Sunday, September 2, 2007

Tanner 2: Leroy Parkinson Tanner

b. 12 January 1895 St. Joseph (Joseph City), Navajo, Arizona
m. 26 August 1923 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
d. 5 November 1944 Grants, New Mexico
b. 9 November 1944 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wives: (1) Eva Margaret Overson, (2) Clara Peterson
Father: Henry Martin Tanner; Mother: Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner

LeRoy Parkinson Tanner, son of Henry Martin and Eliza Parkinson Tanner, was born January 12, 1895, at Joseph City, Arizona. He attended school in Joseph City and at the Snowflake Stake Academy at Snowflake, and worked on the family farm with his father and brothers.

In 1913 he enlisted in the militia and served with the troops on the Mexican Border in 1916. He was a member of the Citizens Military Training Camp stationed on the border when World War I broke out.

When the U.S. declared war on Germany, Roy, as he was always known, was assigned to a combat division and served in France until the war’s end. He went through the entire conflict without receiving a wound, but almost died as a result of the influenza epidemic in 1918.

He was called to the front in Russia the day that the armistice was signed. After that he served for a time with the occupying forces in Russia. [8.4.09. He was not called to the Russian front. It is questionable if he was ever in Russia. For more on his military service see this post.] [8.25.11 It is indeed possible that he was part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. I will continue to try and find information about his military service.] What he heard and saw there prompted him to observe during World War II that the United States would be better off not helping Russia so much and possibly even helping Germany against the Russians, since he felt that Russia was a much greater threat to the United States than Germany would ever be.

He returned to the U.S. in 1920 and was discharged honorably from the army. As did several of his brothers, Roy then went to work on road construction. He became a lane surveyor and construction superintendent.

From 1920 to 1940 he engaged in highway construction work throughout Arizona. Sometimes Roy would have a few days or a week off while his bosses were lining up a new job or moving from one location to another. At such times one of his favorite pursuits was hauling wood. He usually had a large pile on hand, sometimes as much as fifty loads, which was ready to be delivered when a cold spell struck town and he could get a good price per cord for immediate delivery. He would often load up some and take it to a home where there was sickness, or to widows, without cost.

In 1922 while surveying a new highway between St. Johns and Springerville, he met Eva Margaret Overson, the eldest child of Henry Christian and Margaret Jarvis Overson.

They were married in St. Johns on August 26, 1923, and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple shortly thereafter.

Two sons were born to Roy and Eva: Wallace Ove born August 12, 1924, and Lee Henry, born April 13, 1929. A daughter died at birth.

Eva was loved by everyone who knew her, and her home was a mass of flowers from early spring to late fall. She was not strong, however, having been stricken with diabetes while still a young woman. Eva died December 30, 1932, after an extended illness.

After Eva died their two boys went to live with their grandmother Margaret Overson until he married again and decided to take them with him.

On October 14, 1934, Roy married Clara Peterson, daughter of Brigham and Stella Jarvis Peterson. Clara was born April 25, 1909, in St. Johns. She was Eva’s first cousin.

Clara did not like Roy to be away from home, so in 1940 he purchased a large farm and ranch near St. Johns. He bought machinery and livestock and was working on paying off his mortgage.

Roy was active in civic affairs. He was a member of the Greer-Dewitt Post of the American Legion and served several terms as commander of the post.

He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities. From 1941 he was a member of the High Council of the St. Johns Stake.

In November 1944 Roy Tanner and his brother-in-law George Peterson went to earn some extra money for cash expenses by taking a bailer and bailing hay in Bluewater and Grants, New Mexico. They were almost through with the job and were going to camp for the night (November 5, 1944), when they started to cross the railroad track and in some unknown way were caught by the evening passenger train, and killed instantly.

The double funeral took place in St. Johns on November 9, 1944. This was a hard blow for the entire family. To add to the sorrow, one of the Peterson sisters had just three days previously received word of her husband's death in World War II Germany. Roy's widow Clara disappeared for a year without letting anyone know where she was.

After Roy’s death, Clara worked for a while as a counselor in the Ogden school system. She subsequently married Joseph Sudweeks, a professor at Brigham Young University.

