John Albert Bonsteel Autobiography
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My Early Life
My great grandfather, Jacob Bonesteel, was probably the first family member to go to Canada. It was during the Revolutionary War and he was a Loyalist. He came up from New York State, crossing at the narrowest part of the river.
The first home of the family was on a farm in North Hemsworth Township. Grandpa, Albert Montgomery Bonsteel, homesteaded there. He divided his land off to give to his children. We had 200 acres with only 40 acres cleared. When we moved, Dad practically gave his share away for $200.
My dad, Anson LeRoy Bonsteel, was married in Sudbury and brought his wife, Isabella Martin Carmichael home to the farm where the rest of his brothers and sisters lived with their families.
My oldest sister, Marion Idelle was born in North Hemsworth on April 6, 1890. Then my family moved and Dad went back to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, where he had a chance for a job in a copper mill. My sister Mary Charlotte was born there February 24, 1892; I was born there March 30, 1894, and my two brothers were born there, Lyle Herbert on January 30, 1896 and Frederick Rupert on March 30, 1897. We lived in Sudbury for several years. Caroline Elizabeth was born in Wisawasa on September 15, 1899.
Our neighbors in Wisawasa had a black bear chained to a post and when I was born my sister Mary, just older than me, asked Mother to feed me to the bear so she could have her rightful place back as baby of the family.
One time I was so sick with bronchitis I almost died. The doctor said there was nothing he could do to pull me through and he suggested that my Mother try anything she could think of. My grandmother was living with us at that time and they got onions and cooked them up and made poultices to put on the front and back of my chest. They filled stockings with the onions and brought them up to my elbows and put them on my legs. I can remember sitting on my Father’s lap with my little arms and feet sticking out of the socks. I had pneumonia when I was five years old.
Some of the best friends of our family were Indians. The woman was a midwife and assisted in the births of children in our family. Years later the son of the man met me and told me how much he liked Dad.
A log had been laid across the creek near our place so we could go the dairy barn where the cattle were. One day I was crossing the log to go see a man that worked there who gave me candy. My little brother Herbert was following me. I got over, but before Herbert got across he fell off the log. My sister who was following Herbert ran and jumped into the water and got Herbert and brought him to the shore.
Even after that experience I still didn’t have enough water. I guess it fascinated me like it does all kids. One time I was going down to the stream, my uncles were building a house upon the opposite side of the lake, and one of my uncles saw me from the top of the house and jumped off and ran down towards the stream to meet me. The river was full of logs being floated down to the saw mill and when he saw that I was about to fall in ran across the logs and got me before I got to the big river.
We had a well-made log house and it was thoroughly chinked—not drafty at all. It had an upstairs. It didn’t have separate rooms but it had wires along the ceiling which were hung with curtains to separate the different areas. The sleeping quarters was upstairs. A lean-to was built which was roofed over with boards and this was used as a kitchen in the summer. In the winter the cook stove was moved back into the house. We had a heating stove with a chimney going upstairs. We made a drum out of four elbows and two T’s that kept us warm. A drawing knife was used to make shavings from cedar wood and at night the shavings, which would light quickly, were used to make a fire in the stove.
One of my early memories was when my Father took a couple of us in a little sleigh with a rail around it to the barber shop in the wintertime. This was quite an event, and I can remember seeing the barber there with is scissors and comb.
We had a Grandmother, Caroline Hughson that lived in the settlement. She lived by Fathers’ oldest brother, William. The other relations were Uncle “Tone”, Uncle Elph, Aunt Ada Melinda (Aunt Liney), my Fathers’ only sister, and their families. The members of this large family group got along well with each other. My cousins were my best friends.
I had one cousin my age who was going to “trim” me. However, I trimmed him and we were friends before we went the rest of the mile home. The fight was right outside the schoolhouse.
Aunt Liney Martin went to Calendar, four miles out, to live. My Mom and Dad made up a Christmas box and sent to her since her husband was no good. They lived on top of a hill with a ramp going down with 2 X 4’s to step on. Her husband used to beat her up and this time he wasn’t going to let Dad in that house, and he and Dad rolled out of the house and down that ramp and almost into the lake. He never came back to the house after that.
Aunt Liney’s oldest boy died. The next boy bought some of the property 10 years ago by the place his grandfather’s house was located and built a beautiful big home there. It is beautiful country. It is covered with maples so big you can’t get your arms around them. While we were on the farm my Dad was a cook. He used to go out and take a sharp axe and get the bark off the tree and boil it up and use the juice for sweeting.
If any of the men got into trouble with anyone else the whole group would go out and take Dad with them. He was the tough one, trained by his father in wrestling. He wasn’t a big man but he could handle himself. He whipped guys’ way bigger than him. He was usually able to settle the dispute for them. One time a bully who worked with him was going to trim him and they had it out. Dad got the best of him and was the hero because of this.
Dad wasn’t a hunter, Uncle Elph used to do most of the hunting in the family.
One time some people came to town to get jobs in the mill and there was no house for them to live in. The man was sick and he had a family. The only place they could get in a hurry to live in was a slaughter house where cattle had been run in. My Dad and some more men went out with shovels and scraped the slaughter house out and cleaned it and got water. Then some of the women helped scrub the floor.
Dad was always helping someone out. He lost out in the long run because he always gave more than he got.
The school was one mile from our place and there was a little village, Wisawasa, 1 ½ miles away. There was a big sawmill there, a general store, a post office, and a few housed for the people who worked in the mill.
My father used to go up in the winter with them as cook in the camp and he would come down with the log drive. As they came down they made their last stop at the head of the rapids as the river narrowed. They put a bridge across the rapids and they built a chute. They would put the logs down one at a time where they would be carried down to the bottom.
Since Dad was working there we would go up sometimes and have a feed. We ate beans baked in the hot coals in iron kettles with the lid on. They would put it down the afternoon of one day and take them out the next day. They made bread the same way. I’ve never tasted better bread.
My family moved from Sudbury back to the farm in North Hemsworth Township when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I had never lived there. I started my grade schooling up there. We had a man teacher. I went for two or three years.
One time Mother had been helping Dad pick tomatoes off before frost and he was so tired. She said, “You are going to have to get Liney” (Ada Melinda). He said, “Can’t it wait until morning?” He had to go across the other farm to get her. The baby, Caroline Elizabeth, came too fast and Mother ruptured. That caused here to have many problems until she had her operation later in life.
Our neighbors were all relatives except for one family who bought a farm next to my Uncle Elp’s farm.
The only vacations I remember were when a bunch of the family would get together in the summertime and go picking raspberries and blueberries. We would either go in the wagon or take a boat up the lake. We canned enough to take us through the next year. Mother had a 10 or 12 gallon crock. She put blueberries in that crock and put a cloth over it and a board over that and she would dip them out all winter long. We all enjoyed these outing very much.
Our basement was a dugout under the house. The vegetables were stored there. It was so cold where we lived that they would kill a beef and hang a quarter of it out in the shed. We would go out with a saw and knives and get pieces of the suet off. I liked to eat that. The beef would keep during the four month of winter.
