Growth of the Church
Thomas Judd was an English convert to the church and it is evident from the information available that he was a very capable colonizer with remarkable leadership qualities. His colleagues spoke of him with deep respect and almost without exception his opinions were highly regarded and accepted without question. The practical aspects of his character, evidenced in his efficient division and disposition of the ranch properties, was balanced by his deeply religious nature. In all probability these two aspects of his character were given equal consideration by the Latter Day Saint authorities in choosing him for this assignment. Mormonism has been characterized as a pragmatic religion. If that is true, Thomas Judd was an excellent choice to balance the practical with the spiritual in pointing out directions to the new colony. He had been one of the early bishops of one of the wards in St. George before he came to Lund and he served as Mayor of St. George after he left Lund.
From Thomas Judd's diary we learn that he was set apart as Bishop of the White Pine Ward on April 11, 1898 by President George Q. Cannon with President Wilford Woodruff and Presiding Bishop William B. Preston also officiating. A beginning was made immediately after his arrival in Nevada to make the church an integral part of the plan for the new colony.
The first meeting, a fast and testimony meeting, was held June 5, 1898 shortly after the first families arrived. The history found in the cornerstone of the church that burned in 1945, says there were twenty adults and fourteen children under fourteen years of age present and most of the adults bore testimonies.
The same month, on June 26, 1898, a tentative beginning was made with the partial organization of the Sunday School. Sam Carter acted as Superintendent and William H. and Delle R. Ivins were teachers. Preston members attended the first Sunday Schools but later that first year, December 18, 1898, we learn from Hiram Arnoldsen's diary that a Sunday School was organized in Preston with Z. D. Bradley as Superintendent, Neils P. Jensen, teacher of the Theology class (adults), Almira Bradley, teacher of the Primary class and
Oliver Cloward, Secretary. The next year, 1899, after a few more families had arrived, Thomas Judd put William Terry in as Superintendent with William H. Ivins and Ras Millen, Counselors, and Robert Ashby, Secretary. This was before any of the other auxiliaries were organized.
When he first came Bishop Judd had put George Morley in charge at Murry Creek (Georgetown) as he said, "spiritually and temporally". He later put William H. Ivins in as Presiding Elder at Lund followed some time later by Edmund A. Hendrix Sr. On April 30, 1899, he organized a branch at Preston with Z. D. Bradley, Presiding Elder, Thomas C. Windous, Branch Clerk, Hyram S. Arnoldsen, Sunday School Superintendent, John Sorensen and Z. D. Bradley, Counselors, Oliver Cloward, Secretary and Soren Petersen, Chorister. Early in 1900, Bishop Judd who had been acting without counselors, chose George E. (Ted) Burgess and Heber Smith as Counselors and Orrin Snow, Clerk.
From Hyram Arnoldsen's diary we learn that there was quite a little home missionary activity in 1900. In January, George E. Burgess and Moses Harrison from Lund visited Preston as home missionaries. From Preston, in February, Hiram S. Arnoldsen and Thomas C. Windous visited Georgetown, and H. S. Arnoldsen and John Sorensen visited Lund. Also in February, George F. Morley and Andrew Petersen visited Preston. This exchange of home missionary visits continued for the first several years.
A note from Thomas Judd's diary says, "White Pine Ward to be attached to the Fillmore Stake for the present." Since available histories make no further reference to the Fillmore Stake, it is probable that they found this arrangement impractical and transfer to the St. George Stake came about naturally because the first settlers were familiar with that area and had connections there.
So the first stake visitors came from St. George late in November 1900 to hold Ward Conference and organize the auxiliaries. These visitors were Adolphus R. Whitehead, Brigham Jarvis, George Miles and Edward Frei. They stayed in the area long enough to visit Preston with Bishop Judd, December 4, 1900, and organize the auxiliaries there. The Lund auxiliaries are treated separately in the pages that follow this account and the Preston organizations in the section on Preston.
