Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More from Our Lives in Rapid City. The Boys go Out Shooting. 1977(ish)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

     This week takes us to another photo album and more pictures from the late 1970's taken in and around Rapid City, South Dakota.  The randomness of these historical posts throughout the blog is intentional.  I haven't the time or interest in organizing my hundreds and hundreds of slides and photos in chronological order.  As I stated in this blog's first post, I wouldn't have done this family history blog if I felt I had to.  I'll leave the organizing of this blog to someone else in this family at some future time.  My duty is to get the information out there, get the pictures posted, get the stories told and leave it at that.  So, here's hoping you understand, and here's hoping someone someday will organize it all into a flowing, time driven story of a simple South Dakota family living through interesting times.
     The memories of my youth seem to be slipping away with each new wrinkle.  Take the three pictures below.  I think I remember taking them.  I think I remember this outing into the hills to shoot - but can't be sure.  The photographic evidence is here so we did it.  Perhaps Kevin and Jon can provide more information.  

     Charles Williamson (my dad), Emerson Leissman (my dad's step father) Brad Haugen, and Kevin Williamson are pictured above.  Brad is shooting my dad's pistol.  Kevin shoulders Brad's rifle.  He looks a bit uncomfortable holding the rifle.  We were NOT a shooting family by any stretch of the imagination.  Dad kept his pistol on hand for safety reasons only.  I remember Dad liked to shoot, but bullets cost money and shooting took time - both of which we had little of.

Jon Williamson joins us in the photo above holding another of Brad's rifles.  Kevin is looking a bit more relaxed.  Jon's smile is disconcerting.  I wonder what plot was forming in his little head with that rifle at his disposal.

Dad is helping Jon with something while Grandpa Leissman and Brad Haugen shoot.  Brad was a good friend of Kevin's.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Photos from the 1970's Continue. Growing Up in Rapid City and the Black Hills.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
It is another beautiful fall afternoon here at the Fortress. In today's digital family gathering last week's theme continues with more photos of family and friends taken in the mid 1970's in Rapid City, South Dakota and the surrounding Black Hills.

Kevin's Basketball Team, 1972 / 73

 Kevin is on the far left of the front row, number 11.  This looks like the city rec Canyon Lake basketball team.  Kevin can supply the names.

Pictures from our hike to the top of Harney Peak.  1975

I'm already in the fire lookout tower looking down at the family as they arrive.  Charles Williamson leads them onward followed by Jilane, Lisa, Janice, and Luella holding Annette.

Luella, Lisa, Janice, and Jilane at the base of the fire looking tower at the top of Harney Peak.

Cary Gillies will with us that day.  A shot of him at the top of Harney Peak.  

Spearfish Park, 1975

This picture of Lisa has been floating around for years.  We're at the Williamson family reunion.  Lisa is either three or four years old and enjoying Spearfish Creek.

A Brothers Day Out.  The Black Hills.  1975

 One day Kevin, Jon, Brad Haugen, and I went on a road trip through the Black Hills.

 We played frisbee.  Kevin's going up for the catch.  Gotta love the 1970's short shorts for guys and white knee socks.

Brad Haugen, Kevin and Jon.

The Gillies Sisters Stop By.  1975

Janice with Allison Gillies in our driveway at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City.  Of course the beat up station wagon is ours.  What did you expect?  I think Janice is showing a bit too much leg for a girl of her age and religious persuasion.  It's trash pickup day.  Our can sits waiting at the curb.

Celeste Gillies and Lisa on the front lawn.  Lisa is on her wheeled inchworm.  Jon and Kevin's 10 speed bikes are in the driveway along with an old school skate board.  

 The Mormon Elders 

Our final picture shows Charles Williamson (second in from the left) standing with the other leaders of the Rapid City LDS District.  Dad was in the District / Stake presidency at the time.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Daily Life in Rapid City. 1974-1975

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove.

