distances between the various states, etc., looking and wondering what the real west would be like. Thinking of the pioneers and their travels 50 years ago and being thankful for their pioneering the way, while we enjoyed comfort in a train coach and no one bothering our sojourn. Coming through Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, passing through prairies and hills nearing every hour to the place where the final words were given by the prophet Brigham Young “This is the place”. We could understand the feeling of the former Saints, how enduring all their hardships, they must have been thankful now to have found a place to make their new hones.
The first group of saints to leave our company left the train at Ogden, Utah—Utah— first sight of the Rocky Mountains, somewhat different from the Swiss Alps, but a secure refuge for a wandering people. Brigham City was another stopping place to say goodbye to some Saints from Holland and Sweden. This is very early morning March 13, 1909 and another twenty minutes would bring us into the site of the Great Salt Lake and then the city itself. Salt Lake City had always a charm for me, just the word. Here I was to see and meet all the things that a dreaming mind could bring forth, and my heart was pounding of what lay ahead now—Salt Lake City.
I arrived In Salt Lake City via the Rio Grand Depot at 7:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 13, 1909. There were many relatives and friends to greet the emigrants and Frau Fred Boos was to meet me on arrival as through correspondence had been arranged, but I failed to find her among the group and all at once I was left alone just seeing the happy meetings of the families reunited. After meeting some of these people it occurred to some that no one was with me. Elder Karl Measer who is the grandson of Karl G. Measer, and Elder E. Spencer came to my aid inquiring my address I had. They said they would check some baggage and return and if my party had not arrived they would see to my welfare. Never will I forget that kindness. In silent prayer I pleaded to the Lord not to leave me stranded now, when a lady came up to me saying she was Mrs. Boos and I must be Sister Urech. We waited for the return of the Elders and with thanks to them in my heart we bid farewell, the trip to Zion was now ended (or just begun).
Sister Boos suggested we take the streetcar up town as she wanted to do a little shopping and so we did. As we neared the Temple Block she drew my attention to the Temple (the scene so long in the back of my mind and how I would feel seeing the Lord’s House), the fleeting moments gave only the quick outline and it passed so quickly, but I knew I would soon come back to the place to feast my eyes upon it. Once in downtown, sister Boos said she wanted to purchase a blanket for the couch I was to use until I could find a place of my own. I volunteered to purchase the blanket with the money I had on me as the entry fee to the United States. I had guarded this money with care in a little bag hung around my neck and as I went to reach for it I found It gone. I then remembered that leaving Ogden we received time, five minutes each in the washroom of the train, as we all wanted to look our best.
In great haste I relinquished the washroom and took my place in the chair vacated. I remember that a woman with two small children followed after me and she had very little means, as the passengers had helped her all the way on the trip. She was thankful for any help she received and when I found that my money was lost, there was only one thought that the Lord was testing me to see if I could be faithful as I ever remembered the trial of the early pioneers who came to the west and maybe He was proving me now and probably bless someone else by these means. After a very sleepless first night in Zion and even after persuasion to see if I could Inquire after these passengers, etc., I could not bring myself to say how or where or who got that money. I know I had it upon entering that washroom—more I can’t say. In my heart down through the years I still feel that it was a test for me and that someone may have needed that. The Lord’s ways are manyfold, and through the carelessness of one benefiting another, this is in my mind and never can I think otherwise.
The following day was Sunday and Mrs. Boos said she would take me to the Assembly Hall where at noon the German speaking Saints would hold a meeting. We went to the services and upon entering I found that several of past known members were there in attendance. Among them was Elder Fredric Haueter, his sisters Emma and Anna. He made me acquainted with them and after meeting, asked permission that I spend the afternoon in their company which Mrs. Boos agreed acceptable. Elder Haueter was a frequent visitor in our home during his missionary days in Basel. His sisters were employed, Emma in the Z.C.M.I. as saleslady and Anna in a restaurant in town. Emma kindly said for me to apply in the alteration department of the Ready Wear department and she thought I might secure a job with the knowledge of sewing such as I had. I applied the following day and was given work within the week. These sisters also invited me to share their rooms with them and within the week I moved my few belongings.
A New Life Begins
With all my being I set to please the ones who became my supervisors in this department. Even with the language barrier, I was able to do the work assigned to me and receive praise. There were several other young girls in this same department and all too soon did I experience some jealousy because of my work satisfaction, but I managed to hold on. My salary was very small, starting out with 50 cents a day, which was increased later and I got along, helping to share my part of expenses. My dream of sending back home one dollar every week did not come true; different ways of living soon made it necessary for me to adjust to the desire of my companions. My home-knitted stockings became obsolete, as a few other things that had the known old county style, etc. Good material, but just not for here, is what I was told.
Oft times I went alone in the evening taking a walk in the nearby park, meditating and wondering if I had not made a mistake in coming away from my family and a good job and having been active in the Church, I missed that very much. The two young ladies had their own interests and very little to do with Church affiliations and I had a secret home-sickness that was not just ordinary, remembering the words of my father, “If you do not find what you think now you will find, be honest and let us know”. In some despondent hours I would pen a letter and pour out my heart—Disappointment was such little to say. I would wait another day before mailing that letter, then in the stillness of night, I would ask myself, what did you come for? Why, for to live the Gospel, being again reminded of the lesson the Elders taught me. You will see many things that do not conform to Gospel living, but be true and faithful to the ideal you have set for yourself, and that ideal was someday I will be going through that Temple to take the step that has been taught through the new revelation, that would unite two people, not for time alone, but through all Eternity and peace came again to the soul, and no letter ever penned in the hour of trial reached its destination.
There were many lovely hours spent with friends and families of Elders who remembered the good times in the home of my parents. By and by I became better acquainted and began to attend some meetings and the language was better understood which helped a great deal. Three months had made the time pass and the country was in the array of Spring, going into Summer.
One morning my lady boss called me to her side and wanted me to become acquainted with her brother, who was also a clerk in the shoe department of the Z.C.M.I. I had never mentioned this to the other girls until she reminded me I had a dinner date at her home. I somewhat eagerly accepted the chance. When I mentioned this to one of the girls, she promptly replied, “Yes, the wolf is on the loose again”. I had not the faintest idea of the meaning, but after a time of inquiry found that this brother with a wife and two children was getting a divorce and had his eyes on the most innocent ones. This gave me another shock and needless to say the Spirit’s whisperings told me to be cautious, which I obeyed and never accepted another invitation without proper consideration as to who is who and I was well. Two weeks following, after the second refusal, I was told by this lady boss that someone new would take my place. Questions arose anew in my mind, but I am thankful for the guiding Spirit. A member acquaintance recommended me to a family for housework and care of children. I accepted and learned that the brother was a Bishop and his wife needed a little help in the home. I stayed with the family, but never was allowed to be in their company at the table or otherwise. This was another new way of life and I had never experienced before. The idea of being in the home of a Church official was to my mind the greatest thing to come to me, but I was to be sorely disappointed, but kept the job for the time I was needed and helped in one or two other homes as help was needed.
This brought me to the time where the children were talking of the 4th of July celebration and friends invited me to go to the Park in Wandamere. A group of Swiss members had gathered at the park and in company with others we enjoyed the festivities. As we were walking through the crowd, we met Elder Thomas Newman, his sister Elisabeth and others. Elder Newman had been in Basel during the time I spent In French Switzerland and was acquainted with the family. After coming home, I met Elder Newman in Mission conference, and at that time he was about to be transferred to another field of labor. Before coming home upon his release from the mission field, he made a visit to our family. My sister Martha used to speak of him as a good missionary and my mother praised him for his humbleness. Upon arriving in Salt Lake City, in due time I mailed a few postal cards to the various Elders that had visited our home so often. All of them answered or called on my person except Elder Newman and not until this 4th of July 1909, did I meet him again. He promptly extended an invitation to visit his parents who lived in Holladay and as it was strawberry picking time, I accepted the invitation.
On one of my free afternoons I set out to find Holladay. Taking the streetcar to Murray and thinking I would find the Newman place in a short distance, I started out walking in the given direction. Needless to say it was hot, but I just kept walking and along in the late afternoon I found the place. Elder Newman’s mother greeted me kindly, served some lemonade and then directed one of the younger sons to hitch up the horse to the buggy and take me the two miles to the old place, the former home of the family, where a group of young people were busily picking berries. This was all so new to me, but soon Elder Newman came near, very bashfully in a pair of well-worn overalls, and gave greeting. After a little time spent, we returned to his home and changed clothing and he extended the pleasure of a ride in the buggy to my great delight. Evening hour he delivered me safely home to my place of residence and at a later date called on me again. The home life of the Newmans was the first real Latter-day Saint feeling experienced. There seemed to be a kindred spirit, bringing to mind an experience that came to me and had never left me even though it was put in the back of my mind for the time. This experience is very sacred to me and this time I knowing its value, treasure it above all else that has been given me in my youth. The Lord hears and answers a sincere prayer. Suffice this here.
