Nathan Orley & Elda Rider Yancey Family


Autobiography of Nathan Orley Yancey

Dictated to daughter, Lydean Yancey, in 1959

I [Nathan Orley Yancey] was born July 23, 1900 at Chesterfield, Idaho, the son of Adam Yancey and Alice Tolman Yancey. When I was one year old my folks moved to Blackfoot and bought 300 acres at Groveland. They first lived in what is now the Wilford Seamons place. I do not remember very clearly of living there but I do remember when Tolman’s lived there because I used to go over and play with Chancy Tolman. I can remember when they made bricks for the house at home. George Rupp had the big pile of bricks over at his place. I think he made the bricks for the first school house.

I first went to school in the back part of the old church house. The Relief Society House was also used for the Eighth Grade. Later I went to the brick school house on the townsite. I liked to go to school and was a good ball player. In the summer I would play mostly with Murray Barrus. We went swimming frequently and would come home and eat gooseberries. When I was about nine years old I nearly drowned when I fell into the canal at the flume in back of the church house. I did not know how to swim and the swift water kept taking me under. No one was around to help me but I finally worked myself out. A little later in the season when Sarah and I were playing by the canal, she fell in on her face and started to float away. I reached out and pulled her out of the water. The folks could not figure how I got her out.

I did not have to work much until I was about 12 years old. We used to raise a lot of hay and I have drove the derrick horse many times. Later, Dad bought 120 acres at MacDonaldsville and I used to go out and help get the sage brush off the ground. We would drag a heavy rail over the brush then gather it up and burn it. Later I helped irrigate the ground and haul the hay and grain home. I soon started to work out thinning beets here and there. I thinned lots of beets for Emron.

In the spring of the year we used to go fishing with Emron. He would hitch a team to the white top and we would go up on the Blackfoot River below Morgan Bridge. There was really some good fishing there at that time. We would get four or five big ones out of every hole. We also used to go up on Brush Creek and fish. I can remember one time when Emory and Ben Barrus, William, myself and a few others were up there the first day after the season opened. We were able to snag big trout 18 to 20 inches long as fast as we could throw the line in. We caught three or four hundred pounds – the most I ever caught any place or time. I have never seen my father go fishing or hunting. I guess he was too busy. When I was eight or nine years old I went out to Lost River in the winter time with James and also Joe Jensen. I don’t remember much about the trip except that coming home the train got snowed in and we were snowed in for two or three days. I think I was the only child on the train. I can remember the conductor cooking an egg on a big tall stove for me. Finally another engine came and pulled us out.

We had a large orchard on the home place. Most all the land between my house and the old home place was in orchard. There were 2 long rows of cherry trees, two long rows of pear trees, several rows of wealthies and the rest being in Ben Davis, Yancos, Wolf River, and plum. We would pick the apples and haul the good ones to Pocatello and make cider from the ones that fell on the ground. I helped Dad spray the orchard and it was quite a job. I used to go with Dad when he went to Pocatello to sell apples. We would put a hundred boxes on the wagon and start out. It took most of the day to get there. We would trade some for groceries and get cash for the rest. Some times we would bring home several water melons and on the way home for dinner we would eat a whole one.

I can remember of going down the main street of Blackfoot when the mud was up to the hubs of the wagons. There were no automobile sup to this time, but in about 1912 Joe Peterson got the first automobile in this county. It had a single cylinder engine in the back and would go put-putting along about 10 miles an hour. Dad bought one of the first real cars in about 1914 – a Studebaker-4. It was a good car at that time but tires cost about $30 or $40 each, batteries were 40 or 50 dollars. Dad did not drive it very much but Cyrus drove it quite a lot. I soon learned how to make gas engines run. I think that is the reason I never cared for horses. I was always fooling around gas engines and had a bicycle that had a motor on it. When I was eighteen I bought me a motor cycle. From the time I was fourteen I started to work for James, building houses. I worked ten or twelve years and used to run the cement mixer a lot. I have worked on school houses all over the country.

