Thoughts On My Life by Betty Lou Mikesell Erlandson
(Taken from an audio cassette tape Betty recorded 14 Nov. 1975.)
Ernie, Betty and Cap, at the Black Bear Coal Mine near Driggs, Idaho
I’ve been thinking about my life before, when I was small. I can’t remember much before starting school when I was six. A memory that must be the oldest one, I think, comes now in just sort of impressions.
I was about three and there was Ernie and me in a car, maybe a truck. We were both in the front seat. There was an adult driving. I’m sure it was a man. We stopped to talk to someone, stayed in the vehicle talking and that person gave us some gum. I remember how thrilled I was. There was a lot to chew and I remember worrying about choking on it, but it was good. Then we arrived somewhere. There were adults laughing, but I was cold. I remember being held by a woman with a warm chest and stomach. I got sleepy. I believe that was when my younger brother Jimmy was born. Mom said that Ernie and I stayed in another town with relatives and that one of them drove us home after Jim was born.
Betty and Jimmy
Right after that we moved from the coal mining camp near Driggs, [Black Bear Coal Mine] where Jim and I were born, to Pocatello where my father began working in the railroad tie plant. (Union Pacific)
I remember first a house next to a large pile of dirt. It might have been dirt from a new outdoor toilet. I remember playing on the dirt and getting spanked and scolded by my mother. Another time I remember being spanked for jumping up and down on the bed. I recall the fun of the jumping and the surprise and resentment of the punishment.
Soon we moved again and I remember a Halloween party at this other house, and how a ghost story was told that affected my sleep later. I was afraid to go upstairs alone as long as we were living there and I never forgot that story. It was one about going up stairs. He goes up one step. He goes up another step. He goes up three steps. Any way it was scary!
The third and final house in Pocatello we moved into before I was six. I remember it was said that I could pick any color I wanted for the walls of my bedroom. I was so excited! It took me a long time and I chose pink. The walls were painted blue. My mother preferred blue, I never liked that room, even later when it was painted pink. I was excited about starting school and felt that I was a big girl. Just before my birthday my sister Della Ann was born. She was beautiful and oh so tiny, but my mother let me hold her. I was to carry the dirty diapers to the back yard where a tub filled with water was ready to soak them. This was the beginning of a particular job that continued everlastingly until I was almost sixteen. My job was enlarged gradually to wringing out the dirty diapers from the soap, replacing the water, carrying them to the boiler on wash day, hanging out the clean cloths and when they were dry, folding them and putting them away.
At age nine my sister Thelma was born. I was old enough to diaper her. The job became the ultimate in my diaper career when Leslie was born. I was nearly thirteen and I was old enough to wash them all by myself. I hated that, especially in the wintertime. I did get a sort of wringer washing machine upon Mt. Kit Carson, where we moved just before Leslie was born. The thing had a vertical handle mounted on the side, and we pulled it back and forth, back and forth, and that would make the agitator inside move, which would wash the clothes. But the water had to be hauled and poured into it and then dumped out of it from buckets. I remember we had a clothesline that was sort of circular and it was fun to hang the clothes on it. I didn’t mind that so bad.
1939, Betty and Jim watching over Leslie
I remember the train trip from Pocatello. I didn’t know about it until later but my mother and dad decided to come up to Washington, where my Aunt May (Mary Dean) lived. I was so excited. I was sort of scared because I hated to leave my friends. I was just starting Mutual, in the Mormon Church, and I looked forward to that for so many years. I was really upset about that. We came on the train and I was a little sick at the stomach on the train. My brother Jim threw up all over my mother who was pregnant with Leslie. The porter was disgusted.
We arrived in Spokane, went to a little old place on Trent or Main avenue to eat some lunch. Aunt May and her husband, Uncle Gilbert, came in and took us up to their place. I remember going to sleep that night and listening to the coyotes. Everything was so noisy. I was a little bit frightened because I had never lived in timber, and this was deep timber way up on Mt. Kit Carson.
The next day was Jay (Dean) or Ernie’s birthday. They were a day apart. We went on down in a day or two to this dump that we chose as a house. It was cheap, had an oilcloth ceiling in the big living room, kitchen. I had to scrub that and I drew a picture of my dad with his initials underneath. I went to scrub it out but it left an impression all the while we were up there, no matter how hard I scrubbed. Oh, my dad was mad!
It was a beautiful place to go down into the canyon or else go up the hill and sit in the apple tree and look over the whole countryside. I would like to live there, myself now. Not in that house of course, it’s gone. The walls were covered with newspaper. The first few weeks I spent all my time reading the newspapers and magazines. I remember a Tug Boat Annie story but I never could read all of it, because some parts were pasted facing the wall. I practically memorized parts of it.
I remember Rice’s coming up after we moved there. They were our friends in Pocatello and they came to visit us overnight. We all slept on the floor on blankets. We had some good times up there. The crows, hawks, or eagles would come and we’d have to go get the gun. My dad taught me to shoot the gun, so I could kill the hawks so our chickens wouldn’t be taken. We had to have them. We nearly starved the first year we were up there until the garden got started. We raised strawberries. Somebody gave us some strawberries. I was allergic to them. Every time I picked them I broke out. That saved a lot of work, but then I found work somewhere else to do. Work! Work! Work!
I started school and I didn’t like it. It was a small school. The kids were all used to each other and didn’t know me and they didn’t care to get acquainted easily and I was shy. Then right after I started, Della Ann and Thelma got scarlet fever and we had to burn our books, I guess dad did, I couldn’t. I loved to read. I would go down in the valley and find a little moss covered place and read and go for a walk, in the summer time.
We got to go to a community type church, way up at the schoolhouse, which was several miles straight up the mountain. It was fun. Then the Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints started a mission there because there were some people nearby that did belong to that church, called the Loves. So the mission got pretty good, quite a few people. That’s where I came to know the doctrine of the church and the people. I joined the church. I came down to Spokane and was baptized, all of our family, in two different sessions.
RLDS Church where the Mikesell family were baptized
I remember being chased by a farmer’s cow. The dirty people who lived near us, I don’t think I’ll give their name, but they were filthy. The woman was big, heavy and fat. One time she got sick and she lay on the bed. I cleaned up her bedroom, tried to sweep under the bed. There were all kinds of things, a dead chicken under there, dirt and dust. They wanted me to stay for lunch several times but all I would do is take a slice of wonder bread out of the bag. They never baked. They got their water out of a big drum out on the porch for cooking and drinking. The cows and animals would get loose and come up on the porch and drink out of that thing. I wasn’t going to drink that water.
We got our milk from some people, who were real clean, but it wasn’t pasteurized and I got a terrible cyst on my neck. To this day it’s a sore spot. They took me into town. I thought I would go to the hospital, but the county doctor did it in his office then sent me to the juvenile home for a week to recuperate. It was cheaper than the hospital. I’ll remember that experience. It’s done a lot to help me go the straight and narrow way because I didn’t want to go back there. The children were so miserable, running away from home, getting into trouble. Anyway, I’ve had a pretty good life.“ [end of tape]
Betty evidently doesn’t remember one of the worse things to happen to her in her life. At the time the Mikesell family was living in Alameda (now part of Pocatello), Bannock County, Idaho. From a saved old newspaper article we learn: "Betty, age three years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Micksell of 415 Randolph, experienced an accident Sunday that could have easily resulted fatally. The family was traveling north on the Blackfoot road near Fort Hall, when Betty, who was alone in the rear of the car, unlatched the door and tumbled to the pavement while the car was traveling quite rapidly. She was brought to the Lynn Bros. hospital, and upon examination was found to have sustained nothing more than a number of bad body bruises and an injury to an eye." The article was wrong. Later it was found that Betty had two broken ear drums and had trouble with her feet and back for the rest of her life.
Betty was a poet, short-story teller and playwright. She liked to put her thoughts down in poem & story form, sometimes just on scraps of paper that were handy at the time inspiration came to her. Other poems and stories were done for classes that she took at different times in her life, always striving to improve her writing.
On a scrap of paper Betty typed "writing talent hidden in the family genes somewhere. A member of my extensive family needs only to grasp a pencil and paper, look pensive and everyone crosses their fingers in hopes that maybe the right genes have appeared at last. In 1939 I won $2.00 in a ditty contest and was praised by everyone. In 1940 I had a literary love affair with Edward Lear and spent hours writing. In 1942 I had some small success with poetry and that did it. I love to write."
In a letter Betty wrote:
"Your card yesterday reminded me of when I was thirteen & fourteen years old, living up on Mt. Kit Carson. I would rise very early on fall mornings & quietly tiptoe out into the dawn, past the rabbit shed where I could hear their thumping, (calling for me to feed them) and went down into the draw behind the outhouse.
In the shady draw I ran through a small area of thick pine trees. The thin straight path among the trees was used by deer - It was cool there in the hot summer but now the hoar-frost took longer to melt, but when it did, the days of fall were heavenly. I usually stopped to listen before I began climbing out of the trees & up the hill. Birds were everywhere with that wake-up song each song making a chatter & clatter. I know that their song is understood by them - each to the other - but I wanted them quiet so I could hear what I was waiting for - the sound of my younger brother [Jim] following me.
He was an early riser also & usually caught up with me before I left the trees. We never talked much but were happy to be together there. We looked at the tiny purple-starred flowers on the forest floor and tried not to step on them. Where the rising sun-rays caught them the flowers were covered with dew glittering in the sun.
At the top of the hill we would climb an old apple tree and sit & study the spread-out land below us - miles and miles of it - so majestic in the early morning calm. Winding roads below promised adventure to us, low fields were gold blankets of wheat. White farmhouses, cattle feeding, and, many times, deer grazing were all before us.
In the far distance to the left we saw the city - big & scary when we chanced to be there but from the tree it looked very small. On our right we viewed, way in the distance, broken-topped peaks (some with white hats) that showed us a strange land - Canada.
We thought of it as a chaos of mountain behind mountain all bracing themselves for the heavy snows soon to fall. Closer below us, we laughed at bundled up farmers coming out of their houses heading hurriedly for their outhouses & barns. We felt like Angels watching them unaware. All the time in the tree we would be munching ripe apples so cool & crisp & good.