Elder Newman asked if he may call on me in the following days, which he did. I kept on working at helping families with house duties and doing some sewing for a few acquaintances. Elder Newman called often and a beautiful friendship and days of reminiscence of missionary life were enjoyed, until this friendship grew and a mutual love become to make itself to be a feeling for both of us. After a short courtship that developed into sincerity for to share our understanding and several more visits to the Newman family home, the holiday of 24th of July was spent with the family and after a lovely lunch, Thomas William Newman in a lovely setting of quiet and serene atmosphere proposed to me, asking that I become his future wife to share whatever life we could make for ourselves. My experience, sacred to me, came to my mind and I knew that this was to be my companion of life. Happily accepting this love and receiving the blessings of the family, I joyfully accepted the engagement ring proffered me then. The afternoon was spent in a ride through the canyon and sharing nature’s beauty and the love of our companionship was blessed by planning our future days.
The wedding day was later decided upon to be the 1st of September in the Salt Lake Temple. The joy for this occasion was now to be made known to my family and an answer to be expected looked forward to very eagerly. The answer came with the well wishes of my father and mother, and my sisters and small brother whom I longed to see or have with me for this wonderful event. So the days following were busy ones. May it be said, that some traditions that had carried over from customs of my homeland were not understood by all, but followed to bring the satisfaction to a bewildered girl who had much to learn even though she felt old enough to make the decision what ever the future; two lives would try to work out the problem of adjustment and traditions accepted or discarded as the mutual understanding would teach us, looking forward to the day when we would go to the House of the Lord.
We had to share a sorrow that came to the family when the brother of mother Newman was accidentally killed through a fall into the machinery of a grain threshing machine. Not having been acquainted with the family Wayman, but hearing of the bereavement, it naturally made us to want to share this bereavement by trying to set another date for our wedding day. In showing our respect to the family, but with kind love for us, mother Newman persuaded us to hold to the set date. Her brother was buried two days before our wedding. In as much as I myself had no relatives in the U.S.A., brother and sister Newman took me in as their to be daughter-in-law and provided for the announced wedding reception and mother Newman, even under the strain of sorrow, worked untiring to provide for the wonderful dinner which she served to the family on the evening of our wedding day, September 1, 1909.
The dawn arrived after a wakeful night thinking of my parents—absent on the day of their oldest child to be given in marriage. A loneliness set in that only the one going through this can understand. One thing always came uppermost to my mind was that I had made a choice, first in accepting the Gospel and second the wonderful new revelation that to be married for time and eternity had motivated me from the beginning to take the step in leaving home and loved ones to make this desire come true. The Lord had been good in bringing me to Zion and to meet with this, one of His choice children who held the Priesthood and be united in the service and in the House of the Lord for all eternity. Needless to say, a frightened girl took the hand extended and peace and confidence restored.
With the helpful assistance of those who serve and with a friendly acquaintance, the aunt of Elder Haueter, a frequent visitor in our home in the mission field, the Temple session was impressive and never to be forgotten. First Counselor in the Presidency, High Priest (Elder) John R. Winder, performed the marriage ceremony and pronounced the sealing ordinance that made us man and wife. Holy and sacred and humbly we were grateful. Dreams during girlhood now had all been fulfilled and God is good. The past loneliness and many times wishful thinking of what might have been were all in the past. A new life was beginning and wholehearted love given and also received with faith and confidence. All is well. The wedding guests all returned to their homes and a last good-bye was given when we now faced one another—Happy, Yes—(the happiness that passed understanding) only known through the Spirit.
The New Life
Father Newman, the kind and understanding father, made the suggestion that we fix up the little log-house upon the place know as the Larsen place. A few acres had been purchased earlier by father Newman from Bishop Larsen, but the grounds were always called the Larsen place. The little house, two rooms and a lean-to, had been used for storage of seed and a few tools, etc. Upon looking it over, we decided it could be fixed up nicely with a little labor and be made into a home. This we did with great enthusiasm, planting flowers, some shrubs and a little painting and we had a home for just the two of us. We were very grateful for this kindness of an understanding father. The farm work continued through harvest, but during the winter months my husband decided to seek work to help the cause along and secured work at the brick factory. This was different kind of work and he came home very tired many evenings, but he was now the breadwinner and took his place.
The winter months passed rapidly and soon springtime arrived and the farmland beckoned to prepare the seedbed. Around our house we planted some bulbs and seedlings from Grandma Newman’s flower beds, etc. and making the place beautiful—for by this time we were looking forward to becoming parents and this brought added joy into our lives. With this knowledge we looked around how to fix up for a little extra room. The lean-to was still used for storage of seed grain. After planting time, some feed grain remained, but the idea conceived in my mind I could move this elsewhere and fix up this room with just the labor and things at hand. I wanted to do this on my own and have a surprise one evening when the father was to be home. I proceeded to move these feed sacks and other things and was well-satisfied, ready to whitewash the walls and scrub floors. Somehow I had no knowledge of the behavior of an expectant mother as to the condition of the body. All I know I was feeling fine in high spirits to do things, but hour by hour I was uneasy and in pain. This went on for two days and finally we called the doctor, who immediately informed me I had probably strained myself lifting these feed sacks, and our baby son was born prematurely at seven months on 26 April 1910.
The doctor was a very kind man and informed us that perhaps with careful nursing we may save our child. He only weighed three and a forth pounds and had to be wrapped in cotton and fed with a medicine dropper a few drops at a time. We had a kindly woman come in to help and she insisted on trying to nurse the child by the mother. She finally, with much patience, succeeded and we with the blessing and administration by the Priesthood and the goodness of our Heavenly Father, our son was granted to stay with us. We carried him only on a pillow for some days. Gradually he gained strength and we are thankful for his life. We had many friends to call on us. As my husband was a Sunday School teacher, some of the students came to call to see the baby and his father took pride to show his son. As a little sideline, he had the amusing act to place a little homemade bank and charge a penny a look at this baby of ours. But the greatest joy was to see his progress and at three months old he weighed eight pounds and coming along fine, a constant worry to the mother, but with the faith that God would let us have him and much wisdom was used in his care. The summer sunshine did miracles for him.
After the first haying time, my husband decided to take a trip to Idaho—he had previously been there and liked the places. His Brother’s sister, Mary Ann and his Uncle George Godfrey had a ranch in Rigby in the Garfield Ward. As there was more work in the harvest time, he made a visit and liked the place, the nice fields, etc., and he stayed three weeks. To me it was an eternity. His absence was missed and the loneliness at day and night was frustrating to me. When he returned he brought a plan of a place for a possible location for us to live. At this time all that mattered was for us to be together wherever this should be. Salt Lake City was the only place that was in my mind as the gathering place for Latter-day Saints and known as Zion. For this I had left my homeland and family. I loved the Gospel and wanted to be with the members of the Church.
After much discussion and explaining that many pioneers had been sent by the Church authorities to settle places over the west and that there were good Wards in Idaho and good members also, we there after made plans and preparations to move. We left Salt Lake Valley in November 1910 and were kindly received by Uncle George and Aunt Mary where we stayed a week until arrangements were completed for us to acquire a forth-acre farm and move on to the place. Our new home in Idaho was in the Garfield Ward of the Rigby Stake. We got acquainted with the Bishop and he received us very kindly. The place was somewhat neglected but honest labor and the love to build a home soon gave way to improvement. We planted trees for a fruit orchard in the spring; our crops consisted of grains, hay and potatoes. Prices were not too good, but the community spirit to be helpful was good. Farmers exchanged machinery, etc., work hours and there was a cooperative spirit there. On August 10, 1911, our daughter Helen was born and we were a happy family.
We participated in the activities of the Ward. Our Bishop, Hyrum Severson, made us acquainted with the Ward members and very soon we accepted positions as Sunday School teachers and Sunday School secretary and after a few months, T.W. was made Ward Clerk and served several years in this capacity. As Bishop Severeon was manager of the feed and grain elevator, he called for clerical work whenever time from the farm permitted and a warm friendship grew between the families and father enjoyed the bookkeeping job at the elevator.
Our family grew, for six children were born to us here in this home: Helen, Rachel, Margaret, Delmont, Thomas and Viola. Margaret died August 2, 1916 of pneumonia at the age of 22 months. During the spring of 1914, the government opened a tract of land for homesteading southeast of Idaho Falls known as the Ozone Tract. Always eager to better himself, father filed on a 320 acre tract of land, using his heritage in this great land of Amerika. Now came the real test of pioneer life, having to divide the time between the two farms, for a certain percentage of the land had to be put under cultivation and we managed to do this. I stayed in the valley looking after the orchard, etc., and some days we would all go up to the hill farm and spend a night or two.
