← Back to Leonard J. Arrington Diary Excerpts Index

Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Ancestry”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Ancestry.” You can view other subjects here.

Search the diary entries below for specific dates, names, and keywords using the keyboard shortcut Command + F on a Mac or Control + F on Windows.


Grampa was a student of law and justice.  In the mountains of Eastern Tennessee the Squire is a combination of sheriff, judge, district attorney, and justice of the peace.  He was squire for many years.  He married many a winsome couple, brought many offenders to justice, and enforced justice and equity when human rights were threatened.  It was in this latter capacity that the Latter Day Saint doctrine was first brought to his attention.

In the 1890’s Mormon Elders were having a hard time of it.  They were frequently mobbed, chased out of town, or arrested on all sorts of trumped-up charges.  Grampa had never heard of Mormonism until one day some neighbors brought in the Mormon Elders and charged them with violation of the law.  Grampa, that is, Squire Arrington, held a trial.  At the conclusion of the trial he decided that the Elders had done nothing wrong.  They were in danger of being mobbed so Grandpa allowed them to stay in his home for a few days until things cooled off.  Then when other Elders came to the vicinity he befriended them in the same fashion.  Knowing the Bible as well as he did I can imagine many friendly and sometimes heated discussions going on in the house in the evenings around the fireplace when the missionaries happened to be present.

Eventually, Grandma and her eldest daughter accepted the Gospel and later Grampa and most of his children also accepted it and became Church leaders.  Seven members of the family have gone out on missions for the Church, some of them to the beloved South where the family originated.

[LJAD, Remarks given at funeral services for LeRoy Madison Arrington, Twin Falls, Idaho, 16 August 1946]

In 1925 Noah was called on a church mission to the Southern States.  Arrangements were made with a neighbor to take over the farm, and Edna and the boys moved to town to a little home near Noah’s brothers, Glenn and Grover, and near Noah’s father and mother.  For two years, while Noah was in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, serving as Conference President of L.D.S. Missions, the brave little auburn-haired mother was looking after the family in Twin.  Four months after Noah entered the mission field, a son was born, Wayne, who his father was not to see until he was more than a year and a half old.

The missionary experience seemed to open up new vistas.  After the family was reunited at Christmastime, 1926, they moved back to the Falls road farm, and soon thereafter began to expand.  Noah rented a forty, and later bought a sixty.  Along came Doris and Donald and Ralph and Rose.

Things did not go smoothly, however.  Goodness knows they worked hard and schemed well.  But a national catastrophe-not caused by any person, but a terrible combination of national circumstances—the Great Depression of the 1930’s—came to make their problems almost insurmountable.  Having purchased the 60 acre farm at inflated prices, when potatoes sold at $1.75 per bushel, they were now faced with paying off the debt at a time when potatoes brought as little as 10 cents a hundred.  So they worked and they schemed, and their children worked and schemed with them, and they lived on what they could grow, and they eventually weathered through it.  Gradually, despite adverse circumstances, they obtained a car, electricity, a washing machine, a sewing machine and the other things, which make life comfortable and pleasant.  Their oldest son came of age and somehow they managed to make it possible for him to go on a two-year mission to the Southern States.  Their next oldest son went to the University, and gradually times got better.

Noah now found opportunities in buying and baling hay.  Within two or three years, they were able to pay off their debts and acquire more land, and much equipment.  They could drive better cars, they bought a nicer home for Edna and the children; they had conveniences in the home.  They entertained young people and old people—church groups, neighborhood groups, and family groups.  Edna took delight in the accomplishments of her children—and, as they came along, in her grandchildren.  Noah was made a bishop, and Edna was his chief assistant for 17 years.  She did his bookkeeping, wrote his letters, answered the telephone—for his hay business and for his church business.  She was Relief Society president, Sunday School teacher, and Stake Relief Society counselor.

Then came the days when the family was almost all gone.  Noah and Edna took pleasure in traveling together—to Oklahoma, to Indiana, to Florida, to Arizona, to the Pacific Northwest, to California, to Canada, and to Hawaii.  In Twin Falls, Edna found her greatest joy in working with young people—her children, grandchildren, the L.D.S. Girls’ Program and the Sunday School.  She kept up a wide correspondence with her children and sisters and friends—writing regularly to addresses all over the country.  She did temple work, compiled a personal history, gave wise advice, and continued to make friends.  Three more sons went on missions; two more graduated from the University, and one more will graduate in June.  Her sons and son-in-law had responsible positions at widely scattered locations in the country.

[LJAD, Obituary of Edna Arrington, compiled by family members from Edna’s personal history, about 29 March 1960]

DIARY OF LEONARD J. ARRINGTON – Wednesday, January 3, 1973

On Monday, New Years Day, Alden and Betty Arrington came to visit with us.  All of their family except Dale, who is in Twin Falls working for Howard and Lewis Arrington Construction Company.  Pattie is awaiting a call to a mission; Cathie was excited to see Susan.  James performed for them, to their delight.  He did pantomimes of a thief at Christmas, riding a bucking bronco, department store Santa Claus, airplane solo flight, Romeo and Juliet, old man telling stories, and other things.  Very entertaining and our family enjoyed it as well.

James asked Alden to tell some stories about his grandpa—LeRoy Madison Arrington.  Here are some he told.  First, one about James’ grandfather, Noah.  It was in the 1930s, during the depression years.  He had pulled up an apple orchard to plant potatoes, and had cut a number of trees into stove length wood and piled in the middle of the driveway to be used for firewood.  I recall this pile being there for several years while we used it, month after month, year after year.  One of my chores, as a boy, was to chop enough kindling to use for the night, to start the fire in the morning, and so on.  Some very small pieces, and some larger stove-size pieces.  We had a wood stove for all of our year and for cooking.  Every evening after school or work I spent about half an hour getting kindling and stove wood.

Anyway, according to Alden, one night N.W. heard somebody out in the woodpile.  He went out and saw a fellow taking some pieces of wood.  The fellow said he needed the wood to keep his family warm and didn’t have any money—it being depression and all.  He was convincing, so N.W. asked him if he needed food.  Upon his affirmative, N.W. went to the cellar and took out a bag of potatoes and a bag of apples.  Kenneth and Wayne were sleeping out in the shed across the lot and he woke them and had them get the apples and potatoes out.  When the fellow was about to leave, NW said, “Next time, when you need something, don’t come at night like this when I’ll have to wake the boys; come in the daytime when it won’t be any trouble for us to help you.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Wednesday, 3 January 1973]

The following notes were made during the family home evening sessions of the N.W. Arrington family in Tempe, Arizona, January 12, 13, and 14, 1977.

1. None of us could recall that any of us on any occasion ever talked back to Mom and Dad. We tried to explain why–especially when most of our own children talk back to us. We decided that there were perhaps three explanations: (a) We were heavily disciplined and therefore fearful of talking back. (b) We had a great respect for Mom and Dad because of their own strong characters. (c) We may have talked back and didn’t remember it, just as there were many other things we did that we have conveniently forgotten.

2. Mom and Dad continually gave us responsibilities and fully expected us to carry them out. These included responsibilities in the house, in the garden, in the barnyard, and in the fields. Each of us had specific chores on a regular basis and there were other chores on an ad hoc basis.

3. Phrases which we often heard include: (a)”Don’t cry over spilt milk–” and we really didn’t; (b) Dad’s expression, “How old are you?” when we had done something silly, meaning, you are old enough to know better.

4. We have learned of many examples of people in the neighborhood and people in the church going to Dad with their problems to counsel with him. He provided a receptive ear, did not pre-judge them, and did give them help. He was a wise person and his wisdom was evident to people who had experience with him. But it is strange that his children did not go to him with their problems, that is, the real problems of growing up and meeting life. They saw other people doing it but did not feel free to go themselves. We asked ourselves why this was and we decided that we thought he would consider us weak and vascilating if we went to him with problems. He expected us to solve these ourselves; not that he told us this but somehow he didn’t appeal to us as the warm kind of personality that would be sympathetic. We didn’t feel to trust him by telling him confidential things.

5. Mom was a very good organizer. He managed somehow to go to Church, to have a meal ready for everybody shortly after we returned. She was always smiling, even under circumstances that in retrospect appeared adverse.

6. Everybody agreed that Mom and Dad, especially Dad, put tremendous emphasis on honesty and used every opportunity to emphasize the strictest honesty.

7. Mom gave us an appreciation for books. She herself often read to us when we were small and gradually built up a little family library and emphasized frequent reading. Some of the boys remember she read them Treasure Island. She was an expressive reader and people enjoyed what she read to them. In later years she often read selections from Reader’s Digest, Improvement Era, and other publications.

8. Dad liked his grandchildren very much. As one of them said, “He gave us candy and took us for rides in his Cadillac.”

9. Only the older children realized just how hard Dad worked until he

began to make money in the 1940s. When Leroy was little Dad worked as a hired hand and after he had completed his ten hours of work came home and hitched a horse up to the one-horse walking plow and plowed his twenty acres. He had rented the home twenty and was not able to buy it until perhaps 1919 or 1920. He put in long hours of work and worked vigorously. At the time he went on his mission in December 1924, he had bought the 20 acres; he left that to Mr. Sackett to farm on shares. At that time we had no electricity. And then we moved to town across from Uncle Glen’s for the two years he was on his mission. We then had electric lights. Mom was very anxious to keep the light bill down to only $1, so the use of electricity was very sparing. After we returned to the farm in 1927 we had several years without electric lights, getting them only about 1930 or 1931. And again, we were drilled that we must keep the light bill down below $1 per month. We used kerosene lamps for lighting until we had electricity. Except the very last year before we got electricity we used Coleman lamps and each had memories about the fragile mantils of these lamps, how they could be broken if you jarred the lamp any way.

10. The older ones remember Mom driving the old Model T but she never did drive a car with a gear shift, and so we had to drive her around even though we were very small. Some remember driving Mom around the neighborhood and even to town when they were as young as 11 or 12 years old. No licenses were required in those days.

11. Dad liked people to look him straight in the eye. He didn’t trust shifty-eyed people or people that wouldn’t look you in the eye. As humble, submissive farm boys, it wasn’t our custom to stand up and look people in the eye. One of the hired hands was talking with Ralph one time and said, “You know how to get something out of your dad? Stand up and look him straight in the eye.” Ralph decided to try this and practiced it finally asking him for something that he was in much doubt about–having the car for the evening. Surprisingly, Dad gave it to him. From then on he always looked him in the  eye. A favorite occupation for all of us growing up was nightshading beans– getting the nightshade out of the bean patch because the nightshade berries would be threshed out with the beans and then would stain them green. Dad thought illness was a sign of weakness and this perhaps was one reason he was so intolerant with Wayne and his hayfever. He thought it was mostly an excuse. When Dad had to do something which was distasteful or smelled or saw something distasteful he spit. If, for instance, he would be walking across a pasture and would step into a cow pie he wouldn’t swear or even grumble. He would simply spit. Some of us remember going through that stage ourselves but fortunately none of us has continued. 

[LJA Diary; Recollections of Noah and Edna Arrington, 17 Jan., 1977]


Today marks the birthday anniversary of my mother, who was born November 26, 1894. If she had lived site would be 85 years old. Unfortunately she died almost twenty years ago.

We especially remember her birthday because it always came near to Thanksgiving time. From the time we moved to Logan in 1946, Grace and I used to invite Mom and Dad to our home to spend Thanksgiving. By that time the crops were in and they could take time to spend a few days with us. They usually came Wednesday afternoon and stayed through Saturday or Sunday. We took pictures each year. Dad usually slipped me $20 to help pay for the turkey and other expenses. I think one reason they were glad to come is they knew they were in for a gastronomic feast. Grace cooks wonderful Thanksgiving meals. She always had turkey, candied yams, whole cranberry sauce, dressing, pumpkin pie, carrot & raisin salad, and other goodies. On the second and third day we had creamed turkey, and Mom always said she liked that better than the first-day turkey. Dad always enjoyed a trip around the valley, seeing the farms, and Mom enjoyed talking with Grace and later on with the children.