Then we filled the bag I had carried with those wonderful Winesaps and others I don’t remember. We said goodbye to the far away mountains, to the town (just waking up) & the flowers below us blooming like a vast bluebell carpet. We scrambled to home past an old rickety gate that sagged, sorrowing for the loss of it’s yard & fence & house & owners long gone. Soon we heard our dear daddy calling us to hurry with our chores. Breakfast was ready and a school bus would soon come after us.”
About Christmas Dec 25, 1947 at the Mikesell’s [On Haven St., Spokane WA] Betty wrote:
“Early, Evan & I went over & after opening the gifts we just played around - Making records etc. until dinner. [Betty & Evan had a recorder, that recorded on records, with a microphone that was usually passed around the family circle for each person to say something.]
Christmas 1954 at the Mikesell home
Ham was served with jello for dessert. Salad & potatoes & gravy were as usual good. Then we painted, colored & talked until four when Evan & I left. Mom, Dad & I recalled the previous Christmas’s when although all the family was home we had nothing for Christmas.
In 1941 we were separated, dad, Jim & I on Mt. Spokane & none of us received or gave a gift at all except the girls got some from the neighbors. No food in the house but we were all happy in the prospect of maybe future prosperity in a greater degree than ever before. Daddy was sick that year. [Florence & other children were in the Mikesell’s, just-rented tiny home, on south Ferrall street in Spokane.]
Next year I hope Ernie & Jimmie can be home for Christmas.” [Both Mikesell boys were in the service. Ernie enlisted 15 Oct 1942 in the Air Corps, at the age of 20, and Jim was in the Merchant Marines until he enlisted in the Army on the 12th of December 1945, having just turned 18. Perhaps he lied about his age to get into the Merchant Marines, he had quit school in the 11th grade but later went to college.]
ca 1944. Mikesell family left: Edith [Ernie’s wife]; Ernie; Della Ann; Thelma; Dad Jeff; Jim; Leslie [in front]; Mom Florence; and Betty. In front of Mikesell home, 424 S. Haven, Spokane WA.
Obituary: Pocatello Tribune, Pocatello, Idaho, Sat. 24 Nov 1928
Mikesel [Mikesell] Funeral Sunday
Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon for Docie [Josie?] Mikesell, wife of George W. Mikesel [Mikesell], from the fourth ward L.D.S. church. Interment will be in Mountainview under direction of Hall mortuary.
Emma Harper Mikesell, 16 Mar 1904, Pleasant Grove, Utah-12 July 1931, Pocatello, Idaho.
Mother Survived By Baby Daughter
Mrs. Erma [Emma] Harper Mikesell, 27, wife of George W. Mikesell of 319 N. Johnson, died at a local hospital Sunday night. She is survived by her husband and an infant daughter only a few days old.
The funeral of Mrs. Mikesell will be held at 2 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon from the 4th Ward L. D. S. church. Bishop Lawrence D. Clark. will be in charge of the services.
Mrs. Mikesell was graduated as a nurse from the L. D. S. hospital at Idaho Falls three years ago and came to Pocatello two years ago, when she was married.
Surviving besides her husband and Infant daughter are the following brothers and sisters: James B. Harper and Leo Harper, Rupert; Roderick Harper and Mrs. Lucile Sorenson, Firth; Mrs. Ella Lord, Shelley; Mrs. Cecil Pendlebury, Blackfoot; Lester H. Harper, Los Angeles, Cal.; Duane S. Harper, Pleasant Grove, Utah; Marvin Harper, Rose.
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane WA, Friday January 8, 1943, pg. 14 Death & Funeral columns. [Andrew “Jay” Dean, 5 April, 1924-6 January 1943 Spokane WA]
Dean (Andrew) Jay -
Age 18. Passed away Jan. 6 at a local hospital. He was a resident of this city and a former resident of Colbert, Wash.
Survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert L. Dean; 3 brothers, Linn [Lynn]; Budd [Bud]; Keith Dean; one sister, Louise, all at the home in Colbert, Wash.; grandfather, Andrew Mikesell, Adrian, Wash.; uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Mikesell, and other relatives in Spokane.
He was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ [of] L. D . S.
Funeral Sat., Jan 9, at 1 p.m. from “The Chapel Of Memories” at the Thornhill-Carey Funeral Home, N1322 Monroe St. Rev. J. F. Curtis officiating. Interment at Chattaroy, Wash.
[No photo was with the original obituary.]
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane WA, Friday March 22, 1946, pg. 17 [Gilbert Lafayette Dean, 28 Dec 1894, Julian CA-20 Mar 1946, Colbert WA.]
Dean, Gilbert L. - Passed away March 20. His home was at route 1, Colbert, Wash.
Husband of Mae Dean. Father of Louise, Bud and Keith Dean, all at the home. Lynn Dean, U. S. Army. Brother of Mrs. E. L. Harmon of Bakersfield, Calif., and Albert Dean.
He was a farmer, a veteran of World War 1, and a member of American Legion post No. 136.
Funeral Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. from the Alwin Chapel at the Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home. N 1306 Monroe st. Interment Chattaroy cemetery.
[No photo was with the original obituary.]
Obituary: Teton Valley News, Driggs, Teton Co., Idaho. Vol. XLII no. 9 Thursday March , 1951
Andrew J. Mikesell Dies at Bonners Ferry -
Andrew J. Mikesell 89, passed away at the home of his daughter Mrs. Sarah E. “Libby” Aller Monday, February 19 at Bonners Ferry from incidents to old age.
Mr. Mikesell was born in Monona County, Iowa, a son of John Mikesell and Sara Skinner Mikesell, on December 5, 1861 being the oldest member of the family and being the last member of the family to pass away.
When he was two years old he came to Weber county with his parents where they lived for several years and where Mr. Mikesell spent his early childhood.
Later the family moved to Cache County settling at Paradise. While living there he met Harriet Osborn whom he married in the Endowment House at Salt Lake on April 10, 1883. Following their marriage they lived at Lewiston, Utah until 1887 when they moved To Kamas, Utah where they lived until 1901 when they came to Idaho settling at Victor. Later they moved to Ashton where they lived until Mrs. Mikesell passed away on July 8, 1926.
After this Mr. Mikesell lived at Driggs for awhile and for the past 16 years he has lived in Spokane and Bonners Ferry, with his daughter. Mr. Mikesell was very active and was engaged in logging and cutting timber nearly his entire life.
To this union 11 children were born 10 of whom survive. They are Charles A. Mikesell, St. Anthony; Ernest J. Mikesell, Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Sarah E. “Libby” Aller, Bonners Ferry, Idaho; Jefferson O. Mikesell, Spokane, Wash.; Henry D. Mikesell, Driggs, Idaho; Frank A. Mikesell, Victor, Idaho; Willard Mikesell, Pocatello, Idaho; Walter H. Mikesell, Ogden, Utah; Mary L. Dean, Spokane, Wash., and Mrs. Lucille Bressler, Jackson, Wyoming.There are also 40 grandchildren and 54 great grandchildren surviving.
Funeral services were conducted Friday afternoon at the Hansen Funeral Home Chapel with Bishop Robert Smith of the St. Anthony second ward officiating. The opening song “Not Understood” was sung by Bruce Reynolds of Ashton with Mrs. Vera Orr acting as accompanist. The invocation was offered by a grandson Walter Mikesell. The obituary was then by Bishop Robert Smith followed by the first speaker J. R. Cluff of Victor.
Mrs. Julia Richins and Reed Richins, accompanied by Mrs. Carrie Laurizen, all of Victor, then sang “In The Garden”. The concluding speaker was Bishop Delos Laurizen, formerly of the Victor ward, after which the closing remarks were offered by Bishop Smith. The closing song “Somewhere A Voice is Calling” was sung by Bruce Reynolds with Mrs. Vera Orr acting as accompanist. The benediction was offered by Max Johnson a grandson.
Internment was in the Pineview cemetery at Ashton under the direction of the Hansen Funeral home and the grave was dedicated by W.M. Hansen. Pallbearers all grandsons were Walter J. Mikesell; Earl Mikesell; Harvey Mikesell; Hyrum Mikesell; Gene Mikesell and Dell Bressler. Flowers were carried by Granddaughters and they were Wilma Mikesell; Emma Jo Mikesell; Erma Mikesell; Sherry Mikesell; Marie Johnson; Mabel Sewell; Carma Jenson; Grace Browning; Alice Fransen; Mae Bressler and Maxine Jacobson under the direction of Ada Thornock and Audrey Hathaway of the St. Anthony second ward Relief Society.
[No photo with original obituary]
Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane Washington - J. O. Mikesell D. 31 March 1962, Spokane WA.
Jefferson O. Mikesell, 74, manager of the
Blue Bird Motel until his retirement
about a year ago, died today in a hospital.
A Spokane-area resident since 1938, he was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He is survived by his wife, Florence, at the home, E1214 Rockwell; two sons, Ernest, Salem and James Mikesell, Moses Lake; four daughters, Mrs. Betty Erlandson, Mrs. Della Binder, Mrs. Leslie Wood and Mrs. Thelma Winters, all of Spokane; 14 grandchildren; five brothers, including Ernest Mikesell, and three sisters, including Mrs. Elizabeth Aller and Mrs. Mary Dean, all of Spokane.
The body is at Hazen & Jaeger’s.
[No photo with original obituary]
Obituary, 1966 Copeland, Boundary Co., Idaho - Funeral Services are Held Wednesday for Mrs. Elmer Aller [Marjorie Adaline (McDole) Aller - 11 May 1919-22 Dec 1966]
Mrs. Elmer (Marjorie Adaline) Aller, longtime Boundary county resident, passed away at her home in Copeland Dec. 22nd following a lingering illness.
She was born May 11, 1919, at Touchet, Wash., the daughter of Albert S. and Esther Bosley McDole. At the age of five she moved with her parents to Troy, Ore., where she grew up and received her education.
