The Akert Family

Kenneth R. Allen

((c) KRA 1995)

Excerpts from the English Language Edition of
The Chronicles of the Akert Family of Aussersihl-Zurich
By Ernst Akert and Kenneth R. Allen
Translation edited by Kenneth R. Allen


Hans Heinrich Akert
Kenneth R. Allen

     Hans Heinrich Akert (1836-1907) was the twelfth child of Hans Konrad Akert and Anna Blümle. Hans had thirteen siblings, eleven of whom lived to maturity. While little was known of his early life in Switzerland, a few things are known of his physical characteristics. He was between 5'4" and 5'5" tall and weighed 122 lbs. His eyes were hazel, and his hair was brown. Over his right eye and cheek he bore a deep scar. (All known photographs of him show only a left profile.) According to the style of the day he wore a full beard.
     By occupation he was a musician. He was skilled on several musical instruments especially the tuba and the bass violin. When not working as a musician, he found work as a carpenter or as a general laborer, and he worked at the smelter in Murray, Utah.
     On 6 June 1864 Hans married 18-year old Lina Näf of Glattfelden by the Reverend Schoch in the Protestant Church in Schlieren, Switzerland. They had two children, Elisabeth and Hans.
     In Zürich, Hans worked as a liveryman [Fuhrhalter]. After disappointments in this business and the accidental death of their first child Elisabeth in a bathing accident, John and Lina Akert emigrated to America in 1865, where they first settled in Evansville, Indiana. On 16 March 1870, in St. Louis, Missouri, Hans (aka John Henry Akert, Sr.) enlisted for a five-year tour of duty in the United States Cavalry. At that time the U.S. Government was engaged in an extended campaign to gain control of the territories between California and Missouri, and the transcontinental railroad had been completed the previous year.
     John was first assigned to Troop G of the Seventh Regiment, but within a month he was transferred to the Regimental Band of the Seventh Cavalry.  He first served under General Sturgis at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1873, not long after his father had joined up with the 7th Cavalry in Louisville, Kentucky, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, a Civil War hero and already well-known soldier and potential candidate for the U.S. Presidency, received orders from Washington to pull up stakes and transfer his entire regiment to Fort Abraham Lincoln in the northern part of Dakota, a few miles south of Bismarck, on the banks of the Missouri River. At that time Bismarck, which was to become the capital of North Dakota, was nothing more than a shanty town on the Indian frontier.  John's family traveled with him to Fort Lincoln.
     Lina Akert found favor with General Custer and washed and ironed Custer's shirts. John as well as the other soldiers disliked Custer's strict and sometimes cruel ways, and he did not always find favor with Custer. He once felt the wrath of Custer's temper when his horse stepped in a hole and stumbled, knocking his tuba to the ground and denting it. For punishment, he was strung up to a tree and hung from his toes.
     General Custer was intensely disliked by the Indians. John was with Custer when Sitting Bull shouted across a river to Custer that he would "cut his heart out" before a year had passed.
     Happily, John's enlistment ended 16 March 1875 at Fort Lincoln. He returned to Louisville and civilian life in April 1875 with his wife and son. For a while, the family lived in Elizabethtown. Finding no satisfactory work, John took his family back to Louisville, Kentucky. That same year word came that on 25 June 1876, General Custer, his younger brother and 263 other men had died in battle on the Little Big Horn River in Montana.
     Lina, evidently dissatisfied with the living conditions divorced John on 25 August 1876. In June 1877, Lina left John and their child in Louisville, traveling first to Buffalo, New York. In August 1877, she called for John, Jr., to join her and to return to Switzerland. Lina left John, Jr. in Switzerland and returned to New York, so arrangements were made for twelve-year-old John, Jr. to stay with his aunt Dorothea Akert Peter.
     In the meantime, John, Sr. reenlisted in the U.S. Army (at New York City 4 November 1878), this time joining the Fourteenth U.S. Infantry. Within a month of this enlistment, John Sr. was once again in the Regimental Band, and the Fourteenth Infantry was sent to the frontier of Wyoming Territory, where it remained until 1883. In early 1883, the regiment, under the command of Col. J.C. Smith, was transferred to Fort Douglas just east of Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, so John sent for his son John.
     There among the Swiss immigrants who had joined the Mormons, he found fellowship, and on 6 September 1883 he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two months later John was honorably discharged from the army at Fort Sidney (or Sanders), Nebraska. John Henry became an elder and local lay leader in the Church. In Salt Lake John met twenty-three year-old Caroline Stadler Steiner Kunz who had been born in Escholzmatt, Luzern Canton, in the Emmenthal (Emment Valley) of Switzerland. They were married 3 April 1884 in a Mormon Church ceremony in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
      Caroline's mother Katherine Zemp Kunz, who was a year younger than John, lived with the family, but was married in 1884 to John Kunz, a prominent elderly Swiss gentleman, in a plural marriage church sealing in Logan, Utah, although during periods of her daughter's illnesses and after the abolition of plural marriage in Utah territory. In 1892, Caroline was sealed as a daughter in a church adoption in Logan, Utah to John Kunz and Katherine Zemp (sic. Cemp in the Church records).
     Caroline bore John eleven children between 1885 and 1898, five of whom died in infancy, likely from poor sanitation conditions such as milk-borne diseases called "summer complaint." They were Adam Isaac, Benjamin, Jared, Esther and Olga Ruth.  The remaining six children, Eva, Sarah ("Helen"), Ruben Ephraim ("Ted"), Hulda Caroline ("Tullie"), Ethel Olga and Evelyn Isa, all lived long and rewarding lives and married. The women raised families in the Salt Lake City area, while Ted settled in Los Angeles, California, married, but had no children, and pursued a career as a chemist.
     John did not hesitate to answer the call of the Church to serve as a voluntary missionary to his native Switzerland, notwithstanding the challenge for his second family to support him and themselves. On 8 April 1890, John was ordained a Seventy by Elder Francis M. Lyman of the Council of Twelve Apostles and thereafter left his young family and expecting wife to serve for two years in Switzerland. Caroline knit socks and stockings, while Katherine sold them to live on and to support John on his mission. His daughter Tullie was born while he was on his mission. Grandmother Zemp-Kunz came to live with the family shortly after John Kunz's death in February 1890, making it possible for John to serve his mission. During his mission, John met with his Swiss family and gathered information from the family records and the Zürich city archives about his deceased ancestors in response the Church's admonition that every member should trace their ancestry.
     After his return from Switzerland, daughter Ruth was born and died in October 1896, which made a lasting impression on the children, including Tullie. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Murray, Utah, smelter town just south of Salt Lake City in the Great Salt Lake Valley.  It was here that Ethel and Evelyn were born. John worked in the smelter to support the family.  He was also a much sought after musician. He walked or rode his bicycle through all kinds of weather carrying his cumbersome instruments to entertain people of Salt Lake Valley at dances.
     On 29 March 1902 after an extended illness, Caroline died while in a hospital in Provo, Utah, forty miles south of Murray. Since Caroline's mother had married again and moved to Underwood, Washington State, John was left alone to care for six young children. John tried to keep the family together but finally decided it would be best to place the children with foster parents in the community. Eva married Frederick Rock two weeks after her mother's death. Ted went to live with the Stevenson family to help them on their farm. Helen was taken in by Mr. & Mrs. William Scott. Tullie was taken in by Mr. & Mrs. George Brown, where she could help take care of their two younger children. Ethel was taken in and raised by Cyrus and Grace Ann Boyce Neff of 1200 East and 4500 South in the Mill Creek area, east of Murray. Evelyn was taken care of by the Neffs and several other families. Father John felt that the young children should not be given up for adoption. (At age 21, Ethel was legally adopted by the Neffs so she could inherit their property.) Even though the family was scattered around the southeast valley, everyone kept in touch with each other and their aging father, who lived alone.
     John remained true to his callings in The Church. On 20 January 1907, President George Wooley ordained John to the office of High Priest when he received increased responsibilities in The Church.
     Sunday, 15 September 1907 began as a typical Sabbath day for seventy-three-year-old John Henry Akert.  In the morning he attended the service of the German-speaking congregation in in downtown Salt Lake City.  Afterwards he attended the afternoon service in the Tabernacle, where he often sang as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  At the conclusion of the afternoon meeting he walked home.  Feeling somewhat ill, however, he lay down to rest.  That afternoon, John Henry Akert died peacefully in his sleep.