Before our garden came in each summer food sometimes got so low that we would have to live on milk and butter. Mother would put sour cream on the table and we would sweeten that and we loved it. We would take buttermilk and do the same thing. Sometimes we would put chunks of dough in buttermilk and cook it into dumplings. We liked that too.
Our social life consisted mostly of family picnics at the lakeshore or square dances which would be held in the various homes. If we went anywhere or did anything it was as a family group.
The children in our family made their own fun. We traveled around the woods and went down to the stream where we swam in the water by the bridge.
We had to work, too. One of my chores was to carry wood to keep the wood box full. I also helped in the garden and got the eggs.
We had to walk to church on Sundays in the summertime. We attended a non-denominational church. In the winter we stayed home and read the Bible because the snow was so deep. In the winter when we had to go to the store my cousins walked in the tracks and they made me walk in the snow in the center of the road.
The village of Calendar was four miles further out. We moved from the farm to the large town or small city of North Bay which was eight miles further out. My father brought a house which was partly built next to my Uncle Elph’s house and with the help of my Uncle, who was a good carpenter; he raised a roof and made rooms in it. It was big, with four bedrooms. We lived in it for a while and then sold it.
I went to grade school in North Bay for three or four years. I was in the third or fourth grade when we moved from North Bay.
Dad acquired some mining interests up north so we moved to Latchford. I finished my grade schooling there. I passed out of grade school and was passed on to high school but never went. We moved that year.
That summer I got my first job at Latchford on the conveyor chain of the sawmill where the refuse come out and gets burned up. My job was to toss the big pieces into a hopper and they would be bailed up for firewood.
In 1910 we moved to Port Arthur, Ontario. We rented a house there. I went to work delivering groceries instead of going on the high school to help take care of the family. Dad had been pretty sick with rheumatism and since I was the third child and the oldest boy I had to help. After that I drove a butter wagon. Then I went to work for what is now the Port Arthur Shipping Company.
Electricity was getting to be the big thing then and I had the idea of taking up electrical work so I got a job at the shipyard as a trainee. I worked there for some years until I went in the army during World War I.
My Service Experience
Instead of being drafted I went to Winnipeg on May 2, 1918 and enlisted in the Canadian Engineer British Expeditionary Forces. This was about a year after the American government became involved in the war. England had already been in the war for some time. I chose that branch of the service because of my interest in electrical work. I thought I might be of some use in that field. My war number was 2502950. I was in “D” Company, 9th Battalion. They just gave us the basics and then shipped us down to the basic training place at Brockford, Ontario. We waited in Halifax for so many days until the American ships that were taking their solders over came up to Halifax from New York and there was a British Battleship that led us across the Atlantic. This made it possible for us to travel in convoy. When we got into the Irish Sea it was safer because we were in convoy. We had seven submarine destroyers join us at this point and escort us into the Irish Sea. We went in at a naval base at Liverpool in England. The Irish Sea was a dangerous place because some boats had been torpedoed there before.
In England they were only giving promotions to those who had experience and I was made Lance Corporal. I felt I was doing my duty and this made my service time a good experience. I tried to be a good soldier.
While I was in the Army I met a young Canadian fellow in England who was training to be a Methodist minister. We took a liking to each other and stayed together most of the time while we were in France and Belgium and back in England again. He was a clean-cut fellow. After we were discharged we corresponded. I got a post card from him saying he was being sent into the Northwestern Provinces for his first preaching assignment. He said he was coming up on the boat and I met the boat and his wife. He had been engaged before he went overseas.
While we were serving in Belgium we used to make waffles and we put lard on them if we didn’t have any butter. Sometimes we would go into the YMCA and get a can of syrup for ourselves and we would give the family we lived with what we didn’t use. We were billeted with a family. The government paid them for keeping us there. They became good friends.
Once we stayed in a barn and German lice drove us out. That was the only time we tried staying in a barn.
I was discharged on March 30, 1919 in Toronto at the age of 25.
My Move to the United States
After the service I couldn’t get my job back because I didn’t have enough time in to qualify as a journeyman, so even though I had quit my job to do my duty and join the army, I was out of work after I got back.
I helped my brother-in-law start a dairy farm and then I worked for a season with the railroad fire protection men. I had heard of fellows who had gone to the United States to work in the factories in Detroit so I thought I would try to get a job in the Detroit branch of the shipping company I had worked for in Canada. So I went to Detroit in 1923 with my mother and my brother Fred.
On the way to Detroit I met the foreman in the Maintenance Department of General Motors’ Cadillac factory who said my brother and I looked like a couple of fellows who liked to do a job right. He took my name and address and said he would recommend us to get a job where he worked if we couldn’t find another one. We did have trouble getting a job so we looked him up. This was my first job in the United States.
After a while I left the Cadillac factory and went down to the ship building company to inquire about employment. I got a job right away in the Electrical Department because I had worked for their company in Canada.
The Gospel in My Life
Two missionary’s from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to the old farm and preached there. The folks on the farm hadn’t had much religion because it was so far away from the church and the terrible weather kept them home much of the year. My mother and the wife on one of my uncles and my Uncle Elph all joined the Reorganized Church. When we move to Port Arthur there was a man that was supposed to be a member of the Reorganized Church. He claimed to be a Priest but he was a rascal. Mother didn’t like the Reorganized Church at all. Because she didn’t like him she decided the church wasn’t right.
My Dad was religious by nature and belonged to the Salvation Army. Whenever he was in town he attended the meetings. He read the Bible every night when he was home. My mother went with him to the meetings and took the family but never felt right about that either.
After I came back from the war, two missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came up to Port Arthur. They were the first missionaries to go up there. They were first cousins—the Paxman cousins. They were going around tracking and they came to our place and were invited in. They explained the difference between their church and Mother’s but she didn’t accept the gospel then. My mother’s half-sister lived in Hamilton and my mother and sister went down to Hamilton to visit. Mother was taught the gospel in Hamilton and this time she accepted it. They went over to Toronto to the Mission President’s home and she was baptized there. She remained a faithful member all of her life. She had a lot of faith. Once she became sick and the elders blessed her and she was healed.
Dad told the elders that he had a dream and in the dream he was in swing going back and forth. He grabbed hold of the foot of the tree and hung on. He interpreted this to mean that he should stay with the Salvation Army. He never smoked or drank and only towards the end of his life got to smoking little cigars.
My mother was concerned that she didn’t have a son that would hold the priesthood so she asked the missionaries to come to the house one night and talk to me. When they got to teaching from the Book of Mormon I decided to read it. One of the Elders claimed to represent the true church. He reminded me that it says in Ephesians that the true church had prophets, apostles, teaches, etc., and he named all of the officers of the church. It started to make sense then and when I heard the Joseph Smith story I believed it. I was baptized in 1925 by the Presiding Elder and became a member of the Detroit Branch. I was confirmed by Lucille’s father, Archie Reed Alger. The members of the Detroit Branch were small in number but they were very friendly and this was another reason I wanted to join with them.