On Sept. 1, 1934, she married George Elmer Aller at Lewiston, Idaho. They farmed in Oregon, Idaho and Washington until 1944, when they moved to Boundary county and purchased a farm at Copeland, where she resided at the time of her death.
She was a member of the Bonners Ferry Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Surviving are her husband, at Copeland; two sons, David of Palouse, Wash., and Elmer at Moscow, Idaho; two daughters, Ethel Heinemann of Copeland and Ellen Irons of Springfield, Va.; two brothers, Albert McDole of Woodland, Calif., and Harris McDole, in California; a sister, Bonnie Carter of Seattle; also six grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Wednesday at Hillcrest Memorial chapel, with Elder Wayne Winters officiating. Interment, directed by Hillcrest, was in Grandview cemetery. Pallbearers were Marvin Houck, R. J. (Bud) Roland, Edward Houck, Dale Nieman, D. O. Haagenson and Hugh Brazee.
Charles “Charlie” Andrew Mikesell - 19 April 1883-23 Oct 1967- Area
“Pioneer Dies At 84 (Special To The Post-Register) ST. ANTHONY, Oct. 25 -
Charles Andrew Mlkesell, 84, a resident of Idaho since 1900, died at an Idaho Falls rest home Monday morning following a lingering Illness.
He was born April 19, 1883, a son of Andrew J. and M. Harriett Osborne Mikesell at Hyrum, Utah.
He received his early education at Hyrum and the family moved to Idaho Falls In 1900 where he lived for a short time working In the Idaho Falls and Ucon area.
He then moved to Fremont County where he was employed as a laborer and logger and married Minnie Louise Porter, Jan. 9, 1908, at St. Anthony.
Following their marriage they homesteaded at Sarilda where they farmed for many years. He also raised cattle and had a private fish pond and sold fish commercially untll 1931. They then moved to St. Anthony where he was employed by the Fremont County Weed control. In 1952 they moved to Idaho Falls where they have continued to reside.
He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Minnie Mikesell and eight out of nine children. They are Earl Mikesell, St. Anthony; Mrs. Grace (Elmer) Browning, and Mrs. Marie (Max) Johnson, Idaho Falls; Frank Mikesell, Aberdeen; Leroy Mikesell, Blanding, Utah; Mrs. Alice (Albert) Storms, Ashton; Ted Mikesell, East St. Louis, Ill., and Mrs. Lyle (Wayne) Reneau, Rigby. There are also 34 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren surviving.
The following brothers and sisters also survive: Ernest Mikesell and Mrs. Elizabeth Aller, Spokane, Wash.; Henry D. Mikesell, Idaho Falls; George W. Mikesell, Pocatello; Walter Mikesell, Ogden, Utah; Mrs. Mary S. Dean, Spokane, Wash.; and Mrs. Lucille Bressler, Jackson, Wyo.
Funeral services will be conducted Friday at 1 p. m. at the Hansen Memorial Chapel, St. Anthony, with Bishop Irvon Murri of the St. Anthony LDS Fourth Ward officiating. Friends may call at the Hansen Memorial Chapel from 7 to 9 p. m. and Friday until time of services. Interment will be in the Pineview cemetery at Ashton under the diretion of the Hansen Memorial Chapel, St Anthony.”
[Photos, not with original obituary, provided by Lyle Mikesell Reneau.]
Ernest “Ernie” Osborn Mikesell, 5 April, 1922 in Victor, Idaho - 24 January 1976, Salem, Oregon.
Deer Park WA newspaper March 25, 1976 - Obituary
“Ernest O. Mikesell of Salem, Ore., a 1940 graduate of Riverside high school, died Jan. 24 of an unexpected heart attack. He was 53 years old.
Survivors include his wife, Edith, at the home; one son, Jeff, of Salem; his mother Florence Mikesell of Spokane; three [four] sisters and one brother, including Mrs. Evan (Betty) Erlandson, of Loon Lake.
The deceased was an employee in the poultry division, agriculture department of the State of Oregon. He spent his leisure hours visiting the elderly and the shut-ins in Salem and wrote many children’s stories.
Interment was in Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Ore. for the World War II veteran." [1975 photo was not with this obituary.]
Spokane Washington 1976 [Florence Vivien (Allen) Mikesell - 15 Dec 1900 Salt Lake City, UT-30 Nov 1976 Spokane WA]
Mikesell, Florence V. - Passed away November 30, 1976 in Spokane.
Her home W629 33rd Ave.
Mother of Betty L. Erlandson, Loon Lake, Wash.; Della A. Binder, Spokane; Thelma F. Winters, Yakima, Wash.; Leslie A. Wood, Rockford, Wash.; James A. Mikesell, Spokane; 16 grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; sister of Grace Wells, Gooding, Idaho; Anita Walston, Bliss, Idaho.
A member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. A resident of Spokane for 40 years.
Funeral services Friday, December 3, 1976 at 2 p.m. in the Gothic Chapel, Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home, N1306 Monroe St. Burial at Spokane Memorial Gardens.
[Photos were not with original obituary.]
[George "Willard” Mikesell - 08 Sep 1893-21 Feb 1980]
George W. Mikesell, 86, Pocatello, a former Teton Basin resident, died Thursday morning at a Pocatello hospital.
He was born Sept. 8, 1893, at Kamas, Utah to Andrew J. and Harriet Osborn Mikesell.
At the age of 7, he moved with his family to Teton Basin where he was reared and educated. He also attended Washington State College.
In 1917, Mikesell enlisted In the U.S. Army and served in France during World War I in the 142nd Rainbow Division, under General MacArthur. He received a Purple Heart.
Following his discharge from the Army, he was employed as a machinist by Union Pacific Railroad. He was later employed as a machinist at the Pocatello Naval Ordnance Plant, where he worked until his retirement.
Mikesell was a member of the LDS Church, Pocatello Post No. 4 American legion, and Pocatello Post No. 3 Disabled American Veterans.
He is survived by his widow, Della L. of Pocatello; a son, Hyrum W. Mikesell, of Pocatello; three daughters, Mrs. David H. (Emma Jo) Weller, Idaho Falls, Mrs. Donald (Wilma) Oler, Portland, Ore., and Mrs. William (Erma) Wade, Clearfield, Utah; two brothers, Ernest Mikesell, Spokane, and Walter Mikesell, Ogden, Utah; two sisters, Mae Dean of Spokane, and Lucille Bressler, Jackson Hole; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by four brothers and two sisters.
Services will be conducted Monday, 1 p.m. at the Henderson Funeral Chapel with Chester E. Dorsey, former bishop of the LDS 30th Ward, officiating. Military ritualistic services will be conducted by Pocatello Post No. 735.
[Photo not with original obituary. See Della’s obituary below.]
Obituary 1982 [Elmer George Aller - 01 Oct 1907-18 Jan 1982]
Elmer Aller died on Jan 18 in Blaine, Wash., while staying with his son, Warren Aller.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. in the Bonners Ferry Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Wayne Bell officiating. Burial was held in the Grandview Cemetery.
He was born Oct. 1, 1907 in Camas, Idaho, to George and Sara Aller. He attended schools in southern Oregon, where he lived until 1933.
On Sept 1, 1934, he married Marjorie McDole in Lewiston, Idaho. They lived and farmed eastern Washington and Oregon.
In 1935 they had twin daughters, Jane and June, in Lewiston. In 1937, the Allers moved to the Wenatchee area where a son, David, was born in 1941. In 1944, they moved to Copeland, Idaho, to farm, and another son, Warren, was born in Bonners Ferry. Aller continued to farm until 1966, when he retired. He has lived with his children until his death.
Elmer Aller was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie, in 1966 and also by two great-grandchildren. He is survived by twin daughters, Jane Irons of Boston, Mass., and June Heinemann of Bonners Ferry; two sons, David C. Aller of Bonners Ferry and E. Warren Aller of Blaine, Wash.; 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
[Photo not with original obituary.]
Unknown newspaper obituary, 30 Jan 1983 [Walter Hyrum Mikesell, 29 Jan 1896-28 Jan 1983] Washington Terrace - Ogden, Weber County, Utah Walter Hyrum Mikesell, 85, of 4712 S. 475 W., died Friday, Jan. 28, 1983, in an Ogden nursing home.
He was born Jan. 29, 1896, in Kamas, Utah, a son of Andrew Jackson and Harriet Osborn Mikesell.
He married Katie Marie Jones Sept. 2, 1919, in St. Anthony, Idaho. The marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple. She died in July of 1966.
He then married Anina Evans in November of 1969 in the Logan LDS Temple. She died July 3, 1975.
He retired as a civilian guard at Hill Air Force Base after 25 years of service. He also worked for the Railroad Ranch in Teton Basin, Idaho, and had worked for the Clark Seed Co., and the Idaho Industrial School in St. Anthony.
He was reared and educated in Teton Basin, Idaho, where he later farmed.
He had also lived in St. Anthony, moving to Ogden area in 1943.
He was a veteran of World War 1, having served in the Army. He was a member of the American Legion and the disabled American Veterans. He was a high priest in the Washington Terrace LDS 10th Ward, and had served as a home teacher in the Washington Terrace LDS 2nd Ward.
He organized the first Little League Baseball team in Washington Terrace, and was instrumental in organizing other recreational programs in Washington Terrace.
He is survived by three daughters: Mrs. John (Fern) Kay, Groton, Conn.; Mrs. David (Tennis) Hunt, Washington Terrace; Mrs. Leo (Sherry) Metz, Chandler, Ariz.; three stepsons and three stepdaughters: Lawrence Evans, Phoenix, Ariz.; Paul Evans, Ogden; Dee Evans of Colorado; Mrs. Larry (Barbara) Byington, Sunset; Mrs. Vern (Delores) Bingham, Ogdon; Mrs. Kent (Thelma) Nielson, Farmington.
He was preceded in death by a son, Walter J. Mikesell.
Also surviving are 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren; one brother and two sisters: Earnest Mikesell and Mrs. May Dean, both of Arizona, and Mrs. Lucille Bressler, Jackson, Wyo.
Funeral services will be conducted Monday at 11 a.m. at the Lindquist and Sons Colonial Chapel, with former Bishop James A. Carter of the Washington Terrace LDS 10th Ward officiating.