Mom was very short–certainly not more than 5’2″. She had reddish-auburn hair. She was very thin when she was first married but became a little plump after she’d had her eleven children. She was young in thought and attitude, progressive, interested in new things and new ways. This is illustrated by her willingness to cut her hair about in the middle-1920s. She always kept her hair looking nice and dressed as well as she could. When I was a child–that would be until about 1929–Dad went to town every Saturday to buy necessary groceries (salt, sugar, flour, etc.) and every so often would bring home a gingham dress or some gingham cloth. I suspect that Mom looked more like a flour sack when I was little and when our economic status was very poor.

Mom enjoyed reading, subscribed to several magazines like Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion, Redbook, Good Housekeeping. Dad took the Idaho Farmer. My dad was not a very good reader, and so Mom used to read to him. Mom, after all, had graduated from the eleventh grade, which meant the completion of high school at that time in Oklahoma. Dad had only gone to the eighth grade, and I think he probably went to school all told only four or five years. He knew how to figure but was not very good at reading and writing.

Mom did not talk very much like an Oklahoman. That is, her pronunciation was not as pronounced as say Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Elfa, and others who stayed in Oklahoma. She sounded pretty much like an Idahoan to me. She had a good sense of curiosity and was always asking us children what we were doing, how things were going, and so on. She brought up interesting topics at the dinner table. She was not a person of strong opinions or prejudices, and talked about many subjects without prejudicial remarks. She was always introducing the children–and I was very responsive to this–to interesting articles in the newspaper, in magazines, and so on. She often bought us children’s books for Christmas. She often read to us in the evenings as we sat around the stove during the winter.

Mom was an excellent speller and very rarely spelled anything wrong. She took pride in writing legibly and spelling correctly. She is, of course, the person who taught me to spell correctly, and gave me an interest in competing in spelling bees. When we had neighborhood parties there was usually a spelling bee, and Mom would usually win for the adults and I would usually win among the young people. Mom always wished us to achieve academically. This did not work out in some cases: LeRoy was not interested in academic achievement, nor Marie; but I and some of the younger brothers were. Mom enjoyed teaching herself to play the piano after Dad was able to afford an old, beat-up one, and insisted that Ross learn to play.

Under great difficulty Mom maintained a garden, and most of the work there was done by her until we were of an age to help, then she insisted that we spend some time working for her in the garden. She always had trouble getting Dad to plow and cultivate the land. She did most of the irrigation of the garden herself until the kids were of age.

Mom felt very much hurt during the early years of her marriage that Dad did not confide in her, talked rather brusquely to her, and always regarded her interests and desires as far below those of the farm. I saw her secretly crying a few times when I was just a child. I realize Dad had problems, but I do think he should have been more sympathetic with Mom’s needs. My Dad was the real authority in the home, and always had the last word. He was rather an authoritarian or patriarchal figure. I’m sure he loved Mom and that she loved him, and that somewhat tempered his patriarchal attitude which no doubt came from his father, who was even more so. Dad and Mom both had a very good sense of humor. Morn’s was more verbal, Dad’s was more situation humor. Both had outgoing personalities and were popular in the neighborhood and in the Church. Both were hard workers and energetic. I do not recall any real fights between Mom and Dad, but I think that’s because Mom had to give in. Mom had a strongly developed sense of what each of us needed to do to get along in life. She believed we ought to dress as well as we could. “Clothes don’t make the man, perhaps, but they’ll count for you one way or the other, and they might as well count for you as against you.” She didn’t allow us to use slang words like ain’t and cain’t and so on. She wanted us to appear well before others. She also wanted us not to expect too much. Always expect less than we might realize. She induced a lot of humility by insisting that we not show too much pride or not be too insistent on our way.

[Reminiscences of Edna Corn Arrington; LJA Diary, 26 Nov., 1979]

The Arrington boys were not very well educated and they were a little backward in social manners. None of them made any important achievement except my Dad.

Bruce remained in charge of a tracklaying crew for Union Pacific Railroad all his life. Grover went on a mission to Pennsylvania around 1912, where he met his wife, and returned to Twin Falls to become a carpenter, dairyman, and handyman the rest of his life. For a period in his early life, he was in a bishopric. He was humble and cheerful but not a leader. Jake ran a little grocery most of his life, did carpentry work, built some cabins and rented them, but was a small-town “operator.” Glenn did carpentry work, dairying, and farming. Earl, of course, went to the University of Utah, then the University of Chicago, then to New York City. He was intelligent, perceptive and industrious. But he had a magnified inferiority complex. He never made a living, wouldn’t try; didn’t think he could teach, wouldn’t try; didn’t think he could type, wouldn’t try. The one who did achieve was Noah.

How does one explain Noah? He was just the right age to go to Primary when they were in Spanish Fork–about 10 or 11. He also had a little schooling there. He had work experience in Rossville, Georgia, working on a cotton mill. In Oklahoma he worked around the countryside in the harvest, traveling to various Oklahoma land tracts, and also as far west as Kansas. During the winters he got a little schooling. His work experience was enriching for him, not in terms of earnings but in terms of getting acquainted with people, with ways of doing things, with the folklore of the region.

Then there was the influence of Edna, whom he had courted for several years. She was intelligent, kept him writing cards and notes, and no doubt kept their conversations at an educated level. She was clearly the superior of the wives of Grover, Jake, and Glenn. Bruce’s wife was an achiever herself, but her husband didn’t “take” from her. Earl’s wife was clearly very accomplished, one of the twelve relief administrators in New York City during the depression and World War II, but her husband didn’t “take” from her either.

Consider the importance of the agricultural community into which Noah and Edna moved, Twin Falls County-Magic Valley. A new community, composed of newcomers mostly from the Midwest. Mostly Protestants. Mostly of German ancestry. Nearly all farmers. Nearly all young and “on the make” to support their families. They worked hard, they were thrifty. Above all, they were democratic. Nearly all equal in the world’s goods, they didn’t pay any attention to a man’s ancestry, or family standing somewhere else, or education, or any other distinction. If he was a good neighbor, worked hard, was frugal, was practical, was down to earth, then he got along fine. What this meant to my parents was that they were as good as anyone else. They were not inferior, backward, or poor and struggling. They were just like everyone else. In such a community, anyone can achieve who wants to and has the ability.

My father had the ability and wanted to. I was flabbergasted to find that when Twin Falls Stake was organized by Melvin J. Ballard in 1919, Noah was chosen as one of the initial group of High Councilors. He had not really been active in the Church until 1917, when I was born. He had just acquired our 20-acre home place in 1918. He was only twenty-nine in 1919. So they must have thought that he had a winning personality, that he had good judgment, that he paid tithing, and that he could express himself well. He learned much from his High Council visits and meetings.

Five years later, in 1924, after six children (two of whom died as infants), he was called as missionary to the Southern States. Even though Edna was pregnant with Wayne, to be the fifth living child, they decided Noah would go. Charles A. Callis had long been president of the Southern States Mission. A Welsh coal miner, he was sincere, down to earth, a good administrator, a powerful preacher. Just the man to see the potential in Idaho farmer Noah. Noah, who was thirty-five when he commenced his mission, was assigned to Virginia, where he was shortly made conference president. After a year there he was sent to North Carolina as conference president. After half a year he was sent to Florida as conference president.

Clearly, he had demonstrated good leadership, and he also learned much from President Callis, not only about the scriptures and church doctrine and procedures, but also about handling people and responding to situations.

When Noah returned home he immediately embarked on a program of expansion and building. He began to buy land, he bought new equipment, new car and truck, new horses. Where did he get the money? He borrowed it, which shows he had been able to sell himself as an effective farmer and manager to the banks. He surely had self-confidence and ambitious plans. Along came the depression of the Thirties, and he managed to hold on while many others didn’t. He persuaded bankers and capitalists to reduce loans, postpone demand for payment, forgive interest, and so on. He never told us anything about all this, but we know about it in general. Edna, of course, cooperated by being a good frugal housewife and mother and helper.

Ultimately, of course, Noah became a community figure, bishop for seventeen years, High Priest president, head of Mormon welfare, and other important positions. He achieved significant stature in Twin Falls County and in the Church. In many ways, what he did was remarkable for a person who spent the first fifteen years of his life (more or less) in the backwater hills of Tennessee. He came from a proud and large family; he had the advantage of the leadership training of the LDS Church; he married a frugal, industrious, intelligent, well-educated wife; he had a large family of boys to help him; and he lived in a community where family background counted for nothing.

[The Arrington Men in Twin Falls; LJA Diary, 11 Dec., 1987]

My father was a hard worker. He worked long hours, engaged in hard physical labor, and seemed to enjoy it. I do not recall a single instance of him complaining about the work he had to do: plowing, planting, irrigating, cultivating, harvesting, feeding the horses & cows, repairing buildings and equipment—he was always outdoors working. He was among the most industrious and progressive farmers in our neighborhood. He was respected by the neighbors and always good-humored and willing to help anyone who needed it.

[Recollection of Noah Arrington; LJA Diary, 13 Mar., 1988]

Early Church Activity of Edna & Noah Arrington

Based on Conversations with Marie Davidson, 8 July 1989,

at her home in Burley, Idaho, and 22 August 1989 at our home in SLC. Recorded by LJA.

In 1911 or 1912, Frank J. Cannon gave a series of talks in Lawton, Oklahoma, on Mormonism. Probably the same talks that resulted in his book, published in 1910-1911 in Everybody’s Magazine and then as a book in 1911 under the title, Under the Prophet in Utah. The book is complimentary of Joseph Smith, talks of the dictatorship of Brigham, and the “priest craft” of Joseph F Smith. Because of their Mormon neighbors, the Arringtons, the Corns in Faxon, Oklahoma, attended the talks. Edna’s parents were persuaded by Cannon that Mormonism was evil, and Edna was inclined to think that was true, but withheld final judgment. She did not break off with Noah, but was not inclined to join the Church, despite the urging of her friend, Callie Arrington.

When Edna and Noah went to Idaho in September 1913, they first lived in the Independent Meat Company cabin just west of the sugar factory in south Twin Falls. Noah worked for them in various capacities. In 1914 or 1915 they moved to a one-acre lot on what is now Highland Drive, about a mile or two north of the sugar factory, and about a mile east of the rim of Rock Canyon. This lot had apparently been acquired by Noah’s brother Jake when he came to Idaho with Grover in 1911. Grover had apparently also acquired an acre just to the west of it. Jake had apparently paid $220 for the lot, and presumably Grover the same. Eventually Glenn acquired a lot to the south and Grandfather Lee one to the west of Glenn. Noah apparently purchased Jake’s lot about 1914 or 1915 and Jake used the money to go back to Oklahoma and marry Annie Shields. Upon his return Jake established a small grocery on a lot he bought on Main Street in Twin Falls, about three blocks north of the Shoshone Street-Main Street corner. The eventual line-up of homes in South Twin Falls was as follows: 


Lee Grover NWA


Lee (Granddad) Glenn

Jake, possibly with the help of Noah and Grover, had built a small two-room frame building on the lot, which Edna and Noah now moved into. It was presumably there that Thelma Eileen was born, in 1916. This put Noah and Edna close to J. Arthur and Pearl Swenson, who lived just to the north on the next street over. (One could hardly call Highland and the Swenson streets by that name; they were simply roads where a horse and horse and wagon or horse and buggy could drive.) J. Arthur was the son of Peter Swenson, first bishop in Twin Falls, and his wife MaryAnn Pearl was also a faithful church member. J. Arthur and Pearl are the ones who got Noah and Edna interested in the Church. Edna was baptized by J. Arthur Swenson in April 1914. Noah ? Swenson  in spring 1914. MaryAnn, a midwife, delivered Leonard in July 1917.

