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Monday, August 30, 2010


Above are the pictures I have of Grandma Gerda.  Does anyone have others of her they could share?  Please let me know if you do and I will make arrangements to get copies.  Carolyn

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Posted by Carolyn Johnson Christensen, grand daughter of Carl.

If anyone has a more complete history of Grandpa, I would appreciate reading it.  I put together this history many years ago, and hope to revise it soon. 


In Asker Orebro, Sweden, on 2 March, 1865, Carl Oscar Johnson was born to Anna Louisa Erikson. Carl grew up in the household of his maternal grandfather and grandmother. His grandfather was listed as a soldier in the church records.

Only educatedguesses can be made about Carl's father. In Sweden, on the church records, Carl's last name was listed as Peterson, following the patronymic custom. Therefore his father was known as Peter. When Carl was older, he continued to use the last name, Peterson. He also , occasionally, used the last name of Johnson, and when he came to the United States where patronymics were not used, he settled with the last name of Johnson. Therefore, we could assume his father's name was Peter Johnson. Also, during his lifetime, he listed Anders Peter Johnson as his father on various church and temple records, as early as before 1907 in the Murray Ward Records. In other ward records, he listed himself as being born in Nerke, Sweden. In 1864, his mother was living, and it is assumed, working in an area, Boda in Asker where lived Anders Peter Johnson. She returned to the Kilsmo area in Asker in 1864, a few months before Carl was born. In 1866, when Anders Peter Johnson moved, he stated he was engaged to an Anna Louisa Nilsson.

Carl's mother died when he was 6 years old. This had been preceded by his grandmother who died when he was three. He was six years younger than any of his four uncles and aunts who lived in the home at that time. We can probably assume that Carl grew through his late childhood and teen years without the full benefit of motherly tenderness. Carl's grandfather died when Carl was 23, the year Carl joined the church.

It appears that at age 15, Carl left his grandfather's home and lived in Almunge, Stockholm Co., which is where he lived until he joined the church.

As Carl grew to maturity, he learned to love the soil and farming as did his father and grandfather. Carl was a strong boy, though not large. In his adulthood, he was about 5' 10" tall, and stocky.

During his early manhood, he worked in a lumber mill, and was put in charge of the workers as the foreman. Many times he had to intervene in a fight, using his physical strength to end a squabble.

Carl joined the church on 20 April 1888, being baptized and confirmed by P.G. Hanson in Allmunge.

Carl received the Priesthood in on 24 March, 1889 through Niels Anton, then labored as a missionary in the Solfvarbo and Sundsvall branches. This was one of three of Carl's missions.

While married to his first wife, he returned from America to Sweden and served two years from 1897 to 1899. He was set apart for the Scandinavian mission on 16 April, 1897 and returned on 10 June 1899. He was in the Stockholm branch for 7 months, and then served as president of the Upsala and Sundsvall branches for the remainder of his mission, baptizing 38 souls.

During his second marriage, when Carl was 47 years old, he left his wife with their 5 small children, ages 2 through 11 in Shelley to farm and went on a third mission, being set apart on 16 January 1912 from the Shelley Second Ward in Idaho to Sweden. He returned on 15 October 1914 on the ship, S. S. Celtic. During this third mission, Carl presided over the Morgongava Branch for 3 months, over the Sundsvall Conference nine months, and over the Stockholm Conference for 20 months. Missionary work was important to Carl, and he later became one of the seven Presidents in the 106th Quorum of Seventy.

After his first mission, Carl emigrated to Utah in 1891 where he settled in Murray and worked in the smelters, skimming copper, which he didn't enjoy. In 1900, in a Salt Lake directory, Carl was listed as a helper in the American S & R Co., residing in Murray.

In 1892/93, Carl met and married Emma Olsen who bore him a son in 1894, Oscar Wilford,and a daughter in 1896, Emma Oliva. As stated before, Carl left on a mission in 1897. Soon after he returned in 1899, his wife, Emma died.

Sometime in 1901 or 1902, Carl was re-acquainted with a young woman, Gerda Hanson, who had enjoyed hearing him speak in Sweden during his second mission. At the time, Carl was about 36 or 37 and Gerda was about 22. His children by his first wife were 6 and 8 years old. This re-acquaintance flowered into marriage in the Salt Lake Temple on 22 October, 1902, performed by John R. Winder.

Two children were born to Carl and Gerda in Murray, Gerda Adelia and Allen Oscar. Of course, Wilford and Ebba were a part of the family.

Carl left Murray with his family in May of 1907 because he disliked the smelters and mines, and wanted to farm and raise livestock, which he did in Shelley, Idaho. In Shelley, he settled on what is now the Hollis Harker Farm just below the east side of the Butte on the south side of the road. Later, he bought property in Shelley, and traded Etric Miller for property on the Taylor Highway, 1 1/2 miles east of Shelley.

He built houses on the property in town and on the farm. The property in Shelley was located kitty-corner from the old 2nd ward church on Locust Street. While living there in 1912, Carl went on his third mission while his wife was in charge of the farming. At that time, she was getting 20 cents on the hundred for potatoes which was unusually bad for that year. At home she had Wilford and Ebba, Gerda (age 11), Allan (age 9), Edith and Edwin (ages 4) and Ruth (age 2). In spite of the hardships created by this mission, Carl felt good about the call. In his diary her wrote, "1912. Shelley Idaho, the 14th of January. I take farewell of my loved ones to perform a mission in my father's land, Sweden. Wonderful feelings stream through me in
this moment of departure. The Lord has called me and my feelings are in tune with the call."

After Carl returned from his mission in 1914, four more children were born; Wallace, Walter, Bernice and Maurice. Carl moved his family permanently to the farm home in about 1927, when his youngest son, Maurice was 6 years old and he was 62 years old. The farm house was a mail order house from Montgomery Ward. Carl, with the help of his sons, and probably neighbors, built the house when the kit arrived. He planted many trees, some of which still stand as a reminder to his posterity living there of his forethought and love for nature. Carl also raised livestock on that farm.

As Carl's sons grew to maturity, Carl made sure each one would have a profession to fall back on. His love for farming carried down to two of his sons, Wallace and Maurice. Maurice, his youngest son eventually bought the farm on the Taylor Highway from his father and family.

Carl retired in 1938 at the age of 73. In 1942, he and Gerda moved to Idaho Falls to be near the nearly completed temple in order to do temple work when it was dedicated. Five years previous to this, Carl had spent three months of the 1936-1937 winter with his son, Walter, who was attending business college in Salt Lake City. While there, Carl did temple work. This was about nine years before the Idaho Falls Temple was completed.

As we can see from his history, Carl was a very devout person. His church work didn't stop with three missions to Sweden and temple work. He also served 15 years on the Shelley High Council. He spent 15 years trying to convert a very good friend, Peter Olson. After 15 years, Peter did join the church.

Carl read a lot of church literature and was very learned. Before Carl joined the church, he had smoked cigars. It may have been a struggle to give up the habit as he kept one cigar in his desk for many years as a reminder.

In his later years, Carl's 5' 10" frame filled out quite a bit. He never did go bald, and he wore a moustache all his life. He was a quiet, serious person who naturally received attention when he spoke.

Carl loved baseball, and listened to it a lot on the radio. He kept up on current events. A daughter-in-law tells that during the war, his family can never remember of him missing a news broadcast.

Carl loved cats and other animals. A son tells that at one time in his father's life, he had a huge gray tomcat that would spend hours riding on Carl's shoulder as he picked spuds in the fields.

At the age of 81, Carl Oscar Johnson died of a stroke on 9 April, 1946 after spending two days in the Idaho Falls hospital. His family and his community mourned the loss of a very wonderful person.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am creating this blog in hopes that descendants of Carl Oscar Johnson and his wives, Emma Olson and Gerda Theresdia Hanson can share information about Carl's descendants and ancestors.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Posted by Carolyn J. Christensen, niece of Bernice

I would like to have more information about Bernice from anyone who knew her.  Thanks.

The Life History of  Bernice Carolina Johnson Bingham
(read at her funeral)

Bernice was born on January 19, 1920 in Shelley, Idaho. She was born at home. She was the ninth of ten children born to her parents. She had five brothers, four sisters, and a half brother and sister.

Her father was Carl Oscar Johnson. He was born on March 2, 1865 in Asker, Orebro, Sweden. Her mother was Gerda Theresia Hanson. She was born on April 12, 1880 in Tryserum, Kalmar, Sweden. They were married on October 22, 1902 in the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. Her father was a farmer and served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He died on April 9, 1946 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Her mother was not welcome in her parents home after she joined the Church as a youth back in Sweden. She migrated to the United States. Her mother passed away on May 25, 1955 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Bernice never knew if they were poor. Her mother would sew her new dresses to wear, and there was always plenty to eat thanks to the farm and a large garden.

Bernice went to school in Shelley, Idaho. She remembers that she did not have to walk to school except when she missed the bus. In the winter time when the roads were bad, the farmers would use bobsleds to take the children to school. They would sit on hay or benches and cover themselves with blankets. They did not have snow plows like we do now.

Bernice has many memories as a school girl. She remembers the girls would always wear dresses. She enjoyed school, but wishes she had studied a bit more instead of having so much fun. She liked most of her teachers, but her first grade teacher was really special to her. Bernice had a nervous breakdown in the first grade, and he teacher helped her through the work so she did not miss a year of school.

When she was a little girl, she would gather up rocks to make barns and houses. She would make the different rooms in the houses and also makes fields around the houses. For entertainment, every Saturday she would go with friends to the show houses. She enjoyed this Saturday activity until the family moved to the farm to live which made it a little harder for her to go to the movies.

She really like to play basketball in school. This was an activity she truly enjoyed until her freshman year. “I’ll bet she was pretty good too.) Sometimes a bunch of her friends would get together to play favorite sport, softball. She also liked to roller skate. She never did learn to ice skate because there were no ice skating rinks, and her parents would not allow or trust her to skate on the canals. She did have fun in the winter time on bobsled rides. (She remembers her husband, Bing, enjoyed hooking up his horse to pull him on his skis.) For some reason, Bernice never did learn to ski. (Must have had something to do with the position of the horse, the length of the rope or the color of the snow.)

She really did not have any hobbies. She did enjoy the radio shows. She felt you could really picture them like they are on TV today because of the sounds. Gracie Allen and George Burns were some of the funniest.

Bernice does admit that she had an advantage having white hair all her life. She did get noticed. A lot of times people would call her peroxide because of her beautiful white hair.

When Bernice and Bing were first married, they had great fun playing games with the relatives. Walt and Leona, Wallace and Fae, and Maurice and Doris would get together and play table games like spoons. This was pretty exciting and competitive at times as Maurice recalls. He and Bernice went after the same spoon, and he came away with a nasty cut in the palm of his hand You’ve got to watch out for those sisters.

Maurice always thought Bernice was the prettiest sister a brother could have. His feelings in that regard have never changed, and he admires her for always staying feminine and attractive.

Bernice always had friends. As a youngster, two of her closest friends were Shirley Quiggly and Charlotte Jensen. With age, the circle of friends simply grew.

As she got older, she went to a lot of dances. There were a lot of band contests and excursions where she met many new friends. Maurice remembered a pearl grey suit and blouse. As he recalled, she was wearing that suit and blouse when she first met Bin. They first met at a dance in Wandamere just south of Idaho Falls. Wandamere was a large dance hall where the big bands would perform. Great names such as Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Henry James and others would come to Idaho Falls to perform. One of the most popular activities for young and old alike were the dances. As a result, there were lots of dances. Some were held in Wandamere; others were held in the tabernacle in Shelley; still more were held at the tabernacle in Idaho Falls. Bernice, her brothers and sisters remember the Shelley tabernacle as a big beautiful building where many good times became goo memories.

Beside the dances, there were plays. The tabernacle was always alive with activity. If it was not imported talent, then it was local talent; and usually every bit as good.

On one occasion, Bernice was in Miles City, Montana visiting her sister Ruth. On an impulse, or who knows what, Bing decided he wanted to visit her. So, he convinced Maurice to go with him to Montana as a chaperon.

Bernice recalls on occasion her most embarrassing moment which still generates a little blush in the cheeks. The moment came one night while at the movies. On the way out of the theater between showings, the waist band broke on her undies. Since it was a little crowded, she just let them fall to the floor where she kicked them off to the side. (The poor janitor had an awful time explaining this one to the boss.)

Bernice and Bing were married December 15, 1938 and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple December 4, 1940. This was the beginning of a 54 year relationship. There were five children (Douglas, baby girl, Dennis, Keila, and Sharlyn), cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, bobcats, chinchilla, and who knows how many thousand mind and skunks. There were the grain crops, the pea crops, the hay crops, and the potato crops. (I must have forgotten something here.) How she ever managed to fill the roles of wife, mother, farmer’s wife, hired hand, and bookkeeper is still a mystery to those who know her.

Bernice like anyone else has her own set of favorites. She had favorite stories, songs, hymns, poems, quotes, picture, holiday, games, dress, .....

A Tribute to Bernice Johnson Bingham
by LaRue Clark

Bernice, the youngest daughter in a family of 10 from her mother and 12 from her father is a timeless person - babe, sister, child, young woman, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all in one. She is a glorious beautiful and dear woman to all who knew her, especially her sister, Ruth’s posterity, Terrill and Arlene and their children, because they were like parentless children with an unresponsible father and a hard-working responsible mother - depression times - and the Johnson Family stabilizers and positive examples. Being like an Aunt-sister-cousin always close to them, keeping in touch, encouraging, and truly caring for them. After Ruth’s death, Bernice and Bing, her husband, were the dear hearts in their lives whom they visited. Their children cherish Uncle Bing and Aunt Bernice. The Johnson Family were the true roots of goodness and love they knew through their mother. With Bing and Bernice Bingham there was always humor - which is a positive leverage in life. The life they lived exposed Terrell and Arlene to a farm, animals, and dimensions of living and happiness.

Bernice’s children were such an expression of their parents and such a dimension cherished along with whatever was experienced in being together. It was through them that Terrell and Arlene knew a family life and wanted a family of their own.

Honoring Bernice this day goes back to the beginnings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught to her parents in Swede, their coming to the USA for the gathering of those who believed and lived what they learned. I marvel at the tenacity of faith each showed by their actions and devotion. Oscar and Gerda planted it deep in their children. They were guided to this promised land and the Snake River Valley. They put roots deep here and assisted in building the kingdom of God in one of the least violent weather areas of our world. Theirs is a love story deep with the fulfillment of heritage and legacy, of faith, a forever family in Jesus Christ. Bernice’s life carries this on through the generations to come.

A Tribute

by Doris Norman

I appreciate the opportunity to give Bernice Bingham’s life sketch. Everyone who knew Bernice loved her. She was always happy and had the talent of making everyone feel special.

Bernice John Bingham was born January 19, 1920 at her home in Shelley, Idaho. She had 4 sisters and 5 brothers. Her mother and father were taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in Sweden, and came to the United States to be near the saints. They settled in Shelley. Her mother loved to sew, and they were never poor because her mom knew how to stretch a penny.

Bernice loved to swim in the canal. In fact that’s where she learned to swim. After she would finish swimming she would go in the house, and her mother would always have rolls or crunchy rolls, and she liked the crunchy rolls the best.

Bernice played basketball in Junior High and in High School. She was the tallest girl on the team, and a very good player. She graduated from Shelley High School.

Bernice was a beautiful natural platinum blonde. When she was a young girl, her brother Walt would fix her hair for her. He was her friend and buddy. After she married, she met Maurine Furgie who was going to beauty school, and she later started fixing her hair, and has done Bernice’s hair for the past 45 years. She was always proud of her hair and her looks.

She enjoyed going dancing at Wandamere where they had big name bands like Phil Harris play. Jack Bailey played in the orchestra there at times. This is where Bernice met Bing, but before Bing could dance with Bernice, he had to get permission from her brother Walt.

Bernice Johnson married Norman Bingham shortly after she graduated from High School.

Their first home was on the end of the lane where they now live. They had no plumbing. They carried their water in 20 gallon milk tubs from Perry’s house. For their wedding, Bing’s dad, Perry, gave them 6 mink. They had to go rabbit hunting every night to get food for the mink. Bing gave Bernice a flashlight for her birthday so she could spot them for him. It wasn’t exactly wait she wanted.

Bing and Bernice had 5 children — Doug, a baby girl who was stillborn, Dennis, Keila, and Sharlyn.

Bernice was a very good cook and never missed preparing a meal for her family. She was a hard worker. They built their new home in 1954.

Bernice always made sure that the kids were all dressed up pretty for Easter, and would decorate their tricycles with crape paper for the parade. The kids didn’t like it, but it was important to Bernice. Christmas was also very important to Bernice, and she always made sure the family had a good one.

LaRue Clark has given some interesting information. She said that Bernice always kept in touch with the family, was always close to them, calling them, encouraging them, and caring for them. She was especially close to her sister Ruth. When Ruth died, Bing and Bernice were like parents to her children Terrell and Arlene, and their association with Bing and Bernice helped them to have a good family life, and expose them to farm life and happiness.

Bernice was the secretary in the Young Women’s Organization when Jody Anderson was president, and they had a lot of fun going to girls camp with the girls. One MIA night when it had snowed a lot, Bernice’s lane was blocked and she had a hard time getting out. When she finally got there she said, “It’s our mating season up there.” Everyone started laughing. Bernice got all red faced and said, “NO, I mean it’s the minks mating season.”

She worked really hard with Norm taking care of the ink. When it was pelting time she would help harvest by tacking the pelts on the boards. They had to be just right.

When they had mink, they hired a man who had a bobcat and it had kittens. Bernice would wear basketball knee pads on her arms and feed them from doll bottles. The bobcats were raised as house pets. Bernice would send them up to wake up the kids in the morning and Keila remembers their rough tongue licking her face.

Bernice enjoyed making lotion out of the mink oil, and there are many of us that have been fortunate enough to receive jars of lotion from her. I looked forward to my birthday and Christmas because I knew I would get a jar of mink lotion from Bernice. She was planning to make another batch a couple of weeks ago, but just didn’t have enough strength.

Phoebe Ann Tawzer remembers having a lot of good times together cooking hamburgers and onions and spending the whole day together. Bud Tawzer and Norman Bingham shared the same birthday so each year on their birthday they would all go out to dinner.

About five years ago, Jody Anderson organized a study group to get together each Sunday night. In this group was Alice and Logan Bee, Phoebe Ann & Bud Tawzer, Nellie and Dean Elkington, Golda and Jack Bailey, Jody and Ted Anderson, and Bernice and Norman Bingham. They took turns at each others home. They would study the scriptures, play games and visit. At first they were serving light refreshments, then later on it got to be salads, meat, and other things. Bernice really enjoyed this group and it continued for about five years when some of the group started going south for the winter.

When Bing got sick, Britt moved in with his grandma and grandpa to help take care of the farm. He was 17 years old. He not only took care of the farm, he took care of Bing, Bernice, Sharlyn, and Lonnie, and he did it very well. Bernice was very proud of him.

Lalaonie was a special part of Bernice’s life. She lived close to her, and became a constant companion to Bernice and Bing, and they loved her very dearly. She moved in with them in 1994.

Bernice loved to read and really enjoyed The Work and the Glory. She loved to listen to good music, especially Jim reeves, and Hawaiian music. She liked to go to the movies, and she really loved to brag about her children and her grandchildren.

Bernice was a volunteer worker at the Temple.

Bernice lost 5 relatives who were close to her within a year and a half - Sharlyn, Norman, a brother (Wallace) a sister, and niece.

Bernice was a very happy upbeat person, and a lot of fun to be around.

Norman played Santa Claus for years to all the neighbors, and at ward parties and individual parties, and Bernice always had large oversized pillowcases (for bags) filled with popcorn balls for everyone. This was a lot of work for her, but she loved going it.

Bernice loved the plums on Glenna Jorgensen’s trees and every year Glenna would take her up two big bags full, and some fresh raspberries, and Bernice would give Glenna corn and cucumbers from her garden.

Edith Empy and Elsie Caldwell were Bernice’s visiting teachers for years and they loved her dearly. They all enjoyed going out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch on occasion.

Bernice and I have been visiting teaching partners for about 12 years now. We have spent many hours together and have a very special relationship.

Janice said that all afternoon Saturday before Bernice passed away, she talked about how wonderful her mother was.

Bernice was a good wife, mother, homemaker, grandmother, friend, neighbor, and visiting teaching partner.

Like Nellie Elkington said, “Anyone could come to her door and feel welcome.” She was a friend to all. WE WILL MISS HER!!!!!

Memories of Aunt Bernice
from Carolyn J. Christensen

I knew Bernice in the last years of her life and probably when I was a child better than at any other times. From my childhood, I remember that they lived in a “basement” house. When I would go up there, I was very envious that my cousins could open a door and walk downstairs into the ground to get to their home. It was all so mysterious and interesting. I felt somewhat bad for them when I saw a new house in construction. I also remember thinking what a strange occupation my Uncle had in that he raised mink for coats.

But what I really remember well is the time spent with the Binghams during Sharlyn’s illness. Bernice came to Salt Lake to be with Sharlyn, and we visited several times, her staying with us a couple of times. We got to know and love Lonnie and have very fond memories of her, as she seemed to be a kindred spirit. Also, we visited with Sharlyn and recognized her strength and her love for her family.

One of my fondest memories is that the last Thanksgiving of Sharlyn’s life was spent at our home. We invited all her family, the families of Doug, Dennis and Keila, along with Bernice and Lonnie to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at our home together. Sharlyn was able to leave the hospital for a few hours that day to be with them.

We had so much fun with Doug, who I barely remembered. It made me wish we could be closer as cousins. He stayed with us one or two nights, along with Bernice and Lonnie. We had fun when they were not at the hospital. The others came to our home for Thanksgiving day.

We actually had two Thanksgiving dinners at our home. We wanted the Bingham family to be alone together, especially as Sharlyn was not to be exposed to a lot of excitement, so our dinner was held downstairs in the family room, and the Bingham’s ate in the living room, upstairs. However, we intermingled a lot during the day and there was a special feeling in our home. This instance has stayed in my memory with feelings very dear to me, perhaps because of this family laughing and enjoying each other and us, as they went through this hard time in their life. I do feel like the spirit of peace and love was in our home. I learned to love my cousins, and especially Lonnie and Bernice.

As I talked to Bernice during the months of Sharlyn’s illness, it was like I had known her all my life. She seemed very familiar to me, and very at ease with me. Again I am reminded of my peace in realizing that in the next life we can spend all the time we want with those we love, whereas circumstances prohibits time spent with loved ones in this life.