Saturday, December 31, 2011


22 March, 1978

Elda P. Nielson
                Sometime during the month of June, 1943, shortly after the surrender of the German troops in the country of Tunisia, North Africa, I received a letter telling me that my mother had passed away.  That was the first word that I had received regarding this matter.  Today is now 30 June, 1979 and I am trying to record some of my feelings on that day.  I was so far away from the actual event that it didn't have the effect on me, as I'm sure it did on my brother, Oran, my sister, La Rhea and my father, James C. Nielson.  I was stunned with the news, and it seemed almost unrealistic.  I remember that for some reason I called my platoon together, which consisted of fifty men.  And informed them of my mother's passing.  My mother passed away 21 April, 1943, and it was at least two months before I received the word.  Although they sent word through the Red Cross and the other agencies to notify me.  I hadn't received the telegram even after a two month period of time.  

                Tunisia, North Africa is a very arid part of the land, it is rather flat with a few small mountains.   It has quite a hot temperature which would get up over 100 in the day.  But because it was mostly desert the nights were cool.  I remember then that I sat down and wrote a letter to my family.  Of course I told them that I was all right.  The interesting thing about these letters was that about all we could say was that we were somewhere in North Africa and that we were well.  We couldn't give the accounts of the day or any kind of news or information.  Not long ago I found a trunk that had my letters and read some of them.  I was surprised how uninformative and dull they were.  I remember also that every letter that was sent out from the front lines was read by an officer and censored.  It was my job to censor letters.  Since I had to censor my own letters, and because of the honor code it was impossible for me to justify that I should write anything other than what I was instructed to write. 

Mary & James Peterson
           affected her heart and it stopped functioning.  There were some other real problems involved.  My father called for my Uncle Bert Whiting who was the husband of his sister, Sadie Whiting, to come and administer to mother.  My father related later to me that in preparing the ordinance to administer to mother that the blessing was not for my mother at all but for my father, that he would be able to face the situation.  But he apparently received considerable comfort from this.  It was such a shock to him because she died so suddenly.  It happened that day shortly after the operation.  They performed an autopsy, and the results came back that she was full of cancer.  I received a letter from Doctor Glen B. Orton who was the attending physician.  It was a very nice letter that I've appreciated all my life.  He explained what had happened and about the kind of cancer that she had.  It was the type that would continue to spread throughout her entire body.  And it wouldn't have been long, had she lived, that she would have been bed-ridden.  And knowing my mother, and knowing what she had experienced as a child with her father;  I know that she was much happier to pass on than to live another six or eight months and suffer the agonies that would have faced her. 
     My father's letter gave me some details of my mother's passing.  Apparently my mother had been aware of a cyst under her arm and one on her breast for sometime.  She had decided that she would go to the hospital and have the cysts removed.  I don't know whether she had the fear of cancer or what, but my father told me later that as she got in the car to go to the Payson Hospital, she broke down and cried.  She said she would never see her home again.  It was a simple operation and apparently it was all the doctors had expected.  They gave her a local anesthetic, and she had had local anesthetic before when she had her teeth pulled and that sort of thing.  But for some reason the anesthetic

Elda  LeRoy Peterson
                Going back farther, to give the background on her father, after two children were born into the family, he was poisoned while he was out sheering sheep somewhere in south eastern Utah.  He was poisoned by the water, they said, and eventually it resulted in severe stomach problems, and also tuberculosis of the bone in his leg.  He had the leg amputated three times and he suffered considerable pain.  Doctor Taylor from Provo operated the last time, and cut the bone off square and didn't round it at all.  As a result he couldn't wear his artificial limb because the bone would poke right through the skin.  My mother saw all this suffering and in addition he got some kind of infection and he had to be castrated at an early age after my uncle Roy was born, and so he lost his virility.  Mother recounts, that one day their ward fasted and prayed, and he was administered to, for some kind of disorder.  He was healed immediately, and because of this he had a strong testimony of healing.  She saw him suffer a great deal, and he died at the age of 52, living approximately 25 years having these incapacity's.  Mother said to me on many occasions, that when she died, she wanted to go quickly, she didn't want to go through the suffering that her father did. 

                In summary, I felt that her passing, in as much as she had to die, that it was a blessing that she could die under these conditions rather than survive and go through the kind of problems she would have faced.  I presume that it was some sort of leukemia that she had, at least Dr. Orton said it was in her blood stream. 