Going back to the Corns, Edna’s older sister, Maude, had joined a Holiness Church and had moved away. She was an ardent enthusiast, and kept sending literature on her Church to the Corn family, and they got sick of it. Maude kept pestering them to join, to be saved, to take on Jesus, and so on. The Corns were firm and proud Methodists, and thought Maude was a little off her rocker. They reacted against her importuning. Edna took LDS literature home only once; her parents threw it in the fire. The result is that Edna never did send literature about Mormonism to her parents or beg them to join. She did not try any more to influence them; respected them too much to try to keep pestering them as Maude had done.

In 1914 or 1915 the Twin Falls bishop, Lawrence G. Kirkman (who had succeeded Peter Swenson, father of J. Arthur Swenson, as bishop in 1910), came by the Arrington home to ask them to pay tithing. Noah and Edna said they couldn’t afford to pay tithing. They had two cows, one had just died. The other cow died the next day. Noah and Edna decided that the Lord was telling them to pay tithing, so they did so, and continued for the rest of their lives to pay a full tithing.

The original home in which we grew up was pretty much the way Paul Anderson’s drawing shows it. The tree shown on the left front was closer to the west side of the house and was a mulberry tree. The top of the cistern is just south (in front) of the house. The tree on the right should be farther south, a maple tree, and on the southeast corner of the house was a snowball bush.

The house had just two rooms–a kitchen on the west and a bedroom on the east. In that bedroom were the beds of all of us when we had the flu in 1919.

When Dad returned from his mission in 1927 he built a porch on the southwest corner and a bed placed there where LeRoy slept. He eliminated the door on the southeast of the house and put a window there. And he built an addition on the north of the house, stretching the entire length of the house, perhaps 15 feet wide and 30 feet long, as bedroom. The east half of the main building was converted into a living room, and the west side of the lean-to bedroom was for the bed and closet of Noah and Edna–and baby bed as new babies came long. The east side of the bedroom facility had beds for the children. We slept two, three, four to a bed. During the summers, Leonard had his bed in the orchard west and north of the house.

When Dad went on his mission, he rented his 20-acre farm to Neighbor W. I. Sackett for $600 a year and moved the family to a home he owned or partially owned on Highland Street in South Twin Falls. Mom was to support us on that $600 a year. Dad was supported on his mission by Aunt Callie & Aunt Pearl. The Arrington brothers and their father now had several adjoining lots in that area. NWA, and Edna had apparently lived there in 1915 to 1917, at which time Noah made the first down payment on the 20 acres on which we grew up. At that time, 1917, they moved out to a one-room shack on the farm of W. I. Sackett, just to the north of the 20 acres. In that shack Leonard was born. Noah made payments on the 20 acre farm, and apparently moved into it in the fall of 1918. They were there during the winter of 1918-1919, and Marie was born there in May 1919. Apparently he rented the home on Highland after moving out in 1917. 

Noah was called to serve on the first high council of Twin Falls Stake when it was organized by Melvin Ballard in July 1919. As an energetic church member, he was called on a mission to the Southern States in November 1924–the Church was still calling married men with families on missions until 1925. Prior to leaving on his mission in December 1924, Noah moved the family into his house in town. The home in town was laid out as follows:

Outdoor toilet

North Bed for Roy


Grover Beds for Marie, Edna bedroom     kitchen

Leonard, curtain (not wall) chest of drawers, etc.



Grandpa Glenn

We children did not realize our Mom was pregnant when Dad left on his mission. On Sunday morning, May 10, 1925, when Dad had been on his mission five months, we children walked to Church–possibly a mile and a half. When we arrived back home, sometime after 12 noon, Mom told us to look in the chest of drawers. There, in an open drawer, was a quiet and cute little baby, with wide-open blue eyes. He was later blessed as Asa Wayne Arrington. He weighed 10 pounds, the largest of Mom’s children.

Mom started in labor Sunday morning early and sent word, perhaps through her close friend and neighbor a block or two north, Pearl (Mrs. J. Arthur) Swenson, that she needed help, and perhaps Mrs. Swenson, through Bertha Mae Hansen, contacted Mrs. Emma Martha Anderson Hansen (mother of L. A. Hansen) to come look after mother. Mrs. Hansen was the daughter of Danish immigrants in Elsinore, Utah, and spoke Danish as a child. She and her husband had gone to homestead on the Salmon Tract in 1911, but attended Church in Twin Falls. They eventually had eight children. Mr. Hansen died of emphysema (smoking) about 1917 or 1918, leaving Emma Martha to look after the eight children. She often came to Twin Falls to look after people to earn money, and apparently was available to look after Mom and her family.

Wayne was delivered by the family doctor, Dr. H. W. Clouchek, who signed the birth certificate. Marie, who was six in 1925, remembers Mrs. Hansen speaking some Danish, just for fun, or perhaps as a matter of habit. She also made wonderful Danish dumplings for us which we long remembered. Marie thinks she stayed a full week, which was the length of time a mother was supposed to stay in bed after the birth of a baby. How mother paid her, we have no idea. The usual rate was $5 per day. Perhaps she charged less; perhaps she did it free, as a church service; perhaps Aunt Callie or Aunt Pearl or both paid something. None of us can imagine anything being paid by Uncle Glenn or Uncle Jake–they were both poor and stingy. Uncle Grover was more liberal and he may have paid some or all of it. Unquestionably, the Twin Falls Ward was small, the town was hostile to LDS, and so Mom would have known the Hansens and could have made contact with Emma thru the church, which had its own little community.

Wayne has given me a photo of the house. Marie has a photo of Mom and him as a baby with two other women and their babies. Our guess is that they are Mrs. Seaton and Mrs. L.A. (Bertha Mae) Hansen, and their babies born about the same time.

When Noah returned from his mission in December 1926, we moved back to our home on the farm. We abandoned the house on Highland. Marie said she understood that Glenn bought the home for taxes shortly thereafter, possibly 1928.

Marie says she had the yellow jaundice, hepatitis, while we were at the town house and Mom put her in a bed in a corner of the kitchen.

[Early Church Activity of Edna & Noah Arrington; LJA Diary, 8 Jul. & 22 Aug., 1989]


Written by LJA 23 Aug 1989 with help from Marie Davidson

Noah Wesley and Edna Corn Arrington were married in Lawton, Oklahoma, on June 1, 1913. They lived on a farm in Faxon, Oklahoma until September 1913, when they moved to Idaho. For the first two months they lived in a rented home south and east of Twin Falls. In November 1913 they moved into a small frame house owned by the Independent Meat Company which was about one-half mile west of the Amalgamated Sugar Company Factory south of Twin Falls, just east of Rock Creek Canyon. Their first

child, LeRoy Wesley Arrington, was born there on January 15, 1914.

In the spring of 1914 they moved out to a small frame house on a twenty-acre farm on the north side of the road about one-fourth of a mile east of the Falls Avenue Road that turns north to go to Shoshone Falls. That is, continue east on the Falls Avenue Road as if to go to the original twin falls and about one-fourth of a mile from the corner that takes one to Shoshone Falls was the location of the farm and house. On that location, which Noah rented for the season, he cleared off the sagebrush and planted wheat. On the northwest corner of the Falls Avenue road to the west of them lived Laurence B. (Larry) Sullivan and wife Lillian and son Lloyd. The Sullivans were friendly neighbors, helpful, good to visit with. When Edna needed to go into town, Mrs. Sullivan took care of little LeRoy and made clothes for him.

After the crop was in, presumably about October or November of 1914, they moved into the south Twin Falls area, to what was originally called Highland View Drive, now referred to as Highland Avenue. On March 28, 1912, Noah’s brother, Jacob F. Arrington, had bought a one-half acre lot on the north side of Highland, perhaps a mile east of the Main Street extension that goes south and east from Twin Falls. Jake had bought the land from G. C. McAllister for $220. The next month, April 29, 1912, Noah’s brother Grover N. Arrington had bought a similar lot from McAllister just to the west of the Jacob Arrington lot.

Jacob and Grover Arrington had worked laying railroad track beds in Nevada, but Grover’s back had been injured and he and Jake had gone to Salt Lake City with the intention of settling somewhere in the region. They were informed of the good prospects in the Twin Falls area and determined to go there. They hitched a ride on a train as far as Hailey and walked back to Twin Falls. This was in October 1911. They hunted for LDS people, located Arthur Jarman, and were invited to live with the Jarman family until they built their own homes, Arthur Jarman baptized Grover in November 1912; a year later Grover went on a proselyting mission to Pennsylvania, where he met Katherine Hasenbalg and married her after his release. They built a nice home on their lot on Highland and lived most of their life there.

Meanwhile Jake, anxious to get married to Annie Shields in Oklahoma, returned to Oklahoma in 1913, and agreed to look after Noah’s home and land in Faxon. He arranged to sell Noah’s properties in Faxon, and presumably enough money was realized that Noah was able to pay Jake for the lot in Twin Falls. On December 17, 1914 a deed to the Highland lot was given to Noah for $220, the price Jake had paid. Quite possibly, Jake and Noah had agreed to the sale earlier and Noah had built a house on the lot after the harvest in 1914. At any rate, Noah and Edna moved into the home in the fall of 1914.

Jake returned to Twin Falls after his marriage to Annie in May 1914 in Lawton, Oklahoma. They arrived about July or August of 1914, and possibly Jake and Noah worked together in building the two-room frame house. Jake and Annie and Noah and Edna shared this house for several months while Jake built his own home on the south side of Highland, on the second lot east of the lot owned by Glenn Arrington, which was just south of the Jake-Noah Arrington house.

With the coming of spring in 1915, Noah went to work on a farm south of Twin Falls and for the summer’s work lived in a tent on that land while Edna remained in the Highland house with little LeRoy. Noah bought some cows and left them for Edna to milk.

In 1916 Noah rented a farm north and east of town belonging to Paul Stroble. The farm was just north of the farm that Noah began to buy the next year, just south of what later became the W. I. Sackett farm. The two-room house was approximately three miles east and one-half mile north of Washington School, corner of Blue Lakes and Addison Avenue. There, the second child, Thelma Eileen, was born February 14, 1916. They remained in that house, farming that land, for two years. Thelma fell and from an infection that the doctors diagnosed as meningitis (church records say bronchial pneumonia) Thelma died on January 25, 1917. That summer, on July 2, 1917, Noah and Edna’s third child, Leonard James, was born.

On May 9, 1917, according to county clerk records, Noah made the initial payment on the twenty-acre farm just to the north of where they had lived for more than a year. An additional payment was made in 1918, and the deed was given on May 6, 1919. The deed showed the owners to have been Marie S. and Raymond Visser, husband and wife, living in Park Ridge, Cook County, Illinois. The purchase price was $3,000, on which there was a mortgage of $1,500, dated March 27, 1917, and due March 27, 1922. Interest was 8%, payable annually. The signatures of the Vissers were recorded on October 13, 1917; the indenture is dated October 8, 1917.

Noah and Edna, with LeRoy and Leonard, moved into the two-room house on the Visser twenty acres in October 1918. The house was three miles east and three-fourths of a mile north of Washington School in Twin Falls, and on the west side of the road from Kimberley Road to Shoshone Falls. Soon after the move there, the influenza epidemic spread through the region, and all of the Arrington family came down with the sickness in January 1919. The situation was critical for little Leonard, who was only eighteen months old and whose influenza proceeded on to pneumonia; and also for Edna, who was pregnant with Marie in an epidemic that was deadly for pregnant women. Marie was born May 5, 1919.

The family remained in the house on the Visser place until December 1924, when Noah was called on a mission to the Southern States. Noah arranged for W. I. Sackett to farm his twenty acres, and Noah moved the family to his little two-room house on the half-acre lot on Highland Avenue.

Before the move, however, Edna had a stillbirth baby boy born in December 1921, usually referred to in later years as “baby brother,” and on November 10, 1923, gave birth to Kenneth Richard.

While Noah was in North Carolina on his mission, Wayne was born, on May 10, 1925.

