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 tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grandma Vesta Pierce Logan. Grandma Violet's Mother. Her Life in Pictures. (Mattson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Time again for our digital reunion around our virtual campfire. I see from the look in some of your eyes its been "one of those days". What did you expect for a Monday? Remember the old Carpenter's Song, "Rainy Days and Monday's Always Get Me Down?" Perhaps the smell and crackling of our campfire along with good company will perk your spirits. If not, there are always Smores........

I'm glad you've all come over tonight because I'd like to share a collection of pictures taken of my Great Grandmother Logan. She was born Vesta Althea Dennis at Hot Springs, South Dakota in 1892. She died on July 11, 1978 in California. She was 86 years old. She is buried in San Bernardino California. She had two children, Violet and Walter. She herself was the youngest of six children.

I can't detail her entire life history. I don't know it and neither do my sources (Mother). And if I thought I had to post the entire history with dates and details then I would never get around to it. Writing a family's history can be overwhelming. It would be a full time job of writing and organizing and writing and organizing and so on and so forth. That's why most people won't tackle it. Instead they accumulate mountains of photos with the intent of write something some day but will never get to it because it seems so monumental.

This blog is an example of another way to do it. My philosophy is "don't even try". Attack your family history one photo at a time and hope when your finished it will all be there, as if my magic. I agree this Blog's organization may be helter skelter but the goal of having something in print for posterity's sake is being achieved and the impossible conquered one grain of sand at a time until the mountain is moved.

So, here we go with a campfire remembrance of Great Grandma Logan.
I believe I met Grandma Logan once. She came to Rapid City to visit her daughter, Grandma Violet. We took the five generation picture posted on a previous post at that time. I remember how frail she was. I remember Grandma Mattson took gentle care of her as a daughter would. I remembered thinking how strange I had a Great Grandmother I didn't know.

Here she was as a young child. This picture was taken in Hot Springs around 1894. She was two / three years old. Luella comments about her curly hair with ringlets every time she sees a photo of Vesta. Her father, John Dennis, died when she was very young. Her mother, Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles, was previously married as was her father. They both came into the marriage with children of their own.

This picture show Grandma Vesta with her two children, Walter (4 years old) and Violet (2 years old). This was about the time Vesta and her husband Walter Edwin Pierce divorced. No one knows why they divorced. The divorce was devastating to this young family. Vesta was a single mother living in the early part of the 20th century. Not a good situation to be in.

This picture shows Grandma Vesta with Grandma Violet and Great Uncle Walter. The picture might have been taken in California. They moved to California for two according to Luella.
1. There was a terrible drought throughout the Dakota's and Montana.
2. She wanted to get Violet away from Grandpa Mattson. Walter Mattson was six years older than Violet. You know, one of those mom things. No one was good enough for her Violet.

Grandpa Mattson joined the CC's with Violet's brother Walter Pierce. They worked together throughout the mid west. When they both left the CC's Walter Pierce went back to California and Grandpa Mattson decided to move to South America to work (no one knows why). He made it as far as San Diego and discovered there was no work to be had. On his way back to Montana he stopped to say hello to his friend Walter Pierce and of course, he became reacquainted with Violet. The rest is history, as they say.

Great Grandma Vesta and Grandma Violet standing together in front of the garage Walter Mattson built on their Montana ranch. Vesta came to visit the Mattson family's Montana ranch several times. She'd stay a week or two then return to California. Mother remembers she took the bus. Quite a long trip! Vesta loved her visits to Montana. She enjoyed the great outdoors and her grandchildren.

This is an earlier picture of Vesta on Deaver Ranch, one mile from the Mattson Ranch. She was Deaver's housekeeper for awhile before they married. On the day of their wedding they butchered a pig. It hung in the tree to be eaten later (perhaps for a wedding party). After the wedding Vesta was shiveried (?) (an old Montana custom where the neighbors and friends kidnap the wife after the wedding. The husband must search for her. Strange custom) Upon their return to their ranch they found the pig missing. It was stolen. That was a big thing in those days. Food was always scarce. The crime never solved.

This picture was taken in Belle Fourche Park. The family was on its way from the Montana ranch to Rapid City were Grandmother Vesta and cousin Diane were to collect the Greyhound Bus for the trip back to Riverside, CA. They had been in Montana for a month long visit to the ranch which included some schooling for Diane in the one room school house at Pinelle. Aunt Linda and Diane were both 10 and in the fifth grade. Luella was in school in Brodus. Luella remembers this outing. Their picnic consisted of cottage cheese, pork and beans and sandwiches. They stopped for ice cream on the way home.

Uncle Marvin is on the far left, then Uncle John, Luella, Diana (daughter of Walter Pierce,his only child ), then Aunt Linda. Grandma Vesta is standing behind them. The five of them were her only grandchildren.

Vesta subscribed to comic books for Luella and her brothers and sister. Luella said the kids waited anxiously for the comics to come by mail. Each was devoured frame by frame, word by word.

A picture of Grandma Vesta and Diana. Walter divorced his wife and sent Diana to live with Vesta. Today Diana lives in Placerville California.

This is a picture of mother and daughter, Vesta and Violet. Vesta was living in a nursing home at the time. Violet and Grandpa Mattson moved to California while Uncle John was on his mission. Violet was better able to care for Vesta.

Violet moved back to Rapid City after Grandpa Mattson died to be near her family and grandchildren.

Vesta stayed behind in California and continued to reside in the nursing home. These two pictures show Vesta on a nursing home shopping spree.

This is the last picture taken of Grandma Vesta in the hospital. Diana and her first husband are with her. Vesta died shortly afterwords.

And that takes us to the end of our time together. The fire is dwindling down and its getting cool. Shall we call it a night then?

So until next time.



  1. I have met diana with mom., she seems like a nice lady but has terrible health problems she lives in a cute house in the mountains.

  2. Hey Vic, this is amazing stuff. I have been reading the blog religiously for a while now and I can't believe the things I have learned. Reading about Grandma Vesta almost brought me to tears. Reading about her life and the conditions she lived in is amazing. The pictures just blow me away. I can see so many of us in the faces of our Grandparents. I've always enjoyed history. Even before I found out we are related to all the kooks of the midevil period, I am obsessed with the history of that time. I like to tie it in with the gospel and the restoration, so it makes more sense to me. My favorite is probably Robert the Bruce. That guy was a maniac. Its kind of funny that Mom (Beverly) also has ties to Robert the Bruce and I found out that Roberts II of Scotland Robert l grandson was king but not much of a king. He was made king while in his 50's. He was the son of Marjorie Bruce, the daughter of Robert i. She was pregnant with Robert II and she fell of a horse and was killed. They saved baby Robert so the royal line continued. Thanks for this blog. You definitly know how to write and make things very interesting. I told Caytee about when we would listen to the song Keep feeling fascination and you told us that you were the guy who had the deep voice in that song. I always sing it around the house and we all get a good laugh. I sure miss the days of youth with you and the Williamson's. Take care. I will be visiting often. Joe Mattson