                As a result of this untimely death my father suffered considerably, and he didn't seem to recover from it for a long time.  My brother, Oran who was only 15 years old at the time, probably was affected more adversely than any other member of the family.  He was especially close to his mother, and he seemed completely lost.  He started smoking at this time and wouldn't eat properly at all, about the only thing he did eat was soda pop.  Because of father's sorrows they lost all
communication.  When Oran became 18 he entered the service.  This was after I had come home in 1944.  I believe it was in 1945 when he entered the Navy.  Even to this day, now that Oran is about 52 years old, he hasn't fully recovered from the shock of her passing.  He never seemed to grow up and face the reality of the world, or fully resume responsibility.  He still acts more like a teenager than a man of 52.  I'm sure this wasn't entirely the cause, but I think her death effected him very much.  So, the death of my mother did cause some harsh repercussions.  My brother, Earl was in the South Pacific at the time of her death.  So, he and I were both away when it happened.  He didn't seem to be effected anymore than I was.  I remember when I left Italy after having been in the hospital, I received a picture from my father.  At that time he was 55 years old and he looked like a man of 65.  And I just couldn't face up to coming home.  And so, he got on a bus and came to visit me at the hospital Rome, Georgia.  After
Mary Halvorsen Peterson
LeRoy    Elda  James Peterson
 I saw him I felt much better.  This was in 1944 that I was in Rome, Georgia, and I had been wounded 29 January, of that same year.  It was in the later part of April or the first of March that I arrived at the  hospital in Rome.  And it was between that time and July that my father came to see me.  And then on 1 July I was transferred to Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City, Utah.  There I was closer to home.  Once I got home it was fine and I was able to adapt to the situation and accept it as it was. 

                I might add that my mother was christened, Elda Peterson.  Her father was James C. Peterson and her mother was Mary Helvorson.  Through the years I have thought a lot about my mother.  I wondered about her condition and I have even had dreams about her that kept coming back again and again.  I would dream that she was alone and my father couldn't find her.  When I was in my late 50's the dreams stopped.  I think the reason the dreams stopped was because my father quit smoking and started to take an interest in the church.  By the time he died at 87 years I had ordained him a High Priest and he had done a lot of temple work.  He had

really changed his way of life considerably, because before he had been a non-conforming Mormon.  I believe because of the change in his life, that he made himself worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom and there met mother.  So, the dreams stopped.  One day I told my father about this, not in detail but just a short explanation.   I told him that I knew things would be alright. 

                My mother was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville with my father at her side.  They have a single headstone with both their names on it.  They were originally married in the Salt Lake Temple 12 January, 1916. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Thought this article from Stars and Stripes might be of interest:  from Tutt Lambert
                                                Aviation Engineers
By PFC Marvin H. Petal
Special to Pacific Stars and Stripes
b- Halverson  Okie  DeBorg   ??? Diesenroth  ??  Gallanis
F- Corbitt  Flack  White  Moore
From PIO, Hqs, 930th Eng Avn Gr
Written: 21 June 1953
Few people ever get to read unit histories tucked away in some obscure locked box in the back reaches of a headquarters. For the most part they are formalized military reports written in the stilted language of documentation and they carry the ominous red stamp: SECRET.
            The files of the aviation engineers are especially encased in a vault of security. Thus, the drama of war is seldom replayed. But once in a while the histories are read and the drama has a brief encore. Each unit history of the aviation engineers contains a statement of the outfit’s primary mission. Universally, it is the generalized, “to construct, maintain, camouflage, and defend field airdromes.
” The SCARWAF story is that and a lot more.
washing in a polluted river
            The Army Information Digest places the beginning of the SCARWAF story in 1947 when the Air Force was established as a separate entity under the national security act. “The new Air Force had no engineering units and the old Army aviation engineers were left without a market for their specialty. The logical result was SCARWAF.”
            A new Air Force program to utilize its own engineers may soon ring down the curtain on SCARWAF (Special Category Army With Air Force). Meanwhile, however, the drama has been played.
            There is one unit history which tells of a battalion that came to Korea in the early stages of the campaign. They stumbled onto a mine field in Wonsan harbor and wallowed helplessly as enemy bombers swung in low. Dogged before they had even started, they somehow got ashore and moved forward through enemy fire. The report was scribbled in longhand.
            In the infant action there was a powerful enemy. The weather. An airstrip is a temperamental thing and it won’t allow itself to be built unless conditions are just right. But the weather was never just right. When winter came the ground froze and balked and wouldn’t be turned by the giant blades of the bulldozers. And when the ground had finally been scraped the engineers couldn’t pour concrete in the below freezing weather. Improvising, they set control fires on the field and brought the ground up to concrete-pouring temperature.
Rock Quarry with crusher and truck
            Often the field site was a frustrating horizon of mountains, swamps, and rice paddies. In one project the 1903rd Engineer Aviation Battalion moved more than ½ million truck loads of earth.
            They were green troops who first came to Korea and they soon learned that there was more to fashioning an airstrip than just landscaping a long, wide ribbon of cement across the terrain. They not only had to build runways, but also taxiways, parking aprons, control towers, water lines, hangars, ammunition dumps, and fuel points. There had to be drainage systems to draw off the great pools the rains had left. And there had to be bridges and roads to allow an approach to the field. In one case the entire top of a mountain was shaved off to make room for a radar site.
            They had to set up rock quarries, asphalt plants, sand and gravel pits, rock crushing plants, and concrete supply centers. And there had to be the usual mess halls; fences, offices, motor pools, utilities shops, power plants, and latrines. All the while the men gave top priority to their mission and often slept in pup tents.
`Korean  teeter-totter 
            Of necessity, the early troops were thrown hastily into their jobs and many had not had time for thorough training. So, even as the building and fighting surged, there were on-the-job training programs in progress. Sometimes all the long weeks of work were in vain. As the enemy poured south over the hills, the airfields had to be hurriedly destroyed before withdrawal.
            One outfit operating at a base near Pyongyang, the present capital, writes this in its unit history:
            “There were several heckling air attacks. United Nations troops were just about at the Yalu River and everyone had ‘be home by Christmas spirit. Then the artful rumor everyone was hearing ceased to be a rumor. The reported 800,000 Chinese Reds massing on the border joined in the attack with what was left of the North Korean army and descended on the U.N. Forces.
DeBorg  Corbitt
            The swing of battle caused frequent problems. Just east of Yongchon, Company A of the 822 EAB met with the enemy who threw a barrage of mortar, high velocity and small arms fire. “Under fire for several hours,” the history reads, “the company was finally rescued by fighter aircraft that napalmed enemy positions. Friendly infantry also moved into the area and pushed back the enemy forces.” The 822nd received the Presidential Unit Citation. And the men received their share of Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts.
            One time the Eight Double Deuce had moved into an advanced site near the Yalu river. They hadn’t even time to unload their valuable, hard-to-get heavy equipment from the freight cars when the enemy launched a vicious attack. The battalion fought its way through the cordon and eventually wound up at a new base. The abandoned machinery was written off as lost in combat. But one day at the new base a train pulled in with a huge load for the 822nd Battalion. An ingenious and anonymous railroad engineer had coupled the cars to his train during the confusion of the skirmish and had chugged nonchalantly from the area. The 822nd was back in business.
            Despite the pressure from the campaign many historians had a sense of humor. An excerpt from an 811th EAB report has it that “Company B returned from K-23 at the request of the Chinese.” Another outfit reported, “A company party was held Friday evening 23 March 1951 at which all personnel became pleasantly polluted.” Of morale. The 802nd EAB historian observed, “There was a prevalent feeling of doing an important and vital job.”
            In one report of the parent 930th Engineer Aviation Group there is an entry which seems to sum up the SCARWAF story. One of the outfits was given 30 days in which to have an airstrip ready for action. The historian wrote:
            “In unison with the clamoring of the equipment the men could be heard swearing, groaning, enduring the intense heat of the sun, and there in front of our eyes a miracle was taking place. Day after day the clamoring continued, the swearing increased, the sun burned hot on our bodies, the long hours dragged into days, the days into nights, and again the sun.
            “The strip was put into operation 9 days and F-51s began operating from the dirt runway. Immediately there was a marked change in the Korean conflict. With the Air Force entrenched close to their targets, the bombing attacks could be more than hit and run affairs. And thus the tide of battle was turned.”
            And thus the aviation engineers have carried on in the tradition of “construct, maintain, camouflage, and defend field airdromes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


