"Going to the roots of the Vandiver Family"
May 26, 2024




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Stanley George Smith
An Autobiography written September 1964
and typed by his daughter, M. Jean Smith Vandiver from notes found in a folder in his desk.


I, Margaret Jean Smith Vandiver, will continue with my Dad's life history. My information will come from documents found, notes he had made, dates on pictures and from first hand information.

As my dad, Stan, stated in his writing, he was born and grew up in Kaysville, Utah, and attended school district #8 in Davis County, Utah. His report cards of the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades indicate that he was an above average student, average in music and art. He also was well behaved in school. His 7th grade teacher wrote in her remarks that he was "interested, working and doing well." He was in the 3rd grade the year of 1904-5. That would have him starting school in 1902-3 being eight years old when he started school. The reason for this is unknown. He completed the 8th grade and received a Certificate of Promotion on June 4, 1910, stating he had completed the requirements for entrance into high school.

He was a member of the LDS church - baptized 1 August 1903, ordained a Deacon 21 December 1908, a Teacher on 29 April 1912, an Elder on 26 August 1928, and High Priest on 12 August 1969. His mother washed his overalls on Saturday night so he could attend Sunday School on Sunday morning.

His first trip to Ogden was by horse and buggy with his father when he was ten years old - going along the mountain road. Ogden was about twenty miles distance to the north - a full day's outing.

From stories he told, he was a normal boy - sometimes letting his school work go by the way and sometimes getting into trouble by being mischievous. He loved to play tricks on his mother. He and friends got her favorite rooster drunk. They would snitch goodies out of the pantry if there was a party or wedding by lifting them through the window on a pitch fork. He stole watermelons when they were in season. His father let him know if he got in trouble with the law, he was on his own. When a small lad, he would hide in the shelves by the kitchen range to catch Santa - always unsuccessfully. He helped with chores on the farm, but because money was scarce he also found work away from home in that area.

Stanley's first job away from Utah was the summer of 1914 when he went to the Moore and Arco area in Idaho to work with his Uncle Jim who had been sent to Idaho to care for his dad's sheep. Stanley worked there through the summer of 1914 and into the fall. He went back to Kaysville in November to attend the funeral of his Grandmother Bishop. He returned to Idaho and worked there through the summer of 1915 returning to Kaysville in the fall for Thanksgiving and Christmas. After the holidays, he attended the Smithsonian Business College in Ogden, Utah, in the Commercial and Business department. He graduated from there on the 18th of May 1916. After this he left home again and went to the Northwest to make his livelihood. He settled in San Francisco; lived and worked there until he came back to Utah to work for his father until his induction into the army.

Stanley  Smith - Taken in Liverpool England in 1918
Stanley Smith - Taken in Liverpool,
England in 1918

His enlistment record states that Stanley G. Smith, #2290513, grade Private, was inducted on March 31, 1918, at Farmington, Utah. Notes he wrote on the front page of the little New Testament that each inductee was given states, "Left N.Y. harbor June 11, 1918, 7:15 a.m." "Casuals #1" "June 16, 1918, on the Atlantic." "Arrived at Liverpool, England, June 24, 1918." "July 4, 1918, U.S. Military Hospital Unit 1, Salisbury Court, England." During the flu epidemic, it was his job to open up the chests of the soldiers who died to confirm the cause of death.

According to his discharge papers, he served in this unit from June 24, 1918, to May 1, 1919, receiving no medals, badges, etc. He had knowledge of mechanics, had received no wounds, was in good physical condition when discharged and had the typhoid and paratyphoid shots on April 16, 1918. He was single and of excellent character. He was discharged on 24 May 1919, at Camp Grant, Illinois. He was 23 years of age when enlisted, a farmer, with blue eyes, brown hair, muddy complexion and 5 foot 8 inches in height and entitled to travel pay. He was paid in full - $160.40 which included a $60.00 bonus.

When WWII came along Stanley enlisted again in the Camas County Battalion on July 9, 1942 (C #1559 35 20) and was honorably discharged January 11, 1944. He later received a recognition for his "devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country " signed by Jimmy Carter, President of the United States.

Stanley and Nell Smith
Stanley and Nell Smith

While in England, he and a buddy were in Sefton Park in Liverpool where they saw two young ladies walking towards them. He said to his friend, "You take the one on the left and I'll take the other one." They talked to the two girls, then he courted the girl on the right - Judith Ellen "Nell" Pye of Garston, Liverpool, England. On April 13, 1919, they were married in St. Michael's Garston Parish church under the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes by the Vicar, Parnell Rowe. At this time, Stanley was at the Embarkation Camp in Knotty Ash, Liverpool. On May 1, 1919, he was shipped back to the U.S. His new wife followed later - May 21, 1919. He was not in New York to meet her. This was very troublesome because many of the GI's never did show up to claim their brides, but Stanley had sent a message that he would meet her in Chicago. Joined in Chicago, they went together by train to his home in Kaysville, Utah. They lived there with his parents for about four months, then moved to Fairfield, Idaho, where they had bought a farm - 1 mile north and 2 miles west of Fairfield.

On March 24, 1920, a daughter, Margaret Jean, was born. Stanley went by horseback to town three times that night to report the progress of the labor. The third time Dr. Willencheck rode his horse back with him to help with the delivery of the baby. On June 27, 1921, a son, Arthur Stanley, was delivered by the same doctor.

Smith Home in Fairfield, Idaho - August 1937
Smith Home in Fairfield, Idaho - August 1937
side view looking north

Stanley lost his farm in the crash of 1924. It was foreclosed when he couldn't meet his payment. He then rented a farm across the section to the south. He farmed that until it was bought by another farmer. In the fall of 1928, he bought a home in town and found work in a department store. He worked there until the depression hit. During that time he worked at whatever he could find - the janitor of the grade school and the LDS church; the forest service; and some carpentry. Finally, he found a permanent job with the State Highway Department keeping up roads in Camas County. He worked there until the fall of 1945.

Probably the saddest time of his life, and that of his wife, Nell, and his daughter, Jean, was September 11, 1932, when his 11 year old son died in the Gooding Idaho Hospital of a ruptured appendix and peritonitis. Arthur was buried in the Kaysville-Layton Cemetery on September 14, 1932. It was a happier time on December 13, 1933, when a daughter, Avis Mae, was born. She was the new light of their life.

In the fall of 1945, they bought and remodeled a home on Idaho Street in Gooding, Idaho. Stanley worked at the carpentry trade. The girls and their families visited often. Stan and Nell visited them in their homes as well. In August 1951, they joined Stan's brother and sisters and spouses at the home of his daughter, Jean, and family in Greeley, Colorado, for a reunion. They also enjoyed many trips with their friends. His wife, Nell, died of cancer September 17, 1964. She was buried next to their son in Kaysville, Utah. Stanley returned to Gooding. He continued his activity in the LDS church - joined their singles group and enjoyed many of their home evenings, dances and trips and the many other kindnesses of the members.

He enjoyed visiting at the homes of his daughters and grandchildren who were always thoughtful of him. In 1975, he made a trip to Sioux City, Iowa, with Jean to attend the High School graduation of his grandson, Kenneth Kramer. He thoroughly enjoyed the trip and was a good companion to travel with. He especially enjoyed the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. He spent Christmas with either Jean or Avis, enjoying the fun the little ones were having. He was at the home of his daughter, Jean, when he had a massive stroke. He died 10 days later on June 29, 1980, in the Bozeman Hospital. He was buried next to his wife and son in the Kaysville-Layton cemetery.


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