At first meetings were held in homes and when the weather permitted in a bowery on the "tithing lot", presently the Neil Gardner II home lot across the street from the High School. Later a log room was built on the tithing lot. In the fall of 1900 the people decided they needed a general meeting place for church, school and entertainments. A detailed account of the part log and part frame building they constructed is given in the chapter on Schools. Work started on the building late in 1900, progressed through 1901 and on January 9, 1902, the first dance was held in the large room that comprised the upper story.
In August 1901, the three settlements were combined into one ward. This arrangement was impractical at that time and after about two months the idea was abandoned and the wards were reorganized at Preston and Georgetown. This was accomplished at a joint Ward Cbnference held on October 13, 1901. The stake visitors at this time were A. R. Whitehead, Apostle Anthon H. Lund, Edward H. Snow, George E. Miles and Isaac C. McFarlane. In 1902 the Georgetown property was sold to the New York and Nevada Mining Company and the George Morley and Martin Petersen families moved to Preston.
In 1902, Bishop Judd moved back to La Verkin. A. R. Whitehead bought his property including the home and moved his family to Lund. Orrin Snow took Thomas Judd's place as Bishop and chose A. R. Whitehead and Robert Reid as Counselors and Allen Wakeling Sr. as Ward Clerk.
In 1904, the Relief Society and Y.L.M.I.A. jointly bought a building originally brought from Taylor by John L. Whipple and used by him as a store, moved it onto the lot next to where Neil Gardner Sr. now has his museum, renovated and furnished it and used it for their meetings. An account of this is given in the section on the Relief Society.
Also in 1904, the first missionaries were sent from the wards to foreign missions. William H. Ivins left in May for England and Ernest Burgess in the fall for Germany. The next year, December 1905, William A. Terry left for a mission to the Central States. It is interesting to note that to do so he had to resign from three positions in the ward, Sunday School Superintendent, Ward Clerk and Chorister. And in 1905 also, Christian Jensen from Preston went to the Northern States mission.
In 1908, Apostles George A. Smith and Anthony W. Ivins from Salt Lake City and Edward H. Snow, President of the St. George stake visited the ward. They held a Ward Conference and among other counselings, urged the people to improve their meeting place.
Immediately plans were made to add a thirty by fifty foot cement block room to the log rooms already in use. On November 2, of the same year, rocks were hauled for the foundation and on November 4, the ground was broken and the work begun. Orrin Snow's history records that about $100 had been raised by the different organizations for the building fund, a small amount by today's standards, but a start when materials were cheaper, rocks, gravel and water free, and labor volunteered. Mary Sinfield tells that she and Emma Whitehead helped to tamp the blocks. By December 4, all but two hundred blocks were ready and the cornerstone was laid. They placed in it Orrin Snow's history of the colony to date, hand written by Gladys Whitehead, copies of the Book of Mormon and the Voice of Warning and marked the spot with a twenty-five cent coin embedded in the block.
The addition when finished in 1909, had a hall with a stage in one end for meetings, dances and entertainments. A door led to a landing with stairs to the upper story on one side and steps to the lower rooms on the other. A belfry over a small entryway was not finished until later but eventually it housed a bell with a rope hanging down to keep the people informed.
A tall pine flagpole (commonly called the Liberty Pole) at one side of the entrance was not used ordinarily but always had the flag flying on a holiday. It is not surprising that the flag was not flown oftener when we are told that George Gardner climbed the smooth fifty or sixty foot pole to put the rope through the pulley every time the flag was raised.
It is impossible to remember the old church without remembering George Fawcett Sr., janitor there for so many years. Any time of the day, his was a familiar figure going or coming from his home on the corner of the next block. Early in the morning he carried wood, lighted fires in the different rooms and rang a warning bell for school or church, and in the evening prepared the building for the next day or for any evening activity that might be scheduled. The twinkle in his eye and his gentle humor endeared him to young and old alike and he always had a kind word and a piece of candy for the children he met along the way.