A little History of
Bingham Canyon, Utah
Edward Heather
Steam Dinkey train               Steam Shovel
Let me read and copy some of his work.  July 1st 1904, only it is now 1962 who is now in his 80’s
Bingham Canyon   Some thirty miles southwest of Salt Lake brings you to the Oquirrh Mountains.  The Utah Copper Co. operates the largest open-pit mine of its kind in the world.  A mountain of copper ore about 2000 feet high, terraced with about 100 miles of standard gauge track and about 87 miles of overhead trolley wire.
Some years ago this property was operated with steam shovels and Dinkey engines which labored up the grade to their respective shovels with five cars, panting and snorting as if it were troubled with asthma.  When the cars were loaded, they brought them down to the assembly yard, smoke lazy curling from their smoke stacks and steam escaping from the valves.  The Dinkey seemed proud of its achievements
Now powerful electric engines haul 15 to 20 cars to the assembly yard with moderate speed and ease.  About 1100 ton cars are loaded each day, then taken to the mills and smelter, and there treated.  The refined copper being used for national defense and domestic purposes. 
Electric Train and Shovel
The shift-train (Crummies) leave at 6 A.M. taking the men to different terraces and their respective jobs, home to elevations of more than 8,000 feet above sea-level.  Then brings them back again at the end of the shift.   
Bingham Canyon is the town where this great project is located.  It has one narrow street about seven miles long.  One of the narrowest streets in the world.  About 2000 automobiles come in and out of this town every day.  Traffic jams are occasional but accidents and fatalities are very rare.  Some places in this canyon cars almost rub fenders to pass. 
Workers Homes   the workers homes and some business places are built on the hill-side.  Homes are built on concrete blocks, some on posts, as if they were on stilts and ready to walk away, if they had some place to go.  Boxes are nailed to the houses, filled with soil for flowers.  Trees are planted in tubs to beatify their homes and town.  The family wash was strung on an endless wire which runs through a pulley high above your head.  Red flannel underwear, white night gowns and long legged stockings were bellying in the wind like over inflated inner tube or banners waving in the sky.
Things of Interest
Here in Bingham is the longest one story building in the world. 
The smallest café in the world, it has one stool.
A four story building, with each story on a ground floor.
A vehicular tunnel, one and a quarter long connecting Copperfield with the town of Bingham.  Above Copperfield is Telegraph and the US Mine.
The Copperfield tunnel has one car every three minutes cross its portals.  A taxi cab used to be $1.00 to Telegraph, fifty cents to Copperfield, two went for the price of one. 
The Copper King Bar known all over the world whose doors have never ever been closed for over sixty years but may close in a few years for Bingham is being sold out.  The Kennecott Copper is buying out everything. 
Here’s where the famous “Lopez  Man-hunt” occurred.  At one time a representative of every nation in the world has worked or lived in Bingham Canyon.  Some years ago Serbian and Hungarian women could be seen picking up coal on the railroad tracks, balancing a heavy sack on their heads taking it to their homes to warm their homes. 
Highland Boy
We had Carr Fork, Highland Boy, Frog Town, Copper Heights, Dinkeyville, Jap Cap and Copperfield.
Athletics  Bingham High School for many years turned out championship teams in football, baseball and basketball who competed in the State as well as out of State competitions. 
We mine lead, silver, gold and copper and other rich ores.  The US Mine has now moved to Lark.  Old Telegraph mine, Blue Berry, Bingham Metals, Ohio Copper, Apex and the Highland boy are gone or going. 
Once there was a log cutting and lumber mill owned by some men named Bingham, that the town was named after.
Let Me Be
By Edward Heather
Let me be a little kinder
Bingham Canyon Main Street
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more
Let me be when I am weary
Just a little more cherry
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all I should be
Let me be a little meeker
With my brother who is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me

