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.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pictures from Victor's Albums 1970's and 80's South Dakota, Utah.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
What's a Sunday without a few pictures from my old photo albums? Hold on, the Way Back Machine is about to whisk you 30 odd years back in time to simpler days. These pictures are entirely random and presented as they appear in the albums.

The Backyard Gathering

Forrest DelGrosso, Annette Williamson, Brandon DelGrosso and Lisa Williamson in the backyard of our humble abode at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City. This picture was taken in the late 1970's. Brandon is always happy. I could never figure out why? At first we thought there was something wrong with him. Turned out he was just pure boy - mischievous to a fault. That smile hide something devilish he had planned for someone unsuspecting.

Lisa is in the throws of another attitude attack. She had quite a few of them in those days.
Rest assured I was saying "Smile!". She chose not to comply.

And another of happy Brandon DelGrosso with innocent Annette. I love the missing tooth. Perhaps he was overexcited for the prospect of another visit from the tooth fairy and a bright new shiny dime to add to his collection (hey, those were the days when a dime could by 10 red vines!).

What can one say about Annette? Her mother would say "perfect child". I would tend to agree.

Lisa granted the photographer a smile. While not her best, it was the best I could get. Forrest - what a handsome young man. For years we wondered if his mother ever fed him. He was a all skin stretched over bone and sinew. Of course, there was the theory that Brandon ate for two in those days - leaving Forrest the table scraps.

The Williamson Family Reunion. Late 1970's

I'm sure I have more pictures of this reunion, but I'm not taking the time to organize my albums. If I did nothing would get posted.

In this picture we have Charles Williamson's half sister Kriss with her family at the Williamson family reunion. Today Aunt Kriss lives in Montana.

On the way back from Spearfish we stopped along the interstate so Charles could show us his latest project, a railroad tunnel under I90. Luella wasn't the least bit interested and stayed in the car to read. Don't know why the baked beans sat on the top of the car. Perhaps we forgot to put them in twenty miles back.

This was our yellow Rambler Station wagon. It is a true Williamson car and I can prove it. Look closely at the windshield wipers. Notice anything? The wiper on the passenger's side is missing. That alone qualifies it as a Williamson vehicle. Rest assured, no matter what happened to be missing from any of our cars (windshield wiper, floorboard, window roller upper, gear shifter, muffler etc) Charles kept them immaculately clean through and through. We were proud to be seen driving in the cleanest junker in Rapid City!

Charles, Annette, Janice and Lisa standing under I90 in Charles' new railroad bridge.

A rare picture indeed. Jilane sitting behind the wheel of our yellow Rambler Stationwagon. This was taken around the time of the family reunion. I say that because Charles never let anyone drive when he was in the car. He drove and that was that.

Jilane may have been learning to drive in this picture. It makes sense because I'm in the back seat snapping the photo. No one in their right mind would be in the front seat with Jilane. Remember, we didn't have air bags in those days and Jilane had a fascination with her appearance in the rear view mirror (to the horror of many a driver coming towards us in the opposite lane of traffic). The safest place to be was in the back seat, belted in with the St. Christoper medallion in hand. I kept it in the glove compartment.

This picture is a mystery. Jilane Williamson is on the far right with a few high school friends I'm guessing. It looks like they are at a park.

The Mattson California Adventure. Early 1980's

I don't remember exactly when we went on our California Vacation. It was the early 1980's for sure. Cousin Shane (Uncle Marvin and Aunt Pam's oldest boy) and I went with John and Bev and the kids. In this picture - Joseph, Kirk, Jake and Shane. Seat belts? Who needs them. Uncle John was driving.

They played a trick on me during the long drive through Nevada.
"Hey, did you know you can honk the horn just by pushing on the van's roof?" John said from the driver's seat.
"That's ridiculous," I answered. "Why would a car let you honk the horn by pushing on the roof?" I shot back.
"Try it." Everyone watched. I reached overhead and pushed the van's roof with my index finger.
Sure enough, the horn sounded. I was amazed at the technology and tried it several times until everyone's laughter made me suspect I was the brunt of a well played joke. Uncle John was watching me in the rear view mirror and honked the horn every time I pushed on the roof.