Friends may call at the mortuary Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Monday one hour prior to services. Interment will be in the Washington Heights Memorial Park.
Spokane Washington newspaper obituary [Ernest “Ern” Jackson Mikesell - 25 Nov 1884-01 May 1986]
Mikesell, Ernest (101) -
Passed away May 1, 1986 in Spokane.
Survived by two sisters, Mary L. Dean, Spokane, Lucille Bressler, Jackson, WY; numerous nieces and nephews.
Member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Funeral Service, Monday, May 5, 1986 at 2 p.m. Ball & Dodd Funeral Home - North, W5100 Wellesley, Rev. W.G. Wallace, officiating. Private Interment, Chattaroy, Cemetery.
[Photo not with obituary]
Obituary: Post Register, Friday 03 June 1988 [Della Leona (Aller) Mikesell - 07 Oct 1907-01 Jun 1988]
Della Leona Mikesell, 80, 4949 Joy, died Wednesday afternoon at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.
She was born Oct. 7, 1907 in Lewiston, Utah, to Hyrum and Eliza Neilson Aller. She attended schools in Star Valley, Wyo. and in Lewiston, Utah, where she graduated from Lewiston High School.
She married George Willard Mikesell in October 1931 at Pocatello. He died Feb.21, 1980.
She enjoyed sewing and gardening.
She was a member of the LDS Church.
She is survived by one son, Hyrum W. Mikesell, Pocatello; three daughters, Mrs. Don (Wilma) Oler, Portland, Ore.; Mrs David (Emma Jo) Weller, Idaho Fails; Mrs. William (Erma) Wade, Clearfield, Utah; 14 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchiIdren, three brothers, William, Jess and Kanzel Aller, all of Pocatello. She was preceded In death by one brother and one sister.
Funeral services will be 2 pm Saturday in the Henderson Funeral Chapel 431 N 15th Ave. with Bishop D. Lee Merrill of the Pocatello LDS 33rd Ward conducting. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 1 pm until service time at the Henderson Funeral Home. Burial will be in Mountainview Cemetery.
[See photo with her husband’s obit above.]
James Allen “Jim” Mikesell - 4 November 1927, Sam, Teton County, Idaho - 23 November 1992, Tualatin, Washington County, Oregon.
James (Jim) Allen Mikesell was the son of Jefferson Osborn “Jeff” Mikesell and Florence Vivien (Allen) Mikesell, born in Sam, Idaho, November 4, 1927 and died on November 23, 1992 in Tualatin, Oregon. Sam was a small mining village located in the Teton Mountains.
He grew up in southern Idaho, and moved to Mt. Kit Carson, near Spokane, Washington when he was around 12. While living there, the previously Mormon family was acquainted with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Jim was baptized on April 14, 1940.
Jim had suffered from rheumatic fever as a child, but dropped out of school at age 16, and joined the Merchant Marines. He complained that he could not swim, and was seasick the entire time he served. He was a cook’s helper, and seemed to spend most of his time peeling potatoes and upchucking over the side of the ship. He enlisted in the US Army at age 18 in December of 1945, and served in Europe as a mechanic, rifleman, and light tank driver, receiving an Army of Occupation Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal, until his honorable discharge as a corporal on September 27, 1948.
He returned to the Pacific Northwest, earned his GED at Lewis and Clark High School in December 1948, and went to college at Oregon State College in Corvallis studying agriculture, near where his older brother, Ernie lived.
After a couple years, his GI bill stopped and he returned to Spokane, where he met the love of his life, Wilma LeNeya Martinson Wahl and married her on the 30th of May 1952 in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. Jim and Wilma and her little boy, Michael Wahl, welcomed a baby girl, Jaime Lee Mikesell in 1952.
Jim retired from Northwest Bell Telephone Company with 27 years service in the plant and construction, and eventually as a manager. Because of his job, he and Wilma lived in many different towns. After retirement he enjoyed tinkering around the house, traveling, fishing, and playing with his grandchildren and his small poodle dog. He was a very kind, considerate family man. Jim was a deacon in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and enjoyed teaching an adult class in Sunday School.
Surviving him were his wife, Wilma, his daughter Jaime, step-son, Mike, grandchildren Kevin and Colin Wahl, Jared and Rachel Musgrove, and four sisters, Betty Erlandson, Della Binder, Thelma Winters and Leslie Wood. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, Ernest Mikesell.
Addendum, a great granddaughter, LeNeya Rae Musgrove (daughter of Jared) was born after his death in 2005. Written October 17, 2011 by Jaime Mikesell Musgrove, Visit Jim’s findagrave.com Memorial Page. See photo album.
[Notice that date of death is given as Oct. 2. Funeral Memorial program & Social Security Death Index give date of death as Oct. 4.]
Services set for Thursday for Bressler - Funeral services for Lydia Lucille Bressler, 91, a long-time resident of Jackson who died Oct. 2 at the St. Johns Nursing Home, will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Jackson LDS church with Bishop Phillip Nethercott officiating. There will be a visitation at 1p.m.Thursday at the church.
Born April 23, 1902, in Chapin, Id., to Andrew and Harriett Osborn Mikesell, she married Lyle Bressler on Nov. 20, 1917, and moved to Jackson in 1932.
She was a member of the LDS church, a charter member of the Sour Doughs and cooked for many years for the area’s dude ranches and the employees of Grand Teton National Park. She is said to have loved fishing, hunting and gardening.
She is survived by five sons, Roy Bressler of San Antonio, Tex., Bob Bressler of Star Valley Ranch, Wy., Jack Bressler of St. George, Utah, Vern Bressler of Jackson, and Dell Bressler of Red Bluff, Calif.; two daughters, May Luscher of Cardston, Alberta, Canada, and Maxine Jacobson of Alpine, Wyo.; one sister, May Dean of Spokane, Wash.; 20 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, one son, three sisters, nine brothers and two grandchildren.
Burial will be at Aspen Hill Cemetery The family requests donations be made to the St. John’s Nursing Home in lieu of flowers.
“The Spokesman Review”, Spokane, Washington [Mary Linda “Mae” Mikesell Dean - 12 Dec 1899-04 Mar 1996]
Mary Dean, Spokane
Service for Mary L. Dean 96, will be held at 11 a.m. today at Ball and Dodd Funeral Home-South. Burial will be at the Chattaroy Cemetery.
Born in Kamas, Utah, Mrs. Dean died Monday.
She had been a camp cook at Yellowstone National Park. Mrs. Dean had lived in Spokane for 61 years and worked at Goodwill Industries.
She was also a homemaker. Her husband, Gilbert Dean, died in 1946. She is survived by one daughter, Georgia Leigh of Aguila, Ariz.; three sons,
Gilbert Dean of Grants Pass, Ore.; Henry Dean of Bullhead City, Ariz.; and Keith Dean of Las Vegas, Nev.; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
[Photos not with original obituaries, provided by Mary Mikesell Dean, ca 1995]
Dean, Mary L -
Passed away March 4, 1996. Survived by one daughter, Georgia Leigh, Agulila, AZ; three sons, Gilbert L. Dean, Grants Pass, OR, Henry Bud Dean, Bullhead City, AZ, Keith Steven Dean, Las Vegas, NV; numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her husband Gilbert Dean, 1946 and one son, Jay Dean, 1943.
Funeral Service Friday, March 8, 1996 at 11:00 A.M. at Ball & Dodd Funeral Home - South, 421 S. Division Street. Pastor Lloyd Perrin, officiating. Interment Chattaroy Cemetery. 
Edith Lorraine Ruud Mikesell - March 27, 1921 - August 10, 1998, Salem, Oregon
Salem Newspaper -
Edith Lorraine (Ruud) Mikesell March 27, 1921 - Aug. 10, 1998
Edith Mikesell, 77, of Salem, died Monday of Kidney failure.
She was born in Veblen, S.D., and was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She made dolls and puppets that were used in diabetic support groups. Her husband, Ernie, whom she married in 1944, died in 1976.
Survivors include her son, Jeffry, of Salem.
Memorial services will be 6 p.m. August 19 in the Community of Christ Church, 4570 Center St. NE in Salem. Contributions: Arthritis Foundation.“
Edith Lorraine Ruud Mikesell was born March 27, 1921 in Veblen, South Dakota to Ole & Cora Ruud.
She was the second youngest in a family of nine. When Edith was three years old her family moved to Weiser, Idaho. Later the family lived in Waldport and Ontario, Oregon.
In June of 1944 she married Ernie Mikesell, who was serving in the Army Air Force at the time. After he got out of the military they moved to Corvallis, Oregon.
In 1950, while attending a RLDS church reunion at Silver Lake, near Seattle, Edith was baptized by J.F. Curtis. She was a faithful member, attending church whenever possible. She especially loved singing in the choir, and did so not only at church, but also at the retirement center she later lived in.
Edith and Ernie adopted their son Jeffrey in 1952. Edith was able to stay at home and raise Jeff. Edith loved to sew and was very gifted at it. She made lots of clothes for her family, but what she enjoyed most was making dolls and puppets. Traveling brought delight to Edith as well as playing the piano and organ, even though she was too shy to play for an audience.
Edith had a quiet, unassuming personality. She loved people, and loved being included in any activity that gave her a chance to listen, learn, and laugh.
[Cemetery for Edith & Ernie [5 Apr 1922-24 Jan 1976] is the Willamette National Cemetery, Happy Valley, Clackamas County, Oregon, plot A, O. 2937. Photo not in original obituary.]
________________________________________________________________________ Edward James Binder, 22 July 1922 Westmond, Bonner Co., ID - 3 April 2000, Spokane, Spokane Co., WA.
Obituaries: Sat. 8 Apr 2000, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA.
Eddie Binder - Spokane - Memorial service for Eddie J. Binder, 77, is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home.
Mr. Binder, who was born in Westmont, Idaho, died Monday. His family moved to Spokane when he was an infant.
He served in the Army Air Corps as a flight officer and lieutenant during World War II. He later served in the Reserves.