Friday, December 16, 2011


From Paul A. Winstanley
Epsom, England  19 October 1997
Dear Mr. Halverson
Charles   Catherine Burrows Houghton
This letter will not, I hope, be too great a shock to you but I am a fairly new family researcher, and my researches have led me to check what I have discovered from other sources here against data on Ancestral File in the LDS Family History Center in London.  Your name and address were on file as the submitter of that data.  Let me explain what I have, to see if it corroborates your own information.  I am afraid some of my information is rather heart-rending, but comparing it with what I understand you put on file seems to prove beyond doubt that we are related, either to you or your wife’s family.
My paternal grandmother was born, Sarah Jane Houghton.   We knew nothing about her at all except she came from Heather (pronounced Hee-ther) in Leicestershire.  Search of all the birth and census records revealed she was a daughter of a coal miner, George Houghton, also from Heather.  I now have a birth certificate showing Sarah was born 13 January 1869, and she had a sister, Catherine, two years younger, and a brother, Charles born around 1874, which ties in with your information.
Sarah’s parents, George and Ann Wragg, were married in at Heather on 19 October 1868.  The marriage certificate shows George’s father also named George.
Charles Houghton
Ann Wragg was born on 6 July 1849 at Heather, daughter of William Wragg, a farm worker, and Jane Wragg, formally Copper.  You have Jane born at Shenton, Leicestershire, but I can’t corroborate that at the moment.  William Wragg was almost certainly the son of Charles and Elisabeth Wragg of Heather. The 1851 census return shows Charles as a farm worker then aged 70, born at Walton, Derbyshire.  This tie in with your date of birth for him of 1781.  Elizabeth is aged 71, born at Polesworth, Warwickshire. 
The census for 1881 shows William Wragg as a widower aged 70, which ties in your date of birth of 1811.  Living with him are his daughter Ann Houghton, a widow, and her children, Sarah (my grandmother), Catherine and Charles.  Also resident were Sarah Wragg, who was William’s unmarried daughter aged 41, and five more Wraggs- William aged 18, Frederick 15, Joseph 11, Elizabeth 7 and Ernest 4.  These are described as grandchildren of William, but no parents are shown.
It turns out that George Houghton, Ann’s husband, was killed at the age of 31 in a mining accident on 20 July 1874.  This is a variance with your date of 1894.  A search for a report of the accident in the British Newspaper Library archive found that the local newspaper for that area the “Leicester Daily Mercury” , carried the story on 22 July 1874.  There is no doubt of the date.  I enclose a copy of the report, together with a transcript as the copy is poor, I am sorry to break the news to you if you did not know this before.
Leicester Daily Mercury,
Wednesday 22 July, 1874--Two colliers, one named George Houghton, age 33 of Heather was at work in the Ibstock Colliery Co. pit at Ibstock, when a quantity of stones or bind fell from the roof upon the two men, inflicting grievous injuries to them.  Upon being extricated it was found Houghton's back was broken.  Both were promptly attended to by Dr. Thomas of Ibstock.  The poor fellow Houghton lingered up to 3 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, when he expired.  He leaves a wife and three children.
Charles A.  John, Wilfred Houghton
So far my family researches have proved to be interesting, but rather sobering.  You may be interested to know that Sarah Jane Houghton was married to John Winstanley in Llandudno, a coastal town in North Wales, on March 24 1890.  He also died tragically, on June 9th 1897.  My father did not know how he died, and my cousin, Trevor only knew that he had fallen in to the sea.  When I found out the date of his death, a further visit to the British Newspaper Library revealed that he had fallen off Great Ormes Head, and was the lead story in the “Llandudno Advertiser” of 10 June 1897.  Great Ormes Head is a rocky headland jutting northward into the sea to the west of Llandudno Beach, and is now a nature reserve.  John Winstanley fell several hundred feet into the sea.  He, with two other men, were after seabirds’ eggs, in which I am told there was a trade at that time.  Maybe it supplemented the family income to collect them and sell them to the hotels and restaurants.  Llandudno is a popular tourist resort. 
Are there not some eerie coincidences in the lives of Ann Wragg and her daughter, Sarah Jane Houghton?   Both women were six months pregnant when they married; both lost their husbands in tragic accidents; as widows, both were left with three young children and both men were aged 31 when they died. 
Sarah Jane Houghton
My cousin also said it was family hearsay that Charles Houghton, Sarah’s, brother, had emigrated to to Salt Lake City as a young man, and that he or his son joined the US Army and visited my grandmother in England during World War One.  By then she would have been living in Liverpool, England.  I thought if this were true it would be nice to follow it up and make contact with any living descendants. I was therefore delighted to find the information you had deposited at the Family History Center.  I am told the Carbon, Utah is a coal mining area.  If so it would be a logical place for the son of a miner to go.
Trevor has found that the widowed Ann Houghton remarried, and had more children by her second husband.  Some of the descendants still live in Heather.  You may know all this already of course, but if not I could provide further information, if you are interested.
I look forward to perhaps hearing from you.  I should also be interested to know if you have any further family details to add to your emerging picture!
Yours sincerely
Paul A. Winstanley 