Murray Eagle
September 18, 1907

Large Attendance of Sorrowing Friends At Last, Sad Rites
     The funeral of John H. Akert was held today at noon, in the Twelfth Ward meetinghouse, where a large attendance of sorrowing friends , a profusion of floral tributes and local music by a quartet signalized the service. Bishop Williams presided, the invocation was offered by Elder R. E. Nelson, and the speakers were the bishop, and Elders Schulthess, John Keddington, Herman Greter and R.T. Hoag, with benediction by Harrison E. Jenkins. The interment was in the city cemetery....

[From the Obituary in the newspaper of the German-speaking community:]
     ...He is survived by his son John H. Akert and by a number of younger children who are being well cared for.... The bereaved may be assured of the deepest sympathy of their many friends.

The Life of John Henry Akert, Jr.
Kenneth R. Allen

     John Henry Akert, Jr., was born 10 Dec 1865 in Aussersihl, now part of Zürich, Switzerland, to Hans Heinrich (John Henry) Akert (1836-1907) of Aussersihl and Lina Näf (1845-1895) of Glattfelden, Switzerland.  He was the second child of this marriage, his elder sister Lina Elizabeth, born 11 September 1864, having died from accidental drowning 8 May 1865.  His father was a liveryman in Switzerland, but he fell into bankruptcy and decided to seek his fortunes in America.  John Sr. came to America in 1865, and his wife and son John Jr. followed in 1866.
      The family first settled in Evansville, Indiana.  However, on 16 March 1870, his father joined the U.S. Army at St. Louis, Missouri.  Within a month, his father was assigned to the Regimental Band of the Seventh Cavalry.  John Jr., his father and his mother arrived at Taylor Barracks in Louisville, Kentucky in April 1870.  He never dreamed that he would be drawn into various adventures during the five years of his father's military service.  In fact, he never anticipated any hardships, and when they did come, as he said, "I was never entirely concerned, never worried or showed a sign of fright.  Why should a boy at my age be concerned about the daily hardships, as long as I didn't have to starve?"
     His father first served under General Sturgis at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  In 1873, not long after his father had joined up with the 7th Cavalry in Louisville, Kentucky, General Custer received orders from Washington to pull up stakes and transfer his entire regiment to Fort Abraham Lincoln in the northern part of Dakota, a few miles south of Bismarck, on the banks of the Missouri River.  At that time Bismarck, which was to become the capital of North Dakota, was nothing more than a shanty town on the Indian frontier.  John vividly remembered the expedition of 1872-1873, relating them in his own words in his autobiographical sketch many years later:

     "The journey from Louisville to Fort Lincoln, if I'd live a thousand years, will never fade out of my mind.  Custer's whole regiment of cavalry 500 strong embarked on a steamboat on the Ohio river, floating to the Mississippi junction, then from there up the Mississippi to the Missouri to Yanktown, South Dakota.  I can see the gang of darkies refueling the steamers with cord wood at various fueling stations along the rivers. The old gang plank would sway in rhythm by the weight of those colored boys trotting up and down with two or three sticks of cord wood on their shoulder, all in step to a southern song.
     "Disembarking at Yanktown, we were transferred to government wagons propelled by mules, when orders were sounded to hit the trail for Fort Lincoln, which was a strenuous 500 miles away.  Of course the wagon train couldn't be rushed, so we just moseyed along the best we could, over prairies and rolling hills.  Once we got in a prairie fire, but quick hands saved us from it.  The old trail led us over Fort Yates and Fort Rice.  When we finally reached our destination, we were very near worn out.  Besides my mother, there were a score of other women and children, and believe me, they were pretty well fatigued out, inasmuch as there had been Indian trouble.  That was the reason General Custer had been ordered to come up here, to settle Indian hostilities."

