Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection


Yesterday, while reading a post from the NGS blog, I noticed a link to a Utah photo collection that is new to me.  It’s the Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection.  I clicked on over to check it out and discovered this cool photo of my great grandfather.

This photo was taken 1 February 1957.  These fellas were somehow connected to the Utah State Livestock Association.  My great grandpa, Rulon Powell Peterson, is on the right, holding his hat and wearing glasses.  He was a very successful cattle rancher.  The other two men are named as John E Booth and Clemm Schramm, but I don’t know which one is which.

I did a little perusing of the collection and didn’t find anything else related to my family.  The collection is hosted by Utah State History.  They have a few other collections.  If you have any Utah family, you may want to check it out.

And once again, I am so thankful that I quickly read a post listing various online collections.  You just never know what you might find in some obscure online collection.


Happy Thursday, I hope you make a surprisingly delightful genealogy discovery today!



Photograph Showcase: A Visit With Grandparents

PETERSON, Rulon, Janice, Ronald and Joseph Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Rulon Powell Peterson, Joseph Skeen; front l-r: Janice Peterson, Ronald Peterson.

PETERSON, Naomi, Marilyn, Janice, Petrina and Evan Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Naomi Skeen holding Marilyn Peterson, Jane Zina Petrina Folkman; Front: Janice Peterson; lying on the ground: Evan Folkman Skeen.

I found these two photos in my Grandmother’s collection.  Rulon and Naomi were the parents of Ronald, Janice, and Marilyn Peterson.  Joseph Skeen and Jane Zina Petrina Folkman were the parents of Naomi and Evan Folkman Skeen.

I am very curious about these groupings.  I wonder who came up with the combinations and what their reasons were?  Either way, I love seeing multi-generational photographs like these.  Such a treasure.



Photograph Showcase: A Cowboy in the Making

PETERSON, Ronald on horse - smaller for FT

That cute little fella is my Grandpa, Ronald Skeen Peterson.  His dad was a cattle rancher.  Grandpa worked on the ranch for many years.  Great Grandpa got him started out riding horses at a young age.  How old would you guess he is here?




Photograph Showcase: Peterson Home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home with color edits

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home with a few edits

This is the home the Rulon & Naomi Peterson family were living in at the time of Darrell’s death.  It is located in Roy, Weber, Utah.

In the history of Naomi that was compiled by her oldest daughter Janice, Janice captioned photos of this home with this statement, “A lot of good memories were made in this home.”

It looks like a happy, well cared for place.

I tried to bring the colors back to a truer version but this was a close as I could get.

When I come across photos of ancestral homes – even in the recent past – it makes me realize I don’t take photos of my home nearly often enough.


Have you photographed your home lately?


Uncle Darrell – Part XII, Final Thoughts

PETERSON, Darrell Skeen, chin in hand

My great uncle, Darrell Skeen Peterson

I never knew Darrell, or Naomi, and I have very few memories of Rulon.  I can’t add any facts, memories or insights into Darrell’s life or the circumstances surrounding his death.  I do, however, want to end his story with a few of my thoughts and what I plan to do next.

I lost a child once too.  Under very different, horribly traumatic, take-your-breath-away painful circumstances.  A baby that was not mine by birth but that lived with us from the time he was 10 months old until he was 20 months old.  A baby that we were told we could adopt.  Until the shocking day when he was taken away, moved to another home, and adopted by someone else.

In the horrible aftermath of the storm, when I was the saddest I have ever been, I remember thinking often about my great grandmother Naomi.  I knew a little bit about her loss.  I knew the bare bones version of the story of Darrell’s death.  I had the funeral transcript, Rulon’s personal history, and the histories written by her daughters.  I had read them.  I knew that she had been heartbroken and that her health never recovered.

What I really wanted were her words.  I wanted to hear her own complete heartbreak and know that I wasn’t going crazy.  I wanted to know that it was possible to be in the depths of sorrow and still have hope, still know that God loved me.  And I wanted to know that not from myself but from seeing it in my great grandmother’s own writing.  I wanted to feel her sense of life moving forward and joy coming in the morning – whenever my morning would be.