Father had built a nice little house for shelter with a spring nearby which flowed back of the house for our water supply. We gathered serves berries for jam and the children enjoyed roaming in the oak and willow thicket, until one day we had a frightening experience. As father was putting up fence for the stock, he noticed a large mountain lion up on the rocks. He motioned to the children to sit real still while he looked around for something to defend them in case of need. Our neighbor to the south had a number of sheep and he mentioned of having lost some of them, but knew not how. They soon formed a posse to track this animal, they found two cubs in the ravine, but no sign of the mother. Later one was bagged by another homesteader down the valley. This made us more on the alert for these things. The most unpleasant thing was at night. We had pack rats that looked like big cats. Their eyes would shine in the dark and we would hear the noises under the house. They packed every shiny thing. We missed our tableware, spoons, forks, etc. and found them usually under the house. One day as I was sitting out doors with some mending, my thread spool fell off my lap—as I reached for it there was a big snake coiled under the chair. I was so frightened. I screamed, the thing moved on and wound Itself around the corral posts where father took care of it, but I moved to the valley and did not return.
The farmers helped one another with the grain threshing. We proved up on the land in due time and transportation being hard on all, the neighbor bought us out and built it into a sheep ranch. We made some trips back for fence poles and although we liked the place, we began thinking of the future and the education for the children. Some how the winter months were long and cold, but there are always opportunities coming along. With the money from the dry farm we improved our valley home and through Church activity we had many friends around us. Some times we would have little home parties and the men would discuss their work; the women, children and community projects, Relief Society teaching, etc. The 17 of March was always a big day for the Ward.
One evening father came home having met with some of the Brethren, among them some businessmen. Rigby was a nice growing place. This one brother was manager of a grocery store and had a chance to take over the business and being rather persuasive, he talked father in to becoming a partner. Here was something new—he always loved the good earth and loved to see things grow. Produce prices were not too good and many breadwinners had to resort of extra work. This presented a challenge, myself always having been working with business people, I was quite in favor of giving this a trial, with the thing in mind that we could work up for future expansion on our own. Making sure of our position, we kept the farm in case things could not go well. So father traveled the four miles back and forth to the store. In due time they opened a delivery service and they bought a new delivery wagon. Father drove it home the first night and then he got the chance to use It to go after aunt Mary who was a midwife and that night our daughter Viola was born 25 September 1919. We always said she was delivered in the new wagon.
Fall turned into winter and the business did fairly good during the holidays, but after that January and February kind of slumped off. When spring came, father grew restless—the call to till the soil was in his blood and the cold winter brought on the thoughts of migration. Some of the brethren had talked of taking a trip to the Twin Falls-Magic Valley area to look around. With this in mind, father had an opportunity to sell his part in the store to a relative of the manager and this we decided to. More happy and content to work the farm, we now knew that farming would remain our occupation and so it developed that between first and second crop hay, T. W. Newman, David Huffacker and Frank Tinker started out to see this Magic Valley. On their way, Jim Humphries joined them also. He had some relatives in the Rupert and Burley places. This they looked over, came down the Snake River and into Twin Falls.
The land looked good, but the prices per acre were high. They moved on to the south, crossing the Snake River over to Jerome and Wendell, also Gooding. They got acquainted with the real estate man, Mr. Bremer, and he showed them several places for rent and things looked favorable. T.W. Newman looked up the Bishop in Jerome, Bishop James Pratt, and he spoke in favor of the land around. They looked over three places. One belonged to a Finance Company, the man running the place had to give up farming because of ill health. Arrangements were made to rent the place for the coming year. Bishop Pratt assured us we would be welcome in Jerome Ward. David Huffacker settled in Wendell and when they returned to the families they announced we would move to the warmer climate after the harvest. Our Bishop Severson gave us his blessing, saying if he were a younger man he too would look for a milder climate. He gave us his blessing in our decision. Here in the Garfield Ward we had many friends and we realized what we were giving up, but with the Gospel as our guidance, we knew there would be good people other places. Father had served eight years as Ward Clerk, Sunday School Teacher, M.I.A. and Relief Society had made up our social contacts. Our orchard was just beginning to produce some fruit. It was not easy to see our handy work and pick up and leave, but we had arrived with a decision and now must adjust.
After earning some cash during harvest time for transportation money, we now began packing up our possessions. Winter was setting in and father and Dave Huffacker took the stock to the train to load it. It was a bitter cold day in December and father partially froze his face and it was very painful for several days. The men went on with the cattle and we followed by train two days later. Arriving in Jerome, we all looked around and could see no town—the depot was some distance away. Father came to meet us in the white top buggy. As we neared the place called Jerome, we took in the sight, our eyes saw the main building known as the hotel—North Side Inn. It had a restaurant and we stopped for a bowl of soup. Our place of the future home was located four miles north and one mile east, known as the suburb of Grand View. There the children, William, Helen and Rachel, went to school, walking the mile and a half every day. We had just settled in the home when a heavy snowstorm set in and for two weeks the roads were blocked and the only transportation to town was by horseback. We began wondering if we had made a good move. The new year was upon us, 1921 closed and 1922 arrived and with it our new surroundings.
We attended the Sunday School and Church service in the little rock building located one block north of Main Street and First West. We soon became acquainted with the Church members of the Ward. Let it be said, the membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever you go, there is a kinship that can be felt and no one needs to be a stranger. Our Bishop James Pratt made us welcome in the Ward. Some time after our arrival we met the President of the Blaine Stake, William Lenox Adamson, to which Stake the Jerome Ward belonged. Pres. Adamson at the time was a member of the legislature for Blaine County, in the State of Idaho. Our former Bishop of Garfield, Bishop Severson, also was a Representative and he was very kind in giving us a recommendation and kind appreciation for our service as Church members.
Father was called to serve in the Elder’s Quorum, also as a Ward Teacher and Sunday School Teacher. For two years we enjoyed the Ward Service. In May of 1924, May 11th, on Mother’s day, our daughter Isabelle Claire Newman was born. It was a beautiful Sunday, father and I had walked over the farm and admired the crops growing and our hearts were glad over our move, looking forward to owning our own home. Conversing during the evening about future lookouts for a suitable place, our hearts were glad and the birth of this daughter during the night made our family more happy. Her father was the attended help and all went fine. Dr. Zeller called the next morning and pronounced all fine, (Time waits for no one) and we were blessed that all was well.
The season advanced and we learned of a water shortage for this lower Snake River Valley. Many farmers turned their cattle into the grain fields. Having exerted much labor and trusting with faith in some manner that help would yet come, we left our grain fields standing as were and we did receive some water from the upper Snake River and through rental of water we saved our crops and did have a harvest In 1921 and 1922. Then the place was sold and we had to move, as we were only renters. Mr. Bremer, the real estate man, had kept in touch with us and we rented a place two miles north and one mile east of Jerome and we lived on this place three years. In February 1926 at Stake Conference, father was called to serve on the High Council of the Blaine Stake, being set apart as a High Priest by the Patriarch of the Church, Hyrum G. Smith. We soon became acquainted with the other High Councilmen and members and a great friendship existed among the group. Brother Wallace Mecham, Joseph S. Cooper, Marion Condie and others were frequent visitors in our home.
For some time I had been a teacher in the Primary organization. Bishop Pratt had moved away from the Ward and Bishop John Welch appointed. Some of the auxiliaries had new organizations. Sister Francis Bacon was appointed Primary President and myself as counselor and our association was very congenial and we loved our labors. During the year, plans were made for a new Church building. The location was to be three blocks north of Main Street, east side. It was a lava rock section and it required much labor, but the Priesthood went to work and father did his great share of labor as time permitted.
Now we had an interest in the building up of the Church and decided the time was right to have a home built in Jerome. We became acquainted with brother Stoddard who was living on the Experimental Farm for the county and the property belonging to a foreign real estate company in Holland, had decided to divide the sections and was putting it up for sale. The greater portion of the section was still in sagebrush. The Peavey Taber Company had charge of the selling. After much study and sleepless nights, we decided to sell the farm in Rigby and buy an 80-acre tract of this land. There were two buildings on the place, a home that was occupied by brother Stoddard and family and the house used as a plant experiment place that we finally rented and lived there until we built our own home and eventually moved to our own property.
Pioneering began once more in earnest. Ground was broken and father with new vigor and the family enterprise, planning and thinking, had many decisions and each one counting on a nook all by themselves. What plans! We planted trees, set out an orchard and berries, the children all big enough to help, we were a happy family group; however, the house plans grew bigger and bigger and soon we had to cut corners here and there with the plans to fit the means. The basement was excavated; father did the work and placed the forms for the pouring of the cement for the basement walls in spare time of Fall 1927. Rain and snow began to fall and we had to quit the work around the holiday season.
At this time a letter arrived from my mother in Switzerland telling us the news that she had sold her possessions and planned to come to America. My father had passed away in 1925 and mother had made plans to come to Zion and see her children and grand children. Mother came from a big metropolitan city and I wondered how she would adjust to the yet primitive area just building up, but very promising for the future to us.
