Jasper Yancey (left)  and wife Sarah Frances Tunnell Yancey (right)

Findagrave Site for Jasper Yancey

Information on his Father Phillip Henry Yancey

Kenneth E. Yancey’s recollection of our Grandfather - Jasper Yancey (1828-1929)

I've been giving a great deal of thought to trying to get something on tape about my grandfather Yancey and at the urging of my first cousin  Marion Heilner of Baker, Oregon. I am undertaking to put into more formal order some of my recollections of our grandfather Jasper Yancey.

So far as I recall I first became acquainted with my grandfather at the age of possibly four or five years while we were living in American Fork, Utah and while grandfather and grandmother Yancey lived in a small home on the North side of the Oregon Shortline Railroad track approximately eight blocks from where we lived.

I recall that we would occasionally visit with grandmother and grandfather. I traveling beside my mom while she was wheeling a baby carriage containing my sister Leon. That was quite a long walk for us. Mom seemed to enjoy it and we visited with my grandparents.

My father Albert, was in those days connected with the sheep-raising business and spent most of his time away from home coming home occasionally. At that time grandmother was severely inflicted with dropsey (I think it was called then) causing her body to swell which seemed to me at the time to be of enormous proportions. This evidently was a characteristic of the disease causing the arms and legs to swell way beyond normal proportions. She was immobilized and was usually sitting in

Grandfather was not a large man - I would estimate approximately 5’8 and in the area of 150-160 pounds. He was handsome I would say and wore a beard as we11 as a mustache a great deal of the time. He was of a rather jovial disposition and I liked him because he used to pat me on the head and tell me that I was a good boy. As I grew a little older I would meet grandfather on the street uptown. It would usually happen that he would have a nickel for me for the purpose of an ice-cream cone or another confection of my choice. This happened so frequently that I am sure I took it for granted. I recall one day I met him and he didn't produce the nickel as usual. After a short exchange of amenities) I felt I should remind him that I didn't have my nickel and this is one of the things that I will always remember about him. He immediately came back at me with the reply that a young fellow my age should not approach his grandfather for a demand for money - ­even for an ice-cream cone. This had quite a sobering effect on me and though our relationship continued I always looked upon grandfather in a different light. As I grew older I learned he was indeed right and I had a greater appreciation for his counsel even though it was of few words and directly to the point.

I don't remember the year nor how old I was when grandmother passed away but I was of very tender years. Grandfather continued to live in the old home for a number of years then his health seemed to deteriorate somewhat and as I recall he spent some time residing with other of his children in different parts of the country.

Then it became evident that grandfather needed to be where he could be looked after and my father Albert and I along with grandfather constructed a one room cabin or home for him on a lot that adjoined ours which my father purchased for the purpose of providing a home for grandfather. This cabin would have been approx­imately 14 x 18 feet and was insulated and lined built with tongue and groove fir flooring inside and out and was heated by a single coal-burning cook stove.

This made grandfather very comfortable and happy and he lived there alone for quite a number of years. At this time, we grew joint gardens and I learned several things from him and I think my mother enjoyed having him there, as he was a very good neighbor and gardener. Our relationships were always of the best, although at times I didn't particularly enjoy having my counselor at such close range at a time in my life when I was inclined to explore and try out a few things.

During my acquaintance, grandfather was not active in the Church, although I understood from the beginning that he and his small family had emigrated to Utah for the Church. I further understand that a few early incidents after their arrival in Utah, rather soured grandfather and some of his children on the Church. I was never really acquainted with what these circumstances were.

Grandfather had a very pleasant singing voice though I never did hear him sing on any formal basis he did so for his own amusement sing quite a little bit and I rather enjoyed hearing him do this because it indicated a rather cheerful mood. I’m not aware of his being otherwise talented in any particular instrument or other activity. If grandfather had any particular vocational skill) I was not aware of it inasmuch as he was usually employed in some construction or laboring capacity and had a reputation of being a good man on the job.

It is indeed unfortunate that We fail to recognize the great values and the good things about people and situations until after they are gone. I've often wondered what the exact circumstances of grandmother and grandfather becoming converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I'm sure there was a great deal of persecution involved and possibly great hardships in connection with their conversion and their traveling to Utah for the Gospel.      

At the funeral of my father a telegram was received from President George Albert Smith expressing his regret at not being able to come to the funeral and then he went on to say that Jasper Yancey was of particular importance to him because during his mission in the south grandfather Yancey had sheltered and protected him from an angry mob who were threatening to tar and feather him and drag him out of town. Grandfather was apparently willing to face this mob at personal danger of also being tarred and feathered. Apparently grandfather had a great deal of love and respect for President Smith.