I didn’t know that there were any records that existed that were written by her.  I didn’t know if she kept a journal or had written letters.  But in that time of sorrow so deep, loss so overwhelming, when the love and support of my family and friends could barely register let alone reach my aching soul in a meaningful way, it was my great grandmother’s comfort I wanted.  And I didn’t get it.  Not for a very long time and not until well past the need had subsided to a dull ache.

I hope that this collection about Darrell – his life, his tragic death, his family member’s reactions to it all – will someday help one of Naomi’s other descendants.  Because child loss is not new, and unfortunately it happens with cruel regularity.

I hope her honest reactions will be a comfort to someone in their darkest hour.  A lifeline from the past reminding them that they will get through it no matter how painful the way.  An example of enduring faith, hope, and love for God and his promises.  And sadly, an acknowledgement that weathering the storm changes the boat.

I am so thankful for Naomi.  I’m thankful that I have been able to collect so many pieces of her story and Darrell’s. She is one of my heroes.  I want to make sure her story – particularly this part of it – is available to all of her posterity.

Which brings me to what I plan to do next.

First, I have been adding each item to both FamilySearch and my Ancestry Tree.  I am also compiling all of the information, photos, newspaper articles, excerpts from other works, etc into a book.  Once I have a rough draft I will share a copy with Darrell’s three living siblings so they can review it, add any thoughts or insights, photos etc.

I’m going to take a class in May on Publishing Family Histories.  I know the teacher well and know that he shares several different publishing options in the class.  I know he has identified several publishers that allow you to create a nice hardbound book that is printed one at a time for a reasonable price.  This way family members can order what they want without me dealing with collecting money, writing a big check, shipping books and all of that.  When I make my decision on who I will use to publish, I will share it here.

I also need to go through my Grandma’s boxes again to see if there is anything else in them that belongs in this collection.  I know there are letters from my Grandpa’s mission in there.  I need to organize them and see if any letters mention this part of his story.  I hope to be finished and ready to publish before our Rulon and Naomi Peterson family reunion in early August.

And last, thank you to my readers for your kind, thoughtful comments as I’ve shared Darrell’s story.  I know I don’t usually devote extended periods of time to a specific family member, but his was a story I wanted to tell.  Your support made the journey even richer.  Thank you.


Uncle Darrell – Part XI, Family Reflections

Rulon Peterson History

This is the cover page of my great grandfather’s personal history.

Over the years, various members of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson family have recorded histories of themselves or other family members.  Many of those histories mention Darrell and his accident.  I also recently reached out to the three remaining family members and asked for some insight and memories.  Below are a collection of those thoughts.

  • Rulon Powell Peterson is Darrell’s father.
  • Janice Peterson Child is Darrell’s oldest sister, 2nd child in the family.
  • Marilyn Peterson Ellis is Darrell’s older sister, 3rd child in the family.
  • Lowell Skeen Peterson is Darrell’s younger brother, 5th child in the family.
  • Wayne Skeen Peterson is Darrell’s youngest brother, 6th child in the family.


From “Personal History: Rulon Powell Peterson” (pg 52-53):

“Then in 1947 tragedy came to our home and family.  Darrell had been working with me as I was trying to put a hair brand on some old bulls I had just brought in from Stone, Idaho.  Marilyn came running and asked him to take her to the Bamberger so she could ride to Ogden and get her music lesson.  It seems the Bamberger was late so he took her to catch the street car at 35th and Washington Avenue.  On his return home there was a Bamberger freight train on the track.  It passed by on the west track going south just as Darrell approached the crossing.  Not seeing the late Bamberger passenger train coming from the south, Darrell attempted to cross and was on the track when the train crashed into him.  I have often been thankful that he didn’t suffer for I believe his death was instant.  I blame the driver of the train for he said, “I could see he wasn’t going to stop,” and I asked “Why, then, didn’t you stop?”  Passengers in the train said he slowed the train for an instant and then darted forward.  What extreme sorrow was ours.  It was the first break in our family or even my father’s family.  Naomi was away at the hairdressers.  I gathered my children together and we kneeled down and asked the Lord to help us as we broke the news to Naomi.  Her sorrow was almost more than I could stand.  Mine was intensified by seeing her great grief.  I felt like I just wanted to get out from under the burden of grief.

