Part 3: Nephi’s Ute Stampede

In this 1936-ute-stampede-mtg1last post about celebrations in Nephi, you will see the beginnings of the annual rodeo that is held in that city to this day.  I don’t know where the name came from, but here is the first article I found that calls it the “Ute Stampede.”  This first meeting in 1936 was held in February to gauge interest in holding another rodeo in their city later that year.  Enough interest was shown that they held a second and a third meeting to set the course for another successful celebration!  They determined that this celebration would be even bigger and better than the Blackhawk Encampment from the previous year and they bumped the dates forward to mid-July; however, you will read that they called it their 2nd annual Ute Stampede.

Many components of their previous celebrations were preserved such as: competition of bands, rodeo contract with Colborn & Sorensen, carnival contract with Monte Young, and voting for a “queen.”  Again, they appointed committees to carry out the various activities and this year they even selected a “slogan” that encouraged all to wear western clothing and return to the times of the Wild West.  In a few short months, they had a program and all was made ready for the big event.  As their organization developed, they selected Preston L. Jones as chairman for the Ute Stampede.  He had chaired the celebration the year before and was one of the main drivers influencing the city to invite the Blackhawk Encampment to Nephi.

All their efforts paid off as they held an even bigger celebration than the year before, despite some challenges with rain.  (Because of the rain on Saturday that they feared may decrease attendance, the committee had hurriedly made a decision to add one more evening for the rodeo on Sunday.)

Unfortunately the newspaper from the week of the rodeo was missing, so I don’t know if the queen was LuDean Wade or Rosemary Belliston!  However, this later article mentions the visit of Utah Governor Blood to the rodeo and his commendations to the Nephi citizens as well as the results of the baseball games, boxing matches and band competition.  Within a few weeks many businesses and citizens had pledged their support for another rodeo in 1937 (and declared that holding the rodeo on a Sunday night was not an option).

1937-ute-stampede-3These were exciting times for Nephi!  I had to hold my own excitement in check as I hurriedly scrolled through the next few months in the newspaper.  Sure enough, even earlier in 1937 the city had elected a corporation consisting of nine directors to “put on” the Ute Stampede.  They joined the Rodeo Association of America and locked in Colborn & Sorensen Rodeo Co. for future events;  later (1956) Cotton Rosser would buy out that company to form The Flying U Rodeo Company.

At right is an article listing preparations for the 3rd annual Ute Stampede to be held in 1937.  If this is true, then those pioneer citizens of Nephi counted the Blackhawk Encampment held in 1935 as their 1st annual rodeo.  This means that the most recent Ute Stampede (held in July 2016) was the 82nd rodeo to be held in Nephi, Utah.

Part 2: Nephi’s Blackhawk Encampment

If you read my last post you’ll know that Nephi was thrilled to be selected for the Blackhawk Encampment!!  The celebration dates were set for the second week in August 1935 (which means they had only 4 months to get ready).  And, they almost immediately received a telegram from Colborn & Sorensen to consider holding a rodeo for the celebration.  During the next several weeks a central committee and other sub-committees were put together.  Then, they got serious about a rodeo!

In the meantime, they were busy making plans and sending postcard invitations to family from out-of-town.  As I scrolled through the weekly newspapers, I noticed many articles about the need to clean up yards!  They held their annual 4th of July celebration which seemed almost an afterthought as they focused on the Blackhawk Encampment.  Front page news on the 4th of July was the voting procedures for their Blackhawk Queen.  The top vote-getter would be the queen, 2nd place Miss Nephi, 3rd place Goddess of Liberty, 4th and 5th place would be attendants to the queen.  Talk about an over-the-top celebration!

By the second week in July, they had decided yes to the rodeo!  They were almost ready for the celebration scheduled in just four weeks.  Their program featured many things that they had previously incorporated in other celebrations, including a mammoth pageant highlighting the first settlers in Nephi and a mammoth parade with participation from surrounding cities as well as baseball games, boxing matches, horse-racing, dancing, their annual hike up Mt. Nebo and of course, the rodeo!  Even the Governor of the State of Utah, Henry H. Blood, was there.  The town was finally ready and the Queen, Florence Chapman, had been selected.

-1935-

1935 Blackhawk Ad

Part 1: Nephi’s Pioneer Day

1934 Pioneer DayThe inhabitants of Nephi had a strong Pioneer heritage.  Every year on July 24th they celebrated the settlers of Nephi.  I cannot do justice to the intensity of their celebrations!  So, check out this 1933 Pioneer Day article, which describes in detail the entries for their parade.  These celebrations were typically sponsored by the MIA and supported by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.  Nephi took their celebrations seriously.  At left is an invitational article for the celebration that was held in 1934.  The activities appeared to increase every year including baseball, boxing and dancing.  I loved reading the follow-up article listing the winners of the “whiskers” contest among other awards.  My GG-Grandfather, Thomas Bowles’s family won first place among the “handcart” floats!