The California Vacationers. Left to Right. Shane Mattson, Uncle John, Joseph, Angie, Camille,
Aunt Bev, Gina, Jake and finally Kirk.

Here we are at Knott's Berry Farm. We needed a break. I was sicker than a dog from some ride.

Joseph Mattson waiting patiently for me to feel better so we could get on the next ride.

With Grandma Mattson in American Fork

Grandma Mattson was visiting so I took a couple pictures. Grandma and her eldest son Uncle John sitting on John and Bev's couch in their living room in American Fork.

Grandma Mattson with grandchildren. Joseph, Camille and Kirk.

And a rare picture of yours truly with my Grandma Mattson. I was at BYU at the time and living in Provo. Those glasses were styling in their day. The larger the frames the better.

A Day Out with the Seminary Class

These pictures were taken in the spring of 1980. I returned from an LDS mission to England in September 1979. My first calling back in Rapid City was to teach early morning seminary. The class started every morning at 6:30 A.M. (if I could get the girls out of the church's bathroom).
In this picture you see Don Christensen, Jilane Williamson, Paula Thomas and John Christensen..

And finally, twins Don and Jon Christensen in front of my yellow 1972 Buick Skylark.

Thanks for stopping by,

Robert the Bruce. Robert I of Scotland. Scotland's George Washington. Our 21st Great Grand Uncle.

Our Great Uncle, Robert the Bruce

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we celebrate our Scottish heritage with our 21st Great Grand Uncle, Robert the Bruce of Scotland. We start with the Relationship Chart:

Robert I The Bruce Scotland Bruce
(1274 - 1329)
is your 21st great grand uncle
Father of Robert I The Bruce Scotland
Son of Robert
Son of Edward
Daughter of Alexander
Son of Eleanor
Daughter of William
Daughter of Margaret
Son of Katherine
Son of John
Son of John
Daughter of David
Son of Agnes
Son of Archibald
Son of Thomas
Son of Alexander
Daughter of Nicholas
Daughter of Elizabeth
Daughter of Betsey
Daughter of Betsey
Daughter of Deborah
Daughter of Elmira
Daughter of Isabella Denora
Daughter of Vesta Althea

Violet married Walter Mattson
to their children
Luella, Linda, John and Marvin

Robert Bruce was born on 11th July 1274 at Turnberry Castle on the Ayrshire Coast, overlooking Ailsa Craig. His mother’s family owned lands in County Antrim between Larne and Glenarm, and in 1286 his father had agreed an alliance with a number of powerful people in Ulster and Scotland (including William Wallace’s father Malcolm, and Richard de Burgh, the Earl of Ulster), known as “The Turnberry Band”. This agreement asserted the claims of the Bruce family to the vacant Scottish throne.

Background, Marriage and Murder
Decades of English invasions and Scottish rebellions had taken their toll on Scotland. The King and his heir had died, and a number of claimants to the throne emerged, including the Bruces. After his famous victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, William Wallace was defeated the following year at Falkirk and was later captured and executed. During these years the Bruces adopted a policy of “wait and see”, sometimes siding with the English and sometimes opposing them. King Edward I “Longshanks” had captured the Scottish crown jewels and the famous Stone of Destiny in 1296 and took them to London. Scotland was now under English occupation.

Robert Bruce married Elizabeth de Burgh, the daughter of the Earl of Ulster in 1302, and by 1306, the two strongest claimants to the throne of Scotland were Robert Bruce and his cousin (and enemy) John Comyn. However, Comyn betrayed Bruce to King Edward “Longshanks” I of England, and the furious Bruce met with Comyn in February 1306 at the Church of the Grey Friars in Dumfries. Daggers were drawn and Bruce stabbed Comyn, who died from his wounds. Charged with both murder and sacrilege, Bruce and his followers headed for Scone Palace where, as the man with the strongest claim to the throne, he was crowned as King of Scotland in a simple ceremony led by Robert Wishart, Bshop of Glasgow.