Mr. Binder worked in the engineering department at Kaiser Aluminum Trentwood for 34 years and retired in 1985. He served as grievance officer for the teamsters Union Local 4027. He was also a member of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Club.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Della; two sons, Pat Binder of Usk, Wash., and Mike Binder of Champaign, Ill.; three daughters, Bev Baker, Jeanne Chambers and Naomi Rhodes, all of Spokane; a brother, Leo Binder of Weippe, Idaho; two sisters, Mary Vallette of Pahrump, Nev., and Marie Russell of Buena Park, Calif.; 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
_____________________________________________________________________ [Wilma LeNeya Martinson Mikesell, 24 July 1927-4 Aug 2002] Aug 4 2002
Wilma Mikesell passed away today in Oregon City, Oregon.
She was surrounded by her family as she gave up on a long and painful struggle following her surgery. Despite the fact that the cancer was gone, she could not recover her strength and made the decision this morning to not allow further support for her breathing.
She was born on July 24, 1927 and lived a successful and productive life as a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and friend. She was a handmaiden for the Lord in her own way, and called on the elders of the Church for love and support during the last few months.
She will be remembered at a memorial service this week at the Community of Christ, Woodburn, Oregon congregation. She was very thankful for all the prayers by family and friends. Her daughter, Jaime Musgrove.
Flyer placed in Memorial Service program:
Wilma LeNeya Martinson was born in Spokane, Washington on July 24,1927, first daughter of Olaf and Bessie Martinson. She was a bright girl who skipped two grades during grammar school, graduating from high school at age 16. She liked to play the piano and be with her friends.
She grew up in Spokane on the north side of town with her parents, and younger sister, Mona, in a house that their father built. After high school she worked as a secretary in Spokane and in Washington D.C.
In 1946, Wilma married Rocky Wahl. Their first child, Michael was born in [private]. In 1952, she and Rocky divorced and she married Jim Mikesell. Jim was a tall gangly fellow who worked as a lineman for the telephone company.
They moved all around Central Washington together with Mike, and their daughter, Jaime, who was born in [private]. They lived in trailer houses, which they sometimes pulled behind their car when they moved from town to town. She raised her family and enjoyed sewing clothes for all of them, cooking, and visiting over coffee with other telephone company wives.
In 1964, when Jim was promoted into management, they moved into their first real house with a big yard. She loved putting down roots, decorating their home and working in the garden. They moved several more times while Jim worked for the telephone company. They developed an interest in traveling in their camper and traveled all over the west, camping and relaxing in their time off.
When Jim retired, they sold their home and moved to Lake Pend Oreille, in northern Idaho. There they boated and fished in the summers, and traveled around in warmer climates in the winters. They moved for the last time to Oregon City in 1984.
Jim passed away in 1992 and Wilma continued to live in Oregon City until August 4, 2002.
Wilma had many talents and gifts, the greatest of which was being a successful wife and mother to her family. She offered moral support and had much pride in her husband’s success in his work, and in her son’s law career, and daughter’s nursing career. She taught them to work hard and was a pillar they could depend on for support and love. She had a love for music, cooking, sewing, reading, watching television, gardening, and was a whiz at the New York Times crossword puzzles. She delighted in gifts of candy and could always be depended on for a bit of chocolate in the house.
Wilma enjoyed good health all her life, until the last seven months when she struggled with cancer and the ensuing medical treatments. She fought very hard to live but realized It was too much for her after her recent surgery. She will be remembered by all her family for her love and quick wit, her support and stubborn will. We will miss her greatly.
IDAHO FALLS, ID – David Hyrum Weller, 77, of Idaho Falls, died August 30, 2002, at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
He was born August 4, 1925 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Gustav August Weller and Margaret Gertrude Martin. He graduated from Wasatch High School. He lived in Kamas, Utah for 12 years, Salt Lake for 39 years and Ammon for the last 26 years.
He married Emma Jo Mikesell June 20, 1952 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. He worked as a milkman, custodian, assistant Maintenance Engineer at the Salt Lake Temple and Maintenance Engineer at the Idaho Falls Temple.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he has served as a missionary, a teacher and as executive secretary to the Bishop. He enjoyed being a handyman, working on cars and camping.
Surviving are: Wife: Emma Jo "Jo” Weller, Idaho Falls, ID Daughter: Della (Terry) Miller, Sandy, UT Son: Hyrum Michael (Sherri) Weller, West Jordan, UT Daughter: Susie (Ed) Tweeddale, Portland, OR Daughter: Wilma (Michael) Egbert, Murray, UT Son: Andy (Stacie) Weller, Idaho Falls, ID Daughter: Tammy (Ron) Mihu, Boise, ID Daughter: Sandy (Doug) Baker, North Ogden, UT Brother: Sam Weller Brother: Jared Weller Sisters: Rachael Summers, Eve Hirst, Ester Watson, Miriam Jepsen, Sarah Prentiss and Mary Hair. 26 Grandchildren, 4 Great Grandchildren He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Ruth Melville, and two brothers, John and Joseph Weller.
Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m Wednesday, September 3, 2002, at the Ammon LDS 5th Ward, 2055 South Ammon Road) with Bishop Pat Mayo officiating.
The family will visit with friends from 7-8:30 p.m. at Wood East Side Chapel (963 South Ammon Road) on Tuesday and for one hour prior to services on Wednesday at the church.
Burial will be in Ammon Cemetery under the direction of Wood Funeral Home East Side.
Private service will be held for Lonnie Boyd Wood, 46. Neptune Society is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Wood, who was born in Spokane, died July 16. He was a lifelong resident of Spokane County.
He graduated in 1976 from Freeman High School, where he excelled in sports. He was an active fisherman and hunter.
Survivors include his companion of 27 years, Kathleen; a son, Jason Davis of Spokane; his parents, Boyd and Leslie Wood of Rockford; a sister, Sheryl Emerick of Spokane Valley; and a brother, David Wood of Rockford.
North Palouse Journal, Rockford, WA., Tues. July 27, 2004 - Obituary:
Wood, Lonnie Boyd (age 46)
Born May 6, 1958 in Spokane, WA. He passed away at a Spokane WA. hospital July 16, 2004.
Survived by his beloved Kathleen at their home in Spokane; Parents, Boyd & Leslie (Mikesell) Wood, Rockford, WA; Sister, Sheryl (Wood) Emerick, Spokane Valley,WA.; Brother, David Wood, Rockford; Son, Jason Davis of Spokane; two Nephews, Joshua Emerick and Rylee Wood and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. At Lonnie’s home, missing him, is his much loved dog, his faithful companion “Bishop”.
Lonnie was a lifetime resident of Spokane County, graduating from Freeman High School in 1976, where he excelled in sports. He was on the basketball, football and track teams; in the Letterman’s Club; on the “Bagpiper” staff and was the 1976 Girls Federation “Scottish Lad”. He had attended Spokane Community College for short periods when his health allowed.
Some of Lonnie’s hobbies were reading, leather craft and restoring and collecting model railroad cars. He enjoyed the Christmas season. In December he and Kathy would decorate with their collection of moving Christmas figures and a table top village. He was an active fisherman and hunter. At the end of June, they had a relaxing day of fishing at Williams Lake where he caught a two pound bass. He loved to tell his fishing experiences. He had a vegetable garden every year, watched it flourish this summer and saw his sunflowers bloom the day before he died.
The hospital chaplain said that now Lonnie was free to walk, run and dance, things he hadn’t been able to do for over twenty-six years. It helps to think of him that way. Lonnie wanted no funeral but a celebration of his life may be held for family members at a later date.
[son of Jefferson Osborn Mikesell & Florence Vivien Allen Mikesell]
Dear Leslie, I’ve been thinking about your project lately and wondering how I might contribute to it. I guess the best way is to sit down and write all I can think of about myself and our family. So here goes:
I was born at Sam, Idaho, a mining camp that was located about 10 miles west of Driggs. Betty and I were born in the same shanty. It was right alongside the cook shack where mom worked as the camp cook. Betty was 2 years and some months older than I. Her birthplace is listed as Driggs. I don’t think Sam was ever a town and it was a mix up that got it listed as my birthplace. Nevertheless, I think I’m the only one to be born at “Sam”. The Doctor had a drinking problem, I was told, and didn’t show up until the next day or later, which didn’t bother Mom until he wanted to be paid.
Dad was a miner there at the Brown [Black?] Bear. His brother, our Uncle Henry worked there in some capacity while Aunt Edna was a teacher in one of the nearby towns either Driggs or Tetonia. From a later time I can remember them and their boys, Harvey and Del. Henry and Harvey were badly burned some years later when the tipple at their own mine (The Black Diamond) exploded. I recall that we were all very concerned about it, as we were when Del committed suicide at about that same time. Del was a favorite of ours because he had lived with us for a time in Pocatello while he went to college.
We moved from Sam to Pocatello about a year after I was born because Dad got a job with the railroad at their Tie Plant. I can’t remember those early years in Pocatello but I have been told that after a severe case of measles I contracted Rheumatic Fever which led to heart disease. I can recall in later years being treated as sickly, being required to rest often and being left out of any strenuous activities. I remember that I had to lie down during recess in school and was not allowed to play games because of the murmur in my heart. Mom told me years later after the condition had disappeared that she had been warned that I wouldn’t live a long life.
At the time of the move to Pocatello the family consisted of Dad, Mom, Ernie, Betty and I. Mom had lost one baby.
Mom and Dad were married in 1919 at Dubois, I believe. The freeway now goes by Dubois but in those days it was very remote. An area up and out of Spencer and Dubois is known as Hawkin’s Basin and it was in this mostly Mormon dominated valley that they both were raised. Mom’s father, Conrad Allen, was related to the Aller fami1y through marriage and, in fact, Dad’s sister and brother were too. Both families, Aller and Allen, were large with many Aunts, Uncles and cousins.
