The Sons of Utah Pioneers Chapter met 20 April at 6:30 P.M. President F. Martell Grover directed and gave a welcome to 47 members, spouses and guests at our Membership meeting. This month was to recognize our 25th anniversary as an SUP Chapter. The opening hymn was “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” led by Nancy Quarez. The opening prayer was offered by Francine Hart and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by F. Martell Grover. He recognized the guests who were present, two of which were Steve Parkinson and his wife, Donna Lynn. Steve has submitted application papers to become a member of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. Other guests were Lynn Bradshaw and his wife, Cindy, the SUP Area Vice President and Keith Van Roosedaal, National SUP President Elect.
We then all enjoyed spaghetti and Meat Balls, rolls, and fruit salad and a beautiful 25th anniversary cake which was provided by Upper Snake River Valley Historical Society. The evening’s food was prepared under the direction of our Food Chairman, Alton Wilde and his wife Paula.
While we were eating Ken Hart recognized those with birthdays and anniversaries during the month of April.
Louis Clements then described the history of the Rexburg Motor Company. “In June 1920 Emmett and Harry Poole purchased the large garage on College Avenue. November 1920 the stockholders of Bonneville Auto Company became owners of Poole Motor Company, known as Rexburg Motor Company, with Ray Yearsley as the foreman. July 20, 1923 they moved to West Main Street to replace the Yellowstone garage in the Winter building. September 10, 1926 they moved to Carlson Avenue. January 18, 1935 the new Ford Motor Company building became the Rexburg Motor Company and was located on the northwest corner of Main Street and First East, east of the WOW building. F. L. Erdman, the first owner/manager, came to Rexburg about 1933. Ray Hill started working there in 1934, and became manager in 1949. There was a service station as part of the company located just east of the car dealership on the corner. Raymond K. Hill, Ray’s son, helped tear it down in the early 50’s. Raymond began working for his dad the summer of 1947 between 7th and 8th grades. The excavation was filled and this area was used as a used car lot. Between the garage and J. C. Penny’s (WOW building) was a wooden platform with room for several cars. There was a fence at the back. The service department the body shop were in back of the show room. There was also a basement under all of the above that was used for storage. The basement had a ramp from the shop doors where Marguerite Hill decorated floats for the Classic Shop for many years down there.
In 1949 Erdman moved to Salt Lake City. He came back occasionally but then died in 1965. At this time a new Ford Motor Company building was started on South Highway. The Ford Company said they needed to upgrade with new facilities. It opened about August/September 1966 showing the 1967 models.
Dealer Doug Hancey moved from Great Falls, Montana, where he owned and operated a Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi dealership. Prior to that he worked for Ford Motor Company in their headquarters at Dearborn, Michigan, as well as in Seattle, Washington in Finance and marketing positions for the company.
Hancy has served in various civic and business groups and held numerous offices over the years, including being a director of the Great Falls Auto Dealers Association. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and he and his wife, Dorothy, have six children.
May 6, 2004, Madison Ford had a new owner and a new name. Woody Smith of Idaho Falls bought the dealership early in April from Doug Hancey. It is located at 535 South Yellowstone Highway in Rexburg.”
Bill Eckersell described the monuments for which the Chapter has the responsibility. The one in Beaver Dick Park honors the Old North Fork Ferry that allowed people traveling to or through Rexburg
ease to cross the river. The monument was moved from its former location to a location in Beaver Dick Park. The plaque on the monument had been damaged and needed to be repaired. It now looks very nice.
Lynn Bradshaw advised us that the Sculpture with statues of the men present at the time representing the “Wagon Box Prophecy” has been placed temporally in the Rexburg Tabernacle/Flood Museum. He said that Pocatello and Blackfoot Chapters want to have their own July outing this year and that the Eagle Rock Chapter wanted to know if we would join them for this year’s outing. The group said yes, but would like prefer having the outing in Rexburg.
He indicated that if there were families who wanted to march in the July 24th of July SUP Salt Lake sponsored parade, they would need to register right away.
Lynn Smith introduced the speakers for tonight’s program as Jerry Glenn, Dee Risenmay and Ron Gibb.