It is not to my credit that I am unable to furnish greater details in the life of this great man but I hope that there will be other sources in our family organ­ization that will be able to put together a more complete story.

Transcribed By Marie Yancey Coombe  1983

Jasper Yancey

More Yancey/Tunnell family data

Children of Jasper & Sophronia Carden Yancey

1) William Elvie Yancey
2) Thomas Elgin Yancey
3) David Odis Yancey
4) Mary Emma Yancey
5) Money Dee Lee Yancey
6) Flora Edna Yancey
7) John Albert Yancey


One interesting note is just how similar all the brothers looked.


William Elvie Yancey and wife
Son of Jasper Yancey

William Elvie Yancey Letters

Biography from the book about his daughter

Recollections of Marion Yancey Heilner

Hugh & Elinor Yancey information

Elvie Hyde Yancey Photos    - - -  Biography

Rose Marie Yancey Reid


Hugh Yancey and wife

Elvie Hyde Yancey & wife Velva

Rose Marie Yancey Reid

Don Merlin Yancey

Elvie Yancey and His Three Sisters:  Marion, Rose Marie, Ruth



Thomas Elgin Yancey
Son of Jasper Yancey

Thomas Elgin Yancey Biography

David Odis Yancey and wife

David Odis Yancey (son of Jasper Yancey)

David Odis Yancey, born August 28, 1875 in Aberden, Miss., was the son of Jasper Yancey and Sarah Francis Tunnel. He spent his childhood in the southern states. His parents and members of the family made their living by working in the cotton and tobacco fields.  Times were difficult, but they managed quite well througn close co-operation with each other.

They were visited often by the L.D.S. missionaries and became interested in their messages. The late President of the Church, George Albert Smith was at that time President of a branch near Aberdeen and through the missionaries he became acquainted with the Yancey family. They admired him and treated him with great respect. Through his influence, most of the family were converted to the L.D.S. religion. Elvie the eldest son was first to join the church and in the year 1891 came to Utah with Elder Brown. He was so pleased and happy with his new surroundings that he pleaded with the rest of the family to join him.

Two years later the family decided to sell all their property which consisted of 80 acres, a home, and farm animals.

Everything was sold for the sum of four-hundred dollars. That is all they had to venture forth into the “new world” so to speak, other than a few choice possessions.

They arrived one wintery night in March 1893-94 by train on the outskirts of Pleasant Grove, Utah. They arrived at a small train station in Geneva which had been built for a section manager named John Anderson. The family was uncertain just where to stop. They were expected to have gone on to Provo where Elder Brown, his brother and son, Elvie were waiting to greet them.  The train had gone on  and everything looked so desolate and they were so cold and tired.

They felt so disappointed in the surroundings. The father said "Children we have made a grave mistake, if this is Zion I want no part of it.”

I prefer our home in Mississippi. We will plan to go back immediately.”

This made the family very disappointed, some of the children cried, and to make things more complicated, Thomas had contracted the mumps on the trip and was very ill. One can imagine how the family felt,  they had expected their son Elvie to greet them, not a stranger.

The family was taken care of through the night by Mr. Anderson in Geneva and the next morning they located their son in Provo, however, it was quite a sad experience for all.  The family which consisted of brothers Dee, Thomas, Albert,  David Odis, and Elvie, and two sisters Molly and Flora were invited to live at the Brown residence for awhile until they became more adjusted to their new surroundings. They later rented part of  Elder Brown's property at Lindon. As time went on they decided to move to a place between American Fork and Pleasant Grove.

David Odis was employed by the Tomlinson family to help on the farm. This is how he became acquainted with Mary Alice T., who converted him to the L.D.S. Church.  Sometime later they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in December of 1897.

Mary Alice's mother was unable to take care of herself, so Odis and Mary moved into part of her house and made this their home.

All the children were born there: Hazel Elisabeth, David Darrell, Lauretta, Albert, the twins Evia and Evelyine, and Grace Sarah. They lost two children; Hazel from Scarlet fever and Albert, after a few months after birth from a heart condition.  It was quite difficult in those day to make a living and provide for the family.

Odis was employed at many places. One time he was employed at the Utah Idaho Sugar Company. He also worked across the lake near Geneva, getting logs for building.  He was a carpenter for the Telleride Company in 1910.   He helped build the first tramway at the head of Battle Creek up the canyon.