Winstanley Clock

More Genealogy by Paul
Following up the family clock-making at Holywell in North Wales has been quite interesting.  We located a Winstanley long-case clock at an auction in Chester and it now graces now dining room.  It’s also gratifying that the letters and articles I have written for magazines produces such interesting feedback.  We’ve just had a letter from Oxfordshire describing how the writer bought a Winstanley clock in near derelict state, had it restored and gave it to his son in Australia as a wedding present.  And from Ohio in America came news of an English brass clock dial, not by Winstanley, but with “Winstanley and Holywell” engraved on the reverse some fifty times!  Obviously an engraver’s practice piece.  (I offered to buy it from the American owner but he wouldn’t part with it!)

Holiday his was spent in Wales, the new-found ancestral homeland!  I got quite emotional standing outside the house where my father was born, looking out over Llandudno Bay. I doubt whether Dad ever remembered it or ever knew where it was.  And I certainly don’t think he knew something else we discovered- that one of his aunts used to run the donkeys on Llandudno Sands!  The current donkey lady knew of her and even produced a photograph of her.  There was also a photo of her, with a string of donkeys and her mother (she was the one with the hat0 IN Llandudno Museum. 
 I didn’t get a free donkey ride though!
Merry Christmas 

Thursday, December 15, 2011




Nick  Sutler     Floyd    Fred   Eliza H. Sutler   Irene
It's very difficult to write about the history of our family because Mother (Eliza) passed away at the early age of 45 and at that time I wasn't into family history so a lot of things I should have remembered did not register.  Besides that, I can remember many times asking my mother how she met my dad and the story was always the same - "I saw him walking down the street, liked his looks, so I put a bucket over his head and dragged him home."  I'm sure if I had asked much more she would have joked about it.  She loved her little jokes and would pull them on anyone, any time.

From all I have learned from relatives, Mom and Dad met in Winter Quarters, Utah, while she was working in a boarding house and I'm sure Dad must have been working in the mines.  He learned his trade in Yugoslavia as a blacksmith.  His schooling only went to the fourth grade and then he evidently went into his apprenticeship.  At 17 he decided to leave the "old country" and headed for America.  He could not speak English so it must have been very hard for him to work his way over here and then obtain work when he got here.  He worked his way up and down the Great Lakes on ore barges and ended up in St. Louis and from there headed west.  Obviously he arrived in Winter Quarters and that's where he got caught in Mother's bucket.  Another time I should have listened and learned more.  They were married in Provo, Utah February 2, 1921.
Irene    Fred     Lorraine  Floyd

My first memory is of leaving Cumberland, Wyoming, on the train heading for Superior, Wyoming, so my parents must have left Utah for the mines in Wyoming and stayed in Cumberland for a few years.  My brothers, Floyd and Fred, and I were born in Cumberland and my sister Lorain was born in Superior. 

Dad worked in the mines and after some time bought the Union Pacific Boarding house in Superior.  It was hard work running a boarding house and raising four kids but Dad helped all he could when he wasn't working at the mines.  There were fourteen boarders which meant there was a lot of cooking - breakfast for the miners, packing their lunches, and cooking supper for the men.  Seems there was always dishes to do.  The mine Superintendents came to town often so Mother had to cook lunches for them.  She was a fantastic cook - baked bread, pies and cakes.  Everyone loved her cooking.