Noah returned from his mission in December 1926, and the family moved back to the Visser farm. It was a struggle. Noah planted potatoes on forty acres he rented from C.A. Robinson and thought he would make a killing. But that year potatoes were not worth much; they could only get a few cents for one hundred pound sacks. They lost the crop and were in debt and in a bad financial condition. Doris Elaine was born September 23, 1927, Donald Charles was born July 25, 1929, Ralph Marvin was born December 11, 1931, and Ross came along on February 11, 1934, which completed their family.

In 1929 the Arringtons were provided with electricity, and in that year Edna got her first washing machine.

Meanwhile, the town lot remained unoccupied most of the time, and because of their financial condition, Noah was unable to pay taxes. The lot was finally sold in December 1928 to R. Glenn Arrington and Grover Arrington, brothers of Noah. They paid $2,250 for it, which sounds like it was more than the amount of the back taxes.

Noah and Edna and family lived on the Visser farm until 1939, when they purchased the Wegener house and farm on Addison Avenue. The Visser twenty acres was sold or given to son LeRoy, who still owns it in 1989.

Early Relationship with the Church

Edna was not a member of the Mormon Church when she married Noah. She was baptized on April 7, 1914, almost ten months after she and Noah arrived in Twin Falls. The following background is pertinent.

In 1911 or 1912, Frank J. Cannon gave a series of talks in Lawton, Oklahoma, on Mormonism. Probably the same talks that resulted in his book, published in 1910-1911 in Everybody’s Magazine, and then as a book in 1911 under the title, Under the Prophet in Utah. The book is complimentary of Joseph Smith, talks of the dictatorship of Brigham Young, and the “priestcraft” of Joseph F. Smith. Because of their Mormon neighbors, the Arringtons, the Corns in Faxon, Oklahoma, staunch Methodists, attended the talks. Edna’s parents were persuaded by Cannon that Mormonism was evil, and Edna was inclined to think that was true, but withheld final judgment. She did not break off with Noah but was not inclined to join the Church, despite the urging of her friend, Callie Arrington.

When they went to Twin Falls, Noah and Edna were of course in contact with Noah’s brother, Grover, who had been baptized the year before, and by mail with their relatives still in Oklahoma. When they moved into the Independent Meat Company house in November 1913, they were not far from J. Arthur and Pearl Swenson, stalwart members of the Church. J. Arthur’s family, Peter Swenson, was the first bishop in Twin Falls. His wife was MaryAnn Swenson, the Mormon midwife in Twin Falls who delivered Thelma and Leonard. Edna always told her children that J. Arthur and Pearl Swenson were the people who got her interested in the Church. They gave her a Book of Mormon which she agreed to read to prove them wrong. Instead, she was converted. J. Arthur is the one who baptized Edna in April 1914, shortly ? move into the Highland Avenue home, which was just a block south of the Swenson’s. Edna was only nineteen. Not long after that move, other Arringtons arrived in Twin Falls: Glenn and Noah’s father and mother, Lee and Priscilla. The eventual line-up of homes on Highland Avenue in south Twin Falls was as follows:


Lee Grover NWA

pasture Highland East

Lee (Grandad) Glenn Jake


Going back to the Corns, Edna’s older sister, Maude, had joined a Holiness Church and had moved away. She was an ardent enthusiast, and kept sending literature on her Church to the Corn family, and they got sick of it. Maude kept pestering them to join, to be saved, to take on Jesus, and so on. The Corns were firm and proud Methodists, and thought Maude was a little off her rocker. They reacted against her importuning. When she started getting serious with Noah, Edna took LDS literature home, but her parents threw it in the fires. She did not send any more or beg her parents to join. She did not try to influence them any more; she respected them too much to keep pestering them as Maude had done. 

In 1914, the Twin Falls bishop, Lawrence G. Kirkman (who had succeeded Peter Swenson, father of J. Arthur Swenson, as bishop in 1910), came by the Arrington home in the Independent Meat Company house to ask them to pay tithing. Noah and Edna said they couldn’t afford to pay tithing. They had two cows, one had just died, falling backwards in a ditch. The other cow drowned the next day. Noah and Edna decided that the Lord was telling them to pay tithing, so they did so, and continued for the rest of their lives to pay a full tithing. Noah was ordained a Teacher by Peter Swenson on August 26, 1914, the first Priesthood he had held, although twenty-four years of age. He was ordained a Priest by L. G. Kirkman on September 4, 1916, and an Elder by Henry C. Lamoreaux on November 25, 1917. When Twin Falls stake was organized, in July 1919, Noah was one of the original high council, along with J. Arthur Swenson and others. He was ordained a High Priest by Melvin J. Ballard. He then traveled to wards and branches most Sundays to visit and talk.

The original home in which the Arrington children grew up was pretty much the way Paul Anderson’s drawing shows it. The tree shown on the left front was closer to the west side of the house and was a mulberry tree. The top of the cistern was just south (in front) of the house. The tree on the right should be farther south, a maple tree, and on the southeast corner of the house was a snowball bush.

The house had just two rooms—a kitchen on the West and a bedroom on the East. In that bedroom were the beds of all the family when the flu struck in 1919.

As an energetic church member, Noah was called on a mission to the Southern States in November 1924. The Church was still calling married men with families on missions until a year or two after his call. He left behind Edna, age thirty; LeRoy, almost eleven; Leonard, a little over seven; Marie, a little over five, Kenneth, one. As we shall see, the children were in for a further surprise.

When Noah went on his mission, he rented his 20-acre farm to neighbor W. I. Sackett for $600 a year and moved the family to the home he had built on Highland Street. Edna was supposed to support the little family on that $600 a year. Noah was supported on his mission by Callie and Pearl Arrington, his sisters. Whether he had rented the Highland home or allowed someone to live in it after he left the house in 1916 we do not know. The house on Highland was laid out as follows:

North Outdoor toilet

Grover Bed for Roy and storage

Beds for Marie,

Leonard, Ken curtain, Edna bedroom Kitchen

not a wall chest of drawers,


Highland East

Grandpa Lee Glenn

By 1924 time Jake had established a home and grocery store on Main Street in turn

We children did not realize our Mom (Edna) was pregnant when Dad (Noah) left on his mission. On Sunday morning, May 10, 1925, when Dad had been on his mission five months, we children walked to Church—possibly a mile and a half. When we arrived back home, sometime after 12 noon, Mom told us to look in the chest of drawers. There, in an open drawer, was a quiet and cute little baby, with wide-open blue eyes. He was later blessed as Asa Wayne Arrington. He weighed 10 pounds, the largest of Mom’s children.

Mom started in labor Sunday morning early and sent word, perhaps through her close friend and neighbor a block or two north, Pearl (Mrs. J. Arthur) Swenson, that she needed help, and perhaps Mrs. Swenson through Bertha Mae Hansen, contacted Mrs. Emma Martha Anderson Hansen (mother of L. A. Hansen) to come look after mother. Mrs. Hansen was the daughter of Danish immigrants in Elsinore, Utah, and spoke Danish as a child. She and her husband had gone to homestead on the Salmon Tract south of Twin Falls in 1911, but attended Church in Twin Falls. They eventually had eight children. Mr. Hansen died of emphysema (smoking) about 1917 or 1918, leaving Emma Martha to look after the eight children. She often came to Twin Falls to look after people to earn money, and apparently was available to look after Mom and her family.

Wayne was delivered by the family doctor, Dr. H. W. Clouchek, who signed the birth certificate. Marie, who turned six just before Wayne was born, remembers Mrs. Hansen speaking some Danish, just for fun, or perhaps as a matter of habit. She also made wonderful Danish dumplings for us which she long remembered. Marie thinks Mrs. Hansen stayed a full week, which was the length of time a mother was supposed to stay in bed after the birth of a baby. How mother paid her, we have no idea. The usual rate was $5 for a delivery plus post partum care. Perhaps Mrs. Hansen charged less; perhaps she did it free, as a church service; perhaps Aunt Callie or Aunt Pearl or both paid something. None of us can imagine anything being paid by Uncle Glenn or Uncle Jake—they were both poor and stingy. Uncle Grover was more liberal and he may have paid some or all of it. Unquestionably, the Twin Falls Ward was small, the town was hostile to LDS, and so Mom would have known the Hansens and could have made contact with Emma through the church, which had its own little community.

Wayne has given me a photo of the house, Marie has a photo of Edna and Wayne as a baby with two other women and their babies. Our guess is that they are Mrs. Seaton and Mrs. L. A. (Bertha Mae) Hansen, and their babies born about the same time.

When Noah returned from his mission in December 1926, we abandoned the house on Highland and we moved back to our home on the farm. As indicated earlier, Glenn bought the Highland home in 1928. I think he rented it; I think none of his family lived in it.

Marie says she had the yellow jaundice, hepatitis, while we were at the town house and Edna put her in a bed in a corner of the kitchen.

Immediately after we moved out to our farm home in January 1927, Noah built a porch on the southwest corner and a bed was placed there where LeRoy slept. Noah eliminated the door on the southeast of the house and put a window there. He also built an addition on the north of the house, stretching the entire length of the house, perhaps 15 feet wide and 30 feet long, as bedroom. The east half of the main building was converted into a living room, and the west side of the lean-to bedroom was for the bed and closet of Noah and Edna—and baby bed as new babies came long. The east side of the bedroom facility had beds for the children. We slept two, three, four to a bed. During the summers, Leonard had his bed in the orchard west and north of the house.

Noah’s experience as a missionary greatly increased his self-confidence and his knowledge of how to get ahead. So in 1929 he bought the Orchard Place, 60 acres about a half mile west of the Visser place. Living on the farm was a Mr. Watson, who ran the orchard and did considerable bootlegging. About half a mile west on Falls Road, just west of the Hayes place, to the south and across the road from the Morris Owens place. There was a home about one-fourth mile south of Falls Road along a little road built for the purpose, where Watson lived. To the east and south of his home was a 20-acre patch of apple orchard. To the west was a forty-acre patch of farming land. Noah pulled up the orchard and planted potatoes, thinking he would make a killing, but that year, 1929, potatoes went down from $1.75 to $.75. The next year down to 30 cents and in 1932 down to 10 cents per 100-pound sack.

Owens No.

W. Falls Road E.

Watson Hayes Farm

40 acres

Compiler note: part of this entry is identical to part of the entry dated Early Church Activity of Edna & Noah Arrington; LJA Diary, 8 Jul. & 22 Aug., 1989 but was included because there were extra notes and details in this second version.

[Early Years of Noah and Edna Arrington in Idaho; LJA Diary, 23 Aug., 1989]

Dear Children:

Harriet has gone to see a 4th of July parade in which Jennifer (Stephen’s daughter) is parading, so I got to thinking about our family reunion in Twin Falls last Wednesday. In particular, about my father.

My earliest memory is of him walking behind a mule pulling a plow on the 20-acre plot below our orchard on the old home place. I must have been 3 or 4. Dad was a hard-worker, and through the years I saw him engage in many kinds of work: carpentry: building the extra rooms on the north of our old home to provide room for the beds of LeRoy, LJA, Marie, Ken and as they came along the rest. Building the chickenhouse. Mechanical: fixing the planter, the cultivator, the harvester, the old Model T, the heater for the chicken brooder. He was a preacher: Sermons once a month as a high councilor. He was put on the high council when I was 2, and he was only 30. His sermons were interesting: filled with Tennessee mountaineer expressions and pronunciations. They were based on the Bible to some extent, but mostly on his own experiences. They were down-to-earth. Dad was always working—feeding the horses, irrigating, cultivating crops, slopping the hogs, fixing the barn door, helping LeRoy fix a rabbit hutch, going to town for Mom to get some flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and syrup.

Dad loved animals: horses, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, guineas, ducks, geese, rabbits, pigeons. We had all of them.

Dad was energetic and enterprising. He bought additional land where he could; he bought tractors as soon as anybody in the area, tried out new seeds, new varieties, new fertilizers, new ways of doing things. He was very progressive. He was smart, learned quickly. He also tended to business: he did not gossip, or speak ill of anyone. He loved jokes, but above all he worked hard and expected his children to do the same.