Odis and Mary Alice inherited the home and farm after the death of Elizabeth Tomlinson and lived there for many years, but later on decided to move closer to town, near the schools and the activities for the children. It was about 1915-16.

The home was very old. In fact, it was the first brick home that was built in Pleasant Grove. However, it was soon made very attractive with lots of planning and work. Choice shrubbery and fruit trees were planted, berries, currants, and a large  vegetable garden. There were beautiful climbing roses around the fences and everything was well cared for.  All this was Odis' pride and joy.  He shared the crops with neighbors and Widows who were not as fortunate. The house was painted and repaired. Odis was loved and admired by all that knew him, always doing a kind deed wherever it was needed, in his quiet unobtrusive way.

Not even his own family knew how many Missionaries he had sent money to until it was accidentally found out through thank-you letters. He was a sincere, honest man in all walks of life. He did not attend Church very often but lived his religion every day of of his life. In my estimation he was a religious man. A wonderful provider for his family and everyone loved and respected him.

Odis was employed at the Pleasant Grove Canning Company for over twenty years.  As an Assistant mechanic, while checking the machines one morning (as he did each day), he was caught in a belt shaft and died October 18th, 1939, almost instantly. At the time of his death, he had about twenty grandchildren.  He was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

David Odis & Mary Alice Tomlinson Yancey had the following children:  Hazel Elizabeth (died young), David Darrell, Lauretta, Albert Jasper (died young), Eva, Evelyn, Grace Yancey.

Mary Emma Yancey & husband Joseph Henry Hardman

Money Dee Lee Yancey as a young man
Son of Jasper Yancey

Money Yancey's children

Flora Edna Yancey   - daughter of Jasper Yancey


John Albert Yancey, son of Jasper Yancey

Information provided by Launa Harward

John Albert Yancey, son of Jasper and Sarah Tunnel Yancey, was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi on July 18, 1886.  At the age of seven, he came to Utah with his parents and brothers and sisters.  At that time there was bitterness, among the southern people, toward the Mormons.  This made no difference to the Yanceys, they were always willing to feed and protect them. The missionaries were always welcome in their home.  Jasper and Sarah became converts to the LDS Church and decided to leave Mississippi and come to Utah on the D & R G train.  The conductor let them off on a platform near Geneva Resort.  This was the closest stop to their Pleasant Grove destination. They arrived on a blustery day in March of 1893.   They were left standing alone, with their six children, in the first snow they had ever seen.  They were in a strange country facing a new way of living.  They had left relatives, friends and property for the sake of their Mormon beliefs.  They lived in Pleasant Grove for four years, then moved to American Fork to make their home.

 Albert, or “Ab” as we knew him, attended the public schools both in American Fork and Pleasant Grove.  He married Emily Hoggard, September 22, 1908.  The following children were born to them:  Kenneth, Leone, Veldon, Madge and Rhea. He was a loving husband and father.  He was a good provider and hard worker.  He supported his family and gave them everything that was possible for his two hands to get for them.  He could not have done all this without the help of his good wife whom he appreciated.  She was a very good manager.  She was able to gather up the loose ends and tie them together to take care of their family. He was not a church going man; but deep down in his heart was a spiritual man.  While he was alone, tending sheep, he enjoyed reading his Bible and he believed in the resurrection of Jesus.  He was always willing to help anyone who needed assistance.                              

 He loved the outdoors and was ambitious, so when very young he began working on the range. He took care of sheep through the winter until Spring. Over 100,000 sheep, from different localities, ran on the desert. He had such an excellent memory, that in Spring he could sort them out.  He stood at the crossroads and divided the different sheep from the herds.  All of the sheep had the mark of his owner.  Albert had all these different identifications memorized so as the sheep passed before his eyes he could pick them out. 

 He always took great pride in his horses.  They were well fed and cared for.   When his horses would return to camp, after being out looking for food, Albert was there to greet them as though they were human beings. Even at night and in zero weather, he would kick of the covers and go out to offer them something.   He said he depended upon them and was not going to disappoint them. 

It was said about him "He kept his camp as clean as the modern day kitchens. It was shining.  His stove was blacked and it was immaculate."  He instilled that in others.  

 About 1933 he left sheep herding.  He was employed by Walsh Construction, Geneva Steel and other Construction companies.  He never missed a shift until he became ill.  He died May 9, 1950.