Mother arrived in late January 1925 and visited first in Idaho Falls with my sister Clara Muggleston, her husband Arthur M and one son Duane. February arrived and mother planned to come and see us. We made arrangements to meet her in Shoshone at the train. During the night a severe snowstorm blocked all roads and it was impossible to meet that train. The snowplows had a heavy load to keep the roads open and it took most of the day to get through to Shoshone. In desperation we decided to get on the phone and call some friends to see if they would consent to meet that train and provide some lodging for mother over night. Brother and sister William Hart were very generous in doing this kindness for us. They secured the County Agent who could speak her language and he explained the situation to her. Naturally it was disappointing to her, but she was made comfortable and soon adjusted to the circumstance, thanks to wonderful people brother and sister Hart. The next day she took the train to Bliss and was re-routed to Jerome. We met her with a sleigh pulled by two horses and soon arrived at home where the children were eagerly waiting to greet their grandmother.
It had been 20 years since I saw my mother and it was a happy re-union. After a good dinner, we discussed the good wishes and greetings from the many peoples in Switzerland. The children had much amusement because of the language, but they soon learned a no and a yes, you may, etc. We got along nicely. The next day we all were eager to show mother our newly acquired land where we would like to build our home for our family. Father and I and the children had planned so long for this home. We took mother to see the place; the basement was now in form and some of the framework standing. Mother had lived all her life in the city. Her father died when she was a small child and she was sent to some of her aunts to spend her childhood years, some living in cities and away from Farenland, so this site to her looked like real pioneering, but we explained to her that she must come and visit again when it was finished and then enjoy our fruit and berries we had planted that we could share. Some of the ground was still in sagebrush, but we had dreams of a future. Mother returned to Salt Lake and after a few months she decided to return to Switzerland in time for Christmas, her homesickness was never overcome. Her only son Alfred had developed a heart condition and was not granted a visa to come to the U.S.A. as mother had planned to have all the children with her again. Three weeks after her return, Alfred passed away, 7 January 1934. Mother never came back again to the States. She made her home with my two sisters Paula and Olga.
During the time of 1929-30 we hired brother Jim Humphries, a carpenter, in hopes we could move into the home by wintertime. Father was busy improving land for cultivation, etc., but helped much on the home building. Our daughter Helen had gone to Salt Lake for a time to be with her grandparents and when she returned she got a job tending two small boys while their mother was teaching school. Mrs.Crandall was pleased to have her and she did her job well. We all attended Church, Auxiliary meeting, etc., father teaching Priesthood classes and taking care of his High Council appointments. I was teaching in Primary.
In the fall of 1929, we moved into our home. It was not all complete but livable and as our means allowed we finished as we went along. Our Helen had many friends in the Church Auxiliaries. She came home one evening and although we knew of her companion she beamingly said, “I have found some one. I would like to share my life with him”—just like that out of the blue sky—”we want to get married”. I will always remember that hour. Our children were growing up. She had met this returned missionary Elder Henry E. Giles. We had always trusted Helen, she chose good friends, but as the marriage took place on November 27, 1929, in the Salt Lake Temple, with both parents attending, we gave them our blessing. Our Helen did not enjoy our new home and by making a home of her own, all is well. They live in Jerome, Henry working at the Jerome Creamery.
Farm work continued nicely, the boys helping, too. Father improved the farm by building a barn to take care of the cattle. Our orchard is now showing signs of trees coming into blossom time, our strawberries are producing abundantly, enough so father invited his brethren of the High Priests Quorum to a strawberry and cream (evening) supper and there were enough berries to even treat the Primary children and their teachers to a party and they all enjoyed the treat. As Primary President, I really enjoyed working with the children and see their response to a favor or to give them an assignment and see their eyes light up. “Each one a Child of God”.
In the year 1931 our daughter Rachel had found the man of her choice, namely, Harold D. Sudweeks. He lived in the Kimberly Ward, Twin Falls Stake. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on the 5th of October 1931. We as parents were with them and gave them our love and blessing. Harold and Rachel lived in Kimberly, when in the Spring of 1932, Harold received a call to fill a Mission for the Church in the Western States. He accepted the call and served part of the time as Mission Secretary. Rachel made her home between the two families. In the following spring she received a call to serve a short term Mission in the Western States. Harold and Rachel came home together and lived in Kimberly where two daughters were born, Janet born 26 February 1934 and Margie 27 February 1936. Harold and Rachel moved to Fort Peck, Montana, in October 1936, where he worked for the U. S. Government until April 1944. Two sons were born in Montana, Alan Don on 27 November 1937 and Jay Dean on 10 June 1940.
Our son Delmont graduated from Jerome High School in the Spring of 1936. In July 1936 he received a call to fill a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ. He received his assignment to the Swiss German Mission and accepted the call. The parents were pleased. His father had also filled his mission in this land and it was also the birth land of his mother, she having joined the Church in Basel, Switzerland and emigrated in February 1909 to the U.S.A. Delmont returned to the U.S.A. on 20 August 1938 and reported his mission in Stake Conference. As parents, we are grateful to hear him bear his testimony of the Gospel. President Adamson had him bear his testimony in the German language and his mother translated. Delmont spent some time in Salt Lake with his grandparents and aunt Ethel and uncle Parley Eccles. Later on, through the courtesy of his uncle Jay Newman, who was a Government agent in offices of Washington, D. C., he, Delmont, went to Washington and worked in the Bureau of Mines, etc. He returned to Idaho, his home state and worked in the assessor’s office for some time. He met a young lady schoolteacher, namely, Goldie Heath and they were married on the 3rd of June 1942, in the Salt Lake Temple. Father and mother attended them with love and blessing.
William, our oldest son, was also in Salt Lake with his grand parents and working for a while. His uncle Parley Eccles, as Bishop, said he was worthy to fill a mission for the Church. William stayed on in Salt Lake City. He took a course in the barber beauty school and followed that profession as a barber in Salt Lake City. Thomas, our son, was his father’s stand-by on the farm. There never was much recreation time, except maybe an afternoon for a quick fishing trip down to the river to Niagara Springs. The children remember some things they experienced, falling in the river, etc., losing the fishing pole, etc., and finding some watercress to bring home.
Thomas graduated from high school in the spring of 1939 and worked on the farm with his father, planting, cultivating, watering and harvesting wheat, beans, sugar beets, etc. and caring for the horses, cows, etc. Father had a team of horses he was very proud of, but later he managed to buy a tractor which made it a little easier for their work and fall time brought good harvest. Our Bishop approached Tommy during the summer concerning his desire to fill a mission and his desire had been to be able to do so. He helped with the harvest and received his call to fill a mission in Hawaii among the Japanese mission. He left for Salt lake City and on the l8th of October 1939 he left for Hawaii. As parents, we feel very grateful for all our blessings and the worthiness of our children to serve the Lord.
After Thomas left, his brother William had now considered the opportunity he had and as he was living in the Cottonwood Ward, in his mind knowing of the blessings that come by serving a mission, he was ready now to do his part. He received his call from the Holladay Ward and was called to serve in the Hawaiian Mission. He left Salt Lake on the 20 November 1939. The two brothers had time occasionally to compare the work of the Lord among the people of Hawaii and they were released to return home together, in October 1941. William remained in Salt Lake and followed his profession as a barber. Thomas returned home to help his father and also got a job in the mercantile store of Tingwalls Company.
Viola, after school graduation, got a job in town and moved in with some friends into some apartments in Jerome and worked for the J. C. Penney
Company. Once they try their own independence they come home for visits to tell the news of the new way of life compared to the farm life of hoeing beans, thinning beets, etc., but it was all in the growing up, for Viola also found her choice as a companion she desired and she was married to Marold Dilworth from Carey, Idaho on February 2, 1938, in the Salt Lake Temple and both parents attended and blessed their worthiness.
William met a young lady attending Henagar’s Business College and the friendship developed into courtship and marriage. William E. and Wanda Jane Mangum were married in the Salt Lake Temple on October 28, 1942. The parents of the couple were in attendance and gave them our blessings. They made their home in Salt Lake.
Our youngest daughter Isabelle, after spring graduation from high school wanted to try her wings—she wanted to go to Salt Lake City. That city always held a special something, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was the home place of her father and his parents, and for me it always was “this is the place” where the missionaries come from to bring the Gospel message to the many people in foreign lands who are privileged by the acceptance of the Gospel to come to this place, the gathering of the Israelites. So our Isabelle went to Salt Lake City, with mixed feelings, she went away from home. Life works out its own pattern. After she had found some work, she also came in contact with new people in work and Church.
Our Isabelle was greatly missed—no more school happenings to talk about, no more friends came to spend Sunday dinners, our home evening was missing the discussions of Sunday School teaching, treats to be fixed and then evening prayers. Time only is the healer of sweet memories and the hope of future hours. Our Isabelle called and said she would like to come home for a visit and bring a friend. She came eyes aglowing—it soon told the whole story. She had made the acquaintance of this young man where she worked; a short time later she let us know he was the man of her choice and preparations were in order to plan for a wedding. Our daughter Isabelle followed her other brothers and sisters to be married in the temple in Salt Lake City. Her companion William Wayne Prince and Isabelle were married the 9th of February 1943. They, too, made their home in Salt Lake City.