An important moment for me was going to college. He shook my hand and said, “Be a man!” That meant a lot. He didn’t want me saying: “He did it—it’s not my fault;” “I can’t help it:” I must admit to my mistakes and weather misfortune and criticisms with a cheerful and understanding mien. Dad never complained, never used profanity, never told a dirty joke. He never used a racial slur. Never behaved impolitely. He had mistakes for sure. He was not a paragon. But he wasn’t a crybaby. He had a living to make, land and implements to pay for, a family to support. He was not boastful. He was proud, but not prideful.

He was a man, not a pal. He was the father and we were sons and daughters. He never took us fishing, though he sometimes said he would when he had time. He never had time. He never told anyone his innermost secrets, if he had any. He did not discuss his finances with Mom or the rest of us. He was the head of the household and behaved as such. He was not cold and forbidding; he was warm and receptive, but not like a pal. He never supposed the government owed him anything; he was responsible for his own actions. 

He was a stalwart Latter-day Saint, a contributing American, a good neighbor, and a good father!

[LJA to Children, 4 Jul., 1994]

Questions from Becky Cornwall to LJA about Utah State University chapter of his biography.

8. Where was your family in 1946? I mean, who was married, which children werein college, how was farm doing. Was Aunt Callie living in Logan?

In 1946 Dad ran the farm and was in good health–a pretty big operatorin Magic Valley and in the Church. My mother’s health still pretty good–she didn’t start having diabetes for a few more years, as I recall. Roy wasmarried and working a farm near my Dad’s. Marie was married, and her husbandwas a butcher still living in Twin Falls, but they moved shortly thereafter toBurley, where they have lived ever since. Ken was married and ran one of the farms of my Dad. Wayne was just getting out of the Navy and was going toschool at Armstrong College in L.A. I think on the GI Bill. After one yearhe transferred to USAC and stayed with us for three years while he finished adegree in Bus. Ad. We enjoyed having him. He is still unmarried. Dodie(Doris) was unmarried and lived with Mom and Dad. Don worked for my Dad andwithin two or three years was old enough to go on a mission. Then he returned,married, had a year with us in Logan while he attended USAC, then settled downto help my Dad farm. Ralph still in high school. A halfback on the footballteam and all-state. He then went to USAC, staying with us, then on amission to Argentina, then in the AFROTC, then medical discharge. Got hisUSU degree in agricultural engineering. He is state ag. conservation engineerfor Arizona. Bishop of Tempe 9th Ward. Ross was taking piano lessons. Doingwell. Graduated from high school. Then to BYU to school. Then on a mission to Australia. Then in the service as assistant chaplain, thenfinished at BYU with a degree in music. Decided he couldn’t make a livingat it so went to Univ. of Indiana to get MBA. Then passed CPA and practicedin Calif. then got LLD from Hastings College in San Francisco. Now teachesincome tax accounting at San Francisco State and accompanies soloists of theSan Francisco Opera Company. Still unmarried, but very active in church.

Aunt Collie lived in Logan with her husband George D. Ward and two daughters.

[LJA Diary, 2 Oct., 1976]

In the first part of my history, on parents and ancestry, I wish my ownparents to come through as definite characters. In fact, one of the criticismsof TAR HEELS, HOOSIERS, AND IDAHOANS is that very fact; the reader could notvisualize my father and mother. So here are some notes that might help Becky toget their personalities into the narrative so that they come through loud andclear. This will not be a well-organized, finished description but some notesin preparation for doing so.

My father and mother were both intelligent and energetic. They were “good”

people–not arrogant or dogmatic or self-centered. They were hard-working,patriotic, believers in Christianity, and personally secure and confident thatwhat they were doing was important. My father was not well-educated. He hadcompleted maybe the eighth grade. One has to say maybe because most of theschools he attended did not have grading, and so he was taught, along withothers of various ages and grades, the basic principles of reading, writing,and arithmetic. And that is about all he learned–basically a grammar schooleducation. He learned well how to “figure.” He had no trouble doing all thefinancial calculations he needed to use throughout his lifetime. He was goodat figuring. He was not so good at reading and writing. He did not read verymuch–the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, and a few well-chosen”discourses” in GOSPEL DOCTRINE of Joseph F. Smith, Conference Sermons, andARTICLES OF FAITH by Talmage. These plus the newspaper and the IDAHO FARMERpretty well cover his reading. His writing was adequate–equivalent to sixthgrade in grammar and spelling. He could convey his ideas simply but notelegantly.

My mother, on the other hand, was a good companion to my father. She hadfinished the equivalent of high school-actually graduated from 11th grade.She was good with words, spelled very well, knew “sophisticated” words, readwidely in novels, short stories, and assorted church literature. She knew a gooddeal of history, geography, and literature. She knew poetry, music. She hadcatholic interests. Throughout my father’s service as bishop and high priestpresident, high councilor and hay dealer, she wrote his letters and kept hisbooks. She is the one who kept him from going to jail because of income tax.Both my mother and father planted high achievement motives, although not allthe children responded. We did not become a distinguished family, although weall took a certain amount of pride in our work and accomplishments. We wereall “workers”, took pride in our family, and have done reasonably well inour various occupations and vocations.

My father was the real head of the house and made no bones about it. He was the patriarchal type. He never discussed finances with my mother or with the family; that was strictly his province. My mother disciplined by slapping or spanking or switching; my father did the whipping.Pretty severe too. Dad was intelligent and ‘aware;” and kept his own counsel.He strove to improve income and opportunities for the future. His propensityto consume was mightily low. By that I mean, he spent (and he decided thespending, even to the extent of buying my mother a dress once a year–and hedid the buying!) very little on the family. Whatever he earned he put intoland and farm equipment and livestock. He always invested productively, notconsumptively. He didn’t take us to the dentist; not to a doctor except in cases of communicable diseases. We didn’t have much by way of clothing. Thechildren wore overalls and print dresses to school. We slept in a room withoutany heat whatsoever. We had no telephone until everybody else had one; the same with electricity, radio, car, and so on. Everything into land, into building up property. No investment in the children or their education.Whatever “special” we did was at our own sacrifice. We did not take vacations;a holiday was a day of work on the farm, as was Saturday. No Saturday afternoon sale ground pattern for us. A waste of time! No vacations together, thoughhe always talked about going to the hills to lie under the pines. But somehow

there was always too much work to be done. We did not fish; we did not hunt except on Thanksgiving Day, when we hunted jackrabbits after dinner.

In the evenings Dad and the rest of us would sit aroundthe open oven door, absorb the warmth, and he would peel apples, or we’d havepopcorn, or crack nuts, or play dominoes. Mom might sing some songs or tellsome stories; Dad might tell of a mission experience or tell a story on aneighbor. Dad was not a lively talker. One could work all day beside him and he’d never say a word. He was a silent workman and thought talking tookyour mind off your work. He was a good workman–he had stamina, strength,and when confronted with problems, made intelligent adjustments. He was afriendly, cooperative neighbor, not at all narrow-minded or “little.” He gavemore than he was required to give. The neighbors respected him, as did hishired hands. He got a lot of work out of them, but they liked him because hewas fair, paid them promptly and without quibbling, and paid them well.

While Dad kept us at work on farm chores, Mom saw to it that we kept upwith our schooling and provided incentive and encouragement to do well inschool. She sometimes helped us with homework, saw to it that we did thehomework, went to PTA meetings when she could or visited the school tosee how we were doing. Mom was also the one to see that we went toChurch. Dad was always away as a high councilor or as bishop. Left earlyand came home late. We were not a strongly religious family; by that I meanthat we didn’t bend the natural pattern of our life to religious observance.If it was necessary to water on Sunday, we did so. If it was necessary to thresh on Sunday, we did so. And of course we had to feed the stock and milk the cows on Sunday, and Sunday was the usual day for breeding horses,etc. We were not strict on Fast Day observances. Mom used to give hergrowing children something to eat Sunday morning. She used to say, “We fast on bread and butter.” It was not convenient for us to go to Primary, and I don’tremember ever attending; and it was not often that we could attend MIA. Weseldom attended Sacrament meeting in the evening, but always went to SundaySchool. Remember that we were 4 miles from town, almost 5 miles from the Tabernacle, and my father usually had the buggy or the car for his high council trips.When my father was gone, my mother used to hitch up a buggy or wagon, or drivethe old Ford gitney; or we might ride a horse (“0ld Charlie”).

My father was about 5 ft 10 inches, slender, black hair, dark blueeyes, ruddy complexion, a rather high pitched voice with a vocabulary and accentthat reflected his Tennessee mountain origins. He would say “dreen”instead of “drain,” “I reckon so,” “down yonder,” and his word for Negro wasoften Coon. (I don’t recall ever hearing him say “Nigger,” although that may be a lapse of memory.) Dad had no prejudices against blacks, but there wasno history of black slaves or black servants in Arrington tradition. Blacks were people to the Arringtons just as were Irishmen, Italians, orMexicans. My father could not sing a tune, although he often hummed somesong like “I Need Thee Every Hour,” which was probably his favorite. Weenjoyed music and finally, after long imploring by my mother, bought her an old piano which she used to play hymns and other folk songs. He enjoyed itwhen we got together and sang. As he got older he relaxed more, perhaps becausehe could afford do, and he became less patriarchal and arbitrary, and atMorn’s insistence, put Ross through piano lessons year after year, and evendid not require him to work in the fields; he might help Mom around the house.

My mother was about 5 feet 2 inches, inclined to be a little fat, redto auburn hair (I say her hair was red, my sister Marie says it was auburn),inclined to get freckles every summer, very thin and fair skin, hazel eyes.She spoke with an Indiana twang. She had a keen sense of humor, particularlyverbal humor, although she and Dad both enjoyed situation humor. Mom wasproud of her big family and of their achievements. She was respected by other women, both in the neighborhood and in the Church. She was a good organizerand was often a Relief Society president or counselor. She worked in the fieldswhen we were small, milked the cow, provided wholesome and economicalmeals. She had her own garden. She supervised the house. My Dad never didanything for the house except when he had to. Mom and the kids did the dishes,both boys and girls. Mom and the kids worked the garden and watered it. Momand the kids had the social life. Dad ran the farm and did his church duties.

Mom had been a Methodist until after she was married, but tried to be agood Latter-day Saint. She was glad when her boys were old enough to teach herto dance, and she enjoyed dancing with us. (I don’t recall that Dad ever trieddancing.) She could waltz, do a two-step, and enjoyed square dancing. Sheresisted doing fancy steps and said she was cursed with Methodist feet. Shehad enjoyed coffee, but quit before I was old enough to remember and never everindulged after she decided to quit. Largely due to herinfluence, I think, none of her children ever used tobacco, and only one ofthem drinks wine, and then only sparingly–very sparingly. We’re not arighteous family, exactly, but we’re pretty good on the Word of Wisdom.Mom loved music, loved to play the piano, enjoyed singing songs–soprano.She did not have a trained voice, but could do harmony. She was fun at aparty and young people liked her. She had the reputation of understanding boys and young men better than girls and young women, but maybe that was the result of her having only two girls and seven boys in her family. She did know how to handle boys and was not bashful about it. She helped us withour church talks, and so we all became pretty good speakers. She liked herboys to look nice in church, which they did. She was progressive, not a traditionalist. Willing to try something different. As with Dad, she was intelligent and a person of good sense and judgment.

[Noah and Edna Arrington; LJA Diary, 1 Nov., 1976]

1. The Arrington family as I was growing up. 

Probably most of this that we need is in the last chapter of TAR HEELS, HOOSIERS, AND IDAHOANS. Carl mayhave forgotten that, or may not have realized that it would be reworked alittle and put in the biography. But let me add the following in order toenrich that portion of my life. This will give the appearance of beingunorganized because I am responding to specific questions by Carl and at thesame time recalling things as they occur to my mind.

Our family grew up in three groups of threes. Each of these groups of threehad a separate, distinctive relationship with our father and mother; the difference is partly the result of differing economic and social status, partly the resultof changing technology and partly the result of the changing age of Noahand Edna.

