Friday, June 15, 2012
Reminiscences of Gottfried Weyerman
(Gottfried Weyerman's Personal Account)
In as much as all those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood were advised to keep a brief history of their life, I will write a few things for the benefit of my posterity.
I am the oldest son of Gottfried Weyerman and Anna Elisabeth Reber. The family once consisted of nine souls, father, mother, five boys and two girls.
My parents lived financially poor. Conditions brought it about that the family got badly broken up and scattered. Three of my brothers and one sister was called on the other side. In the year 1887, the rest of my family, met the sad experience of the separation of Father and Mother on account of drunkenness.
I was born on November 11, 1875 in Oberburg, Bern Schweitzerland. In my twelfth year I was taken away from my mother and was adopted for the time of two years to a gentleman, "Benedicht Maurer" living in Habstetten-about one hours' walk from Ostermundigen where my mother, brother Jacob, and sister Ida dwelled. This man was paid so much for my keeping. He sent me to school and between time I assisted him in doing chores. When two years were expanded, the County Council met with all the children and guardians of these children in order to exchange them to another home for the coming two years.
My next home was the home of Anna Barbara Balzli in Ittigen. While residing with her, I would take every chance I could, to get to my mother as I had done before. By this time, mother had become acquainted with some Elders, who had also taught her the first principles of the Gospel. She began earnestly trying to convert me to the same faith. One day on a Sunday as I left early in the morning to meet my mother she was ready with Jacob and Ida to go to the City of Bern in order to attend the Sunday School of the Latter-day Saints. I joined their company. On the way, mother told me that she has made preparations for Immigration to Zion! That Mrs. Isali, my aunt, had died and left us money enough to pay the fare for all of use, and she wanted me to join them. After one hour's walk, we reached the place where the Saints worshipped.
I was made acquainted with Elders J.W. Stucki and Alfred Budge from Paris, Idaho. I also saw many Saints and children of the Saints. I enjoyed the teachings of that day both in Sunday School and afternoon meeting. In departing from the assembly, Elder Stucki, holding my mother's hands, said, "Fear not for your son Gottfried, he will be the means of bringing many souls into the church." We then went home, and all things were arranged with the help of our Father in Heaven, that within ten days were we already to board the train. This was in October 1890. We had good health and lots of pleasure on our journey, both on train and ship.
Three weeks from our departure in Bern, we reached Paris, Idaho. Elders Stucki and Budge were also glad to get home and had all things arranged for hospitality. Soon after our arrival, according to the custom of the Church, mother and sister Ida had to be rebaptized, on which occasion I was baptized and became a member of the church.
In the year 1894 on the first of August, I got married to Olena Hoth, born August 4, 1874, in Providence, Utah. We rented a house of Mr. Parett in Paris Idaho, for our first residence. Neither of us had any means above paying for the license and getting a few tools to eat with. One year later we rented a house and a few acres of land from Samuel Berger in the south end of Paris. There our first child Anna was born. I then bargained with my stepfather for forty acres of his land in Mapleton, Utah. We moved over the mountain and lived on this land for one year. We made a log house there, but when I went to make a payment and fix the deeds for the land, the sons of Mr. Christoffer Nuffer would not agree, so we had to pull out with empty hands.
Our next residence was Logan, Utah which is known as Temple City. We remained in Logan for five years. Four children were born to us in Logan. We managed to get a home and lot within three years from the time we came. After our home was paid, I was asked to go on a mission to Schweizterland. I responded to the call under very hard circumstances. I can say that during the two years while on my mission, both me and my wife devoted our lives to actual service to Christ's ministry. I had Gospel conversations, made many friends, and enemies arose, and had lots of ups and downs as the Apostles of old. I was able to baptize nineteen souls. I felt to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all my labors. After being home a short time, the family agreed to sell out in the city and move out on some land. We then exchanged our home in Logan for ten acres of land in Greenvill (north of Logan) where we now reside. My health from my birth was never the best and at this time it was very poor.
In this place we were blest with five more children, making the number of our children ten up until 1911. However, the Lord saw fit to take two of them on the other side, while in their infant life.