When I was working in the factory I ran across men whose parents belonged to the church. These missionaries had converted people all up through Michigan. People in every locality had joined the Church but they were too much alone and became inactive. After the Church got spread out and grew bigger then they were able to get together for their meetings.
In Dryden we were the only ones who were L.D.S. so we had to be careful to set an example. There was one man that kept my car in repair and I paid him a little bit every week. That way I had a car to go to work in. He didn’t belong to the church but you couldn’t ask for any better friend than him.
One time I was looking for a plumber and I went over to the plumber’s house and his wife said he wasn’t at home but that he was down at the beer garden. So I thanked her and went into the beer garden. I sat at his table and talked to him. The bartender asked if I wanted a drink. I said. “No thank you—just wanted to talk.” After I talked to him I left and someone mentioned later they had seen me in the beer garden. That shows how people notice and how careful we have to be.
During the war we were working on a government project making crocks for sewers and I shared my lunch with a man. He had some beer and I didn’t want any. One fellow said, “Hold my glass while I do something,” and someone had to make a remark about me holding the glass. People were very quick to say something in these circumstances I found.
You are never quite sure what your children will do not matter what you have taught them, especially when you are in a little town where thing show up more than in a big place. In a big town no one knows you except your next door neighbor and maybe not then but in a little town everyone knows you.
Marriage and Family
When I first met Lucille I wasn’t a member of the church but since my mother was a member I didn’t have any qualms about Lucille’s religion.
I wasn’t thinking of getting married at all when I met Lucille at Church. She had moved to New York with her family and then returned to Detroit to stay and this is when I met here. We knew each other for five years. Her father was the first Branch President of the L.D.S. Church in Detroit. This was the first branch of the church in Michigan. She was only 17 years old when I met her. She was a nice looking girl with all the characteristics that would make a good partner for me. The Presiding Elder married us.
I was living with my mother and my brother in a rented place and after I was married we continued to live there for a while. Then we move to several different localities always trying to find a place with enough ground so we could raise a garden.
Our first four children, Beverly, Pat, Jewel, and Melvin were born in Detroit. We moved from Detroit to Clawson where we were for two years. Arline and Sandra were born there. In 1937 we moved to the Pontiac Branch.
While we were in Clawson we got our first car—a Model T Ford. A man had driven it from Utah to Detroit so he would have transportation until he could buy a new car. He left it on the outskirts of town and told the Branch President about it. The Branch President said he knew a fellow that didn’t have a car and he gave it to us.
At last we found a vacant farm between Clawson and Birmingham. Some people were renting the property and had moved onto a piece of land next to it so they rented us the house and a good size piece of the ground. Kay, Sharon and Linda were born on the farm.
When we moved to the farm we got ourselves a little tractor to cultivate our garden. We called it the “Doodle Bug”. It was a dodge car with the body taken off and wheels put on the back. This made a tractor so we could plow. Someone had to walk behind and hold up the plow which was pulled by the doddle bug. It was just like having a horse.
We didn’t have newspapers or a radio and TV on the farm. Mamma had her washboard and did her washing on it for three years. We had a washing machine but no electricity to use it. I went down and saw the manager to see if they could put the electricity in the rest of the way to the house. He said they needed poles to put it in. Since the President of the electric company said he was going to bring electricity to the rural districts I went to see him and he said he would run the line in if I would put in the wiring. At first we felt we couldn’t afford the wiring but finally I was able to wire it and they put the lines in and hooked it up. So we finally had electricity for the washing machine. We had a pretty good garden there.
While on the farm I worked part time at the factory and part time for a farmer. This was during the depression.
The depression was rough because much of the time the only work I could get was a little government work—pick and shovel. In 1938 or 1939 I started to work at the auto plant but the depression hit so hard they had to close the factory down and I was laid off. The pick and shovel work only paid $12 to $13 a week. We had 8 to 9 children to feed from that. We did have the garden which was a big help to us. I think I was paying tithing before but I don’t think we paid tithing on that $12 during the depression. I don’t remember. I’ve always believed in tithing. I paid tithing before I joined the Church. But if I didn’t during the depression I don’t think the Lord will hold it against me. A man I was working with on government work gave me a patriarchal blessing. He cautioned me to pay my tithing. When the auto plant started to hire again in 1940 I was rehired. After we got steady work at the factory I got paid by the week. Every week we got a check and every check the tithing was taken out and every Sunday we went to church and turned in our tithing. I paid tithing 52 Sundays of the year and never missed. I was only getting 75 cents an hour when I first started out at the factory. We raised our family, paid our tithing, and I think that’s what helped us get through to the Lord. We also paid our fast offering.
Mother kept the hours and looked after the children and canned the vegetables. Once on the farm the shelves in the dugout basement broke and 100 two-quart bottles were destroyed. The shelves were long and thick and when they gave way, what a mess!
When we were on the old farm a tornado came up ¼ mile away from us. It took the top off barns all around us but we escaped with just the loss of a few shingles.
When the owner of the farm sold the property we had to move. We looked all over for another place to rent but no one would rent a house to a family with nine children. We hunted and hunted for a place we could afford and finally found a house in Dryden, 30 miles to the north. To make some extra money for the down payment we raised chickens. We cleaned and dressed them and I would take them in and sell them at the factory. We still needed $500. The credit union man at the factory said we didn’t have enough collateral to borrow the $500 that I needed but he broke the rules and got it for us so this gave us enough for our down payment and we moved out to Dryden on December 12, 1943.
The farmer I worked for let me borrow a bed truck for moving and what a lot of work it was! Everyone big enough and not sick helped move. Mother was pregnant with Penny and was also ill with the flu, so the move was very hard on her.
Pat stayed at Clawson when I went out for the second-to-the last load of furniture. It took a long time to unload it and when we finally got back to Pat she had been sitting alone in the dark house for long hours waiting to see the pickup come back. I felt so bad about this experience that I let her drive the car. Up to this time Pat had only been allowed to drive the Doodle Bug, so this made her very happy.
Our place in Dryden was five acres. There were 11 rows of grapes, 130 feet long, when we moved there and we had an acre of ground at the house which we used as a garden. After we moved to Dryden we bought a rototiller. This was the year Pat and Clayton were married. Out little garden tractor wasn’t heavy enough to work the clay soil.
During this time we raised several calves and sold them as veal.
I remember the day the United States became involved in World War II. On the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing everyone was excited over the Japanese and one of the foremen who was holding a stapler was telling what he would do the Japs and he whammed the staple into his hand.
We went through the Second World War in Birmingham and at Dryden. While everyone was on rationing coupons we had more than enough coupons. We had more gas coupons than we needed and we used these to pay our way to go to work, giving an occasional gas coupon to the other drivers. Instead of me driving my car we rode with other people in their cars. After we moved to Dryden I was 35 miles from work.
I was working at the factory during World War II and the factory got a tremendous order to produce parts for the war effort. One building was used to make parts for the engines of the submarines, tanks, trucks, etc. They had a sign up at the factory telling of a vehicle which had a motor breakdown in the African desert. They had wanted to fix it up and a mechanic tried to get parts to repair it but since General Motors hadn’t been careful to put the part number on it he couldn’t replace it and the truck was lost. We had to be sure that all parts were carefully numbered.