I don’t remember much about World War I. Wages were high and there was plenty of work. Cyrus enlisted and I think Daniel was drafted. I was too young, being only seventeen. I went to Pocatello to enlist a while before the war ended so I did not get into the Navy as they had quit enlisting men.

About 1918, Father’s health began to fail and his sight was very poor. I can remember watching him drive nails and he had to guess where they were as he could not see them.

About this time I was called on a mission to the Central States. I left here about the 6th of November, 1919. I went to Salt lake City and from there to Independence, Missouri. When we got our instructions I was assigned to go to Louisiana. While in Independence I went to see Uncle John, Dad’s brother. He lived about two miles from the center of Independence. I visited with him a while and then went back to Independence where I took the train to Shreveport, Louisiana. Where I was to start my missionary work there were not many missionaries in that state. Elder Lyman was President of the Mission. In the early days Louisiana people were very bitter against the Mormons, but while I was there they were quite friendly. We spent most of our time delivering pamphlets on the gospel and visiting what few saints there were. There were not very many branches of the church and we were not able to hold many meetings on street corners as most of the cities had laws forbidding it, but we held lots of cottage meetings with the saints. I don’t remember how many I baptized or blessed as it has been twenty years since. I was on a mission but it is certainly a good place to get a testimony of the gospel. I had quite a few experiences and some of my companions I thought a great deal of Elder McKnight of New Mexico was my last companion a man of about sixty years and the best companion I ever had. I went hungry a few times and have slept in the forests. But always tried to do the best I could. We lived on bacon, hot bread, soup on rice, this kind of diet about ruined my health.

I was in a train wreck while I was on my mission. We were going to conference –it was at night and the train was coming to a station. There was another rail line crossing our tracks at the same station and a train with coal cars was crossing our tracks. The engineer of our train failed to stop to let the other train by so we hit a coal car throwing the coal car on the platform of the station which was filled with people killing several. The engine of our train landed in the waiting room of the station. One woman was thrown on top of the engine. They could hear her scream but could not see her for steam. We were shook up a little but was not hurt any.

Owing to bad health and the death of my father, I was forced to return home. I had been in the mission field fourteen months. On my way home I stopped off at Independence, Missouri to see Uncle John. I had a hard time finding him. He had been kicked out of his home by his wife without anything. He had built himself a little shack out of boxes and tar paper on the lot owned by his father. He was in poor health and very despondent and talked of taking his life. I told him he could come and live with us so as soon as I got home mother sent him enough money to come west. He lived with us about three years and was buried beside his brother.

I was about twenty one by now. I farmed a little and worked with James quite a lot. I tore the old studebaker a part and made me a run about. I made a trip to the head of Snake River with Emry Barrus. We caught a lot of big fish with our hands.

A year later I bought me an old Ford Car. I kept getting me a better car till finally I got a new one. When I was bout twenty five I went to California with Emry and Barrus in their car. We went to Los Angeles where we worked for a month. We left there and came back along the coast. We had quite a trip and saw a lot of country. I was still farming about all that was left of the old place – there was 30 acres on the home place and 40 acres out to McDonaldsville.

There was a heavy mortgage on the place – about $6,000, which was held by Mr. Milock. I managed to a federal loan on the place and in time paid it off. I was married the 21st of December 1927 to Elda Rider. We live at the old home place a few years and then built the house we now live in.

I have held many jobs in the church. I was Priesthood Teacher for three years, Sunday School Teacher for five years, MIA teacher for four years, ward teacher for 35 years, stake missionary for 2 years. At present I am on the genealogical committee – this being the year 1959.


Written Testimony of Nathan Orley Yancey preceding his death in 1969.

Wishing to leave behind some thing besides the things of this world and some thing which will be more valuable than anything of this world. If you who read this - heed this advice – for of the many things which I have learned in this life – one stands out foremost - a very simple law which is "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy".

Few people realize the importance of this commandment and it took me most of my life to realize the importance of this law. When the Israelites fell away into apostasy it was because of their refusal to keep this commandment and the Lord said of them that they would have eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear unto this day – meaning that they would not be able to understand the things of God.

