Sunday, December 30, 2012 1 comments

Re: Why I'm Starting a Blog.

Let me share an experience I had while I was in the Carolina's for Grandpa Garner's funeral. At Grandpa's viewing and funeral service, all the extended family members and my mom and her siblings had unique perspectives of Grandpa. They shared several family stories that I had never heard before, and I knew that I might never hear them again. I doubt that my siblings/cousins knew any of them, and it would be just a matter of time before all this information was lost. If only I could write these experiences down! But the stories were coming out so quickly and I didn't have a pen and paper on hand. Pretty soon, my mind was a big jumble of names and dates, and I couldn't keep straight who was connected to who. My brain felt like a tangled up ball of yarn with a couple of loose ends sticking out...but the task of unknotting the whole mess was daunting, to say the least.
Sunday, November 18, 2012 0 comments

Photos of my family

I added some random photos of my family that were taken in 2004 and 2005. I am almost nowhere to be seen; I was on my mission in Milano, Italy. I'm glad that my family didn't wait around for me to have fun (but obviously it would have been even more fun if I were there.)

FYI, these might seem pretty random. I don't know the context of many of them. They are just pictures that Aisling and I liked while we were looking through them late at night.

Enjoy. What I need to do it track down the older Wilson family pictures and start scanning those (not a small task!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012 3 comments

Letter to my Grandpa

Thomas Harold Garner, - July 4, 1930 to October 14, 2012

Dear Grandpa,

Thursday, September 27, 2012 4 comments

Saints amid War: Mormon Colonies during the Mexican Revolution

Bryan Wilson
Rel C393R - Saints at War
March 26, 2008
Saints in Northern Mexican Colonies during the Mexican Revolution

            My great-great grandfather was Joseph C. Bentley (1859-1942).  He was born in Salt Lake City and lived for a time in southern Utah but is known for his love of Mexico where he spent over 50 years of his life.  He resided in Colonial Juarez, situated in the northern state of Chihuahua, and held the office of Bishop for the Juarez Ward and later of Stake and Mission President over the colonies. Grandfather Bentley was known to be a peaceable and pleasant man.  This character proved itself especially important during the Mexican Revolution (1910 – 1920), and in his interactions with the infamous rebel leader/hero Pancho Villa.  This paper addresses a few of the saints’ experiences during the unsettling times of the Mexican Revolution illustrating how obedience to God’s commandments yields protection and peace.
Mexican Artilery.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1 comments

Richard Bentley Home

This is the Richard Bentley home at 76 West Tabernacle Street.  Today the home has been converted into part of Green Gate Village Bed and Breakfast, so you can actually stay there!

In 1864, Richard Bentley returned to SLC from a 4 year mission in Great Britan.  While he was away, 300 families had been called by President Brigham Young to move to the "Dixie Mission" (first settled three years earlier).   One of those called was William S. Godbe, the husband of Richard's niece.  Godbe was a very successful merchant in SLC and was reluctant to leave his store.  He offered Richard a load of merchandise if he would take his place in St George.  Richard agreed.

Richard and his wife Elizabeth Price moved their family of six children (ages 5 to 17) to St George. (Our great great grandfather, Joseph Charles Bentley, was the 5 year old.) They exchanged their home in SLC for a nearly completed home built by Orson Pratt who was recently released from his Dixie Mission assignment.  Richard finished work on the home and opened the first store in St George in most of the first floor of the home pictured above.  Elizabeth Bentley was called to help develop the silk industry in Dixie.  One upstairs room was dedicated to this effort.

During the succeeding years, Richard Bentley was very active in the St George community, serving on the school board and as Mayor of St George for three terms.  Elizabeth died in December 1882 while Richard was away to assist with court in Beaver.  He later remarried Hannah Webster (a descendant of Daniel Webster).  Grandchildren recall their grandfather hosting a party for all the grandchildren at the long dinning room table with "Auntie Bentley" serving.  Richard Bentley died in March 1906 at nearly 86 years of age.  

