Monday, December 4, 2017

Irene Stratton Flake (some verses from her life history)

Irene Stratton Flake (our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother) compiled an extensive life story.  I want to share with you the opening paragraphs that she wrote:

Story of the Life of Irene Stratton Flake
Born March 18, 1907

"As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know a record should be kept of this life that our posterity may know of our accomplishments, our desires, and of our activities.  Also as I realize the changes in travel, transportation and communication that have come about in my lifetime, I know I should write of these things.  I am impressed with the strides forward that the Church is making.  I realize that many important things have happened during my lifetime.  

I feel that I am greatly privileged to live in this dispensation of the fullness of times with the gospel restored. I am grateful for the priesthood my husband holds and honors.  I am grateful that I can share these blessings with him if I am worthy.  

I am grateful for my companion and for the eight children we were privileged to have come to our home.  I hope we can live worthy to be again with Layne Kent.  The Lord called him home when he was just ten days old.  I am grateful for the privilege of the seven children had had of receiving their endowments and of being married to good companions in the temple for time and for eternity.  They have all had the privilege of completing full-time missions and working in the Church positions to which they are called.  All of the children have graduated from college.  I am grateful that I can say at this writing that each of our children with their companions and their families are faithful Latter-day Saints."  

Following this introduction, she included the following in narrative of her life story:

Life is God's gift to you.  What you do with life is your gift to God.

Life is for learning, improving, repenting and serving

One life and one alone, we have to live upon this earth.
One life in which to learn so much - to seek, find and prove our worth.
So many dreams there are to dream - and many things to know and o.
So many peaks to climb, so many pathways to pursue.

So waste no time on fruitless quests that get you nowhere in the end.
The gift of time is your's to squander, or with care to use and spend.
It's folly to postpone good deeds.  Tomorrow never comes, they say.
The future times belong to God.  Your only chance is now today.

She then wrote the following, putting her picture to the side:

"So let me live that when I died,
A tear will come to every eye.
In every heart, there'll be a spot,
An empty place where I am not.

So let me live that when I'm gone,
Kind thoughts of me will linger on.
And folks will say with grief inside, 
I sort of wish she hadn't died."  

(Irene doesn't give reference for these sayings and poems.)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Minnie Kartchner Stratton

MINNIE KARTCHNER STRATTON, daughter of William Decatur Kartchner and Elizabeth Gale, was born December 26, 1870 in Overton, Nevada. The family moved to Panguitch, Utah and then to Snowflake, Arizona. Minnie often recalled the hardships the family endured. She told of grinding their own wheat, which was often scarce, to make biscuits each morning, sewing, and doing the washing by hand.

Minnie received a limited formal education but worked diligently through life to educate herself. When she was young, she was constantly singing while she was working. One day her father said, "Oh, Minnie, for goodness sake give us a rest." After she married and returned home he said, Minnie, it's been so lonesome. Sing us a song. I'll never get tired of your singing again."

In October 1886, Minnie married the neighbor across the street, William Ellis Stratton. They made the two-week trip by team to the St. George Temple. Their 54-years of married life would hold its challenges. Minnie and Ellis had 13 children but lost 5 of them in infancy. Minnie honored Ellis' two-year mission call by remaining home and caring for six young children.

Irene, Minnie's daughter and the 10th of the 13 children, wrote" "Mother was intelligent. Ordinarily, she was gentle and considerate in every relationship but she could be firm. No one could bring about unity and harmony in a family of varied personalities like she could. She was tender, loving, and had true compassion and charity for all."

There were hard times as the younger children were growing up brought about by scarcity of money, the economic depression, and the loss of life savings when the bank in Snowflake suddenly closed. For nearly fifteen years, the family took in boarders, 68 in all, to supplement the family income.

Irene continued, "Mother's life was that of a true pioneer. Sharing her substance was part of living. Many came to our door. Friend and stranger alike surrounded our table and partook of its goodness. Life was full of farming, cooking, children to get to school, ironing and washing, church work, family home evenings and singing together. Our parents worked together to accomplish the necessary tasks of each day. When sorrow came, hand-in-hand they comforted each other. Were were taught well in the gospel truths. Tithing and family prayer were never forgotten."

Irene described her mother as, "teaching patience because she was patient. She never shouted or lost her temple. She stressed honesty and square dealing."

Minnie served in the ward and stake Primary organization and for several years was the president of the Snowflake Ward Relief Society.

In 1940 when Ellis passed away, she did not realize that she would go on alone for 29 years more. During all those years, she lived with her daughter, Mabel and husband Jesse, in Mesa during the wintertime. She spent the summers in Snowflake moving every two or three weeks from one of her children's homes to another. It was always special for the grandchildren to have Grandma Stratton in their home. Into her advanced age, she would help with the dishes, she would sew, and be part of everything that was happening. She was pleasant, grateful for her blessings and never complained even though, due to macular degeneration, she was legally blind for many years. Her mind was quick and she had the ability to show a special personal interest in each one of her posterity. With her beautiful silver curly hair, her ready smile and a bright twinkle in her eye, we were proud that she was our Grandma.

