BIOGRAPHY OF THOMAS ELGIN YANCEY
April 26, 1874-May 21, 1951
Thomas Elgin Yancey was born April 26, 1874, to Jasper and Sarah Frances Tunnell Yancey, in Aberdeen, Monroe, Mississippi. He had one older brother, William Elvie. David Odis, Arthur B., Mary Emma (Molly), Emanuel (Money Dee Lee), Flora Edna, and Albert were his younger brothers and sisters.
Tom grew up in Mississippi. His father was a farmer. Their lives were hard and they had very little money. The missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints converted his grandparents Philip Henry and Sophronia Carden Yancey as well as his parents, Jasper and Sarah Yancey. George Albert Smith was instrumental in their conversion. Tom was baptized October 20, 1890, at the age of 16.
Elvie, Tomís older brother, went to Utah in 1891, but did not join the church until April 29, 1899. The rest of the family left Mississippi in 1893, when Tom was 19 years old. They sold everything and came by train. The experience was difficult. Tom got the mumps and there was some miscommunication. The family got off the train before they were supposed to and Elvie was at another train depot. They arrived discouraged and unhappy. Their first thought was to go back to Mississippi, but they didnít. They settled first in Linden then went to Pleasant Grove. Tom eventually moved up to the Salt Lake area,
Tom met Grace Bringhurst at an outing at Wandimere Park. He courted her for a while then he decided he should take her sister, Annie to a show. They continued to see each other which was difficult for Grace.
In November 1907, and into the first of the year in 1908, Tom took the train and went back to see several of his relatives and for some business. He did not indicate what that business was but he did write some letters to Annie in December and January. During that trip he was in a train wreck. He was not injured badly but tells about the experience in his letter to Annie. He came back to Utah in the spring. He received his endowment and married Annie on June 24, 1908, in the Salt Lake Temple. Tom was 34 and Annie was 19. There were no pictures of that event but Annie told a little about it. "Tom came to stay at our place the night before we were to be married. We got up real early in order to get to the temple by 8:00 A.M. Drove "Old Rollo", our horse, and tied him up to the hitching posts that were put there to tie horses up to and we went in and were to the temple a good portion of the day. We came home, and went to where we were going to live, and went to work I guess."
Tom was a farmer and he planted various crops. When the thrashers came it was a busy time. They killed a sheep and a pig for meat for them. Annie cooked huge meals. Everyone loved her cooking.
Annie and Tom had three children. Orin Thomas was born on January 28, 1910. Marie came into the family on October 12, 1915, and Ralph on January 1, 1922. Orin died of meningitis in 1928 at 18 years of age. That was devastating to the family. Marie, who was 12, said that she was at Grandma Bringhurstís home when the word came. Marie was standing against a wall. She slid down the wall and sat on the floor and said, "It should have been me." That was an event that the family never got over.
The family was very poor and did not have a Christmas tree until after Marie went to work and she bought their first Christmas tree. That was a wonderful Christmas.
Marie married Spencer Morris in 1939 and they had two girls, Ann and Tracey. Marie and Spence were divorced in 1961. Marie married Bill Coombe in 1966. Ralph married Ann Yengich in1943. They had a daughter they named Karen, in December of that year. Ralph and Ann were divorced and he married VerLene Hale Thorne in 1948. She had two boys from a previous marriage to Virgil J. Thorne, Bill and Ron. Ralph and VerLene had a daughter, RaKell in July 18, 1951. They were all close to Annie and Tom.
Tom was a true blue, dyed in the wool, Democrat and loved to talk politics. He had little or nothing to do with the church after his marriage to Annie. He did love his old black car and took the grandchildren to Sunday School. He often kept candy in the glove compartment for them. A stoplight was put at one of the intersections and one of his favorite things to do was to creep up to the green light and when it turned yellow he would step on the gas and run the yellow light. Some years ago Ron Thorne took a picture of a car similar to the old black car with Marie standing beside it. It was memorable.
His brother David Odis would come to visit with his wife and family. Marie enjoyed the visits from Uncle Od and Aunt Mary.
He loved birds and hated cats because they killed birds. He was grumpy with Annie but was good to Marie and his grandchildren. He always had a love for the South and "Dixie".
Tom died May 21, 1951, at home with Annie taking care of him. He and Annie are buried in the Murray City Cemetery.