To show you what can happen - when I was a stake missionary we came to a family in which the woman belonged to the church but the man did not. This woman was a well educated nice appearing and came from one of the best families in this stake. But she had quit going to church entirely and I wondered what had happened to bring this about. But as we called on them several times I began to see what had happened and to also understand the scriptures which say that the wager of sin is death. Now this woman said that her parents were so busy working in the church that they did not have time to take care of their children (this I doubt) So she was going to make sure that this did not happen to her children. Now I am sure that this woman felt that she was living just as good of life as any latter Day Saints and that in the end she would receive just as great a reward. But lets see if she was - In the first place she was breaking the sabbath for this is not only a day of rest but the Lord has said we should go to church on this day and if we will. There is a promise that the spirit of God will not leave us and on the other hand if we don’t – the spirit of God will weaken in us and in time perhaps leave us, she was probably breaking the word of wisdom also. Now she had joined a lodge in which she was very active. She pointed out some of the advantages of belonging to a lodge and they do have many good things. They believe in brotherly love and helping other people. There are other advantages also. If you get stranded away from home or even break the laws they will come to you and anyone can become a member regardless of their belief. You can be a catholic – a Jew or atheist – it doesn’t matter and you don’t have to be baptized – so you can believe in any kind of God or none at all, so in reality this lodge she thought so much about was teaching her that the sabbath was a day of pleasure, that there was nothing to the word of wisdom – that it did not matter what kind of God one worshipped and that she could make the laws of God to suit her self.

One of the great prophets of the Book of Mormon in speaking of this world in this day said that the people would make churches unto themselves having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, that they would make the laws of God to suit themselves saying "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die – never the less – God will beat us with a few stripes and in the end we will be saved in the kingdom of God " – this way will the devil lead them carefully down to hell or darkness of mind.

So what will happen to this woman, unless she changes her ways? By breaking the sabbath she was beginning to accept false ideas and to have eyes that cannot see , ears that cannot hear or understand the things of God.

But it doesn’t stop here – Satan will soon put in some more false ideas and she will be lead farther from the truth until she knows nothing of the things of God – for it is not far from idolatry to witchcraft and then to savagery. So the wager of sin is death, or darkness of mind, having eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear.

So unless this woman changes her way she will begin to go backwards and become more and more like the savage. It only takes about four hundred years for people to degenerate back to the savage - man did not come from the savage – but degernated back to the savage. The early inhabitants of America were once a highly intelligent people but because of wickedness and because of the wages of sin – bring this kind of death or darkness of mind – they sank so low that in time offered up human sacrifice and the same has happened to many nation a

We can not stand still, we are either going forward or backward. Now this woman may not degenerate back to savagery in life. But we are told that the same spirit or ideas that are with us when we die will go with us when we die, will go with us into the spirit world – so if we have been disregarding the laws of God here – those ideas will still be with us in the spirit world. So what is to stop this woman from continuing backward (not a thing) – it will be just as hard to repent there as it is here, for becoming set in her ways may not be able to change for we have to mold the clay while it is soft.

Now with this darkness of mind, come a darkness of skin. The ancestors of the negroes, the [_____?] were once white but because of the refusal to live the commandment this curse has come upon them and this darkness of mind is upon them. Why has the Lord allowed them to remain in this condition – that by their sufferings they might be humbled that they might repent and when they begin to repent the Lord will again begin to send in India and China and other nations. These people are seeking their freedom and a desire to learn and are again beginning to have eyes that can see a little and ears which can hear a little and so long as they strive to do what is right, more light will be given them until they can again understand the gospel. But a great many will be wiped off the face of the earth before they are humbled enough. Now the darkness of skin may come upon us even after we dies – who knows? For darkness cleaves unto darkness and light unto light – The negro who accept the gospel and live worthy will inherit the celestial glory – but he will not have a dark skin – but a body of whiteness and light beyond our understanding (then who knows) but what those who seek after darkness will have a dark skin as well as a darkness of mind in the here-after.