     John Jr. heard many stories of Indian skirmishes from his father and his father's and mother's friends and may well have witnessed a few hostilities near his home at Fort Lincoln.
     His father's enlistment ended 16 March 1875 at Fort Lincoln. The family returned to Louisville and civilian life in April 1875.  For a while, John Jr. and his parents lived in Elizabethtown. His father, finding no satisfactory work, took his family back to Louisville, Kentucky, where in summer 1876 they received word that on 25 June 1876, General Custer and the entire Seventh Cavalry had died in battle on the Little Big Horn River in Montana.
     John lived together with his parents for the last time in Louisville. While reportedly living in Louisville, John narrowly escaped kidnapping by an Indian squaw. The Indian had laid in wait for him as he traveled by wagon to a store for supplies.
     His mother Lina, evidently dissatisfied with the living conditions reportedly divorced his father on 25 August 1876. In June 1877, his mother left Louisville, traveling first to Buffalo, New York. In August 1877, she called for John to join her and to return to Switzerland.
     John, in November 1877, shortly before he turned twelve, left New York with his mother for Europe on the Labrador Steamer, disembarking at Le Havre, France. On 10 December 1877 John and his mother arrived in Switzerland, where his first home was at his mother's parents' house near Zürich.  However, his mother felt the pull of America.  After six months his mother disappeared to America, and his grandparents, unable to take care of him, left him at the mercy of his father's sisters.
     As he related this traumatic time:  "Then began my homeless days. Eventually I was taken care of by my father's sister Dorothea [Peter (b. 1825)], who took pity on me." He remained with her until he left to return to America in May 1883 to rejoin his father. In the meantime, his father had reenlisted in the U.S. Army (at New York City 4 November 1878), this time joining the Fourteenth U.S. Infantry. Within a month of this enlistment his father was once again in the Regimental Band, and the Fourteenth Infantry was sent to the frontier of Wyoming Territory.  In early 1883, his father's regiment was transferred to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, so his father sent for John.
     Traveling with a Mormon company including the Arnold Shulthess family, John reached Salt Lake City on the 4th of June 1883.  He was then taken in by the Shulthess family, as there were no facilities for a seventeen year-old boy and his father at nearby Fort Douglas.
     In Salt Lake City, both he and his father found fellowship with the Swiss Mormons.  John Sr. married Caroline Steiner Kunz of Escholzmatt, Lucern, Switzerland, in Salt Lake City 3 April 1884.
     On 7 September 1892 in the Logan LDS Temple, John Jr. married Anna Struhs (born 5 April 1875) of Solothurn, Switzerland, daughter of John Henry Struhs and Elizabeth Saner, and together they raised eight children in Salt Lake City.
     John's mother Lina reportedly died in New York City in November 1895. His stepmother Caroline, following many years of illness, died 29 March 1902 in a hospital in Provo, Utah, and the children remaining at home were cared for by friends, as the family could not provide and care for itself. John Sr. passed away 15 September 1907 in Murray, Utah, leaving two young children, in addition to John Jr. and four other children who could care for themselves.

     John Jr. and Anna had the following children:

+ Arnold Herman Akert (21 June 1893-20 Jan 1981 in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada, married Isabella Burns 7 September 1925 in Cordova, Alaska);
+ Mary Akert (18 November 1894-20 March 1971, married James Warren Gilbert 19 June 1918 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple);
+ Walter John Akert (19 July 1898-25 March 1980, married Gertrude Couch 21 May 1927 in Hurley, New Mexico);
 +William Henry Akert (20 Oct 1900-30 March 1973 in Reno, Nevada, married Bluma Bergman 7 Feb 1926 in San Bernardino, California);
+ Martha Anna Akert (15 March 1902-6 January 1956, married Harry K. Keddington 21 March 1922 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple); Ruth Akert (25 December 1907-   August 1986, married Kenneth M. Gerrard 19 June 1934 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple);
+ Ethel Elizabeth Akert (7 May 1913-   , married first Paul E. Margetts 24 September 1941 (deceased), married second Toby Gorringe, living in West Valley City, Utah 1993); and
+ John Henry Akert (23 April 1915-19 Nov 1971, married Ardella Green 16 March 1934 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple).

     In 1895, five years after his father had served a mission to Switzerland, John Jr. was also called to serve a voluntary mission for the LDS Church in Switzerland.  He departed from Salt Lake City on 12 October 1895 in a company of twenty-nine Elders and arrived by steamer at Liverpool, England 1 November 1895. John H. Akert was appointed secretary to the company of Elders traveling together at the time.  His articulate and detailed report of the journey appeared in a Letter to the Editor of the Deseret News on 15 November 1895. He returned to Salt Lake City after about two and one-half years of service.
     John became renowned as an landscape artist and watercolorist, leaving many paintings to his family. Some of his murals hang in ward buildings near his Salt Lake home. For fifty-one years from 1891 to 1941, he was employed by the ZCMI Department Store, primarily in the capacity of warehouse shipping clerk. He lived in the Princeton Ward of Salt Lake City until his death.  He passed away 16 January 1947 in Salt Lake City of a heart ailment. His wife followed him in death 14 April 1957.

John Henry Akert Jr.

     When I began to enjoy life in my tender years, I very often stopped to think about one thing and another.  Having no brothers or sisters, just my parents.  Playmates were as scarce as hens teeth in my neighborhood, which was the Taylor barraks in Louisville Kentuckey.  You may wonder what I was doing there, well I will tell you, how I came to be there, I was just in my 5th year, when Dad enlisted in the 7th Cavalry of the U.S. Army under the command of General G.A. Custer, the notorious Indian fighter.  This soldier life, in which I was drug along, began in April 1870 at the age of 5 years, now in this early stage of life.  I never dreamt that I would be drawn into various adventures, during the five years of my Dads service under Gen. Custer infact I never anticipated any hardships to come across my path, and when they did come, I was never intirely concerned, never worried of [or] showed a sign of fright, why should a boy at my age be concerned about the daily hardships, as long as I didn't have to starve.
     Not long after Dad was lined up in the 7th Cavalry, in Louisville Kentucky Gen. Custer received orders to pull up stakes, from Washington, and leave at once for Fort Lincoln in the northern part of Dakota, a few miles south of Bismark (which now is the capital of North Dakota, and in them days of 1872 was nothing more than a Shantytown.  Of course the Dakotas was one territory.  Very frequently in my advanced years my thoughts become centered on my experiences when I was knee high to a grasshopper.  The journey from Louisville to Fort Lincoln, if I'd live a thousand years, would never fade out of my mind.  Custers whole reg. of cavalry 500 strong imbarked on a Steamboat on the Ohio river, floating to the Mississippi junction, then from there up the Mississippi to the Missouri to Yanktown, So. Dakota, I can see the gang of darkies refueling the Steamers with Cord wood at various fueling stations along the rivers the old gang plank would sway in rythem by the weight of those colored boys trotting up and down with two or three sticks of cord wood on there shoulder, all in step to a southern song.
     Disimbarking at Yanktown, we were transfered to government wagons propeled by mules, when orders were sounded to hit the trail for Fort Lincoln, which was a strainious 500 miles, of course the wagon train couldn't be rushed, so we just mosied along the best we could, over prarries and rolling hills, once we got in a prarry fire, but quick hands saved us from it.  The old trail led us over Fort Yates and Fort Rice when we finally reached our destination, very near worn out.  Besides my mother their were a score of other women and children and beleave me they were pretty well fagued out, in as much that there had been Indian trouble was the reason of Gen. Custer been ordered to come up here to settle Indian hostilities.