(You can read a lot more about his early years, conversion, mission and family here, find interesting details about the house here or find links to Utah historical Society photos of Richard Bentley here. Do a google search, there's lots more!)
Sunday, September 2, 2012 0 comments

The Faith of Great Uncle Irving

Grandma Wilson sent this recount out to family last Christmas. Embarrassingly enough, we didn't open our copy until yesterday. We really missed out though! This talks about Uncle Irving Wilson's conversion and the early growth of the church in the St. Thomas, Ontario, CA.  He is my Grandpa Wilson's brother, and the first to join the church in the family. This is a real faith builder! You'll want to be a better person after reading this.  Don't be overwhelmed just because it's long. It's really worth the read!

Monday, August 20, 2012 3 comments


At our last family reunion (earlier this month), I got a bunch of photos from my Mom that she had hunted down and scanned several years earlier. If I'm not mistaken, these are mostly photos of the Bentley's (my grandma on my mother's side).  These are priceless! They are stored on the Wilson Garner google+ photo album. 

Access them by clicking here or through the Family Photo Albums link on the sidebar.

PLEASE, feel free to send family photos that you'd like to add to! The more the merrier!

Sunday, August 12, 2012 0 comments

Childhood Memories of Great Grandma Nicholls

My Aunt Betty (Elizabeth Nicholls Walling), sent me her mom's childhood autobiography (Lettie Evelyn Lawrence Nicholls). She is my great grandma (my dad's mom's mom). Lots of precious memories here! Compared to our fast-paced, always connected, get-what-you-want-now life, she seems to have grown up in a different world! But there's still lots we can relate to, in particular the beauty of life through a child's eyes and her family relationships. 


Saturday, July 28, 2012 0 comments

An Umbrella Means Love.

Dad (Keith) has always promoted light, efficient packing - large items first, fill each box so it can close, no loose items. Mom has always wanted to be prepared for the myriad of situations that may occur - aloe vera  lotion for sunburns that may happen (they did), extra plastic cups, an extra pair of socks. The compromises Mom and Dad made in every day life for each other are expressions of a deep love rooted in eternal covenants.

Most of these sacrifices of personal interest, motives, and schedules went unnoticed by me, but one remains clear. Taking an umbrella says I love you. As Dad prepared to take Kara Jenny and I (David) on a full day bike trip we packed the needed items: patch kit, lunches, water bottles, and helmets. Ever watchful, Mom had checked the weather the night before; it was most likely a 20% chance of rain or some other low number. Mom promptly suggested that we all take umbrellas on the mountain biking trip. It would horrible to bike sopping wet, and Mom would rather that we not catch colds.

Although Dad may have protested a bit, there were 3-4 umbrellas in the car as we went biking.

Seeking our greatest comfort and joy is always Mom's aim; Dad will always support Mom even if the idea of mountain biking while holding an umbrella is silly.

It was a small gesture from Dad and Mom that said, "I love you and I'm happy todo this little thing to build that love a little more."


Ivins Home

This is the Israel Ivins home at 187 North 100 West, directly across the street from Brigham Young's winter home. Israel Ivins, his wives Anna Lowrie and Julia Hill (our great-great-great grandmother) and children entered the valley in 1861 (reportedly the second or third wagon to arrive).  He got straight to work surveying the valley and laying out land lots.  A short time later, lots were assigned to families by a drawing and Israel eventually built this home on his lot.

The home was most recently remodled to accommodate an attorney's office.  During the remodle, they found an abnormal panel in an upstairs bedroom.  They removed the plastering and discovered a small door into a windowless attic space that still held a single bed and a small desk with two books on it (the Book of Mormon and the complete works of Shakespeare).  The room was used as a place of hiding for Israel from federal agents looking for men with plural wives.  This is probably one of the reasons he was never imprisoned for practicing polygamy.

I took a few other pictures of the interior of the home, but it pretty much looks like an office now.

Bentley Reunion

Last Decemeber, the Petersons and the David Wilson family met in St George for a few days and I (Kara) wondered if there were any family  history sites we could visit while we were there.  I was sure there must be something, but I didn't know how to find it.

Turns out there's a lot of our history remaining in St George! At the Bentley Reunion we visited the:
  • Isreal Ivins Home
  • Richard Bentley Home
  • Joseph C. Bentley Home
  • Gravesites of Israel and Julia Hill Ivins and Richard and Elizabeth Price Bentley
  • First encampment memorial with a statue of Israel Ivins
  • Pine Valley Chapel/school house where Margaret McKean Ivins taught school
  • Telegraph office where Joseph C. Bentley worked
In the next few weeks, (before I forget) I will share a little about each of these sites and information about getting there.
Sunday, July 22, 2012 0 comments

Choosing a Mother-In-Law

Grandma Wilson has done a great job collecting stories and sending them out to the family from time to time. I’m ashamed to admit that there are many I haven’t read until now. Here’s a funny one from my Grandpa Wilson about my Great Grandma Nicholls.