It is said that the first and great commandment is to love the Lord with all our might and strength and the second is like unto it – Love thy neighbor as yourself – that upon these commandments hang all the other laws. But I say unto you that there is another commandment that is just as important – which is remember the sabbath and keep it holy – for upon this commandment also hangs all the other laws. For no one can regularly go to church with a desire to learn but what in time it will have its affect – and therein the danger of being lead away by false doctrine on the other hand those who disregard the sabbath will slowly but surely begin to accept the false ideas of the world and if continue – will be lead down into captivity of the devil – having eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. For unto him who has enough of the word of God – will be given less and less until he knows nothing of the things of God. But unto him who seeks to learn – will be given more and more – until he learns all there is to know both in this world and the world to come - Many are called, but few are chosen. Why are they not chosen – because they have their eyes on the things of this world and because of the cares and worries of this world – in time will become so weakened that they will give up and not having the courage , the faith and backbone, will give up and so, become failures in life – both to themselves and their family. Thus they are bound and not free, being subject to their own habits.

So the wager of sin is truly death or darkness of mind. This condition goes on till the resurrection. We are either going forward or backward into the darkness or into the light and Christ is the light of this world.

Would you take poison that would in times cause this body to die? So like wise will the disregard of the Sabbath slowly but surely bring about , in part, this spiritual death or darkness of mind and thus we will be resurrected wither into the darkness or into the light – depending on which way we are going and to the degree we go one way or another .

Many will repent in the spirit world - but as we will be judged by our works – if we have done nothing in this world to uphold the kingdom of God or the teachings of Christ – where are our works ? and having none- how can there be a reward. But remember this, that the door of repentance is always open and we should never give up for we can in if not fully redeem ourselves by saving the souls of others as well as our own – there are many ways – temple work, research for the names of your dead ancestors that they might gain their salvation also, and showing the weak the path to follow – for if we haven’t the faith and the courage to follow the light – God will not take away our free agency and force us.

If you will look around you and see those who have become inactive and have lost faith and don’t seem to care you’ll find they don’t keep this one commandment. The ward teachers call on them and try to help them, but many have eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear – and so will be left to kick against the pricks to feel the wrath of God through sorrow and pain that they might be humbled that they might repent .

So I say unto you and to all who hear these things that upon this commandment of the Sabbath to a great extent rests your salvation and what you’ll be in the worlds to come – so I bear witness that these things are true either in this world or in the world to come for they shall surely stand. So yet while in your youth make a promise to yourself that you will strive to keep this commandment that you might not be led down to this eternal darkness – but walk into the light.

Nathan Orley Yancey

[1900-1969]

This was written soon before his death around 1969.


History of Nathan Orley & Elda (Rider) Yancey Family

Written By Elda Rider Yancey about 1966

Published in "Descendants and Ancestors of
William McDonald and Christina Wallace" (1968)

Elda Rider Yancey, born 29 June 1907 at Woodville, Idaho, the sixth child of John McDonald Rider and his wife Rhoda Laura Jensen Rider.

My father was the bishop of Woodville and I had a happy home life playing with my brothers Ellis, Clifford, and Willie, and the neighbor children. Father had a forty acre farm and we hoed potatoes and beets when we were old enough. Our family was one of the first to have a well and electric lights and an automobile. I remember my big sisters Lizzie, Lenna, and Fern and their pretty dresses and their boy friends. Father was always a happy man, and did many things to make our life enjoyable. We loved to hear Mother and Father play the piano and mouth organ and sing for us. The folks liked to go on trips and we had many good trips together. When I was about eight, Mother, Father, I, and the twins, Evan & Irven took a trip to Kanab, Utah in a white top buggy. We were about two months on the road.

Clifford was accidently shot and killed 14 August 1916. Father sold the farm at Woodville and bought a farm near Blackfoot.

I attended the Blackfoot school and was active in the church, being Sunday School teacher and organist.