Hello All,
     Today we travel back to 1974 / 75 in our digital reunion and see a few snapshots of our life in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  I'll do my best to remember names, and trust you'll send in the names of those I've forgotten.  My email address is spacecamputah@gmail.com

 This was taken on a late Wednesday afternoon in the late fall of 1974 I believe.  Our Mormon MIA group has crossed the street from the church and walked over to the park at Storybook Island for a game of co-ed football.  Rick Olmstead is on the far left in the hat.  Brad Bishop is in the BYU jersey.  I believe Loren Finn is the blurred figure.  I think that's Bonnie Story in far background.  That's the Sioux San water tower in the background.  

The gang.  From left to right as far as I remember:  Don Policky, ? , ?,  Brad Bishop, his brother Scott is "kissing" someone.  Rick Olmstead, Randy Weeks and the rest.

Our priest quorum on a campout to Pactola Lake 1975.  Rick Olmstead, Brad,  Carey Gilles, and Randy Weeks on a hike above the lake.

The group at the campsite.  I'm in the back with the glasses partially hidden.  Scott is picking on Rick. the boy in the v-neck sweater is a Middleton.  Carey is the one falling forward.  

Bro. Smith is on the far left.  Brad has his back to us.  Carey is on the left with Randy Weeks with the apple.

Unpacking for the campout.  

The girls walking near Sheridan Lake in 1974.  Lisa, Janice, an unknown friend, and Jilane.

Two weather extremes.  I took the picture above in 1974 from the front porch of our home at 2214 39th Street, Rapid City.  I believe it was the first good snow of the winter.  

Summer of 1974.  Gully washer rainfalls always brought a torrent of water down from the red cliffs uphill from our house at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City.  This is looking up Lilac Lane from our front lawn.  Notice the white hail on the lawn.  Our decrepit mailbox is in the steam.

Charles Williamson with Janice Williamson at a Daddy / Daughter Date in the Rapid City LDS cultural hall either in 1974 or 75.

And finally, one of the rare photos of me sitting outside the LDS chapel in Rapid City.  There was a bench by the chapel's double doors.  I took third place in the District public speaking festival.  You've got to love those shirts and ties and what hair :) 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grandpa Walter Mattson's CCC photo Album. Pictures of Grandpa and Grandma Mattson.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Grandpa Mattson (born 1912) served in the CCC in Montana as a young man in the mid 1930's.  The CCC stood for the Civilian Conservation Corps.  It was a place to work when work was hard to come by during the great depression.  He had a photo album during his time with the CCC.  I've taken his album and scanned the few photos of him, and young lady he had his eye on for possible matrimony.
Grandpa left the CCC in 1937 or 38, travelled to California to take a job on a ship heading to South America.  That didn't work out, so on his way back to Montana, he stopped to see his girlfriend Violet and the rest is history.  Violet (born 1918) and her family had moved to California from Montana while Walter was in the CCC.

First, the relationship chart.

Relationship Chart

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17-28. Robert Fechner was the head of the agency. It was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).
The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. Principal benefits of an individual's enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. Implicitly, the CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources; and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.
During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.

A little fun during down time.  Notice the outhouse.  It was primitive in the CCC camp.  I believe Grandpa Mattson is seated wearing the dress???

Grandpa Mattson with a friend.

A picture of his sweetheart Violet, his future wife and our grandmother, with a friend in Grandpa's photo album.

Grandpa Walter Mattson.

Grandpa Mattson is holding the guitar in this group photo in front of their tents.

Another picture of his sweetheart, our Grandma Mattson, taken from his album.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sandy Williamson Remembered

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
     My Aunt Sandy passed away on April 3, 2014.  She was married to my Uncle Ray, my dad's half brother.  I didn't know Sandy very well due to time and distance, but I know she was a remarkable woman who was dearly loved by her family and friends.  
     I'm sharing her obituary below as part of our family history.