Jerry Glenn spoke about the Upper Snake River Valley Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and how it was organized and shared a few personal experiences. The handout given to everyone present is as follows: “The organizational meeting took place on November 12, 1992. The National President, Morris Bennion of Salt Lake City, attended the Meeting and officially chartered the Chapter. The Rexburg Chapter was sponsored by the Eagle Rock Chapter located in Idaho Falls. That Chapter was represented by Harold Forbush. There were fifteen Charter members. The following were elected officers: Norman Ricks, President, Jerry L. Glenn, President-Elect, Dean R. Grover, Secretary, and Harold D. Stoddard, as Treasurer. Other initial board members included Rueland Ward, Dean Ricks, Don R. Mikesell, And Blair Rich. Other charter members were Leigh Chantrill, Elmo Jeppesen, Larry E. Hibbert, Kurt Hibbert, Mark G. Ricks, Bernard Prows and Carl K. Rasmussen.
Its first meeting was on January 13, 1993 at the Madison District Library in Rexburg, with Jerry Glenn giving a slide presentation entitled, “Along the Mormon Trail,” tracing the path of the LDS Church from New York state to Utah.
The purpose of the organization is to honor the pioneers, mark historic places and better the community. Membership at that time required a person to trace their ancestors to settlers in Utah prior to 1869. That requirement has since been adjusted so that anyone interested in the goals of the organization may join.”
Jerry told how the original trek was to Pierre’s Theatre and, because it was so well liked, they went to the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone at another time. They had over 50 members in attendance at each one.
At a later time he was elected to the office of Area Vice President. The position was formed after he gave the suggestion to the National Board. Because it involved Chapters of the SUP located in areas other than Salt Lake City, Utah, it became one of the best things to happen during the time he has been a member of the SUP.
Dee Risenmay indicated that Jerry Glenn had asked him to be a member. In 1999 he was elected to be President Elect which meant he would be the President in the year 2000. As such, proposed a three-day tour to Casper, Wyoming, and the Mormon trail back to Salt Lake City. It was so well liked that he proposed Church History tour. Sixty people went on the tour with many of them joining the Chapter so that they could go. He Said there were a few problems, but none of which made the tour unsuccessful. One he described took place at the beginning. They flew to Manchester, Massachusetts and were expecting buses to take them to Boston, but somehow the buses went to the Boston Air Port instead and so they had to arrange for vans to take them to the buses.
He said the people were particularly kind to Harold Forbush, who was blind.In one instance guides opened the area where others couldn’t go so he could enter and touch the things he could not see. Later on, Brother Risenmay was asked to be the chairman of the committee to organize the National Convention which was held in Rexburg in 2001 and again in 2013.
Ron Gibb then spoke on the Memorialization of our Pioneer Ancestors. He said in the past the names were bronzed and placed on metal strips on the wall of the hallway of the National Building and the Biographies filed. But because of the quantity, they now have changed the policy and will digitize the names and biographies and have them available through a website. He recommended that we all make an effort to have our Pioneer Ancestors in their data base. So send them in now. He also said that they will accept some family stories to be published in the Trail Marker.
At this point Louis Clements of the Historical Society presented the “25th Anniversary Cake” for our Chapter to the membership and the candles were lit. Everyone sang “Happy 25th Anniversary.” F. Martell Grover, President, Kenneth Hart, President Elect, and Alton Wilde, Past President, were invited to blow out the candles before serving the cake to those present.
President Keith Van Roosedaal, National President Elect, spoke to us. He acknowledged that our Chapter is an excellent one and congratulated us on making it so. He encouraged all of us to memorialize our ancestors and to start now.
He emphasized that the Sustaining Member Program is an important way for the National to obtain funds to carry out the purposes of the SUP organization. He said how there are some businesses that donated funds that helped them remodel the National Building and Parking lot.
Brother Van Roosedaal told how his 4th Great Grandfather was a tailor by trade and made suits for Brigham Young. When he was in the prison for practicing polygamy he made suits for the warden and jailors as a way to raise funds to help his family.
He was asked how the parking lot at the National Office was coming. He answered that it is being paved now and they have added parking spaces to make it easier to find parking when people are at the National Office.
President Grover told us that there were fliers from the National Office on the head table that told of the treks and other things which were going on at the National level. He then asked Dee Risenmay to help draw the winning number for the door prize, a copy of one of the volumes of the Rexburg History. Alton and Paula Wilde were thrilled to be the recipients. He reminded everyone that the first trek of the summer would be on Monday, May 15th to the Potato Museum in Blackfoot.
The closing prayer was offered by Kenneth Hart and everyone was helpful with the clean up to leave the Rexburg Senior Center nice for the next day.