Our Family Legacy
Good Morning, dear family. To me this is a dream come true, the reunion of all the descendents of Joseph and Verena Wright and their 10 children. Right now I’d like to pay tribute to Ila and Edward Wheatfill who have made this reunion possible. Last summer when Ila, Venna and I and our husbands talked of a reunion, I was ill and Venna and Spencer were working on all the Kimball and Black records and still are. But Ila and Ed immediately assumed the responsibility for the reunion. Ed start planning the packets he has for us and hours and hours have gone into the actual making and compiling of it. Pictures, pedigree charts, life stories and ideas to help us write our life histories besides the advantage of his years of experience in teaching genealogy. All this he has condensed and given to us. Ila has helped, inspired and enthused his all along the way. Let’s give them a big hand of appreciation.
Many times in my life, a warm feeling of love and appreciation has welled up in my heart for the many grandparents of faith and integrity that were given to me in preexistence. Two of these wonderful people are our grandparents, Joseph Smith Wright and Verena Foster Wright. How I love and appreciate them! As I have read the lives of their parents, I can easily see that Grandma and Grandpa Wright were only carrying on the traditions and examples given by faithful parents in their homes.
Joseph Smith Wright was a dark haired, blue eyed Scotch Irish immigrant. He was bon to a widowed mother, Deborah Ann, on Christmas day near Glasgow, Scotland. Joseph’s father, George Wright, had died 3 months before of cholera, so Deborah Ann had already start to cope with the difficulties for supporting a large family. Nine years before when the missionaries had come to this ________ant, religious family of George and Deborah Ann in Scotland, they had readily accepted the gospel. They were a meek; hard working happy family who loved the good things of life, especially education and went to school at night to obtain it. They walked a long distance to the little branch of the church in Glasgow. When the oldest boy, William took his trade to America, Deborah Ann and all the children dreamed and worked for the day when they would all be with William and his wife who had walked with the handcart company and helped wattle Franklin, Idaho.
When Joseph was 10, he ran a machine which printed designs on _________, a very responsible work. It was about this time that Deborah Ann and her children had accumulated enough money to sail on the ship Constitution for America, At 13 Joseph walked across the plains following his mothers wagon and after much hardship and trial they joined William and his wife in Franklin, Idaho. Each settler was allowed 10 acres and Deborah Ann and Joseph farmed theirs together until 1180 when he married Verena Foster, daughter of George Foster and Verena Fischer.
Here I must tell you a bit about Verena’s parents. George Foster had married in Ireland and had had 8 children and had accepted the gospel and came to America. His wife died as they crossed the plains and after many trials, he brought his motherless children to Logan, Utah. My mother often told me that her grandfather Foster was a sweet gentle blacksmith who had had one eye put out by a hot cinder. She loved to sit on his lap and brush his hair and beard. In Logan he married Verena Fischer, a convert from Switzerland who had come to America and crossed the plains with her mother Anna Barbara Schoffelberger. Her mother Anna Barbara died 3 month after arriving in Provo. When we saw the old Schoffelberger home in Zurich and those green rolling hills with a big river running through the valley, we knew that nothing but a testimony of the gospel could have enticed these dear people to leave their beautiful country to come to America. So George Foster of Ireland married Verena Fisher from Switzerland and Verena Foster, their daughter was our grandmother.
Young Verena was raised in Whitney, where the Fosters settled but went to school in Logan when she was 15 and 16. Verena with several other young girls passed the examination to teach school in Whitney. Verena was sixteen when she took the exam and she said that there were several men sitting around the room watching them as they wrote. She wondered if they thought that the girls would cheat! She taught the three R’s and Spelling. They loved Friday because they sang the multiplication tables, and spelling bees, recited poems and sang songs they loved. She had 20 pupils and earned $15 per month. Verena loved to teach.
After Joseph Wright and Verena Foster married, they lived with his mother Deborah Ann, in Franklin for about 1 ½ years. Soon after they were married, Deborah Ann had a stroke and was bedfast until her death 2 ½ years leater. This was a hard time for young Verena as she was expecting her first baby. But when Deborah Ann died or just before her death, she called Joseph and Verena to her bed side and told them how much she appreciated their care and concern for her and how much she loved them.. After her death, Joseph and Verena moved to Whitnay where the Foster family had settled when they moved from Logan when Verena was two.
Here in Whitney they built their first home, a two room log cabin and it was here that 5 children were born to them. Verena was a great believer in preparation for the Sabbath day. Her board floors were scrubbed, her little girl’s white petticoats and dresses were washed and starched stiff and ironed including any ruffles. The shoes were shinned and the food was prepared. Joseph was counselor in the Bishopric and they were indeed a church going family.
It was about this time when Grandpa Wright was called to go on a mission to Scotland. Grandma said this was a hard struggle for her as her youngest child was eighteen months old and she had the farm to run. She moved into one room with her faimly and her sister and brother-in-law and two children moved into the other room and lived with them so that they could help run the farm. It was hard but Verena was behind Joseph and his mission with her faith and devotion.
When he returned they had five more children. A new church was built in Whitney and George T. Benson was Bishop and Joseph continued as councelor. They had many good times in Whitney with all their cousins. But the 24th of July was the highlight of the year with a big parade, picnic, races, games and they always dramatized the Indians aiding the pioneers and steeling their cattle ect. My mother, Charlette said that when the Indians came to their door, she would run and hide under the bed with her heart pounding.
Grandma Wrigh was a wonderful cook and seamstress. She bottled hundreds of quarts of fruit and taught here girls those talents also. I can remember many nights after they moved to the little red brick farm home just outside of Blackfoot, Idaho, out between the rivers, we called it, of having supper with Grandma and Grandpa. Many times it would consist of cold bottled tomatoes and homemade bread and butter or perhaps just homemade bread and good cold milk or it might be a good rice pudding. Whatever it was, it was delicious at Grandma’s. I loved that old red brick farm house.
Eventually as their heath failed, they moved into Blackfoot and we just lived two blocks from them. Many a freezers of Ice Cream we cousins enjoyed on Grandma’s lawn on a Sunday afternoon. When grandma’s health failed, it was my privilege to nights when I was in high school to give Grandma her bath in bed. I have often thought of the opportunity I missed by not writing down the many important events of her life that she could have told me, her feelings and emotions that would have been so precious to us today. This has been one of the regrets of my life!
One winter the doctor told the family that Grandma would not live through the winter unless they took her to California. So Grandma and grandpa and Aunt Hazel and Glenn and Ira left with Aunt Mildred and Uncle Alva and went to Long Beach, California where they lived in Gordonia. Grandpa died first and Glenn and Ira took care of Grandma and Aunt Hasel for some time until they died. Today we pay tribute to these dear grandparents who in their busy lives did not record all of the many precious faith stories that would have meant to much to us today. But we have everything to make it easy for us today to keep a record of our lives, to keep journals and Books of Remembrance.
Today I want to pay tribute to you. The posterity of Joseph and Verena Wright for the way you are faithfully carrying on the great Heritage that is yours. Someday our grandchildren will say, “What a heritage we have! What faithful wonderful people were our grandparents! What an example they have set for us! Then where ever we are, we will be happy, just as Grandpa and Grandma Wright are happy today!
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