Minnie kept a daily journal for over 30 years. Even after she couldn't see clearly, she was still writing in her journal. She wrote poetry and honored many with special poems on birthdays, other special occasions or just to give a word of encouragement or advice. One of her friends wrote a poem to Minnie, in return:

"Sweet winsome lady, cultured and elect,
So gentle in the things you say and do.
Of all the epigrams that could be framed,
The title "Ladyship" was coined for you."

Minnie passed away on December 24, 1969 - just two days before her 99th birthday. Her posterity of 366 - including 7 great-great-great grandchildren - at the time of her death called her blessed knowing how through the years they had been privileged to have her as their dear Grandma.

Irene, wrote on Minnie's passing, "She endured with faith and humility to the end. She discovered happiness in toil. She chartered the course for all of us to follow. 

William Ellis Stratton

WILLIAM ELLIS STRATTON was born on January 28, 1862 in Virgin City, Utah (near the entrance to Zion National Park) to Anthony Johnson Stratton and Martha Jane Layne. His school was limited but he became self-educated as he enjoyed reading throughout his life. His parents were of modest means and he worked with his father to sustain a large family. When he was fifteen, they accepted a call from Church leaders to help establish Mormon settlements in northern Arizona.
The Stratton family arrived in Snowflake in early 1879. The Silver Creek Valley had been purchased with an improved breed of cattle from Utah. Ellis helped William J. Flake and others to drive cattle and horses to Arizona. Ellis participated in nine different cattle drives over the next several years. These drives usually originated in Beaver in southern Utah down to the Colorado River where the cattle were pushed on to ferry boats to cross the river then by the Tuba City area and across Navajo Indian lands then crossing the Little Colorado River and on into the Silver Creek Valley.
In 1886, he began to notice a curly haired girl that lived across the street. He was eight years her senior. He would go to see Minnie Kartchner whenever possible. On October 20, 1886, Ellis and Minnie were married in the St. George Temple. They made the trip by wagon over the 300-mile "honeymoon trail," with chaperones. It usually took about ten days each way. Several couples would travel together and be married the same day in the temple. Ellis recorded that he was 5 feet 7 inches weighing 130 pounds on his wedding day. He remained pretty much the same throughout life always being of slight build.
William Ellis and Minnie started housekeeping in a log house in the southern part of Snowflake. He earned a living mostly from farming and freighting. For many years, he had a contract to move freight by team and wagon from the railroad siding in Holbrook to the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in Ft. Apache. His children said when he would return home, he would open a sack of sugar and give each of them a teaspoon and let them eat as much as they wanted.
Ellis built a beautiful red brick two-story home that stood on a corner lot on Main Street a block south of the Church meetinghouse. He and Minnie made it a special place for their children and grandchildren. Later, many of the single school teachers boarded with the Stratton's.
In 1899, Ellis went to the post office for the mail. Without any prior notice and to his surprise, he received a letter from Box B in Salt Lake City calling him on a mission to the Southern States. He accepted the call and thought it an honor. He served for two years spending most of his time in eastern Kentucky. Minnie faithfully carried on alone at home caring for six children.
The Stratton's had their trials. After one month in the mission field, Ellis received word that one of his eleven-month twin daughters had died. This was hard for him to accept but he was determined to continue in the work. That was not their ony sadness. Prior to the mission, they had lost an infant son then, in 1903 after he returned, two more children died on the same day from dreaded diphtheria that struck many of the families of Snowlake. A fifth child, six years old, passed away in 1910. Their family of 13 children was reduced to 8 that lived to maturity. Four children between Lena (born in 1895) and Irene (born in 1907) passed away. It was as if there was an older family of four - Mabel, Zella, Raymond, and Lena and then, a younger family of four - Irene, Lorum, Leona and Lynn. These eight children were devoted to one another and to their parents.
William Ellis Stratton was mild in nature, tender hearted, and completely converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not become bitter from the trials of life but always acknowledged the will of his Father in Heaven. He honored his priesthood. He and Minnie were widely known for the love and devotion to each other. They were united in all they did.
In 1935, they began spending their winters doing temple work in Mesa. They lived with their oldest daughter, Mabel, and husband, Jesse. They would return to Snowflake to spend their summers. In June 1940, Ellis passed away. He has always been remembered by his children and grandchildren as a man of love was was always kind and considerate to all.
Their daughter, Irene, wrote of her parents, "Hardships, joys, tears, laughter, determination, devotion, prayer, and plenty of good hard work are the material from which great lives are fashioned. From these qualities, William Ellis and Minnie Kartchner Stratton fashioned their lives serving as examples to their descendants."