We were working all the time at the factory. There was a tremendous waste of money during the war. They hired many more men than they needed so they also had a bunch without much to do. I remember going into the lavatory downstairs one day and seeing people jammed into this very large room just as tightly as possible. Other men were up doing work. When they couldn’t get younger fellows they hired older men. There was a lot of manpower in the country. They also had women go to work. Women would package stuff on the line which was on tables 50 to 75 feet long.
When I retired from General Motors I had worked there between 22 and 23 years. When I first began working I worked on the busses. I drove a truck most of the time. I spent a lot of time working in the Sanitation Department, keeping the factory clean.
We had two vacations when we were at Dryden. The first vacation we ever had was when we came to Salt Lake City in 1955. Then again in 1960 we came west and saw Bev and went to California to see Arline in the camper.
In 1955 we were sealed in the temple in Salt Lake City. The Pontiac Ward was small then—not very many people. They put on a dinner and asked us to come and bring the family, we went. At that time they were collecting money for the building fund. They had a big bowl on the table and people were throwing money into it. I didn’t have an idea that they were collecting for anything but the building fund until they got up and said they were putting it in for us to go to Salt Lake City. I thought I wanted to do it myself and didn’t want anyone to put in for us and they said, “Don’t you want to go out and see your daughter married?” We did take it. George Romney was Stake President and he gave a check to the fund. All together they collected over $400. Lorraine Modica had drawn a picture of a covered wagon with children sticking out all over it. One fellow in the branch loaned us a new station wagon. Patricia was the only one who could drive then. Bev and Jewel were already in Utah. Arline came out on the bus because she couldn’t get that much time off and she went back with us. When we got out here we had all kinds of places to go and people who wanted us but Fontella and Noel had a good size house with a large garage what was clean and they asked us to stay at their place. We had our meals there on a picnic table. Fontella and Noel gave us their bed and they slept in a tiny room. The kids slept on cots in the garage. We had them all sealed at this time but Melvin who was in the Navy and stationed in Japan. We went through the temple 6 times. Besides our sealing we had a wonderful time, thanks to the good people in the Pontiac Ward. This experience was direct answers to revelation, for my patriarchal blessing said that in a time of need my friends would rise up and help me.
We Move to Utah
We lived at Dryden for 20 years before we moved to Utah. In 1963 we sold our house. We had bought it for $5,000 and sold it for $12,000. We had fixed it up. We painted it before we moved. We had lived with coal heat and had put a new furnace in it. Then we put a stoker in there and piped the heat to all of the rooms. Before we moved we had the furnace reconverted to gas which came into the house from the street. This cost us $500 but made it easier to sell the house.
Russell helped me and we cleaned everything out of the basement. It was just a beautiful big room after we had cleaned it out. We really washed it out and everything else. We fixed the foundation and sealed it all in. That is another thing that helped sell that house.
The children helped a lot in the garden and in the fixing up of the house.
We bought a big truck and arranged the furniture on it and then we drove it to Utah. We had sent for a newspaper and we looked at the ads. After our arrival we stayed at a motel. One day we were driving along the street and we saw this house for sale so we went in and looked it over. The neighbor came out and told us who owned it. As we were looking it over the owner came from his farm and stopped. The owner told us the price and it seemed right so we bought it. Buying it from the owner instead of the real estate man saved us $300. The truck we brought out was taken out to California by Arline’s husband, Monty. We paid quite a bit as down payment on the money for it. We had paid off the house in Dryden and made enough out of our home in Dryden to buy a home out here.
We belonged to the First Ward in St. George during our entire time there. We lived in St. George for 7 years. For four years I was assistant to the president of the High Priest's Quorum. I was cub master for two years. Then the Stake put me down in the Temple Library to work.
You couldn't ask for better friends and neighbors than we had in St. George. They still stop by to see us when they come north.
At the St. George Temple we had our son Melvin sealed to us. All of the children were married in the temple but Patricia and Bernard who were back in Michigan. When we moved out to Utah they came out and were sealed. In 1970 we moved from St. George, Utah, to Orem, Utah.
Influences in My Life
Lucille's Father was a great influence on me. Also important in my life were the examples of the prophets.
While I was in Michigan I was superintendent of the Sunday School and was in the M.I.A. for a while. I was Ward Clerk for nine years. For years Lucille didn't go to church when there were little babies all of the time.
We taught our children how to pray and when they grew up they didn't forget it even when the young girls went to work in California. One time I asked one daughter if she would offer a blessing on the food. She replied that just because they were away from home they hadn't turned heathen. I didn't preach the gospel as strongly to them as some think I did. I think if they all will remember back they will see that their mother was with them more at the time. I worked nights and slept part of the day. However, they seem to have all found that it pays to live right. They are now raising their own families and living right makes it a little easier for them to go ahead with the bringing up of their own families. I am pleased that they are trying to raise their families the best they can. They all seem to be trying their best to live as good as they can. I have never seen a family as closely knit as ours where there is so much love for the parents especially their mother. This pleases me very much.
Another person who was a good influence in my life was Ed Jones. When I was home teaching in the Pontiac Ward we went to one home where the man did not think he was ready to be baptized yet. Ed Jones got to be Bishop and got on him and soon Ed Jones had him in the Church. Ed Jones was the one that got Bernard into the Church. Bernard always loved that man. Ed Jones also gave Melvin a loan which made it possible for Mel to go to Utah to school at the Brigham Young University. Ed Jones talked at Bernard's funeral.
The Ensign magazine means a lot to me. It has such good articles in it. It seems as though living near the headquarters of the church and the prophet make the things I read mean so much more. I never enjoyed the gospel as much as I do now. I think I must have been one of those who was baptized but not converted. I don't know why I haven't done better in my life when there has been such good counsel from the apostles and prophets. As a child I didn't really have and gospel teachings. We went to church when we lived in towns where there was one but that didn't teach the children in the home. I didn’t read the Bible when I was a little kid. Mother and Dad read the Bible but didn’t explain it because they didn't know how. Consequently I did things against the laws of God, The people we associated with felt that anything was alright, So that got into the minds of the older kids and they talked about it to the younger kids. We didn't have anything spiritual to offset it. We don't always have the strength to overcome our temptations, and I just love the words of the Bible. Someone once asked me what I saw in reading it so much. They said, "Once you read a book, that's enough". I find that I get more out of it all the time. When I get read up on my periodicals I get one of the standard works or one of my other books with pictures in them, But I don't find reading dry. I never was much on reading just for the sake of reading, however.
One of the stories that has meant a lot to me is the story of Admiral Perry in the North Pole. In this story it mentions that land birds go up into that fog. I've often wondered if maybe this means the lost tribes are up there. The only reading I do now is Church books.
My favorite song is "O My Father." I also enjoy "Come Come Ye Saints."