The first three were LeRoy, Leonard, and Marie. (Thelma Eileen died whenless than a year old, and there was a stillborn child after Marie, separatingMarie from Kenneth by four and one-half years.) When we were children our parentswere pretty young. Edna had just reached 19 when Roy was born; she was 22 whenLeonard was born; and 24 when Marie was horn. Noah was five years older than she,but still 24, 27, and 29 when the three were born. We three rememberNoah and Edna as being energetic, mischievous and full of fun, having plenty oftime to spend with us, not involved socially or economically beyond the immediateneighborhood. Noah farmed, worked on a road crew occasionally, drove a sheep wagon to school, four miles distant. We were poor, did not have much to eat or wear, but were in a similar status with our neighbors, so we did not feel sorry forourselves or feel inferior. We had lamps and lanterns for lights (no electricityuntil about 1931–by then Roy was 17), our water came from a cistern filled every spring with ditchwater (no running water in the house until the family moved to Wegener’s in 1936), we had a Model T Ford (no Model A until 1930), noradio (until1931, as I recall).

My recollection is that father worked hard and long, mother the same, and all of us the same, depending on what we could do at our various ages. Dadplowed, cultivated, built fences and corrals, built outhouses and buildings, and additionsto the house, harvested, and looked after the livestock. Each of us was expectedat a very early age to help out with chores and tasks. Mother milked the cowmorning and evening until Roy was about 8, at which time he took over the milking.As the family grew, and as the opportunity to sell milk to a creamery developed,we acquired more cows. Milkers included Dad, Mom, and Roy. Then when I was about6, they had to acquire a goat for one of the babies, and I was assigned to milk that. I thought this was natural for me to milk the small animal, and I welcomed the chance to show I could help. It was only later that I realized that milkinga goat is far harder than milking a cow. This is why the family always smiledwhen I boasted of helping out the milking by milking the nanny. Then I graduatedto cows, and we had something like five cows to milk as I reached the teens. Bythis time, Roy and I and Dad handled the five; Mom had been excused from the task.

Roy handled feeding the cows and horses from about eight until he wenton his mission, I suppose. That is when he was 18, I think. I helped with thefeeding from the time I was eight until I left to go to college. My earliestassignment was to chop wood into kindling wood to keep by the side ofthe kitchen range, which was our sole supply of heat. I must do this everyafternoon after getting home from school. Had a huge supply of wood-apply trees, cut up into chunks about a foot to a foot and a half long-whichwas placed in the middle of the driveway into our homeplace. I had an axe to cut this into small pieces. Other chores: milking morning before school andafter school, feeding the horses and cattle, feeding the chickens, wateringthe chickens, helping Mom do the dishes, and other tasks around the house.I had perhaps a half-hour of “play” each evening, and used it, accordingto the weather, by pitching horseshoes, practicing broad jump, high jump,throwing a rock for a shotput, rolling a home-made hoop, playing “shinny” (ahome-made hockey) with Roy or a neighbor boy, sledding, shooting sparrows with a 22-rifle (given to me when I was 13), making snowmen, playing games suchas pum-pum-pullaway, anti-eye-over, tag hide-and-seek and catch. Also bouncing a rubberball off the garage door. – On Saturdays I might spend the day cleaning theroosts of the chickenhouse, cleaning the straw and putting in new straw,cleaning the corral and garage and granary, and other tasks of this nature.In winter, Roy might go to ice skate, but I never did master the art. We didnot have bicycles, but we had a pony, Old Charlie, and I enjoyed riding him.Roy was three years ahead of me in age–a big differential for growing children–and so I had school or neighborhood “buddies.” We might spend Sunday at eachother’s house on alternating Sundays. The earliest buddy was Ralph Miller,who lived on “Kimberley Road” near the cemetery. He was a buddy from the timeDad went on his mission in 1925 until I was well along in high school. He waslarge, almost fat, very smart, especially in math, and was an only child. Hehad erector sets and we used to spend Sundays at his house playing with his set.He was of German ancestry, a Lutheran, and must have been very tolerant of me.He went on to the University or Idaho, obtained a degree in Engineering, andbecame the City Engineer, as I recall, of Inglewood, California. I have alwayshad great respect for him, and suspect that he taught me a great deal. About thetime that the depression started, there moved into our neighborhood–actually,about 3 miles away–the Rappleye family and Bill, who is probably a few monthsyounger than I, became my “church” buddy, and in a real sense, replaced Ralphas my closest buddy. He and I were together in Boy Scouts, Priesthood,quorum, school, and spent time on sundays together hiking and picnicing, andeven formed a Club of which I still have some record. I don’t know the name of it,Bill has been a close friend ever since, although we have seen each other rarelysince 1939. Re went to barber’s college and became a barber in Twin Falls anda scout leader. He taught me much about enjoying the out-of-doors.

In high school, my activity in FFA brought me in close contact with Howard Annis, who became my buddy through the last three years of high school and beyond.Howard was not LDS, but belonged to a fundamentalist Protestant group called theFollowers of Christ which had a small congregation in Twin Falls County. He wasa real farmer–by that I mean that his father trained him and had him share thedecision-making process, put much responsibility on him, so that he was a realfarmer–not just a paper farmer–when he was in high school. He did not go tocollege, as Bill Rappleye didn’t, and so the friendship has continued but on arather rare visitation basis. Howard is now a prominent farmer in Twin Falls.He taught me much of the arts of agriculture. He was intelligent and had a certainmaturity which was beneficial for me. He had good judgment, and good habits, asif he were LDS. He not only earned the American Farmer Degree of the FFA, but waschosen the Star Farmer of the West for the year after his graduation from highschool.

During the time we were growing up, we had pigs, sheep, chickens, an orchard,and grew a variety of crops. The work of the farm was really hard, because ofno tractors, and only a team (later two teams) of horses. And very little cash income. Until I was about 14, my Dad had only 20 acres of land, which he hadexpanded in 1927 with an additional 40 after he came home from his mission. Andagricultural prices were not good. Dad had expected to do well with sugarbeets,but the white fly ruined the production throughout all these years–l927 to 1935.Potatoes had not a good price from 1927 to 1935. He tried contract beans and dida little better. But still, very little cash income. We had only such meat as he killed and butchered right on the place–hogs, sheep, cows, chickens. We had meat other than poultry very seldom. We had a few guineas most of thetime, an occasional pheasant or turkey, or goose or duck. Also an occasionalpigeon. A pig or two was killed each fall, and maybe a sheep. Very rarely didwe get a cow to have beef. We never had beef animals during the time I wasgrowing up. Occasionally deer meat, although my Dad was not a deer hunter inthe proper sense, and never fished. 

We took out two or three days in July each summer to pick cherries, andmy mother canned several dozen quarts of cherries which we ate warm on bread ortoast and butter. My mother usually mixed a little flour with the cherries tomake them more substantive. We had a female mulberry tree next to our house anda male tree not far away in the yard, so we had loads of mulberries each year.Mother used to mix these with currents and gooseberries and can them. Thiswas marvelous when hot and poured over bread or toast and butter, In Augustwe took two or three days off to pick apricots and can them. Several dozen jarsof that. The same with peaches, pears, apples, gooseberries, plums, prunes,and other products of our orchards. We had lots of fruit, all year round. Wealso kept apples in the cellar under the house, where we also kept carrots,cabbage, parsnips, potatoes, and other vegetables. Also kept there eggs, butter,milk, etc. Everything cool. We never starved, but our diet was slim on meat,and our all-time favorite was bread smothered with milk gravy–milk thickenedby flour. Another all-time favorite was bread pudding made with cocoa-and allof us continue to like chocolate bread pudding, with plenty of thick cream.We always had lots of milk and cream. We made our butter at home, but never made cheese. Dad would go to the grocery once a week to buy what he thoughtwe needed-flour, sugar, salt, spices, cocoa, crackers, and baking soda. Mom made allour bread, and essentially everything else we ate. At Christmastime we wouldget some hard tack in our stockings, and some nuts in the shell. The winterswe gathered around the oven door, our only source of heat, to peel apples, cracknuts, make popcorn, and tell stories or read stories. We were not a particularlyreligious family in the sense of the family spending its time together readinghe Bible or Book of Mormon, or other religious material. Mom and Dad were loyal,and they lived the standards, but they were not fanatics nor preoccupied withreligious principles and practices. We rather laughed at an uncle and aunt ofours who we thought were that way.

Roy and I were brought up to work in the field early. I recall driving a teamof horses pulling a clod masher when I was 6. .1 stood on the clod masher, andsince I was so light, my Dad would put a sack of dirt or something on each sideof it, and one in the middle that I sat on. And so back and forth until I hadfinished clod mashing of a field. I recall doing this on the 20 acres welived on, and how proud I was to be able to tell my schoolmates that I hadclodmashed even before 1 went to school. As we got a little older wewere driving the horses to cultivate beans, potatoes, and sugarbeets. This was only in the summer and on Saturdays in the spring, for we never were kepthome from school to do farm work. That was my mother’s influence, I suspect.I think my Dad would have done so if she hadn’t been adamant on the point of usgetting all the schooling we could, Each new thing we did, we took great pridein. I recall raking hay when I was 10 and having a runaway horse. OccasionallyI had a chance to plant potatoes, but I do not recall ever planting wheat orbeans, My Dad din important tasks of that nature. I helped harvest beets inthe fall by topping them with a beet knife and picking spuds (potatoes)-alldifficult tasks. The toughest task was thinning sugarbeets, and I did this froman early age. Also cutting potatoes prior to planting them. Throughout my teenyears, I was regarded as a kind of teamster. Roy began to specialize in mechanicalthings–he took apart a Model T and put one together, he helped Dad fix implementsof various kink. I was a kind of specialist in the same sense with horses andcows and chickens, and got along well with animals. They pulled well for me,and the cows responded well to me as a milker. This was good training for meas a diplomat or politician, keeping things calm and pleasant. I did not “flyoff the handle” as the expression went.

Roy, Marie, and I, as I say, were brought up as “the first family,” in thisway. Lots of work, but good security, because Dad and Mom were there, and therewas always close interrelation between the home, the farm, the neighborhood group,even the Church, for while our immediate neighbors were not LDS, there were two LDS families nottoo many miles away (Wanmans and Hansens and later Rappleyes). And anyway,the lack of transportation prevented us from getting involved in church verymuch. Dad was a High Councilor, but he took off on his own in a buggie or, later,the Tin Lizzie (Model T).

Now for the second three, and their life and impact on us. I was six whenKenneth was born, seven (almost eight) when Wayne came along, and ten when Dodie arrived.I have certain remembrances of them when they were just babies. For example,I recall being asked to look after them when Dad and Mom were away, and whenRoy (always older and getting into other things) was away. Once I felt one of the children (I think Kenneth) was cold and needing warming up in bed. Iput him under a mattress and when Mom got home she said I had almost smotheredhim. I remember us sleeping four in a bed; three lengthwise and one crosswiseat the foot of the bed. We always had bed partners. Roy and I and Marie whenshe was little; then Roy and I; then Roy and I and Kenneth; and so on. We didn’thave adequate room or beds or bedding until about the time I went to College.As these children grew up, Dad was away more and more on church service andtending more land, and engaging in other activities. Mom was involved withmore children, more involved in church, and more involved socially. So theygrew up with some of us older children as partial parents, with a lessintimate relationship with their parents than the older three of us had had.By the time Kenneth was 12, Dad was a bishop; Wayne was 10, and Dodie was 8when this occurred. By this time, Roy had gone on his mission and establishedhis own home; I was in college, to return home only for summer “vacation”, andMarie had married before he had served more than a year. So the “first family”did not grow up under a condition where Dad was bishop. The “second family”spent its crucial teenage years when Dad was bishop, for Dad served seventeenyears. So there was a completely different atmosphere in the family, for Dad was a conscientious bishop and Mom was a conscientious bishop’s wife. Churchstandards were more rigidly adhered to, church principles were more firmly taught,the family was expected to be exemplary in every way, and the father was gone muchof the time.