“President Beus came and suggested the General Authorities should be notified.  It was shortly after I had become President of the Stake and President Beus suggested that inasmuch as Elder Spencer W. Kimball was the visitor who had been in our Stake and set us apart that he should call him and ask him to speak.  When we had assembled in the Riverdale Chapel and Elder Kimball and others were on the stand, in walked President David O. McKay.  With President McKay were Sister McKay and two of his sisters, Sister Morrell and Sister Ricks.  Elder Kimball, recognizing that we would want to hear from President McKay, had cut his remarks short but it still was a long service.  With a chapel full and a score of Darrell’s schoolmates standing in the aisles, President McKay reminisced about his boyhood associations in my grandparents home and referred to them as Aunt Ann and Uncle Peter.  His remarks, as well as those of others were very comforting.  Darrell was a very good student.  His school principal spoke and said, “Darrell was a straight A student except for one subject, music.”  When he approached Darrell about upgrading his music he said, “Oh, I enjoy hearing the others sing.”

“The grief seemed more than we could bear.  Naomi blamed herself for allowing Darrell to drive.  Darrell was a very good driver.  He had driven trucks around the feed yards driving for the men when they were feeding cattle.  This he had done since he was nine or ten years old.  In those days they were not so demanding of driver’s license for youthful drivers.  Continued worry and grief were in large measure responsible for Naomi’s premature heart affliction.  When Dr. Brown gave her digitalis to regulate her heart he didn’t tell her it was to be for the rest of her life.  She improved and was quite good as long as her medication lasted but a while after she ceased taking it she became ill once more.  This time it was much more severe and Dr. Brown warned me of her condition and said, “It may be ten days, two years, or ten years,” and ten years it was.  During this time it was a constant worry and many a night when I couldn’t hear her breathing I would reach over and touch her and she would respond, “Don’t worry, I’m all right.”  She had never been told what Dr. Brown had told me but I’m sure she knew and realized her condition.  How choice she was and what a blessing she had been to me!  When President Clark spoke at her service he said Naomi was an angel and truly she was.”


From “Naomi Skeen Peterson” by Janice Peterson Child (pg 2, last two paragraphs):

“In 1947 our brother, Darrell, was killed in a car-Bamberger train accident.  It was not far from our home.  She was getting her hair done at the time.  Darrell had taken Marilyn to a piano lesson in Ogden.  Marilyn had thought she had missed the Bamberger and so Darrell had taken her so she would not be late.  He was just returning when apparently he saw a freight train go by and assumed the lights which were still on were for the freight train.  The sun was shining in his eyes enough that we guessed, he did not see the train coming on the other track.  He was hit by the Bamberger that Marilyn was to catch.  Darrell was only 14 years old.  He had a bad heart also and couldn’t do physical work.  Therefore, he was taught to drive the trucks to help the ranch men.  Mother blamed herself for breaking the law.  She always thought it was her fault that Darrell drove that day.

“From this period of time Mother’s rheumatic heart condition started giving her problems.  Dr. Brown, her physician, had told her she had a heart murmur when she was younger from rheumatic fever.  That did not stop her from doing the hard work she did.  The stress of Darrell’s death was too much for her heart.  She had small strokes and ill health.  The heart specialist told Dad with her type of heart condition she could drop over sometime and that is exactly what happened.”

Janice goes on in her account to tell the story of Naomi’s death.  It’s wonderfully detailed and deserves its own post.


From “Memories of Naomi Skeen Peterson” by Marilyn Peterson Ellis (pg 3, last paragraph):

“Mother suffered terribly after Darrell was killed by a train at the age of fourteen.  Those were dark days in our home.  Then, I believe, as a result of the stress of Darrell’s death her heart fribulated and her health deteriorated from that time on.  She died 10 years later at the age of 52.  What a loss!!  Our family was never quite the same again.”