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Legacy, by Jay Richardson

          THE LEGACY

My life is like a legacy,
                  A gift from other lives.
It is what I do with who I am,
Why I believe and  strive,
A legacy that lifts and loves          
                  And lets me find my way;
It is a gift to keep and hold
To keep and hold today .

A legacy is having faith
                  To that I cannot see;
A quiet voice compels my feet
                  Down paths of sharp degree,
I take a step, but not alone,
I know he stands nearby,
His legacy is love.

As legacy is ours to share,
                  It resonates within;
It carries on from where we are,
                        The future to begin,
There is for each this legacy
                  That comes from holy spheres,
The blessedness of this great gift
                  Will carry through the years.

Remember, oh remember,
Remember and renew,
Remember, remember
The blessedness of these great gifts
That God bequeathes to  you.

                        --Jay M. Richardson

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Missionary Journal entries by Jay M. Richardson

January 8, 2017
June 20, 1956     Salt Lake City      Owen Lunt drove me to the mission home in Salt Lake.  Got registered this morning and assigned to my dormitory room.  Attended first class at 1:00 am in Barrett Hall where President Childs of the mission homemade assignments and gave us a good talk on what it means to be a missionary.  In the afternoon we had a less on the missionary plan by Elder Cottrell, had a group picture and instructions on going into temple.  At night Elder Lynn McKinley of BYU gave a very spiritual talk on preparation for entering the temple.  We well all filled.

June 22, 1955                     Spent a wonderful morning going through the Salt Lake Temple.  Elder Mark E. Peterson addresses us in the chapel session and explained things pretty w ell.  Enjoyed a regular guided tour of Temple Sq are and a class on directing singing in the evening.

June 27, 1956                     I went on a tour of temple square and attended the noon organ recital with Elder LeBaron.  Went to setting apart meeting on 3rd floor of church office building.  Saw many general authorities.  Elder El Ray L. Christiansen set me apart, tell me to keep busy, obey the mission rules, be optimistic, keep myself clean and he blessed me with health to fill my mission.  Elder Sterling W. Sill addressed me afterwards.  Boarded train at 5:30 pm for Denver. 

June 28, 1956                     Spent a hard night on the train, arrived in Denver about 8:30 am.  Ate breakfast after meeting Pr4sident and Sister Ellgren.  The house is as mansion built by a beer dealer long ago.  We sleep above the garage.   Elder Kleinman and Campbell pt us through the Godhead lesson and door approach and assigned us scriptures to memorize. 

July 6, 1956 -Denver                        We traded all day got 6 meetings, 3 good ones.  Our last meeting in the evening was with a dear old lady Mrs. Ogle, form a hard-shelled Baptist family from Tennessee.  She’s almost 80 years old, but as friendly and big hearted as can be.  She’s crippled but still works in house and yard, while her grown daughter works in town.  Bought a Book of Mormon and welcomes us back any time.

August 17, 1956                Walked up to Mrs. Chervrout’s and gave her the Book of Mormon lesson.  Received it very well.  She is going t o be stubborn about quitting her coffee though.  Attempted some call backs on Lincoln Street.  Still no luck.  Gave Godhead and Book of Mormon lesson to a Catholic family. Gave two Godhead lessons in the evening.  Just before the last one we were very rudely excused from the door of a fellow watching the convention speeches.  Feeling hurt, we almost turned to go home, but the next door was Mrs. Whyte and two boys, who seemed t o be “waiting” for us.  They really seem like good contacts.  We’ll see.  Anyway, it always pays to go to the next door.

August 28, 1956                Gave Apostasy lesson to the Wallace’s.  She thinks we’re too “sneaky”.  Said they wanted to hear about our Restoration before they would argue.  People just can’t help contradicting themselves in the lessons if they don’t want to go along with us and we present t hem clearly. 

September 5, 1956          Our best day yet, as far as points go.  Gave two apostasies and two restoration lessons.  We still lack something, though can’t seem to get their testimonies started.  Seems to me that we shouldn’t wait so long between meetings.  We give them too much time to cool off.

September 17, 1956        I read in the book of Judges in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament, just as the New, contains more gospel and good sense than we realize.  Hope a little of it will sink in. 

Oct 12, 1956 Colorado Springs     Had a very good day.  Gave three Apostasy lessons this afternoon.  One of them took, at least.  We knocked on the door of an insurance salesman this morning who works for New York Life and know Elder Sterling W. Sill very well. He was just leaving and didn’t have time to talk, but he said when we get through with our missions to look him up for a job. Said we have a “good approach”.  His isn’t bad either.  Stopped to talk with Brother and Sister Barrett this evening.  She is going to try to help us get Mrs. Davis (a contact) out to Relief Society.  She’s really a good gal.  I surely appreciate working with Elder Tueller .  He’s so good natured and not afraid of doing too much work.  Am learning al lot from him.    Thant handshake after our evening prayers is mighty warm.