There is one other aspect of the life of the “first family” that I want to touch on. This should be fitted in to what I wrote above. Depending upon horsesfor much of our transportation as well as for farm work, the horse becomes almosta part of the family. A horse to pull the buggy, later a buckwagon, later to ride,and of course to pull implements in the field. Horses did not behave in the mannerthat they seem to do on television and in movies. Horses have their own individuality, and they respond quickly to stimuli that are not always controllable orpredictable. They were always subject to “running away”, and this was terrifying,because there were always neighbors being killed, maimed, or otherwise hurt ornearly hurt by runaways. And when one sees a runaway team one doesn’t know whetherto risk his life by running out to stop them (and thus be a hero) or to let themgo on the theory that the risk is too great. A horse can be scared by a clap of thunder or streak of lightning, by a dog suddenly barking, by the explosionof a gun, by a strange contraption coming near, such as a car or steamengine or threshing machine, or even by a sudden movement of some kind on thepart of the driver or rider or passerby. Or by a strange team of horses passingby. I never saw any spirited horse–and non-spirited horses were so useless thatno one would have them–that was not excitable by some such phenomena, and sono horse was completely dependable. Whether you were driving a buggy, riding,driving a farm implement, or riding a wagon, they were all subject to runningaway, and this injected fear and caution into everything one did inassociation with a horse.

Carl asked when I began to drive a car. Remember the nature of the old ModelT. One did not have a gear shift, but one pressed in the left pedal and the car began to go, as if in first gear, so to speak. Then as it gained speed, one tookhis foot off the left pedal and it kept running put-put-put according to the amountthat one had the gas but, (There was no foot feed). One simply pulled out orpushed in the throttle. There were a number of problems. First, the car had tobe cranked. And the crank could backfire, swing back, and break your arm. Happenedmany times. Second, you could crank and crank and the fuel not ignite. So youtire. Third, the tires had air inside and were thin. So lots of flat tires, whichyou had to fix. Had to take the tire off and apart, repair the puncture, and putit all together and blow it up with a simple air pump you carried along for thepurpose. The car would go along thirty or forty miles an hour, and that’s aboutas fast as you could go. Roads were mostly dirt, and so after a rain or snowyou could get mired up, stuck, and this was a constant thing.

I first drove a car by myself when I was nine years old. Bill Rappleye wasat our house one Sunday visiting me and both parents were away, on a High Councilvisit, I suppose. LeRoy also gone, probably to the neighbors. Anyway, Bill andI were there alone. Bill got the idea of driving the car, the Model T, whichwas there. We backed it out of the garage and drove it around the woodpile inthe driveway many times. Then, with his encouragement, I drove it a quarter ofa mile down the road to the neighbor’s place. (I think Bevercombe’s lived there at the time) Then back. How did I know how to drive it? I think Bill told me how, while I was doing it. Anyway, I was always a little proud of it. Afterward, we took our little wagon and went round and round the woodpile to cover up the cartracks. I don’t know how long it was before I confessed doing this-perhaps whenI was thirteen.

And that brings up the next aspect of our growing up. When a person became thirteen, then he was entitled to do many things that adults do. Under thatarrangement, I got my first suit at age 13 (before that I had overalls and blue shirt for everydaywear and a white shirt and trousers for Sunday wear). I also was given my first gun at 13: a 22 special, which I used to kill sparrows and pigeonsand rabbits. (No one was permitted to kill mourning doves, robins, meadowlarks,blackbirds, which were common in our neighborhood,) Finally, I was permitted todrive a car by myself at age 13. In preparation for the latter event, Dad tookme out in the car and turned the wheel over to me several times. And I practicedthe various steps of driving with the car in our garage. Finally, on my thirteenthbirthday, I was given the go-ahead to go out to the garage by myself, back the carout of the garage, and drive it down to a neighbor’s place; and back, all by myself.There were no licenses in those days, so when a person was permitted to drive acar was a function of his Mom and Dad. Thirteen was standard in our neighborhood.My recollection is that by this time we had our Model A, so one had to learn thegear shifts and how to regulate other matters. I never did learn any of themechanics of car operation and repair.

One other thing of my early life. My mother encouraged me not only inreading and spelling and “schoolwork,” but to collect stamps, pictures, andother interesting items: birds eggs until they stunk up the place, insects until ditto, and so on. I still have the stamps which Marie and I collected. Under Mom’s encouragement I also got into genealogy and family history. Mom usedto trot out her genealogy and family record often and talk to us about it, andI was interested and did histories of her grandparents and other, and this is probably why I did histories of myself and kept a diary occasionally, and wroteletters to relatives and others. These occupied evenings in the winter afterwe had finished our schoolwork, or Saturdays and Sundays in inclement weather.This encouragement by my mother probably explains my ultimate interest inhistory and biography, and should probably be featured along with the episode of the letters inside of potato sacks which explained my interest in economics and agricultural well-being. 

The same year that I left to go to College (1935-1936)–after I left to go–Dadacquired a tractor, sold the horses, began hay baling and dealing, and becamebishop. This was a whole new ball game, requiring or permitting a quite different lifestyle. So that explains why the second family were brought upunder quite different conditions than the first family, which by now had prettywell “gone from home.”

As Dad and Mom enjoyed much high income, much higher community respect,had far larger farms, the third family (Don, Ralph, Ross) had still a differentexperience. Don and Ralph could play football, Ross could take piano lessonsover an extended time, the boys were tied less towork (got rid of the cows), could do the work with implements, more time forleisure, more participation in school and community activities. They weresupported while going to college, brought up in an atmosphere similar tothat in a Mormon village where they went on missions, and had lives stronglybuilt on a church basis.

During the time I was growing up, Roy was three years ahead of me–or, at least two and a half, and three years ahead in school. So he and I werefar apart in age to be buddies or close confidantes. Roy was pushed aheadrapidly by Dad. He was pushed into the first grade when he was only fiveand one-half; he went on a mission when he was just under twenty, which was the minimum, he was pushedinto driving teams, the car, and other activities when he was maybe a yearyounger than others in the neighborhood. This caused him to be a little youngeremotionally than the group he was pushed into. My memories of Roy are thathe was a good worker, he took responsibility seriously, he was never verygood in studies, he often had conflicts with other people with the result thathe got into fights with other fellows, and was often disciplined by his schoolteachers and Sunday School teachers and quorum advisor’s. He was a kind of modelfor me in farm work in the sense that when he got levis, I marked his age and insisted on levis by the same age, when he was assigned to do this work or thatI wanted to do the same by the same age–drove a cultivator, owned a gun, drovea car, and so on. Roy was also a kind of protector for me. Nobody could get meinto trouble without getting warnings from him. He was not mean to me, althoughI recall he used to beat on me until one day, when I was about 12 and he 15, Ihit him back in the stomach, and then he quit hitting me. He was quite popularwith the girls, and why I wasn’t I’m not exactly sure. He had handsome blueeyes, black hair, was of average height, and ruddy complexion. He was alsoa little more of a fancy dresser, and no doubt less serious and more fun ondates. Anyway, he had lots of dates, and far more as a teenager than I. Ido not remember being envious of him, or being jealous, but we did not oftenassociate together. He had his friends and I had mine.

Marie and I were closer together in age–less than two years apart. Butshe was a girl and I a boy, so we did not associate too much together. Marieprobably had a hard time among us boys. She was average in school, and l recallher being a little sneaky in the sense of doing things behind Mom’s back. I’m sure Dad gave her a hard time because he was not sympathetic with women or girls.He was probably too stern for her to identify with. She tended toward beingclose to Mom and was never close to Dad as Roy and I were. So she eventuallybecame the family genealogist and, in fact, a professional genealogist. Shemarried, just about the time she finished high school, and this was partly to getaway from home, I suppose. Marie and I worked together doing the dishes andcertain household chores. We got along well together, and I feel closer to her than the rest of the family except Wayne, who stayed with us a couple ofyears in Loganwhile going to Utah State University. And of course I feel somewhatclose to Ralph today for church reasons, and to Ross because of similar intellectual and cultural interests.

I was born in an unpainted frame house about 10 feet wide and about 15 feet long, which was located about 3 miles east and one-half mile north ofWashington School. It was on the west side of the road, about 50 yards west of the road, in what was always, as I grew up, Sackett’s field. I do notknow why I was born there, except I assume my Dad and Mom lived there while hewas working in the area. I was delivered by a Mormon midwife who lived inKimberley, Mrs. Peter (Mary Ann) Swenson. Her husband had become presidentof the Twin Falls branch. I do not know whether the house had one room or two,but have always assumed just one room. For all the years I was growing up, itwas on Mr. Sackett’s field, just west and north of his house, and was used asa granary or storage area. I do not recall that I was ever in it during thoseyears.

When I was still very little, Dad and Mom bought the 2O acres of our “homeplace”–now owned by LeRoy and moved into that house. I do not know whether Dadbuilt the house, or whether it had been built by someone else who sold it to him. Anyway, it was a two-room house, without a porch or portico. Was about 15 feet wide and maybe 20 or 25 feet long. The house was painted pink. There was the kitchen, with door to the barn on south, with the range,table, cabinet, pump, and sink, and nails for hanging clothes; and there was the”living room” with chairs, bookcase, mirror, and a door also to the south. Itseemed to me to be always cold. We were in that building in that shape until Dad went on his mission. Then we moved to town where we were put up in a little house across (north) from Uncle Glen and just east of Uncle Grover. The house was set back fromthe street, had plenty of trees, and had two rooms that I recall. It was a framehouse, with an ugly brown or gray color, I don’t recall which, probably brown.Dad had built a porch on it in which there was a place to store some things; itimpresses me now as being a sheepwagon with a covering, attached to the house.Anyway, that burned down when we were there. I set it on fire, not purposely, by lighting the coal/oil stove to fry some eggs or something like that, and turnedthe oil up too high and the flames caught on to a mattress overhead and burned itdown. Luckily, the fire engine kept it from catching the house afire. 

When Dad returned home from his mission arid we moved out to the farm again,

he proceeded, with his carpenter brothers Jake and Grover, and perhaps Glenn, tobuild onto the north side of the house an addition the entire length of the house.This was divided into two. In the east end was the bed of Mom and Dad, and theirclosets, sewing machine, etc. In the west end was the bed for Roy and I, and Iassume Marie and Ken, but I’m not sure. After two or three years I moved mybed (at least for the summers) out into the orchard, and LeRoy moved out into alittle frame house which Dad built for his help to stay in during baling season.At the same time as the addition (some 10 feet wide and the entire length of thehouse), Dad built a portico for the east end of the house, with a door on theeast leading out to the lawn, and built a porch around the south door to thekitchen where we put our heavy clothes, guns, shovels, lanterns, and so on.It was in this home, arranged in this way, that we remained until I went tocollege; indeed, they remained there until they bought the Wegener home about1936.

I was a little too small to react to my father going on a mission. Sincenone of us felt other than proud and happy, my mother must have been a strongsupporting force. I doubt that she ever said anything or gave any impressionof being other than proud and pleased, otherwise we would have picked up someresentment. But we didn’t. I think I have left recollections elsewhere ofmy work for my uncles Glenn and Grover delivering milk, and working on nearbyfarms, and helping my grandmother market her vegetables. Roy worked on farmsand no doubt did other things that I do not recall. I remember Wayne beingborn while Dad was gone, how proud Mom was that he was such a large baby (10 pounds), and how he slept in a drawer of a chest of drawers. Must have been quite a job for my mother to look after Roy, Marie, and Me, Kenneth, and thenthe baby. She received some income from the farm. She wrote Dad regularly,and we received letters regularly from him. He sent home lots of photos andpicture post cards. He was good in communicating with us everything that went on.