Around 1937 Dad decided he wanted to open his own Blacksmith shop in Lander so they sold the boarding house and off we went to Lander.  The decision to move was not a good one.  Dad had lots of work but could not get paid. 

After a short time we moved outside of town to a ranch and that wasn't a good idea either.  Mother was happy there with her garden so she did lots of canning.  Dad was not much of a rancher but he did his best.  He was much too soft hearted and did all he could to keep the ranch animals happy even if it meant taking Mother's hot wash water and giving it to the cows so they wouldn't have to drink cold water in the winter or turning the pigs loose in the he garden because he felt they needed greens.   Life on the ranch was no picnic.  There was no running water and those trips to the outhouse in the winter were just awful - come to think about it they weren't so hot in the summer either.  We did all the things you are supposed to do on a ranch - milked the cows, slopped the hogs, and fed the chickens, and a million other things.  Depression time meant there was not much money but we sold milk and eggs and I can remember making those stupid angel food cakes and sold them in town for 35 cents.  Had to use up the eggs.  To this day I hate angel food cake.

Nick       Eliza   Irene    Floyd    Lorraine    Fred
In 1941 Dad got a job in Cheyenne working for the Union Pacific Railroad in the blacksmith shop so the ranch was sold and we moved to Cheyenne.  Floyd and Fred stayed in Lander working and finishing school so there was just Lorraine and I tagging along.  At last, Dad finally got a pay check and life seemed much easier for both Mom and Dad.  Mom didn't have to work so hard and could spend more time with her crocheting and tatting and sewing.  She could tat so fast you could hardly see her fingers.  She loved to read so I spent lots of time in the library looking for the mystery books she liked.

Looking back, I think my parents had a pretty hard life but those years were hard for most people so I guess we all rolled with the punches.  I can remember good times too - our trip to Pennsylvania in that old car - four kids and 2 adults on that long trip, staying in motels where we used corn cobs in the stove so mom could rustle up some supper and breakfast, buying things in the store so we could  have lunch and fighting to see who could pay the toll on the toll bridges.  We were gone three weeks and in the early 30's that was quite a trek.

Grandma Halverson   Irene   Eliza   Lorraine   Nick   Lee   Beth H.  Gene   Paul
Also can remember the times Mom would pack us four kids in the car and head for Grandma's house in Utah so that could can fruits and vegetables.  Loved to listen to all of my aunts and uncles tell stories.  True Halversons - they all stretched the truth a bit.  When Grandma came to Cheyenne to visit, she and Mom would take over the dining room and make quilts. I was the one on the floor who had to poke the needles back up.

The picture that always comes to mind when I think about Mom is of her sitting in her chair, tatting of crocheting like made, a twinkle in her blue eyes, her belly bouncing up and down while she was chuckling - she just pulled a fast one on someone and she just ate that up.

Mother died much too young - her nine grandchildren did not get to know her but I know they would have all thought she was wonderful.

Eliza Halverson, born 7/13/1902, Palmyra, Ut; died 12/31/1947

Nicholas Sutler, born 12/22/1888, Zagreb, Yugo.    12/14/1963
Floyd Sutler, born     3/11/1922, Cumberland, Wyo   3/29/1989
Fred Sutler, born      5/28/1923, Cumberland, Wyo  
Irene Sutler, born    11/28/1924, Cumberland, Wyo  
Lorraine Sutler, born 12/20/1929, Superior, Wyo     9/10/1966

NICK SUTLER Rites Today;  Services for Nick Louis Sutler, 75, of 1811 Milton Drive, who died Saturday at Memorial Hospital after a brief illness, heart attack, will be held at 3.30 P.M. today at the Wuderspahn Chapel of the Chimes.  The Rev. Stanley Guille will officiate.  Burial will be at Beth El Cemetery. 

Sutler, a resident of Cheyenne for 22 years, had been a Blacksmith for the Union Pacific for 12 years before retiring.  Born 20 Dec. 1888, died 14 Dec. 1963 and buried 17 Dec. 1963.