I like all food and am not particular as long as we have potatoes and good gravy. From the time of my mother on down we have always had good gravy makers. Mother was a good cook. In those days they used to teach those skills to their children. The only thing I don’t like in the way of food is spinach. I do like Swiss chard, though.
Genealogy is very important to me. I was in the church for 14 years before my mother passed on. She died December 21, 1939 and was buried December 24. Before she died she went down to visit her family and she got a list of her relations from them. After I got interested in genealogy I wrote to my uncles and aunts and got started on our genealogy and information on my father's father. If I hadn't joined the church I don't know how my children would have ever been able to get this genealogical information.
After I moved to St. George I enjoyed doing temple work. I used to go down two to four nights every week. I got an old friend, Will Carter, to go with me. He loved to go to the temple too and since his wife worked at the temple she had the car, so I drove my car and took him along.
Changes I Have Seen
The changes I have seen have come about gradually-not a sudden thing that was noticed but just bit by bit. There has been such advancement in everything--electricity, gasoline, steam engines, and airplanes. Transportation has changed tremendously. I had a car before I left Canada. My brothers and I bought a doctor's used car. Then cars had canvas tops and curtains at the windows. Of course, this has all been done away with.
Electricity has advanced so much since I did electrical work in the shipyard. Things that we used then are so obsolete now. Now people see something that was bought yesterday and think of a little bit of change that will make it better. An inventor can look into the future and see what other people can't see. Each individual perfects everything for someone else.
Food has changed tremendously. Now everything is in boxes and cans.
My father on the farm cut grain with a cradle. He went from a hand sickle to a grain cradle and then to a mower. My dad had a scythe that he cut his hay with. If he had grain left after we got it in the cradle be would cut it by hand, rake it up by hand and pick it up and bring it in. After that they had the mowing machine. Then they got a binding machine and they used to cut the grain in bundles and throw it off to the side. I saw the first binders come up into our country.
My mother and my aunts all wore six to eight petticoats which were always dragging the ground. They left a trail of dust behind when they walked. Only their shoes would show. Now they have got rid of a few of those petticoats. They were always talking about being so hot in later years and I wondered how they ever stood it when they wore all those clothes.
In 1971 I had a stroke. After the stroke everything was taken from my memory and I couldn't even remember the gospel principles. I had always talked to people about the gospel whenever I could—at work or anywhere else. The Lord has answered my prayer to have my memory back by bringing it back bit by bit. Trying to remember so this story of my life could be written has helped to bring back part of my memory. If I can have patience to wait I think it will all come back eventually. I can't yet get up and talk. Things don't come to my mind yet. But the weakest spots are getting stronger. If I am patient and live long enough I will get back to where I was before. I used to do things in the Church—not very much but I could get up and pray anytime they asked me to. It is coming a little bit.
I was with my first home teacher the night I got sick. This last year I have been going out home teaching again. Reading is my only hobby and for a long time. After I was sick I couldn't read. Now I read and if it sometimes doesn't seem right to me I go back. It is coming a lot better now.
John Albert Bonsteel Oral Genealogy
The earliest Bonsteel was Jacob (1742). My oldest uncle wrote me a letter, saying he went over to Canada and married a Welch woman who had come from Wales. In the archives of Ottawa I got a record of Jacob Bonsteel (l762) and he also had a son Jacob.
In the United Empire Loyalist Records Jacob Bonesteel of Edwardsburg, Grenville Co., So. Grover, Canada is listed.
His son was Jacob Bonsteel (1791) born in Elizabethtown, Hastings County in Canada. We didn't find that Jacob, Jr. had a child but through Jacob's burial certificate we found that his wife's name was Nancy. We hadn't known this before. Jacob, Jr. was the father of Albert Montgomery Bonsteel. Before four generations can be submitted we need a birth and death date on Jacob, Jr. (1793 or 1791).
Albert Montgomery Bonsteel is my grandfather. I have done his work. We can't seal him to his father because the dates are not complete on the father.
Caroline Hughson's father and brother had two big farms on the outside of Orangeville in Pell County, and when the town started to grow they bought the two farms and incorporated them into the town. Their temple work is all done.
Albert Montgomery's first wife was Adeline Lake. She was from Holton County when they got married. She was born about 1822 in Holton County and died in 1858 in Esquesing Township, Holton County, Ontario, Canada. Albert Montgomery Bonsteel was born May 7, 1819 in Elizabethtown, Canada, and died 17 October 1891 in Rochester, New York.
William Albert is my Uncle Will. Mary Jane Robinson is his wife. He was my father’s eldest brother. He was the one who gave me the information when I left Canada. They had no children.
Ernest Albert Martin married Melinda Bonsteel. They had a big family. The oldest boy grew to be a man and died. I had his work done and the work for one of her daughters done.
Anson LeRoy Bonsteel and Isabella Martin Carmichael were my parents. The work is done for them all. I had Caroline's work done and Fred's work done. Fred died in 1973. I had them done in the Provo temple on 1 November 1974.
Caroline was sealed to my father 18 October 1973. They were also endowed and baptized on 18 October. On 1 November 1974 Fred was baptized, endowed and sealed.
Marion Idelle is my oldest sister. I haven't got them sealed yet. They had got three children who have died. They had a chance to hear the gospel. Now the gospel is taught to investigators in two or three weeks. Then it went on for 10 to 12 years and Satan had time to get to work on them.
Work has been done for Mary Charlotte's family and they are sealed together. Two of the deceased children have been sealed to them.
Carmichael is my mother's family name. I was from the second family. John Worke Carmichael came from Ireland. There is no record on him. I have checked in all the shipping records that came over. I got someone in the library to write a letter to get shipping records. There was nothing, He came over from Ireland and married Janet Russell, That's where mother came into the line,
One child is not sealed--Joseph Worke Carmichael. He is not dead. He came from Sudbury down to North Bay and then out to Latchford. I think I have the notice of his wife's burial. When I last heard of him he was down near Ottawa working in the lumber industry. This was in the 1930's.
Martin Luther Carmichael was not sealed.
All the uncles came over from the United States to Canada and they settled up in Renfrew, Canada in Ontario and went into the lumber business.
Calvin Follett Carmichael had two boys. No dates are available. The work has to be done for them. There is no death date for him. They have not been sealed. They had a child. He died in 1889 and they couldn't have the child sealed to them. They had the work and another child did not have work done for him. He died as a child. This was Harold. There were no sealing’s.
John Worke Carmichael married Mary Charlotte Mcintosh (second wife). I can't get anything on him or on his second wife either. They had four children. The oldest girl got married and had two or three children and lived in Hamilton. I lost her address and was going to write when I took sick. I wanted to get information have the one girl's full married name. No work has been done for them and no work has been done on the dead child. There are no dates for these others here. I know Robert Carmichael is dead. I wrote to his wife about two or three years after she had been up to my sister's to visit and my sister had seen her and they sent me back the letter that she was deceased. She is buried in Shaplo where her husband always worked. He was an engineer on the railroad.
If the children could each take names and help by writing letters it would be nice. We could get this work done. But I can't even write to my children and ask them to do this.