2. The NW Arrington Family after I left to go to college. 

At the time I went off to go to college in September 1935, Roy was 21 and on his mission. He married, the next year, shortly after his return, and established his own home. He worked intown as a mechanic for a while, so my contact with him, even during the summerswhen I returned, was slight. Marie married in Sept. 1937, shortly after graduating from high school. At the time I went to college, Kenneth was 11, Waynewas 10, Dodie was almost 8, Don was 6, Ralph 4, and Ross just one. So all thechildren were born by then, but many were still too young forme to interact with much in the three summers I was home from U. of I. So theyounger three I have become acquainted with primarily since my return to theWest in 1946. Mom wrote me regularly all the happenings, but the familymembers themselves did not write often. Marie wrote occasionally, Kenneth rarely,and the rest not at all–or that’s the way I remember it. In more recent times,Wayne has been the most regular correspondent, although I occasionally getletters from some of them, especially Marie, Dodie, and Ralph.

When I got a nine-day furlough to go to visit the family in 1943, this was an opportunity of introducing Grace to the family. I had not beenhome since the summer of 1940, All the family were there except Wayne in the Navy. Kenneth was on leave from the Navy at the same time. I have never bothered to ask them how he arranged this or whether it was simply an accident. Anyway, it was a nicefamily get together and all were there but Wayne. There was some jealousy betweenKenneth and myself over Juanita, with whom I had dates and correspondence before he married her (which was Sept 1942). Otherwise everything waspleasant and happy. We had a family picture taken, a big dinner, we went on apicnic, and took some short drives around the area. Grace and I were metat the train in Ogden by Dad and Mom and they drove us back to Twin. We had somekind of family party downstairs in the recreation room of the home. We showedGrace irrigation, drove the tractor down the field, showed her farms around theregion, two days getting from Fort Custer to Ogden and two days getting back left us only five days there. One day was conference, which I’ve mentionedseparately and is in Becky’s chapter. We went to visit all the Arringtonrelatives in Twin Falls area–grandpa and grandma Arrington, uncles, aunts,cousins, and so on. We played games. It was a pleasant affair—it was in July1943. 1 saw Wayne twice when overseas, but saw none of the rest until coming West in 1946.

By the time we went to Twin Falls in July 1946, and spent several dayswith the clan, Roy was 32, and he and Mary were parents of two; Mariewas 27 and she and Bud were parents of four; Ken was 23 and he and Juanita hadone son; Wayne was 21, just out of the Navy arid going on a mission; Dodie was19 and still unmarried and at home; Don was 17 and at home; Ralph 15 and Ross12. I began to get acquainted with them at that time, and when I went upagain in August at Grandpa Arrington’s funeral, and when Grace and I went upto spend Christmas with them in December of 1946. Roy was acquiring land andgetting into farming; Marie and Bud were having financial problems because hisearnings as a butcher were not good. They lived in a very modest home in TwinFalls. Mom wanted to help then out, but Dad wouldn’t do it. Mom was “put out”with him for that attitude. He had helped Roy buy some land, put Wayne on amission, let Ken and Juanita stay in a small “hired man” house on thenorth sixty. Why not help Marie and Bud? But Dad would not admit the idea.

At that time Don and Ralph played football in high school and were thetallest and largest in the family. Good workers and good kids, both well-balancedand well-adjusted. Don was about ready to go on a mission. Ralph was popularin high school and became a “football hero” and student body president, as I recall.Ross was good in school, good at books, but I recall him primarily as playing thepiano. He helped around the house, but was not required, at Mom’s insistence,to go to the field. So he was a houseboy, played the piano, often in the companyof women. But he turned out a perfectly normal fellow, nevertheless. Alwaysintelligent and wise beyond his years. Dodie by this time was clearly having some problems. I do not know all of the facts of her case, because Dad was notcompletely honest and frank with us. She may have had some epileptic fits,I am not sure. And she clearly had some mental problems, although sheseems to have had a good enough mind to think up some of the escapes she planned.She graduated from high school, although that may have been a partly socialdiploma. I would say her mind was at least at the 13 age level. But she wasinferior to the rest of the family, and Dad would not trust her out of hiscare. Some of us think Dad had her tubes cut so she couldn’t have anychildren, but we base this partly on the fact that she has never had anychildren, and partly on the fact that he did have some doctors do somemystifying investigating and other work on her. We think she could havemade a good wife to a good person if she had had Dad’s encouragement.Anyway, she is now married and is presumably happy to have her own life,although according to our standards it must be miserable. Anyway, herproblems were developing at the time we saw her again in 1946.

In the years in Logan, we saw the family once or twice a year and so keptpretty close to all of them. Wayne lived with us when he went to school, andso did Ralph, and even Don for half a year or so. So we’ve kept close to them.Marie has often stayed at our house or visited with us, as have Roy and Mary,Ken and Doris, and Ross. So we are a fairly close family. We were encouragedto stay close, partly by Mom’s death, when we got together to cheer up Dad, andthen by his death in 1968, when we had to get together to dispose of his estateand to run the farm and manage affairs as trustees for Dodie. We all remain ongood terms with each other. Our natures are to be perfectly honest and frank in talking with each other, and nobody is allowed to take any advantage of anyone. We have different interests and personalities, but we don’t let that prevent anybodyfrom pursuing his own goals. We respect each other, and easily bend to thedifferent interests of each other. Basically, we are faithful to the Church,although some are more active than others.

[Recollections, Response to Suggestions of Carl; LJA Diary, 14 Nov., 1976]


You may get the impression from what I have dictated previously aboutmy father that he was a real stern person. Let me elucidate some of hisvirtues which will help counter-balance whatever I may have said before.Let me say that my father was very popular as a bishop, very popular as aneighbor, very popular as a citizen and businessman, and that basically allthe members of our family were on good terms with him and remember him fondly.There is only one of the nine living children who fails to say good thingsabout him when we discuss the family, and that primarily because he insiststhat Mother should be remembered as well, and so he gives the emphasis toremembering her for her fine qualities.

As a neighbor, my father went “all out” to help neighbors. If a neighborneeded to borrow a shovel or a farm implement or hay rack, or for that mattersome money, my father was eager to help him. Dad himself was a hard workerand taught his sons to be hard workers, and when there were cooperativeneighborhood projects for harvesting, threshing, and building, he always putin more time than anyone else. The neighbors knew they could depend upon him,that he would do anything to satisfy any obligation. If he borrowed anythinghe would return it quickly and in better shape than the item was when heborrowed it. So he was respected for his honesty, admired for his enterprise, and enjoyed for his sincerity and generosity. He did not put on airs; he wasnot haughty or diffident or gloomy; he was always enthusiastic and pleasantand interested and did not treat anyone, including his hired men, as inferiors.His hired men always enjoyed working for him because he treated them like hetreated his own children and peers and was thoughtful of them. If one of themwanted his pay in advance to take care of a doctor’s bill Dad would give himnot only the pay in advance but a little donation besides. Dad was one of thefew farmers in the neighborhood who could not be corrupted–he did not drink,he did not smoke, he did not do a dishonest thing even if he could get awaywith it and even if it profited him to do so.

As a bishop it was obvious that persons in his ward loved him, respected him, appreciated him. I have heard many members of the ward tell storiesas to how he helped them. This includes members of the ward itself andother persons whom he had a chance to help. A person told me a story aboutgoing on his honeymoon with his bride, and while they were in the cafe eatingtheir car was stolen and in the car were all their clothes and strangely enough,nearly all their money as well. Dad happened along at the moment, saw themobviously distressed and weeping as they were standing outside the cafe wonderingwhat to do. He picked them up and took then to the police station to reportthe theft, then took then to a hotel and himself paid the price of the hotel, andgave them enough money to take care of them for the next day and told then tocall on him if their car was not recovered within the day and they had to staylonger. When they tried to pay him back later on he told then to use the moneyin helping out someone else that they found in trouble. While Dad would nothelp out his sons because he thought it would spoil them, he did help out manyother people; wives abandoned by husbands, families whose fathers had becomeill and could not work, people who needed a boost. Father was one of the veryfirst bishops in the Church to inaugurate a program of working with seniorAaronics so they would be able to go to the temple and be sealed to their wivesand children. I do not know how many he worked with but I have the impressionthat he “redeemed” more than a hundred such persons during his period as bishop.That these people really loved Dad there is no question. Dad was not a personto put on airs–and probably couldn’t have done so if he had wanted to–and sothose farmers and small-town businessmen enjoyed his sense of humor, his earthiness, his frankness, his non-judgmental manner. Everybody was always in good humorin his ward.

As a citizen Dad was not opinionated. He had no politics and played nopart in political campaigns that got others excited, nor did he attempt topress his religion on others. He did not go out of his way to try to convertother people–just to help them. He always stood in good shape with the bank.He always paid his obligations on time, and the bank came to regard him as aperson worthy of any amount of credit he wished to obtain. He had a good nameand if he said he would do something he would do it. The same with businessmenin the community with whom he dealt, he always paid his obligations in goodtime and never quibbled about small differences, so that he had a good namein the community. Some persons talked him up occasionally to run for thelegislature or the county commissioners, but he was not interested and didn’thave the financial resources and really felt more at home dealing with Churchpeople anyway.

All of us in the family felt that we had a good name in the community whichhad been established by our father, N.W., and this made us proud, confident,and gave us a sense of security. I don’t know whether my brothers could saythe same, but I can say truthfully I never heard anything said against my fatherat any time while we were growing up, and in fact I have never heard any since.He had shortcomings as everyone had; not being educated, he talked like acountry farmer. He was not at home in any discussion of ideas. He was verypractical, very down-to-earth. He worked with the soil, with animals, and withpeople as they are. He never pretended to be better than anyone else andbecause of this he really was better than most other people we knew. Myfather’s reading was pretty well confined to Idaho Farmer, the Thin Falls News, and Church books. In preparation for his high council sermons he used toread the scriptures, the Elders’ Ready Reference and the kind of books that President Grant used to send to all the high councilmen, bishops, and stake presidentsin the Church. Dad was infectious in the sense that he could keep people workingalmost beyond their endurance and enjoying it. He had good health and this gavehim many advantages. People liked him because he could be trusted.

Dad was very insistent that his children face up to the realitiesof life, and so he didn’t give them things that would make then dependentupon him. He wanted them to be independent just as he was independent ofhis father. But as his children found their notch in life he did take waysof assisting each one of them very quietly and effectively. When I began mydoctor’s dissertation, for example, he saw me typing away on my old portableand took me downtown and bought me a new typewriter. When Grace and I movedinto our new home in Logan in 1963 he bought beds for our bedroom. Whenour children were small and things were tight financially he would alwaysleave a $20 bill when he came to visit. In a similar way, I found after hisdeath he had helped each one of the family in some way–to buy a car or to buyfurniture or to buy a farm implement or to do something that would help themalong.

He also believed in helping each person to realize his potential. He hadfaith in people. When he was bishop he often appointed somebody to an importantposition who smoked or drank an occasional mug of beer or had some otherproblem–having full faith that the person would shape up after the appointment.When he was first called to be bishop they asked him who he wanted for counselors,and he named as one of them Jay Merrill, a prominent local insurance salesman.The stake president said, “How can you call Jay Merrill? I saw him just yesterdaysmoking a big black cigar.” And Dad said, “Well, he has quit smoking,” Andthe stake president said, “When?” He said, “He quit smoking the minute that youasked him to be a counselor.” And that proved to be true. Jay Merrill servedDad for a while and then when there was a vacancy in the stake presidency thestake president asked him to be his counselor. He later served in the statelegislature as a “Mormon representative.”

Dad was thoughtful of people and their concerns. He was a good listener,a good counselor–non-directive counselor–and he was complimentary of whateverpeople were able to achieve, however modest it was. He would compliment Graceabout a meal that she had cooked or about how clean the house was. When he camedown for Thanksgiving he would give her a blank check and say, “Let me pay for theThanksgiving dinner,” and send her off to the store to buy whatever she wantedwith his check. He was very proud of his family. He would tell neighbors andpeople he did business with about the latest achievement of Ralph or Don orRoy or Leonard or whomever. One always knew that he was very proud of what oneaccomplished; and, of course, if he had been alive when I was appointed ChurchHistorian he would have told everybody in Idaho.

[Recollections; LJA Diary, 23 Nov., 1976]