Oct 15, 1956        Held a Godhead meeting with Mrs. Phebing and it turned out well.  She met with missionaries several years ago and said she agreed with practically everything they said, but she’s a staunch Lutheran and the message just didn’t sink in.  We’ll have to shake her up with an apostasy lesson, really forcible!

February 23, 1957            Received another special delivery letter today saying that I’ve been called to open up the missionary work with the Jewish people.  It’s a wonderful privilege.  Hope I can do it justice. 

May 3, 1957 Denver        Finally got another Jewish lady who’s the real agnostic type and she wouldn’t budge an inch either.  I think that by concentrating we will improve the firs t lesson a great deal to give it more punch for everyone we talk with.  It‘s just like the Godhead lesson of the Gentile plan. It must be made to stimulate some life in its hearers.  Learned today that Mrs. Granger (the invalid wit h arthritis) has asked for baptism. I’m surely thrilled.  Will have to write Elder Judd, I guess. ``

Sept. 5, 1957                      Went to see Mr. Jultake the florist with Sister Rose Marie Reid as my companion to make a date for her to speak to his men’s club sometime this winter.  A visitor who was there got all shook for fear she’d convert some of their “ignorant” people.  She surely bragged up the job we had done in Mr. Jultak.  Drove her, President and Sister Elggren, Elders Hebdon and Smith to West Denver to hear her speak to a Hadassah group.  She was marvelous.  President Elggren really enjoyed it.  Elder Hugh Pinnock, former second counselor of the mission was here as a visitor and spoke to us.  Sister Reid is on a campaign to get an integration program organized in the church. Won’t she ever  quit?

September 6, 1957          Had testimony meeting all day.  Long, but wonderful.  Sang a solo “Beside Still Water”.  My voice is in good shape.  Former companion Elder Teller said he’d rather work with me than any other companion he’d had.  Got my new companion Elder Verl Smith tonight.  He’ll be good.

September 28, 1957        Elder Verl Smith baptized Bobby and Billy Jorgason of the member family just moved in from Georgia.  They‘re shipping out to San Antonio tomorrow.  A great family!  After the baptism we cleaned up and found ourselves locked in.  Had to go out through a window.  Hope no trouble comes from it.  Our district had seven baptisms, west Denver three.  Hope things we’ll pick up. 

April 1, 1958                       Had quite a round with Elder Counder this morning.  He's so big and likable and so convincing.  Has had some poor companions though that haven't been the best for him.  I think he's going to do all right now.  Went on up to Albuquerque and worked with Elder LeBaron and Draper this evening.  Elder Draper has a good spirit and I  think will make good.  Elder LeBaron has had difficulties at home, and was in bad spirits for awhile, but is picking  up now.  Is still as unorthodox as always, but a terrific missonary.  Baptized a former Presbyterian minister last Saturday and is really proud! Who wouldn't be?

April 22, 1958                     Went down to the train station this morning to meet 7new elders and 2 new lady missionaries.  Sister Crawford is as small as a 10 year old girl, but is eager to learn and work as anyone.  Sister Spell from South Carolina isn’t much bigger, and is awfully homesick.  Worked till midnight getting out a very complex transfer.  Why mission presidents go gray! Had a lot of fun training them today.  Elder Wells is very good as enthusiasm and propaganda of the beneficial type.

May 13, 1958                      Seven new elders and an elderly couple, the Brinkerhoff’s, came in today for training.  Elder Wells and I should get good at this, but it’s hard to do much with such a large group. It’s lots of fun though and this is as very good group!  A large transfer went out tonight, one of the largest ever.  So we sit back and watch the repercussions!  Wish that all missionaries could have this experience.

July 3, 1958                         New missionaries went out to work, and we stayed home.  Worked on material for Wes state News, etc.  Held the regular sacrament and testimony with the new ones this evening.  I’ve being blessed with lots of farewell testimonials here.  Guess these compliments won’t hurt me as long as I don’t believe them.

July 4, 1958                         My mission ends today.  It has been a marvelous experience, much different than what I’d expected.  I’m blessed at every turn – surely have a big debt to pay to Savior. Hope I will soon be settled and able to be normally active. My biggest mission is ahead now. I’m charged with the job of finding a wife and making a home.  May I be as well blessed in this calling.  Didn’t celebrate much today for Independence Day.  New missionaries were trained, the office very busy.  Went out this evening and said goodbye to Dr. Abrams and wife, our Jewish contact of last fall.  We’ve made a good impression, there and it may yield fruit.