[1940 Original wording and spelling]

 From the Missionary Journey of John Henry Akert (b. 1865)
En route to Switzerland

Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 15, 1895
From Salt Lake to Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, NOV. 1, 1895.

To the Editor:
     Perhaps a few lines from this quarter of the globe will be accepted by you, and read with interest by a great number of your and our friends in the fair Territory of Utah.  We are a company of Elders that have left our homes and gone to the different nations of the earth, via Liverpool, and we though a brief synopsis of our travels in the form of a condensed report would be very acceptable by our much loved paper, and kindly ask that you give space to the following in your valuable columns.
     There are twenty-nine of us Elders in the company that left Salt Lake City, October 12, 1895.  We traveled at first by different roads but we all met at Chicago, where we had the opportunity to view some of the more important buildings, such as the Masonic Temple, twenty-one stories high, and other magnificent structures,. From there we all traveled together to Buffalo, arriving in the morning, and as our train for Philadelphia did not leave until evening we spent the day visiting Niagara Falls, which of course was the sight of a lifetime for us. We took the opportunity, by paying a toll of 15 cents, to cross the new suspension bridge over to the Canadian side, and returning to Buffalo, we took train for Philadelphia. We remained there from noon, Oct. 17, until Oct. 19, during which time we took in some of the important sights, such as Wm. Pennís monument, Grantís and Jeffersonís statues, and many others. While here we caused some little newspaper comment, owing to our being in such a large company; perhaps if we, like the deciples of old, had travelled in twos and threes we would have escaped this notoriety.
     Saturday morning, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. the steamer Waesland set sail from Philadelphia, but owing to shallow water we were 48 hours clearing the Delaware b, a distance of about 90 miles, having been assisted by seven small steam tugs. We had smooth sailing until Wednesday evening, Oct. 23, when the waves began rolling high, causing many of us unpleasant feelings. However, by Sunday, Oct. 27th, we were all fairly well again. As there were so many of us on board, we thought it wisdom to meet together, and through the kindness of the chief steward, we were given the use of a very nice room suitable for the purpose, the courtesy being much appreciated. Here we met an hour morning and night, and bore our testimonies; and as some of the passengers on board had expressed a desire to attend our meetings, an invitation was extended to all, and (with the assistance of Brother Birchell, of Nephi, who was along with us) the first principles of the Gospel were explained, and a good time in general was enjoyed by all. As a little band of brethren travelling together we formed ties of friendship never to be forgotten. Our meetings on board the vessel were brought to a close with a general testimony assembly.
     We landed in Liverpool on Friday, Nov. 1st, 1895, and were transferred from the large steamer on to a smaller one, which landed us safely at the Liverpool docks. We met there Brother John B. Burrows from the headquarters, who escorted us up to the office. During the day business was transacted in regard to the setting apart of the Elders to Great Britain and receiving good instructions from Apostle A.H. Lund; then we all departed to our different lands, our different fields of labor.
     The request of the company in general is that I give you their best regards and love, I being appointed secretary of the journey.