Norm Wilson
BYU Essay
Choosing a Mother-In-Law

During my dating days, I always evaluated the girl’s mother in an effort to forecast the type of wife and mother her daughter would become. The woman who is now my mother-in-law was no exception.

At first I liked her because, somehow, she made me feel so natural and relaxed. She laughed at my jokes and invited me to dinner so often that I began to feel guilty. Be warned, however, that these signs make it difficult to appraise a future mother in law. One can never be sure which of three things support the amiable front.
  •  First, it could be part of the conventional conspiracy to aid the daughter in getting a husband.
  • Second, it could be prompted by the foreknowledge that if she doesn't act the part of the gracious mother, that she will later be in for a tirade from her daughter.
  • Third, there is the possibility that she is naturally a very likable person.

With these considerations fogging out any clear evaluation, how could I be expected to form an accurate opinion? I continued to observe. I watched for tell-tale signs under all conditions. I noted that she was a good housekeeper, plain but clean. Mealtime was the same, plain, good food, well prepared and good humoredly served. I even watched for signs of flightiness. I thought that an evidence of stability and industry would surely show me her true nature, but I found her totally industrious.

She appeared to be a good citizen and neighbor and was definitely family oriented, with six children. All of these qualities pointed toward a fundamentally good person, one I should be able to unreservedly like. It is strange however, how you can never be sure. Even the most promising mother may turn in a meddlesome witch.

Unfortunately, I know of no absolute way to pre-test a mother-in-law except to let her become one. In the course of time, I took the calculated risk and married her daughter.

It is readily admitted that twelve years has changed my original emotion somewhat. As my mother-in-law I don’t like her anymore. I love her! All of my original impressions have been verified. She has proven herself above meddling and interfering, and she is an ideal grandmother. But I think I love her most, because I daily see her honorable traits instilled and reflected in her daughter. 
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 2 comments

Why I'm Starting a Blog

Hello family and general blogosphere. I'm about to write the obligatory "Why I'm starting a blog" post. Here it goes.

My family means the world to me. I grew up in a terrific family, my extended family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins) on both sides is high caliber, and now I have a small family of my own that I love very deeply. When someone asks me "Tell me about your family," I answer with a discussion in one of these three areas. Even though my family may be comparatively large, I can compartmentalize it all pretty easily. It starts with my grandparents and branches out to include my parents, aunts, and uncles; then reaches myself, siblings, and cousins; and just now is reaching the newest generation of kiddos. I usually stop here because 1) I don't know who's in the next generation, and 2) I can't remember the names of family members before my grandparents. I think I'm justified in reason number 1. But number 2? Maybe I'm not trying hard enough.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which I'm a happy member), we stress the importance of family history work, i.e. identifying our ancestors so we can offer them saving ordinances, like baptism, by way of proxy in our temples. (More on temples here.) My family has done a stellar job of finding the names of many of these ancestors. Kudos to all! There is certainly more family out there. The search isn't over. But when I came to join, I found it very very difficult work. I didn't know where to start cause it all seemed like dead ends. It's like being late to an Easter egg hunt; most of the eggs are already in baskets and for all you know there are no eggs left to find.

My perspective on family history work changed two weeks ago. Another member of the ward mentioned that family history is not just about finding names, but also about getting to know who our family is. It's learning where we come from so we can better know who we are and form relationships with family that's already moved on. The people that went before were real people, just like us. They had good times and bad times, they lived and loved, and they don't want to be forgotten. We will be blessed by learning their stories, and I feel they will greatly appreciate our efforts.

So that's why I'm starting this blog. I want to learn who these people are, and have a place to store and share their stories with the rest of my family (at least with the relatively small part of my family, the living part.) I fully welcome contributions from all you other Wilsons/Garners. If you have ancestral stories, biographies, or pictures, please share the wealth. Let's turn some hearts (Malachi 4:6).

-Bryan W.