A Love Story    by Sally Paquette

I met Don (Gurwell) in 1966 at a part time job at the Cinema Theaters in Toledo.  Don and I were seventeen years old.  We dated off and on for about a year.  After graduating from high school, me from Whitmer and Don from Sylvania High School, I enrolled at the University of Toledo in the College of Education.  Don joined the Marine Corps.  We dated the summer of 1967.  In the fall, Don was going to be sent to Vietnam.  Before he left, Don asked me to marry him.  Actually, he wanted to elope.  I said I didn’t think it was a good idea since I was in school and he was going off to war.  So we didn’t marry.
Sally Paquette  Don Gurwell the cowboy
While in Vietnam, Don said he often looked at a certain star in the sky and thought of me.  We wrote to each other when we could.  While he was there, he sent two ribbons from his uniform, a rifle sharpshooter ribbon and a Purple Heart Ribbon, to have as keepsakes.  During the nine months he was in Vietnam, he was wounded several times but always returned to combat.  In August, 1968, Don was severely wounded and sent back to the states.  He spent nine months at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Chicago where I visited him.  The following summer I visited Don in California, near the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton.  Even though we saw each other through 1969, we drifted apart.  At that time, I felt that he didn’t seem interested in me anymore, so we stopped seeing each other.
It wasn't until fifteen years later that I realized that he was traumatized by the war.  I learned this when I happened to travel on a school field trip with a former combat medic who saw service in Vietnam.  He said that many Vietnam War veterans returned back to the states unable to allow themselves to deal with civilian life.  They saw and did so many terrible things in Vietnam.  I was so young at the time and I didn't understand what was happening to Don.  As years went on, I married and had a daughter and taught history and French at Whitmer.  After being discharged from the Marine Corps, Don went to live in Wyoming where his mother, Irene, was originally from.  He graduated from the University of Wyoming, taught school, bought a horse ranch and married.  After we parted in 1969, I continually thought of Don every day.  At the Lutheran church I attended, I had a certain spot in Church that I would look upon and be reminded of him.  Don said he often searched the sky for the star that reminded him of me.  For about thirty five years I longed to see or hear of him, but I was afraid to initiate contact.  I still had the military ribbons that he had given me in 1968 and always felt that I shouldn’t have them.  These ribbons belong to family members.  Even though his family lived in town, I never made contact.  Years passed and I was no longer married.  In 2004 I read in the newspaper that his father had died and the funeral was going to take place I Sylvania.  I had an hour to decide to go to the funeral home to return the ribbons and to see him.  I really felt that I should return these ribbons because at the time the Iraq war had just started and so many people were so passionate about the decision to go to war.  I didn’t know how his family would feel about these keepsakes.  So, I thought, “I am a public high school teacher, I can face anything!”  I went to the funeral home to return the ribbons to Don.  I hadn’t seen him in thirty five years.  He was no longer married.  He accepted the ribbons and said he would 
David     Don Sr.     Irene     Don     Beth      Duke   Gurwell
give them to his nephew.  The next day after the funeral, he called me and asked me to have dinner with his family.  We then started to see each other when he was in town, but mostly we corresponded by mail.  At Christmas time in 2005, I decided to accept his invitation to visit him in Wyoming.  I stayed a week.  The following April 2006, we decided to get married.  The summer of 2006 we traveled to Hawaii.  We set the date to marry in July, 2007.  We were so happy.  However, that following December, his mother called and told me that there was a terrible accident.  While hunting, Don had been kicked in the head by a horse.  His mother said he had a brain trauma injury and a concussion and that he was life-flighted to a hospital in Casper.  I called his brother, Duke to tell him I was going with him to Wyoming the next day.  One hour into our 

twenty two hour journey, the hospital called and said that Don was talking and eating.  I knew he was out of life threatening danger but he was still very ill.  Duke and I stayed for ten days at his ranch helping Don recover.  Duke transported the horses to another ranch, and he and I closed down the house.  We then moved Don back to Toledo for his recuperation.  He stayed with his mother and me until Christmas.  He returned to Wyoming and recovered well enough to bring his horses back to the ranch and continue working.  We are corresponding by “snail mail” until our marriage July 28, 2007, which is almost forty years to the day that he first asked me to marry him!  We decided to retire from teaching and ranching to be with each other forever.
Grandma H   Irene  Eliza Lorraine  Nick  Lee  Beth H  Gene  Paul  Wyoming

Donald Dale Gurwell was born20 Mach 1949 in Toledo, Ohio.  He is the oldest son of my first cousin, Irene.  

Monday, December 5, 2011




Charles, Bill, John Houghton  Castle Gate
Wilfred Houghton was born April 26, 1908, in Castle Gate, Carbon County, Utah, the son of Charles Houghton and Catherine Burrows Houghton.  He always went by the name of Bill or William although he thought his name was Wilford.  On his death my mother had to obtain a birth certificate and discovered his name was really Wilfred.  He was the seventh of 8 children.  The children were Agnes, Gladys, Sarah Ann, Elizabeth May, George Herbert, Charles Albert, Wilfred, and John Thomas.  The first five children all died in childhood.  Agnes apparently died of burns suffered when her nightgown caught fire.  I do not know the details of the others but they were dead before Charles and Catherine came to this country in 1907 (?). 

Uncle Charlie (Charles Arthur) says that he remembers going to Niagara Falls when they were enroute to Utah after arriving in this country.

I don't know much about his early childhood.  He lived with his parents and his two brothers in small houses in Castle Gate.  I have heard stories that the family of five and three boarders lived in a three room house.  He told me a few stories of his youth.  In 1924 an explosion in the coal mine at Castle Gate killed 173 men.  My father, not quite 16 at the time, worked with the undertakers preparing the bodies for burial.  He evidently witnessed the embalming process since the details he related have been corroborated from other accounts.  His job was to carry the waste out and dispose of it in privies.
Helen Nielson   Winter Quarters

He ran around with a crowd including, Andrew Wallace, his cousin, Robert Lambert, and my mother's cousin, Leo Nielson.  There are a few others that I do not recall.  He made a trip to California somewhere around 1928 With a few friends in a Model T Ford.  They evidently had many adventures.  He often told of using his belt to shim up a bearing in the desert between Bishop, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

He and my mother ran away to Castle Dale, Emery County, Utah. on September 18, 1931 be married.  It was supposed to be a secret but he borrowed two dollars for the marriage license from the town barber, Steve Alfieres.  By the time the whole town knew about it.