When Mom was in the seventh grade her mother died, leaving her to raise her four brothers and two sisters, one just a baby. Grandpa Con, during this time, worked away from home at various jobs, leaving his family to fend for themselves. While he did send money sometimes and came home for visits, Mom assumed the task of providing a home for the family, even though still a child herself. She told us, while we were children, many stories about her Uncles and Aunts but nothing, to my recollection, about any contribution by them. She had her favorites among her relatives (from the bits and pieces of my memory of her stories they were really a group of characters) but her best friend was her cousin Della Aller, who later became the wife of Dad’s brother Willard. They later lived in Pocatello where Uncle Willard, who had been injured in the war, was caretaker of the American Legion building. I remember that they had a nice home with nice furnishings and everything was kept neat as a pin. So much so that I hated to go there for fear of getting into trouble over spilling or bumping something. But maybe I had already and just can’t remember it.
It may be that I could recall many stories of that period in our mother’s life if I could see a tree of the Allen and Aller families. The names keep drifting away from me although some events are clear to me. As you know mom was a wonderful story teller and when we were small, before we had a radio or television, filled the time with stories of her life.
The greatest helper Mom had, before Dad, and even after, was her brother Carlos. He was the next oldest. He quit school at an early age to work and help provide for his brothers and sisters and was a great help at home, too. I always loved our Uncle Carlos when we lived near him and his family in later years. He was always good to me and he was one of my favorites. Uncle Carlos was the world’s greatest teaser, although only slightly ahead of his brothers, our Uncles Clyde and Narvel. The only one off limits to his capers was Mom, whom he treated with great respect. Sometimes he would try to get me into the act but I was never quick enough on the uptake. He was most persistent with Aunt Nellie, who was no slouch as a tease either. I guess it was a good thing she loved him or she would have wrung his neck early in their marriage.
Since Mom dropped out of school during the seventh grade to raise her father’s family and then at 18 married to start her own, she never had the opportunity for any secondary education. Dad was in about the same boat, although he told me that he completed all the school that was available to him in that area. I think that meant he had completed 8 grades. In spite of all her adversities Mom was one of the quickest witted and smartest women I have known. In a group discussion or in a church meeting she could really hold her own. During the years we were in Pocatello she held many posts in the church including Leader of the Relief Society, a high and demanding position in LDS Wards. She sold insurance at one time, Woodsmen, I believe, and I recall her getting an award for which she had to go to Boise. I remember us all being very proud of her. During the war she worked as a machinist at Fairchild Air Base.
As I told you, I have some difficulty with memories of my early childhood. Some things that I seem to recall I am sure I have been told, but I guess it’s all the same now. On my first day at Roosevelt School I thought my school days had been completed at the first recess and so I went home. Luckily, Mom was there and she filled in the blank spaces in my thinking right away, while taking me right back. I do recall my first teacher. I thought she was the prettiest person I ever saw. I used to remember her name but not any more. In those days we had earthquake drills at school and I remember the earliest of those I went through. I seem to recall a real quake while at school, too, but it’s very hazy.
Florence was born 15 Dec 1900 in Salt Lake City, Ut. Her Blessing was recorded in Union L.D.S. Church records as Florence Nelson. She must have been a very wanted child, as three siblings had died at birth before she was born. She had a studio photo taken as a baby then another taken with baby brother Carlos, not quite 2 years younger. Later two more siblings would die at birth but Florence had plenty to keep her busy with four lively brothers and two baby sisters when her mother fell ill. As far as known, no other professional photos were taken of the family. When she was 7 yrs. old her father, Conrad, found out that Ake Nielsen [Nelson] was not his biological father & Florence Nelson [Nielsen] became Florence Allen, moving to a new home in Lewiston Utah with a new set of Allen relatives.
Florence remembered living in a house which later became a tavern run by her Uncle Arthur. She would carry 2 small lard buckets of beer, one to the house of her Gr. Grandmother in polygamy, Henrietta “Henny” Allen and the other to the house of another grandmother. James Allen’s other wife died before Florence was born so the other grandmother could have been her grandma Nelson, who lived in Lewiston at the time. Henny Allen would have been about 86 yrs. old when Florence became an Allen. She died in 1910, at 88 yrs., so Florence knew her for a couple of years.
Florence remembers her paternal grandmother Nelson, who spoke with a Danish accent. She carried her “tonics” case with her when coming to visit for a few weeks, for her Hot Toddy & stomach wines. The only Danish that Florence picked up from her translated into “Do you have to pee?” This grandmother died when Florence was twenty-nine. She also knew her mother’s Anderson relatives, although her grandmother Anderson died when Florence turned eleven.
After moving to Dubois Idaho, Christmas gifts were usually taken to the schoolhouse where a large Christmas tree had been set up. Candles were lighted on the tree with a guard standing by a bucket of water. Santa would give each child his gift and candy and usually an orange. Florence remembered one Christmas on the dry farm in Dubois that was quite bleak. Her parents had gone somewhere perhaps helping an ill church member, as her father was often asked to do. Big sister Florence was put in charge as usual until they returned. A snow storm delayed her parents and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day came and went as they waited. Finally the storm had stopped and the kids heard sleigh bells on the horses as their parents drove into the yard. They could not afford expensive gifts, but being all together with the love they shared was enough. In the Winter snow they wore gunny sacks tied around their shoes because they had no boots. In later life Florence would do the same for her children when they lived on Mt. Kit Carson in Washington State.
Florence was a redheaded tomboy with freckles and she told how she had to chase the boys, holding them down until they said they’d be her boyfriend. Of course as soon as they got up they ran away yelling that they’d never be her boyfriend. She tried every remedy to get rid of her freckles but nothing worked. The Allen kids had a pet pig which lived in the house. She always said that it was cleaner than a dog and made no mess. Her dad loved horses so they had horses to ride to school. Conrad would talk to his horses and after his wife died he would spend lots of time in the barn, talking to them. Florence said he seldom talked about their mother to her. Harder times were coming for the family and Florence was about to become a nurse to her mother, family cook and substitute mother to her youngest siblings.
Her mother, Annie, was bedridden when Florence was 13 yrs. old. She had to quit school to take care of her mother and youngest siblings. Her mother died a few months before Florence’s 16th birthday. Her father was in the priesthood of the Latter Day Saints Church and went to minister to families when someone died. Florence would go with to help prepare the bodies and fix their hair for the funeral. During World War I, she would sing, while brother Carlos played guitar, at the USO. They also did trick horse back riding to sell War Bonds. She loved to go to the church dances. When a boy would come courting, her brothers wouldn’t leave them alone even when threatened or bribed. The boys were great teasers.
She became engaged, but her fiance was killed during the war. After a short courtship on the 31st of May 1919 she married Jeff Mikesell whom she knew from church activities. She was 18 yrs. old & Jeff was 13 years older. Perhaps she married to get away from the responsibilities at home but she still had to help raise her siblings, the 1920 census finds her and Jeff living in the house next door to her father. At one time her father disappeared for 1 year, so Florence and Jeff added her youngest siblings to their own family until he returned. Jeff was very unhappy when Florence cut her beautiful long red hair. It was thick and gave her headaches even when in a bun or braided around her head. Luckily in the roaring 20’s short hair was popular.
When Jeff drove a freight, mail and sometimes passenger stage from Victor Idaho across the mountain to Jackson Hole Wyoming, Florence was cook there as she cooked at other places where Jeff worked. Ernie was born 5 Apr. 1922 and the next year while Florence was pregnant she had to have her appendix out. On the 3rd of Dec 1923 she lost the baby boy at birth. They named him Jefferson Mikesell, Jr. The snow was deep that year near Victor and the ground frozen, so a grave could not be dug. Jeff built a box to put his baby boy in and placed it high in the barn rafters safe from critters. Florence thought she heard the baby crying for her.
Then Jeff went to work for his brother at the Black Bear Coal Mine. There Betty was born [private] 1925 and Jim on the 4 of Nov. 1927, although by then it was called Sam Idaho. Florence had a lot of trouble with Ernie because the miners taught him to swear. They had moved to Pocatello Idaho by the time Della Ann was born on the 21st of July 1931 and Thelma [private] 1934.
In 1938 she and Jeff had to leave their nice home in Pocatello Idaho when Jeff had an accident working for the railroad. His little finger was cut off. The railroad used that excuse to lay him off and it being the last years of the great depression, he could not find work there. Mary Mikesell Dean, Jeff’s sister, found them an old run-down place near her on Mr. Kit Carson, north of Spokane, WA. Florence was pregnant with Leslie but the family made the train trip north. When they saw the dilapidated house, Florence sat down on on the dirt yard & cried. Soon she got up and went to work. They pasted old newspaper and magazine pages on the walls and made it into a home. Jeff went to work for $1 a day for the WPA a federal government program.
Florence spent the last two months of this pregnancy in the hospital. Leslie was the only one of her children not born at home. She was born [private]1938 and they soon moved into Spokane to a small house on South Freya St. then into a house at 424 S. Haven that was only $25 a month rent. It was a big house and Florence made a nice home there and often had company.
Florence and Jeff had joined the Reorganized Latter Day Saint Church by then and the family were active members. They lived 6 blocks from the church so could walk there. Jeff was custodian of the church building and Florence was Branch Historian and Women’s Leader. She wasn’t able to get an education and often spelled words the way they sounded but she once wrote a clever poem which she read at a church party, using the last names of all the church members. They often had visiting ministers of the church stay at their home. In her later years, Florence taught Sunday School preschool class. When the Church doors were open the Mikesell family were there. The house was always a gathering place for neighbors, church friends and family. She made many lasting friendships.
Photo booth photo 1936, Pocatello Idaho
During the 2nd World War, often visitors were sailors and soldiers from the bases around Spokane. Was it Florence’s cooking or the Mikesell daughters, Betty and Della Ann that interested them? Ernie went in the service, then he and Betty both married. Florence was proud when Ernie was able to get a college education. Jim was in the Merchant Marines, then joined the army and later went one year to college and Della got married and had Jeff and Florence’s first grandson. Florence saved her son’s service money for them until they returned.
Florence remembered all the little poems and songs from her childhood and taught them to her children. One of our favorites was “Oh playmate, come out and play with me, And bring your dollies three, Climb up my apple tree. Shout down my rain barrel, Slide down my cellar door, And we’ll be jolly friends, forever more.” Also we liked “Up up in the sky, where the little birds fly. Down down in their nest, where the little birds rest. With a wing on the left and a wing on the right, let the poor birdies sleep all through the night. When the round sun comes up and the dew fades away, "Good morning bright sunshine”, the little birds say.“ We all learned the motions that came with these little ditties.