OLENA HOTH WEYERMAN'S CHILDHOOD DAYS
I was the second child of my mother. Soon after I was born, my father, mother, and older sister Emma, born before mother married, moved to St. George, Utah. I remember sitting on my father's knees while he drove the horses to the cemetery to bury my little brother Ludwig, who was seven months old. We had the casket in our wagon. mother couldn't go because the other little twin boy was sick too.
Another experience I remember- I went with the older children to pick cotton one day. A man with a wagon gathered us all in the morning. We took our lunch for noon. No one could come home till evening. During the noon hour after lunch I went to sleep in the shade of the wagon. When I woke up there was no one to be seen. Thinking they had gone home without me, I started walking toward home. I followed the road to the cross roads and then I cut through the fields. It was swampy but I thought I could go through anyway. I got stuck in the mud and could not pull my feet up anymore. I cried and hollered, until a man on a load of sugar cane going to the molasses mill heard me and followed the cry into the bulrushes till he found me. My father was cook at the molasses mill and when the man that found me asked him if he knew whose child this is, he wanted to know where he'd found me, and all about it. I went home with my father that night.
After I was thirteen, I was working away from home winter and summer till I was almost twenty years old. On the 4th of July, just a month before I would be twenty, I went to a girl friend's home to a party. After the celebration was over as many of her relatives were from Bear Lake, I asked if I could go along with them to see my cousin Maggie Eshler. She was not at home. A boy friend that I had met on the trip going to Bear Lake found a job for me in a nearby farmhouse as kitchen helper. He came to see me often and on the 1st of August we were married by the Ward Bishop, before we started our trip to the Temple to be sealed there. We found jobs and worked hard, as cook, farm helpers, etc.
Our lives have been blessed with fifteen children. Six of them died in infancy. Three sons grew to maturity and then died, leaving one son and five daughters surviving with me by the year 1960. My daughter Clara is caring for me in my remaining years.
The first I can remember is when I was quite small, maybe about four or five years old. Father had me polish the shoes on Saturday afternoon, so they would be nice and clean for Sunday School. I remember him showing me how to hold the shoes and apply the polish, then rub it with the brush to make them shine. About the time father went on a mission to Switzerland. Mother washed and scrubbed and ironed for other people. My Grandmother Hoth took care of us children. There were four of us, my brothers Christian, John, and baby Joseph and myself. I rocked the cradle and tended little Joe, while father preached the gospel to the people of Switzerland. Each week I walked from about 10th North and 6th East in Logan down to where Evertons store now is, where the Post Office then was for a letter from father. He would write every week, and I was the letter carrier. When he came home and brought with him a family of emigrants, by the name of Maurer, consisting of a father, mother and a son. Father was always a friend to everyone, and he had many friends. He was on his mission about twenty-seven months. He was a jolly good fellow. He sang well and also yodeled and played the accordion. And he preached the gospel, wherever he went. He worked for and helped all his friends. Emigrants who came from the old country used to come to our house, and he would find a place to move them into upon arrival. Father was a hard worker. He helped the farmers all around the neighborhood with their farming and any other work he could get.
Soon after his return from his mission he bought a ten acre farm out to North Logan about one half mile east of the church in North Logan. He built a one room house with a cellar under it and a loft upstairs. He hauled wood from the canyon. We called it Green Canyon. I remember going with him to get the wood. He would cut the wood and then tie a little rope around the end of a pole and I would drag it over to the wagon. When he had a load, he would stack it on the wagon and we would ride home on top of the load. It was fun as well as work, and I loved to be with my father. I remember I used to go with him when he irrigated his field. I would hold the lantern while he guided the water. I was with him when he hauled hay, or grain or potatoes. I went with him when he peddled or sold vegetable and fruit. And I used to wonder why more people didn't give him money. I learned later he gave most of his load to poor people. He figured he had more than they did, so he would give a great deal of his produce to people who needed it.
