Sunday, January 26, 2014


Dear friends and family,
Today was a special Sabbath day. Max opened the library at 7:30 am for a meeting of the multi-stake public affairs councils. We attended sacrament meeting at 9:00 and heard very moving testimonies from a young couple in our ward who have faced an extremely serious and very rare health problem. He had to have surgery a year ago in a hospital in North Carolina, the only place in the country to perform this surgery. Their faith and courage in the face of this trial is very moving.

We missed our other meeting to open the library for a meeting of the British Genealogical Society of Los Angeles and for a Sunday School class for one of the wards that meets in our building.

This evening we attended the baptism of two new converts from Iran who were taught the gospel by the Farsi-speaking missionaries serving in our ward. They had another baptism two weeks ago. Many Iranians attended and the proceedings were simultaneously translated for them. The spirit was very strong as the new members were warmly welcomed into the ward.

Other than that our week was mostly routine. Mary started a water aerobic class on Tuesday evening. The second session is Thursday morning, the day we work at the library from 1:00 to 9:00 pm. Max started Thursday morning delivering mission mail to four districts in two zones. He drove to Carson, San Pedro, Palos Verdes, and Torrence, dropping of and picking up mail and supplies. They said it would take about two hours, but it took more than three. He believes he can do it faster next time.

Wednesday, our P-day, in another busman's holiday, we drove all the way to the family history library in Orange County to see some microfilm Mary needed. The film was there, but mostly illegible, so it as a bit of a bust. However, we turned it into a nice afternoon when we went to Newport Beach and walked along the ocean in a light fog and watched the surfers. We don't have photos, but we did bring back a bottle of sand as a souvenir. We also had dinner at Mimi's, a place we enjoyed in Salt Lake and were happy to find here.

Max is having a bout with his allergies that turned into a nasty fever one evening and Mary is feeling the effects of her new exercise class, but we both are otherwise very healthy, happy, and humbly grateful (better than grumbly hateful).

Our small pleasures include reading the scriptures, going to the temple, taking walks together holding hands, knitting (Mary), reading good books, and watching movies. We also discovered a new (to us) delight. We have kumquats growing on a tree just behind our apartment. They are now ripening (but not in iniquity). We'll sometimes go pick and eat a handful. They are citrus, but small, the size and color of an apricot. They are eaten like a grape, skin and all. Spit out the seeds or crunch 'em down. Delicious; tart and sweet at the same time.

Love you all.
Elder and Sister Evans

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Hi everyone.
      We had regional Stake Conference today with a televised meeting in many different locations to accommodate about 50 stakes here in the Los Angeles area.  We went to our ward building; there were talks by Sister Linda Burton, Elder Arnold of the seventy, Elder Neil Anderson and President Henry Eyring.  Elder Anderson told of a time in Rio de Janeiro when he was driving Elder Eyring to a large missionary gathering and he wasn't familiar with the area.  A large bus stopped and to his surprise, the driver rolled down his window and asked if he needed help with directions.  After telling him the location of the church, Elder Anderson began driving, only to see this same bus on the corner.  The driver opened his door and said he would block traffic and again guided him as to his route.  They made it to their destination and it was a very memorable event for many missionaries that day. Elder Anderson said that the driver was like an angel.  He said the Lord is involved in the details of our lives.  Elder Eyring today spoke of how even little children can feel the spirit and need to be taught about the nature of God.  As we teach others and bring them back into activity, they will need humility as a little child to help them make changes in their lives.  This is a scripture from the Conference to remember as we serve others:
     "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (D&C 84:88)

Korean dancers
Korean drummers
     Last night, for the adult evening meeting, after some talks by the Stake President and a few others, there was a demonstration of some lively dances with the dancers in the native dress of Korea, Peru and Mexico.  They represented some of the Spanish and Korean wards and branches in our Stake.  Here are some pictures.

Peruvian dancers

Mexican dancers

Mary in the sculpture garden
Max at the sabre-tooth cat exhibit
     A week ago last Wednesday Max and Mary went to the La Brea Tar Pits, a museum on the very site where they found a lot of animals that had perished in the Ice Age - woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats and dire wolves.  They must have stepped in tar and their bones are preserved and are now on exhibit.  We had a couple of docents who explained this well.

    A missionary broke his foot so President Weidman assigned him and his companion to spend their time while he recuperates in the family history library.  As well as doing indexing, they took the classes in the 3-day intensive and are, hopefully, now up to speed in doing genealogy.