Hulda Davis
[Hulda Caroline "Tullie" Akert Davis]
December 1973

     My father and mother were born in Switzerland. They came to Utah to become Mormons and live with those who believed as they did in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My father John Henry Akert was born near Zürich and came to Utah as a soldier in the U.S. Army.  My mother Caroline Stadler Steiner and my grandmother [Katharine Zemp] came from Escholzmatt, Canton Lucern in Switzerland. My grandmother's family had converted to the Mormon Church.  Father and Mother were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City in 1884.
     I was the sixth child. I was born in 1890 while my father was serving as a missionary in Switzerland. We lived in very humble circumstances at that time. Grandmother lived with us and helped care for us. Mamma had learned the art of knitting socks of wool on knitting machines. In order to support Father on his mission and to feed the family, she knit warm woolen socks and stockings on her two knitting machines. Warm socks were very much in demand in our cold winters. It seems my earliest memory is the return of Father from his mission in Switzerland.
     We were a very happy humble family. We had a loving father,a kind pretty mother and a sweet religious grandmother. Our mother had beautiful blue eyes and dark hair, but none of us children were blessed with blue eyes. Father had big back eyes and wore a beard and a mustache. He was very good looking. I remember he told me that when he was walking home in the deep snow from playing at the dances,his beard would become covered with icicles. I told him to be sure to awaken me when he got home so I could make sure he wasn't fooling me.
     I was very much a loved child by him and by my grandmother. The other children called me Grandma's Pet, because she took me everywhere she went--to visit friends or to the Swiss meetings in the Assembly Hall and in the Tabernacle. Perhaps the reason I got so much attention was because I was unfortunate enough to have one dark brown eye and one light brown eye! But I loved my grandmother. I always slept with her, and I loved her feather bed and her down quilt on top.
     My dear grandmother taught us well in our childhood. She taught me to pay my tithing, which I never failed to do -- 10 cents out of every dollar I earned. I can remember when I was about 10 years old, helping my father dig and pile up big blue potatoes in John James potato patch. I earned forty cents a day, @2.40 a week. On Saturday when I was paid I was so thrilled to be able to pay tithing that I ran two blocks to Brother Richardson's house to pay him the twenty five cents. Grandmother also taught us to pray night and morning and whenever we were troubled about anything. She told us that prayer moves mountains and that God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. My prayers have certainly been answered many times when I was deserving. When our family was all together, we had family prayer each morning before breakfast and each night after dinner, and each evening Grandmother would read to us. After dinner Grandmother would lay out her big picture bible on our long table and tell us a story. Then Ruben and I would place the chairs in a half circle for evening prayers. These were our fondest childhood memories.
     I can remember when we lived near the Fisher Brewery on Second South near ninth West. I was about six years old. I remember that our baby sister Ruth died there. One night Grandmother awakened us five children and told us to come to see the baby in her cradle. She told us that the baby was going to Heaven. Several days later, in our big front room we held her funeral. During the funeral my half brother John Akert lifted me up to see her in the casket. She looked like a little doll dressed in white. Pinned on her little dress was a little spray of lilies of the valley. Ever since I have been fond of those dainty flowers. After the ceremony, the little casket was placed on Mamma's and Papa's lap in a horse-drawn carriage. I sat in the middle as we drove to the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Now there was only my half brother John, my oldest sister Eva, Sarah, Ruben and myself. All of our other brothers and sisters were buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery: Adam, Benjamin, Jared, Esther and Ruth.
      Soon after Ruth's death we moved to Murray, a thriving little town about twenty miles south of Salt Lake City. Father found work there in the smelter. We lived in several different places in Murray. One place was on Germania Street, a pleasant street lined with tall poplar trees leading toward the smelter. Now, more than fifty years later the street has been cut off by the slag dump.
     Slag dumping was a beautiful sight to watch. We would always take our friends and visitors around the side of the house to see this beautiful sight. The red molten slag would light up the whole sky and the neighborhood for several minutes as it was dumped.
     Ours was a big family to cook and sew and care for. But we were all taught to scrub and clean and work hard to do our part. Across the street from our house was an apple orchard. My brother Ruben and I would pick up apples from the ground and take them home for Grandmother to peal and slice for drying and preserving. We also helped prepare other preserves including pears, stoned plums and prunes. We would dry them by placing them in the hot sun on boards covered with mosquito bar material. If we had nothing better to do, we would shoo of the flies with a stick which had strips of paper tied on the end.
     We had a good cow Nellie, which kept us in good milk and butter. Mother milked Nellie, and while she did I shooed away the flies with the fly stick. Otherwise Nellie would swish her tail and kick while mother milked. Mother curried her and kept her clean and pretty. One day we had to sell Nellie. But the next day Nellie was back, standing at the barn door. So we decided to keep her after all. We also had several pretty dogs, chickens and a big yard to play in.  We had a big swing strung between two big poplar trees in the front year. In the back year we had a teeter totter and a whirley gig. Father wanted us to stay home to play in out own yard, so he made us all these things to enjoy at home.
     When I was eight years old I was baptized, like Sarah and Ruben, in the cold waters of the Cottonwood River. It was not hard to remember such an occasion.
     I liked school and got as far as the eighth grade. We attended school--and Sunday School--in our old school house west of the railroad tracks, about two or three miles away. The school children all walked a great distance to school, but most people enjoyed walking just about anywhere. The other girls didn't get much schooling, much to their regret today. There was always something else to do, such as helping out on Wash Day. It was easy to get excused from school. All you needed to do was to say that you felt sick.
     We had no electricity or any appliances or heating. When it was dark we either carried lit candles or coal oil lamps. For safety, we only used lanterns in the barn, where we kept and fed our cow and horse. Our heat came from a coal stove in the kitchen. Besides using it for cooking, we dressed near it and stood close to it to get warm. We made toast by removing one of the four stove plates and holding the bread near the hot coals until the bread was brown. Sometimes our hands and fingers got toasted too! We carried wash water from a creek which ran behind our house. In order to wash the laundry, Grandmother heated the water in a big ten-gallon wash boiler on the stove. Then she scrubbed the clothes on a wash board in a large basin of soapy water. Stoves were later improved to have built-in boilers. However, they had to be kept filled with water all the time. Our drinking water came from a flowing well about a quarter mile form the house. We would fetch one or two buckets full at a time. The bucket was placed on a stand or a big table in the kitchen. To drink we shared a big dipper or a family drinking cup. At school there was a pump, so if we pumped hard enough we could get a cup of water.
     Plumbing was also primitive. Our toilets were usually two-hole out houses, but we kept it clean. Ruben and I  used to scrub the out house with soap and water until it was a clean and as fresh as a piece of white paper. When the hole was full, Papa would dig a new hole and cover up the old one and move the old out house.
     Things in those days were not very sanitary compared to more modern times. Grocery stores did not package the food and there were flies and diseases everywhere. Some families were wiped out in a week by flu or typhoid. We had few medicines or laxatives other than syrup of figs, castor oil and saltz, and they were all terrible.
     In those days there was a street car pulled by two donkeys. I hardly remember where it started or where it went. Most people walked miles and miles in those days. I remember that Papa walked from Murray to Salt Lake City to work. We had bicycles in those days, too. Only the more prosperous people had a horse and buggy.
     Father was an accomplished musician. He played almost every kind of wind instrument, as well as the violin and the bass fiddle. He used to walk miles to play his fiddle or violin for dances in the Church meetinghouses in Taylorsville, Sandy and Cottonwood. Father loved music.
     I remember when Mamma was expecting Ethel. There were no doctors to deliver children in those days. I always wondered when the midwife would bring the baby and deliver it. When she drove up in her buggy with her pretty horse and carrying her satchel, I would run out to ask her if she had the baby in the satchel. She said no, but that she might have it the next time she came. One day, after the midwife left, Grandma called me into Mamma's bedroom, and there was Mamma in bed with Ethel in her arms.
     About eighteen months later, the midwife came to visit again. She drove up in the same horse and buggy, and again I asked her if she was going to bring another baby in her satchel. While she was with Mamma, Eva and I took her horse and buggy for a ride though the streets of Murray. Eva was sixteen years old and sort of wild. She loved horses and fun and excitement. She often dressed up in a long skirt and her fashionable black duffy to ride through town. She used to ride bare back, side saddle, any way she could. It didn't matter. She loved to ride horses. After we had ridden through Murray, we returned home to find the midwife standing in the door, awaiting our return. She had just delivered Evelyn.
     When Evelyn our baby sister was about four years old, Mamma died. She was forty-two years old and had been ill for a long time. She had had trouble with varicose veins for many years. We were left without a mother or grandmother. Grandmother had remarried and moved to Underwood, Washington. Father and we children tried to keep house and live together without Mamma, but it was very difficult to take her place.
     We had many very nice friends. The Stevenson family offered to take in Ruben, who could help them on their farm. Mr. & Mrs. George Brown invited me to live with them so I could care for their two small children. Ethel was taken in by Mr. & Mrs. Cyrus Neff of Mill Creek. Evelyn lived in several different homes because Father did not want to let her out for adoption. sarah moved to town to work for Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Scott, who were very nice people. Right after Mamma's death, Eva got married. Although we were all scattered we managed to stay close and keep in touch.
     In 1907, five years after Mamma's death, Papa died. We were all taken care of by friends until we were old enough to care for our selves. Ethel was adopted by the Neffs. I moved to Salt Lake to work. Then I went to McGill, Nevada to nurse my eldest sister Eva after her daughter Virginia was born in 1909.
     I remained in McGill, where I found work in the Staff, a very exclusive boarding house where only the office force of the McGill Smelter Company ate. As a waitress I served Mr. Guggenheim and Mr. Jacklin, the mine owners, where their private train brought them to town to look over their many mines.
    My Sweet Heart Days were spent in McGill. Our little Ward was well supported by people of all faiths. Bishop Little, with much support, guided the construction of a small church building. I also taught a class in Sunday School. I also loved to play ball. There were two women;s ball teams in town, upper town site and lower town site. I played shortstop. Even so I was a beautiful young girl who had many proposal and many suitors. Among the mining staff, I met the man I wanted to marry: John Andrew Davis. Jack had dark hair and black eyes.  He was full of life, and we both loved to dance. We certainly did our share while we were in Nevada. The dances were held in a lovely new school house. Only the nicest people in town attended these dances. There was no drinking or rowdiness. We enjoyed the finest music in town, including a fine old violin. Jack and I certainly enjoyed those lovely days in Nevada... .