Now our son Thomas, who was such a help to his father, he too found new friends and among them a young lady of our home ward in Jerome. This courtship consummated in marriage—H. Thomas and Marjorie Jane Folkman were married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 19th, 1943. They have our blessing for a good life. They made their home in Jerome; Thomas was very helpful in sharing the work on the farm. We had a good harvest. Father as a High Councilman in the Blaine Stake had many opportunities to visit the wards in the stake and filled all his appointments. Mother is busy in Primary, Trail Blazers keep one alert. Father also served on the committee of Boy Scouts and took them on several hikes to the canyon and playing ball games. We raised some strawberries and father enjoyed to have his co-workers in the Church come out and enjoy the fruit and spend an evening of visiting and there was always some berries for a Primary treat for teachers and children.
During the summer the war clouds became a real anxiety for many families. Many young men received their call for service in defense of their country and the day came when our son William was to report for boot camp. Father and mother went to see him and Wanda; they were expecting their first child soon to be born. We were there to see him leave from Salt Lake on the 11th of September 1943 for boot camp. On the 9th of October 1943 Wanda gave birth to a daughter. William had a short furlough to come home and see his wife and daughter whom he blessed and gave her the name of Billy Lei Nani in memory of his mission service in Hawaii (Sweet Lei Nani). Bill left in the service of the United States Navy. Wanda stayed in Salt Lake for a time and later left for her hone with her parents in New Mexico. In the spring of 1915 she came to Jerome and stayed for the summer on the farm. We fixed up the little house we had for our hired help in summer time needs and she was quite comfortable.
In the month of June, I was called to visit our son Delmont and Goldie who were expecting their second child. Father was willing for me to go and I went to California and a daughter was born to Delmont and Goldie. He blessed and named her Adele Newman, born 23rd of June 1945. All were doing fine. Little Stephen was a quiet and active child and good to take care of. I returned home again. July was a busy month on a farm.
On my return home, approaching the farm I saw some changes had taken place. The little house had been moved. Wanda had been wanting to be closer to town and found a way to converse with father. Some months before, father had the opportunity to purchase a lot in town close to the Church House—we had plans that some time yet future we may want to spend our later years in town when our sons could take over the farm. To my greatest surprise, somehow Wanda had persuaded father to move the little house into town in my absence and she had moved to town. It took me quite a while to be reconciled to this arrangement. Dreams have a way of being unreal at times, but life goes on in spite of time. Wanda in town went to work in the Kings Variety Store and Helen took Lei Nani during her, Wanda’s working hours. Bill returned from the Service on December 20, 1935, honorably released from the U.S. Navy 9th Service Command. We are thankful for his safe return, although he carries some combat wounds. We hope his being home with his family will bring contentment to all. Father sold the lot and house to Bill and they resided there.
Father had rented 80 acres of land to farm just across the street from our place for the coming season. It belonged to Mr. Roy Smith, President of Jerome Creamery and the boys and father farmed together the 160 acres in 1946. Crops were planted, beans, beets, hay, etc. Some improvements were made on the farm. We added another room on the house facing south and we called it our sunroom and we enjoyed it for the noon-hour relaxings. We also built a cistern to hold water for the cattle. Father tended his strawberry patch. June was always the time for him to have his Berry Festival. He enjoyed to have his co-workers in the Church, Brother Wray and Brother Terry, his counselors and wives and Brother Price, Brother Ross Lee, Brother Humphries and their wives and others for the strawberry and cream social hour.
Father and I attended the April and June conferences in Salt Lake. We could meet with family members and missionary friends. The welfare meetings we attended were always inspiring. At this time I had been assigned to the Stake Welfare House in Jerome as a Service counselor in the Stake Relief Society. We canned farm produce from the farms for the distribution for the Church. Many choice hours were spent with the Bishops of the Wards in our Stake, to learn how to improve the welfare labor among the members. I am very grateful for that association, to learn the great concern these Bishop had for their Ward members. It taught me how our Heavenly Father works through the Priesthood.
The summer passed very swift and the harvest time arrived once more. On the 25th day of September 1946, William and Wanda had a daughter born to them and they named her Lawana Newman. Mother and child are doing nicely. The boys carried on.
Father and myself, after some harvesting, took time off to attend October Conference and we stayed in Salt Lake for one week to do some temple ordinance work. We both enjoyed this, doing some service for our kindred dead. We returned home to bring the harvest season to a close and prepare for winter. Father carried on, but I worried for him, he showed signs of getting tired very easily. Father was good to see that I could carry on my duties as a counselor in the Stake Relief Society, visiting the various Wards in the Stake and the Welfare meeting in Burley; the association of the various Stake officers broadens one’s understanding of the functions of the Church.
In the fall conference in Carey we had as our new visitor Brother Oscar Kirkham. Brother Kirkham had just overcome a sickness and he passed on some advice to the brethren concerning personal health. He counseled the brethren in the Priesthood session to have a physical checkup to find out their condition. Father said he mentioned that some of them may be in need of learning concerning high blood pressure. Father told me on conversing with him he had the feeling that Brother Kirkham was directly speaking to him; it affected him so much that he decided to drive over to Halley to see Dr. Fox who was a quorum member of the Priesthood. We both had a physical checkup and we both were surprised at the report we received. Both of us needed medical help. We accepted the doctor’s advice. To my greatest surprise the doctor made an appointment for me in Salt Lake City to ascertain my condition. I had had some concern with occasional aches, then we learned that father’s examination showed a definite heart murmur. The news was a severe shock to both of us. We drove home in the car and in silence. I could tell father took it very hard. I just wanted to carry on for his sake.
We made the trip to Salt Lake the following week. The examination established my condition. Medication was prescribed, but a little later I was hospitalized and a trying time it was for all of us, but through the administration of the Priesthood and the faith of the family members, the Lord granted my wishes to be able to recover. Father had a trying time and it made his condition no better; I so wanted to be able to care for him. I was able to return home for the Christmas holidays and be surrounded by my wonderful family. I am so thankful for them all. With new hope that the year 1947 would be better for all of us, the winter was quite normal and passed into spring. Father took inventory of our condition. He and his sons managed very good the past year, but after talking things over, father and Tommy came to an understanding as to the work on the farm—father needed to release some of the anxieties he had and after talking things over with Tommy, they came to the resolution that father should turn over the responsibility he had by letting Tommy move onto the farm and we would move to town into the home Tommy and Marjorie owned. This was accomplished in the month of March 1947. Tommy and Marjorie and the children, Marcy and Timmy, moved out to the farm and father and myself moved to town. Bill and Wanda moved to New Mexico where Wanda’s parents lived. He acquired some land and they farmed for a time until Bill worked for the Gas company and then farmed some.
This was a new way of life for father; he took it a little easier, but would work at gardening until about 10 A. M., then saying, “I better go out to the farm and see if I can help along.” It was planting time, etc., but he came home to rest awhile and I knew he was glad to be relieved of the responsibility. Tommy carried on very good. Father made a trip during the summer to see William and family. All was going nicely. Fall harvesting completed, father and I went to Salt Lake to visit his mother and his two sisters, all widowed, and also did some temple work. Winter coming on he did some reading. Bothered with some congestion etc., he would just say it will pass. High blood pressure was treated, but had little effect somehow.
The year 1946 came in with sunny days and winter turned into spring, father again having the urge of going out to the farm, his desire always to improve a little, planting a tree etc. Towards summer he had to have some visits to the doctor. Dr. Mattson, our family doctor, told him he must slow down. He always resented that, he would always say, “what good am I, if I can’t work”, having been raised in a pioneer family and used to work. One day he came in the house after gardening and he said, “I think that I am going to take a trip up to visit President Manwill, President of the Stake then. He had mentioned it was hard for him to concentrate preparing for his High Council appointments. He made the trip and was told by the President to just have a leave for a while from his appointments. I think it helped him, not to worry about it.
We had a new neighbor who bought the home next to us on the west. Father and he got acquainted and found out the man liked to play checkers. It was one of the few pastimes Father indulged in, so when leisure time rolled around for them, the two men would indulge in a game of checkers. Father really enjoyed this and both men became quite efficient at the game. July came and harvesting hay and grain and the work was moving along nicely.
In August father had his first noticeable heart attack. The doctor advised him to stay in bed for a few days—it was a hard task for him, but he minded the counsel. From then on it was hard for him to be inactive. August came along and harvesting was on in full. September again father had another attack and was asked to stay in bed. One evening we heard the fire siren and it aroused him to know where the fire was. It happened to be in the grain elevator—severe damage to the building and most of the farmers had their harvested grain there. This was quite a blow to father. I could see him just looking at the ceiling and saying nothing. I was busy in the kitchen baking bread. He called me saying I have quite a pain. I tried to ease it by massage and he looked at me then passed away from this life at 3:20 p.m., September 23, 1948, peacefully—what a loss. The Lord was good to him, he did not want to be a burden, no matter how we tried to cheer him up. I know many prayers were offered in his behalf and we accept the Lord’s will. My own loss too great to realize. Father’s life was one of full faith and exemplary for his family. He left a host of family and friends who loved him dearly.