From Rathlin to Bannockburn
In the months that followed, Bruce and his people were fugitives in the land, so much so that in Autumn 1306 they sailed from the Mull of Kintyre to Rathlin Island, where they stayed until Spring 1307. The stay on Rathlin is recorded in some detail in Barbour’s Bruce, written in 1377. Two features on Rathlin – Bruce’s Castle and Bruce’s Cave – are there to this day, but the famous spider story is more than likely a later legend.

Energised, and with renewed determination from their time on Rathlin, Bruce and his men returned to Scotland, winning a series of battles against his enemies during a successful seven year campaign of guerrilla warfare. During this time Bruce’s exploits and his clever tactics united the families of Scotland behind him, and in June 1314 he won Scottish independence at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The Bruces in Ireland
Bruce’s ambitions grew. In early 1315, Robert wrote to “all the kings of Ireland”. In this famous letter he asserted that “we and you, and our people and your people, share the same national ancestry… common language and common custom…” with the aim of “permanently strengthening and maintaining inviolate the special friendship between us and you…”. This letter is generally seen as Robert the Bruce preparing the way for the next phase of his war against Edward II of England - a new front in Ireland, and to install his brother, Edward Bruce, as King of Ireland. In Ulster, Domnall O’Neill, who may actually have been a distant cousin of the Bruces, helped to rally other Ulster kings to the Bruce cause by writing another famous letter. (O’Neill was the first to style himself as “King of Ulster” – in a letter to Pope John XXII he described himself as “Dovenaldus Oneyl rex Ultoniae”. Domnall was succeeded by Hugh Reamhar O’Neill, owner of the famous silver seal which is acknowledged as being the earliest example of the symbol known today as the Red Hand of Ulster)

Soon after Robert’s letter, the three and a half year Bruce military campaign in Ireland began. Edward Bruce arrived in Ulster on 26th May 1315 with a force of 6,500 men. Many of the Ulster chiefs initially joined with Edward Bruce and he was crowned King of Ireland at Knocknemelan near Dundalk around 2nd May 1316. He was joined in Ulster by Robert the Bruce in September of the same year, who arrived at Carrickfergus with around 7,500 men and remained until May 1317. However their brutal campaign, which at one stage looked like expanding into Wales, failed.

So Robert returned home, and Edward was killed in the Battle of Faughart, just south of Newry, on 24th October 1318. The Scottish army retreated to Carrickfergus before going home, and the dream of a Scottish/Irish alliance was over. Robert would later make two return trips Ulster, in 1327 and in 1328.

Arbroath, Dumbarton, Dunfermline, Melrose
The Declaration of Arbroath, the great document of Scottish independence, was written on 6th April 1320, a date which has recently become “Tartan Day” in the USA. The Declaration was signed by Scotland’s most powerful men and was taken to Pope John XXII at Avignon by Sir Adam Gordon. So in 1324 the Pope recognised Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland, and in 1328, at the Treaty of Northampton, Edward III of England finally acknowledged Scotland as a nation and Robert the Bruce as its King.

Bruce died at Cardross in Dumbartonshire on 7th June 1329, but his dying wish was that his heart should be carried by his great friend Sir James “The Black” Douglas (who had been with Bruce on Rathlin) to the Crusades. So his heart was removed from his body and was embalmed, whilst the rest of his body was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. Douglas was killed in Spain, and Bruce’s heart was returned to Scotland where it was buried at Melrose Abbey. You can visit both abbeys today and view the monuments and burial places.

Robert the Bruce is one of the most famous Scots of all time. Spider or not, his career, his life and the future of Scotland were transformed forever following his refuge on Rathlin Island. Rathlin Island can rightly claim to be “The Birthplace of Bannockburn”.