We know the children of Mary Charlotte Carmichael are dead. How would you write to get a certificate of the burial?
Mary Charlotte Carmichael has a daughter (Potolinie?) Violet McLarn. I went over to see my sister in the hospital. We were in her house in Toronto. She was crippled up until she was very small and her husband could pick her up and carry her around. He (Robert Ptotemig) wrote me a letter and said he was just about blind. I got her sister's history and her husband's. Cora McLarn, wife of George Hunter. They had four children.
There is work to be done on the family of Robert McDermid. He was from Caldwell, New Jersey. Mother moved after leaving Detroit.
Life Story of Lucille M Alger
Contributor: dvdmovieking Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
My natural parents were Della E. Young and Ralph Alger who was a brother to my adopted father, Archie Reed Alger. When I was eight years old I went to Detroit to spend the summer with my uncle Archie and my aunt, Minnie Arbelle Backus. During that summer my parents got a divorce. Each of them married again. Ralph Alger married Mable Baker-Chesebro. My natural mother married Lee Roberts who had three children of his own and the two of them had two children after that. Ralph and Mable did not have any children. Mabel’s first husband died and she had two children from the first marriage. Ralph had a farm next to Grandpa Alger’s. We used to see Mabel and Ralph from time to time.
When I was 14 years old I was legally adopted by my Uncle Archie and Aunt Minnie and when I was 19 I was sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple along with Ione and Fontella. Archie and Minnie were also sealed to each other at this time. It was through their efforts that I was baptized when I was 9 years old and raised in the Church. Had I not been adopted I might never have become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Maybe I would have been a member of no church at all, for though my own people were good clean-living people, they were not religious in any sense of the word.
When my adopted father and mother, Archie and Minnie, were married, neither of them were members of the Church. Minnie’s mother and father, John Joseph Morris Backus and Elizabeth Layle, had been converted by missionaries who were passing through Michigan. They were baptized about the time Minnie was 5 years old. She was blessed in the church but was never baptized. They were left all alone—the only church members in that area. Grandpa Backus taught Sunday School in a Baptist church for years after he was baptized a Mormon because there were no Mormon churches in that area. After they were baptized people who had been good friends walked across the street to avoid them. They maintained their testimonies in the face of persecution and taught their children that there was one true church and that one day they would find out for themselves. That was back in pioneer days in Michigan.
Grandma Backus died around the time I first went to Detroit.
I was adopted first, and then my sister Ione who was 1 ¾ years older than me, then after that Fontella was born to Minnie and Archie. Mother had four or five miscarriages.
My father was a wonderful man, a person who was at ease with people of any station of life. He would fit in anywhere. He was born in a little one-story house hear Newaygo in western Michigan. He attended a one-room school house until the age of 12, and then he and his brother went to high school in Newaygo, three miles from their home. He graduated when he was 17 years old.
He became a country school teacher for the fall and winter terms for the next two years, returning to the farm for the spring and summer work.
His high school principal directed him toward the engineering profession because of his mathematical ability and he attended Michigan State College where he received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He taught for the next seven years at Michigan State College and at the University of Illinois. During this time he received another degree and became known as a Civil Engineer.
On September 6, 1905 he married Minnie Backus. Within two weeks of their wedding Minnie decided that if what had been told her parents had told her was true she should find out and tell her husband. Minnie was soon convinced of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but she labored for seven long years to convince here her husband. They were both baptized November 17, 1912 in Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Archie was President of the Detroit Branch of the church for 12 years, President of the East Orange Branch for three years, and President of the Hackensack Branch for two years. When New York Stake was organized he was ordained a member of the Stake High Council by President Heber J. Grant. He later served as a member of the High Council of the Washington Stake. He died of February 8, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Newaygo Michigan on February 11, 1947. President Ernest L. Wilkinson, later to become President of the Brigham Young University, was the main funeral speaker. Minnie Arbell Backus died September 5, 1944 after a long and painful illness.
Among the acquaintances of Archie Alger were many of the general authorities. Among these, especially prized were associations with James. E. Talmadge and Melvin J. Ballard.
Although my relationship with my mother was not a happy one, two of the good things that she gave me were a love of decorating for Christmas and a love of cooking from her. Mother was a very good cook and I got my love of cooking from her.
When I was 20 years old the firm which Dad worked for in Detroit was bought out by a New York company and the whole family moved to New York. I didn’t care for the East, probably because the companion which was to be mine was in Michigan only I didn’t know it at the time. So I moved back to Michigan after about 10 months. I got a job as a telephone operator because that didn’t require a high school diploma. I had known my future husband since I was 17 but of course at that time I didn’t realize that he was to be my one and only. We had corresponded some while I was in the East but nothing serious. However, after I came back to Detroit we started really going together and in about 8 months we were married.
For a while after we were married we lived with Dad’s mother in Detroit. Then we moved to a place on our own.
We had our church meetings downstairs in the Danish Brotherhood Lodge hall. It would get so hot that we would fry in the summer time. They would put a fan over where the speaker was standing. They had a desk there they would use as a podium. Once when the prophet visited the branch he said, “I have talked in a lot of places but I can’t talk with this fan going.” Both George Albert Smith and Melvin J. Ballard had talked at the Detroit Branch. Melvin J. Ballard gave me a mother’s blessing when Mel was about to be born. That is why we named Mel after him.
After we got a car Dad took the older kids to Detroit for Sunday School while I stayed home with the babies. After we were in the Pontiac Ward Dad took the older kids to church in the Model T. We heated bricks to keep their feet warm during the long cold ride.
When we moved on the farm we bought a cow and at this time we also had a nanny goat who had triplets. We butchered her. We had a pig named Jiggs. Dad brought her home one night because the mother had so many. We raised it in the house with a bottle. It was black with white spots all over. We finally butchered it when it reached 200 pounds. When we moved to Dryden we moved the cow and her calf over in the trailer.
While we were still on the farm there was an old car which we used to hold baby chickens. I went out one time to take care of the chickens and surprised a skunk who had been after them. I chase the skunk out of the car and got sprayed directly. I went back into the house but the smell was so strong I ended up burying my clothes.
We had some more excitement one time on the farm when Sharon was helping me burn trash. She got hold of some matches and was helping light the fire and she accidently set the shed on fire.
The Lord blessed us with 12 children for which we are grateful. We had some interesting experiences in rising of the our 12 children.
Grandma Bonsteel died when Sharon was five months old. She lived with Fred and Billie at the time but she would come out and stay with us.
I had every one of the babies at home and never had to have a stitch. Mel was my smallest baby at 5 ¼ pounds.
Russell and Gail were my biggest babies—both weighed nine pounds. Bev weighed 7 pounds, Pat 7 ½, Jewel 8 pounds, Mel 5 ¼ pounds, and Linda 6 pounds. All the rest weighed 7 and 7 ½ pounds.
Our greatest sadness was when Russell was born with a cleft palate.
When he was a month old and they closed his lip by surgical means we were given special nipples. Nine months afterwards they had half of the roof of the mouth done and they closed the rest of the palate soon after.