In the Spring of 1949, somewhat recuperated from the loss of father, I was truly undecided whether to stay in Jerome or go back once more to Salt Lake City to live. Genealogical work for my own ancestors had been very much neglected. I made a trip to Salt Lake City and found that very little work had been done. I was advised to get in touch with a researcher in Switzerland. Soon after my return from Salt Lake, the Bishop called on me to see if I was going to remain in Jerome. He asked me if I would consider going on a mission for the Church. I had doubts that I would be accepted at the age of 60, but a ray of hope crossed my mind that I might repay a debt by bringing the Gospel to some one else. I promised the Bishop that if a call should come to me that I would respond.
I was Interviewed at the next Stake conference by President Antoine R. Ivins and the following week I received a call to the Swiss-Austrian Mission. My departure date was 20 April 1949. I secured a passport, obtained the required immunizations and made ready to go. The Ward gave me a farewell party and the Stake and Ward Relief Society gave me a shower to supply me with some of the items that were scarce because of the war days. I spoke in each of the Jerome Wards before leaving and bore my testimony. I departed on April 2, 1949, for Salt Lake and reported at the Mission Home on April 11, 1949. At the Mission Home we received all instructions pertaining to our field of labor and the transportation. We also were given doctrinal Instruction by some of the General Authorities or their representatives.
I departed for my mission Friday, April 29, 1949 at 5:45 p.m. via Union Pacific, together with seven Elders and a sixteen-year-old girl, Elaine Jaguire, who was going to Switzerland to study. To my surprise my neighbor Mrs. Mooreland and her mother were on the same train going to the Mayo Clinic for medical treatment. In Chicago my sister Alice met me and we spent some time together. In New York we put up at the McAlpine Hotel. We had some time to visit and we saw the Music Hall, Times Square, Radio City, the Conservatory and the Empire State Building. At the boat I was unable to locate my ticket. The lines verified that I had purchased a ticket and I was permitted to go on board ship.
The trip across the ocean was on the liner Queen Mary and the voyage was a pleasant one. We arrived in Ireland May 10th and at LaHavre on May 11th. Here was our first glimpse of war destruction. We took the train to Paris and arrived there at 4:00 p.m. Some Elders met us and Elaine was taken to catch her train to Geneva. The rest of us stayed overnight. The room was cold because of lack of fuel, and food still scarce and rationed. Seeing Paris was exciting for all of us and we attended an opera in the great Opera House. Poverty was apparent on the streets and yet the wealthy seemed to have plenty. I was glad when we left Paris and were on the way to Basel. At Basel we saw the old Basel Bahnhof and nothing had greatly changed. We went through customs and then were taken to the Mission Home. Here I received permission to visit my mother and my sister Olga that I had not seen for 40 years. On Sunday I was able to see my other Sister Paula.
I was assigned to labor in Lucerne with Sister Wehrwein. The people were predominantly Catholic and we were restricted to certain sections for prostelyting work. We worked an east area one day and a west area the next day. Police were watching us continually and we obeyed city and County rules. Conversations were few and several tines we were discouraged. We humbled ourselves in prayer and again sought for those who would listen to our message. The Branch in Lucerne was small and we held meetings in a rented room. We held Sunday School and organized a Relief Society and Mutual for the few young people and the Elders from the District visited when needed. President Bringhurst was our Mission President and he dropped in on us when he could. We had one encounter with the secret police when we were tracking and when we were questioned as to what we were doing in that territory, we explained to him that we were distributing tracts, then we would return later for a discussion, if possible. We were ordered out of the area and forbidden to tract for a time. We became friends of the young people through recreational activities and gained access to some of the homes. Family Haas and family Check became active and finally joined the Church.
After five months I was recalled to the Mission Home in Basel to stay there while President and Sister Bringhurst toured the Mission in Austrla. I was assigned as the Mission mother during this time. We provided accommodations for Elders from other missions who were in Basel and we spent several Interesting evenings singing songs and relating personal experiences of missionary labors. Upon returning from their tour, President and Sister Bringhurst reported the work in the Austrian portion of the mission was progressing. Sister Bringhurst Informed me that while opening a welfare package on the tour, that one contained a quilt that had been identified by me as having been made by the Blaine Stake Relief Society.
We were given permission to see some of the scenic places in Switzerland during some of the sunnier holidays. Our missionary work progressed and we now had several investigators and we were holding cottage meetings. We interested a Dr. Fisher, a scientist, who after a time accepted the Truth. The Lucerne Branch was coming along nicely and new lady missionaries were arriving. I received a call to return again to Basel where I was assigned to be with Sister Bringhurst. We visited the Branch Relief Societies, instructing them on welfare work and preparing written articles for our bulletins. The winter season was upon us and the Mission Home took on a festive look and there were pleasant gatherings of missionaries and members. Some missionaries were released in time to be home by Christmas.
The new year brought another assignment. More local missionaries were being called to serve and I was assigned to labor with Sister Bethly Rupp. We got along nicely and enjoyed our work. We organized a Primary, tracted a new area and as a result of Primary activities we found 80 investigators who later became members. The Spring conference was uplifting and President Stephen L. Richards was the visiting General Authority. His counsel was Inspiring and all went back to their labors with new zeal. After many cottage meetings, my companion and I were successful in bringing families Maas and Scheck into the Church, along with Sister Cziep and Sister Pauli. Summer passed quickly and many opportunities were given us to bear our testimonies to the people. The fall season was soon upon us and with it came my birthday. The missionaries gave me a surprise party in the Mission Home with a real good program. President and Sister Bringhurst treated us all to cake and ice cream. It was an event to be remembered.
As the service days of three of us sisters were drawing to a close, we received permission to make a tour through Italy, France and other points of interest. Our visas identified us as ministers and this recognition helped us in obtaining suitable accommodations. We visited Milano, the City of Sculpture. Vendors of souvenirs were by our sides constantly. In Rome we visited the Coliseum and the Vatican where many people come daily to worship. The richly decorated halls and the ornate windows proclaim a forgotten art of civilization past. Our hearts ached for these people who had not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the greatest impression made upon me was viewing the painting of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci in the damaged Church of St. Marla-del-gracia in Milano.
All too soon our trip came to an end, but the things seen and observed will never be forgotten. We arrived back in Basel and President and Sister Bringhurst greeted us cordially to an evening with the missionary groups with whom we had labored. This was a wonderful way to show appreciation. Our days for departure were now numbered and there was packing to do. Thoughts of leaving my mother and sisters made it hard for me; however I had the loved ones at home whom I had left when I went on my mission. I bid adieu to my mother and sisters and wondered if I would ever see them again. Many members and friends were on hand to wish me farewell. The train took us through Germany, Belgium, and then by boat to Southampton where we boarded the Quean Elizabeth for the journey to the U.S.A. My previous companion, Sister Wehrwein, left me in Milwaukee, her home state. I arrived back in Salt Lake at 7:20 a.m., December 14, 1951. Wayne, Isabelle and children were there to greet me. It was great to see them and they had a good welcome prepared for me—flowers and a beautiful welcome home cake. After a few days rest and vislting with family members, I departed for Jerome and home. Helen and Henry made me welcome at their place until I could again possess my home. I reported my mission labors to the Ward and the Stake and then I was privileged to speak at various other Wards and tell them how the Gospel is received among the people in the countries in Europe. There are many good people and the Lord blesses them wherever they are.
After adjusting to home duties and getting acquainted again with the membership, it was not long before I was called to help in the storehouse for the welfare work. This I enjoyed very much to be in the service to the Bishops of the various Wards and learn making weekly and monthly reports was to fill the vacuum left since mission days. At the springtime Conference of the Stake I received a call to serve as a Stake Missionary on April 22, 1953. The Stake Mission President was William S. Lute. For missionary companions I had Sisters Leona George, Myra Barlow, Marlene Gough and Rita Stapley. With all, I had a good association. Among those who received the missionaries were good friends and several were converted to the Gospel. It is a joy to see the change that comes over individuals when they accept the Truth and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve was the visiting General Authority at Stake Conference. He gave us valuable instructions pertaining to missionary work and with new admonition we carried on. Neighbors listened to the message of the Gospel and one joined the Church. Aldon Johnson was later called and served as the Stake Mission President. I was released from the Stake Mission January 23, 1955. After my release from the Stake Mission, the Bishop and the Sunday School Superintendent called me to serve as the teacher of the Investigator’s Class. This was a new challenge and very humbling. The people, some older than myself, were a real challenge. But with prayer and study each Sunday brought new individuals. Missionary Home Teaching during the week created interest and some conversions were made. Some found joy in Genealogical research and follow-up temple work.