There was a beautiful hat in one of the store windows in Logan. I wanted that hat bad enough to make me ask father for the money to but it. I didn't often ask him for things. I knew he wasn't very well. And I knew money was hard to come by, but I asked for that hat. It was a large white straw hat with a large pink pompom on one side and streamers down the back. I can see it yet. Bless him, he said I could have it if I was willing to work for it. I must have been about ten years old. So I asked what I could do and he said I could go with him to peddle the vegetables. He knew how I hated to go from house to house peddling things. But I went. The first place he stopped after we got to Logan was large rooming house or hotel I guess it was. He instructed me to go to the back door and if the lady didn't answer right away I was to wait a few minutes then knock again. So I did. When the lady finally came to the door, to my horror it was a black lady, the very first one I had ever seen. I was so frightened I almost fainted. But she spoke kindly to me a I explained my errand, then went back to the wagon where father was waiting. When he saw me he began to chuckle and he chuckled all the rest of the way. I didn't sell any vegetables and I didn't visit anymore doors. I held the reins and waited in the wagon. But I got my hat.
In 1910 was the big event of my life. Up to then we were just kids helping on the farm and learning the right ways of life. Father never missed a chance to teach us the Gospel in whatever he did. But the fall of 1910, Father said, "I think you've earned enough money to pay tithing this year." So he gave me a dollar the day I was baptized.
The following Sunday I paid tithing and got a receipt for it all on my own, What a treasure I had. I remember when my father said something it was law and we had better do it. Mother would always say "do what you're told." Father taught us how to plant a garden, care for it, and harvest it. Father was a good but very firm teacher. He was a hard worker and expected the same of us. In the home we were taught by mother how to cook, keep house, mend our clothes, etc.
I went with Father many times to deliver fruit and vegetable which we had gotten up very early to get ready for market. Very seldom did I see money exchanged for either. Father was one to share everything he had. I remember once we had only one 50 pound bag of flour in the house. Father took it to the temple with him and gave it to some Indian friends of his. When he came home there was two 50 pound bags of flour. Father asked where it had come from, but no one knew. Mother and baby were to Relief Society, the older kids in school. We found out later it wa G.L. Bowen who has left it there. He did this many times, brought flour from the Beaver Dam Mill--the mill is long since gone. One day Father went to town to get the washing from a little old lady and man who were unable to do their own--Mr. and Mrs. Brackbuill. On the way home Father stopped as Grandmother Hoth's place to see if she needed anything. Someone had given her more bread than she could use so she gave it to Daddy to bring home. On the way home Daddy picked up a man and he told Daddy how hard it was for him to feed his large family. Daddy reached under the buggy seat and gave the bread to him that Grandma had given Daddy. This man thought a miracle had been performed. For him no doubt it had.
Father was on his mission, how long I don't know, but he longed for Mother and some of her new baked bread. Mother had a set of dish towels she had embroidered her initial and some flowers in the corner. She'd baked a large batch of bread and had covered it with one of these towels. When Father came home from tracking that night there was a loaf of bread wrapped in a towel. He put the towel in his suit case so no one claimed it. After he had come from his mission, Mother was putting his things away and found this towel, and asked Father how he got it. He told her what had happened. She said a loaf of bread and her towel had disappeared that day. no one seemed to know where it had gone. This was a miracle.
The thing I remember most about my father was his many friends. He loved people. I remember when I was a small child, how he and mother loved to go to the German meeting house in Logan to join their friends in an evening of dancing and fun. They were native dances of Switzerland. I even got to go along sometimes and those were gay times and highlights to me. He also liked to sing and yodel. I remember so many evenings while we were small, of the family gathering round the old family organ while he played and sang, we would all join him. We would sing church songs and fun songs and love songs.
He spent much time in the study of the Gospel and loved to teach it to his family and others. Whenever we brought our friends home, in no time at all he had them captivated and was discussing the Gospel with them. He like to help young people understand the things the Lord expected of them, that with the knowledge they could avoid or overcome temptation and sin. We didn't always appreciate his efforts for at times it seemed, he talked of nothing else. But with the responsibility of my own family, I can now see how he felt. I don't remember of ever going to him with a question about the Gospel that he couldn't answer.
I was working in the Temple recently and a friend of my Father Fred Glauser, was there. He asked me if I ever thought of my father, as father has been dead about twenty-three years. He wondered if I really knew what a wonderful man he was, how he went about helping people to understand the Gospel more fully. He said my father was one of the most wonderful men he had ever known.