Russell was blessed when he was three days old. He was the only one of all our 12 babies that wasn’t blessed by Dad. He was afraid that because of his feelings in the matter he would promise something out of his great desire and not necessarily what the Lord had intended.
Russell was a very good child. He was a special blessing to us. He was the one child which never gave us any trouble. He never had to be pushed to study. Even when he got well into his teens he was careful to study before he turned on the T.V. He was the only one of our children who was like this.
We had to take Russell to Ann Arbor for countless trips. We got help from the Children’s Fund of Michigan which had been started by James Cousins. Without this help we could never have handled this big expense. The doctor that did the operating was the chief surgeon in that field. He was a big elderly man with snow white hair and he did a wonderful job.
No speech therapy was available at the school in Dryden. When Russell was between 8 and 11 years old he went to speech camp at Traverse City in the summertime. That did more than anything to help him with his speech.
We went through whooping cough, mumps, and measles with the first four of our children. I had both whooping cough and mumps at the time our first five children had them. We had diseases in sections. Arline had to be taken into our bed when she had whooping cough because we were afraid she would strangle. Pat was five years old at this time and when she started to cough at night we had to run and get her on her feet so she could breathe. Bev was six at the time and could have brought it home to the others from school. Arline was between 1 and 2 months old.
Arline was 7 or 8 months old when we all had mumps. I was sicker with the mumps. Although I was very sick, there were a lot of things I had to do so I just went ahead and did them no matter how bad I felt. You do a lot of things and afterwards you wonder how. Many women in pioneer times and old times have had to do the same things.
One of the outbuildings in Dryden which used to be a chicken coop had been used for a hog pen by the people who were here before us. It was a dirty place. Joe Mitchell had been helping Dad roof the garage and two or three of his children were with them. The kids were all chasing and playing. They went through the old shed and as Kay went through she fell and caught her arm on a rusty old nail. It was a bad wound. Her muscle was badly torn. We called the doctor and took her over to his office. Dad waited out in the other room and he said to me, “Don’t you want to come out in this other room? All that blood!” This was something Dad couldn’t take even though the births hadn’t bothered him at all. That was the only time he became queasy. We finally took Kay to Rochester for the stitching. She had to have inside stitches as well as outside stitches.
When we lived on the farm Jewel wanted a swing. Wild grapes grew along the road so Mel made Jewel a swing by attaching a grape vine to a limb of a huge apple tree growing in the yard. Unfortunately, when Jewel swung on the grape vine it broke and she fell and broke her arm.
Another accident that happened in the family when the children were small was when Sandra was hit by lightning. She was playing on the slanting door leading to the cellar on the old farm. Three of the kids were playing there. A cold lightning bolt struck her. It didn’t touch the other kids. It brought every blood vein to the surface of her back over an area about the size of your hand and down one leg. Dad grabbed her right up and got her to the doctor. In spite of this, Sandra has never been afraid of thunder storms. During the same thunderstorm another man also got hit by a cold bolt.
There were times when things were very skinny in the early years but no one ever went hungry in our family. We might have had biscuits and fruit for supper but there was enough of it. And we sure had a lot of green beans. Some of the kids would just as soon never see a bean because we had so many of them in Dryden. Eight rows of beans were planted in a plot which was an acre square. Beans grew very good there. We would have 7 or 8 bushels of beans to snip at a time. The kids and I used to sit out on the porch and sniped beans and played games like My Grandmother’s Trunk or the state game where you name a state and someone would give the capitol. Or everyone would take a turn singing nursery rhymes and each person would have to sing a different one. Kay hates beans to this day but she grows some now in Arizona because Mike likes them.
When the kids were bad I made them go get their own switches. They usually went out to the lilac bushes and brought back little lilac suckers for me to spank them with. This usually made us all start laughing and the trouble was forgotten.
We often had the missionaries visit us at Dryden. They weren’t supposed to stay at the homes of Latter-day Saints but one time when we had been in Dryden 5 or 6 years an Elder Larson’s lips became severely sunburned during tacking during their first week out in the country. They got as far as our house and Elder Larsen couldn’t go out in the sun any more so we fixed up a room for them to stay. His companion, Elder Anderson, came from a cattle ranch in Utah. He came out and helped the kids pick beans. He declared that when he got back to Utah he would raise enough cattle to buy his beans and would never raise a bean if he had anything to say about it. The missionary would let me do the washing and he would do the ironing because his mother had taught him to do this. They stayed the week until Elder Larson’s lips were better.
When we were still on the old farm Elder Julius Papa was one of the missionaries who were very special to us. He was stationed at Pontiac. He and his companion frequently came to dinner. His companion was a convert and was the only one in the family that belonged to the church. His companion’s folks lived near Owasso on a farm and the whole church went out there and held Sunday School on Sunday. Dad worked in the Sunday School at that time. Elder Papa fell for his companion’s sister and later married her. When Elder Papa was in Italy in the service after his mission he sent us a picture. On his way home he stopped to see us. Linda was just a baby then. It must have been in 1941 or 1942. He was a wonderful missionary and now he is a Regional Representative.
When we lived in Dryden the children never had permission to go further than the school and they didn’t until they were well grown up into their teens. They didn’t run around town. They never went up to the candy shop. I bought two or three bags when I went shopping and doled it out to them so they wouldn’t go up town.
In Dryden some of the girls worked as telephone operators. Pat was the first operator and Linda was the last operator. Bev already knew she wanted to be a nurse and she was working towards that. She learned to milk cows so she could milk for a teacher who had 4 or 5 cows. She paid Bev to milk her cows because she knew Bev wanted to be a nurse.
The first two years of high school Mel got very good grades but after that he didn’t seem to care about school. He did all he could to talk us into signing for him after got out of high school so he could join the Navy. He had been in the Navy for two whole days when he wanted to come back home.
The kids grew into their duties by age. Mel took his turn doing dishes. So did Russell and even after we were in St. George before Gail was married, Gail and Russell would do the dishes for me. After Gail got married I never asked Russell to wash dishes. I have seen the time, after we had a big crowd and everyone had left and the dishes were still there that Russell would go and do the dishes when he knew I was awfully tired. This is when he was 17 or 18 years old.
Russell was 16 when we moved to Utah from Michigan. The kids worked awfully hard to get the house ready to sell before we moved. They also helped a lot when the furnace was installed. Pat helped pour the concrete for the basement floor of the house. She also mixed the concrete. Right about this time when the furnace was being installed rats were able to get into the house because it was torn up. One morning we got up and there was a rat in the old ice box we kept the bread in. Pat and Sharon had sticks and we shut all the doors in the house and opened up the icebox door so the rat could come out. It wanted to go back into the dining room where the register was and Gail, who was about 9 years old, was standing in front of the closed dining room door so the rat ran towards her. She jumped to avoid him and came down right on his head. Sharon finished him off.
Another time in Dryden I came into the bathroom and saw a rat drinking out of the toilet. I happened to have a plunger and I plunged him down the toilet.