The welfare storehouse work was rewarding. Through the cooperation of the Bishops, improvements were made to the Welfare Building that made it more convenient and better service could be provided to worthy members. The Regional Stake Welfare meetings were always inspiring. The planning among the Ward Relief Society Presidents for the betterment of the service was always kept in mind. The Gooding Stake did its full share of welfare assignments.
The year 1954 passed and the spring of 1955 is well on the way. The Stake Relief Society Officers had an assignment to sew some temple baptismal clothing. Sister Rula Johnson opened her home and many of the sisters enjoyed the hospitality during the hours we spent sewing and the finished suits were accepted by the Temple Presidency. It was a joy to take a group of children from the various Wards to the Temple for baptismal service for the dead. Temple ordinance work is rewarding.
In the spring of 1955, it was my pleasure to attend the April General Conference. As before, we met many acquaintances and family members who came to attend conference. William and family was there, as was Delmont. I had a nice get-to-gether with President and Sister Bringhurst in their home. The thought came to us of the goodness of the Lord and the inspiring work in progress on a Temple Building in Switzerland. The dedication is to take place in the fall this year. Memories serve me well how many members spoke of this during my missionary days in 1949 and 1950.
With great interest I watched the Church News for any new announcements and then the news came that President and Sister Bringhurst had been chosen as the first Temple President in the Swiss Temple. With exciting feeling and joy that I had, I called and congratulated them for such a momentous occasion. I can forever hear their gracious words “a tremendous responsibility, we need the Lord’s blessings and we need some help. How about going with us?” These words will always ring in my ears. Could I? Could I go on a mission assignment? Yes—What wonderful unspoken dreams flashed to mind—the whole hour in this life changed in seconds and I answered, “Of course I would like to go with you”. Then they said, “Get ready, we will keep in touch with you.” Nothing else mattered. The rest of the day and night was spent in a dream real, unreal, but present. Several days passed and I had a chance to go to Salt Lake with President and Sister Lee. I had to confide in them of this my secret and wanted to verify my dream as yet. At a meeting with President Bringhurst he kindly said, “We will get things going”, meaning the arrangement for my passport, etc. He got in touch with President Lee, who in turn spoke to my Bishop and passed on the word of my worthiness to go.
Now, it was my move. Numerous burdens can crop up In hours. There was the renting of my home, the inoculations, preparation of clothing, disposition of the summer’s canned fruit and breaking the news to the children that I was going to help in the Temple. How about money? Having sold property to Wayne and Isabelle, we agreed to a monthly paycheck while I was away. This property was an inheritance to father and how better to spend it than in service to our Heavenly Father. Days drifted into hours. Dedication Day was set for 11 September 1955. President Bringhurst desired to leave in August to participate in the final days of preparation. My passport did not arrive from Washington in time to go with them on the same plane. My inoculations had to be spaced apart and even then caused me some discomfort for a few days. My farewell testimonial in the Ward made me rejoice for the comforting words and good wishes of so many members and the tokens of love with corsages from the Sunday School and the Stake Board and family.
I left for Salt Lake on August 25th, staying at Isabelle’s and attending some temple sessions for instructions. On August 29th Wayne, Isabelle, Helen, Marvin and Caroline spent time together during the dinner hour hosted by Wayne (nice chicken dinner) after which we went to the airport and found many people waiting to take the Scandinavian Airlines abroad. At 11:00 p.m. I bid them a fond departure—mixed feelings, yes, but happy in soul. President Murdock of the Church Travel Service was so gracious in procuring all my needed papers and I had no worry on that account. Soon the lights of Salt Lake faded in the distance and darkness came. A new way of life was beginning for me once more and the only wish to make my joy complete was to have my companion husband by my side. Leaving with faith, the Lord be with me.
The plane is rising above the clouds and the moon’s brightness shining on the white clouds makes a beautiful picture. One feels almost as if you were out of the world and nearing the Lord. Soon the announcement came, “We are going down, Denver, Colorado”; how marvelous to travel by air. Darkness obstructed the view and soon our eyes yielded to a few winks of sleep. All too soon it was morning and breakfast was served by our plane hostess and we arrived in Chicago, Illinois. We stopped only a few minutes, then on to New York. A delicious dinner was served on the plane and enjoyed. At New York there was a change of Airports and a 35-minute bus ride. Soon we were airborne again on the way to Europe. How interesting to watch the cloud formations—now and then a strip of earth could be seen, then up and over the ocean. Soon we saw the few scattered villages over Newfoundland, the fishing boats and the wasteland stretching along the way.
Up through space and all too quickly we heard the word going through the Vales of Scotland and surely how peaceful they looked. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. at Prestwick Airport after a short stop in Glasgow, Scotland. At Prestwick Airport we again boarded a bus to the next airport. Driving through these beautiful vales, stopping now and then and having people welcoming us was touching. Children came forward to greet us, some were In Kilts and all this made the hour more memorable in my life. A kind lady stepped up and gave me a sprig of freshly picked heather, wishing me well where ever ye may go. This really made me grateful to be on my way and the purple flower had new meaning and a sprig of rare white reminded me of the work before me.
After clearing customs, we boarded the plane for London, arriving at 12:25 p.m. We again checked with customs and had a three-hour lay over. The airport being several miles from town, we stayed at the port where planes were coming and leaving every five minutes. Modern and most comfy, it was interesting to watch the crowds of humanity from every corner of the world and I realized how progressive the world has become. At 3:30 p.m. we had our call to board the British Europe Airways for departure to Zurich, Switzerland. I am still wondering if this is real, but no time to think, the plane is in the air and crossing the English Channel and all too soon the pilot tells us we are nearing the Swiss Alps and then flew low so we could observe the mountain paths, the streamlets, the well laid out farms and one must acknowledge the great handiwork of God—He knew where to place everything.
Zurich, great metropolitan city, again customs and here I stand alone, but what a memorable trip. All is well. I was able to secure a hotel room after many inquiries—tourist season every room spoken for—but a Tourist Bureau helped me. After a bath and a good rest I breakfasted at the hotel. This included my lodging for $6.00 per night. Next I proceeded to locate my sister still living somewhere in Zurich. She was really surprised to learn of my being in Switzerland. She soon came in a taxi and we drove to her place of business. A full few hours were spent learning of all the families I yet remembered, etc. Three p.m. and the time to catch my train for Zollikofen, Bern. My sister’s name that lived in Zurich is Paula.
President and Sister Bringhurst were pleased to see me. We visited a while and then Brother Von Allmen, a missionary, called for me. I visited with his wife for a few minutes and then we went room hunting. I finally found a room that would be vacated by Sunday, so I spoke for it, but since I had no place to stay I took the train to Basel to visit my sister Olga for two days. This is 1 September 1955. Olga nearly fainted when she saw me. None of them expected me back again in Europe. We visited mother’s grave, she having passed away during the last year. Sunday evening I went back to Bern. Frau Kunze welcomed me as her roomer. She takes care of the tourist trade having krosk where you can purchase souvenirs, etc. Monday, September 5th, I went over to the mission home, meeting many of the missionaries that are busy helping with final preparations for the open house. Elders Walker, Peterson, Smith and others; there are many details yet to be finished. Sister Bringhurst and I went over the ordinance work study sheets. Sister Pfister (M) and I coached one another. We surely need the Spirit of our Heavenly Father to attend us, but all is well. Sister Bringhurst is tired. Her home is not completed as yet and workmen are in and out, but all looks ultra modern.
This morning some freight arrived with the clothing for the baptismal service. Our storeroom Is nicely finished In the basement and we proceeded to arrange the suits according to sizes, etc. Our kitchen equipment also arrived and with the help of some missionaries we soon had it in place. Some of the visitors had started to arrive. Brother and Sister Olsen from Logan, where they are Temple Officiators; they are willing to help where needed. We prepared ordinance sheets, etc. Apostle Hinckley and wife and Sister Anderson, the architect’s wife were all very helpful. In the evening we had choir practice for the dedication. Elder Walker was our leader. Sister Niederhaueer (M) was the accompanist. Today September 8, President McKay is to arrive and the Temple will be open for viewing for Government Officials. Tomorrow the public will be admitted. We have had nice weather up to this time, but now storm clouds are gathering and rain is falling. The carpets in the foyer show signs of many feet having passed this day, but our spirits were high and we were permitted to explain the Gospel Message to many people. We took them through the Temple by groups. I had the privilege to take three groups today. This was a test of my language knowledge; I found French had been quite neglected, German and Swiss were fine, but I love English best. I met some people from Lyon, France, a family from San Francisco–this family had two children as students in Geneva and Lausanne.
This evening is our final rehearsal on the “Hallelujah Chorus”. Rain is still coning down. We pushed the carpets together and hoped for a better day. Friday, September 9th, I arose very early. I was restless because of the great responsibility that I have of supervising the sisters in the ordinance work. I pray my Heavenly Father will bless me with faith and humility to be of service in this great work, that my mind may be clear to understand all that we must do. At 9:00 a.m. the people were already crowding around the Temple Grounds. There were many curiosity seekers, others were interested in the missionary’s message.