1934 Blackhawk -charter night (page)The great success of the 1934 Pioneer Day resulted in an immediate desire to hold an even bigger celebration the following year and a committee was formed to invite the Blackhawk Encampment to Nephi for 1935.  (Pioneer veterans had been holding reunions, which came to be known as “Blackhawk Encampments” named after the Black Hawk War.)  Preston L. Jones was selected as President of the Nephi post of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneers and Indian Wars Veterans.  They learned they needed to increase their membership in the group and a couple of drives were held.  Then, a banquet was planned and held (in December 1934) to show off their more than 300 members, making them the largest post in the State of Utah at that time!

The work to attract the Blackhawk Encampment to their town was often headline news (example at right, above) and there were weekly articles detailing all their efforts.  Finally, in February 1935, 40 citizens showed up in Springville along with President P.L. Jones to convince the directors to hold the Blackhawk Encampment in Nephi.   Although up against Cedar City… Nephi was selected for the annual encampment!!

1935 Blackhawk -Nephi selected

 

Dean is Old

This little baby, born feet first, just celebrated his 55th birthday earlier this month!  During the difficult delivery, mom said something whispered to her to give up on this baby, but she didn’t listen to that voice.Baby Dean

Who is Zina Gray?

Skinner, Alzina Messinger2bSkinner, Alfonzo Miles.jpgAlzina 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.

1860 US Fed Census – Alzina with her parents, Barnum Blake Messinger & Louisa Brooks Howard, in Springville, Utah where she was born on 23 Mar 1857

1860 US Fed Census – Alfonzo with his parents, Horace Austin Skinner & Laura Ann Farnsworth, in Beaver, Utah.  However, he had been born in San Bernardino, California on 11 Jul 1854

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

Skinner, Chester Louis1bThe 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

Gray, Alzina Skinner2John 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

Skinner, Alzina Messinger1a

Just the Old Gal to Write the Stuff

Hancock, Ann Eliza2

Ann Eliza Hancock, my great-great grandmother, was born nearly 100 years before my own birth.  She was well known in Panguitch, Utah and considered the oldest resident at age 86-years when she died.  Her obituary (see below) describes her many abilities… her ability to teach and lead the young folks… her charitable feeling for those in need… her strong will power to do good at all times and to accomplish any undertaking she took upon herself… her extensive work in the Relief Society.  Specifically, the obituary states that “her journalism and poetry will not be forgotten.”  To that end, I write this post in tribute to my Grandma Lida.

Ann Eliza married Elias Hatch in 1882.  They had a total of nine children, five of whom preceeded her in death.  Elias, or Lyle as she called him, died in 1934 leaving her a widow for the next sixteen years.  I believe most of her poems were written during this time.  This gem is one of my favorites:

Hatch, Elias2
UNTITLED
I am glad I left that little town
And came to this dear place
For if I had stayed I would never of seen
My husband's smiling face
For fifty years I lived a happy cheerful life
For fifty years I am proud to say
I have been Lyle Hatch's wife

 

I love the charming grammer and the words that just don’t quite fit at times.  I admire her boldness and willingness to put herself out there.  Her positive influence in that small town cannot be calculated!  However, unfortunately, time has a way of erasing our lives… unless we leave behind documents that can be treasured by descendants.  So, here they are for you to treasure!  You can see her despair and loneliness in these tributes to her husband.  Read the worries between the lines of her thoughts on the War.  Get a glimpse of small town life in these many tributes to friends and neighbors and personal experiences she shares.

Hatch, Ann Eliza Hancock3

At one time she submitted poems for publishing and received a rejection letter.  She was crushed.  You can read about it in her “personal experiences.”  Here’s another gem about that:

CRUSHED HOPES
I think that I shall never be
A great writer of poetry
Of that there seems to be no hope
I can never rise to pull the ropes

My name will never be so great
That I will ever nab the bait
For this I am not great enough
Just the old gal, to write the stuff

 

These poems are an insight into Grandma Lida’s soul and personality.  My heart has turned to her… she’s gone but not forgotten!!

Obit- Hatch, Ann Eliza Hancock2

 

And… Emily is here!

At our family Christmas party, my sister Shellie announced that they would be adopting a FOURTH baby due to be born in January.  Well, that baby was suddenly born a few days later on December 29th!  My sisters’ family quickly drove to California where they are now waiting to bring baby Emily across state lines back to their home in New Mexico.  Introducing Ms. Emily Jean Erikson… this is baby Jess’ first cousin, once removed🙂

Shellie & Emily

*I previously wrote a blog post about my sisters’ baby John

Jess is Here!