     Sandra “Sandy” Lynn Williamson, 63, passed away surrounded by her family on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at her home in Spearfish. She was born Nov. 30, 1950, to Mr. and Mrs. John Croghan in Deadwood. She graduated from Doniphan Senior High School in Doniphan, Mo., in 1969 and, answering a calling, fulfilled a dream and graduated from USD in 1998 as a registered nurse. She touched so many with her work in long term care facilities and was especially proud of her service at the Fort Meade VA Hospital.   
     Sandy married Raymond Williamson in July 1971, and they had a daughter, Nikki Lynn, who was born in 1972. They made their home in Whitewood. She was a committed member and volunteer of many organizations, including the Jaycees, Whitewood PTO, and as an EMT with the Whitewood Volunteer Fire Department.
     Sandy is survived by a daughter, Nikki Williamson; granddaughter, Elsie Lynn; and grandson, Raymond Daniel, all of Spearfish. She is also survived by sisters, Lonnie (Terry) ONeil of Portland, Ore., and Lorraine (Talmon) Harber of Doniphan, Mo.; a brother, Lance (Helan) Croghan of St. Louis, Mo.; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband and parents.
Sandy, daughter Nikki, husband Ray

Monday, June 9, 2014

Leslie Configliacco Passes Away

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
      Leslie Configliacco, our 2nd cousin once removed, passed away on April 4, 2014 in Rapid City.  He was the youngest brother of Evelyn Configliacco who passed away in 2013.
Mom and Dad use to visit Evelyn and Leslie regularly when they visited the Black Hills. I met him once.  Leslie never married.  He and Evelyn were very close and lived together until Evelyn passed away.  


Relationship Chart 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Information from the Mattson / Lidman Swedish Family Bible

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
In today's digital family gathering we take a moment to look at the old Swedish, Mattson / Lidman family Bible.  

     The Bible belonged, from what I can tell, to our Great Grand Aunt Josephine Mattson Lidman and her family.  Josephine was the sister of our Great Grandfather John Albert Mattson.  How the Bible came into the procession of John Albert is unknown.
     The Bible followed the Mattsons.  Luella remembers it sat on the writing desk when the family lived on the ranch in Montana.  The Bible followed them to Spearfish.  Grandpa Walter inherited the Bible when his father passed away.  Grandma Violet became its owner after Grandpa Walter died.  Now it resides here at the Fortress.  
     It is in bad shape and in need of restoration.  Perhaps the family would like to pool its resources and send it to a conservator for repairs.      

    This page indicates the Bible was a wedding gift to our Great Grandaunt Josephine Mattson and her husband Carl Lidman.  

    This page records the marriage of our Great Grandparents, and the marriage of their son, our Grandpa Walter to Grandma Violet Pierce.  

      This page records the birth of Carl Lidman and Josephine Mattson along with the birth of Linda and John Mattson.   

     Additional births.

And a page recording the death of Walter Albert Mattson Jr. then the birth of Uncle Marvin.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our Great Grand Aunt Josie Williamson Good. Grandpa Williamson's Letter of Reference. Williamson Line.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today I'll share a few things on our Williamson side.
I start with Grandpa Williamson's Letter of Reference and a couple photos of where he worked in Deadwood (credit: Aunt Kriss)

This was the letter of reference given to Grandpa Charles Williamson (father to Charles Ray Williamson) after his place of employment burned down in Deadwood in 1942.  Dad was six years old at the time.

 Two photos of the fire damaged Hearst Mercantile Co. Deadwood SD.

Grandpa Williamson's Sister Josie

This Relationship Chart shows that Great Aunt Josie was the fifth child of William and Effie Williamson of Sundance Wyoming.  Our Grandpa Williamson was the 9th child and baby of the family. The chart shows Grandpa's two wives: He married, first: Elda Vercellino; second: Elsie Jensen.

 Josie is photographed in the front yard of the Williamson home in Sundance Wyo.

 The following life sketch was written by Pat Williamson Biggs and Chanler Biggs and found in their book The Williamson Legacy.

Credit: The Williamson Legacy

Credit: The Williamson Legacy

Credit: The Williamson Legacy

Credit: The Williamson Legacy

Six of the Williamson children.  Grandpa Williamson is on the back row.

 Aunt Josie worked in this bank for 12 years.

Josie and her husband Lawrence C. Good had two children, Mary Ann and Helen Marie.