I married Nathan Orley Yancey 21 December 1927 in the Arizona Temple. He is the son of Adam and Alice (Tolman) Yancey. He is the 11th in a family of 15 children. His father was bishop of Groveland Ward for 12 years and his mother was Relief Society President for 17 years. He helped work on the farm with his father and brothers and enjoyed hunting and fishing with them. He attended the schools in Groveland and Blackfoot.

At the age of 14, he started working with his brother James at the carpenter trade. When he was 19, he was called on a mission to the Central States. When he returned, he worked with James again. When we were married, we lived in two rooms of the Yancey home. Orley drove a school bus and did trucking. We built a home on the east side of the farm, then later bought the 80 acre farm. We are the only ones of the family still living in Groveland. We have seen some hard times during the depression, as there was very little work. We sold potatoes for 15 cents a sack, butterfat was 25 cents a lb. , and wheat was 30 cents a bushel. During World War II farm prices were good.

We have seven children, Lydean, born 17 October 1928. She always liked school and played the piano and accordion. She graduated from B. Y. U. and is a school teacher. She married David Hal Garretson 1 July 1951 at Logan Temple. They have two children- -D'Anne (I October 1955) and David Rolls (29 October 1963). They live in Redgecrest, California, where Dave works on the missile base and Lydean teaches school. They are kept busy in church activities.

Brice Orley married Marlene Hale 21 October 1955 in the Idaho Falls Temple. He graduated from the Blackfoot schools and attended U.S.A. C. at Logan one year and I. S. U. in Pocatello, Idaho three years. He was in the U.S. service two years and was stationed in Japan. He has a farm in Aberdeen. They have four children--Gail ( 10 December 1956), Scott Brice (25 September 1958), Terrel Nathan (28 March 1960), and Dennis John (4 March 1965).

Cleo, born 29 February 1932, attended school in Blackfoot, B. Y. U. , and Salt Lake. She worked in a bank in Salt Lake and in several offices. She married Albert Eugene Heller 29 May 1952. They have a nice home in Salt Lake. He is employed by the railroad and does construction work. They have two children--Linda (12 December 1957) and Kenneth Eugene (29 August 1960).-4

Yvonne, born 28 May 1939, attended the Blackfoot schools and L. D. S. Business College in Salt Lake. She married Marshell Floyd Kelley 16 May 1959 at Phoenix, Arizona. They have three children- -Michael Kirl (11 December 1959), Sherrie Lynn (I I July 1962), and Terrie Sue (24 May 1964). Floyd is a cement finisher.

Clem R born 10 December 1942 graduated from the Blackfoot schools and the Seminary. He joined the Army Reserve and was stationed at Fort Ord in California for six months. He was called to the Southern States Mission and entered the mission home in Salt Lake on March 25, 1963. He married Janice Butt on August 20, 1965 in the Idaho Falls Temple. They both attended college at I. S. U. in Pocatello. Janice studied Secretarial Training and Clem studied Auto Mechanics. They now live in Groveland and Clem works at Jackson Buick and Janice is a secretary at American Potato Company.

Clair N., Clem's twin, only lived a few hours.

Roger Adam, born June 10, attended the Blackfoot schools, and he attended two years of college at Pocatello in Airplane Mechanics.

We have always enjoyed taking trips together and have gone to Yellowstone Park or other good fishing places and parks several times a year. Our children have always helped us on the farm, working on the potato combine together was as much fun as the trips, and the little ones always wanted to help too.

We have always been active in the Church. I have been organist, chorister, Sunday School and Primary teacher, counselor in Mutual and Relief Society, Secretary in Relief Society eight years and held several class leader positions in Relief Society.

Orley filled a mission and a home mission and has been a teacher in Mutual, Sunday School, and Priesthood classes.

We have both been active in Genealogical and Temple work.

We live close by the Groveland church house. When they built a new chapel, I was asked to be custodian. I have held this position for 14 years and have really enjoyed it. Orley has helped with the hard part of the work.