When I was very young, the Indians used to come to work in the Temple. They would make camp on the block just east of the Temple and live there for weeks at a time, and my father would spend much of his time visiting among them, teaching them the Gospel. He made friends with many of them. One by the name of Moroni Timbimbo and his wife from Washakie came to our homes many times. He also spoke at my father's funeral, telling of the good my father had done among the indians. He said Father would sit by the hour explaining the Gospel that they might more fully understand it. He came to their camp with food: flour, meat, vegetables, and fruit, which made it possible for them to stay and work in the Temple longer.
People loved to come to our home. It was always calm and well kept. I remember people saying to my Mother, "Sister Weyerman, how do you keep your home so clean and with such a large family. Why it's so clean you could eat off the floors." May I add, the floors had no floor coverings of any kinds, not even paint nor did the woodwork. Mother was an excellent cook and made everyone welcome who came to our house.
She trained her family well in the arts of keeping house, canning foods, storing for winter, also to live within our income. "She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness." (Proverbs)
I recall going to a show with my father. In the show, or in the newsreel, the Alps of Switzerland and other parts of the country that were dear to Father's heart were shown, and he sat and wept from homesickness for his native land. He made the comment that the beauty of that land could not be found anywhere else. I remember him saying the blessing in Swiss. I worked with my father in the field, and in the mountains gathering fuel, went with him delivering fruits and vegetables, and in all my associations with him he was honest and fair.
At Thanksgiving times each year Father would load his one horse sleigh with sacks of flour, a ham, dressed chickens, fruit and vegetables from our cellar, and take it to the poor. We were considered poor people, yet he found those who had less.
In the winter time he spent his time in the Temple doing work for the dead. He lived very close to the Lord, for on many occasions he received inspiration for the guidance of his life, and answers to his questions in the study of the Gospel.
I remember a young lady in our ward by the name of Mary Ferguson. She was attending college and would bring her problems of religion to Father, and as she presented her answers in school, her teachers would ask, "Where did you read that," or "How do you know that," or "What a wonderful understanding you have of the Gospel." She would be delighted to come back and tell him what they would say.
Dad and I had been fishing down in the creek for suckers and other fish, when our neighbor John Ashleman invited us to go into the higher mountain streams to catch trout with him because he thought we were wasting our time for suckers. Dad said the trout were too smart for him to catch, but after a littler persuasion he decided to go. When we reached where we were going, John proceeded to give Dad some points on catching trout. I thought I was smart so I went down the stream to try my luck with a willow pole over my shoulder and a can of worms in my pocket. To John's disgust, Dad walked down stream a few yards until he came to a hole. He threw out his worm, let it sink to the bottom of the hole and sat down to fish and to think. John, after saying he would be back around 3 p.m., went up the river leaving Dad to his fate. At about three o'clock, I came into camp with five small fish to my name. There sat Dad with his ten fish, sitting in approximately the same spot where I had left him. John wouldn't show us how many fish he had, but when we got home he told us he had caught three trout. I always did get a kick out of that. John was supposed to be teaching Dad how to fish for trout and Dad caught more than he did.
After I had married and was living on a farm in Delta with my father, I decided to hitch the grain grinder onto the windmill so we could grind grain faster and easier. Dad encourage me in my work, but he didn't think that i could make my invention work. I completed it, and the first day the wind blew I tried it out. I got a bucketful of grain, and poured it into the grinder. It worked. By the time that bucketful was ground, Dad was there with another bucketful. Dad was like a little kid with a new toy, he was so delighted with my invention. I was pushed out of the way, but Dad ground a whole month's need for grain that day while the wind blew.
When Dad died, I inherited his overcoat, pocket knife, and his German bible, but the things I learned from him while he was alive beats all that I could have inherited from him at his death.
It was at mother's knee we learned to pray, and it was because of her persistent labors that we had respectable clothes to appear in. While the style did not always satisfy young people, still they were the product of her triumph over poverty.
Before I reached to age of eight, I was with Father when he took a load of farm produce, potatoes, onion , carrots, etc. to the old tithing office to pay his tithing in kind. Just before we went in, I had been thinking of the rewarding feeling there must be associated with paying tithing since that was the only evident reward, when he dug in his pocket and came out with a 25 cent piece, handed it to me with a smile. That was my first tithing as far as I know, to the best of my ability, the beginning of a full tithe payment.