The city bus ran near the house and one of Florence’s favorite things to do was to go downtown window shopping and if we could afford it, split a giant milkshake for 15 cents, and come home. She loved movies and as they were cheap entertainment we would go once in awhile. By then there were only the two youngest, Thelma and Leslie at home. After Thelma went to live with Ernie in Oregon to finish high school and then got married to an Oregon boy, Florence would take Leslie to the race track on Sundays with some friends. She would buy a program and they’d make pretend bets. Hot dogs and soft drinks would be a treat and everyone always had a fun time. In 1952 with Jim’s help we bought the first television set in the neighborhood. It was a large floor model, in black and white. Color didn’t come until much later. Every evening we’d stare at the test pattern until a program, like the Milton Berl Show started. They broadcast only a couple hours a night at first. The house would be filled with neighbors, until one by one they bought their own sets.
Although her mother was born in Norway, because of ill health she couldn’t teach Florence much about her heritage. In the late 1940s she joined the Sons of Norway in Spokane, and took the family to their activities. Florence was a plain but good cook and sewed for her girls. Not great at sewing at first, we wore dresses with one sleeve a little longer than the other. When Leslie turned 16 in 1954, there was a big party of young people and a special gift of a store bought blue felt skirt with a poodle on it and a cashmere sweater. Where the money for all this came from was a secret. Mom would always find a way. We always had a great Christmas with lots of gifts. We didn’t know then that they weren’t very expensive. There was always lots of family and wonderful food.
Florence had to work hard all her life. During World War II she worked at Galena, an army base, near Spokane WA., making parachutes and repairing leather bomber jackets. Florence also went to machinist school there. She took foster children into her home. She cleaned houses and did ironing for people. Some summers she picked tomatoes and strawberries at a produce farm. In 1950, we used the produce money for attending our church reunion near Seattle. She became a nanny for a little boy and became acquainted with a couple who said they would buy a motel if she would manage it for them.
About 1954 she became live-in manager of the ”Blue Bird Motel“ in Spokane, and did a great job until Jeff became ill with emphysema and tuberculosis [he was the motel handyman] in 1961. They then bought a small house in Spokane where she lived until after Jeff died in 1962.
Florence lived with her daughter Thelma and helped tend the children while Thelma attended nursing school. At another time she lived with her son Jim and then with daughter Della Ann. She loved to be with her grandchildren, especially the younger ones that she taught many cute songs.
Florence moved to a new retirement apartment where she enjoyed the many activities, especially card games. She made many craft projects for bazaars or to sell and got her daughters involved in the projects. She finished a beautiful white crocheted bedspread. She had crocheted many lovely doilies in her lifetime. Florence got to travel in those years, visiting her sisters & brothers in Idaho. She really enjoyed one travel group bus tour to the east and Canada.
Florence became ill with coronary artery disease, had angina and hardening of the arteries to the brain. She tried living with several of her children but she needed more care than they could provide. She was moved to a nursing home where Leslie found her restrained in a straight jacket. Her doctors gave her many medicines and did not evaluate what these were doing to her. She wanted to walk constantly. Sometimes she would hallucinate or not know her children and Della would have to convince the doctors to take most of the medicines away. Then Florence would be all right for awhile until she was given more medicines. It was a constant battle to keep them from over medicating her. She was quickly removed to a better Nursing Home.
When she began to fail her children all came to visit her. She was never told of Ernie’s death in January 1976. On the morning of Nov. 30, 1976 a few weeks before her 76th birthday, the nurse woke her to get dressed for breakfast. When she didn’t show up in the dining room they checked and found she had died in bed. Her daughters still miss her. * * *
JEFFERSON OSBORN MIKESELL written by daughter Betty Lou Mikesell Erlandson Jeff, as he liked to be called, was born to Harriet Osborn and Andrew Jackson Mikesell December 30, 1887 in Park City, Summit County, Utah. His birth was registered in the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) church in nearby Kamas, Utah. His mother’s parents’ names were Thomas Jefferson Osborn (called Jeff) and Elizabeth Standley. Sarah Elizabeth Skinner and John Cunningham Mikesell were his paternal grandparents. Jeff became a member of a strong Mormon family that would eventually include eleven children. An older brother, Ernest Jackson, (who lived to be over 101 years old) recalled that Jeff was a tease and a trickster as a child—a boy full of fun. About the time he started attending school his long beautiful black curls were clipped short. He remembered that his mother cried during the haircut. In winter he and his brothers and sisters used to skate to school on the frozen creek. According to what some of his children remember him saying, and also what two of his sisters remembered, he was in his early teens, probably thirteen or fourteen, When he fell ill with what may have been spinal meningitis. He had been sent to the nearby store for a few groceries and on the way home developed a severe headache. He said that he went to bed that fall day and woke up the following spring. He had been in a coma—very ill. From then on he was to have a problem with his spine, making him slightly stoop-shouldered and causing his feet, from then on, to be fitted with specially-made shoes. Jeff often spoke sadly of his chance to take an offered scholarship to a “middle” school but was unable to go. Another unfulfilled dream was to some day be able to play the violin. He grew to be six feet tall with a beautiful smile, strong even features, tannish-brown skin, wavy black hair and bright blue eyes. His eyesight was excellent but in old age he developed farsightedness and needed glasses to read. All his life he enjoyed reading, especially western novels, and was part way through one when he died. Jeff was quite a bit like his father who was also a kind gentleman and always put others first. His loving nature had a stubborn streak and he held fast to definite ideas and beliefs all his life. He was an honorable and honest man and was a good husband, father, and brother, and if anyone tried to speak ill or hurt any of his loved ones his temper would surface and “beware, the offender”. Jeff was 27 when World War I began. Because of his earlier illness, he was not able to serve in the armed forces. Two of his six brothers were wounded in overseas fighting. By then the family was broken up with some of them married and on their own. In birth date order Jeff and his brothers and sisters were: Charlie, Ern., Libby, Jeff, Henry, Frank, Willard, Walt, Esther, Mary (Mae), and Lucille. Esther also had meningitis and was to suffer brain seizures during her lifetime until she died at age 34 in 1932. Jeff loved his gentle sister very much and spoke about her with love and tenderness. His family lived in Utah until Jeff was fourteen. When Charlie and Ernest were born they lived in Hyrum, Utah, a few miles south of Logan. Then before Libby was born in 1886 they moved to Lewiston, Utah near the Idaho border. Jeff was born in a different house in Park City, near Kamas. In 1901 the family moved from the Kamas area to the small town of Chapin near Victor, Idaho. Their moves were all by wagon and horses. When Jeff was well enough he joined some of his brothers in hunting and trapping in the surrounding Teton mountains. Once, while one of his brothers and he were checking their traps, they were arrested and fined for trapping on government land without permission. They hadn’t realized they were in National Park area. Some of the Mikesells learned to ski well on their home-made skis. During one or more of the summers Jeff tended sheep. He told his children about watching, from a mountain above Jackson, Wyoming, the celebration on July 4th, and wishing he could be down there. He loved animals and nearly always had a dog. For a time Jeff carried the U.S. mail, by wagon or horseback. The Snake River was his territory and one day, in spring he was about to cross the torrent near Swan Valley when a stranger asked if he could cross with him. Jeff agreed but said that if anything happened, the man would have to save himself. Jeff had never learned to swim. Mid-stream, the man fell into the river and yelled for help. Jeff swam after him and pulled him to the opposite shore, saving his life. He was always very modest about this incident and called it pure luck. Years later there was an article in a national magazine about a man who, years ago, carried mail across the Snake and Jeff exclaimed, “That old coward! I knew him and he would never cross it except when the water was low. I always had to do it.” The last move the family made while Jeff was living at home was to a dry-farm near Dubois, Idaho. Not very far away lived another Mormon family named Allen. The Mikesells became well acquainted with them, and Jeff was especially fond of the oldest girl, Florence Vivien. She was growing tall and slender with beautiful red hair and flashing brown eyes. A tomboy, she loved to gallop her horse with her long hair streaming in the wind. Her brothers loved to tease her to see her quick temper flare. Jeff began working on the Union Pacific Railroad Ranch nearby. One of his jobs was to work with the Harriman boys, riding fence mostly. They were sons of the railroad magnate millionaire and he wanted them to learn to work with their hands. Jeff was thirty-one years old when Florence became eighteen and he talked her into accepting his proposal of marriage. Her mother had died several years before and she was mothering her six younger brothers and sisters. When she finally said yes to Jeff he hurried home and asked his sister Mary [Mae] to iron a white shirt for him. She agreed to, but asked why. He replied, “I’m going to get married tomorrow." She was astonished and asked him whom he was going to marry. He said, "Florence Allen." Everyone in the family was surprised, as Jeff was a private man and had let no one know how he had felt about Florence for so long. They had accepted the fact that he was to be a bachelor all of his life. The two were married the next day, May 31, 1919 and were faithful to each other all their married lives. They were never married in the temple, but by a local justice of the peace at Dubois, Idaho. As a wedding present, Jeff gave Florence a large bunch of ripe bananas. She had never tasted a banana before, and had always wanted to. As a result, she ate the whole bunch and was sick to her stomach on her wedding night. They rented a tiny tenant house at the Ranch where Jeff worked, and Florence helped with the cooking. she spent as much time as she could back at her old home, and quite often brought her two youngest sisters, Grace and Nettie, back to stay for awhile. Jeff loved them as he did his own sisters, and was kind and gentle with them. On April 5, 1922 their first son, Ernest Osborn was born in Victor, Idaho where Jeff was working for a cattleman. Florence’s sisters lived with them. Grace remembered the house as a "poor little house but clean and warm”. By this time, Florence had cut her hair, to Jeff’s consternation, because it was so heavy she had bad headaches. The winter of 1922-23 found Florence and Jeff, with Florence’s brother Clide, on top of Teton Pass above Jackson, Wyoming. Jeff drove a stage every day from Victor to Jackson and back again the next day. Florence cooked for the passengers at noon. This was a hard cold job for Jeff, who had to fight deep snowdrifts. The snow was so deep on top of the pass where they lived that the barn was two stories high so that the driver could