Another time we worked pretty hard was when the mill closed out and they sold the stoke coal to Dad. Bernard loaded the coal in the big truck with the tractor scoop and Pat and Gail shoveled it into the basement and Russell and Dad worked in the basement.
I taught all my girls how to cook but the one of my children who now cooks the most like me is Melvin. When he was 11 or 12 years old he would beg to make the gravy. Linda has learned to do a lot of things the way Lorence’s mother does them.
When we move to St. George Gail had just graduated. She worked for the baker first and then went to Hawthorne Tent Factory to work. It was there she met Ellis. They were both short of money so they did their courting around the St. George Temple.
Dad had his stroke after we had moved to Orem. We went to bed and it happened at 11:30 P.M. Within 45 minutes after it happened we had him in the hospital. Bev was working that night. Never before have I been so glad that she was nurse. Dad kept hitting my shoulder and trying to talk and couldn’t say anything. His right arm was hanging off the bed. I finally woke up and tried to put his arm back on the bed. He kept pointing to the clock trying to say something. I called Earl and told him something was the matter. Earl came over and couldn’t get him to talk. He called Bev and she said to call the ambulance. The police came. They couldn’t get the stretcher through the bedroom door so six men carried Dad out. Dad didn’t know anything for a week. He had been home teaching that night in apparent good health. I had my gall bladder out five weeks before the stroke, on March 17. I was in the hospital 20 days. Dad was in the hospital from 28 of April until 31st of May.
The first word Dad said when his speech began to come back was “Beverly.” For a week he didn’t know us. It was touch and go. After he began to get better he gave Bev a bad time in the hospital. He didn’t let them shut the door at night and every time she would go down the hall to the nurse’s station he would call “Beverly!” Of course she went down the hall many times since she was the nursing supervisor.
While we were back in Pontiac Dad’s Patriarchal Blessing was fulfilled through the will of our Heavenly Father and the goodness of the saints of the Pontiac Ward when we were able to go the temple and have 11 of our 12 children sealed to us. At that time Melvin was in the Navy and in Japan. However, even if he had been here he wouldn’t have been active enough to have gone to the temple with us as he was over 21 and would have had to go through for himself in order to have been sealed to us. Also, in the service Mel had picked up some bad habits that would have kept him from the temple. When Mel came home from the service he couldn’t get work and started to run around with a crowd with certainly didn’t help him any. But through Sandra happening to talk with Bishop Johnson when she was in his home once and through Bishop Jonson’s help and the help of the Stake, Mel was able to go west to the B.Y.U. to school. He stayed at Beverly’s home where he was in a completely different environment. Bev’s husband Earl took him Ward Teaching with him and before long had him active and he was advanced in the Priesthood to a Priest. Mel met a girl from Nevada that he fell in love with and he worked hard to be made an Elder so that they might be married in the Manti Temple, for which we are very grateful and Oh so thankful. After we moved to St, George Mel was sealed to us. We are very grateful for all of our children.
I am sure if my early life hadn’t been as it was I might never have had the testimony of the Gospel which I have and I am thankful to my Father in Heaven for my knowledge of the gospel.
Life Story of Archie Reed Alger
Contributor: dvdmovieking Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
LIFE STORY OF ARCHIE REED ALGER
(Taken from his own writing)
My mortal life was begun in a little one story house built with vertical board siding and battens to keep out the wind. It was set under a beautiful grove of trees in Western Michigan, near Newaygo. It was surrounded by rolling farm and woodland.
Education, outside of home, was begun in the proverbial, but also literal, ‘little old red schoolhouse’. It had a big wood stove in the middle of the floor, double seats on both sides and a wooden bench for classes in one corner. This was the “Wangleburg” school and served as my fount of knowledge until the age of twelve was at last reached. Father and Mother then started my brother and me for the High School in Newaugo, about three miles from home. It was quite a long walk but we made it and finally became high school graduates. I was then seventeen.
As a matter of expedience I then became a country school teacher for the fall and winter term for the next two years, returning to the farm for the spring and summer work. These country schools had all the grades from zero to eight and the pupils ranged in ages from five to older than the teacher. There were fifty five in the last school.
The principal of our high school directed me toward the engineering profession because of my alleged mathematical ability so at the close of my two years teaching I started for Michigan State College and after four years of some application I was given a roll of paper stating that I was a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. The pedagogical germ then hit me again and I attempted for seven years to develop more engineers from the raw materials that presented themselves.
This teaching was done at my own Alma Mater, (Michigan State College) Case School of Applied Science and at the University of Illinois. During this time I annexed another degree and was termed as a Civil Engineer.
A much more important thing occurred during this time, however, for I had found and loved the world’s finest girl and on September 6, 1905, Miss Minnie Backus changed her name to Mrs. Archie Alger. I know, of course, that I had a prize but I did not know half of the story at that time for within two weeks after the wedding I found that I also had a preacher of a “strange” gospel nicknamed “Mormonism”. A little reading had soon converted her but I was not so ready and it took seven long faithful years’ work on her part before I would admit the truth was there and that the Lord had restored His gospel again upon the earth. We both were baptized on November 17, 1912, in Eagle Creek in Indianapolis Indiana. On September 28, 1926 we entered the Salt Lake Temple and were sealed for time and all eternity together with our three girls, (Ione, Lucile and Fontella).
We have both always been active in the church and have tried to live according to its precepts. I wish here to testify that I know the Gospel restored to the earth, through the agency of Joseph Smith, is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness. The church has been a great blessing to me through the years. I feel sure I would not be living today except for the power of the Priesthood at a time of critical illness. I have had much work to do in the church and through it I have many true friends. It is the world’s greatest fraternity. I have been privileged to lead to lead the adult Sunday School class in Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; New York City, Newark and East Orange, New Jersey; Hackensack, New Jersey; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia. A total of about twenty-six years up to the present (March 1941). I was President of the Branch in Detroit about twelve years, East Orange about three years and Hackensack about two years. Chapels were built in Detroit and in East Orange during my stay. At the time of the organization of the New York Stake I was ordained an High Priest by President J. Reuben Clark Jr. and was set apart as a member of the Stake High Council by Present Heber J. Grant. I also served as a counselor in the Presidency of the High Priest Quorum. At the present time I am a member of the High Council of the Washington Stake, a counselor in the presidency of the High Priest Quorum and have a special appointment as Chairman of the Stake Genealogical Committee.
I have many close acquaintances among those who have been chosen of high places among the Lord’s people. Their association and sprit have been a great blessing to me. Among those whom I know personally and quite well are all of the present first Presidency. I have also known quite well about tem members of the Quorum of Twelve. Among those friendships most highly prized and best known were the late Apostles James Talmadge and Melvin J. Ballard, both of whom have been in our home numerous times. I have also been privileged to know and love well, six mission presidents. My life thus far has been full of experience and I propose to record at the suitable time some of the marvelous faith promoting experiences that I have been mine.
Professionally I have stayed an engineer, devoting my time first to structures and later to gas utility engineering which is my present avocation with the Federal Power Commission.