photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: Joseph & Petrina Skeen, 50th Wedding Celebration

SKEEN, Joseph & Petrina, 50th wedding celebration
Joseph & Petrina Skeen at center, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with their descendants.


This lovely, multi-generational photo was taken at the 50th wedding celebration of my 2nd great-grandparents, Joseph Skeen & Jane Zina Petrina Folkman on 10 June 1947.

Joseph & Petrina were married 10 June 1897 in Salt Lake City in the Salt Lake Temple.  Seven days later, Joseph left to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Petrina lived with her mother during that time.

Their marriage license application and marriage license contain their beautiful signatures.

SKEEN, Joseph & Jane Zina Petrina Folkman, 1897 marriage license application
Image courtesy of FamilySearch


SKEEN, Joseph & Jane Zina Petrina Folkman, marriage license and return info
Image courtesy of FamilySearch


Joseph’s signature on the marriage license is especially lovely.  Petrina’s two signatures demonstrate the challenge of having such a long name.  On the application she signed with “Petrina Folkman,” and on the license, she used, “J. Z. P. Folkman.”  She typically used her third name, Petrina.

Fifty years, and eight children later, the Joseph and Petrina Skeen family gathered to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary on 10 June 1947.  My Grandpa was serving his mission in New Zealand at the time and was not in the photo.  The rest of his family is seen in the image.

The close grouping of this photo makes a left-right description challenging.  Here is a numbered version:

SKEEN, Joseph & Petrina, 50th wedding celebration, with numbers

This photo is labeled simply with “50th wedding” on the back in my Grandma’s handwriting (Mary Margaret (Ellis) Peterson).  I believe I have worked out the identities of everyone except the youngest children, but welcome any corrections or additions.

1 – Melba Trina Skeen, 2 – Ethel Amelia Wheeler, 3 – Joseph Maurice Skeen, 4 – Mae Skeen, 5 – Joseph Skeen, 6 – Rulon Powell Peterson, 7 – Jane Zina Petrina Folkman, 8 – Jeannine Thompson, 9 – Naomi Skeen, 10 – Lowell Skeen Peterson, 11 – Marilyn Peterson, 12 – Talmage Wheeler Skeen, 13 – unknown, 14 – Wayne Skeen Peterson, 15 – Sandra Wheeler, 16 – unknown, 17 – unknown, 18 – unknown.


In “Joseph and Petrina Skeen Family History” compiled by Joseph & Petrina’s youngest child Evan Skeen, pages 19 and 20 include a written record about Joseph & Petrina.  The author is unknown.  Here is my transcription:





Golden Wedding Celebration

June 10, 1947

Grandfather and Grandmother Skeen were born at Plain City, Weber County in the spring of 1876.  Their fathers were with the first settlers at that place seventeen years previously.

The funny column in the local press has frequently illustrated the disadvantage of being born too soon; generally 30 years too soon.

Our grandparents recognize many advantages from coming into the world at the time they did.  They were made familiar with real pioneer life.  The adobe, log and even underground or dugout houses with willow fences and old oaken bucket wells were familiar sights but best of all they were acquainted and mingled with most of the original settlers in the place of their birth.

All this without enduring the pinch of hunger and cold which was the lot of the pioneers.

Many nationalities were represented in the new settlers at Plain City.  Grandfather and Grandmother were daily in a museum of the strange dialect and apparel of the emigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and the Scandinavian countries.

They saw the melting pot of the nations at work and were personally vitally influenced by it, as Grandfather is of Scotch English descent and Grandmother, Scandinavian.

Free public schools were instituted during their early school life and they were given advantage of the same.  Later Grandfather attended the State University for one year and then graduated from the Smith Business College as a stenographer.

He worked for some months as a stenographer in a law office, but having been raised on the farm he yielded to the urge to spend his days in the great outdoors.

In 1897 Grandfather was called to serve in the Southern States Mission of the L.D.S. Church.

Courtships were usually longer in those days and having kept company for 6 or 7 years by mutual consent Grandmother was married to him in the Salt Lake Temple on June 10, 1897 and Grandfather left for his mission on the 17th of June of the same year.  Grandmother remained with her mother.

For the next two years they were nearly three thousand miles apart and both agree it was a notably harmonious period of their fifty years of married life.

Grandfather returned from the mission in 1899 in July.  They spent the following fall in a railroad camp, Grandmother as cook and Grandfather as timekeeper.

They farmed near Blackfoot, Idaho for a couple of years.  They established their home at Warren about 45 years ago.

Back in 1909 Grandfather became a member of the North Weber Stake High Council.  It was in the horse and buggy days.  He made a trip to Ogden one night a week — usually Monday to meetings.  It was near midnight when he returned.  Grandmother kept the house warm in winter and the lights burning.  Late travellers still will see lights in the Skeen home.

Grandmother has been very faithful in her church duties — particularly in the Primary, Relief Society and the Sacrament meetings.

Grandmother’s hobby is flowers and Grandfather likes horses, cattle and farming.  He says he used to work because he had to, but now he works because he likes to, except in Grandmother’s flower garden.

They are proudest of all of 6 fine sons and daughters and 16 grandchildren.  The eldest of these grandchildren is on a mission in New Zealand at the present time.



Updated 12 February 2020 with changes to a few names with help from Uncle Wayne and cousin Ruth Bonner.



8 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Joseph & Petrina Skeen, 50th Wedding Celebration”

  1. I also thought that line was so funny and so out of character with the serious tone of the rest of the biography! I wonder just how “harmonious” the next 48 years were. 🙂

    Have you tried to zoom into Joseph’s face to see if you can determine which eye was blind? And it is strange that it’s not mentioned at all in the bio, which is filled with so many other wonderful details.

    1. Haha, me too! I think they got along pretty well based on the other bits left behind from their life. There is a funny story about Petrina saving up egg money to buy a refridgerator. When it was delivered Joseph tried to send them away but Petrina was having none of that. Haha!

      I still don’t know for sure which eye, but I did find out how he lost his sight! My Grandpa’s only living sibling called me yesterday to talk about photos. Thankfully I remembered to ask him about Joseph’s vision. He said that Joseph was hit in the eye with a snowball that had a rock inside of it. My Uncle couldn’t recall how old he was or any other details. Joseph must have taken it pretty well for it not to be mentioned in the lengthy book about his family I’ve read/skimmed. His son put it together and it’s 317 pages long! (It also includes ancestor items.)

      1. Wow, you are so lucky to have that book. What a wonderful thing for his son to do.

        I’ve heard other stories of stupid kids throwing snowballs with rocks inside. What is WRONG with people?? Poor Joseph. But it sure seems like it didn’t hold him back one bit.

        1. Yes, very lucky! I actually got to know Uncle Evan a little bit at the end of his life. We exchanged letters and then I found out that he lived about 10 minutes from my parent’s home. I was shocked! My Dad’s family are all from Utah so I had no idea his grandma’s brother lived in Washington RIGHT BY US!! I visited him only once before he died (I wasn’t living in Washington when I discovered his proximity).

          I agree, why do people do such dumb things to each other?! Joseph must not have dwelt upon it as I can’t find any written trace of the story of how he lost his vision. Of course I have corrected that. 😉

          1. Yep! You sure have! And that, of course, is part of why we do this, isn’t it? To give a fuller story beyond names and dates.

            1. YES! Finding even the smallest bits of stories that are left over in the memories of family members is so incredible. Preserving those bits of stories can really bring our ancestors to life. It is such a gift to be part of that preservation process! ❤️

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