From a Family History Interview of Marilyn Peterson Ellis (conducted in about 2005):

“Darrell and I chased each other some times but he had a sweet nature and used to sit and visit with me while I cleaned the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.  He told me about movies he had seen.  It left a terrible void in my life when he was killed.  He was 14 – I was 16.”


From an email from Lowell Skeen Peterson, 22 March 2016:

Darrell was very popular in school, as he was elected student body secretary and many of the students came to the funeral.  He had a bad heart so he was not able to play on the school team.  He would watch practice, and as I recall, he commented that he was content to do that.  He had reddish hair and freckles.


From an email from Wayne Skeen Peterson, 22 March 2016:

Here are a few insights about Darrell and the accident.

Darrell was athletically inclined though his heart condition kept him from full participation.  However, he could shoot the basketball, in a shot from the corner, with great accuracy as his friends would feed him the ball.

The accident with the train happened at the crossing just below our property about two blocks from our home.  Alan Zaugg, the foreman on the ranch, was the first to hear and know of the accident and immediately contacted Dad who may also have heard the crash.  I was sweeping the driveway of our home when Dad pulled up in his pickup truck and told me that Darrell had been in an accident.  He then proceeded in the house to tell mother.  Not knowing that he had died in the accident, I went upstairs to my room and prayed that he would be alright.  I now know that indeed he was alright as his spirit lived on and remained close by and was felt in our home where we had the casket for a time.  I was nine years old when the accident happened but remember that day and experiences as if it was yesterday.

Darrell had a very kind, loving, and gentle disposition.  He did all that he could do in the way of work on the ranch.  He milked our cow slowly as he was able.  I always accompanied him with that chore and carried the bucket of full milk home as we walked together.

I loved Darrell and felt closer to him in my formative years than to any of my brothers or sisters.

Thanks for remembering him.


to be continued…(one more post)



Uncle Darrell -Part X, A Mother’s Grief

One week after the joint letter was written to my Grandpa by his parents, his mother wrote her first letter.  It is heartbreaking, very real, full of details, and so tender.  Grab a tissue.


page 1 –

Dec. 4, 1947.

Dear Son Ronald,

Everyone has been so wonderful to us that it is impossible to express how we appreciate such kindness.  If you could only have been here too.  Mrs. Fox suggested we could call you and then we realized we couldn’t talk to you if we did our sorrow was so great.  Since we received a letter from President George Albert Smith stating just how the cablegram had been worded – a train collision – I have worried because I knew you’d be puzzled.  Your Dad called Murdock Saturday night.  We tho’t he’d know best how to send it.

This week, now the family are back in school and your Dad is about his work I feel like my heart will break or my mind crack.  I can think of every cross word I spoke to him.  [Ronald, do you remember when you were home if I picked on him any more than the others?]

I was just as nagging and mean with you but you have lived and I hope I am forgiven.  I worry so if in his quiet way he was unhappy.  I shouldn’t burden you with my regrets.  Forgive me.

page 2 –

Your Dad is taking it very hard and it don’t get any better.

Maybe I shouldn’t bother with details but I remember what I read of your Dad’s letter didn’t tell where Darrell had been.

He has been driving more since you left and for a while took the back streets.  One time when I was to Mother’s Janice had him go in town to get her at night.  I told her not do it again.  Conditions have come up several times when he has been asked to drive in town.  One night your Dad had him take the girls in to practice at the Tabernacle.  Each time I’d worry till he got back.  I was so afraid he’d have Marilyn Wiberg, Berrett girl and others with him and have an accident.  He drove the truck over to the church-farm several times to help clean-up.  The tractor to haul corn from Marriott.  He was a little annoyed when I insisted I go with him twice when we had to take Janice up to Weber towards evening.  He could drive better than I but I felt safer going along.  He took the car with other boys, Robert Steck seemed to be one of his

page 3 –

best pals, to the Halloween dance and they took girls.  We could get him to blush when mentioned Ann Donaldson from Burch Creek.  She is Vice-President of the school; a nice little girl and she really liked Darrell.  I worried every time he took the car went and cautioned him to be careful as he went out the door.  It seemed so unneces. to him.  He took the Pontiac over to the Coliseum where they had their steers there and it wasn’t working right either.  The low and high hear weren’t work most of the time.