Deaths and births… the cycle of life!  Announcing the birth of my second grandbaby, another little girl, named Jessica Noelle!

Santa Jess

Mom and baby are both healthy and happy and were able to return home in time for Christmas.  Interestingly, their picture was included in a news article about the hospital changing names.  It’s interesting because I was also in the news at a very young age in the same newspaper!
Baby Jess in News

Lor in News2

Fred is Gone

Fred's ProposalDean’s father, Fred Lewis Crandall Jr, passed away earlier this month.    This picture is one that he gave to mom when he proposed to her.  We will miss him, but his funeral was an inspiring event and celebration of a long-life well-lived.  He is gone, but not forgotten.

Obit- Crandall, Fred Jr

Eulogy- Crandall, Fred Jr

Funeral Prog- Crandall, Fred Jr (outside)

Funeral Prog- Crandall, Fred Jr (inside)

Dad had one younger brother, who was able to fly from Oregon for the funeral.  And, two of mom’s sisters were able to be there; one of which flew in from Hawaii and brought some beautiful tropical flowers.  Mom made the flower arrangements for the chapel.

Flowers1

Casket2- Crandall, Fred Jr

 

 

Summer of Bereavement

My summer diversions came crashing to a halt last week with the start of school, which means that I am back to work now.  Throughout this past summer I have spent one day a week at the BYU Family History center.  Downstairs in the Harold B. Lee Library is a cozy little genealogy center full of rows and rows of microfilms.  Several hundred of these microfilms contain the old newspapers from small towns in Utah.  Since my ancestors are all Utah Pioneers (literally), and since many of them settled these small towns, I have been able to find mention of them in their hometown newspapers!

In particular, I have been searching for obituaries.  Yes, I know that I could go to Utah Digital Newspapers and let them help me find obituaries.  That is a great website; however, there is something very satisfying about the hunt through the pages of a little newspaper to find your ancestor’s name.  And there is so much more to see!  In that day, the deaths in town were front page news and that is where I have found all my obituaries… alongside whatever other meaningful activities were taking place in that town.  This is how I came across the tragedy that befell the Gowers family of Nephi, Utah during the summer of 1921.

Gowers, Clyde Earl

Gowers, Deltha Bowles

I am not related directly to the Gowers family, but have an indirect connection through my great-great auntie Deltha.  Those that have followed my blog may remember my three-part series on the life of Deltha and her tragic end.  (Here is part one, part two and part three.)  For a quick refresher, Deltha Bowles (at right) married Clyde Gowers (at left) and then both were killed three years later in an automobile crash during June 1921.  I found Clyde’s & Deltha’s double obituary on the front page of the town newspaper in Nephi.  “All Nephi mourned” for them and their parents were left to raise their two sons.

Gowers, AJ and Family

*Photo above says it was taken in 1921.  Must have been taken just after the death of Clyde & Deltha since Clyde is not included in this picture with his siblings and father.  However, Clyde’s & Deltha’s two sons (Don & Jay) are included in this picture.  Left to Right Seated: Elmer, AlfredJr, Don (lap), Ronald, AlfredSr and Mont.  Left to Right Back: Jay (baby), Eva, Clarence, Bernell, Eugene and Laura.

Gowers, Nello Ray

Then, as I continued to scroll through the weekly newspapers that followed, I was saddened to see that the Gowers lost another son, Ray, just two months later.  His body was shipped home from France where he had been killed in the world war.  The Gowers were forced to hold another funeral that summer in August 1921 and again the town rallied around them, this time with full military honors for their son Ray Gowers (at left).  Subsequently, imagine my shock to find that only one month later in September 1921, the Gowers’ 15-yr-old son Elmer died from complications due to an appendicitis attack.  The town newspaper announced the funeral for Elmer Gowers saying, “Mr. and Mrs. Gowers have the heartfelt sympathy of the people of this city in their latest bereavement, as it is felt that the present summer has been filled with sorrow and trouble for them.”

Gowers, Elmer Irving

Check out this news article describing the interesting ‘health crusade’ to honor Elmer Gowers (at right) and the manifestation of love from the entire town for the Gowers family in their multiple losses over the summer of 1921.  The town newspaper said, “Every available seat in the North ward meeting house was occupied Sunday afternoon at the funeral services of Elmer Gowers, while a large number were unable to get inside of the building, all of which bore silent testimony of the sympathy that was felt for the parents and family of the young man in their latest bereavement.”

Previous Older Entries

duplogosmall
FamilySearch Indexing Indexer Badge
mayflower
DAR_Logo
%d bloggers like this: