Myrtle and Edna Elton – About Pigs, Giggles, and a #3 Bath Tub

Myrtle and Edna EltonNine-year-old Edna ran through the orchard with her straight brown hair flapping in the summer air. “Hey Myrtle!” She called back to her ten-year-old sister. “Watch this.” Edna jumped on to a pig, patted his side, and held on. “We’re supposed to be feeding them,” Myrtle pretended to object. “not riding them.” Myrtle looked back toward the house, then dropped her apple bag and with bouncing curls chased down another pig. Both girls laughed, squealed, and finally fell on the orchard grass, giggling, trying to keep their hair out of the rotting summer apples. ‘Emily Myrtle’ and ‘Edna’ Elton were the youngest of eight. The children were taught to be honest, to mind, and to respect and care for others. For chores they packed wood and coal, gathered grain, hauled hay, white-washed walls, pressed apples, thinned beets, and herded sheep. They found fun in many chores as they wove plant stems into chains, made up songs, played school, and ate lunch in the fields with dad. In the winter they rode sleigh, fashioned snowmen, and laid on their backs making snow fairies. Christmas gifts were few, but given with love, then cherished. On Sunday they had a bath in a number three metal tub and wore their treasured Summer dress to church. Forever young and beautiful on the outside, they were playful, loving, and devoted on the inside. Myrtle and Edna loved life, not wishing for things they didn’t have. Their simple dreams fed their imaginations and added spice to their lives and all who knew them.

(by Kenneth R. Hardman. Ref. Sidney Lehi Hardman & Myrtle Emily Elton: Their Life, Their Love and Their Family, 1900-1991 compiled by Dorothy Hardman) #AncestorClips

Inherited traits – Myrtle Elton Hardman is my grandmother. In this story, I can see the influence grandma had on her son, my father who has many of her qualities. Dad often said, “When we work, we work hard; and when we play, we play hard.” I also inherited this tendency. When I work, I put my heart into it; and when I play, I strive to make it fun, as do my siblings. I notice that Myrtle and Edna often combined work and play, finding fun in the labor. Like them, when I am working, I look for joy or satisfaction in the task.

Patterns for my life – There are a few more things I can learn from grandma, and her sister, Edna. In the story, I feel devotion, a sense of companionship beyond friendship. In my life, I can be more devoted in my relationships, especially with family members. Also, even though life was hard back then (from my present perspective), grandma seemed satisfied with what she had, found joy in the moment, and didn’t expect more of what the world might offer. I too can exercise more focus on my present blessings with less envy for what I could have. With more devotion and contentment, I will be happier, like grandma. Thanks Myrtle and Edna for helping me build a happy and useful life.

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John Andreas Coon Jr. 1768-1840, Becoming a Tower of Strength and Manhood

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 1.49.22 PMOn September 11, 1777, General Washington collided with the British here at Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania; booming cannons echoed 25 miles east to Philadelphia. There were heavy American losses on the battlefield. John Coon Jr. was serving his apprenticeship nearby and heard the blasts, a penetrating sound for a 9 year old. ([1] Goble, pg. 120, ref 12). The very next spring, the British launched “a secret night assault [10 miles] to the north in Paoli.” Not yet aware of the attack, “John Coon roused himself from…his thick…German-feather comforter. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stretched to greet the dawn. Clad simply in a long nightshirt, he stepped…into his britches…, pausing only to splash water on his face and straighten his thick [untidy] hair… His thoughts were on his chores, [and] the few moments he could spend in his forested hideaway at Brandywine Creek catching fish for breakfast, and [then] his afternoon at the cooper shop…” (Goble, pg. 123) But, instead of a pleasant spring morning, the penetrating sounds of death again rolled like thick fog across the Great Valley. Word spread that 150 Colonials were found dead. As the wounded “were transported…along the road through Chester,” the neighborhood wept at the groans of the dying. As a young man John experienced these realities but continued industrious and of service to family and country in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois. At age 16, after the death of his father, he returned home to Lancaster, “rented a barn, and freighted [for the local militia] until he married,” (Goble, pg. 124, 129) at age 30. He was becoming a “tower of strength and manhood” upon whom his present and future family could trust. (see Goble, pg. 130) Thank you, to those who served here, and thank you, to my 4th great-grandfather, John Andreas Coon Jr.

(Written by Kenneth R. Hardman, with quotations from reference [1])

[1] Goble, William Kent, and Ord, Gayle Goble, Heritage of the Abraham Coon Family, 1989, pg. 120-130

Author Notes: Special thanks to the authors of reference [1] for their significant research into the times and places of this ancestor. From John A. Coon Jr. I learn that life is not always easy but I can learn from the challenging times and continue to strive to do good things in my life. John served an indentured apprenticeship away from his family for many years, and then lived through the uncertainties of the American Revolutionary War. Later in his youth he took care of his younger siblings. I’m a better person having studied his life.

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Anne Marie Hansen – A Young Mother in Richfield

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 3.38.50 PMAnne Marie gasped as her knees buckled. She sat down immediately on the rough porch covering her mouth with one clinched hand, holding her chest with the other. She widened her beautiful gray eyes to prevent tears from falling, which eventually spilled to the ground. She had married in Denmark, leaving her “quaint Danish home…dirt floor and thatched roof,” and set sail with her new born child promising to work hard and send money so her husband could join them in America. Her mother and brother had immigrated earlier and by their toil had saved and sent enough for Anne Marie to come. “She crossed the North Sea,” where she and the child suffered terrible sea sickness. Now in Richfield, Utah, “she scrubbed floors and cleaned to…take care of her little son. When she had saved enough…, she sent it to her husband…so he could join them…” But that was not to be. ‘Tell me again what he said,’ she asked. “During the voyage [to New York,] he heard so many derogatory things about the Mormons, and about the Indians killing people in the west, and he got frightened. When he arrived…he turned around and went back to Denmark.” More tears fell from her eyes. She never heard from her husband again. A few years later her child died of typhoid fever. Even so, she retained here kindness and faithfulness as a member of the church. She married again, had seven children and cared for several more. Her youngest child, Harvey, later said, “My mother was a wonderful person…she just couldn’t see anything bad about anyone…my parents never had anything…they gave it all away…we had a happy home…she just loved everybody and everybody loved her…”

(by Kenneth R. Hardman, based on the reference below) #AncestorClips

Reference: The Hansen & Gulbrandsen Family History: Ancestors & Descendants of Edna Violet Gulbrandsen & Harvey Ralph Hansen, compiled by: Jana Greenhalgh, Dona Losee, Ray Hansen. Excerpts by Ray Hansen and Harvey Hansen

Authors Note: Anne Marie Hansen is my wife’s (Joan Losee Hardman) great-grandmother and the 2nd great-grandmother of my children. It is not known whether Anne’s 1st husband communicated with Anne directly by written correspondence about his decision to return to Denmark, or if he sent word by other travelers. It is also not known exactly how Anne learned of his decision. Therefore the opening lines of this story are from the authors imagination; however, whether she learned by messenger or written message, the emotion described in this story seems appropriate for the pain she must have felt. Regarding her ability to read, according to her grandson, Ray Hansen, “She commented later in life that she learned how to read by reading the Bible when she was out herding cows on the beautiful Danish hillsides. Being very familiar with the Bible, when she heard the missionaries teach, ‘It just rang true in my heart.'” I am inspired by her faith, determination, and kindness.

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Walter Pitts Griffin – Gunpoint

WalterPittsGriffinOpportunity was slim in Newton Utah in 1899. Walter and Eliza Caroline journeyed by steam locomotive from Newton to Indian Valley Idaho, anxious for promising, “cheap and plentiful” land further north. A “lawless element…infested the railroad,” so, “mother and the two baby boys rode in a passenger car” while Walter guarded the family’s possessions in a box car. Aroused from the continuous clickety-clack, he heard galloping horses and rough voices outside the train. An instant later, rough fingers wrapped around the end of the box car door. “Get out o’ here,” he yelled. The door opened a few inches with a slow screech. The Griffin “livestock” stirred, “penned-off at one end,” of the car. Their furniture and [belongings] were at the other end, and their heavy “machinery, wagon and food…were…near the doorway.” No stranger to guns and outdoors, he had learned hunting and defense from his frontiersman father. Walter grabbed his Colt .45 from beside his books and lantern. He stood, shoulders back, chin high, and aimed. A “tough” face looked in. Walter pulled back the hammer; the click filled the car. He “tighten[ed] his finger on the trigger.” The intruder “read the message in his eyes,” muttered, then backed out and “dropped off” the train. The family made it safely to Indian Valley, prospered “handsomely” for ten years then returned to Utah due to concern over “raising their family in this relatively untamed country.” Moving from “a prosperous…ranch” in Idaho to a “alkali-infested lake shore [in Utah] brought years of toil and struggle. However, [Walter] tackled it resolutely, often stating that, ‘hard work and perseverance could overcome any obstacle.’” #AncestorClips

Author Note: Not knowing for certain what type of gun Walter owned, the author used the model most popular at the time. A few other details were added without explicit basis including “galloping horses,” “rough fingers,” and “Get out o’ here.” All else is based on the primary reference (1) and related scenarios.


Train Image Caption: Train History, Image of Delaware box car. “A Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroadwagon at a level crossing, circa 1900.” (


  1. Geraldine G. Griffin, The Family of John Griffin and Ruth Keep, June 1988, adapted from account by Henry LeGrand Griffin (primary reference)
  2. Revolver, “Although originally made for the United States Army, the Model 1873 was widely distributed and popular with civilians, ranchers, lawmen, and outlaws” (
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Halvorine Halvorsen Gulbrandsen – Only a Bowl of Rice on Christmas Eve

Halvorine HalversonIt was Christmas of 1909 just before my dad was to come home [from his two-year mission.] We were down to board floors and paper curtains [having sold the furniture piece by piece.] We had large five-gallon lard cans to sit on; a stove, table, and a bed that we all slept in. We sat in bed and sang Christmas carols until…it was time to go to sleep. We only had a bowl of rice that night for our dinner… We went to sleep hoping…for Santa to come. I woke up to the sound of crying. I went into the other room and found Mama crying. I asked what the matter was. She said…she was so grateful and happy to her Heavenly Father, and told me to go back to bed so Santa could come. I…was wakened again by her sobs. I went to sleep the third time and woke up at 7:30 am with mother still crying. As we all came out of the bedroom she made us kneel in prayer before we could see our toys. I will never forget the prayer my mother offered, thanking the Lord for his goodness to us. We then went out on the porch; there was a doll and dishes for the girls, a tool box for the boys and a small decorated Christmas Tree and a basket of food… We danced around the tree and sang and went to bed that night with our hearts full of happiness and our stomachs full of good food. Brother Alma Winn was our Santa and he had eight children of his own… My mother had cried and prayed all that night. Her prayers were answered… How grateful I am for the faith of my mother and grateful…that we five little ones weren’t forgotten by a “Santa” who had been inspired to come and help us in time of need.

(By Lillian Gulbrandsen Carlisle, edited by Kenneth R. Hardman, Source: The Hansen & Gulbrandsen Family History – Ancestors & Descendants of Edna Violet Gulbrandsen & Harvey Ralph Hansen, Compiled by: Jana Greenhalgh, Dona Losee, Ray Hansen, pg. 85-87, photo from family files) #AncestorClips

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Ole Gulbrandsen – “Finger Prints” all over the Church

Ole GulbrandsenWith all hopes of emigration from Norway to Zion, Ole’s father died leaving a widow and nine children. Fighting despair with faith, the whole family was gathered in the Rocky Mountains within six years. During his youth in Utah, Ole worked as a laborer, miner, hotel mechanic, then railroad foreman. In 1899, he married Halvorine Halvorsen, also of Norway. Nine years later, on a Saturday night, a knock came at their home. Ole excused himself from the dinner table, then returned and invited Halvorine to join the conversation with the Bishop. “All children listened at the door.” Ole had received a call to serve a mission in Norway. “After some discussion, Halvorine said, ‘Ole, accept this calling. I am sure the Lord will provide. If it hadn’t been for the missionaries, we wouldn’t be here today…’ Ole quit his job [and] mortgaged the home,” but funds were scarce. How could he go, an associate asked? Ole said, “The call has come to me… God will open up ways…” Ole fulfilled his mission, returned as a fine leader. In numerous church positions he enjoyed a “rich portion of the Holy Spirit of God.” He and his counselors “awakened and brought into activity many of the men who had become inactive.” As a mechanic, he could “fix anything.” Ole became Temple foreman, and chief engineer for church buildings in Salt Lake City. The Presiding Bishopric of the church said, “Ole was the ‘guardian angel’ of all the Church buildings…” “As you look at the Temple, as you go through the ins and outs of these buildings, you see [Ole’s] fingerprints everywhere…I glory in the steadfastness of this man…”

(By Kenneth R. Hardman, Ref: The Hansen & Gulbrandsen Family History – Ancestors & Descendants of Edna Violet Gulbrandsen & Harvey Ralph Hansen, Compiled by: Jana Greenhalgh, Dona Losee, Ray Hansen, pg. 67, photo from Jana Greenhalgh) #AncestorClips



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Andrew and Hannah – A Hard and Happy Life

AndrewHannahAnderson“Hannah gave Andrew to understand that her husband had to be worthy to take her to the temple. So he set about preparing himself…” At last the happy day arrived. He borrowed a team and sleigh and they drove from St. John, Idaho to Logan, Utah. Living near their extended family, “they had good land, flowing wells, excellent horses and fat cattle.” On urgings from “a sharp real estate salesman,” the large group sold-out and went to Canada to start a ranch with their “100 head of cattle and 14 sheep camps.” It was the coldest winter on record and, “they lost most of the herd.” In the spring, with much sorrow and homesickness, Andrew and Hannah returned to Idaho to homestead 160 acres at “the head of the Big Malad River.” The high sagebrush indicated good soil but required “long, tiresome work” to clear the land. In the summer, they lived in a log cabin; in the winter they lived in St. John where their five children attended school. In later years, he broke his ankle and also had a stroke but remained cheerful. Hannah learned to drive when he no longer could. When grandchildren, Ferril and Rex, came to visit, Hannah drove them around town to show them off. Before his death, Andrew said, “It is my advice to all young people to read and learn all they can about this wonderful church we have and never turn down an opportunity to labor in this great work that we as Latter-day Saints have accepted.” Andrew died on his 80th birthday. Hannah said, “We had a happy married life. We never had a quarrel… I am thankful I had such a good man and such good children.”

(By Kenneth R. Hardman, based on Losee, Ferril A., South, Betty, The Anderson and Josephson Family History – Ancestors and Descendants of Lars Anderson and Anna Andersdotter, Lars Charles and Anna Isaacson Josephson, 1999, pages 57-65, photo from same reference) #AncestorClips

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Andrew Lars Anderson – Losing it All, Finding Better

Andrew_AndersonIn 1869, Andrew’s mother died before his 1st birthday. His father, Lars Anderson, with baby Andrew, made the trip from Sweden to Utah in just 30 days, on steamship and railroad. Andrew was left in the care of Lar’s sister, in St. Johns, Idaho, while Lars took work 150 miles south in the Utah Bingham mines. By 8 years of age Andrew was driving oxen and working the cornfields in Idaho. For the next 8 years, Andrew lived with or near his father in Utah who took him to his first store and bought him clothing and a suit. In Utah, Andrew earned meager wages herding sheep and cattle and working in the mines. He attended school for six months and learned to read the Bible. At age 17 he returned to Idaho continuing sheep herding. At age 23, his sick father asked him to come back to Utah. Shortly after Andrews arrival, Lars died of miner’s consumption, and Andrew paid for the burial. Andrew joined the LDS church at age 25 and had $800 from successful sheep herding. He was called to serve a mission, but declined indicating that “those better off should go,” wishing later, “that he had accepted the call.” Instead, he spent the $800 on more sheep, and he took a bank loan for horses and equipment. In a major spring snowstorm, after “the sheep were sheared and had lambs by their sides,” he lost them all in four feet of snow. He honorably reported to the bank, whereupon they took all his assets except for one saddle horse. Broke, and broken hearted, he returned to Idaho, obtained work shearing sheep, started over, and met the girl who would take him to the next level.

(By Kenneth R. Hardman, based on Losee, Ferril A., South, Betty, The Anderson and Josephson Family History – Ancestors and Descendants of Lars Anderson and Anna Andersdotter, Lars Charles and Anna Isaacson Josephson, 1999, pages 14, 53-55, photo from family files) #AncestorClips

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Hannah Elizabeth Josephson – Radiant and Faithful

Hannah_Josephson_AndersonHannah Elizabeth Josephson, came into the world (St. John, Idaho, to be exact) on November 27, 1877, 2 days before Thanksgiving. She was the 3rd of 12 children born to Lars and Anna Josephson, immigrants from Sweden. There was great love and respect in this large but united family. They were known as “one of the best behaved in the valley.” Hannah was a “pretty brunette,” industrious, and “of a cheerful and religious disposition.” “I used to pray every day and trusted in the Lord,” she said. “I had my prayers answered many times.” The children were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography by their mother, so Hannah was well prepared to enter school at age 6, and continued through the 8th grade. In 1887, nearly all family members including her father had a brush with Typhoid Fever. Three months of dedicated nursing and service by the church and community pulled them through. There were no deaths in the family, but her brother Levi stuttered badly the rest of his life. Hannah was baptized in 1891. She was inspired by her parent’s faith and devotion. “Many times I saw [my father] ride on horseback a distance of 15 miles to attend priesthood meeting. My whole family was religious at heart.” Hannah served as 2nd Counselor in the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association at age 18, admired church leaders, and remained active all her days. She too, had many admirers. While courting the man of her choice, “Hannah gave [him] to understand that her husband had to be worthy to take her to the temple.”

(By Kenneth R. Hardman, based on Losee, Ferril A., South, Betty, The Anderson and Josephson Family History – Ancestors and Descendants of Lars Anderson and Anna Andersdotter, Lars Charles and Anna Isaacson Josephson, 1999, pages 45-60, photo from family files) #AncestorClips

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Edna Violet Gulbrandsen – Baby Edna’s Miraculous Healing

Halvorine & Edna“In the spring of 1908, Dad was called on a mission to Norway. Mother and five children were left home. In the spring of 1909, Edna was stricken with pneumonia, so the doctors thought. It later was diagnosed as spinal meningitis. One cold wintry night, Mrs. Williams, a neighbor, came over to help mother as Edna was so ill. It was almost midnight when Mrs. Williams said, ‘I am afraid she is gone.’ Mother put her head under the mattress and cried ‘No Dear God, no!’ I had been taught about prayer and about the elders of the Church. So I ran a half a block up the street to Bro. George R. Emery with bare feet and snow up to my knees, and asked if he would come and bless my sister. He put his coat over his long night shirt and carried me home. As he put his hands on Edna’s head and started to pray, I stood by and watched her little white face so still. All of a sudden, little red streaks started up from her mouth and then a gasp. She relaxed into a sleep for the first time in weeks. This was my first testimony and answer to prayer and I knew God heard and answered prayers … Edna was always very precious to me from then on. My interests were always for her.”

(As told by Edna’s sister, Lillian, from The Hansen & Gulbrandsen Family History – Ancestors & Descendants of Edna Violet Gulbrandsen & Harvey Ralph Hansen, compiled by: Jana Greenhalgh, Dona Losee, Ray Hansen, 2014, pg 133. Photo contributed to by Jana Greenhalgh) #AncestorClips

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