     We love to walk around the temple up and down the walkways and see all the beautiful flowers and trees.  The gardeners use burlap to lay on the ground and then throw all their trimmings in; then they gather the corners to  throw the refuse away.  They are trimming the tall palm trees now the lights are down.  They always edge the lawns.  Most of the flowers are perennials.

     Mary is going to take a water aerobics class.  While she is in class on Thursday mornings, Max will do a mail delivery of packages to four locations in two zones which the elders will pick up at their local church buildings. They are some distance from here and it will take him about 2 hours.  

    The ancestor of Mary's that we will focus on today is: James Wheatley.  He was born 9 May 1770 in Norwich, Norfolk, England to his parents, James Wheatley and Sarah Lincoln.  When he was 4 days old, 13 May 1770 his parents had him baptized or christened in Saint James Pockthorpe Church.  James served in the military; he was a sergeant in the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons.  After he got out of the military, he married Hannah Rogers on 4 March 1799 in the parish of St Mary, Marlborough, Wiltshire.   They moved to London and had 4 children:  James born 18 April 1800 and christened on 25 Nov 1805, Catherine born in 1802, William Lewis Wheatley born 26 August 1807 and christened 16 Sept 1807 in the parish of St Botolph Bishopsgate, London, England.  (He was our ancestor) and Sarah Maria Wheatley born 4 July 1814 and christened in Saint Leonards parish, Shoreditch, London, England.  James made out a will in 1825 and left everything to his wife, Hannah and provision made for his daughter Sarah Maria who was still young.  His occupation was listed as fruiterer.  He also stated he wanted to be buried in Bunhill Fields, London which is a nonconformist cemetery.  He died in 1846 at the age of 76 in Shoreditch, London and was buried 1 Nov 1846.  His wife Hannah died in 1849.  Hannah and James appear in the UK Census in 1841 with their daughter Sarah Maria, her husband Thomas Chote and their son Thomas James Chote living with them.


Sunday, January 5, 2014


What did we do to celebrate? New Years Eve was the day we drove from St. George back to our mission in Los Angeles after our Christmas break to visit family in Salt Lake City. We (meaning Max) drove for about 7 hours, then we did a little grocery shopping, unpacked and put stuff away. To celebrate we went to bed at 9:30. We don't go to bed that early on a regular day, but as a kind of reverse celebration, we did.

Float from Indonesia, stuck behind broken-down float
Why? Because we had to get ready for New Years Day! We got up at 4:00 am, got dressed and ready to leave in the mission van with a group of senior missionaries at 5:00 am. We went to Pasadena, to the 125th Rose Parade! We needed to take our reserved places at the Pasadena City College Institute of Religion building on the parade route by 7:00; the parade started at 8:00. Pasadena is not two hours away, but we took nearly that long, most of the time getting off the freeway and making our way through city streets to our parking place. It was a fun thing to do. We had a wonderful location. It was cool at first, then warmed up a lot as the sun came up and out from behind some shady trees.

All of these animals are antimated!
We were tired when we got home, so after a rest we went out to dinner with Brother and Sister Shakespear, one of the senior couples who will be going home in a couple of weeks. He is the Visitors' Center director, and he was one of Max's college roommates at Utah State, 1965-1966. That was our P-day.

Thursday was the day we do the evening shift, so Mary did the laundry in the morning while Max shopped for and bought a storage rack for the kitchen, and put it together. It was quiet at the library that evening. Friday is usually quiet as well. We went to the Temple Friday evening for dinner and for an endowment session. Saturday was pretty busy. Max was helping people right up to closing time. We keep busy when we are not helping people. Mary makes the staff schedule and handles e-mails and the calendar of classes, and Max catalogs books and keeps the electronic marquee up-to-date and fresh. We each work on our family tree. Mary finds names for the temple and Max tries to find sources and tries to fix problems in his line.

This morning, Sunday, we went to sacrament meeting at 9:00, then came to the library to open it for a Sunday School class on family history that was to be taught. The teacher didn't show up, but neither did the students. We missed our second and third hour lessons. We had dinner and a relaxing afternoon, then we opened the library for an evening class. This time, both the teacher and some students came.

We are having a good time here, working together, enjoying the weather and the people. We had a great time at Christmas visiting with family and friends. We miss you all. We had Laura's family for supper Christmas Eve and went to their house Christmas Morning. We went to David's for dinner Christmas day, but missed Sam's Skype session. The report is he is doing well and looking good. We love his weekly e-letters. Joe performed at the cathedral Christmas eve and day, so he and Mari came for supper in the evening. We also visited with Joe again on Saturday evening and David's family came over for games on Sunday, the day before we left. And of course, we saw a lot of Emily, when she wasn't working.