He came after us down to Roy Friday night.  Marilyn, Wayne, Lowell and I went to the Bazaar and your Dad was coming later and we were going to the Judkins home.  But he was busy getting ready to leave for Idaho in the morning so he sent Darrell down.  The Chrysler had be taken to the garage earlier that night and the Pontiac failed when we stopped at Lyle’s confectionary ice cream after we came from Judkins so came home in the truck.  I had to have a car Saturday to go get my hair done and they were to bring one of the cars to me Saturday morning.  I fussed when it hadn’t come at 12:30 and called Anderson.  He had expected us to come after it I suppose.  He said they were both ready and he’d bring the Chrysler at 12:45 so I told Darrell he could bring go up back with us and bring the Pontiac back as we would need it Sunday.  It was our Ward Conference.  They got out to cross the high way so I wouldn’t get in that noon traffic.  I was upset because Anderson was late and which made me late so I just drove off without saying a word, be careful or even looking back.

Marilyn Wiberg and Marilyn most always

page 4 –

catch the 2:30 Bamberger to town on Saturday to take their piano lessons but Marilyn Wiberg wasn’t taking hers Saturday so Marilyn persuaded Lowell to go with her.  I have told she and Janice both when they can take the Bamberger not to ask Darrell to take them in.  Darrell had weighed the truck your Dad brought back and was helping there at the yards when your Dad realized it was cold told him to take the car to the house.  Marilyn and Lowell met him outside and Marilyn coaxed him to take them in.  He said no he would only take them to the Bamberger but Darrell liked to drive so he took them on in town.  He was coming back alone when it happened.  The motorman on the Bamberger said he saw Darrell wasn’t going to stop and he slowed down a little.  We shouldn’t condemn but they usually have to stop there any way so he could have stopped when he saw Darrell didn’t see the Bamberger.

He and Marilyn had had so much fun that morning.  They found some hard-tack candy Janice had hid for Xmas and were fooling around.  They were so happy and joking on the way in.  Marilyn said it was the first time she had told him goodbye when she left.

We were in my bedroom, Marilyn, Darrell and I that morning and he said “I didn’t think I’d ever have to stoop to look in this mirror.”  He had to sit down for me to part his hair.

Your Dad’s prayer with Janice and Wayne gave me strength to bear the shock I know.  I had the oddest feeling on the way home as I came in the door.  Everything was so quiet.  I felt rather numb.

page 5 –

I passed Parley in the truck up about by Naylor’s but didn’t see your Dad with him or that they followed me home.  I learned after your Dad dashed in the front door and came in the kitchen just as I came in.  He said there had been a serious accident but I didn’t think of Darrell.  Then I wanted to know if he was in the hospital.  “They have taken him away”.  I was stunned and couldn’t believe it was true but one of the first things I tho’t of “I knew it would happen he shouldn’t have been driving” and I felt so condemned I couldn’t throw it off.  I am so thankful no one else was with him or the friends that usually ride with him.  Allen and Vera went and brought Marilyn home.  She had just reached Miss Whittier’s for her lesson.  When your Dad called and said Allen would pick her up but didn’t tell told Miss Whittier not to tell her.  Allen had that hard task of course she blamed herself for asking him to take her in.

Avon and David drove in the yards and told your Dad.  He rode back with them and hadn’t sensed it was too late to do anything so he jumped out and run towards the car.  He fell on the track and has had a bad knee.  It is still bothering him.  He should have had hot packs on but wouldn’t let me.

That Bamberger blows it’s whistle so long it pierce’s through me every time.  Even the men and especially the Mexicans notice it.  They felt so badly they just cried when they came to the house.  They were to the services too.  They liked Darrell so much.  Darrell was a careful driver, more so than your Dad.