About this time three more missionaries went out from the Lund ward and two from Preston, Clarence Burgess, April 1909, to the Eastern states, George W. Fawcett Jr., May 1909, to the North Western states, Edmund A. Hendrix Jr., December 1909, to the Northern states, and from Preston, Martin Petersen and Neils Peter Jensen, June 1909, to the Scandinavian countries. This made a total of nine missionaries from the White River area in the first decade.
In 1910 Orrin Snow moved with his family to Canada. Adolphus R. Whitehead took his place as Bishop with Robert Reid and George Gardner as Counselors and Heber C. Smith as Ward Clerk.
Also in 1910, at a conference on October 10, the wards were transferred from the St. George to the North Weber Stake. This move was made because with the coming of the railroad into Ely in 1906, travel between Ogden and White River was much easier and quicker than travel between St. George and White River.
In 1914 the war in Europe seemed quite remote. Closer to home was the death of the oldest man in town, William A. Vance. George Fawcett Sr., now the oldest man himself, hurried to the church to toll the bell ninety-two times.
The war came closer to home when the United States entered World War I in 1917 and thirteen boys from Lund served in the states and overseas. Bishop Whitehead saw that each boy's mother accompanied him to Ely to see him off on the train. By this time a few people had cars and these were used in some cases but some still had to make the trip by team.
In January 1913, Hyram S. Arnoldsen went from Preston on a mission to the Eastern states. During Bishop Whitehead's term as Bishop eight more missionaries were sent out from Lund: Mary Sinfield, October 1916, to the North Western states, Claudius A. Gardner, January 1919, to the Southern states,Howard B. Gardner, October 1919, to the Central states, and in November 1919 five boys left at the same time, Owen Whitehead and Arthur N. Carter to the North Western states, Robert L. Reid and Orvil Hendrix to the Mexican mission and Hugh A. Reid to the Canadian mission. This made a total of nine missionaries in the second decade.
The auxiliaries had raised money in various ways to buy a silver sacrament set which they presented to the ward in 1921.
In 1922 Bishop Whitehead moved to Salt Lake City after serving the ward for twenty years as Counselor and Bishop. George W. Fawcett Jr. took his place as Bishop and served for four years. During his term some improvements were made in the church. A carbide lighting system was installed and the upper story partitioned to make two rooms.
The old soft wood floor in the main hall had become worn and splintery and another improvement was a new hardwood floor. Even then money did not come easily and in order to save on cost a strip of the old floor was left around the walls where the benches stood when the floor was cleared for dancing. Even so, the new floor which was primarily for the benefit of the dancers was a huge success and dancing around the wood stove in the center of the hall was no great inconvenience. True, the stovepipe fell down once in a while causing some unexpected excitement but the stove was taken out during the summer months making more room for the large crowds that came to the Fourth of July and Twenty-fourth dances.
For some reason the voice of the old bell became weaker with age until it could scarcely be heard even to the ends of this small town. In 1922 George Oxborrow donated a new bell to the church. It was hung in the belfry and when Grandpa Fawcett pulled the rope, once more the summons to church was loud and clear.
On September 19, 1926, at a Conference in Ely, the wards in White Pine County and the surrounding area were organized into a new stake, called first the Nevada Stake and later the Ely Nevada Stake. Apostle David 0. McKay was the presiding authority at this Conference.
At the same time, September 1926, Hugh A. Reid was made Bishop of the Lund ward. Immediately after it was organized the new stake began planning a Stake Building in Ely. It was built in 1927 and the Lund Ward contributed generously to the project.
In October, 1928 two missionaries went out to the Canadian mission, Bryant H. Ashby who returned after a month because of illness, and Gideon Hendrix, who served a six-month mission.
A Genealogical Society was started in 1933. Its history is given in the section on auxilliaries.
In 1934 David C. Gardner became Bishop. He served for three years at this time and then resigned.
In 1937 Arthur N. Carter was put in Bishop. A new piano was purchased during his term. Sometime in the thirties after Udell Gardner brought electricity to the community, an electric lighting system and a hot air furnace were installed in the church.
In October 1939, Milton D. Gardner went to the Southern states on a mission.
In 1939 Bishop Carter resigned. Former Bishop, Hugh A. Reid, acted for a short time as Presiding Elder and then David C. Gardner again became Bishop. While he was Bishop there was a revival of interest in the church especially the genealogical work. The Ely, Nevada Stake had been assigned to the St. George Temple for their genealogical work and Temple excursions were initiated at this time.
Again money was raised by the ward, this time for the purchase of hardwood benches for the assembly room.
In January 1940, Leonard E. Gardner was assigned to the Western states mission and in December 1940, Finley R. Hendrix went to the Southern states mission. Two more missionaries from Preston left in the summer of 1940 to serve six-month missions, Ida Jensen to California and Christie Hermansen to the North Western states.
Bishop David C. Gardner died in October 1941 and his son, Milton D. Gardner, was called from his mission in the Southern states to serve as Bishop. After two months while Edmund Hendrix Jr. acted as Presiding Elder, Bishop Milton Gardner returned and assumed the responsibilities of the office.
After Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States became involved in the European operation in World War II, and actively engaged in the Pacific. A number of boys from the White River area were called into the service. Under Bishop Milton Gardner, the M.I.A. gave farewell parties for each one who left from the ward.
On Sunday, January 28, 1945, while Sunday School was in session, the church caught fire and burned to the ground. No one was hurt and the piano and most of the benches were saved as well as most of the church records. For the next few years church and auxiliary meetings were held in the High School, the Grade School and the Relief Society building.
In June 1946, Kenneth Erickson was made Bishop of the ward. He had come to the town recently to work for the Soil Conservation Services. In October of the same year while working on a project at Sunnyside he was taken ill suddenly and died before he could be taken to the hospital. Claude Fawcett served as Presiding Elder until June 1947, when Ervin L. Hendrix, who had recently sold his ranch at Sunnyside and moved to Lund to retire, was put in as Bishop.
Tentative plans for a new church had been made with Lafayette Carter and Kelly Harrison, co-chairmen and Harold Ivins, Vance McKenzie and Cannon Gardner, members of a finance committee. Representatives of the Church Building Committee along with the church architect reviewed the situation with the committee and outlined the conditions to be met in order to participate in the church building program.
Under this plan several thousand dollars had been raised. When Bishop Hendrix took charge, his enthusiasm sparked the endeavor and with his keen business sense and determination he provided the leadership needed to carry it through. The auxiliaries and other organizations renewed their efforts to raise funds. A singing group calling themselves the Ladies' Chorus gave a series of plays, musicals and a minstrel. One dinner dance given by the ward netted $1500.
Many families had moved away from Preston and ward membership had dwindled until in November 1947 the church authorities transferred the membership to the Lund ward.
1948 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Lund and Preston as towns and the M.I.A. under Bishop Hendrix directed a Jubilee celebration on the twenty-third and Twenty-fourth of July. Invitations were sent out to all former residents of the two towns and many returned to participate in the two-day festivities. Acting as a committee, Kelly Harrison, Vera Carter Reid and Mary Sinfield researched and compiled a history of the First Fifty Years to mark the occasion. This was written by Kelly Harrison and published in the Ely Daily Times.
The fund for the new church had grown steadily andBishop Hendrix, with the help of leaders in the ward organizations chose a plan. The lot across the street from the high school, originally the home of Mary Terry was purchased from Lanse Smith. M. T. Collins of Ely, an old gentleman well-known and liked throughout the county, was given the contract for the construction. This is an excerpt from a history by Kelly Harrison: "On December 14, 1949 the first carload of bricks was brought in from Ely. The members of the ward took trucks and hauled the brick as donation work. To say the least, it was a fine Christmas present for the Ward. Other carloads came in and were hauled to Lund. In one supreme effort two carloads were brought out in one day during the worst blizzard of the winter. Two snowplows worked continuously to keep the road open over Murry Summit."