Wallace Ove Tanner, a graduate of Harvard Law School, had a long career in the legal field. Wallace married Jessie Maxine Morgan, daughter of Harold and Jessie Christensen Morgan. They had six children.

Lee Henry Tanner worked on heavy construction in Arizona until his death in April 1976. He was married and divorced several times. He had four daughters.

From a sketch of the life of Leroy Parkinson Tanner by Wallace Tanner and others with additional information from Margaret Jarvis Overson, George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy (Mesa, Arizona, 1957). (Photo of 1938 and 1939 Ford trucks used by permission.) Leroy P. Tanner stone photo courtesy of JLT.

1 comment:

  1. Amy- I am so excited to see that you mentioned the baby sister: where did you find this information?

    I used to bug Wallace every year to please take us inside the old house where he was born. Finally, (for the first time) he did. When he asked who would like to go, only David, myself, a 4 year old Bi and a 5 year old Becky wanted to go. We had a grand tour courtesy of Uncle Ross opening up his dad's house for us.

    We stood in the upstairs bedroom that used to be Eva's and listened to Grandpa tell the story of his birth right there under the window.

    Downstairs we say what used to be the darkroom for Grandmother's photo studio, and for many, many years (even when Ross divided the house as a duplex and rented it out) the original, gorgeous floor to ceiling hand-turned woodwork mantel piece was in the front room.

    When we went outside through the kitchen door, Grandpa stopped on the kitchen step and pointed to what looked like a little wild rose bush. He told us point-blank: "Here is where I am told my baby sister is buried. She was between my brother and me, a stillborn."

    David does not remember this, but I DO because I asked him a bunch of questions immediately; how come we never hear about her? Why isn't this mentioned in the family record? Did his mother carry her full-term? (yes) How did he feel about having a sister and did he ever wonder what she might have looked like if she had lived?

    Wally said what I already knew, that there were several reasons why people did not usually mention stillbirths at that time period.

    1) The Church did not recognize these as legitimate births. (For Catholics it was worse, as you know) People were discouraged from naming the infant, or having any kind of memorial for it. Literally, if asked - the Bishop/R.S. President would not support any public recognition of the birth. Not until the early 80's I think, did the Church policy towards stillbirths officially change. I believe in part because of the demand of the people, women in particular. Every mother who carries a child KNOWS that there was a SPIRIT quickened inside that little body, regardless of when exactly the Spirit left the child in the process of birth or near-birth.

    2) There used to be a heavy social stigma against stillbirths; it wasn't a tragedy as much as it was shameful. I have record of this odd reaction in my own family history accounts, as well as reading it in many other pioneer journals. While the mother & father & immediate family will feel the real pain and loss, they did not allow this grief to be seen by others. It was not welcome to grieve for a stillborn.

    It was after this small tour of the Henry C. Overson house Grandpa gave us (because I hounded him), that Granny later (it took a few more years)began to schedule ancestor type activities in town, including one year when we AT LAST got to see the St. Johns museum. (Every year since I joined the family in 75 I tried to see it but we were only there at the last minute for the 24th of July and the museum was always closed). The place is chock-full of your direct line, represented in every imaginable way; especially in physical artifacts: an organ, a wedding dress, etc.

    Back to the baby sister; when we returned to the house I made a bee-line to Granny asking about the baby sister. It was made very clear she didn't think it was true. She seemed offended I had brought it up. I think she was put-off by the whole home-burial outside the kitchen thing. But I knew I was there when Grandpa told us the story, and like I said, it was when he was younger, healthy and able-minded when he recounted it to us, giving more details readily when I asked for them. His attitude was absolutely matter-of-fact. His grandmother had told him this story, and his father, also. (btw: he smiled and said "yes", he always wondered what it would have been like to have a little sister. She would have only been 2 years behind him. He said he always imagined she might have been just like his mother.)

    So I taught this to my children ever since. Grandpa had a little sister, who is buried under a wild rose bush (which is still there; I always check) within 3 feet of the (main) kitchen door at the back of the house.