Alzina Eliza Messinger was my great-great grandmother! She was only sixteen years old when she married 19-yr-0ld Alfonzo Miles Skinner. The Messinger and Skinner families had traveled different routes to Utah during the 1850’s and then both families settled in Beaver, Utah.
1870 US Fed Census – Alzina living with her parents/family in Beaver, Utah
1870 US Fed Census – Alfonzo living with his parents/family in Beaver, Utah
1870 US Fed Census – John Gray living with his parents/family in Beaver, Utah
1880 US Fed Census – Alzina & Alfonzo (married) living in Beaver, Utah
The young couple met in Beaver and made it their home after marriage on 9 Feb 1874 in the Endowment House. They were married for nine years before the birth of their one and only child on 11 Jan 1883 in Beaver, my great-grandfather Chester Louis Skinner (at left). Then after suffering for years with heart disease and dropsy, according to his obituary, Alfonzo died on 9 Mar 1891 and was buried in Beaver near his father and father-in-law.
The year after Alfonzo’s death, Zina married John Gray on 22 Jul 1892 in Beaver. John Busby Gray was born in Scotland and traveled to Utah as a young child with his family. His family had also settled in Beaver suggesting that John knew Zina as a teenager. John was the same age as Zina and had not previously been married. Their union produced only one child, a daughter named Jennie born in Beaver on 17 Feb 1893.
1900 US Fed Census – Zina & John Gray (married) living in Beaver, Utah with 17-year-old Chester and 7-year-old Jennie
1910 US Fed Census – Zina & John living in Beaver, Utah with 17-year-old Jennie
John died on 30 November 1914 and left Zina a widow again. He was buried in Delta, Utah. Zina then began living with Jennie’s family until her death on 30 Sep 1930. At that time, they were living in Ruth, Nevada. It is likely that David William Cook, Jennie’s husband, worked in the open-pit mine there.
But where was Zina buried?? That is my real question! I made my husband drive me out to Ruth, Nevada (near Ely) during the summer of 2012 in an attempt to search for her grave site in the cemetery there. It wasn’t until this past summer, as I searched for obituaries in old newspapers, that I found her resting place. I wondered if the Beaver newspaper would carry information about her death and it did! Here is Zina Gray’s obituary in The Beaver Press. I found out she had worked as a nurse!
Find-a-Grave confirms that Zina is buried in the Mountain View cemetery in Beaver with Alfonzo… but in an “unknown” grave location there. I will keep searching that cemetery until I find her! Zina is gone, but not forgotten.
1920 US Fed Census – Zina living with Jennie’s family in Delta, Utah
1930 US Fed Census – Zina living with Jennie’s family in Ruth, Nevada