On a beautiful day the next spring, March 13, 1950, a ground breaking ceremony was held on the site with one hundred ninety-four people present. Helen C. Gardner gives this account: "Nevada Stake President, Fred C. Horlacher gave the dedicatory prayer followed by the song, We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet, by the congregation directed by Elinor Gardner. Bishop Ervin Hendrix, Sister Ella Fawcett, Relief Society President, President Fred C. Horlacher and President William J. Hemingway were speakers on the occasion. Bishop Hendrix lifted the first shovel of dirt followed by President Fred C. Horlacher and William J. Hemingway. Immediately following the ceremony all members and visitors convened at the High School where lunch was served."
The work went quite rapidly due largely to the efforts of Bishop Hendrix who worked tirelessly, recruiting help from among the ward members as well as doing much of the necessary physical labor himself. A copy of the history by Orrin Snow taken from the cornerstone of the old church when it burned, a history to date by Kelly Harrison, and the standard church works were placed in the brickwork of the new church.
The brick building 110 by 85 feet was completed in 1952. The foyer on the west with the Bishop's office on one side and a cloakroom on the other, opens into an area between the chapel and the recreation hall. Folding partitions on each side divide or combine the space to accommodate different sized gatherings. A hall east of these leads to classrooms, restrooms, a kitchen and a roomy, pleasant Relief Society room and gives access to the stage in the recreation hall.
Dedication of the new church was held Sunday, March 19, 1952. Presiding Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin from Salt Lake City attended and gave the dedicatory prayer. Bishop Ervin Hendrix presided and Counselors Lloyd Oxborrow and Neil Gardner Sr. gave the opening and closing prayers.
In 1954 Anthony H. Ivins went to Hawaii on a mission and in October 1954 Leland J. Hendrix went to the Eastern states mission. In 1956 Andrew L. and Violet Petersen went from Buhl, Idaho, where they were living, on a two-year mission to New Zealand.
Sometime after the completion of the church a new project, a larger Stake house at East Ely, adequate for the needs of a growing stake, called for support. As usual the Lund ward responded with their share of the necessary funds.
In July 1960, Anthony H. Ivins, recently returned from his mission to Hawaii and school at B.Y.U. was put in Bishop of the ward. On September 18, of that year dedication ceremonies were held at East Ely for the newly completed Stake House. The building was dedicated by Elder Alma Sonne, Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the same time Elder Sonne made the appointment official by setting Anthony H. Ivins apart as Bishop of the Lund ward along with his Counselors, Phillip J. Carter and Robert M. Oxborrow. Bishop Ivins served a little more than a year. In that time he was instrumental in getting the Seminary program started in the ward.
In July 1960, Keith N. Ivins went on a mission to the North Central states. In 1961, J. Kendall Smith was sent to the Canadian mission. It is interesting to note that Golden Snow, son of Lund's second Bishop, Orrin Snow, was Mission President at the time Kendall Smith was there. In October 1961 Isabella S. Hermansen went on a mission to the Southern states.
Phillip J. Carter became the next bishop, October 8, 1961. He served for nearly eight years marked by participation of the different auxiliaries in more stake directed activities.
James R. Ivins left for the Alaskan-Canadian mission in march, 1964, Roger L. Cazier for the Austrian-German mission in July, 1966, Ronald J. Horsley to England in September 1966, George M. Paice to the Spanish-American mission in October 1966, Earl F. Sharp to the Southern states in August 1967 and Warren K. Harrison to West Germany in August, 1968.
In 1965 Duckwater was made a dependent branch of the Lund Ward. Later, at different times it was a branch under the direction of the Stake, part of the Lund ward for a short time and finally a mission. During all these changes a number of Lund people worked in the Duckwater area. Neil Gardner Sr. was the first Presiding Elder serving for six years and he and his wife, Emma, helped to organize the branch and did much to aid the people in the construction of a building in which to hold services. Maude and Joseph Stucki also worked in the branch at this time. Milton Gardner served two years as presiding Elder under the Stake and he and his wife Joan Gardner, worked for five years in the area as missionaries. Isabel Hermansen worked in the Relief Society with arts and crafts for a number of years. Ronald Ivins, as Lund Ward Missionary leader has conducted a number of baptisms.