We also had dinner with Max's sisters and their husbands and another evening with a group from the old Church Historian's Office from 40 years ago; lunch with one of Max's high school buddies, Wayne Clark (they share ancestors; see below) and his wife; and did a sealing session and had lunch at the Jordan River temple with our children and their spouses and Mary's brother, John and his wife, Kathy.

Our trip to St. George and then to LA was, thankfully, uneventful. So here we are: busy, blessed, and blissful.

Love you all,
Sister and Elder Evans

Here is Max's answer to the unasked question, "Tell me about your ancestors."

William Clark and Jane Stevenson
Most of Max’s Mormon pioneer ancestors were born in Britain or northern Europe. The only exception is Jane Stevenson, born 5 December 1820, in Upper Canada (Ontario), daughter of Samuel Stevenson and Sarah Lusk.

Samuel, Jane's father, was from Upper Canada and her mother, Sarah, from Sussex County, New Jersey, where they met and married in 1808. Jane was the fourth child in a family of seven, including three older sisters, two younger sisters and a brother, all born between 1810 and 1826. An older sister and the brother were born in Sussex County; the others were born in Canada.  Jane’s father was born either in Canada or New Jersey; his ancestors lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Jane’s mother and her family were from New Jersey. Given the date of Samuel’s birth, 1785, and if it was in Canada, then it is possible Samuel’s father was either a loyalist, or a Quaker, who fled the United States during the American Revolution (1776-1783). New Jersey was a hot-bed for loyalists and the family lived in what seem to be Quaker communities.

Whatever their motives, they clearly had close ties to family in New Jersey as well as business or family interests in Upper Canada.

Jane Stevenson
Jane Stevenson married Steven Weeks Ross on 2 March 1836, in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, where they became parents to five children, each born between 1840 and 1850. The family story is that they met Mormon missionaries and joined the LDS Church and that Steven became a local branch president in New Jersey.  Church records show that Jane was confirmed a member of the Church in January 1840, shortly before the birth of her first child. The record does not show her husband’s baptism. The two youngest children, born in 1846 and 1850, died in New Jersey in 1849 and 1850.

Some believe that Steven became disenchanted with Mormonism and left the faith. Steven died in March 1849, not long after the death of his fourth child. By November 1851 Jane was in Council Point, Pottawatamie County, Iowa, shown in a list of Latter-day Saints willing to depart the next year to join the Mormons in Utah. She is listed as "Jane Ross, 4 in family, 1 hog, 2 young stock, United to Wm. Clark.” William, a widower, married Jane soon after, on 29 January 1852, at Council Point.

William Clark
William Clark was born 26 June 1825, in Worcestershire, England, to John Wheeler Clarke and Mary Hill. William is the second of five children, each born between 1820 and 1833. William married Emily Knowles Bryant 20 September 1842, in Hartlebury, Worcestershire, England.

William Clark’s youngest sister, Martha, joined the LDS Church on 30 December 1844; William on 1 July 1846; and Emily, his wife, on 1 January 1849. William’s parents apparently also joined, because they were with William and Emily in Missouri in 1850. William’s mother, Mary Hill Clark died in Lehi, Utah Territory, August 1953.

Tragically, William Clark's first wife Emily Knowles Bryant Clark and her new-born baby girl died on the way to Iowa, 20 September 1850, at St. Joseph, Missouri. William’s father, John Wheeler Clark, died nine days later at the same place. They may have been victims of one of the many cholera epidemics that raged on the Missouri River at that time, and that took the lives of many Mormon immigrants.

Two lines about the entry on the company list for Jane Ross mentioned above is this one for “William Clark, 3 in family, 1 horse, 5 cows, 2 hogs, 3 young stock, Went on.” The three in the family would be William and his mother, and …perhaps his sister, Martha. Or did his first wife, Emily, have another child not listed?
William and Jane together raised the three Ross children, seven of their own, and one adopted. Their third child, Martha Geneva Clark married William Samuel Evans whose sixth child was Hyrum Clark Evans, Max’s grandfather. William Clark took three more wives in polygamy; two of them bore him three and two more children each.  William supported his large family as a farmer. The 1870 census shows he owned $800 in real estate and $700 in personal estate. Jane died 21 September 1895, in Lehi, Utah, at the age of 74. William died 7 May 1910, also in Lehi when he was 84.
William Samuel Evans
Martha Geneva Clark
Hyrum Clark Evans