One of the most thrilling experiences associated with the memory of my father is his clear bird-like singing tenor voice and his whistling, especially on cold frosty mornings when he and the boys went out to do the chores. He would sing or yodel or whistle and the cold frosty air put something into it for me that was not in it other times. He had a wide range voice, about three octaves, I think up to high A. To me no other voice ever had that fine, clear silver tone quality.
I remember our North Logan home as the place where I was born. It was ten acres of land which Father and Mother had made to blossom as the rose, pioneering from sage brush and cobble rocks. They built the house, planted orchard, berries, garden and pasture.
By the time I was born, their home and grounds looked like paradise. The trees were bearing fruit. In the Spring their were bees and birds everywhere . As the fruit and garden and pasture ripened, their seemed to be enough for everyone to eat. People, chickens, cows and pigs. When I was ten years old, my father had a dream showing him a place in Delta, Utah, to move to with his family. And like Lehi and his family, we moved in to the wilderness. Again they built and planted and we survived there eight years.
We returned to Logan in May. 1943 and found a small house. It needed repairs and a cellar built by it. Father built the cellar and cleaned up the yard. The following Spring, March 9, 1935 he was killed in a bicycle and bus accident. I was 19 years old then.
My mother loved to raise beautiful flowers, and weedless gardens. She made many beautiful rugs, quilt tops, and quilts, doilies, and dainty handwork. She loved to have a clean home, good meals on time, and clean children in clean clothes. She helped us realize that we must work for our own salvation and happiness. My father loved to study the Gospel and to teach it to others. I am grateful that he had enough patience to teach it to me. I confess I rebelled at some of the restrictions, but as I grow older I am learning that a knowledge of the Gospel includes more than restriction. I gives us faith, hope and love. It supplies us with courage. When we love the eternal principles of truth restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, we gain the knowledge that our trials and imperfection and incapacities in this world are to prepare us to appreciate a better world, if we do the best we can with what we have.
(Friend to Gottfried)
In the year of 1903 on a sunny Saturday afternoon a man by the name of Gottfried Weyerman came to a little country store in a small village called Newhaus near Bern, Switzerland. Mr. Weyerman rang the bell in order to call the storekeeper to a small window. The man's purpose was not to purchase anything, but starting to tell the storelady the purpose of his calling. First he said, he was a Mormon missionary from America preaching the same religion as the Savior taught while on the earth. The weather being favorable, the window upstairs where our family was living was open as my mother was sewing and could even hear the conversation and became very interested in what the man had to say.
In order to make a personal contact with him, she went downstairs to purchase a spool of thread. After a few exchanges in conversation, the two found out that years back, they knew each other. Since both were living in the same locality, called Bollingen. Well, mother got her thread and invited the missionary upstairs, to find out more about the religion he was representing, so called Mormonism. I was approximately 16 years old and listened with keen interest at every work of the conversation. During the conversation the missionary said he was traveling without purse or script.
Among other Biblical proofs he brought were: (1) That one must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; and (3)
Baptism by immersion and finally be confirmed for the gift of the Holy Ghost by an Elder of the Church, who has the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood.
After some time of discussion about the gospel, mother finally asked the missionary if he had any dinner. The answer was no. I shall never forget when mother asked me to prepare a plain meal which the hungry man enjoyed. May I say, that Gottfried Weyerman's personality and his truthful statements made a strong impression on Mother and myself.
He was invited to call on us again when the rest of the family would be home, which of course he gladly accepted. The first meeting we attended was at Stettler's in Bollingen, a small village, which was near our place. Among other friends was the Mauer family. The following Sunday we attended a meeting in Bern. The way the services were conducted again made a deep impression on all of us and the more we attended the meetings, the more we realized that the truth was there. The way the meeting were conducted sounded reasonable, since any member had a voice in testimony meeting. Also the songs made a very enjoyable hour of worship. Elder Weyerman was also a gifted singer besides living his teachings by example. My oldest brother Ernest was the first one to be baptized and in 1903 the rest of the family followed.
In later years, all of the Glauser family emigrated to Logan, Utah and did and still do enjoy the blessings in the land the Lord has prepared for the Latter-day Saints.
In conclusion may I acknowledge that the day when Gottfried Weyerman found us in a humble village of Switzerland, it was the greatest incident and more it was the greatest untold blessing awarded to us, the Glauser family.