     ....December 28, 1973:  Now I am a widow, eighty-three years old today. I have buried my husband Jack and my two lovely sons. Caroline my daughter is now living with me. She is fifty-two now, and she is also a widow. Caroline is a little crippled and walks with a cane. But she is a beautiful daughter that I am trying to bring back to health. Life has been very good to me.

Hulda Davis

[Tullie Davis survived her daughter Caroline by three years, passing away 18 November 1988 in her ninety-eighth year.]

Ethel S. Midgley
Mary Grace Smith Allen Wade
Kenneth R. Allen

     This is the life of Ethel Olga Akert, the daughter of humble Swiss immigrant converts to the Mormon Church, John Henry Akert (1836-1907) and Caroline Stadler Steiner Kunz (1860-1902), who was adopted by Mormon Pioneer foster parents, Cyrus Neff and Grace Ann Boyce, and who was companion for eternity of Edwin Woodruff Smith (1897-1960) and companion for time of Thomas Cordon Midgley (1899-1985). She was matriarch of a family of over one hundred and sixty descendants. Her life bridged two centuries, ten decades and eight generations.  She knew frontier pioneers and astronauts, her grandparents and her great-great grandchildren.
      Ethel was born Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1897, in Murray, Salt Lake County, Utah, the tenth of eleven children of John Henry and Caroline Akert. Caroline, her mother Katharina (Catherine) Zemp and twin brother Peter Zemp, had converted to the Mormon Church in the Emmenthal Branch of the Church in Switzerland and emigrated in the late 1870's to join the gathering community of Swiss Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. Grandma Catherine was a member of the Akert household until shortly before Caroline's death in 1902. Ethel was 4-1/2 and younger sister Evelyn was just 3 when their mother died.  Ethel's only memory of her mother was sitting on her mother's sickbed as her mother fed her bits of sugar.
     The older children, Eva, Sarah (or Helen), Ruben (or Ted), and Hulda (or Tullie) could not help their father enough to keep the family together following their mother's death. Their father's meager income as a worker at the Murray smelter and as a musician was not enough to hire help.  So the older children were placed with friends in and near Murray, where they worked for room and board. Ethel was the most fortunate of all the children. At the age of six, she and Evelyn were taken in by a childless Rhoda Gaffain and then a few months later by Rhoda's mother's half sister, Grace Ann Boyce and her husband Cyrus Neff of the Mill Creek area east of Murray. The Neff's had a modest farm with a home at 1148 East 45th South in Mill Creek. Ethel, though homesick for her own family, prospered from the love in the Neff's home until adulthood. Her father visited as often as he could until his death one peaceful Sunday afternoon, 15 September 1907.
     The Neff home was a child's delight. Petite, blue-eyed Ethel (who as an adult was about 4'10" tall) played often with Mother Neff's sister's children, Erma and Elva Miller, who lived across the street. An old granary behind the Neff home became their play house. It was a time of fun and dreams. Ethel recalled those times:

     Erma always wanted me to go to the dances with her--so I'd play paper dolls with Elva and go to the dance with Erma and her beaus until I got beaus of my own. I loved dancing and had lots of dates. Mother and Father Neff never objected to my social life. They always trusted me and I loved them for it. I always had lovely clothes and everyone said I looked like a doll, but I never was haughty or conceited.
     Erma introduced me to her husband's older brother and I went with him for months. He wanted me to marry him, but I was going to Granite High School. I had met Ed Smith [Edwin Woodruff Smith 2 Mar 1897-7 Nov 1960), a star basketball and football player, the handsomest boy in school. Although he was going with another girl, Lyle Smith, I wanted to get to know him. One day as I was coming from Liberty Park with the horse and surrey I stopped at the Albert Smith's Store [his father was the owner and a prominent butcher] at 17th South State Street to say hello. He couldn't take time to talk to me. That night he came out in his brother George's Ford and stayed for a nice visit. From then on I was deeply in love. I mean Real Love. He invited me to his home, and the Smiths treated me nice. I knew his sister Florence at high school and loved her also. They were all wonderful, gracious people. Mother Smith [Mary Ann Storton] was a very quiet, deep. person, and I know she was wondering about my parentage and background, but she soon accepted me.
     Our courtship was about 9 months. Ed went off to U.S.A.C. [now Utah State University, Logan, Utah] to study. During one visit home we had a bad horse and buggy car accident. It wrecked Grandpa Smith's buggy and lamed me for years. At Father Neff's urging I dropped out of high school, as there was no future for educated girls. He then sent me to a special sewing school to help me become a good homemaker. That fall Ed joined the Navy. While waiting for his assignment he took a course in wireless telegraphy with my help. In July of 1918 he got his call to San Francisco. He was soon recognized as the best in telegraphy, and got advanced fast. Our letters were every-day reading. I was very lonely, but joined the other girls in Red Cross work for the boys "over there." Of course this was World War I, a terrible time.
     About the 25th of September I answered the phone. It was Ed, which startled me. He told me he was coming home to marry me, as he couldn't get a furlough unless it was to get married. Mother Neff was shocked, but I was happy--so everything started with a bang. What fun and excitement for everyone--wedding arrangements, dresses, plans of every kind. Mother Neff thought that it would be best to have a civil marriage rather than Temple as times were so uncertain, but I said, 'No.' Invitations were phoned. Helen and Tullie came out to help cook. I was the only one that knew where things were, so [2 Oct 1918, following a ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple] even while I stood in line with Ed [in the parlor of the Neff home] I was asked where things were--it was really funny. It was a ball. We left everyone there to go to the train for our honeymoon to San Francisco, not knowing what would be the circumstances. When we left there I kissed Mother and Father and thanked them and everyone for everything, and left.
     On our way down to San Francisco the train had a broken wheel and was delayed for a day. Ed had to call and report the delay, and we had no time to spare, but all was well. We went to the home of his father's English cousin, "Aunt" Annie Meachin and her daughter Ida Meachin. We stayed one night. Then Ed had to leave me to get on a ship. How sad I was, as I'd never travelled before, and I was in tears. But Laura, George Smith's wife, took me downtown to comfort me a little. When we returned to George's home, who should come to the door but Ed. I could hardly believe it, but I know the Lord was still blessing me and us. The flu [the 1918-19 influenza epidemic] was so bad that the Navy wouldn't let anyone in or out. As Ed had been gone almost 10 days they wouldn't let him on ship. He reported to a naval school each morning, but was free for almost a month. So we made Golden Gate Park [in San Francisco] our honeymoon haven, staying out in the open air as much as possible as people were dying of the flu by the thousands down there--including, as we learned later, many in the hotel where we were staying.
     Ed got another furlough to bring me home. We arrived the day before Thanksgiving [Wednesday, November 27, 1918]. Soon there was another sad parting, so I stayed with Father and Mother Neff. By the time he had made a trip to Eugene, Oregon in a leaky mine tender [?-Eugene is inland] and another to Hawaii for a month, the war was over. The Navy gave Ed a special early release so he could go home to work on the farm, as there was a big shortage of farm help. Father Neff wanted him to come and take over his farm, but it was too late in the season, so we went up to help [his brother-in-law] Hugh Erekson in Kamas [east in Heber Valley in the Wasatch Mountains]. We lived in a tent, finally buying a table and chairs and a bed.
     It was time to settle down, so we came back to Father Neff's farm and fixed up the granary where I had played as a child.  It was two rooms, a very cute little place. We lived there a year. Vivian was born there, the 30th of April 1920. Father and Mother Neff went down to Long Beach for the winter and we took over the big house. Mildred Boyce stayed with us and went to school from there. On January 26, 1922, in the worst snowstorm I can remember, Mary Grace was born in the bed and room I'd slept in for 15 years. Ed had gone all the way to Butlerville through the blizzard in a buggy to fetch a nurse. When he saw the baby his face was as long as a donkey's, as he wanted a boy. It took a few years, but I got all the boys he wanted. In fact I filled up the back yard with boys trying to get another girl.
     While we were here I had a very bad case of the flu. When Mary Grace was a year old I got diphtheria at a Stake Conference at the old Granite Stake Tabernacle on 33rd South. Several other people did also, which made everyone very upset.
     We then bought the Boam farm at 4644 South 13th East from Father Neff and moved our family into the granary behind it after fixing it up to make it livable. [It later became known as the home at 1281 East 4650 South.] We were waiting for the tenants, a Greek family, to move out of the main house. Lloyd was born there in the granary on 25th of September 1923. When the tenants moved, we fixed up the old home as best we could and moved in. The rest of the family was born while we lived in this house. While we were still living in the granary, Ed had a chance to travel with the Naval Reserve to Valparaiso, Chile. He didn't have to go, but it was a good experience that he did.
    The old Boam home was an old adobe home with lots of problems. Ed was constantly remodeling it to hold our growing family. Finally, in 1949 we built my dream home, a big red brick house right next door to the south [4650 South 13th East]. Ed and the boys [including Mary Grace's husband Reed Allen] also built us a cabin up Big Cottonwood Canyon, where we loved to go. We also helped the children remodel the granary, which was home to Mary Grace and Reed for a while [before they moved to Seattle in 1957] and now Albert and his family.  Ed and I lived in the brick house until after his bad fall off the roof.  Taking care of the house got to be too much, so in about 1958 we moved to 315 Utopia Avenue in South Salt Lake.
     After Ed's death in 1960 [from heart failure] I wanted to move back to the old neighborhood. So my youngest son David built me a little house west of the old granary on the new street [4650 South] where the little subdivision is around the pond. I lived there until after I married an old friend from school days, widower Thomas Cordon Midgley who had live many years in Ogden. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple "for Time" on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.  I finally bought back the old house on 13th East, which had gone to pot, and Cord and I fixed it al up for us to live in. I sold the new house to Albert, and Cord and I found a little home in Washington, Utah, near Cord's brother George Midgley in St. George. We lived there for a time and then had a home built for us by David on the lot next door, where we now spend most of our time when we are not in Salt Lake. Cord especially likes it there because we have such a nice big garden and lots of places to go fishing. Still we are never too busy to have visitor, and we like to get out to family get-togethers whenever we can. Life has been pretty good to us. We have all worked hard to raise a good family, and we've enjoyed life to the fullest.