The newspaper and Magazine Ilustrierte had full pages of colored pictures and some individuals complained we were not showing them all that they saw in the magazine. We took them through in groups of twenty-five and thirty and forty as best we could. The majority was very respectful. I only recall one incident, when an onlooker was disrespectful. Many service men from the U.S.A., stationed in Germany, came for this occasion and some returned again later. We took 1,567 persons through today between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and a large number had to be turned away. The workers all had a good day. Gospel seeds were sown—may they bring rewards to the believers. After a light supper we attended a Temple workshop meeting. Sister Bringhurst took us to our various working rooms to assign us to our duties. We spent some time in study. It was a good day.
Saturday, September 10th and we still have some rain. We were bemoaning this when President McKay came to visit the temple again. Oh what a feeling to be in the presence of a prophet. While we were complaining, he spoke up, “Brethren and Sisters, where is your faith? Tomorrow the sun will shine.” We were silenced by this statement, and as the doubters we were, we had to see, but we pondered the saying and prayed the night that our faith might be strong. After all the people had left for the evening, President and Sister Bringhurst and I started in the basement looking over every detail and continued through the whole of the building clear up to the tower, inspecting every room. With a good feeling coming over us we hoped all would go well tomorrow, and our Father in Heaven would accept this His House in His honor. The greenery and flowers looked beautiful and we left the Temple with peace in our hearts.
Sunday, 11 September 1955 is Swiss Temple Dedication Day. The sun is shining brightly and early morning there are many people enjoying the walks around the building and the beautiful background of the forest trees, which made such a beautiful picture. The Tabernacle Choir had arrived from Salt lake City early Saturday evening and the members all admired the countryside, a location so ideal for a Temple. At 10:00 a.m. all of the General Authorities were in their places and the choir in readiness for the songs of praise. What a touching moment, the Prophet arises to speak. The session was conducted in the English Language, as those present were mostly mission presidents from Europe, the architects and many missionaries from various missions.
Dedication Services Monday, September l2th were for the German and Swiss speaking membership and President McKay addressed the audience like the day before, giving the dedicatory prayer and the Swiss Choir sang the Hallelujah Chorus. I am still thrilled by having been in the group to participate. One remarkable instance is ever to be remembered. When President McKay, in his welcoming address, mentioned that “those of past generations’ Presidents of the Church were welcomed as Guests” from beyond the veil, hoping that the Savior and the Prophet Joseph approved of the offering in the acceptance of this Temple. What emotions swelled up in the heart and what a testimony to the revealed Truth and what am I to be sitting in the presence of these Prophets of the Lord. How good the Lord has been to me, and what a secret dream fulfilled that some day the Swiss members could have a Temple, never dreaming I could have a part in all of this. After the session we looked around to see some familiar face we may meet. Yes, here came a U.S.A. soldier stationed in Germany. He recognized me and addressed me as his Sunday School teacher. How good to be counted as such. I also met my own sister Paula who attended and my heart is full. I met a young just married couple from Hamburg, Germany. How thankful they were to attend. There was a family from Canada and every one’s heart is full of peace.
Tuesday, September 13, 1955 is the day for the Scandinavians, some from France, Holland and Norway. Among the group was Ronald Prince, Wayne’s brother. We had a nice visit for a few minutes, exchanging news of loved one at home. The endowment sessions, all assigned for the various Missions, progressed nicely under the able help from the Mission President’s wives. I am ever grateful to them and the helping Lady Missionaries. The Lord sure blessed us with the language problem. I was so frightened we could not make these things clear, but all consented they understood and the greater majority all going through the first time. To accommodate those who had come so far we started our first session at 6:00 a.m. all we could accommodate, and it lasted until 4:00 p.m. Session two was from 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. And Session three was from 1:00 a.m. until 5:15 a.m. All workers could have gone on, but the President gave us until 6:00 a.m. to have a bite to eat and freshen up. All were happy with the work performed and went on to another full day of ordinance work. Saturday ended what we considered to be a good week. We’re grateful for the kindness displayed by so many people. The Sabbath on the morrow will be welcome.
Sunday, September 18th is a beautiful day. Early visitors on the Temple grounds gave the missionaries the opportunity to explain the Gospel Truths. I met some very interesting people today. Mr. McAffee just arrived from Iran and South Africa. He represents the U.S. Government and is a BYU researcher in genealogy. We had a lengthy talk and he took my picture with the background of the Temple. I ended the Sabbath by writing to the children of the past week’s happenings.
Monday September 19th was our evaluation day. We took a good look at all of the clothing to be put in order, etc. Sister Bringhurst was feeling ill with a cold and the strain of the past week. She asked for me to take over. What a responsibility. The cook is in despair, the wash frau quit before she got started, the cleaning women took one look and don’t know where to start; so we American L.D.S. sisters pitched in and after the beginning all went well. Brother Leutcher, the all around man, was a great help. Sister Loser attended to the laundry room. Misses Flockre and Hodel, Mrs. Etter, along with Mrs. Voegeli took over the upstairs. Missionary Van Almen and Sister Olsen stayed and helped with the ironing, etc., and the day ended good. I feel our Heavenly Father blessed me and I am so thankful.
The next day I had a slight cold. I took some penicillium and am OK. Brother Leutcher and I went to town for kitchen supplies. The day is very foggy. Fall is making its appearance, but the flowers and the grounds are still very beautiful and all the workers came to carry on this great work. After a meeting with prayer and a desire to succeed in these assignments, we recognized that organization was the key to the effort and each went about getting compliments for doing good. Every ordinance worker learned their duty and responded cheerfully for the days of the sessions. Our prayer circle every morning contributed, so the Spirit of the Lord was with us all day. The feeling of being of service to mankind brought ever so many rewards.
A memorable day was when a couple from Denmark came to receive their endowments. The sister came to the Temple grounds just as I was leaving to go home. She stood in the pathway some distance away. As I neared I spoke to her and learned that she had just arrived, having driven a motorcycle for two consecutive days a mileage of 1,015 miles and her face and body were so sunburned, but she stood looking at the Temple, grateful for her safe arrival and then she wondered, “Am I worthy to enter in there”? I could not help but feel that Heavenly Father was pleased with her efforts to come to His Holy House. After some conversation she told me that her husband would arrive by morning. She had started a day earlier in case she would be delayed. She enjoyed the evening on the Temple Grounds. Next morning she and her husband were the first ones there. After the day’s session this couple were so happy that no tongue can voice. Such sacrifice as was made and such blessings as were received defy all else. We exchanged addresses and they said, “One year from now we will come again.” I heard from them often and they did return again in a year.
I continued my assignment in the Temple, along with performing missionary work until my release in March 1957. Before returning home I visited my two sisters Paula and Olga, wondering if this was the last time I would see them. The return trip was by plane and I arrived back in Jerome about one week later. I was pleased to be back home and was grateful that my health had been good enough to permit me to complete my work in the Swiss Temple.
Shortly after my return, I was called to serve in various positions in the Ward. I worked with the youth of the Sunday School and was rewarded in that the boys and girls came to visit me at home and confide in me. I taught the Investigator’s class and acted as a genealogical visiting teacher to interested members. I sewed temple clothing also, until bad vision forced me to desist. I taught seminary during four school years and contacts with the youth during this period were pleasant and fruitful. Boys and girls that I taught still call to visit with me. I continued with genealogical research on my family and obtained from a researcher in Switzerland several hundred names on my maternal line. I attended temple sessions whenever possible and performed endowments for these departed ancestors. In this work I was assisted by my children and Ward members.
Early in April 1971, my sister Paula came to Salt Lake City, Rachel took Clara and I down to meet her. Alice came in from Rochester, Minnesota and Martha from Las Vegas, Nevada. Others there were my daughters Helen, Viola and Isabel and grand daughters Margie Freston and Joan Byington. We visited for three days in Salt Lake, then later on in Jerome. We all were happy for such a reunion.
For my 85th birthday, my daughters held an open house at my house in Jerome and many relatives and friends attended. It was a lovely affair and I will always cherish the congratulations and good wishes extended me on that day by those who came. Lately my eyes have been bothering me and my vision is blurred. I have had some eye examinations and the doctors say that my condition is the result of my age and not correctable. I am unable to read, write or sew, which things I have enjoyed over the years. I plan hereafter to spend most of my time at home, knowing that my children and their families will be mindful of me, as will also my friends and acquaintances. It is difficult to have your activities restricted, but I’m sure that our Heavenly Father knows what is best for his children. Accordingly I accept the limitations, being ever grateful for the many previous blessing and opportunities that have been mine.
This document was prepared in August 2005 by scanning a copy of Bertha’s hand-typed, legal size genealogy pages entitled, Memoirs of Bertha Urech Newman, dated December 22, 1975. Although grammar and spelling changes have been made in a few places to clarify meaning, the majority of the original wording is the same. –Adele Newman Knudson, granddaughter
 About 3 miles north of Idaho Falls.