He started working on the tipple(more correctly coal tip) at Castle Gate shortly after the explosion and after dropping out of high school in the tenth grade (or was it the ninth).  He worked there for the rest of his life.  While I was growing up he ran the dump where the coal cars were dumped into the tipple.  It was a dusty job, Very cold and windy in the Winter and hot in the summer.  The dust and his smoking combined to give him emphysema which afflicted him the last few months of his life

Veda    Helen  Nielson   Winter Quarters
My mother, Ellen Vernetta Nielsen, was born in Winter Quarters, carbon County, Utah, June 25, 1913, the daughter of Joseph Henry Nielson and Florence May Hall.  She was the second of six children.  The children were Veda May, Ellen Vernetta, Joseph Henry Jr., Ethel, Jack and John James. 

As with my father (does this run in the family?), she went by the wrong name during her entire life, being convinced of this finally by her birth certificate which she needed for Social Security when my father died.  Marie Gilbert, who had been my grandmother's best friend, kept telling my mother that her name was really Ellen, after her mother's mother, but that her English relatives added the h as in h'eggs.  Her mother died in 1924 when she was 11 years old.  The family had a rough time of it due to the father's alcoholic problem.  Grandpa Joe later married Jenny Gibson and although they were divorced his children remained very close to her for the remainder of her life. 

My mother had very happy memories of her childhood in Winter Quarters.  The entire town seemed to be one extended family.  The same was almost true in Castle Gate but there were more divisions there due party to the varied ethnic backgrounds of the people and mainly to the geography.  The town was divided naturally into three parts, the main part of town North of the tipple, Coke oven row (South of the tipple where there used to be coke ovens), and Willow Creek, spread out along Utah Highway 33 below the mine entrance. 

Mother dropped out of high-school in the eleventh or twelfth grade.  I don't know what she did tween then and when she married but Grandma Jenny ran the boarding house, so I suspect that she worked there. 
Beth Harvey H., Bill  Helen Lee  Gene  Joyce  Sharron Viv  Charley

Some of my first recollections of family life are of the period when we lived in the "rows" in Castle Gate in a fairly small house.  It was originally a three room house, about 24 feet square with two rooms across the front and along room across the back of the house containing the kitchen.  The long room was later divided into two rooms to make a small bedroom.  There was no hot water and no bathroom.  A privy in the back yard provided refreshing experiences in the Winter.  We had no refrigerator.  During the Summer an orange crate covered with burlap and kept wet provided whatever cooling we needed. 

Castle Gate
I can remember that Grandma Jenny bought me a new outfit for my birthday, it must have been about the sixth or seventh birthday, and the family was coming over for a party.  I was dressed in the new outfit and went out in the front yard.  The neighbor kids came over with a new kitten which I picked up.  The kitten was sick and had a diarrhea all down the front of my new outfit.  I think that is the basis for my general dislike of cats. 

This house in the rows was kitty-corner from the house of Grandpa and Grandma Houghton.  Grandpa died in 1937 of cancer of the throat.  I can remember that he used to sit on the front porch in his rocking chair.  He could not talk in the later stages of his illness which is all that I can recall.  I remember being held up to see him in his casket. 
Charles  Catherine Burrows Houghton

This proximity had advantages and disadvantages.  I could nip over to grandma's house easily to get a cookie or whatever.  She used to make a cake with caraway seeds in it.  Whenever I see or smell caraway seeds, I can taste that cake.  The closeness also meant that she could nap me or my sisters for errands.  With no refrigeration in either house, we used to buy perishables as needed and this made frequent trips to the store.  She would send me at least once a day, often twice, to get 10 cents worth of hamburger, a loaf of bread, a can of condensed milk (it kept longer when opened than fresh milk), what ever. 

After grandma and grandpa Nielson's divorce and Uncle Jack and Uncle Jim went off to the Navy during World War II, our family moved in with grandpa Nielsen since he had a rather large house.  This was a welcome move, relatively speaking, since there were four of us kids by that time.  My brother and I slept in what had been the bathroom.  The house had originally been used by one of the higher-ups in the mining Company but when he moved out he took the bathroom with him.  Again we had a privy in the back yard although this one was further from the house behind the pigeon coop, thus less smelly in the Summer but a colder, longer trip in the winter. 
Joyce                Sharron               Charles                         Bill

Grandpa Nielsen lived in two rooms in front of the house and we had the remaining five rooms.  My bedroom (and my brothers) was the passageway from the dining-living room to my sister's bedroom.  My brother and I slept in a three-quarter bed.  Later when my Uncle Jack came home from the Navy he slept with me and my brother Billy slept on the sofa.