     Ethel saw this life from the pioneer way to the wonders of today. She made soap over a fire in a copper vat in the back yard, cooked on a wood stove and got light from a coal oil lamp. She flew on jet planes saw Europe and England, the lands of her ancestors and of Ed's ancestors. She also touched the lives of many.
     Many things about Ethel endeared her to all who were associated with her. One of her attributes was her outstanding leadership coupled with enthusiasm and endless ideas and untiring service. She will never be forgotten by neighbors, friends and relatives who joined in the numerous gatherings and parties such as the corn and watermelon busts, the hayrides and the sleighrides, the Fourth of July parades, the 13th East Sewing Club and the Study Group she spearheaded.
     The PTA at Lincoln School received a jolt of enthusiasm and increased productivity and activity when she joined their ranks, serving as Chair of the School Lunch Program, Vice President and President. One night, she "saved the day" when the lights went off during a banquet. She lit up the hall by shining a flashlight on the ceiling.
     She always took an active part in the Church when her health would permit. Even when she wasn't well enough to hold a position, she would take all the children to Sunday School every Sunday morning and Sacrament Meeting every Sunday afternoon, typically at the Winder Ward Meetinghouse, near 45th South on Highland Drive. And if the children were not there, they were really missed, because they would take up almost an entire row. From the very beginning, she helped with Religion class. During the years when the winter weather was so severe and transportation was not available to all the children in the neighborhood, she arranged to hold a home Primary meeting during the week, so the children would not be deprived of their spiritual training. During World War Ii, she served as a Counselor to Stella Boles in the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association. She was also always active in the women's Relief Society, holding various positions, form Ward and Stake Magazine Representative to Counselor to the Stake Relief Society President.
     Unselfish, thoughtful and sympathetic to the needs of others, she spent many hours taking in food, grown in her own garden or baked in her oven; caring for children for days at a time; or just giving an ear to a burdened heart. Ethel helped neighbors, relatives, and even strangers who came to the door. She even gave work to strangers to help them, and sometimes they returned her kindness by stealing from her, such as the man who stole the piggy banks and the girl who stole her diamond ring. But that did not stop her from helping others. When old "Uncle" Ben Eldridge following his retirement as state agriculture agent at Utah State Agricultural College, needed a place to live, she fixed up the little house next door for him and did all she could to make his life pleasant and comfortable. He spent many hours sitting in the kitchen watching her busily preparing meals or ironing. She would always invite him to dinner or send something home with him. Her kindness was rewarded when Uncle Ben gave her some of his furniture, including a chair from Brigham Young, a roll-top desk, an English sideboard and a grand dining table. Two of her nineteenth century chairs inherited from the Neffs and Uncle Ben's rolltop desk, fully restored, are in the California home of her grandson, Kenneth Allen [1994]. Uncle Ben's beautiful sideboard is in the home of Albert Neff Smith at 1281 East 4650 South on the family property in the Mill Creek area (Salt Lake City).
     One of the challenges of her life was caring for her son Stanley, who was born 3 August 1925 with Down's Syndrome. A sweet, gentle child, he lived at home until his mother could no longer care for him. He attended the State School in American Fork, Utah County and as an adult he lived in a group home, where he was visited often by the family. Not expected to live a long life, Stanley passed away at age 54, 9 June 1980, just two months following the death of his brother-in-law Reed Allen.
     Her love for beauty did not end with a beautiful garden, such as she and Cord grew at their home in Washington City. Like her half brother John, she developed her artistic talent with a paint brush and palette. She preserved scenery on canvas and watercolor paper for family and friends to treasure for life and down from generation to generation. When she could not find or afford birthday cards for her many grandchildren, she was known to paint water color postcards and small oils on those special occasions. Her work has won many ribbons at shows throughout the State of Utah. She also created many other works of art with her hands, such as embroidery, quilts, needlepoint, crocheted articles and even baby bonnets.
     Although she seldom admitted to being able to play the piano, she brought warmth into the hears and home with the melodic notes from the old upright piano she played as a child. Many a Sunday she awoke the children with the sound of beautiful church hymns that set the referent mood for the entire day.
     In addition to her other hobbies, fishing was something she always enjoyed, so long as someone else baited the hook for her. She took fishing trips to Fish Lake and other places with Ed, and knew all the good streams of southern Utah with Cord.
     Genealogy was quite a concern to her. She had a strong desire to trace her ancestry and spent much time and money in the worthy pursuit. She always looked forward to the twice yearly Smith family reunions and the monthly luncheon get-togethers with her sisters and half-nieces.
     Ethel lived her last years as a widow in a small cottage down the road west of the home of her son Robert and daughter-in-law Carol in Centerville, Utah, where she could be close to part of her family. Her daughter Vivian Stoddart passed away 6 July 1985 following a long bout with Lou Gehrig's disease. Cord passed away quietly the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day 28 November 1985 at Bob's and Carol's home, following Thanksgiving dinner, when his heart simply stopped.  Ethel passed away following Sunday dinner following a brief bout of weakness 28 October 1990, also while in Bob and Carol's home. Lucid and physically able to the very end, she was one month short of her ninety-third birthday.
     Ethel summed up much of her life in a poem written to her husband Ed for his 59th birthday, March 2, 1956:



When time is passing so fast My Dear
And burdens are getting lighter to bear,
And our path down life's way is paved with cheer
What can we look back on and call our own
If it isn't our children and our well-loved home?

When Vivian was the world's sweet black-haired doll
And for her we would have given our all
Mary Grace came along and her sister and we
Thought our angel had come with us to be.

Then their Daddy had fear of not having a boy
So when Lloyd came along he was his pride and joy.
We tried, oh how we tried, but nothing could help
To make our little Stanley as we hoped he would be.
Now we know he had accomplished before he came from heaven more than we.

An image of Dad's playmate and brother who at six passed through the Veil,
Raymond, a darling babe, came with a welcome that never failed.

We mark the passing of your grandparents dear
By the birth of our sweet little John who was always full of cheer.

Bob as a nickname so much answered his like
As a babe he looked like Mary Grace--a cute little tyke.

With the world's depression and scarlet fever in a swirl,
All would have been fine if the next were a girl.
A boy came along and his grandfather we could see
And Albert never a disappointment could be.
A girl couldn't be sweeter, a boy never better
So he made us all happy and pleased--all right to the letter.
Time running out and a girl we still hoped for
But the Lord knew best and our seventh boy
My darling David was brought with joy.

What fun and rejoicing as a family we've had
Enjoying the good and enduring the bad.
Each child had his place; we played and worked as a group
Lunches on the lawn and down to the orchard we'd troop.
Then there were days when all the eggs would mysteriously leave the old  chicken coop.

Well Daddy dear, we now sit at the table alone
We couldn't imagine this when they were all home.
Now husbands and wives and grandchildren they bring,
It makes us more happy than if it were Spring.
We'll go on living and loving them all
Until we answer our last final call.

 I love you.