use the lower story in the summer and the top story in the winter. They would come out right onto the deep snow. That spring there, Jeff was driving a wagon with another man along when the road side caved in and the horses started down the side of the steep mountain. The other man jumped off but Jeff stayed with the team and kept the frightened horses from catastrophe. It was a terribly jolting trip and the man thought for sure that Jeff had been killed. One winter at that place was enough, and they moved before another one came along. In 1923-24 Jeff worked in Fairfield, Idaho. It was then that their second child was born. He was named Jefferson and died at birth. Florence had had her appendix out in an emergency while she was pregnant and little Jeff was too weak to live. It was winter and he could not be buried, so he was placed carefully up high under the barn rafters until spring came and Jeff took his dead baby, in its box that he had so sorrowfully made, to Hagerman Valley for burial. A little wooden slab had his name written on it but, as they had no money to buy a permanent stone, it was gone in a few years. Now no one but God knows the spot where he is buried. On [private] 1925, Betty Lou, their first daughter, was born, fat and healthy, at the Black Bear Coal Mine Camp near Driggs, Idaho. Jeff was working as a coal miner, for his brother Henry and Edna, Henry’s wife. James Allen was born in the same cabin on November 4, 1927 but by now the camp had a post office and was called Sam. For several years, after they were married, Jeff would “batch" while Florence would go off and on to Tuttle, Idaho, about 11 miles west of Gooding, to help her brothers and sisters. Most of the time one or more of them would live for a while with the young couple. Nettie, Grace, and brother George all stayed for a while at the coal camp. When Betty was three years old, in 1928, Jeff moved his family to Pocatello, Idaho. He rented a small house and went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad in the big tie plant there. A few months later they moved down the street a block to another small house. These were located in the suburb of Alameda. The third house was their last in Pocatello. They bought the one at 290 Park Avenue and settled down. It was only a block or two away from the two previous homes. At the tie plant Jeff worked hard and when it was time for him to come home Ernie and Betty and then later Jimmie would run two or three blocks to meet him and walk home with him. It was at that plant that he lost a little finger in an accident. In 1929 the stock market crashed and caused layoffs all over the country. Jeff was laid off his job frequently and it was a hard time for his family. Florence sold insurance and was once presented an award by Idaho’s governor for being the best saleswoman of the year in Idaho. When laid off, with Florence working, Jeff took care of his children and cooked and cleaned the house. In winter, sometimes he and others would be sent to clear the U. P. tracks of snow drifts wherever they were—Montana, Idaho, Utah. It was a miserably coldjob but it helped feed the family. Della Ann was born July 21, 1931 and Thelma on [private] 1934. In April, 1938 the family moved to a rented farm on Mt. Kit Carson near Spokane, Washington. Jeff had had lung trouble for several years but he worked for the federal Works Progress Administration helping build roads, including the one to Mt. Spokane. He would walk several miles to where he would get a ride to the job site and after work he would be dropped off, then walk back home. He planted a garden every spring. He and his brother-in-law Gilbert Dean would get in winter wood for both families. Gilbert was married to Jeff’s sister Mary, and the Dean family had lived near Jeff and Florence when Ernie was small. Now they lived a few miles up the road. Before long Florence’s brother Carlos and his family would move to a "homestead” a few miles away. Florence was pregnant with Leslie when they moved from Pocatello. Jeff went early to visit Mary and Gilbert and find a place to live. The terrain must havereminded him of the days spent in the Teton area. Poor Florence, pregnant and recovering from train sickness, must have felt her heart sink when she saw her new home. But she and Jeff and children immediately began making the home livable and for three years and eight months they struggled to survive. The last child, Leslie Arlene, was born [private] 1938 at a hospital in Spokane, Washington. Now, the man who had been thought to be a confirmed bachelor by his family twenty years before, had six children. By the end of 1938 he turned 51 years old and he had not been well for several years. 1942 found the Mikesells living in Spokane. Jeff entered the Edgecliff Tuberculosis sanitarium. Florence and the children began life in the big city. When Jeff recovered enough to join the family he was never well enough to work steady on a physically hard job again. When living on Mt. Kit Carson the family (the ones who were old enough.) had joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jeff remained loyal to that church the rest of his life. A branch was located only a few blocks away from thehome, as the Mormon Latter Day Saint church 4th Ward had been in Pocatello, and the family began the Sunday habit of walking to and from church. All were eventually baptized. The family was beginning to break up. World War II took the two sons away to serve. Florence worked hard at the Galena Air Depot near Spokane until the war ended. Leslie was the only child left at home. Jeff and Florence began managing the Bluebird Motel. They were there for several years. They were now grandparents. “Grandpa” would keep up the repairs at the motel. His generation had always had to be “do it yourselves” in life and Jeff had become good at repairing items. He was talented at doing many things. His older children remember him resoling shoes, nursing a sick calf, building a chicken coop, shooting hawks that threatened his chickens, playing with the babies as they came along, and solving sibling rivalries. He was gentle but firm with them, rarely using his razor strap, and always being just in his punishment. He was a good Cook but the kind that got the fire hot and cooked everything as fast as possible. As a result, Florence kept heavy cast iron kettles available forhim to use. They remember him, during the depression eating very little at mealtimes, so that his children would have enough. Later in life, he developed the habit of having graham crackers and milk at bedtime. He was always a meat and potatoes man but Florence slowly taught him to enjoy vegetable salads. He had despised garlic flavor since he was a boy and the cows got into a field where garlic was growing. His daughter, Betty, remembers how he always covered his black wavy hair with a brimmed felt hat and sometimes would forget to remove it indoors. A new hat was a rarity and one time the two were downtown waiting for a bus, when a pigeon dirtied his best hat. His temper really flew that day. For several years before they moved to the Bluebird Motel he sold Watkins Products, pulling his supplies in a small wagon, covering the neighborhood. His customers became good friends. From the Bluebird (sold to a new owner) Jeff and Florence moved into a tiny cottage on Rockwell Avenue in Spokane. This was their last home together. All their children were married by now and on their own. They bought this house and lived there just a few years until Jeff became very ill. Jeff’s lungs finally began to give out on him. His childhood illness, his coal mining days and working in the tie plant with creosote causedcontinuing lung problems. It was his fighting spirit that kept him going until he was 74 years old. That early spring of l962 he was unable to fight any longer and died in the Edgecliff TB Sanitarium in Spokane, Washington. Betty was with him and just as the sun rose he asked her to pull back the drapes so he could see the morning. It was the 30th of March and a bright sunny day with the birds singing outside. He could hear them and smiled. A few moments later he couldn’t seem to breathe. He struggled hard but, even with the nurse working with him, he lost consciousness. He regained it later for a few minutes and asked for administration. His son, Elder Ernest Mikesell, and his son-in-law Wayne Winters laid their hands upon his head and asked God to release him. Before they removed their hands he relaxed and passed quietly away. His family was with him at the last. He is buried in Spokane next to his dear wife.
By Ernest O. Mikesell (This is a true story that took place when Ernie was about nine years old)
Once when I was a little boy, I don’t remember just how old, maybe eight or nine years, I had cut my finger. It was too small to hurt, but large enough for me to make a fuss over. My mother thought a little something to prevent infection was needed and brought in the bottle of Iodine. Well Iodine can sting just a little you know, and that was enough for me. Here I was with a sore just about to kill me and she wanted to make it hurt worse than ever. I just knew I couldn’t stand it, and I said, “No! I won’t let you put Iodine on my finger.” My mother said, “A little sting now is better than a big hurt later, so put your finger out and we will get it over with.” “No! I don’t want Iodine on my finger and if you try to make me I’ll run away and never come back.” And out the door I ran.
Well, I walked and walked all afternoon and thought to myself, “I’ll go to Aunt Della’s house and live there,” but Aunt Della wasn’t home and by this time I was getting hungry and it was getting dark. “I know what I’ll do, I’ll go home and while everyone is in the living room, I’ll sneak in and get something to eat and take it up in the loft of the barn and eat it and I’ll sleep there too.” This was a great idea, so I hurried back home again. I slipped in through the back gate and up to the kitchen door, but the door was locked. “Oh, what do I do now?” I sat down on the steps to think this out. “What if I have to stay out here all night, and without lunch and without dinner and maybe without breakfast too!” This running away wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe I had better tell my mother I had come back home, so I knocked on the door and no one answered. I knocked again and still no one came to the door.
I was getting a little scared now and really knocked hard the third time. The light went on and my father came to the door. I was sure glad to see him. “Hello little boy, what do you want?” my father asked. “Daddy, you know who I am and I’d like something to eat.” “You must be at the wrong house, our little boy ran away and said he was never coming back so you will have to eat at your new home now. Goodbye.” and he closed the door and went back in the living room.
I was really scared this time. I didn’t have any other home and my mother and father didn’t want me. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat on the steps and cried and I prayed too. “Please, God, tell them to let me in. I’ll be good and I’ll never run away and mama can put Iodine all over my finger if she wants to.” And then the door opened and my mother said, “Would you like to come back home now?” I ran in and the first thing I did was to get the Iodine bottle and give it to my mother and held my finger out, and you know it didn’t hardly hurt a bit. And I never ran away again.
I was just a little boy who ran away from my parents because I didn’t want something that was really good for me. Other people run away, too, you know–even grownups. Sometimes a person will run away from his Heavenly Father who is trying to do something good for him just because he thinks it might be unpleasant or embarrass him a little bit. I’ve seen children who stayed away from Sunday school and Junior Church which is in God’s house because they didn’t want to do the things He wants us to do. They think what they want to do is more important. They are running away from their heavenly Parent and going hungry too, for the things we learn in God’s house is the food that will make us grow wiser and closer to Christ. We don’t have any other home or anyone else to feed us, and we don’t want to be left on the doorstep crying. Being in God’s family is the best way for everyone.