In 1967 the bell George Oxborrow gave the church in 1922, that had been buried in the old swimming pool with the other debris since the church burned in 1945, was recovered by the White River Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. They restored it to its former condition, and had it mounted on a pedestal on the grounds in front of the church as a memorial to the Lund pioneers. A plaque engraved with the names of those pioneers is part of the memorial. On June 10, 1967, the memorial was dedicated. Former Bishop Ervin Hendrix gave the dedicatory prayer. Mary Sinfield, president of the local chapter, welcomed Kate B. Carter, President and Mary Goodman, Chaplain of the Central Camp in Salt Lake City. She thanked Van Petersen, Nevin Munson, Vance McKenzie, Rod McKenzie, Lynn Horsley and Dick Gunderson for the help they gave in erecting the monument and Bishop Philip Carter for his cooperation.
On April 20, 1969, George Ashby Sinfield was sustained as Bishop, served one year and resigned in April 1970. Roy B. Faught acted as Presiding Elder until July 12, 1970, when David Earl Savage, who had recently moved to the area, was called to the position as Bishop. He was the great grandson of Bishop A. R. Whitehead. He remained until August 1971, when he resigned and moved tb Wyoming.
On September 12, 1971, Albert S. Gubler Sr. was sustained as Bishop of the ward. He has proved to be a dedicated and capable leader. At this writing, early in 1979, growth in church activity under Bishop Gubler and his counselors, Robert M. Oxborrow and Max G. Reid has been unprecedented in the history of the ward. Bishop Gubler with his business ability has put the ward on a sound financial base. In the beginning to do this he made personal donations to balance the budget. The church has been kept in excellent condition with necessary repairs and renovations. The roof has been changed and painted, ceilings insulated, the chapel painted and carpeted, new choir seats put in and new folding partitions installed between the chapel and recreation hall. New entrance doors have replaced the old worn ones.
A number of baptisms have added to the membership and a growing interest among hitherto inactive members has increased the activity. Church attendance has increased remarkably and interest in the programs of the auxiliaries is high. This is notably true of the genealogy work.
LaRue S. Carter has been an invaluable aid to the Bishopric. She served as Ward Clerk under two bishops, David C. Gardner and Arthur N. Carter besides holding other offices in the ward. In her unofficial position as secretary and helper to the Bishop, her knowledge of the work, together with her commitment to do well whatever she undertakes has been a factor in making the work go smoothly.
Increased missionary activity began in the 1960's. As has been noted before nine missionaries went out in the first decade and nine between 1910 and 1920. From 1920 to 1960, one, two or three missionaries went in each decade. Then in the 1960's eight members of the ward went on missions and to date in the 1970's, eleven young people connected with the ward have served, are serving at the present time, or are preparing to go into the mission field. These are Tom Shakespeare (St. George Stake), Calvin J. Rollins (Reno ward), Gilbert Griffin (South Carolina), Jeanne Carter, Jennifer Smedley, Lester Ivins, James McKenzie, Jay Scow, Carol Lewis, Donald Cripps, Shane Duval and Eric Oxborrow.
Some couples from the ward have served as Ordinance Workers in the St. George Temple, George H. and Elizabeth Ann Gubler, Ervin L. and Margaret R. Hendrix, and as of January 1979, Merlin and Lucille Terry have been called to this work.
After the organization of the Ely, Nevada Stake a number of people from the ward have held various stake positions. At the present time sixteen people hold positions in the stake auxiliaries and three men are serving on the High Council. In addition to this recognition the ward has been verbally commended by the authorities for its achievements. It is fitting that the Lund Ward should have earned and enjoy this prestige. It was the first ward organized in the stake and was indeed the nucleus of the Ely, Nevada Stake.
An account of the organization of the auxiliaries follows.