We picked a beautiful brown metal casket with a beige tan velvet lining.  He and your Dad had bought him a new suit about two months (ago) we buried him in that.

page 6 –

Near the same color as his other suit but a prettier tweed.  Clyde Lindquist was so kind he bought his shirt and house slippers etc.  We were grateful he looked as good as he did or that he could be viewed.  He was hit on the left side of his head and it didn’t look like him.  I tried to fix his hair after they had combed it, it did help some but Lindquist said don’t touch below the hair-line and don’t touch his face till I was so unnerved I didn’t do much with it.  He was so particular about his hair too.  (Up the left column of this paragraph are the words “was fixed nice”.)

I intended to take Darrell to Dr. Olsen for a complete check on his heart and would report to you then but I don’t think his heart condition was any better because he has grown so much.  Your Dad reported I believe that Dr. Brown said he would never have been well and would possibly have been an invalid later in life.  That is some consolation because he did like sports.  He was showing us the other night how he could throw the ball in the basket with one hand from way back.

He hadn’t received his check for his half on the steers because it had been missent to Route 4 and he had been to the mail box that day, Janice said he was so excited about getting a big check.  One 32¢, 33¢, 29¢.  $928.76.

I have intended to tell you in each letter.  Darrell bought your baseball cap for you.  I knew he’d know more about them and he was thrilled to do it.

Janice takes a fine attitude toward Darrell’s passing.  She says it was to be and if I’d just look at it that way I’d feel better.  She went to Earl’s for Thanksgiving.  Did I tell you he don’t leave ’till the first of May and goes to the Eastern States?

page 7 –

Your Dad said this morning that Marilyn is old for her age.  She lectures to me and it does help a lot.

Wayne and Lowell don’t sense it very much but one of the first things Wayne asked, “Do thy have Christmas in heaven.”  Lowell says Darrell wasn’t mean to him and they do feel badly.

Clyde Lindquist was wonderful and when we were there on Sunday he said told how much told yo Bro. Peterson there isn’t a man living that I think more of than I do you.

So many have spoken of their love for your Dad.  Lynne Johnston wrote from Las Animas Colo. mentioning what a wonderful influence your Dad had on his life and other boys as well.  He said, “I sincerely hope and know that Ronald is enjoying his work and doing a good job.  He really has ability that is exceptional.  He sent a copy of a wonderful poem.  I’ll try and send a copy.

Bishop LeGrande Richards praised him very highly for his work with boys before quite a group after an important meeting at the Fourth Ward last night where President David O. McKay spoke.

We have had so many wonderful letters.  One from President George Albert Smith, Bishop LeGrande Richards, telegram from President McKay, phone call from Bishop Wirthlin.  Letter from Dilworth Young.

This morning your Dad mentioned cutting down his business, the show at Los Angeles wasn’t so good, (Louis Allen and Parley went down.) and devoting more time to church work.  Something I hoped and prayed he’d do for a long time.

It was touching to know those students of the ninth grade and others stood during that long service and barely moved the entire time.

Darrell was loved by every one.  They dedicated an assembly to him and their school paper.  The teacher sent flowers besides a spray from the school and one from his friends, Jim Lloyd, Robert Steck, Ernest De Bore.

page 8 –

Received your wonderful letter today and you’d never know how much it was appreciated tho’ it brought sobs and tears from those of us that have read it.  I am truly grateful to Our Father in Heaven for the attitude you have taken and I know he has and will bless you.  I do pray that my letter won’t upset you and I realize I have taken too much space and not condensed happenings enough and some were unnecessary.

Your Dad didn’t want me to send a picture of the car but I know I would want all the story and when you know he wasn’t injured too badly just that blow on his head that we are thankful for because he didn’t know what happened.

We feel badly that we didn’t have a good picture.  He had had one taken at school we hope is good and then that one in the Tribune we will have enlarged and can send you one.

I asked you Dad today and he said Darrell was still sitting at the wheel when he saw him.

God bless you and Comfort You

My Prayers and Love are with you.



to be continued…